Finally, Grocery Shopping for the 21st Century

This morning I found myself in Watertown and needing some groceries, so after hitting Russo's for produce, I went down the street to Stop & Shop (corner of Pleasant & North). I don't shop here often because my neighborhood Shaw's is more convenient, but I'm going to start doing so. It's a near-clone of the Brighton "Planet Stop & Shop" with the one drawback that the bakery is not heckshered. (That's probably for the best) I went there today because of its physical convenience and because it has an easier bottle return than my nearby Shaw's.

When I entered the store, I encountered something new, a display of handheld scanners. You scan your loyalty card, read the terms and conditions, and then take a scanner. The terms amount to: they won't sell your name blah blah, you agree not to loan out your card, and they reserve the right to double check your cart at the exit. There are bags at the scanner display so you can bag as you go, but I had my own reusables with me.

It was easy, sort of fun, and convenient using the scanner. The screen displays what you have just scanned, the price, quantity (you scan multiple times for duplicate items, a minor drawback) and any discount. At the bottom of the screen is a running total, and you have the option of deleting any items (although I didn't try to). I don't know how produce or other UPC-less items get scanned, since I had just bought my produce at Russo's. I imagine you just save them to the end and scan them at the checkout, which would partially defeat the purpose.

When I completed my shopping, I decided to use the self-checkout line. While these are a good idea, I have had lots of problems with them in the past and I don't think they really save time. There's the slowdown and potential embarrassment factor that the register has to announce loudly what you've just scanned and the price ("Condoms, $10.50. Whipped cream, $1.29") and the hassle of having to put each item carefully on the belt so it can be automatically weighed. Then if your bagging area fills up, the register makes you stop and take care of that.

This time, there was no hassle. I re-scanned my loyalty card at the checkout, and my scanner uploaded automatically. Then it was just pay and go. There is the option of scanning coupons before you pay but they won't let you scan the bottle return receipts, even though a UPC is printed on it. It was another minor drawback to redeem those at the customer service desk. I popped the scanner back in the display, and I was out the door in record time.

All in all, the ability to have a running total; bagging as you go, thereby eliminating the time-consuming and annoying need to unload the cart on the belt, explain how you want things bagged, and get it reloaded; and the rapid checkout were very, very cool. I'm probably willing to live with the minor problems, although this may only last until the first time I get my cart double-checked by a snotty employee.

And so it begins

Today I did almost all of my Week 1 tasks from my four-week list leading up to... you know. Week 1 is a complete cleaning of the second floor, including closets, medicine cabinets, and the kids' rooms. It should surprise no one to learn that Tani is his father's son -- I think they have magpie genes in there somewhere. Fortunately I had already done the kids' closets two weeks ago so cleaning the two kid rooms only took... um... 4 hours? Geez.

Naturally it goes much faster without "help" but it's also necessary to teach them how to clean and organize. Tani would much rather do the scrubbing kind of cleaning than the putting away, straightening, and throwing away kind; but I told him in a couple weeks he'll have plenty of that. Alissa is a master of the art of passive resistance, but I assigned 530nm330hz to help her in her room and they seemed to do okay without the conniptions I had with Tani.

Next week: Downstairs ABK (All but kitchen)
knitting, Blossom

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Alissa: I'm drawing a picture of your bones, Mama. This is your leg and foot! (draws for a while) Now I'm going to label it. N for knee... F for thigh*... K for cow**...

* She pronounced it "fie"
** If you haven't guessed yet, she meant "calf"
knitting, Blossom

Fun for all

Today I am stuck home with a feverish child, condemned to hours of children's television while comforting her and finishing the sewing for Tani's siddur cover. I'm glad it's not Tani that's sick, or I couldn't work on it today (it's a strict surprise) and the deadline is tomorrow. (and yes, I'm ashamed of myself for being glad that it's Alissa that's sick and not Tani)

Luckiest Kid in Boston

Yesterday I got a call from Tani's school that he'd been sent to the nurse's office for suspected conjunctivitis. Tani has been prone since the age of two to eye infections/allergies that look a little like conjunctivitis, but really aren't the same. Nonetheless, I was fully aware that I wasn't going to be able to convince the school that he was fine, so I agreed to pick him up. As expected, one eye was discharging some goo, but there was no sign of redness. It was kind of a toss-up to me whether I should just home-treat as usual or take him in, but since he hadn't had one of these episodes in a year, I decided to take him in to the doctor's office.

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knitting, Blossom

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I have a good shabbat menu this week, so I'll post mine.


-chicken soup leftover from last night's Chicken in the Pot
-honey roast chicken stuffed with apples & onions (a collaboration between Tani and me)
-brown rice
-brownies and fruit

Tomorrow's lunch:

-green salad
-fajitas made with:
--chicken and beef marinated and grilled
--black bean salad (another Tani/Mama collaboration)
--steamed tortillas
-strawberry rhubarb pie
knitting, Blossom


It isn't often that my interests in science fiction and knitting have an intersection, but sometimes you see something like this.

There's lots of Harry Potter knitting, which is mostly pretty attractive even if it doesn't appeal to me, and there's a Princess Leia wig/hat pattern which is a hoot, but knitting something as hideous as Jayne's hat for the sake of fandom takes real dedication.