Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And Happy New Year to all my wonderful followers...family, friends, co-workers, new friends! Thank you all, for making this wonderful journey even more wonderful. We are looking forward to a GREAT 2012!

Hugs to all!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Done!

Yes, I have made it! I was done at the end of my shift, Monday night. Al finishes tonight at the end of his shift. He was originally scheduled to work Friday, but we have finally received word that the correct holding tank has arrived, and will be installed upon our arrival at Sunrise RV on Friday. Not knowing how long the install will take, Al arranged to have Thursday as his last night. So this afternoon, in the rain, we packed everything up and got the trailer ready to roll bright and early tomorrow morning.

So, as of this moment, two out of my three items have been ticked off...we have survived peak at Amazon,and  the New York house has closed. Tomorrow should be the end of the black tank saga as well. I am so happy to get it finished here, as I'm sure it would have been a hassle to start all over again in Florida.

Thoughts on the Amazon experience: I am really surprised at the number of folks who have stated that they won't be back, the work was too hard, or that we were treated badly. Yes, it was physically hard on your body, no matter what job you had. It shouldn't have been a surprise, though, if you had read the job description you were sent when applying. It specifically stated you would be on your feet for 10 hours, more during overtime. There is no sitting down job there. I found the overnight shift difficult to adjust to at first, and certainly would not want to do it full-time! It was especially hard being that we didn't work the same nights, and we only had one night off together to get our errands and chores done for the week. And I am sorry that we didn't have the opportunity to explore the area more than we did.

On the positives, I think Amazon did try to make a hard job as pleasant as possible. I mean, let's face it, its a warehouse job, how much fun can it be? The breakrooms had plenty of drink and snack vending machines, a ton of microwaves, and condiments and utensils if you forgot yours. We had two dinners, a turkey dinner during Thanksgiving week, and a chili&baked potato dinner in mid-December during our meal breaks. The last two weeks they had boxes of fruit put out for us to snack on during our last break. The local high school choir came over and sang Christmas carols during the meal break. Tokens for the vending machines and gift cards to Kroger's grocery store were given out for good performance, sometimes the whole shift receiving a gift card if the department met or exceeded goals for the night. We were given gloves, kneepads, earplugs, whatever would make work more comfortable for us. Communication could have been better, particularly for our group of workampers that were shuttled around to different departments, but it was getting better towards the end.

Some of the statistics they showed us that we broke the week ending 12/18/2011:

·         Pick:  2.54M units picked, crushing the old record of 2.26M
·         Sortation:  1.467M units through Crisplant and Rebin
·         VDF: 303K though VDF, first time every over 300K.  The old record of 239K was broken with one day tied behind our backs.  We only needed six to break it.
·         Toys:  496K…WOW.  I should have packed faster so we could have gotten 500K.  That’s my fault.  The old record was 357K……+39%. 
·         Gift Wrap: Although not a record, we wrapped 68,537 units last week, which is the most in one week since 2005. 

·         Shipped:  And the big boy record, 2.24M units shipped in one week from SDF1!  The old record was 2.11M from last year. 

That's a lot of stuff! And from just one fulfillment center! American consumerism appears to be alive and well.



Will we return? The question on everyone's lips as we say our good-byes. Yes, at this time we do plan on returning here to Campbellsville next year. They are especially happy with Al's work in AmCare, and I believe I have proven myself to be a pretty decent worker. There's a board on the wall as you go through security showing the associates who have met or exceeded goals each week, and my name has been on the board each week since starting. I've received two progress reports (when they could find me...I keep joking they could never find me the way they keep moving me from department to department) that showed I was working over 100%. And Sunday night I was one of the top "chuters" for the night (packing an average of 167 orders an hour). Monday I ended in my favorite department with my favorite manager, Bart in ReBin. He gave me a hug at the end of shift and told me to request assignment right away with him next year :-).

It won't be my favorite two months of the year for sure, but we have made some good friends here...Laura and Nona who worked with me and were my carpool buddies, Brenda and Bill Mims...really nice folks!, Joy and Shawn Creasy, or next door neighbors at the park, Cheyenne and her golden retriever Helo, who had great times playing with Casey, Lana and Michael whom we may see again in Florida, Gary who worked as a safety officer (thanks for the earplugs, I really appreciated them!) and of course the folks who worked with Al in AmCare, Terri and Jaimie. And so many others that we chatted with during breaks.

We should be arriving in sunny Florida for Christmas Day. We report to Otter Springs on the 30th to start our winter camphost gig, and I promise, we will have many more pictures to come soon! I plan on thoroughly exploring the area while there this winter, as well as a quick trip to Disney the end of January, and a trip down to the Everglades in March. Can't miss the RV Supershow in Tampa either! We will also be buying a house in Sugarmill Woods, and setting up domicile in Florida before heading off to Colorado in April.

So, lots of excitement still to come, interesting things to do and see, pictures to be taken and experiences to be recorded. Stay tuned, life is still good!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

That's About It

Work, sleep, eat. Take two Tylenol and repeat. That's life right now. Tonight gets even better...12 hour shifts start for the next week. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday I will be fulfilling your Amazon orders from 5:30PM until 6:00 AM. Oh boy!

No more news than that, except the lake is finally receding. They are releasing water a little at a time from the reservoir. Al took a little video of the torrent for your viewing pleasure.


Hopefully my next update will show that 1. we've survived peak season 2. the house closing is finally done, and 3. our holding tank has been replaced. Until then, please cross your fingers for us!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bits and Pieces From Kentucky

It's the middle of my "week-end", and  my system got all messed up. We were scheduled to take the trailer up to Shepardsville to have the holding tank replaced. Debbie had called last Friday with the welcome news that Keystone was going to cover the work under warranty. Kudos to them for that, and many thanks to Debbie for her perseverance in discussing the matter with them. We worked the night shift Monday night, so we arrived home at 4AM, slept for a couple of hours, and left the campground at 7:45 AM for the trip up there. We arrived shortly after 9AM, and of course, you do know there's a "but" coming again, right? Keystone had shipped the wrong tank! Oh, arghh. So, we are rescheduled for next Tuesday, provided the tank arrives by then. I was rather frustrated, as I was looking forward to having a working toilet again, especially as its supposed to get cold here over the next few nights. So instead of holing up in a hotel room sleeping while the trailer was worked on, we turned around and drove back to the park and set-up again. Its amazing what the body will do on two hours of sleep if it has too!

Speaking of the park, we have an issue here as well now. With all the rain we've been having, and even more to the north, the rivers are full to overflowing, and the lake has been rising. A lot! A couple of weeks ago the COE released water through the dam to lower the level, but they can't do that again without causing severe damage below the dam. So our water levels are rising here. We've been given a notice about it, telling us the park is monitoring the situation, and we need to be prepared to evacuate if necessary. Goody. Less than 3 weeks to go, and we may have to move. Again, oh arghh. Some folks have moved to Heartland RV Park today, but we are going to wait. We are in the highest area, so hopefully it won't come to that.

I was moved back to Receiving last Friday for my work week. We were told that the plants in Tennessee and South Carolina were having difficulty keeping up with shipments, so trucks were diverted here to Campbellsville. They then needed more help in Receiving, so us trainable, flexible camperforce people were asked to help out. Alrighty then! Monday night our department actually broke the record for number of units processed on shift, so we all received a reward at the end of the shift, which was really nice. I received a $5.00 gift certificate to a restaurant downtown. Not too shabby, right? They also treated each shift Sunday night to a chili and baked potato dinner at meal break, and there's been Christmas carolers entertaining us during meal breaks. Nice.

On the New York front, it looks like we may be finally closing on the sale of the house. My lawyer called yesterday with the news that we should be closing Friday morning. Yay! That will be one more thing off the list of things that need attending to. Welcome news indeed.

So, 18 days from now and we will be making tracks for Crystal River for Christmas, and then on to Otter Springs for our first camphost gig. I so have fingers crossed for a nice winter in Florida. The weather there has been good so far! Just two more work weeks to get through ;-). I can do it!