Thursday, August 11, 2016

Air Head! ~ Thursday 8/11/16

This morning finds me at my kitchen table at 8:25 a.m. in my exercise clothes. No, I haven't gotten on the bike yet because, despite saying that I would do that before getting on the laptop so I don't get derailed, I really enjoy drinking my coffee while catching up on the news, checking my emails and Feedly, so I might have to re-adjust my schedule.  Yesterday, I was thinking that I'd sit on the patio with the birdies until about 10 a.m. and then move the recumbent bike to the living room (it has wheels) and bike while I watched L&O: CI on OTA TV (the little TV in the exercise room is in the back of the house and you can't get that channel on it because the signal is too weak), but then Greg announced that he was going to be working from home today so my plans are changing again.

Day two of the school drop-off went well.  We left at 6:45 a.m. and this time no one was waiting for the bus near our house. I hope the bus driver doesn't start driving past it very fast because if my son needs to ride the bus to school at any time, I want to know that he'll indeed be picked up! The line of cars trying to get into the high school was about 1/2 a mile long once again when I left about 5 minutes after getting to the school, which made me happy to have left when we did. I did feel bad that my son has to wait 25 minutes for classes to start, but he'll make friends at some point, and go hang out with them.

My daughter got a text message from an acquaintance yesterday who said that her name was on one of that person's class roster. She's not supposed to be assigned to any high school classes since she's attending all college classes this year.  The online "Family Access" portal that lists all their classes and grades, attendance, etc, hasn't been populated with anybody's schedule yet so we couldn't verify that. I told her to email the Guidance counselor to make sure they corrected that if it was true, so she wouldn't be marked off as a truant and lose her driver's license!  I don't think she has yet.  She really needs to go that because it also would free a spot in whatever classes they might have put her in, where other students might be on a waiting list.

A change at the high school this year is that they are no longer requiring the seniors to have all 7 periods regardless of how many credits they've already earned. This was a major irritation for high performing seniors last year,  because they were forced into classes that they had no interest in and no need for because the administration had decided that they needed to be in class for the whole day. It seems that this year, they are indeed letting them take only those classes that they still need to graduate. Several of my daughter's friends have partial days, which will work out great for being able to get part-time jobs, for instance.  So they're happy.

With my daughter at home and done with all her exams now, I'm not sure what my day will look like, Maybe she'll want to go somewhere.  She went to visit her BFF last night who lives just a couple of streets over and asked me if I would allow them to drive to the beach.  I really wanted to be the cool mom and say yes, but 2 teens (one of whom, my daughter, I know to be obsessed with Pokemon Go and she'd be the one driving and possibly being distracted by that even if it's her friend using the phone, and the other who has very serious health issues), driving 2 hours to some beach in my car, on my insurance policy?  Yeah, no.  Am I a mean mom?  Maybe.  But at the same time I let her go to CA for 8 weeks so I don't think I'm all that mean.  Just very cautious.

One of the headlines I saw this morning is that there is a huge wildfire burning about 10 miles North of Marseille where one of my brothers lives and that it's getting very close to area with oil and gas refineries and that "thousands" of people have been evacuated.  I emailed him to ask if and how they were affected that it but I haven't heard back yet.  That part of the South of France is known for its Mistral, a very strong wind that blows northwesterly (it blew while I was driving the little hybrid car on the highway last year and it was scary and my brother said it wasn't even very strong!) so I'm hoping it will help protect Marseille.

To Do List :
  • 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 and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the entry room, breezeway, bedrooms (including son's fan)
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter exercise room (including storage bench)
    • Do the dishes 
    • Vacuum living room
    • Sweep breezeway
    • Sweep and mop kitchen
    • Sweep and mop downstairs bathroom
    • Spray bleach in shower stall
    • Scrub downstairs toilet
    • Fold laundry
    • Put laundry away
    • Make a car deodorant pad for my SUV
    • Clean the fridge
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Dehydrate pineapples 
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
    • Take donations to thrift store
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Research cone flowers and their care and plant them somewhere - Transplanted them in larger pot.
    • 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 - I'm thinking about pulling them and putting more roses in pots in their place.
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden - I will do this once I have replaced the broken self-watering bins
    • 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
    • Plant more okra
    • Trim grass behind the hedge
    • Trim weeds alongside the berm
    • Find fish emulsion and use on plants
    • Spray water on the hibiscus for aphids and mealybugs
    • Harvest the last couple of tomatoes - - Done
    • Pull the dead tomato plants - Done (I left the ones that still look alive)
    • Move the passion flower vine - Done
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Use recumbent bike - Done
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises 
    • Weigh myself  - Done
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal - Done
  • 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
    • Vacuum fridge coils
    • Greg to call plumber
    • Order boot lace replacements for Greg once Discover Rewards hit - Done
    • Have Greg removed fallen branch from side of shed
    • Wash the bathroom ceiling with bleached water
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
  • 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
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Submit Clearasil rebate
    • Look at sample ballot and research local candidates
    • Write Grocery Shopping post - Done
    • Record weight and exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards - Done
    • Check Publix digital coupons for free Annie's product - Done (emailed promotions)
    • Record son's chores in spreadsheet - Done
    • Go to CVS to get Diet Dr. Pepper and Special K?! (Friday)
    • Go to Staples or Walmart and get graph and lined paper (Friday)

  • Greg worked from home today, saving us about $20 in gas and tolls.

  • My son packed a lunch for school today.

  • He will take the school bus home from school.

  • I reached my 2nd daily goal on Swagbucks by 9:15 a.m. today, shades of the past, woohoo!
  • I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa.

  • The chicken drumsticks that I was supposed to defrost for dinner are all the way at the bottom of the chest freezer so I've altered my plans by grabbing one of the bags of 5 pork loin chops that I had frozen on Tuesday and I'll make Publix Apron's Balsamic Pork Scallopini for dinner.

  • I added 1/4 gallon of water to 1/4 gallon of whole milk to stretch it.

  • I offered for my daughter to get another 3-month student membership at the gym but she turned me down. She said she'd rather walk on the trail or bike, she didn't enjoy exercising at the gym. This will save me about $50 a month so I'm fine with it :)

  • I exercised for free by using my recumbent stationary bike and riding my "real" bike to the library.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • I borrowed a new bestseller and the 4th season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent from the library.

  • I cut up a piece of the wire hanger that I had cut up to make a hook to clean the malfunctioning toilet, and I fashioned a hook for the new bird feeder. 

  • I usually bring my driver's license with me when I go walking or biking but then I stress about losing it or forgetting it in my pocket instead of putting it back in my wallet. After my bike ride, I decided to just make a copy of it and laminate it. I'll take this one along next time. This way I have "ID" if there's an emergency but I don't have to worry about losing it as much (I'd want to protect my information but it's better to lose a photocopy than the real thing!).  Instead of wasting a whole page of laminating, I just used a piece of it and fed it the long way.

  • Greg and I had leftovers for lunch.

  • It sprinkled for a little while, mid-afternoon.

  • I took (2) RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 survey reward codes for freebies.

  • I entered my weight and exercise for the past 2 days into Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 320 BR points. My balance is now 1,000 points. When I reach 5.000 points, I will get a $5 rewards.

  • I checked the "Shop With Points" section of my Amazon account and saw that our new Discover Rewards are available.

  • So I ordered the boot laces for Greg ($9.99) and a used copy of the hummingbird book that I wanted for myself with my Discover Rewards. My OOP was $0.03. However, Discover sent me an alert that $1.00 had been charged to my card so I'd better not have gotten overcharged by $0.97, Amazon!

  • Last night I participated in a promotion from Publix for whereby if I tweeted the link to the promo, two coupons would be added to my Publix digital wallet, one being for a free Annie's product.  However, I never received the coupons and now the site won't let me sign in again. I've emailed Inmar, the promotion company involved in this, to ask for help.  Update: they forwarded my email to Publix Customer Service who told me they could see the coupons in my digital wallet. I looked again and they weren't there!  So I logged out and logged back in and then they were in my "clipped" coupons.

  • I reused an Amazon shipping box and other shipping material to pack some games that I am mailing to a friend. It decluttered a whole shelf and I hope that her kids will enjoy those games that I had had a hard time letting go since they were the last remnants of homeschooling my youngest son before 3rd grade!

  • Greg mowed our backyard - no landscaping crew expenses here :)

  • I harvested 2 green onions from my garden for dinner.

  • It rained tonight and we even lost power for a couple of minutes!  Greg and I were getting excited about using the generator,  but it came back, which is actually great since we couldn't run the AC with the generator.

  • Gas to drive my son to school in the morning.

  • I completely blanked out and left the electric range on this morning after cooking Greg's breakfast!  Good thing I did that AFTER coming home from school and I was sitting in the kitchen instead of the living room so I eventually (like... 30 minutes later!) realized it.  Ugh.

  • Not my failure but the City of Clermont's who decided to bulldoze the most beloved playground in the city, one of those wooden playgrounds shaped like a castle and a pirate ship, that everyone around here remembers playing on.  It's a shame, especially since there was no advance notice so we couldn't go back to bid it proper adieu. The locals call that park "Park Pals" but the name is "Palatlakaha Recreation Area", I think. I've never heard anyone use its proper name, though.  Anyhoo, they're saying that fixing it for another 15 years would have cost only $60,000 more than a new playground, but the new one sounds like it's going to be one of those bland ones that is everywhere nowadays but with "lots of nets for kids to climb". Exactly the type of stuff that I wouldn't have let my little kids play on before whereas my older kids took my toddlers on the old playground without any trouble. They could climb stairs, run, crawl, jump, explore, it was awesome. I'm much more upset about it than I would have thought I would be, LOL.  I've emailed Middle Son, Daughter and Youngest Son with the news (still not communicating with Oldest Son) and I'm curious to see if they'll have any feedback. According to the article I've read, a lot of people are upset about this whole thing, lol. Greg thought this stunk as well. Update: Middle Son and Daughter said they had heard about it and that it was horrible.
Old Park Pals playground (source: Park Pals Facebook page)
The monstrosity that will be the new playground.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!
  • What is wrong with me today?! I also forgot to turn off my laminator for about 2.5 hours past when I should have turned it off!

  • I ordered the wrong size of graph paper from Staples, arrgh.  I'm trying to do a chat to see if I can return the paper in store. This is taking forever, not impressed.  When I finally got the answer I needed, they told me I could NOT return the items in store. So I'm going to have to buy the paper out of pocket (in store, probably tomorrow) and then deal with returning the items to the website.  Let me tell you and I've already said so in the past, but Staples isn't easy to do business with.

  • McDonald's sent me an email telling me that I had earned a free McCafé item in my app so I checked and there's nothing. I emailed them to ask them what the deal is.
  • I had to compost 3/4 of a huge cucumber that had become very slimy in the fridge :(

  • Made my bed
  • Took my school to school
  • Weighed myself
  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Defrosted meat for dinner
  • Exercised
  • Made Greg's bed
  • Logged my food into My Fitness Pal after I updated the app
  • Made a hook for the new bird feeder and filled it up
  • Relocated the passion flower vine
  • Pulled half the tomato plants and composted them
  • Wrote Grocery Shopping post
  • Send help request email with a promotion
  • Did a live chat to ask about a return
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Prepared a package for shipping
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dishes
  • Commented on blogs

  • I'm reviving this section because my daughter and I resolved yesterday to lose weight together.  I want to be realistic in my expectations and goals.  We discussed setting a goal to reach or surpass by Christmas and then set another one and so on and so forth. I've had an extremely hard time losing weight in the past few years so I'm starting with a very low goal, I guess: 4 lbs by Christmas.  I hope I lose more but at least 4 lbs and I need to maintain the lose until Christmas.  My daughter has a different goal.

  • So I weighed myself this morning and I'm at $227.2.  This will be my official starting weight. I'm going to add my goal of 224.2 lbs by Christmas in the sidebar of my blog so I can find it easily if I forget, lol.

  • I'm logging my food in My Fitness Pal and exercising. Woo!
    • Today I used my recumbent bike for 45 minutes
    • And right after that I biked to the library and back, which took 16 minutes of biking.
    • I ate all but 36 of my calories.  But it's only 9:19 p.m. so maybe I'll find something that's only 36 calories. (Like a crumb of coffee cake, sob!)

  • For an easy drop-off at school this morning
  • For loads of food in my freezer
  • For reaching my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks, woot!

I saw a couple of "new" birds at one of the feeders, one with the red head but it wasn't a cardinal. I was too far to see what they were and I didn't have my camera with me :(

I hooked up my new bird feeder. We'll see if I get visitors. It might be too low.

I relocated my passion flower vine to the back of the yard, where the little plum tree used to be. It's not in full sun so it's probably not the best spot for it. But right now it looks dead so I might not to worry about it anyway.

Have you had any air head moments recently?  There are days (many days) that I worry that eventually I'll develop dementia or Alzheimer's.


  1. Wish you the best with the weight loss goal. It is hard to lose weight, but you can do it! Did you find a 36 calorie snack?

    1. Thank you! I ended up completely forgetting about it!

  2. When my kids were in school, they told them to ride the bus in the beginning if they thought they might ever ride it throughout the year. They based their routes on how many kids were on the bus when school started. Then after the routes were established, they could get to school however they wanted. I don't know if it works that way there or not.

    1. Yes, I think it's the way it works here too. There was a girl at "our" bus stop in the morning the first day of school, but no one was there yesterday or today. However since my son gets off there in the afternoons, I'm hoping they'll keep the stop. if they don't, the next stops is a couple of blocks away and I doubt they would eliminate the route altogether.

  3. I got the same email from McDs. I keep the app for DH in case he is starving. I emailed them too.

    1. I got it again this morning and again there's no free McCafé item on my app! Did you get the email twice as well?

  4. That old playground looks way cooler! That's great about letting kids do only what is needed. School here doesn't do that. You go all day long to classes, no leaving for lunch (of course nothing in walking distance either), no study halls or time not in an actual classroom. When I was in school there were no free college classes, they offered a couple during the day but you still paid the same amount, don't know if it's still the same or not.

    Thanks for the mail and stickers. Bubby loved them.

    I know how you can lose weight quickly, but I would not recommend it :)

    1. Wasn't that playground awesome?! I was crying like an idiot when I was reading the comments of all the people who grew up playing on it on the public Facebook page that was created for the playground, lol! So many great memories.

      When I was in high school we had to show ID to get into the school, which was locked up all day long. Over there you can't get your driver's license until you're 18 so everyone walked, biked or took the bus. Like you, there were no restaurants around the school. We were allowed to leave for lunch though because lunch is 2 hours over there. I would often bike home (a 30 minute bike ride one way, usually with a friend sitting on my back fender!) because you had 30 minutes to eat and then you had to stand in the courtyard. Not a big deal in the Spring but winter lasted a long time and it snowed and we had to wait outside for 90 minutes. The only study hall was after school for those who had to wait until 6 p.m. for the buses to pick them up. (because some of us had classes until 6 p.m. I had Latin until 6 p.m. so my classes were from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., most days, with a 2 hour lunch break). We didn't have the opportunity to take any college classes while in high school. The closest university was 2 hours away by train and the internet didn't exist when I was in high school :)

      I'm not interested in losing weight fast. I think 4 lbs by Christmas is very reasonable since I'm quite large. I want to be healthier by the time I'm 50 in a little over a year. Back when I did Weight Watchers when I was 34 or so, I lost 8 lbs my first week and I was 30 lbs lighter than I am now! So it's discouraging, every time I start a new diet, to see that I'm losing maybe 0.5 lb if I'm lucky, but I have to keep my eye on the goal.

      I'm glad Bubby liked the stickers! I have loads more so I'll keep on sending you some with subsequent mailings.

      Have a great day, Jess!

  5. Hoping your brother from Marseilles is okay and gets a message back to you. Wildfires are so unpredictable. Canadians are still recovering from the Fort McMurray fire this past Spring when 80,000 residents were evacuated.

    What a lovely playground it was. I guess the cost of maintaining a wood structure is just not viable. At least they are replacing the old structures with something else instead of just demolishing it.

    Good luck with your renewed weight loss and exercise efforts. Losing four pounds by Christmas is very doable. Slow and steady wins the race and developing healthier habits takes time to become routine. I am off on my Girls' Weekend, and I won't be dieting. Sorry.

    1. Thank you Susan, he said he was OK. However, apparently there were several fires that were all started at the same time all around gas refineries and natural gas processing plants. He said (and he's a cop so he should know) that the media have been told NOT to report them as terrorism and to not show pictures of the suspects or name names. From French headlines, I see that the President is calling them "criminal acts". My brother said that 4 firefighters were burned in Beziers, 3 of them probably won't make it.

      You out having fun, you shouldn't be thinking of your diet, so I'm cheering you on!

  6. I need to get serious about losing some weight, too...not this vague "I just want to lose some weight." I'd like to lose 10 pounds by Christmas - about 1/2 pound per week, meaning about 1750 calories less per week. That's 250 calories per day - should be doable by eating 125 calories less and exercising away 125 calories more. Right? Why does it always sound so damn easy?


    1. Uh, that's too much math for me! 10 lbs by Christmas it is. I'll check in with you at Christmas :)


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