Friday, March 23, 2018

Home Sweet Home In Progress

I never dreamed I would double my living space. It seems like only yesterday I bought this 1992 Holiday Rambler Imperial Fifth Estate. That is the name shown on the original brochure included with the manuals. It's a 36 foot 5th wheel. Imperial was their top of the line 5th wheel in 1992. Holiday Rambler has been bought and sold several times. It appears that now they no longer make 5th wheels.

In looking at current ads for used Holiday Rambler 5th wheels, I see that many of the lovely features mine has were dropped over the years. Of course dealing with a 25 year old RV can be dicey indeed, but I felt like this one was worth doing because otherwise at my super efficient budget, the chances of me owning such luxury was slim to none. Of course one also faces a money pit. I am optimistic that I truly lucked out all around though I've had many "hidden" surprise repairs.

Part of it might be me being so picky. I want things to work correctly. Whether it's a broken cabinet latch (recently reglued to work) or the little dishwasher which I don't need but since it's here, I want it working. (It does!) The dishwasher just needed a good hard water cleaning (done with vinegar.)

I am super fortunate this Holiday Rambler came with a 15 foot slide out in the living area that adds another 4 feet in width to the living, dining and kitchen areas.

I bought the 5th wheel early December, moved it to my lot just before Christmas then detailed my Class C motorhome which sold the end of January. It was 6 weeks of hard work moving out of it then detailing it in preparation for sale. I wanted top dollar and was willing to work hard at that crazy dream. At times I was a nervous wreck wondering what if it didn't sell at all? What is the offers were crazy low end? What price to start at?

Amazingly it sold less than 36 hours after the ad went up on It was a tearful goodbye as I watched it drive away with a new proud owner at the wheel. I suddenly realized my final trip in it had been to see my ailing friend who shockingly died shortly after my visit. During my extreme grief I realized if the rig didn't sell by the end of January I was liable for more taxes and tags. I had already had to pay a year's worth of insurance on it Christmas Eve, so the clock was ticking. I figured I could keep working on the Class C, grief stricken (tears and all) to get it up on Craigslist in time to possibly sell it without incurring more expenses.

Angels were looking out for me. I think I got top dollar for my 1994 Class C (with no slideout). 24 hours after it sold, I was donning my funeral garb to go lay my friend to rest.

More pictures!

Below is the huge 7 foot sofa that came with the rig. Both ends make into big comfy recliners. Laying on the couch end to end is super comfortable. Propping up in either recliner is suepr comfy. The recliners actually adjust so far back, you can lay completely flat.

Small wonder I have slept entire nights on my sofa! The sofa is located in the slide out which has a slight step up. Those wonderful blue valances were removed. I just didn't like that they hogged so much natural light. This RV came with loads of amazing 12 volt and 110 lighting all over the place. The wall sconces behind the sofa have articulating brass arms. Behind the sofa is a full length console table. Harley dog hides his bed back there on the table so he can have views out the windows.

To the left of the sofa is a built in credenza below and upper cabinets which sport stained glass windows for cabinet doors.

I was shocked to learn my new kitchen came with a small 18 inch dishwasher. The slide out has 4 huge windows which I adore. The kitchen has the original parquet floor. The dining table came with 4 solid oak padded chairs shown below, but they were hard to scoot across the carpet. They were a wee bit crowded. It was hard for me to scoot back and forth for typing. They've been replaced twice now with other second hand chairs. In this picture the dining carpet is shown before I ripped it out. The previous owner had heavily damaged the carpet in that area beyond repair.  The rest of the carpet was kept and I hope to give it more than just spot cleaning at some point in the future. It could stand to be replaced, but in view of other repairs that cropped up, that has been pushed to the bottom of the list repeatedly.

Dumpster diving, actually shed dining... yielded the Daytona checkered vinyl flooring shown below.  I laid it down to see how it looked. It clashes something awful. So the vinyl will be used in my shed for flooring. I will buy something else to use in the dining area that is more compatible with the existing decor.

In this pic you can see the oak dining chairs have been replaced with some big dining chairs on casters. I bought these used for $10 each. The armed version is sitting across from the sofa. While well padded, they are too big for the area. You can also see the blue valances are all gone now. I like the clean lines of the simple shades above the sunny windows. Removing the overly huge valances was a big chore and then the accordion type blinds which were previously attached to the valances had to be hung on the walls. They need replacing but that will have to wait.

The kitchen windows sported damaged rusty metal mini blinds. These were removed. There is a tiny window in the left corner not shown in the picture. The old fireplace with no heat was sold and a new one with electric heat was installed. An RV repairman made a housecall to get my propane furnace operating. The thermostat had a dead wire, once it had a live wire, the furnace can supplement the electric heat when needed, which in Florida is rare, but the need has arisen several times.

That beautiful wicker stool was found at a thrift store months ago for a pittance. I was using it in my shed. Now I use it in my kitchen and sometimes it doubles as a TV tray in the living area. Other times it's used for sitting in the kitchen to work or as a little island for extra stuff. It's strong, durable and woven to be extra comfortable.

Overhead are several fluorescent lights and an opening hatch with a semi-functional fan. The air conditioning is ducted through the ceiling, coming out of round ducts. There are also overhead speakers. The kitchen has additional lighting under the cabinets. The cabinets in the living area have little brass spotlights that can be twisted and aimed 360 degrees. I have converted them to LEDs.The cabinets have the original hardware which is in great shape. My old Class C had numerous pricey LED light bulbs. I removed all of them to relocate to the 5th wheel. I had the old lights to replace so I did sell the Class C with working lights, just that the pricier LED's had all been swapped out.

 This is the bedroom slideout with a window instead of a headboard. The valance has been removed but the shade installed on the wall for privacy. I like the little brass sconces on either side of the bed. Both sides also have electrical outlets and loads of cabinets plus little end tables builtin on both sides with a cabinet above and below.Everything is solid oak. No fall-a-particle board!

Bedding is still a problem. I had to toss out the old hard as a rock mattress and replace it with a Talalay Latex mattress that has no inner springs to interfere with my joint problems. My old mattress in the motorhome I sold was a custom made Talalay Latex, but it was a double size. This one is a Queen size. In the motorhome I was using a twin comforter because a double draped over the sides and in the motorhome the bed was crammed in with no where for the extra comforter to drape, so I was using a twin size. It looks silly on this big queen bed but it's all I have for now.

The 5th wheel came with a set of cheap polyester sheets. I am allergic to polyester, so I had to regift them. I didn't own any queen sheets. I am using some old flat sheets until I can buy some soft cotton sheets. There has been so much to fix and repair!

I had to buy an electric mattress warmer. It helps me when temps are below 70F I can use it to stay warm and it seriously helps my joints and scar tissue pains. The bed sits on a platform that houses the slide out mechanism. The sliding mirror doors house my closet. To the right is a dresser with drawers below and a cabinet above. The top slides in and out, as it was designed in 1992 to hold a big clunky TV that could slide out for viewing from the bed. There is an opening hatch above the bed plus builtin speakers and more air conditioning vents. The AC for the bedroom is not working at this point and time. More to fix!

One of these days I will be thrilled to shop for bed linens. But for now, I make do. My birthday is in 20 days, so who knows, the birthday bunny might surprise me. I keep checking the thrift stores for queen cotton sheets with no luck yet.

This diminutive night light is the original one that came  with the rig.  I should have straightened up the shade before this picture. Oops!

It's cute as can be lit up after dark providing enough light to navigate the bedroom without having to use bright lights. Like Tom Bodet says "We'll leave the light on for you!"

While I have enjoyed a compact washer in my old Class C, this RV came with a little laundry center by Kenmore. Above the dyer are two shelves, one with a lazy suzy to make it easier to store and find the laundry supplies. 

The laundry center hides behind the double oak doors below. The top and bottom of the doors have air vents. There is an automatic light in the laundry closet. When the doors are opened, the lights come on, when the doors are closed the light goes off. 

I dreamed of a nice vanity and this rig provides one! My old motorhome had a teeny tiny sink, this one has a full sized bathroom sink set on a Corian countertop. Bright makeup light are above the mirror with a nightlight below the upper cabinet I installed. I had to stand in the shower across the aisle to take this picture! The vanity and laundry closet are on the passenger side of the rig, the toilet is in a separate closet on the drivers side, across from the laundry center, so it's very private. You can't see it in this pic, but to the left of the vanity is a floor to ceiling tall skinny closet with adjustable shelving inside the cabinet above with two drawers located in the bottom. All the mirrors in the RV have beveled edges. The oak cabinets match nicely, just that the lighting makes it appear to be different colors, but it's all the same. I use the night light for navigating the hallway at night. There are steps at either end, I so want to remember they are there! The nightlight makes it easy to see them.
 These were the interim dining chairs that proved to be too big but I kept on using them until recently when I found swivel rocking oak and ultrasuede chairs in a thirft store. I tried to resale these chairs with no luck. Finally I donated 3 of them to a charity thrift store. The 4th one I am using temporarily in my living room.
 The sofa needed a special table. With both the recliners in use, there isn't room for a big coffee table. Besides a coffee table is too low, since the couch sits up on step above the main floor on the slide out. Sometimes I eat and watch a movie, sometimes a friend joins me. So I was looking for a higher table. I wanted round because I like to move the table out of the way for dancing when the mood strikes me. I often crank up the stereo and dance alone. The silly dog will dance with me some too, I wish I could get a video of that! To the left, you can see the cordless drill and other parts, more work in progress.

Finally after months of fruitless searching, I found this cute cherry wood plant stand that makes for the perfect table. It's big enough to have dinner on. The wicker stool in the kitchen is also big enough for dinner, so basically they both double as TV trays when the mood strikes. If I am using the recliner at either end of the sofa, the table can live in the middle where it doesn't hamper the recliner footrests. Pretty nifty!

 The remaining unsold dining chair is in use in the living room. It has Harley's washable dog blanket on it, so I can snatch the blanket off when humans visit and wish to sit. It was a cold day and I had my fireplace providing heat. It has a thermostat which is handy. I'm amazed at how realistic the fire is! I can also use it for ambiance without the heat turned on. How cool is that?

Life is goof.

This rig was a whale of deal and an ongoing project while I get it ship shape.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Same Day, New Bull

No matter how hard life gets, though, it just keeps going. 
In fact, that’s what makes existence oddly beautiful.


And that's no bull... 

I wrote the above this morning while having a rough time changing bandages and cantankerous tape that causes awful reactions to my skin. The pucking fain was just hugely distracting. I closed the laptop to rest awhile. How can two sentences be so exhausting?

Later in the day I went outside between rain squalls to sit in my rocking chair and meditate for deliverance. Suddenly a cow behind me at the farm let out this loud bellowing as if screaming for help. I leaped up to go have a look-see, she was just over my fence a few feet away laying on the ground mooing at the top of her lungs while her sides heaved.

I thought "Oh my! You're in pain too! What's wrong that you're over here caterwauling?"

Suddenly she bawled quite loudly then pushed out half a calf! While I scrambled to go get my camera, she heaved out the rest of the calf.

He was laying on the ground when I returned with big open eyes looking very confused.

Over the next 20 minutes his mother bathed him, removing the afterbirth while the little runt tried to stand up. He was shaking and tangled up with his new feet. He kept falling back down. At one point the little calf looked over at me with big round eyes.

"Hi. I'm new here."

 I made several  videos of his numerous attempts to stand. Finally I caught it on camera, his final successful attempt at standing. Later I checked the time stamp. Twenty minutes after birth he managed to stand up on all four hooves and remain upright.

Take a look:

Thanks for plopping by today!