Yesterday we spent the day in the city getting some errands done. The errands consisted of birthday cards because all of our family have birthdays in summer or fall. This means each month we have a set of birthdays to think about. July is quiet because it is only one birthday, Lana’s. August used to be quiet with only Justin but now we have a embarrassment of riches with “big” Ethan and Luke on the same day, and then last summer Noah arrived. August is now a four birthday month.
We also had to pick up assorted little items for keeping our trailer from falling apart and making life easier in it. The trailer requires constant maintenance and upkeep. It is far less than a house but it is a demand. We have several small repairs, a frozen and wrecked grey water valve is stuck open. We broke that last year in Oliver. Replacing those valves is supposed to be a four screw job but one has to be able to get into the belly of the beast and then such things are never as easy as they are supposed to be. We read up about another way to keep the cat from opening the door. The cat thing is like an intelligence war. He figures out how to open the door. We modify the door. He figures out how to get around the modification. We also have hardware to get rid of a travel annoyance. All our pictures are mounted in such a way that they stay put while we travel except two large framed pictures in our bedroom. We now have new hardware so we aren’t taking the pictures down, laying them on the bed and putting them back up. We had some banking to do that required we show up in person. We don’t do that very often because when I remarked on the new decor, I was told it went in last summer.
Dick had some library books to return and more to pick up. The book progresses. I am on chapter six and Dick is following behind with modifications and a section he needs to write on chapter four. Plus we have been exchanging chapter two which is being polished to a final stage. Dick is fanatical about being up to date on the latest references (a positive form of fanaticism for a scientist), and each item has to be checked and updated. He is also researching for future chapters on the role of wholeness and quantum effects in embryogenesis. His other job is getting permission to reuse certain figures and one group “Company of Scientists” is being being particularly not collegial and insisting on hundreds of dollars for reprinting figures instead of the standard, “yes, please do, just acknowledge us and reference it” the rest of the Academic world has responded with. This means we are not using any of the “Company of Scientists” figures and I will have to make my own from scratch to replace ones we had hoped to use of theirs.
Finally we went grocery shopping. I had no idea how fortunate we are in Canada in terms of what we eat. Yesterday I bought high quality flour, brown basmati long grain rice from India, Lebanese Tahinna, and fresh blueberries, peaches, apricots, plums, local mushrooms, wild caught salmon and bananas. When we travel in the US we avoid big cities and rarely have access to the really big stores. Even if we find a really big full sized grocery store there is just nowhere near the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and ethnic foods we have in our Real Canadian Superstore. I don’t know why. I think it is in part American protectionism in the guise of disease control. There are many items that are not permitted to cross the border into the USA because of diseases supposedly present in other countries. This also removes competition to the American agricultural industry in places like California. Compared to fruit from Chile or Israel, California fruit tends to be bland and flat. California fruit is always much more expensive in the USA typically double what we pay in Canada for their flat cardboard tasting fresh produce. Canadian all purpose flour makes bread that is simply far better than even the super expensive highest quality “bread maker” flour available in the USA. You just can’t get anything that matches Robinhood All Purpose Flour. So I feast on certain things I never properly appreciated before when we are home.
Americans do three things better than Canadians. Local food is readily available, especially in Walmarts which are often the only show in small towns. (People love to hate Walmart but in rural America is not for Walmarts determined effort to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, rural and small town Americans would only be eating whatever they could grow for themselves. It is very different from the Walmarts in Canada.) We went to local Walmart in Florida and they had eleven different kinds of oranges, four kinds of lemons and five kinds of limes, all local. You can always get fresh fish in American stores from somewhere other than China. In Canada it would seem China is the only country in the world with fishermen. Americans also have much better meat that is at a much lower price than ours. Americans also have fabulous smoked meats especially prepared turkey. Prepared groceries are also overall much lower in price but since we eat so little that we don’t make from scratch, we don’t get much benefit. Tinfoil, for example, is half the price in the USA but I only buy a roll of tinfoil maybe once in two years.
So several stops and nearly six hours later we get back to the campground exhausted and unpack our groceries and have a rotisserie chicken, fresh salad and fresh blueberries for dinner. The Folkfest quiet continues so our campground host duties have been negligible.