Coffee heat rising

Of Groceries and Gates

The major grocery chains in lovely Arizona are posting special Old Folks’ early-morning shopping hours on certain weekdays, by way of minimizing covid exposures to the most vulnerable segment of our population. If you’re 65 or older, you get to make a dawn shopping trip in a low-population store.

So yesterday, armed with shopping lists from the Old Folks (who are literally locked up in the Agèd Rabbit Warren Arms) and from WonderAccountant, who as you can imagine has her nose on the proverbial grindstone. Out the door in the wee-hours darkness, I arrive at AJs as the door opens, a little before 5 a.m.

Me and a bunch of other old buzzards.

We dodder around the store and pick up…uhmmm…whatever is left. I managed to find almost all the stuff I needed, which wasn’t very much, and the couple of small items for WonderAccountant were on hand. But finding the loot that Joan had ordered up was a whole ‘nother story.

She wanted eggs, preferably boiled. There were none. Nothing, zero: no eggs at all.

Whipped topping: I did find some of the squirt-on stuff. Not sure that’s what she wanted, but that’s what they had left.

1/2 gallon lactose-free milk. She was in luck: no one wants lactose-free milk, so there were two cartons there; otherwise, nary a drop of milk in the dairy cabinet.

Speaking of the which, I wanted a container of heavy cream: no such thing.

Pepperoni pizza for Lee: after much searching I finally found one. Didn’t look very good — frozen. They usually get one of those huge freshly made numbers from Costco. I fear he will not be happy with this factory…thing.

Large bag frozen blueberries: not a frozen berry of any variety in the entire store. I grab a package of fresh blueberries, which will last them all of, oh, probably one breakfast. Better than nothing, I hope.

Cat food: managed to find a couple cans of stuff (looked like one serving apiece, weirdly enough) and a bag of kibblish stuff, neither of which I believe their cat will eat. Also got a roll of Freshpet cat food — Freshpet, apparently, is so overpriced as pet food goes that no one will buy it even if it does look like their furbaby is going to starve. Otherwise: that cupboard was bare.

I was able to find all the things I wanted except the cream:  tea, Jet Dry, avocadoes, coconut-flavored paletes, lettuce — so felt pretty smug about that.

Okay, so after I got the WonderAccountants’ items delivered to them, I called Lee and told him I was on the way down to the Beatitudes with their loot.

You simply would NOT have believed… When I’ve yammered “prison guards” in earlier communications, I imagined I was joking.


They had THREE barricades for you to get through. First you have to get past the gate guard. To do that, you’re diverted into a parking lot where TWO guards give you the third degree, quizzing you with about a dozen questions as to your health, your reason for being there, your whereabouts over the past two weeks, your international travel, your local travel, and on and on. They take your temperature — with a thermometer that doesn’t work: it registered something like 96, and I happen to know my temp that morning was 98.0, which is elevated for me…my normal temp is around 97. (Admittedly, I was having a hot flash when I took it myself, but usually hot flashes don’t make any difference in your thermometer-type temperature).

Then you get back in your car and drive up to the front, which they’ve barricaded with tables. There you are once again ordered to state your business. I was able to drop off the groceries with the worthies manning this barrier and get back on my way. Later Joan called and said they’d received them.

Later in the day, the guy I contracted with to install a new gate to replace the tumbledown thing Satan and Proserpine left behind, all these years ago, showed up to install it. He did a beautiful job! I’m thrilled! Now instead of the rotting wood thing that dragged on the ground, we have a fine metal-framed number with indestructible fake wood stuff as paneling, and it has A DEADBOLT!!!

Which brings us to the true, 24-karat gold holy shit! moment of the day….

Once he got the gate hung, he found the deadbolt they’d supplied him was defective. A part inside was bent. So he decided to schlep to the Depot to pick up a new one.

The guy is gone the better part of the afternoon. He finally shows up and installs a deadbolt that works like it was made of silicone. It’s a very nice piece of hardware, and he extracted five keys so I would have them for my son, Gerardo, Luz, myself, and an extra.

What took him so long at the Depot was…they are letting only fifty people into the store at any time! 

He said they make you stand on a spot outside the door and wait your turn to go in the door. Can you imagine?

While he was here, he remarked on the black granules that washed (or were beaten) off the roofing shingles during the latest storm. He lives right around the corner (!!  Close enough that his little girl rode past on her bike while he was working!), and he said they had hail over there. I said I thought it sounded like hail, but I couldn’t see any ice on the ground. He said it was kind of slushy and didn’t last long.

Hm. So I called George the Insurance Dude, who recommended a roofer to come inspect.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll get another new roof out of this!

This gate thing is very pleasing. The incumbent was decrepit when I moved in and had devolved to “tumbledown.” Getting it open and closed was a chore — and the cops having kicked it apart in pursuit of Matthew the Garage Invader didn’t help it.

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So at any rate, I made a nice discovery in the course of today’s adventures: Hitting the grocery store before dawn cracks is a GOOD thing, not the PITA one would assume.

This kinda pot

Seriously. I was home by 5:40, with the grocery pickup done for three households. That meant I had the whole rest of the day, UNINTERRUPTED, to do more interesting things, among them paying work. The stuff I wanted and needed to do was not, after all, interrupted by the annoying time-sucking shopping chore.

One project: I bought two of those little heads of butter lettuce that come in a plastic box with the roots still on, sitting in a little depression with some water in it. (One actually was a mix of loose-leaf varieties.) Some years ago, Iearned that those things will grow if you stick one of them in the dirt, with a few leaves remaining on the head. Soooo…I pruned a bagful of leaves off the things, then took the pretty new Mexican pots that I’d intended to use for decorative cacti, filled them with potting soil, and stuck the little guys in there. If they take root, I’ll have two handy-dandy heads of lettuce right outside the back door.

§ § §

Later in the day,  it dawned on me that I’d made a MAJORLY mistake. Took those keys from our Gate Guy, the ones he’d had made at the Home Depot, marked them for what they’re for, put them away…and failed to wash my hands. Dawned on me as I was sitting here with my hands…where? on my face, of course. Ohhh shit.

Well, let’s hope he managed to escape HD without getting exposed. So far the covid infections have been mostly in the East Valley, I think. As of yesterday, we had 251 cases in the county, if which 15 were on the ASU campus. As of two days ago, 17 people had been hospitalized, and 1 had died. There were 26 cases on the Navajo, most of them in Chilchinbeto, which is beyond remote. On the other hand, of late some guy flew in to Sky Harbor on a jetliner with it.

George (Insurance Dude) recommended a roofer, who perked right up when it was proposed he should inspect the roof. 😀 The guy just e-mailed to inquire about contact info…sent him the fone number and address.

How kewl would it be if I can extract another $10,000 roof from the insurance company? Holy mackerel! That would make the roof last longer than I will, which means one fewer maintenance headache for the duration of my time in this house. THIS time, though, if we get away with this I’m going to ask to have a light color. The stuff they showed me last time was all pretty dark, which is brain-banging stupid in Arizona.

The fascia board on the roof thingie in front has what looks like dry rot (gulp! termite damage???), so while he’s here I can get him to look at that. If they have the roof off, they should be able to fix that then, and maybe even that cost can be foisted on the insurance company.

So, that which doesn’t kill you fills up every minute of your day.

Life proceeds, in spite of it all.

3 thoughts on “Of Groceries and Gates”

  1. I know you’re relieved to finally have that old gate replaced with the very nice new one. Especially since you seem to have more than your fair share of unwanted visitors.
    So you had to pass through three “barriers” just to drop off your friends’ groceries? At least they are being vigilant. I hope the “guards” were polite, at least.
    Having to wait to get into Home Depot? Wow! I go to HD about twice in a five-year stretch. Thank Goodness!
    Good luck with the roof. Once again, I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with things like that. ;o)

  2. That new gate is very pretty and it is nice to have one that is easy to use. Our gate latch wasn’t working easily and my husband wanted to replace it. Luckily I remembered that we had bought a new one for replacement a while ago. After hearing your story, I wouldn’t want to go to Home Depot now. I can’t stand and wait in line very long without my hip hurting.
    I told my mom who lives in Washington that WalMart has senior hours from 6:00 am to 7:00 am. She said that is too early for old people(she is 92) to go out and too cold(it was 33 at 8:00). I said since my husband was still working and we get up at 3:30 for him to go to work, I’ve been up a long time by 6:00. She is having a hard time staying home, as my sister says: she(my mom) lives alone in a cold, cluttered dirty house with no one to come see her.

    • Thanks. 🙂 The photo actually shows the back gate (same design, but no deadbolt), because I was too lazy to get up and photograph the new one… {sigh}

      LOL! 5 a.m. is a little early for me, too! Fortunately, though, I tend to enjoy ole-lady insomnia, which entails waking up at 4…so it was just a matter of not going back to sleep. With half the shelves bare or nearly so, though, I wondered if it was worth the trip.

      I guess some people are really bothered by the stay-at-home regimen. Because I work out of my home (or wherever I happen to be), it doesn’t bother me. BUT…my house is pleasant and I do have help maintaining it. Laid off the cleaning lady the minute the plague started to spread — she has several clients, & so I figured I didn’t want her bringing whatever hitchhiking microbes they might have into my house. But the outside work is still farmed out.

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