Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday, June 13: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I'm trying to get back in the swing of things and it's harder than I would have thought!

The kittens are happy to have me home, this is what was behind me when I turned around after getting dressed this morning:

Watching mom getting dressed.
As I mentioned earlier, I did get up with Greg, but instead of hopping in the shower and getting started on my day of chores by doing the dishes right away, I lounged in my PJs until about mid-morning.  So I didn't exercise at 9 a.m. either, as I had wanted to start doing again.  In fact, I didn't exercise at all today unless you count all the vacuuming that I did. And I am counting it as my exercise for today. I was exhausted when I was done and I only did the downstairs!

I weighed myself again this morning and I had lost some more weight compared to yesterday morning, bringing my total weight loss to 11.2 (Oh, I thought it was 11.6, I might have said 11.6 in some comments, sorry!) lbs.  I'm really happy with my diet and the results.

Middle Son and I decided not to go to Epcot tomorrow since the weather forecast is dire.  We'll reschedule on a day when it's not raining... which means not any day in the next 10 days!

It was gloomy and gray almost all morning, which probably explains why I had neither energy nor motivation to get started on my day.  But then the sun did come out, hooray!  However, it was super humid outside.  So the laundry that I did?  It went in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting.  The kittens are still too rambunctious for me to hang the laundry indoors. I was thinking, though, that once my daughter goes off to college, I could use her bedroom as my laundry rack room :)

My brother and his fiancée are supposed to close on their vacation/weekend/2nd home tomorrow.  Hopefully everything will be OK.  They're letting the current proprietors stay in the house for a couple more weeks and they plan on finally moving in their own stuff on July 5.  Their plan is to continue living in their Marseille apartment for another 10 years and go on with their jobs and go to the house on the weekends, but then retire in about 10 years, sell the apartment, pay off the house with the proceeds, and then live full-time in their mountain retreat house.  That's a great plan, I hope it all pans out for them.  I emailed them to wish them luck tomorrow.

My breakfast these days is pretty much always the same: 2 eggs whites, onion and zucchini (I use some Mrs Dash garlic and herbs salt-free seasoning on them), a starch (in this case, a slice of my whole wheat bread that I baked in the breadmaker before going on my trip and froze), and a fruit (2 clementines).  It's yummy and helps keep me full of energy until lunch.

I put a little bit of Earth Balance spread on my bread, too.

I played videos again today in an effort to earn Swagbucks and reach my first goal and I did. It was only 40 SB.  I also earned my Microsoft Rewards credits for the day.

Then I got started on chores: I cleaned the upstairs litter box (the others are my son's responsibility), made my bed, put away Greg laundry (which means I just threw everything in his drawers because I fold everything and when I open his drawers, it's as if a tornado had gone through his clothes so since he had done his laundry but left it all in a laundry basket, I just threw everything in his drawers. We'll see how he likes it...).  Then I put some more things away from our trip.  I didn't collect ALL the bottles of shampoo and conditioner from the hotel rooms where we stayed but after a few days I came to my senses, realized how much I was paying for the rooms and grabbed not only the toiletries that we didn't use, but also the K-cups of coffee that I didn't use. I use that coffee in a regular coffeemaker and it makes coffee, nothing magical about it at all.  Now I'm kicking myself that I didn't do that from the very beginning, argh.

They are all Bath & Body Works White Citrus scent.  The shower cap will be used to over a bowl of leftovers at some point or another.

Oh yeah, I grabbed the tea bags too. That was at the last hotel that gave us a very poorly situated room,
which resulted in my having a bad night.  They couldn't move us because they were full, supposedly,
so in spite I took all the toiletries, coffee pods and tea bags with me. Well, I paid for them, after all.
Continuing with chores, I collected the trash and recycling from around the house and took the trash bin down to the curb for collection.  Then I went to inspect the garden.

First I refilled all the empty cat litter jugs (I had 18 empty ones) with rainwater from the full rain barrel.  Having been through what seemed to be an interminable drought this past year, I now want to save as much rain water as possible!  Greg said that this weekend he will work on replacing the gutter in the front of our house and install a rain barrel there too. Yay!

Next, I refilled the bird feeders because somehow they had gotten completely empty. I do need to make more nectar for the hummingbirds, though.

Then I took pictures of the garden. So many weeds!  I have my work cut out for me.  Sorry if my photos aren't exciting, my lens kept on getting all fogged up.

My planter is doing so well, the impatiens have totally come back from the dead with all this rain!

Speaking about rain, a couple of my larger pots got completely waterlogged so I had to dump the water... that all ran onto the patio, which now looks like hell. I have cleaning to do outside too!

The parsley grew while I was gone. It's survived 2 years now, I wonder why the butterflies don't detect it?  

The oregano flowered.  I need to harvest some and set it to dry.

The sweet potato vine has reappeared and is flourishing, here...




And in one of my self-watering bins too!

The baby basil plants haven't grown as much as I thought they would have, but I never did thin them out either.

I was completely surprised to see pole beans plants emerging from the ground! Those are beans who didn't germinate last Fall when I planted them.

Huge serrano peppers

A couple of Ichiban eggplants that were chewed on by the squirrels, no doubt.

I have a couple more blossoms on the plant, though.

The guest vinca plants are doing tremendously well, I won't show you the ones growing in between the pavers of the patio since the patio is a mess.

Jalapeños. They look off because the plant is old and stunted.

The pineapples got bigger. This one has a baby plant coming out of its tush :)

Pineapple empire

My Red Canna hasn't flowered even once this year, but it's multiplied itself; I hope to have flowers soon.

The milkweed has grown leggy and the seed pods have definitely opened up.

Such a pretty plant. But no butterflies laid eggs on it, I'm afraid, since none of the leaves have been eaten.

One of my nectarine trees even grew a little branch or two!  The other one is pretty much dead.

There are fewer than 10 oranges on my tree this year and they're tiny.  The lack of rain was bad timing for the citrus trees. Florida's orange crop is forecasted to be much lower this year.

The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant still survives. It hasn't grown much, though.  I wonder if I should fertilize it.

We still have tons of bare spots in the "lawn" where usually weeds act as groundcover.  But back when we had a large oak tree right where the wagons are, this whole area was mostly sand, So we're happy with green weeds!

I especially like those that have pretty flowers!

Speaking of pretty flowers, my rose bushes are going gangbusters and the roses smell so good, I don't even have to bend down to smell them.

Something chewed on that one, though.

This is my old swing seat cover that was all black and gross so I set it on the patio furniture to let the rain wash it a couple of months ago... it worked, the sun bleached it quite nicely :)

The Peace Lily plant came back quite nicely as well, yay!

Later on, I harvested most of the serrano peppers and jalapeño peppers and two eggplants. I'll need to remember to freeze all of that, though!

I started the laundry and then chatted with Youngest Son who had just woken up. I mean, I chatted and he politely listened. He's not a "morning" person.

Six Flags Over Georgia sent me a couple of surveys, which I took in hopes of winning a season pass or two.  I wouldn't mind going back or giving the pass to Middle Son for him to go try out the park. Plus, I had actual feedback to give :)

Then I got on the computer and printed Greg's latest pay stubs and tracked his income into our Tax Worksheet. One of the stubs was for his bonus. Most of it is going to be sent to our mortgage company, which means that we should be able to pay off our house by the end of this year instead of 2032.  We are so excited!  He also got a small raise (3%) so I'll be adding the amount of his raise to the $80 that I send each pay period to the "New Car Fund".  Also, he paid so much in FICA due to the bonus that he's already done paying FICA for the year (that's the Social Security tax, for those who don't know, there is actual a maximum amount that higher earners pay. If you earn less, you pay it the whole year because you never hit the maximum) so for the rest of 2017, I'll also be sending the amount corresponding to the regular FICA payment to the New Car Savings Fund (instead of just spending it).  However, between all the eating out in April and May, the kayaks, the expensive SUV check-up, and other incidentals, on top of my vacation, I need to transfer about $3K back into checking from our emergency savings for me to feel good about our cash flow.  This is a failure since my goal for 2017 had been to ADD $2K to our emergency savings, not spend from it!  I really need to reign in our spending, especially in the eating out category. But then, of course, it's Father's Day this weekend. It's always something.  And Greg and our son are going on their 2-week vacation in a month, and even though they'll be camping instead of staying in hotels, that'll be more expenses.

My daughter went to spend the afternoon and evening with her BFF. They went to the movies and saw "Baywatch". I warned her that it'd probably be terrible but she said anything with The Rock couldn't be bad. Well, she just came home tonight and said that it was terrible. They didn't even stay for the whole movie.

Youngest Son went to volunteer at the library for about 3 hours.

I made my lunch and ate.  After that, I balanced our checkbook.  Fun, I know.

The laundry got switched, and then I set about vacuuming. Oh my, there was so much cat hair everywhere!  I only vacuumed the downstairs and I was pooped: living room, exercise room, hallways, staircase to the 2nd floor, breezeway and Cat Room.  I also swept the kitchen again.  I checked the air filters and changed one of them.

Then I took a break and replied to ancient (sorry!) blog comments from before I left on my trip.  Thank you for sticking with me through my "I'm not really blogging" period.

Meanwhile, it had started raining.  When that was done, I went to my SUV and cleaned it out of all the trash that had accumulated since the last time I had purged it of empty water bottles, travel brochures, etc.

Then I asked Youngest Son if he wanted to come with me to RaceTrac to get Sodapalooza refills. He agreed, so off we went. I redeemed the app coupon for the free Bacon Ranch Chicken sandwich.  I didn't think he would want it since the bun had onions on it, but he said he wouldn't mind it and that "bread is bread". OK, then.  My kids always manage to surprise me!

 I should have exercised, but the chores tired me, so I just sat on the futon and watched "Unsolved Mysteries" and other such shows on TV while purging my coupon organizer of expired coupons and clipping the ones that I had printed yesterday.

I reused the menu that I had made for the week prior to my trip, and tweaked it just a little bit for this week. Now I know what to cook the rest of the week. That does wonders for my peace of mind!

Then it was time for Greg to head on home and for me to cook dinner, so I did.  It wasn't the most exciting day, but I'm glad I got some cleaning done!  To reward myself, tonight, I lit one of my Bath & Body Works scented candles. I think it's called "Summer Garden". It sure smells nice!

Here are a few more freebies that I got today:

Coupons from CVS

A $15 off $15 coupon for Napa (car parts), good on Saturday only from 8  to 2. I need to think
of what we might need from a car part place. Maybe windshield wiper replacements.

K-cups samples from Starbucks.

I was invited to claim a sample of Listerine alcohol free mouthwash by PinchMe.
And to finish this already long and not very interesting post, here are my kitties:

Male Cat in a tiny box

Mean Kitty in my Donations box

New Kitty taking a little nap

Tabby Kitten hiding on one of the kitchen chairs, under the table

Princess trying to get my attention atop the Cat Tree

Tabby Kitten and Princess playing Peek-A-Book with a lizard, on the outside of the house.

Now where did it go?!

Meanwhile Explorer was waiting for them to come play with him...

My little Princess, asleep at my side tonight.

Nighty Night!


  1. While your routines may not be back in place, it sounds like you're getting a lot done. Anytime we go away, it always takes a while to get back into the swing of things. I enjoyed the tour around your yard.

    1. "Anytime we go away, it always takes a while to get back into the swing of things." Ain't that the truth?! I'm failing at getting back into the swing of things today as well. I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a truck. I must have done more than I realized yesterday, either that or all that mountain hiking did nothing for my stamina. And I don't think my butt got any firmer either :(

  2. You need to give yourself a couple of days to get back from vacation and into the flow of things. :) It sounds like you got a lot done, though. Bless

    1. I did NOTHING today, this recuperating from my not-at-that-taxing vacation is taking way longer than expected!

  3. Yay for ALL the domestic chores you managed today. You went gangbusters. Bigger yay for doing so well on your new diet. Losing weight while on vacation is no small feat. But WOW! When I heard that the possibility exists that you may be able to pay off your mortgage this year??? Well....That is impressive. You have been working hard.

    I also enjoyed your garden tour today. I just love your flowers. They are looking so good after some decent amount of rain.

    1. Well 99.9 % of the credit goes to Greg since he's the one holding the job that will pay off the mortgage and doing so well at it as being recognized for it with big bonuses :) I try to help with being frugal but then again, he's the one who rarely spends anything. Shh, let's not tell him that I'm giving him pretty much all the credit, here! But yes, it's super exciting that we should be able to be mortgage-free by the end of the year! I do need to remember to set money aside for the homeowner's insurance and property taxes since they won't be paid out of escrow anymore after that, and also money aside for federal taxes since we'll be losing my daughter (we don't declare the kids anymore once they go off to college) so our income taxes will increase. So it's not like we'll be able to save the whole amount of what we're currently sending to the mortgage company, but still, it'll be more money we can invest on the Stock Market, which is scary since we don't know what the hell we're doing there.

  4. All that vacuuming - OF COURSE that is exercise! And congratulations on being able to pay off your mortgage - that's a big chunk of money you'll be able to put away.

    It's tough coming back from a trip...any kind of vacation always seems to be bookended by tons of laundry.

    1. I think it was tough because aside from driving and having fun, I didn't have to do anything for over a week. No cleaning, no cooking... that was awesome!


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