Monday, December 26, 2016

Skipping Domestic Monday ~ 12/26/16

Everybody's home today and I'm definitely on vacation mode so I'm skipping Domestic Monday. I'll probably do a lot of cleaning next Monday when I take all the Christmas decorations (well, the few that I did put up) down, etc.

I decided to publish my daily post earlier than usual last night, and then I worked on finalizing my "Found Money Earnings" post for 2016 that will be published on 12/31.  That kept me busy for a while, while Greg was playing video games and the kittens were asleep on or near me.

Then I decided to go ahead and publish the 4 weeks of weekly recaps that I had typed but never published in the midst of the worst of my depression. I also finally published several comments that readers had kindly written during that period (on older posts) but that I had never published even though I had said that I would.  My apologies and I guess better late than never?  At this time I have nothing to add so just "thank you" to those of you who took the time to comment.  I'm still keeping comments closed at this time and for the foreseeable future.  As Susan who thanked me, in her Christmas card, for allowing her NOT to be able to comment on my blog because she's already too busy with real life, I hope that you'll see that as a gift of time from me to you :) It's also a selfish gift to myself because I don't have to reply to comments either. I appreciate the readership but I feel... I guess antisocial. I can't think of another word. I just don't feel like interacting with anyone outside of my little family and this is why I'm not commenting on other people's blogs either.  Sorry about that.  I'm really a big introvert.

Now back to my frugal efforts and failures.  Oh yeah, I said this week would be streams of consciousness only.  So never mind, here is what's crossing my mind today.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that the $5 in ECB for having met my CVS Beauty Club purchase threshold appeared on my CVS app. Woohoo! Boy am I glad I checked my receipt when I went shopping last week, I would have lost on $5 by just 7 cents!

Kellogg's Family Rewards apologized for the wrong KFR code that they had emailed me on Saturday and credited my account with the 100 KFR points.  Thanks!

I finally remembered to log into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and log the last 3 walks/hikes that Greg and I took.  Since you can only go back a few days, I logged them for 3 days in a row. It's not like that matters and I did walk all that distance.  So I now have $10 in Balance Rewards to spend on groceries at Walgreens. Yay! (I didn't earn the $10 with just those 3 walks!  I had close to 10,000 points already in the account, the 3 walks allowed me to pass the 10,000-pt threshold).

My daughter told me last night that she's going to put in her two week's notice at Disney!  She's just not liking the 2-hour commute every day that she has to work, especially since they keep on scheduling her a closing shift on Saturday nights and an opening shift on Sunday mornings.  At this point, she's thinking that she won't look for another part-time job, and that she might open an Etsy store instead.  She's watched her Oldest Brother's girlfriend be very successful with her Etsy store and it's made her a little more motivated to go back to her creative and artistic pursuits and try to earn some money while doing that.  Right now, she has no time for art, between college classes (both in person and online) and a part-time job. Plus, honestly, I think that the fact that she knows she has scholarships coming up contributed to the "I need to give myself a break" mood.  I had told her, at the beginning of the year, that I didn't think she ought to take on a part-time job because I feel that earning her Associate's degree while still being in high school is a job on to itself. She is earning herself 2 free years of college!  So I'm not upset with her, but it does bother me (and only because Disney was my former employee and I still feel a lot of loyalty to the company, despite myself) that they went through all the trouble and expense to train her and she's quitting after only a couple of months.  But such is life, I suppose. Plus, we won't be able to go to Disney for free anymore. Again.  To which, Greg would tell me to go get a job there myself. Ha.

I received lots of chocolates and candy for Christmas even though I had asked not to get any because, as usual, I wanted to go back on a diet as soon as Christmas was over. But my family (Greg!) doesn't listen! So we have tons of leftovers AND I have all this candy calling my name. They're presents so I can't give them away. And I love chocolate. So I'm trying to limit myself to one piece a day. Ha!  It was easy to declare that last night when I had one truffle and was still full from leftovers, but I don't know how realistic it will be when I'm sitting down watching 100 hours of Lord of The Rings Extended Edition (with director commentaries!) this week :)  Maybe I ought to move the recumbent bike in the living room so I can get some biking done while watching the movies.  Hmm, I've got to remember to do that!

The kittens mostly left me alone last night.  At 5:30 a.m. I went to the bathroom and then realized that the "twins" (Explorer and Princess) were asleep on the bed by my feet. They must have spent most of the night there and really didn't bother me at all.  But then at about 7:30 a.m. someone started pouncing on my legs and trying to bite my toes relentlessly and I thought to myself "Tabby Kitty is so violent!" but then when I went to reprimand the kitten, it was my sweet Princess!  The one who cuddles with me the most and is fiercely protective of me. Well, she's playing games to learn to be a huntress.  We all know that, in the lion family, the female is the one who brings the kills so I guess I'm not all that surprised!  Nevertheless, I guess it was time to get up, as suddenly all 3 kittens were pouncing on my bed and jumping everywhere, LOL.

The windows are fogged up so I guess it's humid outside. We did have the AC on but I don't think it came on.  I had changed it back to 74F after Greg had stopped feeling so hot (I had turned it down to 72F for most of the day yesterday) but we still used our pedestal fans last night because it got a little stuffy upstairs despite the AC being on. But it was 72F in the living room when I got up this morning.

I'm having some of the flavored coffee that I had bought from Target and made Greg give me for Christmas... I'd been waiting a long time to try it. This morning, I'm having Cinnamon Churro flavored coffee. Yum, yum.

I earned a few Swagbucks, including 26 SB for performing a search, woot!

I also earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

I don't intend on going grocery shopping this week if I can help it, but I still perused the new ads for CVS and Walgreens, just in case.  The milk seems to be on permanent sale at CVS for $2.79 a gallon. Sometimes I see it cheaper somewhere else, but I always get it at CVS since I get it for free with my CVS gift card.  Also, this week they're offering a DiGiorno personal pizza for $3.00 with a $3.00 ECB!  I'm kind of doubting that it'll be in stock when I go so I'll get a raincheck.  There's nothing interesting to me at Walgreens, even though I have $10 in Balance Rewards that I could spend. I'll wait until cereal is on sale again.

Greg got up at about 9 a.m. He said he slept great!  I gave him a new pillow for Christmas, one of those expensive memory foam with temperature control gel or something rather. He really loves it, so yay!  However, he still says his throat hurts.

At about 10 a.m. I opened the windows for the kittens who'd been restlessly trying to figure out why they weren't open yet!  They really enjoy sitting in the windows and looking at the squirrels digging up the yard.   It's a little muggy outside and it feels warm already so I don't think we'll keep them open that long. I looked at the weather predictions for the week and we're supposed to have temps in the 80's all week, apart from Friday when we'll go down to the 60s for that day only.

Even though I reminded Greg several times yesterday that it was double credit day on Microsoft Rewards so he would earn his daily credits, he didn't do it and I just found that out. Bad husband!  I'm going to have to make that "Major Failures" header permanent, now!

I still can't cancel Greg's line on our personal cell plan because his password app for his work VPN is sent to his old phone number and I guess he can't get IT to switch it to his new phone number this week since they're on skeleton crew for the holidays.  So I'll have to take care of that next week instead.

Last night Youngest Son asked me to come take a look at one of the cabinet doors from under the sink: it needs to be completely replaced. Our cabinets were made in the 70s or earlier and are made of particle wood that was laminated.  I painted them about 12 years ago and they need a new coat of paint badly.  The way they built the countertop and sink always results in quite a bit of water leaking from the countertop onto the cabinets underneath the sink, whenever we use the sink for doing the dishes. After 40 years of this, the top of the door has expanded (because the laminating failed) and now the expansion of the particle wood has reached the hinge and opening or closing the door is going to cause the whole thing to break off. Arrgh. I don't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to remodel my crappy kitchen, I'm fine with a crappy kitchen. I'd rather have tens of thousands of dollars more in our retirement accounts!  So I asked Greg to make me a new door. He said "it'll be plywood" and I said "fine". Of course, we'll need to find a way to make it waterproof on the top edge.  I'm hoping he'll make me one this week because again, we don't want the kittens to go under there, especially since there isn't a separation between the dishwasher and the underside of the sink so lots of cords to chew on and ways to get hurt.  Ugh, it's always something, I swear. Then, once the door is made, I'll have to paint it.  I suppose it might be a good time to paint the rest of the doors and the cabinet frames as well. Ugh, I hate painting and that was a huge job 12 years ago so I know exactly what I'm getting into!

This weekend, my daughter received a letter from the President of UCF congratulating her on obtaining a Provost Scholarship and inviting her to apply to the Burnett Honors College at UCF. She wasn't too sure of what it was but it doesn't sound, to her, like something she would want to do because there aren't any Honors-level classes for Web Design, which is what she is planning on majoring in once there. Hmm, I wish she would look into it a little more because to me it sounds like a good opportunity to be surrounded by other high-achieving students, which could introduce her to new ideas career-wise, etc. Plus if she decides to go on to graduate studies, it would be a plus to be considered for admission.  It's not clear whether there's an added cost compared to regular tuition or not.  She thinks it's mostly for Business students. I think she/we should go to UCF and talk to someone face to face about it and ask questions to dispel any misconceptions we might have.

So at about 11:30 a.m., Greg declared that he was going to eat lunch and then go build me a new door for the cabinets. Great!  We discussed options to keep the top waterproof (his solution: use caulk, because that's his solution for everything).  Great. Only 15 minutes later he came back, settled himself in his lounger, and declared he was exhausted and proceeded to close his eyes as if he was going to sleep. 5 minutes later, he asked me, with eyes still closed, if I wanted to start watching LOTR. So I said "yes, but when you're awake!", so he declared he didn't want to sleep, just not move at all.  I asked if I should go get him some kind of medicine but he declined.  Then 5 minutes later, he popped up and declared he was going upstairs to take a nap!  Being sick just doesn't agree with him at all, poor guy.

Our son decided to go to the park and get some swinging done. I don't think he took his GoPro with him...

My daughter is mopping about having to go to work tonight. She's being very hormonal. She agrees that the job isn't bad and she likes the people she works with, but thinking about going to work brings tears to her eyes. What?!  I told her to suck it up and put in her notice... that means 1 or 2 more weekends only, for Pete's sake!  I have no patience because 1) she's making money at a job that she admits isn't too bad. There are lots of people who are in need right now and would be happy to have her job.  2) I worked at Disney for many years, (in Guest Relations for 5 years, which is Customer Service, basically, and, trust me, when people spend hundreds and thousands on their trip to WDW and something goes "wrong", they come to Guest Relations and let you have it!) worked DOUBLE shifts on holidays, took people on VIP tours through the parks when I had ingrown toenails and I had to wear heels, etc, etc. and I sucked it up.  So I think she can as well, darn it.  Ugh.  I mean, if something was really bad it would be one thing, but she assures me she's not being harassed, etc.  I guess it's just that with the holidays Guests are being very pushy, and she's like me and pretty introverted.  I get it, but I don't get the drama around it.  Ugh.  I feel like a bad mom, kind of. She's also frustrated with miscommunication from the state college dual enrollment coordinator that resulted in her not returning her fall semester books yet, and now it looks like she can only return them on the 13th, although Spring Semester classes start on the 9th and she can't get new books until she returns the old one and also the 13th is the deadline for dropping classes without penalty.  So she's going to email the coordinator, who won't be back at work until the 4th, we think.

All of this proves to me that I need to have a chat with her about being more proactive. Between that snafu and the one about the National Merit-sponsored scholarship application from a couple of weeks ago, it's pretty clear to me and should be to her that she needs to micromanage people and not trust that they'll do what they said they would, because, call me jaded, but most people don't. Because they're incompetent. So you need to stay on top of things, which is annoying, but that's the way you get to be successful in life. By not depending on what people promise! By the time the holiday break was approaching, she should have contacted the coordinator to find out when books needed to be turned in (as it happens, she should have returned them on 12/9!), instead of just waiting for a promised email to announce the date, email that never came through.  This is why you use something like a Google Calendar in which you schedule reminders that get emailed to you a few days in advance so when you get the reminder and realize that you never heard back from "X", then you contact "X"!  I have tons of reminders set up on several Google Calendars to keep me organized. It costs nothing and it allows you to get what you need to do DONE.  I don't understand why she's so reluctant to use this tool. She keeps her calendar on paper, still. Ugh.

OK, it sounds like I'm piling on on my beloved daughter so I'll stop.  As I said, she's hormonal. Maybe there's something going on that I'm not privy to.

I'm eating all kinds of leftovers for lunch.  I love not having to think of what to put together for lunch or dinner, but I'm already over our leftovers. We have A LOT of ham left. It ended up being very dry so no one is really eating it but me. Sigh. I'm going to have to cut it in pieces and freeze it to use in omelets, salads, etc over the next few months.

Driscoll's Consumer Advisory Panel changed some rules in 2017. Mainly, you can only take 2 surveys per day maximum. That doesn't bother me, I used to only take 2 surveys per day anyway. They said you can only print each coupon once.  I think that was the case before as well, but when I printed mine, I was always allowed 2 prints, resulting in a different coupon code each time so it wasn't a duplicate. So I'm not sure if they're changing their printing software, but if they do that'll reduce the number of coupons that I print, resulting in fewer purchases of Driscoll's products. Not that I've been buying many this year as I have stopped going to Target almost altogether. I really do love Driscoll's berries, though. Overall they are of much better quality than the cheap local berries (I'm talking strawberries) that I find at Aldi and definitely much better than the Dole berries that Save A Lot carries.

At 2:30 p.m. the sky is getting dark... I hope we get some rain! It looks like it's drizzling. We need a big, huge soaking rain but I'll take drizzling too!  5 minutes later... it's raining a little harder!  Yay! and it's raining harder and harder... woohoo!  Celebration dance in my head!

Middle Son texted me that he doesn't have to work until 4 p.m. tomorrow and asked if we could meet for lunch then.  I told him to tell me when and where... at 6:30 p.m. I hadn't heard back from him so I texted him that I'd rather do it next week.

I had given Greg a scratch-off lottery ticket in his stocking so he just scratched it off just now and... didn't win anything :(  Rats. I also gave one to Youngest Son and Daughter so maybe they'll win something... Well no, Youngest Son's ticket wasn't a winner either. Poop.

At 4:30 p.m., still in my nightgown (!), I decided to go take a bath with my Kindle. I used Bath & Body Works bubble bath that Greg had gifted me several years ago. I read a few chapters of a library e-book that I had borrowed entitled "The Passenger" by Lisa Lutz.  It's OK so far.  I spent an hour in the bathtub with a bottle of hard cider and some chocolate too.  Oops, I forgot about  "one piece of chocolate a day"!  Didn't take long... after my bath, I put on some clean PJs because, well it was already 5:30 p.m. and it was getting dark so what was the point in getting dressed only to have to put PJs on in a couple of hours?

I'm letting everyone scrounge around for dinner as I am not cooking anything.  Greg thinks the ham hurt his tummy so he doesn't want to eat it anymore.

Our son wanted a videogame from Steam so Greg bought it for him and charged it to our Amex (1% back  in Rewards) and our son gave him cash for it. The game was $17.49 and our son gave Greg $20 and told him to "keep the change!". I warned him this wasn't how he was going to be able to get ahead in life. Then I tried to get Greg to give me the $20, lol.

We decided to start our LOTR marathon tomorrow and probably watch a movie every other day.  I had the Stevie Ray Vaughan radio station on Pandora playing all day because I was sick of Christmas music.  Greg read, napped, and played video games. He loves his new controller. Our son was on his own PC most of the day.  I also was on my laptop all day, apart for the 1 hour when I was taking a bath.  I read some of my old blog entries, read some personal finance blogs and generally puttered around. That's what vacation is for!  I am getting tired of the leftovers, though, as Greg and my son are as well. I might need to cook a real dinner tomorrow :(

Tabby Kitty jumped into my arms a little while back and curled up as if to cuddle. He almost never does that so I was over the moon and telling him how much I loved him, etc. I always call the kittens by their name repeatedly when I talk to them and look into their eyes so they know their names.  He was looking at me very intently and we shared some nice moments. And then he decided to start chewing on my knuckles and he was chewing hard. Ouch!  So I looked up when kittens lose their baby teeth and you know what?  When they're 3 to 4 months old is when they start, and they should have all 30 adult teeth in by the time they're 6 months old. Well, the kittens are 4 months old.  So he's right on schedule.  Arrgh. I guess this means more cables will be chewed up!  Anyhoo, after a few minutes of talking to him softly and patting his bottom, he fell asleep in my arms!

It didn't last long as Explorer, who had been sleeping by my side, decided to go have a snack and I guess Tabby Kitty decided that he needed to have a snack too.  Now they're both curled up on the futon against my right hip :)