Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Another Milestones Birthday and Running Errands ~ Wednesday 1/11/15

I suppose that turning 15 is only a milestone birthday because a child is eligible to take the learner's permit exam at that age and start learning how to drive, but for me, it's the beginning of the end.  My last child turning 15, then 16 (getting his license), then 18 (voting, ostensibly being an "adult" but not really) and then 21, when I guess I'll finally feel like I'm done raising children.  So my long period of mourning begins, lol.

Youngest Son is indeed 15 today. His day started like any other, apart from the fact that I drove him to school as a special treat, even though it wasn't cold, so he was able to sleep in a little more.  The line to get into the school was unreal this morning, I'm not sure why as we got there at the same time as the two previous mornings, and I had no choice but to drop him off in the Junior Lot instead of the regular drop-off zone, because of the way people were lining up in the wrong turning lanes and you didn't know until the last minute that the lane you were trying to join (in the proper place) was started back about 1/2 a mile behind you.  Well, at least I was able to get out of there fast.

The plan for his birthday is for me to get him donuts from Donut King (his wish) instead of a cake.  I'll offer to get him his favorite dish from Domino's for dinner (Alfredo chicken pasta in a bread bowl) and we plan on surprising him with Greg's old iphone 5S to replace the current iPhone 4 that he inherited from me a couple of years ago.  We'll also give him some cash and I'll get him some of his favorite candy this morning. He didn't want an experience anywhere, or a celebration, which honestly suits me fine as I don't like birthdays all that much.

Today is my Running Errands Day so I'll be off shortly.  I've decided not to drop off my bike at the bike shop today. Greg and I will be taking our son to AT&T on Saturday so I'll drop off the bike then, it's across the street from there.  I'll also have to skip Save A Lot today and go there tomorrow as they have a special weekend sale that start tomorrow with cheap chicken breasts and eggs.  I wish they would start their special sales on Wednesdays!

My daughter had to run to the high school to get her picture taken for "Most Artistic" for the yearbook, and she's waiting for an answer from Disney Management about having access to go return her costumes so if she gets it, she will go there today.

Greg reported that he had a great night and that his throat feels much better. Yay!  Two kittens slept with me all night, taking half the bed so I wasn't all that comfy but I was tired so it evened out.  At about 5 a.m. Explorer decided to come sleep on my pillow against my face and purr and every time I turned around, he went to the other side of the pillow, against my face, and started purring again!

  • Finish putting the laundry away
  • Deduct cost of Greg's liquor stock-up from next month's grocery budget
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program
  • Run errands  DONE
  • Submit rebates  DONE
  • Record receipts in spreadsheets  DONE
  • Do my foot exercises 3 X  DONE
  • Exercise DONE
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Look into which IRA account still needs to be funded DONE
  • Remind Greg to transfer money into the  last IRA account  DONE
  • Update my Net Worth spreadsheet and share with Greg
  • Make note of when stock options are vesting in 2017 and put detailed alerts in the calendar
  • Create spreadsheet to calculate our Personal Savings Rate in 2017
  • Dust Cat Room
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Declutter under window seat in Exercise Room
  • Take Driscoll's and RaceTrac surveys
  • Continue moving my music library to the new laptop
  • Clean litter box upstairs
  • Scheduled 60K Maintenance appointment for the Ford Focus (Monday?)
  • Cash in the 2016 Spare Change Jar  DONE
  • Charge my Kindle  DONE
  • Schedule credit card payments
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Wipe off old iPhone 5S for son DONE
  • Reset all references in "Other Expenses" spreadsheet summary page

  • Youngest Son turned 15! He's an amazing young man who is polite, respectful (although he's getting snarky at times due to his age), loving, kind, helpful, assiduous, serious, has a great sense of humor, loves cats and video games.  I'm so proud to be his mom! I never thought I'd have kids, much less four of them, so it's been a priviledge to end my wonderful mom career with such a great one.  I really lucked out in the kid department with all 4 of them.

  • He packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I input last night's exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 100 BR points. I think I might have reached the monthly limit already.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and I'm working on Swagbucks with various videos... I was able to do a very short survey that brought me 50 SB so at 8:30 a.m., I'm already at 70 SB out of the 80 I need for my 1st Daily Goal. Yay!

  • I looked at the new ads for Aldi and Save A Lot online and updated my shopping list.  I will try to resist the 15-lb bag of potatoes for $2.99 (arrrgh) but I will need to plan to go shopping at SAL tomorrow in order to stock up on the chicken breasts at $0.88/lb.  I hope they're in stock when I go, SAL is one of those stores that advertises something but they only always have it when the store opens on the 1st day of the sale, which is annoying.


  • I don't think the heat came on last night. It was 56F outside this morning and the temperature in the living room was 67F and 68F in the kitchen. So I turned it off at 7:45 a.m. Our high today will be 74F.

  • I took my coffee in a travel mug and an apple for a snack along on my shopping trip. I didn't eat the apple so I put it back in the fruit bowl when I got home.   I changed my itinerary at the last minute, which worked pretty well.

    • I went to Donut King first. I really wanted to take a picture of the displays inside but didn't.  Oh and I wish I could bottle up the smell of freshly baked donuts! I'll bet there's a Bath & Body Works candle that smells like that though, I'd better stay away from it.  I purchase 1/2 dozen donuts for the kids to share and at the last minute decided to buy a "king" chocolate glazed donut, on which I will put candles for my son to blow tonight :)  I charged the OOP to my Amazon Visa card for 2% back in Rewards (I think it should qualify as a restaurant since it also sells hot foods that you consume on site).  I found a Powerade bottle and a brand new hair band of the same kind I use on the ground near my car and I grabbed both. I'll wash the hair band before using it.  The kittens have been stealing mine and chewing them up!

    • I was excited that this new itinerary would have me pass a new-to-me thrift store that I had only visited once before but where I had found capris for just $0.99 as I had time to browse a little this morning. However, it was still closed when I passed it :(

    • At CVS:
      • I bought the 2 cans of Campbell's soup and didn't have to pay a dime after my $1.00/2 manufacturer coupon and the $2 store coupon that they had emailed me yesterday, woohoo! 
      • One of the cans had a Campbell's Label for Education that I tore off when I got home and that I will send to our former elementary school along with others that I have collected. 
      • There is a $0.10 Mobisave rebate on the soup so I will redeem that. That's making this shop a MONEYMAKER, woo!

    • Aldi wasn't busy at all, it was so nice to be able to push the cart without bumping into people.  
      • I stuck to my list apart for:
        • Veggies. Their prices change so often that now I mostly wait to be in the store to decide of what I'm buying. Today I got sweet corn, a cucumber, a head of cauliflower, white mushrooms and spinach. 
        • Ground beef: I still have several pounds of it in the freezer that I had bought on 50% clearance at Save A Lot, but in the past couple of months the clearances have completely dried up at Save A Lot and I'm wondering if it's due to the new chain owners.  So when I saw the 5-lb chub of 73% ground beef on weekly special for $1.79/lb, I decided to stock up and get one chub. (watch that the ground beef will be on clearance at SAL when I go there tomorrow!)
        • Non food items: I splurged and bought myself a fake Fitbit for $34.99 and 2 hyacinths in vases @ $2.99 each (one should be pink and a white one).
        • Birthday present for my son: a bag of churro "chips". He loved those last year when they offered them.
      • I counted the apples in each bags before settling for 2 bags of 10 apples each (other bags contained 9 apples that were larger).
      • I chose the largest head of cauliflower, ditto with the cucumber.
      • I charged the OPP to my Amex for 3% back in Rewards.
      • They still had delicious German holiday cookies for sale but they weren't even discounted!  So I didn't buy any.
Non-food. I also bought 2 jugs of cat litter that are not in the picture.

    • I stopped by Winn Dixie and only redeemed the coins from my 2016 Spare Change Jar at the CoinStar machine for an Amazon e-card.  There wasn't a fee and I now have a $14.08 Amazon e-gift card that I will redeem in my account in a little bit.  I decided to keep the $20 bill that was in my change jar in my purse instead of feeding it to the machine :)

    • I made a detour by the South Lake Animal League Thrift Store to give them the pet coupons that I had clipped for them. Since it wasn't on my original itinerary, I hadn't brought my donations along. Oh well.  I checked my Thrift Store Wish List, that I keep on my phone, and looked for those items. I did find:
      • 4 drinking glasses. They're a little water-stained but not nearly as much as mine and I hope the Jet Dry in my dishwasher will get them cleaned up. They were 50 cents each.
      • a small bag of cat toys for $1. I will keep it to give to the cats at Christmas this year.  (See, Sandie, I'm Christmas shopping too!).
      • I broke down and did buy a large metal water dish for the kittens for $1.00.  I was going to reuse a plastic container at home, but New Kitty had chin acne last year which I thought was due to the plastic dish she was using and that cleared up after I started using a metallic bowl.
      • a grooming glove for 50 cents. I figured it was worth trying it at that price, to see if it might get rid of some pet hair when we caress them since they don't seem to like that fur-removing comb that we have.  I tried it a home and it doesn't seem to do anything for removing hair, alas, so it's a good thing that I didn't buy two of those (they had a whole basket of them)!
      • I handed them my coupons and they were very grateful.
      • I paid in cash since my total was under $5 and they only take credit cards if the total is $5+.

    • My next stop was Publix.
      • I checked my lottery ticket at the electronic machine. Every time it says "There's a problem reading your ticket, see attendant", I think "OH! I won a HUGE jackpot and this is their discrete way of telling me that!" but then my pessimistic nature claws its way back though this temporary optimism and I scan the ticket again and every time it says "Not a winner".  Well, that happened again today. Poop. 
      • I added a tomato to my cart because there is a $0.25 rebate on SavingStar on loose tomatoes and Florida Vine-grown loose tomatoes were $0.99/lb. I picked the smallest one, which was a little over 1/4 lb so it'll have cost me only $0.07 after the rebate :)
      • Otherwise I only bought  2 bags of Armour Italian meatballs (BOGO and I had only 1 $0.75/1 coupon), 2 packages of Sandwich Thins (BOGO and I had two $0.55/1 coupons, making them cheaper than Aldi's version of the same thing) and 2 boxes of Truvia sweetener packets (on BOGO and I had two $1.50/1 coupons).
      • My cashier was very sweet and excited for me when she saw my total, lol. What a difference with that witch from yesterday at "the other" CVS. I will send her a compliment via the Publix website.
      • I paid for my OOP with my Amex for 3% back in Rewards.

    • At Walgreens, I asked the cashier if my Register Reward for the Trolli candy would print if I paid for the OOP with my Balance Rewards (acknowledging that I wouldn't earn any BR for this transaction) and he said there shouldn't be a problem, so I did just one transaction. He was right, the $1.50 Register Reward did print, along with some coupons. I bought:
      • 4 boxes of Lucky Charms, on sale and I had coupons. I picked 3 boxes that have a code to redeem to donate meals to the homeless and 1 box that promises a free Trolls figurine inside. Might as well get a little bonus with my purchases. I can always donate the figurine.
      • 2 dozens of eggs, on sale @ $1.00 each 
      • 1 container of Nice! Ground Black Pepper, on sale @ $0.79
      • 1 bag of Trolli sour worms on sale, which gave me back the $1.50 Register Reward that I will use next week to buy another grocery item.
      • My OOP was only 36 cents after I redeemed $10 in Balance Rewards and I paid cash for that :)
      • I did look at the 90% off Christmas merchandise/food corner but there was barely anything left and nothing of interest to me.
      • There is a $1.00 rebate on the Lucky Charms on SavingStar so I will submit that rebate.
      • There is also a $0.10 MobiSave rebate on the eggs that I will claim.
      • So this will be a $1.25 MONEYMAKER for me.

    • My last stop was RaceTrac. I parked near the air dispenser because I thought one or more of my tires looked a little low.  I used the tire gauge that I had bought at Dollar Tree last year to check the pressure in my tires, knowing that the gauge on their air dispenser is very much off the mark.  A reader last year had clued me in to the fact that if you're not sure how much pressure should be in your tires, you should check the inside of the door jamb of your driver door because there is a sticker that tells you exactly how inflated your tires should be. Mine is 35 psi.  I checked all my tires and one of my back ones was down to 30 psi.  So I went inside, redeemed a survey reward code for a free 32 oz Fanta Orange for the birthday boy, and asked them to turn on the air machine (free but you have to ask, which is why I usually go to Wawa), and I refilled my one tire for free.

  • Back home, my daughter came out to help me carry everything inside.  Thanks, Daughter!  Tabby Kitty, as usual, was very excited by all the bags and the goodies and was a little devil helper.

  • I opened the windows since the temperature had warmed up nicely. The cats really enjoy the open windows.

  • For lunch, I warmed up a small bowl of Black Eyed Pea soup that I had made last week, had half of the leftover salad from last night, and made myself a BLT!  I used 2 of the 4 strips of bacon that I had cooked yesterday so they wouldn't go bad, and half the tomato that I bought today. It was delicious!
I had the apple for snack later on.

  • I took a bag of apples that I had bought before the holidays and kept in the fridge and poured them into the fruit bowl.  In doing so, I realized that one of the apples had started to spoil. I pulled it out and will eat it as my snack this afternoon.

  • I was too mad yesterday, after my CVS stop, to remember to check my receipt and I just realized when inputting my receipts into my spreadsheets this afternoon that the hateful cashier forgot to scan my gallon of milk.  She should have kept her mouth shut and done her job, served her right.

  • After totaling my food purchases for the week and subtracting the rebates, I spent a total of $47.53, leaving me $52.47 in my budget for the week, that alas was already spent on Middle Son's birthday lunch last Sunday :) Plus I want to go stock up on chicken breasts at Save A Lot tomorrow.

  • I submitted my receipts to MobiSave and SavingStar.

  • Greg texted me that he fully funded my 2017 IRA. Yay!

  • I submitted a compliment about my cashier to Publix via their website.

  • Amazon emailed me that they upgrade my Chase Amazon Visa card and since we're Prime members, we'll now be earning 5% back on all Amazon purchases. Woohoo! Also no foreign transaction fees, which is important to me when I buy gifts for my family in France via

  • I redeemed my Amazon gift card to my account :)

  • MobiSave credited my account with $0.20.

  • Leafing through the local free paper, I saw an article advertising a tree seedling giveaway at Lake Hiawatha Preserve in Clermont in a couple of weeks. They're giving away, among others, crepe myrtle seedlings. I've been wanting crepe myrtles in my yard, so I'll plan on attending and hopefully will score at least one!

  • We're giving our son Greg's "old" iPhone 5S for this birthday (and some cash too) so I wiped it out so it's ready for him to start using it as soon as we get the line disconnected on Saturday. I don't think we can use his iPhone 4 SIM card in the 5S so we need to go to AT&T then.  

  • I used Minecraft wrapping paper that I had bought several years ago. My son has been "over" Minecraft for quite a while but since I still have a bit of the paper left, I'm thinking he'll be in his mid 20's before he stops getting birthday gifts  wrapped in that paper!

  • I also made him a gamer-themed birthday card in Powerpoint and printed it on my inkjet printer. Susan, 2 homemade cards in the span of a few days, I hope you're thoroughly impressed!
"A little morbid!" exclaimed Greg. Well, but HE didn't bother organizing anything
he just signed his name to the card. So he doesn't get to criticize! It's a screenshot from
a real video game, by the way. I thought it was funny.
  • For dinner (for Greg and myself), I made an Asian-inspired soup in the crockpot.  I need nicer and shaper knives. I couldn't cut the pork loin in match sticks like the recipe required so they're smallish slices of pork loin.  I had the sauces required, but instead of bok choy, I used up the cabbage that I had cut up and frozen several months ago so it wouldn't spoil.  I also used Japanese rice noodles instead of sobe noodles.  This way, I used up one item from my side-by-side freezer and another from my pantry.  Yay!

  • I reached my 2nd daily goal with Swagbucks!

  • I signed in to my Domino's account to order the food for the kids and earned another 10 points towards a free pizza.  My daughter went to pick up the food with our family car.  I had her use my Discover card to pay for it because if I had used the Amazon Visa card (which earns more rewards for restaurants), they might have asked for the card as verification and she's not an authorized user on that card.

  • Wawa emailed me that I have a new reward in my app. Free coffee that I'll pick up on Saturday when we go to Clermont :)

  • Greg's and my dinner was delicious!  I had made Pork Soup with Rice Noodles and Cabbage, which had I adapted from a Pork Soup with Soba Noodles and Bok Choy from one of my crockpot recipe books. Greg and I each had two bowls and decided not to count the calories since it's our son's birthday and I don't feel like figuring it out, lol.  We didn't have any donuts :)  I have lots of leftovers that I put in the fridge for now, but that I may freeze tomorrow.

    • Gas:
      • to take my son to school
      • for my daughter to go to the high school and back and then to Disney and back to return her costumes.
      • and tolls for Greg's commute
      • for my errands

    • A "FitBit" so I can start tracking my steps every day without running down my phone battery too much ($34.99 plus tax)

    • Two hyacinths to brighten my living room (hopefully!) @ $5.98 plus tax for the both of them.

    • To celebrate our son's birthday, we "let" him order his favorite dish from Domino's and then treated my daughter as well.  Greg and I decided to eat the Asian pork soup that I made in the crockpot. 

    • The cheap thrift store wasn't open when I drove by, a result of going to shop too early in the morning, lol.
    • I forgot to bring my box of donations along but I'll just drop it off next week.
    • I'm wearing the new fitness tracker but I don't think it charged at all. It showed as already charged 3/4 of the way and I plugged it in for over an hour and the battery status didn't change.  Also, the wristband keeps on getting caught on the edge of my laptop when I type, like right now, and it's annoying the crap out of me!

    • During my shopping trip today I had the following expenses out of pocket:
      • Donut King: $8.98 (birthday donuts)
      • Aldi: $93.63 total ($52.38 for non food items, $0.89 for birthday treat, and $40.36 for groceries)
      • Thrift Store: $3.75
      • Publix: $8.24
      • Walgreens: $0.36

    • My grocery (human food only!) expenses this week totalled $47.53 and were as follows, after rebates:
      • Baking: $0 (none bought)
      • Beverages: $0 (nine 12-packs of Diet Dr. Pepper)
      • Breads: $4.59 (1 loaf white bread, 1 8-ct hamburger buns, 2 packages Sandwich Thins)
      • Cereals: -$1.00 (4 boxes Lucky Charms)
      • Dairy: $6.04 (1 package string cheese, 1 gallon whole milk, 4 cups fruit yogurt, 1 package American cheese slices)
      • Pantry/Dry Goods: $3.68 (2 cans soup, 1 container black pepper, 2 40-ct boxes sweetener, 1 40-oz jar peanut butter)
      • Produce/Juice: $13.98 (bananas, cucumber, sweet corn, 1 tomato, spinach, 6 lbs apples, 8 oz blueberries, 1 cauliflower, 8 oz mushrooms)
      • Proteins: $16.60 (2 dozens large eggs, 5 lbs ground beef, 1 lb Black Forest ham, 2 bags Italian-style meatballs)
      • Snacks: $3.64 (1 bag pretzel sticks, 1 box protein bars, 1 bag sour worms)
    • Birthday present: $50 
    • Domino's for birthday dinner (for 2): $16.03

    • 2 cans Campbell's soup (CVS, after coupons)
    • Got a$14.08 Amazon gift card and $20 in my wallet thanks to my 2016 Spare Change Jar and didn't pay any fees at CoinStar
    • 1 package Sandwich Thins (Publix BOGO)
    • 1 bag Armour meatballs (Publix BOGO)
    • 1 40-ct box Truvia sweetener (Publix BOGO)
    • 4 boxes Lucky Charms (Walgreens after Balance Rewards credit)
    • 2 dozens large eggs (Walgreens after Balance Rewards credit)
    • 32 oz fountain drink (RaceTrac with survey reward code)
    • air for my tire (RaceTrac)

    • Fed the kittens
    • Packed Greg's lunch
    • Drove my son to school
    • Looked at the new ads and tweaked my shopping list
    • Ran errands
    • Put everything away
    • Input receipts into my spreadsheets
    • Submitted rebates
    • Submitted compliment about cashier
    • Activated and charged my fitness tracker and downloaded the app
    • Made a birthday card for my son
    • Erased Greg's old phone and cleaned it
    • Located the box of my iPhone 5S and packaged the phone for my son in it and wrapped it
    • Set the table for dinner
    • Organized the birthday celebration
    • Unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded it and started it
    • Replied to blog comments
    • Exercised
    • Commented on blogs

    • I drank only 1 cup of water before coffee this morning. I'm going shopping and I don't want to drink too much before leaving the house. I didn't drink all my coffee either. I'll have to catch up on both in the afternoon.
    • Breakfast was a bowl of generic rice crispies, half a cup of ~2% milk and a banana and a cup of coffee, if that.
    • I did my foot exercises.
    • Lunch was a bowl of black eyed pea soup, a BLT and a side salad. I drank water.
    • Afternoon snack was a cup of decaf coffee and an apple.
    • Dinner was 2 bowls of the Pork Soup with Rice Noodles and Cabbage and also 2 biscuits. I drank water.
    • As I was bending down to get something from a cabinet, my left knee gave me a bad twinge and I screamed. Greg brought me my knee brace.  I'm wondering if I should be biking tonight. To be honest I'm tired so I don't want to, but maybe I'll just bike very slowly.
    • Exercise: I biked for 39 minutes but pretty slowly as I only made it to 5.97 miles.  I think I'll go to bed early tonight again!

    • For an all-around amazing Youngest Son.  I'm the luckiest mom :)
    • For store that had bathrooms for their customers. With all the liquids that I'm drinking these days, I needed to use the restroom several times so it was lovely to be able to do so. In France, it's rare even for supermarkets to have bathrooms for customers.'
    • For a lovely and encouraging cashier at Publix

    Princess, sleeping in the back of Youngest Son's computer desk so she can be close to him!
    Did you get your permit when you were 15 or did you wait until you were older?  Back in the day in France, you had to be 18 to even learn how to drive so I didn't get to drive until after my 18th birthday.


    1. Happy birthday to your son! In the old days when I was 15 I had a learner's permit, then on my 16th birthday I had my mom take me to the DMV so I could take the driving portion (which I passed). Exciting times! My brother made me a peace sign keychain and I thought I was something else! πŸ™‚ Now, I'd rather not drive, but back then I couldn't wait. I like the 18 year old rule. We need to do that too.

      1. Thank you! It's funny how something that was once so exciting is now something we avoid, eh? For me it's phone calls. I used to love getting phone calls and now I hate being on the phone so much I tell everyone NOT to call me and to email me instead, hahaha. Living in a semi-rural area now and also when I was growing up, I don't mind the kids driving at 16 because there isn't anything to do here and no public transportation. Back when I was 16 I had to bike everywhere... but over there people are considerate of bicyclists AND the distances are much shorter than here! So being able to drive at 16 gives them some freedom and also frees up the parents from taxi duty. My son hasn't spoken of wanting to drive at all and he's a total homebody so I don't even think that getting his permit is something that he's necessarily looking forward to, hahaha.

      2. Forgot to say... it was sweet of your brother to make you a keychain! None of my kids gave each other anything to celebrate one's obtention of the driver's license.

      3. Ohh, me too about the phone calls. Yuck! I'm like you, too in having people come to the house. No thanks!

      4. Aren't those the worst? LOL. Bless probably thinks we're crazy :)

    2. Happy birthday to your Youngest Son! He sounds like a wonderful young man! I like the look of that birthday doughnut!

      I really like how your children come out to help you bring in the groceries. And how Tabby Kitty helps you unpack and put them away! :D

      Sounds like you had a very busy day. I hope your knee feels better.

      I didn't learn to drive until I was in my early 20s.

      1. Thank you!

        I really like that they help me too. Tabby Kitty is more of a little pain in the you know what, but he's soooo entertaining. He gets giddy when I come home with the groceries and has to get into every bag that I empty, practice "kitchen surfing" by launching himself at the bags (reusable cloth bags) and making them slide across the tiled floor, trying to get to the Christmas presents that I had gotten the kittens (dingling balls, it was driving him nuts that I kept taking that bag away from him!). So it took me much longer to put everything away than if he hadn't been doing all that. That might have been why I was to tired afterwards!

        My knee feels better this morning, thank you. I love my knee brace but I'm glad I don't have to wear it all the time.

        In France, it's very expensive to get a drive's license. You have (well, had, I'm not sure now) to take classes through a special traffic school and that is very very expensive. Passing the test was very hard and if you failed, you had to take the traffic course all over again. My sister, who is in her late 30s, has failed it several times and still doesn't have her DL!

    3. Happy Birthday to your baby. When I was growing up, we couldn't get our learners permit until you were 16. I didn't get my licence until I was 17, but even then didn't use it much. I lived in a small town and walked most places.

      1. I think I'd be fine with the learner's permit started at 16. I do think that 15 is a little young to be behind the wheel, even with an adult next to you. Being able to drive and having access to a car is a great thing but it also makes you lazy. My daughter drove the other day to go visit her BFF who lives just a short 2 blocks away! And I routinely drove to the library when I could have walked (it's a mile away). Now that Youngest Son goes there several times a week, I just have him return/pick up my materials for me :)

        Thanks for the birthday wishes! I will pass on yours and everyone else's :)

    4. Have you ever thought of wrapping birthday presents in the Sunday comics? I have been doing it for years. Just add a pretty ribbon - recycled, of course!!! Everyone I give a birthday present to loves it! No, I didn't get a permit at 15. I drove with my dad without a permit then got my license at 16. That was back in the 80's. BTW, I love your blog! Lynne F.

      1. Hi Lynne, thanks for reading, you are so kind!

        Thanks for the reminder to use the comics page. I did that a long time ago when I was out of paper and it turned out very nice! Nowadays I mostly give gift cards, cash or check so I don't need regular wrapping paper so much... of course, I have a stash to go through, like that Minecraft paper! But I'll have to keep the Sunday comics in mind.

        You drive without a permit! You were a rebel, lol! We must be about the same age, I was a teen in the 80s as well :)

    5. Happy Birthday to your son! And I like the card. Here it was get your permit at 16 and I'm thinking the license was 6 months later when you passed the road test. And you had to complete a class within a few months after that on driver safety.

      1. Thanks, Jess! I will pass it on to him and he's going to be so surprised to be so popular, hahaha.

        Here you first have to complete a class about driver safety, including the perils of drinking and driving and doing drugs. Then you can take the permit test and all you need to apply for the license is an affidavit from your parents that you got x hours of driving, including x amount at night although he can't drive at night at all for the first 3 months after obtaining the permit. I should know the amount of hours but I can't remember and I'm too lazy to look it up right now, lol. And you have to have the permit for a year before obtaining the license. I'm going to sign him up for the driving classes through the high school since it's free and it's on automatic cars, while Greg will teach him on our stick shift. Then to get the license, you have to pass the road test, of course.

    6. OMG. What a great tribute to your son. You are a wonderful mom for putting it in words. I hope he realizes the high regard you place in him.

      You are one of those rare people I have heard about who actually makes money by spending it on groceries. Today was full of those deals, and you are still the Queen of Freebies. It was so nice of you to send a compliment in to Management about the CVS cashier today. I often think how wonderful it is when I meet an employee who goes out of her way to help me, but I only once paid a compliment to the manager about someone. You don't hesitate, and I think that is remarkable.

      I love today's post. It is so newsy. I could write a volume in response, but I will try not to. I love your second birthday card. It is really funny and will be appreciated I am sure. He had a great celebration. I wondered where you got those teeny weeny candles, until I read that the doughnut was King sized. I can understand his lack of enthusiasm for getting his Learner's Permit. I got mine at 15 because I was enrolled in a Safe Driving course through my High School. (Otherwise, you had to wait until you turned 16) I aced the program and got the Safe Driver's certificate, even though I never tried to get my license. My school instructor just assumed I would, but my mother was dead against it. I also learned to drive with a standard and in winter in Northern Ontario. I never tried for my driver's test until my first born son turned 16, and it was only because I felt I needed to get my license before any of my kids did. It was a matter of pride. So I think I deserve the prize for slowest achiever. Ha.

      1. Well I tell him he's smart and handsome and I love him to pieces and I got him lots of cats this year and let his dad buy him lots of videogames and I dragged my butt to drive him to school FOUR times this week so he'd better know what I think of him, lol.

        I complain a lot (here, IRL) but rarely send a complaint to a company unless I'm really peeved. And then I make a big deal about think (think: 5 page letter directly to the CEO!). But I love recognizing people who make my shopping experiences so pleasant. I'm on a first name basis with some cashiers at Walgreens and CVS and Publix and those ladies always have a smile on their face, are personable, help me find great deals, and absolutely make me feel like a valued customer whether I spend 10 cents or 100 dollars. And then I get to thinking that I'm not the only customer they helped that day and they probably did it each time with a smile and an encouragement or kind gesture. So I hope that the comments I leave for their management to bring their awesome customer service to light reminds them that yes, there are people who notice and that we do appreciate them. And I hope they get some kind of award (monetary, preferably) because those aren't high paying jobs!

        I giggled like crazy at your story about you getting your driver's license when your oldest child was 16 so you wouldn't be left behind, hahaha. You deserve the prize, alright! Weren't you smart to get it, even if it was several years later? I worry about my sister who has to walk to work in all kinds of weather (her husband drives an ambulance so his schedule is really erratic). She had to count on my mom to drive the kids to school when they lived in the boonies and there wasn't a bus, and now, selfishly, I worry about how she'd be able to help my mom if her health failed, without being able to get to her in a pinch. They don't live far away from one another, but she would indeed need to drive there. I don't know why it's been so hard for her to pass the driving test. We're all mystified.

    7. Happy belated birthday to your son! He does sound like a nice young man.

      It's the same in Germany with driver's licenses - very expensive classes and a difficult test to pass. My mom never learned to drive. One of my sisters has a license, but has never owned a car. She lives in Munich which of course has great public transportation. By now, she wouldn't want to drive any more, having had no practice in all these years.

      1. Thank you! I will tell him! He was delighted to hear about all the birthday wishes he received through my blog :)

        My brother from Paris got rid of his car about 3 years ago now. He works in the subway but since he closes it down at night a lot, he can't ride it home! So he bought himself a bicycle that folds in quarters (it seems! It folds to a very small size!) and rides it to and from work. When he folds it, he can store it in his small apartment without it being in the way. He loves it and now doesn't have the expense of having a car to maintain. He and his wife just rent a car when they want to go on a weekend away or vacation and they have to take their cat with them. But for regular travel to go visit my mom or my dad, they take the train. Here... it would be much more difficult to accomplish. I mean in Central Florida!


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