We did things a bit differently this month, with our bulk shopping.
Usually, we do one big trip at the end of the month, with the bulk of the shopping done at Costco. As we’ve gotten to know different stores that we now go to regularly, that monthly shopping day has expanded to include going to at least 3 different major stores to stock up. Sometimes more.
The van gets very full and heavy. Especially with the weight of cat litter and giant bags of kibble that we have to pack everything else around.
So at the end of February, we decided to split the trip into two. The first trip focused more on stocking up for us humans, and a second trip would be to top up anything we needed, but mostly pick up the bulky bags of kibble and boxes of litter.
Today was our top up day.
Our timing to try this could have been better…
Most of what we needed to get was at Costco, so that was our first stop after a late breakfast.
We found ourselves in a line backed up about 6 or 7 car lengths down the street, just to get in the parking lot! The lot was so full, we didn’t even try to park near the entrance and just headed for the back, where things tend to be empty. Late Thursday morning, and the place was packed!! Thankfully, things did move smoothly, though, and we were able to get through fairly quickly and find a parking spot. We’re okay with a bit of a hike! 😉
Since most of what we needed were rather large, we got a flat cart. Again, though busy, things flowed quite smoothly. Usually, it’s a real pain trying to maneuver around people with a flat cart, but it wasn’t as much of a problem as I would have expected.
We went for the biggest and heaviest things, first, piling on the bags of cat kibble and boxes of litter. Then we decided it would be a good idea to pick up some more toilet paper. Due to space in the vehicle, we usually just get the one big Costco brand pack, but it sometimes doesn’t quite last us the month, and extra toilet paper is always a good thing, right?
Apparently, everyone else thought so, too.
We’ve all been hearing about how stores are selling out of things like toilet paper, and people even getting into fights over it, as people stockpile in a panic over the Covid 19 virus, but I rather hoped it wouldn’t be an issue here. We don’t even have any confirmed cased in our province yet (though the first presumptive case was reported on this afternoon).
Nope. Not a single package of toilet paper, in any brand, at Costco.
So we did the rest of our shopping, then headed out. Again, while very busy, everything was still flowing smoothly. We didn’t even spend a long time in line, which was nice for a change.
That done, we headed to a Walmart next. There wasn’t a lot we needed to get there, but we did find a cleaner to tackle moldy grout. Our bathroom has waterproof fake-tile paneling on the walls, but at some point a tub surround was stuck on top of it.
Not well. In fact, not really “stuck on” at all. The only things really holding it in place are the arm bars and caulking.
And the caulking is coming off around the tub. Underneath, we’re finding the original caulking, and it’s completely black with mold. So we need to deal with that, before we can re-caulk the tub. It’s really just another patch job. The bathroom itself needs to be redone – as does the rest of the house – so a patch job for now, it will be!
Since we were at Walmart anyway, we looked for toilet paper.
They weren’t quite out. The only brand left was the most expensive one, and I wasn’t willing to pay that much! The stock was steadily being depleted as I watched, but it just wasn’t worth it.
After checking out a few more little things, we paid for our stuff then headed out to our favorite grocery store. It’s the only one that carries some things we like to get, and I much prefer their fresh produce selections.
As we walked into the vestibule, we were greeted by an entire wall of toilet paper. They had more displays of toilet paper all over inside the store, too!
It was even on sale! 😀
So we got two packages. Still less than the size of package we’d have gotten at Costco, but enough to not run out at the end of the month.
The girls and I split up with our various shopping lists, with plans to meet in a certain section. I got there ahead of them and, as I waited, I heard an employee greeting a customer that they obviously knew personally. The employee caught himself reaching out to shake the other guy’s hand, with an “oh, right! No handshakes!”
The girls finished paying for their stuff ahead of me, so they went to pick up some drinks for the drive home. As I was catching up to them, I paused near the Customer Service desk, where 2 employees were busily cleaning the counters and displays and chatting. One was joking about how the counters have never been so clean! Then they started to wax poetic about a better sanitizing cleaner that another department got, but not them, and how they wished then could have this other stuff instead.
I had to admit to feeling slightly amused, since I was probably scaring a few people. My chronic cough was kicking in just enough to remind me it’s still there. I also seem to be having an allergic reaction to something environmental that’s being exposed as the snow melts, so my nose is running and my eyes are kinda irritated. On top of that, I didn’t think to take a lighter jacket today. I was wearing my down filled parka and overheating, getting all sweaty and flushed the more I spent time indoors.
All things that could easily be mistaken as symptoms!
Thankfully, we finished up rather quickly and were soon heading home, with one last stop at a pet store to pick up new plants for the aquarium. We recently had a mass growth of some sort of algae. Not the kind that grows on the tank walls, but great sheets of strands that engulfed the plants and decorations, forming a great mass in the middle of the tank! I tried to take some out and rescue what pieces of plants were trapped in it, but it’s almost as if this stuff was somehow absorbing the plants into itself, because they were just disappearing! I hadn’t taken all of it out at the time, and what was left grew quickly. Part of the problem is that the only place we can put the tank is next to a window, and the increased sunlight we’ve been getting is likely why it suddenly started to grow. It most likely was introduced into the tank with the same water change that introduced the pond snails.
(Have I mentioned we aren’t drinking our tap water anymore? We’ll boil it for tea or cooking, but otherwise have been buying refills of 5 gallon jugs. It will be good when we can get our water tested. It’s recommended to do it during spring runoff, which will hopefully be soon.)
This time, I asked which plants were the fastest growing, and selected some grasses. I even indulged when picking up more substrate, choosing some glow in the dark gravel. 🙂
Once the girls and I got home, though, I had just enough time to run in and call the garage before they closed, while the girls unloaded the van. My tax return came in today, so I will be able to get our brakes done earlier. Just by a week, unfortunately. I’d have gone in tomorrow, if he’d had an opening, but that was the earliest he could book me for. Still, I’m glad I was able to get through and get that changed. I’ll be doing a lot more driving this month than usual, with more trips to the city, including to the heart clinic for my husband, and another medical appointment for my mother. I’ll be much happier doing all that running around after the brakes are done! 🙂
After the groceries were put away, I was able to work on the aquarium. Aside from the pond snails, we’re down to just the one fish – an algae eater that clearly does not eat this particular type of algae! – but until I get more plants established again, we won’t be adding any new fish.
The glow in the dark substrate looks awesome. 😀 Now I’m just hoping the plants will actually stay in it and establish a root system. The plants I had before kept coming loose and floating to the top, never setting down roots properly. Hopefully, I got all that particular algae out, and it won’t reclaim the tank again.
I’m happy to say that we did manage to accomplish everything we needed to do in the city today. I even topped up the gas tank at Costco, at 87.9 cents per liter – which is 12 cents per litre cheaper than just about everywhere else! Locally, and at most gas stations we passed in the city, the price of gas had gone down to 99.9 cents per litre, and that’s where it’s staying. Only a couple of other stations that we saw were at 94.9 cents per litre. It’s been ages since I’ve seen gas prices under 90 cents per litre!
With all the extra driving I’ll be doing this month, this will be much better on our budget!