Sunday, April 2, 2017

Meeting a Fellow Blogger! ~ Sunday 4/2/17

I'm going hiking with Pixel from Thoughts from My Corner of the Couch today and Greg is coming home!  The end.  lol.

I was up at 7 a.m. but I was woken up at 6:55 a.m. by one kitten biting my toes (Tabby Kitty), one kitten purring and wanting cuddles (Explorer) and one kitten licking my fingers and then biting them (Princess).  Then they all started play fighting while I was showering and getting dressed and I was worried that they would wake up my son, whose room is right below mine, because they were being so loud.

Downstairs, I fed all the cats, chased the kittens away from the older cats' bowls, put water to filter in the Brita pitcher that I left on the kitchen table. 5 minutes later, a big crash, the sound of something breaking: a kitten had gone onto the kitchen table, gotten spooked by something, sent a dessert plate that was sitting on the table crashing to the floor, and in its haste, ran over one of the older cats' food bowl, sending expensive kibble all over the floor of the kitchen, mixed in with shards of porcelain. Sigh. It was only 7:30 a.m.

Hopefully the rest of the day will be... quieter?  I'm leaving in 5 minutes to meet Pixel at a breakfast restaurant in Lakeland.  Greg should be leaving his daughter's house at about the same time, provided that he slept well last night.  My daughter will be driving Youngest Son to the D&D game in East Orlando. She will wait for him at her dad's house, which is just a mile away from the game location.

The cats... well, they'll have to stay alone and hopefully they won't break anything else!

I'm so excited about finally meeting Pixel. I've loved her blog for many months, she takes great pictures... and she's a fellow European ex-pat (she's German) and lives in Central Florida.

  • I drank the rest of my caffeine free Diet Coke from last night for breakfast before I left the house and drove to meet Pixel.

  • Greg left his daughter's at about the same time and estimated he'd be home at about 5:30 p.m.

  • Google Maps had shown me a route that included a toll road to get to my and Pixel's meeting point, but my Garmin GPS directed me to a route that avoided toll roads :)

  • As I pulled into the shopping center parking lot, I spotted someone who I thought looked like Pixel so I stopped and identified myself. It was her!  I was so happy!  I told her I was going to park the car. She said she would go ask for a table at the restaurant since we had decided to have breakfast before our hike.

  • And as I pulled into the parking space, something that had never happened to me before happened: I hit the car next to mine!  Oh no!  It was a white sedan and my right side passenger bumper hit the rear passenger side of the car. It was quite dirty so I couldn't tell if it was damaged or not, but there was black paint from my car onto theirs.  Crap.  There was no one in the car and I wasn't sure what information to leave... and I didn't have any paper!  So I went to meet Pixel to explain what had happen and see if the restaurant had a piece of paper. But she was prepared and had some on her.  I called my insurance company and explained what had happened and asked them what information I should leave on the note. They said to leave my name, insurance company and policy number on the note. So I wrote a note of apology and left that information, telling them that they should contact USAA to file a claim. And then apologized again. I felt terrible, even though I think the damage was only paint rubbing off on each car. My SUV had some white paint on it and also a small hole in my bumper.
Maybe I need this?
  • Then Pixel and I had breakfast and got to know one another. She must have thought I was a real ditzy head!  It was so embarrassing, lol.  We had a delightful breakfast, to which she treated me because she said I drove all the way down. Awwww, so nice!  Breakfast was delicious. She had mentioned that the omelets were good and I'm glad she said that because I tend to pick carbs all the time and was eyeing the waffles but since we were going hiking, protein sounded like a better plan. The omelet was indeed delicious. Sorry, Bless, I forgot to take a picture :)  I did remember to drink decaf coffee, which is much better for my bladder!
Well, not my picture but that's exactly what I ate!
  • After breakfast, I offered to drive the SUV to the state park and promised her that I was otherwise a good driver!  So we drove to Hillsborough River State Park, chatting all the way.

  • I used our state park annual pass to gain access to the park for free, woohoo :)  I had also brought the map from our last visit so we didn't waste another map.

  • We ended up hiking about 2 hours, for 5 miles!

  • After our hike, we drove back to Lakeland, where we parted ways. The car I had hit was still in the same spot  even though it was several hours later, so I'm thinking it belonged to someone who worked at the restaurant.

  • Meanwhile, my daughter drove Youngest Son to the D&D game in East Orlando. They had lunch at Panda Express and she charged it to my Discover card. I had given $20 to my son to buy whatever drinks and snacks he wanted.

  • I got home at about 3 p.m. and the kittens swarmed me. They're not used to be completely alone much!

  • Pixel texted me that she was fixing herself some iced coffee. Oh that sounded good and I wanted some too but our ice maker isn't working and I haven't made ice cubes in several months... crap!  But wait!  There was a mug's worth of cold coffee left in my coffee maker from yesterday so I had a mug of cold coffee instead. Almost the same thing!  And then I brewed myself another pot since I hadn't had enough caffeine, hahaha.

  • I considered doing the dishes before Greg got home but my legs were hurting (what?! They weren't hurting at all right after the hike or even in Lakeland!  Talk about a delayed reaction!) so I decided that it wouldn't feel like "home" to him if the house was too clean :)  I'll do the dishes for Domestic Monday tomorrow.

  • I started up automatic videos on Swagbucks. My 1st goal is 50 SB and I'm not sure I'll reach it before it's time for me to go to bed!

  • I uploaded digital coupons to my Publix and CVS apps.  Then I printed coupons via Swagbucks, Smartsource, and Redplum.

  • I had a $1.00 digital ECB available in my app, woohoo!

  • I decided to research kayak trailers. Whoa, those are expensive!  A brand-new 2-kayak trailer is basically $1,000 on Amazon. I checked Ebay (same) and Craigslist (which Greg would never agree to buy from) and there's not much else out there.  Apparently trailers need a title so I'm assume we'd need to pay for a registration and insurance too.  This is becoming impossible!  I did find a bed extender for the F-150 that would be much cheaper (about $200) and wouldn't require any additional papers or insurance, but when I mentioned it to Greg when he got home, he said he and our son had been able to put both kayaks in the truck bed and lock the gate, the last time they tried.  So maybe we don't need anything after all.

  • Greg got home and we talked about our weekend and exchanged photos.  Then the kids got home and we talked about D&D. Greg gave me his receipts. I will deduct those from our "travel" budget.

  • For dinner I grilled chipotle chicken sausages in the toaster oven and made white rice in the microwave.

  • I earned the maximum Microsoft Rewards credits for today.

  • Greg and I watched a few Seinfeld episodes after dinner. "The Contest" never stops to be really funny :)

  • I earned 50 KFR points by entering bonus codes DUNKING4KFR25PTS  and 25FREEPTS4THEWIN into my Kellogg's Family Rewards account.

  • I entered my weight and today's hike into Walgreens' BRHC and earned 120 BR points, I'm so close to 5,000 points! I'll get a $5 reward when I hit 5,000 points.

  • I also uploaded digital coupons to my Walgreens Balance Rewards card.

  • It drizzled a bit tonight, I'm sure I won't find any extra water in the rain barrel, but hopefully it was enough for the potted plants to be revived.

  • I purged my coupon organizer from expired coupons tonight while we watched "Seinfeld".  I'm always dreading that task so I'm glad I got it out of the way!  Now I'm about to clip the coupons I printed while watching some "Forensic Files" on Netflix.

  • Tolls on the Polk Parkway
  • Panda Express: $17.58 (lunch, kids)
  • RaceTrac: $5.00 (snacks and drinks, kids)
  • $5 to my son in exchange for the McDonald's gift card
  • Gas for Greg and lunch at KFC, on his way back from NC 
  • Fed the cats
  • Swept the mess one of them made in the kitchen
  • Drove to Lakeland to meet Pixel
  • Called Greg to check up on him
  • Called my insurance company to get advice
  • Left a note for the driver whose car I hit
  • Had breakfast with Pixel
  • Drove to the state park
  • Hiked for 5 miles
  • Drove Pixel back to Lakeland
  • Drove home
  • Called Greg and my Daughter to check up on them
  • Printed coupons
  • Uploaded coupons
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Researched kayak trailers
  • Chatted with Greg
  • Chatted with the kids
  • Cooked dinner
  • Watched Seinfeld with Greg
  • Clipped digital coupons
  • Purged coupon organizer
  • Cleaned upstairs litter box

  • that I finally got to meet Pixel, who is super nice!
  • for a lovely hike today. The weather was gorgeous and the company was too!
  • for my son being able to play D&D even though our regular game was cancelled, unbeknownst to him
  • that, despite my hitting someone else, everybody drove safely today

FIELD TRIP: Hillsborough River State Park

It was a gorgeous day, a little hot, but we were mostly in the shade so it wasn't too bad.  We were so busy chatting that I barely took any pictures!  I had previously taken pictures of Hillsborough River State Park on February 26 of this year, though.  Here is what I saw today:

The rapids. 

They're classified Category II.

There were a lot of Carolina Wild Petunias alongside the trails.

There were people canoeing and kayaking on the river.  I wish I had been able to bring the kayaks!

This air plant's seeds are ready to be dispersed with the wind's cooperation!

Little Blue Heron taking a rest by the river.  I wonder if the large catfish were worried about him or not...
And that's all the pictures I took!  We heard birds calling throughout the forest but I didn't manage to spot any. Obviously the rangers had done work on the trail since February as there weren't as many roots across the trail as when Greg and I last visited, which made it much easier to maneuver the trail.

Greg and I still have to go back to use the kayaks there and try fishing some catfish. Pixel and I did spot a lady fishing from a canoe but there was a lot of foliage in the way so I didn't even try taking a picture of her.

How was your Sunday? I'm very late publishing and replying to your comments and I have been very bad at commenting on other blogs these past few days, I apologize. I'll try to get to that in the next couple of days!


  1. What a day you much excitement. I laughed through the story of the kitten in the kitchen. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but maybe someday you will read back through that paragraph and realize what a great story it is.

    Having a fender bender in the parking lot was awful. I did that once myself and didn't know what to do. I went into the grocery store and had one of the cashiers announce the license plate over the PA system. I gave the owner my name, address and phone number as well as all particulars of my insurance. She didn't want to go through the insurance, so she got me a quote instead. It was only $200. I think it would have been more through the insurance. She was very kind and understanding....a very nice lady.

    And then you met Pixel. How lovely. She shares your love of photography and hiking. I'm glad you had a wonderful morning with her, and I loved the photos you took. I believe your pictures are getting better and better.

    I'm also happy for you that Greg is back and that he had a good visit (albeit, short) with his young grandson and his daughter.

    1. I'm glad you had a laugh at my expense! I love those kittens but their rowdy behavior is starting to grate. Tabby Kitty, especially, is very very rowdy and most of the time he's the one getting in trouble and inciting the other two. But I don't think he was the culprit yesterday morning, I think it was Princess. She had a guilty look :)

      I did think that the owner of the car might have preferred not dealing with the insurance but I don't like dealing with people so I'd almost rather pay more and just let the insurance handle it. To be honest, I didn't think about a possible outlay of cash that I might have... as I said, I've never had this happen to me! I suppose that there might be a deductible that applies? Crap. In which case, I would have to quite a bit, I think. Oh well, I'm not going to worry about it until they actually file a claim. I think my SUV has more damage than their car and I have very little. Obviously, though, I need to be much more careful when I park now. Oh, I hate that it happened! It was very nice for you to look for the owner of the car via the PA system, btw. I think that a lot of people would just shrug and not even leave their information, but if I've learned something from the criminal shows that I enjoy watching is that there are video cameras everywhere and it's considered a hit and run if you don't leave your info and are caught. Not worth it! Plus it's the right thing to do. It happened to me in reverse, my car was keyed and another was obviously hit but no one left their info and I was really ticked off.

      I'm glad you're enjoying the pictures! I got a new camera that Middle Son helped me pick. I still don't use the dSLR settings very often because I still don't know what I'm doing, but it takes better pictures than my old one so it's fun!

  2. Oh I know about the new camera. I have been reading your blog faithfully.

    1. Thanks for reading, I hope I was able to distract you with my babbling and rants :)

  3. It was so much fun to meet you, have breakfast with you, and go on that hike! I know you go on hikes that long all the time (and longer!), but I was surprised that I managed 5 miles, too. I have to say that the iced coffee and my 1 1/2 hour nap once I got home were the perfect conclusion to such a great day.

    When I told my co-workers about my weekend, I started out by saying that I met a stranger in a parking lot and followed her into the woods...hahahaha. I quickly added that it was like we had known each other forever - and it really was. We just had so much fun chatting with each other, like old friends who hadn't seen each other in a while.

    Love your pictures! Now I know which one of mine I will pick for yesterday - it looks identical to your "The Rapids" photo.

    1. Ha, you're too funny! "All the time" means once per week if I'm lucky and I do need that whole week to recuperate! I had so much fun meeting you too, and you're right, we were chatting like long-lost friends :) I forgot to tell you, in all the "excitement" of my hitting that car, that when I left home that morning and turned the radio on in my SUV, the song that was playing was "Don't Talk to Strangers" by Rick Springfield! I called Greg to tell him and we had a good laugh about it!

      I totally forgot to ask you for photo taking pointers while we were out. We'll have to do that next time we get together!

  4. Nathalie, sorry to read about your car bumping incident. Nice of you to have left your information; so many people might have just walked away! I hope it doesn't raise your insurance rates. Over here, anything and every thing seem to raise the rates! Thank you for the picture of the breakfast. I had been thinking of omelettes, the other day... :D Glad you got to meet and go hiking with your blogging friend. What fun!

    1. Thanks Bless! I just heard from my insurance company a few minutes ago and the other driver did file a claim. I sent them the pictures that I had taken. I'm not sure if I'll have to pay anything out of pocket but I don't think so. As for my rate rising, I have accident forgiveness and have been a very safe driver for the past 18 years (the last time I was at fault for anything) so I don't think we'll see our rates rise, but we'll see. It is what it is. I was at fault... and it's also why we pay for insurance every month, isn't it?

      I had a great time meeting Pixel, she is so nice!


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!