Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Busy but Lovely Day ~ Saturday 4/9/16

New Kitty woke me up early again this morning but that's OK... it was 7 a.m. and I wanted to be up at 7:15 a.m. to make sure my daughter hadn't slept in... she hadn't and she's taking the A.C.T. test as we speak.

I opened the sliding door for the cats again this morning. It's nice and cool and the temperature in the kitchen has dropped to 72 from 74F since I've opened it.  It's windy, though.   Also, I fed the cats since they were all patiently waiting by their bowls (well New Kitty is not patient, she's quite vocal when she wants something, I need to train her because telling her to "shut up, already!" doesn't seem to be working).

Greg got up at 8 a.m. and noticed a new cat in our backyard that is the twin to our male cat!  We've never seen that cat around before (more stray cats, greeeeeeaaat!) and our male cat freaked out when he noticed it too.  Funny.  I'm glad more level-headed Greg spotted that cat first as I would have thought it was ours and freaked out that he had escaped while trying to capture it, bare-foot, braless, in my PJs, in the backyard, lol.  What a sight I would have been!

I cooked breakfast for Greg and we chatted about our day. He decided to accompany me to the Garden show in Winter Garden but only after extracting a commitment from me that we would indeed eat lunch at the BBQ place that he likes (Four Rivers).  You all know that I've been whining about how much money we've been spending eating out, but if all I have to do to persuade him to spend quality (!) time with me is to bribe him with promise him a restaurant meal, so be it.  We'll be leaving in less than half an hour so I need to go shower pretty soon!

As planned, my daughter and youngest son will be heading to Universal Studios as soon as she is done with her test and are planning on staying there until closing time.  They'll have all 4 free tickets so they can go to both parks, the free parking voucher and the $80 in gift cards, which will ensure that they get fed and have more fun buying whatever they want as I instructed them to make sure they spent it all.  They were over the moon.

I'll be going to see my oldest son's senior recital this afternoon. I'll offer for Greg to come but I know he'll turn me down because 1) he will already have spent time with me doing what I want and 2) he doesn't care for jazz.  He just walked in to the kitchen so I asked and he said "no" so I read him my paragraph and he said "see?".  So I'll be going on my own.

I set out some chicken breasts to thaw since apparently I'm not having dinner with my oldest son.  He did call me back late last night (I had already fallen asleep!) to say that he thought his dad and family had planned on having a big dinner with him so I'll just see him at some other time.  I'll drive, watch him perform (I'm going to try to film it) and drive back so I should be able to cook dinner although it'll be a late dinner. Maybe I should precook it prior to leaving. We'll see how late it is when we come back from the Garden show.

I completed my Bing Rewards this morning and earned some SB for doing a search. Alison said that she's already earned half the SB she'll need to get a gc this month (so 1,100) and I'm only at 263. Slacker!

Have you read Susan's series of posts about her trip to Egypt?  The sights are breathtaking! She spoke about the Valley of the Kings today and it reminded me that I have had this book in my home library for many years (I bought it before I had kids, I think) so I put it on the coffee table to remind me to re-read it.

The backyard is full of weeds so Greg will probably mow this afternoon.  I might spend some time in the garden myself tomorrow but I had also planned on going to see Blues at the Winery for part of the day and that's outdoors so we'll see if I feel like being outside after that.  I do need to plant some herb seeds that I had said I would be planting (mint, mostly) and I also wanted to plant some flower seeds in my planters.

For breakfast I had a bowl of generic Cheerios from Aldi and the last of the strawberries cut into it.  I'm relieved that they were all used up and that I didn't make a cake or scones with them after all as this would have been much worse for my "diet".  I also finished drinking the Green Peach tea that I had brewed yesterday. It's amazing that it doesn't get bitter even when brewing for several days! I might always buy that kind of tea from now on!

Someone posted the 30% off code for Kohl's valid April 21-30 so I guess they're not doing away with them after all... This reminds me, however, that I need to go to Goodwill to find cargo shorts and capris for myself. I like the cargo look because I use the pockets to carry my phone and camera (and ID if I'm out walking) in them. In the past I've considered buying men's clothes because it's hard to find that look for women!

Greg and I left for our walk at about 10 a.m.  I brought my Panera card with me so I could grab my free bagel on the way home but by then I was exhausted and needed to get ready for my son's recital so we just skipped it.  I took a lot of photos so I'm just going to write a separate post about our "field trip".  We had a lovely and exhausted walk. The festival was very lovely, they've done a wonderful job with the West Orange Trail and downtown Winter Garden :)

Yep, should have brought a wagon!
After making it back to our truck, we drove to Four Rivers, which was just a few minutes away by car. Greg thinks the place is amazing but I think it's just OK and really nothing to crow about. Still, I enjoyed my meal :)  The location is unfortunate because from their covered porch, all you see is a mini strip mall and a parking lot but I didn't want to sit indoors (the weather is too nice!) so we sat on the covered porch, at the end of one of the communal tables.  I had a BBQ turkey sandwich with okra and bacon-wrapped smoked jalapeños and Greg had the same sides but with Angus Beef BBQ sandwich. And I had banana fosters bread pudding although there was no alcohol in it. It was good. We used our loyalty card and Greg paid with Discover so we could earn the 5% bonus rebate.

It doesn't look very appetizing but it was good.
Then it was time to drive home. It was already 2 p.m., we were 30 minutes away from home, and we were both pretty tired so I decided not to stop by Panera and we took the turnpike home instead of fighting the traffic on SR 50. There were so many people out and about, usually the weekend is much quieter, lol.

Back home, Greg settled for a nap on his chair while I rested and caught up on email for a bit and started this post. Then I had to get ready to go to my oldest son's senior recital at UCF and I left at about 3:30p.m. UCF is an hour away from our house, clear on the other side of Orlando and I took toll roads the whole way because taking the "surface roads" would have taken me twice as long.  I love listening to jazz on my way to his concerts so I plugged my phone in and listened to one of his concerts from a couple of years ago, which made the time go by much faster!

I paid my $5 parking fee (robbery! and I later noticed that my ex and his parents parked their cars in the faculty lot and didn't get a ticket, that's what I get for playing by the rules!) and hobbled over to Rehearsal Hall. Shortly after my ex's wife and his daughter showed up so we chatted for a little bit and then my ex in-laws and my ex showed up so I chatted with his parents some more. They're really nice people and I miss them but he has a new wife now so I am careful to mind my place, you know?

Then the performance started. My son was the main performer, of course, and had asked several of his friends to accompany him so there were students playing the piano, bass, drums, guitar and alternatively or even together, a couple of different saxophones.  He ended up playing double the amount of pieces that I thought he would play (I guess that makes sense, since it was a senior recital) and they featured him very nicely, I enjoyed it.  The whole time I was reminiscing of him as a baby or toddler and when he was about 10 and started playing the trumpet (kicking and screaming because he didn't want to be in band but I forced him to!) and I got very nostalgic but I didn't cry.  I was so proud of myself because I tend to cry a lot when I attend events where my kids are performing, lol.  I had a really crappy time filming the performance though. I had a very good spot for once, front row and no one else had wanted to sit in the front row. I use a Canon camera with rechargeable batteries and the battery status of the one in my camera showed that it was full right before the performance, because I checked.  Well, 20 seconds into the first piece, it died.  Arrgh!  Not a huge deal since I had 3 extra batteries with me, although only 2 usually last for a good period of time and the other two are older so don't last as long, but I now had a truncated performance, which stinks since I extract the audio from the videos to listen to on my phone and also I post the videos on YouTube for my family back in France to be able to view them.  Then, a while later, that battery died too!  WTH?!  So, still thinking that he was playing only 3 pieces, I decided to film the 3rd one with my phone. Only my phone was almost full and also not completely charged.  And then my son kept playing and playing... if you like jazz, you'll know that 7-10 minutes is par for the course for each piece!  So finally my phone told me it couldn't film anymore (in the middle of a piece, of course!) and I had to resort to using the older camera batteries.  So my audio and videos will be very disjointed, and I'm really disappointed in that.

The guys getting ready to perform
After the performance I was able to visit with my son for a couple of minutes and then he went to "make the rounds" since several of his friends and co-students had shown up to watch him perform. I met his GF's parents for the first time (it was nice of them to come watch him perform!), and talked to my ex, his wife and his parents for a few more minutes.  My ex's wife told me she was organizing a get together at their house the evening of the graduation and that I was welcome to attend. Very nice of her, but I probably won't.

Greg had been worried since the performance had taken twice as long as what I had told him and I had said I'd call him when I left so he texted me to check on me, and I called him back to reassure him.  We decided that I would pick up dinner on my way home since it would be almost 8 p.m. once I got there and he had spent the afternoon mowing the whole yard and raking and didn't feel like cooking either.  I ordered dinner for us from Panera via their app (so yes, I figured out how to use the Touch ID thingie, I feel like an idiot for complaining to them about it!) and scheduled it to be ready for 7:20 p.m. The app asked me if I wanted to redeem my free bagel reward so, what the heck, I said yes and ordered a chocolate chip bagel since I had noticed that they didn't seem to run out of that.  I got there at 7:22 p.m. but my order wasn't on the Rapid Pick-up shelf.  I spotted it on a back shelf behind the cashier, who was busy with other clients, so I asked a teenager who was sweeping if she could just grab it for me.  She went to get it and then acted pretty nervous when she said "uhh, so we were out of the chocolate chip bagels, can we get you anything else or a pastry, perhaps?!" and I noticed that they had Asiago Cheese bagels, which is what I prefer anyway so I asked her to give me one of those.  She was relieved and said "Thank you SO MUCH for being nice about it! I'm sorry we were out of what you had ordered" which makes me think that other customers had been jerks (their app doesn't know what they still have in stock or not) so I laughed and explained to her that I had actually wanted an Asiago Cheese but that I figured they would be out of it so I had ordered the kind of bagel that they seem to never run out of and she and I laughed at that :)

Another 20 minute drive and I was finally home and pooped. So was Greg!  We chatted about the performance and then settled to watch a few episodes of Arrested Development together while eating our dinner.  The kids (the younger ones, at Universal Studios) had texted him that everything was fine and they were switching parks so I didn't need to worry about them and we enjoyed our shows.  Then my son texted me at 9 p.m. that they were on their way home.

They got here at about 10ish and were exhausted (and so were we) but had to tell us about their day, of course. They had a blast and spent all $80 (save 56 cents) on food. Locusts, I tell you!  We're so glad they got to use the tickets and have a great day and especially that we didn't have to tag along as in the past few years, lol.  It'd be a different story if the tickets were good for Epcot at Walt Disney World, but Greg's employer always picks Universal Studios and we're just not big fans of their parks.  We enjoyed going with the kids when they were little but after the 2nd time, it just wasn't something we wanted to visit again.

My daughter was in this exhausted stage when you're tired but you also can't stop talking and I was begging her to go to bed so I could go to bed, lol. She finally did and then I fell asleep and I had a good night.

What a busy day!  But it was awesome.


  1. Wow! That sounds like a fantastic day all around! I love walking through Garden Festivals, even if I don't end up buying anything. I always get so many ideas and just love seeing what can be done. The reality at my house is pretty far from the possibility, but I can dream!! I think your BBQ meal looks great -- I love fried okra; I probably would haven chosen the same sides as you at the BBQ place. I have been less than thrilled the last few times we've gone out for BBQ, but picking up some pulled pork or ribs on the way home is a nice compromise for my husband (who craves it much more frequently than I do).

    It's so cool that your son had a concert featuring mostly him; he must be quite talented. What a bummer that your camera batteries weren't working with you for the recording aspect.

    I am impressed with your commitment to getting the bagels from Panera; I had that reward in February and I didn't buy nearly as many bagels as I thought I would. Partly, I guess, because Panera is in the opposite direction of most the places I shop, but that didn't stop me when I had the free cup of soup reward! I do love the fact that I can order ahead of time or just use the kiosk when I purchase food at Panera -- I feel much less guilty about only getting my free reward when I don't have to interact with a cashier. :)

    1. Seriously, what is it with men and BBQ?!

      Oh man, you got a bagel reward and a free bowl of soup reward? I'd love the free bowl of soup! Was that a "one every day for a month" deal as well? Honestly, you should be more impressed if I didn't get a free bagel every day... as for you, Panera isn't exactly close to my house (20 minutes away!) but I rationalize by thinking it's the same town where I like to walk and ride my bike, lol. Also at 300-400 calories per bagel, it's not exactly a healthy thing to eat but it's bread and I love bread and darn, it, I'm going to get as many bagels as I can! My daughter has her college classes on Mondays and Wednesdays very close to Panera so I think I'll let her use my Reward on those days to save on gas and spare my waistline a little :)

      My son's concert was his senior recital, so a requirement. Most musicians would probably perform solo for their recital but since he's a jazz major, he elected to play with a sextet/septet. He had already been evaluated by his teachers but the other part of the grade is the performance part and the public is invited to attend at no charge. I think he is quite talented, of course, and his teachers have told us that he is a hard worker and the perfect student. Yay! We just hope it translates into a job or at least regular gigs. It's one thing to have a passion and be good at it, but you also need to be able to support yourself and this aspect of his chosen career has always worried me. I have to trust that he has made enough connections to be as successful in his career as he has been in his studies!

  2. I'm so glad you had such a lovely day, even if it was so busy!

    So sorry your camera batteries acted up at your son's recital. That must have been very disappointing. Very proud of you for not crying!

    Good luck to your daughter on her A.C.T.test! I hadn't realized that she had back to back tests! Glad she and her brother had such fun at Universal Studios.

    Off to read your post about your "field trip".

    1. Thanks, Bless. Her tests weren't really back to back; she took the SAT in early March and the ACT yesterday.

  3. What a fantastic day for the whole family. You're right. You were busy. You should sleep very well with all the walking you did. I can empathize with your frustrating experience with the camera battery issue. I can feel my temperature rising just thinking about it. What a shame.


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