Coffee heat rising

Shopping in the Age of Covid

Dunno whether it’s old age, the effects of the present ailment, or what: these days a Costco junket with a side trip to Home Depot is demoralizing and exhausting. Made what I expected to be a quick trip to Costco to pick up the new reading glasses, figuring also to grab a few items on the accruing Costco List.

First though, I had to wait for Gerardo & Crew to show up to prune several large trees than grew amok over the summer, and so… Before I could get out the door for the shopping project, one of my two clotheslines broke when I hung up a freshly laundered bedsheet. Can’t complain about that: it’s been ten years since I installed them, and I do use them once or twice a week. But dayum! So now I needed to buy some new clothesline rope.

Costco wasn’t even very crowded. But…a-a-a-z-z-z usual the store abounded with nitwits who get in front of you, trundle along in the center of the aisle so you can’t get around them, and take their sweet time. One lady was saved from a looming homicide by the extreme cuteness and charm of the two kids she had with her…otherwise, the world would be short one road-hog by now…

Been needing to buy a new set of sheets for quite some time. Mine are still fine, but they’re getting old…and it was one of those sheets that got thrown on the ground when the clothesline snapped, thereby reminding me that I really should splurge for an extra set. Just in case.

Seventy bucks for a set of Costco’s not-quite-fanciest 100% cotton queen-size sheets!

Even more for the sweaty uncomfortable synthetic blend sheets: eighty bucks for one brand and ninety for another. Jeez, guys…rayon’s not actually made of gold…

Anyway, that about doubled the cost of that junket.

Of course, Costco does not carry small items like clothesline rope. (You expected a bear?) So to get that, I had to stop at Home Depot on the way home.

The place was almost empty. How they stay open escapes me. Personally, I’ve come to truly hate shopping there. If I can order it through Amazon, I will. But I really didn’t want to wait a day or three to do the laundry, so decided to zip in and grab a skein of the stuff.

Every time I go in there, I’m reminded of how much I hate hate hate computer checkout stands. HD has now pretty much eliminated all their human checkout clerks, except for one hapless lady in the garden department. To get the clothesline rope, you have to hike all the way to aisle 18 — which is damn near to the fencing departmenttrudge up aisle 18 halfway to the back of the store, search up and down till you find the stuff shelved down near the floor, then turn around and hike all the way back to the garden department to find a living, breathing check-out clerk.

Really. There’s a Target and a Dollar Store just down the road from Costco. I should have gone into one of those places to get the damn clothesline. Or done what I originally thought to do: Order. It. From. Amazon!!!

Further annoyance awaited: As part of my covid-avoidance strategy, I wash every damn piece of produce in Dawn detergent and wipe down every damn plastic bottle & package with disinfectant before bringing it in the kitchen.

This is what we had to do when we lived in Arabia, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. And every time I repeat this “new”routine, I think my poor mother! What must she have thought when she first learned she would be spending the next ten years with this kinda routine? Then I think, Goddamnit, we’re living in a frikkin’ Third-World country today. When we came back to the states in the late 1950s, no American ever dreamt of submerging every bit of produce in skin-searing detergent before you could put it away. Or, as my mother had to do once or twice every week of the ten years we spent overseas, dipping every piece in Clorox. Because, whoop-de-doo, we were a First-World country!

But moving on.

Finally ensconced in the house with the garage door shut behind me, I felt dirty…like a dusting of viruses no doubt had settled upon my clothes as I trudged through those vast, warehousey stores. So decided to throw what I had on into the washer, along with the rest of the colored clothes. This added a load of laundry to be hung up to dry (on the rack in the garage) to the tasks of cleansing the day’s purchases and cooking dinner.

In short order, Ruby comes tearing out through the garage and shoots out the side door in a screaming frenzy: ARF ARF GRRRRROWWWWLLL ARF ARF ARF GRRRRR ARFETY ARF ARRRRFFF! Some alien force is operating in the alley!!!!!

Cripes. Now there I yam in my lady BVDs, having just shucked off my jeans, shirt, & socks and thrown them in the wash. Chase the dog to the back fence, sneak up, peer over the wall… Two guys are out there digging up one of the fire-hydrant-size Cox gadgets that sits in the alley.

Poor fellas. They have a couple of shovels that they’re pounding away with. That dirt out there has been packed down with a steam-roller. It’s about the consistency of concrete. Periodically they (or someone) knocks the Internet connection off line…so it’s anyone’s guess whether this grutch will go online today.

{sigh} Really should get up and stretch a length of that clothesline out there. But that will entail dragging the ladder around from the far side of the house, through the swimming-pool gate, and then dragging it back. To say nothing of climbing on it. The hapless sheet has gone through the dryer and is now put away. The new sheets can wait for another day for their first laundering. It’s four in the afternoon… Feels like it’s about 9 p.m., and I sure wish it were because what I’d like right now is to go back to bed and sleep straight through to the usual wake-up hour, 3 ayem.

Amazonian Frenzy!

Okay, so here we are in the comfort of our backyard, ordering up junk from Amazon from the comfort of our laptop computer. 😀 What a rip! The prices take your breath away…for ordinary items that you would blithely buy in a supermarket or drugstore.  Like $25 (+, +) for a couple of three-ounce tubes of the sunscreen demanded by the dermatologist.

Twenty bucks for a pack of three tiny little tubes of Lanacane, now almost out of stock because benzocaine, the ingredient that actually WORKS, has been taken off the market because a few morons smeared the stuff on their teething infants’ gums. They get stupid: the rest of us get to pay the price for it.

On the other hand, $13.99 for twenty pounds of wild bird seed, on offer from Walmart for $15.37.

Interesting. Did you know Walmart does free delivery on orders over $35? It’s iffy, though. When it comes to groceries, fresh produce is not included, and a lot of staple items (salt, for example) are only available for pick-up.

Even though I’d sure rather not pay to have this, that, and the other delivered to the house, it sure beats risking your life to go into a grocery store. Or worse, risking the annoyance of your Honored Son who has told you to stay the heck out of grocery stores. 😀

I must get to work. A wannabe client surfaced with a document he described as a grant application. Clearly he’d never before enjoyed writing any such thing (what…uhm, fun that is), so in addition to the language issues, there are basic problems with the document itself. Like, for example…it needs to be rewritten from top to bottom. And…since your project is already completed, what are you asking them to fund?

When I realized this, I quoted a rate of 8 cents a word, which is wayyy low for what is required. A squawk of agonized protest arose. He’s running late on a deadline and cannot understand why I won’t do it for a fraction of that. I explained that a copyeditor is not a ghostwriter. When I have to write a document for someone, I get something more like 30 cents a word — and that’s for book-length documents. Wouldn’t touch a magazine article for under 50 cents a word. And even that is low, if it’s coming out under a client’s by-line.

So it’s back and forth. He’s pretty desperate — up against a tight deadline. Allllright…so yesterday he sent some new copy that I suggested. Today somehow I’ll have to try to make this thing look like a convincing plea for money.

Off at dawn for about a mile of doggy-walk. The plan now is to split the desired two miles of daily exercise-walking between the pre-dawn hour and the after-dusk hour. It looks like it may work, to some degree.

Last night we encountered only two dogs — the same couple who have the lab and the pit bull. Luckily, I spotted them from a good distance off, and so stopped and waited for them to amble on up Feeder Street N/S. Otherwise, we had the streets of Richistan to ourselves.

This morning the only dog we encountered was the beloved and goofy Sammy, the adopted mutt of a couple who live to the north of us, on the po’ folks’ side of Feeder St. N/S. Sammy, who is the funniest-looking dog you’ve ever seen, with curly blond hair all over his bouncy body and…blond eyes. Yes! His eyes match the blond color of his fur!

So he’s a great pal of Ruby’s, and I enjoy his humans.

This may work out well, at least until it gets hot and more people are walking their dogs in cooler hours.

Later today I have to call Gerardo and see if he and his guys are OK. Yesterday evening whilst perusing the evening Play-Newz, I came across a report of a truck that crashed into a dentist’s office, over on the other side of North Central. Gerardo and his cousins live north of that area and slightly to the West, so he would have been headed off to work at about this time. And this thing looks exactly like his rig. I would put money on it that we’re lookin’ at his truck and trailer there.

If so, he’s out of business, at least for the time being. Sure hope he’s insured.

One of our fellow homicidal drivers ran the red light at that intersection. Two other vehicles crashed trying to avoid the collision.

We’ll find out in due time. It’s only 9 on a Sunday morning. He has religion, so will be rounding up his kids to drag them off to church at this hour…unless like mine, his church has not suspended services for the duration. Kinda doubt it, though…think he subscribes to some evangelical Prod denomination of the fanatically missionary persuasion.