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Monday, November 17, 2014

Got the Word

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 33, Low 15)

Well, we found out yesterday that we are about to embark on a new adventure! Harry and I are two of the 100 campers that are going to be working at the Jeffersonville, IN facility for the remainder of peak season. We will be leaving Campbellsville at the end of this week.

I believe that for the next four weeks the name of the game is going to be – FLEXIBILITY. Right now we have some unknowns and a bunch of “I thinks”. We are going to be staying at the Expo Center and will be bussed to the facility and back on work days. The Expo Center shuts the water off in December, but Amazon is going to pay for a water truck which will come every other day.

We are not too depressed that our 60 hour weeks are at an end. The facility in Indiana goes to 55 hour weeks during peak and adds an hour to each day to make 11 hour shifts. So we will be working 5 days and having two days off, which I think I am going to like better. And the best part is that we will be making more each hour so we will make almost as much money for each 55 hour week as we made here for our 60s.

What I’m still figuring out is how we are going to work our meals, especially dinner. With such long work days and a bus ride at the end of it, I think we may be eating a lot of sandwiches in the next four weeks. But it’s only for four weeks.

We are kind of excited to go to a different facility, and a new one at that, and see how it is different there. But it is a bittersweet excitement, because we are really going to miss the people – both the friends we have made here among the fulltime workers and the camper friends we have who won’t be going. We are getting together with a bunch of the campers for one last dinner out this week. And then it will be off to a new adventure for the last four weeks of our second peak season with Amazon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Big Changes Could Be Ahead!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 36, Low 25)

Well, no point in talking about the weather here, since the majority of the country is “enjoying” it along with us. But I will say that thirty degree highs make for a chilly day at work unloading trucks. There’s no heat out in that there truck!! Today was a first for me, as I went to work with my jeans on and THREE layers – two long sleeve shirts and one t-shirt. And TWO pairs of socks. Very glad that tomorrow is our day off. We have made it through another sixty hour week.

Now to the BIG news.

So…the reason that we have been having overtime is that we are helping another facility out, one that is located outside of Louisville KY. Their employees have been on overtime weeks for months and they still can’t get caught up. So some of their product has been coming to Campbellsville.

Well, a little over a week ago, we got an email telling us about an opportunity for camperforce in Campbellsville, to transfer to Jeffersonville for the last month of peak. They were looking for 100 campers to make the move and were offering a $500 bonus per person, after taxes, to anyone who signed up. The main area they were planning to send the campers to was at the Expo Center in Louisville.

We talked about it, read what other people had to say about construction in the area and driving over the bridge to work each day, thought it over, and decided that it wasn’t worth making the move. (Although I was tempted.)

Then we read that they had agreed to provide a shuttle. So all campers who stay at the Expo will be bussed to work and back each day. Talked it over and decided, nope. Still wasn’t worth it.

Then yesterday we were told that Amazon was still hoping to get a certain minimum number of campers to move and to that end, had now offered a bonus of TWICE the initial amount, PER person, after taxes (meaning grossed up so that we get that amount net.) Well, that swayed us from one side of the fence to the other and we decided that finally we had heard an offer that was worth it to us. So we have signed up and may be making a move to Louisville KY next weekend for our last four weeks. I say “may” because even though I’ve been told we’re on the list, I’m not going to count on it for sure until we get the email telling us so.

So we may be having a new adventure coming up shortly! Stay tuned!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Overtime - Yeah!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 51, Low 32)

Last week we could feel the tide turning, and while we were off for our three day weekend it completed the turn with a vengeance. By the time we went back in this past Sunday for the first day of our workweek, not only was Inbound on mandatory overtime, but they were offering voluntary OT up to 60 hours. Harry and I talked it over briefly, but it didn’t take us long to decide to go for it. We did 60s last year and individually they really aren’t bad. Just another day. It’s over the long haul that they wear on us. I would do 60s every week until we get done in December if I could. (I don’t know that Harry quite shares my enthusiasm. Sarcastic smile) We have only six weeks left. I want to rake in every penny that I can between now and then.

So obviously other than work there’s not much going on. We are off today and I am awake super early as usual these days. Once we get going this morning we have a number of things to get accomplished today, like laundry, grocery shopping etc. We have been going to the cafeteria at the local college quite a bit this year which has really cut down on our grocery shopping. Basically I only have to buy our lunch items and maybe something for one meal with enough for leftovers. Not only is the food good there, but you can’t beat the price – $61 for a card that covers five meals for the two of us. It has made these overtime days so much easier, and we are eating better too, since last year we ended up eating a lot of premade, processed foods out of the freezer section of the grocery store. I’m wondering if eating better is another part of the reason that I am feeling more energetic this year.

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The college isn’t our only eating establishment of choice though. Last night we had a little after-work get together with some of our camper friends and fellow Amazonians. We had some good conversation and a lot of laughs. It was a great way to end our week.

Today we are off and tomorrow we begin Week 12. Six weeks to go!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week Ten Down!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 65, Low 45)

Yes, we just finished ten weeks of work for the season! Depending on when we are released, we have anywhere from seven to seven and a half weeks left. The work on the receive dock is picking up – we definitely noticed an uptick in the pace over the past couple of days. No overtime yet, but we have heard it is coming, so maybe next week. Not to say that I’m not very happy to be sitting in my recliner this morning as opposed to being at work, but still, with only seven weeks left, time’s a’wastin’! 

I looked at our paystub for this week and we have now acquired the number of hours we needed (320) before acquiring our five hours of paid personal time. That was a change in the benefits for camperforce at Amazon for this year. We hope not to have to use them for anything in particular (thinking of Harry’s bout of diverticulitis last year while we were here), but maybe just to leave an hour early a few days during the extreme overtime weeks.

We weighed ourselves this morning and we have both lost a few pounds so far – three pounds for me and six for Harry. Typical. I will be happy if I can end the season down five or six. We have managed to get a little running in, but not as much over the past few weeks as we did in the beginning. Last week we ran only one of our three days off, and I am hoping to get another run in today. We are going to have to get down to some serious training when we get done here as our half marathon will only be a month away at that point!

Not much else planned for the next three days…just the typical day off kind of stuff – a little grocery shopping and laundry…and a lot of feet up in the chair watching tv and just generally relaxing!

Onward to week ELEVEN!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halfway There!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 62, Low 40)

We have now passed the halfway point for our time at Amazon! Woot woot! It’s still going pretty well and we’re feeling pretty good, but we are going to be very ready to get done and head out when December comes anyway.

The past week seemed pretty similar in terms of work amounts. VTO is still being offered, in fact we had an automated phone call Sunday evening that we could take the next day off if we so chose. We were very good and made it in for the full 40 hours, although Harry admitted to being tempted for a moment with that evening call. Good thing one or the other of us is usually feeling strong when we get the offer!! If last year’s pattern holds up, this week will be the turning point between voluntary time off and voluntary overtime.

10708518_10205500729824402_8612753427395385646_oOn the home front, I had a great birthday last week….enjoyed a short run, a wonderful massage and capped the day off with dinner at our favorite local Mexican restaurant.

Cheers to another year!

 

 

The highlight of this week’s three days off was getting our water heater fixed yesterday. The mobile repair guy arrived yesterday afternoon with our nice new replacement. 10736423_10205549234957000_997101398_oHe had hurt his leg yesterday and was having a hard time getting around so Harry did all the inside stuff. It paid off though as we got a nice discount on the labor part of the bill.

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Our rusted out leaky water heater!!

 

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And its nice new replacement!

 

 

Of course, nothing can ever go perfectly and there were a couple little bumps in the process. 10738035_10205549527004301_1436775906_oWhile Harry was crawling around in the innards, he had a little mishap with the water pump which is “conveniently” installed right in the opening so that you have to climb over it to get to any of the piping or connections inside. It is still not working but it was getting too late last night and he was too tired so that is on today’s agenda. The other little mishap involved the rubber gasket in the fitting to the hot water line for the heater. It’s fixed now but we had a “fun” few minutes and Harry got a free wet down in the process. You can’t see it too well but here is Harry with his wet pants!

We are almost through another weekend and then it is on to Week TEN!! Double digits baby!! Our work season is moving right along!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Amazon Update, and Making a Move

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 57, Low 53)

Another week down – Week 8!! They are sure rushing by. The work levels seemed to be holding steady over the past four days, although they did offer VTO again three days out of the four. We were thinking that this seemed late in the season to be offering time off, but then I looked back at my blog for last year and we seem to be following the same pattern. In fact, I noted in my blog post for the the last week of October that we jumped right from voluntary time off to mandatory overtime. While we are enjoying our three days off each week, I am looking forward to that nice little jump in our paychecks.

Harry and I both have been spending a lot of time on the receive dock. I really enjoy the physical aspect of the work as the days go by really quickly. My hands are sore and sometimes my back tells me at the end of the day that I’ve lifted a lot of heavy boxes, but overall I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve also done pallet receive, which entails working on the dock to receive an entire pallet of product at one time. I didn’t do pallet receive at all last year, so this has been a new function for me. There are some days when we can do two or three different jobs in the course of the ten hour period.

We actually ended up driving to work a couple of our work days this week because the weather was so rainy. As in downpours! But thankfully it was just rain. We were under a slight risk for severe weather in this area, but ended up just having a few thunderstorms. Nice.

One very nice thing about our three days off this week is that my birthday falls right in the middle of it. And the weather is supposed to be great – high of 73 and sunny! I have a great day planned. I am going to go for a run in the morning, have a massage scheduled for midday and then out to Mexican for dinner. Open-mouthed smile

On the home front, we’ve been making a decision about our mail forwarding service. Currently we use Alternative Resources (which recently changed its name to Dakota Post). For various reasons, we had settled on South Dakota as our state of choice when we hit the road. But recent developments had made us rethink that. It started last year when we discovered that the law which supposedly enabled people to renew their license by mail one time before having to return to the state to renew in person doesn’t apply to rv’ers. I’ve still heard varying opinions about this, but according to our mail service, you must have proof of a stay within thirty days of renewing, which to me means it doesn’t work for rv’ers. So, because of this, Harry and I had already decided to switch our domicile when our licenses came up for renewal.

Our plans were accelerated this fall when we received notice that our mail forwarding company was moving. While mentally I wasn’t really ready to go through all the moving of addresses/insurance etc that changing our domicile state entailed, after thinking about it a bit, we decided that it really didn’t make sense to move all of our addresses and then do it again in two years. So we’ve made the decision and we’re moving to Florida!

We started last week by calling the place we decided on for our new mail forwarding service – St. Brendan’s Isle in Green Cove Springs, FL. We almost went with them two years ago before we decided on SD, and in hindsight we should have, but oh well, you win some, you lose some. We now have a new address, and will start the process of changing the address on all our accounts. We haven’t switched our insurance yet, but we did call our company (Geico) and have an idea of what our new rate will be. Our insurance is going up a bit, but the registration fee is going down, so it’s pretty much going to wash out. We will stop on our way down to Marathon at the end of December and get our registration and licenses taken care of. I’m glad that at least we’re getting started now. We will have some time to work on changing addresses on our days off before our old address is no more.

We definitely have enough going on to keep us busy. Smile

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Amazon Week 7 and Making Decisions

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 78, Low 51)

Another work week has flown by! While the work seemed to be picking up a bit, VTO was still offered three out of the four days. We stuck to the plan and stayed each time. It actually has worked out great because so many people leave that there is plenty of work for us to keep right on doing our normal jobs. Last year the other campers on our shift also stayed but this year our co-camperforce people are mostly leaving. At least the ones on our shift and in our department.

My muscles are definitely holding up better this year. I really don’t think it’s all from our running, because even my arms and shoulders are feeling pretty good. The only explanation I can come up with is that some of my toning up from last peak season gave me a head start this year. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling pretty good and am very happy that I am still getting a good night’s sleep and not having the numbness issues that kept me up so many nights last year.

On the home front, we have been very happy to have found a mobile rv tech who is going to replace our hot water heater. He is pretty far away so we have to pay a distance charge but we are so relieved that we don’t have to pack up the fiver for a trip to the local repair place. Monetarily, it’s going to break about even as he was able to work with Suburban to get our water heater replaced even though we were four months out of warranty. (On a side note, since I don’t really feel like describing all the depressing gory details but want to warn anyone considering an extended warranty…do NOT go with Interstate National Dealer Services!! From our experience they are not worth the money. Yes, you can infer from that sentence that we are on our own with this water heater repair.)

Now to the decision making part of the title…over the past year or so, Harry and I have been looking at the new floorplans coming out of Heartland and discussing when/if we would upgrade to a new rig. We’ve kind of always assumed that we would at some point and the conversation was more about when we would trade this one in more than if we would. We actually had a schedule and planned to trade up in about three years. (Yes, notice I said had.)

So, this morning we were talking about how much we love all the windows in our fiver. The cross ventilation is awesome. We were talking about some of the other rigs we’ve seen in our section here, and even though they’re very nice, many of them have whole sides with hardly any windows. The new floorplans we’ve been looking at and thinking about trading for also have entertainment centers on the kitchen side and therefore no windows on that side. And then came our Eureka! moment. Why are we planning on trading in a fiver with a floorplan that we love and a rig with no issues for a new rig that could possibly have issues and a floorplan that we don’t like as much? We have already made so many modifications to this fiver to make it our own – why start over having to go through all that again? So after going back and forth over the pros and cons, and really there were a lot of pros and not too many cons…we have made a decision…we’re sticking with what we’ve got, and if we want to do upgrades, we’ll do it with systems and not with the whole rig. (Of course, that assumes no catastrophic failures of any sort…all things being equal and all that good stuff…)

And at this moment I have a husband happily poring over information on how to put a television in our basement….