Friday, April 15, 2016

Didn't Go Anywhere After All ~ Friday 4/15/16

 ♪♫ It's Friday! ♫ ♪

My youngest son tells me it didn't rain at all last night when I was away, contrarily to what the forecast had predicted. Still, it rained so much the night prior that I'm not going to bother watering the plants today. My bins collected at least 5 or 6 inches of water and it's supposed to rain some more later on today.

The temperature felt cool this morning so I opened the sliding door but the AC started almost right away, even though it's set for 76.  I just turned it off and left the window opened for a little bit.  There'll be time to run the AC later on in the morning.

Greg went outside to shake his boots (it's casual Friday in the office today, although it's casual Every Day at his office but he likes to dress semi-professionally Monday-Friday) and spotted the cardinal pair on our bird feeder, both the male and female at the same time. Woohoo!  My "Welcome All Birdies" sign is working!

I had an uncomfortable night on the couch, marred by unpleasant dreams. In the middle of the night I decided that I probably would make the spare bedroom my own after all.  I might move the TV and Roku that are by the stationary bike up there too so I have something to do as I fall asleep.  I thought of all that when I was awake in the middle of the night but didn't want to make the effort to go sleep there right away, lol.  That bedroom is a tad cooler than our own even though it's also upstairs, because it has 2 vents for the AC instead of just one, so I think that would work.  It's too small to turn into a master bedroom, though, and it wouldn't solve the problem of Greg fidgeting all night, which is what is preventing us from sharing the same bed anymore. Or maybe I should just start taking sleeping pills.  Ha. Ha?

I made breakfast for Greg but encouraged him to buy lunch at work today since I didn't have any leftovers (that he would eat, he doesn't like my pineapple salad) to pack for him and it's going to sound weird but making a sandwich at 7 a.m. grosses me out. I don't like touching meat first thing in the morning and I didn't think to make him a sandwich last night.  So we're not being frugal today and oh well.

My daughter packed "a lunch" which ended up being a few tortilla chips and 2 cereal bars. I was upset that she didn't pack anything more substantial but she apparently has the same qualms as me about handling lunchmeat in the morning and I could hardly be mad at her for that, could I?  The problem is that she ends up buying lunch, with her own money that her dad gives her, and I'm upset that she's not being a better steward of her money. With all her smarts, she's still a naive 17-year-old who thinks it's no big deal to eat out a lot and that's what worries me when she says she wants to get an apartment when she goes to college and not live in a dorm, etc.  I am not convinced that she will handle her finances very well. But she might surprise me.  Update: she went to Publix and bought herself a small apple pie.  Sigh.

My son packed a lunch.  The library closes early today so he won't get to go. He went yesterday but the librarian helping him with the promotional materials for his D&D Club was busy with a progressive "dinner" that 3 local smaller libraries such as ours were putting on last night to help spread the word about their facilities so he just came home.

Plans for today in no particular order:
  1. Fold the laundry
  2. Do the dishes
  3. Bake something? Although I have half the cobbler left, still.
  4. Go to Clermont to run errands: I need more eggs, need to go to Target to secure a gift card for the new parents, get my free bagel from Panera and free bakery items from RaceTrac, possibly go to Goodwill to look for pants.
  5. Move the TV/Roku to spare bedroom and try to make it my new home.
  6. Wash the cat litter boxes again. So soon?! I just did it last week! I don't know what they're doing but they're stinky.
  7. Pay some bills
  8. Finish the letter to my great aunt
I received our electric bill which was way lower than I thought it would be: $118!  I typically budget $300 for this month although that has been the same number for 15 years and was based off our ancient AC units that were replaced several years ago.  So I went to investigate why it was so much lower when the previous month's bill had been $220 and there hadn't been all that much difference between February and March. Do you know what I found out?
  1. I don't know where I had gotten the $220 from, which is what I wrote in my checkbook spreadsheet, because the bill prior to that one had been $112!  This means that (I haven't balanced my checkbook in a month!) that I just "found" $118 in my checking account that I thought wasn't there, woohoo!
  2. Our electric bills dated 3/15/15 and 4/15/15 had been $215 and $182, respectively.  This year? $112 and $118, respectively.  
  3. The difference?  Well, this winter was warmer than last but we did turn on the heat this year and didn't last year. However, the average daily temp for these past 30 days was 81F when last year, at the same time, it was 85F so we also haven't been running the AC as much. 
  4.  Greg wanted me to look at the price of the kwh and compare that but I don't see it on their website.  However, our consumption went down from 41 kwh in 2015 to just 31 kwh in 2016.  So I think that unplugging all those power vampires and switching to LED bulbs (even from CFLs!) had been beneficial as well.  Also: drying more clothes on the racks and not using the oven as much?  I didn't keep track of the specifics of that, maybe I should start accounting for all that usage in a spreadsheet too?  Bah, too much work.
I worked on Bing Rewards (earned my credits for today) and Swagbucks, although all I did was the daily poll and the NOSO path.  There were a couple of 2 SB offers in my inbox that I completed and I earned 4 SB for a search. It's the last day of the team challenge and my team is still in the lead but the 40 SB bonus is uncertain now because the other teams have gained a lot of ground.  A lady who is in the lead on my team posted that she couldn't keep her eyes opened last night but that she wanted to keep being the leader in terms of team points earned and I wanted to say... why?!? for a 40 cent bonus that is earning tens of thousands of dollars in advertising and marketing for Swagbucks?!

OK it's 9:30 a.m. so time to get dressed and get started on some chores.

Morning chores accomplished:
  • made our bed
  • ran the dehumidifier in the bathroom (note to self: ask Greg and the kids if they just dump the water from the shower bucket down the shower drain or if they reuse it to flush the toilet. Better be the latter!)
  • aired our my son's room
  • fixed his room's curtain rod that fell apart when I pulled the curtain to the side.
  • fixed the kitchen's curtain rod with duct tape so the extending rod stops falling apart when I pull the curtains open! Dang it, between yesterday and today I had 4 window coverings fail me!
  • washed the cat litter boxes outside and refilled them with fresh litter
  • used the empty cat litter jugs and other empty jugs from the yard to store the rain water collected in the bins outside.
  • pulled weeds
  • inspected the garden
  • harvested 4 Supersweet 100 grape tomatoes
  • took pictures of the flowers in the yard
  • closed the sliding door and turned the AC back on at 10:30 a.m. because it was muggy

It dark and grey and humid outside and I really don't feel like getting in the car to go anywhere. Maybe I'll go tomorrow.  What and forego my free bagel?!  Argh. It seems that indecision Thursday is spilling into Friday as well!

I was going to price rain barrels today, and when I checked my email and there was a promotional email from Home Depot about a sale on rain barrels. Yes, I should have checked Lowe's too but I didn't. I ordered a rain barrel from HD for $79.99 + tax with free shipping to my home. I was going to get two but decided to start with just one for now.  It comes with the diverter kit so I hope Greg will be able to install it for me.  I used the SavingStar shopping portal to get 4% back and charged it to my Amazon Visa card for 1% back in Rewards too.

Then I had a small break and had the rest of my coffee and some blackberry cobbler. I checked my email and approved a comment from Bless who said she had been reading my posts from my trip to France last year and... well, next thing I know I was re-reading my own posts about our trip and now it's almost 1 p.m. and that's all that I have done!  I did manage to have lunch halfway through it. I had some mashed potatoes and fried a couple of eggs and also had some pineapple salad and 2 navel oranges. And I drank the last cup of peach green tea that I had brewed yesterday.

I need to get started on more chores, like folding the laundry and paying the bills.  The dishes can wait a little longer!  I really want to go back to France now, dang it!

So I:
  • scrubbed the shower stall's walls and built-in corner shelves
  • sprayed bleach on the caulk seals in said shower because, argh, mildew!  I had to refill my "Publix mildew remover" bottle with bleach and was feeling quite smug that I had been reusing that spray bottle for a couple of years already when the plastic ring holding the sprayer in place completely broke into my hands! Nooooooo.... so now I have to order another one of those chemical spray bottles from Amazon. Only the price has gone up to $6.67 and I'm thinking that for a couple of bucks I can get another bottle of Publix mildew remover that will, hopefully last me another couple of years past the point of being empty so... Publix bottle it is.
  • I took the laundry off the laundry racks and put those away
Then, because of all this had been exhausting (!), I went to sit on the couch to enjoy a chocolate bunny from the set that I had bought on clearance at Walgreens after Easter and a few marshmallows... and check on Feedly.

CouponPro posted about M&Ms giving away 50,000 coupons for their newest flavors of M&Ms and even though it was hosted on Facebook and I'm not a member, I was able to request a coupon. Woohoo!

She also posted an alert about the Snickers Crisper bag that will be "free" at Walgreens next week (i.e. it'll be $3 but you'll get a $3 Register Reward voucher for your next purchase) and I'm glad she did because I completely missed that when I looked at their preview ad yesterday, lol! This will go into my chocolate stash.

I upcycled an Earth Balance spread container to store all the rubber bands that came in the $1 bag I bought at Dollar Tree a few weeks ago. The bag wasn't resealable and I had rubber bands spilling all over the place.  Pinterest-addicted bloggers might try to transform the container in a work of art or at least make a pretty label... not me, baby!  I just slapped a length of masking tape on the top and wrote "rubber bands" on it with a Sharpie marker and called it a day.

I paid some bills and realized that our car insurance payments have decreased by $23 a month for these next 6 months of premiums, woohoo!  USAA had called to verify our mileage and I had adjusted it, since I barely drive anymore, so this paid off :)

My Amex rewards are up to $72.97.  It's kind of slow going even though we charge more to Amex than any other cards.

They also emailed me to confirm that I will get a $16.71 credit on my bill thanks to the bonus offer for charging my recurring AT&T cell bill to my Amex.  I'm supposed to be getting $30 total over the next 3 months.

My Amazon Visa Rewards are $8.09 this month. Woohoo!

Hey, it's almost 3 p.m. and it's raining!  Not a lot, just a little rainshower, but the plants will appreciate it.

I heated up some water in my electric kettle and fixed myself a cup of decaf coffee.  In the meantime, I organized my countertop in the breezeway that had been overtaken by some gardening supplies.  Now I need to reorganize all my seeds and make notes of what I planted and when on my gardening calendar.

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

I couldn't take the suspense anymore... the Girls Who Code website only states that those chosen for the Summer Immersion Camps would be notified in April, but there it is 4/15 and we still haven't heard and so many things depend on the answer... I had asked my daughter to email them and ask but they had just replied "in April".  So I emailed them myself this afternoon and got an instant canned reply that stated that everyone would be contacted via email around April 20.  Finally, a date.

My daughter and I were talking about possibly taking a road trip together this summer (if she doesn't need to be in California for 7 weeks!) and we're thinking about Vermont. Long drive but I've never been to Vermont and I'd love to go.  She too, especially when she heard that Ben & Jerry has their headquarters there, lol.

I'm pretty happy to report that most of the tasks I had put on my to-do list earlier this week have been accomplished... and then some!  Woohoo.  So I started a new list, which is pretty full already. Crap.

I earned a 5 Swagbucks reward for a search but the program wouldn't accept the CAPCHA code and kept on issuing me new ones that still didn't work. So I emailed Customer Service with a screenshot. An hour or so later they replied that they would credit my account by the end of the day.

My daughter walked to her BFF's house, just a couple of streets away, to spend a couple of hours with her.

In the mail today, I got a free sample of Reynolds baking sheets.

We also got the latest issue of Equus magazine, which I will donate to the library.

Oh shoot, Greg just called to say he was coming home early because the lunch he bought from the cafeteria?  It made him sick. He has an hour-long commute so here is hoping that he makes it unscathed.

Well, he made it fine and his stomach didn't hurt anymore and he was hungry... and I didn't feel like cooking.  My daughter called to ask if she could have dinner at her BFF's  and we ended up going to pick up barbeque from a new place in town. We took it to go and I felt bad for the teenage girl who was the server because everybody seemed to be taking it to go so she wasn't making any tips.  So I gave her $1.

The food was good but I had ordered the chicken and it came on the bone, when I thought it would be shredded.  So it was messy. Greg and I ate while we watched the 1st episode of Fargo, Season 1.  Then we watched episode 2.


  1. Oh, sure, put the blame on me! :D

    That's great about your electric bills and insurance payments! It's good to hear about bills that go down instead of up all the time!

    Sounds like you had a good day. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

    1. It wasn't so much blame as inspiration, my dear, LOL. I had a very pleasant time reminiscing about our trip so I'm quite happy to have done that :)

      I was happy about the bills going down too, especially since Amazon Prime renewed our membership last night and now it's $99 instead of the $79 we used to pay and on top of that they charged us a couple of bucks for tax as well, which makes no sense since the tax rate in Florida is 7% so I need to look into that. I'm thinking we shouldn't have paid tax on the membership? Anyhoo.

      I hope you have a lovely weekend as well, Bless!

  2. Hi Nathalie. The trip to Vermont sounds like it would be lovely it looks so beautiful and a girly holiday with just you and your daughter would be great I bet you would have a fabulous time together.

    Nathalie every time someone mentions France you get upset. Would you be able to book a trip for next year so that you have something to look forward to? I can see that your quite homesick at the moment and like Liam said to me the other day, where you were born will always be your home and no matter how happy you are you will always feel that pull to go home even if its just for a visit.

    The 20th of April is not far away now so not long for you and your daughter to wait. I will be thinking of you both.

    I'm glad Greg wasn't too poorly and the chicken dinner sounds delicious. I really fancy barbeques chicken and salad today which is worrying because its only 11.00 in the morning. Oh I wish I was one of those people that didn't sit there salivating about food when someone mentions something they ate or when an advert comes on the Tele.

    You got a lot done today my dear, time for a chilled weekend? Xx

    1. It's so true. I really don't miss France all that much but there's just something about it that tears at my heart strings. I was watching a show where Americans were remodeling a house they had bought in Burgundy (where I grew up) and I got pretty upset that those darn Americans were buying houses in MY country... now I've been an American for 15 years and haven't lived in France in 30 years so you'd think it wouldn't phase me... but I'm very territorial when it comes to France, lol. And of course as an immigrant who bought 2 houses in the USA, I should just shut up.

      I'm the same as you, drooling when just reading about food. Whenever I go back on a diet I will need to not only stop reading books (because reading makes me want to eat) but also stop watching TV altogether because of the darn restaurant ads, stop reading magazines (because of food pictures) and stay away from Greg (who eats all day, it seems!). Ugh. The odds are really stacked against us, aren't they?! Maybe we should just book ourselves into one of those 6-month spas so we can lose the weight without all the temptations and get someone to kick our butt to exercise. If I ever win the lottery, you'll come with me, right? The kids and your hubby will have to manage :)

      I wish we would know about the coding camp now. I'm being selfish and wishing that she doesn't get it so she's not away for 7 weeks and we can go to Vermont or even just veg at home. 7 weeks is a long time without my daughter. Dang it, I'm starting to cry just thinking about it, lol. Damn hormones.

      A chilled weekend à la Tara, perhaps. I still have chores that I really should accomplish this weekend because I don't want to be staring at them on my to-do list come Monday, but we'll see how it all pans out. Have a great weekend Tara!

  3. I don't even bother with the tape. I just Sharpie on top of the container for things like that :-) I do not have a single artistic bone in my body.

    1. LOL, a girl after my own heart! I only use the tape because I'm thinking i could reuse the container for something else after I'm done this particular use.

    2. I was thinking the same thing that you totally add the touch of the tape but I like that you did it so that you could reuse it again!! HAHA!! I have a plastic bag with rubber band and one with twist ties in the plastic bag drawer. If it doesn't fit in there it ends up in the trash. We don't use that many rubber bands but I save whatever comes into the house but I rarely reuse any of them except for holding playing cards because they always seem to dry rot and break.


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!