Thursday, April 21, 2016

I'm Sick of Being Under the Weather, I Want to Be Over the Weather! ~ Thursday 4/21/16

I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep last night because I was so excited (and a little anxious too) about my daughter going to spend 7 weeks in California this summer in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, so I put on one of my Columbo DVDs, thinking I'd watch that and then go to sleep. Well, I ended up falling asleep in the middle of it so it worked!

However I was up at 2:30 a.m. and I couldn't sleep. So I worked on Bing Rewards for today and read my library e-book on my Kindle for about an hour. Later on, I was awakened by my own coughing. Darn it, I'm not shaking this thing very easily!  This morning I was not feeling well and felt very tired.

I got up at 7 a.m., cooked breakfast for Greg and packed his lunch (he's having leftovers).  He ended up going to work today instead of working from home as he had planned, because a co-worker invited him to play tennis at lunch time.  He will leave early since we are attending our son's induction ceremony into the Junior National Honors Society tonight.

Panera emailed me a reminder that I have a free bagel every day in April reward, as if I had forgotten or not used it already!  My daughter is driving to her dad's house tonight since she'll be touring UCF with him tomorrow and spending the weekend at his house. She will be passing Panera on the way so I told her to plan on using my reward for today, and as a matter of fact to use it every day when she's at her dad's since there is one location really close to his house. I doubt that I will be going in Clermont.

I asked her how the situation with her dad and stepmom got resolved (she had told them she didn't want the stepmom to go to her oratorical competition this weekend) and they pretty much told her what I said, which was "tough, we're going."  She recognized that she had been in a bad mood that day and that it "probably isn't going to be as bad as (she) feared" meaning that she probably won't be as nervous as she thought she would be.

I only have 4 things that I'm definitely planning on doing today:

  1. The freaking dishes.  I didn't do them yesterday and now there are more of them, of course, and I still have all those pots and pans too.  I don't feel good this morning so it's going to have to wait until I get a burst of energy. Maybe I should take another dose of that decongestant!
  2. Water the seeds that I planted yesterday both in the planters and the ones I had planted in my front lawn a few days ago.
  3. Go to the library to drop off the Fargo DVD set that is due today and the baking cookbook since I now have my own copy. I would love to take my bike but it might not be advisable considering the way I feel right now. We'll see.  Update: I told Greg that we should drive to my son's induction ceremony tonight instead of walking there, since I'm still not feeling great, so I'll ask him to swing by the library afterwards and I'll drop off the DVDs in the drop box.
  4. I need to pre-cook dinner so we're not tempted to order food in after my son's induction ceremony tonight.
I finished working on Bing Rewards (I still had to do the PC searches) and did the minimum I've been doing on Swagbucks. They credited me with 10 SB for a coupon redemption yesterday so that helped a little bit.

I searched the Apple app store this morning and found that there is indeed an Amazon Music for Prime members app so I can stream music for free to my phone too and more importantly, Greg can stream it to his phone.  We tried using both devices at once since he went ahead and downloaded it to. I streamed a song while he downloaded one to his phone and we had no problems that way. However, only 1 device can stream at a time (we share the same Prime account and log in).  This is important because I'm hoping he'll find enough music he likes so he doesn't need that Spotify Premium subscription that he signed up for.  I also told my daughter about it. She can't remember why she has Prime too.  She thinks that it's because I had invited her to share my benefits but that would have only entitled her to share the free shipping, not any of the other benefits and she's adamant that she's able to stream movies and shows too.  See, what happened, if I remember correctly, is that she signed up for an Amazon Student free 6-month trial at some point but forgot to turn off the automatic renewal because I remember her being distraught that she had been charged for a year's premium after that.  She doesn't remember that but I'm positive. She'd already left for school when I realized that she would only get the free shipping if she had accepted my invitation so I texted her and directed her to go into her Amazon account setting and make sure the automatic renewal was turned off this time.

I mentioned being a little anxious about my daughter going to California for 7 weeks, despite my delight for her: it's a long cross-country trip for her to undertake on her own and then I'm going to miss her terribly.  Might as well get used to it, though, right?  I was thinking about Bless and her daughter and told mine that she'd better be willing to FaceTime with me every couple of days at least and that she'd better allow me to follow her on Snapchat since I know she'll be posting stuff on there. I don't have a Snapchat account but I'll have to create one.  Her aunt and uncle are delighted that she was accepted but, come to find out, they just moved into a smaller house in Cupertino that only has 2 bedrooms and their college son is actually going to be home this summer so they're trying to figure out where my daughter will sleep.  Probably on the couch in the living room. I wonder how everyone is going to stand this for SEVEN weeks, honestly, especially my daughter who, like me, fakes being extrovert pretty well but is an introvert at heart.  She'll go from spending her days at a camp with 19 other young women, working on team projects, to having to be sociable in the evenings since she won't have her own space.  Also, she is supposed to be taking 2 or 3 online college classes at the same time so she can earn her AA by the time she graduates and being in someone's living room while trying to study isn't going to be fun for any of them.  Lastly, her dad is trying to figure out how she will get from her uncle's house to the camp itself, which is about 8 miles in California traffic, along a major highway.  At first I had thought that I'd drive with her to CA in the family car, then fly back so she could keep the car there and then go back and get her at the end of the camp and we'd drive back together. However, school here ends on June 9 (a Thursday) and camp starts the following Monday.  That would leave us having to drive non-stop over that weekend which I did back when I was 20 with her dad, actually, but I don't really see myself doing that at 48, in the little 9 year-old Ford Focus... both ways. It's a 40 hour drive and we wouldn't have time to visit anything on the way there and she would be exhausted before the camp even started.  Her dad thought that maybe he'd rent a car for 7 weeks and let his elderly dad drive it (his dad lives about an hour away from his brother's) and have my daughter drive her grandfather's car.  But apparently her uncle said she might be able to use his car most days.  She's all excited about the trip so anything sounds good to her at this point (ah to be a teen again!), but I'm a little more realistic and wondering how all of this is going to work out for her.  I'm calming myself down by reminding myself that I took the train on my own to Spain when I was 16, had several harrowing adventures, spent a month with a family who I thought was close friends of my dad's but actually ended up being total strangers (!), had a grand time and survived to tell the tale. Of course, I was on vacation in a very large villa where I had my own room and I didn't have 2 or 3 online college classes to take at the same time!

The good news, though, is that I thought she would have to completely redo her college schedule for the summer and fall, since she had to sign up for her classes prior to knowing if she was going to CA or not.  Originally, she had plan A ("If I don't go to CA") and plan  B ("If I go to CA") before some classes weren't offered online, & some classes that weren't offered online and that she needs to take to get her AA weren't even offered at the campus closest to our house. She had told me she was going to sign up for Plan A and change everything to Plan B if she was chosen to go to CA.  But apparently she ended up signing up for Plan B anyway, so she doesn't have to jump through hoops to redo her schedule now AND all the classes she signed up for are either online or at the Clermont campus.  This will save her from having to take calculus at 8 a.m. at a campus 45 minutes away from there, will save her lots of commuting and will save us money on gas and wear and tear on the family car.

The bad news is that now she can't apply for a job at Universal Studios this summer, but she doesn't seem too torn up about it, lol. Anyway, that's the latest happenings with this.  I'm sure there will be more changes to the plan over the next 7 weeks prior to her departure!

I might disappoint Tara with this news, but Greg and I settled on a restaurant choice to celebrate our 15th anniversary and it won't be a Disney Resort restaurant.  For our 5th anniversary, we had "the best meal ever", as Greg remembers it, at Columbia Restaurant in Celebration, FL. It's a Cuban fine dining restaurant with several locations in Florida. We never went back because by then I'd already been laid off by the Walt Disney Company so we didn't have a reason to go to Celebration (it's located within a few miles at Walt Disney World).  However, Greg talks about that restaurant often. I visit Celebration once a year in December when my BFF (Jodie)'s daughter's dance studio perform a free Christmas dance exhibit there.  The kids and I have been attending for several years.  Every year, I look at the location where I thought Columbia was, and feel sad that the restaurant isn't there anymore. Well, I guess I've been mistaken all those years because I looked it up online last night and they're still there!  So after consulting with Greg, I made a reservation for the night of our anniversary.  They have live music at 9 p.m. and I wouldn't have minded eating that late because of that but Greg wanted to eat at 7 p.m. (it's a week night and he has to work in the morning). So it's settled.  We know we'll love the food, we can stroll in Celebration a little afterwards, and despite the fact that it's fine dining, casual clothing is fine since it's in a tourist destination.  Some people might be put off by this but I'm glad because I dislike dressing up, especially since I don't think I have many outfits that would fit me.  I think I'll wear the skirt and T-shirt that I bought at Goodwill this week.  It feels almost strange to think that we've reached 15 years.  It seems not so long ago that we met and yet I can't imagine my life without him.  It must be stranger for our son to realize that I was married to another man for 12 years before marrying his dad!  Life is off... I was never going to get married and never have children and I married 2 men and ended up having 4 children of my own and be a stepmother to 2 more. Never say never!

Columbia Restaurant
A weekly occurrence now, but CVS emailed me a $5 off $25 coupon to be used this weekend. I sent it to my ExtraCare card "just in case" but I don't plan on using it. I would be more likely if I could buy milk with it but for some reason milk is always excluded from such deals, and at Walgreens too.  I also cannot use my ECBs on milk at CVS.

If you have a Sports Authority Customer Loyalty card and a Dick's Sporting Goods location near you, Dick's will give you a free $20 Rewards for turning in your Sports Authority card and signing up for a Dick's loyalty card.  No clue whether you can take advantage of this if you already have both, probably not, though. Oddly, I can see the offer on their website when I access it on my phone but not when I access their website on my laptop?!  Here is a screenshot from my phone.

I called my vet's office to order more cat food.  That reminds me that when I was mopping about my daughter being away for 7 weeks this summer and Greg and our son being away for 2, Greg said "Oh no... I'm going to come back from our camping trip and we'll have 3 more cats, won't we?!"  LOL. Like he would be upset.  He loves the cats from than I do.

I'm totally going to make that No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake soon.  I wish I had a 2nd package of vanilla pudding because I have everything else on hand already. Darn it! Yes, it's really not éclair at all.  You would need to use pâte à choux for that.  Now I want to make cream puffs.  I might just make cream puffs instead.

Walgreens is going to have to pay $500,000 for misleading customers on their prices and their Balance Rewards program.  Guess who will get the $500,000?  Well, not us, the customers who've been had, of course not.  I love my local Walgreens' cashier but I dislike Walgreens and I positively do not like their couponing and rewards policy.  I know that I'm not the only one.

My son finished a cereal box this morning so I clipped the Boxtops for Education label (and will be donating it to a school this fall), recycled the box and will be rinsing the bag to be reused as a freezer bag at a later date.

Today is the day when the 3-lb chubs of ground beef should be on 50% clearance at Save A Lot.  I don't think I'm going though.

I uploaded digital coupons to my Publix digital wallet.

My lunch was the last of the Jalapeño Soup and some of the Sweet & Tangy Pineapple Salad that I made last week (yes, I still have a bunch of it) and some potato chips.

I unlocked Ibotta and SavingStar rebates.

I did all the dishes, and then rinsed and hung up several cereal bags to dry.

I uploaded an offer for Old Time Pottery on our American Express cards, as well as an offer for on Greg's card (mine didn't have it). It looks like they did credit us with the $10 statement credit for my purchase at Advanced Auto Parts, even though my OOP before tax was $29.98 and the offer stated that I needed to spend $50 (?!). I'm not complaining, though!

I cooked the "Yellow Broth" soup that I had planned for dinner tonight, in the microwave. I substituted a can of turnip greens for the fresh spinach, since that's what I had on hand. Yellow broth, according to my cookbook, is an Irish soup.

I checked the upcoming ads for CVS and Walgreens and made a list of the items I will be buying next week.

Greg told me that we might be able to get a couple of laptops for free from his parents who upgraded their older PC laptops for a MacBook recently.  I hope that one of them is in good enough condition for our son to use it for high school next year.

Later on in the afternoon, I cooked 2 chicken breasts on the barbecue while I watered the in-ground and potted plants and the fruit trees.  I'll just need to quickly cook the quesadillas when we come home from the ceremony.  I was able to take a few pictures with my phone while I was watering.  Sometimes I get better pictures with my phone than with my digital cameras!

A milkweed grew from seeds I had planted a couple of years ago, yay!  The aphids are already all over it, though.

I found a mushroom growing under our oak tree in the front yard.  It'll make a tastier treat for the squirrels than my flower seeds, I hope!

A lone white ibis was exploring the front yard with its red beak. Unfortunately, the zoom on the phone isn't very powerful.

I almost didn't see this dragonfly on my ferns, at first!  I was able to get very close to take a picture and it didn't move.


  1. Oh, Nathalie, I hope everything works out well for your daughter on her trip to CA. The flight itself should not be a problem, but will her uncle or someone meet her at the airport upon arrival? That would be very helpful, I'm sure. Hopefully, getting to and from the camp won't be a problem.

    Congratulations to your son for being inducted to the Junior National Honors Society. I know you must be very proud of him.

    Love the wildlife roaming in your garden! And the pretty flowers, of course. Violets and oxalis.

    1. Thank you, Bless. Yes, we are very proud of our son who, just this week, brought back a report card with straight A's, obtained his IT certification with a perfect score, got inducted into JNHS and, we heard last night, placed 2nd in the state with the video he entered in the Teen Video Challenge! Woohoo!

      As for my daughter's trip, her dad and his family are taking care of the particulars but yes, someone will definitely meet her at the airport. However, I don't know if there is a direct flight from Orlando to San José. I know that many years ago when I went there, I had to take a small commuter plane from L.A. or San Francisco. Well, she's almost 18 and traveled to France with me last year so she should be able to handle an airport connection.

      Thanks for the names of the flowers! I've been too lazy to look them up in my Audubon guide lately. I did think the one looked like a violet.

      Have a great day!

    2. I did a quick search on line (looked at Southwest airlines as that's the airline daughter uses) and it does look like she'll need to change planes and take a connecting flight. Where she does that will depend on the flight she takes. I think she'll still be fine. She's an intelligent girl and she'll have a cell phone she can use to call, etc. if she needs help. If she can change flights at Oakland airport, it is a relatively small airport, well laid out, staffed with helpful personnel. It is the one both daughter and I use when we fly to Berkeley and back.

      I was 18 when I flew alone for the very first time (I'd flown earlier with my parents), from Hong Kong to the US, changing flights in S. Korea, LAX (where I had to find my way from the International terminal to Domestic), Chicago(OHare), and Milwaukee! I was going to university in Wisconsin and there was no one to meet me at the airport at the end! It was quite an adventure, especially since my travel agent had neglected to book me on the connecting flight from S. Korea! :D I survived! When my mother made the same journey a couple of years later to visit me, she said if she had known what it entailed, she would never have allowed me to go on my own! :D

    3. Aww, thanks Bless, that was sweet of you to do this research! Sounds like your insomnia might be working to MY advantage, lol. I will pass on your advice to her. I'm not sure if she'll be restricted to certain flights as her step grandpa used to be a flight captain for American Airlines so she might be able to fly for much cheaper on that airline but that's a total guess. As I said, my ex will be handling her transportation there so I don't expect to have much input.

      That must have been a harrowing flight for you especially when you discovered you didn't have a flight from South Korea! Experiences like these are what make us stronger and more confident, though, don't you think? It's what my middle son told me when he said that he was actually glad that his car kept on breaking down because he's learning a little bit more with each experience. I thought that was pretty insightful of him.

      After my adventure on the train going to Spain when I was 16 (as I told you before, when I got to the Spanish border I discovered that I didn't have a ticket to take me to Zaragoza, as I thought I did, and the train was full and I did have people waiting for me on the other end but no way of reaching them), I had another adventure, this time on a plane, when I was 20. It was the first time I came to the USA as well, on my way to college, as well! My friend and I flew from Paris to NYC where we stayed with an American friend for a couple of weeks, and then we took a flight from NYC to Orlando on American Airlines. As we were taking off, the plane seemed to be vibrating a lot and making weird noises and we started joking that we were going to crash and were having a good time, being over-excited girls on their way to Florida. Until... the captain came on the speaker to say there was a problem with the plane and we were turning around! As we landed, we were trailed by fire trucks and police cars on the runway and it was actually scary since we didn't know what the problem was. Nothing much happened from it, we took a later flight, only to discover upon arrival in Orlando that A.A. had lost ALL of our luggage! The university helped us with the claims and my friend's luggage showed up after 3-4 days but mine was lost forever. The good side of the experience is that I had come to the US with very very little money (less than $100) and was worried about how to handle Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break since the dorms closed and I'd have to find a place to live then. However, they had to pay me the maximum (I think it was $1,350 for my one suitcase) because the university argued that my flight had been booked as an international flight. It was far from the amount that my stuff actually cost since clothing in France, back then, was so much more expensive, but I discovered Kmart and got a very cheap wardrobe, and the extra cash helped me travel during my college year in Florida. So it all worked out!

      You're right, my daughter will be fine. I'm more worried about how she will do for 7 weeks at someone else's house with no privacy and all this studying she needs to do, but she's young and resilient so she'll survive that too!

    4. See, we all have stories to tell! I was taken aside at the airport in S. Korea and subjected to a security search. My only worry was that if I missed my flight, I'd miss all the connecting flights! But they let me board the flight and all was well. The airlines lost one of my pieces of luggage, as well! It was found, eventually, but it had been broken into and things, including my new portable typewriter, had been stolen. My mother sent me replacement items.

      Yes, your daughter might find it hard, but she'll cope. It'll be like sharing a dorm room (over here, it's 3 people to a dorm room in undergrad). Maybe she'll find a nearby library in which to study. Does she have a good set of headphones so she can listen to music while she studies and block out household noise? How are the other students managing their housing? Can she room with one of them? Can the people running the camp help her find housing if necessary?

    5. What an adventure you had! And then I remember you saying that you went through your first Wisconsin winter with only one pair of sneakers and no snow boots. Poor Bless!

      So about my daughter's trip, I talked to my ex this afternoon and things are looking up: his nephew is indeed "going home" for the summer but told his parents he expects to be staying at friends and looking for a job in another town so he won't actually be home much at all. So my daughter will only have to sleep on the couch on those rare occasions when he will come visit his parents. Also, my ex's brother will walk to work (he lives less than half a mile away from his office!) so my daughter can use the car when her aunt doesn't need it, otherwise my ex-sister in law will drop her off and pick her up from camp. Lastly, my daughter is indeed taking 3 online college classes this summer but two are "Summer A" and one is "Summer B" so her load won't be too bad. Also, none are hard math classes (those are the ones I was worried about). She will be taking Humanities, Philosophy, and Economics and she feels certain that she will be able to handle it. Camp will be from 9 to 4 every day and they told her she wouldn't have to do any homework for it.

      Everyone was on their own to arrange their own housing so I'm not sure what the other participants are doing. I'm thinking the vast majority might be local kids. She could have applied for scholarships for travel and housing but those are need-based and both her dad/stepmom and my husband make too much money for her to ever qualify for any need-base scholarships so she didn't bother. She told me today that there will be a meet and greet in San Jose for the camp participants on June 8 (thus confirming that most of the participants will be local kids since camp won't start until 6/13) and she doesn't think it's mandatory. She has finals here in Florida through 6/9 so there's no way she can make that, so she'll have to join a group when they've already all met one another, that's a bummer.

  2. Rebecca KetchersideApril 22, 2016 at 8:49 AM

    I just wanted to leave you a little note saying I have been a quiet blog follower/reader of yours for awhile. I love your posts, your honesty and drive to do better. Please keep them coming! Congratulations to your daughter for her being accepted into the CA Immersion Program. That sounds so fun! Hope you start feeling better soon!! Sending well wishes from Texas! Becky

    1. Hi Becky!! What a super nice thing to say, thank you so much! I feel all tingly, lol. I also read several blogs "quietly" so I understand what a big jump it can be to unlurk and I appreciate your taking the time to comment, encourage and compliment!

      Where are you in Texas? I hope nowhere near Houston and all that flooding. Greg attended Texas A&M and my ex lived several years in San Antonio... and one of my favorite songs is "Texas" by Chris Rea so we have a little bit of a connection!

      Thanks again for your sweet message, Becky, it put a big smile on my face :) Have a great day!

  3. I hope you feel better soon, Nathalie! :(

    1. Thank you, my dear. I feel much better today but still spacey and groggy. I can't wait to be completely over this!

  4. I just looked at my Ibotta and I didn't get the pasta or hot sauce rebate :( It did help me to see that I could turn in my receipt with the Windex and the other with the other coffee that I bought because the coffee came back. I also put in for the other deodorant that I bought at HT for free!! Still searching for the pasta one though!! Wish I could get that for the pasta I just bought :)Looked three times but still not showing up :(

    1. Hmm, I checked to see what stores have it and the list is pretty extensive so I'm not sure why you're not seeing it? Have you just typed "pasta"? Maybe their generic rebates depend on the user. The only coffee one I see is for Bustelo coffee.


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!