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Friday, November 30, 2018

Alaska planning......

4:10 am - Friday - November 30th - Campbellsville, KY - 55º F, 93% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the west......raining, cloudy today with a forecast high of 58º F.

We had a brief few minutes Thursday morning where we saw the sun peaking through the clouds as it rose in the eastern sky (I posted a picture of this), but that was the last we saw of the sun the rest of the day.  It was not really very cold, it was just cloudy and blustery.  I went outside a few times, but I don't think TLE even ventured outside one time the entire day.  I puttered around in the trailer for about 45 minutes, but really had no purpose other than to putter.

Long naps abounded for me.....I remember at least three.....maybe there were four.....who knows for sure.  When I was conscious I spent a lot of time and rereading reading the blog entries of good friends Steven and Linda Dempsey (The Chouters...pronounced 'shooters') about their 2016 summer travels in Alaska.  I remember at the time of their trip I thought their formula for travel in Alaska was perfect and determined to try and duplicate most of their itinerary when we travel there this summer.  Of course, weather is a big factor in Alaska, and they were quite fortunate to have pretty much good weather wherever they traveled, especially in Denali.  They spent 5 days in Denali and had sunny days for three of them, so they were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery without cloud cover.  What we get will be left up to Mother Nature.  

We had planned to spend some time at Harden Coffee Thursday, but opted to just spend the entire day doing nothing, and girding ourselves for another 5 ten hour days.  Whether we work the 5th day, or not is in doubt as a number of shifts have had their 'MET' day cancelled.  Remember, MET stands for Mandatory Extra Time, and Tuesday is our 'MET' day.  It may be that our schedule of Friday through Monday (4 ten hour days) will somehow get all of their MET days, but that is yet to be determined.  Friends we have working on other shifts have had theirs cancelled.  One couple have had two in a row cancelled including this Friday for the second time in a row.  We will probably not know the fate of our MET day until sometime Monday around lunch time.

To be clear, we do not come to Amazon expecting overtime.  We make our financial plans based on 4 ten hour days each week, and then any overtime we get is considered a bonus.  In fact, we would be quite happy to just work our 4 ten hour days each week like we did at the Fernley, NV facility 4 years ago.  Many come here expecting to work 5-6 days a week every week, and garner a lot of overtime pay, then get disappointed when the MET does not materialize as frequently as they would like.  Overtime pay can be quite enticing.  For us it means an extra $400 (net) on our combined paychecks.  We net about $1,026 each Friday working the 4 ten hour days, so not really too bad, right?  But if we were to work two more days that would increase our weekly pay by almost $800.....quite a jump for just two more days!

It looks like we will have rain Friday, Saturday and into Sunday, but it will not matter much since we will be inside the concrete bunker close to 11 hours each work day.  The only change in our routine will be that we will probably go to work in the VW to avoid getting drenched on the way to and from work, otherwise it will be the usual......'wash, rinse, dry and repeat' for the next 4, or 5 days.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What the Bissel?

7:37 am - Thursday - November 29th - Campbellsville, KY - 34º F (feels like 28º F), 72% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the south by southeast.......cloudy today with a forecast high of 46º F (much better than yesterday!).  Slept until after 7 am........it is so nice to be home when the sun rises.....

Just after I snapped this picture it began to sprinkle....and now it is raining once again

....we tried to sleep in Wednesday, but were wide awake at 5:30 am....we usually get up (on work days) at 4 am, so technically I guess 5:30 am is 'sleeping in', but it doesn't feel like it.  To me sleeping in involves sun coming through the windows of your home, not getting up when it is still quite dark.  It is the little things like that which make your life a little better on your 'off' days.

When I first got up Wednesday it was about 19º F, but it felt like single digits.  It was bitter cold, so the outdoor activity options narrowed considerably down to zero.  Wednesday is almost always 'black tank' day for us here at Heartland Campground, and since the forecast calls for rain Thursday I needed to do the deed Wednesday.  Around 11 am I set out to tackle the task and quickly found out that my the residual water in my tank flushing hose was frozen, thereby rendering it useless for the flushing task. Fortunately I carry extra hoses.....I think maybe too many extra hoses......so I retrieved one of those from the trailer and set about the task of dumping and flushing our black tank.  It takes three times filling it half full of fresh water before the water coming out is once again 'clear'.  Clear is a relative term, of course, but for the purposes of water coming out of a black tank 'clear' is good enough.  I've tried filling the tank completely full with flushing water before dumping it, but it still takes three times, so to conserve water I only fill it half full now and get the same good results. 

I was finished with the task about 11:30 am at which time I retrieved TLE's inside vacuum to take it apart to clean the fan.  Over the 7, or 8 years we have had that vacuum hair has accumulated on in and around the fan housing reducing the effectiveness of the vacuum.  I had it apart and cleaned in about 10 minutes, but discovered that one of the  screw anchors (there are 7 of them) had broken.  When I went inside to retrieve my LockTite super glue I found it had bitten the dust after 4 years.  I like LockTite because it does last so long, unlike other super glues.  So a trip to Lowe's was in order to complete the repair of the vacuum.  TLE needed to do some grocery shopping, and we needed to fill the VW gas tank......it's been almost 6 weeks since we filled the tank!  We get gas credits from Kroger each time we shop, and we had accumulated a 30 cent per gallon gas credit which needed to be used before the end of November.  We use Premium Unleaded gas in the VW Beetle (factory recommendation), and have been paying either just under, or just over $3/gallon.  With the recent collapse of the world oil market (crude oil is down to $50/barrel now from a high in the mid 70's) it is now much cheaper, and with the 30 cent per gallon credit our fuel only cost us $2.15 per gallon for 10 gallons.

We were back home a little after 2:30 pm, and after transferring the groceries from the Beetle to the Newell I went out to the trailer to finish fixing the vacuum.....

The Bissel Feather Weight vacuum all together and ready for use once again

.....I had the broken screw anchor glued and fixed in no time, then reassembled the Bissel and returned it to TLE.  This Bissel also had an long extension handle so it may be used as an 'upright'.....

The extension handle for the Bissel

.....TLE uses this for doing quick vacuum jobs, but for the really deep cleaning we bring in my ShopVac from the trailer.

After fixing the vacuum I headed back inside (it never got above 31º F all day) to the comfort of the warm interior of the Newell.  There were at least two naps taken as the day wound down to a close.  We streamed the two hour 'Survivor' at 8pm via our ROKU TV, and were in bed a little after 10 pm.  A very relaxing 1st day off work!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UPC, ASIN, LPN........

5:44 am - Wednesday - November 28th - Campbellsville, KY - 20º F, 75% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the west......mostly cloudy today with a forecast high of 37º F.....got down to 18º F last night!


The weather is rather schizophrenic lately.....by Friday it will be in the 60's again for the next three days.  Of course it has to get freezing again on our two days off work.....😕

I don't mean to brag.....okay, well, maybe I do mean to brag, but all that aside Tuesday, our 5th consecutive 10 hour day I felt the best I have felt since we began working 5 weeks ago.  I'm almost sitting here wishing I wasn't writing about it, because I begin to think I will jinx it by mentioning it.  It is like I just turned a corner and went from thinking all the time about how tired my feet and legs were, to not even thinking about them anymore.  Now it is just me and the boredom walking side by side down endless aisles picking whatever.  

About 99.999% of what we pick is clothing, or some sort of clothing related apparel.  I no longer see the items as clothing, but just plastic bags with some sort of material inside.  All I care about anymore is that the correct UPC (Universal Product Code) code, or ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), or LPN (License Plate Numbering (I have no idea why it is called that, so don't ask) number is somewhere on what I am picking, and secondly will I get the positive 'BEEP', or the scolding 'BEE-BOOP' tone?  Sometimes there might be, literally, 50 items in a large bin all completely identical in appearance, except that the one you are looking for is the only one with a slightly different ASIN, and you have to go through every single one of those 50 identical items to find the one correct ASIN that will scan properly and let you move on to the next 'pick'.  That happened twice to me Tuesday afternoon.

It began to snow just after we entered the concrete bunker at 6:15 am, and was still snowing when we took out lunch break at 11:20 am.  Thankfully it was not snowing when we exited the bunker a little after 5 pm to make the 1/4 mile uphill walk home in the 25º F, blustery remains of the day.  Fortunately for us very little of the snow stuck, and as I write to you this morning there is NO snow on the ground.

When we go to work on a cold day like Tuesday we leave the front portable fireplace running so it doesn't get overwhelmingly cold inside.  As soon as we get inside we turn on the other two heaters and usually within minutes our home is comfortable, but Tuesday we had to turn on one of the gas furnaces for a while to get to that comfortable state.  Eventually we were able to turn it off, but it took about an hour!

We tried to stay up until at least 10 pm, but by 9:30 I was asleep in my recliner, and TLE was trying to wake me up to go to bed.  I guess you could say I have officially switched over to going to bed at 8 pm.....at least for the next few weeks.  And speaking of weeks, we now hove 15 work days left, and by this time next week we will have just 10....time is flying!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What's the problem?

4:22 am - Tuesday - November 27th - Campbellsville, KY - 28º F (feels like 19º F), 79% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the west......cloudy today with a forecast high of 28º F.....low today will be 18º F.

Cyber Monday was anything but......we did not have enough work to keep all the 'Outbound' people busy, so VTO (Voluntary Time Off) was being offered every couple of hours. Our attitude is once we are in the building we are there for the duration.  We've already gotten up inordinately early to be at work by 6:30 am, and there is no way we'll cut the day work day short at that time.

We have two basic employee groups here at Amazon in which the bulk of Amazon employees are employed.....Inbound, and Outbound.  Inbound folk unload the product from the semi trailers, load the product on carts called 'U'boats to be stowed, which is then stowed in bins by the 'stowers'.  Then you have the Outbound folk like us......we pick the product, we pack the product, we ship bulk product (called 'Tranship') to other Amazon FC's.  Those are the basic classifications which 70% of the employees fit into.  There is a Safety department, there is AMCARE (in facility urgent care), the Career department, Administration department, the Training/Education department, IT department, custodial, mechanical, etc.  

There is also a small, elite group called 'Problem Solvers' who help both Inbound and Outbound folk fix errors they have made processing product.  I needed the help of a Problem Solver late Monday about 4:25 pm.  I had just put 3 totes on the conveyor to be delivered to the 'Pack' department.  I pulled three empty totes from the line to begin picking again, then I went to the bathroom.  I had hoped to make it to the end of my shift, but it became obvious that I was not going to make it, so I parked my cart, and made my way to the bathroom.  When I returned about 5 minutes later I picked up my scanner to scan the first tote, and got a message that I had 'Scanned the wrong bin'......hmmmm, maybe I scanned the tote before I went to the bathroom, although I never do that.  So I head to my next bin to pick an item, scan the bin, scan the item and drop it in my tote.  I'm still thinking about what happened when I realize I had not closed out the last tote I put on the conveyor before my bathroom run, and now it is gone, and I have another item that is supposed to be in that tote.....DOH!  I head to the problem solving desk on P-4-K (high) and using the two way radio call for a problem solver.  She arrives in about 3 minutes, and I explain what I did.  What I love about these people is there is never any judgement.....they just solve problems, and get you back on your way doing your job.  They appreciate it when you admit you made a mistake, and just want to fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.  Within 5 minutes she has fixed my problem, and it is now about 4:40 pm......10 minutes until the 'chimes' go 'DING DONG' and it is time to head to the front the building once again to punch the clock.

In between the beginning and the end of the shift we had an ice cream social for lunch.  We had all brought our usual lunches, but when we saw the ice cream being served we all opted for 'ice cream for lunch'......what a nice treat....and I did not feel one bit guilty!

Monday was my best day at Amazon yet.....I felt good physically and mentally at the end of the shift.  Sure, I was tired, but I felt fine for a change.....very, very encouraging.  Now to deal with the mind numbing boredom!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.s 

Monday, November 26, 2018

'Bee-Boop', 'Bee-Boop'........

4:15 am - Monday - November 26th - Campbellsville, KY - 40º F (feels like 29º F), 76% humidity, wind 25 mph out of the west by southwest......very cloudy, and very windy today with a forecast high of 36º F......WOW.....not getting any warmer today!

We walked to work in the fog Sunday morning, and exited the concrete bunker to threatening skies........the rain materialized around 8 pm, and then went away.  The wind, however, blew all night long, shaking the Newell from time to time.

So, how was work you might wonder?  It was fine.....I guess.  We continue to do well physically, but are all getting mentally tired by the 4th quarter (2:30 pm to 5 pm) and wishing we had a recliner in which to take a nap.  I notice each day about 4 pm I begin to make a lot of mistakes as to which bin I should be scanning, and that happened a lot on Sunday.  About 4 pm my brain reached the 'sensory overload' status and I couldn't seem to tell Bin P-2-C-67-45-A from P-2-C-68-45-A (the highlighted number is the Row number).  I'm scanning bin 45-A on Row 67 on one side of the aisle, when I should be scanning a bin 45-A on Row 68 on the other side, right behind me.  When I scan the wrong bin, or wrong item, or forget to scan the tote at the appropriate time I get this 'Bee-Boop', 'Bee-Boop' sound emanating from my scanner.  It is a very disconcerting sound which makes you feel as if you are being scolded.

For 10.5 hours your senses are being overwhelmed by the constant whirring sound coming from all the hundreds of fans, the clackity-clack sound of the conveyors conveying, and thousands of alpha/numeric combinations flashing across your scanner screen one after another, minute after minute, hour after hour.  At some point, usually around 4 pm for me, I begin to see alpha/numeric characters which are not there and  begin to hear that scolding 'Bee-Boop', 'Bee-Boop' sound way too often.  About that time it seems that time begins to slow down, and seconds begin to seem like minutes.  It seems that some unseen hand is grabbing the minute hand on your clock and not allowing time to progress.  About this time you begin to feel like you are the only person left working in the concrete bunker.....you are certainly convinced that you are the only one still picking on P-2-C, and that time for everyone else is still progressing as it should meaning they have gone home, and left you in your particular time warp to pick all alone.

Then, at last, you hear the loud (and I mean LOUD) 'Ding Dong', 'Ding Dong' (chimes) announcing that you may now proceed to the front of the building, logout off , and put away your scanner only to stand for a couple of minutes transfixed, watching the time on the time clock NOT change.....it seems to keep flashing 4:53 pm for way too long.   Finally, after an inordinate amount of time (probably 120 seconds) the clock changes over to 4:55 pm and you are now free to punch the clock and escape to the outer world once again......on parole for 13.5 hours before you voluntarily return to 'wash, rinse, dry, repeat' for another 10.5 hours.

In between 6:30 am, and 5 pm there are the wonderful breaks spent with good friends talking and laughing, with an emphasis on laughing.  It is those brief breaks from the mind numingly boring repetitive task job you willing subject yourself to 5 days a week that seems to make everything more bearable.  But, here we are, three fifths of the way through our 5th week of work.....only 17 more days of labor remaining before we will fly home for Christmas to see our kids and grandkids!  We will leave Campbellsville with our bank account brimming with new funds which you have already earmarked for next summer's adventures in Alaska.

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Over the hump!

4:18 am - Sunday - November 25th - Campbellsville, KY - 39º F (feels like 36), 100% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the southeast......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 62º F.....there is a chance of rain.....again, sigh......after 6 pm today.

We both recovered quite nicely overnight Friday, and walked to work Saturday morning with great optimism.  We wondered if we had finally gotten over the proverbial 'hump' physically and mentally.    By the end of the day the question had been answered for me....yes!  I felt good physically, and my brain had not turned to much by 5 pm.  That is a first for me.  TLE reports she felt good all day long, also, but admitted to a couple of 'brain freezes' late in the shift.

The long workdays have really come down to visiting at breaks and lunch with good friends, and a lot of laughter, and that as much as anything else is what gets each of of through one 10 hour shift after another.  

Saturday was a continuation of Black Friday with lots of work, and a lot of people moving hither and yon throughout our one million square foot facility....each with a specific purpose without which it would all grind to a halt.  There are the mostly unseen people who keep the conveyors conveying, the large semis rolling, the air moving, and the computers humming sending out one 'pick' order after another.  Without these, and many others we are just a lot of people wandering aimlessly around the interior of a large concrete building with no purpose.

When we exited the concrete bunker late Saturday afternoon, the sun was just setting over the Campbellsville water tower reminding us that within a few days we will be walking home in the dark, just like it is when we walk to work each day.  

While I queued up a couple of recorded shows to watch TLE prepared Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine for dinner.....OMG!  What a great dinner!  The Alfredo sauce was to die for!  TLE never 'mails it in' when it comes to food preparation, and for that I am eternally grateful!  We watched 'God Rush', and then another English Premier soccer match between Tottenham and Chelsea with Tottenham winning 3-1....another great performance by Harry Kane and Dele Ali!  We were off to dreamland a little after 8 pm as is our custom each night during our work week.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Paint it black......

4:17 am - Saturday - November 24th - Campbellsville, KY - 47º F, 92% humidity, wind 11 mph out of the south.......very cloudy, and rainy....forecast high for today is 56º F.


As we walked to work Friday we were well aware it was 'Black Friday', one of the biggest retail days in the U.S. each year, so we knew it would be a busy day with 'All Hands on Deck' as they say.  Below is a picture of our DH-3 Shift folk......many of us are dressed in black in honor of the day......

DH-3 Shift just after lunch Friday

.....I think I know about 30% of them by name, but our group keeps expanding by the week, and it is difficult to keep ahead of the influx.  The DH-3 shift runs from Friday to Monday, with Tuesday at our 'MET' day......there will be, so far, an MET this week, so we will be working 5 consecutive 10 hour days.  We've done that twice before, but now we have, potentially, 4 in a row taking  us up to December 22nd.  My legs are 'barking' at me at I write that.

The day began with clear skies, but by the time we exited the building 10.5 hours later it was cloudy, and foreboding.  Eventually, as we went to bed around 8 pm, we could hear the rain hitting our roof, and it rained on and off all night long.  It seems to have abated as I write today's missive, but Weather.com says it will rain through the morning......enough with the rain already!

All of those in our inner Amazon Camperforce circle agreed that the time seemed to pass quickly Friday.  We all felt pretty good at the end of our shift, but I know by Tuesday afternoon we'll all be dragging just a little, and looking forward to our two days of recovery before we 'wash, rinse, dry, repeat' once again.

I had my highest quarter pick totals in the first quarter Friday.  I hit 302 picks for the 2.5 hour stretch, but not to be outdone, TLE posted an impressive 330+ picks.....I think she takes fewer bathroom breaks than I......😏....I think I've bested her just one time in the last 4 weeks!  The aisles were a lot more crowded with pickers Friday, and the stowers were out in force adding to the congestion.  Usually when we begin the day our manager will give us the 'workable' number.....'workable' refers to the number of picks which need to be made that shift. Typically that number has been in the mid to high 20,000 range.....Friday it was over 65,000!  That's just one shift at one Amazon Fulfillment Center!  Friday was also the beginning of the 20th Peak Season here at Campbellsville, KY.  Our FC was one of the first five opened by Jeff Bezos.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thinning the herd.....

4:23 am - Friday - November 23rd - Campbellsville, KY - 35º F, 86% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north.....clear today with a forecast high of 57º F.....time to go back to work......😑

We celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with a select few good friends in Elizabethtown (KY) at the local Cracker Barrel.  The drive in took us about 45 minutes, and even though it was 'first come, first served' (no reservations) we only had to wait about 40 minutes to be seated.  We all had the Thanksgiving Special for $12.99 each, and it was, surprisingly, quite good which was a bonus added to the great conversation and fellowship of our 7 person group.

Front to back: Moi, Dan, Di, Fred, George, Linda and TLE

We sat down around 2 pm, and were walking out the door a little after 3 pm to make room for more Thanksgiving revelers awaiting their turns to be seated.  This was, of course, the main event of our Turkey Day, but before that I spent about 2 hours in the trailer leisurely going through a lot of stuff in my wall cabinet and discarding many things I was not using, would never use, or couldn't remember that purpose for which I was saving them.

TLE and I have been discussing our trip to Alaska this summer.  Originally we had planned to leave the trailer behind, and just drive the Newell into Alaska.  Our friends, Forest and Cindy, with whom we are traveling, had graciously offered to be our chauffeurs on our trip.  We figure the round trip is a little over 6,000 miles.  We began to realize this past month that by the time we get back to California in March we will have pulled that trailer almost 6,600 miles back and forth across the U.S. on this current trip, so why are we thinking of leaving it behind on another 6,000 mile plus trip?  Instead we are planning to strip down (thin out) what we take with us to Alaska thereby reducing the overall weight of the trailer and coach.  We'll leave our bikes behind for sure, our extra chairs, our portable satellite dish (won't be able to get DirecTV that far north), our artificial turf, and a lot of other stuff.  My tools, of course, will not be left behind.  After going over a preliminary list I think we can reduce our overall weight somewhere between 500 and a 1,000 pounds for the journey.  Anyway, that is our thinking now.  I began that process Thursday.

We spent our day trading Thanksgiving messages with family and friends......life is good, and we are very thankful!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

7:15 am - Thursday - November 22nd - Campbellsville, KY - 28º F, 100% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the northwest.......clear today with a forecast high of 55º F.

The new gas shocks for the VW hatch came into Autozone early afternoon so I got dressed, drove directly to the store to pick them up, and then headed across the parking lot to Lowe's to buy a couple of new electrical outlets.  It seemed, at the time, that the outlet in the bedroom at TLE's vanity was going bad.  She was experiencing an intermittent connection with her hairdryer, so I bought two (always good to have a spare) new outlets, and then headed to Fantastic Sam's for a haircut.

Normally I would have waited another 2 weeks, but my hair was just long enough that the fans in Amazon were blowing it around quite a bit during our 10 hour shifts.  All you need is one more thing to irritate you to go along with all the other things, right?  There was a little bit of a line, but I was still in the chair getting my ears lowered within 10 minutes.

Back home I quickly got out the long handled brush I use when washing the the Newell, screwed off the head, and used the pole (after properly adjusting it to the proper length) to hold the hatch of the VW open while I removed the faulty shocks, and then installed the new ones.  As it turns out only one of the shocks was bad, but I still replaced both of them.....only makes sense, right?  I noted that the two older shocks were slightly different (one shaft was black, while the other was chrome), and came to the conclusion that the prior owner had replaced one of the shocks before I bought the car.  That would also explain why sometimes on very cold days the hatch would not stay completely in the raised position.....one shock was going bad, and it clearly takes two to hold that heavy hatch in the 'up' position.  After installing the two new ones order was restored, and we now have a functioning hatch once again.  I am saving the one good shock for future use.

I then turned my attention to the electrical outlet at TLE's vanity.  I should have opened it up before I bought the two new outlets, because, as it turned out the screw holding the black wire in place was loose, and that was the source of the intermittent connection.  Oh well, now I have two extra outlets for future use.  That's one thing about RV's that you must remember.  Things can vibrate loose while you are motivating down the road.

We had made plans with our shift friends to meet at Brother's BBQ at 5:30 pm for dinner.  It occurred to me around 4:45 pm that we might need reservations with a potential party of 7, so I called and was advised it was first come, first served.  Normally we would have left to make the drive around 5:20 pm, but I didn't want to take a chance there would not be a table, so we left around 5:05 pm to get there early and secure a table for seven......


Left side: Don, Di and Pam / Right side: TLE, moi and Dennis

.....there ended up being only 6 of us, but I am glad we arrived early.....look how crowded the restaurant is (see background) as we are getting ready to leave.....the place was packed, and there were people up front waiting for a table.  The food and conversation were exceptional, and we are looking forward to the second installment, which will be Thanksgiving (today) day when we all journey into Elizabethtown, KY to the Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving dinner.....it was the only place around that is open on Thanksgiving!

Our second of three consecutive days off work was quite pleasant, and I am looking forward to a third on Thursday before 'bail' is revoked and  it is time to trundle back off to work in the concrete bunker for the next five days.

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

'The Sun also rises.....'

6:46 am - Wednesday - November 21st - Campbellsville, KY - 29º F, 84% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the west......mostly cloudy this morning clearing later with a forecast high today of 49º F.

We managed to sleep in all the way to 6:15 am on Tuesday.  It is still quite dark at 6 am, and frankly even at 7 am for that matter.  After a summer in Maine where the sun rose between 4 and 5 am for the first part of the summer I had gotten used to it being light outside when I got up each morning.  Here on the very eastern edge of the Eastern Time Zone it remains dark until after 7 am, and then the sky begins to lighten as the sun begins to peak above the eastern horizon about half past 7 am.  Most days we are inside the concrete bunker when it finally gets light outside, and soon it will be dark when we walk home.

Tuesday we pretty much vegged out all day recovering from 4 ten hour days.  TLE had a hair appointment at her Green Room Day Spa and Salon at 1 pm so I went with her so I could have coffee at Harden's and read my book while she had her hair styled.   The Green Room is directly across the street from Harden's, and right next door to Brothers BBQ.


 All ready decorating for Christmas and we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet!

When we were getting ready to leave Heartland to drive over to Main Street for TLE's hair appointment I discovered the two gas shocks which help lift the rear hatch on the VW have both ceased working at exactly the same time!  The hatch will not stay up on its own.  So, right after TLE finished her hair appointment we headed directly over to Autozone to order some new ones.  Thankfully they can have them in the store Wednesday afternoon, so I will have a project to occupy my time, and be able to get them installed before we go back to work on Friday.  On a side note, it seems wherever we go in Campbellsville we run into former employees of Amazon.  Amazon is the biggest employer around here, so I guess it's not too surprising.....both of the guys we dealt with at Autozone were former Amazon employees.

We made a quick stop by the local Goodwill, but came away empty handed, and were back home by 2:30 pm.  I spent some time installing the new Actiontec HDMI wireless transmitter to replace the old one which recently bit the proverbial dust.  This wireless transmitter enables me to watch DirecTV in the trailer without running HDMI cables back there.  It was a bitter cold task as it was breezy, and the 'feels like' temperature was 31º F, but I got it working and remounted before I lost all feeling in my extremities! 

It is now 7:31 am on Wednesday morning and I can just see the edge of the sun coming over roof tops on the eastern horizon.....



.....which also means the clouds have gone away....it is going to be a cloud free day!

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

It 'Depends'........

6:35 am - Tuesday - November 20th - Campbellsville, KY - 38º F, 91% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the west by northwest.......cloudy today with a forecast high of 42º F.

Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away.  Seems like we just arrived in Campbellsville a week, or so ago, but Thanksgiving will make it exactly 4 weeks since we parked the Newell here at Heartland Campground for our two month sojourn.  So, as of Monday we have reached the half way point, and on Friday we begin the final four weeks, and the beginning of five 10 hour work weeks until the end, or unless Amazon decides they don't need us five days a week.

I always feel like I have a little more energy on Mondays....I guess knowing I don't have to work on Tuesday could be part of that.  This week we will have 3 full days off work as there was no VET (Voluntary Extra Time) offered to anyone.  Things have been slow, but no doubt they will pick up significantly beginning with 'Black Friday' (November 23rd), and continue accelerating with 'Cyber Monday' (November 26th).  From there it will be all hands on deck, with some choosing to work 6 days each week.  We tried that the last time we were here, and decided we would never volunteer to work 6 days a week again at Amazon.  In fact, one week we worked six 12 hour days in a row!  Here at Amazon the 6th day, and extra two hours is strictly voluntary.  You are only required to work five 10 hour days during 'Peak Season', and under no circumstances are you allowed to work more than 72 hours in one week.

I received a message from one of my readers forwarding a comment by another person about how elderly people at one Amazon site resorted to wearing 'Depends' adult diapers, because they were not allowed to take more than a couple of 5 minute breaks (everyone gets two 15 minute breaks in a 10 hour shift) to go to the bathroom.  I've worked at two Amazon facilities over the last six years, and know personally numerous folks who have worked at another 3, or 4 FC's all over the USA, and not one of them reports any issues with taking as many bathroom breaks as are needed.  As we all know, the frequency of visits to the bathroom increase as you age, and depending on where you may be in the FC when the urge comes it can be anywhere from a 2-3 minute walk to the nearest restroom, and another 2-3 minutes back to where you left your picking cart and scanner.  If what this person reported were true then you would be in trouble just taking the round trip walk....forget about actually using the bathroom.

Now, it is true that 'they' do not like to see larger than a five minute gap in between scanning either totes, bins, or merchandise, but if they ask 'why' all you have to tell them is you had to go to the bathroom, and that is the end of it.  I have never been talked to about the 4 bathroom breaks I take while I am on the clock, and have never felt like I was being prohibited from taking those breaks, or forced to go to the bathroom only during the scheduled 15 minute breaks, or during lunch.  If there happens to be an FC where that is the case then I would never work there, and anyone who does, and feels they must wear 'Depends' to avoid taking bathroom breaks is working at the wrong place.  I am certainly no apologist for Amazon, but sometimes I think people say outrageous stuff like this just to get a little notoriety.  The entire atmosphere at the two FC's I have worked at revolves around safety, and comfort with your job.  On any given 10 hour shift I will use the bathroom probably 7 times......four while I am on the clock, and at least one bathroom visit during each of our 15 minute breaks, and at lunch.  The rule of thumb here at Amazon is you never walk past a bathroom without using it.

By the end of our final 10 hour shift this week I was out of gas, and everyone else in our small orientation class of 10/22/2018 reported the same.  I spent the last two hours picking one gift card after another.  I think I at one point I had 22 items in my tote, and 19 were gift cards. 

We were home by 5:15 pm after a slow walk home.  We could feel the chill in the air portending the cooling trend about which I previously wrote.  No more unzipped jackets, and back on with the gloves and watch caps. I fell asleep in my recliner around 7 pm, but awoke a little after 8:30 (TLE had gone to bed) and watched about one quarter of the Ram vs. Chiefs NFL game.....when I went to bed about 9:15 pm the score was a respectable 16-7 in favor of the Rams.  Little did I know that the final score would be 54-51.....the first time ever that both teams in an NFL game have score 50 points, or more....what a game that would have been to watch!

Now to begin enjoying three days of relaxation, and recuperation...thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Monday, November 19, 2018

252......

4:20 am - Monday - November 19th - Campbellsville, KY - 39º F, 100% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the southwest......mostly cloudy today with a forecast high of 51º F.......40% chance of rain.

I hit a milestone in the fourth quarter of yesterday's Amazon picking games.....252 picks in 125 minutes......that is smokin' hot for me.  To be fair I was picking in the P-1-K book section for that entire time which is a very small geographical area....there were also two bathroom breaks in the mix, but still, right?  That was the high point of my day, and season so far.  Of course, when you are on a roll like that the time tends to melt away, and that is just what it did.

The other three quarters I was moved from one Pick Mod to another, sometimes after picking one single item.  I felt like a marionette whose strings were being jerked around most of the time.  There were three times when my scanner informed me "No work can be found for this picker".  That happens on occasion, and when it does it takes about 5 minutes before another pick pops up on the scanner, so I take a bathroom break.  

There were multiple offers of 'VTO' (Voluntary Time Off) on my scanner throughout the day, as Amazon tried to trim the workforce to match the amount of work available.  By the time the 4th quarter came around, and I went on my rampage, they must have gotten enough people to go home early (all voluntary, of course) that there were no more"No work can be found for this picker" messages.  We find that it is the full time people who usually accept the VTO as the Campeforce folks like us are only here for a limited period of time to earn money, and taking VTO kind of goes against that premise.

We exited the bunker to partly cloudy skies, and 60º temps for our walk home.  It was the nicest walk home we have had in a while......no gloves on our hands, jackets unzipped, and no head coverings......delightful!  That will change quickly as we are headed into cooler temps once again Monday through Thursday, and then possible rain again Friday through Monday, which happen to be the days we work....perfect!

That was our Sunday....thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Shorty.....

4:28 am - Sunday - November 18th - Campbellsville, KY - 37º F, 93% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the west.......clear with a forecast high today of 60º F.....wow, warming right up again....for a day, anyway.  Got up late this morning so this installment may be a little brief.

Time seems to be speeding up inside the concrete bunker.  10.5 hours is still 10.5 hours, but the perception is changing ever so slightly......it 'feels' like time is going faster and that is a good thing.  After all, perception is everything.  It was a normal Saturday picking day.....well, as normal as any day picking in a one million square foot building can be.  

The Amazon AI moved me around from Pick Mod to Pick Mod enough to keep me interested, but it was so warm on the higher levels of the Pick Mods (J, K, D) that I was wishing I was wearing a tank top.  It's the first day in the high 50's we have had in a while, and I think they may have left the heaters on too long in the morning.  We exited to a beautiful, warm, sunny late afternoon and really enjoyed the walk home for  a change.

We are doing well both mentally and physically, and are just about at the half way mark in our stay here.  After Monday we will have 4 weeks remaining in our tour of duty.  Now, tht was a short blog post!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The beat goes on.......

4:16 am - Saturday - November 17th - Campbellsville, KY - 30º F, 97% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the northwest......foggy, but clearing to partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 56º F.  No more snow on the ground!

As I wrote, there was snow on the ground when we awoke Friday, but by 5 pm the clouds had been swept away, and by the time we exited the concrete bunker the snow was gone.  Inside the concrete bunker you have no sense of the outside world.  You have no idea if it is sunny, raining, windy, cold, hot.....nothing.  The ever present sounds of Amazon are all that you hear......beeping scanners, the clickety-clack of rolling cart wheels on concrete, conveyors grinding along, giant 'Big Ass Fans' moving air, and many, many smaller fans doing the same.  

Air movement and conveyors are a big priority at Amazon, and you are never far from either, except in Pick Mod P-1-C, where there are, mysteriously, no fans or conveyors whatsoever.   It is one of the great mysteries of the universe, at least in my small 1,000,000 square foot universe.  It is a haven in a sea of noise, a complete outlier, and it happens to be where I spend a great portion of each picking day.  I love it, and I hate it at the same time.  I love it for the reasons I listed, but I hate it for the sameness with which it burdens each day.  I, like most people, like variety.  Fortunately, I am getting just enough variety to just keep the 'hate' quotient at bay.  I am granted, by the great Amazon AI brief forays into other Pick Mods throughout the day, but I am almost always returned to P-1-C several times per day.  

I try to focus on its one big positive......the complete absence of machinery generated noise, and the sense of peace and solitude that derive from it, but just like in Pick Mod 'E' where you pick only clothing 99.99999% of the time, it gets mind numbingly boring, and pretty soon you find yourself longing for the sound....ironic, isn't it?

Friday's Amazon adventures seemed to pass quickly....at least it did not seem longer than 10.5 hours.  I worked my time system to break the shift down into manageable time frames of 60-90 minute segments, only focusing on the end of the current segment which ends in either a bathroom break, a real 15 minute break, or a 30 minute lunch.  There are several other mini breaks in routine that further break those time frames into even smaller segments, such as when you are notified by the Amazon computer it is time to place your totes on the conveyor and move to another Pick Mod.  That process can take up to 10 minutes before you are picking again.  Hopefully, that notice comes several times during the day, or you will find yourself stuck perpetually in P-1-C where the laws of time and space do not seem to apply.

We were home by 5:10 pm, and quickly slipping into relaxation mode a few minutes after that.  TLE prepared spaghetti for dinner, and it was, of course, yummy!  We watched a couple of recorded TV episodes before the inevitable 8 pm bedtime came around to claim our bodies once again......wash, rinse, dry, repeat......and the beat goes on.....

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Friday, November 16, 2018

1/2 and 1/2

4:16 am - Friday - November 16th - Campbellsville, KY - 30º F (feels like 26º), 92% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the southwest.......cloudy now, sunny later with a forecast high for today of 49º F.  There is still snow on the ground this morning......


....it's still quite dark, but you can see the snow on the artificial turf.

TLE and I had different shifts Thursday as I wrote previously.  She worked the 6:30 am to 11:30 am half day shift and I worked the 12 pm to 5 pm shift.  If I am going to work a 1/2 day I, along with most, prefer to work the first half, otherwise you are just sitting around waiting for time to go to work.....it kind of kills the day.  

It had stopped raining about 8 am, but about 30 minutes before I began getting dressed (10:30 am) it began to snow, and it was snowing as I walked down the long hill to the concrete bunker in my winter jacket, gloves, watch cap and shorts.  TLE passed me on her way home in the VW.  My 5 hour shift went quickly, and so did the picking.  I averaged close to 250 picks per quarter, and ended up around 500 for the 5 hour session.....not too bad.

By the time I exited the bunker it was still snowing lightly, but it was oh so cold.  I was wishing I had asked TLE to pick me up from work.  Nonetheless, I made it home unscathed, and changed into my pajamas and slippers.  Within minutes my legs were once again warm.

As is our habit, we were in bed by 8 pm getting our rest before the beginning of our real work week (Friday to Monday).

I forgot to mention that just after I got dressed I remembered I had not dumped the black tank, and I had meant to do that earlier before it began snowing.  I managed to get it dumped and flushed in about 15 minutes, and still had a few minutes to spare before I had to walk to work.  Not fun doing the deed in the snow, however.  

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Deluxe.....

5:10 am - Thursday - November 15th - Campbellsville, KY - 34º F (feels like 31º F), 97% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the east.....heavy cloud cover today with rain/possible snow and a forecast high of only 38º F.  Began raining around 7 pm Wednesday and continued without interruption through the night and is still raining as I write.  Snow may be coming mid morning......we shall see.

Our second day of our 'weekend' began much like the first day of our weekend with us doing little to nothing.  The temp was 30º F when we got up, and barely made it to 37º late afternoon.  That rascally wind was making it seem much colder than it was.  

We lazed around until after 11 am when we finally got dressed and drove into Campbellsville to have coffee at Harden Coffee......our hangout place........



.....I used the opportunity to wear my Peacoat which I bought last February in Flagstaff at the Savers Thrift Store.  It was in rough shape when I bought it ($11.99) and needed to be dry cleaned, but I could tell it was a quality piece, and just needed a little TLC.  The dry cleaning was done in April just before we left to make our one month journey to Maine.  The dry cleaning took all the wrinkles out of it, and removed the stains, and lint.  I put it away in my back closet and, frankly, forgot about it until a few days ago.  Well, Wednesday was the perfect day to break it out and inaugurate it, so I did.  TLE has had a Peacoat for years, and I always loved the 'look'.  She broke hers out too and we looked kind of like 'Bobbsey Twins' at the coffee shop.  We chose to sit at the front of the coffee shop looking out upon the local scenery and weather sipping our coffees and reading for about an hour.  

From Harden's we motivated over to Walmart to pick up a few necessities before heading back home by 1:30 pm, and that was our day in a nutshell.  Much time spent elevating legs and feet, napping, and just generally enjoying not walking around the concrete bunker across the street.

TLE made anchovie pizza for dinner......what a treat!  She buys a 'Red Baron Special Deluxe' pizza as her base and then adds anchovies, olives, mushrooms, and more cheese.  It tastes like she made it from scratch, and can she make a pizza from scratch? You bet!  Anyway, that pizza made my day, and now I have a few pieces left over to eat cold on Thursday......nothing better than cold anchovie pizza!

We watched a few of our recorded TV episodes before hitting the rack shortly after 8 pm.  TLE volunteered to work the 5 hour morning shift (6:30 am to 11:30 am) at Amazon Thursday, and I will be working the 5 hour afternoon shift (12 pm to 5 pm).  On Friday we will resume our regular programming with four more 10 hour shifts......wash, rinse, dry, repeat.

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.