Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Not Looking Forward To Wednesday but It Turned Out Fine ~ 10/26/16

I need to practice this. Seriously.

My brain knows that negativity perpetuates negativity, but I have to do several things this morning that I'm not looking forward to doing and it's stressing me even though I'm trying to tell myself to relax and just take a deep breath:

  1. Calling the ophthalmologist' billing office or insurance company about that $225 bill. I've been thinking about it and I don't know which one to call first. Probably the doctor's office so I can point out that they used the wrong code to submit to the insurance, as this is what's printed on the bill?  I guess no one reviews the bills before they're sent out?  Ugh. I hate making phone calls. It's completely irrational and I shouldn't be having this problem because I was a secretary for years and making phone calls is what I did day in, day out. But these days, just the thought to call someone I don't know on the phone puts a lump in my throat and my anxiety level shoots up very high. Seriously, what the heck is wrong with me?!  People think I'm making this up but this is preventing me from calling trade people to come fix stuff in my house (Greg said he would call but he doesn't), and creating much stress for me.  Ugh. No, I won't take any medication for it.  I despise going to the doctor's (another weird thing that's started happening to me in the past few years).
  2. Doing the dishes. Does this ever end?!  I swear, once it's only Greg and me at home, we're eating out for every meal and using paper plates or microwavable meals for the rest of the time,  lol.  Actually, my sink and countertops are covered in dirty dishes again. but once I organize them in piles that make sense to me, it's usually not as much as it looks. I do have a lot of pans and mixing bowls to wash by hand, though. I'll just put my Kindle Fire above the sink and watch some episodes of "That 70s Show" to make the time go by faster.
  3. Research the local races and candidates so I can go cast my early vote. I'm dreading it because I feel that I don't have much of a choice. My city's races, for instance, is a clusterfuck and each candidate is more despicable than the next. We're mired in scandal after scandal and I want to kick them all of office and hire all brand new people.  I might even have to leave those bubbles blank even though local elections really impact us the most.  But it's hard to muster any enthusiasm for the doofuses running this year.  Politics was never pretty but boy has it gotten ugly these past few years.
  4. I have to write my grocery shopping post, and since it was the last shopping trip of October, I also have to write the recap.  That might have to wait until tomorrow or Thursday, because...
  5. I have to start reading my 7-day library book  but before I do that, I need to finish the one that's on my Kindle or I'll have forgotten all about it by the time I get back to it.
So that's what I should be doing all morning. We'll see if that's indeed what I end up doing, hahaha.  

The kittens are still chewing on everything and particularly enjoy chewing on electric cables. Of course, the thinner, the better and they chewed through a pair of Greg's earbuds a couple of days ago. I had warned him to put them away and when I heard them chew, I warned him that they were chewing on his earbuds.  He didn't want to get up, yet got annoyed when he realized that they had completely severed the cable in half, because he thought that I should have gotten up since I was closer than he was. You know what?  I hide MY cables (because they're baby cats so they don't know not to chew them yet!) and I warned him to hide his and he didn't listen. I already spend a lot of time caring for them during the day, I'm not going to spend my evenings making sure that the stuff he leaves out doesn't get chewed too!  Grrr.  This morning I have already administered a few taps to Tabby Kitty's butt when I caught him chewing a couple of cables on his desk and hidden his phone charger cable (that he leaves in plain sight, he drives me nuts!) and the cable to the drill charger that he wants me to investigate on Amazon.  The kittens can be exhausting but they're still babies so you have got to baby proof the house as much as possible.  They should make those cables out of steel, though!

On a more positive note, I opened the windows even though I had to turn off the AC that was about to kick in because it was 74F/23C throughout the house.  But it feels cool outside and there's a slight breeze blowing that brings with it a smoky smell: a neighbor trimmed a large oak tree after Hurricane Matthew and has been burning the branches every evening.  I can hear birds singing and some distant traffic.  I'm hoping I can keep the windows open for several hours. Our high today should be about 83F/28C.

A little purring kitten just settled herself on my chest and the other two are playing on my legs, so it doesn't look like I'll be very productive for the next hour or so, unless I want to be a meanie!  Now would be a good time to reflect and practice positivity so I'm in the right mood to make that phone call when the kittens wake him from their nap.

Sorry but I have to post my To Do List or I won't be doing much at all today! Posting it allow me to review it and add/delete tasks as needed.  Here we go:

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
    • Declutter gardening supplies chest
    • Defrost the freezer - scrapped off the top of the ice layer. Will need to defrost the whole thing.
    • Vacuum living room
    • Clean entry room front windows
    • Put up pictures on Art Room's walls
    • Fold the laundry
    • Put away the laundry
    • Iron
    • Mix a bottle of window cleaner for the kitchen
    • Sweep litter from upstairs Done
    • Clean all three kitten litter boxes - Done
    • Wash big cat litterboxes -washed one of them today
    • Do the dishes Done
    • Wash Greg's bedding Done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Post menu for next week (Monday)
    • Defrost meat for tonight - Done
    • Bake rolls
    • Make roselle jelly
    • Make Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola bars
    • Make crepes for the kids' snacks
    • Make Halloween cookies for kids (Monster Brownies?)
    • Prep casserole for tonight - Done
  • 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)
    • Start reading "Escape Clause" (due on Tuesday)
    • Finish watching Season 14 of Law & Order
  • Errands:
    • Mail Labels for Education to elementary school - Done
    • 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
    • Buy a litter box at Family Dollar
    • Go vote! - Done
  • 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) - Done
    • Put together four-tier shelf
  • 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) - Sent her a postcard instead
    • Scan what needs to be scanned (if anything)
    • Shred what needs to be shredded - Done
    • 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
    • Track groceries in spreadsheet
    • Post this week's shopping trip details
    • Recap October's groceries and eating out
    • Research candidates on the ballot - Done
    • Research new charger for Greg's drill and order - Done
    • Call Ophthalmologist or insurance company - Done
    • Renew vehicle registrations - Done

  • Brewed a pot of half caf coffee by using the free decaf I had won from Wawa. 

  • Made a sandwich for Greg's lunch instead of asking him to buy lunch. This is a victory because usually when I don't have leftovers for him (the chili was barely enough for 3, without any beans in it!), I just take the path of least resistance and have him buy lunch because I really dislike making sandwiches for other people, for some reason.  I also packed him pretzel sticks and a cup of yogurt, as well as a can of his precious Diet Dr. Pepper.

  • Our son packed a lunch and rode the school bus.

  • SavingStar confirmed that they'll be transferring my $54.50 balance to my Upromise account and that it will take 30 to 45 days.

  • I reused the water from the dehumidifier to water my peace lily that is outside.

  • I ran the dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom once everyone had  showered to minimize the mildew in there.

  • Even though I have already completed my shopping for the week, I checked the new weekly ads for Aldi and Save A Lot this morning. You know that feeling of "ugh" or "aaargh", you get when you've just bought something and the very next day it's on sale?!  Yeah.  Zucchini, grapes and grape tomatoes are on sale this week at Aldi!  I just bought all of those things yesterday at much higher prices. 

  • However, Save A Lot is having a timely weekend sale on yellow onions (I'm down to just 4 of them) and 5-lbs bags of apples.  So I'll be trying to go there this weekend and get some onions. I don't use onions very often because they bother Greg's stomach, but I do use them and since the weather has cooled off, it should be OK to keep them on my counter as I don't have room in the freezer.  And I stocked up on apples by buying 6 lbs of them so I'm not even sure that I'll be able to buy the 5-lb bags if I go shopping again on Tuesday next week because my fridge is full at this point.

  • I ran a very full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

  • I washed Greg's bedding and a few more things in cold/cold, used vinegar as softener, and will hang all of this outside to dry.

  • I psyched myself up to remain pleasant, called the billing department of the eye doctor and asked for help with the bill that I had received, which I believed was in error. The billing clerk was very pleasant in return, apologized for the bill and said she didn't know why I had received it since her records showed that the insurance had indeed paid for the visit and that my co-pay, as expected, was only $20. I asked if she could mail or print a new bill so I could submit it to my Health FSA and they wouldn't deny my charge so we agreed that I would go pick up the new bill at their office this afternoon. I will pay it in person and since it's just a block away from the early voting location, I'll go vote at the same time. And visit some thrift stores.  We'll see.  Phew, I'm glad this is taken care off and I didn't have to fight with anyone!

  • I had received our vehicle registration renewal forms in the mail yesterday so I went to renew them online. But then I realized that I would be charged $2.00 per renewal (or so I thought) for paying with a credit card so I decided that 2 stamps would be cheaper and $6 in fees. (2 registrations are addressed to me and 1 is addressed to Greg and it's all his fault because I wanted all 3 vehicles in both of our names but when he went to buy his truck he only put his name on the title and when we bought the Focus the clerk made a mistake and only put it in my name and it would have taken more time to correct the mistake and Greg just wanted to leave.)

  • So I wrote 3 checks.  As I was recording them in my checkbook, I realized that if I charged the renewals to our USAA Visa card, we'd earn $14 in Rewards, so a profit of $8.00.  So I went to renew the registrations online!  Come to find out, since 2 of them are under my record, I only paid the $2.00 fee twice (one for the 2 renewals under my name, since they were grouped on the online record and one for the renewal under Greg's name), so my profit will actually be $10.  Woohoo!  I shredded the checks. We get free checks from USAA so I wasn't worried about that.

  • As I was renewing Greg's truck registration, there was a box to check if the owner was a veteran and wanted to receive information from the Veteran's Administration about what benefits he might be entitled to. So I checked the box and Greg should get some info. He is a veteran but we've never looked into what that might get him, so we'll see.  Possibly nothing, there was something screwy about his service because he ended up marrying the crazy ex who was a civilian working for the military and back then, for his unit only, that was forbidden. Lawyers ended up being involved and he got his DD214 showing that he left in good standing, but still, he never looked into what he could be entitled to because of that. So we'll see.

  • I wrote the postcard that I had gotten for my great aunt. I'll go to the post office this afternoon for them to affix the correct postage.  I didn't give her many news because of the lack of space but since not much is happening, it saves me time, money, and she will be happy to receive some mail.  I had meant to write her since the beginning of the summer!  I'll write her again next month since her birthday is in December and the end of the year is a really tough time for her.

  • I also mailed the Labels for Education and the Campbell Labels to my kids' elementary schools.  That also had been on my to do list for months.  Ugh. Little easy things that I never feel like doing, for some reason!

  • I earned 50 KFR points by entering the following bonus rewards codes worth 25 KFR points each into my Kellogg's Family Rewards account.

  • I ran a few errands:
    • Met my daughter for lunch at Panera's (see: splurges) where we spent time eating and reviewing candidates' background and making our election decisions.
    • My daughter had already picked up a free asiago bagel for me, using her free Bagel a Day reward. Thanks my sweetie!

    • I found a penny under a truck in the Panera's parking lot. Yes, I had to get on all fours to get it. I'm not too proud to pick up free money :)

    • Then we went to Cooper Memorial Library and stood (well, sat, for the most time) in line for 40 minutes to vote.  Woohoo!

    • She went home and I drove down the road to the eye doctor's office, paid my $20 co-pay and picked up a detailed receipt to submit to my Health FSA administrator, should they require one (I paid for the co-pay with my Health FSA Visa card so it's money already put away, tax-free).
    • I stopped by the South Lake Animal League thrift store to drop off another envelope of pet coupons and see if they had any pet carriers or litter boxes. They didn't, but I picked up a couple more toys for the cats and kittens for a total of $1.00 and a Belgian waffle maker for $5.00. I charged the $6.42 OOP to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

    • I then went to the Clermont Post Office, just a block away, and bought a stamp for the postcard that is being mailed to my great aunt, and a book of Forever Stamps. I chose the birdy ones, of course!   I paid with my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards.

    • My last stop was RaceTrac, where I redeemed a survey reward code for a free apple fritter for my son's snack.

  • My daughter gave me a Powerade bottle cap, which I will input into My Coke Rewards account at a later date.

  • I had forgotten to put Greg's bedding outside to dry so I did that 4 p.m.  If it's not dry by 7 p.m. I''ll throw it in the dryer to finish it off.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a lot more Swagbucks than usual, since Peanut Labs surveys were worth twice the points today and I qualified for 2 of them. I did reach my 2nd daily goal today.

  • I flipped through the end of "Mind Prey" because it just wasn't interesting and I had already read it anyway. It's a rare book by John Sandford that doesn't hold my attention and that, I think, is over the top violent.  I want to read the new Virgil Flowers book that's been sitting next to me for a whole day!

  • I received $6.00 in Ink Rewards from Staples for the ink cartridges that I had turned in this past month.

  • For dinner, I made the Beef & Bean Taco Casserole that was on the menu. I was supposed to have made rolls too but I didn't. Since there are tortilla chips in the casserole, I think we'll get our share of carbs plus we all had bagels, bread from Panera or doughnuts this afternoon, LOL.

  • Greg and I watched more episodes of "That 70's Show" together on Netflix after dinner.  Princess decided to take another nap on me :)

  • At 11:00 a.m. I called my daughter because I knew it was about the time she was getting out of class. I asked if she wanted to meet me for lunch at Panera's so we could review the Voter's Guide together and fill out our sample ballots and then go vote together. It was her first time voting ever since she just turned 18 so she was excited about it and I secretly wanted to be there with her.  She was very enthusiastic about the idea and actually was already at Panera's since she had just picked up a free bagel for me with her Free Bagel a Day Reward.  So I ordered my food via my app so it would be ready when I got there and she got her order with her app so she could earn her own reward points but all got charged to my Discover card. We spent 90 minutes outside on the patio, researching the candidates on our ballots and making our individual choices. I think it was money well spent and I'll always cherish this memory!

  • Greg has asked me to research and order a new drill charger (since we bought a new battery and he's still not able to use the drill) so I did that on Amazon.  I received free shipping via Amazon Prime and charged the $17.19 OOP to my USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

  • Putting the joint supplement gel on Male Cat's paw for him to lick it was a major failure. He completely freaked out about something being his paw and the gooey, fish-smelling gel went flying everywhere... in the room and on him!  Arrgh. After I was able to clean most of it off and force him to lick a dose of it on MY finger by sticking my finger under his nose as he was fighting me off (a weird situation, let me tell you!), he spent a long time licking himself all over.  Hopefully he got a good dose of it and it'll go better tomorrow?!  It went much better with Mean Kitty, weirdly.  She had been spooked by the commotion so was hiding in her favorite corner so I just held my fingers under her muzzle and since she couldn't go anywhere, she decided to just lick my finger.  So I'll try that with Male Cat tomorrow but I'll need to corner him somewhere too.  Arrgh.

  • I had to compost a navel orange that had been sitting in my fruit bowl for far too long, and 3 tomatoes on the vine that looked OK from the outside of the bag but that were rotten. It's been a bad week for food waste.

  • As I sat on the futon after dinner, I felt wetness... noooooooooo! Some kitten peed on the futon (in the same spot) again!  I was just thinking this morning how happy I was that they seemed to be done with this!  So my son helped me get the futon cover (the same one that I waited a whole year to put back on the couch) off the futon, I poured Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer on the stain on the mattress and we flipped it, and then I saturated the stains on the pillow and the futon cover with the same stuff before throwing them in the wash. I think it was an accident that happened while the boy kittens were roughhousing when I was cooking dinner, but it's still very frustrating.

  • Fed the kittens
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Took the recycling down to the curb for collection
  • Aired out the house
  • Perused the new weekly ads
  • Gave Male Cat and Mean Kitty their joint supplement
  • Washed Greg's bedding
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Swept the litter off the floor upstairs
  • Did a load of dishes and washed all pans and pots
  • Poured Drano down the kitchen sink for maintenance
  • Cleaned countertops and cooktop
  • Called the eye doctor's billing department
  • Wrote a postcard to my great aunt
  • Mailed labels to elementary school
  • Renewed car registrations
  • Met my daughter for lunch and voting research
  • Went to cast my vote
  • Went to eye doctor and paid my bill
  • Went to thrift store to drop off pet coupons and shop
  • Went to the Post Office to mail a postcard and buy stamps
  • Went to RaceTrac to get a freebie
  • Chatted with my son
  • Cuddled with kittens
  • Researched and order drill charger for Greg
  • Provided nap support for a kitten
  • Cooked dinner
  • Washed futon cover
  • Flipped futon mattress

  • For the Gandhi quote posted up top that I found this morning. It helped me as my mind was once again racing to imagine all kinds of terrible scenarios as I was doing the dishes and thinking about calling about that bill.
  • That there actually wasn't a problem with that bill because it had already resolved itself!
  • For pleasant volunteers at the early voting location and for a relatively fast-moving line even though we still had to wait 40 minutes



Tabby Kitty rarely cuddles anymore so I was very surprised when he crawled on me this morning next to Princess for a morning nap!  Also, he looks HUGE.
Doesn't it look like New Kitty is trying to lure Tabby Kitty to come closer?  lol.

After initial reservations, Tabby Kitty really enjoyed the new Koosh ball.

While Explorer was playing with my daughter

And Male Cat was being cute

And Mean Kitty was just looking in on all the fun (but my son filmed her later on playing with the Koosh ball IN the Ripple Rug!)

Princess is an excellent climber. All three kittens love climbing up and down the tall cat tree.

Male Cat loved the Koosh ball as well!


  1. I am so glad you had a good day, after all! I like that quote you posted. In Buddhism, too, we believe that everything originates in the mind.

    You got a lot done! Even if you do just one item from each category on your to do list, that's 11 things done each day! That's a lot!

    I am glad that you made the call to the doctor's office and the bill was resolved. I, too, dislike making phone calls, but, very often, it takes less energy to make the call than fret about what might happen. I've had similar bills; most recently, I was billed for my surgeon's services by his office! I called my insurance to query about it and they spoke to the surgeon's office and it was resolved (I didn't have to pay anything except the co-pay which I had already paid).

    Hope you are having a good day, today.

    1. Yes, it was a relief that everything went fine. I do worry too much!

      I'm glad you were able to clear out the problem with your surgeon's bill too. I did read that a lot of people are having bad surprises after hospital stays when they get bills for "services" from doctors who see them (even if it's just to poke their head into their hospital room!) or treat them but who aren't actually in-network even though the hospital is and, as patients, those people didn't know (like anesthesiologists, etc...). So it's a good thing your insurance was able to settle it with the surgeon!

  2. ...once it's only Greg and me at home, we're eating out for every meal and using paper plates or microwavable meals for the rest of the time... <-- This reminds me of a teacher I had in college - she once said that her next house would "not have a kitchen, just vending machines." Hahahaha.

    I understand how you feel - cooking might be fun, but the clean-up afterward is very frustrating.

    1. I love this! I want the T-shirt! LOL!


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