Friday, December 16, 2016

The Ultimate Freebie ~ Friday 12/16/16

I don't know if it was the mocha mint latte that I drank yesterday afternoon, because I did fall asleep and managed about 90 minutes at first, but I was tossing and turning most of the night, and after I actually fell asleep, the kittens (Explorer in particular, he's always very needy at night) kept trying to crawl and sleep on my face.  Ugh.

So I woke up in a crappy mood, despite the fact that my daughter is taking us (i.e. Greg and me) to Walt Disney World today and I was actually looking forward to that.  The Ultimate Freebie! But now I'm a little crabby and the thought of being in a theme park with throngs of people doesn't sound like such a great idea after all. Greg is giddy though, so weird because he professes to not like theme parks. But he loves Epcot and reminiscing about working at the former Disney-MGM Studios and visiting with our kids when they were little and I still worked for the company.  So maybe that'll rub off on me...  Update: we had a great time the three of us!  We didn't ride a lot of rides, mostly walked around, and we had a fantastic lunch at the French pavilion at Epcot.  We came home at 6:30 p.m. and we're pooped, though!

I'm on the new laptop at the moment.  It's OK.  The surface outside of the keyboard, including the trackpad is slick and doesn't register movements very well so selecting things with the trackpad or clicking (harder than on my other laptop) and holding a sliding menu bar, for instance, is much harder and results in much frustration. Actions that take no time on my other HP laptop take much longer on this one.  One could hope I'll just get used to it but nothing will improve the performance: whatever cheap plastic surface they used for this laptop doesn't hold a candle to the metallic surface that's on my other laptop. That's a big disappointment, considering that the cost was the same (albeit 4 years apart).

But: I love the keyboard!  Somehow, despite not looking any different from the one on my other laptop, it manages to be even more enjoyable to use.  It's smooth, the keys don't need to be pressed hard, I love it.

Windows 10?  Well, I made it look like Windows 7/Vista for the most part so so far, so good.  I didn't like not having the option to ignore the update that they forced on me yesterday, though.  Especially since, with the previous one, people had reported that their PCs suddenly couldn't connect to the internet so when Microsoft patched that, they couldn't download the patch.  Somehow that snafu didn't occur on my laptop, phew.

Anyhoo, I'm not posting a To Do List since I won't be here most of the day.

  • My son packed a lunch to take to school and the school bus showed up so he rode it to school. Yay!

  • I broke my 1.5 week record of doing the dishes every day last night so I did them first thing this morning when I woke up.

  • It would have been smart of me to defrost meat in advance so I could have it cook in the crockpot while we are out today, but I forgot. So I'm defrosting ground beef because I think I should be able to manage cooking cheeseburgers tonight. And a salad?  probably.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks. I won't meet my 1st daily goal today. Oh well.

  • Our electric bill came in and hold on to your hats!  It's only $92.  NINETY TWO DOLLARS!  I've never ever had an electric bill this low. Woohoo!  

  • Greg's taking the day off today to make up for Veteran's Day.  That was a new paid holiday for this company this year, but he was flying back from a business trip to Canada this past Veteran's Day so he was due a paid holiday.  Then he's taking a week off next week and the week after his company closes for a whole week, as they do every year, but everyone gets paid.  So he's on vacation for a little over 2 weeks and he's very excited. It just hit me last night that it means he's going to be here every day next week, but I have to go stand in line and pick up my son from school Monday-Wednesday as they are releasing the kids super early after their exams and for some reason they decided to run the buses at the regular time or something like 3 hours after the release time. Ugh.  So anyway, it means that anything we would want to do together would have to be in the afternoon. The weather is supposed to be in the low 80s so I'm sure we'll take some walks.

  • I was able to request a free Gillette razor for men. I'll probably pass it down to Middle Son.

  • I defrosted some milk that I had bought on clearance but my daughter, the milk addict, hates the taste of it, so I'm using it in my coffee this morning and I'll probably need to make pancakes, waffles, etc. over the next few days, to use it all up. I'm sure the kids won't complain!

  • CVS sent me a coupon for $5.00 off $20 in beauty purchases so I uploaded it to my ExtraCare card although it's highly unlikely that I will use it.

  • So my daughter, Greg and I left at 9:00 a.m. to go to Walt Disney World.  First we gassed up Greg's truck at RaceTrac so I obtained a new receipt with which I will earn a new freebie. Woo!

  • I brought an empty water bottle with me so I could refill it at water fountains throughout the park since it was going to be 88F today.

  • With her Cast Member ID, my daughter was able to let us park for free (a $20 savings!) both at Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

  • And with her Holiday Cast Celebration tickets, we got free admission to all 4 parks.  We only visited Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, though.

  • She downloaded the free Disney app so she could order Fast Passes, check the length of the lines at the attractions and make restaurant reservations. It was very helpful! We did get Fast Passes for The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios but we didn't make it there in time.

  • Later on, she also let us use 3 coupons that entitled us to a free snack. She and Greg got a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar ($5 each) and I got a soft pretzel (I think $5 as well).

  • We made sure to visit the place at Epcot where you can sample free Coca Cola sodas from around the world.  Today we tried Pineapple Fanta from Greece, Melon Frosty Fanta from Thailand, Vegitabeta from Japan (a delicious blend of apricot and passionfruit flavors) and Sparletta Sparkberry from Zimbabwe, I think (that smelled like cough syrup).

  • I found a dime in the parking lot at Epcot and my family was mortified that I picked it up. Seriously?! I pick up pennies so you bet your patootie that I'm going to pick up dimes!

  • We walked slowly so my foot actually didn't hurt and I didn't rent a wheelchair. It started to hurt as we got to Disney's Hollywood Studios, but it was pretty crowded and none of the attractions appealed to us, so after walking around for about 30-40 minutes to see what had changed, we just left.

  • Back home, none of us were hungry for dinner so I didn't cook. I did offer to cook for my son but he didn't feel like eating a burger and said he would make himself a sandwich.

  • Gas to drive to Walt Disney World, an hour away.

  • Our lunch reservation was for 1:40 p.m. and we got hungry earlier so we stopped by the German Pavilion and Greg and I shared a small platter of cheese offerings ($5).  I had looked at the sign advertising hard apple cider with black currants so Greg bought me a cup of that ($8).  Yep, Disney prices!

  • I bought my daughter a cupcake for her snack and a pair of sunglasses because she had forgotten hers and the sun was very bright. As a Cast Member, she got 40% off the sunglasses so they were $12 and some cents.

  • The big splurge of the day was our lunch.  Greg and my daughter wanted to eat at Chefs de France, in the French pavilion.  My daughter had a Cast Member voucher that entitled her and her party to a 50% discount off entrees, non-alcoholic drinks and desserts.  However. we also ordered an appetizer to share (another cheese platter... we just love cheese!), Greg had a couple of beers, and then my daughter had dessert, and Greg and I each had a coffee with Grand Marnier in it (yum!) so after all was said and done, our lunch was close to $100 after discount and tip. Yikes but it was a special occasion that doesn't happen all the time and we really enjoyed our meal. Our waiter was French, of course, and we chatted about his experience working for Disney, etc. He was really nice and we enjoyed speaking with him.

  • But the biggest splurge wasn't even that... I joked during lunch that I wanted to take my daughter back to France next summer for her graduation present and just stay in a hotel there so we can visit all the stuff we didn't get to visit last year and have people come meet us in Paris if they wanted to see us, instead of us driving around to visit everyone else... and Greg agreed!  So we might actually do that. My daughter really wants to do that.

  • I forgot to put the chicken stock that I had made in the crockpot away yesterday. It was cool in the house but I didn't want to risk food poisoning so I threw it all away this morning. Grrr.

  • Fed the kittens
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, started it
  • Defrosted meat for dinner tonight
  • Earned rewards
  • Spent the day at Disney with Greg and my daughter
  • Fed the kittens

  • That my awesome husband offered to make me a PBJ for breakfast this morning and delivered it to me on the couch. Awww...
  • That my lovely and generous daughter is spending her day off taking her stepdad and me to Walt Disney World for free, the day before she's schedule to work there 3 days in a row, and is excited to come with us. She's also sharing her discounts off food and getting us free parking :)
  • For a very friendly and pleasant server at lunch
  • For delicious French food and being able to afford it