Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Now that we are home--- Bathroom Redo

Now that we are back home, I will post the before and after pics of the bathroom remodel we have done since buying the house in January.  We didn't start the bathroom work till June when we had time to work on it (and the funds).  All in due time, bit by bit, now it is done!

Here are the BEFORE PICS 
(keep in mind this is a 100 year old home)  

The dated and yellowed acoustical ceiling tiles had to go first, 
and we wanted to recover the ceiling and upper walls with new drywall.

The tub was shallow and surrounded by a turquoise wall kit that had seen it's better days.  The shower doors were good, but we wanted to make some changes, so when we removed them, we gave them away free on Craigslist.   

The flooring was dated and we suspected a bad leak around the seal of the toilet.  The sink and toilet were newer and very good quality.  We decided to keep them, but scrapped the old plastic yellowed fluorescent lights on each side of the medicine cabinet (but kept the cabinet)  ....   All of the white tiles stayed on these walls, as I really liked that look.  But the blue printed wallpaper above was peeling and had to "GO".  I removed the iron grate over the heating vent to repaint it later. 

The original awkward layout had a large space leftover on the far side of the tub, but with the sloped ceiling over that area, we could not put a shower stall there.  It was wasted space of about 4x3 that really could be used in a better way.

I had originally thought about a cabinet or rack or something there for towels, but we have a HUGE linen closet right across the hallway for that kind of stuff. So we came up with a better idea.....

In planning our new layout, we had to consider the sloping ceiling which takes up the back half of the room.  We also had to consider that while on the second floor, that means the ceilings in the rooms below all were finished.  We could really only use the existing plumbing and drains to a certain extent.   But if we removed the old tub, and put in a new tub, only flipped it the other way into that unused corner, then we could put a separate shower stall in the corner where the tub was originally.  The wall was 9 feet long, so the drain and water feeds were in the middle at 4.5 feet, perfect for a tub facing either way.

  (in our last home we had separate soaking tub 
and a separate shower stall 
and liked that configuration) 

Now it's the DURING PICS

The work started with ripping down the old acoustical ceiling tiles... and putting up new drywall.  Steve made me a T shaped brace to help hold each sheet up high while he screwed in the pieces securely.   We worked on this before we even ripped out the tub, so we could still bathe or shower until the day we planned to remove those.  We just cut off enough of the shower wall to work above it but leave the shower head in place to use it that week.  Looks funny but it worked!

Finally the day came to remove the rest of the stuff and get to work.
Good thing we had a shower out in the motorhome to use while we worked on this. 
We sawzall'd down the shower wall and cut out the surround from the tub.  
Looking pretty ugly, eh?

We slid the tub out of the room on those four plastic discs called "Moving Men".  The cast iron tub weighs about 300 pounds as far as Steve can guess. We slid it out and it's still in our carpeted hallway! We have been walking around it. I think this weekend, Steve is going to cover it with a tarp and bust it up with a sledgehammer and take it out one chunk at a time.

Anyhow, back to the bathroom.  He leveled off the flooring after putting in a new drain for the shower and adapted the plumbing a bit to accommodate the reversal of the tub to the corner.

We tore up the flooring, 
Yup.. the toilet had leaked over the years.... 

But Steve fixed that with new sub floor, and flooring, 
and also ran new Pex tubing for the hot and cold lines for the shower stall.

Then it was time to finish the drywall on the walls and do the mudding and sanding. That took a couple days in between each step to dry and do second layers etc.  I couldn't do the sanding with my lungs as they are, so Steveio took over that portion of the job.

We laid the new vinyl flooring ... the color is called White Cement and it is a very soft and spongy type of vinyl flooring.  It's creamy beige and white blotches, and I liked it because it doesn't have any pattern on it.  Then it won't contradict with the squares in the tiled walls.  Because of it's thickness, it hides imperfections and is warm on the feet.  It's the same brand we used in the kitchen that is printed like flagstones.  It lays down nicely and is not adhered so it can breathe and move to the humidity.  The baseboards are later set on top of it loosely but the boards are nailed to the wall, so the flooring can shift if needed.  

Once the flooring was down, we put the toilet and sink back into place. The wall already had a toilet paper holder, but I prefer reaching for the one on the stand.  So I guess we have His N Hers toilet paper?  LOL We mounted the shower base and then set the tub and hooked up the piping.  At first I thought that I wanted a claw foot tub, but they only go 11-13" deep to the overflow. I wanted one deeper to soak comfortably and found this one that goes up to 21" deep. I kinda like the straight plain lines on this one to look old fashioned. Steve is making a nice back board to hide the plumbing once the trim is all done.

Once the tub and shower base were done, I draped everything in sheets and got the primer rolled on.   When that dried, I put on the first coat of paint.  I chose a soft creamy beige to somewhat match the flooring, while the tub, shower, toilet and sink are all white to match the tiled walls.    I painted a second coat of paint and it was looking better.   By being a neutral tone, now I can change the color of my bathroom any time by changing the rugs, towels and curtain!

We assembled the glass shower stall doors and mounted the walls setup the day before we left for the camphosting position at the campground.  We got to take ONE shower in it before moving to High Cliff for a month!
                                                                 (it's kinda like a telephone booth!) 

While we were hosting at the park, we took a few evenings off to come back home and finish the trim and baseboards. Steve wired up two new light fixtures on each side of the medicine cabinet. He mounted a new ceiling light fixture that was also a fan. The faucet for the tub is in the corner, and looks like a little pump instead of a normal bath faucet.

Now for some AFTER PICS

I really like how it all turned out.  I have a few framed prints to hang yet, but I did put back the little floral framed piece under the mirror that was in our bathroom when we bought the house.  I painted the grid on the heat vent, and we sealed around the tub with caulking and trim. But now I look at the walls and can see some overlaps of the paint so I think it needs a third coat to even everything out.  Maybe this weekend?

I bought a cute little table this week that I will paint to match 
and set between the window and tub.  
It will hold my book, mp3 player, and glass of wine as I soak...


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Changing of The Guard

Yes, today it came time to leave our camphosting site, in preparation for Rosie and Luke to take over for the month of September. It works out best for us to leave on Thursday and works better on their schedule to get on the site before Friday, so we both agreed to do the swapola 2 days before the end of the month!

Last night we gathered around our final campfire at the host site.  Here is Steveio putting the last log on the fire.  We shared the fire with our good friends Mel and Paula who were camping next door to us this week.  It was a hot muggy night, but we needed to at least have a campfire for light.  Definitely not for warmth.

This morning, I ran around one last time on my Polaris and double-checked all 112 of the campsites.  Each one is cleaned out, and tags off the posts, and new survey cards on each post in preparation for the influx of holiday campers that will be pouring into the park tomorrow.

While cleaning sites, I saw a number of these very interesting mushrooms growing in a part of the park.  I have never seen any like this, so thought I would snap a pic.  They are very thick and fuzzy. (NO I DIDN'T TOUCH THEM)

Our friends Mel and Paula started packing up their rig, and I had gotten ours "road worthy" by noon.  I can easily drive it myself, but Steveio said he wanted to come to the site at lunch and pull it out himself.

So here he is---- pulling it out of our camphost site, heading to the dump station to take care of the holding tanks.  I followed in the car.

I snapped this last pic of our empty camphost site, all vacant and lonely now.  Waiting for the next hosts....  Before they get here, Steve is going to spread a little more gravel around in some areas that could use it.  Then Luke and Rosie will pull in this afternoon.

Once we dumped the tanks, Mel and Paula pulled in behind us to dump theirs.  We said our "see ya laters" and Steveio went back to work for the afternoon in the car heading to the maintenance shop.

I drove the motorhome back to Chilton in the horrible heat, temps in the high 80's with humidity enough to melt you on the spot.   It was cool in the rig, besides the dash air, I had the generator running with both rooftop air conditioners blasting coolness down inside the motorhome.

I got home and parked the rig in the yard.  Then the REAL BATTLE begins.....

Duke HATES to leave the motorhome and come in the house.  

He pouts, 
He ignores me
He dashes back inside if I leave the door open, 
He has a complete hissy fit.  

As I unload, he is dodging past my legs trying to get back IN the motorhome.

Finally I hauled out the last of the stuff, and shut the door.  He has no choice but to come in the house.  Do you think he did?  Nope!    I had to CARRY him into the house!!!!!!

Sometimes I feel the same way, Dukie Palooki!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Winding down the month as Camp Hosts at High Cliff State Park

This is our last week as hosts!  

It has really flown by, and we have enjoyed the process and chores that go along with being a camp host for the State of Wisconsin.  We do realize that some other hosting positions in county, municipal, and even federal national forests have different job descriptions, and more duties to perform.  For the Wisconsin State campgrounds, this hosting position has been a pleasure.  We are also attending a Volunteer Jamboree next month at Point Beach State Park which is put on by the DNR park system as a "thank you" for all the volunteers around the state.

We made it 24 days on our holding tanks!   We had hoped to make it to the end of the month, but 24 days is pretty danged good, so we furled up the awning and drove over to the dump station and did the deed.  

I decided to snap a few pics around the park as I did a clean up run the other morning.  The park is home to a flock of Turkey Vultures.  They hang out and roost on the roof of one of the picnic shelters.  They are kinda ugly, but I thought it was cool to see them all in a group.  Sometimes they soar in circles all along the cliffs and look pretty awesome!

Every Thursday morning I drive my Polaris down along by the Marina to clean the grills and firepits down there for the boaters.  It's such a pretty scene as you look out across the harbor...

But if you go up close to the water's edge, you see the "blue green algae" that is blooming about this time of year.  The winds from southwest blow it all up into the harbor and it's not too pretty....

 plus it kinda *stinks*  .... ewwwwwwww

Anyone want a sail boat?   
It was "abandoned" here in the marina's parking lot, and they are unable to reach it's owners.  
Now they have to go through all the proper channels to get it moved out of their parking lot! 

At least this sail boat has a happy owner, taking across the big Lake Winnebago.  

One day I took a ride around the "Butterfly Ponds" which were a lovely volunteer effort from the Friends of High Cliff who created it on the north side of the park.

Handicapped accessible trails round the ponds and wind through the woods. 

A lot of wildlife is habitating by these ponds this year, they were dug out and created last year.

Besides being campground hosts, we have had the honor of family and friends coming to visit us here at the park.  Although we don't get any "deals" on campsite fees, we do get a certain amount of firewood from leftovers on campsites that we can burn.  So our company can join us around a few free campfires?

On Sunday afternoon our good friends Mel and Paula pulled into their reserved site for four nights next to us.  (same site as Pa Pfundtner was on last week)   It's always fun to get together with them... Steve and Mel love to fiddle and futz and finagle on our Safari Motorhomes (we both have the same year)  then Paula and I get to do some quilting or go thrift store shopping!   Matches made in Heaven!  LOL

We had a dinner out at the same High Cliff Country Club as last Sunday with Pa Pfundtner.  Mel and Paula treated us to a fine dinner (they stole the check!)

Monday we took a run to the quilt store in Plymouth, WI called The Sewing Basket.  Here is their website:  http://www.sewingbasket.biz/    or you can follow them on Facebook  if you search their name.

I think it's the nicest quilting shop I have been in so far.  I saw two different interesting table toppers that I am going to try to make (branching out from just hot pads)  and I bought all the fabrics to piece together to make these.... I am going to change them a little bit, but will be interesting to work on.

(Paula held them up for me to photograph --with the shop's permission) 

We had a "stalker" in the store with us.  Mel grew too hot and uncomfortable waiting in the car, so he came in and wandered around.  He said the ONLY thing he found in the quilt store that was for a man was a CHAIR!   LOL LOL ..... 

We enjoy cooking together too, so another meal was tenderloin steaks on the grill.  There is a little meat market in Wausau that has excellent meats, so we beg Paula each time before they visit to pick up tenderloins to fill our freezer again.  We laugh that it's "imported meat"---

They had to run back to Wausau for their son's anniversary dinner tonight, but will be back later tonight or else tomorrow morning.

We had a huge storm just pass through here tonight... not a single warning on the weather radio, nor anything on any of the four Green Bay tv stations?   The Park Naturalist Cindy texted me from her home to warn me it was coming, as she lives west of the park and it hit by her first.  We rushed out and removed the awning lights, and rolled up the awning fast.  Whew....  just as we finished and got back in the motorhome, the big drops started falling.  Then the sky got very dark, and rains came down in buckets!   Not much wind which was a good thing, since we are surrounded by trees.  But the rain and rumbles and flashes of light were pretty exciting.  When it seemed to be settling down, oh no... Cindy texted again, Round Number TWO was on it's way.... sure enough... a Double Storm Whammy!

Now all is calm as I write this, and I am heading to bed.  It's Tuesday night.  Thursday noon will be the "CHANGING OF THE GUARD" as the next camp hosts, Rosie and Luke take over our site. Sadly, I will turn over my badge, my vest, my keys and my clipboard.

I will drive the motorhome back to our house about noon, and Steveio is going to spread a little more gravel on the site and level it out a bit more before Rosie and Luke put their RV in it's site in the afternoon.   Then it's back to Life as Normal again.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Busy Week of Visits!

I know I haven't posted a blog all week... but I have a good excuse!

On Sunday, Steve's dad, Paul Pfundtner was able to come over and spend a few days with us!  We had found him a site next to us, and he came over in his Newell motorhome.    http://www.newellcoach.com/   He just got it a few months ago and has all the "bugs" worked out that come with owning a new rig.  This visit with him was so enjoyable for him because everything was operating properly.  It looks so pretty nestled into it's campsite among the green trees and woodsey shrubbery.

They got all backed in and set up in his site.... his companion Nikki the dog was along, and we helped with walks and potty breaks to keep him entertained.   He moves so fast it's hard to get a shot of him.

Nikki is ten years old,
but acts like a puppy 
and can be very sassy at times... 
He keeps us on our toes! 

Sunday evening was a treat out by Pa Pfundtner, to the High Cliff Country Club for a dinner on the town!  What a nice evening!   We had a cute little waitress who took this pic of us.... how great was that?  Our dinners were wonderful, and so much on our plates that our leftovers took care of lunch for the next day. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that Steve ended up working the full day Sunday to make up for an employee's family emergency.  That turned out to be a good thing, because since the State of Wisconsin doesn't like paying overtime, instead he was able to take some time off during the first part of the week while his dad was visiting!

Some serious cribbage playing was done, with many cheating moves by Steve to be able to get one up on his wiley old father.  (I think Paul let him win to feel good, like a father should)  

The weather turned pretty hot and muggy by Monday, and we were happy to have the upgraded 50 amp service in the park.  No throwing breakers and overheating wires with the new system in place since last fall --- Steve had overseen the electrical upgrade taking place as one of his first "big projects" in the park after being hired here.  And we sure appreciate it on days like this! 

I took Pa Pfundtner on an extensive tour of the park and showed him all the fun stuff we get to do as volunteers.  He signed up as a park volunteer too to help out with the park, and we made him do the hosting duties at the campsite while I was out cleaning firepits.  He handled all the folks coming to the host site to ask questions and get directions.  Customer Service is his specialty~! LOL

He had a chance to meet Steve's co-workers, bosses and staff... plus explore Steve's big (and well-organized) workshop and equipment areas.  I think he got a good earful of praise about his fine son and the good work he has done.  I saw him beaming with pride.  awwwwwww

A few weeks ago, Steve, his brother Pete and their dad Paul had all gone out on a charter fishing boat into Lake Michigan.  They got one humongous salmon and froze the filets till we had a time to all get together.   Pete came out on Monday with the slab of salmon and all the fixins....

Under Pa Pfundtner's careful tutelage,  brothers Pete and Steve carefully prepared the fire, the grid to cook on (made by Steve) and the slab of fish.  Layers of tomatoes and onions were placed on top and a basting mix of garlic, butter and lemon was prepared.  

The sons carefully covered the fish with tin foil so it could "bake" over the hardwood coals...  with Pa Pfundtner supervising the entire process.   I was only to take care of steaming sweet corn, and baby red potatoes and setting the table.   It was a "MAN'S COOKING DAY"  for sure -----

Ohhhh the smells coming from that campfire I am sure had the entire campground drooling!  The dogs were drooling too.  LOL   We dug in and the whole crew was SILENT.....  because they were busy eating!

 All I can say is MMMMM MMMMM GOOD!   

After all their bellies were full up to the top, Steve cleared away the dishes and cleaned up for me!   Then the guys got very serious.... it was time for some more cribbage.  These guys really had a good game going, and played well into the evening.  It was so much fun to see them all laughing and teasing each other.  It was good to sit back and observe them fall into their natural roles of father and son and brother.   What a great evening for memories to be made.

See, last December, we lost the matriarch to the Pfundtner family, Steve's mom, Maryann.  It has only been 8 short months, but the pain is just as strong and the memories were flowing.  Stories were told and a few tears were shed.  I am sure she was smiling down at her silly sons and the good time they were having with her loving husband.  We miss her.

On Tuesday, our friends Sharon and Fred rolled in, and backed into their site right across from us in their nice Tiffen motorhome!  We teased the park staff that we are sprucing up the place by inviting all these folks with big fancy motorhomes to come in----  but sssshhhhhhh  just don't mention that our motorhome is 16 years old...  it thinks that it is newer too and we don't want to hurt it's feelings.

Sharon and Fred tow a little Ford Focus behind their rig, and are planning a winter down in Arizona.  They have had a few family issues the last few years keeping them in cold and frozen Wisconsin.  This will be a good winter for them to get away.

We enjoyed a nice visit with them and their yellow lab, Brandie.  Steve gave them a campground tour after our coffee clutches and gab fests.  We have camped together many times and fall into a good routine.  They were our best buddies to take us out west with them after our son passed, and they helped us grieve and listen and support us in those awful weeks after we lost Mike. HUGS to such wonderful folks----

The weather had turned quite hot and humid, so we mostly sat around, 
shooting the breeze, or escaping into our motorhomes for the air conditioning.

I went out earlier in the mornings to get my camphosting duties done, cleaning firepits and running the loads of ashes back to the big dumpster at the shop.  Most of the park was empty, so I got a lot of sites ready for the upcoming weekend.

We shared meals and pitched in some goodies.  One night I made up a pan of lasagna and Sharon whipped up a salad...   another evening after tenderloin steaks on the grill, Pa Pfundtner treated us all to ice cream at the Chubby Seagull!    http://www.chubbyseagull.com/ 

All too soon, Paul had to pack up and head back home, and today, Sharon and Fred loaded up and took off too.   I set out on my cart and put in five straight hours of firepit and grill cleaning to catch up for all my goofing off.  Steve went back to his regular work hours.   And when he came home, we ran to Chilton to do a few loads of laundry and get some supplies.

There was a missing dog from a campsite that had the whole park on alert to look for it, as it was dragging a chain that was sure to be wrapped around a tree.  Yes, it was later located by some hikers, wrapped around a tree and hiding down in the woods.  Everyone rejoiced at the safe return of 9 month old Penny, a white colored Golden Retriever.

I think he and I both needed to relax and rest a bit......   
sitting back and watching the Packer Game tonight.

Now at halftime, the score is still 3-3 against the Seahawks... 
I know it's only pre-season, but a game is a game is a game to a Packer Fan! 

Guess what?  Sunday we have MORE friends stopping by!  Fellow Safari motorhome owner's Mel and Paula are coming from Wausau for a few days of gabbing, quilting, fiddling and fixing and just plain ole enjoying each other's company....  plus she is hauling me a new load of tenderloins from the little meat market in Wausau.  What a doll!