It’s all over but the warming!

Released from Amazon

My release date from Amazon was Wed 12/18.  I was going to slack off my last day but I wound up having a great day.  I had a better percentage of items stowed then normal.  I also talked to a lot of the campers who were leaving on the same day and some that were scheduled to leave later.  Many of us are going to Quartzsite in January and we are making plans to meet up there.  I can’t wait.  I probably met more fun people this year then any of the last two years.  Aside from the hard work and the COOOOOLD weather I really enjoyed this year more then any other.

Change in weather

I figured that I would take Thursday to get organized and ready to hit the road on Friday.  However this is what I awoke to on Thursday morning.

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There wasn’t a lot of snow but just enough to make you slip and slide if you weren’t careful.  I spent the day getting stuff organized inside my rig.  Even though it snowed the temps were much warmer and by the end of the day a lot of the snow had melted.

I also had running water.  HURRAY!  Last night while watching TV I could hear the bathroom sink gurgling.  Chica was going crazy barking at the gurgling noise.  She didn’t know what it was.  The sink trap had busted loose and I was finally getting drainage.  HURRAY #2!

Great driving weather

I packed everything up, payed my final electric bill at Desert Rose RV park, hooked up the Sami and I was off into the wilderness.  It was such a GREAT FEELING to get back on the road.  I love the feeling when I am back behind the wheel!  Chica curled up in my lap as she always does when we are on the road.

I stopped in Hawthorne at the McDonald’s to give Chica a break but never stopped again except for gas.  I finally pulled into one of my favorite RV parks at Beatty RV Park.  I don’t know what it is about this park but I usually stop here at least twice a year.  The folks here are  very friendly and remembered me for the last time I was here ion October just before heading to Fernly.

California Gold (or should I say heat)

Tomorrow I will get up early and head into California where I know the temps are about 70.  (Eat your heart out Fernley!)  I will be seing my sister and a lot of good friends on Sunday.  Chica will also be happy that she can get out and run in the grass.

Glad it is OVER!

It was great having an opportunity to earn a lot of extra money to keep myself on the road.  But it sure is great that the time at Amazon finally came to an end.  The job is not exactly easy and the weather SUCKS but the money is good.  I am glad it has finally come to an end and now I am BACK ON THE ROAD!

I HOPE TO SEE MANY OF YOU IN Q!

 

Gettin Cold in Fernley

Cold spell

We had a cold spell go through here and dropped some snow on the local mountains.  We didn’t get any snow here in Fernley, but the mountains sure looked nice.  The temps dropped down into the low 20’s at night so got out the electric heater.  I bought a Lasko oscillating heater last year at Walmart so I fired it up to keep Chica warm.  I am still learning the best setting for it during the day.  Yesterday I came home and it was 89 degrees inside the rig.  Chica thinks she is in Hawaii.  HA!  HA!  I am thinking of buying a timer so I can only keep it on during the cold parts of the day.  During the day it warms up nicely (so far anyway) and she gets direct sunlight through the side window so she can lay on the couch and bask in the sun.

Sore muscles 

My back has been killing me this week so I have been taking Aleve on a daily basis to cure the pain.  It is usually bad the first couple of weeks until your body acclimates to the punishment that Amazon doles out.  After all life is not east when your making the big bucks.  HA!

Chica’s walks

Diane takes Chica for a nice long walk during the day.  It breaks up the monotony for her and gives her a chance to get some exercise while the sun is still out.  I leave for work in the dark and it is almost dark when I return.  The other day I got a note from Diane stating Chica had hid from her and she didn’t take her for a walk that day.  She said she wouldn’t come when she called her name.  I left a note for Diane stating she sometimes curls up on the seat in the cab where the sun shines in.

By the way I ordered a bed warmer for Chica’s bed so I can turn the heater down lower at night.  I am testing it now and should be able to place it under her bed to keep her nice and snugly.  Chica sure hates it when I am gone all day and goes crazy when I get home.  It takes her about 10 minutes too calm down as she gets very excited when I walk in the door.

Great dinners

I didn’t do too well on cooking for the week last weekend.  After working 10 hours I really don’t fell much like cooking.  So I looked over Casey’s menu and decided I would give her cooking a try.  She doesn’t cook on Sunday so I was on my own.  Monday I had spaghetti and meatballs with cheese garlic bread.  WOW!  It was a real feast.  Then Tuesday and Wednesday I got her soups with garlic bread.  Very yuuuumy!

Overtime

I was assigned Thursday as my mandatory overtime day.  So now I will be working 5 days a week with Friday and Saturday off.  Also our starting time has been moved back to 6:00am.  The best part is that we get off work at 4:30pm.  We can also get voluntary overtime if we want it, but I am not too excited about working 11 hour days.

I hope everyone has a nice safe Halloween tonight!

First Week At Amazon

Orientation

I reported to Amazon on Saturday 10/19 for orientation.  I have been through this twice before so I am familiar with the procedure.  Saw some of the same movies I had seen before, but portions of it had been updated.

In the afternoon it was off to Safety School.  Then we got off work at 5:30.  I headed straight home and Chica was right their to greet me.  It had been a long day for her as well and she was very excited to see me.

My Shift

Sunday is the first day of my shift and I work through Wednesday.  They start us right out on 10 hour days from 7:00am to 5:30pm.  The first week they gave us a break and Monday and Tuesday we only worked 5 hours.

My Job

This year they made me a Stower.  I get the products from receiving and stow it in the bins.  It will be much less walking then last year when I was a picker and picked the items out of the bins.  Pickers usually walk between 12 – 14 miles per day.  However a stower does not walk nearly as much, as we can put the items in any bin that has space.

It is a bit difficult this time of the year for a stower as the bins are very full and sometimes difficult to find some open space.  However, once the customers start their Holiday shopping everything will change and I will have lots of open bins to stow the merchandise.

Sore Muscles

Your find out the muscles you don’t normally use as much as usual.  I take two Aleve in the morning and it cures the soreness most of the day.  I have done that every year I have worked at Amazon and believe me it really works.

Seniority

This is the third year I have worked at the Fernley, NV Fulfillment Center.  I have had different jobs each year.  The first year I was a Packer, the second year I was a Picker and this year I am a Stower.  They always ask you to specify what job you would prefer, but I don’t think they pay much attention to it as each year I have had different jobs then what I stated that I preferred. Oh well,  it is nice to be able to do other jobs as well.  After going on my third year I am familiar with the layout of the building.  It is a massive building and finding your way around it can be very difficult for new people.  Most of them get very stressed out not even knowing where all the bathrooms and break rooms are let alone the many different production lines and storage areas.

Home Sweet Home

My home this year as it was the past 2 years is the Desert Rose RV Park.  This year I have the same space as I did last year as I was able to reserve it when I departed last year.

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DSC_0691 Here I am in good ‘ole space #140.  It is close to the front and the office.

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A few things have changed since my last season at Amazon.  I now have a vehicle and satellite TV.  Both of those were thanks to the money I made last year working.

Another thing that has changed is Chica.  She and I have been together since February 25.  It has now been 8 months and 8,658 miles since we have been so lucky to meet each other.  She is is her favorite spot on the couch with the sun coming through the window.

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She also likes to get on top of the nice warm clothes after I bring them back from the laundromat.

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She loves to crawl under them and go to sleep.

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Friends

This year I have many friends both here at the RV Park and Amazon as well.  I have run into many of the same people that I knew last year.  I encouraged some of my friends at Quartzsite to work here this year.  However, they all have different shifts so I don’t see them too often.

Weather

The weather during the day is really nice in the low 70’s but gets down into the low 30’s at night.  I keep my catalytic heater going all night and turn on my furnace in the morning for a cycle just to warm up.  However it is forecast to go down into the low 20’s next week at night.  BRRRRRRRRR!  I also have a small electric heater I will run once it gets really cold.

I also have a dog walker that I pay $5 per walk to come and walk Chica on the days when I am working.  There is another person in the park that cooks really great meals and I can schedule them on a couple of my days off.  YUUUUUUM!  After 10 hours of work on your feet you don’t really feel like cooking.

I cannot post every day but will try to post as much as I can on my days off.

 

Arrived in Fernley

My route to Fernley

I left Albuquerque on Sunday and traveled to the Meteor Crater RV Park just outside of Winslow, AZ.  It is a nice park and offers a 15% discount to Escapees.  I stayed here back in 2010 on my way to my first Balloon Fiesta.

From there I drove to Bullhead City, AZ where I spent 2 nights with my brother-in-law’s twin brother.  The weather was much warmer there then in Albuquerque with temps getting into the 80’s.

On Wednesday I drove to the Beatty RV Park in Beatty, AZ.  I always stay there at least once a year either coming or going from my winter job in Fernley, NV.

On to Fernley

Then on Thursday made the 288 mile drive up highway 95 to the Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley, NV.  This will be home for Chica and I for the next 2+ months.  The weather was very nice during the day with temps in the low 70’s.  However it is colder at night with temps in the low 30’s.

Parked in my old space from last year

Last year I reserved my old space #140.  It is close to the office and in the front of the park.  Shannon greeted me as I drove in.  She is in the same space as last year right next to me.  Rodger also came over to say Hi and told me how things are going thus far.

Requested to be a picker but got stower instead

I had requested on my Amazon application that I wanted to be a picker.  Instead this year I will be a stower.  The stower puts all the merchandise on the shelves.  I am hearing good things about this job and it will be much less walking then the picker job I had last year (12-14 miles per day).  Already I am glad they gave me this job and I haven’t even started.

My first day will be tomorrow when I have orientation.  I will have the same work days as last year – Sunday through Wednesday with Thursday, Friday and Saturday off until the peak season hits.

Lots of honey dos today

I have lots of things to take care of today including a nice long shower, lots of laundry, set up Drs. appointments for renewing my prescriptions, empty out my car, hook up 20 gallon propane tanked supplied by the park, etc.  So I will be busy.

I will try to take some pics and get them in my next post of the surrounding area.

 

Being interviewed by a CNBC news team!

The CNBC production crew was waiting for me!

Yesterday I was greeted by a camera crew from CNBC including Jeff Daniels, the television producer and Jane Wells who was the reporter.  There was also a cameraman with a camera that was huge and barely fit through the door of my rig.  They conducted the interview inside my rig.  WHAT A TRIP!!  They told me that it would be shown nationally on CNBC.  About 11:26am it was shown and was I ever excited.  I had decided to take the day off from work since I could hardly sleep that night thinking about it.
I have a link to this interview which you can see for yourself.

“MY CNBC INTERVIEW”

Jane also writes a blog which details her reporting on Amazon work campers.  This can be seen at ‘Workampers’ The New Job Seekers

This was a real kick to be involved in and still can’t believe it happened to me.  It all started with an email from Jeff Daniels, the producer who mentioned he had seen my blog and wanted to interview me.  WOW!!!

Wine and cheese party

Thanksgiving was very busy around Fernley.  Although I had to work on Thanksgiving day we got off early at 2:30.  Six of us went out to a huge Thanksgiving buffet at one of the local casinos. We couldn’t stay out too late as we had to work the following day. YUK!  Saturday we started our first day of 6 to 6.  Even more yuk!  Now they have added another day to our schedule and more hours as well.  6 to 6 five days a week.  Oh well, lots of money for my tow vehicle.

Yesterday a couple who was leaving invited me to a wine and cheese party.  They wanted to have it in my neighbor’s Casita.  Four people in a 17′ Casita just might be a little crowded, so they were coming over to my rig instead.  We all started outside even though it was a bit chilly and were soon joined at various times by 7 other people.  By the time we moved inside there was only five of us.  It was a great time!

  I went over to invite my neighbors Steve and Marti over as well since we were making so much noise.   Soon it was dark and we all decided to go into the warmth of my rig were we continued to make more noise partying.

I think everyone had a good time and the meat and cheese, plus all the wine was great.  It was just a good thing I didn’t have to go to work the next day.

Today was laundry day and all the washers and dryers were open so I had mine done in under 2 hours.  It will be tough getting up earlier tomorrow and having to report to work at 6am but we only have 4 weeks to go and it will all be behind us.

Working at Amazon

On 10/17 I started my first day at Amazon.  Work started at 6:30am (OUCH) and there was orientation and training all day.  Last year the first week on the job consisted of 4 eight hour days.  This year they started us right off with 4 ten hour days.

I also received my work assignment.  Last year I was a packer and this year I am a picker.  I walk around with a scanner in hand and pick the items from bins that then go to the packers.  We were told that pickers walk an average of 8-10 miles per day, but I am happy with that job.  I don’t have to stand in one place all day, but move all around the fulfillment center.

My work days are Wednesday through Saturday and I get Sunday through Tuesday off.  I just finished my second week here and believe me I am really happy to get those three days off.  It gives your body a chance to recover, especially your hands.

I had some excitement over this past weekend.  As you probably know I decided to work this past summer and winter to save up for a small vehicle.  I would then have more freedom of movement while camped at different places rather then unhook my rig each time I had to go to the store.  I have been following craigslist for some time trying to get an idea what was available on the market and what it would cost.

I saw a Geo Tracker listed in Fernley, NV (how ironic) which looked really nice and was pretty much what I was looking for, however he wanted more then I thought I could afford ($4,300).  What was really ironic was that I saw it parked at the entrance to the Desert Rose RV Park where I am staying while I work at Amazon.  In fact I could look out my window and see it from my rig.  A few days later the price had come down to $3,900.  I decided to take a look at it up close.  I really liked what I saw as the owner had put a new convertible top, dash cover, seat covers and added a new tow bar.  I again looked in craigslist and the price had been reduced to $3,800 so I knew the owner really wanted to get rid of it.  I then called him up and offered $3,500 and he accepted.  I met him at the car and took it for a test drive and it ran really well so I gave him a check to hold the car until I got the remaining money from my investment account.  I am very excited and wish it could happen right now.  This is a pic of the car.  It is very clean inside and out and I can tell it has been taken very good care of.

I called my investment adviser on Monday to have them sell some shares in my account so I could pay him the balance.  However the Stock Markets are closed both Monday and Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy so I won’t be able to get the car until next Monday when the money will be in my account.

Getting back to working at Amazon, the hands get very sore from using a scanner and the feet get sore from walking so much.  I do have good shoes so my feet aren’t too bad.  I try to switch the scanner to my left hand, but I still seem to favor my right hand.  But I am getting better with my left hand.

There was a cold front that went through here and it got down into the 20’s at night, but right now the weather is great.  It is 74 high and low 30’s at night.  I have both electric and propane heaters and have finally figured out a good balance between the two.

Saturday my neighbor and friend from last year Steve and I went to a local casino and everyone was decked out in their Halloween costumes.  What a riot.  It was a great time.  If you drink at the bar the drinks don’t cost anything (except for a tip) if you tell them you are gambling.  I had two Corona’s and only put $6 in the slot machine.  It was a really fun time.

Tomorrow starts my third week on the job with eight more to go.  Actually the time is going by pretty fast.  Before long I will be with all my friends at Quartzsite, AZ.