Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thoughtful Interlude...on a rainy day

The weather certainly has not cooperated with me so far, I have only been out on my bike twice since we got to Florida in late December. January really has sucked this year. More so than years before when I realized that January is just not the ideal season to be in Florida. (At least for a freeze cat like me) The weather seems unpredictable and the chance of frost is always prevalent. However I will still take it over the weather back home. <smile> 

Between the rainy days and bone chilling temperatures it has left very few days to actually get out and ride. The first time out we just did a loop around the town, just to get back into the groove, seeing last April was the last time we were biking. The second was our usual River Road tour which is always a nice ride but has become predictable. Neither one qualified as blog material. I am restless to see some different scenery, which really in Florida there is not much chance of that, so at the very least I would like to try to find some different roads to travel. 

Fort Myers bike night (January 9) was a ‘wash out’ and I mean that literally. There was a potential for a thunderstorm that night, so we opted to go with the car. (I know, it was like cheating but I was sure glad we did) There wasn’t as many vendors and the bands never even had a chance to get set up before the storm hit. It was about an hour after we got there and we were lucky to be inside a restaurant when the torrential downpour erupted. There was also a tornado warning and the rain never let up that night. We were fortunate that the tornado missed us, however Cape Coral was not so lucky. 

Since then I have been basically stuck to the house the last few weeks, hence the lack of bike adventures. If nothing else it has given me lots of time to ponder over where to plot out our next tour. I decided that this year my goal is to find those quirky out of the way oddities that I have been reading so much about. Really delve into the strange and unusual (which actually sums me up to a tee) in our travels and document it with photographs. What better way to combine my love of motorcycling and my interest in photography. 

Now I just need to convince my BF ... <smile>

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Late Start

This year we didn’t leave for Florida until Dec 26th, a few factors prevented us from leaving at the beginning of December this year. It was a surprisingly slow start to winter in the north and we even had a green Christmas this year. With the milder (well, mild for most people, not for me) weather and lack of snow lent to a longer work year for my BF, that and the fact he was building us a new house in his ‘spare time’.  
Not to mention our car was on it’s last legs and we ended up having to buy another car so we could even make the trip to Florida. 

Since coming to Florida for the winter the plan was to eventually down size and go solar, hydro bills in Ontario are sky rocketing. On a whim we put our house up for sale on Kijiji at the end of May, image our surprise when in less than two weeks it was sold and had a closing date within a mere 4 weeks! There we were, having till the end of June to get out, at least we already had a property that was purchased a few years prior. However, we had to figure out what we were going to live in while we built the new house. 

Home Sweet Trailer
We eventually decided we would live on site while we built and purchased a 5th wheel travel trailer. I have to give my BF a lot of credit, he built our new house after work (he was building someone else a house) and on the weekends. He worked his ‘butt’ off this summer. My contribution would be the painting, staining and decorating.

It was certainly an experience living in a trailer for four months, however, when you camp at least you don’t have to get up in the morning and go off to work! At first it was a bit difficult, like no running water. My BF would have to bring barrels of water from a nearby spring to fill the water tanks in the trailer, run his generator once in awhile so we could charge batteries and for me, use my hair dryer!  At least we had propane to run the small fridge and to cook with. Come to think of it, it could of been a lot worse, we could of been sleeping in a tent LOL.

And as hard as it is to believe, I ended up having to get a cell phone! We had no phone when we first moved and it took longer than expected to get the phone line installed. But that is another story. The worst was not having an Internet connection for almost two months. I would pack up my laptop and lug it over to the Township office where they offered free Internet. I jokingly called it ‘going to my office’. 

From this

To this in 4 months!

By mid October the house was already insulated, windows in and the fireplace installed. A good thing too, I was freezing sleeping in the trailer, so we put our mattress in the house. After a week of just sleeping in the house and going to the trailer to cook  I decided it was time to totally move into the house, albeit without a few conveniences. 

Even though the solar was in place, only the exterior outlets were functioning so we ran a few extension cords from a power bar to have a light and run a hotplate for cooking. The Well had been dug and septic was put in and we had running water at least, however no hot water for awhile. We still took showers at the trailer and I would put the supper dishes in my wagon and truck them over to the trailer to wash. 

After a couple of weeks of that, our propane for the house was finally hooked up and we now had HOT water! Oh the luxury! At the end of October our appliances were delivered and we finally had a full size fridge and a proper stove! My BF had hooked up the laundry tub so I could wash the dishes and we got a toilet and sink for the powder room. I was happy not to have to go back and forth to the trailer anymore. 

(It wasn’t until mid November when we fully closed up the Trailer for the winter. A rare occurrence where we are, usually we are under several feet of snow by then).

I was finally able to contribute to the house by white washing the pine boards that were going up in the kitchen area so we could have the kitchen cupboards installed. A friend of ours is a cabinet maker and we had him build the kitchen and master bath cupboards, he does excellent work and I love my new cupboards!  I won’t have a counter top or kitchen sink or working dishwasher until we get back, but at least I have a functional kitchen again! 

Cabinets are Knotty Pine with a Early American stain
Bar top is also Pine and made by our friend.

Always wanted a make up table in the master bath.
The cabinets are distressed and made out of Ash the counter tops are made from Bird’s Eye Maple (Obviously still need to install the two sinks) 

And I was ecstatic when the shower was tiled in the master bath and was finally able to take a shower again! It just isn’t the same washing from a sink every morning...

The house has come a long way and we are very happy with our progress. There will be still quite a bit of work when we get back, like trim work, completing some more walls, the staircase, siding, landscaping.
(Front door and window was also built by my BF! - (I stained it :) 

... but for now it is time to relax and get back on the Harley’s! 

It is great to be back in the warmth :)