Thursday Tidbits

Posted on November 5, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Preparing for my next self-isolation


Do you ever feel like you are losing track of time? The days blend into each other, as do the weeks and the months. The seasons come and go at breathtaking speed. And let’s not even discuss the years. Can anyone explain this phenomenon?

This was brought home to me in rather embarrassing fashion last week. As I have stated before in this space, grocery shopping in the north is interesting. Everything that most of us consume has to be flown in. The exception is ‘country food’ (caribou etc.), food from the sea (arctic char, beluga) , and berries when they are in season. As I write this piece, school is shut down due to a fierce storm. There won’t be any berry picking today!

People from home are surprised when I tell them that most times, the two local grocery stores are well stocked with all the necessities of life, including fresh fruits and vegetables.  Prices can fluctuate but most of the things I need at the Coop and the Northern stores don’t cost me an arm and a leg. Occasionally, there are shortages of some staples and this is often as a result of planes not being able to land here because of poor weather.

In addition to the local grocery stores, many people get groceries shipped up from Montreal. It is a simple matter of going online and placing an order. It generally takes 4-5 days for your grocery order to arrive by plane.


Christmas is coming and there is a great deal of discussion here and everywhere else in the country around Christmas plans, especially travel. While it is not etched in stone, it would appear that me and my colleagues from the south will be permitted to leave for the holidays. The caveat is that we will once again have to quarantine upon our return in early January. This will be my third quarantine and likely not my last. If the Atlantic Bubble remains in place, going to Nova Scotia for the festive season won’t be an option… unless I am going for a world record for quarantining. Can you imagine? Fly home and quarantine for two weeks then get back on a plane and quarantine for two more weeks in the north. Even I am not that far gone to consider that scenario.

In preliminary discussions with school officials, we are being told to stock up on food in anticipation of our 2-week self- isolation in January. I have taken this to heart and my freezer is starting to fill up as well as the cupboard housing my baking supplies.

Once a person has placed a grocery order from down south, they receive a confirmation of the order. A few days later, they receive an e-mail confirming that the order has been filled and that it left the airport in Montreal. A  waybill is attached for tracking purposes. Most times, all of ones groceries arrive on the same plane but it is not uncommon for things to get shuffled around and you might get some of your boxes one day and the others a few days later.

As mentioned earlier, the days and weeks are a blur. You may recall that last Friday was Halloween Eve. If you remember Halloween as a child or if you have taught school, you know that Halloween is a high octane, high sugar event. It is a day all about survival.

Anticipating this, I ordered some Halloween ‘treats’ in my grocery order. I don’t mean candy and potato chips. We are allowed to purchase modest amounts of adult beverages every two weeks through the grocery store down south.

On that particular Friday morning, I was very surprised when our maintenance guys, who had gone to the airport to pick up parcels for the school, arrived with three of my four grocery boxes. Normally, teachers have to go to the airport to pick their own boxes. And typically, groceries don’t arrive as quickly as this order did. (3 days) It must have been some kind of record. As the energy level in the school rose incrementally throughout the day, so did my interest in putting up my feet after school and having a cold one.

You will note that I said three of four boxes. When I got home, I discovered that the box most coveted hadn’t arrived. But fear not. The first three boxes arrived on an early morning flight and surely the fourth box, the wayward child, would arrive on the suppertime flight. I hopped in one of the school trucks and made the short five- minute drive to the airport. The plane arrived and I watched with great anticipation as the airport crew unloaded dozens of boxes from the cargo hold of the plane. Tragically (!) mine wasn’t one of them. I presented my waybill to one of the staff members. He carefully typed in the number three times. “Sorry. We have no record of this waybill and have no way of tracking your missing box.”

I am rarely despondent but, on this occasion, I must admit that I was disappointed. I went back home and fired off an e-mail to the grocery store. It was afterhours and I wasn’t expecting an answer.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I reached into my Halloween stash of candy (to be handed out the following evening) and started to eat mini chocolate bars by the fistful. I was quite startled when I received a message back from the grocery store. They indicated that I had not ordered alcohol in my order. There are very few absolutes in this world (with the exception of Swedish vodka – slightly different spelling!). I am quite certain than anyone of you living in some remote corner of the world would remember clearly if you had placed a booze order.

The following morning as I sipped on my first coffee of the day, I reviewed the events of the past 24 hours. I went and grabbed the grocery list that I had tendered a few days earlier. I realized that there were several other items missing. It was then that I realized that the groceries I had received were from the previous week’s list. I went shuffling through my papers and found the previous week’s order. These boxes had not come early as I had thought but were several days late! Later in the day, they called me from the airport to tell me that there were boxes arriving on the evening flight.

In short order, I had received two weeks of groceries including my precious cargo.

I hope that this is just a case of working too hard and not that slippery slope towards memory loss.

“Time is on my side, yes it is,

Time is on my side, yes it is.”

Time is on My Side. The Rolling Stones

Or is it?!

Have a great weekend.



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