Well darn it, if I hadn't started blogging again yesterday, I would had had to start today!
It was 43F/6.1C this morning. Youngest Son and I got into the Focus to drive to the high school and he just couldn't get the car into gear. He's had trouble in the past putting it in reverse but usually succeeds on the 2nd try and then the car drives fine. But this morning, it just wouldn't get into any gears that he tried. I had him step out and tried it myself, to no avail. So I told him we'd take Greg's truck but he said he'd just take the bus since the bus hadn't come yet. Such a good boy!
I went back inside and waited for Greg to get up. I looked up the problem online and, while several people reported the same problem, there wasn't any consensus as to the repairs. Some said it was a clutch problem and a cable was loose, others claimed they had replaced their entire transmission to the cost of over $1,000 and still had trouble. Ugh. One person mentioned being able to put it into 5th gear and from there being able to put it in reverse so I went to try that and it "worked" but then wouldn't go back into 1st or 2nd gear so I was afraid that if I rolled down the driveway into the street, I wouldn't be able to drive forward to park it in the grass where my daughter usually parked it.
After Greg's shower, I asked him to help me push it into the grass (so I could use my SUV since the Focus was parked right behind it, giving me no room to maneuver) but, Smart Guy he is, he just rolled it backwards into the grass on the OTHER side of the drive. Duh and this is why I'm glad I'm married to him because sometimes, my brain just doesn't work :)
So I called our regular garage and they'll look at it but they don't work on manual transmissions. We're hoping it's "just" a clutch problem and, if it is, they might be able to fix it. If it's the transmission, we'll need to find another garage. My friend Juliet had recommended one closer to my house, actually, but I'm not sure they work on manual transmissions either. I guess I'll just wait to see what my trusted mechanic tells me. I called USAA and had the car towed there.
Today is Wednesday, which means Shopping Day. It's going to be expensive this week as i'm going to buy several items meant for our Christmas Buffet. I can't get it all this week since I need to make room in the freezer, but I'll get most of it, I think.
In other news, it looks like Roy Moore was defeated in AL, which makes me happy, but I expect many shenanigans from him and his team so it's not over yet (he wants a recount). The difference wasn't all that high, not surprising but at the same time, yes, surprising. Almost 50% of voters voted for him... proof that it won't be all that easy to get rid of Trump and his ilk come 2020. Honestly, if the Democrats pick a blonde woman with blue eyes as their candidate (Kirsten Gillibrand), I think it'll be a big mistake.
I wrote this paragraph hours ago and this graphic that I found on NPR about who voted for whom in this election proves me right, I think:
Anyhoo, on to the usual blog fodder:
- No fleas jumped on my socks last night when I went upstairs, or this morning. Woop woop!
- I ended up going to bed at 9:15 p.m. last night! I got almost 9 hours of sleep.
- I set the heat to come on at 66F instead of 67F because Greg had reported having a headache the previous night. So it saved us a little bit of money?
- I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work and Youngest Son packed himself a lunch.
- I remembered to grab all my reusable shopping bags out of the trunk before the car got towed!
- I spun the KFR wheel and earned 50 KFR points. I haven't bought cereal in ages though because YS has pretty much stopped eating it. Then someone posted a code on Slickdeals (HOHO-HOLI-DAYB-ONUS) that earned me another 25 KFR points.
- I looked at the new ads for Save A Lot and Aldi online. I found a couple of items that I can get at Aldi that my men can gift me for Christmas. There's nothing that I need from Save A Lot so I'll skip that stop today. I'm also skipping CVS and Walgreens. The only thing I would have bought would have been a bag of candy for YS that's on sale at CVS for $2 and would have gotten me a $2 ECB but since I'll be driving the SUV, I'll just save myself the gas.
- I made 4 stops on my shopping trip: Kohl's, Aldi, the garage to check on the car, and Publix.
- Kohl's: they had sent me $10 in Yes2You Rewards for my birthday and i also have a 30% off code right now. The thing is, as usual, we don't need anything. I couldn't even think to get anything for Christmas for the kids or Greg from there, so I spent almost 45 minutes walking through the store. Arrgh. Finally, I decided on a pack of 4 pairs of socks for myself. I don't really need them but eventually I guess I will. They were over $10 so the "free" $10 still cost me money ($2.05). Wouldn't be nice if the Kohl's cash didn't expire so we can just save it and use it when we actually need something?
|I gave them to Greg to put in my stocking, lol.|
- Aldi: I spent so.much.money! I did get 4 jugs of cat litter, some kitchen trash bags, gift boxes for Xmas because my old ones are starting to fall apart, a 24-pack of AA batteries, and several items that Greg and our son can give me for Christmas. Then I bought a bunch of stuff for our Christmas buffet and brunch and then the regular groceries that I needed for the week but I also stocked up on certain items. I did use the last $5 coupon that they had given me when they reopened, but my OOP was still $218.81!!! I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewards.
- Non food items for the house/pets were $29.17
- Christmas presents were $40.44
- Christmas buffet/brunch foods were $88.53
|Food for our Christmas debauchery|
- Regular groceries were $60.67 and include 4 lbs of butter since it was on sale for $2.29. It also includes groceries that I'll need for next week's menu.
- Garage: since I was passing it on my way home, I stopped by to make sure the car had gotten there and check on the progress. It was there, they were still working on it to figure out what the problem was. They were thinking it was a problem with the clutch's hydraulic system so they were flushing it and my mechanic told me that he'd call me when they knew more. I really hope they figure it out and are able to fix it (they don't work on manual transmissions if that ends up being the problem). So right now it's 12:45 p.m. and I haven't heard back from there.
- Publix: I'd left my coupon organizer in Greg's truck (see "Failures") but thanks for procrastinating on clipping the coupons that I printed last week, I still had the ones that I needed for my Publix trip. Plus I ended up being able to use a surprise digital coupon at the register too. I bought a large bottle of Ortho Home Defense insect control so I can spray the rest of the house and the outside too at some point ($12.62, it might have been cheaper at Home Depot or Lowe's but I didn't think to go there to check!). I bought a box of Melba toasts for the Christmas buffet ($2.39), a deli salad for myself because I was famished and didn't feel like eating old leftovers ($7.48) and then spent another $15.30 on groceries that I mostly don't need this week or next so it was almost all stocking up items.
- So total "regular" groceries between Aldi and Publix: $75.97 that's not so bad, considering that my budget is actually $75 and that I have bought food that should last me 2 weeks at least. Of course, I'll go out next week and buy more anyway but I'm still pleased with my total after all.
- When I got home I turned off the heat and opened some windows. The temp is down to 65F/18.3C in the living room but there's a small breeze so it feels colder. We'll see how long I last! I put on the Smooth Jazz Christmas station on Pandora so it helps me withstand the cold a little more. Those of you up North are probably snorting right now that 65F with a breeze is swimsuit weather for you but we're Florida wimps down here!
- The computer repair store called to say they got the fan in today and have already replaced it in my laptop. Hooray! I'm waiting to hear from the garage to make only 1 trip to pick up the laptop and pay for the car repair (keeping my fingers crossed) and then Greg and I would need to go back to the garage when he gets home, after hours, to get the car.
- I took my phone off the "Do Not Disturb" mode earlier today in case the tow company was going to call me (my phone won't ring if the number calling isn't in My Contacts) but I noticed that instead of ringing when I got a call, my phone would only buzz and vibrate. It was really irritating because I don't hear it if it's not sitting right next to me on the couch. I'm so fat now that I don't even feel it vibrate! Anyhoo, I've been having other small issues with the phone so Greg, once again, suggested that I just get a new phone. But I don't want to spend a few more hundred dollars on a phone so I just googled "my phone won't ring after having been on Do Not Disturb" and picked a result at random. The first suggestion was to make sure that the ringer was actually ON (on the iPhone 5S it's the little toggle switch on the side) and, sure enough, that was my problem! I had put my phone on mute when I went to the dermatologist with my son several weeks ago and totally forgotten about it! I feel very dumb but also very relieved that at least that was NOT a problem with the phone itself, just the operator. Phew!
- Redbox emailed me a couple of BOGO rental codes that expire tomorrow so I offered them to Middle Son, but i think he's working. I also texted him to ask whether he thought he'd be able to sign us in to Epcot or not since he never got back to me last night.
- If you have Netflix, Lifehacker has a new article listing what's leaving Netflix and what's arriving in January 2018. The 4th season of Grace & Frankie is arriving and I haven't even finished season 3 yet!
- Youngest Son gave me $8 for the Christmas present that he will be giving me that I bought this morning at Aldi! I had asked for $7.50 but he didn't have the change and doesn't want the coins.
- I checked the rebate apps that I use and was able to claim a $0.25 "any item" rebate from Publix and then was happily surprised to see that Checkout 51 had a $3.00 offer for Red Lobster if you spent at least $30 on food. We spent much more than that last Friday night so I submitted my detailed receipt (so glad I remembered to grab it, Greg usually only takes the credit card receipt!) and that should be just over the $20 I needed to cash out. Yay! I also checked to see if Ibotta had "any bar or restaurant" offers on the Stella Artois beer that Greg drank that night, but they don't.
- I was supposed to cook a pork roast in the crockpot for dinner but it was still frozen even though I put it in the fridge to defrost yesterday! So I'm going to make a corn, ham and scallion frittata instead (I had frittata on the menu for tomorrow night) and i'll serve it with a salad. Serendipitously, I bought cubed ham at Publix today for a song, on sale and with a coupon, sadly the coupon was worded that I could only use 1 per person and per day, or I'd have been able to get the ham for free since it was on BOGO, poop. I'll use a can of no salt added corn and I harvested 2 green onion tops from my garden. Those free green onions that I had gotten from Target at least 4 years ago, used up and replanted are still going strong!
- Ibotta and Checkout 51 credited my account super fast! So I cashed out my Checkout 51 account and I should receive a check within 5 to 15 business days for $20.30. Woohoo! I'm relieved that i was finally able to cash out because I rarely ever redeem any rebates on CK 51 anymore. I "only" have $44.29 in my Ibotta account and I want to wait until I have $45 so i can order a $20 Walmart gift card and a $25 Home Depot gift card.
- I also requested a payout from SavingStar. I asked for it to be deposited to my checking account and it should happen within 3 days. I'll get $35.89 from them.
- The mechanic called me at about 3 p.m. and the repair was much cheaper than we had anticipated: about $107. Hopefully the problem won't reoccur but if it does, he told me what to try before I bring it back. More details under "Splurges".
- My laptop is so quiet now, hooray! I did have to reinstall some files and shortcuts. The shortcuts had disappeared from my Start menu, and I don't know why. Then my external drive couldn't connect again but after I rebooted the modem/router/external drive and my laptop, it connected fine. Phew!
- Yesterday, an alert appeared on a bunch of tech blogs that a lot of HP laptops were vulnerable to having a keylogger malware installed on them. The first article I read said "but don't worry about it, unless someone has your admin password, nothing will happen because they need to manually activate it." Well, OK but my laptop was in the hands of a stranger who did have my admin password! So I was worried about it and the first thing I did was apply the security fix for my particular model.
- I was able to earn the Microsoft Rewards bonus for using Edge (I couldn't earn the bonus on my old Windows 7 laptop since I didn't have Edge installed on it). Yay! I earned the rest of my reward credits this morning, along with very few Swagbucks.
- The frittata turned out really good, just like in the recipe picture, and I made a salad with the remnants from last night's salad, the rest of a cucumber that was getting a little soft, another small Romaine heart, and an avocado that I had left to ripen on the counter for a couple of days.
- A week ago I bought a sweet potato pie on clearance at Save A Lot for $1.49. We'd never had sweet potato pie so I figured we'd try it. I have yet to try it but Greg did and doesn't like it. However, he's been eating a small piece every night because he says "he feels bad for the pie that no one likes!". Ha.
- P&G emailed me a code good for a either a free 8x11 wall calendar or a free easel calendar from Shutterfly. If you're interested in the code, shoot me an email.
- The heat was on again last night as the temps dipped into the low 40s. The high today will be in the low 60s so I think I'll keep the heat on.
- I bought several items for our Christmas Buffet (cheeses, prosciutto, cider, etc...) so my grocery bill was way be higher than it should. Oh well. And also, I still need to get more stuff that I'll get next week. When I say "Christmas Buffer", though, it actually usually feeds us for a couple of days so that's still bad but also not so bad :)
- I also purchased several Christmas presents that YS and Greg can give me.
- I was starved by the time I got to Publix so I bought myself a Southern Cobb deli salad for $6.99. I should have just gone to Hardee's and ordered one of those $5 meals if they still have them. Oh well. The salad itself is my favorite; lettuce, tomatoes, blue cheese, apples, cranberries, glazed pecans, fried chicken breast chunks and the dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette. So, so good!
- I'm counting this as a splurge instead of a failure since it was an expense I couldn't avoid but it also was much cheaper than I had thought it would be: the clutch repair. So in the end, they think that air somehow got into the clutch's hydraulic system. It's not supposed to since it's a closed circuit, but it can happen sometimes when you push on the clutch the system will suck in some air and they think this might have happened. Once again he suggested making sure the mat isn't under the clutch pedal (I think I'm going to get rid of the floor mat on the driver side altogether). They took the clutch's hydraulic system apart and "bled" it to get rid of all the air and it's working fine for them now but it could happen again. If it does, he told me to just keep on pumping on the clutch, which should have the same effect of flushing the air out of the system so we can put the car into gear and then drive it. However, it could also indicate that the clutch master cylinder is bad. If it needs to be replaced. the part is about $70 and he quoted me about $225 in labor and they could do the repair there. If that doesn't solve it, it more than likely would need a new clutch and that's a big and complicated repair that would probably run us about $1,200 (and I don't think he'd be able to do it there, I forgot to ask). But for today, the repair is $107. I'll drive it back from the garage later on and see what happens.
- At the computer repair store, I spent another $20 on top of my repair bill to buy a laptop "desk" (one of those trays you sit on your lap on which you put the laptop), because when I asked the tech what could have caused the problem, he said it's not like they got a ton of those repair requests so it doesn't seem to be a systemic part failure due to poor quality and he mentioned that perhaps the air vents didn't let enough air in and that sometimes it's caused by our clothing when the laptop is on our lap (and mine is 99% of the time on my lap!) so he suggested I get one of those laptop desks. Since he was so nice and I was happy with their service, I bought it from them. I'm sure I could have paid half the price on Amazon but I like supporting local business when they deserve my patronage. We had a nice chat too since he guessed right away that my accent was French, something that people never do, although I now realize that he had the advantage of knowing the spelling of my first name.
- The Focus has less than 70K miles on it so I'm not ready to already have major repairs done on it, darn it!
- Hmm, I just realized that my post that was scheduled to be published last night never was published... so I had to do it manually. I wonder what's going on with Blogger. Maybe it's cross with me that I abandoned it for so long.
- I left my coupon organizer in Greg's truck on Friday night by mistake so when I went shopping this morning, I didn't have my organizer with me! Good thing I wasn't planning on going to Walmart or CVS (since my gift cards are in my organizer). I sent myself an email to remember to get it out when Greg gets home tonight.
- Looking at my Aldi receipt, the cashier charged me for 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk even though I only bought 2. My receipt was very long so I didn't look at it in the store (plus the 3rd can appears a few lines below the 2 that I did buy) so I'm out $1.19 :(
- Food waste today included 4 small potatoes that I had steamed a couple of weeks ago and completely forgotten in my fridge, and a small wedge of cheesecake that I had bought on clearance back in November and that no one ate (Greg and I were keeping it for our son who, unbeknownst to us, wasn't too crazy about the flavor so he didn't eat it either).
- It's almost 2:30 p.m. and I still haven't heard anything about the car and I'm feeling so anxious about it that I can't seem to concentrate on anything. I should be folding my laundry since I didn't get to it yesterday. I also didn't do the dishes, again. So now I have 2 days piled up on the counter and in the sink. Update: they called me a little bit later, the repair cost less than I expected and I did fold the laundry! I'll do the dishes in the morning.
- Packed lunch for Greg and made his breakfast
- Picked up cat barf from the Cat Room
- Put the recycling outside for collection
- Researched causes of car problems online
- Called garage
- Organized car towing
- Earned rewards
- Worked on Shopping List
- Did the grocery shopping and some Christmas shopping
- Went to check on the Focus
- Put all the groceries away and separated the Christmas items
- Figured out why my phone wasn't ringing anymore
- Analyze YS's PSAT results
- Submitted a couple of receipts for rebates
- Went to pay for the car repair and pick up the keys
- Picked up my laptop and discussed possible causes and solutions with tech
- Folded the laundry and put it away
- Applied HP security patch to my laptop
- Updated Windows
- Rebooted everything so my external drive would connect to the laptop
- Cooked dinner and set the table
- Tomorrow will need to be a Domestic Thursday because I have quite a bit of chores to catch up on!
- After dinner, Greg and I gassed up his truck and went to pick up the Focus from the garage.
- Retrieved my coupon organizer from Greg's truck
- I'm going to take my shower tonight before going to bed, because when it's cold in the mornings, I never feel like taking one
- That Youngest Son was gracious enough to offer to take the bus to school
- That Greg used his smarts to make moving the Focus out of the way a non event!
- That we have USAA Road Assistance and that I was home, once again, when having car trouble!
- That my laptop is already ready fixed!
- That my iPhone didn't need to be replaced and that getting it to ring again was a super easy "fix", lol.
- That YS scored very well on the PSAT this year. Unfortunately he didn't qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program (so close though!) but there's always next year since he has to take it again then. His equivalency score for the SAT is very close to what he would need to qualify for the highest level of Bright Futures Scholarship too, so I'm grateful that we got this information now so that he has the time to make sure to study appropriately to start taking the SAT and ACT next year!
- That the car repair was far less expensive than we had thought.