Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Very Busy Day! ~ Saturday 6/17/17

I fell asleep on the couch at about 10ish last night, while watching "Mad About You" on Crackle. In my excitement of being able to watch an old show that I'd been thinking about recently, I forgot how annoying the character of Jamie actually was, and how annoying Crackle's never-ending ads are.  So I fell asleep.  I woke up at 11 a.m., dragged myself to bed, and slept until about 8 a.m.  I would have slept longer but we had told Greg that we were taking him out to breakfast at his favorite breakfast restaurant to celebrate Father's Day early (and beat the crowds) and he wanted to go at 9 a.m.

I did wake up with Explorer sleeping on the pillow right next to my head, and Princess nestled in between my legs.  So they woke up with me and both started purring and playing with my fingers as I was petting each of them with one hand. It was a nice way to wake up (until Princess started biting a little too hard!).  Explorer was nipping at the inside of my arm, I think he was trying to get me to get up faster so he could have his breakfast!

Not taken this morning... but I did see this on Instagram today, posted by my daughter. The kids always manage to take better pictures of the cats than I do!  This is Princess on the left with her brother Explorer on the right. Awwww. They look like they love each other (and they do) but they'd probably been batting at each other's head right before my daughter took the picture, lol.
So I showered and got dressed, cleaned the upstairs litterbox, fed the cats, and made some coffee.  Greg got up shortly after and then  our son.  We left at about 9 a.m. and had a longish list of errands to run too.

We had a very nice breakfast at Flapjack Johnny's.  Our waitress was super nice and very attentive.  I had received an email from them this year touting their new summertime offerings and one of them was "Johnny's Healthy Breakfast Wrap", consisting of egg whites, turkey, homemade salsa & Swiss cheese, wrapped in a white wrap (I was given the choice of a tomato basil wrap instead) and I picked that), and served with a bowl of strawberries, blueberries and kiwi. So I picked that, especially since it was $7.95.  It was huge and delicious!  Exchange-wise, I think it was probably 1.5 times the amount of protein I should have had the whole day!  Oh well. I'd rather overeat on proteins than on baked goods or candy these days.  I drank coffee. The man had their waffles and pancakes. Our son couldn't finish his pecan pancakes so we brought the rest home in a box. I charged our bill to our Amazon Visa card for 2% back in Rewards.

My breakfast. I thought to myself that I wouldn't be hungry until dinner after eating that but no... I was hungry at lunchtime!

Greg's breakfast. Our son had pecan pancakes.
Our next stop was the phone repair place. It opened at 10 a.m. and it was 9:53 a.m. when we got there so we decided to wait. We had a nice chat both during breakfast and while we waited, by the way, our son made an extra effort to be smiley and somewhat social today :)


The phone repair people are so nice. However, the technician who was trained to replace iPhone 7 screens wasn't scheduled in until noon, so we had to come back later.

Then we stopped by RaceTrac for Greg to get his free Sodapalooza refills. I say "refills" because my daughter gave him her Sodapalooza cup so now he gets twice the amount of Diet Dr. Pepper.  My son and I didn't refill ours there, me because that particular station doesn't offer Caffeine Free Diet Coke.

From there, we drove across the street to the Valvoline store where we were hoping to get an oil change for Greg's truck. However, there was a line so we decided to come back.

Then we went to Dick's Sporting Goods. While I was on my trip, Greg had treated himself to a new fishing rod, that was more expensive than the one he had (over $50) but he justified it by telling me it was "much better quality". Hmm, ok.  Anyhoo, it came with a $10 rebate form, but him being a man and clueless in the art of redeeming rebates, he had thrown away the tag that had the UPC code on it. The rebate form only asks for the UPC code to be written on the rebate form, and the receipt to be attached, so I told him we'd go to Dick's to capture the UPC code from another rod of the same type. So I took pictures of the tag, and then he decided to buy himself some hoity toity fishing line (I mean, it cost over $20!  For fishing line!  His hobbies are turning out to be expensive.).  I charged it to my Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards.

It'd better be some damn good fishing line, is all I'm gonna say!
Next stop was Lowe's. Greg has decided to replace the ancient gutter that runs the front of the front porch and also install some on part of the side of the house so as to reroute the downspout from where it is right now (and causing problems).  We saw that they had white or brown gutters and after debating, we decided to go with brown. We're not maniacal about washing the outside of the house (surprise, surprise) and the white gutters we have now just get dirty because of the gunk falling from the tree above so we thought brown gutters might actually make the house look better.  We were going to look for a new rain barrel to install on the side of the house, but I told Greg I'd rather order it online to earn the Swagbucks and pick it up in store later since we didn't need it right away.  I reminded Greg to charge the gutter supplies to Discover for 5% back in Rewards.  The cashier announced that we has saved a whole dollar and we all celebrated. LOL.  Then I spotted the free coffee station so I decided to grab myself a free cup of coffee to go. It was tiny, only about 4 oz, but hey, freebie :)  I drank it in the late afternoon, when I was feeling a little tired.

It was only 11 a.m. by then, so we decided that we'd go back to the phone repair place in the afternoon.

Before we got home, though, we stopped by the local NAPA Auto Parts store, where we hoped to be able to score a steering wheel cover for Greg and use the $15/$15 coupon that they had mailed us. That was also a bust, as that store is very tiny and only seemed to carry mechanical parts and some cleaning supplies that we didn't need. I would have spent $15 on cleaning supplies anyway just to use the coupon but there weren't any prices on the shelves and Greg had developed the start of a migraine by then so we left without buying anything.

The last stop was at RaceTrac near our house where Youngest Son and I refilled our Sodapalooza cups.  I took Greg's cracked phone with me, hoping to be able to redeem his coupon for a free Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich, but they still didn't have any :( Meanwhile, I noticed that the coupon for the sandwich was still in my own app, although it should have been used since I got one yesterday. Odd. It says that it expires tomorrow but unless I pass another RaceTrac tomorrow and they happen to still have the sandwich, I won't be able to redeem it.

Back home, Greg took an Advil and used his microweavable "hot sock" to try to stave off the migraine.  I caught up on news, earned the Microsoft Rewards and some Swagbucks. By the way, my Team won the Team Challenge this week and I had hoped that the reward would be a straight 60 SB added to my account since the verbiage didn't specify "swag-up award", but it's definitely a Swag-up Award :( plus, you have to activate it. So if you participated in the Team Challenge this week, check your "My Swag-Ups" section and activate yours before trying to redeem it. Also, it expires 7/1.

At noon, my alarm rang for me to put dinner on in the crockpot. I made Beef Stew with Mushrooms, using some of the portobello caps that I had bought at Aldi earlier in the week and a beef bottom roast bought on 50% off clearance at Save A Lot the same day, along with potatoes, carrots, and celery (plus spices and Better Than Bouillon beef flavor).  At 5 p.m. it smells delicious!

After that, Greg wanted to go back to the Phone Repair store so off he and I went, since our son was more than happy to stay home alone.  The phone repair technician said it would take about an hour for the repair to be performed, so we left the phone there and I mentioned to Greg that we should go to Advance Auto Parts to look for a steering wheel cover.  Another customer who was waiting said "You should go to NAPA, they're having a big Father's Day sale!" and we said "We know, we went to a NAPA store near our house but it was tiny and they didn't have anything." and he said "but it's a $15 off $15 coupon!  Free stuff!  Why didn't you just grab $15 worth of stuff?!" and I thought "Are you ME?!?" so we laughed it off and left. When we got in the truck, I told Greg "That guy was absolutely right!  Damn it, I never thought the day would come when a stranger would nag me into getting a freebie!  We're gonna find the Clermont NAPA store and get us $15 in free stuff, damn it!".  So I looked for the Clermont store and lo and behold it seemed to be just across the street from Valvoline. How serendipitous!

Off we went to Valvoline, and this time there was only one car ahead of us.  We waited about 10 minutes, chatting. Then we got the oil changed (we use synthetic oil since we have high mileage vehicles), as well as the air filter.  I gave Greg a $15 off coupon that I had received in the latest Valpak envelope, which was a higher value than any other coupon that Valvoline had mailed me directly, woohoo!  So it was expensive, but $15 less expensive than it would have been. We charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.  We love Valvoline, they're quick, you stay in your car, they check a lot of things for you, and they're super super nice too.  And they're not pushy.

Across the street, the NAPA store was much larger than the other one and they had a few steering wheel covers. However, we had measured the truck's steering wheel at 16" and the covers were all 15".  So we asked the guy if that would work, and he confirmed what Greg had suspected, which is you have to let the cover warm up in the driveway until the rubber is supple and then it'll stretch and you can put it on (afterwards I read the instructions on the wrapping and it does say to do that and also to have lots of patience, lol! Greg said that obviously this wasn't designed for ME to try to put it on. Obviously. I really have no patience.).  The guy who checked us out was super nice and I think he ended up being the manager. He assured me that if the cover wouldn't fit, I could bring it back with the receipt and he would take care of us.  The coupon didn't cover the whole cost, so we still had to pay about $8 or $9.  We charged it to Amex, I think, for 1% back in Rewards. I told Greg it was his Father's Day present from our son and me.

While we had been waiting for the oil change, the phone repair place had called to say the phone was ready, 30 minutes early, so we headed back there and got Greg's phone. As good as new!  It was pricey (about $140) but he's hoping he'll be able to expense it. Hmm, I doubt it.  We charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.

This is technically an iPhone 6, for obsessively accurate readers who might want to object to my choice of illustration!

After that, we stopped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, because I wanted to see if they might have a long, low dresser for my bedroom. I need more drawers as the tiny closets are really useless.  We didn't find a dresser that I liked, however I did spot a green couch that I thought might be an acceptable replacement for the ancient, ripped & disgusting couch that we have in our entry room for the cats and our gamers (it faxes the X-box) and where Middle Son crashes when he needs a bed for a few hours on this side of town.  However, I hadn't measured the space and wasn't sure the green couch was the same size as our current one, so we left it there. I think it was about $130. I might go back on Monday after I measure the current couch.

On the way home, Greg noticed that it hasn't rained yet and suggested we go to Revel's Pond to see how the water level was and if the fish were biting!  OK by me, but I asked if we could stop by our house first.  We actually stopped by RaceTrac again before going home and got more Sodapalooza refills.

Back home, our neighbors were in the driveway so we said hi and I asked them to hang on a minute so I could fetch the free sample of dog food that I had received.  They were grateful that we thought of them (they have several dogs).

Ugh, blurry photo because I was rushing!
I grabbed my camera, library book, a folding chair, and I packed a lunch. Greg made himself a sandwich. I ate my lunch in the car on the way to the pond, which is about 30 minutes away.

Chicken sandwich, baby carrots and 2 clementines. I ate too much protein today!
It was overcast but didn't rain while we were there, and actually the sun came out a few times. The water level is a little higher than before the rains started this summer, but not much higher and the fish were NOT biting at all.   I did take some pictures but most of them didn't really turn out. Plus there wasn't much to see.

It rained so the water level is back up but still so much lower than it needs to be. We didn't spot ANY fish.
 There were tons of mushrooms everywhere though!  I wish they were edible!

This one looks like a big fat beignet if you're French.. or a hamburger bun, if you're American!  As for me, I can't really decide. No matter what, it makes me want to bite into it!

I like the dainty little "skirt" around this one's stem.

That one looked like a pancake!

Cream puff?

Those just looked like poop to me.
Fauna-wise, as I mentioned, we didn't see ANY fish.  However there was some waterfowl...

Fluffy Blue Heron. All the waterfowl were being very active, but on the far side of the pond, so I had to zoom in the extreme. I took tons of pictures, hoping to catch them in the act of fishing something, but they struck out time after time.

Two sandhill cranes and a blue heron


Fluffy Redwing Blackbird

Same, grooming itself.
Not much to see as far as the flora was concerned as well. It was disappointing since it had rained so much. I saw many more flowers last year. Also, last year the pond was being choked up by water hyacinth, which is gorgeous but is very very invasive. Well I don't know what they did but there was nary a water hyacinth in view today.  I had hoped to see trumpet vines and I did spot blossoms on the ground...

So I looked up and spotted one encircling the trunk of a huge pine tree, way up high (I got a little dizzy having to look up so high!).

Cat tails

Not sure what that was but there was a bunch of those about to flower alongside the pond's edge.


Eastern Milkpea

I don't know what this is, the picture wasn't good enough for me to differentiate it from the myriad of yellow flowers in my reference book!

With the reflection in the water, Greg looks like he's fishing in the clouds!
We had a hot, but nice time.  However, and I was a witness to it, right out of the blue, Greg's new and expensive "of much better quality" fishing rod broke in half!  He didn't get it caught on anything, he just reared it back to cast it, as usual, and when the line hit the water, the rod splintered in half!  It's not a clean break, more like something stepped on it, almost, so I'm doubtful that the Dick's Sporting Goods folks will agree to exchange or refund it but we'll have to try.  I guess it's a good thing that I hadn't send the receipt in with the rebate yet...

Arrrgh. And yes, I had to nag him about the "much better quality" comment. A more expensive price certainly does NOT mean it's better quality. I mean, this is just a plastic tube, ya'll. It's not like it was made of unicorn hair or anything.
We think we saw an otter in the pond. We saw something dark that moved more like a mammal than a gator and quite fast too. However, I wasn't able to take any pictures of it.  So unless Revel's Pond has its own Loch Ness Monster equivalent, it must have been an otter.  I wish I could have taken a picture!

On the way home, we explored a new-to-us access road to the General Van Fleet trail, which will allow us to avoid the deep pot holes that are on the access road that we would usually use when we go walk on that end of the trail.

Then we decided to go pick blackberries at our next door neighbor's family farm since we saw the signs advertising them. However, when we got there, there was no one around and the blackberry canes don't look too healthy (lack of rain...) so I think I'll be buying blackberries from Aldi this year.

After all that, we finally got home at about 4:30ish or so.  Greg felt exhausted so he went to take a nap!  It started pouring at about 5:15 p.m.

I haven't tracked my food intake yet or exercised today. I need to get back on track tomorrow for sure!  I also didn't do any chores save for getting dinner started and cleaning the upstairs litterbox earlier, but it's the weekend so I'm not worried about it.

Greg wants to go fishing at Lake Louisa State Park early tomorrow morning (they open at 8 a.m.) and I mentioned that I might go with him so I can practice kayaking, but now that his new rod has snapped, I'm not sure if that's still on or not.

My mom sent me an email today to ask if I was back from my trip. She's freaking out about turning 70 in a few days.  I hear you, mom, I'm turning FIFTY this year. The big 50. It's un-freaking-believable how fast time goes.  Anyhoo, I replied to my mom;s email and told her I'd post pictures of our trip on the French blog, so I need to add that to my To Do List.

It's 7:30 p.m. and none of us are hungry for dinner yet, I don't think.  My library book that I haven't started yet and that's due on Monday is staring at me, but I want to try and edit a Vacation post before going to bed tonight so I might not have time to read.  I probably need to stop putting books on hold!

Speaking of books, last night Greg was complaining about no longer being able to find interesting history books to read in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, only he called it "Kindle Unlimited". So once again, I reminded him that we don't have Kindle Unlimited as it is a subscription program that isn't free.  So we argued about that for a minute or two, and he ended up saying "Well, I don't care what it's called, but most of the book choices say "Kindle Unlimited" and I'm able to download them for free! And I argued that I had checked whether the book recommended by the FrugalWoods in their AMA that I read earlier this week was free for Kindle owners (from my laptop) but it had only specified free with Kindle Unlimited and when I had clicked on that just to make sure, it had asked me to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. So Greg, eager to prove me wrong, asked me the title of the book, which I supplied, and he checked from his Kindle and sure enough, he said "it says "read for free on your Kindle"!!  My own Kindle had a dead battery and I was too lazy to get up and look at HIS Kindle so I didn't check for myself until today.  Sorry for the long intro.

So lo and behold, I went to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library (for some reason first you have to click on "Store" or "Kindle Bookstore" once you're in the "Books" section, on a Kindle Fire, and then click on the 3 bars icon at the top left of your screen and scroll down to Kindle Owners' Lending Library almost all the way at the bottom), and looked for the book and sure enough, it was there with a Kindle Unlimited Icon but also a "Read for Free with Kindle Owners' Lending Library". Wow!  I never think to check there because Greg always uses it (we share the same account with just one login for the both of us) and you can only borrow 1 book at a time.  So now I don't have to wait for the library to buy it.  I do prefer to read actual books instead of e-books but I do like the fact that I have it available now, when I'm still somewhat inspired to read it. Of course, I have allllll the other books that I have borrowed to read: 3 library e-books that are about to expire, that Lee Child book that's due on Monday, several diabetic cookbooks that I have borrowed on top of the other diabetic cookbooks that I have bought... aarrgh.  I'm way too ambitious when it comes to my reading!  Still, I'm hoping my little story is useful to someone who reads it! If you own a Kindle, check out the Kindle Owners' Lending Library before you buy a book or traipse to the library to borrow it from there. Again, the choice won't appear on your laptop when you pull up the book title in Amazon, which is a shame, since you can use the Kindle app on your PC.  I'm not sure if you can access it from the Kindle app on the PC, though. If you have it, you might want to check.

Alright, I think I've blogged enough for today, I need to do other things. This really does suck up a lot of my time, I'm already thinking about going back to weekly and more succinct updates, LOL.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.


  1. That is the cutest picture of Princess and Explorer! They almost make a heart, don't they?

    You sure did have a busy day! You did a lot! I'd have been tired after going out for breakfast and coming back! Your breakfast looks yummy, but Greg's looks yummier! It's that waffle with the whipped cream and strawberries, I think. Guess what I am craving now? :D

    Too bad Greg's "better quality" rod broke! Hope you can get a refund!

    Blogging does take time, doesn't it? Especially when one has had a busy day and there's a lot to share. But I do enjoy reading these daily posts, and I am hoping you'll continue.

    1. I can't imagine how much time it takes you, seeing all the comments you get and replying so thoughtfully to every single one of them!

  2. That picture of your babies that your daughter took just made me smile! Thank you for sharing those cuties!

    1. I'm so happy so many of you love looking at cat pictures as much as I do :)

  3. What full and interesting days you have. I SO appreciate and enjoy your posts, but if you decided to cut back to fewer I would certainly understand. I barely get out about two a week, and you are doing two a day with your travel posts also taking so much of your time. I love when you go fishing with Greg. You show us so much of the flora and the mushrooms and toadstools. You are spending time with Greg, communing with nature, and developing the most interesting material for your blog. Surely it must make interesting material when you go back and read through them.

    Sorry to hear of the mishap with the new fishing rod. Good thing it happened now, only a couple of weeks after buying it. His chances of getting a refund will be so much better now, than months from now.

    1. I'm glad that my posting always the same pictures from the same areas (we've been to Revels Pond so many times now!) isn't boring you! I do love to re-read my posts, you're right. Good memories that I'd probably not keep if it weren't for the blog.

      You are right about the rod as well and indeed he didn't have any trouble getting it refunded yesterday. Phew!

  4. Love the picture of Princess and Explorer!

    That's terrible about Greg's new fishing rod - I hope they will replace it.

    1. We were very surprised that they didn't bat an eye at refunding it. Then they gave him a 15% off coupon so he went to buy a different (as in more expensive and hopefully sturdier) rod.


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