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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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


Herbie the Love Bug as a photo prop


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.


Enjoying our “porch” and firepit


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Time to Paint


Paint complete and wall plates re-installed


More completed walls

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


Window trim complete


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.


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.


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.


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.



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).


Partially poured


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.


The Edison – “Smokestack”

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


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).


Pie and Chips


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.


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.

Christmas and New Year

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

Dates: Dec. 20 – 21, 2017

We spent Wednesday, the 20th, getting ready for our trip on the 21st. We got everything all packed up and ready to go as well as checking in, printing boarding passes and luggage tags (yay for Alaska Airlines). Malcolm even had time to get in a pretty full day of work.


Callie supervising Malcolm’s work

We also met our neighbors who would be watching Callie while we were gone. They came by to meet Callie and grab a key for the trailer. They ended up doing a super job of watching Callie. We would have been happy just having someone pop in once a day to feed her and clean out her litter box. They stopped by twice a day, often staying for a while and brushing her fur and loving on her.

Our flight on the 21st was scheduled to leave Orlando at 5:20 PM. We decided to leave the trailer around noon, catch some lunch and wander over to the airport around 2:00 or so. We ended up at Disney Springs for lunch. Malcolm realized the only warm clothing he brought was his very heavy winter jacket and nothing in between that and a couple light long sleeve shirts, so he picked up a sweatshirt.

Malcolm happened to check his Alaska Airlines app and found out that the flight had been delayed another hour or so and was now scheduled to leave at 6:37 PM. We took our time at Disney Springs since we were now in no rush. We ended up at the car park around 4:00 or so, parked and rode the shuttle to the airport. When we checked in at the Alaska counter, the agent reprinted our boarding passes with the new, further delayed departure time of 7:42 PM. He also handed us two meal vouchers so we could grab dinner in the airport.


Val’s Build-a-bear got its own seat on the plane

We breezed through security thanks to our new TSA PreCheck privileges and found our gate. With a few hours to waste now, we went ahead and ate dinner at a nicer sit-down restaurant. The meal vouchers covered about half of our meal and drinks ($12 a person maximum). While eating dinner, we found that our flight had yet again been delayed to a 9:00 PM departure. We spent a lot of time at the gate sitting around, reading, etc.


Our flight ended up landing in Seattle after midnight their time. Elizabeth came out to pick us up and we gladly plopped down in our bed at almost 1:00 AM Pacific Time (around 4:00 AM our time). The granddaughters had expertly prepared our sleeping arrangements for us, including some nice chocolates (that we ate later).


Our luxury accomodations

Location: Edgewood, Washington

Dates: Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018

Friday and Saturday involved a lot of family time, running to the store for groceries and so forth.


Story time with Nana

On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Val’s sister, Anne, was there, as well. She came over to visit for a while afterwards before heading on home. On Sunday evening, we went over to Cole’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner and visiting. It started snowing right as we were leaving to go their house Sunday afternoon.

On Christmas day, we awoke to a pretty decent amount of snow. It started snowing again pretty heavily all morning. By late morning, there was about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.


But first, it was time to see what Santa brought everyone.


Santa was here!


Mid-opening of presents


Still opening presents

After all the presents were opened and the wrapping paper cleaned up, it was time for lunch and then an afternoon of playing in the snow. Elizabeth and Scarlet made a small snowman out front before lunch. This was before the snow really accumulated a bunch more.


Mini snowman

Of course, the requisite snow angels needed to be made.


Violet making a snow angel


Scarlet making her own snow angel (who needs a hat?)

The horses across the street got their Christmas treats as well.


After it snowed some more, Pa showed the girls how to roll up larger snow balls for making a snowman. It started out as a snow unicorn.


Snow unicorn?

Later on, we found proper attire for the snowman and put the finishing touches on him.


Pa and the girls showing off their work

After all the snow fun, we all cleaned up and headed over to Cole’s parents’ house again, this time for their traditional Christmas dinner, followed by the gift exchange. It was a fun time, as usual.


On Tuesday and Wednesday, we hung around the house and did family stuff. Violet baked some cupcakes up for all of us. Scarlet helped decorate them.


On Wednesday evening, Malcolm, Elizabeth and Cole headed out to see the new Star Wars movie. Nana and the girls had a girls night planned. It started out with a trip to DQ for ice cream treats.


After Malcolm, Cole and Elizabeth got to the movie theater, they found that all the shows were pretty much sold out, so they bought tickets for Thursday night. After finding out that the grandchildren got ice cream, a stop by Wendys for Frosties and Fries was in order.


On Thursday, Val and Elizabeth headed out for some shopping and lunch while Malcolm and Cole watched the children. That evening Malcolm, Cole and Elizabeth headed back to the movies. Nana and the girls had their own little party at home. On Friday, it was more of the same as we hung around the house. Elizabeth babysits a couple children on Fridays and they were over for the day, so we mainly stayed home.


On Saturday, Elizabeth headed out to the airport to pick up our son, David, at the airport. He flew in to visit for several days. It was fun having the entire family together in one place.

On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Anne was there, too and came home with us all to enjoy Sunday dinner. Malcolm and Elizabeth whipped up the now-traditional stir fry dinner. It was yummy.


After an afternoon of football watching, we all decided to have game night. There was plenty of popcorn and lots of fun. Before we went to bed, we said our goodbyes to everyone since we had an early flight out the next morning.


On Monday, the 1st, Cole took us to the airport for our 7:50 AM flight back home. While we were waiting at the gate, our flight’s pilot walked around talking to everyone. He talked with the children and gave a few of them some pilot wings. He also provided the pre-flight announcement once we were all on board the plane.


Our flight left Seattle on time and made good time across the country. We arrived a few minutes early in Orlando, close to dinner time. Since we didn’t have any groceries at home, we stopped on the way and ate dinner, then headed on home.





Out of Town Travel

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

Dates: Dec. 10 – 15, 2017

The early part of the week was a mix of work, relaxing and getting ready for upcoming trips out of town. The weather slowly warmed up through the week. The cool weather managed to help us finish off a propane tank over the weekend. Malcolm drove it over to a nearby Love’s truck stop and had it filled. There is a service that comes around our neighborhood to fill tanks, but we missed the cut-off on that (plus, Love’s is cheaper).


Callie, taking the relaxing part seriously

One area we were having problems was finding a cat sitter (as mentioned at the end of our last blog entry). Fortunately, we had some folks step up to the plate after a second plea for help on our neighborhood’s Facebook page. We’ll have one lady covering the Nashville trip and another covering our Seattle trip.

Our last big thing to do before heading out for Nashville was to attend the Candlelight Processional at Disney’s Epcot. We bought a lunch package at the Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot which included preferred seating at the processional later in the afternoon.


Entertainment at the Biergarten

Val hooked us both up with some fancy duds to wear for the day. We stopped on the way to Epcot to pick up a hat for Malcolm to go with his outfit.


Fancy Duds

The service was exceptional. Choirs from local schools join together with a full orchestra and a guest narrator to put on a fantastic musical performance. The guest narrator for our evening there was Warwick Davis, who read the story of the birth of Jesus from the bible in between various Christmas song selections.


Candlelight Processional

We left a little bit after the show to get home in preparation for our early morning departure for the airport. We had a 7:50 am flight and Orlando airport recommends arriving between 2 and 3 hours before your flight. We were through security pretty quick due to our new PreCheck numbers and were at our gate two hours before the flight.


Sunrise at the Orlando Airport

We had an uneventful flight, with a short layover in Atlanta. Fortunately our first flight arrived, and our second flight departed from the same concourse. We just walked from one end to the other.

Location: Marriott Nashville Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: Dec. 15 – 18, 2017

We arrived in Nashville around noon, rented our car and tossed our stuff inside. We drove downtown, parked in a garage and had lunch at Demos’ Steak & Spaghetti restaurant downtown. After lunch, we headed up to Malcolm’s office and said our hellos and handed out Christmas cards and gifts to various employees. From there, we went on to our hotel and checked in. We left the car in the garage and walked over to a nearby P.F. Chang’s restaurant for dinner.


Cool wallpaper in our hotel room

On Saturday, we headed out early to the Opry Mills Mall to pick up a couple things, the Kroger’s to get a couple items we needed there. From there, we headed across town and had lunch and shopped around at McKay’s Used Books. We headed on back to the hotel to get ready for the company Christmas Party that evening.

The party was fun. Malcolm got to see a lot of co-workers he hadn’t seen in a while and met at least one that had started working since we were in the office last (this spring). Everyone won a gift at the party. We got a big basket of things to make martinis with, including a big ice pail. This presented a problem of where we might stow the items to fly back home.

On Sunday morning, we were too lazy to even head downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, so we ordered room service. It was actually cheaper than having the breakfast buffet in the restaurant at the hotel (which we did Saturday morning).


Room Service breakfast

After debating different methods of getting our new martini set home, we decided we would look at luggage at Target. We only checked on bag coming up and the airline allows us to check one bag per person, so another bag going home wouldn’t cost any extra. Plus, we could use another good suitcase. We ended up finding one on clearance that was also marked another 10% off. We stopped by McNamara’s Irish Pub to have lunch, then headed back to the hotel to begin the task of packing stuff in two suitcases.

Val had just read a news story about a massive power failure at the Atlanta airport on Sunday when Malcolm received the bad news message from Delta airlines – our flight out of Nashville on Monday was cancelled. They were working on a replacement flight for us. Malcolm checked online and found that the next available flight would leave on Tuesday and get in to Orlando very late Tuesday night.


Oops. Bad news.

We looked at various options. Staying another day would be fairly costly at the hotel we were in in Nashville. Flying one-way on another airline would have been around $500 or so. We called Enterprise car rental, where we had rented the car we had there in Nashville and asked about keeping the car and driving it back to Orlando, but they wanted nearly $500 extra to do that. Malcolm finally found a deal on a one-way rental through Avis for around $150 and booked a car for Monday morning to drop off in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon.

Monday morning, we packed up our rental car and headed over to the Nashville airport to drop it off at Enterprise. We headed into the terminal to complete the registration on our Avis rental car, then back out to Avis to pick up our car and head on our way south. We drove as far as Valdosta, Georgia (about 2/3 of the way home) on Monday.

Location: Country Inn & Suites, Valdosta, Georgia

Dates: Dec. 18 – 19, 2017

We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites overnight on Monday after eating dinner at a nearby Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant. We were up early, had breakfast downstairs and hopped in the car by around 8:00 am to head on towards Orlando.

We arrived at the Orlando airport around noon and checked in our rental car. We rode the shuttle out to the parking lot and picked up our own car and headed towards home. Malcolm called Delta Airlines on the shuttle and arranged for a callback in a couple hours. We stopped by Panera Bread for lunch on the way.

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

Dates: Dec. 19, 2017

Once home, Delta Airlines returned Malcolm’s call. Malcolm told them that we had rented a car instead of flying back home. The representative was nice and said he would process a refund to the credit card on which we had bought the tickets. Not sure how much of a refund that will be, but it was a nice gesture.


Callie was glad we were home

We paid our cat sitter and Malcolm sat down to do some work while Val headed up to the laundry room to catch up laundry. We headed to fill up the car with gas later in the afternoon and picked up some groceries at Target before enjoying dinner at home and relaxing.

Tomorrow is pack-up day for our upcoming trip to Seattle on Thursday. That flight leaves in the afternoon, so no early departures this time. Plus, it is a direct flight from Orlando to Seattle, so no worries about Atlanta airport either way.