Something Old – Something New

For the first time since we started workamping, we returned to a job/location we had been at previously. We love selling Christmas trees and to be frank, the money can’t be beat. That was the something old. The something new was we would be heading almost directly to a new job of selling new years fireworks for TNT. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

We left Crystal River and headed to Parkland for Christmas tree sales on the 13th of Nov. Our first load of trees arrived on Nov. 18th…


Once unloaded, we trim them and stand them up inside our tent. Trimming the trees does two things, it makes them look nicer and provides us with trimmings to make wreaths.  I continued being “crafty“, I made a south Florida flamingo wreath and I flocked several wreaths…


I called our selection of snowmen and reindeer our “adoption center.” I mean, who doesn’t want to adopt one of these cuties?


I made a walk through our tent video to share with you. It gives you an idea of how we spent our 37 days…

Thanksgiving was a blur. Our boss’ family makes an incredible dinner and they share huge plates with us. The selling season begins in earnest the day after Thanksgiving. It is a non-stop customer barrage which leaves us tired, but excited. This year, I had the pleasure of helping a new tent manager learn the ropes. You don’t always realize how much you’ve learned about something until you start sharing that knowledge with someone new. The bonus of helping was making new friends! Like us, they are already marking the calendar for next season.

Unlike last year, we didn’t take a week to unwind when the season finished on Dec. 23rd. We made a quick trip back to Crystal River, had a lovely, quiet Christmas day with Daddy, then set off on our next job. It was literally 2 towns over, in Inverness. Why the rush you ask? Well, our new gig started Dec. 26th.

Once our delivery was received, Steve and I muddled our way through setting up the tent. TNT gives you lots of information, diagrams and pictures, but in the end, you pretty much do it your way…


Our tree boss calls it FITFO – Figure It The F*@# Out. A motto we have adopted as our own! And we FITFO’d fireworks!!!


Waldo tolerated it’s stay in the Walmart parking lot quite well. It was nice to always be able to see it…


I wasn’t too sure how it was going to work out for us financially. Sales were pretty sporadic Sat-Mon. Since we work on commission, I was concerned.

I donned my party hat and hoped for the best…


But, let me tell you, starting new years eve morning, it was chaos. There were times I had customers 10 deep waiting to check out! By mid-afternoon, tables were getting bare and by dark, we were almost completely sold out…


Exhausted, we closed and tallied up. Despite a few wrinkles, it was a success. All that was left on New Years day was repacking the small amount of inventory we had and returning it to the warehouse…


Gee – that’s exactly how it looked when we arrived on the 26th.

After talking it over, we have decided to give up working in RV parks. The major drawback for me is the length of commitment. I don’t want to be somewhere for 4-5 months. I want to travel. We HAVE to work. We will sell trees at Christmas and fireworks for New Years and July 4th. We have already committed to an RV park for this summer, but it will be the last one. We are pretty excited about the impending changes. While we will always go back to Parkland for trees, TNT sells fireworks all over the US. I’m hoping to be able to spend copious amounts of time getting reacquainted with my camera and kayak! We will finally be able to “Sleep Around” more!


Wishing you all the very best in 2020.

Up Next – Waldo gets a renovation!

Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree

My last post had us leaving Midland, Tx heading for Florida. We made it in near record time and rested at Daddy’s house for about a 10 days before we were off to Parkland, Florida for our next job. I have to admit, I did have a few doubts about selling Christmas trees. What in the world were we getting ourselves into? We had no experience with managing a Christmas tree lot.

We arrived in Parkland on Nov. 16th and met Jeremy (owner of Hayes Farms Christmas Trees) for the first time. We liked him immediately and knew we had made the right choice. Jeremy led us to our “home” for the next 30-45 days, a beautiful spot behind Mary of Help Christians Church. Despite the certainty of several of my long time friends, I did not spontaneously combust upon reaching church grounds!

img_6983  The main tent was already up, but the trees hadn’t arrived yet…


Our first sale was made even before the trees were setup in the tent. I was so excited. The guy must have thought I was daft when I asked if I could take a picture of the tree on his car. Note his hat, he is a New England Patriots fan. I took that as a sign all would be well.


We spent the next couple days getting the trees and sales area just the way we wanted it.


Jeremy stopped by to give us a crash course in Christmas tree selling. His most obvious suggestion was to be nice and have fun. He did warn us we would encounter a jerk or two, it just comes with any type of sales. Looking back over the last 30 days, I think we were dang lucky to only have one customer who was a problem (enough so, I turned it over to Jeremy). It turned out fine in the end, but I’m grateful we didn’t have more customers like him! Jeremy’s other warning wouldn’t truly sink in until 2 1/2 weeks later. “The hours were going to be long and fatigue WILL get to you. The lot is open Mon-Thurs, 9am to 9pm and Fri-Sun, 7:30am to 10pm.” The early hours didn’t concern me since I’m usually always up by 4:30am or so, but the late nights scared me, to be honest. I’m usually in bed and asleep by 8pm. With the help of an extra B complex vitamin, I survived.

At this point, I felt pretty confident we had a handle on it. And we did! The only part of our job we found to be challenging, was the hiring and retaining of lot workers. Most of them were high schoolers with a want for some cash in their pockets. They are the folks who drag your perfect tree out of the tent, wrap it up and tie it to your car for tips. Steve and I couldn’t do our jobs without them. I often felt frustrated by their lack of a strong work ethic but we got by. One of our lot workers was a superstar. If we had two more of him, we wouldn’t have needed anyone else. The other saving grace was on weekends we knew it was going to be non-stop, Jeremy would “loan” us a couple of workers from his other business. Despite the language barrier, these guys worked like there was no tomorrow!

Enough of the challenges, on to the fun!

Here are 2 of my favorite customers…


Soooo, there were some ways I could make money, other than wages and tips. One of those was was tree flocking. Yes, I said flocking.



Flocking is a way of making the tree look snow covered. By the end of our time here, I had nearly become a pro…See for yourself…

One family drove all the way up from Miami for me to flock their tree.


The review they gave us on Facebook made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside…






When I wasn’t “flocking around”, I made wreaths from the tree trimmings. As you might have guessed, I learned how to do time lapse videos with my phone…

Oh ya, I flocked them too…


One of our best sellers, were these reindeer and snowmen made out of tree cut-offs. They came in 3 sizes. I called them Babies (small), Teenagers(medium) and Adults (large). I couldn’t keep them in stock. Every time I had a herd of them ready, they would sell out by the end of the day…


Some people were really attached to them…


We were about 2 1/2 weeks into it and were running out of trees. Jeremy made the decision to have more brought down from North Carolina. I got to film/supervise the unloading of the truck…

Finally, more trees! That was just a week and a half ago and they are all gone. With 9 days until Christmas, we are sold out, with the exception of a few table top trees. For the last 2 days, I’ve had to tell countless families there were no more trees coming. And by the way, we open the weekend before Thanksgiving, come earlier next year. Since I’ve had time on my hands, I painted some of the things laying around…

Rudolph, the red nosed palm boot






And the farm logo on a cut-off from one of our 13′ trees

We’ve never had the desire to return to a location for work before. Part of the draw of this lifestyle is the constant change in scenery. With that being said, we are already making plans to come back next year. Yes, the hours are long and yes, we were exhausted, but it has been worth it. One of my favorite things about this job was Jeremy’s hands-off approach. This was our tree lot to manage. He was always available to answer questions or offer advice if I asked but he trusted us to make it work. I guess we did pretty darn well, because we made his top tier bonus for beating last years sales by more than 10%. Actually, we were closer to 20%. My organizational and craft skills, along with Steve’s “Let’s get to work” attitude, really made us ‘Rock around the Christmas tree!’

We are going to take a few weeks off to recuperate before heading to our next job. May the joy of the season be with you!