Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Very Indulgent Day... and Lots of Squirrels ~ Tuesday 4/18/17

Happy Tax Day!  I hope you've all completed your taxes and that hopefully you're getting a refund... or at the very least not owing much at all.

I had a bad night last night and I'm feeling very tired at 6:45 a.m.  I fell asleep on the couch watching "The New Detectives" on Amazon Prime. Then went to bed and straight to sleep at 10:20 p.m.  I woke up an hour later and was wide awake so I watched the episode that I missed by falling asleep. And then I kept tossing and turning. I had a hot flash so I put a small fan blowing right on my face. That didn't do the trick at all. Then I realized that my sciatic nerve had flared up in my right leg again. It wasn't pulsing like the last time but an unrelenting dull ache that was preventing me from staying asleep and I couldn't get comfortable. Plus Explorer just wanted to cuddle or be against me, which didn't help. So at about 3:45 I came downstairs and took and Advil. I thought I'd watch some TV but the light bothered my eyes so I went back to sleep eventually but I had horrible nightmares.

And of course today is the day when I have dirty dishes in the sink and a couple of laundry baskets to fold, windows to wash, etc, etc.  Arrgh.  I might have to take a nap at some point.

  • Defrost meat for dinner  DONE
  • Work on shopping list in progress
  • Fold the laundry DONE
  • Put the laundry away
  • Iron Greg's clothes for next week's trip
  • Take trash/recycling down to the curb DONE
  • Purge/clean the fridge
  • Sweep/vacuum kitchen, breezeway, Cat Room
  • Wash Cat Room windows (outside)
  • Schedule trip to Trader Joe's (need whipped cream) perhaps on Thursday
  • Scrub the bathtub 
  • Research state park to visit next weekend - I think I'll have to wait until later in the week to see what fires are burning...
  • Declutter the printer stand in progress
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift 
  • Take Youngest Son to get a haircut - Greg will take him next weekend unless I can't stand it anymore sooner than that!
  • Clean bathroom ceiling 
  • Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
  • Clean downstairs bathroom sink
  • Sweep downstairs bathroom
  • Take down the "seed nursery" and try to store it in little shed
  • Make my bed  DONE
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC  
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time
  • Unload dishwasher DONE
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) 
  • Put mattress out with the trash (Tuesday morning) - arrgh I forgot!
  • 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
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only)  
  • 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 DONE
  • 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
  • Ask Discovery Gardens staff about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Clean the barbecue (as in scrub it because I sprayed the inside with wasp spray)
  • Mend sliding door window screen - get cat resistant screening material?
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
  • Download all March pictures from Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive 
  • Reply to blog comments DONE
  • Purge the dresser in the upstairs hallway
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • File all the pending documents
  • Use brush on fridge coils
  • Schedule maintenance appointment for my SUV
  • Try making yogurt in yogurt maker
  • See if can mend Youngest Son former backpack straps
  • Read a library book in progress
  • Preserve the peppers and tomatoes that are on my counter 
  • Take cuttings of the jasmine and root them
  • Ask to take cuttings of the neighbor's hibiscus and root them
  • Sew headphones in place
  • Add bleach to furnace line
  • Add Drano to kitchen sink plumbing for preventative maintenance
  • Get rid of the bins behind the hedge DONE
  • Trim the hedge
  • Trim the bushes
  • Take Youngest Son shopping for jeans and shorts
  • Mix more Chicago Steak Seasoning
  • Mix more Ten Things Farm Seasoning
  • Mix Chili Seasoning for Friday
  • Add zippered plastic bag to fanny pack to protect camera if it rains
  • Get my flash drive back from my daughter DONE
  • Bake peanut butter sheet cake (Baking notebook for recipe) once the bunny cake is gone
  • Order graduation announcements - Middle Son Waiting for him to email me his picture, sent him another reminder today

  • Youngest Son is still coughing a tiny bit but otherwise is back to normal. He packed a lunch to take to school and I drove him there. He will take the bus home.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.  Since we're out of Diet Dr. Pepper, I stopped by RaceTrac on my way back from the high school and got him a medium Diet Dr. Pepper from the soda fountain for free by redeeming a survey reward code.

  • I also decided to treat myself to breakfast since I had an app coupon for  "Buy a Simply Juice, Get a Breakfast Sandwich Free". I picked the OJ with Mango and grabbed the last bacon, egg and cheese croissant in the case. Score!

  • It just occurred to me that there were no coupon inserts in last weekend's paper so I won't be biking to the library after all. It's not a long trip but I'm tired and I'm glad I didn't bike there for no reason (even though I do need the exercise).

  • Tractor Supply Co. sent me a $10 Seasonal Reward!  I qualified for it with the purchase of one of the kayaks. Unfortunately, I didn't realize they had  a Rewards Club until we bought the 2nd kayak at the 2nd store and I never went back to resubmit my 1st receipt to Customer Service or I probably would have gotten $20 in Rewards.  Dumb but oh well.

  • Swagbucks wants me back... The "2 per user" Watch & Earn offer in my inbox actually credited me for 2 SB this morning (I had to close the video and re-access it from my inbox, though) and I also got a 22 SB Search Award first thing in the morning. And my 1st goal is 50 SB.  Keep trying, busters.

  • I opened the windows upon coming back from the school drop off at 7:15 a.m. and I've been on the patio since 7:45 a.m.  Woohoo!  I guess I won't be terribly productive this morning.

  • I refilled two of the hummingbird feeders with my homemade nectar.  I added sugar on my shopping list for tomorrow, I might as well stock up since the price is lower right now at Aldi.

  • Greg's been working for the same employer for 11 years now.  When they hired him in the HR systems, they wrote down his name as "Greg". Which isn't his full legal name.  He never corrected it.  When he booked his out of the country travel recently, and sent me his itinerary, I realized that the name of his reservations wouldn't match his passport and I told him to get it changed. With the current craziness going on everywhere (at the borders, with immigration, with United Airlines...) I didn't want him to risk not being allowed to fly back here or something like that.  He poo-poo'ed my concern, as he does most of the time, claiming he'd never had a problem before. Yeah well the last time he took a business trip, 45 wasn't in power yet.  We didn't discuss it again. Yesterday, he announced that he had contacted HR and that they were changing his name in their system and had changed the name on the reservations. Phew.  I just wish he didn't start by poo-poo'ing my valid concerns.

  • Chase confirmed they're sending me new white cards.  First world problem, but I promise that Greg would have never looked through his wallet to find the correct gray card if he was supposed to use that card for an expense but all the cards were gray. And it would have frustrated me every time he did that and every time I looked in my own wallet.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits for today.

  • Toojay's emailed me a secret password to get a free lemonade good for today only. I wish I had planned on going to Trader Joe's today!  There's a TooJay's in the same plaza, I think.

  • Our new electricity bill is $167.67.  Last year at the same time, it had been $114.97! And in 2015, $177.50. I typically budget $200 for this month so we're fine, but I really wish my bill was back at the 2016 level!  Usage-wise, we used the same amount of energy this month as we did back in 2015 (1,220 kwh) whereas last year we used 916 kwh.  That's quite a big difference!  I was about to blame the AC but it looks like this year's average temperature was only 71F during the past month, when it was 72F last year and 75F back in 2015.  So I think we need to do much better with power vampires (and also the AC on the kitchen side of the house has been set lower because my daughter gets really hot up in her room. I would imagine that once she moves out, our bill will go down some).

  • I decided to check the plastic bins that I was storing behind the hedge.  Most of them were cracking so I used my utility cart (I love that thing!  The only way I could love it more is if it had removable sides. It actually doesn't have ANY sides) to drag those away to the curb.

  • Then I decided to take apart my veggie "tunnels" that I had made last year out of bent rebar and screening material, since I'm not gardening this summer.  I had just piled them all up behind Greg's shed and it just looked messy. I collected all the rusty binder clips because they can still be used and folded the screening material, which I store in one of my many bins. The rebar is still piled up next to the shed but now that the screens aren't on it, it doesn't look quite as bad (well, yes it does, but let's pretend it doesn't!).

  • I also got rid of several cast iron items that we had laying around: the ends of a mini children's bench that we had once upon a time, and two circles from a barrel that was around when we bought the house.  I figured some metal picker would grab them. Wouldn't you know it, but not 5 minutes after I put them out by the curb, such a picker drove by and I saw him inspect my neighbor's trash... but he drove off without taking any of the cast iron stuff! Oh well. Hopefully the trash collectors will take it.  None of this was very strenuous but I'm glad I did it.

  • I also found one of my son's Playmobil minifigures from several years ago!

  • Amazon sent me a reminder that if I book a hotel room by 4/30 through the Rocketmiles website, I could get a $30 Amazon gift card and earn up to $100 Amazon gift card per night.  Hmm, sounds fishy... anyhoo, I was thinking that maybe I could look at what hotels my daughter and I might want to stay at if/when we take our summer trip in June (still not sure if she got the summer job or not, they said they'd let her know early last week and when she called on Thursday afternoon because she hadn't heard from them, they still said "we'll call you when we're ready" but we all know that they usually only call the people who actually got the job, not those who didn't so now we're in a holding pattern which I hate. I so want to pick up the phone myself and ask more pointed questions than she did but of course I won't do that. But I want to, darn it!).  Anyhoo, I was checking out hotels on the Blue Ridge Parkway when I realized that planning those things in advance stress me out.  If I'm going to a definitely location and need a hotel, I'll research and book in advance. But if it's a stop on the way to somewhere, I really don't want to limit myself like this. What if we want to drive more or less that day? What if we decide to go another way?  After all, our trip isn't set in stone and the fun part of it is the adventure. Of course, then I'll start stressing about the "what ifs" as in "what if we can't find a hotel at all?!" That almost happened in Savannah a couple of years back and let me tell you, I was stressed.  The frugal part of me wants to book and stick to an itinerary to keep costs down.  The Nathalie Who Doesn't Care What She Spends When She's on Vacation... doesn't.  I think she's gonna win.

  • It is now 2:06 p.m.  I have done nothing but read a blog that I didn't even enjoy, I was just curious to read what made that person tick.  Oof, I'm glad that's over. Yes, I really should head in and fold the laundry and do the dishes.  I think I shall because it's hot now and nothing's going on in the yard anyway. So far this week has felt like a vacation!

  • I went back inside for a minute, to bring in my laptop, camera, etc. and then noticed 2 packages on the front porch: my pillow for the swing had come in and also the new hose reel for the side of the house (and now I need one for the front too, probably).   The pillows are smaller than I envisioned and not as... dramatic?  But my daughter likes them.  I'll need to remember to cover them or bring them in when Greg uses the leaf blower around the house because he sends all kinds of dirt and sand flying around and they'll look gross in no time.  On to the hose reel.

  • It was so hot in the sun but I wanted to install it right away. It didn't take months like the last one or even a whole hour, but I first had to entangle the hose (won't have to do that again though, so happy about it!) and then stake the hose reel into the ground. I didn't do that with the first one and I need to because it fell over yesterday as I was pulling on the hose!  This new one swivels on its base but it does need to be anchored.  The thing is, I put the first anchor in but the second one would go all the way down so I had to move the base on the axis of the first anchor (because did I mention that it's hot outside?!) so now the whole thing sit catty corner to the house, which bothers me. Also, the handle is going to hit the hose attachment when it's turned the way I want it to turn, so I think I'm going to have to move the whole thing over again but it'll have to wait until tomorrow because it's just too damn hot right now.  It's 3 p.m. and I still haven't folded the laundry or done the dishes.  I've decided I'll do the dishes at 5 p.m.  As soon as I'm cooled off, I'll fold the laundry.

Before I installed it. Now that ugly green hose is neatly put away in the reel thingie
and I'll never have to untangle it again!
  • I printed a few coupons, and then I folded the laundry.

  • I took two RaceTrac surveys and earned survey reward codes for 2 new freebies.

  • It is 4:58 p.m. and I need to go do the dishes but what I really want to do it take a nap!  So I walked to the kitchen and told myself I'd wash 4 plates for dinner and then just do the dishes after dinner. But when I opened the dishwasher, I realized that there were clean dishes in there so... I'll do the dishes after dinner. Maybe.

  • MobiSave has an offer for a free (up to $8.99) tube of SheaMoisture shampoo (10.3 oz only).  I looked at the CVS and Walgreens websites and they don't offer the shampoos in the 10.3 oz tubes, but Target does.

  • Maybe I should have taken a nap... I feel just as groggy as if I had... but without the sleep!

But that didn't stop me from cuddling with my boyfriend Explorer.
  • For dinner I decided not to make the mashed potatoes since the Southwest Turkey Meatloaf already had rice in it. I just reheated it and got the leftover salad from several days ago out of the fridge. It's still fine.  Yep, I'm being super lazy today.

  • So here's the deal: I didn't do the dishes after dinner but they are rinsed and neatly organized in piles, ready to be washed and I did unload the dishwasher.  So I'll do them first thing in the morning.

  • RaceTrac: $1.89 (breakfast for me)

  • 32 oz Diet Dr. Pepper at RaceTrac (with survey reward code)
  • Free breakfast sandwich at RaceTrac (with app coupon and purchase of juice)
  • $10 Rewards from Tractor Supply Co.
  • Free 10.3 oz tube of SheaMoisture shampoo (up to $8.99) offer in MobiSave

  • Fed the kittens
  • Prepped Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Caught up on the news
  • Dropped off my son at school
  • Got a Diet Dr. Pepper for Greg at RaceTrac
  • Picked up cat hair ball
  • Took the trash and yard waste bins down to the curb for collection
  • Refilled hummingbird feeders
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Deadheaded the roses
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Cleared out the backyard of broken plastic pots and bins
  • Cleared out the area next to the shed by taking stuff down to the curb
  • Took apart my veggie "tunnels"
  • Folded the screening material and put away in a bin
  • Wasted the day away reading stuff online
  • Got rid of old pillows on swing
  • Chatted with Daughter
  • Installed new hose reel
  • Chatted with Youngest Son
  • Made my bed
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Folded the laundry
  • Took Customer Satisfaction surveys
  • Cuddled with a kitten
  • Fed the kittens
  • Heated up dinner
  • Set the dinner table

  • For a cool start of the morning so I can spend time in the yard
  • For seeing two hummingbirds early this morning. I was worried about them.
  • For Greg contacting HR to get his name corrected and also on his plane tickets.

7:52 a.m. I'm in the garden, on the patio. It's nice and cool right now. I just saw two hummingbirds who flew to look at the feeders but didn't partake.  Ok, two of them are empty to I'm about to refill them, but the third was full and they still didn't try drinking from it. What gives?!

No other birds in my backyard so far. I spotted a cardinal on the electric cable running on the street as I was taking the trash cans down the driveway, and I'm hearing a woodpecker pecking on the next block over, but all is quiet around here.  Funny how it's feast or famine, in my garden!

The squirrels are definitely out, though, I had to chase this one off of the feeder.

Hi my name is Fuzzy and I'll be your squirrel, today.

Can you see him jumping from the tree unto the cardinal feeder?  He didn't run off until I was about 2 feet away from the feeder, that stinker!

8:32 a.m. the neighborhood cat recently made an appearance, slinking in but failing to catch anything.  However the squirrels are now on high alert and quite loud.

"What are YOU looking at?!"

Two birds appeared: this one which I need to identify, was trying to awkwardly land on the power pole or on a branch and failed at both. It ended up landing on the electric cable. Oh and just now a 2nd one appeared and they fought in flight! Drama in the backyard!

And then a male hummingbird did decide to feed at the farthest feeder after all :)

More squirrel shots!

 A little drink...

A little snack... and then a little exercise as I chase him away!

9:18 a.m.  I only heard bird calls until now, but a female cardinal just landed on the post closest to me and let me take her picture before finding refuge in my hedge.  I'm hearing the male close by. Two minutes later... there he is!  He's waiting on one of the poles while she's feeding at the green feeder. How chivalrous!

9:30 a.m. A red-bellied woodpecker decided to perch itself on one of the corners of our roof, just above the patio, giving me a clear shot, probably the clearest one I've ever had of this kind of bird!

I decided to buy 10 pots of annuals from Lowe's when I go shopping. I'll plant them in the tier planter that I had gotten from Aldi last year and in which I was growing strawberries.  Unless, I get more strawberry plants...

Must be lunch time...

How was your Tuesday?


  1. I'm sorry you couldn't sleep well and was tired, Nathalie, but sounds like you had a pretty productive day! Love your porch pillows! Pineapples to go with your pineapple empire! Explorer looks so happy and content! Loved all the back yard visitors pictures, too! It's Fuzzy the Flying Squirrel! He bounds from the tree to the feeder in one leap! Hope your leg feels better and you have a good night's sleep tonight. Take care.

  2. Great pictures as always. I especially like the one with the lizard with the bug in its mouth. Hope you got a better night's sleep last night.

    1. Thank you, I did have a much better night. Did I ever tell you that you were my inspiration to start enjoying my own backyard? All those Second Look posts of yours!

  3. I love the pillows on your porch! I have some lawn furniture that I need to set up in the backyard, but have been lazy about getting the yard in any kind of shape, ugh.

    That picture of the woodpecker is amazing as are the ones of the cardinals. I get a real kick out of the squirrel photos. They always look so indignant and nosy!

    1. I don't know why I thought Ikea would have better stuff than Target. Target is much more my style! And they delivered in ONE day for free so I didn't have to suffer through walking through Ikea, which I hate, and didn't have to pay tolls to get there (an hour trip one way) so it was major plusses everywhere!

      Once your classes are over, you should celebrate by sitting down in your backyard and doing nothing for a few hours! Will you go to grad school for another year, then? What are you doing this summer?

    2. I will be in school next year; in fact I will be in class all summer, too. I'm in a program that is a straight 24 months. It's a cohort model so you have to commit to the full schedule from the get go, you can't just take classes here and there. It's set up this way because it's a clinical program and 1000 hours of practicum and internship are required before we graduate. So...this summer I am back in the classroom! However, I think a short break in the backyard is perfectly acceptable. :)

    3. 24 months without a break? Oh Laura! When do you start the internship? That ought to be interesting. Enjoy your backyard as much as you can. Now would be a good time, before it gets any hotter (and humid!).

  4. Did you sign up for the team challenge on swagbucks? I'm on the chocolate dippers.

    1. Aaargh, I didn't even know there was a team challenge going on right now!! Thanks for the heads-up! Of course, I didn't see your comment until I had already done the Daily Poll and checked out the Deal of the Day but I was running the automatic videos until just now (I just realized they stopped...) and I've earned 290 team points. I was assigned to the Bunny Hoppers and we're winning so I need to reach the 400 team points by tomorrow!

  5. "Pineapples to go with your pineapple empire!" That's exactly what I had thought about, Bless! I'm glad we're on the same page! I discovered yesterday, though, that my front porch is apparently behind visited at night by a critter with paws because one of my pillows was covered in dusty little paw prints yesterday morning! I couldn't tell if they were cat paw prints but maybe they were Fuzzy the Squirrel's!

  6. That first picture of Fuzzy the Squirrel? Absolutely fantastic! I can see the glint in his eye. And that red-bellied woodpecker was just begging you to take his picture, wasn't he?

    1. You understand me so well... it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I'm very responsive to all this wildlife begging me to spend my days on the patio taking their pictures!


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