Category Archives: shopping

Yard Sales…The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of The Feet…

Here’s an archive post originally published March 30, 2010 (if you’ve received two notifications of this, I apologize – I’m reposting it for the second time today, because I don’t think the e-mail notifications worked the first time):

The best yard sale ad I ever saw was in a Moncton newspaper many years ago…it gave the pertinent details of the sale, followed by this: “Early birds will be ignored.”  My kind of vendor!  There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at a sale at the advertised start time, only to find that vultures have picked all the best meat off the bones!

I’ve been going to yard sales/house sales/flea markets/auctions since I was small…we’d get up many Saturday mornings, and head for a nearby farm auction.  At one of these, my brother and I decided we’d really like to have a calf, but Dad convinced us that our mom would have a COW if he came home with one!  On Sunday drives, I remember us sitting in the car as Mom looked angrily at her watch waiting for Dad to stop talking to some stranger who had something to sell (my mom caught the yard sale bug much later in life, after she started collecting and selling Sherman jewellery).  In the late ’70′s, Dad started setting up his own stall at flea markets (he collected sealers and pretty much anything to do with farming, as well as books).

Forty years later, I still like calves, but don't really want one any more...

After I was married and had kids, going yard-saling was an inexpensive outing for a Saturday…we lived in Moncton and didn’t have a car then…we walked to all the sales we attended.  I’d set the alarm early, pack up the kids, and off we’d go, with a carefully-planned list of sales we wanted to get to and their start times.  I mostly bought books, clothes and toys then, although I would keep my eyes open for bells/wooden boxes for my mom’s collections.

We moved to Saint John in late 1997, and continued our yard-saling habit…since opening the bookstore in the summer of 2000, we also started looking for old/local books on our Saturday mornings.  We go to the Sussex Flea Market every summer, where over 1000 vendors set up outside to sell everything from antlers to zinnias.  I started training my middle daughter, Anna, how to “pick” old books at age 8, and today, at 15, she definitely has “the eye”…she knows what to take and what to leave behind!

I picked up this little book "Mary Queen of Scots" for 10 cents...it's listed online for $20!

I even yard-sale on vacation…I was in Belleville, Ontario for a college reunion, and went to a few sales in the east end where the beautiful old homes are.  Lying on the grass, I spied a beautiful Native Canadian print that I wanted as a gift for my best friend, who is of aboriginal descent.   As I leaned over to pick it up, someone with faster fingers snatched it out from under me…after shooting her a look that should have caused her to at least feel faint (it didn’t seem to have any effect), I let her have it…

I was tramping around the West Side of Saint John, when I found a gorgeous pen and ink drawing of a farmhouse – I liked it because it reminded me of my grandma’s house.  The problem was that it was huge – about 2′ x 3′, and I was on foot.  It was also in the most hideous frame I’d ever seen, with floral wallpaper acting as a homemade mat.  I asked the woman how much it was – $8!  I told myself that I would go to one more sale around the corner and then come back…if the drawing was still there, I’d buy it and call a cab to get home.  I was lucky that day…I forked over the money and took my prize home.  The next day, I called my friend, Amy, who has a frame shop on the West Side, Amy’s Custom Framing.  We made a barter deal for a proper frame and mat – $150 worth.  Amy did a beautiful job on the artwork, and I hung it over the fireplace in my living room.  I’ve never been able to determine the artist’s name – I assume it’s local though.

Since moving to Hammond River a little over a year ago, yard-saling has been more difficult…I don’t have a driver’s license, and Jim doesn’t like getting up early.  However, I was able to make the rounds at the Quispamsis Community Yard Sale last spring.  He even started to get into it, especially after one lady started giving us stuff!  I was buying a computer chair ($10) from her, and Jim had two routers ($2 each).  She pointed out the “free pile,” which contained a dehumidifier and two boxes of computer network cable that Jim said were sold retail for about $1 a foot!  We grabbed them!  Other finds that day were an apple peeler for $3; a gooseneck pole lamp for $5; two non-stick muffin pans for $1 each; a laptop bag for $2 for my stepdaughter, Brianna; a pair of Robeez baby shoes for $5 and a nursing pillow for $4 for my unborn granddaughter; and several books.  My daughters, Anna and Hope, got a High School Musical dance game.   Hope even picked up a stuffed teddy bear for our dog, Jake, which he wasted no time destroying!  A month or so later, we went to the Hampton Community Yard Sale, and got a good haul of books, but not much else.

"The best apple peeler ever!" according to my stepson, Devin...

I’m looking forward to the sales again this year…it will be a lot easier getting our purchases into the back of the van instead of the Corolla!

22 Comments

Filed under memories, shopping

Seedlings, Saling, Streamers, and School Picture Day…

It’s been a busy week in Hammond River:

1. A week ago Friday, Hope and I were on the way to Giant Tiger to get presents for Dad for his birthday.  As we approached a pedestrian light, Hope observed that it should be the type that makes a noise, “You know, for the deaf people.”

I looked at her and asked, “What did you just say?”

“Oh!” she said sheepishly.  “I meant blind people!”

2. We celebrated Kaylee’s 25th and Dad’s 74th birthday with a combo party last Sunday.  The sun even made an appearance!  We enjoyed sitting out on our deck for a while, although I was dismayed to find that some small animal had chewed a hole in the seat of one of our deck chairs that we just bought last summer!

Kaylee reading in the background while Elise plays with her mom's birthday balloon...

 

For dessert, we had pound cake (thanks for the recipe, Lenore!), and chocolate cinnamon cake:

Kaylee's Birthday Cake...decorated by Anna...note to self: remember that Kaylee loves pound cake but doesn't like cream cheese icing!

Dad's Birthday Cake, decorated by Brianna...

3. Seedlings.  Monday was a holiday for Canadians: Queen Victoria’s birthday.  I took advantage of the lack of precipitation to finally get seeds planted in the garden!  My seedlings, however, are still hanging out in my back kitchen, waiting to go outside.  It’s supposed to be decent weather tomorrow, so I’m planning to stay home from the bookstore and get them transplanted!

Mostly tomato seedlings, with peppers at bottom left and brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and bunching onions in two trays at top left

4. Saling.  Saturday was the Annual Quispamsis Yard Sale.   It was misty, but not really raining, so Jim and I and the girls piled into the van, equipped with our highlighted map…we actually got away from the house within 15 minutes of the time we’d planned to leave!  Pickings were fairly slim compared to the first year we went, but I managed to get about $250 worth of books for less than $20!  Jim got a new leather wallet still in the box for a dollar (his old one is like George’s on Seinfeld!), 5 sets of Magnetix building toys for $1 each (which will be kept well out of Elise’s reach!), and a mitre saw for $15.  This was our best buy though:

My New Old China Cabinet (minus the shelves - we took them out to clean them)...reflections of my dining table in the glass

This china cabinet was sitting with a sign that said “Make an Offer” on it…it was filthy…I fell in love immediately!  After Jim saw me get all excited about it (and some discussion about where we would put it), he made an offer (I told him it could be my birthday present)!  After a little dickering, he got the cabinet as well as a bright green desk and chair for Brianna for $120.  Hope and I cleaned up the cabinet last night, and it already looks way better than it did when we bought it!  I’m planning to put my mom’s collections and some of my other family knickknacks in it.

5. Streamers.  I spent yesterday catching up on laundry, seven loads to be exact…I should have it all folded by Tuesday!  Dad worked on deerproofing the garden.  He installed the poles we got a few weeks ago, and strung them with string and streamers.  I hope it will do the trick!

Our (hopefully) deerproof fence...we are officially country folks now...only the best families have yellow caution tape flying from string in their back yards!

6. School Picture Day.  Wednesday, June 1st has been designated as School Picture Day by Clay Morgan at EduClaytion.  I will be participating along with my friends Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom), possibly Chase McFadden (Some Species Eat Their Young) and a bunch of other folks.  You’re invited too…just dig out your yearbook photos, write a little post, and then link up on Wednesday!

Graphic courtesy of ironicmom.com...

45 Comments

Filed under books, family, food, gardening, shopping

Ten Commandments of Book Sales…

Having just returned from two large spring book sales, I feel compelled to provide this handy guide to behaviour at such events:

1. Thou shalt arrive early.  Due to a stop at the Dairy Queen in Sussex for supper, we were half an hour late late getting to the University Women’s Book Fair in Moncton this year…consequently, I fear that many of the best books had already been scooped up by other dealers (I also paid dearly the next morning for the chicken sandwich I ate at DQImodium was my best friend for a couple of hours).  For the Saint John Free Public Library Book Sale, I was there at 9:15 a.m. (the sale opened at 10) staking out the local/New Brunswick table.  I stood right next to the table, knowing that if I was on the other side of the aisle, that someone would get in front of me!  Unfortunately, my old nemesis, Witchy-Poo, also came early, and attempted to engage me in conversation (nosy old bat!).

2. Thou shalt not peek under the table covers.  As I was waiting for the appointed opening hour at the library sale, I noticed a man pretending to “adjust” the table cover on the table I’d staked out…if looks could kill, he’d be dead right now!

3. Thou shalt not block the tables or aisles whilst carrying on idle chit-chat.  Look around you…there could be a woman with a crazed look in her eye trying to make her way to the table you’re standing in front of (yup…that would be me!).

4. Thou shalt leave small children at home.  No one enjoys having their shins or ankles rammed by strollers, or listening to children whine or cry.  Letting them rummage through boxes of books they have absolutely no interest in is inviting the possibility of torn pages or dustjackets, which will not endear you to your fellow shoppers.

5. Thou shalt put books thou doesn’t want back where thou found them.  Most sales are organized by volunteers, who have spent hours sorting thousands of donations into appropriate categories.  Leaving a Harlequin romance on the “Collectibles” table makes people like me angry and creates extra work for the organizers!

6. Thou shalt not bring coffee or food to a book sale.  Picking up a book which is sticky or coffee-stained is very disappointing (and the book is pretty much unsaleable once it has fallen victim to a careless caffeine consumer)!

7. Thou shalt not stagger around balancing huge piles of books.  Get an empty box from under one of the tables, and push it along the floor in front of you as you go.

8. Thou shalt not steal.  Most book sales are charity events…do not help yourself to items with no intention of paying for them.  Hope came out of the washroom at the University Women’s sale with a handful of tampons, which she then offered to Anna…”They’re not dinner mints!” Anna exclaimed in horror.

9. Thou shalt not haggle.  The prices are already a fraction of the actual value of the book…that extra dollar will not cause the bank to foreclose on your home!  The people taking the money are not being paid to argue with you either.

10. Thou shalt shop with bills smaller than $20.  Charitable organizations have enough to do without having to run to the bank to get change because some numbnuts tries to give them a $100 bill for a $2 book!

Following these ten simple commandments will make your next book sale experience more pleasurable for all!

I was happy with our purchases at the two sales, netting roughly $1000 worth of books for the $110 we spent…my best find was a newer book on secular effigies from the 13th century, which I will list online for $80.  Jim was happy to get several expensive computer textbooks for $2 each…some of them were still shrinkwrapped!  Anna and Hope each got a stack of reading material too.

The next sale is the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Book Sale this summer…can’t wait!

Update: This post was Freshly Pressed on May 9th…my third honour from the editors at WordPress…thank you!

166 Comments

Filed under books, family, rants, satire, shopping

I’m Not a Ghost, But Yesterday I Played One in Real Life…

This isn't me...I'm a lot taller! (photo from daddytypes.com)

Have you ever had one of those days when you wonder if you’re invisible, a mere figment of someone else’s overactive imagination?  That was my day yesterday…all day!

It all started in the morning, after I arrived at the bookstore and sat down at my computer.  As per my routine, I updated our store’s Facebook page with a “Today in History” fact and a book relevant to it, and added a daily quote about books.  Then I opened my Hotmail.  Since it was Monday, there were lots of new blog posts to comment on…

I opened the first one, read it, typed my comment and posted it.  Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the fourth new post.  I read the post, chuckled heartily, wrote a pithy reply and hit the “Post Comment” button, making sure to tick the box so I would receive notification of further comments.  The page refreshed, and my clever comment had disappeared into the vast realm of cyberspace, never to be seen again!  After a few choice words (none of which were nice), I reconstructed my response as best I could, and attempted to repost.  ARRGGH!  Gone!  I thought, “Maybe it’s my computer.”  I rebooted, and reopened all my windows.  Version #3 of my formerly hilarious comment was a mere shadow of its earlier incarnations, which I suppose doesn’t really matter, because it vanished too!  I gave up on that one…I was sure that person’s blog had technical difficulties.

I opened the next new post in my e-mail.  Another brilliant post!  I congratulated the writer on his wit and writing skill, and sent my compliments hurtling once again into Never Never Land!  I tried once more (are you familiar with Einstein‘s definition of insanity: doing something over and over and expecting different results?).  Remembering one of the tag lines from The IT Crowd, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”, I not only rebooted, but flipped the router off and on as well.  That should do it!

With my Hotmail window reopened, I clicked on another new post.  This one was about blogrolls, a topic dear to my heart.  I offered my input in a couple of paragraphs, and confidently “posted” my comment.  NOT!  I looked around and briefly considered sticking my head in the oven, but our microwave was far too small…Instead, I sent an urgent-sounding e-mail to WordPress Support:

Subject: My Comments are Invisible!

I made comments on other people’s blogs (multiple times).  I saw: NOTHING!!! (one time when I was smart enough to copy and paste a comment before I sent it, I got a notification that it was a duplicate comment…still nothing showed up!).  I expected my comments to be visible!
I have cleared my cache and rebooted my computer (twice).
Help please!!!
 
Wendy

A little while later, I got a nice e-mail from a “happiness engineer” at WordPress apologizing for the “inconvenience” (at that point I’d been trying to post comments for more than an hour!) and advising me to send details to Akismet (the spamcatcher).  “They’ll be able to sort you out.”  I really hoped that somebody could…and maybe they could fix my problem with commenting while they were at it!  I sent a similar e-mail to Akismet, explaining my difficulties and imploring them to do everything in their power to remedy them!  I continued to read new posts, but knew that commenting on them at this point would probably be useless…I also wrote this post so that my friends would know that I wasn’t ignoring them on purpose.  I contacted a couple of the bloggers via Facebook, one of whom told me that my comments had ended up in her spam bucket.

In the afternoon, we had some of our regular customers come into the bookstore: a couple of book dealers from Fredericton accompanied by a friend who was a book collector.  The collector inquired about books by Mika Publishing (which happens to be located in Belleville, Ontario near where I grew up).  I checked our database, and found we had a Mika book about Lunenburgh, and asked Dad to locate it in its box with the other Loyalist-related material.  I went into the other room with one of the book dealers to find something for him.  Dad came back with the book and asked me what he should do with it.  “Show it to the guy who asked about Mika books!” I replied.

“Why…is it Mika?” Dad asked.

“Yes!” I answered, barely concealing my annoyance.  Is this thing on?  After Dad left the room, the dealer I was talking to burst out laughing…

“I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t heard it for myself!” he said.

“Multiply that by 9 hours a day for 11 years,” I answered.  “And he lives with me too!  It’s a wonder I still have my sanity.”

Jim came and picked up Anna and I, and we headed for home.  Hope had an appointment at the after hours clinic for 6:15, and we would have to hurry if we wanted to eat before we left again!

We bolted some Sloppy Joes and fries, and arrived early at the office.  The doctor wrote a prescription for Hope.  We took it to the drugstore and dropped it off…the woman at the counter told us it would be ready in about twenty minutes.  To kill time, we went to the dollar store and looked for things that Hope and Brianna needed for school projects.  We amassed quite a pile of stuff between the three of us, and took it to the checkout (there was no one there).  Eventually a clerk came from the back and called to us from the other counter, “I can help you over here!”

“I was afraid of that!” I answered while smiling through gritted teeth, as I tried to scoop up our 57 items to move them.

“Oh, I can help you with that,” she said, cheerfully.  We paid for our purchases and went back to the drugstore.  There were six people in line at the prescription counter…Hope and I took our place at the back of the line.  The customer who was holding up the line had a prescription that her insurance company wasn’t covering the full cost of, and she couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that she needed to ask her doctor to call them.  We’d been in line more than ten minutes when one of the pharmacists came out and asked if anyone had any questions or if we were all picking up prescriptions.  No one had any questions.

The pharmacist asked, “Who’s next?” and a lady who’d been standing off to my left (not in line) piped up.

“I’m just here to pick up my prescription.”

I thought, “That’s what we’re all here for, Lady…that’s why we’re in this line.”

She continued, “I was here before…I just came back!”  Guess who got served before I did!  I had Hope pinch me to make sure I really existed…

When we got home, I went to my computer and opened my e-mail.  Still no response from Akismet, but I decided to give commenting another shot.  I picked a blog I’d already tried to comment on, and typed a message about commenting earlier, explaining that the comment had probably gone into the spam.  I crossed my fingers and toes as my mouse hovered over the “Post Comment” button.  I clicked it.  SUCCESS!  Hooray! 

Apparently, I’m not a ghost after all!

58 Comments

Filed under blogging, books, family, rants, satire, shopping

Popcorn, Puddin’ Pop, and Provisions for the Privileged…

Sorry for the long break between posts…it was a busy weekend.  I’ll do my best to catch you up on happenings in Hammond River over the last little while:

1. Popcorn.  Jim, Anna and I finally got to see The King’s Speech last weekend.  We loved it!  It had sharp writing, pathos, and humour all in one p-p-p-package!  Helena Bonham Carter was particularly good as the Queen.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, please go…you’ll be glad you did!  While we were enjoying ourselves in the company of civilized adults, Hope and her friend, Gabrielle, were down the hall in another theatre, watching the premiere of the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never, with two or three hundred screaming tweens (I felt sorry for the theatre employees who had to clean up afterwards).  I did appreciate Bieber’s impression of Obama when he was a guest on Conan the other night…it was bang-on!

Hope with her idol outside the theatre...photo by Jim...

2. Puddin’ Pop.  For new readers of my blog, “Puddin’ Pop” is what I call my 17-month-old granddaughter, Elise.  On Friday, I was called upon to babysit while Kaylee and Scott went to Moncton to see the Great Big Sea concert I gave Kaylee the tickets for at Christmas time.  Despite the fact that I have three children and two stepchildren, I don’t consider myself “the mommy type” and was a little nervous about spending several hours alone with no backup “Aunties” to help care for my Puddin’ Pop.  Kaylee took pity on me, and prestuffed the liners in the cloth diapers (which I’ve never used…they’re a lot fancier and more expensive than they used to be…velcro and liners and snaps, oh my!).  Jim dropped me off at Kaylee and Scott’s on the way to work.  The first thing we noticed was that Scott had shaved off his beard (yay…I like beards on certain people…my son-in-law is not one of them!).  He was all ready for those questions at work like “Where’s your beard?”  He saved the clippings in a Ziploc bag, so he could pull it out and say, “Right here!”  All together now:  “EWWWWW!”

Elise and her bearded Daddy at Christmas time...

Kaylee gave me detailed instructions about when and how much to feed my granddaughter (the milk with the cow on the pitcher was for Elise), and when she went to bed.  She showed me the gold-plated baby toothpaste ($4 for a tiny tube).  Scott showed me how to get Netflix on the Wii (they only have 21 channels on the TV)…seeing the blank look on my face, he wrote it down.  Kaylee put the baby down for a nap about 11:30, and she and Scott left shortly after that, almost forgetting the sushi they’d bought to eat for supper.

Puddin’ Pop woke up a couple of hours later.  The next five hours is a blur of activity: trying to get her to eat something besides grapes and baby banana rusks, chasing her down the hallway when she tried to “escape” to her room, watching “Barney” on Netflix, reading stories (Elise recognizes her letters already – she is also learning sign language), and taking the lid on and off the wooden block container (over and over and over again).  By 6:30, one of us was ready to crash…I put Elise to bed too, after putting the triple-stuffed nighttime diaper on her.

"Whatchoo talkin' about, Gramma?"

 

I went back into the living room and turned on Cake Boss…on one of the episodes, the bakery had run out of sugar…how ludicrous is that?  Puddin’ Pop took a while to settle down, but she seemed happy to talk to herself in her crib.  I was ready to go to sleep by 10:00 p.m.  I changed into my jammies, and curled up (or more accurately, “doubled up”) on the loveseat.  Kaylee had suggested I bring our air mattress, but I was afraid her cats would poke a hole in it.  I woke up in the middle of the night with one of the cats’ faces peering intently into mine…Yoko is the one that races you down the hall to the bathroom to get a drink if you’re foolish enough to turn the faucet on for her (I’m not that gullible!).  Cats aren’t nearly as good at cleaning up under high chairs as dogs are either…

About 8 a.m. the next morning, Scott brought Elise in to change her diaper.  “Hi, Sweetie,” I called, as they went by.  The response was considerably more masculine and mature-sounding than my granddaughter: “Hi!” answered my smartass son-in-law.  After we had breakfast, and the kids told me about the concert (uncomfortable seating, the “yelling yahoo” sitting beside them, etc.), they drove me home.  I stayed in my jammies for the rest of the day…I was exhausted!

3. Provisions for the Privileged.  Jim, Hope and I went to Costco yesterday.  We left Anna at home, because I didn’t feel like spending $200 in one go.  We needed acetaminophen, and their price was far less than the drug stores (I remembered afterwards that we also needed allergy meds…oops!).  As we were going in, Jim flashed his member’s card at the doorperson.  Hope asked, “Do you have to show your card?”  

“Yes,” I replied.  “They don’t let just anybody into Costco!”  It was at that point that I realized just how “lucky” I am to be one of the families they admit to the home of the biggest jars of olives you’ll ever see…three years ago when I was a single mom, I couldn’t have afforded the membership fee.  My parents certainly would never have been able to swing it when I was a kid either. 

I don’t enjoy going to Costco…it represents the kind of greed and consumerism I hate, and it’s a cold experience to shop there.  Nonetheless, I spent $55, and picked up a few bargains on essentials.  While we waited in the checkout line, Hope wondered why the clerks didn’t have a microphone to call on when they needed something, instead of just yelling out?  Why indeed?  She was also surprised that we didn’t get bags to put our purchases in.  I explained that that’s how they were able to offer such low prices…no frills! 

I would like it if I got a warm and fuzzy feeling shopping at Costco, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen… 

4. Bonus: Hope-ism of the Week.  When Hope brought me a form to fill out for cheerleading, I asked her why she didn’t do it herself…she knew all the information.  “My messing’s writey!” she replied.  She’s also left-handed…

40 Comments

Filed under family, food, music, rants, satire, shopping

Ten Cheap Valentine’s Gifts Moms Will Appreciate…

I know I’m a little early for this…most men will probably be hitting the stores on Sunday.  Forget lingerie that requires an instruction manual to put on…I would like to offer this list of ideas for inexpensive gifts for the mother in your life:

1. Let her sleep in on the weekend.  Feed the kids breakfast.  Get them dressed.  Keep them quiet.  For bonus points: bring her breakfast in bed after two hours. 

2. Pick up your socks.  Put them in a hamper near you.  If you’re feeling really generous, do a load or two of laundry (in the correct temperature), fold it, and put it away.

3. Empty the dishwasher.  Put the dishes in the correct places in the kitchen.  Don’t leave the ramekins on the counter and claim you don’t know where to put them.

These are ramekins (the dishes, not the food)...put them in the cupboard...

4. Her own snacks.  Does she love Ruffles Sour Cream and Bacon potato chips?  Buy a bag just for her, and hide it from the kids.

5. An hour of uninterrupted bathroom time.  Shaving one’s legs in the shower just isn’t practical sometimes.  Threaten to subject the kids to watching golf on TV if they disturb her!

6. Fuzzy slippers.  Check her shoes to make sure you buy the right size.  Most of us have cold feet in the winter.  If her toes are warm, she’ll be a happy girl.

Happiness is warm tootsies...

7. Make dinner for the family.  Try to find the ingredients/dishes you need yourself.  It doesn’t matter what it is (with some obvious exceptions)…food always tastes better when someone else cooks it.

8. Quiet time.  Take the kids out for a minimum of two hours, and leave her with the house to herself.  Give her a call when you’re on the way home, so she can avoid the kids catching her in mid-dance move.

Make sure if your kids are going to see this, that their friends are with them!

9. Movie night at home.  Let her pick a movie she wants to see and watch it with her.  Bite your lip if you’re tempted to complain about the lack of ninjas or machine guns.  Agree with her when she comments on how attractive the male lead is.

10. Kiss her and tell her you love her.  Cup her face in your hands and look deep into her eyes when you say it.  

There’s nothing to keep you from doing the whole list if you want to…I’m sure your actions will be rewarded!  If you print out this post and save it, these suggestions work equally well for Mother’s Day!

56 Comments

Filed under cooking, family, rants, satire, shopping

Mercury is Messin’ Up My Man Too!…

Wow…two posts in one day…it’s either feast or famine in Hammond River!  This morning, I posted about my messed-up week…I blamed it on Mercury being in retrograde.  I had to tell you about our shopping trip this afternoon.

Anna had arranged to meet her friend in town to look for a dress for Caberet (fancy word for a fancy dance), and do some Christmas shopping.  Hope was spending the weekend at a friend’s house.  We had to drop off Brianna and Devin at their mom’s on the way.  I also wanted to get a photo of a “roadside shoe” we saw yesterday when we took Bri and Dev to school for my friend Maura’s blog.  She has an ongoing feature on orphaned footwear…this was the first one I’d seen since I found out about it.  Of course, I didn’t have a camera in the car!

We left the kids at their mom’s, and drove to the high school.  Of course, the snow plow had come along, and relocated my photo subject…it was nowhere to be found!

We dropped Anna off at an uptown shopping centre, and headed to the east side, where the biggest shopping area is.  Our first stop was Canadian Tire…all their toys were on for 50% off, and there was also a coupon for $15 off if you spent $60 (before taxes)…Gramma wanted to get baby Elise some toys!  When we went to get a cart, an older lady was struggling to separate two carts, which were stuck together.  Jim, being the gentleman he is, offered to help her.  He pulled and pulled to no avail.  Then I reached over, and with two fingers, lifted up the part of the cart that was sticking to the other one…problem solved!  Glad I fixed it before Jim put his back out!

About an hour and two phone calls to Kaylee later, we arrived at the checkout with a cart full of retro toys (Kaylee wants Elise to have the toys she had!)…Jim had also stocked up on windshield washer.  There were only three cashiers open, and about 25 people in line.  The people in front of us were balancing large objects (without carts), and we let them go ahead when another cash opened up.  One guy mentioned that he had forgotten to pick up the windshield washer he came in for when he saw the great price on the shelf unit he was buying.  Jim offered to give him one of the three different kinds of washer we had in our cart (one yellow and two purple!), so he wouldn’t have to go back.  The guy thanked us, and pulled up another cart for us to load our stuff into as we checked out.  I used our coupon, and my Canadian Tire points on my MasterCard, and ended up getting another $30 off my half-price toys and my “on sale” heater.

Then we went to Shoppers Drug Mart…Jim was planning to spend his  Optimum points on some stocking stuffers for the kids.  We had $170 worth of “free money” to play with, so we got a few things for us too.  Cookies and snack crackers were 99 cents…score!  Three boxes of cookies and four of crackers went into the cart.  Toilet paper was on sale for $3.99 for 12 double rolls…I stacked my cart with 4 packs of that (the limit!).  A man asked me if we were expecting a lot of company over the holidays…I told him that we had four teenagers at home (he shook his head in amazement)!  Tampons and Gravol and liquid soap…oh, my!  We filled up the first cart, and Jim went to get a second one.  He and the kids love pop, and it was on sale, 4 2-liter bottles for $5.  Jim loaded four bottles into his cart.  I was keeping careful track of how much stuff we were getting, and let Jim know when we had reached the limit.  We maneuvered our overflowing carts to the busy checkouts…same story as Canadian Tire…too many people and too few clerks!  Finally, it was our turn.  Jim grabbed a bottle of root beer out of his cart, and tried to set it on the counter.  He juggled it, missed, and it hit the floor.  Then the cap came off and the bottle exploded, shooting down the aisle behind us like a rocket, spraying everyone in its path with sticky goodness!  I am not exaggerating when I say it went at least 150 feet, before coming to rest under a display.  Apparently, the two people in front of Jim got the worst of the root beer shower…he apologized profusely (while I escaped to go get another bottle of root beer…you had to buy four to get the sale price, after all!).  Here’s Jim’s account of the incident (stolen from Facebook):  “It fell flat on its side, sat there for 1/4 of a second, blew the lid off and then launched itself past a row of people at the checkout behind us.  It travelled the entire length of an aisle shooting under a display part way down the aisle.  The folks in front of us in, lets call it, the blast zone, were showered up to their waist.  To paraphrase JFK, we choose not to go to the cold and headache display because it is easy, we choose to go there because it is hard.  It’s even harder to go back to that Shoppers for at least a few weeks.”

Jim snapped this photo of the aftermath of the "root beer incident" with his Blackberry...those are my legs and purse at the right...we didn't tell the people in line that I had a blog...

We went to the big mall to pick up Anna…she informed us that she wasn’t finished shopping yet, and wanted to know if we could pick her up later.  I grabbed a few essentials at the grocery store while Jim did some more Christmas shopping, and we headed home.  We were tired and hungry.  After putting our purchases away, I threw a couple of pizzas in the oven for supper.  Jim got some ice out of the freezer and put it in a glass, and went out to get the pop from our “cold storage,” the closet at the top of the basement stairs.  I heard ice cubes hit the floor, and a bad word or two.  Jim had slipped in the entryway and dropped his ice.  At least he didn’t fall!

Anna called an hour later to tell us she was ready to come home.  She didn’t find a dress that fit for the dance, but she did manage to get some other shopping done…I actually got some of my money back!  I’m sure I’ll end up giving it back to her later, though.  We arrived home without further incident.

I wonder what tomorrow has in store for us?

28 Comments

Filed under family, satire, shopping