Youngest Son was strangely awake and almost bushy-tailed this morning, and that was actually nice! He didn't smile for the "First Day of School" picture that I traditionally take but that's par for the course.
But... oh my. I was trying to remember if last year's first day of classes drop-off had been as bad as it was this morning, until I remembered that last year he took the bus in the mornings pretty much until Christmas, when I got fed up with the bus always being late or not even showing up at all.
Well, let me tell you, this morning was awful. We left the house 30 minutes before classes start. We're located within 5 miles of the high school. The line was the longest I've seen at that time of day and it was still as long when I passed it coming home, about 25 minutes later. People were dropping off their kids everywhere (main road, side streets, nearby neighborhoods, any of the high school entrances, thus blocking the bus parking lot and the teacher lot, as well as the senior parking lot), there was no police or anyone directing traffic. I ended up having to drop off my son in the Junior Lot, which is forbidden, but I didn't have any choice as trying to get into the senior lot (where we're supposed to drop off) would have just made the access problem worse! So an administrator who was posted at the entrance of the junior lot rebuffed me and I told him that it'd be more helpful if he was out on the street directing traffic.
When I finally got home, I emailed the principal with a suggestion that he lets parents drop off at the track. This is where they have us pick up the kids at the end of each semester, when the bus aren't running because classes let out super early, and it works very well. So I don't understand why they don't let us drop off there for the first couple of weeks until the madness dies down.
OK, this is the end of my school drop off mini rant. Needless to say, I texted Youngest Son once I was home to say "sorry, but you're gonna have to take the bus for the next couple of weeks until the drop-off isn't as crazy". Either that or we're gonna have to start leaving our house at 6:30 a.m. (classes start at 7:20). He'll be driving on his own next year when school starts, and I'm thinking I'll have him drive the bus then too, at least for a few days!
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES
- I tossed and turned for a while last night. I wasn't even thinking about my dad, I think I was stressing about the dentist. Maybe such a long lead time into the appointment just to talk to the hygienist wasn't such a good idea.
- I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work. I didn't get to see him this morning as he was still asleep when Youngest Son and I left and already gone when I got back.
- I heated up the free French Vanilla coffee from Wawa from yesterday and poured it into a travel mug to bring with me this morning.
- I earned the Microsoft Rewards for the day and started the nCrave videos to let them play while I was gone. However I've just noticed, at 9:00 a.m. that they've already been exhausted. My 1st goal is 105 SB (!) and I'm barely at 50 SB. Bother.
- I filtered water for the cats in my Brita pitcher and refilled the water bottle I keep upstairs for refilling their bowl there.
- After I dropped off my son at school, I went to Publix. It's really nice that it opens at 7 a.m., I really wish more grocery stores would (I'm looking at you, Aldi!).
- I used their customer recycling bins to recycle all polythene (egg cartons, cups from various restaurants, food trays) and plastic bags that we weren't reusing.
- I checked my lottery ticket but I didn't win anything today :(
- I bought some pasta, rice and cereal. Most everyhing was on BOGO and I used coupons on everything. Food OOP was $3.32 and I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewardsm, but later on I found a SavingStar rebate for the cereal so it'll end up being only $2.32! It'll count towards next week's food budget since I've already closed the books for this week. The pasta was free after BOGO sale and coupons, woohoo!
- I also bought 2 bottles of Shout stain remover. It wasn't on sale but I had manufacturer and store coupons that expire in a couple of weeks and since I rarely make it to Publix these days, I just decided to stock up now.
- And there was a BOGO sale on Snapware so I got 2 small glass containers for myself to replace some plastic containers ($4.99) and 2 plastic cereal containers for my daughter to hold her flour and something like rice. ($6.99). I could have probably given her some of my older containers but sometimes I need them all. The non food OOP was $17.08 and was also charged to Amex for 3% back in Rewards.
- When I got home, I had more emails from my brother from Marseille, reporting on continued text conversations with my dad about his catfishing situation. Would you believe that it's gotten worse? In a nutshell, my dad is now claiming that he knew all along that he was being scammed, that he had contacted the police back in January but they hadn't followed up so he had decided to trap the crooks on his own, which is why he was going along with the whole thing. WTH?!?! He's so deluded, it's sad. He told my brother that he was expecting a transfer INTO his bank account of some inheritance from a Moroccan diplomat in the amount of 1.8 million euros in gold bars and that it would be the proof he needed to show the police that it was a scam. Of course, I'm well aware of all those scams going around targeting mostly senior citizens with the same kind of story, claiming that they don't have their own bank account for a reason or another and then demanding money FROM them, but usually it's framed as "I've won the lottery and I need your help". My dad is a huge snob and they got the measure of him undoubtedly, early on, so they told him they were diplomats and he fell for it. Quite honestly if someone told him they were the Minister of Fools and Morons, he'd fall for it because he stops listening at "minister". What people do (or claim to do) in life is hugely important to my dad and he always brags about the professions that his friends and acquaintances have. So now my brother is trying to figure out if indeed he's not sent any money or shared any banking info, as he claims he hasn't. However, he did give my brother bank account numbers and other information for him to check through the official police channels. Why he wouldn't have called my COP brother back in January when he claims to have realized that it was a scam and contacted the local police, he can't explain since he's merely backtracking and making it sound that he was on to them the whole time when in fact he was completely bamboozled until my brothers tracked down the fictitious girl online. Arrgh. I wouldn't be surprised if he's been completely wiped out, quite honestly. I asked my cop brother if there was a way for us to contact my dad's banks and let them know what was going on so they could be on the alert (since we don't believe that he actually did that) but he said that the only way for us to do this would be to go to court to get guardianship of our dad and that since he's not crazy or senile (which, IMO, is debatable!), we won't win. Plus HE doesn't want to have to be the guardian and my other brother lives much farther away (and I'm here and not on speaking terms with my dad anyway). I mean, eventually that might be what needs to happen and then one of them will have to step up and assume guardianship, I would think.
- Alright, I need to distract myself from all this madness and I had 10 minutes before today's episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (some distraction, eh?) started so I swept the kitchen and fake-mopped it with a square of an old bath towel wet at the sink, swept the cat litter spilled on the floor of the exercise room, and inventoried the batteries that we need for Hurricane season... finally, but Hurricane Season doesn't really kick in until mid August, usually.
- I researched battery prices on the Ace and Lowe's website and then researched the staples we need for our staple "gun" and texted Greg with our choices. Looks like the batteries are on sale at Ace and the staples would be much cheaper at Lowe's so now I'm going to try to convince my Daughter to run some errands with me this afternoon by bribing her with bulk candy from Bulk Nation :)
- I unloaded the dishwasher and grabbed my diabetic cookbooks to find recipes to cook over the next few weeks. Explorer came to cuddle with me. He was clingy last night too, slept with me most of the night and insisted on laying down on one of my body parts (usually my arms but sometimes part of my face!) at all times. I love him :) And he loves watching "Forensic Files" on my Kindle, lol.
|"Wait, are you talking about me?!"|
|"Who are you talking to?!"|
|"Is that how you type on your blog?!"|
|"Carry on then, carry on!"|
- I worked on archiving my checkbook spreadsheet that had gotten way too long. My daughter got up and agreed to come run errands with me this afternoon since she has nothing to do. She's just waiting to move on Saturday, at this point. We cried last night. Sigh.
- I entered my new receipts (Publix and Greg's gas receipt from last night) into my spreadsheets and then checked the rebate apps. Did I mention that I deleted MobiSave from my phone? I might end up deleting CheckOut 51 too once I can redeem the money that I have earned on there because they're irritating me. Anyhoo, I found a $1.00 rebate off the Cheerios I bought this morning, on SavingStar, woohoo! I also unlocked new rebates on there. It looks like SavingStar and CK 51 are sharing information now and if you unlock a rebate on SavingStar, it marks it as "claimed" on CK 51. Not sure if the reverse is true, but probably.
- Latest news from my brother in Marseille as of 1 p.m. My dad is now refusing to believe that the "girl" is a crook. "She" went online this morning, I guess he must have asked questions, and "she" claims that her computer and pictures were hacked and that she's real and a victim as well. Now my dad is getting pissed off... with my brother (!) for interfering in his life. I have no words. I asked if my brother had any pull with local cops for them to pay him a visit and perhaps introduce him to other victims so he can get a victim's POV, but I think my brother might have hit his limit in dealing with this bullshit. Update: as soon as I finished typing this I got another email from my brother who said he was done dealing with this. Do I know him or do I know him? Can't blame him. He ended up emailing my dad one last time to very pointedly, once again, tell him he was being a fool, and that he had done his duty as a son and a cop who wasn't assigned to the case but was being made aware of a crime, and that now my dad was pretty much on his own since he was refusing to trust the obvious expert in his own family. This is so stressful to all of us, it's unbelievable. I especially feel bad for my brother who's been taking time out of his workday to deal with this to try to help someone who's absolutely been a shit to us his whole life.
- My daughter and I went to run errands in Clermont. We took the Focus so we could gas it up for her upcoming drive to Gainesville.
- We went to Lowe's: I bought 2 packs of the staples that we needed and received 10% off with MyLowe's military discount on those. I also bought a $50 Carrabba's gift card. I paid with Amex and triggered the $10 statement credit thanks to the offer I had uploaded yesterday, woo!
- Then we drove a little up to the street and went to Petco. I bought a new cat toy since ours was a little bedraggled (our kittens love it a little too much!) and redeemed a birthday coupon for a free bag of cat treats that I'll give to my BFF. When I paid (with Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards), the cashier pointed out that a new coupon had printed at the end of my receipt. I was for a free sample size bag of raw cat treats! I asked if I could use the coupon today and we didn't see anything that prevented me from doing that so I went to get the treats. However, I had to pay the $0.14 for tax. I did it, but I was sorely tempted to just leave them since my cats don't even eat treats, darn it. Oh well.
- Our next stop was Panera's, where I had placed a new Rapid Order for a free plain bagel for my daughter with the Free Bagel A Day Reward that I received this month. When we got there, 10 minutes after the scheduled pick-up time, the order once again wasn't ready! 3 times in a row, I wasn't happy. However, today it was because they hadn't updated their stock in their app and they were out of plain bagels. So I picked a French Toast bagel because my daughter (who was waiting in the car) likes French Toast. But she doesn't like cinnamon, apparently, so we kept it for Youngest Son.
- From there, we drove to Bulk Nation. Despite the fact that I had written down exactly how much to get of each item, it was hard to judge because their scales in the aisles aren't exact, and I had my purse on my shoulder, which made it hard to scoop the spices and put them in the plastic bags. We did get a lot of candy. I got chocolate covered gummy bears for myself because I'm stressed, damn it. I got some chocolate/pretzel/peanut butter bites for Greg, sour gummy sharks and crocodiles for Youngest Son, and a whole bunch of stuff for my daughter. Each type of candy has a different stock number and price so you can't mix and match. Grrr. We ended up with a whole bunch of plastic bags, which is ridiculous. Bringing my own containers wouldn't be too convenient either since they need to be pre-approved and weighed each time by a cashier when they're empty. My total was just over $20 so I redeemed the $2 off $10 coupon instead of the $5 off $25 coupon, which made my OOP something like $19.68. Since it was less than $20 (by 32 cents!) they refused to stamp my reward card (you get 1 stamp each time you spend $20 and get $10 off after 5 stamps. It's going to take me forever and a day to ever complete a card, lol). I told Youngest Son that I would bring him to let him choose his own candy, but you have to be careful. My daughter was about to buy Hershey's almond kisses by the weight. They were something like $10.99 per lb. I pointed out that a bag at the store is usually 12 oz and costs at the most $3.99 (and I'd probably never even pay that much for a bag).
|I looove chocolate-covered gummy bears!|
- Our last stop was Wawa. My daughter gassed up the Focus and got a receipt with which I will get a coupon for a free drink, after taking the survey. Meanwhile, I went inside the store to redeem my coupon from this morning's survey for a free 24 oz cup of French Vanilla coffee (along with creamer cups and sweetener packets) and a free sample size cup of hazelnut coffee. On my way out, I found another comment card with a survey to take on it so I took one to take another survey and earn another coupon. Woohoo!
- We got home just a couple of minutes after Youngest Son did, as he took the school bus home. Good thing that he did because the driver told him that the pick-up time on the school bus site was wrong and he actually picks up at 6:40 a.m., not 6:50 a.m. I guess the kids who were waiting for the bus this morning when we left... never made it to school unless the parents were home to drive them. Something tells me I might have to drive him again tomorrow... he's none too happy about having to wait for the bus that early, but we'd be leaving at the same time or earlier if I had to drop him off again. He had a good day at school.
- 3:35 p.m., it's raining! Hooray! I'm glad I forgot to water the potted plants this morning! Well shoot it stopped at 3:39 p.m. :(
- The kittens are very very rambunctious this afternoon and running everywhere. After I got back from my errands, I found several things on the ground that had been knocked down from various surfaces. Thankfully, nothing was broken... but they keep on running through the house like a herd of buffalos!
|They did like the new toy. And yes those ARE two socks that he brought down from upstairs and carried aaaaaaaall the way|
into the kitchen. I think maybe he's trying to tell us something in Morse code with those. What does 2 long beeps mean?
- Youngest Son gave me some school paperwork to fill out. His Algebra II teacher is very no-nonsense. He sent home a letter detailing the rules, which I agree with. Amongst other, there won't be extra credit available. He said "make sure to dedicate as much study time as needed to earn the grade you want. There is no "extra credit" in the real world." Hear, hear!
- For dinner tonight, I'll cook the salmon and make some Minute Medley rice.
- I clipped all the Boxtops4Education labels that I had set aside and put them in an envelope to mail them to our former elementary school. Then I walked to the mailbox to check the mail and put the envelope in the outgoing mailbox... and I completely forgot to actually do that! So I'll mail it tomorrow because I'm not going back down the driveway today. Yes, I'm that lazy and I blame those darn chocolate-covered gummy bears that have now given me a tummy ache too. I need to steer clear of those!
- In the mail, I found a large envelope from Arbor Day Foundation with some survey they're asking me to fill out. They also sent me a 2018 one-sheet calendar with a cardinal on top and a new sheet of address labels. People, I almost never send regular mail, enough with the free address labels already! I have so many of those! The calendar will end up in the recycling because I only use electronic calendars anyway. Additionally if I donate $10, I can get the following for free: 10 free flowering trees for my area, 2 crepe myrtles, a tree book and another calendar, and earn a chance to win a year's worth of their special coffee. Heck, I'd pay the $10 just for the 2 crepe myrtles because I've been wanting those for a while. However, know thyself: I never did plant the free tree that I got from them through Duke Energy this Spring (there's just no good spot to plant it around my house what with the power lines and plumbing lines, etc.) so it's safe to say I probably won't plant TWELVE trees! And I just bought a (used) tree book about a month ago, don't need another calendar and probably won't win the coffee because only the "first 50 people replying to the survey will qualify". There's already one big sucker in my family, I don't need to be the other one, I suppose. So... sorry Arbor Day Foundation. Or maybe I'll donate the $10 and pick the option to have them just plant 10 trees in a forest that's been devastated by fire. Yep, I'll probably do that.
- I spent some time watching videos and pictures of the kittens when they were about a month old. Sigh, how I miss that age, lol. They were too adorable!
- I received an apology email from Microsoft Rewards for a problem I wasn't even aware of and received 500 extra MS Rewards points. Yay! I don't like Microsoft but MS Rewards is pretty great.
- Dinner was good, but I prefer the coriander-crusted salmon that usually make. After dinner, I did the dishes (woohoo, again!) and the kids started loading bins into the family car in preparation for my daughter's move on Saturday. Then I cleared my trunk because we'll be loading up my SUV with her furniture and more bins tomorrow afternoon.
- Then Greg and I watched more episodes of "Silicon Valley" on HBONow.
- I had a late breakfast of generic rice krispies with sliced strawberries and a half cup of 2% milk.
- Lunch was leftovers from last night: whole wheat spaghetti with tomatoes, basil and chicken. I didn't measure it but it was probably a cup and a half.
- Snack was chocolate covered gummy bears. Oops.
- Dinner was 1/6th of the salmon fillet and a little bit of Minute Medley rice.
To Do List
Go to Publix for sale itemsDONE Go to Bulk Nation and use couponDONE Pick up free bagel from PaneraDONE Pick up free coffee from WawaDONE Go to Lowe's to get gift card with Amex for rebateDONE Go to Petco to pick up free cat treatsDONE
- Go to Ace Hardware to get batteries
- Tape the Strength Training videos and put on dedicated SD card
- Cleaning (i.e. domestic chores)
Drop off foam and plastic bags recycling at PublixDONE Empty dishwasherDONE Do the dishesDONE Sweep the kitchenDONE
- Clean fridge
- Wash the front of the kitchen cabinets
- Put away the laundry
- Iron Greg's clothes
- Sweep or vacuum Greg's bedroom
- Dust Greg's bedroom
- Mend some items from the mending basket, especially Greg's shorts
- Vacuum fridge's coils
- Scrub the WHOLE shower (including ceiling)
- Clean exercise room vent
- Remind Greg to set mice traps in the laundry room (this weekend)
- Wash bathroom and hall ceiling, door jamb (wear old clothes)
- Make zesty refrigerator pickles
- Dehydrate old bread and make breadcrumbs
- Make mock Grape Nuts for Greg
- Plan today's food intake
- Keep track of liquid intake!
- Record today's food intake into MFP
- Inventory fridge
- Inventory freezer
- Make weekly menu
- Make hummingbird nectar
- Trim bushes in front of the house
- Transplant ferns from bin into front yard
- Transplant all basil seedlings from berm and patio to the empty garden beds
- Pull weeds from berm
- Pull weeds from garden area
- Pull weeds from rose planter
- Pull weeds from gravel path
- Lay down more cardboard on top of mulch
- Mulch the berm again
- Make more self watering bins
- Plant tomatoes and lettuce (when it's cooler)
- Add Osmocote plant food to hibiscus and roses
- Check on beans and papaya seeds (daily) and water as needed
- Check on pineapples rooting in jars
- Read up on growing papaya trees again and thin the seedlings?
Water the potted plants- IT RAINED HARD FOR 5 MINUTES
- Order rain barrel from Home Depot
- Figure out where to plant the salvia, lantana and pink flowers
Filter water for the catsDONE
- Trim all cats' nails
- Brush cats
Input new receipts into spreadsheetsDONE
- Schedule new credit card payment
Finish archiving checkbookDONE
- 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
- Explore Will and Power of Attorney forms on LegalZoom and discuss with Greg
- Call SunTrust and Chase re: bonds
- Reconcile FSA records to make sure we're not missing money in the account
- Family & Friends
Drop off Youngest Son at schoolDONE
- Take Youngest Son driving
- Write a letter to my great aunt
- Post trip pictures on French blog - STARTED THIS PAST WEEKEND
- Find a good picture of our cats and order bag from Shutterfly for Daughter with freebie code
- Finish the 2014 Powerpoint document for Daughter
- Add clip art to all 2012, 2013 and 2014 pages that I created and print them
- Review emails I had sent to Youngest Son on 7/23 about college with him
- Get him started on Coalition For Access application (add reminders on calendar for each summer too)
- Mail Boxtops4Education label to our former elementary school - ENVELOPE IS READY TO BE MAILED TOMORROW
Inventory what batteries we need for hurricane seasonDONE
- File paperwork
- Declutter the printer stand
- Declutter the breezeway counters
- Declutter the gardening supplies area
- Declutter the old coffee table ONGOING