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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beautiful Autumn Day and the Latest Update

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 65, Low 50)

IMG_6962 Work is going well – the pace is picking up. At the meeting we had last week, they mentioned the number of new people we had coming in and overtime hours they expected and we found it hard to believe with all the VTO they’d been offering lately. But yesterday morning, at the start-up meeting, we were surprised to hear that Mandatory Overtime had been called for our shift for Friday. That was a shock. Not because we don’t want to get the overtime, but to go so quickly from asking people if they want to go home to all of a sudden, now they need everybody from A shift to come in for an extra day. But ok….So, we got used to that idea and then after lunch, at the next meeting, the manager said that instead of MOT on Friday, they were encouraging people to volunteer for Wednesday instead. So we talked it over for a few minutes and decided to sign up for our first 5 hours of overtime. That was this morning. So we have our first 45 hour week under our belt. It wasn’t too bad. Working our way up to 50! :)

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After we got home, we decided that since it was such a beautiful fall day, we would take advantage of it to go for a little walk. I think this is the first time I have walked outside since the first week we were here! A lot of the trees are changing or are even past peak, but there is a lot of green as well. I am really enjoying autumn in Kentucky. I still get to enjoy all the changing colors and smells of the season, but it is just happening so much more gradually.

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The weather is supposed to change again tomorrow and get a bit cooler again. There is a pretty potent system coming through, but from looking at the weather forecast and map, we appear to be on the edge of the severe weather, so hopefully all will remain calm around here. After almost a year living in the fiver, that is still the one main thing I dislike about the mobile lifestyle – not having something with a firm foundation around me when it is windy and stormy out.

We are past the halfway point now – woot woot – just about seven weeks left to our time here at Amazon. Or as Harry told me today after he put the countdown on his phone – 54 more days! Do you think he’s feeling ready to head out?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Two In One Week!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 64, Low 37)

Wow, two posts in one week! I am up early this morning, as my hands were giving me a bit of grief and keeping me awake. So I decided what the heck, might as well get up. So here I am up at 3 am, drinking my coffee. That’s not quite as early as it sounds, seeing that our alarm is set to go off at 4 am.

If it weren’t for my shoulders and arms being a bit stiff and sore, I would really feel pretty good. The massages have kept the sore muscles in check, so it hasn’t gotten any worse at least. Although I’m bummed that I’m not really losing any weight. From the discussion on the Facebook camperforce group, it seems like it’s basically half and half between people who lose weight and those who don’t. Just my luck to be in the “not” group!

This week the peak schedule went up. It’s tentative but it gives us an idea of when the overtime will start. They actually authorized VOT (voluntary overtime) starting this week. We decided to give ourselves one more week before signing up for that. It will probably be a nonissue anyway. They were still doing VTO (voluntary time off) for some shifts yesterday so it seems doubtful whether they will really need people for overtime. If the peak schedule does hold, there will be a period of time when we are working every day of the week except Thursday. Won’t be doing much during that time except working, eating and sleeping. :)

The facility is opening a second breakroom this weekend, and we will finally get our locker which we are really looking forward to. The couple cold mornings that we had this past week meant I needed to break down and wear my sweatshirt to work, and it was a pain to carry it around with me everywhere. Amazon is also offering free flu shots this year, and we are signed up to get ours today.

The weather has really improved. We had a few mornings in the 20s with highs in the 40s late last week, but right now it is 52 according to our thermometer. Supposed to be in the 60s today. Much nicer. I would love to keep this warm weather around as long as possible!! Maybe until mid-December… <grin>…

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Almost Halfway!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 58, Low 44)

Well, another week is now behind us, and we are almost to the halfway point! It was another good week – busy! There were at least two days when VTO was offered, maybe three – the days kind of run together after awhile and neither of us can remember for sure. We stayed each day, and for the most part enough people left that there was enough work for those of us who elected to stick around. From what we are told, this is pretty normal for this time of year. They have to ramp up the number of employees in order to allow for time for training to take place. But the work levels haven’t picked up yet, so that is why they offer the voluntary time off.

On Monday morning there was a meeting of employees, and they went over the numbers and described a bit of what we can expect to encounter once peak season really hits. It sounds like we will probably have a month of overtime weeks, both 50 and 60 hour weeks, maybe two of each. So we are going to be extremely busy from mid-November through mid-December. By that time we are just going to have tunnel vision, with our sights focused on the end! Don’t get me wrong, we feel pretty good about the jobs we are doing, and our fitness level to accomplish them. But those are going to be long and tiring weeks.

Our campground has been filling up. We had four rigs come in last week – and we finally have next door neighbors – Phil and Rudee! We haven’t had too much time to do other than say hello and a few words to them. We were working when they came in, and now we are off and they are getting started. They are on the night shift, so they actually headed out about an hour ago for their first evening of training.

The weather has been crazy! Just our luck that our first year here they get temperatures that are 20 degrees below normal. The lows over the next few nights are supposed to be in the high 20s and low 30s. At least with our month in Catskill last December and January, we know that our rig can easily handle those temperatures. The nice thing is that the 50s and 60s are supposed to come back next week, and that does not normally happen up in NY. Once it gets cold, it stays cold. So there is still hope for some nice weather this fall.

Tomorrow is another payday – yay! Definitely enjoying those.

Seven weeks down – eight to go!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Another Week to Catch Up On!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 73, Low 55)

Well, we are not quite halfway through our time here at Amazon. We expect to be here for fifteen weeks, if they release us around December 23rd, as we have been told. Let’s just say that we are going to be very excited to get that information. I think by then we will be really ready to hit the road.

Not that life at Amazon has been that bad. We really have the hang of the routine now. This week was a little slow with the holiday. We had a few trucks cancel and less product coming into the facility. Monday afternoon they offered VTO (voluntary time off) but we declined it and stayed for the full shift. Then on Tuesday morning (umm, yeah that’s yesterday) when we got up at 4 am, we had a voicemail offering VTO to people on Shift A, but we went in for the day anyway. A lot of people took advantage of the time off, so there was plenty of work for those of us who elected to go in.

lunch at CreeksideToday we have been thoroughly enjoying our first day off! We started it off with a bang by sleeping in until 7 am!! Wow, what a great feeling that was. After doing a little grocery shopping, we met a group of Amazon campers at a local restaurant for an excellent lunch and some great conversation. It was a fun excursion and great to see people outside of the workplace.

 

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Then we came home and did the best thing there is to do on a rainy afternoon! Napped in our chairs with the fireplace giving off a nice toasty glow. And Ariel decided it was time to catch up on a little snuggle time.

 

Yes it was an all-around great day.

 

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I am celebrating it by having another low-key day. Both Harry and I are having a massage, and we are heading to a local Chinese buffet for dinner. My original request was to go to a nearby town to Texas Roadhouse, which is one of our favorite places. But unfortunately, the medication Harry is taking for a bout of diverticulitis he had last week will keep him from having a beer with his steak :), so we are putting that restaurant trip off for a couple weeks.

The weather has still been very nice. Today it is rainy, but still in the 60s, and I wore my shorts and a t-shirt out this morning. So awesome to still be wearing shorts in the middle of October. After this rain passes through, it is supposed to cool off, but still with highs in the 60s which sounds so nice for this time of year. The leaves are starting to turn and we are enjoying the autumn colors. So far, thumbs up for fall in Kentucky!

Six weeks down – nine to go!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Third of the Way

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 77, Low 46)

Believe it or not, we are now a third of the way through our time here at Amazon. Five weeks under our belt! That feels like forever. There are still new groups starting every week, and now on Tuesdays when we see the small groups getting their tour of the facility and hearing the safety talks, we feel like old hands in comparison.

For the most part, our experience has been really positive. Harry found it a challenge at first with the whole “punching a time clock” routine…breaks at a certain time, lunch at a certain time, etc. I spent most of my adult life as a classroom teacher, so sticking to a schedule like that wasn’t such a shock to my system. Our bodies have really acclimated to the work. Harry isn’t really having any soreness at all now. My main issue continues to be my shoulder muscles. I’m fine when we’re there and working but then they get really tight at night. I end up waking up multiple times because my hands and arms go numb. Thank goodness for massages, that’s all I’ve got to say! I’ve been having one every week and for a few days I can sleep without any problem. Even right now as I’m typing this I still have some tingling in my right hand and arm but I have a massage this afternoon!! Woot woot!! The exercise has been good for us weight-wise. Both Harry and I have lost about three pounds so far. I was hoping for ten so hopefully I will be getting close to that goal by the end of December.

The weather has been great. Highs in the 70s most days, lows in the 40s to 50s. Nice sunny days and great sleeping weather at night. It’s funny because our next door neighbor has been turning on his heat at night, while we have yet to close our windows. Autumn in Kentucky has been so nice – still a change of season and turning leaves, but it’s happening so much slower. We went on our foliage drive in New York just about this time last year, and a lot of the areas were already past peak then. Here most of the trees are still green and the leaves are only just starting to turn.

We haven’t really been doing any sightseeing. I think it’s just going to be a low-key fifteen weeks. By the time we finish our four days of work, we just feel like hanging out and taking it easy on the other three. We do some grocery shopping and laundry, visit an Amish grocery store that we discovered for some baked goods and meat, cook some meals for the next work week and catch up on a few of our tv programs. That’s about it, although we do have our third horseback riding lesson this morning, and those have been fun. We will probably have the lessons through this month, and by then the overtime will probably be starting to pick up. Those are going to be busy fast weeks, but our bank account will thank us. :)

Five weeks down – ten to go!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

End of Week Four

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 81, Low 57)

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I last posted! So what has been going on? Well, basically work of course. Last week after I posted on Tuesday we had our three days off. We really enjoyed the days and spent most of the time relaxing, having a chance to just watch some tv and get some sleep. On Friday we spent the day cooking and getting lots of meals ready for the next few days. Then it was back to work as of Saturday morning.

Yesterday we finished our first full stretch of 10 hour days. The job is really going well. Both Harry and I have been working on the sort line, which is on the sort dock, and is where the incoming shipments are sorted out and sent to either the receiving line, or to Prep etc. We rotate around the different positions pretty much every 2.5 hours. The shipments come in either on pallets, or in a truck. And by truck, I mean an 18 wheeler full from front to back of row after row of boxes with a fixed conveyer belt going down the center of it, completely covered with boxes of course. Yesterday we were emptying a truck, and after lunch I had the job of putting the boxes on the conveyer belt, opening the box, then pushing it down the line to the other workers. Some of the boxes are pretty heavy but I felt pretty good about how much I accomplished while I was working in there. I was able to keep the rest of the line supplied with work anyway. :) First time I ever unloaded a tractor trailer!

Physically, we are both feeling pretty good. Harry says his hands are sore. For me, it is more my shoulders. The muscles are very tight from the repetitive motion of lifting and opening all the boxes of product. I am trying to do stretches to loosen them up. Other than that, I feel fine. I am tired at the end of the day though. We are walking anywhere from 7.75 to 9 miles in the course of a shift.

Three times over the past two weeks they have offered VTO (voluntary time off) for part of an afternoon. Harry and I have signed up to stay for the full shift each time, along with maybe a third of the rest of the campers. (The majority of the full time employees leave when they get the chance. lol) Yes we would like to have the afternoon off, but we figure that we are here to make some money and we have eleven more weeks to do that! Now, when there’s overtime being offered, we’ll be taking them up on that one.

We have a pretty low key agenda ahead of us for the next three days. I have some meals in the freezer so I don’t need to do as much cooking for next week’s work days. We decided that each week we will go out to dinner one of our days off, so today we are going to check out Gnomie’s Barbeque Shack. Other than that, we’re going to be getting reacquainted with our recliners and catching up on dvr’d tv shows. Ahh, sounds so nice!!

I most likely won’t post again until our next break, so see you after Week 5!