Friday, August 11, 2017

Stressed, Still ~ Friday 8/11/17

I feel so stressed. I don't handle stress well. I need to stop stressing!

I feel like a total prima donna and I'm sorry about all the whining. I will definitely survive my daughter moving to college (I'm just a little sad about it but very excited for her too!).  I will probably survive the dentist ordeal.  I won't lie that I'm not stressing over it quite a bit. Every morning I'm dreading realizing that I'm one day closer to having to go to my appointment and face the music, so to speak.

As far as my dad's situation is concerned, I'm stressing myself by researching my and my siblings' potential legal obligations regarding our parents.  It's easy to focus on panicking about the catfishing's implications on my dad's side, but our mom and stepdad aren't nearly as well off as our dad, and were  they to not have enough money to support themselves, we'd be legally obligated to support them too.  Our obligation to our stepdad would stop if my mom passed away first, but then it would all fall on our half sister, who also isn't well off.  Arrgh.  It might sound very callous to worry about this, but I do.  At this point I'm only hoping my mom and stepdad don't go off the rails and falls for a scam themselves and that they don't have to go to a nursing home because their tiny pensions surely wouldn't cover their expenses. Thankfully, their house is paid off.

How can we plan for our own future with this hanging over our heads for potentially another 20+ years if our parents live into their 80s and 90s?  My paternal grandmother passed away at 94!  I guess I can be grateful now that she didn't have to go into a nursing home or hospital until the very end and that her estate seemed to have been enough to cover that since my dad did receive a small inheritance after her death, a couple of years ago.

And then we have Greg's mom. Although legally we don't have to support her (I guess the US doesn't have the same law as France does), I know Greg would want to.  It never ends.

The French Law works both ways, though. Both my brother from Marseille and my half sister are on the hook for continuing to support their adult children because my brother's ex-GF went to court to get their daughter (age 21) declared incompetent to support herself (she has some mental issues) and my sister's oldest son (18) has learning disabilities and is generally lazy and entitled and refusing to work. Both of them are expected to support their child financially "until they can support themselves". So... they are so screwed, already.  Which means that they might be able to get out of having to support our parent(s) which means that then it would fall to my brother from Paris and his wife, and Greg and myself, because apparently parental affiliation trumps all, including nationality and location, although I haven't seen this addressed in official legal sites, only conjecture on forums.

My usual method of playing ostrich is already coming back to bite me with the dentist (and eventually with the maintenance problems  with our house, I'm sure!) so trying not to think about it isn't going to make those very real problems go away. It would definitely be much easier not to stress about it all if my stupid dad wasn't in the thralls of being scammed online and if we had any realistic recourse to make it stop.  France is very rigid in its bureaucracy and what seems to work here (fraud investigation officers in banks, Western Union people being told to question seniors when they're trying to wire large amounts, calling the FBI, protection of seniors, etc...) doesn't seem to exist at all in France.  Ugh.

Anyhoo. I have GOT to stop stressing. I don't sleep very well and I have a pit in my stomach.  Alright, moving on to my regular post... (thanks for listening!). It would be nice if all this stress could cause me to lose weight :) At least there'd be a silver lining.

  • I slept 8 hours. Well, I was in bed for 8 hours and I think I was asleep for most of it, but Explorer came to cuddle at about 3 a.m. and I vaguely remember him keeping me up by laying down on half my left shoulder and arm, so my face was buried in his fur and he was purring very loudly. I love him so! But I felt exhausted when I woke up, probably because of the stress I'm experiencing.  Greg even came to me last night and hugged me tight and told me to stop stressing and worrying about my dad and his B.S., which was nice :) But it didn't stop me from stressing just because he told me to stop stressing. If only life was that easy!

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work and put everything on the table for his breakfast save for the bread :)

  • I heated up the free French Vanilla coffee from Wawa that I had gotten yesterday and used a  free creamer cup from Wawa too.

  • Youngest Son went to wait for the bus at about 6:35 a.m.  I got distracted by something and at 6:41 a.m. I checked the bus stop and didn't see him.  The bus driver had told him that he'd pick up at 6:40 a.m., not 6:50 a.m. as is indicated on the school pick-up online tool and late last night I emailed the bus transportation office to ask what was going on with that.  It's irritating to see reports in the news that our county reports that the first day of school went off "without a hitch" when you know busses aren't respecting the schedule posted on the darn school district website, and the situation with drop-off/pick-up at our high school.  Maybe without a hitch for their administrators but surely not for the students who couldn't get to school because the bus showed up 10 minutes BEFORE the advertised time! Anyhoo, Youngest Son got to school this morning and I didn't have to drive him so I should celebrate this.  I hope traffic dies down in the next few weeks (as people start using the busses more or carpool, and people start showing up at different times...) and I'll try dropping him off again. Why? Because I enjoy the few minutes spent in the car with him in the mornings AND I need him to start practicing the drive to school in the mornings with all its pitfalls and aggravation!

  • The weather is overcast this morning, I need to check the app to see if we're supposed to get rain or not. If not, I probably should go water the potted plants since it only rained for 5 minutes yesterday. The new pink flowers that I bought at Lowe's last week?  They're dead! Already!  I might have to bring them back and use the warranty. The other plants bought at the same time didn't die and they received the same amount of water.

  • Greg said he has had trouble sleeping at night because he gets very hot so last night I lowered the AC from 75 to 74. I have 2 AC vents in my bedroom and he only has 1.  Well, I was cold and had to use 2 blankets (mostly because I need to feel the fan blowing on me to sleep so I had the fan on despite the AC blowing, as I always do!) but he reported having slept very well. So I'll need to remember to turn down the AC to 74 at night, and turn it back up to 75 during the day. I did remember to do that this morning.

  • My daughter is spending her last day at home today :(  So tomorrow I'll be able to turn the AC up to 75/76 in that part of the house as well and leave it there until she comes back to visit or I use the oven.  Silver lining...

  • We made plans for her and Youngest Son to bring down the rest of her stuff today and I'll help them pack up my SUV.  But before that, we will drive to Clermont where I will treat them to some Bruster's ice cream and use the $5 coupon that she received last week :) I also still have a coupon for a free ice cream cone at RaceTrac so we'll drive there so I can redeem it for free frozen yogurt for me. I also plan on stopping by Panera to get the free bagel with my reward and by Wawa to get more free coffee with a survey that I'm about to take. Woo!

  • For dinner tonight I'll grill the feta and spinach chicken sausages and serve them on whole wheat hot dog buns.  I'm not quite sure yet of what side to serve with it. Maybe I'll just steam some zucchini?  I have no inspiration.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards and I'm within 12 credits of earning a $5 Amazon gift card, woohoo!

  • I'm trying to reach my first SB goal (96 SB) by playing some videos. Thankfully I got an 18 SB search award earlier that helped a little because today I don't have any automatic nCraves so I need to click on the darn videos all day to keep them moving!  Even with that,  I'm only at 46 SB at 10 am.  Oh, but late last night, I met my 2nd Goal and I was happy about that.

  • SavingStar credited my account with the $1.00 for the Cheerios bought yesterday and the $2.20 for the Renuzit cones bought on Wednesday.

  • Today is Law & Order marathon day on ION TV again!  Woohoo! Even if I mostly don't really pay attention because I've already seen all the episodes several times, I love having it on during the day :)

  • And as soon as I typed that and the marathon started, I decided that now would be a good time to take care of a couple of quick chores!  Sometimes I shake my head at myself... lol.  

  • I brewed a pot of decaf French Vanilla coffee. Yes, I should drink water. But decaf coffee is liquid too!

  • I walked down to the mailbox to mail the Boxtops labels to our former elementary school. It's hot and quite of humid today again.

  • I hosed down a mat that Mean Kitty had thrown up on and threw it in the wash with a few other things on cold/cold. I'll try to air dry everything later on.

  • We finished a gallon of 2% milk this morning so I poured the half gallon of whole milk into that gallon jug and added 1/2 a gallon of water to make ~2% milk for the upcoming week. We'll see how much we use, just the three of us.

  • Last Christmas, the kids gave Greg a supply of his favorite cereal: Grape Nuts.  He finally ran out of it so I mixed a new batch of the Grape Nuts that I had been making him before then. It was the first time I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to make it. I really like it, still wish the bowl had a handle, though. I used 2 cups of the "new" milk mixed with 2 tbsps of vinegar to make buttermilk for the recipe.  

  • While it was mixing, I quickly washed the few dishes that had already started accumulating in the sink. Woohoo! Even if I do nothing else today, I'm glad I did that :)

  • For breakfast I just fixed myself the now usual bowl of generic rice krispies, half a cup of ~2% milk and a banana that's already browning. Aldi either sells bananas that are so green you can't eat them for 3 weeks or bananas that are already too ripe. And this week they only had big bags. I don't even know why the bananas are bagged since they weigh them at the register.  And why the cherries and grapes are sold in 2-lb bags that they don't weigh since... they DO have a scale at the register!  None of this makes sense. Thankfully I don't mind brown bananas.

  • I ate breakfast and then went to get the Grape Nuts out of the oven to cool them off before I process them into crumbs and bake them again.

  • While I was in the kitchen, I decided to bake a Quick Bread from one of the recipes found in this booklet that I had pulled out of a free magazine several years ago. I decided to make chocolate bread, which allowed me to use up the sour cream and plain yogurt that were threatening to go bad in my fridge.

  • I also hung the small laundry load in my laundry room, on hangers and on a rack. 

  • My daughter shopped my pantry for some foodstuff. I'll take her shopping for the rest at Aldi on Sunday.  I put the bags of food in the family car since I had my shoes on, already.

  • I took a Wawa survey and earned a free drink coupon that I'll redeem for a free coffee this afternoon.

  • My daughter asked me for one more bin (she's taking so much stuff!  She's only furnishing one bedroom and her dad is bringing more stuff from his house, although I think it's mostly her bed and mattress) so I went to get one from the shed.

  • On my way back inside, I looked at the pineapples and harvested two more.  There are now only 2 left on the plants.  Thankfully, they're still mostly green, because I have 4 pineapples on my kitchen table (no room in the fridge!).  Even if I eat 1/2 a pineapple every day, it'll take me a week to finish them so I hope they don't spoil.

  • I gathered all the old bread and buns that I was keeping in the fridge and put them in the dehydrator because I need bread crumbs.

  • I swept the kitchen. The kittens once again thought it was a game and ambushed my broom repeatedly. Sigh. Cute but makes chores more challenging!  They're also jumping on all the countertops today. I think they feel that something's changing (since my daughter is packing up) and it's making them more alert.

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.

  • My daughter finally came to the realization that not everything might fit in her bedroom so we decided that Youngest Son and I will load the SUV tomorrow, after she's set up her bed and measured the space to see if the dresser and shelves I'm supposed to be bringing will actually fit!

  • Attention Swagbucks users, there'll be a new Team Challenge starting on Monday. Once again we need to get at least 600 Team Points to qualify for the Swag-Up and the highest award will be 100 SB, going to the winning team. I'm on the Luau Limbers, I think they're called.  You?

  • My friend, the real estate agent, texted me to see if we could meet next week. We usually have lunch once a month to catch up, but this summer was busy for her with family stuff so I haven't seen her since April or May.  I suggested the following week since I have several things scheduled for next week already.

  • I texted my friend who just came back from living in France for a year (Youngest Son's BFF's mom) to see if she wants to schedule a regular get together now that she's back, once she's settled. She's a corporate working mom so that might be harder.

  • For lunch I heated up the last of the basil, tomato and chicken spaghetti and made myself a fruit salad, as usual. I did have to compost one strawberry :(

  • I cut up the pineapple that looked the ripest and saved the top in an upcycled jelly jar, and put it outside to root.

  • While I was out there, I topped out another pineapple jar and used rainwater from the barrel to water all the potted plants. Now it'll probably rain tonight, LOL. Oh well. I also pulled some weeds but it was too hot to do much and lunch was calling...  those suckers grow fast, my patio is once again covered in them, grrrr.

  • The Grape Nuts is taking forever to bake, grrr. It's already been baking almost 45 minutes longer than it should have. I guess that's what happens when it's humid?  Even though I'm running the AC?  It's starting to annoy me.
Finally done! Greg was happy to hear I had made him a batch.
  • I just hit me that in 24 hours my daughter will have officially moved in to her apartment. And also that this year was the last time I'll go with Youngest Son to pick up his schedule before school starts since next year he'll be driving and, honestly, at 16, he can handle all of that on his own.  My babies have grown up.  I should be happy.  

  • I processed the dried bread in my food processor and turned it into plain breadcrumbs and then gave a container of it to my daughter and kept the rest for us.

  • I met my first SB Goal at 2:30 p.m.  Hoping to reach the 2nd by the end of the day... 

  • Youngest Son got home on the bus. We chatted a little bit (nothing much happened) and then I took the kids to get ice cream. I had the last cherry turnover as an afternoon snack so I skipped going to RaceTrac to use the coupon for the free cone. It's good through August so I'll try to take Youngest Son there one of these days.

  • We went to Bruster's and they each had a waffle cone. I redeemed the $5 coupon that my daughter had received last time she went and presented my rewards card, which earned me 2 more punches on it.  My OOP was $5.33, which I charged to Discover for 5% back in Rewards, and I tipped the attendant $2 in cash because her cup said "please help me pay for college". Darn it, I'm a sucker when it gets to this :)

  • Then we stopped by Panera's and I grabbed a free plain bagel with my Rewards, that I gave to my daughter.

  • My next stop was Wawa, where I used redeemed the coupon for a free 24 oz French Vanilla coffee and 4 creamer cups, and I also grabbed a free sample cup of hazelnut coffee since they were still offering it:)

  • Staples was right around the corner and I have that $10 off school supplies coupon that my daughter came back with last week when she used my Staples Rewards card, so I asked Youngest Son if he had been asked for any supplies today that we didn't have and he did, so we grabbed him a 5-subject notebook (on sale for $6), a pack of highlighters ($3.97) and then I got more G2 pens for my daughter and myself since we love those and the last ones I bought were extra thin point which we don't prefer. We're picky, lol.  They were $5.  I had a coupon in the car but I didn't feel like going to get it.  I turned in 7 empty ink cartridges so now I have to buy ink pretty soon to be able to get the rewards ($2 per cartridge). My OOP, after coupon, was $5.32 so everything save for the pens was free. Woohoo! I charged it to Amazon Visa but they no longer offer 2% back at office stores so it'll only be 1% in Rewards. Oh well.  

  • Then we drove home.  My daughter and I chatted the whole time, sang along to songs, joked, etc.  This is when I'm going to miss her the most because both Greg and our son like to remain silent when we drive.  They won't even play music in the car. It's... boring!

  • For dinner, the rice took forever to cook (is my countertop microwave about to give up the ghost too?!) so 3 of us elected to eat the sausages on buns with pretzel sticks as a side, and my daughter waited for the rice to be cooked.

  • Greg and I watched more "Silicon Valley" episodes on HBONow.  Meanwhile, I reached my Swagbucks 2nd daily goal!

  • I slept 7 hours... I think? I felt very tired when I woke up.  I think I probably need to drink 
  • Breakfast was a bowl of generic rice crispies, 1/2 a cup of ~2% milk, and a brown banana.
  • Lunch was leftover spaghetti with chicken, tomatoes and basil and some Parmesan, and a large fruit salad.
  •  For snack I had a cherry turnover.
To Do List
  • Errands
    • Take the kids out for ice cream DONE
    • Mail Boxtops4Education label to our former elementary school DONE
    • Go to Ace Hardware to get batteries 
    • Return pink flowers to Lowe's?  Bring receipt
  • Health
    • Exercise
    • Tape the Strength Training videos and put on dedicated SD card 
  • Cleaning (i.e. domestic chores)
    • Empty dishwasher 
    • Do the dishes ONGOING
    • Sweep the kitchen DONE
    • Clean fridge
    • Wash the front of the kitchen cabinets
    • Clean mat DID A LOAD OF LAUNDRY
    • Put away the laundry DONE
    • 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)
  • Food
    • Make zesty refrigerator pickles
    • Dehydrate old bread and make breadcrumbs DONE
    • Make mock Grape Nuts for Greg DONE
    • Bake something for after-school snack DONE
    • Make vanilla extract
    • Dehydrate apples that are spoiling
    • Plan today's food intake 
    • Keep track of liquid intake!
    • Record today's food intake into MFP 
    • Inventory fridge
    • Inventory freezer
    • Make weekly menu
  • Outdoors
    • 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  ONGOING
    • 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 WATERED THE PAPAYA SEEDLINGS.
    • Check on pineapples rooting in jars DONE
    • Harvest pineapples? DONE
    • Read up on growing papaya trees again and thin the seedlings? 
    • Water the potted plants DONE
    • Order rain barrel from Home Depot
    • Figure out where to plant the salvia, lantana and pink flowers
  • Pets
    • Trim all cats' nails
    • Brush cats
  • Financial/Legal
    • Take Wawa survey DONE
    • Input new receipts into spreadsheets DONE
    • Schedule new credit card payment
    • Input spice prices for Bulk Nation into pricebook
    • 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
    • Pack my SUV with the rest of my daughter's stuff (tomorrow, after she calls me)
    • 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
  • Organization/Decluttering
    • 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)
    • File paperwork
    • Declutter the printer stand
    • Declutter the breezeway counters
    • Declutter the gardening supplies area
    • Declutter the old coffee table ONGOING


  1. It sounds like it's time for a lawyer with your dad's situation. It might be hard to find one who knows the laws in France, but it would be worth the money to see what recourse you have and to know exactly where you stand legally. Then you could start planning with what you had to. I don't know the law, but if you have tried to intervene with your dad's poor decisions and he won't listen, you should be able to file some kind of statement and not be responsible for his bad choice debts.

    As you know, I am totally fascinated by your pineapples. I don't think I've ever seen one that has ripened all the way on the plant. They are so yellow.

    Good luck. I'm sending positive vibes your way.

  2. I just read your reply to my comment yesterday and am going to respond here. The actual details of the French parent debt law make more sense now and are not entirely different than here. It varies from state to state, but basically, what's left in someone's estate is to go to paying off their debt and creditors have a year or so to ask for their money. However, once their money has run out, I'm not sure that their survivors have to pay the rest of their debt. Once again, I'm not a lawyer. Good luck.

    1. In the United States the children are generally NOT responsible for their parents' debts (unless they co-signed a loan or are covered under other categories covered on the page that I linked to). The parents' estate is responsible for paying whatever debts remain after their passing and if there's nothing left, they can't get paid. However, unscrupulous creditors and debt collectors will call anyone connected with the deceased and try to trick them into paying off the debts, taking advantage of the fact that people might not know that they're under no legal obligation to do so.

      As far as HAVING to support a parent while they're alive, Pennsylvania and 28 other states have such a law on the books (called filial support), but apparently it isn't widely enforced in most of those states. I think most people might still do that because of a sense of duty.

  3. Thanks for the positive vibes. So much.

  4. Germany has similar laws as France, where children have to support their parents, e.g. when they go to a nursing home and their own money runs out. I've read some horror stories about the government coming after children who never had any contact with their father... ugh. I'm hoping - should it ever come to that - that the German government would understand that WE here in the U.S. HAVE to save more money for our own old age because our expenses for healthcare will be much higher than in a European country.

    I've experienced the same frustrations with Aldi's bananas, either so green they are inedible for weeks or too ripe! I don't eat many bananas, but Dave has one for lunch every day. He gets nervous without his daily banana, LOL.

    1. I chuckled about Dave getting nervous if he didn't have a banana every day, lol. I love bananas too and I also like having one or two a day. I like to have one in the evening or in my morning cereal.

      I'm not too positive that the German or French government would care at all about our problems, to be honest. It's very scary to think that you have that hanging over your head, isn't it?


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