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Epcot, Orlando, Florida

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Friday, April 13, 2018

A Day at Epcot and Rain Test

After our truck didn’t start on Sunday, our neighbor came over and they started it with a jump. We ran it for about 45 minutes hoping that it would charge the batteries up enough to start on Monday, but Monday morning they were once again dead. So we had to jump it again to get it started, and Harry headed off to the Chevy dealership. Once they checked the batteries out, they reported to Harry that one was dead and the other was close. Yeah, we figured. So Harry used their shuttle to come home for the day, and they called in the afternoon to let him know when the truck was ready. There was some good news for the day though. Harry asked them to check the brakes while the truck was there and they are still in great shape. Not bad considering they are the original brakes and we are heading for 87k miles on the truck!

Last week Harry spent a morning putting up some flashing above and around our front windows in an attempt to take care of a leak we’d noticed during the last couple rainstorms. On Tuesday we finally got some rain, and we were both eager t30688504_10216976066860656_380222382289190912_no see if we saw any drips coming in.



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No leaks!



30582127_10216964083121070_7498269417880445720_nOn Wednesday we enjoyed another day at Epcot. That makes four days for us this year. We buy the Weekday Select annual pass for Florida residents. That pass enables us to go to any of the Disney parks on weekdays only, with the exception of some blackout periods. The blackout periods are at peak times like Christmas week, a couple weeks in March or April when the spring breakers are coming, and a couple months in the summer. Those are all times when we wouldn’t want to go anyway so it works out fine. Our annual pass covers admission and parking, plus gives discounts at some of the stores and restaurants.

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We were looking forward to going this time because this is the time of year when they have their Festival of Flowers. The displays are so beautiful.

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It was a beautiful day to walk around and enjoy all the Disney characters made up with flowers. We went on a couple rides – including my favorite at Epcot – Soarin’!



30724904_10216964067320675_1188236788186287231_nAnd we had a huge surprise when I sent a pic to a friend that we had worked with at Amazon, knowing she was a big Disney fan, and she replied to my message that she was at Epcot also! We met up right outside the Soarin’ ride, after we found out she was in line right behind us. That was so amazing! We hadn’t seen Robin since the last time we worked at Amazon in the fall of 2016.


That will be our last trip to Disney for this winter. We only have six weeks left here and they are going to go fast, especially with being scheduled to work three days a week. You can really tell it’s the end of the season. We have a lot of empty spots around us again, and most of our friends will be gone by this time next week. It’s getting to be traveling time!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

One Year!

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Time flies when you’re having fun! Believe it or not, it has been one year since we had our first look at the place that we now call home!


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Here was Harry getting his first look around.


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Even with the unexpected expenses we have had this winter season, especially having to replace the air conditioner last August, we have absolutely no regrets about buying this park model.

In some ways having this place has just made things simpler. Although the address that we had through the mail service served its purpose at the time, it has been so much more convenient with a more conventional permanent address. Now we don’t have any address issues popping up when we apply for anything that requires credit. When we had the mail service address, our applications were always getting flagged as possible fraud. Even filling out applications has been easier – no more trying to figure out the best way to answer the question about whether we own or rent.

Beyond that, having a home base gives me a little sense of…security?…relief? While we were fulltiming, there were just a few times when we had major repair issues crop up – the kind of repair where you aren’t going anywhere until it’s fixed. The time in Ohio when our front axle basically came apart. The time in Peru when the roller underneath the bed broke which meant we couldn’t bring the bedroom slide in. We were always really lucky in that we were able to get our repair completed without any major time spent out of the rig. But it was always in the back of my mind just as a little distant worry, what we would do if something major like that happened. Now, if anything big and “trip-stopping” happened, I know that we could just come home. And not only have our home waiting for us, but also my job. I only have to call and three weeks later I can be back on the schedule. So that’s just given us a little peace of mind.


Speaking of repair issues, we had a new one pop up today. We went out to go to the store, and…nothing. The truck wouldn’t start. I’m just glad it didn’t happen over the past three days when I was working. We aren’t sure if it’s the battery, or the starter. So in the morning we have to call and get the truck towed to the Chevy dealer in town. UPDATE: Our neighbor came over and he and Harry got the truck started with a jump. So at least now we know it’s the batteries.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Work Week Complete

I just finished a three day stretch of work days. It depends on the department, but for me, with the schedule constraints of the people I work with, my work days and hours are usually pretty consistent. Most weeks I work two  8 hour days during the week and then I open on Saturday, which means I work from 5 am to 1:30. So this week I worked Thursday and Friday from 9:30 to 6, and then did my usual shift today. And next week I do the same, which means I now have four days off before I work again. Not too hard to take!

I gave my leaving date to the appropriate person in HR yesterday. So now it is official that I have a little over six weeks left to work. I have to call in September about a month before we come back, and then I will be put on the schedule right away. That means that we will arrive, and then I can go right back to work. No applications, delays, orientation etc! I just love how convenient this job is going to be.

I had a comment about how it works with Florida residency and Disney pricing. We haven’t gotten any special pricing for our Disney cruises, but that’s partially because we have always had a special week that we needed to go. My understanding is that Disney cruises usually get filled up, so I’m not sure if they offer special last minute pricing. However, we have gotten some good deals for the parks. Both Harry and I have season passes, and they have a really good price for Florida residents. And once you have the pass, you get an even better deal to renew it the following year. Also, when my mother was here, and we wanted to stay overnight, I got an email that they were offering some certain resorts/certain nights at 30% off. The range of dates was within the time period I was looking at, so I called, and we got a really good deal for the night that we stayed at the Caribbean Resort.

30265054_10216924105961666_942238738669371392_oHarry’s big project for this week was doing some outside repair work. The last couple of times it rained, we had a pretty good leak over a window. And, before that, we had a drip coming in over the front door. So Harry decided it was time to get that fixed. He opened it up and found the house wrap was pretty frayed, and there were gaps at the end by the doors.

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He opened up the siding along the windows and put flashing in along the sides…


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and then above the top of the windows and door.


Then caulked over the door under the piece of trim.

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And then it was all put back together!



A couple days ago, Harry used the water hose to spray all over the front, and, NO leaking!! Another great repair job done!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

March – Running Fun!

28952034_10216615424644826_7002809298464031470_nThree years ago we attended an event in Sebring called Run the Track. It’s a 3.74 mile race around the Sebring Raceway. It’s a pretty small race with only a few hundred people, but it’s a fun event. One of the best things about this race was the long sleeve running shirt that we got. So we decided that it would be nice to do it again, and get another shirt – well worth the $25 cost!

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Not only did we get another long sleeve running shirt, and have a good time – but I came in 1st place in my age group! That was pretty exciting!



That was only the first great running event we had going on in March. It was a long time ago – over a year!- when we signed up for a half marathon that would be taking place in Sarasota, FL. We have done several other races over the past few years, and for all of them we traveled to the location on the morning of the race. Races always start pretty early in the morning, and since we have to arrive early to find a parking spot, we’ve always had to get up in the middle of the night to have enough time to get ready. For this race, we decided that we were going to splurge and get a hotel room right by the start. Being Sarasota, and right by the water, it was really pricey, but it turned out to be totally worth it!

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We left for Sarasota on Saturday morning. We had found a Groupon for a place to eat in Sarasota, and being St. Patrick’s Day we decided to eat earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. That turned out to be a great idea, because the meal was really filling. We were barely even hungry again for the whole rest of the day!

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After eating, we drove a couple miles to Lido Beach and were lucky enough to find a parking place. We went for a nice walk on the beach to pass the time until it was check-in time at the hotel.



A29342467_10216697209689401_4588729970048944681_nround 3:30, we left to drive over to our hotel – the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. This is easily the most expensive hotel we have ever stayed at. The view was awesome, but other than that, I can’t say it was that much over and above other places where we have stayed. But the best part about the location was it's proximity to our race – that parking lot over to the right in the picture was where we needed to be in the morning.

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And then it was race day! Harry took this picture as we were walking over to the start line. It was so relaxing just being able to get up in the morning, have our coffee and breakfast, and then just stroll on over about 20 minutes before the race started.

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I took this picture as we were running over the Ringling Causeway.


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One of the nicest parts about this race was that the race photos were free to download. This is the first race we have done that didn’t require you to purchase the race photos. 

So here we are coming in! Our official time was 2:42:34. (It took us three minutes from the official start to actually get over the start line. They start people in waves.) I was extremely happy with our time. This was the first half marathon that I actually ran all the way through!


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There’s the Causeway! We ran all the way across this and then back. That was the first 6 miles of the race.



And then we took a nice leisurely walk back to the hotel where we could shower before we headed for home. It was a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

February Was Cruise and Company Month!

29920830_10216886489701283_922250618_nAfter a quiet uneventful month in January, we knew that February was going to be the exact opposite. We had a cruise coming up early in the month, and after that we were having our first official company! When we bought the park model last April, we decided right away that we were going to use the Florida room as our living area, and leave what was originally the living room for a guest area. We set it up before we left for the cruise, and I loved the way it looked.

On Sunday, Feb 11th we drove to Sebastian to pick up my mother and stepfather and from there head to the cruise port in Port Canaveral. Being Sunday morning, it was very quiet and we had a quick and uneventful trip.

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I always love the first look at the ship!

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My sister surprised us with some magnets for our door! (Her oldest son, Matt, was staying in our room for the cruise also.)

Just a few photos to show the fun we had on our cruise…

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28167062_10216457082126362_2066929634095639998_nOur cruise went to Key West, Cozumel and Costa Maya. We didn’t plan any excursions for the cruise, and just planned to walk around the port areas. That is the one thing I would change for any future cruises we go on. It always sounds like a good idea to just walk around and enjoy the area, but the immediate area near the cruise port is 27751718_10216385393334187_7956098765175521693_nalways so touristy, with people just nagging you to buy their merchandise. It’s probably going to be a few years before we go on another cruise, but I will keep that in mind for the next one.

But the actual cruise portion of the week was wonderful. We had three rooms in a row, so we had a nice long balcony area, and it’s always so great to have time to chat with family members that we don’t see all the time.


28166733_10216457164888431_6141094445087453009_nWhen we arrived back home, the fun wasn’t over yet! My mother and stepfather came back to Avon Park with us to extend the enjoyment for another week and a half.




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We packed a lot into the time we had. We went for some drives and gave them some tours of the area. We went on a tram tour of Highlands Hammock State Park, and enjoyed checking out the locals.



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We also spent a couple days at Epcot, and had a wonderful time exploring the different countries in the World Showcase area.

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While we were there, Harry enjoyed his favorite – a plate full of German food from an all you can eat buffet!




It was a whirlwind 10 days, and they enjoyed their time so much they are planning to come back next winter for three months! We reserved a spot here in the park, and they are going to live in the fiver and enjoy soaking in a little  of our nice Florida winter weather.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Back to the Blog After a Fast Winter; January Recap

Wow, it’s April! This, by far, has been the fastest winter season since we first sold the house and headed south over six years ago. I guess that just means that we are enjoying life!It has been over seven months since we arrived here in Avon Park, and we have made a lot of improvements in our new home, but I will save that for another blog post.

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I am still working at Home Depot, and it’s been a really good experience. I like my job, and I like the people that I work with. In the middle of January, I finished training and received my fork lift license. I like loading the trucks and using the forklift to prepare deliveries, but it’s sometimes a little nerve-wracking. Every week I get a little  more experience, and pick up a few more tricks. When I return in October hopefully I’ll remember some of it!

I looked back at my pictures for January, and other than getting my forklift license at work, it looks like it was pretty unremarkable. Harry and I were both still training for our half-marathon. In January I ran an average of 17 miles a week, for a total of 74.5 miles during the month.


26732599_10216019601709625_206266736_oI have been thoroughly enjoying my kitchen. 29995898_10216877891606336_253563164_oI have spent the past several months doing all kinds of baking….bread, pies, rolls. It’s been a lot of fun – both the cooking part and the eating part!

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29694978_10216878939712538_3944233452567039686_nThis happened in January…and also February, March, and now again today. Every month we’ve gone over to check on the rig. As far as we can tell, she’s come through the winter very well – other than needing a good wash! 29683765_10216878940072547_6554551532283906027_n


Every month I’ve looked around for “calling cards”, and haven’t seen any. There isn’t any food in the place, so nothing really to attract any visitors. We have a company who sprays in our place a few times a year, and we think we are going to have them do our rig before we move back in for the summer. I don’t want to bring any big bugs back up north with us when we move!

24232158_10215688668516502_2985244414425356380_n (1)Speaking of heading north, we have about 7 weeks left before we do just that. We’ll be going to Charlotte for a few days to visit Harry’s son, and then moving north to upstate NY. For the first time, we are going to have a seasonal site at Iroquois Campground, and we’ll be spending July through September there. This is a picture of our site. It’s a corner site and we have a huge living area. We are looking forward to it!

This blog post kind of turned into a hodge podge of this and that, but only because there wasn’t much going on in January. February was the complete opposite, so I’ll continue with that in my next post.

Monday, January 8, 2018

More Updates and Improvements

It’s been another good week around here. It was cold like most of the rest of the country, but our house seems to hold up to the weather pretty well. One of the best things we did was to replace those windows in the park model portion of the place. They were the original windows and didn’t do anything to insulate from heat or cold. We did break down and turn the heat on over the past few days, but it didn’t run a lot. When we replaced the a/c in August, we got one that had a 2.5 ton heat pump with a back up auxiliary heater for when the temps dip below 35 degrees. So that is more than enough to keep us comfortable in the few times that the weather gets like it did the past week.

26733124_10216019605429718_297131806_oWe were talking a couple days ago about the ceiling fans. The one in the bedroom is starting to go. It had three speeds at one time, but only one speed is working now. And they are really dated, of course. It doesn’t seem like any previous owners of this place (I think there were two) were into doing any kind of updating. 26771807_10216019602749651_1495206344_oThen we remembered we had recently gotten a coupon from Home Depot for 18 month interest free financing, so we decided that must be a sign! There was a minimum amount that had to be purchased to qualify, so we threw in the kitchen lights as well.

We ended up only being able to replace the fan in the kitchen area, as the fans we bought turned out to be too big for the bedroom (which was the one we really needed to

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replace in the first place, but we will just have to order a smaller size for the bedroom).

The new one is so much more streamlined. It makes the area look larger! (You can see the old one in the next picture.)

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The other big thing I want to do, (but it’s not going to happen until next winter), is to get a slipcover for that couch.

The shutter-like object standing behind the couch is a room divider. The main function for this area is going to be as a guest room when we have company, so we will use the divider to make it into a more private space.


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We also got the other cabinet for the kitchen. It is a better height for the microwave and also provides some much needed storage space.


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The new lights in the kitchen area…


You can also see my breadmaker in its new spot.


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So far I have made one recipe for white bread, and a Cuban wheat bread. Yum. I don’t think we will ever be going back to store bought bread.

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I bought a cookbook with 300 bread recipes. I see a lot of new types of bread in our future!


We are getting to the end of what we will be doing as far as improvements for this season. Gotta let the bank account recover for a while!