Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Back to Normal ~ Tuesday 3/21/17

Well, shoot, I missed the official start date of Spring yesterday but no matter, I'm celebrating today!  Of course, it's been "Spring"-like for several weeks already in Florida, save for last week when it was cold.

It was nice being "on vacation", but this morning, in the shower, I couldn't help but run through all the chores that I need to catch up on and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.  And then I told myself "it's Spring, you can sit on the patio for a while and work on your To-Do List and if not much gets done, it's not the end of the world".  So as soon as it's lighter outside and a little warmer, I might go sit outside and listen to the birds.

I drove my son to school this morning for the first time since the daylight savings time change and yep, it's back to being really dark outside in the mornings.  Poop, we both hate this!

I never wrote about our day yesterday because I was too tired to do it last night so I'll work on that today too.

Alright, let's get started. Oh, I didn't miss you at all, To Do List, but it's kind of you to make an appearance because I admit that I was a little lost without you :)

  • Bake banana bread Baked a strawberry cake instead
  • Collect trash and put trashcan out DONE
  • Recap yesterday DONE
  • Reply to my mom's email DONE
  • Straighten out living room DONE
  • Declutter the printer stand
  • Do the shredding
  • Declutter front porch DONE
  • Research new state park for Saturday (?)
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift 
  • Take Youngest Son to get a haircut
  • Cut my own bangs
  • Bike to library to return book, pick up new books, and look for coupon inserts DONE
  • Make menu for the week
  • Defrost meat for dinner DONE
  • Clean bathroom ceiling 
  • Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
  • Order longer handle for rubber broom
  • Add bleach to furnace line
  • Write and mail postcards to great aunt and mom
  • Make my bed DONE
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits 
  • Input weight into WHBRHC 
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time
  • Do the dishes DONE
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) Didn't need to as we ordered in.
  • Vacuum Youngest Son's bedroom
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises 2X
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only)  Rode my real bike
  • Clean upstairs litter box DONE
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • Take RaceTrac surveys 
  • Take my measurements
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park and ask them about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Go to airport to cash in my euros?!
  • Mend sliding door window screen
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Water the pineapples
  • Add water to indoor pineapples
  • Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
  • Download all February pictures from phone, Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive
  • Get the hummingbird feeders out of storage and refill them DONE (one only)
  • Reply to blog comments DONE
  • Measure bedroom to see if full-size bed would fit DONE
  • Order new mattress  DONE
  • Find soft full-size sheet Added to my thrift store list
  • Put lighter blanket on my bed DONE
  • Wash my bedding
  • Do the laundry DONE
  • Hang laundry outside DONE
  • Fold laundry 
  • Put laundry away 
  • Iron clothes for Greg? Don't need to, had hung work clothes to dry
  • Sweep kitchen DONE
  • Filter water for the cats DONE
  • Call Educational Foundation Director
  • Clip coupons Clipped the ones from the inserts
  • Put coupons away
  • Enter receipts in all spreadsheets

  • Youngest Son packed himself a lunch to take to school.

  • He finished a box of cereal for breakfast so I clipped the Boxtop for Education to mail to our former elementary school in the Fall, and saved the inner cereal bag to reuse as a freezer bag.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • My walking shoes were a little stinky last night but, as usual when I take them off, I stuffed my homemade sneaker deodorizers in them and they were back to not being stinky this morning. Yay!

  • I've mentioned Tabby Kitty's obsession with socks before. This morning, Greg brought me a stuffed sheep, asking what it was. Well, it was a stuffed animal that I had gotten for our son when he was a toddler, but then I realized just how many stuffed animals he had already so I had never given it to him and it sat on the file cabinet next to our bed for 13 years. Greg never noticed it. Apparently, he found it in his bed this morning, à la "Godfather" (yes, I know it was a horse's head in the movie). So we figured Tabby Kitty had found the stuffed sheep and left it in the bed.  Greg just put the sheep next to me on the futon and left for work.  A few minutes later, badaroom, badaroom, here comes Tabby Kitty down the stairs, with a fresh pair of socks in his mouth, and he jumps on the futon next to me and drops the socks by the sheep.  I snapped a picture before he decided to go take a nap, sans the sheep, in the cat tree bucket beyond the futon.  So I think he was trying to make a swap, the socks for the sheep, lol.

  • Instead of doing real chores, I spent the morning typing up my daily recap for yesterday :) I should have put the laundry in the washing machine beforehand but I completely forgot. So now it's noon and the laundry hasn't even been collected yet.  BRB.  

  • OK, laundry has been started and it looks like 2 "Super" loads on cold/cold will do the trick and that I'll be able to hang most of it outdoors. Yay!

  • Daughter went to her college classes. She has a 2-hour break in between and has to go somewhere to observe people and write an essay about it so I told her to buy lunch at Panera and charge it to my Discover card.

  • After I wrote my recap this morning, I rode my bike to the library and returned the book that I had finished and 2 books that I wasn't going to read after all.  I picked up 2 books that were waiting for me in exchange and a couple of coupon inserts that had been left in one of the papers, yay!  I rode along the lake. The weather is gorgeous, I wish someone was around to go kayaking with me (I don't want to go on my own for my first few outings, plus the kayak is heavy!).  It sounds like much more fun than doing chores!

  • I also grabbed the Walgreens brochure because I noticed a coupon for $2 off a gallon of milk so I think I'll buy my milk at Walgreens this week instead of Aldi.

  • I also surveyed my garden.  Oops, I need to figure out how to hook the hose into the hose reel. The manual should be somewhere in the mess that's on the printer stand.
This rose bloomed late last week but the sun has already fried it.

Soon I won't be tripping over this anymore!
  • I took a few pictures of the garden and harvested some vegetables: tomatoes, one jalapeño, several serrano peppers, beans that will be used for seed in the Fall since they're too big to eat.

  • I also set up the laundry racks on the patio so I have no excuse not to hang the laundry today. Sometimes I get lazy.  Heck, I'm being lazy now, sitting here typing on the laptop when I have tons of dirty dishes in the kitchen, which, btw, I swept this morning.

  • For lunch, I had the leftovers from dinner last night (rice and BBQ pulled pork) and half a papaya that I had to defend from Explorer because my kittens think they're vegetarian.  But then Tabby Kitty pleaded with me to give him some papaya by lying down across my shoulder as I was eating (he never does that!) so I relented and he had himself a little papaya picnic.
Explorer eyeing my papaya

He's circling...
Now he's pouting because I wouldn't give him any...
Meanwhile, Tabby Kitty was going straight for it
  • I decided to bake another strawberry summer cake instead of banana bread. I used 1/2 cup of spoiled milk and margarine instead of butter. The wrapper went to grease the cake dish before being thrown away.

  • I hung most of the laundry outside on the back patio.

  • As I decluttered and swept the front porch, I found that I had apparently already decluttered it several months ago and forgotten about it. So all the "clutter" are actually items that we want to keep.  Without much storage I guess it'll just sit there. Maybe we will get another deck box or something.  I did put old tennis rackets, an old volleyball and an old basketball in the donation box to be taken to the thrift store.

  • As I was walking back and forth between the kitchen and the living room this afternoon, doing chores, I saw that the big cats were napping in the cat room but wasn't sure where the kittens were. One of them was asleep in the bucket but Tabby Kitten and Princess seemed to be enjoying the view out the exercise room window... so I peeked at the bird feeder that they can see from there and spotted two Northern Cardinal males enjoying a little snack :)  I should move the trash can (that contains dead leaves for my composting bin) and the composting bin so the view is nicer, but it's a convenient spot for me to have those.

  • After I replied to the comments left on my previous posts (thanks so much!), I went to switch the 2nd load of laundry from the washer to the dryer (Greg's shirts and bath towels and a few other things).  It's not frugal but at least I remembered to add white vinegar to the wash this time, so it cleans the washing machine at the same time. 

  • I replaced the down comforter on my bed with a lighter blanket. It's too short though, so I think I'm going to have to find myself a new blanket.  I'll check the thrift store.

  • I reused a newspaper plastic sleeve to clean the upstairs litter box.  Last night, I reused a bread bag to do the same.

  • Then I refilled one of the hummingbird feeders with the nectar that I had made last week.  I hope to see hummingbirds in the backyard again soon.  I decided to only hang one feeder for now, since I need more poles.

  • I reused rainwater collected in recycled cat litter jugs to add water to the bird bath and water my potted outdoor plants, which needed it badly.

  • It had gotten hot in the house. It wasn't too bad, yet, but the upstairs always get much hotter and then we don't sleep well.  I think I slept better last night because I had lowered the AC down to 73F (it doesn't get that cool upstairs though).  So I closed all the windows and turned the AC back on at 3:15 p.m.  I also closed the curtains in the exercise room window since it's facing South and the window itself is so large.  The kittens can still go behind the curtains to look at the birds if they want. 
Speaking of kittens, my boyfriend Explorer here was giving me a come hither look :)
  • So then I sat down to take a break, with a piece of strawberry cake.  The vultures were soon circling...

  • I spent some time commenting on other blogs, and then I ordered myself a new mattress. You see, I've been so uncomfortable in the twin-size bed upstairs, even with a mattress top. I have horrible nights, my neck and shoulders hurt, I toss and turn all night. And the futon mattress downstairs, after sleeping on it for a couple of years, is like sleeping on a bed of rocks, most nights.  Greg had been after me to order a new mattress but I also thought that I wanted a larger bed. I'm an adult and a large woman (sob) and the kittens are getting larger and sleeping with me most nights.  So I wanted a full-size bed.  A queen wouldn't fit in the oddly shaped bedroom and I couldn't get a box spring of that size upstairs due to our old house. We had to order a split boxspring for our master bedroom when we first moved in.  Anyhoo, last night I was catching up on the Frugalwoods blog.  I hate her writing (so precious, I think) but she sounds like a nice person with a very good head on her shoulders, and she recently reviewed a mattress that they bought on Amazon 5 years ago. They like their mattress firm, as I do. I decided, what the heck, I'll get the same mattress but in full, not king (I wish!).  I just placed the order. I went through Swagbucks, which is offered 7 SB per dollar spent on furniture (and mattresses were listed under "furniture" so I'm hoping I get 1,281 SB for my purchase) and charged it to my Amazon Visa for 5% back in Rewards. I also picked the "No Rush Shipping" option, which should still get me the mattress a week from now and a $3 credit to my account. And this mattress doesn't require a box spring.
  • The reason why I don't mind waiting a week, is that I also need to buy a new bed. I decided to also get the bed she recommended, from Ikea. My Ikea, down in Orlando, has it in stock, so I figured I'd save the $125 shipping fee and go pick it up myself. It's quite heavy, though, so I might enroll Youngest Son to come with me after school on Friday.  Then I'll have the weekend to put the bed together and wait for the mattress on Tuesday.  I decided, after all, not to buy the bed right away. I'll try the mattress on the floor and consider my options for a bed, I might be able to get a cheaper one from a thrift store.

  • I can't wait for the new mattress because not sleeping well at night really has a lot of consequences on my mood, my health, my energy levels, etc.  I hope I'm not disappointed, but it can't be much worse than now.  Also, I need to remember to buy new sheets because I don't have any full-size sheets.  Ah crap. I wish I had hung on to the Kohl's cash now!

  • OK it's 5 p.m. and I'm off to do the dishes. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?

  • It just occurred to me to look at my calendar for the week, since I missed doing a Day Book this week, and oh boy, the rest of the week is going to be a little busy...
    • Wednesday: grocery shopping. That always wipes me out.  
    • Thursday evening: driving to East Orlando with Youngest Son for D&D workshop
    • Friday: lunch with a friend and then driving to South Orlando with Youngest Son to pick up a bed
    • Saturday morning: Youngest Son has a 3-hour AP workshop about 20 minutes away so I'll need to drop him off and then go get him again.  I'll need to talk to Greg about going hiking in that general direction, not sure where yet. Update: he wants to go kayaking.
    • Sunday: driving to East Orlando mid-day for a 3-4 hour D&D gaming session

  • There was an envelope from my great aunt today and I opened it without realizing that it was meant for my Daughter. My great aunt really hit it off with my Daughter when we went to visit her back in 2015. She keeps on saying that my daughter reminds her of me when I was younger It's true that she and I look a lot alike. Anyhoo, she sent her a nice postcard to congratulate her on going to college, picking an apartment, etc.  I told my Daughter she would need to answer her. My Great Aunt is going to turn 90 this year!

  • I also received an envelope of coupons from Valpak.  I set aside a couple of them for my BFF.

  • In not so good news today, I did have some food waste: the last piece of blueberry oatmeal bread had gotten moldy and I found a hamburger patty that I had inadvertently left in the pan after cooking it several days ago. Other dishes ended up piling up on the pan so I missed the patty :( I also had to throw away about 1/2 a cup of spoiled milk because it was too spoiled to use in pancakes.

  • Arrgh, major failure at dinner time: Greg was almost an hour late leaving. Originally, I had planned on taking Youngest Son to Great Clips after dinner because there's usually no line at about 7:45 p.m.  Only with Greg leaving late, we were going to miss Great Clips. So I decided to take him at 7 p.m., when Greg called to say he was leaving, and pick up Chinese food at the restaurant next door since Greg had had a craving for Chinese food yesterday. Only when I went to check Youngest Son in via the Great Clips app, the wait time was... 31 minutes!  Arrrgh.  That wouldn't have worked, I don't think. But by then I had already started picturing the deliciously crappy Chinese food... and I wouldn't have to cook... so I ordered the food anyway.  So we're spending $40 on dinner, I'll have a stomachache, and Youngest Son still won't have gotten his haircut :(  I'm annoyed with myself.

  • We did get 2 free egg rolls with our order, though :)

  • When we got home, one of the bags was leaking... one of the soup containers' lid had been pierced because they hadn't packaged the food properly :(  I was annoyed and was about to call them when I realized that it was wonton soup, and my daughter doesn't eat hers anyway... so what if the broth was missing, the wontons is what I wanted and they were still in the cup :) So I got extra wontons in my soup.

  • On the way home we stopped by Walgreens so I could grab the gallon of milk. It saves me a stop tomorrow!  It was $2.29 after the $2.00 store coupon, so cheaper than at Aldi ($3.09 as of last week).  I paid with my Amazon Visa card for 2% back in Rewards.

  • I don't like video games because they give me motion sickness, but there are some games that I do like to play once in a while: Chocolatier, Mahjong, and Hidden Object games. Well today  all those hours of playing Hidden Object games paid off because... I found Greg's crowbar that had gone missing a week and a half ago.  Can you see it?  He was very excited and laughed a lot when I showed him the picture. It's the corner of our front porch, by the way.  He must have hung it there was he was tearing off the screen enclosure.
Can you see it?  I can't tell you how many times we all walked by it this past week and a half and
none ever realized it was there!

  • Daughter bought lunch at Panera's (about $11)
  • Dinner from the Chinese restaurant (about $38)
  • Mattress from Amazon ($193)

  • 2 books that I borrowed from the library
  • 2 coupon inserts from the library
  • 2 egg rolls (with dinner purchase)
  • Fed the kittens
  • Filtered water for the cats
  • Packed lunch for Greg
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Caught up on news
  • Drove Youngest Son to school
  • Drafted a new To Do List!
  • Posted my recap for yesterday
  • Rode my bike to the library: returned books, picked up new ones along with coupons
  • Rode my bike home
  • Set up the laundry racks on the patio
  • Inspected the garden and harvested vegetables
  • Chatted with daughter
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Collected the trash and took the bin down to the curb
  • Started the laundry
  • Replenished toilet paper supply in both bathrooms
  • Collected the wayward socks throughout the downstairs
  • Pulled a lighter blanket to put on my bed
  • Baked a strawberry cake
  • Hung the laundry outside
  • Brought all yard waste bins and the trash bin back up the driveway
  • Straightened out front porch and put aside items for charity
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Scrubbed the upstairs toilet
  • Made my bed
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Commented on other blogs
  • Ordered a new mattress
  • Researched a new bed
  • Did the dishes
  • Brought the dry laundry in
  • Ordered dinner
  • Went to pick it up with Youngest Son
  • Bought milk
  • Watched Seinfeld with Greg

  • For a beautiful day and a bike ride to the library
  • For library books and free coupon inserts
  • For vegetables that keep on growing without me doing anything at all


  1. Welcome back from your spring break week off! Sounds like you had a busy day! Your strawberry cake looks so yummy!

    1. I took a close-up picture and posted it real big just for you, Bless :)

  2. Lists help me a lot--especially when I'm tired or restless and can be easily distracted. I find I am much more productive with them.

    1. Part of me wonders if I'm using the list as a crutch because the days when I don't post mine, I end up not doing much and I blame it on the fact that I can't remember what I had to do. But I always need to clean the litter box, sweep, do the dishes, etc... I shouldn't need a list for those chores but it does keep me more focused. And isn't "tired and easily distracted" a constant state of mind? No? Is it just me? I swear I didn't use to get so distracted before we all got laptops and smart phones.

  3. Add me to the people who think your strawberry cake looks delicious!

    We're starting to research mattresses, too - ours is getting old and lumpy. And by "starting to research" I mean that we could be another year away from buying one. You are the second person in a week who I know ordered a mattress from Amazon. I guess Amazon is the best place to buy a mattress (per Clark Howard, the frugal guru). A year ago I'd never heard of anyone ordering a mattress on the Internet.

    1. Years ago I bought twin mattresses for the kids from Kmart. They came all rolled up and compressed into a box that had wheels and only cost something like $99. They were good enough for the kids, but not for me. I like my mattresses to be very firm. So I'm taking a gamble with that one from Amazon, but, as I said, Mrs. Frugalwoods, who recommended it on her own blog, has a very good head on her shoulders and they've had theirs for 5 years so if they still like it, I figured it can't be too bad. And less than $200 for a full-size mattress, that's definitely in my price range. Here's her blog post in case you want to check it out... http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/02/27/our-amazon-mattress-a-five-year-update/


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