|Tabby Kitty and Explorer at the vet's today|
It's amazing, to me, how quickly the days shorten at this time of year. We're back to having to turn in the outdoors lights on in the morning for my son to walk safely to the corner of the street and wait for the bus. Yesterday it wasn't necessary!
That darn bus was late again this morning. It's supposed to come by 6:55 a.m. At 7:01 a.m. it still hadn't gotten there so I ran up to get dressed, again, and again it had come by when I came back down. So well yes, I'm dressed now, but not showered. I'll have to do that later on because now I have a kitten taking her nap on my chest. She's still light enough that I can continue to type but as she grows bigger, I might have to move to text dictation, ha.
It's also cooler today (51F/10.5C) this morning at 7:00 a.m. and the roads are wet, so it must have drizzled last night. At 7:40 a.m. the sky is all gloomy. Perfect weather to play some Smooth Jazz Christmas music on Pandora. Last night we listened to Christmas Blues. At least I'm trying to be somewhat in the mood for the holidays. I think I've reached the end of my shopping... unless I find more things for Greg to give me. Ha.
I'd love nothing better than to stay home all day, but the kittens have their veterinary check-up scheduled for this morning. They're getting a couple of shots: distemper (I think?) and rabies. Princess was under the weather the whole day last month after the last shots so I think I might not do much again today and let her cuddle with me all day, if that's what she wants.
The kittens have been loving spending the night with Greg. I guess they don't mind his fidgeting as much as I do. He said they don't bother him since he has the queen-size bed to himself anyway. So I actually had a good night of sleep on the futon and maybe I can start going back to sleep in my own room now? It's just so easy to fall asleep on the futon :) I told Greg that I wanted to get a full-size bed for upstairs though, twin is just too small. I have to measure to sit if it would fit. The room shape and closet location is awkward.
My daughter has her last final exam for this semester this morning. It's Chemistry. She's working the whole weekend and then next week she has to work on completing the requirements for that Corporate Sponsored Scholarship that she might get through the National Merit organization. We realized that since she works on Saturdays and Sundays, she'll be busy on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! That, coupled with the fact that she has 2 households, it going to make it very hard for us to schedule a time when we can have the majority of the kids together to open presents. I'm waiting to hear her schedule to see what we'll do and I also have to coordinate with my ex. And that's not even taking into account Middle Son's schedule, which is also TBD at this point. Another reason why I just can't get excited about the holidays this year.
I need to reply to my mom's email. She sent me one a couple of days ago telling me that she had had to break the news of their daughter's suicide to a couple of friends in their 90's and she'd been upset about it for a whole week. She hadn't mentioned it up until now, probably knowing that I was depressed myself. Apparently the police found my mom's information in the lady's purse and called her because they didn't know who else to call (I'm gathering this happened out of town) so it was left to my mom to break the news to the parents. Ugh. I haven't really known what to tell my mom. We have diametrically opposed views on many issues and it's hard to relate sometimes. Plus I'm not in the most social frame of mind right now anyway. Ugh, ugh, ugh. So this morning I was waiting for my alarm to ring and I was lying there, thinking about my mom and stepdad and wondering what will happen when one of them gets very sick or incapacitated. Will my sister be able to step up? She lives nearby but doesn't drive and my mom has been the one helping her most of the time. My brothers live much farther away and are both civil servants so they can't just pick up and move closer to my mom's or even bring her to live with them (tiny apartments), even she is was amenable to it, which she wouldn't. It's so worrisome. But then my mom is only 69. But I can't help worrying.
I'm going to go on a mini rant: I hate it when bloggers call their followers "lovelies" or use terms like "pressies" for presents or "sammies" for "sandwiches". I.want.to.scratch.my.face.and.scream when I see those. Aaargh. (somewhere in the blogging world someone is writing "I hate it when bloggers use expressions like aaargh and ugh and type period in between every single word!")
Alright, enough chit chat, time for today. On to the List That Is Named But Shan't Be Mentioned Again Today As I Don't Plan on Doing Much At All!
- Reply to my mom's email
Make butternut squash soup- used canned soup instead
- Write Xmas cards
- Mail Xmas cards
Turn the ribs over
- Sweep/mop kitchen
- Dust the Cat Room
- Sweep or vacuum the Cat Room
- Clean the windows in the Cat Room
- Fold the laundry
- Put away the laundry
- Clean the downstairs bathroom toilet bowl
Put dehydrated apples away
- Wrap some presents
- Unload and reload dishwasher
- Refill pineapple jars and water indoor seedlings
- Make Dr appointment for son's annual check-up
- Make dermatologist appointment for my son
Make vet appointment for New Kitty's annual check-up
- Take batteries out of fans and store them until next hurricane season
- Make appointment for son to take permit test
- Replace solar rechargeable batteries in lights in front planter
- Take out battery of the 3rd solar light on berm to see if it'll "fix" it
- Vacuum fridge coils
- Declutter the printer stand
- Bake cookies for library staff (some time this week)
- Go through receipt bucket and archive what needs to be archived, file what needs to be filed
Take RaceTrac surveys
- Post November grocery totals
- Make chocolate-covered pretzel sticks
Take kittens to the vet's
- My son packed a lunch and rode the school bus.
- I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.
- I reheated the free hazelnut coffee that my daughter got me at RaceTrac yesterday, for my morning coffee. Ugh, it's so bitter and gross. But free. I added both hazelnut creamer cups to it and a lot of sweetener and it's still bitter. Yuck. But did I mention it was free? lol.
- Cool weather means no AC and it's not cold enough to turn the heat on either, yay!
- Dinner tonight will be butternut squash soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Last night I made some marinade and have been marinating the St Louis ribs that I had picked up on clearance from Target several weeks ago. Years ago an acquaintance had told me he made ribs in the crockpot that were delicious. I've never cooked or even eaten ribs, but Greg likes them. So all these years I've been wanting to try the recipe and now is the time. I don't know the difference between baby back and St Louis so I have no expectations. I marinated one side of the ribs last night and will turn them over and marinade them for another 24 hours and then cook them in the crockpot with some beer (apparently) tomorrow. I hope it turns out OK? I have no idea of how they should come out. But I have a dinner plan for tomorrow night so I'm happy about that. I think I'll make burgers and baked potatoes on Sunday night.
- I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks. I'm at a little over 1800 SB so I need to up my game if I want to get a gift card this month! I'm going to play some videos.
- I turned down a free calendar from the vet's because I don't use those. It would have ended in the trash.
- The only frugal thing about our visit to the vet's this morning is that I charged it to Amex so I'll get 1% back in Rewards...which is still only gonna be $2.25. That's depressing! The kittens gave me hell trying to corral them and into the large cat carrier. I thought I was going to have to reschedule my appointment to next week and ask my daughter to help me corral them on that day. But I finally was able to get all 3, very indignant, spitting, scratching and crying kittens out from under where they were hiding from me, and into the carrier without letting one escape. What drama! Once they were in the carrier, they were absolute angels. No crying, no trying to escape at the vet's. The new technician there marveled at how well behaved they were (?!). I had a "scare" because she said they were too young to get their rabies shot today and I was annoyed because I didn't want to have to bring them back again. I already have to bring New Kitty to get HER annual check-up and shots in early January! So she checked with the vet who said they had to be at least 4 lbs. We weighed them: Princess, the smallest, was exactly 4 lbs! Explorer is 4.4 lbs and Tabby Kitty is 4.8 lbs. They are growing so much and so fast! So they got all 3 shots today (last doses of feline leukemia and distemper vaccines, and then their rabies vaccine). I scheduled their spaying/neutering for the end of January because the vet said between 5 and 6 months. They'll be 5 months at the end of January. This will be a HUGE expense. About $750. Ugh. But then we should be able to bring them in only once a year, and I'm also hoping that we can get $150 back from the county for their spaying/neutering, if they're still doing the rebate. The program is first come, first serve and starts in October of each year so I hope they'll still have funds then.
|My 3 rascals, waiting to be seen. They're huge now!|
- I ordered a free bagel with my Panera Rewards (free bagel every day in December!) via my app for my daughter. She picked it up after her final exam.
- My daughter gassed up the Focus at RaceTrac in Clermont, where gas is slightly cheaper, since she was there for her exam. She gave me the receipt so I can take the survey and earn another freebie.
- I took two RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 more freebies :) If my daughter takes her brother Christmas shopping this afternoon, I will give them the codes so they can get themselves a free drink or snack.
- A knock on the door revealed a UPS driver with a mountain of packages. OK, only 4, but yay! My bike light, a couple of Christmas presents that I hid right away and... MY NEW LAPTOP! Whaaaaaat? I just placed the order 24 hours ago and it was supposed to get here on Monday! That's pretty awesome. So guess what I did the whole afternoon? Well, not chores if that's what you were thinking. No siree Bob, I spent the whole afternoon making my Windows 10 laptop look like my Windows 7 laptop (which means that Windows look like Vista because I didn't like the Windows 7 interface either!). And at 5:22 p.m., I'm pretty darn close. I have to install a bunch of software and move files over but I think that for now I'll keep on using my Windows 7 laptop for the most part so I won't move anything just yet. It's the exact same size as my other laptop. I won't be able to use the same charger as the plug size is different (but of course!). The headphone jack and memory card slot are on the sides, not in the front like my other laptop. I kind of liked having the memory card in the front, it was easier to remember to pop it back out to put it back into my camera when I was done downloading my pictures to my hard drive. I like the keyboard as it is very responsive to my touch so that's a huge plus. However, I like the touchpad much better on my Windows 7 laptop. This new one isn't as responsive and it clicks much louder, which will be annoying in the evenings or when Greg takes a nap in the same room as where I'm surfing. Other annoyances are that I had to go find old files of software that I use all the time like the instant back-up software to my external drive. It works fine but the icon on the task bar looks like it was done in in the days of Pacman. It looks absolutely hideous, very pixilated. So weird. There is a bunch of other software that I haven't installed so I'm bracing myself for problems. I downloaded Classic Shell (a free program) which makes Windows 10 **almost** like Windows... well Vista, I guess, since I had set up my Windows 7 to look like Vista, come to think of it. LOL. There are annoyances because I can't get it to look exactly like I want it, but I guess I'll have to be happy with what I have.
- The kittens are sleeping next to me on the couch right now at 5:30 p.m. Their visit to the vet's and their shots knocked them out today, they haven't been running around at all. I just hope they still tonight! I had to put a sweater on. It's 67F in the living room, which isn't that cold, but I'm freezing! I should go get socks too but I'm too lazy to... wait a minute, my unfolded laundry baskets are just 3 feet away, I could just borrow a pair of Greg's socks! I've been suffering for nothing for hours! Aaaah, much better!
- My daughter took Youngest Son Christmas shopping. I gave them the two RaceTrac survey codes so they can get themselves a free treat. I asked her to get me a gallon of whole milk too, that way I don't need to go grocery shopping before next Wednesday if I don't want to.
- I don't feel like cooking! I have to peel the butternut squash and it's a pain. I usually peel it first and then cook it but today I think I'll cook it and burn my fingers trying to peel it after it's been cooked. My fingers are cold now anyway. Greg is... calling me right now! So I need to go cook. Ah, you know, we have canned soup. I think I'll just warm up canned soup. I just don't feel like cooking. It's still better than ordering out.
- So earlier today I was trying to print coupons from the new laptop and of course, it wouldn't work. Ugh. So I had to bite the bullet and provide Coupons.com with a phone number for them to send a text for some reason. They say it's so that you don't have to install the coupon printer anymore but you know the only reason why they do that is so that they can sell your phone number to telemarketers, right? So the joke is on them as I gave them my home number that goes to a cell phone that is permanently turned off and it's lucky if I check the voicemails 4 times a year. Anyhoo. I was able to print coupons after verifying the code that they texted me at that number. Yay.
- When I turned the phone on, though, I found a voicemail from an assistant principal at the high school, left on November 29, informing us, in a very excited voice of my daughter qualifying for the National Merit scholarship! And she's the first one of her high school to qualify in recent memory! Everybody is very excited! Wait a minute... they got it all wrong! She actually did NOT qualify for a National Merit scholarship but for a Special Corporate-Sponsored Scholarship from a corporation partnered with National Merit. And that corporation is her dad's employer because she filled out an application through them since her dad was aware of the scholarship program and also, of course, because she ended up being part of the pool of local applicants who had high enough scores in their application AND whose parent works for that company. Apparently from what she understood from her dad, her dad's employer gives ONE scholarship for all of the children of employee who qualify, throughout the USA, and they're a large company, so there is no guarantee that she will get it. So I think I need to deflate the assistant principal's excitement a little because, while very worthwhile, it's absolutely not on par with a National Merit scholarship. But still, we were excited about the message (until we thought of it a little more).
- I was able to find a freeware program for taking screen snippets, called PicPick for my new laptop. I was going to reinstall Office 2010 on it once I was done using this laptop and I'm a very heavy user of OneNote's screen capture/snipping tool. However, I read that the newer versions of Windows (8 and 10) have disabled the nifty hotkey that I use non-stop (Windows Key +S) to capture parts of my screen. There is a workaround but now you have to hit 3 keys at once instead of those 2 that are so convenient as a combination. Grrr. How I hate change. HATE it. Every time something works well, some idiot comes along to break it. Anyhoo, I tried a few things in Windows 10, including the Windows Snipping Tool, but none worked the way I needed it to. Finally, I found an old Lifehacker article about readers' favorite screen snipping tools and PicPick was their first choice. So far, so good. All I need it to do is be easy to use and not have to make me have tons of different steps and then just save what I have clipped. I don't need to add annotations, I can do that in PhotoScape. Well, PicPick does those simple things and more complicated ones as well. And it's free so I'm happy-ish. I'd rather be able to use One Note the way I was using it on the Windows 7 laptop but this will do, I think.
- The vet visit! Goodness, I should get a frequent visitor discount. I have more than repaid the debt that I feel we incurred back when that vet's office saved Male Cat's life 7 years ago (back then I was going to let them put him to sleep because I didn't have thousands of dollars to spend on him but the vet insisted that he could save him and asked if he could try and would only charge us $500 on top of what we had already paid. Male Cat ended up being at their office for a whole month, getting IVs and blood transfusions and on catheter, antibiotics, the whole yard. And 7 years later, he's still with us so we have been very grateful and stayed with their office all these years as we added more and more pets to our household as a way to say thanks. But in the meantime we have spent thousands more than we would have had we gone to a mobile vet, too. I don't want people to lose their jobs but I don't have infinite funds either.
- Hmm, not finding a cheaper vet?
- USAA sent me a long reply to my inquiry as to whether the amount that we received as a Subscriber's Account Distribution this year was correct and the gist of it was that "In 2016, USAA experienced the highest catastrophe loss year in its 94-year history." Wow. I guess I should be happy that we got $107... if it weren't for the non-existent interest that we get on the money in our accounts. USAA makes tons of money off its members, as do all the banks and credit unions. I like capitalism, don't get me wrong, but I'm getting a little sick of all those banks and insurance companies getting richer and richer as we're stagnating or worse, losing our shirts. /rant over.
- Fed the kittens
- Packed a lunch for Greg
- Cooked him breakfast
- Ran dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom
- Provided nap support for a kitten
- Turned the ribs over to marinade the other side
- Put away the dehydrated apples
- Corralled the kittens to take them to the vet's
- Took kittens to the vet's
- Picked up kitten food
- Made various cat appointments at the vet's
- Ordered a bagel for my daughter
- Researched county rebate on spaying/neutering and put reminder on my calendar
- Took customer satisfaction surveys
- Spent way too much time trying to configure my new laptop to my liking
- Reinstalled some software and software troubleshooting
- Fed the kittens
- Cooked dinner
- Researching Screen Snipping programs and utilities and test drove a couple of them
- That the kittens discovered the queen-size bed upstairs so I can have a good night's sleep :)
- That I was able to corral them to take them to the vet's!
- That someone programmed "Classic Shell" and put it out for us to use for free!
- That my daughter took her brother Christmas shopping