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A Scandal-free Weekend

I took a break over the weekend – no writing, no painting and definitely no Rob Ford, and no Senate Expense Scandal. Instead Maggie and I went Christmas shopping on Saturday. We were going to go Holiday Season shopping but neither of us has any experience with that so we left it at the traditional jostling and pushing in the stores that is so much a part of Christmas every year.

We were smart about it though. We mapped out where we would go, and why, the day before. We were like a well-oiled machine but of course the wheels fell off the machine as soon as we hit Costco.

I believe Costco is a training ground for Purgatory.

It’s stupidly big, carries everything from books to fresh meat and pretty much anything else you can think of. If there is a logic to the store’s layout, Maggie and I have never figured it out. Three times we asked where to locate different items and three times the answer was the same.

“It’s over there, on the other side of the store against the back wall in the top left corner.”

I told Maggie that I thought the store was moving whatever we were looking for as a sinister and misguided part of a Canada fitness program. She told me I was becoming paranoid.

The folks at Costco have serious trust issues. On the way into the store, they check to see if you have a membership. On the way out, they examine your bill to make sure you paid for everything in your cart. This last thing so annoys Maggie that she demanded to know why her purchases were being checked. I’m afraid that the young woman’s response that Costco wanted to make sure we weren’t double charged for something didn’t fly much better than some of the excuses being tossed around in the Senate Expense Scandal.

We did buy a few things but not much. We can only get so much into the SUV and Coscto sells everything by the half ton. Need shampoo? No problem; Costco sells it in six packs. Want some meat? No  worries – here’s a cow. I wanted to pick up a couple of bars of Ivory bar soap to use when cleaning my paint brushes. I now have a package of thirty-six bars of Ivory.

It appears that I have turned into an impulse buyer.

I don’t have an issue with bulk purchases and I am well-aware that we don’t have to submit ourselves to the ordeal. We can always go somewhere more user friendly – like Ikea for example but really; is it necessary to sell candy by the wheelbarrow load?

I dream of the day when a store will come along with big comfy couches and chairs in which we sit sipping coffee and browsing the store’s catalogue while armies of energetic young folks run around gathering up our purchases for us.

Ok – I know it’s not much of a dream but it’s my dream. Let’s move on.

After Costco it was Toy’s R Us.

I like Toys R Us because they carry my favourite stuff – toys. Now that I have grandchildren, I have a legitimate reason for shopping for toys rather than wearing a disguise and skulking in the store like I used to in the dark days between when my daughter had grown up and the  birth of my grandchildren.

We have two grandchildren: Ben (4) and Adele (1.5). It’s perfect. We get to shop for boy’s and girl’s stuff. It took an hour but we “got ‘er done” and we carted a baby doll, a crib, accessories and a magic princess wand that I’ll be hard-pressed to tear away from Maggie to give to Adele.

For Ben it was the remote control Batmobile, a remote controlled digger which is what he calls backhoes and tractors, a couple of table top games that require some hand/eye coordination and which I enjoy playing along with a couple of paint with water books. I really wanted to get him a drum kit but Maggie suggested that would not be well-received by my daughter and son-in-law.

There will be some clothes added to the pile later but I let Maggie take care of that. I’m a grandfather. I don’t buy clothes; I buy toys.

The only problem I have with Toys R Us – any Toys R Us is that they only ever have two cashiers and one inevitably likes to discuss each toy with each shopper at the cash as she rings it through. I believe it is company policy but I could be wrong.

I attempted to remain patient by humming Christmas carols but Maggie shushed me. She said it sounded more like grumbling.

Then it was off to my favourite art supply store at Maggie’s request so that I could point out a few things I might like for Christmas. I really enjoyed that part of our tour and was in a great mood by the time we hit the grocery store.

I’m still trying to figure out why, even if we have a list, we never bring home the stuff we intended to buy at the grocery store but always end up spending a couple of hundred dollars. It’s a mystery I may never resolve.

We stayed home on Sunday and indulged in Maggie’s other favourite pastime – housework and I ain’t kidding. The woman loves to do housework. Me? Not so much but I promised I would clean up my studio this weekend. Maggie doesn’t understand that a studio is like underwear; it takes some wear and tear to get it comfortable and I found my studio pretty comfortable. Still, a promise is a promise so after a coffee first thing in the morning; I got started.

Maggie wanted to help from the get go but that’s not prudent. My approach to doing housework is different than Maggie’s. She’s focused while I tend to get distracted by things I’m finding as I clean. It’s like shopping for me, you may have a plan in the beginning but pretty soon, the plan is out of control and you’re over-taken by events.

So I puttered along, taking breaks for coffee or to admire some treasure I found that I thought had been lost forever. Meanwhile, Maggie  had been hovering outside the door like a vulture waiting for a dying animal to take its final breaths. She had her bucket of Pinesoil all ready to go and was eager to begin washing walls. I finally relented just around 1:oo and in she came like a banshee screaming across an Irish marsh at midnight.

We wrapped it up around three, patted ourselves on the back for a productive weekend and collapsed. I’m big on the collapsing part; especially if it involves a nap – and it did.

Later we watched some news but there wasn’t much going on that was different than what was going on the day before. The Senate Expense Scandal continued to occupy most news programs in Canada with pundits either trying to prove the Prime Minister is not telling the truth or that he is; that this scandal could end Stephen Harper’s career or it won’t.

I wrote about what I think happened the other day but it was merely what I think not what I know. I don’t know anymore about what happened than anyone else, except those involved, and continual speculation isn’t improving anyone’s understanding of the issue. The RCMP are investigating; the Auditor General is auditing. I think the truth will come out from those investigations at some point. All this ongoing spin back and forth won’t accomplish much in the long run other than to harden positions on both sides.

But then, we do that with everything now. We’re quick to adore and even quicker to condemn.

It makes me wonder why we have a legal system or even bother with nonsense like due process or the presumption of innocence.

Sometimes it makes me wonder why were given a brain. Clearly, it wasn’t so that we could think independently of the mob – whatever mob that might be.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear

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  • CanadaGoose1

    Used to use Costco when the kids needed stuff for lunches at school. Tons of fruit juice boxes, etc. Hated the place and once made the mistake of shopping there near Christmas. Oh my God! They didn’t have an express line in my day which was very inconvenient if you were just buying a few items. And yes, they did keep switching things around. Still I marvel at the cornucopia of capitalism that these stores exhibit and how spoiled we are.
    My problem is I can’t let my husband shop by himself at the grocery store or much of anywhere because he always buys far too much.
    Pretty hard to avoid the cliche boy and girl toys. We tried, but it didn’t work since all the other kids of course had the cliche girl and boy toys (boy toys sounds weird…). I love the hobby toy stores because I can still see the stuff I had as a kid. I usually end up buying a favourite I enjoyed and giving it the local Optimist club or whatever so some kid in need can have it. Still wish I had the wooden dollhouse my parents bought for me or Santa gave me.

    • MaggiesBear

      We gave up worrying about gender-specific toys once Adele decided she liked monster trucks as much as Ben enjoyed wearing a tiara. We buy stuff we think they’ll like and which has some potential for a little creative imagination and then let them figure out which toys they’re going to play with. My daughter and son-in-law don’t care whether Ben switches from his Batman toys to some of Adele’s girly stuff or when Adele decides she’d rather lug a hockey stick around rather than a doll. They’re kids and they’re simply exploring the world around them and Maggie and I support and encourage it.

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  • 45958h

    I have to agree with one comment. One of the checkers actually found I had been charged twice for the same product which I recall was a pricey item.
    I guess the system works – sometime.

    • MaggiesBear

      The checker that was checking our line didn’t even look at the itemized bill. It was all just by rote.

  • Palooza

    I think you’d make a great mall Santa!

    • MaggiesBear

      I did dress up as Santa Claus one Christmas and visited a few homes with smaller children. One of the young girls from the basketball team I coached volunteered to dress up as an elf and we went around Christmas Eve to visit some homes in the neighbourhood. It was great fun to watch small eyes grow big with excitement. I never did it again but I sometimes wish I had.

  • Barb Gulka

    refreshing at best!! nice to know your relax and take time away from the stupidity of the world events, but surprises me, you placed yourself into the Costco zoo……I don’t go….haven’t been back since 1998….no intention ever again!
    I found I had a cranky mood on by the time I left, and at the door they checked my bill, almost an insult…’I paid for my membership’ to go into their store to buy their product and leave being cranky…….AND they check me?….nope not for me! I have come to the age where I really enjoy my time in a peaceful manner and it is select shopping I now partake in……as a matter of fact, I crossed over and bought my latest large grocery order on line at Sobeys, made up my list, phoned it in and it was delivered that same afternoon! ………. and I smiled all the time while putting it away…..and then took a nap!

    • MaggiesBear

      I actually have a life outside of the blog and politics. In fact, it is where I prefer to be most of the time. I started the blog as a way of sorting out my own thoughts, sort of a virtual diary and it just grew from there, much to my surprise.

      Maggie and I used to be members at Costco but er let it lapse because we didn’t need to buy 5000 multi-vitamins at a time. A friend of mine offered to put me on her corporate membership after I had done a couple of favours for her, so I said sure and Maggie and I went on Saturday to try it out. It will be some time before we go back. I figure I’ll still be using some of those bars of Ivory soap after the next Federal election.