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Monday, August 31, 2015

First Day at Amazon Done

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 91, Low 62)

We are now officially underway. Every year the first day is just a little different. Last year it was on Tuesday of the week we started, but this year it was moved back to Monday. Other than logistical details, the opening day is nothing too exciting – basically all the typical “stuff” that you find out when you start working at any new company. It doesn’t really change much (meaning at all) from year to year, so every year it becomes more and more familiar. The best (cough cough) part is the lovely short videos that have all the cheesy skits showing what NOT to say to all of your coworkers.

After an hour long lunch on our own, we went over to the fulfillment center for “safety school”, ie the tour of the facility, demonstration of how to use safety equipment etc. Again this doesn’t change much from year to year, so standing around listening to all of this info really makes me wish for a good cup of coffee.

For the next three days, we’ll be working the shorter “work hardening” shift of five hours. It gives your bodies some time to acclimate to the work, especially standing and walking on concrete. Harry and I are excited this year to be starting in a new department – as pickers! From what I’ve heard, it sounds like pickers are consistently getting in over ten miles a day so that is going to be a new adventure for us. Less lifting, but more walking.

Tomorrow we start our training I’ll report back with more later this week.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back in Campbellsville For Year Three at Amazon

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 86, Low 66)

We had a really great time over the past month spending lots of time with our grandsons. We finished up our visit by taking Schaun to his first day of school this past Thursday. We so 11939351_10207990410824871_362567211_oappreciated being able to have a whole month of quality time, getting to know Kenny and spending more time with Schaun than we’ve been able to any other year since he was born. We’ll be 11924618_10207990607669792_826688169_ogoing back to Ohio next year for lots more visiting. In the meantime, we’re very glad that Skype makes face to face visits possible over long distances.


This past Friday we started out on our two day trip south to Campbellsville. We were 11939008_10207992823445185_668076281_oreally lucky to have two days of nice weather for our traveling. We were a bit on the slow side for leaving Friday morning after a month of sitting, so we didn’t get to our stopping point yesterday until almost 4:30.  Indian Springs Campground is not too far from Cincinnati, so we were extremely lucky that we got off 275 before rush hour really heated up.


We have been to this campground before and it is a pretty simple set up. As far as we’re concerned, one of its main claims to fame is the great salad bar at the local Kroger’s. Dinner! (On the way back from fueling up, we could see the traffic on the highway at a complete standstill. We were SO glad that we were already there.)


This morning we made sure that we got up and moving for a much earlier start.

Indian Springs is on State Line Rd and it is very evident why, as it is only a stone’s throw away from Indiana.



And then only a couple miles down the road…Kentucky!






We have done this trip enough now that the roads are pretty familiar. We always know we are getting close when we start seeing the horse farms.



11973364_10207998723512683_950238645_oAfter a nice short trip, we pulled into Heartland Campground a little after 11 am. We are parked next to our friends Dave and Kathy who were also our neighbors last year.




Home sweet home for the next four months…



We have one day to relax before we have our first day of Orientation on Monday. We will have our badge pictures taken, and do all the typical first day stuff. I will be reporting more on Monday. Also, I will have new work processes to talk about over the next few months because there have been lots of changes this year. Campbellsville is undergoing a huge construction makeover and we will also be doing new jobs this season. So there should be lots to talk about!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Non-Responsive RV Repair Guy Saves Us $$

Location: Garrettsville, OH (High 81, Low 59)

You may recall that I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had an issue with our black tank valve. The cable had come loose from the valve and it was stuck open. We had the cable replaced but we hadn’t really had a chance to test it due to the fact that we didn’t have a sewer connection there. It wasn’t until we arrived at Garrettsville and Harry went to empty the tanks (this was on the 11th of August)  that he realized that the black tank valve wasn’t closing completely. (Luckily we have an external gate valve.) We figured that maybe the cable hadn’t been adjusted properly.


It seemed like pretty good fortune at the time that there was a mobile rv guy (Tim’s RV House Call) right across the street. Harry went over and talked to him and he said he would come over after he finished his job.

So the repair guy, Tim, came over and Harry explained the issue and told him that we thought the valve cable needed to be adjusted. The repair guy said that we were better off just changing the valve and that it would probably be a $150 job. We weren’t excited about it but thought it made more sense to get things taken care of while we had access to a mobile service, as there isn’t any close by once we get to Campbellsville. Tim said he was taking a few days off but to call him on the following Wed. and we would set something up.

Right on schedule this past Wednesday Harry called Tim’s number, and left a message explaining who he was and asking for a call back. We gave him until noon and then Harry called again. This time he got Tim on the phone. Harry reminded him who we were and asked about scheduling a service call. Tim said he would have to check his schedule and that he would call us back later in the day. Something about the tone of his voice told us we shouldn’t hold our breath for a call back. And sure enough, that would be the last we would hear from Tim. (So if you’re in the Warren, OH area and looking for good dependable RV service, we wouldn’t recommend that you call Tim’s RV House Call.)

Of course, this all left us still dealing with our non-closing black tank. We started discussing our options and went back to our original idea that the cable needed an adjustment. So Harry got on the phone to our local RV repair place back in NY that had done the original cable replacement. 11888188_10207942689671872_1803206241_oRich explained to him how to adjust the cable and it didn’t sound too difficult so we decided we would give it a try ourselves this weekend.


You can see in the picture that the black tank valve handle wasn’t going in as far as the other two do.



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The guys had cut an entry hole in the chloroplast so Harry opened it back up so we could get to the valve cable



11894847_10207942724272737_270670_oBefore he performed the adjustment, he sprayed the valve and cable with some silicone spray to help it move more smoothly. He had me pull it out and push it back in. It has never moved easily and I had to use all my strength to pull it out and push it back in.



it went all the way in!!! Without even having to do any cable adjustment!








Harry did some backflushing and we both watched the clear connection in the sewer hose. No liquid escaping when the valve is closed. Problem solved!!!

So even though we were pretty unhappy with the lack of communication from the mobile repair guy, it did save us some money and we fixed the issue ourselves.

Now we are both hoping for an issue-free fall season!!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vacation Is Just About Over

Location: Garrettsville, OH (High 78, Low 53)

Well, it’s hard to believe, but our eight months of free time with no fixed schedule is coming to an end. At the end of December, when we finish our season at Amazon, it always seems like there is such a long period of time until our return. But it sure goes by fast and here we are, just a week now from starting work in Campbellsville, KY on the 31st of August.

11900791_10207913102532212_1477899800_oWe’re going to be sad to see our time here in OH coming to an end though. We’ve been really enjoying our first month-long visit with Harry’s daughter and her family.



Our days have settled into a routine as we have been getting up around 5:30 am to go over to their house before Dad has to leave for work. We’ve spent the weekdays hanging out with the boys. (Plus Grammy has been able to spend some time in the kitchen doing some cooking and baking.)



We’ve gone to the bike trail, the playground, hiking at the state park, and last weekend Schaun came home with us and we drove over to Youngstown to check out a place called, Oh Wow!



We thought it was a science museum, but it turned out to be like a science based exploratory type of play experience.




Still Schaun had a great time and we spent a good four plus hours there while he explored all the exhibits/play areas.

We have four more days left to spend with the boys. We are really glad that our last 11881342_10207904888406864_262104977_oday with them (Thursday) is Schaun’s first day of school here in Ohio, so we will be here to take him on his first day to his new school. 

This coming Friday we will start on our trek south to Kentucky. We expect to be arriving in Campbellsville one week from today. We’re not looking forward to the early morning wake-ups, but on the plus side, it will be really nice to have some money coming into the bank account again.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fun Family Time in Ohio

Location: Garrettsville, OH (High 81, Low 62)

Our first week here in Ohio has been a great one. As I mentioned last week, Schaun is away visiting so it has been quality time with Kenny so far. This has been the first real time we have spent with Kenny since he was born so we have enjoyed the one on one time with him.

A lot of what we’ve done over the past few days isn’t too exciting, except when you’re not even two years old yet.



Wow, they have cars in the grocery store!





Whee! Big slide!







Cartoons on the computer!




Walking with Papa…




For us the most exciting part happened yesterday when our purchase arrived…


a new bike seat!

Harry installed it and then took a couple practice loops with it. After Kenny got up we put him in the seat and let him get used to riding around in it.



Today we drove over to a local rail trail and went for our first official bike ride!




I’d say it was a success.

We are looking forward to going on more bike rides with both boys over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park

Location: Garrettsville, OH (High 83, Low 58)

11831875_10207787651996027_1634636540_oWhen we come to a new area, one of the first things I usually do is check to see if there is a biking or walking trail nearby. Looking at the map, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a state park only a mile or two down the road from the campground.

We were off duty yesterday from babysitting and it was a beautiful day, so we decided to take a ride over and check 11831362_10207787556593642_451058371_oit out. We brought our bikes but when we arrived, we discovered that it was a relatively small state park. There was no booth or entrance fee, or road even, just a parking lot with a bathroom and some picnic areas. I had printed the trail map off before leaving home, which turned out to be a good thing because we didn’t see any around to pick up.

11821541_10207787534713095_186545136_oThe hikes are pretty short, maybe a mile or so long. There is an easy trail, two moderate trails and one difficult, marked by splashes of paint on trees along the trail. 11267259_10207787794399587_1542215678_oWe walked the easy one and one of the moderates. The trails seemed pretty level so not sure what makes one any more difficult than another. We will go back another day and will probably try the other two then.
















11836538_10207787798159681_1821285140_oIt was a nice walk through the woods with some very neat rock formations and caves to explore. Being so close, we will probably go back at least one more time. If we were further away though and had to drive to get there, we probably wouldn’t make another special trip as the hiking trails are pretty short and it’s not the kind of place where we would spend a whole day.




Still beautiful though.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Our Month With No Sewer Hookup

Location: Garrettsville, OH (High 80, Low 56)


I was thinking back on our month long stay at Earlton Campground, our first time in a park without a sewer hookup. I think the best thing about the stay is that we now know we could do it if needed. We were always worried about the pumpout scenario, as we had heard horror stories about tanks imploding, but everything went fine. (Well, other than the pump guy pulling on our black tank handle and the pull cable breaking, but luckily we already had a couple repair items scheduled while we were here and that just got added to the list. After that Harry pulled our own handles.)


Overall, our stay there was positive. However, it was a confirmation for Harry and me that we are never going to be boondockers, or even go looking for other sites that are W-E only. We enjoy our long showers and washing machine too much.


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The best thing about Earlton was the atmosphere. The people were very friendly and it was quiet, even on the weekends. (It helped that we were not on the side of the campground where the pavilion was.) Also we were only about 30 minutes from Albany and 10 minutes from my sister’s house. More positives.

The biggest negative – other  than no sewer – was the 11801143_10207760612920067_1574835106_o (1)water. Horrible tasting and smelling. We used bottled water for everything. Also by the end of the month we were getting a smell in the bedroom. We think it was because the trap in the washing machine line had dried out because as soon as we arrived in Rochester we did a load of laundry and it went away.

Having said all that, the positives did outweigh the negatives and we’ll be using it for our time in the area for at least the foreseeable future. We’ve already booked a two month stay for next year.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

On to Ohio for Grandkid Time!

Location: Garrettsville, OH (High 85, Low 63)

An early photo of Schaun and PapaFor as long as we have been grandparents, which is about six and a half years now, we have had to make do with short weekend visits. Even when we had the house in NY, Harry’s daughter lived a little over two hours away in MA. We would try to get out their way once a month to spend some time with the family. And since we have been fulltiming, we have had Schaun come and stay with us a few times in our fiver, but since our second grandson was born in January of last year, we have had only a few short visits with him. (The nearest campground in MA was over an hour away.)

So…we were so happy this year to find out that Gretchen’s job was going to 11822171_10207772681261768_663079953_o (1)be bringing her and the family to the Cleveland, Ohio area. As soon as I knew where they would be moving, I got right to work doing some searching and found a campground (Kool Lakes Family Campground) that looked pretty nice, and was just 30 miles from their home. And now here we are, settled in for the next month for our first real extended period of time with the grandkids! We are so excited!

11840390_10207773212475048_1838090116_oSchaun is away for the week visiting another set of grandparents, but yesterday Will, Gretchen and their little guy came over for dinner. It took about an hour of hanging out on the floor before he got comfortable enough to leave the safety of his father’s lap, but after that he decided we weren’t dangerous and started happily exploring.

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We took turns being the chase adult!






Run like the wind!



We will be on duty babysitting for the next four weeks, and are looking forward to having lots of fun times with the little guys. We have a whole month to make some good memories.