Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The third ten......

6:46 am - Wednesday - October 31st - Campbellsville, KY - 57º F, 51% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the south......that's the lowest morning humidity I have seen in 6 months!  Cloudy today with a forecast high of 71º F, and a 80% chance of rain this afternoon, and tomorrow.  As you have probably divined, we are not at work today!  We have today and Thursday off work and then we will begin our first five consecutive 10 hour days in a row beginning Friday.

Tuesday was our MET (Mandatory Extra Time) day.  It used to be called MOT (Mandatory Overtime) day, but someone up the authority ladder decided, after years of MOT, to change the acronym to MET.  No matter what you call it, it means you work a fifth day.  When we were here 6 years ago we did not work out first MET day until just before Thanksgiving.  We had over a month of four 10 hour days with three days off work each week.  When we worked the Fernley FC we only got one MET day the entire 7 weeks we were there, so this immediate jumping into MET days is a new one for us.

So, here are just a few of the acronyms we deal with every day:

  • FC = Fulfillment Center
  • MET = Mandatory Extra Time
  • VET = Voluntary Extra Time
  • VTO = Voluntary Time Off
There are many more, but we have not been exposed to them enough yet for me to remember them all.  We were actually offered VTO after lunch Tuesday, but we chose to finish the 10 hours as we only had to work three days in a row.  Now, if they offer VTO next Tuesday on our MET day I might be tempted to take it as that will be our fifth 10 hour day in a row.

Both TLE and I are are well above the average expected of us.  I believe I mentioned previously that since we are just peak season workers and it takes a good two months to really get up to speed 'picking' we are only expected to hit 85% to 'plan'.  'Plan' is the planned amount of time to complete each 'pick', and the number of picks you are expected to complete in a 10 hour shift.  We have both been over 140% from out second 5 hour day.  I have to kind of make myself slowdown a is definitely going to be a marathon.

Our work day went well as we worked our time frames, and soon we were punching the clock for the fourth and final time Tuesday.  Each day we have to record 4 time clock 'punches'......1) when we clock in for the day, 2) before and 3) after lunch, and when we 4) finish our shift.  We are able to visit their website to confirm that all our punches were recorded, and so far that is the case.  If we find we have missed a punch we can go to our local HR person and he/she will take care of it for us....actually, I have not seen a male HR person as of seems wherever we have worked they are almost always female.  I am sure there are male HR persons out there, I just have not seen them

The weather as we exited the concrete fortress was once again balmy, and sunny.  Since we had no work on Wednesday I immediately retrieved two chairs from the trailer, a small table, turned on the outside music, poured a couple of fingers of Scotch, lit a cigar and sat outside until sundown.  What a novel concept!  We felt like parolees after working 7 of the last 9 days!

TLE still went to bed at 9 pm (she just arose from her slumber almost 11 hours later). I was in bed by 10 pm, and up about 6:30 am.  I enjoy my quiet time in the  We watched a couple of recorded TV episodes, and talked about our first 9 days in Campbellsville.  We are doing well...our feet are not barking, and our legs are doing fine, also.  It's just a matter of toughening up mentally for the final 7 weeks.

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, October 30, 2018

The second ten.....

4:20 am - Tuesday - October 30th - Campbellsville, KY - 39º F, 93% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south by southeast.....clear today with a forecast high of 70º F.

The secret to making 10 hours seem like just 10 hours, and not 20 is to break it down into component parts.  What do I mean?  Well, for me there are 9 separate time frames in my day, and I just focus on reaching the end of the next time frame.  I submit the following for your review:

1) The first time frame is rather brief (just 15 minutes).....from the time we clock in (6:25 am) until we are dismissed from our first 'stand up' meeting (6:40 am).

2) The second is about 10 minutes, and that is the time it takes to walk from 'stand up' to the pick mod to which we have been assigned, find a cart, put on your work gloves and walk to the first 'pick' of the day.

3) The third runs from about 6:55 am until about 8 am when I park my pick cart and take a restroom break.  Depending on where I am in Building 'C' it can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes round trip to the bathroom, plus another 5 minutes to retrieve my pick cart, and then walk to the next 'pick' this time it is about 8:15 am, and I have 75 minutes until our first 15 minute break of the day, which is more like 20 minutes due to the time consumed walking to and fro.

4) The fourth runs from the time I get back from break which is about 9:20 am, until about 10:20 am when I take another restroom break.  The to and from takes about 10+ minutes, and then it is 10:30 and I only have 45 minutes until it's time to walk to our lunch break.....11:15 am.....lunch begins at 11:20 am.

5) The fifth follows lunch at which time it is about 11:50 am and time for another 'stand up' meeting.  By the time we finish 'stand up' it is about 12:05 pm.

6) The sixth runs from 12:05 pm until about 12:15 pm when we walk from 'stand up' to the pick mod to which we have been assigned, get a cart, put on our gloves and walk to the first pick it is about 12:25 pm.

7) The seventh runs from 12:25 pm until my next restroom break around 1:15 pm.  By the time I return, get my cart, put on my gloves, and walk to the next 'pick' it is closing in on 1:30 pm

8) The eighth runs from 1:30 pm until 2:27 pm when I walk to my 15 minute the time I get back from the break, retrieve my cart, put on my gloves and walk to my next 'pick' it is around 2:55 pm.

9) The ninth runs from 2:55 pm until 4 pm when I take my final restroom break.  By the time I return, get my cart, put on my gloves, and walk to my next 'pick' it is about 4:15 pm, and I only have 35 minutes until I walk back to the front of the building to punch the clock for the 4th time at exactly 4:55 pm, and 10.5 hours have elapsed since I punched the block for the first time at 6:25 am.

That is how I make 10 hours of work feel like just 10 hours, and not more.

There was nothing remarkable about Monday.  It was much like Sunday, and much like every other work day at Amazon will be from now until we are released around December 23rd.  At some point in the next week, or two I hope to become once again competent enough to 'pick' effectively and day dream at the same time.....that is when the time will feel like it is going faster.  There are not too many work related activities in the world that are more mind numbingly boring than 'picking'.  I'm not saying there are not, but they do no come to mind at this time.

The last two days it is has been quite sunny, and balmy when we have exited the FC to walk home, which, by the bye, is all uphill.  When you have just finished walking 10+ miles over 10.5 hours the last thing for which you might wish is to walk 1/4 mile uphill, but that is precisely what we do each work day.

From the time we arrive home (5:15 pm) until we go to bed is just under 3 hours.....not a lot of time.  We spend that time soaking our feet in epsom salt laced hot water, relaxing, and probably watching a couple of recorded TV episodes.  On this evening we watched a recorded English Premier soccer match, and 'Last Ship' before calling it a day and heading for slumberland one more time.

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, October 29, 2018

Ten hours......

4:15 am - Monday - October 29th - Campbellsville, KY - 41º F, 78% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the southwest.....clear today with a forecast high of 61º F.

The unspoken thing we had both been thinking about privately finally came around.....the first of too many to count 10 hour shifts at SDF1 (Amazon, Campbellsville, KY).  All the Amazon Fulfillment Centers have an alpha/numeric designation having to do with the local airport designation.  SDF is the international airport designation for Louisville, KY, and the '1' designates it as the first such facility in Kentucky.  When we worked at the Fernley, NV Fulfillment Center it was near the Reno International Airport, hence it was referred to as RNO1.  Putting all that 'inside baseball' stuff aside, as we walked through the employee entrance around 6:15 am we knew full well that we would not exit until after 5 pm on this Sunday, 10.5 hours later (includes 30 minute unpaid lunch).  No early release at 11:30 am as had been the case the first three days.

I still remember 6 years ago as we embarked upon our first 10 hour shift how optimistic I felt as I began that shift, and how deeply concerned I was at the end of that first shift about my ability to endure 11 weeks of nocturnal wanderings throughout the bowels of SDF1.  I eventually gained some equilibrium and did, indeed, endure the 11 weeks.  The minutes seemed like hours, and hours like days then.  This time around, being a solid 6 years older than I was then, and being fully initiated in the realities and mind numbingly  boring, repetitive nature of the work, I was properly concerned at the beginning of the shift, but emerged 10.5 hours later surprisingly full of optimism and hope.  My feet did not hurt, I was not disoriented, and it seemed exactly like 10.5 hours, not days.

Since we began our daytime meanderings around the 1 million square foot warehouse last week we have 'picked' exclusively in Building C.....the furthest point from the front entrance.  TLE and I both agree we are becoming bored with Pick Mods 'E' and 'F'.  I spent a considerable amount of my shift on P-2 and P-4 (2nd and 4th floor) of Pick Mod 'E', but finished my day in Pick Mod 'F', which has only one floor.  During that time I picked pretty much 99.99999% clothing.....there was one large bottle of washer detergent, but that was the only non clothing item I picked during my 10 hours.

As we emerged into the bright sunlight a little after 5 pm we both felt quite tired, and were grateful we would be home in less than 10 minutes.  As soon as we got home TLE put the chili on to heat up, and I grabbed a beer, and got off my feet.  Daylight Savings ends this coming Sunday, November 4th, so there will be no exiting into bright sunlight after that.  We will no longer see the sun going to and from will always be dark in our world except on our off days.  TLE has started me on a daily dose of vitamin 'D' to compensate for the lack of sun.

We are making new friends.....right now there are Fred, Don and Diane with whom we get along famously.  By 8 pm we were once again in slumber mode getting our bodies rested for another 10 hour shift on Monday. Oh, and by the Dodgers exited this year's World Series with a whimper, losing to the Boston Red Sox 5-1 in the 5th and final game.....😞

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, October 28, 2018

On the brink.....

4:17 am - Sunday - October 27th - Campbellsville, KY - 40º F, 96% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 67º F.

In spite of me not getting to sleep until 3:35 am Saturday morning I was awake just after 9 am.....oh well, there are always naps.  On the bright side I woke up to the news the Dodgers had prevailed in their 18 inning marathon, so I guess that takes a little bit of the edge off of not enough sleep!

The day began with heavy cloud cover, and that never changed all day long.  It was breezy, and very cold outside.  It looked like it would rain any minute, but it never did, and due to the heavy cloud cover it really did not dry out much either.

My only goal for Saturday was to rest in preparation for our first 10 hour shift at Amazon on Sunday morning.  After two mornings of sleeping in I will be getting up at 4 am for the next 3 mornings, then two more off days (Wednesday and Thursday), and then our regularly scheduled four 10 hour work days ensue, plus one MOT (Mandatory Overtime) day each week on Tuesday for the foreseeable future.

We had a leisurely morning watching English Premier Soccer then decided to get dressed and go to Walmart for a few grocery items.  We stopped off at a couple of other local stores to check them out.....Big Lots and Burkes Outlet, and then it was off to Walmart for a small shopping.  We were back home by 2:30 pm.  While TLE put away the things we bought at Walmart I took another nap.

The afternoon passed quickly, and we were back in bed by 8 pm.  Game 4 of the World Series began at 8:09 pm, so I did not get the score until this morning (Sunday) Dodgers lost 9-6.  They actually had the lead through 6 innings......4-0, but then the relievers entered the game and gave up 9 runs over the final 3 sad.  So now the Dodgers are on the brink of elimination trailing the Red Sox 3 games to 1, with game five on Sunday.

Anyway, that was our Saturday.......time to gird ourselves for a 10 hour shift.....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, October 27, 2018

Walk Off........

9:25 am - Saturday - October 27th - Campbellsville, KY -46º F, 91% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the west.....heavy cloud rain with a forecast high today of 55º F.  Was up to 3:35 am watching the longest game in MLB playoff history.  I went to bed after the top of the 17th inning and the scored tied at 2 apiece.  My L.A. Dodgers finally won on a walk off homerun by their first baseman, Max Muncy, in the bottom of the 18th inning.  At any rate, I am working on around 5 hours sleep right now......

Opposite field homerun by Max Muncy to win game 3 of the World Series!

I heard the rain on our aluminum roof throughout the early morning hours Friday beginning around 1 am, and it was still raining when the leaden skies lightened somewhat as the  cloaked light of the sun forced its way through the cloud cover around 8 am.  Time to get up after 10 hours of sleep.  We had no plans requiring us to leave the heated comfort of the Newell, so I decided it was a perfect day to take on the project of repairing one of the trim pieces in our shower.  These trim pieces hide the lip of the tub, and keep water and/or moisture from getting behind the lip. Unbeknownst  to me the bead of caulking along the top of the trim piece directly under the shower faucet had pulled away from the wall allowing moisture to get behind it.  TLE had pointed this out to me the night prior, so I had resolve to get on the repair ASAP.  Friday was the perfect day for such a long, drawn out rainy day project.  

My first job was to remove the trim piece which was affixed by 3 stainless steel screws.....

 Trim piece removed

......once the piece was removed it was obvious by looking at the back side of the trim that the wood had gotten wet, and had begun to delaminate.....

.....after spending 45 minutes drying the area behind the trim piece with TLE's hair dryer I took the trim piece out to the trailer, which I had been preheating with my small electric heater.  Using a piece of sandpaper I smoothed out each piece removing the water stains.  As I sanded I noticed there were some damp spots on the wood, so I used my heat gun (see picture above) to dry those spots.  Finally it was time to glue it all back together, and then apply clamps to hold it all in place....regretfully I neglected to take pictures of the trim piece with 8 'C' clamps attached to it. Nevertheless, after letting the glue dry from 12 pm to after 8 pm it was time to reinstall the trim piece, and then apply a new bead of silicone caulk....... took just a few minutes to reinstall the trim piece, and then run a bead of silicone along the top edge, and all that remained was for the caulk to cure overnight before we could use the shower once again.

Repaired trim piece reinstalled with a bead of silicone caulk.....the very caulk I had purchased in Burlington, VT for just such a situation.

The aforementioned World Series game 3 began at 8:10 pm with the Dodgers trailing in teh Series 2 games to none.   It was 1-0 in favor of the Dodgers going into the top of the 8th inning.  The starting pitcher, Walker Buehler, had not allowed a run in 7 innings, but with two outs in the top of the 8th inning the Dodger closer, Kenley Jansen gave up a one run homerun to tie the game.  Both teams scored one run each in the very weird 13th inning to make the score 2-2, and then as I reported above, Max Muncy hit the walk off homerun to win the game in the bottom of the 18th.

TLE was in bed by 1:30 am, but I could not go to sleep until after 3:30 am with the game still in doubt.  I woke up to go to the bathroom around 6:30 and checked my phone to find the Dodgers had finally won.  And now it is time for a nap!

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, October 26, 2018

Day 3.........

8:03 am - Friday - October 26th - Campbellsville, KY - 49º F, 97% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the east.......heavy cloud cover, raining with a forecast high today of 55º F. Rained most of the early morning beginning around 1 am.....should be raining on and off the rest of Friday and into the night.  We don't work today!

When I work a seasonal job I need to establish a routine which puts me in my comfort zone.  My particular comfort zone is I don't like rushing around in the morning before work so I get up way before I have to leave.  Since we are beginning our work day at 6:30 am I am up by 4 am.  That gives me plenty of time to compose my blog entry for the day, time to read the blogs of others whom I follow, time for a leisurely breakfast, and plenty of time to get dressed, and maybe even sit down for 10 minutes and read before we begin our 1/4 mile walk to work.  I don't use an alarm clock, and haven't since a few months after I graduated from college back in June of 1971.  I despise alarm clocks, and while still in college dreamed of the day I would not need an alarm clock anymore.  After college I still used an alarm clock for a few months when I was working for a house painter, but eventually trained myself to wake up on time without that sudden noise jolt that sends adrenaline coursing through your blood vessels.  I like waking up slowly, and preferably as it gets lighter.  I don't get to do that right now except on my days off work.

Day 3 at the FC was quite similar to the two prior training/work hardening days.  We were on site by 6:15 am, chatting with our co-workers and girding ourselves for another 5 hours.  We clocked in at 6:25 am, and were at the 'stand up' site by 6:30 am listening to the latest Amazon news, goals for the day all while doing our stretching exercises.  Instead of heading directly out to begin another day of picking we spent about an hour with our training ambassadors while they reiterated safety concerns, process steps, and mainly talking about 'exceptions', which we had yet to discuss.  Nothing in any process ever goes flawlessly, and when hiccups occur here they are referred to as 'exceptions'.  What is an exception one might query?  Some of them are, in no particular order, as follows: 1) The item you are to 'pick' is missing from the bin to which you have been directed; 2) The item is damaged; 3) You find the item, but the description in your scanner is different than the item....perhaps the wrong size, or color; 4) You find an item laying on the floor.

 Yup, it is BIG inside!!

So, lets take them one by one:

1) The item is missing - If you are unable to find the item in the designated bin you hit the 'M' (Missing) key your scanner and then 'ENTER'.  Then you will proceed to scan every single item in the bin to be sure it is really missing.  Most often you are wrong, and it is there, but on the extremely rare occasion it is not there you once again hit 'M' (missing) and then 'ENTER'.  Your scanner will then close out that 'pick' and send you to your next 'pick'.  I have had one item missing so far in my first three days of picking.  Six years ago I had three missing items, and they all happened on the same day, and I was wrong in my assessment on one of them.  To my credit this happened in my first 3 work hardening days when I was still learning and training.

2) The item is damaged - So, you have found the item, but after doing a 'six sided check' you determine it is damaged.  The criteria for making that determination is 'would I want to receive this item in the mail?'.  If you decide it is damaged you first hit 'D' (Damaged) on your scanner and then 'ENTER', then scan a new 'tote', put the damaged item in the new tote and then put that 'tote' on the conveyor. It will be sent to a problem solver who makes the final determination.  Sometimes the damaged item will be relisted and sold 'as is' and you have to be sure you read the description on your scanner to be sure that is not the case before you 'damage it out'.

3) The item description on your scanner does not match the item in the bin - If this is the case then you hit 'R' (Reject) then 'ENTER' and then you get a menu asking what the problem is.  You choose 'ITEM DESCRIPTION DOESN'T MATCH' then replace the item in the bin and go to your next 'pick'.  A problem solver will be dispatched to correct the problem.

4) You find an item laying on the floor - This does happen a lot and it has a simple solution.  You pick the item up and put it in what is called an 'AMNESTY' bin.  A problem solver will come along later to figure out in which bin that item belongs.  They do not want you guessing and then getting it wrong.  Just creates more work for more people down the line.

There are a few more exceptions, but these are the most frequently occurring ones.  Our 'EXCEPTION' training was done by 7:30 am at which time we were released to finish our 5 hour shift picking.

Unlike our first time here six years ago I am enjoying picking this time.  I cannot explain why this time is different, but I am thinking about it and will certainly let you know when I figure out why that is.  At this point I am just going with the flow, and taking it as it comes.  The time seems to fly each day, and I don't find myself checking the time every 5 minutes.

We were home by 11:45 am.....when we emerged from the FC to walk home it was much colder than Tuesday, as well as sort of windy.  Not conducive to being outside a lot.  I decided I needed a has been 6 weeks since the lovely Tanya at Harbor Barber last lowered my ears.  There is no Supercuts in Campbellsville, but there is a 'Fantastic Sams', which is also a national chain.  I had my hair cut twice there when we were here in 2012.  Amazingly my phone number and name were still in their system, and many of the hair stylists were also still!  I was immediately shown to a chair and Luchie (pronounced Lushee) who immediately began to cut my hair.  It was as if I had just been there a few weeks prior.

After finishing my haircut I did something I have not done in a very long time....I drove over to the local Tractor Supply and just walked around looking at what they had for sale.  I love browsing through Tractor Supply!  I kind of lost track of time, and by the time I arrived home it was closing in on 3 pm!

We spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the knowledge we had two days off work before we begin our 10 hour shifts.  That will be when the rubber really hits the road.  When we were here 6 years ago it was always the last two hours that got to me.  By then my feet would be barking loudly, and sometime my lower back would hurt, but as we progressed through our 11 week stay my feet and back stopped hurting. Then it was just a matter of battling the mind numbing boredom of doing a repetitive task.

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, October 25, 2018

Day 2........

4:17 am - Thursday - October 25th - Campbellsville, KY - 42º F, 68% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the northeast........overcast with a forecast high today of 61º F......rain is coming Friday.

Wednesday was officially Day # 2.  TLE and I left to walk over to the FC* around 6:10 am arriving there about 6:20 am.  We like to get there a few minutes early to get our work gloves and official Amazon box cutters out of our lockers, and then stow our overcoats, winter gloves, and watch caps.  We work in t-shirts, shorts and flip flops.  It tends to be warm inside the FC*, at least for us, and we are both much more comfortable wearing the legal minimum.  Of course, if there is a fire drill, or other such emergency, and we have to exit at one of the many exits around the building we could be standing outside in the rain, or snow, or just plain cold weather.  Right now it is not too bad temp wise during the day (61º F Wednesday), but 6 years ago when we were working the night shift we had a bomb scare about 1 am and I exited the building into 30º F temperatures.....they eventually brought us emergency blankets but the first 45 minutes were not comfortable!

We clocked in at 6:25 am, and proceeded to the 'Stand Up' area to get the Amazon news of the day, and do our stretching.  After that we newbies broke into 2 five person groups again and headed off into the bowels of Amazon to begin picking.  Periodically during the morning my Amabassador, Steve, would stop by to see how I was doing, and to ask questions about the tasks I was performing to be sure I understood the process.  Those two, or three breaks from picking were nice, but by next week when we transition to 10 hour shifts we will be pretty much on our own unless we require some assistance.

We take our break about 9 am (the chimes sound at 8:57 am) at which time we trundle off to the cafeteria for our 15 minute break.  I usually get a cup of coffee to perk me up, but eat no snacks.  I'm trying to utilize the exercise combined with a little less caloric intake to get a little more fit, if you know what I mean.  Just before the end of the break I decide to shed one of my two top layers.....the first two days (Orientation and Day # 1) it seemed a little chilly inside so I added a long sleeve layer over my t-shirt, but by Day # 2 I was getting too warm.  I was much more comfortable the remainder of the 5 hour shift with just the t-shirt.

I spent my time in Pick Mods E & F (in building "C") Wednesday picking virtually 100% clothing.  The time seemed to pass by pretty quickly and 11:20 am came around in no time.  Time to make the walk to the front, punch the time clock and escape to freedom for another afternoon.  One more 5 hour day and then we are into the 'Lions Den' for the next 7 weeks.  It appears this Tuesday we will have our first MOT (Mandatory Overtime) day.  The good news is we get paid time and a half for that day which comes to a tidy $22.50/hour for 10 hours, or $225 per person for that one day.....suweet!  If we get an MOT every single week we will be grossing between the two of us close to $1,700/week!  Double sweet with a little extra sugar on it!

We had a pleasant walk home chatting the entire time about our morning, and plans for our afternoon.  TLE needed to run to the store, and I needed to dump the black tank, as well as install our inline city water filter, which task I had neglected when we arrived back on the 18th.  The water here in Campbellsville is kind of 'hard', and a good water filter is necessary.

When I went to get the hose which I use to flush the black tank I noticed the aluminum hook I hang the extra hoses on was loose so I spent about 20 minutes removing the old screws, then drilling new holes as the old holes were stripped out.  It's nice having all the proper tools at hand to take care of a small job like that.  Then it was time to pull out our flag pole, and our Stars and Stripes.  Haven't had the flag up since we left Southwest Harbor, ME.  Finally, I got around to dumping the black tank, and installing the aforementioned water filter.  Once those tasks were complete I had the rest of the afternoon to relax.

Around 5:30 pm I grilled up some pollo asado at TLE's request.....of course that means 'Street Tacos' are in the offing, and what tasty 'Street Tacos' they were!  While we ate we watched three recorded TV shows......'NCIS', 'NCIS: New Orleans', and 'Chopped'.  I was in bed at my usual 8 pm looking forward to Day # 3 of our work hardening schedule, then 2 more days off work before we begin our regularly scheduled programming.....the 10 hour shifts!

Thanks for stopping by!

*FC = Fulfillment Center

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, October 24, 2018

Day 1........

4:24 am - Wednesday - October 24th - Campbellsville, KY - 38º F, 83% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the north by northeast......clear with a forecast high today of 60º F.

I was up Tuesday at 4 am in anticipation of our first work day.  With 'Orientation' behind us it is now time to begin to relearn our jobs as pickers.  We spent 11 weeks here at Campbellsville back in 2012 (October 8th to December 23rd) 'picking'.  On our walk through of the facility on Monday it appeared a lot had changed, but on Tuesday as we were being taught by Ashley how to navigate the facility, and use our Motorola scanners TLE and I began to see that not much had really changed about the layout.  There are still 3 buildings (A, B and C) which are all connected with firewalls.  Most 'pic mods' still have 4 floors, and they still have books, DVD's, video games and electronics, but most of the inventory is now clothing.

We began our 5 hour shift with our 'stand up' session.  All the pickers working the day shift gather at a central location where the shift manager gives the 'news' of the day consisting of information about Amazon while a second person leads the group, silently, in stretching exercises.  Amazon takes safety and fitness very seriously, and stretching is a very important part of being fit to work.  Once 'stand up' is finished we (the newbies) break up into two teams of 5 each.  TLE and I are with Fred, Don and Diane (Di).  Ashley was our Training Ambassador, and spent the entire 5 hours of our modified shift with us training us how to pick, and even more importantly, how to navigate our way through the labyrinth of 'pick mods'.....

No cameras, or cell phones are allowed inside the work areas, but this is a picture from the internet of one of the 4 story 'pick mods'....

.....there are 'pick mods' for every letter of the alphabet, but they are not laid out in alphabetical order so learning to navigate from one 'pick mod' to another is very important.  The actual scanning procedure is quite simple to learn, but figuring out where to go to do your next pick can be confusing at first.

This Amazon Fulfillment Center is has about 1 million square feet of floor space, but then you add the square footage of each 4 story pick mod and it gets to a very big number fast.  It is no wonder that a typical picker will walk 11-13 miles in a 10 hour shift.

By the end of our shift we had covered all three buildings, and for TLE and I it began to make sense very quickly since we had spent those 11 weeks here once before.  I was the first one to be released to pick on my own, and I did so for about 45 minutes before our 5 hour shift was over.  I managed to fill three 'totes' with about 40 picks in that time.

Since we were last here they have made a number of internal system changes which we like a lot.  It used to be that you had two 15 minute breaks, but your walking time to and from the break area was included in that 15 minutes.  Now there is a chime which sounds about 3 minutes before your break begins, and you have that time to walk to your break area.  You now get 15 minutes to rest, and then another chime sounds and you get 2 minutes to walk back to your work area, so effectively you get two 20 minute breaks from your job in a 10 hour shift.  If you work a 12 hour shift you actually get one more break.

We can clock out as early as 5 minutes before the end of our shift and still get credit for the entire final hour. Our 5 hour shift ended at 11:30 am, and we were encouraged to begin walking to the exit area where we punch the clock at 11:20 am so as to arrive there by 11:25 am.  There can be long lines of people waiting to clock out, and it can take up to 5 minutes to clock out sometimes.  

TLE and I both agreed we enjoyed our first 5 hour day, and feel much more comfortable about picking this time around.  Since we have worked at this facility before doing this exact same job the learning curve for picking, and navigating the facility is significantly shorter this time.  We were home around 11:40 am enjoying the wonderful sunshine.  I spent time during the rest of the afternoon deploying (finally) some of our decorative rope lights....

......while I was in the middle of that a former Amazon associate (Ken) whom we met at the Fernley, NV Fulfillment Center stopped by to say 'Hi!'....what a nice surprise.  Since Fernley he has worked at other Amazon Fulfillment Centers, and said this will be his 6th consecutive year working at Amazon. We talked for about 30 minutes before he bid me adieu, and I returned to my decorative lighting task.  Ken, thanks for stopping by....we both enjoyed reconnecting with you after 4 years!

The rest of the day slipped away quickly, and suddenly it was 8:30 pm and time for me to hit the sack once again.....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, October 23, 2018


4:06 am - Tuesday - October 23rd - Campbellville, KY - 39º F, 91% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south by southeast.......clear with a forecast high for today of 67º F......yup, you've got it......the early mornings have begun.  We will walk to work this morning leaving about 6:10 am.....we punch the clock at 6:30 am.  Only working 5 hour shifts today, Wednesday and Thursday. They all it 'work hardening'.....the 10 hour shifts begin Sunday!

I forced myself to get up at 6:30 am Monday, earlier than normal, in preparation getting up really earlier than normal on Tuesday.  Monday we had our orientation which began at 12 noon, and ran until 5 pm with all the appropriate breaks older folks need, but, as often is the case, I get ahead of myself.

I was up early, as I said, to begin to get used to arising when it is still dark.  Even though I was up before 6 am most work days in Southwest Harbor the sun was already risen, so it was never dark.  In fact, it was barely getting dark when I went to bed there at 9 pm.  Seemed like it was always light.  Quite the opposite will be the case here in Campbellsville, KY.  It will be dark when we walk to work at 6:10 am, and it will be close to dark, and eventually dark when we come home after 5 pm.  The only time we will see the sun is on our 'weekend' (Tuesday through Thursday), unless they call an MOT (Mandatory Overtime) on Tuesdays.  Our first eligible Tuesday for MOT will be the 30th.  

We spent the morning relaxing, reading, and mentally girding ourselves for the next 8 weeks.  We both know in spite of how much we walk there is no preparation for standing, and walking on cold concrete for 10 hours a day except actually doing it, and 'doing it' begins this Sunday.  We will average somewhere between 11 and 13 miles of walking per day.

We were ready to head to our orientation at 11:50 am, so jumped in the VW (probably the only time we will drive to work during peak season) to drive about and eighth of a mile to the employee paring lot, and were walking through the front entrance at 11:55 am.  Our employee badges were already made up for us using our pictures from 6 years ago....

My employee picture....the same one they used here 6 years ago!

.....and we were off to the races!  Well, not really a race.....kind of a slow walk, if you will.   I must say, they have done a good job over the years of making orientation flow along a lot more quickly than it seemed to then.

We had a rather small orientation class of around 10 people, which does help to reduce the number of questions, and keeps things moving along.  We took a tour of the facility, which seems to have changed a lot in appearance from 6 years ago.  The cafeteria where we met initially has been totally redone just fact, the whole entrance area has been modernized, and updated.  I had forgotten that this Amazon facility was one of the first 4, or 5 in the nation and has the designation as a 'Legacy FC' (Fulfillment Center).

The afternoon seemed to fly by quickly, and suddenly we were released at 5 pm and on our way home.  We were immediately reminded of why we don't like to drive to work here....getting out of this parking lot can be time consuming.  When we worked at Amazon in Fernley, NV we drove 30 miles to work, but the parking lot ingress and egress was quite easy there.  After waiting in line to merge onto South Columbia and then quickly turn right onto Heartland for what seemed an eternity we were home and quickly slipping into our new evening routine.  We watched  three recorded shows ('Last Ship', 'NCIS: Los Angeles' and 'Hell's Kitchen').  TLE whipped up a quick dinner, and I was in bed by 8:30 pm.  It's going to take me a little while to get used to going to bed that early, but I actually was asleep within 15 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

Our schedule for the rest of the week will be 'work hardening' Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which will involve only working 5 hour shifts.  We will be off work Friday and Saturday, and then begin to work our full 10 hour shifts on Sunday and Monday....we will then be off work, theoretically, from Tuesday through Thursday unless there is an MOT on Tuesday.  The work week here runs from Sunday to Saturday, and we are paid every Friday, making our first payday November 2nd, and then every Friday after that until our last check. 

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, October 22, 2018

The 'rest' of the weekend........

6:30 am - Monday - October 22nd - Campbellsville, KY - 32º F, 100% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the west by northwest.......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 63º F.

Once again on Sunday my goal was to deploy some decorative lighting, but by 11:30 am it was still in the high 30's.......just too cold for a guy trying to get shut of a 'cold', right?  I did go outside briefly to the trailer to retrieve the Shop Vac so I could do a deep vacuum cleaning of the Newell living areas, and also did a little trailer vacuuming when I returned the Shop Vac to its place of storage, but that was the entirety of my outdoor activity for the day.

I have transitioned from blowing my nose about every 3 minutes to once an hour, and my cough has all but disappeared.  I have been off cold medication for over two days, and am feeling much, much improved.  I think I will be ready to begin working this week, but barely.

Our Amazon orientation begins at 12 noon on Monday, the 22nd.  We will be orientating until 5 pm, which will involve some safety training, and familiarization with the facility.  It has been 6 years since we have set foot inside the Amazon building here in Campbellsville, so who knows how much it has changed since December of 2012.

TLE and I spent some time Sunday completing our online Amazon paperwork in advance of Monday's orientation.  Virtually all of our 'paperwork' is being 'virtually' done online, as opposed to 6 years ago when it was virtually all done during our Monday orientation on actual paper.

Once again I took multiple naps, and just rested all day long.  I was in bed by 10 pm.  When we begin our 6:30 am to 5 pm schedule we'll be going to bed between 8 and 9 pm, and that will take some adjustment, especially for TLE who is a night person, and usually goes to bed after I do.....sometimes way after I do.

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, October 21, 2018


8:51 am - Sunday - October 21st - Campbellsville, KY - 32º F, 86% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north by northeast......crystal clear blue skies with a forecast high for today of 53º F.  

Saturday began slowly....didn't get up until after 8:30 am.  I do not often sleep until after 8 am, but you can bet I will looking back upon Saturday with fondness in a week, or two after getting up at 4:30 am to get to work by 6:30 am for a few days!

The weather Saturday was pretty good, and I had intended to spend time outside putting out some of our decorative lights, but I never got around to that.  I was more focused on resting, and getting over my head cold by Monday afternoon when we report for orientation.  I guess that was a good decision on my part as I took a 90 minute nap.....I was out like a light!  

Finally, around 1:30 pm we headed out to do some final shopping before we begin working, as well as do some 'junking'.  There is a tremendously large flea market here in Campbellsville called 'Peddlers Mall'.....this is just one of a chain of 19 locations around Kentucky (one is in Lebanon, OH).  Inside there are a 100+ booths selling everything (new and used) under the sun at pretty reasonable prices.  When we were here 6 years ago we visited Peddlers Mall every couple of weeks without fail.  Additionally, there is a Goodwill just down the block, so we don't even have to move the car to visit both stores.

We spent about two hours browsing through Peddlers Mall and Goodwill.....TLE managed to find a couple pairs of shorts without which she could not live, but I cam home empty handed. There were a couple of used tools upon which I almost pulled the trigger, but I resisted.

Next up was to visit the local Krogers supermarket to pick up a few grocery items.  We were home by 4 pm at which time I took another very long nap......over an hour.  I woke up suddenly to the rocking of the coach.....the wind had kicked up suddenly to over 30 mph thus validating our decision not to deploy our patio awning.  Most of the time is it pretty nice here, but the wind can come up suddenly like it did Saturday, and if you are not around when it does it can make short work of destroying your awning.

The wind blew like that until almost midnight before it began to abate, and as I write to you this morning (Sunday) it is completely calm again.  We were up til midnight watching game 7 of the MLB NLCS between my L.A. Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers.  L.A. had lost game 6 in Milwaukee 7-2, so it came down to game 7.....would the Dodgers be able to repeat as National League champions and return to the World Series for the second year in a row for the first time since 1978?  The Brewers jumped on top in the bottom of the 1st inning with a solo homerun, but we came back in the top of the 2nd with a two run blast by Cody Bellinger to take a one run lead, and that is how it remained until the 6th inning when Yasiel Puig hit a monster 3 run homerun to dead center field to increase the lead to 5-1, and that is how the game ended just before midnight!  The first game of the World Series is on Tuesday in Boston at the famous Fenway Park, which we visited in person just a few months ago on our way to Maine.  GO DODGERS!!!!

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, October 20, 2018

The intersection of ambiance and functionality......

8:39 am - Saturday - October 20th - Campbellsville, KY - 51º F, 97% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the west by southwest.....heavy cloud cover with a forecast high of 62º F.  Rained most of the night beginning just before 8 pm Friday, but it appears to be done as I write.

We received our Amazon employment docs late Friday afternoon.  Included in the 20 or so documents which must be either signed, or acknowledged was our shift information.  The prior two times we have worked for Amazon we chose to work the night shift which on a 10 hour work day goes from 5:30 pm to 4 am (two paid 10 minute breaks, and a 1/2 hour unpaid lunch included in there).  We had hoped to work the night shift again this year, but  alas it was not to be.  We have been assigned to work the day shift (current business needs determine your shift, and job) from 6:30 am to 5 pm as either packers, or pickers.  We will work Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays to begin with doing 10 hour shifts.  Our mandatory overtime day (if one is so required) will be on Tuesdays.  Without the mandatory overtime day we will be off Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week.  Which job (pack, or pick) we will perform will be revealed to us on Monday.

As one might expect, we are disappointed, but were fully aware from the beginning that we might not get what we wanted.  TLE and I are resilient, and within a hour, or so we were beginning to make the mental adjustment to our new reality.  We always say we can do anything for 8's not for the rest of our lives.  Your mentality has to be 'work, get the money, and get out', and that's what we shall do.

Friday was a gloriously dry, sunny day and I took full advantage of that weather to wander around site #57 setting up for the next 8+ weeks.  The first, and most important step in creating the proper ambiance is to pull our artificial turf out of the trailer for the first time in 5 weeks, and unfold it.  There is just something about stepping out of our coach in the morning and standing on 'grass' instead of gravel, right?  The visual aesthetic is just much more pleasing.  

Then it was time for me to adjust the position of our trailer in relationship to the Newell.  Where we dropped it initially placed it too close to the right rear of the coach, which meant I could not open the bedroom window awning on the passenger side, plus I could not access the passenger side engine bay door.  Lucky for me that I have this wonderful 'Trailer Valet', and plenty of time..... the above picture you can see that the VW is parked right on our property line, whereas the trailer is about two feel off the property line.  My plan, which worked, was to move the trailer forward and to its right about 10 feet, and then slowly back it up moving it further towards the property line (its right).  It took about an hour for me to accomplish the deed, but it was worth it.  I can now extend the window awning, and open the engine bay door, plus I can actually, with ease, walk between the trailer and the coach...... we have room to park the Beetle behind the coach.  I think it looks a lot better, along with the obvious increase in functionality.  As it stands now the front of the Newell is about 12" over the front line, and the trailer is about the same over the rear property line.  Fortunately the interior roads here are quite wide, and practically everyone is over their line, too.  I'm not sure if we are going to put our patio awning out as it can get windy here, plus I notice no one else has deployed theirs.

Once the outside was done I turned my attention to the interior of the trailer.  Most of my stuff in there has been largely inaccessible for the past 5 weeks, and it was time to change the status quo.  I moved everything that sits in front of the work bench when we are traveling to the back of the trailer, and then assembled my Cannondale, and my Intense 5.5 mostly to just get them out of the way of the work bench, and so I could set up the table upon which I keep my tool bags when we are stationary.

During the time I was working outside in the afternoon TLE was at a massage appointment in town.......she got the 80 minute massage for $80, and loved it.  By the time she returned a couple of hours later I had the trailer organized, and had poured the rest of the Delo 100 40 wt. motor oil in my oil reservoir....why?  Well, the last of two 5 gallon buckets was taking up valuable room in the trailer.  As I was taking the lid off the 5 gallon bucket I noticed I had written the date I acquired that oil......2/15/, that 10 gallons of oil lasted me over 3.5 years, and I still have two gallons in individual 1 gallon containers, plus another 2.5 gallons in the reservoir.

Speaking of the oil reservoir.......I added 2 quarts to the big 6v92 when we left Ellsworth, ME, and over the last 1700+ miles I have used just one quart.  When I first purchased the Newell back in March of 2008 it was using 1 quart every 7-8 hours of operation.  Since we left Ellsworth we have operated the Detroit for about 19 hours.....big, big improvement.  Our odometer currently sits at just over 164,000 miles, and we are responsible for 61,000 of those miles over the last 10.5 years. In that time I have had to replace the gear driven water pump on the Detroit, replaced a secondary coolant hose, and had to have the Jacobs brake repaired.  Otherwise it has just been a matter of changing the coolant, changing the oil, the oil filter, the tranny filter, the fuel filters, air filter, and the tires.  Talk about low maintenance!

By the time I finished with the oil project it was after 3 pm, and I was ready for a shower, and a nap.  I feel like I have turned the proverbial corner with my cold, and am seeing steady improvement on almost an hourly basis now.  Very little coughing, and blowing of the nose on Friday, but I still tire easily.

So, there you have two in Campbellsville is in the books with two more days before we begin Amazon 'orientation' on Monday....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.