Click to Return to RVeCafe Homepage

Winter Home at
Rincon Country East, Tucson

Return to RVeCafe Home Page

Saturday, April 20, 2024: Gwen and I started our day thinking of some sort of cactus garden to visit. However, we ended up in both Lowe's and Home Depot shopping for some new plants for the front of our place.  We bought only three plants knowing our space is limited.  I had previously purchased perforated drain pipe to bury with any new plants. The soil here is not porous so a perforated drain pipe is a good way to get the water deeper into the soil.  I buried the pipe deep enough for each plant to get the water below the roots. Click on both photos for more views. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024: Recall that we have this strange window between Gwen's sewing room and our bedroom/family room. I built a bookcase for Gwen's sewing room side of the window.  We still needed to hide the family room side of the window. Gwen picked out this carpet to do that.  The window is now gone from both sides.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024:  I liked my first storage drawer so much I decided to build a second just a bit differently so storage containers would fit in the drawer.  I inset the wheels to give more clearance for the containers. Click the left photo to see what I mean. After I installed the wheels I began clearing all items stored under the deck. That's when I noticed this beautiful Diamondback.  This is our second after I removed the first on March 26.  This one appears much larger and certainly fatter than our first. It makes me think there may be rodents under our unit even though I have four ultrasonic emitters install below.  I asked Gwen to take a video of the capture and release of this new beauty. Unfortunately, she handed the camera to a neighbor during the capture and he was not familiar with pointing the camera. You will get a better view on the release.

Thursday, April 4, 2024:  We have a strange interior window between Gwen's Sewing Room and the family room (click the center photo to see the window). I considered taking it out but that would be a big mess since sheet rock would have to be cut.  Gwen wants shelves for her sewing room so we came up with the idea of inserting the shelves into the window recess.  It took about $70 in plywood to build exactly what she wanted. She wants to hang a saddle blanket on the other side to cover the window in the family room. Click all three photos for another view.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024: My Neighbor, Daryl, was about to take these cabinets to a thrift shop. They come with doors but no hinges. I couldn't find the hinges at Home Depot or ACE so got them at Amazon. They didn't fit the predrilled hole so I enlarged the hole with my router. They fit perfectly and mounted easily. I will use the cabinets to store gardening stuff, trash bags and extension cords. Click both photos for more views. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024: This park model came with a DirecTV satellite dish although I doubt the previous owners used it since the cable had been cut at the dish. I wanted it off the roof since we will never use it. It might be a hazard in the case of a strong monsoon.  The ladder I used was the one four of us purchased from a fellow in this park. We paid $100 for a $250 ladder. The four of us split the cost by four so it cost me $25. It is extremely versatile and sturdy but also very heavy. The dish was removed easily. The lag bolts were also easy to remove using the impact driver.  Holes were sealed with Henry's. Click the photos for more views.

I thought I would do the right thing and recycle the equipment. I called metal recycling and learned they wanted me to pay $20 to take the dish. I called a second metal recycling and they refused to take it. Unfortunately, the equipment went into the dumpster bin. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024: My neighbor showed me his storage drawer located under his deck. I decided a drawer would work well under our deck too. It requires one full sheet of plywood and 2 x 8" sides. Materials cost $82 but I'm thinking the convenience would make it worth while.  Click both photos for more views.

While pulling everything out of the storage area, I found Slinky.  We first saw Slinky last October, then he disappeared again.  Today he came slithering out of the center of the foil window covering.

You can see the foil covering in the photo on the right. He entered another smaller roll which I discovered when pulling it from the storage area. This time, however, I was ready. I grabbed my snake tools which I ordered from Amazon last fall. I had every intention of using them to take Slinky to a new home.  I couldn't easily get Slinky out of the roll so put a bucket on each end and carried the whole thing about a mile into the desert. I hope he is happy there. It is a cold day so he's not moving very fast. Forecast is for 81 on Friday, however, so I'm sure he will explore his new surroundings then. I've made a short video of the whole episode.

Sunday, March 24, 2024: We have been warned that this is a termite area. My next door neighbor hired a pest controller who installed termite stakes around her unit. I found the same stakes on Amazon so installed 14 of them around our unit. The stakes come with a money back guarantee. I guess if the house falls down due to termites they will refund the purchase price of the stakes. 

Monday, March 18, 2024: The photo on the left is a Lazy Boy Recliner which came with our park model. We have not liked it for multiple reasons and finally gave it away a few days ago.  I had already ordered a replacement from an RV supplier. It is a smaller recliner, what we were after, with a fabric upholstery not the fake leather. It is designed to fit into an RV so it fits our small space much better. Additionally, it is far more comfortable than the old recliner. Click both photos for more views. The assembled new recliner is behind the photo on the right.  Having said that, I am not usually able to sit in any recliner because Abby always wants me to sit with her on the couch. She can be very persistent!

Saturday, March 16, 2024: This is what a failed water heater element looks like.  I purchased the special wrench to remove and replace it plus the replacement element for less than $20.  The repair was very easy to make, we have hot water again.

Saturday, March 9, 2024: We purchased this TV cabinet in Oregon thinking we had done a good thing, but it is too big for our small space.  Finally, a few days ago, Gwen mentioned it was too big. "Yippee" I was thinking silently. At first I thought we should get rid of it then suggested cutting it down to be only one foot wide. We would still have the storage space but gain a whole foot in our living area. Gwen agreed to let me try.  It took longer today than I had figured it would but finally got the cabinet cut in half. Our living area feels much bigger now. Click on all three photos for more views.

Thursday, February 29, 2024: My neighbor, Daryl had a good idea of mounting boards to the fence then using hooks to hang our gardening tools. Daryl provided all the hooks.  I already had the boards but didn't have the bolts it took to mount to the fence. Ace Hardware, only 3 miles distant, provided the bolts.  This helped to get all the stuff stacked around out of the way.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024: The circuit problem I discovered three weeks ago was even worse than I thought. All of Gwen's sewing room, the washer and dryer, the refrigerator, the dining room and the outside outlet were all on ONE 15 amp circuit because the contractor was too lazy to install a proper circuit. Instead he tied the front half of the unit into the sewing room circuit by stringing a wire from one to the other. In some ways that made it easy for me to install a second circuit, just cut that wire from the sewing room to the front and connect to a second circuit. That meant crawling under the unit hoping to pull another wire from the circuit breaker box to the front. I tried crawling through the storage area but was blocked by axles, HVAC vent hose and Cholla thorns. Plan B was to remove siding and get access that way which worked. While under the unit I saw evidence of Pack Rats. After internet research I learned ultrasonic devices keep rats out. I installed two outlets under the unit and installed the ultrasonic devices into each outlet.  Click the photo for me in my hazmat suit.  Yes, I wore a mask.

Monday, February 5, 2024: We learned months ago that a simple electrical space heater gave off enough heat to warm our little park model. We have a perfectly good forced air propane furnace however, propane in this park is more than twice what it is in Oregon or elsewhere in Tucson simply because it must be delivered to our huge 100 gallon tank by truck. Arizona propane has the contract and jacks the price of the propane sky high. It is much cheaper to use electric space heaters.

A few days ago we learned that the contractor who remodeled our park model connected outlets in the dining room with the circuit in Gwen's sewing room at the other end of the unit. This is WRONG! It will be easy to correct this problem by creating a separate circuit for the dining room. I was able to complete the first half of that circuit today. I must crawl under the unit to complete the second half.  I won't have a hazmat suit until Wednesday and I won't be climbing under this unit until I have one.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Gwen has two large closets in her sewing room. She decided she wants one of the closets to be all shelves for her personal items and partly for a pantry. I bought the shelving at Lowes. It is 16" wide and 3/4" pine. It looks just like the pine I bought back in Oregon however I noticed on the tag, "Made in Brazil". I hope they didn't cut down any of the rain forest to send this Pine to Tucson! I put an edge on the face of the shelves which I'm showing in the center photo.

Thursday, January 25, 2024: I spotted these retractable screen doors at Costco three weeks ago. They looked ideal for our back door not only to let air in/out but also to allow Abby to see, hear and smell the outside air especially if I'm working in the patio.  At the time I discovered these doors I decided to wait because this is not screen door season so they would likely not sell quickly. However, I chose to buy the door now not wanting to take the chance of missing the purchase. We had a day last week of 76 degrees and another day next week is forecast to be 76.

Sunday, January 7, 2024: Our new living room ceiling fan arrived today, yes FedEx delivers on Sunday.  In the left photo, after completing the wiring I turned on the power to learn if it worked. It didn't so I rechecked all the wiring and still didn't work. I decided to continue figuring the plug into the lighting fixture may also be needed but I was worried during the rest of the assembly. I attached the blades and lighting fixture but before adding the light grill I tested it again. Wahoo! It worked. Click both photos for more assembly views and watch this ten second video to watch it work.

Saturday, January 6, 2024: I've done something either terrible or creative today. I mounted a 55" TV in the bedroom. Here is my thinking: The bedroom is the largest room in our park model. For that reason it needs to be used for more than a bedroom. Gwen already has a table for jigsaw puzzles and assembles them in the bedroom. We have the most comfortable recliner in the bedroom. It is too large for the living room so stays in the bedroom unused. I want to use it. I mounted the TV so it faces the recliner. There is still plenty of room for something else but I'm not sure what that would be yet. Maybe I'll move my Zwift bike in here during really cold or really hot weather. I have turned the bedroom into a bedroom/family room.

Thursday, December 21, 2023: Last season when we hired a home inspector to view this property, he pointed out "no vents to the underside of the unit".  While in Oregon, I found these vents at a garage sale for a very cheap price. I bought them with the idea of eventually installing on the west side since we have two large storage doors on the east side which allow for air flow. When folks in this park have something they believe of value but they want to get rid of it, they place the item next to the dumpster. Today, I found these trim boards next to the dumpster and immediately thought of the trim needed to frame the vents. That was enough to get me to complete this project today. The paint was used to paint the window trim and was stored under the deck so I had no out-of-pocket expense the complete the project. Click each photo for more views.

Thursday, December 14, 2023: The plan is to decorate the green cabinets so we made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and found nearly everything was 50% off. We both found what we were looking for. Click on both photos to see what we found and where we put them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023:  Today was a completion of the little things. The first on the list was to permanently install the inside cabinet lighting. I had only temporarily installed the LED light string previously because I had no real countertop. The tiny remote on the wall next to the coffee grinder is the light controller. It will remotely turn the cabinet lights on/off or dim them.

Second on the list was to shorten the shelf over the two garbage cans. Gwen wanted better access to the garbage so requested the shelf be shorter.

The Nikken water filter came with our purchase of the park model. It has been sitting in the corner of the dining room making it more difficult to use. We chose to add a shelf to the corner of the microwave cabinet for easy access to the kitchen and to free up more space in the dining room. I purchased the shelf from Home Depot and carefully installed it. I added additional support knowing the filter tank is heavy. The Nikken water filter is promoted as one of the best. The filters are certainly expensive.

Monday, December 11, 2023: The countertops arrived today and did not take long to install. They look great and Gwen is happy. The custom cutting board came with the sink and fits perfectly in the top of the sink. Click the three photos for more views. I have a few little details to take care of but this finishes all of the kitchen remodel we plan to do this season. Now time to play!

Thursday, December 7, 2023: We have finally made a countertop decision.  Weeks ago, our friend, Armando, suggested Senior Martinez for quartz countertops. We visited his shop and did not find a stone we liked. I told him to keep looking. He contacted us a week ago with a new meeting time and new stones to view. We found one we liked and he gave us a very good quote. In the meantime, between our first and second meeting we had gotten a ridiculous quote on a laminate countertop. It was a sobering quote since we both hated the idea of laminate and we were mistakenly thinking it would be cheaper.  Another big positive about Senior Martinez, he will install the quartz on this coming Monday afternoon. By-the-way, the upper cabinet door painted with the green frame was an experiment and we have decided against it. I have extra doors and will replace that one with one NOT painted.

Thursday, November 30, 2023: The final steps to finish the corner cabinet. The face frame is added, screwed and glued into place. The plumbing had to be moved to match but I was smart enough not to glue the main cross pipe since the new countertop may put the sink in a slightly different location where I would have to move the plumbing again. Without glue, I can do that easily. I'll glue it in place once the new countertops are installed. I must build a door for the front of the cabinet and someone, I hope Gwen, will paint the cabinet to match the others. Meanwhile, while we are deciding upon a countertop, this sink is operational again. Click on these photos for another view.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023: Working all day again on the corner cabinet. It seems I did not get very far but the 2 x 4" floor support had to be pieced in carefully. Also the plywood floor had lots of strange angles to fit around the plumbing and into this strange shaped space. The floor had to be painted and sealed. It all took time. We have a shuttle trip tomorrow so I won't be able to work on this again until Thursday. Click the photos for more views.

Monday, November 27, 2023: The corner cabinet must be replaced. As soon as I disconnected the plumbing on the sink the countertop popped off easily. I will save the countertop to use with our new sink until it is replaced by a new countertop.  I tore out everything except the diagonal wall in the back. The hot water heater is behind this wall. The floor of the cabinet had completely dissolved where the plumbing had leaked sometime in the past. The previous owner hid this with a piece of vinyl.  There were plenty of rat or mouse droppings beneath the floor sitting on the sub-floor. I wore a mask to clean up this mess then Gwen scrubbed with several cleaners.  I laid down half inch plywood onto the sub-floor to bring the level up to the laminate flooring. I then used two cans of expanding foam sealant to seal all holes and edges.  That's as far as I got today. Click the three photos for more views. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023: I will finish the lower kitchen cabinets soon. I don't plan to do anything major to the upper cabinets. Today I experimented with painting the cabinet doors with a green trim to match the color of the lower cabinets. I would also replace the door handles with those to match the handles below. Nothing is final, just experimenting.

Friday, November 17, 2023: This is the cabinet space on the living room side of the peninsula cabinet. It's where we store the dog food and treats. It is so difficult to see and find anything in these cabinets because it is so dark inside. I decided to light the inside of the cabinet spaces on both sides of the peninsula cabinet. The LED strip lights came with a remote control which is on the wall for easy access. No matter which side of the cabinet you are standing the remote can be activated to turn on/off the lights.

Thursday, November 16, 2023: The old bathroom faucet was just that ... old, maybe dating back to the original manufacture date of this park model. The remodel done by the previous owners replaced the bathroom vanity with a nice new one but for some reason they kept the old faucet, ugly faucet! The replacement faucet accented the white vanity top with the black finish. Additionally, the old faucet had no stopper, just a hole in the bottom of the sink. The new faucet came with a push activated stopper. The new faucet is also a single handle making it easy to adjust water temperature. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023: We had a visit from Jesus today! Yes! Jesus the countertop man came to look at our project. Maybe we have been watching way too much HGTV and shows like Property Brothers, Home Town and Love It or List It but we are going with Quartz countertops. The quote from Jesus (Save Us Jesus) was less than half the quote we got from another firm across town. However still much more than I had thought it might cost. I screwed the peninsula cabinet to the floor and wall at a place to cover the hole in the floor from the previous cabinet. Jesus wants the cabinet moved 5/8" away from the stove to allow for a 1-1/2" overhang of the top. Oh, only a 20 minute job, I thought. Two hours later the cabinet was now screwed down 5/8" from it's original position. Well, the hardware for the garbage drawer was $180 (on sale) so I figure for hardware that expensive a quartz countertop is deserved. And it is Gwen's birthday next week, does a countertop make a good birthday present? The doors are installed on both sides of the cabinet.

Saturday, November 11, 2023: I removed the old peninsula cabinet today (it was true junk) and replaced with the cabinet I built and Gwen painted. There was a surprise when I removed the old cabinet to find a live power line which once powered a radio at the far end of the cabinet. Since I plan to have four sections of the new cabinet lighted it is nice to have power inside. I can't install the two cabinet doors yet because I need access to the woodshop which will happen on Monday. While visiting my son, Ben, I admired his garbage drawer. I ordered the hardware kit from Amazon and installed a garbage drawer in the final section. I saved the old countertop and along with a piece of plywood, the top is covered and usable while I complete the corner cabinet. Once that is finished, we can get new counter tops. This cabinet is far superior to the awful cabinet which came with the unit. Click each photo for another view.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023: Today was the last woodworking day for the peninsula cabinet in the kitchen. Painting comes next and Gwen wants to do that (thank you). In the photo, the paint and tray is sitting on the part of the cabinet which will face the couch. The cabinet is sitting on the side which will face the kitchen. So there is a small cabinet on the couch side due to the stove on the other side. The part facing the camera in this photo is the top. The countertop will sit on this part so none of this will be seen. Gwen is painting this cabinet to match the dishwasher cabinet. The interior cabinet space will be lighted. The next project will be the corner cabinet which contains the sink. A new sink and faucet is arriving tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2023: The cabinet built in Oregon along with the dishwasher purchased in Oregon has finally been installed. This is about 1/3 of the kitchen remodel. The corner cabinet and peninsula cabinets need to be replaced then new countertops.  We washed dishes in a dishwasher for the first time tonight since 2006. That's when we sold our house and became fulltime RVers.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023: Today I added the end cap to the kitchen cabinets. This was my first time to use a pocket jig, it worked well.  Click both photos for more views.  This particular joint would be very weak without the screws. Gluing end grain to side grain at a 90 degree angle makes a very weak joint. Click on both photos for more views. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023: This was primer painting day on the kitchen cabinet and the TV stand. I worked on the kitchen cabinet while Gwen painted the TV stand. She actually painted the top coat after the primer dried. I decided to paint parts of the cabinet, such as the drawers, just to seal against moisture. I added the drawer dividers temporarily just to learn if they fit properly. Those bamboo drawer dividers were purchased at Costco. I am not fond of painting but this went pretty easily. Click the photos for more views.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023: Today was the day to complete and install the drawer fronts. Before that, the edge strips are installed to hide the edges of the plywood. I made the fronts of Poplar thinking it would hold the paint better than any other wood. This may have been over thinking the painting and a mistake since these three drawer fronts cost a total of $52. Click all three photos for more views. My job is finished, Gwen will paint the cabinet and drawers next as soon as she decides the color.

This one is a drawer within a drawer
Tuesday, June 6, 2023: All the drawers are constructed of half inch plywood except the bottom which is quarter inch plywood. The top drawer is a drawer within a drawer, an idea I found at the Home Depot when looking at their cabinet displays. Note the locking joint in the corner of the drawers.  Next, I need to apply the edge trim I made to cover the plywood and make the drawer fronts. Once that's done the cabinets and drawers are ready for paint.

Monday,  June 5, 2023:  I built the cabinet end below, now I need to build the cabinet. This cabinet will have the dishwasher on the end and drawers on the right. The kitchen is so small I'm afraid a dishwasher next to the sink with the door open will block access to the sink. With drawers between the sink and the dishwasher there will be plenty of room for the dishwasher door. I'm building the cabinet of half inch plywood. I used the sabre saw to cut our notches for the cross braces and for the toe kick area. I'm not adding a face frame because I want to maximize the drawer space. The drawer fronts will cover the plywood edge. You won't see the plywood edge because I ripped thin strips to glue to the plywood edges (far right photo).  I purchased full extension, soft close drawer guides. Click all three photos for more views.

Sunday, May 28, 2023: I have finally begun working on the kitchen cabinets to replace those which are against the wall. When you look at the existing cabinets, the section in the photo will have the dishwasher and drawers. The dishwasher will be on the outside because I'm afraid the dishwasher door will block access to the sink when open. We plan to paint the cabinets I'm building so I picked wood which will be easy to paint. The piece I built today will be the end of the cabinet. It is 35" tall because Gwen wants the counter top to be at 36". Depth of the cabinet is the standard 24". Click each photo for more views.
Return to RV Trips Copyright, 2023 by