The Price of Flour

Welcome to Author Next Door!

For a month and a half now, most of us have been under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. When we’ve ventured out for groceries, we’ve witnessed extraordinary lines at local stores, with people standing six feet apart as they wait to get in wearing their face masks and rubber gloves. They’re usually holding wipes or hand sanitizer.

But getting inside the stores hasn’t guaranteed scoring the supplies you came for.

The first run was on toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. People also stockpiled bread, cans of tuna, vegetables, and cartons of pasta. Whole aisles were empty, save for cans of beets.

The next run was on baking items like flour and yeast, because stores were out of bread and people were trying to bake their own. Amazon was no exception to being sold out. For weeks I tried to buy flour but couldn’t, even on Amazon, unless I wanted to pay a month’s salary for a bag as big as my living room.

So, next time in Costco when I saw a large bag of flour, I immediately wrestled that sucker into my basket, paid for it, then fought to lift it out of my basket and into the back of my car. All 50 pounds of it!

Yes, I bought a 50-pound bag of all-purpose flour. By myself. For only $10.49.

I didn’t read the fine print, though. The cost of taking the flour home wasn’t just monetary.

It was time needed to transfer the flour into smaller containers for storage in my garage freezer. And, since my husband wasn’t there to help me, the cost was a pulled shoulder blade muscle as well as a stress fracture in my left foot. A visit to the doctor. No playing pickleball for 4-6 weeks while my foot heals. Who knew?

My neighbors were sympathetic. I did email to let them know I’d let them borrow flour if they needed it. Some already have taken advantage of my offer. This is a very good year to be on my nice list!

I can’t blame the pandemic, or Costco, or my husband. I made a choice. I will say, I’d do it all again, except next time…next time time I’d track down an employee and get help!

The flour went in my freezer. The picture of that flour is going in the same drawer as what’s left of the 10-inch round, three-wick Y2K candle I bought twenty years ago.

What can I say? I like to be prepared!

May you be safe and healthy,

Karen Taylor Saunders

Social Distancing Humor

Welcome to Author Next Door!

Friends on our block came up with the idea for a contest: suggestions for social-distancing activities. Here are a few my husband and I came up with:

  1. Play a game of Jenga using your hoarded stack of toilet paper.
  2. Count how many bounces of a tennis ball it would it take to walk around the block.
  3. Play a game of Scrabble scoring under 100 points/over 100 points/exactly 100 points.
  4. Using a sheet of printer paper and only office supplies found on hand plus glitter from your saved 2019 Christmas cards, make a worthy birthday card for Liberace. As a bonus, listen to the YouTube video of Liberace playing Chopsticks while you work. If you are a Millennial, make your card for Billy Porter.
  5. Engage in a weed-pulling contest with your neighbor. Later, commiserate with texted pictures of appropriate-only body parts–depending on your relationship with your neighbor–soaking in Epson salts next to a disappearing margarita. The person claiming the larger number of sore muscles from different body areas wins.
  6. Speed-read through your Amazon buy history page and mark items either as 1) life-changing or 2) what was I thinking?
  7. Stick toothpicks into a square of Styrofoam or the side of an Amazon cardboard box in your garage and wrap dental floss around them to make an art picture. Extra credit: first tie-dye the floss several different colors of food color.

I expect our list will get longer as the days/weeks/months drag by…stay safe and healthy!

Karen Taylor Saunders