Friday, August 12, 2016

Tormenting the Squirrels ~ Friday 8/12/16

Yesterday I felt that I was on the ball most of the day (save for all the times when I forgot to turn off the range or the laminator!): I was good on my diet, exercised, ran errands, did some chores, gardening, read a book, watched my show, etc.

Today, I feel a little less on the ball, probably because I'm starting to type this at 9:25 a.m. so about 2.5 hours after my usual start and I haven't done all that much but torment the squirrels.  More on that under my "Nature" header. But hey, I'm in my exercise clothes and I plan on being on the recumbent bike by 10 a.m.

The drop-off at school was a little more chaotic this morning.  I think people have figured out that the line is pretty long 2 minutes later so instead of showing up later as I wanted them too (so I could start leaving later too!), they're showing up earlier.  Plus the idiot parents who decide to drop off their kids wherever they damn please and in the process hold up everyone else because they don't want to stand in line as we all do are at it again.  I get road rage pretty badly when this happens (well, internally but still).  It's a very dangerous thing they're doing and it's just reeks of entitlement, which pisses me off.  Anyhoo, I was a little more stressed this morning started thinking that maybe I'll have my son take the bus in the mornings too.  The thing is, he's not a morning person so there's no chatting involved and save for the fact that he gives me a kiss before leaving the car, there's no advantage to me driving him.  But, and I realize how infuriating this can sound, but I don't want to be the "mean" mom forcing him to take the bus in the mornings when I'm already forcing him to take the bus in the afternoons, because I'm already pretty darn mean (well, strict).  And that's pretty much the only activity we do "together" anymore so I wanted to preserve that. Soon enough he'll be driving (a year and a half!) so I should treasure these quiet moments together, right?  Sigh.  I would if it weren't for the other dumbass parents. (and yes, I checked the app that I have to track my period and it's due in 2 days which explains my swearing and crankiness).

I was supposed to run some errands today but now I don't feel like going out. We'll see.

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
    • Pull the rest of the dead tomato plants 
    • Check on the passion flower vine
    • Check on the seedlings and water as needed
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Use recumbent bike  - Done
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises  - 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
    • 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
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards - Done
    • Go to CVS to get Diet Dr. Pepper and Special K  - Done
    • Go to Staples or Walmart and get graph and lined paper - Done
    • Connect the Ethernet Switch to the router
    • Reconnect my External Drive
    • Back up my laptop
    • Input receipts in spreadsheets

  • Greg decided to work from home today. He only had one conference call and would have only wanted to drive in to the office to use the gym at lunchtime and he said "it wasn't worth it". This is a complete turn-around from before his vacation but we all have slumps, right?  So he's saving us $20 in gas and tolls, or just about.

  • My son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa.

  • I earned a few Swagbucks, and since I actually completed a 50SB survey, I met my first goal quite early.  The nGage and Jun Group videos are running on my laptop but slowly it down significantly so I might not do that the whole day because it's aggravating.

  • Swagbucks also confirmed that I will be getting SB back from my Staples purchase.

  • I reused water left in a cup by Greg to water the periwinkle plants that I bought on Wednesday.

  • I exercised for free in my home by using my recumbent bike, while I watched an episode of L&O: CI  from a DVD borrowed from the library.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • I earned a free bagel with my Panera Rewards!  I forgot to redeem it, though, so I'll have to redeem it at a later time.

  • During lunch, Middle Son's GF revealed that she had graduated from our local state college (where my daughter is taking classes), summa cum laude!  How awesome is she?!  Sadly (for us) she is leaving for Tallahassee tonight as she will be attending Florida State University for the next 2 years, majoring in Social Work.  Middle Son had to go to work after he ate and that was the last time they saw each other for a while (he's broke so he can't afford to go there) because even if he has gas money he has to work on his days off to pay his rent, and she was all upset :(  I distracted her by telling her the story of finding my ex-boyfriend on my dorm room's door step just 1 hour after I had moved in into my dorm the first year of college.  I also told her that I would bring Middle Son to her in Tallahassee and would go wait somewhere for 4 hours so they could have time together, lol.

  • Instead of going to Staples to get the school supplies that I needed, my daughter and I went to Walmart, where they were markedly cheaper.

  • We also stopped at 2 CVS stores to try to score the Diet Dr. Pepper/Kellogg's cereal combination.  At the 2nd CVS, there were (2) 12-ct cases of Diet Dr. Pepper on the shelf, and there was a 3rd one all the way at the bottom of a huge display of soda cases.  Because I love my husband sooo much, I took down the whole pile to I could get the  3rd case (and then put it back).  So, Pixel, that was my 5 minutes of strength exercise for the day! I needed to buy 4 cases in order to pay $3 per case so I bought a case of Sprite for my son.  Then I needed to get to $20 in order to get a $5 ECB so I purchased 5 boxes of Kellogg's cereals on sale at $1.99 each and I used coupons and ECBs from my 1st trip of the week to get to my OOP of $16.05, which I paid for with my CVS card earned from our American Express Rewards program, and I received $5 back in ECBs.  I will also get $1.00 back from MobiSave on the cereal and earn KFR points automatically with my ExtraCare card.

  • I looked at the ad previews for CVS and Walgreens this coming week and noted what I would want to purchase (only milk at CVS).

  • I took a RaceTrac survey and earned a survey reward code for a freebie.

  • I took a Subway survey and earned a survey reward code for a free cookie.

  • Swagbucks announced a team challenge for next week. This time you need to earn at least 400 team points (they're making harder and harder to qualify).  I'm on the team with the green wrestling helmets. What about you?  (I'm not going to run the apps on the phone for double points, which is another promo they announced, I deleted their apps from my phone).

  • For dinner I made grilled cheese / grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and canned soup.  I was supposed to make spicy carrot soup but why bother when everybody is fine with canned soup?  Greg had a can of chunky chicken noodle soup, and I used a can of tomato soup (with a can of milk) from Aldi for the kids.  As for me, I had 1/2 cup of my homemade potato salad and a banana.  I was fine after the sandwich and the potato salad and then Greg asked me if I wanted anything and I asked for a banana and right after that I was starved.  The sugar did it!

  • The kids decided to walk to the park after dinner. They were going on a Pokemon Go expedition. That darn game.

  • I reached my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks.  Woo.

  • I entered my exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 160 BR points.

  • For free entertainment today, I watched some more episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent (DVDs borrowed from the library) and I'm about to read my library book that is due in 6 days ("A Time of Torment" by John Connolly).  Greg is reading a free e-book on his new Kindle Fire that came in yesterday. He loves it, by the way!

  • Gas to drive my son to school.

  • As I was finishing my exercise, Middle Son and his GF called me and wanted to know if they could come over. Since Greg was working from home, I suggested we go out to lunch instead. So my daughter and I went to meet them at Panera and I bought everybody lunch.
I had the Pick Two with this yummy half salad:
Chicken Strawberry Poppyseed
  • I stocked up on a couple of school supplies so I don't have to go buy more during the year: 15 packs of lined paper and 5 packs of graph paper from Walmart.

  • An upcoming "splurge": I asked my daughter what she wanted to do for her 18th birthday and she didn't have much of a clue. She really only has the one friend now but that friend has major stomach problems so she can't participate in any restaurant outings.  I suggested that I buy her tickets for any upcoming concert that she would want to see, but she decided she would like to go to The Cheesecake Factory and then to paint ceramics at All Fired Up in Winter Park. So she and I will probably do that and ask Youngest Son if he wants to come along.  I'll have to see if I can find online coupons or something :) Oh, I'll check groupons and  Update: well both were busts and I couldn't find any online coupons either :(
  • The Walmart cashier overcharged me for an extra package of lined paper ($0.82).  I realized it while I was walking away from the register but a quick look at the Customer Service line revealed that it was very long so I decided not to seek a refund. But I was pissed.

  • Made my bed
  • Drove my son to school
  • Tormented the squirrels
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Left comment on other blogs
  • Exercised
  • Went to lunch with daughter, middle son and his girlfriend
  • Ran errands
  • Ran Malwarebytes on my laptop
  • Worked on shopping list
  • Researched discounts for my daughter's birthday celebration
  • Submitted a rebate
  • Took customer satisfaction surveys
  • Cooked dinner

  • Logged my food and drink intake into MyFitnessPal
  • Stayed within my calorie allotment
  • Exercised about 48 minutes on my recumbent bike
  • Moving all those heavy cases of soda at CVS and then carrying my purchases into the house, I think count for the 5 minutes of strength exercises that I told Pixel Peeper that I would try to do (everyday).

  • For a nice couple of hours in the backyard this morning
  • For a surprise call from Middle Son and lunch with him and his lovely GF
  • For staying within my calorie allotment even with eating at Panera!
  • For finding a copycat recipe of the Chicken Strawberry Poppyseed Salad from Panera and realizing that I have 99.9% of what's needed on hand right now.

So funny story and I'm sorry I don't have any videos to show you because I was too slow with the camera, BUT:

When I went into the garden this morning, I found what I find every morning:

But I was a little stressed out after dropping off my kid at school so I shooed them away and then decided to switch the blue feeder with the red feeder so the red feeder would be a little less accessible as it is too far away from the small tree that's growing.

It seemed to work, as a while later, I saw Mr. Squirrel approaching the feeder area again. There's a small mound of mulch behind it so he jumps on there first, and then jumps in the little tree and then... tries jumping on the blue feeder only he bonks his head on it, his paws can't grab onto it and he falls straight down!  You should have heard me laugh sarcastically "Take that, you little bastard!".

And I thought that would be the end of that, Oh, but no. Like a zombie from a horror movie, he sprung right back to life and started scaling the bird feeder pole itself!

So I got up and got closer and he scampered away.

I was really miffed by now so I went back inside to get my big jar of Vaseline. We've had that for years, I think I might have bought it when my oldest son was a baby.  I put Vaseline on the posts so the ants leave the hummingbird feeders alone and it works very well until we get some rain and then I have to put some more on.  So today I slathered those poles.

And I waited.

About 30 minutes later, Mr. Squirrel shows up again, but he sneaks up on the pole before I can grab the camera. He jumps up, grabs onto the pole with his grubby little paws and whoooop!  Slides down!  It was so satisfying and comical at the same time, just like a cartoon!  I laughed so hard.  He ran off right away.   How I wish I had gotten a video of that!

After that, he came back a couple of times and plopped himself on the bench and studied the area, but didn't try going onto the poles again. Of course these times I was ready to shoot (my camera)!  Arrgh.

My camera wouldn't focus properly but you can see the ghost of the squirrel walking by in the background.

Not sure of what to do now, as the bench is too far away for him to jump to the feeders.

 I'm glad I got to see this, though, it was priceless :)

Other sights in the backyard this morning:

Female cardinal

Hummingbird (taken with 40x digital zoom, alas). Its feathers look like scales!
 Any interesting critters in your neck of the woods, recently?


  1. You know, when I carry my heavy camera while walking and count that as aerobic exercise + strength training then you are certainly allowed to count lugging cases of soda as exercise!

    I had to laugh about your squirrel scenery, and I didn't even see it!

    1. And today I took a page out of your book and counted carrying my camera equipment (and a heavy folding chair, and also a heavy bad) for 90 minutes as I walked around taking pictures :)

      The squirrel was funny. I was hoping to see it go through the same thing this morning but I didn't :(

  2. Hey, we are on the same team! They have upped the prize this time for first place so we need to win! LOL.

    1. Woohoo! Same team! I've been better with Swagbucks these past few days but it's been challenging for me to even get to 300 team points the last couple of times so I don't know how much help I'm going to be.

  3. Aw, the poor squirrel. It was trying so hard to get a treat.

    That salad looks great! Very colorful. Sounds like you did well with your diet, staying within your calorie limit. Plus all that exercising. Well done.

    1. Colorful and delicious too! I need to defrost some chicken and pre-cook it so I can make some.

  4. I don't blame you for being steamed. I HATE drivers who feel they are beyond abiding by the rules. I "feel" road rage as well, though I don't act on it. Sounds like you will have to leave for school even earlier if you want to avoid all the hassles of the traffic.

    I think your daughter picked really fun birthday activities for her eighteenth. Is her friend able to do the ceramics part with her? It is lovely that you are included in the celebrations.

    Great episode of "Backyard Critters" this morning. Poor little squirrel. I'm sure you were laughing WITH him, not at him. Great entertainment.

    1. I can't leave any earlier because the campus isn't open until 6:50 a.m. anyway. As it is, my son is already there almost a half hour before classes start! But I half jokingly asked if he was ready to take the bus tomorrow morning now that he did it today without any problems and he said "OK" so maybe my days of road rages are coming to an end!

      I don't think her friend will do the ceramics session because it's so far from our home and the Cheesecake Factory (where she can't eat) is really close to the ceramics studio so we'll just do everything at once.

      You keep on thinking that I wasn't laughing AT that squirrel, lol.


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