Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A New Old Coot ~ Wednesday 4/13/16

Today is a big day for both Greg and me.  My oldest son is celebrating his 22nd birthday and... drumroll... today is the day Greg is becoming a grandfather for the first time!

His daughter was due a couple of weeks from now but her water broke last night and she was on her way to the hospital this morning at 6 a.m. when she texted him, so we're awaiting news of the birth of Greg's first grandchild, a boy.

She and I aren't close anymore (our relationship has had lots of ups and downs, those of you with stepchildren who have been through horrible custody battles will understand, I think) so I'm not considering myself a (step) grandparent quite yet.  This also allows me to make fun of Greg for being an old coot right now. He's actually younger than me so I'll be relishing in that, hahaha.

I called my oldest son at 7:30 a.m. to wish him a happy birthday, thinking that he was in the middle of getting ready for classes... but I ended up waking him up so he was kind of groggy so I got off the phone very fast.  Awww.  He had told me that his GF has a whole day of fun planned for him so I guess I won't be able to call him again. Between you and me, I think birthdays should only be between a child and his parents and especially his/her mom.  We're the ones who did all the work, damn it.  And work I did with him, oh my. There's a reason they call it labor! My delivery was arduous because the kid (who was already 2 weeks late and had to be induced) just didn't want to come out.  I escaped the C-section just in time but, ooof, it was hard work.  After that, I scheduled the next 3 births to be induced on my own terms.  Those babies didn't give me nearly as much as a hard time at delivery and were none for the worse for having been induced (and then given soy formula for the most part). But I'm glad I don't have to do it again :)

Moving on, I finally had a good night's sleep, although I was up later than I would have liked to: my middle son's GF (the one that I love. I love her!) texted me late last night, apologizing but wondering if I had heard from him since they hadn't been in touch for several hours and his phone seems to be dead or turned off. So we chatted via text for an hour, trying to reassure ourselves that he was OK since no one we knew seemed to have heard of him and nobody seemed to have the cell phone number for the one friend we knew he was with.  Finally my middle son texted me back at 11:30 ish but then I couldn't go back to sleep.  His GF and I had agreed that we would let each other know when we heard back from him no matter the time so I had texted her back to let her know he was OK, but she didn't text back and I assumed (because I'm a very pessimistic person by nature and always expect the worst) that they were bickering so she didn't have time to text me back.

Well, this morning I got early texts both from his roommate and her. They had both fallen asleep in their homes last night (so I guess I was the only one VERY worried, typical!) but who both were thoughtful enough to reach back to me this morning so I was happy that the rest of the younger generation seems to not be as horrible at communicating as my older sons, hahaha.  I need to remember to extract that friend's cell phone number from my son next time I see him. He won't like it, but then he needs to make sure he has an extra battery for his phone or something.

Greg went to work this morning as his boss is flying in from Vancouver today for a couple of days of meetings. I packed him leftovers for lunch but he's having a business dinner and then a business lunch and dinner tomorrow.  The kids and I will have breakfast for dinner tonight but it'll be late since my youngest son and I are attending a fair at the high school tonight.

Greg called me shortly after he left the house and I thought he was going to announce that his daughter had given birth on the side of the road but no... it was to report that the Rewards scanning system wasn't working at our local RaceTrac station so they had gifted him his 32-oz soda since they couldn't scan the free coupon.  Woohoo, a freebie's freebie!  He keeps on lucking out with his sodas, he's already gotten twice the amount of coupons as everyone else because I had emailed Customer Service from his app wondering where the original coupons were when they didn't show up so they released 7 of them to his account and then the app automatically gave him the 7 original coupons too!  The problem with the scanner extended to the pumps too as he was unable to enter his Rewards number there to get credited for gas points so I suggested he emails Customer Service from his app to request a credit (not that they ever replied to my 2nd email from my own account last week asking where the promised credit for the points that I hadn't been credited was) and he joked that he'd probably end up with 7 more free soda coupons.  Yeah, probably!  But I don't think he will email them. He doesn't do things like this.

On this note, I've been asking him if he ever heard back from CyberPowerPC (or whatever their company name is) about the problem he was having with the fan on his brand new gaming PC and, of course, they never replied to him.  He doesn't like me pointing out that I had warned him that he had said he would never buy PCs from them after the last debacle with the gaming PC he had bought for our son because of the crappy quality and their horrible customer service before biting the bullet again and spending another $1,200 with that company.  He's been able to use the PC but having a fan that's functional is kind of a big deal because gaming really makes PCs run hot and heat is not a friend of delicate electronic components.  So now I'm waiting for the motherboard to crap out or something. No, I'm not a horrible person who wishes it would crap out so I can lord it over him because that would mean that we definitely wasted $1,200.  I'm just pessimistic.

My daughter did the dishes last night and since there were quite a bit of them, I credited her with 2 night's worth, which means that she is almost done earning her share of the May car insurance bill and I'm going to have to do the dishes the rest of the month. Rats.  It was very nice having a clean kitchen this morning. I know I say that a lot and a few readers are probably banging their heads on the table each time they read that, lol.  I freely admit that not doing the dishes at night or even every day is probably my worst transgression as a homemaker. I probably was royalty in a previous life, ha.

The pollen levels are quieting down, yay!  Today the level is only going to be in the medium range and it will be in the low range this morning.  If I get to it, I might try to wash my SUV because it really is disgusting almost as if I have been off-roading in a sea of pollen and dust. Or I might take it to the carwash, which would cost money but use less water and less of my energy... and I could get the free bagel if I do that tomorrow. Hmmm, I might do that!

No walking for me today, my blister from this past weekend still hasn't healed and it's right on the line where my short sock stopped protecting the side of my ankle from my shoe so it's painful. On this note, I read an article this morning that states that cheap surgical (paper) tape is the best at preventing blisters. Of course, one would have to be able to predict where exactly they're going to develop a blister unless one wants to wrap her entire feet in surgical tape and then that wouldn't be cheap, would it?!  I do have several rolls of it  so I need to remember that before the next long walk.

Why is it that it's always when I buy navel oranges on sale at Aldi that the very next day the price dips even lower?!  Here are the produce sales in my neck of the woods this week for Aldi:

I'm also thinking that I will get a new skillet and a set of frying pans from Aldi as well:

And then Save A Lot is offering grapes for $0.99/lb just a couple of weeks after I said I wouldn't buy them anymore since the kids weren't finishing them even though they requested that I buy grapes.  Ugh.  I might stop by tomorrow to get some and then also see if they still have their eggs for $0.99 a dozen since I didn't buy any yesterday and forgot I would be cooking eggs tonight. I need enough to last me until next week's trip.  Aldi does have them for $1.19/dozen at my store.

I worked on Bing Rewards this morning and I'm at 46% of my goal now.  I did the NOSO and Daily Poll for Swagbucks and I'm running SBTV on my phone to get the 10 SB that I'm allowed. I earned a 7 SB search award. I'm only at 184 out of 300 team points for the Team Challenge but hey, my team is winning! The activities required to earn team points are almost all out for me so I'm not sure I'll reach the 300 points needed to qualify for the 40 SB swag-up.

Hey, if you like JustBARE chicken (SuperTarget sells it and sometimes it has those red Target discount stickers on there too!), there is a $1.00 printable coupon available there. Also, if you buy their boneless skinless chicken breasts and save 3 UPCs by the end of April, you can send for a free JustBARE umbrella.  I've gotten several freebies from them in the past, back when I shopped at Target more often and the offers required to purchase products that my store actually carried.  It's been a while.  I would qualify for that one  so I might wander into Target tomorrow to see if I can find good deals on their chicken breasts although it would have to beat the $1.49/lb that I paid at Aldi just last week when I stocked up.  Ah, I don't need an umbrella that bad, we have several of them. But it's good chicken.

I went to shower, made our bed, and then worked in the garden for 2.5 hours. I'll blog about that separately. I'm pooped right now!  I watered the garden, weeded, transplanted seedlings, planted seeds, added plant food to a lot of the containers and did more stuff that I can't even recall right now!

On the left are the flip flops that I inherited from one of my older sons and that I have been using as garden shoes for the past few months.  They're (already) falling apart. On the right are some moc Crocs that I had bought at Family Dollar for $5 for my oldest son when he was in 6th grade (he's 22 today!) and had ingrown toe nail surgery.  I had been keeping those in the laundry room to wear when I take the trash bins and recycling bins down to the curb (because I use the door to the outside that is right there).  Yesterday I thought I'd buy myself a new pair of flip flops at Dollar Tree ($1!) to replace the garden ones that are falling apart.  But then I decided to reverse the uses and keep the crocs for the garden (they're very comfy, made of some kind of foam material, actually) and the flip flops for trash duty. When they finally bite the dust, I'll just use one of my old pairs of ballet flats that I can't really wear to go out in the real world anymore.  So I saved $1 and am going to be reusing things that I'm not using right now.  Right on!

Wawa sent an email to announced that they're giving away a free self-serve cup of coffee up to 24 oz tomorrow only.

Home Depot sent me that darn $5 off $50 coupon. I probably should be buying more potting mix and stuff but instead of printing the coupon and then forgetting in, I have them send it to my phone where I stored it in my Passbook (now Apple Wallet).  I had to clean that out because I had expired Target mobile coupons in there dating all the way back to July 2015. Ugh.

Lunch was the leftover rice and zesty stir fried Brussel sprouts from a couple of night ago. This isn't something that is better the next day, I'm sad to say.

I need to go take another shower (I didn't anticipate working in the garden quite so long, otherwise I would have skipped the first shower!) but I'm too tired to get up from my chair right now!

This is how dirty I was!
The library emailed me that the 1st season of Fargo is waiting for me. Yes, we had already seen it and no, I don't remember it even though we saw it back in.. September?  I just know that we had really liked it so I had put it back on hold to re-watch it. I'll have to ask Greg if he wants to watch it again with me. We can only keep it for 7 days.  The 2nd season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is coming out on Netflix on Friday and we're in the middle of rewatching Arrested Development.  So I'm kind of hoping that he'll say he doesn't want to watch it again so soon because then I'll just binge watch it.

I just realized that I didn't even have breakfast this morning and I'm not all that hungry for lunch either.  Uh. Maybe I should get started on that diet now but, damn it, I'm on a roll with the free bagels and bakery good from Panera and RaceTrac!  Speaking of bagels, my daughter will use my reward today before she goes to her college class.  No waste there either :)

I finished my lunch while catching up on blogs and the news via Feedly. Dessert was the rest of the cantaloupe I had cut up a couple of days ago.  Now I need a nap.  I had wanted to make another batch of Sweet & Tangy Pineapple Salad but I don't have the energy!  I'm going to go take a coldish shower to see if that revives me, then I might just veg in front of the TV as it is Wednesday so there is a marathon of Law & Order on.

Well, no, that's not what happened at all, actually!  I decided to go take a nice bath instead of a shower.  I grabbed my "Quiet, The Power of Introverts..." non-fiction book so I could make some more headway with it, but then I thought it might be a short bath because I was already tired and I would probably nod off reading that book so I also grabbed my library copy of "Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen" by Francine Bryson.

Let me get this out of the way right now: I have one major problem with the book and it's that there aren't many pictures of the many pies, cheesecakes, muffins and other delicious treats that the author shares with us. That's always bad form for a cookbook, in my opinion. There are pictures of the cakes but why of those and not of the rest?

Now that my criticism is out of the way, I'm going to gush.  OH MY.  This is the first time in my life that I want to bake every.single.recipe that is in the book.  Seriously.  Her recipes are appetizing and yet pretty simple, which I like.  I wasn't hungry at all so my opinion wasn't swayed by a hungry stomach, either. After the first section (pies), I had already decided to buy my own copy of the book.  Seriously, this woman makes pie crust out of Raspberry Milano cookies and also suggests making cinnamon bun pie crust for apple or pumpkin pie, among other things.  Oh. I warned Greg that he'd better not stop exercising because I envision many weeks of delicious baked goods in our near future :) I wanted to write a fitting review of the book but without having tried any of the recipes for myself yet, I thought it would be disingenuous.  Anyhoo, it sounds like I'm going to have to increase my grocery budget just for the baking supplies, lol.

I went on Amazon and saw that there was a used copy eligible for Prime shipping at $12.99 so I used Greg's Discover Rewards to reduce my cost by $10.81 so I paid $2.18 and selected the No Rush shipping offer in order to earn another $1.00 digital credit.  Woohoo!

Some commenters stated that sometimes not all the ingredients are included in the recipes so I'm a little worried about that but we shall see.
After my bath, I had all intentions to just chill out on the couch, but my daughter had come home so I visited with her for a little bit, petted the two cats that had jumped on my lap, and then decided to put the deck box together. It was very easy.
In the meantime, the 3rd cat had decided to play with all the cat toys at once.

Ignore my fat tummy.  This is my son's desk chair and every time I sit on it, a cat jump on my lap.  They can see gnats that they'll chase through the house, but they can't tell that the fat woman in the chair isn't the string bean 14-year-old boy who usually sits here.  Weirdos.

Our new deck box from Aldi. It was super easy to put together, no tools needed. I'm a little concerned that it won't last long in the Florida sun but there is a 2-year guarantee on it.
I found a hardware part that I had kept from our old patio umbrella that I thought would work as a "lock" to keep the lid closed. I used shears to cut off a little piece of it so it would just slide in place easily. It doesn't look great but does the job and it was free. Woohoo.

One thing led to the other and I was back doing dirty and sweaty work for another 2 hours!

First, I put all the patio furniture cushions in the deck box.  Nothing else would fit in there so so much for my plan to migrate some gardening stuff into it so I could put my bike in the little shed.  Arrgh.

I probably should cut the tags off...

This led to my completely emptying the shed.  I forgot to take a picture of the before, but here is the empty shed...

... and all the crap that was into it.

Well, it's not all, actually, there was a large trash can in there too that was full of nursery pots.
Then I swept everything, including the shelves. So much junk and dust had accumulated!  One corner of the flooring was sagging when I walked on it so I lodged a brick that I had laying in the garden under it to prevent it from breaking.  A little fix, but that I had been meaning to do for quite a while.

I went to get some large framing nails from Greg's shed and hammered them in strategic places to maximize the storage capacity. A couple of nails on the walls allowed me to store my "seed nurseries" on the top of the shelf system...

... while others allowed me to hang some lattice ladders that I wasn't ready to get rid of.

I was also able to find space on the wall to the left to hang a couple of shovels.

Then came the task of having to sort through all the junk and decided what to keep, what to throw away and what to donate.  It was hard to throw away some stuff because I had kept things with an eye to reuse them or upcycle them into other things, but at some point you have to realize that you forgot that you even had all that so when would you use it?  That helped.  I was able to fill out a large bin with stuff to throw away and I threw away a whole bunch of plastic bin covers that I just don't know how I would use.

And I also have 2 boxes of items to donate, including several bottles of pesticides for the yard. I think Habitat for Humanity might take them and if not, I'll have to take them to the chemical disposal facility at the landfill.

I also found a few things that I forgot I had like an unopened bag of 4-4-4 organic plant food (AARGH, I just bought some yesterday!), and the bag of "Garden Connects" that I use for my bean teepees.  I thought I only had 3 of them but the bag came with 8 of them. Duh!  I could be growing a lot more beans!

I found these zippered bags that my gardening tents from Gardener's Supply had come in. The tents didn't last nearly long enough to pay for themselves, but I had thrown the bags in the shed to they're fine... and handy since I used 2 of them to hold the barbecue cover that we're not using at this time, and the old sheets and pantyhose that I use to cover the plants when there's a threat of freeze.

I pried a nice wooden plank that the previous owners had nailed to the front of the far end of the shelves, making that corner completely unaccessible, which was weird.  Taking that plank out really gave me quite a bit more of storage space, and now Greg has a plank for another project.

The space between that vertical support and the wall had been covered by a wide plank and I'm not sure why. It's much better now that I've removed the plank!
After I was done putting everything back in its place, the shelves were nicely organized.  I upcycled several glass and plastic jars to hold bits and ends.

And finally, I was able to wheel my bike into the shed.  Yay!  If I squeeze, we might be able to put another one?  Not sure.

I was done at about 4:45 p.m. and I was really pooped and once again sweaty and a little dirty too. Damn it.  I didn't shower again though, I changed my top and sprayed some body spray on (ha!), put on sock and sneakers to hide my dirty feet and was ready to go to the high school fair.

My daughter left for her college class. She redeemed a free fountain drink reward on her phone and a survey reward code for a free bakery item at RaceTrac.  I think she also redeemed my free bagel reward at Panera but she's not answering my text asking her to confirm that she did and I'm way too tired to walk to her room to ask her in person, lol. Later... she confirmed that she did use the reward to get a plain bagel.

The sky got pretty dark at 5:00 p.m. and it looked like it might rain, but my son went to spend some time at the park and get some exercise for his HOPE class.

He and I left at 6 p.m.  The high school fair was supposed to be outdoors but they had wisely moved it indoors since it had started to drizzle. The problem with that is that it was very loud in there and since they had located all the clubs next to one another in the cafeteria instead of asking them to spread around, we were all trying to hear and see the info that was squeezed in less than half the cafeteria. You'd think the administrators would have handled that better, and, as usually, signage was horrible so you would come up to a table only to realize it was for an activity or a club you had no interest in. Also, it was very loud. My son and I had made a list of the activities/clubs that he should check out, which helped.  We talked to the Digital Design teacher (who was also my daughter's volleyball coach) and got some good information about the opportunities with the Digital Design Academy, as she calls it, and she recommended my son get involved in the Future Business Leaders of America Club (FBLA) so we went to talk to the representative from the club who was also in NHS and confirmed what my daughter had told me this morning which is that 9th graders cannot be in NHS.  Well, crap.  However FBLA offers community service as well as many competitions and possibilities to earn scholarships so it sounds like something that would be beneficial to my son.  Also they meet during the Power Hour, which is the lunch hour at the school so no need to stay after school, and that is nice for the kids who don't have transportation outside of the school buses. Also, you need to maintain a 3.3 GPA to be in the club and I like that they push academic excellence.  Another club that we think my son might join is Interact, which is another community service club that meets during school hours.

The last table we visited was for the AP Human Geography class that my son will be taking. It's the only AP class open to 9th graders and there is a summer project that he has to complete prior to the class starting. So we got information about that.

By the time we left at about 6:50, it was POURING. (the garden really got a good soaking today between me and the rain!) Good thing that I had brought my umbrella along!  We got home at 7 p.m. right after my daughter.  I had prepped the pancake batter before leaving for the high school fair so I heated up the electric griddle and started cooking the eggs (sunny side up for my daughter and me and scrambled for my son) and then the pancakes.  My daughter made us toast and she sliced the strawberries.  This is what her plate looked like:

Mine looked the same. It was sooo good, I'm getting hungry all over again!  Too bad we didn't have any leftovers.
Greg is at his business dinner. His boss was late so they will be out longer than he had anticipated and then will have an hour-long commute.  Ugh.

Kellogg's Family Rewards emailed me the following code to apologize for an email they had sent by error. I don't think it's particular to me so you should try it!

I also earned another 100 KFR points by entering the following code that was shared on Slickdeals.

In the mail today, I received my last coupon for a free chocolate candy bar from the Snickers Superbowl 50 Instant Win Game...

.., coupons from Subway including a couple of BOGO coupons. Woohoo!

Greg texted me at about 8:30 p.m. that his grandson had been born and everything was OK.  Yay!  Our son is an uncle.  His reaction?  "Cool".

Ace Hardware is having a sale on rain barrels and, despite the cost, I'm really tempted to get a couple of them. Catching the water in the bins works too but I always worry about the mosquitoes. But the bins cost me about $5 each whereas the rain barrels... wow. Not cheap. Even the drums to make them ourselves cost a pretty penny around here. Greg won't let me buy anything off Craigslist either. He's persuaded everyone on there is a serial killer.

Overdrive has an e-library book that I had put on last 5 e-book loans just expired and I never read them, and I have still to finish the "Quiet" book,  and start the "Digital SLR Photography for Dummies" book.  Groan.  There aren't enough hours in the day!

I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 more survey reward codes for free bakery items.

I think I'll post my gardening post tomorrow, I'm too tired to work on it tonight.  The pictures aren't great.  My camera wasn't working properly so I took most photos with my phone and since my hands were wet and/or dirty, I didn't want to bother zooming.  But I do want to record my progress so I shall post them anyway!


  1. Congratulations to your husband on becoming a grandfather and Happy Birthday to your oldest son!

    I am amazed at the amount of work you accomplish in a day! Just clearing out that shed would have taken me all day.

    And that picture of the pancakes has me getting hungry! It looks so good!

    Hope you have a more relaxing day, tomorrow.

    1. Thank you, Bless! Those pancakes were delicious, especially after a hard day working outside! I was making fun of my daughter for wanting to put whipped cream on them (she's been putting whipped cream on everything this week) but once I saw her plate, I couldn't resist! Next time we'll toast some sliced almonds to add to them too. Yum.

      I was racing to get the shed cleared out before the rain started and it was time to go to the high school fair, which actually led me to be able to get rid of stuff that I needed to get rid of. I did have a hard time throwing away my old patio umbrella cover because I kept on thinking that I could reuse it for something or at least reuse the fabric for a project. But I had to be honest with myself and admit that I had no clue of what project and I'm not very good at sewing anyway so I pitched it. I felt very guilty though. I think I might have a twinge of hoarder in me!

  2. You certainly had a busy day! I don't know how you had time to do all of that and write about it too. Congrats on all of the birthdays today. :)

  3. Hello sweetie, Congratulations to Greg! Also Happy 22nd to your son. I hope he had a lovely day.

    Your middle son needs to carry his charger with him or get a car charger. I am starting to feel sorry for both you and his girlfriend. I bet you were really worried after the car incident the night before.

    You did dirty work, yay you! I don't do dirty work and when I am forced to it normally ends up badly. When Ben was away I decided to clear out he garage half way through I saw a big spider so I asked the two eldest to get rid of it. They just laughed, so I sat on the footstep and cried. I couldn't put anything back in the garage because the spider was there and I couldn't leave the stuff on the drive in case it got stolen. In the end my eight year old got rid of it for me. Horrid big boys!

    I'm glad the school fair went successfully xxx

    1. Darn it Blogger just made my reply disappear!

      I think your 2 oldest sons were probably more afraid of the spider than you and masked it by laughing it off, honestly. Your 8 year old sounds like a very nice young man!

  4. I didn't get to read the whole post but I am glad you liked the cookbook. I really like it when there is a picture of each recipe too!! I thought that I was being too picky but I guess that is why I like blogs :) The other book is similar with a lot of recipes without pictures but there are still some yummy sounding recipes.

  5. I love what you did with the little shed. It looks so organized with the shelves and things hanging up instead of just tossed in on the floor (like some sheds I have seen. Ha) There is lots of room there for your bike. Cleaning up an area like that always brings to light some items that you had but forgot about. We seem to constantly buy things that we know we have, but cannot find. Good job done.

    Boy, you should sleep tonight. You did two HUGE jobs today. It was perhaps a good thing that you rushed to get the shed done before leaving for the school fair. If you had a chance to sit down before leaving, you may not have been able to get back up again.

    Congrats on your son's birthday and you and Greg becoming first time grandparents.

    1. You know, it's been almost a month and that shed is still clean, woohoo! Greg has to clean his now and he really doesn't feel like doing it. Too bad because there's a whole laundry basket of stuff that he didn't want to get rid of that needs to be stored there too and I want my laundry basket back!

      Greg's the grandpa (i.e. the old coot, lol). I'm not the grandma. I have no contact with his daughters, long story that I don't feel like sharing. But thanks for the congrats on his behalf :)


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