She Died The Way She Lived, Standing In Line At Costco; Thirty and Thirty-One Weeks In

I am not the type of person to talk about dreams or analyze dreams, but last night I dreamt I had a black cat, which I bathed, and subsequently the cat turned white. Then, as its fur dried, it went from white to grey, and back to black. The whole time, the cat was cuddling me and putting on a bejeweled collar with its own paws so I could photograph the miraculous colour change, but people kept stopping by and visiting and I never had a chance to take the pictures.

I’m not going to go into a what does it all mean thing, but a) I do not have a cat and never have had a cat, and b) I don’t know much about cats but I do know that one would never bath one in a bathtub without suffering massive bodily harm. Also, cats cannot put on their own, albeit adorable, bejeweled collars.

What does it all mean, what are we doing with our wild and precious lives.

Well. The last two weeks were “short weeks” but in the manner of such felt a bit long. I think it’s because I had two travel days, one on either side of Thanksgiving, and the week before the holiday my husband was out of town, meaning that I was solo parenting and preparing for travel all by my lonesome. Although, let’s face it, travel preparations ALWAYS are my domain; part of this is my own control-freak-about-packing nature, and part is just, well, nature.

We were gone such a short time but I found that the grocery situation was pretty bad by the time Wednesday – my typical Grocery Day – came around, and so I found myself this week at both Costco and Superstore. At this point in the pandemic, I feel like I have the mental and physical strength to accomplish this kind of epic grocery shopping without my week going off the rails. My friend Mo (HI MO) had mentioned that, the Friday before Thanksgiving, she had experienced a lineup-outside-of-Costco that we hadn’t seen in months, but I figured it was a Thanksgiving thing.

Indeed, there was no lineup to get into Costco, but it was crazily busy inside. It made me slightly concerned, in a are we panic-buying again? kind of way. As an answer to that, I am NOT panic-buying but I definitely have a very well-stocked pantry and I am not going to let the base levels get down too low, if you know what I’m saying.

When I finished my shopping I started towards the checkout…and then realized that I didn’t have far to go.

That line went from the checkout to almost the bakery, so pretty much the length of the store. Specifically, it went to the aisle that houses both Christmas and Halloween decorations.

As an aside, I realized that the end of September is a magical time where Halloween candy sits alongside Advent calendars and Christmas-themed chocolates in Superstore. What an age we live in.

Just to confirm that yes, that was indeed the line to check out and not just a bunch of people randomly stationary in a line-like formation, I asked the older lady at what appeared to be the end. “Yes, it is, but I’m waiting for my daughter and she has another cart, a whole other cart, and she is coming back.” she replied in an alarmed kind of way, as if I would explode or something knowing that another cart was going to be in front of me. I mean, it’s Costco. People have two carts all the time. I smiled and nodded, and then realized we are all wearing masks so maybe she couldn’t tell I was smiling, and then replied, okay, great in a cheerful, I Totally Understand kind of way.

After a few minutes, some line movement, and more dithering, the lady turned to me. “I’ll go get her, my daughter, she’s in the clothes I think,” the lady said, as if I was going to aggressively report her to the Costco authorities if the cart didn’t materialize immediately. “Can you watch my cart?”

Of course, I replied, and the lady bustled into the clothing section, at which point the line started moving in a big way. Well, it seemed like a big way since we are all six feet away from each other but perhaps it was just two or three carts moving.

In normal times, I would have just simply moved the lady’s cart forward without thinking about it. However, it is not normal times and I was momentarily paralyzed. I mean, is it OKAY to touch someone else’s stuff? What is the protocol here? Meanwhile, the gap between the lady’s cart and the line was getting big and there were many, many people behind me. Would my paralysis cause a road-rage-like episode in Costco?

Still no sign of the lady, and probably only a minute or two had passed, but that is a LONG time in Costco world. I took a breath and pushed her cart forward, while simultaneously pulling my cart behind me.

Side note: do you know how hard that is? It was a feat of strength that should be reserved for Festivus.

We had moved up SIGNIFICANTLY, after no small effort on my part to Keep Things Moving, by the time the lady returned, with her daughter. I quickly used my hand sanitizer and no one seemed put out that I had touched a cart that wasn’t mine. I’m actually not sure the lady even noticed we had moved, although we had moved up all the way to the candy and gum aisle. Maybe she thought that is where she had left it, maybe she thought the cart magically rolled itself to its new position, who knows.

The line that was daunting was actually not bad as they had a fellow at the front directing traffic, pointing people over to specific lineups which, in my humble opinion, is a brilliant idea and should be adopted by every single large grocery store forever.

I chatted with the lady behind me about how busy it was, and she postulated that it was because it was payday, so maybe that is the explanation, rather than pandemic panic shopping. We will see and in the meantime, I might not shop on the 15th and 30th of the month.

Pandemic Reading

With a long weekend and, well, snow, I have gotten a lot of reading done over the past two weeks!

This was one of the best books I have read in a long time, and I had just picked it up on a whim at the library, because I liked the cover. Don’t you love when that happens? This is a collection of short stories about people from Croatia – refugees and immigrants, mostly living in Canada. The author herself lives in Edmonton; it’s always fun to read about familiar places.

I really liked this; I like Elizabeth Strout so much. It wasn’t my favourite of hers, but it was very thought-provoking and, in the manner of Elizabeth Strout, beautifully written.

This was very well-done, a real page-turner, but the material is very disturbing and upsetting. That is my warning: if you are NOT easily upset, then this is a very excellent read. It deals with a Nigerian refugee and a British woman and how their worlds collide.

This was a reread for me; it is delightful and wonderful and I highly recommend it. It’s about the dwellers of an apartment building during one hour period in a day. I love stories that show how interconnected we all are, even when we don’t realize it. Plus, the author lives in Calgary!

This was an extremely silly book. If you are in the mood for something strangely long, but very fluffy and silly, this is it. A relationship advice columnist and a top-notch divorce lawyer meet; both of them have sworn off relationships but, well. I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

I did like this book, I did. But I am going to issue a major trigger warning here: disturbing content. It follows three women and deals with arranged marriage, Hindu and Indian culture, adoption, infertility, and depression.

Since I inadvertently reread Durable Goods, I thought I should purposefully reread the sequel. You know, I really like Elizabeth Berg. I like her character development, I like her style. This was a very sweet and satisfying book, which was just what I needed.

These photos were from a sweet hike we did at Thanksgiving; the area had been devastated by forest fires back in 2003 and it was interesting to hike around the burnt trees and new growth. Plus, waterfalls! DO go chasing waterfalls and have a beautiful week, everyone! xo

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