Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Enough Cold Weather

We spent out last day in Moorhead with Korey and Cathryn. First we visited the Hjemkomst Center where their reception will be held. It’s a combination museum, convention center, Chamber of Commerce and senior center located in Moorhead. There is a very large ballroom with a nice sized dance floor. It’s a beautiful facility in a park along the river. I think it will be a fantastic and unique place to have a summer wedding reception.

The main lobby has a full size Viking ship which was actually sailed from New York to Norway. It’s a very interesting exhibit and story. The lobby will be open to the wedding guests, but the museum will be closed.


The Fargo/Moorhead area has many inhabitants of Norwegian decent. I couldn’t pass up this picture opportunity. I’m sure many wedding guests will be taking their pictures with these two lovely trolls.


As much as we enjoyed our visit with our family in Minnesota, it was time to head south to get out of the cold weather. While there, we had several days with below zero temperatures. We are not used to that kind of cold anymore!

Our drive back to Coffeyville to pick up the 5th wheel went well. There was snow on the ground all the way until we were south of Kansas City, but the roads were clear. We saw several cars in the ditch along the interstate from snowy roads the day before we traveled.

When we got home, it was 32 degrees in our 5th wheel. We had left the furnace turned on, but both tanks ran out of propane. Last year we were gone about the same length of time, but it was warmer outside. This year it was cold while we were gone, and the propane was all gone. We turned on our two electric heaters and the fireplace. The heater in the bedroom kept it warm enough to sleep. By morning it was still only 55 degrees in the living area. Time to get out of town!!

Poor Kevin was out in 16 degree weather hooking up. The landing gear wouldn’t raise the 5th wheel to hook it up to the truck. We think it was frozen. The motor stopped and Kevin had to crank it up by hand to get it hitched. He certainly got a work out.

We drove to Sandy Lake RV Resort in Carrollton, Texas, northeast of Dallas. It is a corporate campground owned by Carefree RV Resorts. I would definitely not call it a resort. There is a pool and small clubhouse, but that’s it. The sites and roads are very tight and close together. We chose this place because it is a Passport America park. The discounted rate is $20 per night. Its definitely not worth more than that. I doubt we would stay here again.

There is a full moon right outside the window. Oh no, that’s just the very close street light.


We do have a pull through site with 50 amp full hookups. Luckily, its an end site. I’m not sure how some of these rigs got into their sites with everything being as tight as it is. The temperature was in the 50s today. Much better, but not warm enough yet. It was nice to see and hear birds in the trees.


The landing gear motor seemed to be working okay while the jacks were going down. As soon as the trailer started going up, the motor stopped again. Bummer, more cranking for Kevin. At least it was pretty level so he didn’t have to crank much. We think the motor may need to be replaced. We’ll worry about it once we get to Mission.

We’re staying here until Tuesday morning. Then we’re heading to Austin for two nights. On Thursday we’ll arrive in Mission where we have a reservation for a month at the Americana RV Resort.

Today we did some laundry and caught up on some mail that Eric brought with him to Minnesota. We’re watching the Packers/Vikings football game. Its close, but our Packers aren’t playing very well. Hopefully, they’ll pull it out in the end. Sorry, Cathryn. I know you’re a Vikings fan.

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Joy

The best Christmas gift we could receive from Amazon was to release us early on our last night so we could get some decent sleep before our long drive on Saturday. Our wishes were answered. We were released at 11:00 pm on Friday night with a bag of Godiva chocolates as a good-bye gift. Yum!

We slept until 7 am on Saturday. Kevin quickly winterized the 5th wheel which we left at the campground before we drove to Moorhead, Minnesota. It took us just under 12 hours with one stop for dinner, one stop for fuel and a few bathroom stops. We arrived around 9 pm. Both boys were here. Yippee!!! I feel so blessed to have been able to spend the holidays with my three guys!

On Sunday Cathryn’s family invited us over for dinner. They had not met Eric yet. We had a great time. Dinner was delicious. After dinner I got to help make lefse. It’s a traditional Norwegian dish, kind of a cross between a potato pancake and a tortilla shell. Sorry, no pictures because I forgot my camera, but it was fun working with Cathryn, her mom and her sister. After dinner we played a few games with lots of laughter.

Breutzmann and Nelson Family in Moorhead

Here we have Cathryn, Korey, Samantha (Cathryn’s sister and maid of honor), Dennis (Cathryn’s dad), Eric, me and Kevin. Her mom, Sharon, was taking the picture.

Sharon took such a nice picture of our family, except doesn’t it look like Kevin and I have arms growing out of our ears :)

Family in Moorhead

Christmas Eve we hung out at Koreys apartment, and then attended church with Cathryn’s family at the church where the wedding will be. It’s a beautiful church! Here’s our annual family Christmas picture.


Christmas Day the four of us went to see The Hobbit in 3D on the Ultra Screen. The guys really enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty good. Then it was back to Korey’s place where we made a delicious ham dinner.

Yesterday I went wedding dress shopping with Cathryn, her mom, her sister and her best friend. We went to three different dress shops looking at wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses. I can report that Cathryn said yes to the dress, but no other details can be shared. It’s a secret :)  Let me just tell you that she will be a beautiful bride!!


The bride with both moms. Thanks for including me. It was such a fun day!

Eric left yesterday morning to head back to Wisconsin. We had dinner last night with Cathryn’s family at Granite City which is a micro-brewery/restaurant in Fargo. Dinner was delicious and the company was excellent. The manager came over to ask us if everything was okay. Cathryn’s mom told him we were celebrating their engagement, so the manager gave them a complimentary giant hot cookie dessert with ice cream. It was so big all seven of us got to eat some. Here’s the happy couple. Aren’t they so cute!


We had met Cathryn’s family once before in June, 2010. I’m so glad we got to spend a little more time with them. They are wonderful people, and we had such a good time with them.


Today we’re going to check out the reception venue and spend some more time with Korey and Cathryn. Tomorrow we are headed back to Coffeyville to pick up our home on wheels. Then its on to Texas for the winter.

A belated Merry Christmas to everyone out there in blog land.

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I’m a Winner

During Peak Season at Amazon they have what they call Power Hours. Different departments have the Power Hours at different times throughout the Peak Season. Last week Friday there was a Power Hour for pickers, and I won a $50 Walmart gift card.

Everyone who picked at 100% or over was put into a drawing and six names were drawn to win gift cards. I slid in with a rate of 103%. There have been four Power Hour events for pickers so far. I’m surprised they give out Walmart gift cards. You would think they would give Amazon cards. I’m sure I’ll have no problem spending money at Walmart.

Kevin got another letter of commendation in his personnel file. Last week he picked over 6,000 items with no errors. Such an overachiever :)   No letters for me. I’m just hanging in there until we are done!!

At most we have two more nights of work. I’m really hoping they release us earlier. Our plan is to drive to Moorhead, Minnesota on Saturday unless they let us go earlier. Best case would be they don’t make us come in at all on Friday. Then we can travel a day earlier. It all depends on how many orders they have. So, no more ordering :)

I am super excited to see our boys. Korey’s fiancĂ© Cathryn has invited me to join in on a dress shopping expedition on Dec. 26th. I appreciate that she’s included me. Since I don’t have a daughter, its great to be included in the bride activities.

I picked an item at Amazon the other day that everyone must have. A singing Justin Bieber toothbrush. NOT!!!

I hope all of our Wisconsin friends and family are enjoying the snow they received yesterday. Stay safe on those roads!

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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

One More Week–Maybe

candleFirst of all, I just need to say how heavy and saddened my heart is. There are no words for the horrific tragedy in Connecticut. I worked in elementary and middle schools for over 20 years, first as an aide and then as a Guidance Department secretary.


When I first started working in schools in 1988, the doors were not locked and there was just a sign on the door asking visitors to check in at the office. By the time I left in 2010, all outside doors were always locked and visitors had to be buzzed into the building. We not only had tornado and fire drills, but we also had intruder drills and special code phrases for an intercom announcement if there was ever a dangerous intruder.

I can’t begin to explain why our world has come to this. What evil must reside in the heart and soul of a person to commit such a horrific, senseless, cowardly and selfish act. All I can say is my prayers are with all of the families as they deal with their grief. I can’t wait to see my boys and give them a great big hug!!

On the home front, we have five days or less to work at Amazon. We were contracted to work through Dec. 23rd in order to receive the $1 per hour completion bonus. Yesterday they told us we would be released on Dec. 22nd and would still receive the bonus. Since Saturday is our day off, we will be done Friday night at the latest (actually Saturday morning at 3:30 am). Since the bonus will be over $500, we won’t be leaving early.

Last year they released us on Dec. 21st. I really wanted to be at our sons in Minnesota by Friday night. I’m still hoping they’ll let us go early. Free shipping on their site ends on Tuesday. I can’t imagine there will that many orders after Tuesday where people are willing to pay priority shipping. Best case for us would be we work Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is our day off so they could just tell us on Tuesday that we are done and don’t have to come back. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m really anxious to get out of here and see my kids!!!

I picked some more odd items this week. These are all food related. I never would have guessed you could buy creamed coconut, powdered goat milk or powdered peanut butter. Strange. Toys and Kindles are definitely the most popular items.

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

Sunday, December 9, 2012

One Million Plus

That’s the amount of items that were shipped out of our Amazon facility here in Coffeyville last week. Wow!! It was another 50 hour week for us. The upcoming week should be the busiest of the peak season with mandatory 11 hour shifts for the regular employees. CamperForce workers have a mandatory 50 hour week with the 11 hour days being optional. I will not be working 11 hour days. Kevin is thinking about it. Fifty hours a week is enough fun for me :)

We don’t know when our last day will be. We are contracted to work through Dec. 23rd, but will most likely be released early. Last year our last day was Dec. 21st. We’ll be leaving our 5th wheel at the campground and driving to our son Korey’s place in Moorhead, Minnesota. Its about an 11 hour trip. I’m hoping to be there on Dec. 22nd. Korey’s fiancĂ©, Cathryn, has invited me to make Lefse with her family if we are there on Saturday. Her family is Norwegian, and Lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread. That would be fun.

I came across a few more unusual items while picking this week. I really had to do a double take when my scanner told me to pick poultry flavored toothpaste. What??? It turned out to be toothpaste for pets. The scanner doesn’t always give the full description, so it just said poultry flavored toothpaste. Yuck!!

You can buy a 28 oz. can of marinated cactus. That was a new one for me. We saw Saguaro cactus jelly while we were in Arizona, but I didn’t know the cactus itself was eaten.

packer toasterOr maybe you’d like to have your favorite team logo on your toast. “Toast your Team” toasters are available for MLB or NHL teams. Just what every household needs.




There are several birds (I think they’re sparrows) living in the Amazon warehouse. Every once in a while I’ll be picking in the upper levels and can hear them chirping. The first time I heard it, I thought I was imagining it, but then I saw them sitting in the rafters. I’ve even seen them on the floor picking up scraps. I feel sorry for them being stuck in a warehouse. I wish Amazon would find a way to catch them and release them back outside where they belong.

Tomorrow is Kevin’s 57th birthday. Too bad we have to work. I’m making Parmesan Chicken for supper before we go to work. I also bought some cheesecake and carrot cake cupcakes for his birthday, two of his favorite deserts. 

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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First 50 Hour Week Completed

We made it through our first 50 hour week. We should have at least two more. I’m guessing they’ll release us before the end of the week of December 16th. Kevin actually went in for an extra half shift on Wednesday night, so he worked 55 hours last week. Today we’re off and then tomorrow it starts all over again.

I did not work extra hours on Wednesday. I stayed home to rest my aching feet. Amazingly, even with all the walking, the blisters on my little toes are slowly healing. I’ve been using antibiotic cream with band-aids and some moleskin wrapped around the band-aid to keep them protected.

My backside is also doing better. It hurt pretty bad for the first couple of days. I was able to continue to visit AmCare twice a shift to ice it. Last night I didn’t need any icing. Its feeling much better.

I think a little bragging is in order. Kevin received a commendation letter for his HR file for his work during Thanksgiving week. He picked almost 5,000 items with zero errors. I have not received any letters for my file. The good news is I haven’t gotten any bad reports. I’m just plodding along in the middle somewhere. That’s okay with me. I’m giving it all I’ve got!

I continue to marvel at some of the strange items I see while picking. Did you know you can buy an electric do it yourself back shaver with an extension handle to help you get to all the spots. Or how about a shower gel dispenser that looks like a large nose. The shower gel that comes with it is green and you can guess where the gel comes out. Just what everyone needs in their shower.

Melissa and Doug brand toys are still a hot item this year. I’ve also been picking a lot of little action figures from something called Skylanders. I don’t know what that is, but I’m guessing it has something to do with a video game. We’ve also seen a lot of dolls from something called Monster High. Again, never heard of it.

Diapers were a hot item this week. Amazon has a diaper program, and I’m thinking lots of diapers are shipped out at the beginning of the month. We both picked a bazillion boxes of diapers the last two days.

Clothing is another big seller at Amazon. Last year we shipped a lot of the brand Bebe. This year Bebe has begun shipping their own product and no longer contracts with Amazon. However, the brand Lacoste is a hot seller from Amazon. Some of the clothing items have price tags on them. I can’t believe how expensive the Lacoste stuff is. A polo shirt for $100 or a kids t-shirt for $50. I figured they must be heavily discounted on Amazon’s website, so I took a look. The polo shirts online are still $85. Maybe we’re cheap, but I’m not spending that kind of money on clothes just to have a little alligator logo on it.

There’s also a brand of underwear called ExOfficio. Supposedly, this underwear is designed for the traveler. You can wash it out easily because the fabric is super quick drying. Its also treated with some type of anti-bacteria chemical so you can wear it for more than one day. They sell for $20 a pair. Sounds kind of gross to me.

As you can imagine, wandering around the warehouse for 10 hour shifts can be pretty boring. You have to do something to keep your mind occupied (and not thinking about your sore feet). I sing Christmas songs to myself. It helps pass the time.

Last Monday they had doughnuts and juice for us at our first break. This coming Monday they will be serving us a holiday dinner of Beef Brisket and trimmings. I think its very nice of them to give us some special meals and snacks during the peak season.

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