Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Terribly Domestic Tuesday ~ 7/26/16

First, a little bit of good news: I pretty much slept like a rock last night. Phew!

Now the bad stuff with which I started my day, from horrible to annoying:

  • an email from one of my brothers about the church attack near Rouen, France.  I'm very worried about my mom.  She is a Jehovah's Witness and preaches from a podium at the local train station and other places.  I want her to stop as I really worry that she is very exposed.  Plus I don't think she should be pushing her views on other people anyway but that's me. We disagree about all of this so we usually don't discuss it.
  • the upstairs toilet is back to being clogged and overflooded twice last night. The first time was when I used it in the middle of the night. There was water everywhere. I left the soaked bath towel on the floor near it as a warning not to use the toilet. Greg still used it, let it mellow, and when I tried flushing it when I got up and saw that he had used it, it overflooded again. Grrr. 
  • I fell back asleep after the alarm rang. i thought I had hit the snooze button but evidently not. I had packed leftovers for Greg last night but i guess actually putting them in his lunchbox was too hard for him this morning. So he left without a lunch.
  • I sat outside, where I am now, with my coffee, camera, and Kindle. I love the Kindle to read (i got used to it!) and to watch shows but i hate surfing the net and especially typing on it. I'm typing this post on it now and it's driving me nuts. I can't type as fast as I can on my laptop (or either my phone but using Blogger on my phone is an even bigger pain in the you know what. I checked to see if an update to the Blogger app was available in the app store but the original app isn't even there anymore!)

I spent about 90 minutes outside on the patio this morning, mostly being on my Kindle but I did observe some birdies :) It's hotter today than it was yesterday, it was already over 80F when I got outside at 9:30 a.m.  I need to water the potted plants today, I didn't do it yesterday.

Someone finally came to their senses regarding Greg's dad and instead of transferring him to the Rehab Clinic last night and having my MIL drive him back to the hospital today for the doctor's appointment, they let him stay at the hospital last night, he will see his doctor there today, and they will transport him via ambulance to the rehab clinic tonight.

It's now 2:30 p.m. and I haven't been productive at all as far as chores are concerned.  I'm going to read my library book now so I might not accomplish much today, but I did do chores on Sunday so it's not like I haven't done anything this week :)

My PITA To-Do-List (notice that I organized it!):
  • Crafty/Creative:
    • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
    • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
    • Melt down old candles and make into one or two new candles
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the entry room, breezeway, bedrooms
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Look at what's in the large bin on front porch and declutter - Done
    • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Declutter coat closet/son's closet (shared closet) - Done
    • Iron - partly done
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter exercise room (including storage bench)
    • Clean upstairs sink - Done
    • Put my laundry away - Done
    • Sort coupons 
    • Move TV back from my bedroom to entry room- Done
    • Do the dishes - Done (including the dinner dishes tonight!)
    • Pour some Drano in kitchen sink (once I've done the dishes!) - Done
    • Sort through the clothes my son decluttered yesterday - Done
    • Clean New Kitty's litterbox - Done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Check on the pineapples to see if they're ready to be cut up and dehydrated - I smelled them yesterday and they don't smell ripe at all. So I guess I still need to wait?
    • Mince the last 3 onions and dehydrate them
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
    • Take son to get haircut and get new clothes (on Friday)
    • Work on shopping list for tomorrow (will work on it in the morning after looking at the new ads)
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Research cone flowers and their care and plant them somewhere 
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Fertilize the raspberries
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden
    • Pull unwanted plants from center "planter" in the backyard, add soil, plant flowers, add edging around it (watch out for large roots that would be in the way). Make planter with other materials if edging doesn't work. (this will have to wait until Fall when it's not so hot and when I can plant wildflower seeds).
    • Divide and repot the aloe plant
    • Start new tomato, green pepper and broccoli seeds - brought all the supplies indoor.  
    • Plant more okra
    • Water the potted plants - Done
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Read reply from insurer about son's prescription
    • Get back on the recumbent bike!
  • Maintenance:
    • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
    • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
    • Test the batteries in all 3 smoke detectors and replace as needed
  • Technology/Paperwork:
    • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
    • Scan more old pictures
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Figure out if we should contribute to regular  or Roth IRAs for 2016 and fund them - I guess I need to wait until tax time next year, actually. I'll have until April 15, 2017 to fund 2016 IRAs so I need to work on taxes way sooner than I did this year so I'd have time to fund the IRAs and THEN file my taxes.
    • Download all May-July photos to my external drive
    • Back up my external drive to my other external drive
    • Find the cats' rabies licenses (might not need to since I'm taking them to get their new ones in a  couple of weeks)
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet
    • File paperwork
    • Send email to my French BFF
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt

  • Brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa. 

  • Did a load of laundry on cold/cold. Alas there were bath towels in the load so I used the dryer.

  • Since we were out of bread and i'm not going shopping today, I baked a loaf of white bread on the rapid setting, in my thrifted breadmaker. It should be ready for lunch. 

  • My son used up a cat litter jug last night so he saved it for me. I refilled it with water collected at the leaky garden faucet. 
Male cat are like "Are you talkin' about me?!" Uh, no, kitty, I'm trying to take a picture of
the cat litter jug next to you, but you'll do too.
  • Yesterday's bread pudding wasn't a success but I'm not letting it go to waste. I had some for breakfast this morning. 

  • I'm frustrated with my Canon Powershot SD 4500 IS compact digital camera;  Most of the time it takes really great photos and I like that I have a 40x zoom, although it's a digital zoom (only 10x optical). But the shutter speed isn't great so my hummingbird pictures, for instance, are all blurry, and I don't like the scene settings that are offered.  My fireworks photos were terrible, even with the fireworks mode on!  My iPhone 5S takes better really close up pictures, I think, but the zoom is terrible and really doesn't meet my needs.  I did find a very good article today  on Yahoo Tech! (From DSLR to mirrorless and compact, here’s how to choose a digital camera) that helps determine what kind of camera I might need. Not the specific brand and model, mind you, but I like that the article was very clear in explaining various functions and the pros and cons of each type of digital camera (point & shoot, mirrorless, dSLR).  I think I want a mirrorless camera. Unfortunately, like the dSLR, it's a type of camera that is sold as a base and then you have to buy a variety of lenses, which makes it a very expensive option. Argh. I already have a dSLR base, maybe I should just get a different kind of lens for it. (yeah, that's what I ended up doing, see "splurges")

  • I charged my Amazon purchases (see "Splurges") to my Discover card, so I can earn 5% back thanks to the bonus Rewards program that's going on right now.

  • I unlocked the new Healthy Offer to SavingStar.

  • Lunch was late (2 p.m.) and was an "egg salad" sandwich on 2 slices of  homemade bread (I used 2 eggs and light mayo) and the leftover salad from last night with homemade salad dressing. I didn't go to RaceTrac to get soda refills so I drank the Left Hook energy drink that I had gotten for free with my RaceTrac app this past weekend.  My son asked if he could eat the leftover mac'n cheese and hot dog that his father neglected to take to work. Sure!

  • Dinner tonight will be tuna patties (I will use up the sharp cheddar that I froze last week and homemade bread crumbs, along with 3 or 4 cans of tuna and a few eggs), brown rice that I will cook in the microwave, and steamed broccoli.

  • My son walked to the nearby park for free exercise.

  • I decluttered the coat closet that is actually shared with my son's bedroom closet (one long closet with one opening at each end on opposite sides of the closet).  
    • I realized that there were things worth keeping: 
      • 2 American flags on 1/2 poles that I thought were tattered but that in perfect shape
      • a bunch of tote bags that I can use as reusable grocery bags as some of mine have ripped
      • a few baseball hats from when I worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida)
      • a pillow case with a spare pillow
      • my sewing machine!
    • some that I can donate: 
      • my son's dress shoes that are 2.5 sizes too small but that he insists still fit him!  We'll be getting him new ones on Friday.
      • a few baseball hats in kid sizes
      • a couple of useless to me tote bags
      • toddler-size plastic hangers
      • a couple of teen size dress pants (I need to wash first)
      • a teen-size dress shirt (I need to wash first)
      • a tween-size bra (I need to wash first, that was left in a tote bag that one of our girls used at some point)
      • a pop-up soccer goal in its carrying case
    • some that I threw away:
      • ripped up string bag and small tote bag
      • store flimsy hangers (the thrifts store will usually refuse those)
      • the lower half of the metal flag pole that was too bent to fix (unbending it would just break it in half)

  • Additionally, I went through the clothes that my son had decluttered last night:
    • Donations:
      • I used a free cardboard box that I had picked up at Save A Lot a couple of weeks ago to package the clothe donations. I like picking up spare and sturdy cardboard boxes when they're available because I can always reuse them.
      • 10 Tshirts and polo shirts, all clean and free of holes or stains
      • 2 pairs of jeans
      • 1 Minecraft polo shirt
    • Recycled: 1 Tshirt that had a hole and that I added to our rag pile
    • Threw away: a bunch of very holey socks

  • Since I had repainted the entry room LAST summer, I had wanted to put up a new Command hook near the sliding door where I could hang my gardening hat.  Today I remembered to do just that! I used the last Command hook that I had bought on 75% clearance at CVS several months ago. Next time I see those on clearance, I'll buy some more, you never know where you're going to end up needing one!  Greg is going to want to commandeer it for his hat, watch him!  I had him hang his on the coat rack that's near the entry room.
Isn't this the most exciting picture you've ever seen?!  lol
  • I washed New Kitty's litter box because it was a stinker and refilled it with new litter. I finished a litter jug in the process so I refilled it with water collected at the outside leaky faucet and stored it for future plant watering duties.  It's 114F or so at 3:30 p.m. so I'll wait until it's cooler to go water the plants.

  • Every year I write this but it's true: back to school isn't going to cost me much.  I have a large supply of school supplies left over from past years both new and reused. We don't buy new backpacks every year or even new pencils. We reuse what hadn't been used the previous years.  Each year I'm able to get freebies or close to freebies with various promotions and coupons so those get added to the pile. I might have to buy loose leaf paper, I'll have to check. I buy my binders at thrift stores and reuse the ones from previous years that still have life in them.  When I got laid off 12 years ago, I was able to take home a lot of office supplies because our whole studio got laid off and the building had to be emptied. In exchange for helping clean out the building, I was allowed to take certain items home, others I could buy at a very deep discount.  The office supplies were given to me by a friend who was in charge of ordering all the supplies for the building and who knew that we had 6 kids in school! We're still using some of those supplies, 12 years later!  So I'm not going to partake in back-to-school madness. With one kid in state college this year and one kid in high school, the list of supplies needed will be much smaller and much less specific (I doubt that teachers will require specific colors of folders anymore, yay!). My daughter's college textbooks will be loaned to her by the county at no cost. How awesome is that?! My son will be using his grandmother's laptop that she just passed down to us and he also has a Kindle Fire and my old iPhone 4. My daughter has a laptop that her dad had bought her and her iPhone 4S that she had bought herself (used), as well as a Kindle Fire as well.  We bought the extra car last year and it's paid for and I'm not counting the insurance as "school expense" although I should, come to think of it!  Lunch boxes will be reused and neither kid needs a lot of new clothes. I'll have to check with my daughter when she gets back from California to see what she might need.

  • I used one of the Lysol lavender wipes that I had gotten for free from Dollar Tree (after coupon) several months ago to clean the upstairs sink.  The lovely lavender scent is all but a memory now :( I guess I should have cleaned the sink more when I first got them, lol.

  • I earned a few Swagbucks and the maximum of Bing Rewards credits.

  • A Slickdeals user alerted us to the fact that we can pre-order Season 6 of Game of Thrones from Walmart for $39.99. It'll be released on November 15.  Since we've already seen it (and paid to see it, to boot!), I'll wait until it's cheaper than that, a few months later, to purchase it.  We do have the other seasons on DVD or Blu-Ray so I want to get the whole series so we can rewatch those in the future.  I checked Amazon and you can pre-order it too.  Season 5 and 4 are also $39.99 right now (whaaat?) so I added Season 6 as an item to track in Camel,Camel,Camel.  I'm hoping that maybe it'll drop for Black Friday or Christmas. My desired price is $29.99 or lower.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

  • My son walked to the park a second time this afternoon. When he got back, I offered to drive him to RaceTrac to get free soda refills but he didn't want to go so I didn't go either.

  • I decluttered the large bin and the shelf on the front porch. Most of what was in there (sports equipment, camping chairs) are things that I'm definitely keeping, but I will also be donating a few things:
    • Keeping: 6 camping chairs, 2 clip on umbrellas for said chairs (I had completely forgotten that we had those!), bike and ball pumps, deflated volleyballs (my daughter's and we have a beach volleyball court nearby) and basketball (you never know, we have a basketball court nearby), tennis and racquetball rackets and balls, stadium seat, cover for a bike, assorted first aid products, hoodie, towel, microcloth, pencil, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, 1 bike helmet
    • Throwing away: torn up bag for one of the chairs, emptied several very old water bottles and recycled them, very old unopened bag of Pirate's Booty.
    • Reused: old, torn up pool noodle (reused to protect part of our internet cable outside the house)
    • Donating: 2 bike helmets, pompoms in the colors of our high school, pair of ladies gym shoes

It doesn't look very good but I've been worried about cutting through it when I use the trimmer ever since I cut through the outside layer of the air conditioner electric wire! This will do until I get something else.
  • For dinner, I decided to cook a box of spaghetti instead of brown rice to go with the tuna patties and steamed broccoli. I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch tomorrow and we also have enough for my son and my lunch.

  • Dried the load of laundry in the dryer since we don't like our bath towels dried outside. I used the Auto Moisture Sensing setting, though. 

  • I spent about $80 to buy myself a used telephoto lens for my ancient Canon EOS Rebel XTi dSLR camera.  From what I read, that lens should let me take good photos from a distance, which is what I mostly do when I take pictures of the birds.  It doesn't have Image Stabilization, though, so I might need to get my tripod back from my son so the pictures aren't too blurry. I'll have to see. The problem with my Canon camera is that it's so old that it uses the big bulky kind of memory cards (CF card). The one in the camera right now only holds 4GB of data! 

  • So I also ordered a new CF memory card from Amazon, a 32G card, which is probably too much storage space, oh well. I charged both the lens and the memory card to Discover because there is a 5% bonus Rewards on Amazon purchases this summer.  It feels very un-frugal to spend money just to take better pictures of birds and stuff, but hobbies cost money and at this time in my life, I'm interested in birds, gardening and photography (of birds and gardening!) so I'm indulging a little. It was about $27 after tax.

  • Water to water the potted and in-ground plants.  The hose is easier on my shoulder than the jugs so I'm babying it for a while.

  • I harvested 2 tiny strawberries and ate them on the spot :)

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched a few more episodes of "Todd Margaret" on Netflix.

  • I received new coupons from Ace Hardware in the mail!

  • The upstairs toilet flooded my bathroom twice last night. 

  • I was re-reading my blog entries from a year ago, last night, and back then it was pouring every day and i was despairing for sunshine. This year, we have plenty of sunshine and no rain! Beware what you wish for...

  • It could be just a splurge but all he had to do was put the leftovers that I had already packed, a yogurt and 2 hard-boiled eggs in his lunchbox! Grrrreg (ha! I'm going to call him that when I'm mad at him from now on) bought lunch today. 

  • Flushed toilet and cleaned up ensuing flood. Twice. 
  • Sprayed bleach on underside of bathtub rubber mat
  • Took the trash bin down to the curb for collection
  • Baked bread
  • Did load of laundry
  • Filled up cat litter jug with water
  • Talked to Greg on the phone
  • Filtered water for the cats
  • Researched Canon point & shoot cameras. I want a new camera, mine doesn't take the pictures that I want but I don't want to mess with a dSLR either.
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Placed Amazon orders
  • Put away the rain jackets that had been hanging near the front door. We don't need them out right now!
  • Decluttered the coat/my son's closet
  • Sprayed wasp nests
  • Organized my to-do list in categories
  • Cleaned New Kitty's litterbox
  • Installed hook for my hat
  • Sorted through son's pile of discarded clothing
  • Made my and Greg's beds
  • Scrubbed upstairs bathroom sink
  • Put my laundry away
  • Collected recycling from the whole house
  • Brought TV back from my bedroom down to the entry room (I wasn't using it since I use my Kindle Fire and my son had asked for it back so he could play with the Xbox 360)
  • Decluttered front porch
  • Did a load of dishes
  • Poured some Drano down the kitchen sink as preventative maintenance
  • Watered the potted and in-ground plants
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dinner dishes by hand
  • Ironed some of Greg's clothes

  • I've got nothing so far. 

Carolina Wren

Squirrel (for all of you vermin lovers!)

Flock of white ibises

Can you spot the hummingbird coming in for a drink? (lower left)

This mourning dove came in for a snack at the feeder

And then took a short, cooling bath in the bird bath :)
 How was your day?


  1. I'm glad that you got a good night's sleep. That can make all the difference the next day. Until you get your toilet fixed, maybe you should turn the water off to it, so it can't overflow or at least you can deal with it on your own time, like maybe in daylight.

    I enjoyed all of your nature pictures--especially the one of the dove in the bath. I should to check to see if we have water in our bird bath. Have a good day.

    1. A good night's sleep is definitely an important requirement for having a productive day, I think!

      I don't think turning off the water would work in our case. The toilet doesn't overflow if we don't use it, it's just that Greg was insisting on still using it and after a while, well, you have to flush it and that's when it flooded the bathroom. Last night he finally stopped using it. Ace Hardware called me today and the auger is in. I'll pick it up in the morning and hopefully won't get it stuck in our ancient plumbing...

      That dove was very fluffy, wasn't it? I had refilled the bird bath the night before so I thought it would take a very thorough bath in it, but it just walked around the rim a few times, took a little dip and shook itself off. Later on, when I was watering the garden, I checked to see if I should top it off and then I realized it was completely empty! This is how hot it's been down here. I hope your migraine goes away soon and you get some rain!

  2. You are a house on fire. What got into you? You are putting me to shame. I have a couple of things you should be grateful for.....the energy and motivation to tackle "THE LIST", and getting a really good night's sleep.

    I like how you categorized your list. I am thinking that if that would help motivate me, I should be looking at my list differently. All I have done over the past couple of days is stamping, colouring and putting cards together. I guess, that is better than pulling the covers over my head. At least I am accomplishing some things that are way overdue.

    You got so much purged from the closets and bins and you organized the items you decided to keep. I am so impressed. My purge sort of came to a stand still. I ran out of steam. It has come to the point where I need to get a few things taken right out of the house. They are simply in the way and are slowing down progress.

    Love that you are spending a few dollars on your hobby. You deserve it.

    1. Making cards is important to you (and you're so good at it!) so you should definitely make time to do that! Today I have done nothing else than grocery shopping and eat chocolate.

      I admire people who can stick through a challenge, whether it be a decluttering challenge (like Bless who declutters every day!) or a No-Spend or Pantry Challenge. I seem to operate better on the "feast or famine" concept. Believe it or not, YOU are the one who motivated me with a comment you made about some tasks that had been on my list for quite a while. You meant to be encouraging and you were, but I suddenly felt really guilty about copying some of those day after day after day without ever doing anything about it. So thank you, my subtle butt-kicker!

      However there is no motivation in Casa Nathalie today. It's 5:30 p.m. and soon Greg will be calling to say he's coming home and I don't feel like cooking and all the chocolate I ate gave me a stomachache. Sigh.

  3. Oooooh....you have the Rebel XTi! That was my first digital SLR (well, I still have it - I just don't use it any more since I got another SLR about a year ago). I think you'll like the extra reach of that lens!

    Whenever I do more than just reading, I'm always on my laptop. I couldn't imagine blogging or typing anything longer than a short email on my tablet or even phone. Don't you just love reading ebooks? After I had read a few books on my iPad, I read a "real" book and found myself tapping on the page to get the definition of it. Duh. To my defense...I only have time to read at night, I must have been tired. Very tired.

    1. I bought that Rebel XTi used for Middle Son 3 years ago when he was expressing interest in learning about Photography. A year later, he had decided to major in Photography in college! He moved back home for about 4 months last year but had to pay rent. During the last month, he didn't have the money to pay his rent, but was planning on giving me the camera for my birthday since he had bought himself a much nicer one and knew that I was interested in learning about dSLR. So I told him I'd take the camera as rent :) I'm not crazy about the view finder because it's hard for me to see through it because of my glasses, but I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars for a newer camera so I'll try to learn dSLR with this one and maybe upgrade later on, if it makes sense.

      As far as reading ebooks, until very recently, I really hated it, lol. I do love the weight of a real book and being able to flip back and forth. But now that my Kindle has the page flip thing enabled, I like it better. I also like that it's not as heavy as the books I already read and I can change the font size if i want. I don't think I've never used the definitions but I mostly read crime novels so it's not brain surgery, lol. I absolutely know what you're saying by getting confused between "analog" an "digital". Many a time I used my car's remote key fob to attempt unlocking my front door (as in my house's front door!). Duh. How funny that you were tapping on a page for something to happen, lol.


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