Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Going to My Happy Place

We finished our first 40 hour week here and I am trying so very hard to stay positive. I knew what we were getting ourselves into since we did this job last year. I knew about all of the obstacles in our way. All of the little games that stowers play on us. 

But as much as I try to not let it get to me it does. Not as bad as it was last year when we left, but it is early.

The biggest thing that gets to me is the way that they think this should be done. I can not believe that this is result of all of their brainstorming. What I am referring to is the way that they have us picking items in the warehouse. And I will give you plenty of examples so that you know what I mean.

Example #1- You get to a bin that is packed full of black wallets. You think easy, right. Well no. There is one brown wallet in there somewhere and that is the one you need. This does not happen by accident. A stower had to put one brown wallet in there. Usually it is in the back and on the bottom. So a pick that should take a couple of seconds now takes minutes. Chances are that next to that bin is a bin full of brown wallets with one black one in there.

Example #2- You get to a bin with items all wrapped in white plastic bags with Chinese writing on them. They are all different items mind you. So all you have to go on is the number on the upc code. How efficient is that? Now you just start scanning everything hoping to find the right item.

Example #3- You get to a bin and you look at your scanner to see what you are looking for. It gives you a lengthy description but fails to tell you a size or color. So again you just start scanning everything. If the item you are scanning is correct it beeps once. If it is wrong it has this series of beeps to let you know it is wrong.

Example #4- The scanner sends you to the 4th floor of a pick mod and you pick one item. It then sends you to the ground floor in a different warehouse to pick one item. It then sends you back to the 4th floor you were just on to pick one item again. Frustrating, right?

Example #5- You get to a bin and it is so full of stuff, you can barely get it open. You hunt for the item you need, find it and then try to close the bin. The stower that filled that bin, stuffed it that full on purpose. It did not get that way on it's own.

I could go on and on. Now I am sure you are thinking that it is not that bad. It's not, if it happened occasionally. But it happens all day long. 10 hours a day. 

So all you can do is think happy thoughts. The only thing that gets me through this is the love of a good woman and a case of cold beer at the end of the week. lsep. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Suddenly it Hit Me

Did Lisa finally slap the daylights out of me? Did you get rear ended by Bubba the hill-billy?

Nope, none of the above. Although I think Lisa would like to sometimes. What hit me is that driving around Kentucky, I realized that it is really a beautiful state. I know we were here last year but we just kind of stayed in the western part of the state.

Last Saturday we went to Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace in Hodgenville Ky. It was just a short drive away and I remember seeing the signs for it last year. But we never made the effort to check it out. I always find it amazing to be able to walk where giants have walked. To learn a little more history of our forefathers. To see the humble beginnings of one of our greatest presidents.

This is a small national historic park and it is also a no fee park. We drove in and went to the visitor center. Abraham Lincoln only lived her a couple of years and then his family moved a little farther north after being evicted over a land dispute. His log cabin that he was born in is here inside a beautiful shrine.

We then drove into Hodgenville because they had an Abraham Lincoln museum. It was privately owned and a little cheesy but the price of $3.00 each to get in was okay. They had lots of diorama's of Abe's life. Also a ton of oil paintings and a lot of those were just awful. 

Lisa listening to the Gettysburg address

All in all it was very interesting. So that was last Saturday. We then worked Sunday and Monday with Tues-Thur. off. 3 day weekends are nice. We picked out some sights that we want to see this time while we are here starting with the one that was going to be the farthest away. We figured that later on our energy levels would be less so we did this one first. The sight that we picked was the Cumberland Gap.

Cumberland Gap is on the eastern side of the state. It borders Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. We drove the scenic route through the Daniel Boone National Forest. It was so wooded that I could just picture Daniel Boone or Davey Crockett walking through these woods. We stopped at the Cumberland Falls for some pictures.

The Falls


The river is very shallow and the bottom is all rock, not mud of even the kind of rocks you would find in mountain stream. It just flows over a rock layer that it can't get through.

The Cumberland Gap. I remember this from history classes in school a long time ago. I don't even know if it is taught anymore. The gap is exactly that. An area in the mountain range that was the easiest place to cross. They estimate that 200,000 to 300,000 pioneers crossed through there. Native Americans have been using the gap for centuries following animal herds.

The gap goes from where we are standing to the other mountain across the way

The pathway. It was a perfect day.

The gap from the Tennessee side

Of course during the Civil war this area was very important to both sides. So I got some good cannon photos. I love to look at cannon's.

It was a very good day. On a more personal note. One of my cousins passed away last week, which got me thinking about this lifestyle of ours. We feel very lucky to be able to do this and very fortunate. My cousin was 60. He was diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago and it took him that quickly. He reminded me that we need to make that extra effort to see as much as we can because you never know. Lsep.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

So it Begins..................Again

After a sad good-bye to Lisa's mom, our son Roman and other friends, we closed up the fifthwheel, hooked up and hit the dusty road south. Our trip from Minnesota to Kentucky was uneventful. The only thing worth mentioning was that we both decided that that trip was really long. 1100 miles. Maybe it was because we have been driving a lot of miles lately. We made the trip from Yellowstone to Minnesota in July to pick up our new home and then back to Yellowstone with it. 800 miles each way. Then we finished work in Yellowstone and drove back to Minnesota(another 800 miles). So we are okay with sitting for awhile.

We pulled into the Heartland Campground here in Campbellsville KY. Not that many sites left so we were lucky to get one since they don't take reservations. It seems like there are a lot more people here this year or maybe it was because we started a month later than last year. It just feels different.

Lisa just told me why it is busier. Our employer has 4 warehouses that hire workampers. They closed one last year to workampers, so those people are here.

Monday we had our orientation. Same as last years. Company history, sexual harassment training, equal opportunity training and something completely new. I can not believe that America has gotten to this point but it has. We had a new video about "Work Place Violence". What to do in case a person enters the facility and starts shooting. Option one: RUN. If you can't run, option two: HIDE. And if all else fails, option three: FIGHT. Sadly they have taken away option four: SHOOT BACK! Which should be option one. Ironically the video opens up with the shooter shooting the unarmed security guard. Then a dozen other people. We don't even trust our security people with guns.

Then we had safety school. How to push a cart, climb a ladder and move a pallet. Really good stuff.

Tuesday we learned how to do our jobs. Actually it came back to us pretty fast. In fact it was just like we never left. A few people remember us and us them. There is lots of turnover in a company like this.

The rest of our week will be 5 hour days to get used to it and then we jump right in to our schedule of 10 hour days, 4 days a week. So hopefully there will be something interesting to blog about. We will see. And if you don't know what I am talking about, look back a year in my blog to learn about where we are. lsep