Learning New Things and Saving Money; Thirteen Weeks In

You guys, look what I got!

Do you SEE what that is? GEL SANITIZER! I haven’t seen gel sanitizer since before the pandemic started. I’ve only been able to purchase the really liquidy kind made by local alcohol companies and the spray kind made with hydrogen peroxide.

Last summer a little Pharmasave opened up just a couple of blocks away from my house, in a brand new little complex, and honestly, I wondered if it would be able to make a go of it. I love new local businesses, but if I stand at my front door and walk in any direction for ten or fifteen minutes, I would come to no fewer than five pharmacies, including the Pharmasave. I wondered if the market wasn’t already saturated but as it turns out, Jason at Pharmasave is the hero we all needed during this pandemic. It’s a small place so it’s easy to see if there are many customers inside, there is a space to wait outside if one needs to social distance, and, most important, Jason has been posting the worst dad jokes on our community Facebook page, along with information about the things he has on offer, from vaccines to Haribo candy to GEL SANITIZER. When he posted last week I popped over to get a bottle, plus Lysol – I haven’t seen Lysol in months, I usually use my favourite hippie-natural cleansers but in a pandemic needs must – and some masks. A few weeks ago I had ordered cloth masks for the guys, plus an extra for me, but for SOME REASON the company was all backed up on orders, and they arrived hours after the guys went for their eye appointments, which was specifically what I ordered them for. Anyway, it’s nice to have extras on hand for the few medical appointments we’ve been going to, and I’ve been only buying them from the Pharmasave. Those terrible dad jokes have made me a customer for life. And the gel sanitizer.

Speaking of appointments: the dentist. My appointment on Monday was NOT a cleaning, like I thought, but an actual check-up with x-rays, and so I have a cleaning to Look Forward To in a few weeks. Every time I go to an appointment, I get more and more confident about actually leaving the house on non-grocery trips, with all the protocols in place. When I got to the dentist, I called them from the parking lot and waited for them to come and get me. They locked the door behind me so no one could just pop in, and at the door was a sanitizing station and a form to sign saying that I hadn’t any symptoms or wasn’t in contact with anyone who had, and so forth. I was the only person in the waiting room, and I wore a mask, as did the women working at the desks. I only removed the mask when I was actually in the dentist’s chair, and to be honest, it felt weird, like I was a little bit naked. It’s funny how quickly we get used to things. Taking off my mask felt like I had suddenly whipped off my shirt and was sitting there, topless, in the dentist’s chair, while everyone around me was clothed normally. I also had to rinse my mouth with a special wash, and the keypad was sanitized before – and after, I assume – I paid. It felt very safe, as safe as physically possible, so now I just have the customary dread about getting my teeth scaled, and not, you know, becoming a disease vector.

When I first coloured my hair at home, I texted a photo to a group of friends. My friend Tora (HI TORA) who is always a cheerful and positive person – seriously, she’s a ray of sunshine, and she is the same Tora who made my adorable pink heart mask – said about my DIY hair “We are learning new things and saving money!” It was a very invigorating statement to me, very Can-Do Just Like Ma Ingalls. Yes! I’m learning new things! And I’m saving money! I have thought about that a lot during this pandemic as I figure out how to make my own mint extract and plan to dry my own herbs. I thought about it last week when I gave myself a bikini wax.

I have given myself many waxes many times; I’ve waxed my own arms, thighs, and upper lip. However, I have always thought – correctly, as it turns out – that the bikini line is really much better suited for the professionals. As it turns out, estheticians are able to start working now, as we are in Phase Two of the Reopening, but even if I am comfortable going to the dentist, getting a bikini wax does not feel the same, importance-wise. For one thing, it is unlikely that I will wear a bikini any time in the next year. However, like most of my beauty rituals, this one is for ME and me alone, and I just could not take it any more. I dug through the drawer in the bathroom to find the box of special “extra sensitive” wax strips that I bought a month back, for this very moment.

Honestly, I kind of hoped I would have never needed it and it would have sat in the drawer, untouched, for years to come. But I was at the point where it was Action Time.

I learned two important things. First, giving yourself a bikini wax is hard. I am a nimble and bendy person and it was very difficult to, ahem, position everything correctly. I thought of my long-suffering esthetician, Tracey. Not all heroes wear capes, people.

Second, I don’t know what your bikini situation is like, but mine, well, how to put this delicately. I guess there is no way to put this delicately and really, this whole blog lost delicacy many years ago, if ever it had it. At one point I realized that the only way out was through, and that one box of wax strips was insufficient for the problem set in front of me. That was startling. The feminine mystique stands to take a bit of a beating here. I really empathized with the waxing scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin: We’re gonna need more wax! 

Well, I did my best with what I had and used tweezers on the rest. All in all, I would give myself a B-minus on the finished product. I was pretty proud of myself, merely-adequate results not withstanding.

The very next day I was outside weeding – weeding, bikini waxing, it’s all one – and my husband called me inside. There was a phone call! For me! It was the local spa, the one beside the Pharmasave, calling to see if I wanted to reschedule the bikini wax that was cancelled in March. Well…I started off. To tell you the truth…

At some point I will go back, because I really like Tracey and I really like that little local business. Maybe next month. Just because I can do it myself doesn’t mean I really want to.

Pandemic Reading 

I first read this for my book club, in the early 2000s, and it has sat on my shelf ever since. Time for a re-read! It is excellent; I love books with such intertwined characters and timelines. This was Zadie Smith’s debut; it is fascinating to me when an author starts her career with such an incredible work of art. It’s a very clever and witty look into culture and race, and I highly recommend it.

Have a beautiful week, friends. xo


  1. LYSOL. I saw the photo in my feed reader and it was like being in middle school and catching a glimpse of a boy I liked. THERE IT/HE IS. And the gel sanitizer looks very similar to the one I finally found at the grocery store on my last trip. That same almost water-bottley look.

    I love “We are learning new things and saving money!”

  2. I lucked into two bottles of hand sanitizer today and felt like I won the lottery! Still no Lysol or wipes, sadly. I finally broke down and dyed my hair a week or so ago, but only after I had secured a back up kit.

  3. The return of the hand sanitizer! I snapped up a bottle — the ONLY bottle, at some egregious but worth it price — when I saw it a couple of weeks ago at the grocery store. Perhaps there will be more when I return this weekend! One can hope.

    You are a brave brave woman, with the home bikini waxing.

  4. ‘Not all heroes wear capes’- so funny. I get a bikini wax annually for pool season but I have been managing without since I might only scare my pool-mate racoon. Word is our pool will open July 3rd. Bikini wax is my least fav thing to do, but I embrace it knowing I am one step closer to the pool. On my own- no sirree. You clearly come from tough stock.

    My absent minded hoarding of hand sanitizer that I discovered in Jan when I cleaned my kitchen drawers is dwindling. I might need to add it to my shopping list.

    I am currently reading ‘The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek’ and cannot put it down!

  5. Here what we’ve learned is hair cutting and shaving (well, Beth and North have learned it, as they have become each other’s hair stylists). I thought we’d learn bake bread, but despite the sourdough starter we got from a friend and the yeast Beth finally found at the store, no bread has been baked.

    I think saving has mainly come in the form of cancelled camps, vacations, etc.

  6. “really, this whole blog lost delicacy many years ago, if ever it had it” hhahahahahahha laughing too hard for any other comments

  7. Lysol and gel sanitizer? That’s like winning the lottery!

    Our salons opened a while ago, but still, I’ve not gone in for my waxing as I realize it’s not mandatory.

    Also, I’m 7 weeks behind in my haircut and highlights….apparently, I’m one of those people now who can let themselves go.

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