Our two months here in Texas working for Amazon seem like a blur! We spent most of the time working, with little spare time for sight-seeing. In a previous post, I mentioned a trip to the LBJ National Grassland. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to explore the town of Denton – home to the Texas Women’s University and University of North Texas. There is an awesome little museum in the courthouse that is well worth a visit.
The courthouse was designed by architect W.C. Dodson in the Romanesque style and built in 1896. It is a great example of courthouses built during this era and is beautiful inside. The museum occupies space on the main floor and is operated and maintained by the Denton County Historical Commission. It was interesting to see how much education was a factor in the success of the town and surrounding area. The founding fathers of Denton understood the importance of strong educational foundations for community success and supported the establishment of two universities early on in the town’s formative years.
There were some informative exhibits highlighting early regional history including the Texas Rangers and early settlers. There was also a display showcasing some of the history of Bonnie and Clyde!
I especially got a kick out of the cattle branding exhibit!
And the early period sampler quilt…..
After visiting the museum, we headed across the street to a local food establishment for some much needed sustenance.
We were very surprised to see an entry on the menu for a “Texas Philly Cheesesteak”. Jim is a HUGE cheesesteak fan having been raised just outside of Philadelphia so he could not resist trying this dish. He warned the waitress that he was from Philadelphia and would be doing a comparative analysis 🙂 The verdict? He gave the Texas-style Philly cheesesteak a thumbs up. The only minor problem was that he had to request ketchup over the offered mayo or mustard. A Philly cheesesteak really demands ketchup!
It was a very busy week leading up to the holiday weekend! We worked over 50 hours, and still found time to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary and my 60th birthday!
On December 20, 2016, we headed into Decatur to have dinner – for several reasons. Jim and I wanted to acknowledge 35 years of marriage (Yikes!), and we wanted to spend a nice evening with my sister and brother-in-law before we parted ways. It could very well be a year or more before we see them again. Vicki and Harry were heading out before us on Friday for California and a rendezvous with their son, Geoff for the holidays. We extended our Amazon commitment by one day – so our last work day would be Saturday the 24th.
I highly recommend Sweetie Pie’s – it is known for its rib-eye steak and everyone selected some form of the rib-eye for dinner, with me being the exception of course. Not a huge meat eater, I opted for the Lemon Sole – which was actually quite good!
The restaurant was decorated for the holidays, and it really was a festive atmosphere and a lot of fun.
Our last week at Amazon was uneventful. However, we did draw some overtime and accumulated enough hours to qualify for 5 hours each of personal time – which allowed us to get a full day’s pay for December 24th even though management let everyone go home early. An extra bonus!
So, of course, for me the reward in receiving half-a-day off on the 24th was football-related 🙂
We left work at 12:30 and were able to make it to Chili’s restaurant in Decatur just in time for the second half – Minnesota vs. Green Bay. Crucial game for both teams – and my team prevailed! I must admit the one drawback to being on the road ( and not opting to get TV service) is missing football season. I need to start planning now for a place to watch the BIG game on January 1st against Detroit!
We spent Sunday, the 25th, getting things packed up and ready for travel – doing laundry, securing stuff inside and out, and re-arranging the truck for travel. I did manage to throw together a mini-holiday dinner – marinated chicken breasts cooked on the stove-top, sweet potatoes, broccoli and fresh cranberry sauce made with PURE VERMONT maple syrup, of course! We also enjoyed a late afternoon glass of wine with some fellow Amazon workampers still here in the RV park.
While we miss being near our sons and family this holiday, all in all it was an okay day. We chatted with most of our family via phone, and also received some pictures from Vermont. I even took a nap mid-day, which is highly unusual for me! I think that I finally allowed myself to relax. Usually on our days off, we were scrambling to get things done since our workdays left no time for anything but eating and sleeping.
The final word on Amazon Camperforce? We survived the tour of duty unscathed and actually managed to get used to the 11-hour days, 2-hour round-trip commute and physical nature of the work. It’s not for everyone, and some folks probably could not adapt to the demanding schedule, but we did and it was rewarding to know that we could do it. Everything the recruiters say is true – it is hard work. You are on your feet all day – bending, lifting and standing. It’s noisy, and busy. You have to be vigilant about your surroundings as you are working around conveyor belts, industrial equipment, and robotic machinery. If you have issues with your health or your stamina, it’s probably not going to work for you.
We met some fantastic workampers, and also many full-time employees who made the days bearable. One of the assistant managers on our team really looked out for the camperforce folks, and she gave me a BIG hug on our last day and truly expressed how much she was going to miss us. She rescued me from *Damageland* on our next to last day (I had been sent there to work since there were no stations available that morning), and I’ll always be grateful to her for that! Ha! Ask me about Damageland someday!
We are still searching for a job to get us through the winter. It’s much harder to secure paid positions during the winter months since they are predominantly in the southern half of the country, and there’s more competition. While we continue to search, we are heading out tomorrow from Alvord and the A+ RV park for a short stop-over in San Antonio. From there, we will travel to the gulf coast and do some boon-docking on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore.
From the mountains of the Eastern Sierras to the coastline of Texas – on to the next!