American Airlines is lying to me

Could I be overlooking something in this email offer from American Airlines?

At 2:46 PM Central Time, I received the following offer email from American Airlines.

Capture of the “One Day Only” Cyber Monday fare sale sent by American Airlines.

Note the area circled above. The fare sale is valid until 11:59 p.m. central time today, November 26. So, I click the link to See all cities on sale…and here’s what I get.

The page American Airlines loads for today’s one-day only fare sale.

This offer has expired?! It’s only fifteen minutes since you sent the email, yet the offer that is good until 11:59 p.m. is expired already?! Someone has made a pretty big mistake with the links in the email campaign or the website is wrong. I’m going to have to go with the latter because trying to navigate on the site to get to the fare sale, I’m brought to the same page. WTF American Airlines?!

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Lazy CVS rewards shopping

I read quite a few blogs, several of which have at least some focus on personal finance. So I keep reading here and there about how people are using rewards programs and coupons to “save” money and get great deals.

When it comes to using coupons, I am a really poor performer. Way back when I started living independently and shopping for myself, I tried using coupons as much as possible. In practice, I used very few coupons and stopped doing it. The reasons I found coupons such a unrewarding time suck were because I wasn’t really loyal to brands and shopped for really basic items. I would usually find the store brands cheaper, and as a single person I didn’t go through toiletries and cleaning products very quickly.

Even now there are only two people in the household and we don’t share very many products. B and I have distinct preferences in personal care products and so we purchase these items from our own budgets and rarely use each other’s items. I personally don’t use that many toiletries at all. The only ones I use on a regular basis are bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, moisturizer, and deodorant. I don’t use cosmetics or hair styling products, and only occasionally need to buy moisturizer for my body or face.

I like shampoos and conditioners that don’t have sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in them, but other than that I’m not picky about brand. (I tried using baking soda instead of shampoo for a while, but found it a pain to do so with my long hair.) I’ve never seen any coupons for the SLS-free products.

For toothpaste, I like ones that don’t use saccharine as a sweetener, which narrows down the possibilities quite a bit and eliminates entirely major brands like Crest, Colgate, Aquafresh, etc. (It’s the sweet taste I object to in toothpaste; I gag and can actually get sick when trying to use those super sweet toothpastes, which sort of negates the purpose of brushing one’s teeth.) Taking into consideration both ingredients and cost, my favorite brand of toothpaste is actually Trader Joe’s, but I can’t always find it when I need more toothpaste so I’ll often buy Tom’s of Maine. I think I’ve found coupons for Tom’s products in the past, but they are few and far between.

I like deodorant and not antiperspirants because I don’t want aluminum in my pores and pretty much all antiperspirants have aluminum in them. Also, I’ve never found *anything* that will keep me from sweating when it is very hot or I’m very active, so I just give in and decide I’m going to perspire a bit and do my best to not be stinky. So, that limits the number of those products I’m going to buy, too.

Is it starting to become clear why I use few coupons? From my perspective the rewards programs from pharmacies are really the only thing worth my time.

I have a monthly maintenance medication that I fill at CVS so I joined their CVS Rewards program. I only half-way use the coupons and rewards they give me, but I’ve decided to try a little harder at making them work for me. Yesterday I took the two CVS store coupons I had on hand with me to do some shopping. I had one coupon for $1 off any purchase, and another coupon for $4 off $20 or more in purchases. Of the items I needed to buy this weekend, I suspected that only the following could be purchased at CVS: laundry detergent, facial tissues, and facial tissue “pocket packs.” Unless I bought a lot of facial tissues, these items weren’t going to add up to $20 or more, so I needed to get a bit creative, forget about using the coupons, or decide to use only the $1 off coupon.  I was going to try to be creative by adding to my list items that I needed eventually, but could purchase later if necessary.

Once I stopped at the store, I went first to check the aisle where they had facial tissues and laundry detergent. Unfortunately there were no sales on facial tissues, but there was a “buy one get one free” offer on 50 oz bottles of Purex laundry detergent. The price of the detergent ($6.29 for a total of 100 oz) seemed reasonable, so I went for the laundry detergent and only put one box of facial tissues ($2.19) and the pocket pack tissues ($2.49) in my little cart.

I next looked in the cosmetics aisle for pointy tweezers. I find pointy tweezers work better for me than the slanted ones, and the pair I had bought several years ago were lost somewhere. While there was a really nice pair of pointy Tweezerman tweezers hanging in the display, there was no way I was going to pay over $30 for a pair of tweezers. So I added the next best thing I could find — a two pack of slanted and pointy tweezers for $5.49 — to my cart. Now I was only up to $16.46.

I wandered the aisles trying to think of items that I’d find useful in some way and finally settled on a tube of lip balm ($2.99) and a very small container of milk ($1.59).  I’ll use the lip balm at some point in the coming months, and I’ll probably use the milk for baking or cooking, since I can’t drink it. Now I was at $21.04, and had crossed the all-important $20 minimum. My purchases totaled $16.04 after the coupons were applied, and $17.57 once tax was applied. That’s not too bad, but I would have been happier to find a sale on facial tissues since I really like to have at least one extra box in the house.

While in the supermarket picking up the rest of the items on my list I checked their price for the Purex laundry detergent. They priced the 50 oz size at just under $4, which goes to show the “buy one get one” deal wasn’t a big bargain. (I’m sure they rarely are.) However, I still paid less for 100 oz than the supermarket charged for it, whether I bought two 50 oz bottles or a single 100 oz one for just over $7. Factoring in the $5 “saved” by using those coupons, I definitely came out ahead here.

One thing I’ve noticed but haven’t seen mentioned on the sites that detail the “drugstore game” is that it can work in my favor if I split up my purchases while I’m there. In other words, if I need to pick up a prescription and also need some cough drops and facial tissues, I’ve noticed that if I just buy the prescription at the pharmacy counter I’ll often get a receipt with a coupon attached that I can use right away. So I no longer automatically pick up the other items I may need at the same time I fill my prescription. I don’t think I’m going to be saving super bucks by being more diligent with my CVS Rewards, but it’s worth putting a small amount of planning into.

As a reference into my shopping habits, here are the other things I bought yesterday at the supermarket and a small fresh market I was running errands near: mustard greens, rapini, a green bell pepper, 3/4 lb organic zucchini, fresh ground pecorino romano, a small wedge of Humboldt Fog cheese, a small slice of Midnight Moon cheese, 1 lb organic grass-fed ground beef, four cans of various types of beans, a 32 oz bag of dried beans, 1/2  lb ground in-store bulk coffee, four individual sized frozen pizzas, a container of chili powder, and a “build your own” six-pack of beer. The pizzas, beer, chili powder, and cheeses are the few products that are processed in any way and for which it may have been possible to find coupons.  (In the case of the fancy goat cheeses and build your own beer pack, however, it’s very, very unlikely to find a coupon for them. That definitely makes them luxuries.) That’s pretty typical of my approach to shopping.

But it’s possible I’m wrong about coupons and rewards shopping. If you have any tips or suggestions on how someone like me who buys minimal processed products, toiletries, cleaning products, and cosmetics could take better advantage of them, please add a comment!

Happy update

I got super lucky at the Lands’ End store last weekend. One of the people at the store has magic hands and he was able to unstick the jammed zipper! (A total of three other people had no luck, but this guy must have a special touch.)

We had a bit of a warm up over the past few days so I haven’t had to wear it, which allowed me to do some maintenance to minimize the risk of the zipper sticking/jamming again. I washed it, and then I waxed the zipper using the end of a candle. That sounds odd to me, but I searched “zipper maintenance” and apparently applying a bit of wax every now and then is good for it. We’ll see.

I also got two recommendations on good places to get a zipper replaced. While the one is not near my home or work, the other is fairly close to my home so that will be my fallback plan.

Winter is serious here in Chicago, so I have some redundancy in my winter wear, too. I have a jacket with a removable quilted liner that I’ve been wearing as the weather has been getting colder, and the mentioned “sleeping bag” coat for the bitter days. I forgot that I have another parka similar in weight to the Squall that I picked up cheap at Costco many years ago when I was a member. It’s not as useful to me as the Squall (no two-way zipper, no extra pockets, and a color that is not as flattering), so I use it mainly for outdoor chores in the winter. I forgot about that coat, so it could be another back up in case the Squall does need to go in for a zipper replacement.

While in the store waiting for the guy to wrestle with my zipper, I also tried on a man’s Squall and a woman’s Squall again to check the fit. The men’s parka wasn’t fitting as well as I hoped; a medium didn’t have a lot of room around the hips and the large was uncomfortably big. The women’s parka fit me better than I recalled, which suggests that perhaps part of the problem I was having with the fit was due to my, um, slightly larger size at the time. I had enough room to move my arms around even while wearing a sweater. The pockets are still very disappointing, though.

I guess I’m one of the few women in the country who relies on pockets to hold items instead of stuffing everything into a giant purse. Or am I? If you’re a woman, do you carry a large purse? This is what I carry (in the black color) every day. I love that the purse has pockets on the sides. I put my water bottle in one pocket (yes, I carry a water bottle every time I leave the house) and in the other I keep a collapsible shopping bag and a small umbrella when it’s threatening to rain. The rest of the purse gets filled up with my wallet, a small bag with personal items like lip balm and hair ties, my eyeglass case, sunglasses, phone, and a sock knitting project. I can usually slip my iPad in there, too, but there is no room for a hat and gloves.

I’m not one of those women who likes to change her purse to match her outfit and I tend to dress casually outside of work. I’m on my second one of those purses and have been using this one for at least three years now. A quality product — whether it’s a coat or a purse — is such a treasure! 🙂

Help! I need a parka!

I really, really hate shopping. I don’t enjoy browsing at clothing and shoe stores, so I only go into one when I absolutely must. That means I go in with a mission: buy a pair of black work pants, for example, or get some new gym shoes.

This is one reason why I don’t usually visit thrift stores for clothing. It’s possible to find some really great items at thrift stores, but it usually involves lots of browsing through the racks. Same thing for places like Marshall’s, Ross, and TJ Maxx. While I do go into these types of stores for housewares, I rarely need that stuff so visits are few and far between.

I pay enough attention to retail to know which stores are likely to carry what I want to wear, so that helps me keep my shopping time down to a minimum. And once I’ve gotten a good feel for a retailer’s clothing line, I will order online as much as possible.

So I really, really hate that my beloved Lands’ End has dramatically changed their classic Squall parka in all the wrong ways. I have a Squall parka that I bought several years ago. It’s awesome. I have a different Lands’ End coat — referred to as a “sleeping bag” by one of my colleagues — for the super cold days, but for most late fall/winter days between 35 and 0 F here in Chicago I can get by with the Squall parka.

Last winter, this coat seized up on me, though. The zipper completely jammed and I had to crawl out of my parka after I got home. There is no way to fix this zipper jam, although I have thought about replacing the zipper. The chance in finding a tailor who could replace the double zipper with a reasonable match in color is slim, though. I got a good recommendation from someone, but I have my doubts that schlepping this well-worn parka to a tailor nowhere near where I live or work will have the result I want.

I’ve already tried on their “updated” Squall parka and find it sadly lacking in some critical features. Such as being just slightly over-sized so I can wear a sweater under it. (Seriously, one should be able to layer up under a parka!) Also, having pockets that allow one to place objects like hats or gloves inside them. The “new” Squall parka has pockets that only accommodate a slender hand. I just don’t understand how a company that is based in Wisconsin could make such changes to their winter wear.

But because Lands’ End does guarantee their clothing, I’ve decided to try once more to exchange my broken down Squall for a workable Squall parka.

Women's Squall parka

Women’s Squall parka with offending area noted

Men's Squall parka

Men’s Squall parka with a better pocket design!

At left is the terrible women’s Squall parka, at right is the men’s version. Note the areas circled.

How does the men’s version of the coat differ from the women’s version? The pocket has a gusset! With a gusseted pocket, one can slip more than a single slender hand into the pocket. I should be able to stuff my hat and gloves in the pockets like I’ve been doing since I was…well…extremely young.

Yeah, the women’s parka is a bit more slim cut than the men’s but that also means I should be able to wear a sweater under the men’s parka, too. Wow. What a concept, eh? These parkas both have interior draw strings at the waist, so I could conceivably adjust the men’s parka to be a bit more fitted, too.

So, wish me luck this weekend as I venture to the Lands’ End store and attempt to have them give me a credit or exchange on my old Squall for a nice, new men’s version!

Drive By Blogging

Some quick, odds and ends updates.

  • Yesterday I had to call the complimentary road side assistance number to get my car started. I guess the other day when I went out to check on the mileage so I could blog about the car, I must have not turned the car off properly and that drained the battery; not the hybrid battery, just the 12V one that powers accessories and so forth. The car was still in the garage and I got the car started in plenty of time to run the only time sensitive errand I had (picking up a friend from the hospital). I have no idea what I did wrong to drain the battery, but at least I can say the road side assistance offered as part of the Toyota certified program was very prompt and helpful. The guy liked my chickens and was actually quite envious of my little rooster.
  • Speaking of the chickens, the winter decline in egg laying has started. Yesterday B told me we got two eggs, and the day before that it was only one. I should hopefully still get half a dozen eggs a week since there are five hens, but there are no guarantees.
  • The chickens are also molting, so they are looking rather ragged. At least they aren’t looking as bad as this chicken. Yes, that’s a real, non-Photoshopped image of a chicken going through a horrific molt. You can see more of little Kung Fu Henny in this post, and some updated lyrics praising her bravery here.
  • “Little roo” (a.k.a. Rory the rooster) is very cantankerous whenever we open up the coop to let the chickens out for their afternoon stroll. He apparently thinks we are after his ladies. I guess it’s understandable since in the past few months I’ve temporarily removed a hen or two about four times so they could be taken to various chicken-promotion venues, chicken-keeping classes, the vet, etc. I hope he calms down a bit since we are tired of him acting like an asshole and flogging our legs.
  • I’ve lost weight over the past few months. Yay! I have no idea how much weight since I don’t have a scale at home and rarely weigh myself at the gym. I know I’ve lost weight, though, since my clothes are much more loose, I had to buy new bras in a smaller size, and I was able to fit into some suits that I haven’t been able to wear in at least a year. 🙂 I’ll probably write more about this in another post since there are a lot of points I could expand upon.
  • I spent nearly $900 last month getting my heat to work properly. I made a stupid mistake letting the handy man move a pipe that is part of the radiant heat system for the first floor of the house. It took four visits by the heating service to properly identify the problem and fix it since there were so many variables in play. The heat works really well now, though, and I’ve learned another valuable lesson about boilers and radiant heat. Too bad these lessons usually result in me spending a lot of money.

My hybrid car experience: seven month check in

One of the blogs I’ve been following had a post about hybrid cars recently which has reminded me to do a follow up on my “March madness” of buying a 2009 Toyota Prius. I’ve been driving this “new to me” car for seven months now, so it seems appropriate that I share my experiences and thoughts.

Interior features and overall impression

I love this car and am very glad that I bought it. The ride is comfy, the car handles well, and I am enjoying having all these high end features like a Bluetooth connection for my phone, HomeLink button (which I’ve programmed to open my garage door), back up camera, navigation system, “air conditioning” system (I just adjust the temp up or down and it automatically turns on heat or a/c and adjusts to the proper fan speed and vents!), and voice command. There are buttons for many of these features on the steering wheel itself, so I don’t need to look at the dash screen (in theory, but I still do).

I also really like the smart key feature that allows me to simply carry the key fob in my pocket or purse and not have to fiddle with it to open doors or turn the car on. If I was buying new, I highly doubt I would have paid for all these bells and whistles, but I’m really glad to have them.

The Prius capacity for cargo is amazing considering it’s size. (And now there is a bigger Prius V available, too. That thing must rival the capacity of a pick up truck!) I think I’d only had the car for one month when B and I took a trip out to Ikea to buy him a new desk and office chair. Once I folded down the back seats we had no issues with slipping in the boxes with the desk, chair, and a few other odds and ends, too. Just last weekend we took the Prius up to the house of B’s friend to pick up a wheel barrow and some garden tools she was giving away in preparation for their down-sizing and move to a condo. Again, it was no problem fitting this into the Prius once the seats were folded down. Consider that I used to drive a station wagon mainly because I wanted to be able to haul around gardening stuff, and it’s understandable why I’m happy to find that I can still do this with the Prius.

There are many little storage areas on the Prius, too. I really like the storage area under the main deck in the back. Besides holding the spare tire and jack, it has enough space for me to slip in a few other tools (flashlight, jumper cables, etc.), a large beach towel (for covering the back seat when I take Hannah dog somewhere), a tarp, and the cargo net when I need to pack it away. And there’s still room for more in that space. I also like how the cup holders in front and back can be flipped closed (I like a neat and tidy car!), and the covered storage area between the front seats is very handy to store change, charging cables, etc.

There are some things that could be improved, however. Voice command is iffy. Sometimes it seems to understand me, but often it does not, so I rarely use it. The navigation system is not as easy for me to use as the map interface on my phone. My navigation system also works off a DVD from 2006. If I wanted to upgrade to a more recent disc I could, but that would be at least $200. My sound system may rock (it is a premium JVC system with awesome speakers), but in the years since the car came out many premium sound systems started offering an iPod dock, which mine does not have. I do have an AUX input that works through my iPod/iPhone headphone jack, but this type of attachment doesn’t allow for controlling what’s playing from the sound system controls (such as skipping a song in a playlist using the buttons on the steering wheel).

The biggest down-side of the car, though, is that B does not have enough room for his long legs. When I test drove the car I was impressed with how much legroom there was in the back. Turns out this wonderful rear legroom is possible because the front seats have a limit to how far they can be pushed back! B has only been a passenger in my car a few times, but every time he rides with me it looks awkward and uncomfortable that his legs can’t extend all the way. At 6’2″, he is pretty tall, but not unusually tall for a North American man. (I’ve since learned there’s an after market product that will help with this, but I’m not sure it’s worth the money since B is rarely in my car.)

Maintenance and service

It’s hard to rate this since I’ve had to do no service so far. I did purchase a service agreement to cover maintenance on the car for seven years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first), but haven’t used it yet. When I bought the car it had 44,116 miles and had just been through the extensive Toyota Certified service which included reconditioning and new tires. The regular intervals of service for the Prius are every 5,000 miles, and after getting a reminder in the mail that my car was due for it’s 45,000 mile service I took it to the local Toyota dealer. There they told me that because of the car being completely serviced at 44,000 miles, I wasn’t due back until I had 49,000 miles on the car, so the reminder system could use some improvement. (With the amount I drive, it’s going to take me a while to get to 49,000 miles, too.)

I’m still glad I purchased the extra service agreement since it will cover any malfunction of all the electronic gewgaws on the car. Fixing a malfunctioning display screen cannot be cheap on this vehicle. The only “maintenance” I’ve done on the car so far is to get regular washes and add air to the tires when prompted by the fancy electronic warning that my tire pressure was low.

Mileage

And here’s what everyone wants to know: is the mileage as good as it’s hyped to be? To that I can very positively say “Oh, yes!”

Since I’ve purchased the car near the end of March, 2012 I’ve spent $154 on gasoline and I’ve driven 2,073 miles. That total for gasoline also includes the $18.34 I spent to top off the tank over the weekend, and I can easily drive until December without re-fueling based on my driving habits over the past few months. Fuel price and tank size come into play here, and the tank (well, technically I guess it’s a bladder, not a tank) on the Prius is only 11.9 gallons, but realize that unless fuel prices more than double I would never have a triple digit bill filling up this car.

The car has an information screen that gives a read out of mileage in real time. I leave this screen up most of the time so I can learn how to drive for the best mileage, and because I get a kick out of it. (This is gamification at it’s best!) Only once have I seen that screen show my mileage as less than 40 MPG, and that was on a day when I was running several very short trips and running the air conditioner, too. Here’s a photo of the best result I’ve seen since I’ve had the car, snapped just this weekend.

Prius power consumption screen

Yeah, that’s right: 53.5 MPG. Woot!

I’ve actually been driving a lot more that I used to since I bought the car in March. March was also the month that I had my braces put on, and I need to drive to the orthodontist at least once a month. I’ve made three trips out to a far flung suburb to visit a specialty shop; driven back and forth to two fiber/yarn festivals; visited my father and stepmother twice (at least 150 miles round trip); visited my mom twice (at least 100 miles round trip) and ran her around for errands once (at least 40 miles); and lent this car to a friend who was in town and doing a lot of driving. It has delivered the great mileage I’d hoped for, and I’m really, really happy with it.

Odds and ends 

After the car is warmed up, the Prius is powered entirely by battery at very low speeds. This means that when one is stuck in annoying bumper-to-bumper traffic, at least there is an upside. A couple weekends ago while returning to the city from a weekend away visiting my mom and a friend, I was stuck on the “expressway” (ha, ha!) during a bad traffic back up. It took me 45 minutes to go 10 miles (really, I timed it, ugh!), but I barely used any fuel so there was an upsides of sorts.

But what about that battery? Isn’t it prone to failure and expensive to replace? Well, if you read through all the comments on that linked post by NZ Muse you’ll see that one person said her friends had to replace their Prius’ battery at 30,000 miles at a cost of $3,000. I subscribe to Funny About Money’s blog and read the original blog post last year. So I was very cautious about checking into the particulars around the car’s battery. My car’s battery is under warranty eight years from the original date sold as new (which would be May 2015) or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). If I need to replace the battery after that point, I’m on my own.

I’m thinking that early battery failure is either due to getting a “lemon” (it does happen occasionally), something going wrong at a service appointment, or some sort of driver error. Since my car is well past the age where it would have proven a lemon and it went through a very thorough service check before purchase, I feel the odds that the battery will fail prematurely are quite low. In fact, it appears that on average the hybrid battery should last until 150,000 miles.

I trolled around quite a bit on the Prius Chat forums to get an understanding of  the questions and issues people were raising most often. In regards to the battery, there are a couple links here that seemed quite helpful.

Hybrid battery life, must use and other myths

Prius wiki: lifespan, operating costs

To anyone thinking about buying a hybrid car, I’d recommend buying a used one from a dealer that offers a “certified” program like Toyota does. The premium for buying a new car is no longer an issue when buying used, and the worries that can come with a used car are mostly addressed through a certified maintenance program. I’m looking forward to driving mine for a long, long time. 🙂

Easing in

I’ve been so worn out from work and life lately that I just didn’t want to make time to write on the blog. But today I’m feeling refreshed and ready to ease back into blogging with a short post.

It’s Sunday — a much-needed day off– and it’s sunny outside. We rolled the clocks back and resumed standard time, so I didn’t feel bad about lounging in bed for extra time this morning. Because it’s dry and sunny I’m heading out to work in the garden and yard after this, though, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time in front of the computer.

We had a brutal summer here. A couple of weeks ago while B and I were doing some yard work on a perfectly lovely day, we took a break to sit on the porch. B noted that we had barely spent any time out there this summer. It was much too hot and humid, and we holed up inside staying cool. Now that we’re moving quickly towards winter, I need to catch up on the yard work that I would normally have been doing all summer: weeding, trimming, transplanting, and tending to the veggie garden.

During that lovely day two weeks ago B helped me to the biggest chores of closing down the garden. The tomato and pepper plants were taken out, and the supports put away. B turned the compost and chipped up all the small branches and twigs I’ve collected over the year, and I got in some weeding and transplanting, too.

Today we’re going to rake and bag leaves, then put them into storage for the winter. I use dry leaves as bedding in the chicken coop all year ’round, and look forward to replenishing the stock. I’m also going to plant garlic today in one bed, and maybe even part of another. Last year I planted two 4×8 beds with three varieties of garlic, shallots, and multiplier onions. The onions didn’t work out very well (they were quite small) and some of the varieties of garlic produced disappointingly small heads. This year I’m going to just plant the garlic variety that produced larger heads. (I really wish I knew the name of the variety, but I failed to write the names in my gardening records and relied solely on markers with permanent ink that turned out to be not so permanent!)

To close I’m going to mention a new morning ritual that we’ve developed over the past few months. I call it the morning love fest. When I start to stir in the morning (either because the alarm clock woke me, or my internal alarm went off), I hear Hannah dog get up from her bed in the corner and start to stretch and shake. (Dogs always stretch after getting up from a lie down; we could learn from that!) I call her, and she jumps up on the bed and settles down near me. This is when the love fest starts in earnest, as I pet her and stroke her and talk about the dreams and goings on the night before. If B is feeling awake enough, he may join in and start petting Hannah, too. I’ll ease out of bed and stretch my legs while leaning into the bed and continuing to pet her (usually she’s on her back by this time and I’m giving her a good chest and tummy rub) and talking about the day ahead. And then it’s time for me to get really moving, so I stop the petting and she leaps off the bed in a show of great agility, all ready to  go outside and embrace the day. Isn’t that a lovely way to get started in the morning?