Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sigh ~ Wednesday 7/18/18

So, it didn't work :(

Lying down on the cooling pads works well for a temporary cool-off, but not to sleep on. I tried various configurations with/without PJs or a blanket on top of them, but I just couldn't find one that left me comfortable. The pads did warm up under my body after a couple of hours, and then I just felt like I was lying in a big puddle of liquid. I wasn't, though, they didn't burst or anything, it was just the sensation of the warm gel under my body!

So at 1:30 a.m. I removed them from my bed and I resumed my usual restless night.  Oh my.  I woke up every 90 minutes to 2 hours.  I got up at 6:45 a.m. with a sore neck, cooked Greg's breakfast, packed his lunch, crossed Youngest Son who had just gotten up and was going to feed the cats, and went back to bed!

I slept until 10:15 a.m. but I had many bad dreams so I didn't feel rested at all when I got up, and I had a headache. I finally took ibuprofen at about 12:45 p.m. because it just wouldn't go away.

This morning I decided that trying to quit caffeine is going to be my first step, without quitting coffee altogether. So all I've had is decaf and I feel like a zombie. I have no energy, a headache, and the sky has been getting dark early to boot, so this isn't helping me!

I skipped the shower, which I probably shouldn't have had, it would have been invigorating.

I had a bowl of Great Grains cereal with fresh blueberries for breakfast, along with my decaf.  I did brew a 2nd pot of decaf with the same grounds + 1 fresh scoop.

Peeking outside, I saw that a nearby neighbor's recycling hadn't been collected yet, so I rushed to take my 2 bins down to the curb for collection. At least, that's done!

I'm so glad I don't have to go grocery shopping today, I wouldn't have felt up to it.  I did look at the new online ads for Aldi and Save A Lot. I'm missing out on cheap cherries at Aldi, poop. I might go to Save a Lot on Thursday.

I earned the daily rewards, caught up on emails and the news, and then some blogs. Youngest Son came home from his classes. He has to go to his meeting with the Guidance counselor at the high school this afternoon before his Video game Programming class.  Today he treated himself to some lunch from Hardee's with his pocket money. I don't blame him, there's hardly anything exciting in the fridge and he's probably sick of corn dogs!

For my lunch, I had salad leftovers from a couple of nights ago, the rest of the potato salad from this weekend, and I made a turkey and guacamole sandwich on a delicious whole wheat bun.

Explorer has been very insistent on cuddling ON me and today I'm just not in the mood so I've been fending him off since I've been up and it's tiresome. But I love him!

RaceTrac released my latest weekly coupon for a free medium fountain drink. I'd usually redeem it while I go shopping so I'll need to remember to try to redeem it before next Wednesday.

I'm sitting here with my headache, not wanting to read a book or even watch TV! I have Pandora playing very low but I'm thinking I'll turn the PBS app on and put on some episodes of "The Antiques RoadShow". Might as well learn something effortlessly since it doesn't look like I'm going to accomplish any chores today.  It makes me feel very guilty to even type this because Greg was working from home very late last night. I like to reciprocate by pulling my weight around here, even if I whine and whine about it, but today might not be the day.  Sigh.

It started pouring at 1:30 p.m., yay, the plants will continue to be happy.

Youngest Son needed my cooperation for a French assignment so I did that, and then he went to his appointment with Guidance. His classes should be approved now, but the answer he got about the parking situation for Dual Enrollment students was odd (they said that every day he would need to go to the Clinic to tell them he was going to his college classes!?) so I went on the high school website to see if I could find some information. A couple of years ago, when my Daughter was doing the same program, she was issued a Dual Enrollment parking tag and had to park in a specific portion of the teacher parking lot.

I didn't find any information about any type of parking, but did see that there were AP Summer Assignments that are due when classes start, on August 13. I was quite sure that YS wasn't aware of this, even though he's taken AP classes every year so far and every year he's had to work on summer assignments!  See what I mean about him not being proactive?!  Arrgh.  So now he has 2 summer assignments to complete while he's also studying for finals for his college classes, etc. At least he has about a month to work on them...

I emailed the Assistant Principal in charge of 11th grade to ask about the parking. Hopefully she's working this summer and will reply.

It's now 4 p.m. and my headache is still here. I've switched to drinking water but it's not helping :( So I think I'll skip the exercising today. I'm also hot constantly, despite the AC being on. I might need to abandon my yoga capris and switch back to shorts. The capris are super comfortable (which is why I wear them!) but the shorts would probably help me more when I have hot flashes. I'm going to have to dig out the shorts and see which ones still fit me.

I did nothing today but piddle on the laptop, going from website to website. I printed the 2 AP Summer assignments for Youngest Son.  The psychology one is to make a bunch of flash cards (so there is a bunch of research to be done) and memorize them because there'll be a quiz on them.  The World History one is a 13-page packet that he has to answer after having watched some YouTube videos and read some websites.

Middle Son called me to ask if I had any cold medicine. I directed him to Dollar Tree and texted him a picture of the cold medicine that I buy there. He lives close-by that store so it didn't make sense for him to drive all the way here to get the same stuff. 

For dinner, I grilled chicken cranberry sausages in the toaster oven, heated up the rice and broccoli leftovers, and made a big spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese. I also set out grapes for the men because, for some reason, they won't eat them unless I put them right on the table!

I skipped dinner because I'd had some chips and salsa a big earlier and I wasn't too hungry. My headache is still here but doesn't hurt as much.

Good news: I printed the wrong AP history summer project for YS!  I had gotten the US History and World History mixed up. He's already taken AP World History and AP US History does NOT have a summer project listed. Woo!  He still has to do the AP Psychology project but that doesn't seem to be phasing him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Water Woes ~ Tuesday 7/17/18

My night went as usual, but I woke up this morning to no water throughout the house!  It was very disconcerting and, once again, made me realize how much we take for granted, day to day!  I will say that I prefer being without water (for now!) to being without electricity! We do have our hurricane supply of bottled water so it's not a big emergency.

But since we "let it mellow" at night, I have no idea of when we lost water and was worried that it was a problem with our line. I texted our neighbor Jeff to ask if they had any water, as I know he's an early riser, and he said the whole city was out but that crews should have it fixed by 8.  I woke Greg up to let him know not to jump in the shower, told Youngest Son, and got online to see if I could find confirmation of what Jeff had texted. Nothing, anywhere. Not on the city's website or Facebook page, and no message on our main line.  I found a phone number for after-hour city or sewer emergencies and called it. It rang at the police station that just answered by saying "Is this about your water?" and when I said "yes", they connected me to a recording that just said "the water is out throughout the city and we don't know when it'll be back" and the hung up on me. Hmm, OK!

So I texted Jeff to let him know (he's at work) and reminded him to get bottled water if he didn't already have it because, IMO, we'd be under boil water alert when it came back.

After about 15 minutes, the City's website suddenly had a Citizen Alert on it, saying exactly what I had just told Jeff!  By 8 a.m. the water was back but a very dark orange until it cleared the line. I left a note for Youngest Son to tell him NOT to drink the water or cook with it since I'm going to meet with a friend mid-morning and I'll be gone when he comes back from his class.

So, so much for my going back to sleep after I cooked Greg's breakfast and packed his lunch, as I had planned!  I got dressed and reheated the decaff left over from last night.

After a while I got hungry so I had a pain au chocolat.  That made me even hungrier so I had an English muffin with raspberry jam!  Hopefully this will lead me to save money at the diner where I'm meeting my friend Juliet in about 30 minutes!

I caught up on the news and blogs and earned the Daily Rewards.

I guess the cats are trying to tell us that they want more MEAT!

I wanted more coffee so I brewed a pot with bottled water.  Then I collected the trash and recycling through the house, cleaned the downstairs bathroom mirror with homemade window cleaner and a microcloth, took the trash bin down to the curb for collection, chatted with Jeff about the water situation for a short while, as he'd come back from work, and refilled the hummingbird feeders with homemade nectar.

I also set out three large pork chops to defrost, along with a bag of caramelized onions, and 2 more pitas. I thought I was done with those but I guess not!  I have another 3 or 4 in the freezer too!

I'm going to run some errands today as I'm driving into Clermont, but I don't think I'll do the big grocery shop today. Not that I need much since we ate out A LOT this past week!  I'm going to go to CVS to get milk, eggs and cereal for free with one of my gift cards, and then to the library to drop off 2 books that are due today. Not too taxing!

9:40 a.m. Well, I might need to go to Aldi to get more gallons of water after all as our boil water order is going to be for 2 to 3 DAYS!  Arrgh.

I was halfway down the driveway when I noticed that Jeff was running after my SUV so I stopped to see what he needed. He wanted to know if he could take a shower because he works outdoors and was all dirty and sweaty. I told him I wasn't sure what the rules were for when you're under a boil water order so I did a quick Google Search on my phone and it seemed that showering was OK but since he'd just had surgery and was still healing, I advised him to call his doctor's office and ask for their advice.  Then Youngest Son pulled into the driveway so I updated him about the water situation.

I went to meet my friend Juliet at an old but new-to-me diner in Clermont.  They serve breakfast every day until 2 p.m. and it was good and not too expensive so I took a picture of their breakfast menu to show Greg.  My friend and I chatted for a couple of hours and had a good time. One of her daughters (she has 3 daughters) is expecting her first baby so my friend's first grandchild and she's very excited :)  I bought her breakfast to celebrate and charged it to Discover for 5% back in Bonus Rewards.

I had a breakfast bowl that had homefries, eggs, bacon and gravy on top, with an English muffin on the side.
Yep, quite heavy, especially since I'd already eaten... twice!
From there, I went to Aldi.  I hadn't had a chance to work on my shopping list but we really didn't need much. I loaded my cart with 16 gallons of water and 4 jugs of cat litter, and then bought what I felt we needed for the week. Today I found the lemon juice, and they also are back to having my favorite whole wheat hamburger buns in stock so I bought 2 packs of those. I'm annoyed that they're "seasonal", what's "seasonal" about whole wheat baked goods?!

Last week they had bacon jerky that Greg had really liked so I was going to get him more of that, but this week they had none :( He'll be disappointed.

I went ahead and bought him a slim water container to put in the fridge. Once we get our good city water back, I'll fill it up and leave it in the fridge so he can have as much cold water as he wants, lol. It was only $4.99.

As for me, I pulled the trigger on buying 2 dog cooling mats, as I had been joking about.  I mean, at $9.99 each, I figured I had nothing to lose and if they didn't work, I could use them for the cats if we lose power again after a hurricane or storm.

They're filled with some kind of gel so they're pretty heavy!

So I spent $101.25 at Aldi altogether.  $48.70 was for groceries, including all the bottled water. I paid with Amex for 3% back in Rewards.

From there I drove to CVS.  I found a Coke bottle cap right in front of the door!

My favorite cashier exclaimed "I was just thinking about you this morning and how I haven't seen you all summer!" so I replied "Well, you would have if you'd had better deals!", LOL.  I purchased a gallon of milk, which was on sale at $2.79 even though it wasn't in the weekly ad so yay, 2 dozens of eggs on sale at $1.69 each, and 4 boxes of cereal on sale at $1.99 each.  I redeemed 2 $0.50/1 coupons for those and a $2 ECB so my total was $11.13 but I paid with a CVS gift card earned via American Express Rewards, so it was all free to me, woohoo!

My next stop was ABC Liquor because I needed to restock on whiskey. It wasn't on sale this week, poop. I think that, moving forward, I'll need to buy enough for a couple of months when I see it on sale!  I bought 4 bottles and charged them to Amex for 1% back in Rewards. I also earned some ABC reward points.

Lastly, I drove to the library to turn in the 2 books that were due today and they told me I had a book waiting for me too!  It was the book on treating Hashimoto's. My dad has it, so I suspect I might as well read the book and educate myself.

I was trying to beat the storm that had just come into town but didn't make it and it was pouring by the time I got home. Thankfully we have a large tree over our driveway and then I can back up almost to the front door!  I unloaded the SUV into the entryway and Youngest Son helped me by carrying everything into the kitchen for me.

He had to drive to the high school to see the Guidance Counselor because somehow his Fall classes were never approved correctly in the system and the Dual Enrollment Advisor told him he'd missed a step (?!) but he only found out because he emailed her to find out why his classes didn't seem approved in their system yet so it's a good thing that I had reminded him to do this last week.

He came back shortly after, frustrated because the Guidance Counselor had emailed him to come by today or tomorrow, but when he got there, he found out she was in a meeting and would be unavailable the rest of the day.  Seriously? How annoying! Thankfully he thought to make an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. The bureaucracy is unbelievable. What a waste of time for everyone!

But he did bring back the trash bin from the bottom of the driveway so there is that :)

In the meantime, we were back to having no water! My Daughter had texted me while I was at Aldi to ask if we had water because her BFF, who lives a couple of blocks away from my house, had asked her to ask me since she didn't have any and hadn't heard about the city-wide outage. So I wasn't surprised to see that it was not working once again.

So I instituted the following plan:
  • Put notes in the kitchen and bathrooms and on the Brita pitcher reminding everyone to use BOTTLED water.
  • Brought in 2 jugs of rainwater for each bathrooms so we could flush the toilets but also put notes reminding people to "let it mellow".
  • Put hand sanitizer on the sinks in kitchen and bathrooms to wash our hands
  • Instructed Greg (via text) and YS to take Navy showers with bottled water if we had no water, and to make sure not to let water come in to their eyes/nose/mouths or ears if we did have water but were still under boil order.
I had to drive to Family Dollar to pick up bottles of hand sanitizer and I also got the band-aids that I needed for our first aid kit since they were only $1. Saves me a trip to the Dollar Store since Family Dollar is about 0.5 mile away from my house. I drove the Focus there so it was more economical.

When I got back, Greg was asking me about the water situation. I checked the city's website and they had just posted that the water had been restored but we were under boil order for at least 48 hours and until further notice.  But at least now we can shower and flush!

I will not do the dishes until the boil order is rescinded. So what else is new?  LOL. I'm a pro at this!  I was training for this eventuality this whole time!

I set up the cooling pads on my mattress and laid down on them while still in my clothes and they work FABULOUSLY!  I might even get too cold, lol!  I put them under the fitted sheet and can't wait to go to bed tonight to see how they work out for me. If they do, I might be able to keep my bed and mattress!

I'll have one under my back and one under my butt.  I hope it helps!
If I get too cold, I can always put a blanket on top.
It's now 4 p.m. and I really haven't done much at all today, have I?! But at least I won't need to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

I spent quite a while trying to claim a $5 Amazon gift card on the AARP Daily Deals site at 3 p.m. I was quick enough to put it in my cart, but their freaking website wasn't working properly and at first it looked like it wasn't in my cart, and then it was but I couldn't verify the order as none of the buttons to do that worked. Arrrgh! After 20 minutes I gave up since we only had 20 minutes to confirm the order anyway. I sent them an email (well, to the company that administers that site because they're contracted by AARP, it looks like) but I don't expect an answer in my favor :(

I submitted my CVS receipt to Ibotta and received $0.25 back for "any item" so that was a money maker for me.

Amazon confirmed that I received $2 in digital credits for 2 of my Prime Day orders from yesterday.  Late last night, I also ordered a $25 Amazon gift card, which gave me a credit of $5 in my account, woohoo :)

I got on the bike at 5 p.m. and biked for 38 minutes or a little past 6.5 miles. I probably should have pushed myself to bike 45 minutes at least because I've been snacking on trail mix all afternoon, but I'd had enough.

I've been very soft on myself for several weeks now. I think I've been thinking, unconsciously, that I'd get back on all my good routine "once school starts again", only YS is already in school and won't have a break at all between summer classes and fall classes, so... I'm only kidding myself.  Ugh. So, to get started again, I'm promising myself that I'm not having decaf today. I finished drinking my coffee before I biked (later than usual because I was gone all morning but since I drank coffee at the restaurant too, I've had lots of caffeine today (well, about 3.5 to 4 cups) so I'm now switching to... water! Well yeah, if I carried 18 gallons of water into my cart and then out of my cart and then into my house... then I'm going to drink some!

Today marked almost 2 weeks since the potato plant died so I ventured into the garden to see about harvesting some potatoes... I put on gloves, got my digging tools, removed the tower quite easily from the bin... and started looking for potatoes through the dirt. Nothing!  What?!  So I went to get the wheelbarrow and the shovel, and transferred about half of the bin's dirt into the wheelbarrow so I could dig deeper.  Nothing!  Whaaaaat?! I know it was from a regular store-bought potato, but how could the plant have grown without making roots? I mean there was nothing in the bin at all, not even the remnants of the stem, any roots, nothing. I didn't dream, a potato plant grew!  I'm even sure it was a potato plant because it looked just like the last potato plant that I grew from a store-bought potatoes that had indeed given me little potatoes to harvest! So I'm dumbfounded.

But at least the experiment didn't cost me a dime since I had everything on hand. I didn't even need potatoes as I usually have to make sure the ones I buy don't go bad, lol. But it would have been a thrill to have grown something for free.  Well, poop.

In other gardening news, now it the time for Florida gardeners to start tomato seeds for our winter growing season, which is actually our main season. I might look into buying another small greenhouse since mine no longer has its plastic cover, because any seedlings that I start indoors will be ruined by those meddling cats. But if I start them outdoors, I need to protect them from the rain and the sun.  I need a potting shed!

I'd forgotten that I had left my main skillet to soak overnight, arrgh. Thankfully I have a couple of more to carry us through Thursday :) I'd thought about grilling the pork chops outside instead of pan frying them, but it's darn hot and humid out, so I chose the path of least resistance and pan fried them in some butter, with some cajun seasoning.  I cooked double the amount of white rice we need so we'll have leftovers for tomorrow and I won't have to dirty another dish, and I steamed a head of broccoli in the microwave.

This time, I froze the stems. I'm going to try to turn them into broccoli soup once I have enough. I don't care for broccoli slaw.

And I decided that we'll eat on paper plates. Since I'm not the main reason the dishes won't get done for a couple of days, I've decided to save myself some work on the back end, lol.  We're also reusing our cups from last night's dinner, since all we drank was water.

I feel very tired. It must be all the food (carbs!) that I ate today because I really didn't do much at all, save wag my tongue and type, lol.

After dinner Greg did some reading and I went to check the mail because he was waiting for a new video game from his Gamefly membership. Then I got lost in some blogs, while we listened to classical music. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Summertimes Blues on A Monday ~ 7/16/18

I slept better than I expected, still waking up every 2 hours at first, but I drank water each time, and then I was able to sleep about 5 hours without waking up before my alarm rang, hooray!

Since my BFF had rescheduled our breakfast date, I decided to go back to bed after I cooked Greg's breakfast and packed his lunch, lol!  It's a luxury that I'm definitely enjoying now that YS is driving himself to school and I'm not feeling guilty one bit, especially in light of how poorly I've been sleeping most nights!

But I actually didn't sleep well after I went back to bed, and I tossed and turned a lot and had weird dreams. I ended up getting up at 8:30 a.m.

I skipped taking a shower since I'd taken one yesterday and hadn't done anything sweaty since.  I grabbed the laundry on the way down, and threw it in the wash. I did 2 super loads on cold/cold and did hang one load outside, while Greg's clothes, for the most part, will go in the dryer.

I'm feeling blah again and, good grief, it's getting old. I didn't exercise for 3 days in a row :( Maybe that's why I'm feeling blue. I need to try and get back on the bike this afternoon!

I did do the dishes yesterday, so it was nice to find the kitchen fairly clean this morning, although it's in need of a good mop, but I'd swept it last night so it's also not a disaster.

There was a Swagbucks Team Challenge that started today at 11 a.m. EST so I purposefully didn't try to earn any SB until after then to try and earn the 600 team points, but I think my team is already dead last anyway.

I did earn the other Rewards, and then I set about finishing my weekend post since I'd given up on it halfway through Saturday!

When it was time to go hang the first load of laundry to dry, Princess wouldn't let me go! 

But I was determined to at least do this little frugal thing so I went anyway. At about 2 p.m. I heard the thunder and I didn't want a repeat of last week's disaster when I forgot about having laundry outside and it poured all over it, so I went to bring it back inside. Most of it was dry, apart from Greg's socks that were still a bit moist, but I threw them in the dryer with the rest of his clothes.

Youngest Son came home from his classes. I had texted him that he could pick up lunch for himself, if he wanted, and he went to Hardee's and paid for it out of his pocket money (the emergency cash that we'd left and let him keep after we'd come back from vacation).

I harvested a few tomatoes this morning. I thought it was the end of them but after I cleaned a few dead branches off the plants, I realized that I missed seeing a lot of them that are still growing. Hooray! Now if only the bugs would kindly decide to leave my garden...

I was excited to see new roses yesterday but I waited until today to take some pictures. I also love my volunteer vincas!  I pulled a few weeds from the basil bins and the ones that were already growing in the potato tower.

The lantana came back... again!

The lilies smell delicious now!

I had to spray some more wasps nests. There's a larger one at the apex of the roof on the back of the house that I can't reach and I don't want to get on a ladder to spray it either so I guess they're safe from us :( It's the size of my hand, about.

It'll probably rain later on, but I went ahead and emptied out the cooler full of water left from July 4th into some of my roses bushes and also the hibiscus. Now I can dry the cooler, clean it, and put it away.

I noticed that my indoors "seedlings" needed some water so I used up some water left in a couple of bottles that Greg hadn't finished (he will refill the bottles to reuse them). Woah, my avocado seedling has suddenly developed huge leaves!  They were still very tiny just a few days ago! But the rosemary still hasn't rooted so I think it might be hopeless.

I unboxed the 2 Amazon packages that had come in several days ago already and put the rechargeable lanterns away and put aside the 2 new gas tanks. I need to ask Greg to go fill them up.  I should keep the cardboard to lay in my garden, maybe I'll flatten it and take it to the attic until I'm ready to use it. The problem is that it attracts bugs, but I don't have any other place to store it now.

For lunch, I made a crunchy sandwich with the last old pita that I had defrosted last week, some (free) guacamole from Publix, turkey and spinach. Then I had a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad for which I harvested basil from my garden.

It was good that I brought the laundry in because it started raining at 2:10 p.m.!

I caught up on blogs and left some comments. Now I need to tackle the comments left for me! I wish Blogger would go back to emailing them to us, darn it.

I turned "Intelligence" on, and folded the laundry. I forgot to get Greg's business clothes out of the dryer as soon as they were done drying so now I have ironing to do :( Also, a couple of pieces of clothing need mending.

Prime Day has started and I've bought 2 items: something for my Daughter's birthday and a pair of tulip-shaped solar garden stakes for my berm, to replace the bug-shaped ones that Greg gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago that stopped working. I picked the no-rush delivery so I'll get a $1 digital credit too.

Well, it's 5 p.m. so I'm gonna GET BACK ON THE BIKE!  Woohoo, me!

I biked for 32 minutes!

I went ahead and ordered a couple of sheet sets for Greg's and my beds from Amazon.

I also saw a post on Slickdeals that said that Prime members got all 6 FirstReads books for free today only so I download the other 4 books that were meant for adults. I don't need the kids' book.

Dinner was burger made with the Thai Ground Chicken bought last week. It was OK but not something I'll buy again as the men didn't care for it. I made Ore Ida fries (free!) in the air fryer, and a big spinach salad with cucumber that was going soft, homegrown tomatoes and feta cheese.

My neighbor brought me a letter that had been delivered to her by mistake. It was from my great aunt!  I guess the postcard got to her despite the incorrect postage after all. 

I watched more episodes of "The Antiques Roadshow" with the PBS Passport subscription after dinner. Explorer and Princess are flanking me so I guess I won't be falling asleep while watching it tonight!

A French-Themed Weekend - July 14 and 15, 2018

Saturday July 14, 2018

For French people, Bastille Day is like our July 4th.  Traditionally, it's marked by a huge military parade down Les Champs Elysées in the morning, that is shown on TV.  I used to watch it every year when I was growing up in France. I'd often be at my grandparents' house for that month so my grandfather would provide some commentary about it and reminisce about his days in the French army.  Then at night the firefighters would set off fireworks in the town square and, if I was back home and not at my grandparents, there would be a big outdoor dance in our project, with live music and food, well into the night.

So it wasn't easy to try to do anything, as a holiday, with my kids, when they were little.  One year my brother did send me a video tape of the Bastille Day défilé (military parade), as it was before YouTube even existed, so I played it for the kids, but forgot about it the following year so we never played it again, lol.  I would take the older boys to the French pavilion at Epcot because the French cast members there would put a small parade together of their own throughout the pavilion, chanting the National Anthem and give out small French flags. And then we'd enjoy a French pastry from the pastry shop.

Oldest Son and Middle Son, enjoying a French pastry at the French pavilion, EPCOT
on July 14, 1997.

Well this picture didn't turn out, did it?! Oldest Son, my Daughter, and Middle Son with me on July 14 1999 at EPCOT, in front of the French pavilion.  I think this is the last year I tried to go on July 14!
After 1999, I don't recall that I ever tried doing anything special on July 14 again. Let's face it: my kids have no to very little connection to France (I didn't teach them the language, they never really met their French family) so it seemed a little pointless.

This year actually won't be an exception.  I had briefly hoped to go celebrate it with my Daughter, who really now enjoys her French side and shared great memories of our trip there in 2015, but she's busy on a gaming hackathon event this whole weekend.  So I looked through pictures of this year's military parade online when I got up, read that the French president is bringing back the national service because he thinks that will straighten out the youth (good luck with that!), daydreamed of French pastries, and dusted off my DVD of "La Grande Vadrouille", a French movie that Greg enjoys a lot and that I love, and that we will watch together tonight. Youngest Son might even join us!

So my bad sleeping symptoms, which continued all night again despite my exhaustion, are definitely due to perimenopause. And also my mattress is too soft. Sleeping on my side hurts my hip and sciatic nerve and it's too soft for me to sleep on my stomach.  The only semi-comfortable solution is for me to sleep on my back, but I can't fall asleep in that position!

And between the hot flashes (which must be constant during the night because I'm never NOT uncomfortable, even with two fans blowing on me!) and the fact that that mattress just makes me hot, I spent the night thinking that I would drive to Aldi today, buy several of the cooling pads for dogs that they advertised this week and staple them to the darn mattress, lol!

Greg came to cuddle this morning, which was lovely, but I was already too damn hot so I didn't need another hot body in bed with me, lol, and he loves the bed and suggested we try switching bedrooms for a couple of nights and if I could sleep better with the old mattress, then we'd switch beds (because I don't want to switch bedrooms).  That would be fine apart from the fact that his bed is a queen and my bedroom is already tiny so a queen would be awkward in the space and not leave much room to walk around it.  But we might try that.  Also, I still can buy a new full-size mattress.  I suppose I should drive to Ocoee to try out mattresses from The Original Mattress Factory and see if one would work. I'm concerned that in a fully bright, air-conditioned showroom, with people milling about, I might not be fully aware of how comfortable/uncomfortable a mattress truly is compared to trying it in my small, 2nd floor, tiny bedroom.

My right shoulder is really aching this morning, either from sleeping on it wrong or some kind of rheumatism, I'm not sure. I might need to take ibuprofen!

Anyhoo, we got up at 9 a.m. Greg fed the cats, I brewed coffee and Greg cooked us bacon and cooked himself eggs. I had a bagel with raspberry jam, 2 strips of bacon, a banana, and then later on a bowl of cereal with blueberries and I'm still hungry!

After breakfast Greg went to shower and get dressed, and then left for his chore in Gainesville. He'll be gone most of the day.  I remained in my PJs and started earning the daily Rewards on my laptop.  I also caught up on blogs and left a couple of comments.

Princess is nestled next to me and being cute, as usual :)  Youngest Son just got up at 11:30 a.m.

We have no plans although I have got to do the dishes today and get on the bike. I feel really bad that I didn't exercise yesterday as it was the first time that I missed out on exercising since the first of the year.

That series "The Sinner" has gotten very creepy with each subsequent episode. The acting is good, so I'll keep on watching it, but it's not really my cup of tea, as a show.  I just hope there is resolution at the end of the season and not a cliffhanger for a 2nd season.

I texted my Daughter a while back to encourage her on her hackathon but received no answer. I hope it's all going OK and that she can get some sleep. It's only the two of them on the team, it would be easier, I think if they had found other people to team up with. But when you're young, you can sustain the lack of sleep a bit better.

Amazon Prime Day starts tomorrow. I checked some previews on my app and I'm tracking 2 deals: the 3-pack of Google WiFi system and a dash cam.  I've input the URLs into Camel, Camel, Camel too so I can see if their deal is actually a good deal or not, when they go live.  Otherwise, I might score some DVD seasons/series that I'd want to keep, but right now I can't see anything that I'm interested in.

My Daughter texted me that she and her teammate stayed up working on their project until 6 a.m. and then both went home to get some sleep and they're going back this afternoon. She's having fun.

At lunchtime, I decided to have some French food to celebrate Bastille Day so Youngest Son and I drove to our favorite supply of French food... aka Publix, lol.  We bought so much crap: French bread, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, several packages of Lu cookies (I think they're Belgian but we'll pretend they're French!), some other cookies and a package of Haribo gummy bears for me and other candy for Youngest Son.  The upside is that I used up the rest of my Publix gift card that I had won in a sweeptakes earlier in the year to lower my OOP.  I was worth a little more than $9.

I also looked for the Mighty Spark ground turkey for which I had a freebie coupon but either the truck hadn't yet come in or they hadn't received any and I had no luck. I did buy the bag of Ore Ida fries and 2 jars of Heinz real mayonnaise because they were on BOGO at $5.49 and I had an Ibotta offer for $4.50.  $0.99 for 2 large jars of mayo, that works for me!

I redeemed the Ibotta offers and was credited right away and also earned a 50 cent bonus!

The local high school band was raising money in front of Publix by selling discount cards for various local businesses for $20. Both Oldest Son and Middle Son used to be in that band and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was happy to buy one discount card :)  It entitles us to BOGO waffle cones at Bruster's in Clermont through the end of 2019, so yay! Plus there is also a discount for Subway and other restaurants that we frequent.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon gorging on bread, cheese and cookies!  I watched the rest of "The Sinner" (which I definitely didn't care for, in the end, it was just so... ugh), and then... I can't remember. Greg came home and I didn't feel like watching the French movie and I didn't feel like cooking dinner either. We all ate more cheese and bread, I think.  Greg played video games and I watched something... I can't recall what. I went to bed and started watching "Sacred Games" on Netflix on my Kindle Fire.  It's an Indian cop series and I liked it but I was falling asleep so I can't even remember if I finished the first episode or not, lol.

Sunday July 15, 2018
I slept OK, which means I did sleep but it's always a lot of tossing and turning from being too hot on my mattress (i.e. the bottom part of me is roasting while the top part of me is freezing because I have 2 fans blowing on me!) and I woke up a lot to use the bathroom. Every 2 hours. It's exhausting.

Greg had thought to go fishing but he came in to cuddle and said it was too hot to go fishing.  I'm so loving that he's making an effort to have more physical contact given that we spend our days apart even when we're at home!  I asked if he wanted to go out to breakfast and of course he did!  So we showered and left a note for Youngest Son (I don't even bother waking him up to ask if he wants to come along anymore because his answer is always "no") and drove to Flapjack Johnny's.

Oh my, it was packed and there was a lobby full of people.  We were a little dejected because, back home, I still hadn't done the dishes so who wants to eat in a kitchen that's so messy, plus we'd finished the bacon the day before and I'd forgotten to defrost some more.  I suggested we could try Dunkin' Donuts to see what else they serve for breakfast besides donuts, but then remembered that there were restaurants downtown Clermont that we never visit, and directed Greg to Cheeser's Palace.  It's a tiny restaurant on the main street, where my BFF and I used to have breakfast regularly several years ago and the food is delicious.

The Farmers' Market takes place on Sunday mornings on that same street but it was so hot (the thermometer said 91F but it felt much hotter) that it was very poorly attended. Plus there were only 2 booths that sold produce, that I could see. The rest were MLM booths, various crafts. Nothing interesting, in short.

We parked for free near City Hall and walked past the Free Little Library. There were several John Sandford books and he is my favorite author, but I've been trying to declutter and I didn't bring anything to leave in exchange, so I left the books there for someone else.

At Cheeser's Palace, we lucked out that the party occupying my favorite table right in the window left right as the waitress was getting ready to take us to another table! She asked if we wanted the table in the window and I said yes!  It had very comfy armchairs instead of regular chairs and you can people-watch while you eat.  I think they changed the table, though, because it was lower than I remembered and it made it a little challenging to eat.

I picked the smoked applewood bacon and sausages Eggs Benedict with potato cakes on the side.  The whole thing ended up being served on a croissant instead of an English muffin and it was delicious.  Greg had the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict (which used to be my favorite breakfast dish there) and loved them too.  We had a very relaxed breakfast. They have soft music playing in the background, it was lovely.  I'm excited that Greg liked it a lot, it makes it more likely that he won't mind driving to Clermont to find new places to eat from now on. It's only a 10 minute drive, but he never feels like going over there, for some reason.

After we ate, I made him walk the Farmers' Market anyway, which was very small.  The thrift store was open but we didn't need anything so we didn't go. If I'd been with a girlfriend, I'd have visited the curio stores just for fun, but he has no interest so I didn't drag him through those, lol.

We drove home and got there right in time for the start of the FIFA World Cup final game between France and Croatia. I was still wearing my "France" T-shirt from the previous day since it was still clean and I have him take a picture of me in front of the TV playing the game to email to my mom and sister so they could show the soccer fanatics in my family (my stepdad and my BIL and nephews) that I was supporting the French team too!

So we watched the game. It wasn't a great game, despite all the subsequent praise lavished by the press, but France won and I was SO excited, lol.  I texted Middle Son and my Daughter after the first couple of goals. My Daughter was still in the middle of her hackathon, but she saw the texts and, as a former soccer player, she was very excited. I was super surprised that Middle Son got into the excitement as well, as he's not a sports fan at all, but he was taking a break at work and there was a TV playing the game so he watched part of it and we were texting back and forth about the goals, lol. So that really made it special to me!  The game only took 2 hours and Greg watched it with me, which was great as well and it made me miss watching football with him, so I'm thinking maybe we'll go back to watching it this year.

We put together more cheese and odds and ends leftovers for lunch and then we watched "La Grande Vadrouille", the French movie that we all enjoy. Youngest Son came to watch part of it with us on several occasions, of his own accord, which was awesome :)  We laughed a lot and had a good time!

This is a korean-produced DVD of the movie. The English subtitles aren't great and also are delayed, which is very annoying. I need to find a better version of it!
Greg asked if I still wanted to go to the Big Band Concert. I wouldn't have minded much but he didn't feel like going (but would still come with me if I wanted to go), so I decided to stay home since we'd had spent plenty of time together already and had had a great time doing so! There will be other concerts.

Then it was time for me to go do the darn dishes. Ugh.  I brought my Kindle with me and put on a new-to-me Canadian series entitled "Intelligence". I really got into the first episode, so that made the time go much faster as I washed the dishes, of which there were many!

Meanwhile, Greg decided to go mow the lawn, despite that it was 4 p.m. and super hot outside. He said it was finally cloudy enough for him to be outside. We both thought it would rain but it didn't.

After those chores were done, I sat down to watch more of "Intelligence", but my Daughter called me. She was upset although she was trying not to show it.  In the end, she had enjoyed the Hackathon. She and her friend had never even been to such an event so they didn't know what to expect, and neither of them have Game Development or Design in mind as a career. They just wanted to challenge themselves and show that they could participate in varied activities.  The goal of the event was to build a video game from scratch, in 40 hours. Typically, employers and sponsors of such events will come observe the proceedings, and might offer internships and sometimes even jobs to the participants. Internships are very important as they can turn into job offers down the road. But my Daughter and her friend were doing it for the learning experience.

Being newbies who didn't know much, they'd decided to build their games with a specific engine that they didn't know. I'm not sure how or why they chose that engine.  Several hours into the competition, the judges came by, like on the Great British Baking Show, to inquire as to what they were doing and why and the judges were questioning why they were using that specific engine when everyone else was using Unity.  So they decided to scrap everything they'd been doing and switch to using Unity, which they also didn't know. My Daughter reported that it was very frustrating at first, but that they eventually got the hang of it, and ended up designing a short game that was a bit like Super Mario Bros, where they had a character who could jump and hit 3 coins and the coins would give out points. But because they lost so much time learning the (2) engines first and there were only 2 of them, the game was very simple and short. Still, it worked, and they were very happy with themselves. They didn't win any prizes, but they were just happy to have finished.

My Daughter got home, and her friend texted her a screenshot of a conversation that the professor who put the event together had with someone else online, in which he said the event went very well and the games that were produced were great, with the exception of "one very bad one". I'm paraphrasing because I didn't see the text and I can't remember the exact wording that my Daughter reported. So she and her friend were very down on themselves after that, and quite upset that the professor had talked about their project in those terms.

As a mom, your heart breaks for your kid, but also you can't coddle your kids forever. It's a hard job to be encouraging and empathize, but also try to let her see that she needs to use this as a learning moment and to grow from it.  So I reminded her that his assessment, while probably correct if he was comparing their game to the others (which, to be fair, he didn't say it was their game, but my daughter said there were only 10 games and she'd seen the other ones so she was sure it was their game that had been described in those terms), which had been produced by people who had more experience, knew the engine already, and had more than 2 people on their teams, and also might have been video game nerds.  I advised her to reach out to the professor, explain the background of the game and what had happened, and seek his feedback and advice on how to be more successful at a subsequent event.  I hope she doesn't let pride get into the way of making sure that she learns everything that she needs to learn from the event (the professor's vocation and job are to teach, after all, so she needs to seek that knowledge. If she already knew how to make games, she'd already have a job as a game developer or designer. She is in college to learn!) and also I think it would help if the professor saw that she is seeking to learn from this.  I discussed this with Greg later on and he agreed, so I hope she does it.  It's hard.  But UF is a very competitive school so of course it's going to be hard. And life is going to be hard. I had to remind her that she is seeking to be in an industry that hasn't been great to women to start with, and that in life she's always going to be working with people who won't necessarily be encouraging and patient and giving out gold stars for effort!

Anyhoo, I was a little let down after that conversation because, as I said, you want your kids to be happy, right? If my daughter is sad, it makes me sad too :(

My mom replied to my email about the World Cup to say that she'd watched it too (she only watches the World Cup games, not any other games, lol) and that my youngest nephew had come to sleep over at their house so he could watch the game with his grandpa, so they'd had a good time :)

At dinner time, I didn't feel like cooking again!  So Greg and I drove to Publix and bought a salad for him, a sub for YS again, and I got wings.  They smelled good in the store but then at home they were just OK.  Thankfully there were plenty leftovers for Greg to take for lunch the next day!

We ate dinner while watching the Finale of Season 5 of The Great British Baking Show on PBS thanks to our Passport subscription.  We love the show so it was sad that we're done with the season.

Greg went to play some video games and I watched 2 episodes of "The Antiques RoadShow" on PBS via the Passport subscription. I fell asleep on the futon during the 2nd episode, and woke up before the end because Princess was asleep between my feet, and Explorer was nestled against me and I was HOT! lol.  I went to bed and watched the rest of episode 2 of "Intelligence" on the Kindle before switching to "Forensic Files" and falling asleep one more time. I woke up every 2 hours again (ugh) but slept better than the previous night.

I checked my phone at 1:30 a.m. and saw a text from my BFF asking that we reschedule our date from Monday morning to Friday morning because something had come up. I was actually happy about it because I felt tired so that meant that maybe I could go back to sleep after Greg left for work!