Monday, January 30, 2017

Domestic Monday ~ 1/30/17

I didn't want to do the dishes last night so I didn't, thinking "well, it's Domestic Monday tomorrow so I'll just do them then!". I'm falling back into my old patterns so I need to nip that in the bud!

I'm not excited about Domestic Monday, I feel the pressure of all the tasks I have to do plus it's the end of January so I want to make sure I've accomplished as many of my goals for the month as possible and I need to put a plan together for next month. Arrgh.

We had the heat on last night and I'm about to turn it off in the house at 8:00 a.m. Our high today is only supposed to be 62F/16.6C, though, but by the middle of the week we'll be back in the 70s.  A kitten just settled herself on my chest to take her morning nap.  Dang it, they always do that either right before I have to go cook dinner or right before I have to do another chore!

My Daughter is coming home at some point today from her dad's house. Yay! It's weird not having her here. I catch myself trying not to make any noise in the kitchen in the mornings so I don't wake her up, and then I remember that she's not even here!

Alright, To Do List for today. It's more of a wishlist, really, because there is no way I can accomplish all of this, even factoring in tomorrow. But I'll try to make a dent. If the kittens cooperate and take their naps somewhere else than on me :)

  • Defrost meat for dinner DONE
  • Post the menu for the upcoming week DONE
  • Mop or fake mop the kitchen
  • Do the dishes DONE
  • Do the laundry DONE
  • Fold the laundry
  • Put the laundry away
  • Check my son's back and decide whether to make a dermatologist appointment or not
  • Transfer money from son's chores to his savings account  DONE
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program 
  • Do my foot exercisesDONE
  • Exercise
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Find USB drive (NOT an SD card!) and clear it so Teen librarian to put photos of Youngest Son on it
  • Read e-library book in progress
  • Make sure Greg assigns specific funds to his IRA account 
  • Move missing Music files from External Drive to my Laptop 
  • Move/reinstall missing software on new laptop in progress, moved all the files to the External Drive
  • Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
  • Clean litter box upstairs DONE
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Iron Greg's clothes
  • Take RaceTrac surveys
  • Clip Publix store coupons DONE
  • Sort coupons
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Move fonts from external drive and reinstall on new laptop
  • Read the 2 library travel books
  • Read the e-magazines I borrowed from Amazon
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Email my French BFF
  • Start French blog for my mom and sister?
  • Inventory what I need to make new self-watering bins
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Mend at least one item from mending basket (Youngest Son's bag)
  • Open savings account with Discover Bank or other online bank
  • Update January Food Expenses post DONE
  • Check if Greg's W-2 is available not yet
  • Print tax forms DONE... until the next ones come in
  • Schedule credit card payment DONE
  • Create list of goals for February DONE
  • Give Princess her medicine (twice) DONE
  • Try to hit my 1st Daily Goal on Swagbucks DONE
  • Research which state park to go visit this weekend
  • Schedule transfer to Emergency Funds account for tomorrow DONE
  • Mix a batch of Montreal Steak Seasoning DONE
  • Make butternut squash soup for lunch DONE
  • Research Florida Prepaid College Fund to see if can increase the contribution
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Send my feedback to all my elected officials (city, county, state, Congress)

  • My son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • He decided, last night, that I didn't need to iron his clothes for today, because after an hour's commute, they would look the same as if I didn't iron them anyway. But, inexplicably, he still expects me to iron the rest of them. Sigh :)

  • School drop off went very well, yay!  I hadn't put in a new CD in the car, but this morning the radio stations were playing songs instead of the regular DJ chatter and commercials so we listened to the radio instead.  I still called people "idiots" when they did idiotic things like not letting the person who was trying to pull into the parking lot from the other direction in, although some of us had stopped for her to do just that.  I wish I were an undercover traffic cop, at times.

  • I stopped by RaceTrac on my way home and redeemed a survey reward code for a free apple crumb muffin for Youngest Son's after-school snack.

  • I received our Amex statement last night and finally we're making progress on our Rewards since we've gone back to using that card for most of our purchases unless I've indicated otherwise on our cheat-sheet.  Next month, I should be able to get a new $100 CVS gift card with my Rewards :)

  • My 1st Daily Goal in Swagbucks is 95 SB.  I got a search award for 14 SB early on so that helped. I'm hoping nCraves come back so I can start earning faster, though, especially since I'll be doing chores today so I can't be babysitting the laptop too much. I want to hit that 3-week streak,  I think today is my last day for qualifying.

  • I reused a plastic bag to clean the upstairs litter box of cat poop.

  • I emptied out a cat litter jug and I'm saving the jug to refill it with rainwater, for the garden.

  • I did 2 "super" loads of laundry (everything mixed in, I never separate) on cold/cold.  Since it's rather cold out today, I'll use the dryer again but on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting.

  • I had meant to turn off the heat at 8:00 a.m. but I got distracted by a sleepy kitten so I turned it off at 9:30 a.m. instead.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned another 20 BR points :)

  • I started a batch of butternut squash soup for lunch, using a small squash I had bought at Publix several months ago. I used 2 cups of homemade chicken stock and scrapped the rest of a container of light sour cream instead of using heavy cream. It only made 2 servings but that's fine.

  • I scheduled an automatic transfer to our emergency fund account for tomorrow.  My goal is to add $2,000 to it this year, which comes to $166.66 per month.  It's kind of enforced savings for our summer trip since the funds will have to come from there (we keep 12 months worth of bare bone emergency savings in that account and anything over that is for other "emergencies" like an unexpected repair or whatever we can't cover from our checking account's cash flow).

  • I scheduled a credit card payment on its due date.

  • I balanced my checkbook.

  • I noticed that the check I had mailed to Middle Son to cover his PhotoShop conference hadn't been cashed in yet so I texted him to make sure he had gotten it. He had and expressed much thankfulness and excitement, which is always nice to hear.

  • I printed the tax forms that were available to us and the tax form schedules from various institutions so I can see when I might be able to complete our tax return.

  • When I went to empty the composting containers, I noticed that I had a lot of baby squash plants growing in my large composting bin!  It's too cold this week to transplant them so I'll have to see if they survive in there past the really cold days.

  • I was curious to see just how much rainwater my rain barrel had collected since Saturday night and was surprised to find it almost full!  I filled the cat litter jug that I had emptied this morning and set it aside. No need to water the garden right now since it rained much more than I thought!

  • Lunch was a bowl of butternut squash soup, the rest of the salad from last night, a big wedge of burned focaccia bread, a string cheese stick and the last Dole Mixations fruit cup.  I drank a Diet Coke with Lime.  I turned "The Rockford Files" on over the air TV so I could enjoy that while I ate.

  • So, last night, I got an email from Starbucks with this, prefaced by the title "Pardon My French, but..."

So I sent a tongue-in-cheek comment to their Customer Service department, as follows:
"I received the promotional email (Ref: 2017?Winter?NL3) titled "Pardon Our French..." followed by delicious looking pictures of croissants and inviting me to visit a Starbucks to celebrate National Croissant Day tomorrow. Well, I DON'T pardon you. 1) I'm on a diet and 2) I'm a French person living in the USA. So I'm craving croissants more than the average person. What you are doing is evil. So I will, very regretfully, have to forego celebrating National Croissant Day.Merci beaucoup for reminding me of this. Have a croissant for me, won't you?  
Today, I received an apologetic answer from them, assuring me that they knew I was disappointed that I couldn't participate and that even though they also knew that's not why I wrote to them, they were adding $10 to my Starbucks account!  Woohoo!  I replied again to thank them very much :) Wow, that was excellent!  Plus their CEO announced that he would employ 10,000 refugees throughout the world. Hugs to them.
  • Chili's emailed me a coupon for a free appetizer with the purchase of an entree over the next few days.  I probably won't use it, but I appreciate it :)

  • I finally met my 1st SB goal :)  Not trying for the 2nd one today.

  • And I got confirmation that I reached the 21-day streak, woohoo!

  • I clipped the Publix store coupons that I wanted from the brochures that I picked up this weekend.

  • I received the $10 Walmart gift card from Ebates and the free Kellogg's product coupon for the snafu with their free milk promotion.

  • Even though I wrote up a menu for the week and defrosted meat, I didn't feel like cooking what I had put down for tonight, so I'm making a box of ziti and heating up a bag of Tyson chicken tenders. Oh yeah, gourmet!

  • Gas:
    • to drive my son to school
    • and tolls for Greg to commute
    • and tolls for my daughter to drive back from her dad's
  • We had the heat on last night because we're wimps! I'm blaming my weight loss.

  • I used the dryer for the laundry today as it's cold outside (but sunny... ok, maybe this is a failure?) and the kittens would just wreck havoc with the laundry racks indoors.

  • We have a frost advisory for tonight so I'm turning the heat back on at 7:00 p.m.

  • I had been entering a daily PBS sweepstakes in hopes to win a trip to England this summer but with the current administration's inane and irrational decisions regarding which to consider a "terrorist" country and who can or not be readmitted into the country even though they might have already been vetted and have legal American documents, I have decided to just give up. As I mentioned to Bless in a comment yesterday, at this point I'm thinking that even if there was a family emergency, I probably wouldn't attempt to go to France.  Because I remember the stupid "Freedom Fries" movement of the early 2000s and those people are one step away from deciding that France is a terrorist country as well (don't kid yourself, no one is safe from the madness!) and then I might run the risk of not being able to rejoin the life that I have led here for 30 years. And if the far right wins over there too (more likely than you think), then where do I have to go?

  • Greg's IT folks still don't seem to be able to fix his VPN access so he worked extra long at the office tonight so he could do what he needed to get done for his project :( It's a good thing this problem didn't happen when he was working from his parents' place during his dad's illness!

  • No Spent Day!
  • an apple crumb muffin from RaceTrac
  • $10 from Starbucks!
  • A coupon for a free appetizer at Chili's
  • Received the $10 Walmart gift card from Ebates (introductory offer)
  • Received the free item coupon from Kellogg's (up to $5.00)

  • Fed the kittens
  • Prepped Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Drove my son to school
  • Picked him up a snack
  • Posted my Day Book post
  • Cuddled with a kitten
  • Defrosted meat for dinner and for later on in the week
  • Did the laundry
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Filled up a litter jug with rainwater
  • Rebalanced the 2 recycling bins (one of overflowing but no one but me ever switching them around!)
  • Added toilet paper to the bathrooms
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Scheduled a credit card payment
  • Scheduled a fund transfer
  • Balanced the checkbook
  • Made butternut squash soup
  • Printed and downloaded several tax forms, instructions and schedules
  • Emptied countertop composting containers into the large one
  • Unloaded the dishwasher,
  • Organized the dirty dishes :)
  • Fended off the kittens while trying to eat my lunch. Sigh. It's getting old.
  • Posted my menu for the week
  • Collected the trash throughout the house
  • Chatted with my daughter
  • Checked the mail
  • Recorded receipts into my spreadsheets
  • Cooked dinner
  • Reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Washed the pots and pans by hand
  • Took the trash cans down to the curb for collection tomorrow

  • Sleep was pretty good, although my fitness tracker doesn't seem to agree?!
  • Breakfast was a cup of Rice Krispies with a banana and 1 cup of ~2% milk
  • Mid morning snack was a wedge of focaccia bread because I was craving bread and no one else will eat it anyway. Healthier than cake?
  • Lunch was a bowl of butternut squash soup, a small salad, a wedge of focaccia, a piece of string cheese, a fruit cup. I drank Diet Coke.
  • Afternoon snack was a pretzel rod, too many taffy candy.
  • Dinner was ziti and chicken tenders.
  • Water consumption was... let's not mention it.
  • Exercise was skipped tonight again, but I supposedly walked 9,330 steps by 8:46 p.m.  I'm thinking I'm swinging my non-dominant hand a lot more than I thought...
  • Foot exercises were performed.
  • for my daughter making it safely back home this afternoon
  • for a Starbucks Customer Rep with a sense of humor :)


The sky, this morning, was matching my mood as to what's going on in our country.  Later on, I drove under a murder of crows against the same background and I thought "exactly!".

"As of midday Monday, the following companies whose top executives sit on either of Trump’s private-sector advisory boards had not made statements on the travel ban: 3M, Arconic, Boeing, Campbell Soup, Caterpillar, Cisco, Corning, Dana, Dell Technologies, Dow Chemical, General Motors, Harris, IHS Markit, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Merk, Newell Brand, Nucor, PepsiCo, Timken Company, Under Armour, United Technologies, U.S. Steel, Wal-Mart Stores, Walt Disney Company and Whirlpool."  Source


  1. You might just leave the squash plants in the compost (after thinning them a little.) The best cantaloupe vine we ever had grew in our compost pile.

    1. I would if this was indeed a compost pile, but it's a compost bin that does have a cover that I keep on, because of the stray cats :( Speaking of which, I suppose that if I did transplant any of the vines, I'd have to protect them from the darn cats. I've been pretty unlucky with squashes here. I grew a small butternut squash one year and an acorn squash the next, but the acorn squash ended up either rotting or being eaten by bugs before I could harvest it. All my vines develop mildew because of the humidity :(

  2. That was very nice for Starbucks to do that for you. Some people tease and or nag me about my devotion to this company. I think they have the best coffee out there, Panera is a second for me. I tend to make my own coffee at home but when I want to purchase a coffee I will nine times out of 10 go to Starbucks. I think they treat their Employees well, and they do try to do things around the world. Looks like you had a really good day.

    1. It was very nice and unexpected! To be honest I really dislike their coffee, but I love their bacon breakfast sandwich :) I used to go there only because my BFF loves it so we'd meet there, but now she can't afford it anymore and I have to stay away from their croissants or breakfast sandwiches!

      My Oldest Son worked at Starbucks (and might even still work there, I don't know), but he never told me about his experience working there. I do know that they seem to have the right type of benefits for them and I appreciate them hiring vets AND refugees too.

      I have to see if there's a Starbucks near my BFF's house and I'll treat her to her favorite coffee next time I see her!

  3. I read your post very late last night/very early this morning (around 2:00 a.m.), but didn't comment as I was trying to convince myself that I should try to go to sleep instead of reading and commenting on blogs (didn't fall asleep until after 3:00 a.m., anyway). But it sounds like you had a good day.

    How nice of Starbucks to respond to your email by sending you $10 to your account! Excellent customer service! And look at all those baby squash plants! I hope you will be able to transplant them and they will grow and produce more squash for you. As for the travel ban, I am pretty sure it would be fine for you to travel to France and back, but I don't know about England - especially if the current petition to uninvite our President goes into effect! Interesting times in which we live, isn't it?

    1. This is what is crazy: that we can't be sure of what this maniac is going to decide next! And when you see who he is surrounding himself with (I mean, the Breibart guy among others...), evil people are whispering in his ears too. France is doubling the number of visas that will be granted to Iranians to protest Trump's travel ban, so I'm quite sure he's going to want to show them "who's boss" and threaten to block French people as well. Because he's like a toddler who doesn't want anyone to tell him "no".

      I'm sorry you fell asleep so late. Have you tried limiting your screen time before you go to bed? It might be what's keeping you up?

      I hope the baby squash plants survive the cold weather so I can transplant them. I'm keeping them in the composting bin for now as it's warmer in there at night and they're safe from squirrels and stray cats :) I'm adding the new veggie and fruit peels to the side of the bin where there aren't any baby plants growing!

      I hope you had a great day, today, Bless. It was lovely here in Central Florida, perfect weather :)

  4. I'm with you on the current's crazy that we never know what to expect next. I see you've been here for 30 years...what brought you here? If that's too personal of a question, feel free to ignore it.

    I came here in 1980, so it's been even longer for me. My ex-husband was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army. We met in 1978, got married and had a baby in 1979, and then came to the U.S. in 1980. I'm still a German citizen, though every year I tell myself that it's about time I become an American citizen.

    1. I don't mind answering your question! I was a college student in France, studying Business English and Business Spanish and finishing my 2nd year of college. I had coached one of my friends for an interview to get a scholarship to come study at Stetson University in DeLand for a year. It never occurred to me to apply because my mom was poor and on public assistance and the scholarship didn't cover the plane ticket or spending money so I didn't bother. Then, one day in one of my English classes, the teacher said that it was the last day to apply for that particular scholarship and I thought "what the heck, it'll be good interview practice." I was the last one to interview and I got one of the 2 spots, over the friend who I had coached (they told me that, too!). Wow. I was so excited, but sad for my friend, and the university felt bad too so they offered for her to interview for another scholarship at Colgate University, and she got it and ended up marrying someone she met there. As for me, I worked several jobs to be able to afford the plane ticket, and came here in 1987. On the way over, American Airlines lost all my luggage and ended up having to pay me something like $1,200 for it, far from covering what everything had cost me (clothes were much more expensive in France) but it gave me spending money for the rest of the year as I discovered K-mart here and bought clothes for less than $100! My fellowship covered my tuition, books, food, and lodging for the entire school year, which was awesome. In return, I had to man the "French table" at lunch once a week and tutor students in French. During my year at Stetson, I met my first husband. We dated for a few months, I returned to France to continue my studies there (and had a huge culture shock when I went back!) and came to visit him for Christmas. He proposed and we ended up getting married and I started working at Disney until I found something better. I ended up working at Disney for 15 years! I didn't become a citizen until after we had separated, 12 years later, because all that time I thought that maybe we'd go live in France, and also I wanted my kids to be able to go to college in France for a nominal fee one day. But after the 12 years and not teaching them a word of French, it became evident that my life was here for good so I applied for U.S. citizenship and became a citizen immediately after 9/11. Indeed, I was in the first group sworn in after the attacks. That was also the year that I met and married Greg, the love of my life :) So it's a very good thing that I never went back to live in France :) Technically my kids (all but my youngest) have dual citizenship although we would need to go through a lot of hoops for them to be able to claim their French citizenship and I don't feel like going through all the hoops, quite honestly.

      Do you think that you'll ever apply for citizenship? Has your husband ever been to Germany?

    2. Wow...what an interesting story! Thanks for sharing it.

      My husband has never been to Germany, or even met my parents. I always joke that he has the ideal in-law relations. It's just a joke, since my parents would like him. Well, my mom would - my dad passed away a number of years ago. It's not that he doesn't want to, but something just always came between us going. Mostly money/jobs/time issues. One year we were really close to us going, and then the place where he worked looked like it was going to shut down. So we didn't get a ticket for him, and my parents paid for mine and youngest son's. And then, just as we expected, he lost his job (one week before son and I flew to Germany). He would not have enjoyed his time there, having to look for a job and all (we were really, really poor at that time).

      I do want to apply for citizenship - it's just a matter of doing the paperwork. That's the part I keep putting off.

    3. You might not want to delay too long. The Trump administration might make things harder.

      Greg met my mom only because I had already bought a ticket for her to come visit me before he and I met. But he's never been over to France (well, with me) and has never met anyone else from my family.

      It must have been very stressful for you all when your husband lost his job. Good thing you had the foresight to not buy him a ticket.


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