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Thursday, September 17, 2015

An Early(er) Week Done

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 84, Low 56)

Over the past two years, when Harry and I worked in Receiving, we got used to the 6 am start time and never really gave it much thought. This year when we started in Outbound, one of the side benefits was that we would have an extra half hour in the morning with a 6:30 start instead. Wow, we didn’t realize what a difference that half hour made until this past week when we had to go in for the earlier time. As part of the construction process in preparation for opening the newly redone area of the facility, they had to shut down the conveyer system. They offered VTO to everyone and a good percentage of people took it. But it was still pretty crowded with everyone who was working on the same shift with the same break and lunch times.

It was a different week, kind of reminded me of being in a school for the last week before classes end. There were a lot of little teams going around doing little projects. I spent a day and a half helping to take apart computer work stations in the old pack part of the building. Harry spent an “exciting” day going around straightening bins. The rest of the time we were doing consolidation picking. Basically picking product out of a section of the building that is going to be renamed so it could be stowed somewhere else. We have one more day of this on Sunday before we resume our normal schedule.

All the scuttlebutt is that we are going to be very busy once we resume normal operations next week. I think we are ready for it. We have now had two full weeks of work and are feeling pretty good. We’ve been eating at the college several times a week. I find it really makes life a lot easier not to have to plan meals and spend my days off cooking.  It’s also good for the budget at $12 for both of us to eat dinner. Definitely something we are going to take advantage of over the next three months.

Next week should be an interesting one as we get back into more normal operations. I know we’ll sure be looking forward to getting back to our regular start time!

Three weeks down!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Made It Through the First Full Week

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 81, Low 61)

Our first full week of ten hour shifts is complete! Picking is very different from working in receiving. Even though all the jobs entail being on your feet for the full ten hours, the part of your body getting the workout is completely different. In Receiving, you spend a good part of your day lifting and opening boxes of product. Hands and arms get sore from holding a scanner and using a box cutter to open boxes over and over all day. Of course feet and legs and back muscles are all used as well. It’s a full body workout.

What we are finding in Picking is that there isn’t any heavy lifting component to the job. We might occasionally have to open a box if there is a pallet of product to pick from and there isn’t an open box, but it is very infrequent. I think I have opened two or three boxes so far. But there is a lot of walking! (We decided last week to order Fitbits which arrived on Tuesday. So yesterday was our first day wearing them.) Yesterday I took 29,341 steps. That’s 12.05 miles which included 13 flights of steps. Harry took 30,015 steps for a total of 13.29 miles and 23 flights of steps. Whew! Besides walking, picking involves doing a lot of squats when you have to pick a product from a lower bin. So we’re getting our exercise.

We had intended to work an overtime day today, but we weren’t exactly heartbroken to arrive at work Tuesday morning to find that they had cancelled the voluntary overtime. We would have worked it, but we’re not sad to be sitting at home in our chairs with our feet up instead.

Next week is going to be a different one. They are doing a lot of construction at this facility. In fact, it’s pretty much a complete overhaul. In order to maintain the schedule and give the contractors some more space etc. to work, they will be shutting down the outbound departments for the next week. Everyone in Outbound had the choice to take voluntary time off (VTO) if they wanted, or to work Inbound for those days. We obviously didn’t want to take a week off, so we shall see what we will be doing next week when we arrive on Sunday for the first day of our next work week.

Two weeks down!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Easy Peasy Pumpkin Muffins

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 95, Low 66)

One of my favorite things about the fall season is the arrival of pumpkin food items, like pumpkin creamer and pumpkin pies. So I was interested to see an unusually simple recipe for pumpkin muffins on Facebook the other day. I read some of the comments people had made on the photo, and they were so positive that I decided to give it a try.



It doesn’t get much easier than this – the ingredients are simply a box of spice cake mix and a large can of pumpkin. Nothing else…no oil, no eggs, no nothing!



The recipe itself says mix those two items and bake. However, one of the commenters said that the muffins had come out a bit dense so she had added water the next time. So I took about a 2/3 cup of water and added some until the batter seemed like a “normal” consistency. I didn’t quite use all of the 2/3 cup.


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

That’s it! Yummy pumpkin muffins that couldn’t be easier to make.


Friday, September 4, 2015

End of the Shortened Shifts

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 95, Low 68)

Yesterday we finished up our first week, which is officially called the “work hardening” week. I do think there is some kind of muscle memory from year to year because the first year we were here it took many weeks, if not months, before the tight muscles started to loosen up. (I was SO sore, in fact, that by the second month I was going for a massage almost every week.) But now it’s much easier. Other than the normal tiredness of going back to work and having an active job, we really do feel pretty good and don’t have too much soreness. I could feel a little achiness around my knees yesterday from doing lots of squats but the same thing happened last year so I expect that will go away after a couple weeks.

We are really enjoying the change of jobs this year. Both Harry and I decided it was time for something different, so we asked for an Outbound position. Our first choice was picking and we were excited to get here last week and find out that we had gotten that job. One of the biggest differences is that picking means A LOT of walking. I’ve been using a pedometer, and for the past few days, in about four hours of picking, I’ve walked 4.5 miles. And right now we’re only working in a smaller portion of the facility. We have friends who are picking and they are walking fifteen miles or more per day.

So, what is picking? Picking is the action of filling the customer’s order. You may have seen the various videos online of how the typical Amazon facility looks, with the rows and rows of product. We have a scanner which tells us where to go – which part of the building, which row, which small cubicle. And when we get there, it tells us what to “pick”. And then we’re off to the next part of the building, next row, next cubicle. It might be close by the position we’re currently located, or it might not be. It is a very fast-paced active job, and so far the hours of the day are going by very quickly.

Now that our first week is over, we are also eligible for overtime. As of yesterday, voluntary overtime IS available, so next week we are going to start right in with a fifty hour week. We have decided that this year we aren’t going to do sixties. It’s just too much for us. We’ve done it the past two years and we find it is the part of the season which really wears us out. So we’re going to change that this year and we are both really happy with that decision.

Week 1 is down…Sunday we start Week 2, our first full week.