Buy Stamps

It’s been on my list of things to do for a week. Buy Stamps. I wrote a cheque (yes, a cheque, how quaint!) to the property management company for our gas bill. We pay a gas bill all year long for the fireplace. Even though we haven’t used it since 2008, I think, because last year was balmy, we still get a bill. The cheque is in an envelope on the fridge and on my list it says BUY STAMPS. Every day. Every day I don’t buy stamps. Who wants to go to the post office with children, show of hands? That’s what I thought.

Next item on the list: bank card. Last week I went to the bank machine and my card didn’t work. I don’t use my bank card very much because we take out cash once a week and then I spend it and then if I’m out of cash, well, suck it, Friday’s just a day away. Luckily I was with SA last week when my bank card didn’t work because his card did and we still got our money and the children still got their Ritz Crackers…

(before I had children I think I bought maybe one box of crackers every three years. Those were the days.)

…but I still had this bum card in my wallet. Which doesn’t impact me much, as I said, because I don’t use it, but still. BANK CARD.

On my inside-the-head list was written Use Free Coffee Coupon. A few weeks ago I ended up at Starbucks and when I bought a coffee, the cashier asked me if I wanted a receipt so I said yes because it is always nice to hand something to Fresco so that he won’t steal the Michael Buble CDs or the breath mints or whatever is at the height of his grabby little hand. On the receipt was a code to do an online survey and I was prepared to disregard it but the cashier pointed out that if I did it, I could bring the receipt back to get a free coffee.


I diligently held onto the receipt, brought it home, went online, did the survey (“My tall dark roast coffee was tall, dark, and coffee. Nobody peed in it. Thank you.”) got the code, wrote it on the receipt and have been carrying it around with me ever since. Except I don’t go to Starbucks very often so I was worried I would forget and lose the free coffee option. Is there anything worse than losing something that is free?

Today, while we waited for the bank to open, Fresco and I went to Starbucks and I ordered a coffee with my dirty, wrinkled receipt and the cashier at this Starbucks said,
“What kind of drink do you want?”
so I said, “Coffee”
and she said, “You can have anything you want!”
so I said, “Gin!”
and she laughed but in a sort of pained way.
And said, “Anything!”
so I said, “OK a pumpkin spice latte”
and she said, “Atta girl, treat yourself!”

except the thing is, the pumpkin spice latte has an ounce of coffee in it and a cup of coffee has 10 ounces of coffee in it and what I needed was more coffee, not a cup of milk but – they are tasty. They taste of sweet and vaguely of pumpkin and mostly of milk.

The first pumpkin spice latte I ever had was when I worked for the government and we were on strike and I was picketing and it was this time of year and my co-worker bought me a pumpkin spice latte. It sort of helped to ease the pain of picketing and listening to our far more irate co-workers scream with the hey hey ho ho’ing.

Fresco had a muffin. And licked most of the whipped cream off my drink.

Then we went to the bank and the nice man took my card and asked me for my password which I barely remembered because I never ever ever go to the bank and it’s a verbal password and we opened the account before I had children. They should totally ask you to change your password after you have children because remembering what word combination I would have thought was clever when I still had all my brain cells is HARD. That’s not a clue or anything. I am just saying. HARD.

Anyway, then he took my card away and looked at a different computer and came back and said,
“We’ll give you another card,”
so I said, “What’s wrong with it? Is it de-magnetized?” because that’s the thing I know about that can happen to cards. In fact I expected the first thing he would have done was swipe it and see if it worked. Of course I am not a bank teller / associate / barista /whatever.
He said, “Oh it might have been deactivated, have you used it recently?”
and I said, “Maybe not for a couple of months, at the most, but sometimes, yes, I use it.”
and he said, “The bank did a sweep of people’s accounts recently where they deactivated cards that hadn’t been used for 18 months…”
and I said, “No I have definitely used it in the past 18 months,”
and he shrugged and gave me a new card.

Only an hour later did it occur to me that shouldn’t my bank know what they did to my bank card? If they deactivated it, shouldn’t there be a note on my file? Or maybe they could send me an email? They just go through the hundreds of thousands of cards and deactivate some of them without letting their owners know?

Strange days indeed.

After the bank we went to London Drugs for something, what was it, I forget, Oh Look Batteries. Fresco loves batteries. Then there were DVDs. Fresco found Toy Story and carried it around for half an hour while I wandered around thinking, what. What. What do I need? Face cream? Nope. Deodorant? Nope. Hair dye? Maybe, but nope. A margarita machine? They sell a lot of strange stuff at London Drugs.

Finally I picked up two boxes of crackers on sale and a birthday gift for my mother-in-law, and headed for the 18 person lineup. Twice, people walked past the 18 person lineup and said, out loud, “ONLY ONE CHECKOUT OPEN HMMMMMMM,” as though maybe there was another cashier hiding in the Halloween display who would then totally want to open another checkout just to serve the pissy people. Yeah, that’s likely. Try again, douchecanoes.

While we waited in line, I noted the sign above the till. “Postage Stamps Available at Checkout” it said. Aha! Stamps!

The cashier was chatty. I’ve had her before. She likes to talk about the thing you’re buying. She chatted with the woman ahead of me about her purchase (an insulated lunch bag) and her Air Miles card. Then it was my turn.

“Oh these are good crackers,” she said.
“Yep,” I said, wrestling the debit card machine out of Fresco’s hand.
“Oh this is a nice [item details redacted because it is a gift*]”
“Certainly looks to be,” I said, wrestling my wallet out of Fresco’s hand.
“Oh, how old is he,” she said.
“Two and a half,” I said, while I swiped my newly functioning bank card and paid.
“My boy is the same age,” she said, “it’s such a fun age.”
“Yeah,” I said, as Fresco grabbed the receipt from me, “Have a nice day.”

So yes, in case you’re wondering, I am tattooing the words “STAMPS MOTHERFUCKER” on my forehead. Backwards, so I’ll see it every time I go to the bathroom.

* no, SA’s mom, the gift is not a margarita machine. Sorry.

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