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Friday, September 19, 2014

Four Work Weeks Down

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 83, Low 54)

It’s been a good couple of weeks since I last posted. Work is going well. Harry and I are working on the sort line most of the time, and while it’s a very physical job, we are doing pretty well. Last year I had a huge issue with my fingers going numb during the night, mainly due to the tightness of the muscles in my shoulders. I’ve been trying to stay on top of the muscle issue this year. I’ve been using a muscle gel and icing as well, which seems to be keeping the worst of it at bay. And I’ve discovered that wearing a light wrist brace during the night also helps to keep my fingers from going numb. So between all of those methods I’ve been able to keep myself sleeping pretty well and feeling pretty good.

So far, we’ve been pretty good about avoiding restaurants too much. We did go out for lunch today, before heading to the grocery store. I know better than to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!! :) We have one more day off tomorrow and I am going to cook a couple meals to help cover our work days.

Our running is going very well. I was a little apprehensive about whether we were going to be able to keep it up with only a few days off each week, but so far we have. The four days that we work I count as cross training, and then we get out there on the other days. Yesterday we ran 6 miles, and this morning we did 3. Tomorrow we will do another 6 or maybe 7 depending on how tired we feel. We also found a great off the road walking trail today only a couple miles from the campground. So tomorrow morning we plan to go do our run there.

The campground is filling up slowly. We’ve only had a couple other rigs come into our section. Our next door neighbor is George from Owens on the Road. George, Harry and I took a ride over to tour Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery last Saturday but I haven’t had a chance to upload my pictures from that day yet. I’m more a fruity rum drink and wine kind of girl, but the tour was pretty interesting. The tasting at the end didn’t make me change my mind either, but it was still a fun way to spend an afternoon.

One more weekend day to enjoy and then we’re on to Week FIVE. Thirteen weeks to go!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Two Weeks!

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 86, Low 69)

Today is the first day of our “weekend” and believe it or not, we already have two work weeks at Amazon under our belts! The work has been going really well. Our legs have been much less sore than last year, which I attribute to the many miles of running that we have done over the past 8 months. I have had a little soreness in my arms and hands, but I am trying to keep on top of it by doing more frequent stretches and icing. So far, so good.

We are working in Receiving again, which we are enjoying. We are working with most of the same people from last year, and it’s just nice to not have to go through the “getting to know you” phase with every single person. We are mostly spending our time on the Receive Dock – emptying trucks and bringing in product. But both Harry and I have learned a few new jobs as well, which will serve us well on those days when the work is low and there may not be as much to do. Speaking of, on our four day shift this past week they offered VTO (voluntary time off), three out of the four days. Both Harry and I elected to stay but we were in the extreme minority. Out of the first two week’s Camperforce groups, only a few people have been placed in Receiving, so when they offer VTO and most of the full time employees take it, that leaves about 5 people working in Receive (that’s including Harry and me). All three days though there was plenty of work to do. Since almost everyone else left. haha

We worked on Labor Day, and Amazon provided a really delicious rib eye steak sandwich with a selection of chips and sodas for lunch. It was really yummy. That is one thing that Amazon does really well in my opinion. Yes, the work is very physical, but I have never worked for an employer that provides occasional lunches, snacks for breaks, drawings for prizes, and other similar extras that I can’t think of more examples for at the moment!

On the home front things have been good. I have made two crockpot meals so far, and it was so convenient to come home and have dinner ready. This morning Harry and I went for a morning run for the first time since we got here. I am encouraged that we are going to be able to stay in shape for our half marathon in January.

We had a vet appointment for Ariel this morning. On her annual checkup in August, the vet indicated that she had an issue with tartar and gingivitis. We made the appointment too late to have anything done about it in NY though, so when we got to Campbellsville, I did a search for an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited vet and found one 15 minutes away from our park. We were really pleased with the vet that examined Ariel this morning, and will be taking her back next week for a cleaning. Assuming that our experience next week is as positive, we are actually thinking about transferring the cats to this facility permanently for their annual checkups etc. When we thought about it we realized that we spend more time out of the year here than we do any one place in NY in the summer. One less thing to do up in NY!

Two weeks down, 15 to go!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fast One Day Weekend

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 88, Low 71)

Yesterday was our final day of our first work week this season. I went back and read the entries from our first week last year, and what a difference. Being back in the same area again made things much simpler. The first three half days were supposed to be training, but really we just jumped back in to doing the same work process that we were already familiar with from last season. So that made the first three days a much less mental challenge.

sunsetThe nights are already a little unsettled, as I also found them last year, and maybe that’s just something that isn’t going to get any better. Many of you out there may identify with waking up in the middle of the night for whatever reason?? Sarcastic smile Well, waking up around 2:30 or 3 am doesn’t work so well for me when the alarm clock is set for 4. Sometimes I just don’t get back to sleep and end up getting up at 3:30 because by that time it’s just not even worth it.

Today is our one day off, so we have packed several things into these few hours. We went grocery shopping this morning to get what we needed for the next few days. (This year, I am going to try to do a couple crockpot recipes each week to reduce the amount of cooking I have to do on our days off.) Harry worked on a couple maintenance projects he wanted to get accomplished. And of course, the ever-present laundry. Other than that, we’ve been taking it a little bit easy for today since tomorrow we start our ten hour shifts.

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I walked down the road a bit and took an updated picture of our campground. There have been a few rigs coming in almost daily over the past few days. It’s probably just as easy for people to come in a little early and avoid traveling over the holiday weekend.

We won’t be traveling anywhere, that’s for sure! Tomorrow we start Week 2!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 1 Almost Over

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 90, Low 68)

Well, one more day left and our first week for this new season will be over. So far, the week has gone really well.

It looks like we’re going to spend a lot of time this year working on the sort line. We were in that area quite a bit last year too, so our amazon1training has basically been a refresher course while going over the changes that have been implemented since we left last December. I like working on the sort line. It’s very fast paced and each day goes by very quickly. It’s a very physical job though. It involves unloading pallets of product and emptying the trucks of product that come into the warehouse each day. So we’re getting a workout for sure. So far, I have not been sore at all at the end of the day. Of course we’ve only worked two five hour shifts, so we will see what I feel like at the end of our first week of ten hour shifts!!

I am also trying to be more aware of what I eat this year, and not go crazy with store bought snacks and eating pastries for breakfast and buying pies for dessert. (When I think of how I ate last year while we were here, I find it amazing that I didn’t gain ten pounds!!) I would love to lose a few this time.

heartland1A few more rigs have come into the campground over the past couple of days. So far I have no regrets that we made the decision to move to Heartland Campground this year.  Yesterday we needed to make a couple phone calls. We would have had to sit in town after we got out of work to make them. We’ve also been able to bring in a couple local channels which we were unable to do last year. But mostly, I just love being able to walk outside at twenty of six and just walk across the street to work.

We are getting a taste of hot weather this week. Our a/c has been on nonstop since we arrived, which is actually the first time it has been on more than a couple hours at a time all year. There isn’t any change in sight over the next ten days, but hopefully by mid September we will start to get down into the 80s at least.

We haven’t done any running since we’ve been here, as we only plan to do runs on days off. This week we only have one day off (Saturday) and then we start back in on Sunday with our normal shift. So hopefully next week on our days off we will get a chance to get a run in. Smile

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Like We Never Left

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 89, Low 69)

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Well, here’s our crew! The first week group at Amazon!

 

 

Our day started yesterday at 8 am. We started out by getting our pictures taken for our badges and receiving our shift and assignment. Harry and I were happy to find out we were going back to receiving and we also got days. We have a different shift than we did last year and will be working Sun – Wed.

They’ve changed a few details from last year. We had a full day yesterday, with morning being the orientation stuff that we did on Monday last year. Then in the afternoon we did what they call Safety School, which was on Tuesday last year. It’s basically a tour of different stations where they introduce some of the techniques used in the various jobs. Like how to lift boxes, move pallets, move around conveyors. It was a good refresher, but I was also surprised at how second nature it all seemed. It really feels like we’ve only been away for a few weeks instead of 8 months!

The work hardening process has also been changed a bit due to standardizing the camperforce program across the different facilities. Last year our first two weeks were adjusted…week 1 with 5 hour shifts and week 2 with 7.5 hour shifts. This year we just have the next three days of shortened shifts. Today through Friday we’ll be working 5 hour shifts from 6 am to 11. Then we have Saturday off and start our normal 10 hour shifts on Sunday. Time to see how our legs are going to hold up!

It was a much different experience than last year’s first day in the warehouse. Last year we were pretty overwhelmed with trying to remember everything, like just how to get from Point A to Point B. This year it felt normal. We knew our way around. It was fun to see familiar faces and have people waving and welcoming us back. All in all, a good first day.

Week 1 of 17 is underway!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trip Over and Back to Amazon

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 89, Low 70)

Our last two days of the trip went very well. This is the route that we took home from Texas last spring and we found it so much easier maplelakes2than the way we went last year through West Virginia. For a couple of reasons…there were no downgrades to speak of, other than normal ups and downs. Also, there’s a better selection of campgrounds in Ohio than I have ever found in Virginia and West Virginia. I suspect we will be taking this route every year.

We stayed at two new campgrounds…

maplelakesMaple Lakes in Seville, OH…

 

 

 

and Cedarbrook in Lebanon, OH.

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From Lebanon it was a pretty quick 200 mile trip to Campbellsville, KY. I75 rest stopWe lucked out with pretty good weather for the entire trip, other than a few rain showers the first couple of days. We made a point of stopping for lunch at a rest area each day to stretch our legs and break up the trip.

 

We arrived at Heartland Campground in Campbellsville yesterday heartland1afternoon. From Lexington, KY onward the roads looked pretty familiar, and it was nice to come into town and know where we were going. Heartland is all gravel with spaces marked out in stones painted in white lines. The sites are surprisingly large. We have enough room on the side to pull in our truck. I think our site here may even be larger than the one we had last year at Lakeway. There’s no green at all, but we knew and expected that.

The real benefit is….

amazon3proximity to the job!

This is the view from our rig. That white building seen in the distance is Amazon.

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Here’s a closer view from the end of the campground road.

 

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Looking back at the campground from the road…

 

 

We have our first day today, which will consist of Orientation and Safety School. I expect that a lot of information will be familiar from last year. There’s certainly a lot more comfort level this year, as we already have a good idea what to expect – although I am hoping that our running over the past few months will help to reduce the number of aches and pains!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Trip is Under Way and 60 Mile Bike Ride

Location: Westfield, NY (High 78, Low 64)

catskilldepartureAs I expected, the past few days flew by and this morning we were ready to head out on the road at a really early time for us – 8 am! It was a really cloudy day but we were very lucky that we encountered only light rain. It was one of our eriekoalonger travels days – a little over 380 miles, and we were happy to pull into the Westfield/Lake Erie KOA a little after 3 pm. We have stayed at this KOA three times now and coincidentally have had this site every time. We are only here overnight and tomorrow will be moving on to Seville, OH.

IMG_3010I wanted to share a few pictures and details about one of my favorite events last week when we were up in the Adirondacks – a SIXTY mile bike ride we took around one section of Lake Champlain. Even now a week later, I am still so excited that I successfully biked 60 miles in one day – “successfully” meaning that I didn’t feel like I was going to fall over and pass out by the end of it.

IMG_3019It was a gorgeous day, with a brilliant blue sky as we started on our day trip. We drove to the Cumberland Head ferry in Plattsburgh and left our cars there. IMG_3023

 

 

We biked from there north through several little towns, including Chazy Landing and Rouses Point. Our bike route also took us through Point Au Roche State Park.

 

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I found out where the name of the town Chazy comes from!

I enjoyed reading all the historical signs along the way. I wish I had gotten a picture of the one that said “Benjamin Franklin paused here on a trip to Montreal”.

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We biked over this bridge that goes from Rouses Point, NY over into Vermont.

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We took a little break in Grand Isle, VT to wait for this drawbridge to go back down.

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We were at 51 miles at this point and still smiling!

 

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I could see these kayakers from the bridge as we were waiting.

 

 

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Finally, 8 hours and 60 miles later, we arrived at the ferry landing in Grand Isle, VT.

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Here is Harry very glad to be standing up! Smile

 

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We enjoyed a quick ride across the ferry back to our cars.

 

We had a great bike ride and I’m looking forward to doing another long ride next year. But we may need to prepare our posterior regions with some shorter rides first so we can enjoy the ride a little more next time.