More Work at Home

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Jan. 28 – Feb. 7, 2018

More work at home, primarily on the brown shed. As of this writing, the entire back end of the shed is done. Here’s how some of it went. Drywall covered by paneling went in fine. Looks like a lot of gaps and uneven joints in the following picture but, as  you’ll see, things straightened up with various pieces of trim installed.

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More paneling and drywall

Once all the paneling was up, Malcolm installed the vinyl plank flooring. We’re very pleased with the combination. The following picture has a pinkish tint to it. The picture above is more in line with the actual colors of the paneling.

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Walls and floor, ready for trim.

With walls and lower trim in place, it was time to set the toilet in place. Note that the sewer drop in the floor was already provided – we just put a new flange on it.

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Toilet being assembled

The washer and dryer were moved into place once we had the upper trim in place along and on the ceiling. Also note in this picture that the air conditioner is already in place and trimmed out as well as the window being trimmed out.

Considering we bought the washer and dryer used several months ago, we were crossing our fingers that both units worked. We were pleased to find out that they both work fine. Val has already used both to wash and dry one of our quilts. Buying the units used saved us more than $1,000 and closer to $2,000 (we paid $800 for both units and the bases).

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Washer and Dryer in place and hooked up

The vanity was the last and most difficult piece of the puzzle. The main reason is that we decided to put the 6 gallon hot water heater inside the cabinet. It made for some creative plumbing challenges. The water heater sits in a drain pan and is fully drained outside through the shed floor (both the drain pan and the safety valve).

Because the water heater sits below the sink drain, we ended up ordering a drain pipe intended for handicapped sinks because it makes an immediate 90 degree bend just under the sink off to the side to go on to a normal p-trap and on out to the drain pipe.

The mirror came with the vanity. The faucet was purchased separately as was the light fixture. Peel and stick vinyl tiles complete the look, serving as a backsplash behind the sink.

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Vanity in place and all hooked up.

With the back room all squared away, it was time to move to the front room and finish it. We liked how the self-leveling cement worked in the back of the shed and decided to do the same to the front room. There were a few flexy pieces of flooring up front and we were afraid our vinyl planks might pop apart.

The floor in the back just seems so much more solid and mixing and pouring the cement is pretty easy, so it was more or less a no-brainer. The following picture was taken just after we poured the cement on Tuesday afternoon (yesterday). It is recommended not to put any flooring on it for “2 to 3 days”, so Malcolm will be laying the flooring in there on Saturday. Once it is down, we just need to nail on the floor trim and the front room is essentially complete.

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Self-leveling cement in place.

Other than working on the shed, Malcolm has been working for his employer, as well. Of course, we’ve made a couple random trips to Disney properties over the past couple weeks, including a late evening visit to Magic Kingdom and a recent visit to Epcot. Our timing was not the best as it rained on both trips. We still had fun. Here are some pictures.

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Fireworks at Magic Kingdom (Belle’s castle in the background)

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Herbie the Love Bug as a photo prop

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The Magic Kingdom Carousel is the best

Aside from construction, work and Disney visits, we’ve also been enjoying the company of several fellow RV owners that we know. Some live here in our community and others have been coming and going as part of their winter in Florida. We had lunch with several of them today and a pot-luck get-together the other evening with several of them.

We’ve also been enjoying some warm weather as of late. The temperature has moderated to the 78-82 degree range during the day and high 60’s at night. More like spring weather here.

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Enjoying our “porch” and firepit

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Fun at Disney and at Home

Location: Fort Wilderness Campground, Orlando, Florida

Dates: Jan. 14 – 19, 2018

We had a fun time at Disney. It was cool to cold most of the week, so we typically didn’t stay late (i.e. after dark) at the parks during the week. A couple nights got down to the freezing mark. Daytime highs were in the 50’s or low 60’s.

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One of the carriage horses getting some exercise through the campground

One thing we like about Fort Wilderness is that there is always something going on. One morning, Malcolm walked outside and heard a clopping noise. They were taking one of the carriage horses around the campground just getting some exercise.

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Enjoying Hollywood Studios in our jackets

On Friday morning, we headed by the house to get the car. Malcolm headed down to pick up another trailer to take the golf cart home. We hooked up the trailer and headed home with our cart and our trailer. Malcolm took the U-haul trailer back and we were all settled back in at home.

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Jan. 19 – 27, 2018

Back at home, it was time to get back to work on the shed. On the Saturday after we got back home, Malcolm got all of the drainage plumbing hooked up and tested. On Sunday, he tackled digging up the existing power feed to the shed so he could re-run the power line from the box to the shed.

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Power feed uncovered

Everything was hooked up to a bigger circuit and Malcolm got everything covered back up early in the week. The last step was to hook up the water to the water line. This we done mid-week.

We tested the interior water lines by joining all the outputs together and running water through all the piping and out the washer hookup spigots through our garden hose. We found one leak and it was a section of pipe that Malcolm scarred while using his saw to adjust some woodwork in the area. A new section of pipe and everything checked out great.

With water, power and sewer ready to go, it was time to start enclosing the interior walls. We ultimately will be putting paneling in the bathroom, but most sources recommend putting the paneling over drywall. Malcolm purchased several sheets of  1/4″ drywall to cover up the walls with (though we don’t need to tape and mud the seams). We’ll nail the paneling over the drywall to finish up the walls.

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Bathroom vanity out of the box for planning purposes

As of this writing (Saturday, the 27th), all of the drywall is up except for the one wall where the vanity will be going (shown above, behind the vanity cabinet). We have to move an electrical box and do some other prep work there before we put that final piece of drywall up.

We also need to purchase our paneling (they were out when we tried to buy it this past week). The weather forecast has tomorrow (Sunday) as a fairly rainy day, so we’ll wait until after the rains pass before purchasing the paneling and a couple other items we need to finish up (including a toilet).

Today we met our friend Bill and Jan Raber at our place. We took them to Disney Springs and had a late lunch/early dinner at the Boathouse restaurant. It was really good food. We had a great time visiting with them, too.

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A start on the drywall installation (A/C will be going in the middle spot above the window)

Back to Work

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Jan. 1 – 14, 2018

Once we got back home from visiting out in Washington, it was back to work in more ways than one. Of course, Malcolm was back to work (in the trailer, of course) for his employer. He also got back to work on our shed, working hard to finish our conversion. First up was getting all the drywall finished in the front living section.

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Drywall almost complete (a little bit of ceiling work to go)

Once the drywall was complete, it was time for paint. We decided on a light, neutral beige for the walls and ceiling (ceiling not yet painted in the pictures). The ceiling paint was mixed with a light, sand-type texture.

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Time to Paint

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Paint complete and wall plates re-installed

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More completed walls

With the walls painted, it was time to trim out the windows.

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Window trim complete

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More window trim and the “closet”

With the walls, ceiling and trim pretty much complete in the front room, it was time to move everything out of the back room so work could continue back there. Malcolm started on the drain plumbing for the washer and the sink that will be back there.

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Plumbing moving forward

We also picked up flooring for the shed (vinyl wood laminate). While shopping for the flooring, we talked to the helpful associate at Lowes and explained to him about our current plywood floor and the fact that there was a fairly bad high spot in the back, right in the middle of the back room. He suggested using a leveling filler, so we bought some of that.

The first step was sealing all of the places that the filler might flow around the perimeter and the joints between floor boards. Malcolm also removed the sewer cover and screwed down a piece of plywood, marking the center and where to cut through it later on to mount the toilet base.

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Floor ready to level

With everything ready, Malcolm rolled on the required sealer/primer for the leveling work. He did that on Saturday morning (Jan. 13) before we headed to breakfast at the clubhouse for our neighborhood.

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Primer applied

After lunch the same day, it was time to mix up the leveling compound. We used three 50 lb. bags. The leveling compound is essentially a really thin, runny cement.

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Mixing

With the stuff mixed up, you just pour it on the flooring and let it seek it’s own level (it doesn’t hurt to take a big trowel, or in Malcolm’s case, a small board, and push it around to cover everything).

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Partially poured

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All done. Now time to dry.

The flooring will have plenty of time to set, as you’ll see shortly.

We tried a couple different new restaurants the last couple weeks. The first one is literally new as we ate there the second day they were open. The Edison is over in Disney Springs and is a mix of 1920’s industrial and nightclub.

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The Edison – “Smokestack”

The restaurant theme was taken from The Edison in Los Angeles. We ate downstairs in the “speakeasy”.

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The Speakeasy downstairs at The Edison

Another place we ate that was new to us is a British restaurant near our home. The Proper Pie Company had excellent pastry pies – Val had the Chicken and Broccoli one – and excellent fish and chips (which Malcolm had).

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Pie and Chips

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Fish and Chips (and slaw)

As mentioned earlier, the leveling compound in our shed will have a full week to dry since we left on our first trip of the year today (Sunday the 14th). Even though we live just 17 miles from Disney World, we were going to miss our annual Disney trip to Fort Wilderness Campground. So, we decided to keep with tradition and spend a week in January over there.

On Saturday afternoon, Malcolm took our car and picked up a small trailer at U-Haul to take our golf cart with us. On Sunday, at noon, we hooked up the trailer to the truck and headed out on our 30 minute trip to Fort Wilderness campground.

Location: Fort Wilderness Campground, Orlando, Florida

Dates: Jan. 14, 2018

Once we got to Fort Wilderness, Val took the car, trailer and golf cart and parked it in the overflow lot and walked over to meet Malcolm at the RV check-in. We took the RV back and got it set up on site. We drove the truck up front, grabbed the car and took it back to the site to drop off the golf cart.

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Moved in at Fort Wilderness

Malcolm took the car and dropped the trailer off at U-Haul, then met Val at our RV lot. We left the car there and drove the truck back to the campground. This evening we had dinner at Trail’s End restaurant at the back of the campground.

Daily Life – Early December

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Nov. 27 – Dec. 9, 2017

The last couple weeks have been generally spent with Malcolm working during the day and Val working on various craft projects. Just daily life as usual. We finished all our holiday shopping and just this past week mailed everything out, including several boxes of stuff to our daughter’s house in Washington state (where we will be during Christmas and New Year’s holidays).

Before we left for Thanksgiving, we had ordered some items for our golf cart, including a full light and horn kit and a nice side curtain enclosure for it. Malcolm installed the light kit just before Thanksgiving and the enclosure arrived right after we got back into town, so we installed that once we were back. Malcolm also got a 12V converter for the cart to run the light kit with and installed it.

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Now we’re all “high falutin'”. Though not required to be able to drive the cart around the neighborhood or the street along the shopping center out front, the light kit will be nice. It includes brake lights and turn signals to help with signaling intentions.

We have decorated up the inside of our RV with our small Christmas tree and a few other trappings. While taking trash to the dumpster one evening, Malcolm found this older three candle light set someone had discarded, bulbs and all. It works fine. We don’t leave it running while we’re away, though, since it has regular incandescent bulbs which get a bit warm.

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On December 1st, we went over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom to spend the evening there for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Similar to the halloween party we attended back in October, this party was a separate paid event. We ate an early dinner mid-afternoon and stayed around until about 10:00 or so in the evening.

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Christmas Tree on Main Street

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Christmas Couple

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The Castle at Sunset

The place really comes alive after dark. Disney has spared no expense in Christmas lights. Cinderella’s castle, in particular, is draped with literally tens of thousands of lights.

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The Train Station

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Cinderella’s Castle at Night

We stayed long enough to see the fireworks show, which was typical Disney spectacular.

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The Finale

We did head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios one afternoon, ate dinner there and took in some of their holiday decorations. They have a huge tree all decorated up there. You feel more like you are in California with all the palms and the art deco buildings.

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Christmas Tree at Hollywood Studios

Nighttime was more fun. This year, they’ve started projecting images on the Hollywood Tower Hotel building (the Tower of Terror ride). We watched it cycle through its various themes and grabbed several pictures. Here is the “Toy Story” theme.

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The Hollywood Tower, er, Toy Hotel

We have all our Christmas cards printed up. We have yet to mail them out. Probably will do that this weekend and drop them at the post office on Monday. We have received a couple cards so far (from people that have our Florida address, at least).

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Today, the temperature has dropped all day. At midnight last night, the temperature was still in the 70’s. By mid-day, it was in the low 50’s. This evening it is in the 40’s with an expected low of around 38. Same for tomorrow night. These temperatures are from the same front that dropped snow all across the South the last couple of days. We’ve turned on the fireplace and dug out a space heater for the bedroom.

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The Fireplace Keeping the Place Warm

A little more of the same the first part of this week. We’re flying up to Nashville on Friday to attend Malcolm’s company’s Christmas party, returning the following Monday. Later that week, we’ll fly up to Seattle for Christmas. We’re still working on finding someone to watch Callie while we are away. We miss our Alabama cat-sitters.

Thanksgiving Visit

Location: Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

Dates: Nov. 16 to 26, 2017

On Friday, November 17th, we met David at the Tyndall Air Force Base visitor center parking lot where he jumped in the truck with us. We drove onto the base and parked near where he works. We enjoyed the squadron Thanksgiving luncheon in the building where he works and saw a lot of his co-workers and their families. There was lots of great food. We dropped David off at his car so he could go back to work and we headed back home.

On Saturday, the 18th, David and his friends were heading out of town to an Airsoft gun tournament. We hung around the trailer and did some light shopping to pass the time. On Sunday, we met David for lunch and spent the afternoon with him.

On Monday, we headed out at lunchtime to meet David and some of his co-workers and families for lunch at Red Robin. After lunch, Malcolm, David and the guys went to the theater to watch a movie (Thor). The girls and kids went shopping at Pier Park. After the movie we all drove to a restaurant and had dinner together.

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David with his buddy Patrick at dinner

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Malcolm worked most of the day. On Wednesday afternoon, we went grocery shopping with David and sent all the food home with him so we could cook at his house on Thanksgiving.

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Relaxing with David and his roomate’s dog, Mater

On Thursday, we had 20+ airmen and families over to David’s house for Thanksgiving meal. We purchased the meat and everyone else pitched something in. Most of the guests played games the rest of the evening. We left later in the evening after helping clean up.

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Most of the crew at Thanksgiving dinner

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Thanksgiving Spread

David was off work Friday, so we went out to the base to find a place to take our annual Christmas picture. While we were on base, we stopped by the Base Exchange and Malcolm ended up buying himself an early Christmas present – an Xbox.

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We stopped at David’s house to set it up and download the game that it came with. We ended up leaving it overnight since the downloads were taking quite a while.

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Random picture of David’s cat – Maui

On Saturday, David came over, bringing the Xbox and a couple other items we had left at his house. He and Malcolm set up the Xbox, then Val and David made buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate) for David to take to work with him on Monday.  Malcolm and David played Xbox for a while after we went out to dinner.

David headed home after we said goodbyes and we got the trailer ready for travel. We wanted to get an early start on Sunday traveling back to our home base. On Sunday morning, we rolled out at around 6:30 AM central time. It was a good thing we started early (for a 400 mile drive) as traffic on I-75 was crazy with all the holiday travelers (in both directions).

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I-75 south near Ocala

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Nov. 26, 2017

We finally got home around 3:30 or so and got set up just enough to be able to relax the rest of the evening.

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Back home in time for sunset

Our trailer will be here into mid-January. We’ll be out for a couple trips in December (Nashville and Seattle), but will be flying.