Saturday, October 1, 2016

"Weekly" Update ~ Thursday 9/29 through Saturday 10/1, 2016

Thursday 9/29/16
"Aargh", I thought to myself this morning as I read the email I had sent myself last night reminding me NOT to blog.  This going to be hard as I've been blogging every day for over a year now (2 years?  I haven't checked).  Well I AM going to blog, I'm just trying to scale it back because it takes too much time on top of everything else that I want to accomplish.

I'm not sure of what the format is going to look like so bear with me as I'm experimenting.

Last night, while checking Feedly, I saw that our high school had posted an announcement about the seminar on Drugs, Tobacco and Alcohol that all teens have to take prior to even applying for a learner's permit. I had forgotten about that.  Unfortunately, the knucklehead at the school posted the flyer directly as a Microsoft Publisher document.  It really irks me that those people constantly do that: post Microsoft Word, Excel and now Publisher documents because not everyone has access to those programs so then we can't view the information.  They just need to save their documents as pdfs, a very simple thing since all you have to so is pick "Save as PDF" when you save the document, from the drop-down menu!  Everyone can download Acrobat Reader for free and then view the pdf. Not so with Microsoft Publisher!  At least the registration form was posted in Word and I do have Word so I was able to get an email address from there, which I used to point out the problem with putting up Publisher documents and ask where that form and the payment should be sent (because that's not on the form either. Good grief those people are idiots!).  There is a November seminar that I want my son to attend so he can take his permit exam in January. It's not free ($34). Oh well.

The kittens slept well after a frantic day yesterday, I had to wake them up at 6 a.m.  I had soaked some kitten food in plastic containers last night so it'd been ready for this morning, one in the rest of the Kitten Magic Potion  and the other in just plain water.  This morning I heated up the container of the Magic Potion soaked food for 20 seconds and put the contents on a small plate. I figured it'd be easier for them to share the one plate (and easier on me, fewer dishes to wash!). However, my kittens have no manners. They stepped in the plate, and kept pushing the food off it as they were just licking the formula. I'm not worried, I figured that if they were really hungry, they'd start eating the food as well. After all, the dishes that I had left in the pen with them last night were almost empty.  So I put the spilled food back on the plate and back in their pen after they went back.  They played a little this morning but it wasn't the frenzy of yesterday morning.  I just hope they're feeling OK?  They stayed up for their customary 45 minutes and even Princess PB was ready for a nap after that.

Messy eaters!
It must be humid outside this morning due to yesterday's rains: the windows are all fogged up again.  My son was feeling cold this morning so he put on his favorite hoodie.  It's not cold so I hope he's not coming down with the flu.

His computer is continuing to give me headaches. After talking to Greg last night, I ordered a new Wifi adapter for it (about $36) but this morning his PC was on (Windows 10 must have updated again, this is really annoying me) and when I went to turn it off, I noticed that the adapter that we didn't think was working anymore was blinking and that the computer had wifi access again.  Good grief.  However the one I ordered specifically says that it's compatible with Windows 10 (the one we have is old) and should also be faster... if it's indeed an adapter problem. Frankly, I think it's a Windows 10 problem. I'm hoping that Greg will be able to look into it a little more once he comes back.

One of the things I'm going to miss the most about blogging all the time is posting my To Do List so I can cross things off it!  I think I'm going to have to create a draft post that I never publish where I keep track of all that otherwise nothing will get done.

Note: it's 8:12 a..m. and I still haven't exercised. I should get to it. I don't feel like it.  I need to finish my coffee first. And read the news. Off I go.  Only it's now 8:30 a.m. and the kittens are awake again.  I would let them roam around but they haven't necessarily learned to use the litter box on their own when they're out of the pen and playing.  Right now they're amusing themselves in the pen. I'm not making eye contact!

After spending some time waking up by drinking coffee and catching up on the news, I was finally ready to exercise!  First I put that large box received yesterday on the front porch because it was just in my way. I'll have to collapse it and store it there until the spring, when I'm ready to start gardening again.

I also defrosted some chipotle chicken sausages for dinner tonight, that I'll cook along with a box of Zatarain's Caribbean Rice mix, as per my menu.

I rode my recumbent bike for 66 minutes, at a leisurely pace, while watching 3 episodes of "Roseanne" on Netflix and doing other stuff on my Kindle Fire.  I really like "Roseanne" and I chuckled so much that the 3 episodes and 66 minutes went by very fast.  

It'd been quite a while since I had last exercised on the bike!
My charging cable extension cord (not the cable itself) isn't working anymore, I don't think, because my Kindle wasn't charging.  The cable itself is too short. I need to find the one that Amazon had sent me as a replacement back in June. I don't think it's the one I'm using because it's not 5-ft long.  Short cables are annoying and inconvenient!  Update: I found a longer cable but I don't think it's the one Amazon had sent me. That one, I don't know where it is!

After my exercise was over, it was time to get food ready for the kittens again as they were awake. Again.  I decided to set them up in the Cat Room but without the playpen this time. I put their bed down by the sliding door.  It's too small for the 3 of them so I was thinking about buying a 2nd and 3rd bed, but then inspiration hit!  I still had the box that they used when they were tiny, so I just used my sharp kitchen knife to cut the sides off and make it into another bed.  I also made a "castle" out of the other part.  They like crawling under things so they might like crawling under that opening too.

And I turned an old paint tray into a litter box since I'm tired of moving theirs from the living room to the cat room and vice versa all day long!

They played for a while. In the meantime, I decided to mix the rest of the kitten formula in Pedialyte with powdered goat milk.  I paid dearly for that stuff so I won't let it go to waste!  I put the results in a bowl for them to lap.  They don't really like the kitten food in water. They lap the water but I haven't seen them eat the food yet this morning, although it is quite mushy.  Maybe they're not that hungry.  They did lap some of the "Magic Potion", as I call it.

I finished one can of kitten formula.  I'll return the other to Tractor Supply Co for an $11 credit.  I reused the empty can to store some dry kitten food. Now Male Cat and New Kitty won't freak out every time they hear the crackling of the bag!

My 2-bed trick didn't work. Tabby Kitty went to sleep first while the other two played.  Princess PB was especially hyper after she pooped. Dark Explorer kept on crawling on me to go to sleep but was distracted by my laptop and tried to help me by walking all over the keyboard.

Finally Princess PB went to sleep, and then Dark Explorer. They ignored the new bed and went to cuddle with their brother. Well, that woke him up so he started playing. Arrgh.  I decided to leave them to their own devices in the Cat Room and move back to the living room with my lunch (leftovers) and texted my daughter to be careful where she walked! The adult cats are all asleep and have been fine with them for days so I think it'll be OK. It started pouring at noon, I hope the rain lulls Tabby Kitty was to sleep!

Uh yeah, it worked!  Look at the position Tabby Kitty fell asleep in!  LOL.
I had signed up for the 30 days of chicken recipes from Pillsbury and today's recipe was for Crockpot Chicken Marsala so I printed it and will add it to next week's menu.  Man, I'm ready for a nap! I really haven't done any chores and I've blogged more than I should have already.  I'm going to eat my lunch and then I'll fold the laundry.

I finished watching an episode of Law & Order Season 6 while I ate.  You know what?  I really like Sam Waterston in "Frankie and Grace" but he really grates on "Law & Order".  I find myself not liking this season as much as I did when Chris Noth and Paul Sorvino were on together, in Season 3. I liked the prosecutors much better then too. I also find myself having the show on but not really paying attention to the plots as I don't find them as interesting as they used to be.

I logged my weight and exercise in Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 240 BR points.

I wrote and posted my Weekly Grocery Shopping post.  I did very well this week! 

Having the kittens loose in the living room is stressful to me because there's just that much open space where I can keep an eye on them. So I decided to relocate our coffee table.  Only where?  Relocating furniture in our funky old house with tiny rooms is like working a jigsaw puzzle or trying fit yet one more package of meat in my chest freezer!  Usually brute force works.  We don't have a garage and my choices were limited since the table is so very heavy. I didn't want it in the cat room either since I also need wide open space there for the kittens as well.

So I decided to squeeze it into our tiny "exercise room". That the small pass-through room right off the living room where I keep my recumbent bike and a bunch of other odds and ends.  I moved the bike forward a little moved everything off the floor, put the coffee table in table and put everything that had been on the floor back on the table.

Now what to do with all the crap that had been on the coffee table?  Confession: the living room is my nest, my "office" so the coffee table always ends up being pile buried under piles of various papers and thinks like my receipt bucket, kitten supplies and all the other stuff that I should be working on and that I keep in sight so I don't forget about it (but then I ignore it. For months.).  Quite honestly, most of the stuff ended up piled up on the wifi printer stand in the exercise room, or shoved on or under the coffee table over there.  But I did throw away some stuff, put away the supplies that I used for the kittens when they were first here, started a new donation box, and now my living room is wide open. But the exercise room is cramped. Oh well, I don't do my living there.

Now I can be sitting on the couch and see the kittens play at the same time. Yay!

In the meantime, guess who loved the new "fort" the best?

I realized that I never did use the 2nd bottle of infant gas drops that I had my daughter pick up for me last week so I'll be returning it to Publix to get my $7.49 + tax back.

I made a donation to WUCF-FM, our local jazz radio station/PBS affiliate that was taken over by UCF several years ago.  They support the Jazz Studies program (from which my oldest son graduated last year) at UCF, of course, and broadcast jazz all day.  I wish they were on IHeartRadio (they're on Tune-In) because I always forget to... tune in!  I selected a mug for my gift as the other gifts didn't appeal to me.  I charged my donation to our USAA Visa card so I'll get 10% back as well.  Greg subscribed to a music app for several months and now subscribes to Groove so I don't feel bad about my donation at all, considering how much I like listening to jazz :)

Greg texted me that he's coming back on Sunday!  Woohoo!

Swagbucks emailed me the $25 Walmart gift card that I had ordered several days ago.

I reused rainwater from the rain barrel to water my indoor plants.

I never got any answers from the people I emailed last night about the mandatory Traffic Law Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) class that my son needs to attend prior to presenting himself to the driver's permit exam, so I did my own research and found the address to which I needed to mail the registration form and check.  The school district people were smarter than those at the high school and did indeed post the information on their website and the form was a .pdf document.  You'd think educators would think about such things! Anyhoo, I wrote the check and mailed it along with the form.  Then I emailed my son with the information.

I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 reward codes for freebies :)

I still had a $1.00 balance on a virtual Mastercard debit card that I had received as a rebate and that expires tomorrow.  So I went on Amazon and placed an order for a used copy of "Florida's Fabulous Insects" for $0.99 + $3.99 shipping. I had hoped that the system would process the order and tell me right away that only $1.00 was authorized on the card and give me the option to charge the balance to another card, but it didn't. So I expect that order to get cancelled and I will have to forfeit that $1.  Sigh.  Update: well, as expected, they declined the charge so I had to pay the full price with my USAA Visa card. At least I'll get 10% back, but I'm not going to be able to use that $1 on the virtual card. That really pisses me off.

My BFF called me to ask questions about the new FAFSA. I couldn't help her but I found the answer after we hung up and I texted her.  In the meantime, we chatted a little. She's started subbing in a different county at a school that's pretty close to her house and she likes it so far. I'm happy for her.

The kittens were up again at dinnertime so my son and daughter played with them after I put the mushy food out for them, while I was cooking.  I decided to clip their nails since they're all trying to climb our legs and it hurts! They didn't like it but my son helped me hold their down while I did the clipping.  Feeding time ended up being a disaster as my son also fed the other cats at the same time... the kittens were going for the other cats' food, Male Cat was trying to steal the kittens' food, Mean Cat was afraid to come down from her perch to go eat (her bowl is located near where the kittens play) so I had to bring her bowl to her. I finally decided to put dry kitten food straight in their bowls on top of the mush and they went to town on it!  I'm guessing it smells "good" compared to the mush.  Good to know!

After dinner, the "twins" (Princess PB and Dark Explorer) were ready for bedtime and Tabby Kitty had gone back for seconds or thirds so I brought them back to the playpen in the living room to settle them for the night. The other cats breathed a sigh of relief as they could reclaim the Cat Room as their own, and I popped a Law & Order DVD in to my laptop, dimmed the display, turned off the lights and put on my headphones.  Yeah, they're spoiled! Greg comes back on Sunday and plays video games in that room until late into the night so it's going to be harder for them to fall asleep early.

I received new coupons today: Hardees' and Family Dollar coupons in the Thursday paper that's delivered to my driveway, and CVS sent me a 25% coupon that I uploaded to my ExtraCare card.

I always offer the kids the opportunity to purchase a yearbook during their last year at a particular school (I won't buy them the other years). The high school newsletter I received today mentioned that the yearbook was on sale and would go up to $65 on October 1st.  So I told my daughter to order hers tonight.She did and my credit card was charged for $61.  It's highway robbery, all this crap.  She'll probably never look at it again either.

Speaking of highway robbery, she was told to bring $10 for the school picture photographer today. I had no intention of buying those pictures so I asked her what the $10 was for. She didn't know. I refused to give her $10. As far as I'm concerned, you should always know why you're being asked for me and understand where the money is going and knowingly consent (or not) to give it.  Even if it's not your own!  So she contacted her dad and he transferred money into her account (he's buying the pictures). Come to find out, it was a "sitting fee".  A sitting fee for something that I didn't want to start with?  You betcha I'm glad I didn't pay.  Why are we being charged for this and then charged "Senior fees" and then charged over $60 for a freaking photo album?!  She's not even ON campus this year as she's only taking college classes.  It's really sickening what a greedy industry this is. Don't even get me started on graduation gowns and caps, rings, etc.  It's ridiculous.

Friday 9/30/16
I think I need to be a little more succinct today or those posts will be reaaaaally long!  Ah, who am I kidding? Those posts are going to be really long :)

So the kittens slept until 6:30 a.m. this morning. I had to get up several times to use the bathroom, you'd think I was drinking real coffee instead of instant decaf last night!

I set them up for breakfast in the living room. Today I just gave them dry food (and a bowl of water).  There is lots of food on the floor. I think they try to crunch it but it might still be too hard. I'll add some mushy food to the bowls later on.

They ran around like crazy and played but, weirdly enough, not with any of the same toys that they love to play on when they're in the cat room. I sat on the ground and they would just keep playing ring around the Nathalie, hide under the futon at my back, and generally try to bite all the electric cables that I have near "my nest".  Arrgh. It was challenging!

As usual Tabby Kitty was the first one to crawl into his bed and take a nap but the other two... oh my! They were playful, then needy, both wanting to be on me to fall asleep, purring and playing with my fingers and both did fall asleep. I tried putting them back in their beds and I sat on the couch again, but Dark Explorer tried to jump UP on the couch!  Awwww. So I took him and put him on there with me and he found a comfy spot on a pillow and fell asleep. His sister... was still running around. I went to get my breakfast and when I came back, she was curled up on the spot where I had been sitting on the floor. I put her on the couch with us and she crawled on my chest and fell asleep.  Eventually, I put her down on the couch and she cuddled up to her brother.   So cute!

So it's almost 9 a.m. and I was hoping to be able to exercise now, but my daughter just walked in with her sneakers on the wooden floor, spoke and then started printing something (the printer is in the next room) so that woke up everyone. Arrgh.  Now I need to wait until they're all asleep again.  Dark Explorer just crawled on my shoulder again and he's purring.

I spoke with Greg for a short while this morning. Nothing new, at least his dad slept well last night and didn't fall out of bed.  He says it's cold and blustery in Columbus. Once again, I'm glad to be living in Florida!  We have a hurricane coming (Matthew) but it's supposed to be turning North before hitting Florida. Keeping my fingers crossed and monitoring the course on NOAA's Hurricane Center.

This morning I renewed the Orphaned Kittens library book that I had borrowed. Not that I still need it but it's due on Monday and I'm not sure I'll be going to the library until next Wednesday so I didn't want to take a chance to get a fine.  I also put season 12 of Law & Order on hold. I'm jumping 6 years, it's annoying but the library doesn't have the other seasons.

My mom is really worried about her kitten. Her dog is apparently hell bent on getting to it and barks all day and she's losing her mind trying to keep them separated but also to get to know and accept one another. Let's be clear that the dog is the problem, here. He's a sweet dog to people
 but feels threatened by other animals.  I think she's going to give the kitten back.  In  comparison, our kittens and cats' adaptation to the new living arrangements has been pretty blissful!

At about 9:30 a.m. I finally had 3 sleeping kittens (2 on the couch, one in his bed) so I snuck upstairs to take a shower and put on my exercise clothes. While I was at it, I put away the rest of the laundry.

When I came down, the noise of the stairs had apparently woken up the kitten and frightened them. It's amazing how daring they are in the Cat Room (with the big cats!), which is larger than our living room, and yet they just mostly stayed hidden under the couch in the living room, where they have lived for 4 weeks, this whole morning!  I threw a bath towel on top of the rat's nest of cables so they wouldn't chew them.  They just plopped themselves on top of the towel. Go figure, they had their very comfy bed just a couple of feet away! I left them to it, thinking that if they were afraid, it would play in my advantage and they would leave me alone while I biked.

At the last minute, I decided to start melting my old candles in my crockpot to make them into one or two new candles. I actually worked very well and I now have a new 3-wick candle and 6 large Bath & Body Works jars that I have emptied out and will be washing with the dishes tonight, as well as a small Glade candle votive jar.  A BB&W 3-wick candle sells for $25 if it's not on sale so I'm really excited.  I wanted to make more, but I only had enough leftover wicks for 1 candle. I'll be ordering more online later on today.

I was on the bike for 64 minutes today and watched 3 episodes of Roseanne while I also: earned the Bing Rewards credits on my phone and Kindle, checked Feedly on my Kindle, checked on the candles periodically, checked on the kittens periodically, tried entering MyCokeRewards codes on my phone (didn't work so I stopped), checked on my email and did a myriad of other things. It was a very productive hour!

When I was done, I moved the kittens to the Cat Room where they're now busy playing with the same toys they were ignoring in the Cat Room (go figure!) since I move them from room to room.  I put their food bowls there too and they ate some and then I had to chase Male Cat away from their bowls twice so he got an earful and then stayed away. Still, I put their food away after I had seen each of them eat some and left them there to play while I finished dealing with the candles.

Back in the living room, starving but waiting until noon to eat, I placed an Amazon order for the pet carpet hiding place that I had been wanting to purchase. It was $44.00 with free shipping.  Swagbucks was offering 7% back on pet supplies today, what a coincidence!  I charged the whole thing to my USAA Visa card to also get 10% back in Rewards.

The 2nd order that I placed was for 100 candle wicks for just $7.99 with free shipping (down from $16.99!). I think I had paid $3 or $4 for the less than 10 wicks I had purchased at a craft store earlier this year so I'm happy with the cost as I anticipate purchasing more candles from B&BW and melting the remains once the wicks stop burning up.

My lunch was the leftover ground chicken burger that I had cooked a couple of nights ago, on 2 slices of bread since I don't have buns and homemade refrigerator zesty pickles.  I also had the last ear of corn cooked 2 nights ago and an Activia peach yogurt.

I was unreasonably happy, when I pulled up the menu that I had designed for the week, to see that tonight's dinner will be breakfast for dinner!  Waffles and scrambled or sunny side up eggs. and toast. and sliced oranges. Yum and easy peasy!

I printed Publix store coupons from Best Meals at Home.

Since I'm about to spend some time on the computer, I decided to run the Ngage and JunGroups videos so I can earn some Swagbucks today!

Today was Triples Points Day on My Coke Rewards for Diet Coke codes only.  I tried entering one from my phone.  I took the code, asked me what kind of drink I had bought, I said "Diet Coke" and I never received the points!  So I figured I would try again on my laptop. I won't take the code anymor, saying that it's already been redeemed but I don't have the points in my ledger at all. Grrr!   I did input 4 more codes and earned 9 points per code. Michelle had sent me another couple of codes a couple of days ago and specified from which product they were, so that was awesome. Thanks again, Michelle!

My daughter came home from her classes and Tabby Kitty followed her all the way to the living room, followed by Princess (I'm going to stop calling her Princess PB)!  It's the first time that any kitten has walked all the way from the Cat Room to the living room!  My daughter and I played with them and then I fed them again.  Tabby Kitty went to sleep on top of the towel covering my electric cables so I asked my daughter to go get their beds from the Cat Room. She told me she was only able to get one because...

And in the meantime, this is where Princess decided to take her nap this afternoon!  I guess I'm stuck on the couch, now!

Greg got paid yesterday so I input his paycheck into my tracking spreadsheets and transferred the amount corresponding to the raise he got earlier this year and the FICA contributions (he's reached the maximum contribution already so that's extra money in his check every time until the 1st of the year again) to one of our savings account for a "new car fund".  

I entered my exercise into Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices but I only earned 20 BR points today. I don't understand how this works and it annoys me, like much of everything at Walgreens.  Since you can earn 20 BR points by entering your weight daily, I reentered my same weight for yesterday and today and earned another 40 BR points ;)

While I was biking this morning I had perused the weekly ad previews for CVS and Walgreens so I added what I wanted to buy from CVS to my shopping list for next week (nothing from Walgreens).

Rant: The person at the office organizing that Drugs and Alcohol class that my son has to take prior to applying for a learner's permit finally emailed me back.  I had mentioned that the forms had been posted as Word and Publisher documents on the high school's website so most people couldn't open them and also asked who the form and check should be sent to.  She just emailed me the same Word document again without answering my question. So I emailed her back to thank you and spell out exactly what she should do next time and why.  She's a secretary. You'd think secretaries would know better (disclosure: I was an Executive Secretary when when I worked outside of the home). Her reply is emblematic of the, quite frankly, incompetence prevalent in our school district. (disclosure: I've had kids in the school district for over 16 years and also worked in an administrative capacity at our local elementary school. The level of incompetence of a good portion of the administrative staff was astounding and proportionally matched the level of their defensiveness when I tried to teach them how to do things in such a way that it didn't result in wasted time.) Ugh.

I reached my 1st Swagbucks goal and I'm calling it a day as far as this is concerned.

I replied to my mom's email from this morning and suggested she asked my brother from Paris (the one with the 20-year-old cat) if he wanted a kitten.  You never know!

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

I pulled a Susan and cleaned a few windows today as well as the bathroom mirror downstairs. I won't win any Window Cleaning prize because it was a quick job and I only cleaned the inside (except for the sliding patio window, I also cleaned the outside right as it was very dark outside and thundering! Yes, I was daring the rain to start falling already!).

I cooked dinner a little early. I was starving all day today again.  What is wrong with me?  I drank so much and had a couple of reasonable snacks but I was afraid that I would overeat when faced with waffles.  Making them was hard enough!  I had a whole round Belgian-style waffle, 2 pieces of toast, and 2 scrambled eggs. I'm still hungry!

My daughter had wanted to play a board game tonight but I was too tired for that so I suggested we watch a movie. We couldn't find anything on Netflix that we both wanted to watch, but I asked if she had ever watched the Sherlock special "The Abominable Bride" and she hadn't. Neither had I and we're both Sherlock fans so we watched it together. It was very good and very confusing!

While we watched the movie, I mended my fanny pack, which I use when Greg and I go on long walks.

In the middle of the movie, Greg called. Unfortunately, his dad's state very much got worse since their discussion about his funeral arrangements yesterday and he's now behaving as if he had dementia and his speech is slurred. I'm suspecting he might have had a stroke and advised Greg to call the doctor or at the very least the charge nurse from Hospice. He agreed and will call tomorrow. In the meantime, he can't possibly come back on Sunday now. His ticket was bought with a fare that is non refundable, but I asked him to call Southwest to explain his situation and ask if they could issue a credit. He said he would call.

The kittens have been kind of erratic today. Tabby Kitty was asleep by 7:30 p.m. but the other two were hyper and finally behaving as if they wanted to sleep so I put them in the pen halfway through the movie. After it was over, though, I saw them staring at me.  Sigh. This is getting more complicated!

Saturday 10/01/16
It's 10:34 a.m. and I'm finally sitting down and cooling off. What a morning so far!  The kittens and I woke up at 7 a.m. and that's after I fell asleep at something like 9:45 p.m.!  

I fed them, got pizza dough started in the bread maker, and they played for a bit while I was on the floor with them, drinking my coffee and catching up on the news on my phone.  Matthew is now a category 5 hurricane and its course has slightly veered West, which brings it closer to hitting Florida directly. Great.

At 8 a.m. the kittens looked like they were about to go back to sleep so I had breakfast and decided to start exercising right away or I might not be able to.  I didn't want to wake them by walking upstairs to put on my exercise clothes, so I just started pedaling in my PJs, lol. I rolled up my pants above my knees. Oh what a sight I must have been!  I put on Roseanne on Netflix, and did stuff on the Kindle and my phone and also clipped the Boxtops 4 Education labels that I need to mail to the school because I never seem to be able to stop by to drop them off. 

Greg called me halfway through my workout. His dad had a bad night, is seriously delusional now, and they couldn't keep him in bed because the railings are only at the top part of the bed so he scoots down and tries to get out of bed. He fell again last night. I urged Greg to call the nurse and doctor, the Hospice people are probably on call 24/7. He's supposed to call this morning. In the meantime, he's now back to thinking he wants to come back tomorrow because of the hurricane (which may or may not come) and then go again in a week or so.  It's just a mess.  Update: we talked tonight and Hospice put his dad on the End of Life protocol.  He was given some medication to help with the anxiety so he's calmer and was more compliant and able to sleep.  Greg feels that Hospice is being very responsive and can provide help for his mom so he is definitely coming back and plans on going back when his mom or sister calls to warn him it's close to the end (apparently this "End of Life" stage could last weeks or months, still).

I got back on the bike but only completed half of the remainder of my time. So I biked about 44 minutes (6.72 miles).  Then I took a shower, prebaked the pizza crust for tonight's dinner and got my bedroom ready for the kittens since that's where they'll be confined while the kids and I are downtown Orlando for our photo appointment.

Middle Son texted me to warn that Universal Studios had asked him to come in to work early tonight so he asked if we could do the outside photos early tomorrow morning. We agreed that he'd spend the night here tonight and then take out his siblings early tomorrow to take nice pictures outside somewhere around here.  We're still meeting him at the Orlando library to use their photo studio for the portraits, though.  Younger Son got all dressed up, he looks mighty fine :)

I swept several rooms in the house, vacuumed the living room, ran the dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom.

I put the kittens upstairs and the kids and I drove to Orlando.  We took the Focus for better gas mileage and (mostly) for ease of parking in the parking garage. It's hard to park a large SUV in there.  We took tolls roads all the way there and back.  Parking ended up being $6.

The Melrose Center in the Downtown Orlando library is really nice.  The whole library is really nice. The kids really loved the little of the downtown that we saw. I suggested they might want to come back together and walk around a bit.  Middle Son had reserved the Photography Studio for 2 hours and we stayed the 2 hours. He took many pictures of Youngest Son, Daughter and the both of them together and we laughed a lot.  It was a really good time!  

Part of the Melrose Center.  Computer stations for video  and sound editing, etc.

They have 2 sound booths

Part of the Photography Studio
Middle Son, being all photographer-like!
Afterwards, we drove to a Panera's a couple of miles away.  We were surprised to pass Pulse, the club where the terrorist attack took place earlier this summer. I guess none of us realized it was in that part of town. I thought it was close to downtown but off SR50, but it's down on Orange Avenue, just South of Arnold Palmer Hospital.  It was very poignant to pass the memorial and there were a couple of people there, holding one another.  All of downtown has rainbow flags that state "Orlando United".

Middle Son met us at Panera's and we all had a nice lunch together.  I paid with USAA Visa (10% back in Rewards) and presented my Panera Rewards card for the loyalty points. Then he drove to work and we drove home.

Before getting home, though, I stopped at McDonald's to redeem the coupon for the free small coffee.

My daughter beat me to the bedroom where the kittens were but they were asleep in their bed when she walked in. They were happy to see us, their wriggly little bodies still warm from sleep. Dark Explorer always comes to me after waking up for a cuddle. I love it!  Princess comes too. My daughter cuddled with Tabby Kitty.  Then we brought them back down to the Cat Room.

Big Male Cat and Little Male Cat!
My daughter and son decided to walk to the Family Dollar. My son wants to buy himself a comb. We have combs at home but he wants to buy one himself. I don't care, at least he's showing some interest in grooming, lol.

I had thought to stop by Bath & Body Works tonight since they were having a sale on scented candles (I know... I already have quite a few!) and there was a 20% off coupon.  But the kids were tired so we  didn't go. I did see that there was a free shipping code, which ended up being better than the 20% off so I ordered 3 candles... and only one of them I had smelled at the store so the other two will be a surprise.  I charged them to my USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

I texted Greg to see if he had made a decision about tomorrow and he replied that he is coming home. So I'll go pick him up from the airport tomorrow.

I input my exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and today earned 120 BR points, even though I biked fewer miles than yesterday. Go figure...

Kohl's emailed me that they rounded up my rewards and are sent me a coupon for a $5 Yes2You Reward.  I had checked our Discover accounts this morning and, so far, we don't have any Discover Deals for Kohls so that might be the only "freebie" I get from Kohl's this month.

We got a nice rainstorm at about 4:15 p.m.  It was sunny so it really started raining "out of the blue"!

SavingStar credited my account for the cereal rebates that I submitted on Wednesday.

I picked a free thriller e-book from the KindleFirst October offerings and downloaded it to my Kindle Fire.

I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.  I also earned a few Swagbucks and started running the Ngage videos to try to reach my first goal, but it's almost 6 p.m. already so I don't have much hope.  3 hours later, I've only earned 9 SB so I'm giving up!

I shredded an 8-oz block of mozzarella and an 8-oz block of Monterey Jack and used them on the pre-cooked pizza crust with a jar of pizza sauce.  That pizza dough looks like bread to me, not pizza dough!  I don't know if it'll be any good.  I also put the rest of a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that I had kept in a plastic container since... 2011!  I only added it to my share of the pizza. Only, I totally forgot that I was on a diet and I added them to about 1/3 of the large pizza before realizing i shouldn't be eating so much of it. So I'll try to be good and keep half of it for tomorrow.

I printed some Publix store coupons.

Tabby Kitty and Princess reached a couple of other milestone tonight.  The 3 kittens were in the Cat Room and I was in the living room.  They were all asleep but then Tabby Kitty and Princess woke up and played a little. Since I wasn't there, I had taken their food away so Male Cat wouldn't eat it.  Tabby Kitty walked alllll the way from the Cat Room to the living room by himself (yesterday he had followed my daughter) to come see if there was food here!  So I went to get it and also retrieve Princess and they both ate.  And then he fell asleep again on top of the towel covering all my cables and she launched jumped up at the couch, was able to reach the edge of it and then pulled herself next to me by her claws!  So funny!  Then she crawled on me, crawled on my chest and settled herself there and started purring. Oh my baby! Greg called at the same time so we FaceTimed so he could see her and she was very interested in the phone.  Eventually she fell asleep on me so I went to get their bed and Dark Explorer and set them all up in the playpen with their food and water, litterbox and bed and turned off all the lights. I always dim my laptop display at night, turn on the small fan for white noise and I watch my DVDs on the laptop with my headphones while doing other tasks such as finishing this blog post.  Those kittens are spoiled :)

My daughter still owed me some money for her share of the car insurance so she did 2 nights of dishes tonight.

Middle Son is coming to spend the night here after his shift so I made sure he had a clean towel in my bedroom. The bedding was freshly washed after he spent the night here last and I also left a light on in the bedroom so he doesn't go fumbling in the night as we don't have lights on the ceilings.

His ex-GF texted me tonight to ask if she could give me the presents that she had already bought for him for Christmas. She said I could pass them as mine if I wanted. I declined because I explained to her that I didn't want to lie to him and that I didn't know how presents from her would be received. I feel bad because I'd really want them to get back together but I just can't be involved because I do want to preserve my relationship with Middle Son if something were to go wrong.  I told her that I already had gotten a present for her that I still wanted to give her and when she said she felt bad because she hadn't gotten me anything yet, I told her to keep her money for school (which is what I tell all my kids).  She's a lovely girl and I'm really sad that they're not together.  I wanted to ask Middle Son how he was doing with all that today but I decided to wait until he talks to me about it if he wants to, ever.

So that's pretty much my update for the end of this week.

I've actually liked this format because it's allowed me to keep blogging but also to be more productive, I feel. Certainly, it took the pressure off having to finish a post by a certain time every night, and I was able to spend 45 minutes to an hour exercising each day. I also didn't run any errands on those days, which helped.  So I'll continue with this format for the time being, but I'll probably post a Sunday through Tuesday update, a Wednesday shopping trip post, and then a Thursday through Saturday update, assuming that our whole state isn't under water and downed trees next week.

What's new with you?


  1. Ooh, a nice long blog post to read! Glad to read that this new format is working for you; that's all what matters. Those kittens are growing by leaps and bounds! Cute picture of Male Cat pretending to be a kitten! LOL. Well done on all the exercising. Sorry to hear that Greg's dad has taken a turn for the worse, but glad that Greg will be able to come home for awhile. Hope all will be well with you, next week. I'm looking forward to the next update. Take care.

  2. Use the virtual card to buy a dollar Amazon gc typing just this so you can do before it expires

    1. Oh shoot, I didn't think to do this! It's too late now, the virtual card expired on 9/30. That'll teach me not to post an update every day, LOL. Thanks, though, I'll have to remember this in case it happens again!

    2. That's what I do with every rebate Visa card I got for ridiculously small amounts. They can add up quite quickly.

  3. Your house looks like cat paradise! And Middle Son certainly looks the part of professional photographer.

    We had lunch with our son yesterday. His name is Matthew. I told him to behave himself and leave Florida alone. Or else.

    1. So have you beaten him up yet? because Matthew is getting closer and closer and now it looks pretty certain (to me at least!) that we're getting hit. I'm changing my plans and going to the store tomorrow to get milk and fruit since we're out. Greg went to fill up our spare gas tanks tonight (for the generator). I'll probably spend Wednesday securing the backyard, filming our belongings, charging the phones, extra batteries, lanterns, etc.

      What are you doing to get ready? I admit that I'm a little more anxious than I was back when we had the last hurricanes coming at us. Must be old age.

    2. Good thing Matthew lives in Clearwater, or I would have beaten him up. Funny thing is, his girlfriend's name is Katrina...another bad hurricane. This will be a family joke for a while.

      What did I do to get ready? Not much. We always have a good stock of food. Then I got nervous about not doing "enough." So I started charging everything. Just to show you how scatterbrained I was about the whole thing...I started with my Fitbit. Then my cameras - ha! Then cellphone, iPad, laptop. That was it. Good thing we didn't get any bad stuff from this hurricane! I'm clearly a novice at this.

    3. Well, to be fair, the Fitbit would have been useful if you had had to outrun the hurricane, eh eh. Greg and I got a good chuckle out of your confession!

      I know the feeling of "not doing enough?!" very well. I overdid things compared to what I usually do but I'm getting more anxious with old age. I even took pictures of everything in the house last night at about 10 p.m. because I started thinking that if we DID have any damage, I would beat myself up for having been lazy when the insurance agent asked for "Before" pictures! Of course it took way too long, especially when the flash on my camera took forever to come on, so it was only a half-assed job anyway. Still, I'd rather have done too much than not enough. But now I'm thinking about how long it's going to take to put everything back where it was and I'm tempted to just leave everything where it is until December 1st. But Greg wants my patio furniture out of his shed already. Arrgh.

      Katrina and Matthew. Oh boy, if they get married, they'll have to play "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions at their wedding! And since it's a German band, it'll be very appropriate to boot, LOL!

  4. It seems that you and the kittens have worked out an arrangement, with them playing and eating in the cat room and then moving into the playpen with the lights dimmed for nighty-night time. It also signals the older female cats that they can relax. Male cat seems determined to be a part of the kittens' lives. The photo of little tabby sleeping in his big bed beside Big Tabby in his little bed is just priceless. I can still see all three kittens sleeping together for a few more weeks.

    1. I think you're right. Tabby Kitty already likes to sleep on his own but Princess and Explorer like to cuddle with the other kittens, still.


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!