Friday, July 7, 2017

So Proud of my Kids :) Friday 7/7/17

After I published my post last night, my TV remote suddenly lost the ability to control the sound on the TV.  Arrgh, I had ordered a replacement but in the meantime, I didn't relish the idea of having to get up (like in the good old days of my youth!) every time I wanted/needed to change the volume setting!  Well, I had to so I did, and then I tried the remote again from up close to the TV and after a little delay, it started working again. So I tried the "source" button... and this time it worked. Oh good grief!  I had to reboot my laptop (which had started to make a weird spinning noise again!) so I could get into my Amazon account (which wouldn't let me access it earlier in the evening, it kept on rejecting my password which I made sure I was typing properly!) and try to cancel my order.  Since it's with a third party vendor, I might not be able to cancel it. Well, then I guess Greg and I can each have a remote then, and have our remote wars :)  Good news, though, when I restarted my laptop, it didn't make the weird spinning noise again.  Still, I'm worried. Because, of course I am!

This morning, I went to turn on the TV... the remote started having the same problems as last night.  The volume control wouldn't work on the TV (which is actually normal since I turned off the speakers on the TV when I connected the soundbar several years ago) but the remote had succeeded in turning the sound all the way down on the soundbar (but wouldn't bring it back up). The "Menu" button didn't work so I couldn't reenable the TV speakers and there is no "menu" button on the TV itself.  Arrrgh.  And then suddenly it started working again!  So now I'm really hoping that the Amazon vendor will say they couldn't cancel my order in time.  I found the more comprehensive manual that I had downloaded to my laptop and the troubleshooting guide did say to unplug the TV from the wall and leave it unplugged for 60 seconds. I did that yesterday but I'm not sure if I waited long enough so I'll have to try that if I have trouble again.

Once again, it's such a "First World" problem, but that doesn't mean that it's not annoying and won't cost me money that I wish I didn't have to spend!

On to my To Do List. I need to try to knock off quite a few things off it today, I'm tired of always seeing them on there.
  • Plan my food intake for the day DONE
  • Exercise 
  • Record today's food intake into MFP DONE
  • Do the dishes IN PROGRESS
  • Make banana chocolate chip muffins
  • Print Greg's paystub and record it in Tax Worksheet DONE
  • Take Wawa survey DONE
  • Update credit card cheat-sheets and print them DONE
  • Laminate them DONE
  • Explore Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services webpage and get started on process 
  • Create Greg's online Social Security Account (with him) and update my documents
  • Continue checking Target's Redcard account to see if they credited my refund. Then schedule payment (due 8/2) 
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Finish backing up all pictures to my external drive (later on this week when Greg is away and the kids are still in bed so I can hog all the bandwidth!)
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Transplant all seedlings from berm and patio to the empty garden beds
  • Cut up Greg's old sheet for rags
  • Fold the laundry DONE
  • Put the laundry away DONE
  • Finish clipping coupons DONE
  • Put new coupons away DONE
  • Back up my blog
  • Sweep or vacuum my bedroom (when my bed gets delivered on Wednesday) DONE
  • Mop kitchen 
  • Clean upstairs litterbox DONE
  • Brush the/some cats
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Take Youngest Son driving
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Explore Will and Power of Attorney forms on LegalZoom and discuss with Greg
  • Find a good picture of our cats and order bag from Shutterfly for Daughter with freebie code
  • Clean out the battery drawer, inventory what batteries we need and buy them on Sales Tax Day (hurricane season, need to research when that will be)
  • Finish the 2014 Powerpoint document for Daughter
  • Add clip art to all 2012, 2013 and 2014 pages that I created and print them
  • Declutter this past year's school files and prep new files for this coming year
  • Check if there is any money in Daughter's school lunch account and if so, request that it'd be transferred to Youngest Son's
  • Tape the Strength Training videos and put on dedicated SD card
  • Move clothes into new dresser DONE
  • Put bleach in furnace drain line for maintenance
  • Write letter to Target CEO
  • Water plants (front and back, near shed)
  • Go through the manuals drawer and purge it
  • Declutter the old coffee table IN PROGRESS


  • I slept very well last night and both Explorer and Princess slept with me all night without bothering me.  I woke up late (past 8 a.m.) and Explorer was on the pillow above my left shoulder and Princess was stretched out against my right hip.  They were still sound asleep!  So I waited a little bit and then we had cuddles and hand licking and purring and chirping and much stretching ensued... and then they went right back to sleep!  lol. So I grabbed my glasses and my phone and stayed in bed with them, checking my emails and the news and blogs.  
Explorer cuddling with his mommy in bed :)

Princess, stretched out against my thigh...

  • We heard a woodpecker on the roof.  At first it was typical woodpecker pecking noises (like in the Woody Woodpecker cartoons) and then it sounded more like a hesitant knocking.  The cats were intrigued. I just hope the woodpecker didn't destroy any of the roof!

  • Greg called to say good morning and we chatted for a bit. He has another long day of meetings but is flying home tonight!  Yay!  He won't get to Florida until something like 5 a.m. tomorrow morning though (Saturday) and then he'll have to drive an hour home.

  • Finally I got up, fed the cats, and realized that I had never drank the cup of leftover coffee that I had nuked last night, so I re-nuked it (in the little microwave since the large one is out of commission) and  also brewed a new pot.

  • Walking back to the living room, I spotted several small birds at my feeders!  Hello birdies!  it was so exciting! I snapped pictures through the sliding door so they're not great.

  • So success or failure with the TV remote story?  I don't know! Right now it's working and my Amazon order for a replacement doesn't seem to have been cancelled yet and for once I'm hoping the cancellation won't go through so I still get the alternate remote.  I could email the vendor again but I won't bother. If the order does get cancelled, I'll just place a new order (with a different vendor so there's no confusion).  We do have the TV from the Cat Room that we could put in the living room. It's much smaller but we could still watch The Great British Baking Show tomorrow night if the problems return :)  I mean, it's definitely not the end of the world, just another aggravation, like when you have to replace a turning signal bulb on your car, I guess.

  • But it was kind of important to me that the TV works today because it's Friday... Law & Order marathon day, woohoo!  I can't remember if I mentioned on the blog that ION TV also announced that they'd run L&O: Criminal Intent marathons on Sundays from now on!  They're conspiring to keep me from being super productive, though, lol. Greg is going to hate me if I play that all day on Sundays. He really doesn't like the L&O franchise. He has no taste :)

  • I had told myself that today was the day I was resuming my routine for sure (getting up early,  doing the dishes first thing, exercising at 9 a.m., eating at the times that I prefer...) but this isn't happening today. It's almost 11 a.m. and none of this has been done. I haven't even planned my food intake yet.  I had made a menu for the week but didn't cook what I had planned the last 2 nights and probably won't cook what I had planned tonight either.  Well, at least I'll have some dish ideas for next week's menu :)

  • Woohoo, after attempting several Swagbucks surveys, I was able to complete one that took me right over the 2,200 SB limit needed to order my first gift card of the month, so I looked around... and decided in the end to just get another $25 Walmart gift card. I know, I know... I never want to go shopping there! But the appeal of lowering my grocery shopping bill (eventually!) is too high, lol.  I wanted to get a Carrabba's gift card since really the Eating Out is what needs to be kept in check and we'd like to keep on going out once in a while, but when I saw it'd be another online card instead of a physical card, I had my doubts.  So Walmart it is because I know for a fact that the registers do accept my printed Swagbucks gift cards.  So this means I've earned $225 in Walmart gift cards since the beginning of the year. I've been a slacker compared to other people, and now the virus warnings I've gotten twice in the past couple of weeks when I played the videos have dampened my renewed enthusiasm so I think I'll take a break from it.

  • I earned the Microsoft Rewards credits for today. I should be able to get a $5 Amazon gift card in a few days.

  • I took the Wawa survey with my receipt from the purchase of the bad panini and gave honest feedback about my disappointment.  They emailed me a coupon for a free drink and this time I remembered to forward it to my BFF without printing it!  I texted her to give her the heads-up and check up on her too.....

  • Well, crap, the Amazon reseller did cancel my order, lol.

  • I reused a plastic bag to clean the upstairs litter box. Then I swept my bedroom and the upstairs hall.

  • I decided to rehome the clothes from the small closet in my bedroom that gets stifling hot (so I never open the door to it!) to the new-to-me dresser that I bought last week from the thrift store. I left the dryer sheets in there, it won't hurt the clothes.  It's incredible how much stuff I was holding on to because there only was a small hole or stain and I could "use it when I painted". I'd have to paint for years to go through all the stuff I was keeping!  So I threw away a whole large trash bag of stained and holey stuff, I have another large trash bags of clothes to donate, and I kept clothes in sizes 18 and 16 because, even though my plan is to get slimmer than that, you never know what can happen. My weight has been yo-yo'ing for several years and I don't want to have to re-buy clothes every time.  So my dresser now hosts all my PJs (so many PJs and I usually don't even wear any to bed!), pants and shorts in size 16 (which I hope to be able to fit in shortly), sweaters and long-sleeved T-shirts.  The size 18 pants and shorts went back in the closet because I'm more comfy wearing yoga capris these days.
Size 18 clothes on left, size 16 on right.  Don't let this fool you, I have bags of sizes 14 and down on to 8, I think, in the closets of the master bedroom!  I am very attached to my clothes and don't see the need to throw them away if they're still wearable!

This is so wrinkled, sorry! I found this in the closet, I had forgotten about it completely. I actually
bought it for my stepmom's last Christmas present. My dad and her were great cat lovers and had several raised from kittens
who used to sleep with them (back then, I thought it was gross, lol).  Sadly, that Christmas she took a turn for the worse and I
flew to France on Christmas Eve 2013 to help my dad and her during the last weeks of her life.  She lost consciousness before my package (sent in early December!) ever reached their house so she never got to wear it (its a nightgown, by the way), so I asked my dad if I could bring it home with me.  I guess that, 4 years later, it's quite appropriate for me to be wearing it, no?  Explorer has slept in ALL those positions with me, throughout the months! He definitely was the Shoulder Filler this morning!  I wish  I could share those pictures with my stepmom :(
  • When I came down, my daughter was trying to use our old Xbox 360 to play a game but the disk tray wouldn't open. Several years ago, we had gotten "the red ring of death" on this machine, so since we had nothing to lose, I had watched YouTube videos, opened the machine, realigned the laser and it'd been working fine (if a little noisily) ever since.  So since it's now 10 years old and I had already opened it up, I used brute force today to force the plastic components apart in order to get to the disk drive, because we thought maybe a disk was stuff in it.  However, there was nothing in there.  I had a little bit of a hard time putting it back together because some decorative pieces kept on falling off when I was trying to put everything back in place, but eventually, I got it. We plugged it back on, it came on... and the door was still stuck.  So, I think that this time, it's a loss.  Greg is getting a new Xbox Scorpio when it comes out this fall so he was going to pass down his Xbox One to our son. I need to see if it'll play the old Xbox 360 games.  Update: I guess there should be an update coming up this fall that will allow old games to be played on the Xbox One. Good deal!

  • Youngest Son had made a date with some library friends to go LARP'ing (Live Action Role Playing) on a lot adjacent to the library that the county actually bought for the library, but that the city isn't allowing the library to use right now. (What? More political b.s. from our local politicians, sigh). I hope they don't run into trouble. Anyway, he made himself a tunic with a couple of old T-shirts after watching a YouTube video, and is wearing his cargo shorts (since it's Florida and it's hot!). He has his foam swords with him.  I hope they have fun and no one hassles them!

  • I updated our credit card cheat-sheets, printed the new version, and laminated them using a remnant of a laminating pouch.

  • I folded all the laundry and found the old couch slip cover so I labeled it and added it to the donations to take to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift store.
Explorer brought me a toy and wanted me to play.
  • As I put the laundry away, I looked for something I could hang in my bedroom window to replace the mini-blinds that Explorer had destroyed.  I just wanted something that wouldn't look terrible from the outside and would offer more privacy for me when the light is on, than the thin cloth shower curtain that I'm using as curtains on that window.  I found a flat sheet that came in a set of sheets that I had bought. We don't use flat sheets but I always keep them to reuse them somehow. Woohoo!  I wasn't sure how to hang it in the window since the walls are old and push pins won't go in, but I thought of two binder clips that I fastened to the old mini blind brackets. Voilà!  My house won't be in any decorator magazine, but it was frugal and did what I needed it to do.  At some point I'll buy a new set of mini blinds, but I want to wait until the kittens are past the "Let's destroy mom's house!" stage.  I'm also still hoping that I might be able to fix the old ones. We'll see.

  • I made the beds (in the middle of the afternoon but better later than never!), changed the Renuzit cones throughout the house so it smells less musty (can't wait until it's cooler and we can open the windows again!), put all the laundry away.

  • My dresser looked a little "bare" so I repurposed a couple of baskets that I wasn't really using for anything and put them on the dresser. They're empty right now but I'm sure that I'll find something to fill them with pretty fast!  I also put the small house-shaped shelf that I used to have near my bed and that Explorer keeps knocking down every time he tries to get to the mini blinds!

  • My patriotic floral arrangement (the one I had done at the library for free last week) was almost all dead. I kept the white daisy and the two red carnations that were still OK and put them in a bud vase that I had, with the small American flag, and it's back on my mantelpiece (I did cut the stem on a angle to refresh them).

  • The green floral foam was pretty much destroyed on the top so I turned it over, cut it with a knife to shape it so it would fit in the saucer placed inside the small basket, and put it aside to reuse it for future arrangements. Maybe one day I'll actually have flowers that I can bring from the backyard!

  • I grabbed my "odds and ends" toolbox where I keep spare nails, screws, and hardware that I find laying around after we do some projects or I declutter something, and hung up the painting that I had painted with my daughter last year at a local Painting with A Twist franchise.  It's in what we call "The Cat Room" now, but we used to call it "The Art Room" back when the kids were little and I had hung up all their masterpieces around the room. I had to take down everything a couple of years ago when Greg redid the ceiling and then I repainted the room and never hung up anything again.  

  • Then I grabbed 5 pictures of flowers that I had taken myself and gotten enlarged at Walgreens for free with the occasional promotional codes that they release.  I had put them all in frames that I got at Dollar Tree.  I hung them up in my bedroom.  The two pink flower pictures went over my "bed" and the three red flower pictures went over my dresser. I eyeballed the placement so it's probably offensive to someone who's much more OCD about it than me.

  • I checked the mail and found a letter from the state college where my daughter obtained her A.A., addressed to her. She reports that they were announcing that she was placed on the President's List for the upcoming school year :) Of course, she won't be there this coming school year, but at UF :)  In order for her to be on the President's List:
"President's List: Undergraduate students who are registered for at least twelve semester hours of letter grade (A–F) courses are eligible for the president's list. The required grade point average is 4.0, in all colleges, for any given term."

  • In continued good news, I asked Youngest Son to check his CollegeBoard account and see if the AP scores had been posted. He took one AP class in 9th grade, the only one his high school allows 9th graders to take: AP Human Geography.  He scored... a 5!  That is out of 5 so the highest score he could get!  WOOHOO!  This means he's definitely earned the college credit.  I couldn't be prouder of my kids :)

  • My daughter mentioned going out for dinner and I thought "Heck yeah!  We get to celebrate their success, I don't have to cook, and fewer dishes to do later on."  The kids decided to go to Olive Garden so I found my $5 off 2 entrees coupon and off we went. We didn't have to wait for a table at all and were placed in a room that was fairly quiet compared to all the other rooms, which was nice. Our server was very friendly and we had fun chatting.  Instead of ordering from the "under 600 calories" menu,  I ordered the Gorgonzola Steak Linguine and required whole grain linguine.  I got the salad with dressing on the side, no cheese and didn't eat any croutons or breadsticks.  

  • My daughter also ordered a salad with her entrée so they brought us the big bowl. My son ordered Zuppa Toscana with his entrée but he was given chicken gnocchi pasta by mistake. The server said that my daughter could have the soup since the soup and salad are unlimited, and he brought my son the Zuppa Toscana.  He offered to bring us extra breadsticks and the kids didn't want any more but I said yes because I knew we'd bring them home :)

  • There was too much salad since my daughter didn't eat any after all, so I asked for a box and we brought it home too.

  • Our entrées were huge. I think the pasta would feed me for 3 or 4 days if I ate the amount of pasta that I'm allowed!  The kids couldn't finish theirs. I asked for boxes all around :) I ate my beef (it looked like perhaps 4 or 5 oz) and saved most of the pasta in the box to take home.  So we left with a huge bag of leftovers, lol.  Our server brought us chocolates and the kids, who had declared being full, lunged at the chocolates as if they hadn't eaten in months!  I didn't have any either. My daughter and I drank water and my son ordered a limeade, btw.

  • I applied the coupon to our order so we got $5 off and left a 20% tip ($10).  I paid with Discover to get the 5% Bonus Rewards.

  • The food was very rich and even though I didn't eat a lot, my tummy is kind of upset now. We stopped by RaceTrac on the way home and I got Sodapalooza refills. My son let my daughter use his cup since he didn't want any more soda.  I'm hoping the caffeine free Diet Coke will help settle my stomach!

  • We fed the cats when we got home at a little bit past 7, and I realized that I still hadn't done the dishes. Poop.  So I'll be doing that tonight before Greg comes home early in the morning.  I'd better get to it now, it's already 9 p.m.!

  • Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart gift card
  • Two Sodapalooza refills

I hope you had a great Friday and are planning a nice and relaxing weekend :)


  1. Congratulations to your daughter on her achievement and congratulations to your youngest son on his excellent AP grade! You should definitely be proud of them and I hope that they are proud of their achievements and themselves. Well done, Daughter and Youngest Son!

    I have no idea how to fix any of my own appliances! I leave it all to my daughter to figure out and fix!

    Ha, ha, I love your binder clip solution to the curtain! I just duct taped the piece of board I use to block the gap between the window a/c and the window frame! Won't be featured in any home decorating magazines, either! But I love how you set up the dresser with the baskets and birdhouse and the photographs on the wall, too! Now that ought to be featured on a home decorating magazine! Very "Country Living" like and pretty!

    Love that nightdress, too. I think your stepmom would want you to wear it.

    Yum! Olive Garden! My daughter and I love to go there to eat and when I was recovering from the chemo treatments, she ordered food to go from there and I was actually able to eat some of it! I got hungry just looking at your picture of the linguine!

    Hope you have a lovely weekend.

    1. Ha, a woman after my own heart... I use duct tape for a lot of things too :) It's like the best thing ever invented!

      I told Youngest Son to go ahead and eat my leftovers as I'm trying to resist them. The linguine was very delicious but I suspect very unhealthy what with the cream and gorgonzola. However, since I'm not sure if he'll like the gorgonzola flavor, I told him NOT to throw them away if he doesn't like them... I'll just have to restrain myself and just eat a little bit at a time.

      I hope you have a great weekend as well, Bless. You don't have to worry about your tooth anymore so it's got to be great!

  2. Up too early and headed for the airport later to get son. My daughter is driving-
    I can't 'do' 95 any more. It makes me too nervous. Congrats to your kids! I hope your daughter can get her budget all worked out. Mine got a part time job and really didn't mind it at all. She took her car to school after Christmas first semester but I don't think she drove much. She's always been good with money and wanted more. I got the estimates on the trees- ugh $2800 and if I have another huge one taken down, it's an additional $2800. I might get a second estimate for that one but this tree guy has a good reputation and I've used him before. He's also booked up for a solid month!!!! but said he could come next Saturday. I need to do some progress notes- have a nice weekend.

    1. I don't like driving on the interstates anymore either. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or because all the drivers around me seem so much more aggressive and distracted at the same time. I'd rather take the back roads if I can.

      Wow, big big cost for those trees, but it's probably better to have it done before the worst of the hurricane season is upon us if you can. Enjoy your son's visit!

  3. Congratulations to your kids! Getting a 5 on an AP test is pretty amazing.

    I have been totally off my schedule this week and it has me all upside-down. I hate how much it can knock me off-track!

    I need to go through my clothing as well. I have a variety of sizes and while my plan is to stick with this weight loss program and then maintain my goal weight, I've learned from experience that getting rid of clothing can come back to really bite you in the end. A lot of my professional clothing is one or two sizes smaller than I am now; since that clothing is usually more expensive to replace, I would very much like to be at those sizes by the time I am looking for full-time work next fall. I think that this year I can kind of fudge my wardrobe for my internship since I will be working in a school and can probably get away with a business casual wardrobe for the most part. I hope.

    1. I hear you about not wanting to re-buy your professional attire! I last worked in 2010 and I had to buy semi-professional clothes since I'd put on a lot of weight since I'd left my previous job back in 2004 so now I'm loathe to get rid of them, even though there's rarely an opportunity for me to wear them. But you never know... Greg really would like me to return to work at some point (well, he goes through phases, whereas I'm pretty darn sure that I never want to have a real job again if I can help it!) so I hold on to them "just in case". I'm sure that if you continue on your healthy path, you'll fit in your clothes again next year.

      It seems that we've both been off-track with our schedules! I feel so out of control when this happens, it's actually NOT enjoyable at all for me. I slept in again this morning (until 11!) and I should at least get on the recumbent bike but it's already close to 5:30 pm and I honestly don't see this happening today again. Grrr. I need to try and stick to my preferred schedule tomorrow! I hope you can find your rhythm again as well!

    2. I have realized how much I am affected by my hormonal cycle, too, lately. I've had my period all week and I think that is largely what is at the root of my weird sleep habits. And its definitely responsible for the headache that's been coming and going. Ugh. I need to just set a bedtime and follow it, whether or not I actually sleep!

  4. I love the frugal way you redecorated your bedroom! I keep telling myself to print more pictures, and actually frame them and hang them up...but that requires effort and a plan. Is that a Longaberger basket on top of your dresser?

    Congratulations to your daughter and son for their great academic successes. That's truly something to be proud of!

    1. Thank you!

      I've heard of Longaberger baskets but I'm not sure why they're so popular? I thought it was because they might be antiques but looking it up on Wikipedia the company was founded in 1973 so maybe you can enlighten me? In any case, I don't think it is. It (and I'm assuming you're talking about the basket on the right, the one with the 2 handles?) came in a gift basket of bath products that a former boss had gifted me years ago. He was an executive so it was pretty expensive products but I doubt it was a Longaberger basket and there's nothing on it that would identify it as such that I can see. The one on the left has a sticker that says "made in China" :)

    2. I'm not sure why they are so popular; they are quite expensive, but at least they are made in Ohio (I think). I brought one about 15 years ago, when a friend had one of those parties. For a number of years they were *the baskets* to have for storing and organizing your stuff.


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