Making the Most of our Florida Life….
Who da’ thought that one year ago that we would be Florida residents today? Our quest to find a place to vacation has changed our lives.
For about five months we have been renovating the “hut” that we purchased in Titusville. It has about 800 square feet of inside living space, and an expansive 600 square feet screened in porch. We knew the little place had problems, but we never guessed how filthy and dilapidated it was.
The two couples who owned it did little if any maintenance in ten years. It still had the original water heater, air conditioners, washer and dryer, and more, that was purchased over 20 years ago. We even had to replace the refrigerator. The guy who inspected it, found major water damage on the outside of the house, but did not see that the roof needed to be replaced. The 20 watt light bulbs hindered him. He refunded his fee to us.
Creating a Little Paradise
So, what have we renovated? The first thing we did was to throw everything away that was inside the house. It is a tradition at The Great Outdoors, that when you sell a home, you sell everything that is in it, even the TP. There were a few things that we thought we might be able to use but they were so encased with dirt, grease, and grime that we just gave up and awarded the contents of the house to the SPCA. To be fair to us, there was so much junk on the walls and crowded into rooms that we really could not see all the challenges that lay ahead of us. The blue blinds in the front room hid many problems.
We began by scrubbing every inch of the place. Corners were blackened and windows (with encased bugs) in one room took eight hours to clean. We painted every room and sealed the tile floors. Tom tore down the old blinds and added crisp new white ones. The tile in the shower in the bathroom was so disgusting (We would not touch it.) that we had it re-grouted and cleaned. We caulked around all the sinks and Tom added a sink and storage unit to the laundry room.
We bought a new washer and dryer and a state-of-the-art-on-demand water heater. The electrical had to be upgraded. Tom had a Mitsubishi heating and cooling system installed in every room. One of the in-wall air conditioners had lost its cover (totally rusted) and it was just sitting there. Before we arrived in November, he had the roof replaced.
The porch is painted and we are in the process of adding windows. I was outside one day on a huge ladder trying to paint the trim on the house when Tom protested. Seems that he was worried about me. So, we popped for a painter to finish the job. A couple of weeks ago we had a professional re-seal our driveway. And, someone dumped a truck load of river rock in our driveway that had to be moved into place around the hut. Tom also dug a French drain to keep water away from the laundry room. Some day we will tell you that story.
The “hut” has a small, functional kitchen that we do not use. Extra libations, ice cream, and soda are stored in the fridge. We cook and sleep in our Class A Motorhome and rarely dine in the hut.
The hut is extra space for us to live (no bedroom). Tom has a guitar room. There is a huge bathroom. The front room is a dedicated office space with a TV. And the laundry room houses the dogs (sometimes) with storage space. We had to measure every inch of the tiny place to find furniture to fit. Our last big project will be to replace the old vinyl siding next year.
Life is Exciting and New
TCH Animal health is alive and well as Tom helps clients part time. His other pursuits include playing in a band on Monday afternoons (sometimes I sing with them), aerobics three times a week, and organizing kayaking and biking for residents at TGO. The guitars are actively played every day. Tom began driving the tour bus for the Merritt Island National Refuge as a volunteer today.
I am not so integrated into TGO. Because this place is so large and beautiful, it makes my daily 90-minute walks more refreshing. I have been busy painting and decorating and spending money to make the hut our own!
I knew that I would go outside TGO to find people and things to do. I applied to be a volunteer at the Canaveral National Seashore (National Park Service) but decided I did not want to drive the hour to Apollo beach. So, I threw out a line to both Merritt Island National Refuge and the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science. They welcomed me!
On Wednesdays I staff the Visitor’s desk helping people to explore the gorgeous Refuge just outside of the Kennedy Space Center that houses thousands of birds and critters. I am learning so much and meeting people from all over the planet! Sometimes engineers who work on the rockets stop by. Last week we had several French people visit after they watched their rocket take off. The museum has been training me for about a month to be a docent for the Windover Archaeological exhibit and the history of Florida. It is so much fun!!! (Warning, I may write about these adventures later!)
Both Tom and I took a training course in Defensive Driving (passing the tests) so that we could drive the tour bus. I think I will just be a fill-in for people who can’t make the regular schedule.
And, oh! I just purchased a banjolele that I am going to learn how to play! The band leader was playing one about a month ago and I fell in love with the instrument.
Come visit us! We really don’t have any room for visitors, but we will find a place for you to stay! Because of the Space Center there are many, many hotels nearby.
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge