I was thinking this morning about a drinking game we used to play in college called “I Never.” The way it works is each person takes a turn stating something they have never done and anyone who HAS done it has to take a drink. No one is allowed to ask followup questions and explanations can be volunteered but are never required. The game starts as fun and relatively harmless when it starts (never had a parking ticket, never been to Vegas etc), but as the alcohol flows and people loosen up you can learn some interesting things about people. The trick by the way is to pick something you haven’t done that you think other people have. That’s what makes it fun. So because things are still slow (6 days left!!) I thought I would list all the things that are off the table for me since becoming a full timer.
- I never saw a grizzly bear in the wild
- I never went to Alaska
- I never walked on a glacier
- I never saw a bald eagle in the wild.
- I never stood inside a giant waterfall.
- I never watched a full moon rise over the ocean.
- I have never been to New Orleans.
- I have never been to a rally.
- I have never seen wild horses.
- I have never heard coyotes.
- I have never touched a Redwood Tree.
- I have never been to Lake Tahoe.
- I have never been to Hearst Castle.
- I have never seen the Rose Bowl Parade.
- I have never seen an Intaglio.
- I have never been to Quartzsite.
- I have never been to Tombstone.
- I have never visited a plantation.
- I have never been to Wall Drug.
- I have never soaked in a hot spring.
There are more, of course, but those are the ones that easily come to mind. I can’t wait to see what we can knock off the list next. It might make the game harder, but I think I can live with that.
Oh, and I forgot; I have never seen a road runner! I guess I can mark that one off the list as well.
I’m feeling pretty groggy as I attempt to change my sleep schedule. I am now going to bed at 1:30am and getting up around 9am, with 5 days left that’s pretty close. Since we are going to be traveling the next month or so, I found a place somewhat nearby that sells wood and Lee left as soon as I woke up to pick it up. Texas, in general, is a pretty good place to buy wood, and Arizona is, in general, not, so we are stocking up. I found a guy on Craigslist who appears to have well seasoned and split oak and mesquite for $15 a wheelbarrow or 3 for $40, which is a pretty good deal. Wood prices vary wildly from place to place, and it’s not always based on the availability of the wood. Demand for wood also comes into play, so April in Texas is a good combination. Plus we love the way mesquite smells when it burns. As an added bonus there was a haircut place in the town Lee went to and he finally got a haircut. I know, it’s his hair and I shouldn’t care, but I find long hair on him a little disconcerting. Too many years together where he had a very specific hair cut.
Oh, and the paperwork for Amazon is complete, so we are on the list for Campbellsville, KY! It doesn’t appear that they are going to have any work kampers in Texas, which is a little disappointing. The idea that we could do Amazon in Texas and then start gate guarding is appealing. There was high demand for the Texas locations from work kampers and we saw help wanted signs at the distribution center in San Marcus all through the holiday season and beyond, so we were a bit surprised to hear that. Maybe it was the lack of decent campgrounds in the area? Since Amazon pays for your site, to some extent they own issues that arise from those stays. I’m sure word on why will get out though, it’s a pretty small community. Since many of those people won’t necessarily want to travel back east for the season some of them could spend that time gate guarding which would increase supply of employees and drive down daily wages. There are a ton of ifs in that statement, but the important point to realize in gate guarding in particular is availability of people who want the jobs (along with oil prices) absolutely drives the amount that companies are paying.
We have seen positions ranging from $125 a day on the low-end to $300 a day on the high-end, although right now the average seems to be $150-175. As the temperature gets hotter though, and snowbirds start to head north we are seeing wages go up. Once you are locked into a contract you are locked into that rate and it’s too small of a hiring community to be jumping around for a better deal. You could try it of course, but I wouldn’t. Either way the wages aren’t as high as an Amazon position, but the work is also much easier and there are vacancies year round, so you wouldn’t be limited to working just the holiday season.
While Lee was gone our account manager and ranch owner stopped by. It has been a couple of weeks since I have seen either of them, so I took the time to thank both of them for the opportunity. They both thanked me for the great job we have done, and the account manager said to be sure and contact her when we were ready to work again. It’s really nice having a work option that isn’t tied to a particular season, and something we both find palatable. She also mentioned wages were going up and hopefully that trend will continue into next year.
I thought I was making good progress on changing my sleep schedule, but that came to a halt last night. I went to bed a little after midnight then slept for 20 minutes and was wide awake. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t, so I finally got up and read a book. I was near the end, it was a good book, and when I was done I saw it was past 3am. Still awake, I took a couple Tylenol PM’s and slept until 11am. I needed to sleep, but now I am back to the drawing board which changes things around. The weekend traffic has been non-existent so we took the day and just chilled. Lee watched John Wayne movies (yes he is a huge fan of westerners and The Duke in particular) and I wrote a bit and read.
One of our readers was kind enough to let me know I had misspelled dessert several times in the cookbook, and I was trying to figure out how to handle that. The Kindle version can be updated pretty easily, for an additional $9.99, the hard copy for an additional $5.99, but the iBooks version cannot be updated at all. The only way to fix that one is to delete the book and resubmit for approval. Since the approval process worries me, I may just have to leave it in the iTunes version, but that bums me out. The whole thing bums me out actually, because that is a stupid mistake to make. Spellcheck didn’t catch it because desert is a legitimate word, and obviously my copy editor (Lee) didn’t catch it either. I know many people would say “leave it” because of the additional cost, heck that was Lee’s take on it, but leaving a known error out there isn’t really in my nature. Don’t get me wrong, I know this blog has spelling and grammar errors despite my our efforts, but a blog audience (at least in my mind) is a little more forgiving. After thinking it through I am going to bite the bullet and fix what I can. I don’t know if Kindle allows for free downloads of new versions like iTunes, but if it does, a new version is out there.
The weather has gotten really warm, well over 90 every day, and there are so many butterflies out it’s crazy. I have never seen so many in an area where there are hardly any flowers but they are abundant. When you walk outside they land on you and when I sit outside they land on me as well. With the butterflies are a ton of new birds and the most exciting for us was two pairs of scissor-tailed flycatchers. We have never seen these before and they were having a field day eating all the bugs.
Last full day. Our relief is coming tomorrow, and we are definitely ready to leave. I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular posts that are based more on when things happen than a daily accounting. I think it’s important for some jobs to give a day by day description but when things are slow as they have been I know its all a bit tedious. So I will just leave you with our final tracking sheet and look for a summary of the experience, which will show an overview of all of the numbers.
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Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks You can preview the kindle version on Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes. It is also available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.