Saturday, December 27, 2014

Re-Retired and Loving It

After nearly 10 weeks at Amazon, we put in our last shift last Tuesday.  Since then, we have had the chance to sit down whenever we like and the numbness is leaving our hands and wrists.  I am exaggerating only slightly.  What did we learn?  We are thankful that we were physically able to stay through the whole “peak season”.  We are also very thankful that we don’t have to do this kind of work on a regular basis. 

One Christmas custom we were able to do, was to make lefse.  We set up the electric griddle in the kitchen and cranked out about 4 dozen lefse.  We shared some of it with Dave and also brought some to Christmas for Jamie.  Yum!

We had a very nice Christmas, being invited to Jeff’s parents’ house for snacks and gift-giving on Christmas Eve with Pam and Ron along with Jamie, Jeff and their girls.
We hosted a small brunch in our motorhome on Christmas Day for Dave and Nancy and, also, Peggy and her son, Scott, from the Ashville area.  They are also fulltimers who have been at Amazon, while staying in the same park.

Our next service project doesn’t start until after New Year’s Day.  We have booked 4 nights at the Life Enrichment Center, a Methodist camp in Fruitland Park Florida to pass some of that time.  Now that we are recently re-retired we figured we could stretch a 2-day drive to get there into 3 days of driving, with another day off to get used to all this moving again.  We left the Nashville area yesterday and drove about 200 miles to a very nice Corps of Engineers facility on Allatoona Lake in northern Georgia.  A couple of traffic issues made it a long day, so today is our day off.  We will go through Atlanta on Sunday morning and stop in southern Georgia for one night, and then get to Fruitland Park on Monday. 

The Corps of Engineers put a dam on the Etowah River to create Allatoona Lake for flood control and electricity generation about 1949.  We are about 30 miles north of Atlanta and, as a result, the place is one of the busiest Corp facilities in the nation with 6 to 7 million visitors per year.  The following is taken from the Corps website:

“   As Allatoona Dam controls flooding downstream, large fluctuations of the lake elevation can occur.  This is because the normal capacity of Allatoona Lake is relatively small compared to the amount of water that drains into it during heavy rains.

     Daily lake elevation increases of three to four feet are not uncommon after heavy rains.  Weekly increases have been as great as twenty feet.  In the past, high waters have caused severe shoreline erosion.  To guard against this damage, engineers lower the lake's normal elevation during the winter to provide storage capacity for spring rains.  This is when sudden heavy rain cause the most severe fluctuations.  In the summer when rainfall is reduced, the Corps of Engineers raise the level of the lake to 840 feet above sea level.  This is when the lake is most beautiful, and when recreational use of the lake is the greatest.”

And we thought the Whiteface changed a lot during the year – but nothing like this.

Here is what our location looks like, and notice the room to catch next spring’s heavy rains.

We got a message from Nancy that they made it to Florida.  They took off their jackets and socks as the temperature was 78.  We can’t wait!!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Summary of 2014

2014 was the fourth year we have had experiencing life on the road or "full-timing".  Here is an overview of our year:

We started the year out at the Rose Parade where we first spent time with our now friends Dave and Nancy.  A very fun event!!

After the Rose Parade we headed to Phoenix where we spent time with family and friends.  We also did a Nomads project and traded our motorhome for a new, larger one.
Paige and her sisters
Bob, Uncle Phil, Elsie, and Paige's Mom

We slowly headed to Minnesota, doing another Nomads project in Oklahoma on the way, arriving in late April.  Too early as we encountered cold weather and snow!  Ice on Lake Superior didn't go out until June!  We got busy in Duluth emptying and cleaning Mom's house to prepare for it's sale - which happened in October.

We arrived at the cabin in mid-May and encountered a day similar to the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" where our new motorhome suffered multiple issues trying to get into the driveway.  The result was that we had a new driveway put in to avoid future issues.

The granddaughters went on a field trip to an underground iron mine with Dave.

We celebrated Grandma Joyce's 85th birthday.

Friends and family relaxed at the cabin.

A trip to the State Fair was fun!

Before we left Minnesota, we took the girls for the annual school shopping trip.  Grandpa loves shopping!

Since mid-October we have been working at Amazon in Murfreesboro, TN.  This is close to Nashville where our niece Jamie and family live so we've been able to spend time with them.  They have two adorable daughters!

After Christmas in Nashville later this week, we will be heading to Florida for New Years Eve.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Nearing the End

During the past 2 weeks, we have met a lot of other CamperForce workers at Amazon, many of whom are fun to be with.  Some have chosen to drop out and leave because of health or family problems, and there are stories that some may have been asked to leave, but there are so many rumors floating around that some might not be accurate.  We heard the story of a Camperforce couple working in the gift wrap department a couple of days ago and had such a fight over a box that they were fired.  Apparently the fight became quite violent.  Guess it’s getting to be time to leave for a lot of people!

Bob has done nothing but packing products into boxes, but Paige has had a couple of chances to do what she likes: more gift wrapping.  Usually the gift wrapping is only for a few hours in the morning because they then need to get orders packed and shipped so she is pulled back into the packing area. 

Last weekend we took the time to add Skype to our small electronic Tablet.  We tested it with a call to David, and tomorrow we will use it with Brett and his girls.  It seems to work better than last year when we used it on the laptop.  We’re looking forward to Skyping with the kids and grandkids on Christmas.

Last Wednesday, we felt the need for a bit of a break, so we arranged to have a number of co-workers meet for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant right after work.  Two of them brought their wives along as well.  It was a welcome relief from the usual “Work, Eat, Sleep, Repeat” daily grind.  One of the couples happened to be working as camp hosts at the campground we were at in San Diego 3 years ago.  Small world!  One of the guys, John, is an avid GeoCacher and has “hidden” many caches in this area which Bob is hoping to go looking for before we leave here.

By E-mail on Thursday night, we received our official release date, which will be Monday the 22nd.  We expect it to be a mostly full day, but with a “going away” meeting in a conference room during the last ½ hour.  Yipee!!  We made it (almost)!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Deck the Halls

Tis the season for decorating and preparing for the Holidays.  In the motorhome, we do everything minimally compared to what we used to do in the house.  Here is some of our decorating:

Fireplace (driver’s side)

                                                                       Entry way

Presents under the tree (passenger’s side)

The 50-hour weeks have become like mindless repetition of filling boxes with other people’s stuff, over and over.  It makes us appreciate the freedom we have by not having much stuff (or room to carry it).  Some of our co-workers opted to take on a 6th 10-hour day this week, but we had other things to do with our time (like laundry and shopping and resting).  With only two weeks left (and maybe a little bit more) our thoughts have turned to scheduling our departure and choosing the route to our next Nomads project.  

Depending on their order backlog Amazon may choose to end our work anytime between the 20th and the 24th.  We plan to stay here in Smyrna through the 25th and leave for Florida on the 26th.  We’re looking forward to spending Christmas with Pam and Ron and Jamie’s family. 

We spent part of yesterday and today completing our Christmas shopping.  Some of the gifts were ordered online and will be delivered to the kids.  But Paige has a need to wrap gifts so we bought a few things that will be mailed after being personally wrapped by her.  We’ll miss being with the kids and grandkids!  Hopefully we can Skype and enjoy talking after they receive the gifts.