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volume 3                         November 1992                         number 7
Ron is one handy guy! 

Yes, he can really be called a handyman. We had several projects which had to be dealt with.  Not moving for a month gave him the time he needed. 

The first thing he had to do was remove the love bugs.  Have you ever been to Florida in "love bug" season?  They are horrible little stinky bugs that mate and commit suicide on moving vehicles.  The acid in their bodies eats all metals so it is important to remove their remains pronto. With a Class C motor home, the problem is compounded; these lovely bugs get squashed in the recessed area over the cab. A two week period in both May and September are the Love Bug seasons so beware.

But on to the normal maintenance problems. We had another leak in the cab-over section somewhere. First he had to find out where the problem was and then fix it. The first two weeks helped us a lot; a tropical depression kept it raining most of the time so we were able to see the water trickling in.

The travel lock for the refrigerator door snapped off.  He bought a new lock but it didn't work.  Ron re-designed the lock with some tools and it works like a charm.

One awning pole lock would not work. I'll let him tell you what ingenious method he used to make that work in a pinch.

Our screen door wasn't fitting tight.  He fixed it and now it works better than it ever did.

Several closet/cupboard doors weren't staying closed when we were rolling down the road.  Now they will. 

A window crank broke off in Ron's fingers leaving us unable to open or close the window. Yep, he fixed that too. 

Ron has actually become somewhat of a repair expert and agreed to write an article on how to keep on top of RV repairs.  Be sure to read his article on page 3.


              by Ron
Press agent Barb really keeps our book in the lime light. Big stories with pictures in the Winter Haven Chief and the Lakeland Ledger will surely help book sales. Since her name was also mentioned in the articles, Mom Hofmeister has had a lot of phone calls from her friends.

I can't understand it. It is preseason here in Florida. The motels and campgrounds are relatively empty, but the traffic is extremely heavy. It leads one to believe that the roads are inadequate for the development here. It must be grid lock during the tourist season.

We can't help but notice that the tourists here are mostly foreign visitors. The weak dollar must contribute to this. We enjoyed talking to a young English family at the Ponderosa Steak House here. They were having a ball.

I still enjoy stopping at the Florida Welcome Centers on the way south. I hope they never give up the custom of giving away free orange juice.  It brings back memories of earlier trips with my kids. How excited we were to see palm trees and get our first taste of sunny Florida.

Can you believe it. Florida taxes the $1 CCC blue cards that we use for each nights stay. Seven days amounts to 77 cents based on 11%.

Enjoyed helping Mom after her surgery. She was a good patient. It was pay back time. I think she must have spent a little time taking care of  me during her lifetime. 

The Handyman Report
by Ron
Those of you that really know me, don't for a minute believe Barb when she says that I am all of a sudden the great fix-er-upper. I'm not falling for her psychological motivational stuff, trying to convince me that I am really a handyman. However, after living in a motorhome for over three and one half years, one does become tuned in to the little things that are a part of the RV. After all, our space is small, and it's hard not to notice how things work. And I can't plead for lack of time since the reading of the newspaper only occupies two or three hours a day.

The first thing that helps us "would be" handymen is the ready access to parts. Surprisingly, all RVs are made up of standardized  equipment even with the wide range of models and prices. There are only a few types of refrigerators, ovens, pumps, hot water heaters, air conditioners, awnings, and electrical fixtures in all RVs. Parts are available at most RV centers and in some hardware stores. Window cranks, TV antenna parts, water faucets, handles, door latches etc., are all easy to obtain.  I seem to impress Barb when I only replace a part. Easy! 

Most full-timers are not without a caulking gun (cost is $3 or $4). There are many areas to seal continuously on an RV and it can be done on a casual basis whenever you think about it.  Windows, doors, vents, running lights and outside compartments are all sources of potential leaks. Our cab-over window was leaking and it took a long time to trace the leak since water travels along a least resistance path before it enters the RV. A little preventive maintenance (caulking) would have kept the leak from occurring, but then I couldn't have claimed victory for stopping the leak. A clear silicone caulking compound seems to work fine for the caulking material.  Come to think of it, most home owners probably should be caulking too, to prevent heat loss.

The awning pole lock that Barb referred to was no big deal and almost every RV owner has experienced the malfunction of the slide springs on the set handle. Since these are expensive to replace, it was a simple matter to slide in the right sized bolt upon which the slide could rest.  It's easy to slip out when not needed. She's easily impressed.  I've got to go now.  It's time to check the water in our house battery. 

This 'N That
by Barb

First off if there are a lot more mistakes this issue, let's blame it on my new glasses. Same frame but three lenses. Yep, Trifocals. And the whole world seems weird. Steps aren't where I think they should be and so on.  I'll try them for another week or so then out they go.  I know...it's tough to get old.

I noticed that Ron didn't mention our golf game. I would have kept quiet too if I were him. Next time you see him ask him just how many balls he lost.  I lost about six (lots of water ).

It was kind of nice to sit still for a month. Besides the glasses, I got a perm (Do you like it?  It's still a little tight and fuzzy). I also shampooed our little bit of carpeting. It even feels clean if you know what I mean.

We also got our flu shots here. That is always a lot of fun. I had kind of a reaction from mine but I am OK now.

Oh and we overdosed on movies. There was a Blockbuster video place just two miles away and we watched a bunch. Every time I read or hear about a good movie, I put it on my list that I carry in my wallet.  Some of the movies on my list are a year old so it is easy to find them in the video stores.

We also went to the theater twice. In Winter Haven they have a theater called "Mugs and Movies." It is kind of neat and the movies are only one dollar.  They have taken a theater and removed all the regular seats replacing them with round tables and snack bars.  So you get real comfy, order wine, bear, nachos, sandwiches, BBQ and just about anything you'd find in a small cafe. The waitresses keep checking on you during the movie too.  At first I was afraid that it would be noisy and smokey. (Yes, smoking is allowed on one side.)  It was quiet and I didn't notice the smoke. We saw "A League Of Their Own" and loved it.

Gotta mention my best friend and favorite Tupperware manager, Carolyn Branch.  She just left a message on our phone service that she and her unit sold $41,700 worth of Tupperware last week.  WOW!!  Maybe I should get them to help us promote the book. Just kidding. It seems there is no recession in Lansing.

I wish you could see the big articles that the Lakeland Ledger and the Winter Haven News Chief did on us. One gave us a whole page with three big pictures. The other put us on the front of the Sunday Life section and had a color picture. Both articles introduced the full-time lifestyle and also mentioned the book. We really appreciate the PR.

How do you like the new column (Coffee Break pg 3 )?  When we are not traveling, we will do more stories like the ones we did this month. This will be a good format for those times when we are volunteering.  But we like to know what you think. We are hoping for lots of mail from all of you. 

Every Monday is a work day for us now.  It is our mail day and with all the great publicity we have been getting, we play mail-room all day.  We have been getting lots of orders for both the book and newsletter. 

This is the last time we are running an order form in the newsletter. We will run off extra copies of just that page for the inquiries we get regularly.

I was cleaning out my files and found quite a few copies of old newsletters.  I've got to get rid of them and hate to throw them out.  I think I'll make a compilation and offer them for a small fee. Would you be interested in some you might have missed?

We are in a large CC Campground here in Kissimmee and each morning when we do our walk, it is fun to notice all the different license plates on all the rigs. They cover most of the states. This morning I noticed two from Alaska. Others were from as far west as Idaho, Oregon, Washington and S. Dakota. 

The other night when we were at The Ponderosa Steak House here, I swear we were the only Americans eating there. Most seemed to be from Great Britain.  Nice.  Ron says it helps the balance of payments.

Disney is a great tourist attraction here and I wanna go too. But I've been a couple of times and it is just too expensive. I'd rather save the money we'd spend and put it towards a new house (motorhome). 

Universal Studios here is having Halloween Horror Nights.  Those who know me know how I'd love that but not enough to spend $33 each for the night.

Did you vote?  I thought that after I voted, I wouldn't be as interested in the race but...   We were able to watch all the debates and many of the interviews.  I will be glad when it is all over though.

Whenever I vote, I am reminded that I wish that we full-timers had a representative at large and a U.S. drivers license, fishing license and so on. Wouldn't that make life simpler?  We wouldn't have to be choosing a state to call home.  At last count there are over 700,000 of us.  Isn't that enough to do something?

We will be at daughter Glenda's (in West Palm Beach) for Thanksgiving. That will be nice. We haven't seen them for over two years. After Thanksgiving, we will begin heading out of Florida. 

I don't know what the weather has been like where you are but it has been perfect here. Nice and warm during the days --- not too humid either --- and nice and cool in the evenings.  What a life!! 

1.  Florida has more golf courses than any other state. Are there (a) more than 250,(b) more than 500, (c) more than 1,000?

2.  In the 1950's what movie star helped make Cypress Gardens famous?

Florida is the world's largest citrus-producing region. Choose from these numbers to answer questions 3, 4, and 5.
15%    25%    50%    65%    70%    95%

3.  What percentage of the world's grapefruit come from Florida?

4.  What percentage of the world's oranges come from Florida? 

5.  What percentage of the world's limes come from Florida? 

1.  C, more than 1,000
2.  Esther Williams 
3.  50%
4.  25%
5.  95%

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