Monday, October 24, 2016

Domestic Monday ~ 10/23/16

How was your Monday?  Mine started by getting the kittens down, as usual, and then I checked my email while sipping on my coffee and waiting for Greg to get up so I could cook his breakfast.

A normal morning here.  But there was an email from the oldest of my two brothers (the cop from Marseille), asking me to email him as soon as I got up because he wanted to "tell me something".  Uh oh.  Turns out, we needed to talk on the phone because he had finally called my dad (after months of dodging his calls because my brothers, like me, are tired of my dad's craziness and abuse) and gotten puzzling news. Apparently my dad (73, in poor health, widowed almost 3 years) met someone.  Someone who's younger than my brother (and me, since my brother is younger than me by 2 years) and he is quite taken with her and taking her to meet "all his friends" (of which he has almost none anymore since he's alienated everyone).  My brother is concerned that my dad found himself a gold digger.  The only thing that concerns me, is that in France children are responsible for their parents' (and grandparents'!) debts.  My dad isn't rich but his chalet in the Alps is paid off and he has pensions and enough money in the bank to support himself.  He and I don't talk anymore and my brothers avoid him as much as possible.  I don't care what he does with his money and never expected to get any inheritance from him.  Honestly, not getting any inheritance from him would be my preference, but the law in France states that you cannot disinherit your children and that everything has to be divided equally in between children.  I am very concerned about inheriting any debts.  So I put my brother in charge of finding out more, but there's really nothing we can do. Our father is an adult and has the right to live his life the way he sees fit.

Then I was mentioned our mother and my brother announced that their vacation in Corsica had been a total disaster (he and his girlfriend invited our mom to join them on their vacation to Corsica this past September, and Greg and I paid for my mom's share of the vacation), and that he wasn't talking to our mom anymore and would never talk to her again.  Whaaaat?!  It's the first I hear of it but I was wondering why no one had sent me pictures of Corsica or talked to me about their trip.  I guess that now, I know why.  My brother proceeded to list his recriminations against our mother, some I can understand, most of them makes me wonder why in the heck he thought it would be a good idea to take a 69-year-old woman who is afraid of the water, can't be in the sun and has leg and knee problems so she can't walk much and definitely not hike mountains or even go up and down stairs, on a camping vacation to Corsica, on the beach and where most of their excursions included hiking or visiting villages with lots of stairs because they were in the mountains.   And one has to wonder why my mom was so eager to go, surely she would have done research about Corsica!  I've never been to Corsica and I knew that was the way it was going to be!  I had raised reservations with my brother at first but he had said "no, no it'll be OK, we won't be on the beach all the time, there are a lot of places to visit!". So apparently they spent most of the 2 weeks not talking to one another, with the girlfriend caught in the middle.  My mom can be a very critical person who thinks she should say whatever is on her mind no matter how hurtful, so that must have been fun.  I love my mom, she's been through a lot and is actually a nifty person, but I wouldn't go on vacation with her.

So I'm not talking to my dad and my brother #1. is not talking to my mom.  My brother #2. has stopped talking to my brother #1 and his girlfriend and he has blocked them on Facebook.  Brother #2. lives in Paris and met my mom at the train station on her way back from Corsica to make sure she got on the right train to go home. Brother #1 and I think that our mom must have given him an earful about her vacation, which is why Brother #2 is now not talking to Brother #1.  No one has told me anything until now so I was completely in the dark.  My sister is probably not in the know either, even though she lives close to my mom, because my mom told me she hadn't seen her since late August.

So I'm going to pretend I don't know anything.  I was laughing at all the ridiculousness while I was on the phone with my brother, but as soon as we hung up, a dark cloud settled and I started feeling very anxious.  Remember this T-shirt?

Yeah, that was me this morning. Despite telling my brother that I didn't care about any of the shenanigans that he had discussed, I couldn't think about it all morning.  And when I'm upset, I clean!  Good thing it was Domestic Monday, uh?

So I spent the next 3.5 hours cleaning and cooking and baking. I don't even remember everything that I did because I kept on running scenarios about my family and what could happen in my mind and I was on autopilot most of the morning. The poor kittens were trying to follow me everywhere and get my attention and they were cute but they were in my way.

I finally sat down at 12:30 p.m. to have lunch.  The kittens missed me so much that right now, at 1:15 p.m., I have Princess sleeping on my chest, Tabby Kitty curled up against me the couch, and Explorer curled up on the couch about a foot away.  Awwww...

I did text my BFF telling her that we needed to have breakfast together again because now I had WTF news from my family (she had shared her own WTF news from hers at breakfast last week and it was a doozy!) so we made plans to meet again tomorrow morning at our favorite Wawa station to shoot the breeze.  I need that because I don't want my kids in the middle so I'm not discussing it with them and Greg has no interest in my family (he thinks they're all crazy) so I won't get any satisfaction from unburdening to him (I told him the broad lines this morning after I got off the phone with my brother and he had no comment).

Now I understand why my mom emailed me with just a "Is everything OK" late last week, she must have been wondering what I knew about the Corsica trip and if I was mad at her!  I'm glad I didn't hear from my brother until today.

Anyhoo, moving on from all this madness, here is my To Do List and I get to cross off several things from it so I'm excited about that. At least, some good came out of all this.

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 new ones - in progress
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two) - I think I'm also going to add "and don't leave your literature either, I'll vote for the other party if you do!"
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the bedrooms (including son's fan) - in progress
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets - Cleaned a couple of them today
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter shelves over printer stand 
    • Declutter storage bench 
    • Declutter printer stand
    • Clean the fridge - Done
    • Declutter gardening supplies chest
    • Defrost the freezer - scrapped off the top of the ice layer. Will need to defrost the whole thing.
    • Sweep/vacuum downstairs bathroom - Done
    • Sweep kitchen - Done
    • Sweep cat room - Done
    • Sweep breezeway - Done
    • Sweep exercise room - Done
    • Clean entry room front windows
    • Put up pictures on Art Room's walls
    • Do the laundry  - Done
    • Fold the laundry
    • Iron
    • Mix a bottle of window cleaner for the kitchen
    • Sweep litter from upstairs - Done
    • Clean kitten litter boxes - Done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Post menu for next week (Monday) - Done
    • Defrost meat for tonight - Done
    • Bake bread - Done
    • Make roselle jelly
    • Make Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola bars
    • Make crepes for the kids' snacks
  • Education
    • Start watching Photography lectures online (see email)
    • Write post about Colt Creek State Park visit
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
    • Go for a walk with my camera - little lake near Downtown Clermont
    • Finish reading my library book (Mind Prey)
    • Finish watching Season 14 of Law & Order
  • Errands:
    • Mail Labels for Education to elementary school 
    • Go to Ace to get new broom handle for rubber broom and solar rechargeable batteries for the front yard solar lights -need to see which handle would fit.
    • Buy Greg a bike
    • Meet BFF for coffee  (tomorrow)
    • Buy a litter box at Family Dollar
    • Return materials to the library
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Pull the raspberries and add roses in pots in their place
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden 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).
    • Turn the composting bin
    • Plant wildflower seeds
    • Plant seedlings outside
    • Measure diameter of feeder "tray" and get new bowl from thrift store
    • Water potted plants
    • Refill self-watering bins
    • Pull weeds from pots and bins
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment - I'll do that once I'm more comfortable with my weight because I know they'll be nagging me about it anyway.
    • Use recumbent bike 
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises 
    • Log food into My Fitness 
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards
    • Weigh myself (Wednesdays) 
  • Kittens/Cats
  • 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
    • Greg to call plumber
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
    • Scrub mildew off front of the house (porch, behind bushes, front stairs)
    • Install white beadboard in laundry room (will need to measure and purchase)
    • Install new stick-on tiles in laundry room (will need to remove ancient ones first)
    • Paint laundry room cabinets
    • Get Greg to fix/remove rotten wood on front porch
    • Make a list of which outlets need to be replaced and call Duke Energy Homewire Protection to schedule appointment
    • Ask electrician for estimate on installing outlet on front porch
    • Get on flat roof, sweep it, and clean out the front gutter
    • Ask Greg to install gutter screens on the front gutter
    • Have Greg block the opening in the back fence
    • Strengthen BlueTooth transmitter's cord with electric tape (in SUV) 
    • Pour Drano down the kitchen sink (for maintenance)
  • 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 blog photos from September 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 upstairs
    • File paperwork - in progress!
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt (include kitten photos)
    • Scan what needs to be scanned (if anything)
    • Work on photo album for daughter's graduation
    • Reply to my French BFF's email
    • Start proceedings for deleting Yahoo Mail account
    • Replace music on my phone
    • Take RaceTrac surveys 
    • Update Net Worth document
    • Install Photoshop Elements 10 on son's PC
    • Input receipts in spreadsheets
    • Print coupons - Done
    • Clip coupons
    • Sort coupons
    • Research candidates on the ballot (before Wednesday Tuesday, preferably)

  • I brewed a pot of coffee with the free bag of decaf coffee I had won from Wawa.

  • Wawa released the new weekly freebie to my app: a free Sizzli breakfast sandwich, will I will redeem when I have breakfast with my BFF tomorrow morning.

  • I didn't need to pack a lunch for Greg today since he had been invited to a business lunch.

  • I wanted to bake something so I made Pumpkin Pecan bread in the breadmaker. The recipe is from the bread machine cookbook that I bought at the Mount Dora Friend of the Library bookstore this summer and I hope it turns out! I used up the rest of the can of pumpkin puree that I had opened last week and I chopped the pecan halves that I had gotten for free at Walmart with my SB gift card in my food processor.

  • I made another batch of butternut squash soup. I picked the squash that had developed some "spots".  I used up the rest of the small brick of UHT whipping cream that I had opened last week.

  • I saved the seeds from the butternut squash. I will season and roast them at a later date.

  • I boiled 4 eggs for my lunches the rest of the week.

  • I cleaned the fridge and identified several things that I want to use up:
    • powdered goat milk: will use in my baking
    • Pedialyte: will drink mixed with the free samples of orange FiberPlus powder
    • apple butter: will make spiced apple cake with orange glaze
    • old vanilla beans that had already been used once to make vanilla extract: refilled the jar with the rest of my bottle of vodka to make more vanilla extract.  I hope it works a second time!  I left it to brew in one of my kitchen cabinets.

  • Did 3 loads of laundry in cold/cold and hung most everything outdoors.  Used the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting for Greg's Tshirts and bath towels.

  • My lunch was a bowl of butternut squash soup, some mashed potatoes left over from last night's dinner and the 2nd half of the papaya I had cut open yesterday.

  • I printed a coupon that Kellogg's had emailed me.

  • Chili's sent me another reward for a free appetizer or dessert if I eat there in the next couple of days. I always upload them to my account, just in case.

  • I decided that I would do my grocery shopping tomorrow, since I'll be out in South Clermont to meet my BFF tomorrow anyway. If I can make myself study the voter's guide, I might even be able to determine who I want to vote for in all the races by tomorrow. which would definitely save me a round-trip to Clermont.

  • I watched more Law & Order episodes from the library DVDs that I borrowed.

  • I put the first season of "Homeland" on hold at the library. I'm #2 in line although the county shows several copies available at the various branches so I don't know when I'll get it. That's OK, though, as the latest John Sandford book is on its way to me right now. Woohoo!  I'll only have 7 days to read it so I don't need to have the pressure to watch Homeland at the same time :)

  • I had to text my son to ask him to bring me a slice of the pumpkin pecan bread since I had 2 kittens taking naps on me!  Thankfully he got my message for once and I was able to partake in a warm piece of delicious bread. Oh yes, it is delicious!

  • Later on, I saved the rest of the loaf by using my expandable bread keeper, bought for $5.00 from a local thrift store.

  • My son borrowed my bike to go volunteer at the library.

  • I finally wrote a menu for the week and worked on my shopping list.

  • I received free samples of Starbucks Latte K-cups in the mail.

  • For dinner I cooked Pasta with Beans and Spinach and grilled chipotle chicken sausages.  This allowed me to use up the bag of spinach that I had bought at Aldi a couple of weeks ago and that was threatening to go bad.  We had lots of pasta leftovers so I packed some for Greg's lunch tomorrow and then froze the rest for a future dinner.

  • I also froze half the leftover butternut squash soup that I made today. I have enough left in the fridge for a couple of lunches. I reused 2 soup containers from past orders of Chinese take-out.

  • It got hot (77F) in the kitchen after cooking dinner so I finally closed the windows and turned the AC back on at about 7:00 p.m.

  • Greg said that he received a free month of Groove music subscription as a bonus for having signed up a couple of months ago.  Woohoo!

  • After dinner I watched some episodes of "That 70's Show" (one of my faves!) on Netflix while a kitten was napping on me and I was finishing this post :)

  • Talked to my brother on the phone for an hour.

  • I dropped the container of freshly processed pecans in the fridge!  While I was able to recover most of what had spilled, I still wasted about 1/4 cup of it, which is annoying because those things are expensive!

  • Remember how my daughter had complained about her eye when she got back from California and confessed that she had accidentally put developer from her hair dye kit into her eye?  So I had taken her to an ophthalmologist to get checked out and the doctor had said there wasn't anything wrong with her?  Well, they had told me that there wasn't a co-pay but I knew there should be one and they said "oh don't worry, we'll bill you!".  So that bill came in today: $225!  The insurance claim was denied because of "non standard adjustment code". So now I have to make phone calls (which I hate!) to the insurance company and the doctor's office to get them to do their jobs properly. We have excellent insurance and the doctor is in network so this should have never gotten denied. I hate dealing with this crap!

  • Kitten duty
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Spoke with my brother on the telephone
  • Did 3 loads of laundry
  • Hung most of the clothes outside to dry
  • Dried the rest in the dryer
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Reloaded and ran the dishwasher
  • Cooked butternut squash soup
  • Cooked hard boiled eggs
  • Defrosted meat for the next 4 days
  • Baked bread in the breadmaker
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Fake mopped the kitchen
  • Wiped the countertops and some of the cabinets
  • Swept the cat room
  • Swept the breezeway
  • Swept the exercise room
  • Swept the downstairs bathroom
  • Scrubbed the downstairs toilet
  • Made Greg's bed
  • Printed some coupons
  • Cooked dinner
  • Froze leftovers
  • Organized the dirty dishes for later
  • One of my left elbow tendons started hurting this morning. Tennis elbow? I don't know but taking the heavy ceramic bowl containing the hot butternut squash out of the microwave was harder than it should have and my elbow hurt.  Between that and my left heel, I'm just a mess on my left side and I wonder why!
  • That my family lives far away from me.  I can't handle all the drama, quite honestly. 
  • That the library provides volunteering opportunities for young teens via the Jr. Friends of the Library. Not only is my son helping his community, but he is earning volunteer hours to qualify for a Bright Futures scholarship (he needs 100 hours at least before graduation), and it's a mile from our house so there is little need for me to drive him there. It's really a win-win-win situation!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (male)




Flowering weeds in my veggie bins

Roses and hibiscus!

Pileated Woodpecker

Princess has been very cuddly today!

The "twins" climbed on top of the tallest cat tower in the Cat Room and took a little nap there while I was working in the kitchen, next door.
Did you have a domestic Monday today?


  1. Oh, dear! Families are lovely, aren't they? I hope it all resolves itself in the best way possible, though. Glad you'll be able to talk about it with your BFF tomorrow.

    But you put all that anxiety into good effect and tackled a lot of tasks on your to do list!

    Sorry to hear about the doctor's bill! Hope you get sorted out and resolved!

    The yellow-flowered "weed" growing in your veggie bin looks like it is an oxalis, also known as wood sorrel. It is edible (has a sour taste). :)

    I hope you have a good day, tomorrow. Take care.

    1. I had looked up that "wildflower" before and you're right, it is wood sorrel, but I had no idea it was edible. So it looks like food is actually growing in my self-watering bin after all, hahaha. I don't think we'll try to eat it, though.


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