Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday 8/8/17

  • It poured last night, oh my. We have huge storms with tons of thunder and lightning.  Since Live & Learn recently had a very bad experience with a lightning strike, I unplugged my laptop from its charger and suggested to Greg that we unplug everything else. He said "it'll be alright". I said "It wasn't alright when lightning hit my friend's house and the storm wasn't even near her house!".  I'm happy to say that we didn't get hit by lightning and nothing fried, but I was nervous.

  • You know who else was nervous?  The kittens. Oh my, they didn't know what to do with themselves!  They came to hide under the couch and at times would come out and look nervously at the lightning flashing through the curtains.  They didn't want me touching them, didn't want to come huddle under the blanket with me on the couch either :(  So I put blankets to drape over the two futons so they had another layer of "protection" between themselves and the lightning.  My babies!  Youngest Son was in the Cat Room with the older cats, taking care of them. It lasted quite a while and eventually everyone relaxes and I fell asleep on the couch, watching "Forensic Files". Greg woke me up when he went to bed and so I went to bed too.

  • But the great news is that it poured. A lot. So I don't need to water the garden this morning and hopefully my potted plants will survive a while longer while I ponder what to do with them. Honestly, I hadn't planned on planting them, just leave them in their pots.

  • I slept OK. I did hear Greg go downstairs at about 3 a.m. but didn't hear him come back up.  He said he was up for a while again, trying to get comfortable on all the couches downstairs and not succeeding. 

  • I got up at 6:30 a.m. yay me? It was hard, I won't lie. But there were zero cats with me in bed this morning so that made it a little easier because there was no reason to lounge in bed and cuddle!

  • I packed Greg's lunch (leftovers) and prepped his breakfast. Let me tell you: since he no longer eats eggs in the morning, my prep is limited to putting the bread, peanut butter and jelly on the table, along with a plate and knife so he can make his own PBJ for breakfast. I don't make the sandwich in advance so the cats don't eat it.  Well, this morning, he came to see me and said "Honey, I appreciate you laying out everything for me like this, but in the future, maybe you shouldn't..." and showed me the loaf of bread that the kittens (probably Princess) had chewed through while it was sitting on the table.  Argh. I promise that I had just fed the cats so she wasn't starving!  She just loves baked goods. You know, experts say that cats can't taste sweet, but I think it's a load of crap.

  • One big downside of getting up early, in my book, is that nowadays I can't drink coffee on an empty stomach (a recent development, up until last month I could drink coffee until 10 a.m. and then I was hungry for breakfast).  So it means that I have to have breakfast super early (at 7:30 a.m. today!) and I can't have my egg white omelet because cooking that early makes me nauseous.  So I have a bowl of cereal, which won't keep me full for more than 30 minutes. So I might need to start cooking my own breakfast at night and just reheat it in the morning?  Or switch to tea and see if that works in my avoiding to eat until 10.

  • Middle Son sent me the trailer for the Star Wars short that he and his friends are working on. I'm always excited for me to see projects that my various kids work on :) I would imagine every mom feels this way.  I'm not on Facebook but I was reading about The Facebook Mom Problem yesterday and thought that was interesting. I do follow 3 of my kids on Instagram and "like" their pictures and do comment but only if I truly like the picture. I don't just blindly like every one of their pictures.  Are you a Facebook Mom?

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits for today and I'm trying to earn some SB to reach my first daily goal of 90 SB but the videos I usually autoplay aren't available (as of now) so it's going to be challenging.

  • Speaking of Swagbucks, I had forgotten to note, yesterday, that I had placed my Kohl's order via the SB Shopping Portal and I'm expecting to earn 4 SB per dollar spent. This morning, I got confirmation that I should be receiving those in a month. It'll be a nice 168 SB surprise.
  • I collected the trash throughout the house and took it down to the curb for collection.

  • Guys... the bird seed that had collected on top of my dryer when the mice tore into one of the bags that I was storing there?  I had thrown it outside the laundry room, in the gravel path. I thought the birds would swoop down and eat them. But no.... and this is what I found this morning.  Who knew birdseed would actually germinate? I guess I was naive?  Now I have a ton of "weeds" to pull from the path. Aaargh.

  • I swept the front porch off since there were a bunch of dead leaves that had collected there.  Some previous owner of the house had tiled the front porch and I really hate it. It's slippery when wet and looks gross when it's wet with dirt and dead leaf remnants.  Eventually Greg wants to build a low deck over it but we'll see if he ever gets to it.

  • I threw my bedding into the wash, on cold/cold with a body pillow that we were letting the cats use. I think I might reclaim it once it's clean.

  • Dinner will be Southwestern Chicken Stew in the crockpot. I'll use one of the 3 huge chicken breasts that I'm defrosting and I'll make corn bread for the family later on today.  I'll use the other 2 breasts later on in the week.  

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices. No, I didn't weigh myself again this morning, but since I can easily earn 20 BR points by just re-entering yesterday's weight, I did just that. I slacked off on that over the summer, which was dumb since I could have earned BR points towards a reward. So I'm going to try and do this every day again.  I earned 140 BR points yesterday from my Walgreens purchase, so that puts me at 5,240 points right now.
  • Well I had planned on getting on the recumbent bike at 9 a.m. but I started replying to blog comments instead and now it's 9:36 a.m. Oh dear.  I guess I'll wait until after Law & Order; Criminal Intent ends (11 a.m.). In penance, I'll make sure to fold the laundry while I watch the show :)

  • Conundrum: sweeping or vacuuming? Pros and cons of sweeping:
    • Pros:
      • No noise so the cats don't freak out
      • No need to run after the cat hair that flies around if I sweep as it's vacuumed
      • No dust pan for the kittens to play with
    • Cons:
      • No noise so the kittens aren't freaked out and think it's a game.  I have to sweep around them because they sit there, staring at what I'm doing, and don't move. At least they've stopping attacking the broom while I'm sweeping because they think it's a game
      • The kittens attack the dust pan and play with the contents, resulting in all the cat hair that I have swept ending up back on the kittens!

  • I decided to sweep since I figured it be easier and faster than getting the vacuum out, etc, etc. Refer back to all the cons, though!

  • I used my old vacuum's pet attachment that has rubber teeth to clean the Cat Couch. I just rolled it by hand over the back of the couch and the arms, where the cats prefer to rest.  I ended up with a fistful of balled up cat hair. Any cat owner knows the conversion chart for cat hair, innately:  that pretty much corresponds to a small cat's size of unballed hair!

  • I checked the two AC furnace filters and changed both. I made a note to get new air filters for the largest one of the two since I used the last one. I checked the Ace Hardware new monthly ad and they're on sale for Buy 2, Get 1 Free and I have a coupon too so I need to figure out if I can use the coupon in conjunction with the sale and if I can use it online. If so, I'll place the order via SB for in-store pick-up. If not, I'll just go to the store.  Update: Well, the coupon won't work on sale items or online.  And if I try to order the filters online, the Buy 2, Get 1 Free sale doesn't seem to apply.  So I'll need to go to the store and buy them there directly and forgo the Swagbucks.

  • I entered bonus code FUNS-UMME-RBON-US4U into my Kellogg's Family Rewards account and earned 100 bonus KFR points.

  • I started subscribing to the BulkNation emails last year, when they announced they were coming to Clermont but I've never visited a store because ours just opened this past week and I usually only go to Clermont on Wednesdays. This morning, they emailed me a survey to take and I should get a $5 gift card in return. Woohoo!  I hope I get it by tomorrow because I wanted to check it out then. Update: I still haven't gotten it at 8 p.m. Poop

  • And then I got distracted by Youngest Son getting up and chatting with me for a bit, and by the surveys that I took, so I forgot to fold the laundry and didn't pay attention to the "Law & Order: CI" episode that was playing at all :(

  • Greg sent me some information about a digital gaming and digital entertainment expo at Full Sail University, mid month . We qualify for free passes through his employer.  I suggested he takes our son (without asking him if he's interested first!)  to see if that might spark some interest in future studies, but knowing Greg, I doubt he'll take him. I really wish he would. I don't know anything about those things so I'm not the best person to take him there... Update: Greg said he didn't want to go. Grrr. I don't know why he sends those to me if he's not going to go!

  •  Our kitchen cabinets are super old. They were custom-made, probably in the 70s if not earlier.  Some of the bottom cabinets have pull-out shelves, but I never use them as pull-out shelves.  Anyhoo, I started replacing our crappy plasticware with glass Pyrex containers but they're, of course, much heavier than the plastic container and one of the pull-out shelves started falling apart: the bottom of the drawer was falling out.  I have had to fix it on my To Do list forever so today I decided to take a swing at it. I was thinking that, since it's all wood, I'd use the heavy-duty stapler to hold the bottom of the shelf in place.  Right now it's nailed in.  So my saga started:
    • I had to go find the stapler in Greg's shed. Greg is freaking messy. His "workbench" is a disaster!  But I located it along with the few staples we have remaining and brought it back to the house.
    • Once there, I had to reload the stapler. I couldn't remember how to do it but the obvious way wasn't working and also there was a warning engraved on the stapler that said "Do not load staples here!" OK, then.  So I tried a different way and the staples got stuck in the stapler and it wouldn't staple or even open up so I could remove the staples. Crap. Much swearing ensued, and I used a knife, pliers and all my swear words to finally got it to open up. We won't be mentioning this to Greg.
    • So the stapling solution was out.  I looked at the drawer and saw that it had been nailed in, originally.  So I used my hammer to renail all the loose nails in place and then decided to just nail the rest of the drawer since there were only a couple of nails the whole thing in.
    • So I went back to the shed to find nails. Did I mention that Greg is freaking messy?! But eventually I did find some nails.  They were the kinds that didn't have a head, per se.  One hit of the hammer and the nail went in, but bent, and then I realized that I had tried to nail the side of the drawer, where the grooves are to slid it back in to the cabinet, and now the nail was blocking the groove and since it was a headless nail, I couldn't grab it to remove it.  Arrgh.
    • I went to look for different nails and thankfully, I found the same kind of nails as the ones that had already been used on the drawer.  This time, I nailed the suckers in place at both ends, where there aren't any grooves. Groovy!  Ha.  But I still needed to remove the wayward headless nail.  I couldn't find any pliers in that mess of a workshop so I called Greg to ask for help and he confessed that his workshop was a mess. No shit, Sherlock. And also that he probably doesn't have any pliers.  And this is probably why he keeps on stealing mine.  Now you know why I buy my own tools and write my name on them and threaten people with death if MY tools are removed from the house or not put back in my toolbox!
    • So I decided to go back in the house to use my pliers. I grabbed a bin from the shed because my daughter needed one more to pack up her stuff.
    • I went to lock the shed door and the old combination lock wouldn't lock again. Arrgh. 
    • Back in the house, I used a screw driver to try to pry the bottom of the drawer from the drawer itself right where the wayward nail was, because I needed to be able to grab a little bit of the nail to see if I could pull it out. It took much MUCH swearing again, but eventually I was able to grab a tiny bit of it and then it took me a good 5 minutes to pull out the nail, all the while swearing, of course.  But I got it out. Hooray!
    • So now my drawer/shelf is fixed. I probably won't put the Pyrex back on it but at least I can use it for the crappy plastic containers that I still have!
Arrgh. I'm a bonehead!

  •  Meanwhile, my daughter had made herself lunch. Apparently, she ate the rest of the popcorn chicken that we had in the freezer. This will become relevant in a couple of paragraphs.

  • I couldn't leave the shed unlocked, so I texted Greg that I was going to Ace Hardware and asked if he needed anything. He said no.  The kids didn't want to come, so I went on my own. It's only a couple of miles away from the house, which is why I didn't go to Lowe's where we get a 10% military discount. Plus the air filters are more expensive at Lowe's.

  • At Ace, I grabbed a replacement lock ($4.99), 6 air filters (3 of each size) since they were on Buy 2, Get 1 Free (at $4.99 each), a 3-pack of Damp Rid closet bags with good smelly stuff in them ($9.99) and I found a self-stick door sweep thingie to attach to the front door that we use most often since there's been a 1/4 to 1/2 inch under that door for years ($3.99).  Before reaching the register, I found a copy of their monthly ad and realized that there was a coupon for 50% off any full price item under $30 (one per household) so I asked the cashier to apply it to the Damp Rid.  She told me that if I didn't mind, I could do several transactions and she would scan the coupon for each full-price item!  Woot!  So I did 3 transactions and saved more than I would have if I had used my $5 off $25 coupon (especially since I didn't have $25 worth of non-sale items anyway!). The cashier asked if there was anything else that I needed but I couldn't think of anything. She suggested cleaning supplies (ha!  Doesn't she know I don't clean?! jk) and I ended up calling Greg to explain the deal and make sure he didn't need anything but he said he didn't. I didn't think to buy more staples for his stapler, darn it.  I took a last look around the store but I couldn't think of anything else to buy either so I left. But I was happy about my deals!

  • I stopped by the library to return my Nora Roberts book, chatted with the librarians for a minute or two, and checked the donation box where I found several coupon inserts. Woohoo!

  • I also picked up a book by Harlan Coben that I had attempted to read in the past but hadn't liked.  I just can't leave the library without some type of reading material, it feels rude!

  • Back home, I was telling the kids about my good bargains when Youngest Son asked me if I had had lunch, I said no and realized that it was past 1 p.m. already and I was starved!  I asked why he had inquired and he confessed that his sister had eaten the rest of the popcorn chicken and that there was nothing else that he felt like having for lunch.  Well, the poor kid is going to be eating sandwiches from home the whole school year (since there's never enough time to stand in line to buy food at the school and also have a chance to eat it leisurely before returning to class) so I offered to buy him lunch at McDonald's.  And since I had a BOGO any sandwich coupon, I got one for me too.  And a large Diet Coke since they're only $1 each.

  • The kids came along because they wanted to redeem the coupons that I had given them last week for free small fries (no purchase necessary).  Freebies!

  • Youngest Son drove us home, so he got some driving practice, although it was on the SUV again.

  • Back home, I realized that I had met my 1st Swagbucks daily goal since I had left the videos run this whole time. Sweet!  And my 2nd goal is only 10 more SB so I should be able to reach it too. Hooray!

  • After eating my lunch, I did some more chores:
    • Got the bedding out of the dryer and remade my bed. Princess helped by sitting in the middle of the mattress while I was trying to put on the fitted sheet, and then when I was trying to put on the blanket. And then she decided to stay up there and take a nap amongst my pillows :)
    • Replaced the Renuzit cones in the bedrooms and the hallway
    • Replaced the DampRid closet bag in Greg's closet
    • Brought the trash can back up to the house after collection
    • Programmed my GPS with my daughter's new address in Gainesville

  • After all these exertions (!), I was still hungry. So I decided to make a fruit salad with some of the strawberries that were going soft, the rest of the blueberries and some homegrown pineapple. 

  • I cut the first pineapple and saved the top in a jelly jar that Greg had just finished this morning.

  • Unfortunately the whole pineapple had gone bad (it had been sun-damaged and I waited too long to eat it) so I composted it.

  • I cut up another pineapple and once again saved the top. This time I fished a plastic RaceTrac cup from my recycling bin. Might as well serve for something else before being discarded!  That one rejoined its siblings/cousins outside.

  • I checked on the pineapple tops that I set outside last week and they're already regrowing roots, yay!

  • Meanwhile, I reached my 2nd Daily Goal in SB, yay!

  • And more excitingly, I surpassed the 2,200 SB I needed to order a gift card so I checked with my daughter again to make sure that's what she wanted and ordered her a $25 gift card for Chili's.

  • I adjusted my shopping list for tomorrow.

  • I clipped the coupons that interested me from the inserts I picked up today and set aside the pet coupons to donate to the South Lake Animal League thrift store.

  • I folded the laundry.  Tabby Kitten and Princess were near me and started cleaning each other, but soon it degenerated into some good old cat wrestling!

And then, as fast as it had started, it stopped. LOL. 

  • I submitted the information from Greg's stay at the Holiday Inn Express to ask them to credit the night under my IHG Rewards membership.

  • I baked some buttermilk cornbread for dinner. I added vinegar to milk to make buttermilk.

  • While it was baking, I washed all the dishes. It was quite a bit, unfortunately, but "Forensic Files" kept me company on my Kindle Fire :)

  • Perkins emailed me a BOGO coupon for it's only good tomorrow for the one location in Gainesville. Darn it.

  • I'm feeling vaguely guilty that I don't care a whit about the big eclipse on 8/21.  I am, however, very concerned about the developing situation with North Korea, Russia and Iran.  

  • I checked my To Do List and am feeling pretty good about what I've accomplished today, especially since I did more than what was on the list!  Since I had good momentum, I decided to cross off two more items that had been on it for a while: pouring some preventative Drano down the kitchen plumbing and some preventative bleach down the heat pump furnace drain line.

  • Dinner was delicious. I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch tomorrow and went ahead and did the dishes right afterward. Yay!

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched a few episodes of "Silicon Valley" on HBONow.


  • I slept pretty well and managed to get up early.
  • Breakfast was measured and was 1 cup of generic rice krispies, half a cup of 2% milk, and a brown banana.
  • Lunch was a crispy buttermilk chicken sandwich from McDonald's and a large fruit salad
  • Dinner was Southwestern chicken stew and a piece of buttermilk cornbread

To Do List
  • Health
    • Exercise
    • Tape the Strength Training videos and put on dedicated SD card 
  • Cleaning (i.e. domestic chores)
    • Do the dishes DONE
    • Clean fridge
    • Wash the front of the kitchen cabinets
    • Fold the laundry DONE
    • Put away the laundry
    • Wash my bedding DONE
    • Iron Greg's clothes
    • Sweep or vacuum Greg's bedroom 
    • Dust Greg's bedroom
    • Get DampRid for Greg's closet DONE
    • Mend some items from the mending basket, especially Greg's shorts
    • Vacuum fridge's coils
    • Put bleach in furnace drain line for maintenance DONE
    • Pour Drano down kitchen sink for maintenance (once dishes are done) DONE
    • Scrub the WHOLE shower (including ceiling)
    • Clean exercise room vent
    • Remind Greg to set mice traps in the laundry room (this weekend)
    • Vacuum kitchen vents DONE
    • Sweep/vacuum breezeway DONE
    • Sweep/vacuum Cat Room DONE
    • Fix kitchen sliding drawer DONE
    • Wash bathroom and hall ceiling, door jamb  (wear old clothes)
    • Check AC filters DONE
    • Collect trash and take it down to the curb DONE
    • Sweep front porch DONE
  • Food
    • Bake cornbread DONE
    • Cook chicken in crockpot DONE
    • 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 
    • 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 - IT POURED LAST NIGHT
    • Check on pineapples rooting in jars DONE
    • Read up on growing papaya trees again and thin the seedlings? 
    • 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
    • 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
    • Take Youngest Son driving DONE
    • Add Daughter's new address in my GPS DONE
    • 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)
    • Mail Boxtops4Education label to our former elementary school
    • Inventory what batteries we need for hurricane season
    • File paperwork
    • Declutter the printer stand
    • Declutter the breezeway counters
    • Declutter the gardening supplies area
    • Declutter the old coffee table ONGOING


  1. Oh that fruit bowl looks so good. I see our local grocery store has blueberries on sale. I hope they have some decent strawberries too. I think a nice yogurt would go good with maybe some granola. Yum. We are suppose to get rain tomorrow, hopefully. Our lawn needs to be mowed, so it will probably rain for sure. Seems like that's how it always goes. Heh. Our cats do not appreciate the thunder - the lightning doesn't bother them, but the big cracks of thunder have them diving for cover. Take care - Ranee

    1. I hope you got some rain today, Renee so you could stay inside and enjoy some delicious blueberries!

  2. Look at you growing your own birdseed! Leave the little plants in place and soon they'll grow seeds and the birds will flock to them. Too bad the first pineapple was spoiled, but with all those new pineapple starts, you are going to have to expand your pineapple plantation! Your fruit salad looks lovely. I have been intending to make a fruit salad, but it's too much work!

    1. I laughed at your comment about how much work it is to make a fruit salad because I always think that too, haha. But then I think about how delicious it's going to be so it makes it worth it.

  3. I didn't know there was going to be an eclipse on the 21st. That is my husband's 50th birthday. Cool.

    Loved the pics of the cats wrestling. Too cute.

    1. Now you can tell him that you ordered a very special once-in-a-lifetime present for his 50th! Wow, so many people turning 50... 1967 represents! Woo! Wish him a happy birthday for me!

  4. I am a little more concerned when there's a thunderstorm now as we're still working on fixing the damage from the recent lightning strike. Luckily, our cats don't react too much during a storm, but they were kind of freaked out with the lightning strike.

    As for birdseed sprouting, a word of caution. In our last house, we had a birdfeeder in a flower bed where we used mixed seed. Some of the seeds sprouted and we developed some invasive grasses among our perennials that I could never get rid of. I only use sunflowers now because I don't mind if they happen to sprout.

    1. I've never noticed the seeds sprouting before so I was surprised. I don't know why I didn't think they would sprout, I guess it'd be like seeing cat kibble sprout, in my mind, LOL.

      Our backyard (where the feeders are) is 100% weeds. It just looks like grass but it didn't. Back when we still had the big oak tree where the feeders are now, it was all sand. We didn't plant anything. So I'm not too worried about any invasive grass and neither of our neighbors have manicured lawns either. We're all pretty much in the same boat, happy that the weeds give us the feeling that we have a lawn, lol. When we moved in, the front yard used to be that really thick grass that people love but that is very susceptible to bugs and is very thirsty. I can't remember what it's called. But I was against using pesticides and wasting water on watering it (plus the sprinkler system was busted anyway) so little by little the weeds have taken over and now we have maybe one little square of "real" grass in the front.

      Regarding the storms, I completely understand your concerns. I'm sorry you're still dealing with having to have things repaired/replaced. I feel bad for pets because they don't understand what's going on during those storms, do they? They have thunder shirts for dogs but I haven't checked to see if they have anything for cats. If they did, the storm would probably be over before I can corral the cats and try to put on a shirt on them, LOL. Our older cats don't freak out as much, although Male Cat gets more worried than the older females and still hides under furniture or needs to be near us if there is a storm in the area.

  5. I am totally in awe about your persistence and creativity with regard to fixing the kitchen cabinet shelf! I think I would have given up after trying and swearing.

    And "yeay" for nice Ace Hardware cashiers! She saved you a lot of money. :-)

    1. If we ever win the lottery, I'm getting a handyman on retainer :) And a chef.


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