Friday, May 22, 2020

Quarantine!

We are counting down to Monday when we drive to the Tampa airport to pick up a rental car. We will come back home and pack it with all the gear we are taking north. Then later Monday or more likely Tuesday, we will leave Polk City and head to Indiana. It is time to break out of quarantine and go back to Indiana and pick up a trailer load of stuff and bring it back here.

We bought this place in December and made a trip to Texas to pick up some stuff there we wanted to have here. We will eventually get the Texas palace cleaned out of stuff we want and then we will put it up for sale. But until then we will keep it and probably spend a few weeks there every winter. . . or not. . . whatever strikes our fancy.

This first load we are bringing back includes MinnieMee, the little motorhome, and the enclosed cargo trailer. The trailer is currently stuffed full and in a storage unit in Nappanee, Indiana. It is there with the rest of the household stuff that is all boxed and waiting on a ride to Florida. Also in there is the Miata, my sweet little ride. We first have to get the Miata running and get some new tires on it. The ones on it are original and nine years old. Then we will return the rental car to the South Bend airport.

Then we head to the storage warehouse where MinnieMee is stored. We will get her running and take her to the Elkhart Campground near there. We will camp in her there, but we will first have to empty it into the storage locker in Nappanee. We put all our electronics in MinnieMee so they could be in climate controlled storage, but we need the stuff out so we can live in it. We also have to empty the cargo trailer because we are going to get my organ which is in a different climate controlled storage in Elkhart. We are going to go pick it up and then we will load the trailer with anything else we can fit in around the organ.

We will visit mom while we are there, observing social distancing, but it will be good to see her and Nita. We plan to spend some time sorting through the household stuff in storage and visit with some friends in the camp. We have to get new tires on the Miata, so may do that at that time.

Eventually we will start the trek back to Florida with MinnieMee and the trailer in tow. We plan on going to Mississippi to the family reunion on the way back, if they are going to have it. Haven't heard from anyone if they plan on going. We have lost three more members of the family since last year. Only one still came regularly, but he was there last year and we knew he had some health challenges then. So it will be bittersweet if we are able to connect with the rest of the family.

We have been trying to get things ready for the trip. Getting packed and cleaned out the refrigerator/freezers in the motorhome. We have been raiding it regularly, but we didn't want to leave it running while we were gone, so we got it cleaned out today. It is thawing overnight, and I will get it cleaned up tomorrow.

We have found some people who want our furniture. We bought the house furnished, but didn't want the furniture. We have changed all the beds with new mattresses and foundations, but kept that furniture as it was suitable. They are bringing a truck this weekend some time and taking the rest of what they want. We have new furniture being delivered mid-June when we return back to Florida. That will be the living room furniture. Then the only thing left is the dining room furniture and some bookcases, etc. We intend to get that all from IKEA, but they are currently closed and aren't saying when they will reopen. We hope they will be open by the time we get back and then we can finish up the furniture in the house.

We have been staying home mostly during this quarantine time. Trying to follow instructions to keep us safe. We did our doctor visits by telehealth and will follow up in the fall. We have our masks and our antibacterial wipes to take with us to try and keep things clean, so I'm hoping all will go smoothly and we will stay safe on our trip.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Monday, December 16, 2019

Busy times!

We have been busy working on fixing up our house. We finally got our new furniture we ordered for the veranda room, which is like a sun room/Florida room, etc. It's on one end of the house away from the bedrooms and seems to be where we are spending a lot of time relaxing, etc. It has windows all the way around.

We went furniture shopping because there wasn't much furniture in there except for a couple chairs and they were not the best. We settled on a reclining loveseat and a reclining chair. They have an overstuffed looked to them and are extremely comfortable for both of us. We have no trouble sitting back and dozing off, that's for sure. So after working hard all day, it's nice to kick back and relax.

I had to make a quick trip to Melbourne this week to help with Brynlee. Megan had to take her Mom to a new hospital to take (kidney) transplant education and Brandon was facing multiple trips to Miami, so I went on Wednesday so I could take her and pick her up from school. As it turned out, Brandon didn't have to go, but I was still a big help to them. And I played "elf" and wrapped some of their Christmas presents for them. So that kept me busy. I had planned to stay over for Friday, but they didn't need me, so I came home Thursday night.

Friday morning I was up early and the new "starliner" was launched over at the Cape. Brandon had said I might be able to see the launches from our house. I went out once it launched on TV and sure enough! I was able to see it for quite a while right from our driveway! We did have clouds, so once it got to the clouds, I couldn't see much more, but it was pretty cool and I know I will be able to see other launches.

Yesterday we went shopping for food and anything else I needed for our holiday comfort. We are going to Brandon's again and he is doing prime rib, so we aren't going to be doing the traditional holiday dishes. We are taking a veggie tray and some salads, so it will be a great dinner.

We are slowly getting things finished up around the house that we wanted to do. We were to have the outside powerwashed last week, but the guy messed up his schedule, so we got moved back to the 30th. No problems and we hadn't moved the motorhome out, so we are good. We also were missing the bathroom fan lights and trim rings. We looked all over for them and couldn't find them, but did find what they looked like. So I ordered them online. They came yesterday and Terry put them up. They were perfect, fit well and look great. Now we don't have those ugly fans mechanisms exposed. We have had a leaking sprinkler head and Terry has wracked his brain trying to figure out how to get that stopped. He was going to have an irrigation guy stop by to look at it. But yesterday he opened up under the house and found the shut offs! So he got that taken care of. He will still have the leaking valve replaced, but it's not an urgent need anymore.

We have been emptying out the motorhome of stuff we don't need so that we have room to pack stuff we have in the Texas place that we want to keep.

The weather has been pleasant her and we are enjoying our new home.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

New (to us) home! Polk City, Florida

It's been a trying month since we made the offer on the house. The owners had decided prior to selling that they would put a new roof on it and that was a great surprise to us. We had questioned the roof and told it would "pass" inspection, but we were going to have to look at it very closely.

We had our inspection done, which had to be delayed due to the roofers being lazy. Also, the roofers took the lightning rods off the house and didn't put them back on, so Terry was on that. Eventually they put them back up. The inspection yielded no surprises. The 4-T HVAC system is in great shape at only 3 years old is more than adequate to do the job. Roof is now new. Plumbing is all in good shape. We have 200 amp service at the lot which is good as well. Everything was in good shape.

The owners kind of lagged behind in getting it emptied out of their personal stuff and eventually hinted they would like some extra days after the closing. Our realtor reminded them they had signed a contract, so that was that. We still had stuff we had to clean out, but not nearly as much as we would have had.

We closed on December 2 and have been working since then. We moved the motorhome over the next day, the 3rd. She fits nicely under the canopy and once in, we can get three slides out, which is fine. This allows us access to everything inside.

In addition to working on the house itself, we take breaks and shop for items we need. I bought new bedding for the bedrooms and found lamps that go perfectly with the rooms. The large bathroom in the master had a handicap bench in the shower which was dirty, moldy and left stains on the floor. Terry finally got around to removing it yesterday and I started scrubbing the shower. Vinegar cleaned it up nicely and now the floor is sparkling white even where the discoloration was around the legs of the bench. It is a very large shower, so if we need a seat in there we can always add one.

We bought some new furniture for the "veranda room" but it won't be delivered for another week. The veranda room is like a Florida Room, but it was actually built as part of the house. It has windows all the way around.

We had multiple light switches in rooms that didn't seem to work. We thought they went to outlets, but had problems locating them. I had emailed the manufacturer, Jacobsen, and the gal sent me a floor plan which showed where all those light switches were ! Ta Da! So now I have lamps on those outlets so everything is working.

It's all been a work in progress, but fun at the same time. We have lots to do here and we plan on moving on to Texas after the first of the year, so we need to make a list!

I am posting some pictures but still have much to do.

 This first picture is the spare bedroom and the one below is the master.


It's been a lot of fun getting this set up the way we want. We still have a ways to go, but it's coming around.

Till next time. . . 

Dale

Friday, November 29, 2019

Holidays with family!

Yesterday morning we traveled from our campsite in Davenport to Melbourne, Florida, to have Thanksgiving dinner with Brandon and his family, Megan, Brynlee, Lily, and Megan's Mom, Diane. We had a feast too. Turkey, a chargoal grilled beef tenderloin on the Green Egg, cranberry salad, orzo salad, Bok Choy salad, sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. Appetizers were cheese ball olives. Whoo hoo. Boy are we stuffed! I really didn't overeat, but I tried to taste everything and nothing disappointed. It's the first time in about 15 years we have had Thanksgiving dinner with one of our kids. While in Texas, we always had dinner with Mom and Dad, but since Daddy's gone now and Mom doesn't go down anymore, there was no family for us to commune with.

We started back about 5:15 because we realized it would soon be dark. LOL The drive over was great, very little traffic and it's the "longer" way around to Brandon's house, but it was about 1:45 hours. Going back we took the toll road (we now have a Sun Pass) and we have to jump on I-4 for the last 8 miles. As soon as we get on I-4, we are in a traffic jam. Happened the last time we drove over to Brandon's for the day. It is apparently all the Disney traffic. . . no other reason and we are right there at Disney, so I suppose that's true. I was looking at the map today and I believe I see an alternate route if we have to go again.

We've been busy exploring the area and looking at places. Will keep you updated on our search, but nothing's going on this weekend.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Offer Time!



So Monday, November 11th, we met with the real estate agent and went through a property we had looked at previously in Mount Olive Shores. This is a motorhome community. . . you must have a motorhome to live here and it must be a Class A. No problem there.

I'm sure we haven't seen every port home there is in central Florida, but we've seen a lot of them. We really wanted to be in a community so that we were surrounded by like-minded people and would feel more secure. We will not be stopping our travel and we wanted to find a place that we could "leave" and travel around a bit. We wanted to be "close enough" to Brandon and Megan and Brynlee, but not "too" close. We wanted to be within an easy distance to a major heart hospital and good cardiologists for Terry. This place is centered between Orlando and Tampa. We wanted to be inland enough to not be impacted with every storm that comes through.

Many of the communities have small RV lots that you pay anywhere from $40,000 up to over $100,000 and all you get is pavement. You normally cannot put much else on the lot except your RV. Some do have "casitas" but none of them we looked at would have room or space to put everything we want to bring. Most had fees of at least $250 a month for amenities, all of which included golf, which we do not play.

So back to this particular property. It is in a motorhome community. . . not a lot of activities, but some. No big hall, but a smaller version. Friendly RV'ers. It's gated and the gates are closed all the time. You must use a code or a clicker to get in. The house is a manufactured home, a Jacobsen. They are made in Tampa. It is about 28' x 48', two bedrooms, two baths, large living room, dining space, large eat-in kitchen, and a sunny Florida room that spans the entire back of the house. It has brand new replacement Pella windows, all new flooring throughout, and the entire interior has been repainted. It comes furnished. The owners decided also to put a new roof on and it will be done this next week. Outside is a two-story shed with workspace for Terry. There is a 55' RV port on the far side of the drive and between that and the house is a shorter carport where MinnieMee will live. It is large enough and long enough to park both cars and our cargo trailer.

So we went back to take another look and we made an offer. The owners countered, splitting the difference between their asking price and our offer and we accepted. We wanted a quick closing as did the owners, but they wanted the roof on. That was not a condition but they were told it needed done, so they did it. Also, we are having inspections done and the week after next is Thanksgiving week, so not a lot will happen then. So our closing is set for the Monday after Thanksgiving. Whoo hoo. We will have it before Christmas, but I hesitate to say "in" it because we have a lot to do. But Phaeton Place will be parked right out the door in her spot under the canopy, so we will be staying in there till we get things fixed up. They left it furnished, but we will undoubtedly be sorting through what was left and pitching/donating what we don't want. But the upside of that is that we have no furniture and no home furnishings to put in it, so we will use what's there till we replace it.

It will be quite some time before we get all our stuff here. We're debating how to do that and the jury is still out on that one. But since we are spending about $3000 a year on storage, the sooner the better. And we have a few things to bring over from the place in Texas. Not sure when/if we will keep that place, but I doubt that we do. For now we are thinking we will head over there sometime after Christmas. There are some things we could take out now.

I'm wanting to get Mom down here. She is excited about it and would love to come. She wants to escape the cold up north. So we're trying to decide when that could happen. We have plenty of room for her and she would love the area.

So until then, we wait. We had some documents to sign and we have to take our trust in to the title company Monday for their perusal. We were never in this area of central Florida much, so we try to go somewhere everyday and look around. It's been fun.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Theme World RV Resort, Davenport, Florida

It was time to move again, so we headed over towards Davenport and into a park known as Theme World RV Resort.  Everything down here is an RV Resort whether it is or not! LOL This is right on I-4 and SR 27. 

There is another large RV community here known as Deer Creek. It is very nice and made up of several separate communities each with their own distinct personalities. They all have their own hall with pool and then there is the main hall and pool. Once again, you own your own lot, but the park is owned by the developer. The lots are very small for the most part and there are a lot of limitations. You can have stick built casitas next to your port, but the ones that we liked had very short ports that Phaeton Place would barely fit under. No space for all our stuff and two motorhomes on one lot not allowed. We liked some of the lots themselves, but they would require building something and then we still couldn't have what we needed anyway.

We had promised Brandon and Megan we would watch Brynlee Saturday night so they could get away for a night to celebrate their 8th anniversary. On our way down there we stopped at The Great Outdoors Resort in Titusville, Florida. This is a huge RV community where you can buy your lot. I don't know how many people live here but it's probably in the thousands. It is way huge. We had a very nice realtor show us around the place. Once again, first impressions are important and everything we looked at required work and prices we were quoted for that work were way more than most places we inquired. And prices were pretty much double everything else we had looked at. And also, you can't live in the casita if you have one, but there are port homes where you can. But those are mega expensive. They have so many amenities in this park, but most we wouldn't use, including the golf course. So we decided against this park.

We traveled on to Melbourne and arrived in time to visit with the kids before they left. We had a great time with Brynlee, taking her to McDonald's and playing with her and Lily. Once the kids returned the next day, we ate out at Sonny's with them, then returned to Theme World RV Resort at Davenport. It was about a 2 hour drive, but that was with stopped traffic on I-4. We only had about 8 miles to go on the interstate, but it was stopped. The next day was Veteran's Day and there was more traffic going to/from the theme parks, so that was apparently the problem. We did spend time talking with Brandon about the Mount Olive Shores property and we decided we would take another look.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Majestic Oaks, Zephyrhills, Florida

When we left Sebring, we drove up to Majestic Oaks RV Resort, in Zephyrhills, Florida. There were several places here we wished to check out and once again, this is a Passport America park, so camping was cheaper here. Most of the parks that honor PPA do not offer it through the winter, so we had to look around to find one that accepted it now.

Majestic Oaks, as Buttonwood Bay, did accept seasonals all winter. Their rates are fairly expensive, as is anything in Florida during the winter. It is a nice park, however, and they throw in some perks if you wish to stay for the winter and come back the next year, etc.  Once again it was a very nice park and we could walk the flat streets every day. On our last day here, I rescued a turtle. . . seemed to be a leatherback of some sort. He was covered in mud, so obviously just dug out from a bank. We had a lot of rain the day before, but he had found himself in the street. I didn't want him to get killed, so I used my towel I had to move him up onto a driveway. Later I looked for him and he was gone so hopefully he made it back to one of the ponds in the park.

Right across the highway was the Emerald Point RV Resort which I had heard about. It also was a very beautiful park, but once again, extremely small lots, and no space to put all our stuff. Two RV's not allowed, etc., etc. Dogs were not an issue; we saw all sizes. We talked to one owner whose place was for sale. Like our Texas park, you can have stick built casitas next to your port, but you cannot live in there. Not a lot of storage, etc., so we passed on this park. Good thing we decided against this place, because I don't want to have to spell Zephyrhills all the time. I always misspell it.

One park where I was sure we could find something was one I had seen on line this summer. One residence had multiple RV ports and I was sad I had missed it before it was sold. This is Hampton Courts/Country Aire in Dade City. Another seemingly great park, with very little for sale, but a few interesting places. We stopped in at the office thinking we would get a list of available properties, but since owners own their lots, they don't work with the office when they want to sell. They use outside realtors or for sale by owner. Which is okay, but it just means you have to drive around and hope to find an owner home. The real problem we found out by visiting the office is that the park is not owned by the residents. They own their lots, but the owner/developer owns all the common areas and the park in fact is for sale. The secretary said it wasn't going to happen and it had been for sale for the six years she had worked there, but this opens up a whole 'nother can o' worms. Some of the roads were falling apart and there were upgrades that were needed with the community center, etc. Easy to see the owner wasn't putting any more money into it and if it happened to sell, a new owner could raise the monthly fees to anything he wanted, justifying it by saying they needed to upgrade roads, sewer/water system, etc. No thank you. While resident owned parks have their issues, everything to be done requires the membership's approval. Not so when you don't own the park. You are at the mercy of the owner.

So we crossed Emerald Point and Hampton Courts off our list. Only one other park was still on the list. . . Mount Olive Shores, in Polk City. We had visited there a year and a half ago but weren't real impressed, so we were kind of down about the lack of progress. We could buy acreage and build a house, but we would prefer something in a park with people around us. This would afford security and also many parks catering to snowbirds provide mowing/lawn care, etc. Anything remote would require more security and vendors to handle the work when we aren't there. And we plan to continue traveling.

So we took a day and drove over to Polk City and up to the gate at Mount Olive Shores. Couldn't get in. I quickly looked up their website and found they had a signup sheet going for an outing. I figured the phone number for the person in charge would likely be answered, so I called. Sure enough I got a live person. When I told her we would like to come in and see the park she asked me to wait a minute. Turns out her friend, a realtor handling properties in Mount Olive Shores was there visiting. She said she would come to the gate and let us in. We connected with her and fortunately she had time to show us around. The few places she showed us that were for sale did not fit the bill for us. They were some of the cheaper ones and others there had double ports, etc. There isn't much for sale in here and it usually doesn't last long. So she took us to another more expensive property.

First impressions mean a lot and I compare everything to how I left our property which we sold in September. This home was not empty, being sold furnished. I didn't care for some of the furniture, but I have no furniture, so it's a plus to have something to use until I can buy what I want. Most importantly it has a huge RV port and a shorter port and you can put anything you own there as long as it's on the concrete. It gave us a lot to think about. So after two weeks of looking, we had one possibility. It was too much to think about on the fly, so we said our goodbyes to the realtor and left. The hunt continues.

Till next time. . .

Dale