Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 in REVIEW

2015 in REVIEW

As December comes to a close so does 2015. This is my second year in a row that I have posted a year in review. I wanted to do this so readers could get a glimpse into our life-in-RV. It's so easy to forget about what you have accomplished within a span of a year. Sometimes everything we did comes back to me in one moment and more often than not I sit there with a stunned face trying to remember everything that happened. Sometimes, I think that "this is all we did", "could we have done more", "where is all the fun stuff we wanted to do". Everyone comes to a stage in their lives where the meaning of adventure, fun and activities change by their lifestyle. I just keep looking at my list and think this is still on my list... I better get this done. If not, then why are we not living our lives the way we planed when we were younger? We happen to be one of those special case couples as full-timers where we are still somewhat young and somewhat experienced. We can still get out and do adventurous stuff or we can sit at a table and play cards or dominoes all night and still have fun. As I do get older (sorry, more experienced) there are items on my bucket list that are starting to get too dangerous to accomplish like dive with sharks, sky diving and learn to ride a motorcycle. I should move these closer to the top of my list in the years to come.

Same as the last two year started so did 2015 at Major League Baseball Spring Training, this year it was in Goodyear, Arizona. I made my pilgrimage to the desert to kick off American's Pastime in stunning fashion. I gave back to the sport I love by volunteering at Goodyear Ballpark as an usher for a few games so I could try and make the experience for other fans of attending a baseball game enjoyable. I also, attend practices and games supporting my home team Cleveland Indians. All the games I saw during the season just added more passion to the game I already love. In 2015 I attended 51 games, got 170 autographs and caught / retrieved 99 baseball. Of those 99 baseballs I gave 13 away to kids who where not as lucky as I was. When I started giving the balls away I started getting more during the games  I accomplish some pretty hefty goals, but hope to match or surpass them next year.

Hiromi and I had a blast crisscrossing America for the second summer in a row. Luckily, for use we did not have RV or car issues like we did last year. Most of our time on the road was well spent worry free. This summer we visited the upper eastern portion of America and crossed the boarder into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada. We drove 8,225 in the RV while adding another 14,422 miles by car for a total of 22,647 miles in 2015. We added 6 new States and 3 new Canadian Providences to place we have been, updating our RV sticker map.

Along the way we adding more State Capitol Buildings and National Parks to our growing list of place visited while expanding our knowledge of American history. Sometimes it seems that we are adding more to our bucket list then we are removing. Most importantly we rekindled old friendship and forged new friendships along the way. 

***What did not go well or goal unaccomplished ***

As for our travels, everything pretty much went as planed. There was times we were close to places we wanted to see, but did not know it was there until we left. We have to do better in the planing stage. We learned from this and do more research on the city/town we are in. When reading other blog, travel book or just brainstorming I started writing down the places we want to go on index cards. I place the state in the upper corner filing all index card with the same state together. When planing I double check the index cards for that state we will be in and see if we will be close to that location. We found that it came in handy when planing our trip from Haslet, TX to Fort Myers, FL after we finished Amazon.

This might be true to everyone not just full-timers, but I did not work out as much as I wanted. I could come up with hundreds of excuses why I did not, but I could have walked or ran around the campground or did push-ups and sit-ups anytime in the RV. Every year it becomes harder to keep fit. I don't need a six pack (but it would be nice) I just want to lose weight and keep slim, but it's just a contentious losing battle with my gut. We both also, need to built strength in our wrist and legs for next season when we work at Amazon. By the end of our commitment our bodies were warn and broken.

*** Goals for next year *** 

After being married for 22 years to my best friend there are times I took it for granted. I want to work harder to be a better husband making it easier on Hiromi and work as a team. I have already started this when I had to quit Amazon because of injury and she continued to work. I clean and cook taking some of the pressure off of her. Now, I just have to keep it up when neither one of us are working.

Just like almost everyone else in the world find supplement income during the summer so we don't have to work 16 weeks at Amazon next year. But, still have time to enjoy our summer together without working traditional 9-5 jobs. I have somethings set in motion and if they work out I'll share them with you.

Keeping this blog updated. I know that we where on the road a lot and sometimes the internet connection was not the best. I want to try and post at least once a week instead of once or twice a month like I did in 2015.

*** Final note ***

We have completed another peak with Amazon Fulfillment Center earning enough income to supplement our lifestyle as fulltime RV'ers for 2016. For the coming year we have decided to take a break from crisscrossing America and stay in one spot during the summer. We will head home for the summer and stay at Cutty's in Louisville, OH.  What comes after that, only time will tell. Wherever the road leads us, we'll enjoy every minute of it. 

Monday, December 14, 2015



We finished our five days off, but my wrist was still hurting and I had to terminate my commitment with Amazon. Because it was due to injury I can still apply next season. However, Hiromi was the one to man up and finish her commitment strong. Now, the roles have changed. She is the one making the meal money, while I'm the one making the meals. After only two days I give major props to Hiromi (and all stay at home spouses) for doing the house duties for over twenty years when I was deployed for 6-8 months at a time in the service. It's so quite and after finish finding things to clean and stay busy I was going insane with no one to talk to. Now I know how important One-eye (our cat 15+ years old with FIV and one eye) was to her.  I just have to hang on for five weeks. I was so worried about dinner the first night that I wanted it done so when she got home she could just sit down and eat. I was a wreak I finished 45 minutes before she arrived home and had to reheat it on the stove when she arrive home. I think it was the first time in a long time that we actually talked to each other about how our day went (as we were inseparable since we started full timing) . I could not shut up and she was so busy at work she did not have time to thing about me :(

Who would have guessed that I would see a sunset like this in December?

Week 14 Amazon moved Hiromi from day receiving to night picking. Her salary was increased by $4.25 an hour for moving to night so that is good since I don't work anymore. But, I'll tell you how bad management is here in Haslet. They mover her on Black Friday~ Cyber Monday week and expected her to have high picking numbers... come on now! Move people a few weeks before the big rush to start buying for Christmas.

Week 16 and the hours have changed once again from 55 hour weeks (11 hour for 5 days) to 56 hours and 15 minutes (11 hours 15 minutes for 5 days). What good is adding 15 more minutes to the work shift... maybe a few more tots and that's it. Still only getting two 15 minute breaks and 30 minute lunch. They should add another break or make them 20 minute breaks  When they moved everyone to night there is more people than workstations and most of the camperforce are working as waterspiders (loading tots to the conveyor after they are full by the pickers). Haslet is more automated, but there is still a lot of labor work too. I'd rather be at a normal warehouse where picker is walking around to storage shelves picking the product and placing the tots on the conveyor belt themselves. This way every picker would be picking and doing their own waterspidering.

Hiromi only has one more week left and she will be done. We are both looking forward to leaving and enjoying our retirement. If, we work Amazon next year it will be a normal warehouse like in KY or TN.

My review of working Amazon. I would work Amazon again, just not at an automated warehouse like Haslet. And, never a day shift again,only nights for this night owl.

With the weather dropping to 30 something at night we were running our electric heater all day and night and finally it burned out. We got a new one that has temperature settings. When we set the heater to 70 and the RV heats to 70 it kicks off and when it drop below 70 it turns back on. Our electric is free and we would have to move our RV to the LP station to fill up our tank if we used our central heating all the time.


Heading to Oklahoma to visit Japanese friends, Oklahoma Capitol Building and Oklahoma City NM.