Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"Tired" of This ~ Tuesday 12/27/16

Remember how I got back into PJs right after taking a bath yesterday afternoon because what was the point of getting dressed since I was going back to bed soon?  Yeah, about that...

So my daughter worked her shift and then waited for her manager to be available so she could turn in her 2 weeks' notice.  She was a taf nervous but explained that she had come to realize she couldn't handle a job so far away and her college studies so she regrettably had to put in her notice. It went very well, I think the Walt Disney World management team is well accustomed to these things happening.

Anyhoo, she was late leaving because of that and called me to tell me she was on her way home. I was very tired but decided to stay up to make sure she made it home ok.  About 10 minutes later, at 10:30ish, my phone rings again and it's her.  I thought to myself "uh oh!" because there's never any reason for a kid to call me 10 minutes after they've left somewhere unless something is wrong.

So long story short, she hit a pothole on the side of the road shortly after leaving WDW property and ended up with a flat front passenger tire.  Arrrgh.  She was on a dark road, quite a ways from home, and we had just replaced the back 2 tires because of another flat just last week and Greg had not been happy about that.  That had cost us about $156.

I had check the trunk to make sure she had a spare tire (she did), and figure out exactly where she was by using Google Maps on her iPhone 4 (good thing it was charged and she had one!). She texted me screenshot with her exact location, and told her to call USAA Road Assistance since we carry that on our vehicles, and ask if they could send someone to put the spare tire on the car. I was hoping it wouldn't have to be towed. In the meantime, I went to meet her because even though it would take me just as long to get there as the tow truck, I didn't want to stay home and be worried about her being all by herself at night with a broken down car. Someone did stop to ask if she needed help while she was on the phone with me, but she was smart and had locked all the doors and just cracked her window a tiny bit to tell him she had already called a tow truck. It was nice of him to have stopped, but you can't be too careful either.

So I got there about 10 minutes before the tow truck.  USAA has this nifty thing where, if you allow them to, they track your exact location somehow and they also text you a link that allows you to track your tow truck's location on a map. It's really helpful to know how much longer you're going to have to wait!

Switching the bad tire for the spare took him about 10 minutes and then I followed her home. I had told her to drive slightly under the speed limit because I wasn't sure if there was anything else wrong with the car. We finally got home at about 12:30 ish.  My daughter had offered to pay for the repair so I'll have to discuss with Greg what we're charging her, if anything.  Ugh.

This morning, I told her to be ready by 8:00 a.m. so we could take the car in to our trusted garage as they opened, so we did.  They just called me at 9:00 am. to say that the tire did need to be replaced but that the rim looked fine, and then the car does need an alignment.  Sigh.  So that'll be about $181.00 total and it'll be ready this afternoon.

I'm not mad at my daughter.  I've hit a pothole and gotten a flat myself in the past (although I think it was my ex who was driving us at the time, not me, but I can't remember for sure!).  Sure, she could have made sure to avoid the pothole but the road was dark and it was late at night. I'm just glad she was OK and didn't get hit and that nothing happened to her while she waited!  I'm grateful that we had road assistance, and that she had a phone.  Even if she knew how to change a tire (and she should learn, I need to ask my ex to teach her as he has a flat driveway), it would have been challenging to do that in the grass at night.  I'm very grateful that we can afford those repairs without stressing about paying them off.   I'm also grateful that our garagist is honest and didn't push for us to replace both tires.  Greg was mad at me for agreeing to replace both back tires last week but the car was over an hour away in East Orlando and I had to way to go look at the tread myself to see if it was true that both tires showed a lot of wear.

I did speak to my daughter about the importance of having an emergency fund for situations such as these.  It was a ton of stress for me back when I was younger and our cars would have some mechanical problem because we never had the money to fix them so we would charge it to our credit cards and then pay the minimum because we couldn't afford to pay them off. And then we'd have to keep charging other things because now we had a minimum payment to make on the credit card and weren't making all that much to start with!

So that's not a very pleasant way to start the week. Also, so much for the No Drive Day that I thought we would have today! I'm grateful that my daughter didn't have to work today and is on vacation from school.

I had printed a coupon for $10 an alignment at Tires Plus before I left the house, since I wasn't sure that our independent garagist would be opened this week.  He was, so I didn't need the coupon, but I'm glad I took the few minutes to see if I could save some money. I probably could have spent a few dollars less by going to Tires Plus as I think their alignment deals are cheaper, but it's another 15 minutes away AND I don't trust them as much as our garagist.  My ex took my daughter to Tires Plus (another location) when she had the flat last week and they're the ones who told me I should replace both tires even though I thought (and my ex seemed to think as well) that the tread was still pretty good so the 2nd tire didn't need to be replaced.

Back at home, I've opened the windows for the kitties as it is slightly cool outside.

Greg and our son are still asleep, I think my daughter went back to bed as well since the garage said the car would be ready this afternoon.

I wasn't planning on doing any chores today, Greg and I were going to start our LOTR marathon.  We'll see what mood he's in for that when he wakes up. I hope he's over his virus, he seemed fine last night but I forgot to ask.

Oops, I do need to collect the trash throughout the house and bring the trash bins down to the curb for collection!  I'd better do that now.  OK, done. I even cleaned the upstairs litter box that is my responsibility and that I always forget about because it's in front of Greg's bedroom and no longer in mine :)

I spied 2 Minute Maid bottles in my recycling bin... with their caps on!  I guess my son and/or Greg didn't think to save those for me. So I rescued them and added them to the little stash that I started. I'll enter the codes next week. I'm going to put a reminder on my calendar to do that every Monday from now on.

Since I was out, I toured my garden and there were some good surprises!

The rose bushes that I pruned a couple of weeks ago have new growth!

There's even a rose that's growing!

The hibiscus doesn't look as bushy as it used to but I'm going to call it my Lazarus hibiscus because it's come back
from being almost dead several times now!

I had cut off all the dead leaves from the Peace Lily and watered it a couple of weeks ago and since then we've had a couple of small rains and it seemed to have sufficed to revive it.

I have a couple of new strawberries growing.

The cone flowers look like their color has washed away in the rain but they're still alive!

I have some new growth on my thyme too!

All the basil is flowering, which is great for the bees!  I spotted one trying to land on this basil plant but I couldn't take
a clear enough picture of it.

The mint in this pot had completely died but I cut it back and watered it anyway and it's coming back!

The bean plants at the western edge of the planter aren't growing as much as the ones at the eastern edge,
but considering that I haven't taken care of them at all, I'm just amazed that they have grown at all!

I even have some bean flowers... and some bean worms as I just spotted the tell tale signs on the leaf at the bottom of
the picture...

The lettuce is still looking good. I really ought to harvest some!

Especially since there are a couple of long shoots like this one in the middle of the bin... I'm not
sure if it's the lettuce bolting or just a weed.

Cherry tomatoes.

These Supersweet 100 tomatoes had reseeded themselves.

The serrano pepper plant is coming back, with blooms and peppers!

The collard greens had died again but a baby collard green has reappeared.

This vinca, part of the huge one that had replanted itself several years ago, it about to get some
new flowers.

and the baby vincas that had reseeded themselves between the patio pavers seem to be doing quite well. It'll be interesting to see if they ever flower.  I don't plant on pulling them.

We only had a couple of very short rains in the past couple of months but my rain barrel is back to about the halfway mark. I'll try to refill some jugs with it.

This is what I ended up harvesting today!  You can tell I didn't expect to harvest anything because I just used the bottom of my T-shirt as a basket :)

I earned a few Swagbucks, including 20 SB for a Search!  My 1st goal is 50 SB today.  I'm at 574 SB total.  Since I'm just waiting for Greg to get up, I decided to run the nGage and JunGroup videos to try and earn some more.

I also earned the daily Microsoft Rewards.

This weekend, I realized that the kittens are now too big for me to ever use the free samples of Advantage II flea control medicine that the vet had given me. So I plan on giving them back to the vet's next week when I take New Kitty there for her check-up.  I remembered that I needed to order more kitten food (I have about 20 days worth of food left but as they get bigger they also eat more!) so I called my vet's office to order 4 more bags that I'll pick up next week.  I wish I got a discount when I order so much food!

I made Greg change the ringtone assigned to me in his iPhone because the one that he claims I had picked just sounded very ominous.  If it were me, I'd never pick up when that ringtone resounds, lol!  So now he has a nice harp one for me. Hopefully he'll pick up when I call!

Our downstairs toilet had developed a "leak" so to speak, over the weekend: it kept on running, very quietly, in between flushes. Since the top of the tank has been broken in half, we don't relish having to lift it to fix the flushing mechanism each time.  Greg just told me that last night he sprayed a bunch of WD40 on the flushing mechanism and that it seemed to have taken care of the problem for now. Eventually, we'll probably have to replace the mechanism again.  I wish we could have a new lid cover too. I've had that on my thrift store wishlist for quite a while.

CVS sent me a new coupon for 20% off any full price item so I uploaded it to my ExtraCare card. I don't plan on going grocery shopping but "just in case", as usual.

It's 11:34 a.m. and I finally reached my 1st Daily Goal on SB. Greg is up but reading his book so I'm going to keep on running the JunGroup videos. I gave up on Ngage because it was making my laptop run very very slowly.

I had more leftovers for lunch: caviar and smoked salmon toasts. Oh yay, living large.  The kids foraged for their own food, we have plenty in the freezer if they don't like the leftovers.  They made themselves chicken popcorn from Aldi and the pizza sticks that we had gotten for free at Publix. (they refuse to eat caviar or smoked salmon. Philistines!)

Greg announced that he was running to Ace Hardware to find wood to make new cabinet doors. He decided to replace both doors under the sink so they match.  I had some coupons so I told him I was coming along and we could call that "a date". He warned me we might need to drive to Clermont and go to Lowe's so I told him it definitely was a date, then!  ha.

We couldn't find anything at Ace so we drove to Clermont. He stopped at RaceTrac to gas up his truck since it's 7 cents a gallon cheaper than at the RaceTrac near our house. We paid $2.22/gallon and he charged it to Amex for 2% back in Rewards. He earned loyalty points on his app and gave me his receipt so I can take a new survey with it and earn a new freebie. We had checked our apps to see if new freebie coupons had appeared but we didn't have anything :(

On the way there, we discussed what we would charge my daughter for the tire situation. We both agreed to make her pay for the tire itself and we would cover the alignment. Greg joked that it had been his fault that she got the flat because apparently when she got the first one last week and called us, he had just bought a video game online.  And last night, same thing. You'd think he would take the hint to stop buying video games then!  He's bought 3 games since last week, I gave him one for Christmas and today he got a new Gamefly game in the mail. I don't get it.

As we parked at Lowe's, I saw a display of bright pink verbena plants that were the exact same ones as those we had bought to brighten the patio, almost 3 years ago.

Mine finally died this summer so I had planned on replacing them.  So I reminded him to use his Amex to pay for the wood if it was over $50 because I had loaded an Amex offer for $10 off $50 to his card (and the same offer to mine), and I went to get some flowers. I was surprised that they were as much as they were ($11.98 each) as I thought I might have paid just $8.00 each 3 years ago but I went ahead and bought 4 because I thought I might not find them again later on (or remember to get them). To make it to $50, I bought a package of daffodil bulbs. I'm not positive that they'll grow down here, but they sell them, soo... They were $3.98.  Then I went to find Greg to see what he had bought. He'd warned me he was going to get nice "furniture" wood, not plywood, because it's easier to work with.  Well OK but our kitchen looks like crap anyway so I don't think plywood would look completely out of place, hahaha.  So he found 2 nice pieces of aspen that came almost to $50 altogether. Yikes. I made him buy another pack of daffodil bulbs so he could qualify for the $10 back on his Amex as well.

So we spent about $110 between the 2 of us and got $20 back from Amex in the front of statement credits on our next statement.

We were just down the road from Panera's so I thought about going to pick up my free bagel of the day, but honestly I was so stuffed that even just thinking about it made me slightly nauseous. However, I should have picked it up and frozen it!  Duh. Sometimes, I feel very dumb.

I tried calling the garage to find out the status on the car so maybe we could pick it up on our way home and save some time and gas,  but they didn't answer so we stopped by. They were still waiting for the tire to come in so I'll have to go back out later with my daughter.

We decided to wait until tonight to watch LOTR, although I feel that perhaps a Star Wars marathon might be more appropriate now in light's of Carrie Fisher's passing today.  That was sad.  I was telling Greg "She was only 60, just 1 year older than me! Wait what?! Carrie Fisher was only 1 year older than me?!" and Greg looked at me like I was crazy and said "Nathalie, you're FORTY nine, NOT FIFTY nine!". So we laughed. The sad part (apart from Carrie's passing) is that it not even that I'm that bad at math, it's that I genuinely thought, for a minute, that I was 59.  This is a sure sign of out of shape I am because I feel much older than I am, with always something hurting :(

Changing subjects, I forgot to show another Christmas present that my daughter gave me, although she didn't intend to.  I had shown her, several weeks ago, an ad for World Market with a cat-shaped mug, as a hint of something she could buy for me. When we went to World Market, they had the black mug only, not the white one and she exclaimed about it and bought it... but apparently for herself.  I didn't say anything but I was a little disappointed because I wanted it, hahaha. Later on, she decided that she wanted to buy a white one for a friend, so she ordered it online. Only after she placed the order, she realized that she might have ordered a pack of two. It was only a couple of dollars more for the 2 than she had paid for the one in-store, though.  So this weekend we received the package and it was indeed 2 white cat mugs. She declared that she was keeping the 2nd one for herself but I gave her the "puppy" eyes so she asked me if I wanted it and I have to say I had absolutely no shame and said "yes!" so she said I could have it. Yay!  Isn't it adorable?!?

There's a kitty paw print at the bottom of the cup :)
Back home after our errand, I decided to test the batteries in all 3 of our fire alarms. Two of them were fine, the third needed a new battery so I replaced it. I'm glad I did that, as it'd been on my To Do List for far too long.

Greg said he wasn't going to work on the doors today but he disappeared in the shed as soon as we got home so I think he's at least measuring and stuff.  He had wanted to buy trim to make the doors look the same as the others, but listen: those doors are going to get saturated with water again and look crappy in short order. I didn't want to have to spend $15 more on "trim" when I don't care.  The doors won't "look the same" and that's OK.  If it weren't for the cats, I would have just strung some wire and put up some curtains. But I keep chemicals down there and I don't want the cats getting in there and get electrocuted when I run the dishwasher so doors it is.  He told me that I'd have to paint them myself though.  Shit, had I known that, I would have asked to build a partition between the under the sink space and the dishwasher and just gone with the curtain idea.

I prepped the new cheat sheet for Greg and my wallets with the list of credit cards that we should use in each situation starting in January. I've been making a new cheat sheet every quarter as the Discover Quarterly offers vary.  Because it's my blog so I can bitch if I want to, and since I entitled this post "Tired of This" (so I might as well complain as much as I can!),  I'm going to go on yet another mini rant about Windows 10.  When I first got and set up the laptop, I had installed my wifi printer and indeed printed something to it.  Today, when I went to print my cheat sheets, that printer wasn't a choice in Powerpoint.  But when I went to Devices and Printers, it was listed as an "unknown device". WTF?!  Again, that latest update messed up everything. I sure hope it won't happen with every single update!  So I had to reinstall the printer, change the defaults, etc.  So freaking annoying.  Can I say, again, that I never had that problem with Windows 7?!

Greg came back in and announced that he was going back to Ace Hardware because he needed hinges and things.  So I went back with him. I had a coupon for BOGO carton sealing tape, which I needed because we're out, and also the coupon that they had sent me for my birthday that's for $7 off $20 in regular-priced merchandise.

As we entered the store, I spotted the new brochure that featured a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on Ace-branded pleated AC filters so I got 3 of those and the tape but since all of those were on sale, I couldn't use the $7 coupon.

Greg couldn't find the hinges he needed but he bought some brackets.  I suggested he just reuse the same hinges but he said they looked rusted.  Anyhoo, after the sale prices and my BOGO coupon, our OOP came to $18 and some cents and we charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.  We also earned some points on our Ace Rewards program although they never print how many on our receipt.

Ooh, and also I remembered to ask them if they still had their 2017 calendar because those contain monthly coupons and they did!  So I grabbed one. There are a couple of $5 off $25 coupons and another coupon for BOGO AC filters and since we need 2 each time it's replacement time, we go through several of those a year. I was excited to get the free calendar :)

We had just gotten home when the garage called to say that the car was ready so I grabbed my daughter and we drove back to Clermont while Greg set about building the doors.  I charged the repair to my Amex for 1% back in Rewards and we drove straight home.

I changed the small flag in the front yard from a holiday-themed flag back to my cat-themed flag. With 6 kitties, it's more appropriate than ever :)

Greg took apart the old cabinet hinges and sprayed them with WD40 and it seems that he's able to reuse them. Yay!  He's also using the brackets (my suggestion) to reaffix the front of the cabinet frame itself that had become loose a long time ago. He looked at how they had built the cabinets and was mystified as to how it had ever been attached to anything in the first place.  He's already putting the doors in place so I guess I'll have to paint them in place (with 6 cats and no door with which to block the entrance to the kitchen, that's going to be fun!).  Geez, I can't wait (sarcasm).  I'm grateful that he replaced the doors, though :)

So it's been a spendy day again.  This is why I don't know that we could ever have a No Spend Month. Seriously, something always comes up.

Last year, I had been tempted to place a losing weight bet on Healthy Wage but I chickened out and never pulled the plug (good thing, too, since I totally flaked out). They just sent me an email offering me a $50 bonus if I make a bet before 1/3. Arrgh. I don't think I'm going to do it but I'm tempted. But then again, if we do go to France this summer, that could be my motivation (and the fact that I'll turn FIFTY in December next year).  I'm not good with bets.

After ignoring me the whole day, Princess settled herself on my chest about 15 minutes ago and is currently taking a nap on me. I love this :) I thought I was really not going to enjoy so much cat closeness but... I love my kittens. I'm such an old cat lady now.  Ha.

We received a letter from our mortgage lender that a preliminary escrow audit had been performed and it looks like our escrow will short about $400.  We can either pay it in full now or they can include it to our mortgage payment over the course of 12 months. I think I'll just have them include it to the cost of the mortgage as it won't cost us anymore and if our taxes or HOI goes up in 2017, our budget will already be used to a higher amount.  I mean, it'll be less than $40 per month so we're fine.

I activated a SavingStar offer for 20% off bananas "just in case". I have a lot of bananas at home so I won't buy any this week, though.

Greg finished the cabinet door. He calls them "rustic" and I call them "a hell of a lot better than what we had before!".  So what if they're not perfect?  They're perfect for me.  Thanks, honey!

If you're not a fan of food waste (and who is?!), you might want to avert your eyes at the next paragraph:

We had tons of food waste today and it's beyond ridiculous and yes I'm ashamed. Here is what I threw away or composted just today:

  • 3/4 of a cantaloupe that had gone sour since it'd been sitting on the table, cut open, for 3 days, when the temps are in the 80s and I wasn't running the AC.
  • 1/2 a papaya. Same story.
  • 95% of the spiral ham.  Whaaaaat?  Well, I ignored the fact that there were only 3 of us, kept it in the roaster too long so it was too dry, used the spicy glaze which ended up not being good and giving the ham an off odor so we couldn't even figure out if the ham was still good or not.  Also I left it on the table on buffet night (Saturday), all day Sunday, and all day Tuesday.  So... I threw it away tonight.
  • some dip that I had scooped into a small dish but that no one ate. I still have most of the container in the fridge and I don't like it and Greg isn't a fan so I don't think I'll keep it either.
Ugh. Shameful.

I took the recycling bins down the driveway so they can be collected early tomorrow.

For dinner I asked the kids what they wanted and my daughter wanted pizza. I remembered that I had a $10 Groupon voucher for Domino's that I had bought for just $5 around Black Friday so I ordered them a large 3-topping pizza for carry-out (on promotion for $7.99) and Greg ordered wings for $6.99.  Altogether, my OOP ended up being $6.03 only and I earned 10 loyalty points towards a free pizza. I charged the OOP to my Amazon Chase Visa for 2% back in Rewards. My daughter will drive the Focus (better gas mileage) to go pick it up with my son.  I think I'll have some pizza too.

I made my daughter watch our DVD of "A Town Called Panic" with me because she had never seen it. I thought she would be interested in trying to understand the dialogues that are in French (but with Belgian accents) but she wasn't.  We've loved this "animated" movie ever since it came back, back in 2009. It was one of Youngest Son's favorite, even though he had to read subtitles at the age of 7 because he doesn't speak one lick of French. It's wonderfully imaginative for little boys but also for little girls. I used to play with my brother's plastic cowboys and Indians and imagine their horses having romances, and I myself had a toy farm with all the plastic animals so I get a huge kick out of the movie :)

I finally reached my 2nd daily goal in Swagbucks tonight!

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