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Saturday, January 21, 2017

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *C* and Three Dog Night

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter C now!

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS 
STARTING WITH THE LETTER C


Compass:
Compasses seem to have gone the way of the past, since GPS has come into our lives.  Older RVs do not have a GPS built in. A lot of people rely on the GPS on their cell phone. What if your cell phone battery goes dead, or your GPS unit in your rig keeps saying Rerouting... rerouting.... ???

Both Steve and I navigate and keep track better if we have a compass to glance at. In our car, one is built into the rear view mirror and I use it a lot to keep my bearings when I drive.  Same with Steve in our motorhome.  I found him this one years ago... and we keep it velcroed to the dash.


It is a digital one that runs on a few AAA batteries,
 and has a light to illuminate at night. 
I think I found it at an auto parts store. 

Containers:
When dealing with the smaller cabinets and lighter payloads in an RV, we try to find things that stack compactly and take up less space.  Instead of the full paper bag packages, I only take along partial amounts of flour, sugar, brown sugar etc. I put them into containers to seal out any critters when we travel in the south.  I used to have these round ones, but they took up a lot of room and wasted space with their cylindrical shapes.


Instead, I found these containers from our local Shopko chain of stores.  Here is a link and they are on sale right now.  Gourmet-Living-8-Piece-Square-Rectangle-Air-Tight-Canister-Set   You could google the brand Gourmet Living to find some online I am sure.  They are thick plastic and have a lever of top that vacuum seals the lids down tight.


The rectangular shapes help to stack them tight, 
and keep things from sliding around. 



Cover on Console Shifting Pad:
Our Cat Engine on our motorhome has an Allison Transmission with a push button keypad on the left side of the drivers seat for shifting.  With a simple push of the button, you can put our rig into gear!  Just imagine the horror of us being outside hooking up the Tracker Toad and having someone push a button... or a dog jump up on the seat to look out the window and push a paw onto the keypad?  Yes, we always try to pull the emergency brake when stopped... but things can happen.  I was always nervous about something or some pet pressing a key when we were doing the hookups.

Steve eased my fears by making this heavy plexiglass cover for our shifting pad.  We flip it up out of the way to lean against the wall when we are driving, and we always flip it down flat over the keypad anytime we leave the drivers seat.  Even if it's just for a minute at a wayside to grab a drink from the fridge, or pulled over to do a potty break. Better safe than sorry!



~~~~~~~~

I am sorry that I missed a couple days of blogging here.  Things have been a little up in the air.  Steve's dad, our wonderful Pa Pfundtner, leader of the clan, decided to have knee replacement surgery.  At 84 he is going strong, out and about and doing things, but his knee has been giving him grief.  So he scheduled a knee replacement for Friday.  He made arrangements to stay overnight at the hospital guest house the night before, because he was scheduled for the first surgery in the morning  and had to be there at 5:30 am.  We met up with him and big brother Mark on Thursday night for the great handoff of precious Millie... Dad's dog!  

She is his pride and joy and constant companion.  He adopted her from a rescue group and gave her a new lease on life. (and spoils her profoundly!) He has trained her for doing therapy dog visits to nursing homes and hospitals.  She is so well behaved and sweet.  Those eyes just melt into you....awwwwwwww


We took her back to our house, driving through horrible fog and rain that we have been having for days on end in Wisconsin.  Our snow is crusty and hard and melting fast....  It took us twice as long to get home as the fog was as thick as Sea Poop!  (pea soup?)

We got her to our house about 11 pm and although she has been here before she was so confused about not having her Daddy around.  She gets along well with Finney and Binney, and we made a little bed for her alongside of our bed on the floor.


We turned out the light.
ooooh 
the moans! 
the groans! 
the whines! 
the wimpers! 

She missed Paul so much.... and was miserable. 
After 20 minutes of listening to her little heart breaking, 
we let her up in our bed!   

Laying on top of my legs and sprawling out across the king sized bed suited her just fine. She konked out and slept peacefully for the rest of the night.  Each time we tried to move, she was a lump of doggie fur and not easy to roll over.

 Oh well, I guess it is a Three Dog Night! 


In the morning we popped up our two stinkers onto the bed. They had been sleeping nicely on their doggie beds on the floor.  I suppose for poor Millie who misses Paul so much, we can give her a bit of comfort for the time she is here.  Steve brought up coffee and we had a Three Dog Morning! 


We ran back to visit on Friday, and then again today to see how Pa is doing.  Therapy has started and they have him up and walking around multiple times a day. We will keep Millie with us until he is ready to go home and resume his spoiling of her. hahahha


Today Steve decided to teach these dogs about doing household tasks and projects.  As you can tell, they are not too impressed?   Since we put the new tv up on a wall bracket (see last blog)  I wanted to hide the coax antenna and the power cord in a trim strip.  Better than having those ugly wires hanging down loosely on the wall.



I painted the special metal trim strip the other day with the same color as the walls.  Then Steve measured for the brackets and spacing to put it on the wall alongside of the tv. We had to take the tv off the wall to re-route the two wires behind it, so they would come out on the far right side:


We tucked the coax and power cord into the trim strip and slid it down into place. A few taps of the hammer did the job.  It was just the right height to come out next to the tv and run down the wall to the baseboard.


As the dogs dozed on the bed, we worked around them, as they lost interest in our project.  The walls are a soft blue color. But on a dreary day, the colors do not show up so well.


And there it is.... 
all encased in the trim strip and I think it looks a lot better! 




Steve went downstairs to put away the tools and he shouted up for those three lazy dogs to get up and go outside.  ZOOOM they left the bed in a rush!

I was left alone to test out the tv and make sure it worked 
and that our connections did not come loose. 

Hmmmm I thought about taking a nap....
On a rainy icky afternoon,
 it seemed like just the thing to do. 

So I did. 



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *C* Chaises and Chairs for Camping

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter C now!

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS 
STARTING WITH THE LETTER C


Chaises and Chairs for Camping:
Camping means relaxing.. and that is just what we do!  These zero gravity recliners are soooo comfortable, and we really like them enough to make space in our basement compartments to take them along.  They take up a LOT of room because they do not fold up very flat. But they are worth it for sure.

We bought them about 8 or 9 years ago when these style chairs were first coming out on the market. We got mine first and it was made with softly padded washable fabric.  There was only one left in the store, so we got a rain check for one for Steve. It took months before the store got them in again, and this time the material was a woven mesh kinda rubber coated and holds up well too.

We do not allow them near the campfire to avoid any flinging sparks or burn holes. We put them away every night, we never leave them out in the rain, and they are lasting a long time and wearing well.


We found these wonderful clamp on tables that swivel and move around for best positioning. The recessed cup holder can also fit the stem end of a wine glass!  The flat surface can hold a dinner plate, or scissors and thread and needles when working on my stuff.  The small clamping piece around the metal frame stays on the chair all the time, and the arm and tray both lift off and can be washed. The arm and tray can lay flat on the seat of the chair when folding it up and are ready for the next time it is set up. 


We do not let the grandkids sit in our chairs, or company if we can help it.  By just keeping them for us, they are kept in good shape and stored away when we leave so nobody ever walks off with them.

But we did find some nice sitting chairs for company and grandkids. They fold up really flat and we bought four of them at Walmart for about $8 each on clearance.  Works well and we have had them for about 4 years now and the grandkids all enjoy having chairs close to the campfire.

We watch out for sparks, but do have a few tiny holes in them from campfires.  At that price, we can replace them if need be down the road. But for the small space they take up in the compartment, we would replace them with exactly the same kind or find a way to sew new fabric onto the frames.



Speaking of frames... THESE are the favorite chairs for us to take along to other peoples campsites for a visit, or take to a parade or picnic or family gathering. They are more comfortable than the bag type chairs.  We bought the heavy duty, taller backed lawn chairs about 20 years ago. They had the wide flat plastic webbing on them.  I cut the webbing from the frames and wove on this pattern with macrame cord.


The pine tree pattern motif was inspired by the shutters we made for our last home, a log home on the banks of the Oconto River.



I stole that pine tree cut out pattern from a logging company in the UP of Michigan. It was cut into the boards on the front porch of their office. On a Sunday, I made my teenage daughter Heather hold up a large piece of cardboard while I traced the cutout design. She was mortified and embarrassed, but I was happy and got my pattern!  LOL

Yes, we take along 8 chairs in our motorhome when camping.  When camphosting or camping with family, we are usually full of company and visitors to our campsite. Having enough chairs along is a must for us.

Our frames have broken a few times over the years, but I have convinced Steve each time to let me unwind parts of the woven sections and let him repair the frames by sliding on new pipes over the old ones, or using new stronger bolts and nuts instead of the cheaper ones they came with. They are so comfortable and warmer than plastic webbing. The backs are taller than most lawn chairs and a bit wider for the butt too. LOL

Here is a link to my blog post about the fixing of the frame and re-weaving them to become useful again:

These chairs are hard to do, and are a strain on my hands to keep doing them now as I age.  My sister and I have done a lot of them over the years....


Here are some links if you would like to make one yourself :

and a You Tube for step by step instructions:


Clock for Retirement:
Our friend Seann has this clock for camping now that he got retired. I think we need one of these. Steve has started asking me what day is it.... he has lost track now of such things since being retired. 


He really needs this, even at home, because he totally forgot yesterday was Monday and that meant putting out the trash bins last night for Tuesday morning pickup.  He does ours and the elderly widow next door.  Oh well, next week they will be doubly full!  At least it is not hot summer weather with stinky garbage? 


Actually yesterday he unplugged our illuminated bedroom alarm clock so he no longer wakes up and looks to see what time it is. He is learning to sleep until he feels rested, and getting up when he is ready!  LOL


I have two more C words to do before moving on tomorrow the D words! 


Coffee table:
Steve made this sturdy little coffee table for our motorhome.  Having items to meet more than one need in an RV is a plus. Not only is it a great coffee table, but it is a multi use item because it is strong enough to be a bench to sit on if we need an extra spot at the table.



Since this above photo was taken, we added rolling casters so I can set my table loom on it, clamp it tight and weave while sitting inside. Then if I want to get up, I can just roll it away from me to move around and pull it back up tight to the right position to weave again. Now that we put in the reclining loveseat, the casters let us push the table out of the way before putting up the footrests.

Easy Peasy! 


Collapsible bucket:
This is a handy item that we found in a camping store. It is wide enough to dip in our squeegee. It stores flat of course, but works well for quick wash that we try to do on the motorhome. Good for doing the front end windshield or back side from dirt and road grime.  I have seen some folks set them up as outdoor trash bins, and line it with a plastic bag.


Most campgrounds frown on washing your rig on your campsite, so we usually do it from our own water tank when in a parkinglot or wayside.

~~~~~~~~~

Along with most of the mid west, we are frozen this morning with glare ice and now fog and rain.  We do not have any need to get anywhere this morning. I have been ironing some pre washed fabric for quilting, and now Steve is working on cooking breakfast.  While I blog, I have Sewing With Nancy and then Fons and Porter Love of Quilting on PBS playing in the background.  Life is good. 

Yesterday we made a little change in the tv viewing in our house. A couple years ago Steve's brother had gifted us with a used large plasma tv. He had won a new tv in a raffle and didn't need two in his duplex at that time. It was really huge and took up a lot of space in our small livingroom.


Since we rearranged the livingroom a while back, we swapped it out with the smaller tv up in our bedroom which fit the corner better. 



The huge plasma went up to our bedroom, but we really didn't need one that big up there.  It does take up a lot of space.  Our house is old and the rooms are smaller than most. 


Now that his brother is building a new house, the lower level family room could use a big tv.... hmmmmm we offered to gift it back to him when the house is done!  Regifting the gift back to the initial giver in this case! hahahahah

We were walking past the Vizio tvs in Walmart the other day and found a nice small one for our bedroom on sale, and we picked up a mounting bracket to adhere it right to the wall. We chose to put it on the other side of the room.  Fifteen minutes later it was up and working! 

Steve has a strip that he is going to mount today
 that will conceal the power cord and antenna coax
 that I am going to paint to match the wall. 


I like it better on this side of the room for two reasons: 
1. I am a right side sleeper and now I do not have to twist around in bed to go to sleep after getting nice and drowsey watching some dumb movie (with sleep timer on)   
2. The tv antenna coax comes up through the heat register from down below. In the past we had to run it under a carpet, under the bed, and then under another carpet on the other side to get to the corner where the big plasma tv was on a stand. 

All is happy now in tv viewing in our home! 

Well, breakfast is done, and the blog is ready to post.  Wonder what trouble we are going to get into today?  I have two shipments to pack up to get out in the mail... if I get them done before 1 pm I can print up the postage labels myself and have the carrier pick them up from our doorstep. No need to go out today afterall!~ 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *C* Couches To Chair To Recliners To Loveseat.

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter C now!

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS 
STARTING WITH THE LETTER C


Couches To Chair To Recliners To Loveseat:
Oh that Steveio.....

He always has it in his brain to do some more modifications to the motorhome.  He loves to think about stuff to do to it, thus making it more comfortable for when we travel.

When we bought our rig in 2006, it had TWO couches....  It made wonderful seating for when the family came along.  Sadly, the couches are very uncomfortable, but they both jacknife open into two twin/full sized beds.   We liked having the extra bed space for the family if they got rained out of their tents when camping with us.  With grandkids coming along now, it's nice to have a bed for them inside.  Let their parents sleep in the tents.. heh heh.

But... the couches were very worn looking and saggy and faded ugly peachy pink and frosty blue tiger stripes.  I am NOT kidding!  See?

I guess the designers chose Tiger Stripes for a Safari Serengeti?  


At that time, 10 years ago, I bought a big bolt of nice blue upholstery fabric in a corduroy with faint imprints of leaves....  and I re-covered those couches!  Hauled out my Grandma's old Singer sewing machine and went to work.  Whew, it was a job and Steveio helped me with it.  We didn't change the cushioning, just covered over the existing fabric.

It sure made a huge difference,
and although they were still uncomfortable, they were all we had.  


That was okay for a while, but later on Steve got it in his brain next to take out ONE couch.  So we did. We drove to GoodWill and had them haul it right out the door as a donation.  Then we drove across the street to Shopko where they had a Euro Chair and Ottoman on sale.   For $90 Steve was happy, but I still had an uncomfortable couch.  But hey, it was working, so I didn't complain. 

(note: see those crinkly fabric windshield curtains? More about that later)

Since then, we bought a nice heavy queen air mattress for when the kids slept over.  We just shove the Euro Chair up front between the pilot and copilot seats.... and that queen mattress sets nicely on the floor between the couch and the wall.  It was VERY comfortable and the kids opt to use that instead of the folded out couch/bed if they stay over.  And now with the couch gone, my passenger seat can rotate around to face the livingroom area to be used for more seating.  (the driver's chair will not turn with the other couch there)

Zoom ahead another year or two.  

Now, Steveio got it in his brain to take out the OTHER couch and the Euro Chair ---  and purchase two recliners instead.   This would leave us a lot more room for things like my table loom, or sock machine, or spinning wheel...  which could be left set up when in use and not stowed away each time.  (that was his reasoning and "bribe" to me) 

We stopped at one store that had some nice recliners, but the price was out of line.  Then we saw some fancy leather recliners, again wayyy too expensive for our budget.  $900 each!  ouch!    After a few more stops, we went out for lunch.  Then we stopped at ONE MORE STORE.... you know how that goes?   

Well, we found some very comfortable Simmons recliners,  on sale of a sale of a sale and top it off, a $40 rebate on each chair too.   Soooo at $129 each, we bit the bullet and he got his danged chairs.

PLUS----  THEY ARE MADE IN AMERICA~!!

The backs of the chairs slide up and off, like the Lazy-Boy chairs do, for ease of getting in the motorhome door. So they are shipped in two pieces, ready to load up.  


We had to remove the couch from the motorhome first.  It's fairly easy with extending it out flat, setting it up on end, removing the arms, and walking it out the doorway sideways like a mattress, with one of us on each end.



By removing the last couch, we are not losing much storage space, because we only stored a couple sleeping bags and a folding chair under the couch.  There was a snakey air duct from the furnace that also ran under the couch too.


We left the ductwork in place, but we shortened up the duct so it's behind the grid we adapted with a new hunk of wood, stained to match.


We carried in the chairs and set them up, 

They can be put both on the driver's side... or both on the passenger's side....  


I think I liked them both on the driver's side the best.

Or they can be put one on each side if we wish.  Kinda nice to have flexibility----
and they can be mounted down right through the floor once we decide where we want them.

Steve brought out a cute little table he had built a while back for in the house.  
It will now be an extra side table in our rig. 


Now we can turn the driver's chair around, like the passenger chair does, 
to add to the livingroom area seating.   


We had the recliners in our motorhome for only one year.

By that time, we had sold our Oconto house and were living in our motorhome while parked at a friend's cottage. We were near UWGB for Steve to finish up his work time there before transferring to High Cliff State Park.

One thing we noticed is that the recliners are not very practical.  They need to be pulled out sooo far into the room if you want to recline on them.  They waste about 12-14 inches behind each chair.  And if you don't pull them out far enough, they catch on the edge of the window frame when putting them back upright.  Even though the recliners were only one year old, it was time to make a change....



Sooooo we went shopping for the "wall hugger" style recliners.  We looked at all the big stores in the city.  Ewwww pretty high prices on the La Z Boy brand, but they seemed to have the nicest "wall hugger" design.  We discovered that we liked the loveseat idea instead of 2 separate chairs (like our blogger friends Janna and Mike had in their motorhome)

There is a small mom and pop style furniture store not too far from where we were parked, so we headed over there.  Not only did they have what we wanted, in a nice color, and in stock... but on SALE!   For a LOT cheaper than what the big stores in Green Bay had!   They will deliver it for FREE right into the motorhome!   Plus, I feel better supporting a small town store (McMahons of Luxemburg)  and Steve also knew one of the salesmen who had kids the ages of our sons and played ball together.

We gave away the two beige recliners to our son Dan and daughterinlaw Heather. Easy to take out in two pieces each and haul away in his truck.


The furniture store found us, and delivered our new loveseat! 
Backed in their delivery truck right up in front of the motorhome. 



Quick as a wink, they hauled in the seat base bottom piece
through our narrow 24" motorhome door. 
(we measured in advance)


 They adjusted the bottom screws for the padded carpeting on the feet.


While they went to the truck for the back rests, I snapped a pic of the seat base


They snapped the clips on the backrest sections and pushed it into place! 

There.. no more hitting the wall when we recline!   The seat portions actually scoot forward when you want to recline, and it does not hit the wall behind.  Thus-- called a "Wall-hugger" design by La Z Boy.   We have a lot more room now in front of the loveseat.   With our recliners we need about 12-14" space behind the chairs to recline.  This loveseat is more practical.

The little bench type coffee table with the woven mat in the foreground also doubles as a stand for my table loom.  It can roll up to the seat for me to weave, or roll away on the casters to the other side wall when not in use.

This last change was almost five years ago... and we like it so much we have not changed it since.  I think we are done with the seating evolution of Couches To Chair To Recliners To Loveseat.

~~~~~~~~~

I posted ads in the local Buy Sell Trade Facebook pages and Craigslist to get rid of that big bevelled mirror we took down in the motorhome bedroom.  I just wanted to give it away to someone, anyone, to take it out of our motorhome without breaking it and take it away.  A gal came and checked it out, measured carefully, and her husband (a contractor) will come with a board to strap it onto and extra helping guys to remove it. It is almost 8 feet long and over 3 feet high.

They are coming back next Saturday to take it out and over to her house. It is going to be mounted on a wall in an exercise room.  Glad it will have a new home.  Now for them to just get it out without breaking it???? Stay tuned for next Saturday's adventure.  haha

Last night we headed out for our granddaughter Chelsea's 7th birthday party!  I got in the car and as Steve slid into the driver's seat next to me he asked ''Did you bring the presents?''  Oh my gosh, they were still sitting on the dining room table! Can you imagine going to your grandkid's party and not bringing a present?   He ran back in and got it and saved the day. 

Our tribe of all seven grandkids, their parents, extra friends and family all arrived at Happy Joes Pizza Parlor in Green Bay. Like a mini ChuckECheez, it has some games and tickets and cheap prizes for the kids to be entertained while the pizzas are cooking.  Our daughter Erin and husband Waylen reserved the whole back party room for our group so we had a nice space to spread out and visit.  The kids blew through their tokens awfully fast on the games, so this grandma had to go get more for each one to keep on playing. 


Our Birthday Girl, Chelsea


They spread out a buffet of pizzas and 
pitchers of root beer and of course big people beer for the adults





here is a little video clip I shot of some of the birthday fun

Present opening after our meal was next...
We got her an EasyBake oven (just like we got Allegra last year)
Now the cousins can bake together when they visit! 


Granddaughter Little Whitney loved her ice cream treat 
and oldest Grandson Jameson was making good work on his too.

These two giggly girls were full of the dickens
Birthday Girl Chelsea and Granddaughter Allegra

Grandsons Clayton and Mason gobbled theirs down toot sweet

Even little baby Claire got to join in, getting passed 
from grandma to grandma to aunties and friends

What a fun way to have a birthday party with 30 people
16 adults and 14 kids! 
Plus, we didn't have to cook or clean up afterwards! 


Today is Sunday, and it is a Packer Play Off game day this afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys.  We are heading over early to Steve's brother Pete's new construction house. They are going to insulate the ceiling in the sun porch room before the finishing gets done by the builder.  Insulation was not slated on the plans, but Steve convinced Pete that for under $100 they could do it quick themselves. It will make it more comfortable on cooler months when they might want to still use it.  

Then we will head back to their duplex to watch the Packer Game...  Steve's dad is joining us for a fun family football afternoon!