Stomped Nov28

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Stomped

It’s Thanksgiving Day and Ali and I are together, just us, in Kentucky. It was 12 degrees this morning and our water system froze overnight despite our best efforts with a used electric heated hose we bought off a fellow camper, so we suffered the work morning without coffee. Amazon graciously let us out early though, because it’s a holiday and because we’re on the “Inbound” team and we’ve pretty much worked our asses off since we started in November. We were charged with stowing all the inventory that people are going to want to buy now that the Christmas shopping season has officially begun. We’ve managed to find room for over 4 million items in the last two weeks alone. And today, on the eve of Black Friday, it’s the dawning of the time of the “Pickers”. Now the Outbound team will start their mandatory 60 hours per week as they respond to all the incoming orders, and our team will slow down back to a normal 40 hours. Phew!

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It’s hard to be away from all the people we love on a holiday like this, especially with the anniversary of Allison’s mom’s death hitting us in the softest parts of our hearts. But as I sat across the lunch table in the cold break room, a tuna sandwich in the foreground at 10:30am and looked over it at the love of my life, I felt only gratitude. First, I threw her some puppy dog eyes and apologized for the fact that we were working on Thanksgiving. This was my idea after all. She winked at me and said, “As long as I’m with you.” I smiled my absolute biggest, broke out the dimples even, and told her how much I loved her and that I just wanted to follow her around with my cart and scanner for the rest of the day. She returned the grin and replied, “I love it when you’re in this mood.” We were warned quite seriously by HR during our orientation about public displays of affection and the problem of creating a “hostile” environment in the work place. I guess when you employ a bunch of retired, married couples you have to watch out for the lovey-dovey thing. I’m not sure any of the other couples’ love would create hostility, but ours might I guess. That hasn’t stopped me from sneaking up on her in an empty isle and grabbing a quick snuggle. Then I run away yelling, “stop being hostile!” Ali and I – the lid on our love is only so sturdy. We spill out.

Anyway – I’m all a flush with gratitude about my life and who I’ve been lucky enough to share it with and it’s only fitting that the day I’m about to lay down for posterity here in our blog is pretty quintessential Allison. It’s a bucket full of exactly why she’s so wonderful. My mom insists that Allison would be the most amazing travel agent and I can only shake my head adamantly and agree. My girl has been a bit challenged at times this year with our wandering ways and our sometimes unfortunate timing. But not in Alabama! I insisted that we blow through this state fast, allowing only one night, but she grabbed ‘Bama by the collar, shook it hard and made it cough up the perfect event for us – a grape stomp!

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It was even on our way I tell you! We had a campground reservation in Montgomery that night, and this little winery was just 30 minutes off the freeway at our half-way point. They were going to have a Lucile Ball look-alike contest, a live band, grape stomping and everything, it was perfection, except that it decided to rain the entire day. The drive was very stressful, low visibility and lots of wind. The most unnerving was when a car about 100 yards in front of us hydroplaned and spun out, hitting the guard rail and then coming to a stop in the median. Luckily, they weren’t hurt and they didn’t hit any other cars. It shook us up a bit, so we thanked our angels and decided to slow our pace down even more than our typical 55 MPH. We had called the winery from the RV and asked if the event was still on and they assured us that they had big tents to keep us dry and to “come on!” So we did.

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Eventually, we broke off of the freeway and meandered out into the countryside of Alabama through cotton fields and gracefully, as if it had checked in with Ali’s schedule, the rain finally tapered off. Instead of taking the RV out on all the little dirt roads, we parked her in a small church parking lot and unhooked the SUV to continue on to the winery. About 20 cars were there when we arrived, certainly not a big crowd, but we didn’t care one lick. We had already abandoned the idea of dressing up like Lucy and competing in the contest, but the grape stomping was still the biggest thrill on our list so we high-tailed it over to that station right away.

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We made our souvenir purple footprints and then stomped ourselves silly in order to work up a thirst. I did have to remind myself during the tasting that as a California girl, I need to have proper expectations of other states’ wines. I have been pleased by one or two wineries along the way, but I sure do miss home. The Naked Girl Winery in South Dakota was a stand out for sure. This vineyard however, was using the Moscato and Concord grapes and we really didn’t care for the wine at all. In the tent next door though, the BBQ ribs nearly had us melted down into the wet grass they were so tender and delicious. Give ‘Bama full credit for the things it does well – RIBS! We shared a plate and sat with the small crowd in front of the live band who played the greatest 80’s songs ever. We were in 7th heaven. We were alive, safe, we had stomped grapes, we had eaten succulent ribs, the music was loud and familiar and we were together and happy.

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Our foot washing station!

Our foot washing station!

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I don’t know exactly what I’ve done to deserve this life and all of the blessings I’ve had and continue to have. I’m humbled. But instead of trying to figure all that out, I’ll just sit here for a few minutes more, vibrating with thankfulness.

Yes please and thank you again.

Off to bed now. 4:45am comes quickly and Ali is calling for me.