Tuesday, February 26, 2013

To The Beach!

After over two months in Florida we finally made it to the beach. For anyone thinking that we are just on an endless vacation, you can just think again. It has been somewhat difficult actually to get all our ducks lined up enough to make it happen. It seems that whenever the weather is just right, we have other stuff going on. Or when we have a free day and are just itching to get to the coast, the weather is not cooperating. And after our very cold beach days on Hilton Head Island, we were very determined to hold out for nice sunny, warm beach days. Have I mentioned before what wussies Karin & I are when it comes to the cold? We are shameless sun worshipers. We have reptilian blood even.  
So last week one day the sun was a brilliant blue and the highs were projected to be in the mid-80’s. Ahhh bliss!!! And my parents were wanting us to join them on a quest for some beach time. And we had nothing else going on. TWIST OUR ARMS THEN!

The first stop on our journey was Philippe Park just outside of Clearwater. Phillippe is my maiden name, hence our interest in this park. We have no idea if there’s any connection between us though.Turns out this particular Philippe was quite the mover and shaker in the area. He was a sailor who served under Napoleon Bonaparte. He ended up settling in Florida and introduced grapefruit cultivation to the area as well as cigar making. He had a lot of dealings with the native Indians of the area. You learn all this and more on the marker below. It’s a lovely park sitting on a bay. Would have been nice to spend a little more time there, but we had beaches to get to!

Clearwater Beach

We were not the only ones who had the brilliant idea of going to the beach this day. It was pretty packed and we had to scrounge around for parking. Clearwater Beach did not disappoint though. We played in the water and walked to our hearts content along the water’s edge. It was warm. It was sunny. The sand felt delicious as it always does between our toes. It was a happy place. You know how you can just feel happiness in the air sometimes? Yeah….nothing but happy energy.  Smile

My Mom & Dad

Indian Rocks Beach

After spending an hour or so in Clearwater, my parents wanted to take us to Indian Rocks Beach which is a little further south. They prefer this beach over Clearwater because it’s less populated. First we ate lunch at Guppies which sits directly across the street from the entrance to the beach. Wonderful seafood place! Four thumbs up from us. After lunch we waddled over to the beach. And then proceeded to walk off lunch by power walking up and down this really charming beach. What is it about walking on the beach? I can cover about four times as much ground as walking anywhere else and it not even begin to feel like work. It makes me sad to even think about people walking on treadmills. Blech. But walking on the beach? That’s just heaven. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it.

By the end of the day we were just blissed out. And we realized that what we really need more of is beach days. So we’re going to make that happen. We will probably rethink our future travel plans to concentrate on getting us to more beach areas in Florida rather than heading out of state as soon as we had planned. We still want to be in Indianapolis by early May. But we may ditch the idea of getting there via the east coast to DC to Indy. Think we’ll hang onto the warm beaches of Florida for as long as we can. And that is the beauty of our current lifestyle. We have the luxury of changing our minds and going wherever feels right for us at the time.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Throne Fit For a Queen

In our ongoing quest to improve the interior space of the RV, another relic of the 90's has bit the dust. Goodbye mauve/green floral couch! After buying the RV it was our intention to keep the couch as it seemed quite comfortable and it does make into a bed that could be used for any overnight guests. But some things just don't shake out as you plan, now do they?

After a couple of months of hanging out on the couch Karin decided that it was getting kind of saggy and NOT too comfortable. The decision was made to replace it with a very comfy reclining chair with ottoman. The pros to this were: less of that dated fabric in the RV, a more comfortable seat and a roomier feel to the living area. The cons were: loss of available seat spaces for guests, loss of the guest bed and then of course the expense of the new chair.

We decided that the only overnight guests we were likely to have might be my grandkids and they could sleep in sleeping bags. As for the additional seating, we should still have plenty. We can still seat six people comfortably inside. We find it doubtful that we would really need to seat anymore than that. And the added cost? Worth it for being comfortable!

Here is what came with the RV. A reminder; just click on the pics to see 'em bigger!

We kept the dog.  :)

 We had anticipated it would be a lot of work to get the couch out of the RV. We measured the couch. We measured the door. We figured the only way it was coming out would be to take it apart. After fighting and fighting with the very first bolt and getting nowhere at all, we decided what the heck.....we're gonna go ahead and try our luck at getting it out in one piece. Should've gone with that from the start! It slipped out the door with hardly any maneuvering at all. Of course.   

Next came putting together the new chair. This is what we had purchased: Thank You Amazon! :) It was relatively easy to assemble. It came with a grand total of ten screws. Unfortunately there were no written instructions; only pictures. A couple of the steps took some serious playing around to figure out. Like that? Serious playing???  I live for that stuff.   :)

Some assembly required

Dexter being ever so helpful

Curious cats....go figure!

Tah da!
The new arrangement is so much better. We were able to move Dexter's crate to the other side which gave me room for my legs over in the chair I usually use. I had been sitting sideways with his crate jabbing my leg. Who wants that? Not me! The whole space feels more like a "living room" and less like a narrow galley. 

The chair is super comfy. It rocks, swivels and reclines. The ottoman rocks too. This will mainly be Karin's chair because I have my computer set up on the other side on a little desk. This kinda sucks for me. Even though I'm a lot more comfortable now than I was. I may have to kick her out for movies and TV I'm thinking. Fair is fair, right???

Spoiled rotten, that's what I say!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Couple of Floridians.......

We celebrated Valentine's Day by officially becoming Florida residents. Not the most exciting thing ever, but a very necessary step to take. And it turned out to be relatively painless. What is it about the DMV that makes me such a basket case? Especially here in Florida. It's more like applying for a passport. So many documents you have to bring with you to be sure you can prove you are who you say you are and you are residing where you say you are. A little too "Big Brother is watching you" for my taste. But whatever. You do what you have to do, right?

This was a very bittersweet experience for the both of us. When we became Arizona residents six years ago we couldn't have been more excited. So turning over our AZ drivers licenses was sad for us. That might sound like a ridiculous thing to care about, but Arizona is still home to us. You get to thinking crazy things like what if something happens to prevent us from ever returning there? I know. Crazy talk. But life can take some crazy turns! Anyway, enough boo hooey-ness. Here is the proof that I am now legal here....

They do go all out for Valentines Day, don't they? Teeheehee..........

So if anyone is looking for detailed information on becoming a resident of Florida for the purpose of full-time RVing, look no further than here: Chris & Cherie's Wonder Guide to Establishing Residency in Florida (seriously....these guys do the hard work so you don't have to!). If I try to write that much detailed information my head explodes! 

Oh I almost forgot! We had the chance to meet the above mentioned Chris & Cherie the other day. Always good to meet others who are living as nomads. And they have been doing it longer than most, so it was so great to be around the really good, calm, centered energy that experience brings with it. And that they are so willing to share with beginners speaks to their generous spirit.   :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Floors….Check!

Installation of the new flooring is finally complete. It was a long, tedious project but more than worth the time and effort. Injuries were kept to a minimum and not too many socially unacceptable words were uttered.  

As a refresher, here are some pics of the before; an oh so lovely dusty (dirty) pink carpeting along with some less than exciting vinyl.
Yes, it’s every bit as dirty as it looks!
Snooze………yawn……ho hum…….
Mmmm….yummy carpet stains!
We replaced all this gorgeousness with vinyl wood grain peel & stick planks in a birch color throughout the entire RV. Having a continual surface throughout visually made the space seem larger. We chose the birch because we were already drowning in a sea of oak (gag me…..seriously). And the lighter color adds to the larger effect.
We purchased 5 boxes. Each box contained 30 planks (30 sq ft.). So that was enough to cover 150 sq ft. We had seven planks left over, plus a lot of scrap as there were so many odd cuts that had to be made. Each box was $30 and we had a coupon for $10 off so the total cost was $140. Oh plus we bought some primer to put down first and a length of metal threshold. That’s it! How many people can replace the flooring in their entire house for a mere 150 smackaroos? Not many my friends, not many.  

It’s a big-assed job. Oh you didn’t seriously think I was going to pass up the opportunity to say “big-assed” did you? Actually, Karin’s dad is more “big-hearted”!  

Through the tiny hallway towards the bedroom. This hallway and the bathroom were the major time hogs of the project. Lots of angles. Oy!
And now for the after pics! YAY!!!
Looking towards the front. You can see that we left the carpeting up front in the cockpit. Mainly because we have no idea how we would even begin to cover that console hump.
Through the kitchen
Hallway from a different angle
Bathroom. Notice we also left the carpet on the toilet base. I know. Yuck. But once again, covering it would have been a challenge.
Into the bedroom. Oh great happiness!
More bedroom. I love it!!!
The entry steps. We will get some carpet treads to put on the steps for dirt trapping/foot wiping.
And that’s it! We are tickled pink (but not dusty/dirty pink) with the results. The installation of the planks is super simple. But the job does require patience, recuperation time, a few band-aids and most importantly of all an awesome dad to do most of the work along with a happy crew of assistants.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slowly We Re-Enter This Century

The installation of the new flooring continues. It's slow tedious work in an RV that has no slide outs, due to the very tight working spaces. And really only one person can work effectively at a time like that. And, it's physically exhausting working in those cramped spots too! But soon my friends, soon it will be done.

In the meantime we completed a much easier reno project.  All those hideous brass cabinet handles are super shiny no more! Fast, easy, inexpensive fix that did a lot to bring the RV into the 21st century. Behold the handles before in all their 80's/90's glory.

We chose to spray paint them with Rustoleum Hammered Finish in dark bronze. Less than one can was more than enough to do the job. At about $7 for the can I consider that a fantastically economical RV upgrade!

Here they are all updated and back where they belong. Next up we'll apply the same technique to the brass light fixtures as well. Always another project waiting in the wings.  :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Attitude Adjustments

I tried to write this last night. It didn't go well. I was tired, sore and dealing with a cold. I wrote a bunch and then managed to hit something that made almost all of it disappear into who knows where. Boy does that ever make me mad when that happens! Last night I just decided it was a sign that I needed to sit back and just do some relaxing and get my hiney to bed early. Good call I think.

This morning I'm still dealing with the cold but I slept well and feel much better overall. Are you all as happy as I am  that we get to start over every 24 hours? It's a grand thing! I'm sitting here in my jammies with my cup of hazelnut decaf, enjoying the sunshine streaming in while the portable heater takes the edge off the overnight chill. I have iHeartRadio playing. It's like Pandora but with more fine tuning available. It was a recommendation from my son. I take advice from my kids. They're pretty smart. They got that from me!

My son Allen and me
And speaking of kids.....    I've been in a wee bit of a funk for the longest time and couldn't figure out what was up with that. Nothing serious, just like a little cloud in my otherwise brilliantly sunny skies. Since being in Florida we've spent a lot of time with Karin's family which has been great. But I hadn't seen any of my own family since last march. While normally that wouldn't be the end of the world, this time around it meant that I had missed out on my little grandbaby growing all the way from six weeks old to a year old. Too long for this baby crazy grandma to go! It was really getting to me. I was worried that when I did finally see her she wouldn't have anything to do with me because I was a stranger to her. And that's a very sad thought for me.

So one of our biggest reasons for making the crazy leap to full-time RV living was that it would allow us to see our families more often. Last week we scooted ourselves up to Indianapolis so that we could be there for Brianna's first birthday. Boy oh boy did that ever perk me up! And my worries were a waste of energy (as they almost always are). I got in lots of snuggle time with my little girl and her brother as well. It was wonderful! And when we left it was so much easier to say goodbye knowing that we will be back for a much longer visit in just a few months. I don't have to feel as though I'm being split in two in order to spend quality time with my family while still having a life of my own that suits me. My parents are due to arrive here any moment and will be in the area for the month. How cool is that? They come down here every February, their little winter escape. So we will get to share a bit of that with them this year.

The birthday girl and her very happy graandma
And something else that brightened my world was when we came back to the RV there was a surprise waiting for us courtesy of Karin's parents. While we were away they had gone ahead and installed the flooring in the front half of the RV! We were so excited. It looks absolutely beautiful, just what we were wanting. What a difference it made. Yesterday we spent the day tearing out the carpet in the back half and then removing those blasted staples. Which explains why I was so tired and sore last night. So worth it though. Can't wait to get the project finished up. I'll post pics once it's all done.  :)