The Evolution of Shopping

12 Apr

I wrote a little while ago about how my shopping experience went when I had to go to Bosley’s to buy cat food. It was odd, but not in an unmanageable way.

This past Thursday I went to Safeway and experienced the next step in the evolution of grocery shopping. The week prior I was all icked out when I went to that Safeway because people weren’t social distancing within the store, it seemed crowded, and I was uncomfortable enough that I left before getting everything I needed.

This past Thursday I went back and oh how things have changed!

First there was the line up to get in…

April 11 2020

I don’t know why I was surprised by the line-up, I’d be hearing all week about stores having lines, I guess I just didn’t think this Safeway would since it didn’t have one a week prior. It was a nice spring evening and the line moved fairly quickly. There isn’t a sign saying how many people are allowed in the store, just that a “limited number” of customers are allowed in, which makes me wonder how the guard at the door knows when to let people in and when to make them wait.

You might be thinking he lets people inside when people inside the shop come out but no, that wasn’t always the case. I’ve decided to not think about it too much, like any of us need another thing to stress about?

Once inside I eventually noticed the aisles are all one way, like in Ikea. Arrows on the ground showing which way to walk as well as hanging on the signs at the start of each aisle. I didn’t notice at first, so I may have gone the wrong direction in an aisle or two, in my defence, I am not the only one who did that!

The shelves were looking a little sad. The combination of a sale and it being later in the day meant a lot of stuff was gone. I found it interesting that when I noticed there was only a small amount of a product left I would think about buying it, even if it was something I don’t normally buy. Like the baked beans. I haven’t bought those in years but seeing the shelves so low in stock made me wonder if I should. Does everybody else know a secret I don’t about what food I should be buying right now?

Luckily I came to my senses and stuck with buying my normal food items. No point in stocking up on things I don’t eat.

April 11 2020 a

I should have taken a picture of the produce, so many things were moldy, or wrinkled and almost no good anymore. Isn’t it better to have no produce for sale than produce gone bad? The quality of the produce has me buying more and more frozen fruit and veg…which was another area that was scarily low on stock.

The internet is exploding with people baking bread, which ok, I guess if you’re in self-isolation and have time to kill why not? One of the aisles had yeast for sale and it was packaged like this…

April 11 2020 b

I don’t know if that is a normal price for yeast but I’m fairly certain that is not the normal packaging for the yeast. I admit, I bought some, not because I have some overwhelming desire to bake bread but because the bread section was scarily low in stock, I bought one of the last loaves. Maybe my baking bread will have to become a thing, I hope not, but better to be prepared, right?

Eggs were still out of stock, sigh, but I was able to find vanilla for a friend who couldn’t find any when she was shopping. That turned out well because when she was shopping today she found eggs for me, yay!

This might be the new way of shopping, see what you can find not only for you but your friends, and they will do the same, and everyone will swap items. I figure if we combine what the grocery store near me has, and what the grocery store near my friend has, we can almost always find the items we want. It is an odd system but it seems to be working for us so far.

Something I noticed in the store are people being much better at social distancing while inside. Whether it is because the aisles are one way only, or because there are only so many of us inside at a time, or we are all scared of being near someone and getting sick, there was a decent amount of space between people. If I needed something and a person was in the same area I’d stand back and wait until they moved on before I reached for what I wanted, and others did the same. It made me feel a bit rushed in having to pick items from the shelves but I’d rather be a bit rushed because I know someone is waiting their turn than have that person come up beside me.

We are all going to become this cat…

april 11 2020 c

Cats Are Gonna Cat

8 Apr

Today started with Striker meowing at me incessantly until I got out of bed. I thought he needed something, like food maybe, but what he actually wanted was to steal my bed.

He didn’t even pretend to look ashamed at his underhandedness.

Then at work I saw something amazing! The African Violet I repotted and I was sure hated me is showing signs of flowering. A miracle if ever there was one!

When I got home from work I had a card waiting for me, which actually means Striker got an envelope in the mail that he allowed me to have the contents of.

My day is bookended by the cat…seems about right!

A Salute

6 Apr

I caught the tail end of a salute from the firefighters for the essential workers getting us through this pandemic.

The RCMP send two cruisers past my work at 7pm and do the short siren sound, and the people in the neighbourhood come out and make a lot of noise.

Of course I had seen this mentioned online pretty much everywhere but until I heard it for myself I didn’t see why it was a big deal. I’ve experienced it twice now and it turns out it is a big deal. The people I see making the noise look so happy, you’d think they were cheering for their favourite sports team or celebrity, they are that excited.

For me, even though I don’t consider myself an important front line worker, not like a doctor or a nurse or a paramedic, I felt appreciated for the work I am doing, and it was nice.

So for those of you out there making the noise at 7pm, please keep it going, it matters. 🙂

How I Navigate

5 Apr

I was explaining to a friend at work this evening my route from work to my place and she couldn’t stop laughing. She says she wished she had recorded it because it was funny and should be shared.

Since we are all needing a bit of humour right now I thought I’d share it here, though I don’t see why it’s so funny. 🤷‍♀️

I exit the underground parkade and turn left, then I turn right and end up on whatever road that is. I drive straight for a while, pass the first chance to get on a highway, the road will eventually go down to one lane each direction, then there will be an intersection where if I turn left I go onto a smaller highway I can’t remember the number of or I turn right onto a street with a different name.

I turn left onto the highway. I quickly get up to 70km because there is a steep hill right away. Once I get to the top and start on my way down I have to be careful to not go too far over the speed limit because the cops like to hide along that road and give tickets.

I’ll pass a gas station on my left that has a Tim Horton’s in it. The speed will go up to 80km and just as you’re settling in you have to go down to 60km because you are nearing shops again. By the time you get to the busy intersection with the pharmacy on the left and the Husky with the cheapest gas on the right you’re down to 50km, which sucks.

Keep following the road, oh so slowly. On my right I’ll pass a bee sanctuary / honey shop, a curling rink, a community centre attached to the curling rink, and an outside skateboard park, then I’ll be back to large empty fields on either side of the road.

Once I’m back to empty fields the speed goes back up to 80km. I’ll want to get and maintain at least that because there is a large hill to get up. Top of the hill I need to immediately slow down because there is a busy intersection.

Go through the intersection and take the entrance on my right to get onto a large highway, it might be the 1? Maybe the 10? I’m not really sure.

Follow that for ages. It will branch off to the right multiple times, always keep to the left. Eventually I’ll be at exit 26, or maybe it’s 25? Either way, I know the street name, so get off at my exit, drive straight for a bit and turn left at the street past the little mini shopping centre that has the Subway.

Go through one roundabout, past the elementary school on my left, straight through another round about, take the third exit of the third roundabout, go up the hill, place is on the right, third building from corner.

And that is how I navigate.

Isn’t that how everyone does it? 🤔

A New Way To Shop

3 Apr

Even before the pandemic my preferred way to shop was online, though there were always some items that had to be bought in person. I found it irritating that not every single item I wanted to buy couldn’t easily be purchased online, and now here we are, buying most things online and it is some sort of treat to be able to go to a shop. Weird huh?

Cat food is one of those items I have to buy in a shop because Striker, my Cat Overlord, is incredibly food picky and will only eat one flavour, of one brand, that can only be bought at one specific store. Well, chain of stores technically.

At work yesterday I used part of my break to run across the street to Bosley’s so I could buy Striker his food since stores close early now and I can’t always get to them before closing if I go after work.

bosleys

Pre-pandemic pic. Before the front doors were covered with warning signs.

When I got there I read the sign on the door saying customers are not allowed in the aisles and that staff will assist them. Then I got inside and learned all the new rules of shopping in this era of social distancing.

I had to wait just inside the door while a staff member hollered out hello to me from the counter, as he put on gloves he asked me what I wanted. I described the cat food I needed and he went and hunted it down. While I waited I glanced around, all the aisles had caution tape strung in front of them as a visual reminder that customers are not allowed in the aisles. In fact, they were only allowing one customer at the till, and one by the door, anybody else would have to wait outside. They had two staff working so that big ‘ol store is allowing a max of 4 people in it at a time. Impressive.

When he found the cat food he said I could come near the till so I followed the tape markings on the floor and moved farther in to the shop. I told him the two other items I needed, I was picking up items for two people at work cause I’m a friendly sort, he went and grabbed those, I paid by tapping my payment card since they don’t accept cash, and was done.

The only things in there that I touched were the items I bought, talk about a stress free way to shop!  I think it saved me money because I like to wander the pet store and usually come away with a treat of some type for Striker but for my friend, who I bought litter for, it cost her a bit more than normal. See, she needed cat litter, she said to buy a small bag of whatever the cheapest brand was. That is exactly what I told the gentleman working. The bag he picked was rather large and when I asked him about it he said it was only fifty cents more than the size down and was such a better deal. I can’t exactly argue with his choice since I can’t see the options so I went with it.

I don’t mind this new way of shopping, I knew what I wanted, it was easy and relatively fast, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such dedicated service in a shop, but it feels odd to not be able to see all the options and choose for myself. We are so often inundated with too many options, now that I can’t see any of them I wonder what is hiding over on those shelves, in that aisle, that I am forbidden to enter…the curiosity is real!

apr 3 2020

 

Three Days After Self-Isolation Ended

31 Mar

I have been back in the world for 3 days now and my biggest wish is to go back in self-isolation.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

The world is different, which sounds dramatic, but it is. There are way less vehicles on the road, and more joggers on the sidewalk. I think gyms might want to be careful, this experience might convince people they really don’t need a gym to stay in shape! lol

My first day out of self-isolation I headed to work. On the few times I had been out during my self-isolation I had never gone faster than a quick walk; I like walking but I really missed driving. On my route to work I passed by a Covid-19 Emergency Response area that was being put up and guarded by RCMP. Not gonna lie, it made me super anxious. I was alright until then, so ya know, a whole 10 minutes in to my drive.  Seeing those tents, which look so innocuous on the video I took the next day, made me freak a little.

I’ve watched outbreak movies, I know what those white tents mean!

I know that just because my self-isolation was ending things were not better, heck, we haven’t reached the peak of horrible yet, but it felt that my being allowed out again meant things must be ok. I know that’s stupid, it’s just how it felt. Seeing what they were prepping for really brought it home to me that things are not ok. Which intellectually I had known but now felt deep down.

Which has done nothing for my anxiety levels the last three days. I’m not normally a super anxious human, and am fairly decent in the emergency situations I have been a responder to, but this, nuh-uh, I’m not enjoying how this is making me feel.

My first shift back was an evening shift which means I got fed dinner. Now remember, I get spoiled at work by the food, and that first dinner back was no exception!

March 31b

Crab cake with asparagus, yam fries, side salad, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Can’t go wrong with that!

In amongst the anxious moments normal things are happening also.

Like the plants I re-potted. I took them to work that first day back and they now live on my window sill. They join the African violet that was re-potted prior to my self-isolation and that a friend at work took care of for me while I couldn’t. The middle plant doesn’t look like it is doing well in this picture but it has opened it’s leaves a lot since settling in and seems ok. I don’t know how to tell if they are happy so I’m going by the premise that they aren’t dead so they can’t be that miserable.

March 31c

There was a surprise on my window sill when I got back, someone is trying to grow an avocado…

March 31d

She came and got it fresh water and I have added it to my list of things that need tended to when I’m at work. We don’t know if it will grow but it doesn’t hurt to have a random project on the go.

There is also the new dog that moved in while I was away that is scared of everyone and everything.

March 31a

Poor little guy. I hope he settles in soon…mostly because I want to pick him up and cuddle him! lol

A friend at work had his birthday yesterday and was kinda bummed because he originally had a trip planned for it, which obviously hasn’t happened. So we got him a cute cupcake and a couple other treats to try to cheer him up.

march 31

For the most part that’s been it. There is no such thing as a social life right now, so I go to work and come home. I had a Netflix Party with a friend yesterday, we watched a movie together. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be thanks to the chat feature on the side of the screen. Will definitely be doing that again!

I’ve had one trip in to a grocery store (for the above cupcake) and don’t want to go back. People weren’t spacing themselves very well, I was definitely closer to people than I was supposed to be, or was comfortable being, and all I could think when I got out was I want a shower. Which is exactly what I did, as soon as I got home I jumped in the shower and realized it did not take long for me to become a germaphobe.

The only fun thing I have to look forward to for the remainder of the week is that tomorrow is April Fool’s Day and a friend and I planned a bit of a trick on a third friend at work, I can’t wait to see the result!

Be safe out there everyone, wash your hands, and stay at least the length of a hockey stick away from people, or if you want to be extra careful, the length of a moose, cause that’s how we measure things in Canada! 😉

 

Self Isolation Day 14: Almost The End

28 Mar

Today was my final day of self-isolation, I made it!

day 14

For the most part I didn’t mind having to self-isolate, I lean towards introverted and often wish I could stay in my apartment for days on end with zero contact with the outside world.

The constraints of self-isolation came from (1) watching news footage showing the world becoming sicker by the day, (2) not having the choice to go out or not, I’m fine with staying in all day everyday if it is my choice, take that choice away and I get cranky, (3) stress about wages, and friend’s wages, the economy in general, and (4) worry about my parents and my Uncle, who are in the age range that makes Covid19 especially dangerous.

I started my self-isolation about a week or so before most of my friend’s were told to self-isolate, so that first week was especially odd because my texts with friends had them out living their life and me inside feeling like I’m contributing nothing to the world. The second week most of them were self-isolating also, which oddly made me feel a bit better, like we are all in this weird chaotic situation together.

Tomorrow I go back to work, in the outside world, and I’m not looking forward to it all that much. Not only has 2 weeks of staying in my pajamas until noon, cat cuddles throughout the day, afternoon naps, and making my own schedule spoiled me, it has also ruined my sleep schedule which means tomorrow is pretty much going to suck.

9:45am I work via Zoom at my part-time job, that part is fine. Heck, I did that last Sunday, from the waist up I was business casual, from the waist down I was pajamas and slippers, and I had a lovely mug of tea with me. That experience right there makes me want to work from home full-time, if anyone knows of a way I can do that hit me up! However, after that is done I have to make all of me business casual and head on over to White Rock for my full-time job, I work a 1pm-9pm shift.

This means I will be working from 9:45am to 9pm, granted with a break to drive an hour to get to work, with zero cat cuddles, or naps, or YouTube breaks. It’s practically inhumane! Why did humans ever let themselves get roped in to working outside of the home for such long hours, away from their pets, and their pajamas? It is a flawed system my friends, flawed.

It is the system we are in though, and tomorrow I slide back in to it.

Some things I noticed while in self-isolation, the days that mirrored a somewhat normal day from the Before Time, are the days I felt most normal. For instance, yesterday was a fairly normal Friday for me since it is my usual day off, I did the things I normally do on Fridays (laundry etc.). Same with today, I cleaned the apartment, did my budgeting (every two weeks like clockwork!), did some work stuff for my part-time job to be prepped for tomorrow. Also, that first week, when I was still allowed outside for walks, I had a routine that I settled in to nicely, and that routine helped me feel like things were somewhat normal, just a new normal, dare I say, a somewhat better normal? Seriously, how can I work from home for real?

The days I let any type of routine or schedule lapse are the days I got nothing done, felt cut off from the world, and also felt the most bleak about the situation in general. A good way to counter that is to do something that lets you feel in control, at least that helped me. It can be something that actually does need to be done, like working on your budgeting, or something that you now have the time to do, that deep clean of the kitchen cupboards. Whatever it is, a task helps keep your brain occupied while you are performing it and helps you feel like your little corner of the world isn’t going completely nuts because you’ve got a handle on some little part of it.

To all of you who are still self-isolating, rock on! You are performing an essential service to your community, by staying inside you are making sure those people that have to go outside are safer. To all of you still working outside your homes, be safe, maintain distance between others the best you are able, and wash your hands every chance you get. For me, I’m going back to my seniors, to help them through the rest of this pandemic, I’ll be with my work team doing our best to keep Covid19 out of our building…and really missing my mid-day cat cuddles.

day14 a

Self Isolation Day 13: Almost Done

27 Mar

Today is my last Friday in self-isolation, who knew 14 days could go by so slowly! Fridays are one of my regular days off so I spent today doing things I would normally do on a Friday.

Laundry, general tidying up, cuddling the cat, chillin, running a quick errand…

Yup, you read that right, I went out in to the world! Freeeeeeedom!…sorta…

I had an errand that had to be done before the weekend that I classified as essential, which means I got to go outside! I chose to walk to the shop and even though it was rainy, and a tad chilly, it was lovely. There was hardly anyone around, which I guess proves in my neighbourhood social distancing and self-isolation is being done, or everyone had left the neighbourhood so it just appeared that way lol I think that a lot of people were around, tucked safely inside their houses, as on my walk there and back I saw a decent number of people popping out on to their front steps for a quick breath of fresh air, and who can blame them?

day 13

I hadn’t realized until I got outside that the cherry blossoms are in bloom, so pretty.

It was eerie walking to the shop and passing all those closed businesses. I understand and support them being closed, and even judged this one shop that was open that I don’t think could classify itself as essential, but the more closed signs I saw the more I wondered where all those workers are and what they are doing and how they are coping with their work being closed. I hope their employers are treating them well during all this.

The shop I went to had tape on the floor in each aisle, showing you how far apart you need to stand to be at a safe distance, like there is really a safe distance?

day 13a

They even had these barriers put up so you and the person working at the counter can’t breathe on each other, or really see each other. There is a little cut out for items to be passed through, and bags on your side so you can bag your own items. I wish I’d gotten a picture of that but in the moment it seemed rude to take one.

After I got home normal Friday things commenced. I started laundry, put the items I bought away, called my mother for cooking advice. What strayed from the norm is instead of deciding the cooking was too hard and ordering in I actually followed through and cooked. Again. This is almost becoming a habit!

I made Tuna Broccoli Pie, almost. That is what it was supposed to be, and I did follow the spirit of the recipe but (1) I cut it in half because it makes two pies and there is only one of me and (2) I didn’t have enough broccoli so I used different veggies.

Oh, and (3) I only had white cheese so instead of a lovely orange cheese layer on top mine looks sickly and gross because I used too much white cheese, but hey, use what ya got!

I got the recipe from my mom, I asked her for a recipe that uses a frozen pie crust as I have a bunch of them in my freezer and I don’t have the ingredients needed to make a dessert pie. Growing up we used to eat this, I want to say frequently but I really don’t know how often she made it. It is one of those dishes that you can eat hot but it is just as good cold so it is great for left overs. I mostly remember eating it cold in the summer  with a side salad. I intended to replicate that, only eat it hot, but then I realized I don’t have the fixings for a salad and can’t pop out to buy them so in the end all I ate was two slices of the pie.

The ingredients are: egg, milk, miracle whip, mustard, flaked tuna, vegetables (I used broccoli, snap peas, and beans, all chopped up), the pie crust, and of course the cheese for the top. You can skip the cheese if you don’t want it.

Ok, now I want you to brace yourself because it does not look good at all, but it really does end up being tasty, I promise!

day 13b

All you can really see is that I put too much cheese on top and the vegetables are sticking out. The crust browned beautifully!

I was so sure it was going to taste gross because (1) tuna, and (2) my mom cooks way better than I, recipes she makes that taste great I try and they flop, so my hopes were not high.

Which means I was even more pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite and liked it enough to not need any condiments for it, and even went back for a second slice! It’s always nice when dinner turns out to be edible, especially when you use a hot commodity ingredient like an egg!

Self Isolation Day 12: A Day of Leisure

26 Mar

I slept so much of today away I would consider it a waste of a day, except I had nothing to do today soooo not like I missed out on something by sleeping.

I initially woke up at 7am, which is disturbing, so like any sane person I rolled over and went back to sleep. With Striker’s approval of course! I figured I’d wake up in another couple hours but not quite, I ended up waking up around 2pm!

Now, I could try to justify this by saying I haven’t been feeling 100% and my body obviously needed to rest. Or that because I did so much physical stuff yesterday, when not well, I paid the price today. Or it could just be because I am lazy. I’ll let you pick!

I wasn’t able to work today thanks to system glitches so I basically did nothing. Well, if you consider cuddling a cat for the majority of your day nothing, which I assure you neither Striker or myself do.

Taking a break from my lap to sleep on the ottoman.

I did try a new to me beer with dinner but didn’t like it so poured it out. A waste of beer I know, an act that should be illegal, but no way was I ingesting all those calories if I didn’t love the taste!

Just not for me.

It is with a heavy heart I report I am now out of beer. Guess I’ll be moving onto wine!

Random Updates:

I’m now on Season 4 of Criminal Minds and still loving it. I decided I have to stop being online as much because I keep thinking it’s a good idea to buy stuff. Oh, and my Golden Oreos are almost gone, which means I soon will have absolutely no reason to get up and may wither away in bed perpetually.

How is your self-isolation going? Broken into the junk food yet?

Self Isolation Day 11: Cleaning Has Commenced

25 Mar

Except for the pantry and fridge organization way back on, what was it, Day 3?, I haven’t done any extra cleaning. I had other projects to work on and prioritized those over boring ‘ol cleaning.

Sadly, I have run out of projects, and all I have left is cleaning..and organizing, but really, I lump those together.

First thing this morning I attended a virtual WW workshop, which if you don’t know what that is it’s fine, if you do know what that is, aren’t they great? I chatted with my parents for a bit after the workshop and decided that while yes, I was still cozy in my pjs, I was two mugs of tea in to the day and I might as well stay up…my original plan was to take part in the virtual workshop then go back to bed lol

Since I was up I made use of all that extra time one has when they actually get up in the morning and I cooked myself a hot breakfast sandwich, which, fyi, was delish. 🙂

Eventually the cleaning started. I had intended to do more of the deep cleaning type stuff but found I had a lot of organizing, and putting away, and the like, to do before pulling out the cleaning products. So organize I did! My desk is a work of art! I actually sat at it after I was all done with my tidying for the day and wrote a letter, and two cards, and did tasks one normally does at a desk, I felt like such a grown-up!

I tidied and organized more than my desk but that is the part I am most happy with.

After all that I decided I deserved something more substantial than a bowl of cereal so I did the unthinkable, I cooked!

Using the last of my bag of salad, well, the last of it that hadn’t gone slimy or brown, I made a lazy person’s taco salad.

day 11

The salad had salad (duh!), ground turkey that I mixed taco seasoning in with, sauteed onions, shredded cheese, horribly cut tomato, and a blob of sour cream. Those little tots on the side are cauliflower tots that I bought on a whim and decided to try. They were…ok. I tried the ones made from broccoli a while ago and those were better, these just tasted like mushed cauliflower, which is not something I think is all that great. Oh I forgot! After I had mixed the salad up so it no longer looked picture ready I crushed some tortilla chips and sprinkled those on top.

The final effort was ok. Not amazing, but not horrible, I didn’t give myself food poisoning so I count the meal as a win. 🙂

My apartment is tiny, and has 2 windows, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Both look out on fences so neither is amazing. I do my best to keep the windowsills empty for Striker, he occasionally likes to look outside and since being stuck at home I learned he has a daily routine of going on to the living room windowsill to sit in the tiny sun patch we get every day.

Today however he wasn’t all that interested in the sun patch so I moved those plants I re-potted last week on to the windowsill to catch some rays. I should confess, not all the plants made it, two have died, sigh. But four have lived! With luck they will continue to live until I get them back to the office where they will have daily exposure to sunlight.

day 11a

I tried to position them so some of each of their leaves were getting sunlight, which means they overlap each other, I figure they might like that though, since they were so close to each other for so many months. They might get lonely without each other nearby…or are plants not like that?

Anyways! They took over the windowsill and Striker didn’t seem to mind but a little while later he decided to take a closer look at the havoc I wreaked to his space…

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I thought I was going to have to leap up to save a plant from being nibbled on, or swatted at, but nope. He hasn’t gone anywhere near them since the above pictures were taken. Now, either, he is tricking me in to thinking he doesn’t care and tonight he will destroy them while I sleep, or he really doesn’t care, and if that is the case they may just stay there until I go back to work Sunday. It all depends on what he does to them tonight!

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