Saturday, June 11, 2016

Failpocalypse ~ Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sigh, I have to warn my audience that I think I've hit a blogging slump so my posts might not be very entertaining or inspiring (if they ever were!) for a while. I feel like I'm just going through the motions but I don't have much enthusiasm for anything. I'm not depressed... I just don't feel like doing much these days, and blogging is part of it.

And then I think "No, I need to write down what I did or I'll forget and I'll regret not having written it down!" LOL. And so goes my blog every morning :)

I fell asleep on the couch reading a library book last night, pretty early on, I think that I was asleep by 9 p.m.!  I got up all groggy at 10:30 p.m., said goodnight to Greg and our son who were still up, went to bed and tried reading a little more... and fell asleep until morning. I had weirdly disturbing dreams about Greg and I visiting the house that I owned with my ex because we were going to buy it. Only the house had many many problems and was very messy.  When I woke up and came downstairs, I felt such a feeling of relief that my house was indeed MY house and so grateful that it was and it felt so right.  I think the dream was prompted by dropping off my daughter at her dad's yesterday.  They live in a very nice house. I've never been inside but I glimpsed it from the doorway and it looks like one of those house you see in catalogs and magazines where nothing is out of place or dirty. His wife is very strict with this, which is one of the reasons why our kids don't enjoy living there so much, but it must be nice coming home after work to a house that doesn't stress you, that's for sure.  I had a pang of jealousy as I drove off, but honestly, when I got home, once again I remembered that despite all its flaws and my lack of housekeeping, I really love our home because it feels like a HOME, not a perfect, catalog-like house.  I love our quiet backyard, I love the little piles of stuff that everyone leaves laying around (yes, not just me!), I love that I can put my coffee cup on the arm of the futon next to my Sodapalooza cup, next to my Kindle and my phone and 2 remotes and 2 books and a box of tissues and a cloth napkin and no one is going to freak out about the mess!  I love it.  I especially love that if everything goes right it'll be paid off in 3 years tops (sooner if Greg gets a bonus next year that we can send to the mortgage company as well!) while my ex and his wife are probably not close to paying theirs off. Or maybe they are, I don't know, I don't ask.  Anyhoo, it's easy to get envious of other people but it's so pointless.  You have got to learn to be content with what you have... or be willing to work harder or cut expenses more in order to have more.  Greg works hard enough, we have a lifestyle that we enjoy despite it not being everyone's cup of tea.  Who cares?  We're happy.  I'm happy for my ex that he gets to live in such a nice home and even happier for my kids that they also do... although I think it might make it harder for them to realize that their own first home won't be nearly as nice, lol.

So today is the weekend and we don't have any concrete plans. Greg wants to mow the lawn and go to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy a new fishing rod.  If he does, we'll probably go fishing tomorrow morning. Our son is sleeping in. He never wants to go anywhere so he'll probably spend the day on his computer once he's up with a couple of excursions to the local park to do his daily swinging.

Me?  I want to read. I'm really on a reading kick. Yes, I should be folding the laundry or vacuuming but that can wait until Domestic Monday, I think. By then I might be sick of reading!  I never did sign up for the Herp Hike tomorrow morning and yes, you did have to register in advance. Shrug.  I'd rather go fishing with Greg :)  I did venture on the back patio this morning when I got up. Oh my, it is so humid and warm!  My tomato plants look horrible, I just hope the tomatoes have a chance of ripening before the plants die altogether. My sweet potato vine is invading everything, I'm going to have to cut it down.  No birds in sight when I was out there, but I didn't have my camera with me either.

Later on today... so the title of this post was going to be "A Lazy Day" but then Greg suggested I name it "FailApocalypse" because it ended up being a day full of "failures".

First and foremost: I was getting reading to go to Dick's Sporting Goods with him when I misjudge the distance to a piece of furniture where I meant to put my phone down and it fell to the ground, face down onto the tile and... CRACK!  My screen cracked, despite the Otterbox case, and it was cracked from the home button so the phone started cycling through all the apps and there was nothing I could do, couldn't even turn it off.  AAAARRRGH.

So we went on our way.  Greg wanted to go to the AT&T store and buy me a new phone (so sweet!  So not frugal!  So not necessary!) and I searched for a phone repair place in town. I found one but we couldn't find it (just realized I had typed the wrong house number into the app, oops!) so we ended up at a computer repair store that we knew about. They were very nice but couldn't help us, referred us to the same place we had been trying to find and explained exactly where they were. So we drove back there, found them, and they tested the phone, said it was only a screen repair job, they could do it in 10 minutes for $89.99 + tax so I said yes because what choice did I have, right?  And 10 minutes later, and $96 after tax on my Amex, the phone was fixed. Woohoo but it would have been better if I hadn't cracked my phone in the first place!

Then we drove to Dick's Sporting Goods and I bought Greg (with his money) 2 fishing rods, a large filleting knife and some fishing line.

Then he was hungry so we went to McAlister's, a deli that opened a few months back that we hadn't visited yet but that my daughter had highly recommended. I had already eaten lunch but they had Reubens and I love Reubens so I ate again (what diet?).  Another frugal failure. LOL.

So Greg insisted on me posting all my "failures" (which, really, the phone was the only one!) so there you are, "Failpocalypse."

In other news, my daughter is flying to San Francisco as we speak. She and I texted for 30 minutes prior to her boarding her flight.  She also texted from the plane: she was in an emergency exit row with tons of leg room and no one sitting next to her, just feet away from the bathroom. Woohoo!  I saw that she would probably have to pay for a movie so I told her to charge it to my credit card if she wanted to watch anything. She bought food and a drink prior to boarding her flight since the airline isn't providing a free meal. She was very excited :)

I was reading Tara's comments about her son Liam staying away from the problem areas in Marseille and I wasn't really sure of what she was talking about. I knew that there probably would be some scuffles between soccer supporters but I hadn't realized how bad it had gotten until I checked Google News tonight and read the reports on European news sites. Oh crap!  Thankfully Liam is safe and I emailed my brother and his GF to make sure they are also OK since they live pretty close to the Old Port where most of the damage was and she works right off the Old Port too. It's past midnight in France now and I haven't received a reply so they must be asleep.  Good grief, it's always something!  And about a stupid soccer game!  I just don't get it.

  • Greg mowed the lawn, saving us the cost of hiring someone to do it :)

  • I reused water collected in the shower to flush the toilet.

  • Since my daughter will be gone for 8 weeks, I upped the temperature in the part of the house where her room is located to 76F (from 74F). It's also where the kitchen is, so I might have to turn it down to 75F if I bake.

  • I cooked hard-boiled eggs for our snacks. The water will be reused to water some potted plant.

  • I finished an e-book, returned it and another to the library, and borrowed 3 more e-books: one that I have already read in the past (Robert Crais) and two that I have never read.

  • I enjoyed some jazz on WLOQ via IheartRadio on the Roku, and then some classical music on KUSC, via IheartRadio again :)

  • Greg and I went to run some errands.  He stopped by RaceTrac to get a soda refill with his Sodapalooza cup. I had been all frazzled because of my phone so I forgot to bring my cup along. He offered to drive back home to get it but I was getting a headache because I was so upset so I figured I could skip the soda :)

  • Thankfully it was just a matter of repairing the screen so we did spend money that I hadn't planned on spending but it was way cheaper and less of a headache than to buy a new used phone or worse... a new phone!  And the people we talked to both at the computer repair store and at the phone repair store were all super, super nice.  We expected something else but both facilities were really impressive, actually. I'm glad to know there is such a place in town in case we run into another problem!
  • At Dick's Sporting Goods, Greg found a great deal on fishing poles!  We had looked at a pole priced at $25, but there was an offer on a better pole at 2 poles for $35.  We really wanted two, so either myself or our son could fish too.  So we got those, and I found a big filleting knife that should work for removing all the bones in whatever fish we hope to catch.  I was able to use the $10 off $50 coupon that I had earned for taking the survey on the last Dick's receipt, earned points towards free merchandise with my loyalty card, and I should be able to take another survey and earn another $10 off $50 coupon.

  • Greg hadn't eaten lunch (but I had, at home, before we left) but he was hungry so we decided to go try McAlister's. I charged the lunch to Discover, which will earn us 5% in Rewards.

  • On the way home, we decided to stop by our house first to grab my and our son's Sodapalooza cups and went back to RaceTrac. We got 3 free drink refills and I redeemed a survey reward code for a free Monterey Chicken grill item for our son's lunch.

  • Then we stayed home, reading library books, listening to classical music and playing video games (the boys, not me!).

  • For dinner I didn't feel like cooking (I had 2 lunches!) so Greg said he would make himself a PBJs and I guilted him into making me one too!  Our son didn't want one. He'll warm up some ravioli later on...

  • After dinner, Greg and I drove back to RaceTrac to get more free drink refills. I joked that Sodapalooza had rejuvenated our marriage with all those "dates" we go on to refill our soda cups, LOL.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.

  • Phone screen repair: $96.29 
  • 2 fishing rods, fishing line, a filleting knife: $50.81
  • Lunch at McAlister's: $22.43
  • Water for a bubble bath :)

  • I dropped my phone and the screen cracked!  Arrgh.

  • We should have ordered our food to go at McAlister's and gotten free drinks from RaceTrac. Oh well.

  • I had wrapped the pickle spears that they had given us in a napkin to bring home, but I forgot them on the table!

  • This could have been a failure: I was reading a news article on my phone when a pop-up appeared (although I have pop-ups disabled on the phone!) to tell me that I had won an upgrade to an iPhone 6 (which obviously was an iPhone virus scam) and my only option to turn it off would have been to say "OK". I didn't want to do that but I couldn't figure out how to close the offending tab either so I looked it up on my computer and found an Apple Support article that said to go to Settings/Safari/ and "Clear History and Website Data". I did and it fixed my problem, phew!  But it's clearly a failure in Safari because not only do I have the "block pop-ups" enabled, but I also have "Fraudulent Website Warning" enabled! Grrr.

  • Fed the cats
  • Replied to blog comments and commented on other blogs
  • Cooked hard-boiled eggs
  • Finished a library book
  • Returned library books and borrowed some more
  • Ran errands with Greg


  1. I hope your daughter arrived safely and is enjoying her first night in California.

    Sorry you broke the screen on your phone, but at least you were able to get it repaired and saved the cost of a new phone. I'd call that a frugal success (repairing instead of buying a replacement).

    Your house sounds like a lovely home, Nathalie. I know in which house I'd feel most at home and comfortable, and it isn't your ex's.

    I do hope you will continue to keep blogging. I truly enjoy reading about your day and seeing your pictures.

    1. Thanks, Bless. I was relieved to have been able to get it fixed so quickly and locally too! Before we realized that there was a repair place so close to our home (10 minutes, I had never noticed it before!), he was pushing to go to AT&T and get a brand new phone (that would have been an iPhone 6 which I hate because it's so big and several hundreds of dollars!) or drive to the Apple store down in South Orlando to see if they could fix it (45 minutes away via toll roads) whereas I was saying that I would just find a new used one on Amazon, which is how I got this one last year. He insisted that I couldn't go several days without a phone, but I was thinking that I would be OK since my youngest is home from school and I could use the house phone as my cell phone since indeed it is actually a cell phone albeit a dumb phone that has the detestable habit of dialing 911 by itself if you stuff it in your pocket or your purse. But then I realized that none of my phone contacts were accessible since I don't sync my phone to the cloud or anything else so I had no numbers for my kids, my ex, my family in France... because who nowadays has those numbers memorized? I sure don't! There would have been other ways to get them (other people, email) but it would have been a pain. Plus I really didn't want to spend several hundreds of dollars more for another phone... I already spent a couple hundreds of dollars for this one last year, I meant for it to last me several more years! It was really annoying to me that it broke despite the expensive Otterbox case, though. I've dropped it before and the case protected it but this time, it was as if there was no case :( So those things aren't foolproof. They certainly aren't "Nathalie-proof"!

      My daughter did make it to San Francisco and met with her aunt and uncle. She texted me when she landed (I was monitoring her flight via the airline's app anyway) and then again when she met up with them. They live about an hour away from the airport but by that time I was ready to go to bed. I'll catch up with her later on today. They're supposed to drive by the Adobe building so she knows where she'll be going tomorrow. It feels so weird to think the camp starts tomorrow because we've been talking about it for months and it always sounded like it was far in the future. Gulp, the future is advancing much faster than I anticipated!

      I think I'd like my ex's house but NOT if I am required to keep it spic and span at all times, hahahaha. But thanks for your sweet comment. Our house is comfortable and suits us. Well, I think Greg wouldn't mind for it to be a little less messy but he doesn't complain either.

      I'll keep blogging, I might just take a little break here and there this summer... and I need to get my frugal mojo back on. Right now it feels like I'm going through the motions but I've lost some steam on a lot of fronts.

      Have a great day, Bless! Enjoy driving around and eating fresh fruit and gardening and all those things that we all take for granted that you couldn't do for many months! How freeing it must feel :)

    2. Hey sweetie, I'm so glad that your daughter arrived in San Francisco ok, it must be a bit of a relief knowing that she is being met by and staying with family. I hope she has a good time while she is there.

      Sorry about the phone, tags so annoying. I did that to my phone last year but my phone was due for renewal anyway so it didn't cost me anything.

      I think sometimes its nice to take a break from blogging because I feel like I run out of things to tell people. But I would miss you terribly... actually id stalk you on your email ha ha (you know I'm joking, right?)

      Thank you for all your help the last couple of days. I am truly grateful to have you as my friend.

      I must admit I would love to live in a immaculate home but I am just not tidy enough! I think your home looks great and it is the best to just reach for what you want and not have to get up. Xx

    3. You know, all this time I was worried about my daughter's trip to California and that she would make it safely and then horror was unleashed right here in Orlando. Sigh.

      Feel free to stalk me all you want, lol. I always say I'm going to take a few days off from blogging but I like keeping track of the little of what I DO do, and I like talking to you guys. It's just that some of my posts might just be boring with just lists of things I've done without pictures and not much chatting. I didn't want people to worry, I get like this every summer.

      I agree that having what you need within reach and not having to get up is the best, LOL. Greg calls the couch "my nest" because I have everything at arm's reach :)

      And Tara, seriously, if Liam needs my brother's help, have him call. If my brother can't help, he might know someone else who can. I sent you a couple of emails.

    4. Its dreadful what has happened in Orlando, there seem to be so many extremists about in every country that are just happy to attack innocent people.

      You are far from boring, I like your lists it makes me realise what I should be doing but I can understand that you might want to do other things in the summer.

      I like that, your nest, that's great, I think I need a nest the only thing is I don't manage to get near the remote controls. Ha ha

      Thank you for the emails sorry it took me ages to reply, my emails only pop up on my phone not my computer unless I physically go into them so if I am on my computer I don't realise I have any.

    5. Hi Tara, no worries. I hope that Liam made it back OK. Was he flying home today?

  2. Ugh on the accident with your phone! I can relate to how your whole life seems to be stored in it...all your contacts and information. I have an ancient phone (it was released in 2012, which is a dinosaur in cell phone terms) - well, I've had it for about 2 1/2 years, but I'd be really upset, too, if something happened to it.

    And yes on the hot and humid - we walked this morning and gave up after about one mile.

    We used to eat at McAlister's all the time when we lived in South Carolina. We don't have one around here, but then we discovered one in Tampa near Busch Gardens. We were all excited...and then totally disappointed, because it wasn't clean and the food wasn't as great as we remembered from South Carolina. We told ourselves that maybe it was just that one location. Glad you like "your" McAlister!

    1. Now I know it's really humid (and not just my imagination) if you gave up your walk after a mile! I've been admiring your commitment to walking around the lake every day, no matter what the weather, lol. Of course I keep on seeing new flood advisories for Polk County every day it seems, when it's not raining here so I'm thinking your humidity level must be even higher than ours.

      Our McAlister's is brand new so yes, it's nice inside. Also Clermont doesn't get as much traffic as another restaurant near Busch Gardens so hopefully it'll remain nice. I liked it, I thought it was a nice combination of Panera and Crisper's... and I love that they also have a "Spuds" section! I'm sorry you were disappointed in the Tampa McAlister's. Maybe next time you go to Orlando, take US 27N from I-4 and then head East on SR 50 for a couple of miles and stop by the Clermont McAlister's for lunch! Then you can catch the turnpike South just 3-4 miles East of the restaurant to get to Orlando. We have a winery in Clermont too! They have music on the weekends in the summer (Lakeridge Winery) and they offer free tours of the winery with wine tasting too. And we have a nice trail for you to walk on too :)

      Shoot, I should get the City of Clermont to hire me as their PR person, LOL.

  3. Your posts are never boring Nathalie. Even those days when I don't respond immediately, I look for them every day and make sure I read them if nothing else I do on the internet. I took my Blackberry with me to Collingwood so I wouldn't miss any of your posts.

    Sometimes I think we get exhausted and uninspired by our daily work of living frugally. Some things we just do naturally without thinking because it is so ingrained. Sometimes, just writing about it reminds us all of the little things we do that saves us money. Some of us save money for a larger purpose (like paying off the mortgage asap), and some of us do it because there is no money (we live on a pension). That is the case with my husband and I. We are still paying on our mortgage and we are still paying down debt. We spent money with no plans for our future. We were stupid.

    You are envious of other peoples' homes? That's okay, because I know that you really love your life. You have raised wonderful children as a stay at home mom. You and Greg spend quality time together. Your house is almost completely paid for and you describe it as HOME. We save a little here and there for the occasional trip away or to renovate and maintain our home, but it still needs a lot of work. We spent the weekend in Collingwood. Yes, but it only cost us the gas to get there. We didn't pay for any of it...not even groceries. My trip to Egypt?? ditto....I am so very lucky to get these opportunities to travel and have my expenses paid for. There is no way in the world that we could travel or enjoy as much as we do without the kindness and generosity of others.

    I understand your concerns about getting back to the reasons for blogging. I have lately thought the same thing. I have gotten away from the things I do to make life more frugal. I am also thinking of ways to get back on track, starting with making more of an effort to blog every day.

    1. Dear Susan, have I ever told you how much I love reading your comments? And your blog? Your replies to my posts are always so analytical and encouraging. I can only imagine what it is to be your child or grandchild, but from what I have learned about through your writing, they are very lucky to have you as a mom/grandma/mother in law, teacher, etc. I think that other's kindness and generosity, as you explain it, are a natural result of your own kindness and generosity. You are reaping what you have been and still are sowing! And I'm so happy for you. A lot of us tend to ignore the realities of what retiring will mean in terms of lifestyle. I think a lot of people think that money indeed magically grows on trees that only retirees can grow in their backyard! It must be hard and everything that you and your husband do, be it plant a vegetable garden or make a new axle for your wheelbarrow or fix your Jeep for the nth time, is something that allows you to make the most of the money that you do have. Those aren't hobbies for you, or not just hobbies. You're not playing at living a frugal lifestyle for a while, you HAVE to be frugal.

      Yes, I think we all have different reasons for wanting to be frugal. Mine is a total fear of doing without. I grew up poor and don't want to go back to that. We are lucky that Greg had a good job and is great at it so he is recognized by his management. We could be buying all kinds of toys, going on (more) trips, paying for a larger and newer home closer to this work, but that's not what is important to us. We did have a few years of "being stupid" when we didn't have plans. Greg himself doesn't like to plan. I'm the planner. But before I got to that stage, I got into a lot of credit card debt and spend way too much money on stuff that never got used (especially when I was homeschooling our son) or because I thought I was being frugal when playing the coupon game.

      Nowadays, Greg isn't quite as "fanatical" as me when it comes to saving money, but when you look at what he could be spending compared to what he actually spends, it's a tiny fraction. The man likes his comfort and goes for quality but his needs and especially his wants are also few. Both of us wants to pay off the house now that we feel we have "enough" money set aside as an emergency funds and we don't have a ton of kids living at home. I have a fear of being homeless so I want to make sure that we have a roof over our heads no matter what. Then we really will need to increase our retirement savings and get a handle on this investing stuff because we are very far behind where we should be, due to, in no small part, the fact that I don't bring in an income. We do enjoy the small freebies that I manage to find and that makes our mundane lives a little more exciting :)

      I look forward to reading you every day! Maybe, if you don't feel like writing all the time, you could just post a picture, or a quick list of accomplishments, or share a craft that you have done?

  4. You're right. Something is better than nothing. Besides, writing a blog post is something I do for me. I should make the time for writing as it is an enjoyable part of my life.


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