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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Day Down

Location: Louisville, KY (High 63, Low 41)

Today was our first day at the facility in Jeffersonville, IN. We got to sleep in a little later than a normal workday with our alarm set to go off at 4:30 am. The bus was supposed to leave at 6:30 so we wanted to leave ourselves plenty of time to get everything together.The coach pulled in about ten after six, which actually surprised us and we both jumped to look at the clock, thinking that we might be running late. But nope, he was just early.

The ride to the facility went pretty smoothly. We had a few stop and go moments on the highway, but it’s amazing how stress free those times are when we’re sitting in the seats of a bus as opposed to driving our own vehicle. We arrived at the fulfillment center in around 35 minutes. In hindsight, that was the fastest part of the day…it reminded me of that saying, hurry up and wait!

So for the rest of the day…the positives…our badges worked after they adjusted something in the system. There were some people whose badges still weren’t working when we were trying to head out through the turnstiles at the end of the day, so we were two of the lucky ones. We also got lockers first thing in the morning, so that was a pleasant surprise.

The biggest thing that wasn’t a positive for me personally was finding out that we weren’t going to be in picking after all. I’m trying to look at the bright side of that, but I really was looking forward to getting some walking in. The “powers that be” changed their minds yesterday and decided that the only people they wanted to put in picking were the campers who had picked in Campbellsville. That was announced right after they passed out all the locker assignments. (The lockers are about the same size as the one we had, but we each have one so we have twice the room.)

So after sitting around some more, in first one, and then a second, break room for about an hour or more, we were divided up into teams for a tour of the facility. The building is really huge. There are two downstairs break rooms and at least one other upstairs near the packing department. They are all full size break rooms with microwaves, vending machines, refrigerators, etc.

We stopped in the upstairs break room to drop off our lunches and then headed into the packing department. We were given a little overview of each part of the floor. Some of the stations seemed familiar, but many of the processes looked new. It sounds like we will be moved around the different jobs much like we were in receiving, so I will report more on the various duties as I work them. Today we worked on the jewelry prep line. That entailed taking a tote, which might have a couple or up to fifteen, twenty different pieces of jewelry in little plastic bags. For each piece of jewelry, we would take the earrings or bracelet or whatever and place it in a black jewelry box and then replacing it in the tote. After boxing each piece, the totes are placed back on a cart and eventually taken off to a packer.

That was the extent of our work today. If we worked, by which I mean actually had our hands on the product, for a solid hour, that was it. At 2 pm we met with the leadership teams and had the opportunity to ask questions. We also found out our schedule for the rest of the week. And then we headed out to catch our bus back to the Expo.

First work day down! Twenty or so to go!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A New View

Location: Louisville, KY (High 65, Low 32)

Ready to pull out of Heartland Campground...

Yesterday was moving day. After three months in Campbellsville, we hooked up and headed out for Louisville and our new job. We had one little glitch when our stabilizers didn’t come up, but luckily Harry knew how to bring them up by cranking them in manually. (More experience from our year plus of driveway camping before we started fulltiming.)

Sunshine on the road...

It started out as a dark and dreary day, but happily as we traveled along we drove out of the cloud cover into a bright blue sun shiny day. We were following our friends and Heartland neighbors Dave and Kathy.


View from our rig at the fairgrounds...It was an extremely quick trip of only 80 miles and very soon we were pulling into our new digs. We had been told that with an event finishing up on Friday there might still be people pulling out and packing up, but the place was pretty empty.

The attendant came out and explained how the hookups work here. They have central yellow boxes with the electric hookups throughout the parking area. Each box has four 50 amp and four 30 amp hookups, Our rigs parked at the Expo Center...and the rigs park around that box. We were glad that we had friends to park on the other side of us. Behind and between us is the electric hookup. Right now we still have water but at some point that will be turned off. The rv attendant told us that with warm days forecast for the next ten days we should have at least that long before they turn the water off.

We also had a great and happy surprise when our stabilizers came back down on their own without any issues. We had not been looking forward to having to do another repair.

The sign at the entrance to Amazon...


After we got settled in, we took a ride to check out the Amazon facility. It was HUGE.

Profile shot of the Amazon facility...



The pictures really don’t do it justice, but it makes the Campbellsville facility look small.


Getting ready to enjoy our frozen treat...


On our way back to the fairgrounds, we stopped at Culver’s for a new experience for Harry and I – frozen custard. Wow. Yum. SO good.

Oreo volcano smash!!






Sunset over Louisville...


And on our way home we were treated to a beautiful sunset as we drove back to the expo center.


We have another two days off, so nice. We start work at the new facility on Tuesday.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Uh Oh! and Update on our Move

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 39, Low 24)

I hope that we have now had enough of things breaking down and needing repair – at least for a little while. The latest happened yesterday. I got up in the morning and went to turn the furnace on to warm up the bathroom…and….nothing. That’s never a good thing, but somehow seems even worse at 3:40 am when you’re getting up to get ready for work. I told Harry and he went out to check our propane, but came back in with the news that we did still have propane.

My first thought was that we would be moving on Saturday closer to where that mobile tech was located who fixed our water heater a few weeks ago. But we took a look at the weather forecast and saw 20s for lows overnight and decided that we didn’t want to take a chance on no heat going into the basement area for several days if we didn’t have to.

I remembered reading a thread recently on the heartland forum about another couple whose furnace stopped working, and that it had turned out to be a bad control board. I told Harry and he started doing some research. We decided that I would go to work and he would stay home to hopefully fix our furnace.

At 9 am, Harry started making a couple phone calls…first to our favorite go-to repair guys at home in Catskill and also to the mobile tech we had used here for our water heater. Here is the furnace after Harry got it out of the rig.They both had great information and suggestions for Harry to work on the furnace repair. Both of them agreed that the likely culprit was the control board. So unfortunately the first step was to remove the furnace so he could get to it.

The empty space...

Those three spaces in the back are where the ducts attach to the furnace. The wires on the top left are for the thermostat and 12v battery connection.

Front of the control board...


He removed the control board and made a trip over to the local rv place to see if they had one in stock. Luckily they did!

Back of the control board...


You can see up at the top of the control board where there is a small burn spot where it burned out.


The finished product...


All fixed, put back together and we have heat!! Smile



In other news, we are preparing for our move to Louisville KY tomorrow. I had my last day at the Campbellsville facility yesterday while Harry was home repairing the furnace. We are both really going to miss the fulltime Amazon workers we are leaving. We have had a lot of fun working with them over the past three months.

We are, however, really looking forward to four days off. Our first day at the new facility is Tuesday, and we are expecting to be pickers. From what we have heard, almost all of the 100 campers moving to the Jeffersonville facility will be working in picking. Our hands are going to get a break and now it’s up to our feet to carry us through the last four weeks. Both Harry and I are looking forward to seeing what it is like to work in this outbound department as opposed to being in receiving. We’re going to find out soon!

Thirteen weeks down, four to go!!

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.


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!!