Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with family and friends in Wisconsin. The boys cooperated and let me take the annual family pictures.



I was disappointed that there was no snow on the ground for a white Christmas. However, we were lucky to have good driving conditions. The only problem was the day we left. There had been some freezing rain overnight, and we saw several cars in the ditch during about the first hour on our drive back to Kansas. After that, it was smooth sailing. Along the way, we saw quite a few RVs heading south, many of them were from Minnesota.

We arrived back in Kansas at 8:00 pm on Thursday night to find our camper just as we left it. No problems there, great! We spent the night in Coffeyville and were back on the road on Friday morning. It was another long day of driving, about 8 hours. We chose to do one long day and then spend two nights at one spot, rather than break it up. That way we won’t be traveling at all on New Years Eve. Since it’s on a Saturday, we thought there might be a lot of traffic. Yesterday’s traffic wasn’t too bad other than around Ft. Worth, Texas.

So, we’re staying at Coffee Creek RV Resort in Santo, Texas. It’s about 40 miles west of Fort Worth off of I-20. The campground is very nice and clean. They are Passport America members so it’s costing us $17.50 a night for a FHU 50 amp site. We have lots of laundry to do and unpack from our trip. We also had some things we bought from Amazon shipped to Eric’s house. So, now we have to find a place for all of it.

The weather is supposed to be in the low 70s today, so we’ll enjoy a beautiful day while doing our chores.

Happy New Year and stay safe!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family in blogger land.

Had a safe and uneventful 12 hour trip to Wisconsin yesterday. We left the RV at the campground in Kansas and are staying at a Super 8 for 6 nights while we visit with our family and friends.

Went to church with our boys and my mom and her friend tonight and then had dinner at my moms. Back to her house tomorrow for more family fun. My brother and his wife will join us for the day.

I’m loving and appreciate this time with my children!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five More Hours

We got a very welcome email from Amazon this week. They have released the workampers early so we will not have to work on Friday night!!

We could have actually been done working after last night, but we’ve chosen to work a half shift (five hours) on Thursday night. We’ll sleep Thursday night and then leave early Friday morning for our 12 to 13 hour drive back to Wisconsin. I’m so excited to see our boys again!!

Tonight Janie and John have invited us over for Christmas dinner. I’m sure we’ll have some good laughs before we say good-bye to them. It was sure nice having friends share our working time at Amazon.

The Amazon Coffeyville Distribution Center had a goal of breaking a record by shipping out over 300,000 units last Monday. There were posters throughout the plant advertising the goal. They did not make it. In fact, they missed last year’s record of over 276,000 units by only 36. Amazing that it came down to such a small amount.

The night shift, however, set a record of number of units packed in an hour and the total number of units packed for the night. From what was said by our managers, it sounded like they were blaming the day shift for missing the record. Still, that’s a lot of people buying online. Amazing!

We’re not sure if we’ll come back to Amazon. It’s very hard work! We’re exploring some other options for next year. Time will tell.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Exciting Plans

Carnival Spirit cruise ship

In case you haven’t figured it out, we’re going on a cruise!

We’ll celebrate our 35th anniversary in 2012. Our friends, Joan and Al, will celebrate their 40th and friends, Wanda and Dick, will celebrate their 45th. We had all discussed a special trip to celebrate these milestone anniversaries. One of the places we all wanted to see was Australia and New Zealand. After checking into prices, the cost was just too high for us to justify. So, we put the idea on hold.

We all did some checking and our plans have finally all come together. We found a Carnival cruise to Hawaii for a great price. Since we were all planning on meeting up in Arizona in January, the itinerary will fit right into our plans. It’s a 15 day cruise out of San Diego.

We’ll drive from Tucson to San Diego on January 19th and spend a night in San Diego. The hotel price includes parking our truck in their secure lot for the duration of the cruise. We’re leaving our RV at the campground in Tucson.

We cruise for 4 days and then spend the next 5 days touring the Hawaiian Islands. We spend a day each in Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Kauai and Kona. Then 4 days at sea with a stop in Mexico before returning to San Diego on February 4th.

Kevin and I have been to Hawaii twice before. Once in 1987 for our 10th anniversary and once in 1992 when Kevin earned a trip through work. Both times we didn’t go to the big island. I have always regretted that we didn’t go to Volcano National Park. Now we’ll get the chance. We also haven’t been to Kauai so there will be plenty of new experiences on this trip. I’m hoping to see lava flows and evidence of the active volcano. This picture is from the park’s website.

Halema`uma`u at dawn viewed from Kilauea Overlook

After 10 weeks at Amazon, I am so thrilled to be going on a trip. Our earnings will be enough to cover the trip plus our living expenses for the winter months.  Our hard work will finally pay off!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa’s Workshop

It has been very busy at Amazon the last few days. It kind of feels like what I imagine Santa’s workshop must be like with a lot of elves running around.

There are so many people working, that you have to be careful where you are walking. Fork lifts, bicycles, pallets movers, carts and people are moving around everywhere. They shipped out around a quarter of a millions packages on each of the last two days. Wow!! Supposedly, the last two days were the busiest, but we’ll see.

With all of that volume have come some problems. The conveyors are constantly stopping or breaking down. It’s all they can do to keep things running. Last night was especially difficult. At one point all the conveyors sending boxes to the shipping department were stopped. They actually had a group of workers manually scanning packages, printing shipping labels and carting the boxes off to the shipping docks.

Amazon continues to reward employees during this busy time. On Tuesday night everyone was given a box of three cookies and a bottle of juice during the first break. They are drawing six names every night to win Amazon gift cards. Our department had a power hour last night where the worker with the highest packing rate wins a $300 Walmart gift card.

They are also randomly giving little gifts. We’ve received candy, an ice scraper, a mini-flashlight and a combination tape measure, screwdriver and flashlight gizmo. There will also be a drawing for prizes on Dec. 23rd for those who had perfect attendance between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The good news is we have only seven work days left. I am so looking forward to going home for Christmas and seeing our boys! We’ll spend five days back in Wisconsin for the holidays. We’re leaving our RV at the campground here in Kansas. We’ll pick it up on Dec. 30th and head to Tucson for two months. Can’t wait!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

*Dubbo Zoo -Hotels and Accommodation*

One of the places I’d really like to visit is Australia. I came across a zoo that looks like a great place.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo looks like so much fun. It’s an open zoo in Central West NSW, ideal for families.

Find yourself surrounded by magnificent wildlife on wide open plains. Whether you stroll across the grasslands or hire bikes or carts, it’s a fun way to spend time with family and friends, away from it all.

I’d love to go to the Meerkat and Ring-tailed Lemur exhibits and see the giraffes in the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo won the 2011 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award.



There are plenty of Dubbo hotels and accommodation to choose from. So, if you are ever in Australia the Toranga Western Plains Zoo may be a place you want to check out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Single Digits and Happy Birthday

We are finally in the single digits. Only 9 days of work at Amazon before we are done!! I am so looking forward to the end. The money is great, but I have had enough of this hard work. Time for some fun and relaxing again.

This week Amazon scheduled each shift for six 10-hour days. Workampers are only required to work 50 hours max per week, so I am working 5 days. Kevin has not decided yet if he will work the extra day. As of now, next week is scheduled for 11 hours on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; 10 hours on Thursday and 7 hours on Friday. If orders slow down, they may reduce some of those hours.

Last night the backlog was over 130,000. People are still ordering, and we’re still packing those boxes. Tom Clancy must have a new book coming out this week because I sure packed a lot of them last night. Who would have guessed one of the more popular items would be a President Obama Chia head :)

On Saturday was Kevin’s 56th birthday. I cooked his favorite lasagna dinner, and we had Janie and John over to celebrate with us. We enjoyed some cocktails, a nice dinner and then played some Wii games. It was a fun evening; a nice break from the long work hours.

The weather has been pretty decent. We’ve had a few stretches where the lows got below freezing at night. Kevin takes the hose in on those nights, and we use our tanks for water. This week is predicted to be around 50 for the highs, and above freezing at night. So, the hose is back out.

Lots of people here at the RV park have insulated their hoses or purchased heated hoses. Since we aren’t here for that many freezing nights, we just decided to go with the tanks if it gets too cold. So far, that’s been working very well for us.

Our lake has dried up, but never fear; more rain is forecast for this week. I’m sure we’ll be enjoying lake property again soon.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

*Medical Scrubs*

I know a number of people who work in the medical profession and buy scrubs for their jobs. If you are looking to purchase scrubs, you may want to check out this website:

They have a large selection of cheap medical scrubs to choose from. So, if your looking for scrubs, take a look. Maybe you’ll find exactly what you need!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lake Property

When we set up on our site in October, we had no idea that we had been given a prime site. Usually you have to pay more for a lake site, but we have one for free from Amazon.

It’s not just lakefront property, it’s actually in the lake! When it rains, the ground does not absorb the water very well. Added to that is the fact that our site is one of the lowest in the campground. So, the water from the other sites runs into ours.

This area suffered from a drought last summer. When we arrived, they were 10 to 15 inches below average rainfall. So, the rain last week was very welcome. However, we were suddenly parked in a lake.


Our doormat had a couple of inches of water covering it.


Our front jack is sitting on a concrete block and a piece of wood, all under water.


On the Amazon front, we’ve sure been packing a lot of toys. Legos are a hot selling item. Lots of Barbies and other dolls. There’s a new company I never heard of called Melissa and Doug. Their toys appear to be more old fashioned with a lot of wooden toys.

Electronics are also selling like hotcakes. I can’t believe how many different types of ear buds/headphones I have packed. Ear buds from a company called Skull Candy are flying out the door.

Every day brings some strange items. Yesterday I packed a Dr. Who action figure that sold for $40. I had no idea how many different bobble head dolls are available, such as a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz, or Chewy from Star Wars, or the characters from the movie The Hangover. I’m still seeing plenty of adult rated items. Lately, sexy Santa costumes seem to be a hot item.

Amazon is still scheduling 11 hour work days. We found out that per our contract, the workampers are only required to work 50 hours per week. If they want to work up to 60 hours, they can. But, we are only required to work five 10 hour days at most. That’s enough for me. My back tells me that 10 hours is enough.

Next week, they’ve actually scheduled every shift to work six 10 hour days. We only have to do 5 days. I’m all about that!!! Kevin may work some extra overtime. He is definitely handling the long hours on your feet better than I am. The good news is only 13 days left. And, then the fun begins! Can you tell I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel?

Amazon has been hosting some events to reward their employees during this peak season. The week before Thanksgiving they fed us all a turkey dinner. Last night we had a Holiday meal consisting of chicken, rice, carrots, salad and apple pie for dessert.

They’re also drawing employee names every night to win Amazon gift cards. Each week they’re providing a snack during one of the breaks. Last night there were managers giving out candy and little prizes like an ice scraper. It’s nice to see the company make a little extra effort to thank their employees during a stressful time of the year.

The weather has turned cold. Lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s. No more riding our bikes to work, time to take the truck!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Madness Is Upon Us

Well, they weren’t kidding when they told us that the “peak” season at Amazon would be crazy. The madness and frenzy are now in full force! Based on the amount of orders, I’m having a hard time believing our economy is in trouble.

When we started our job in mid-October, the backlog each night was around 30,000. The backlog is the number of orders that need to be filled. The last few shifts we’ve worked, the backlog is over 200,000.

With that increased business comes increased work hours. The last 3 out of 4 days were mandatory 11 hour shifts for us. We’re also now on the mandatory 5 shifts per week. That means over 50 hours a week. In addition to all of those hours, there is voluntary overtime available. You are allowed to work a maximum of 60 hours a week.

Kevin worked a voluntary half shift of overtime last night, so he will have a total of 59 hours this week. I said “no thanks” to voluntary overtime, so I’ll ONLY have 54 hours this week.

As you can imagine, we pretty much are just working and sleeping. I have adjusted a little better to working nights. I’m now able to sleep about 6 hours after work. On days off, I’m sleeping 10 or 11 hours in a row. I’m very much looking forward to a regular sleep schedule again!

It’s hard being on your feet for so long. By the end of a shift, my feet and back are quite sore. I can honestly say this is the most physical job I’ve ever had, even more than the waitressing I did in high school and college. And, I was a lot younger then. Kevin spent much more time on his feet in his career, so he is not having as much trouble adjusting.

Last week we were moved from packing on the multi-item lines to the single items section. Now, we’re only packing single item orders. This means even less moving and pretty much standing in one spot. Kevin is sometimes assigned the job of “water spider” which means he brings supplies to the single packing stations to make sure no one runs out of boxes, tape, etc. He likes that job because he gets to move around more.

I’ve been working half of each shift as a “jackpot”. I stand between two conveyors and move the small boxes in the correct position to go through the shipping label machine. It’s boring, but I’m moving back and forth between the conveyors so my back doesn’t get as sore from standing in one spot. It’s good to have a little variety in the work assignment.

The good news is we’ve both lost a little weight. Not as much as we had hoped when we thought we would be “pickers” and walking the whole time, but still a little, which is a good thing.

At most we have 17 days of work left. I’m sure looking forward to the end. As hard as it’s been, the pay-off is excellent, and the income will allow us to take the winter off.

We are seriously considering working for Amazon again next year. Now that we’ve done it, we know better which questions to ask before making the commitment. If they give us day shift and a better job assignment, we’ll probably do it again. Many of the workampers have left or say they will never come back. We’ll have to see what happens.

I sure have had a lot of Blogsvertise ads all of a sudden. Sometimes, they only send me an ad opportunity every couple of months. Now, I’ve had three ads in two weeks. They pay an average of about $10 per ad, so I’m happy to publish them. Every little bit helps. Remember, the ads have a star * at the beginning and end of the title, so you can easily tell if a post is an ad. It’s up to you whether you want to read them or not :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!