Day 6: Visit with CousinsWalmart, North Attleborough⁽¹⁾ MA. October 2nd, 12:23 PM. Stop in to get a new CR2 battery for Wifey’s APX camera. The camera was a gift from Kodak in honour of Kid #2’s birth. APX cameras are no longer made; the Advantix® film for them either has been or will soon cease production. Walmart insists on selling these batteries as a two-pack, so it costs $10 to keep the camera going for just a little while longer. Also buy a new pocket comb for $1 because my old one is missing half its teeth. The receipt is hard to read because significant quantities of the ink have fallen off—damn those thermal printers!
⁽²⁾ The City of Attleboro does not use the ‘ugh’ suffix in their official name, perhaps just to be different from the adjacent Town of North Attleborough.
BIL #3’s house, Attleboro⁽²⁾ MA. Besides BIL #3 and his wife SIL #2,
also present are his children (Cousins #1, #2, and #3) as well as BIL #2 and
his wife SIL #3. (The younger brother married first, so his wife gets the lower SIL number.) The big family news is that SIL #3 is going to be a
grandma because Cousin #4 (who married last year) is now pregnant. The
presents from Toys Я Us (which we bought on day 3 with BIL #1’s money) are
well-received by the cousins. My children get gifts of cash from BIL #2,
who is still working at Chrysler. Kids #1 and #2 both say they will deposit
the money into their savings accounts to prepare for when their laptop
computers next need replacement (which just happened recently, so their
accounts are depleted right now).
Unlike previous visits, which involved take-out food, today’s lunch consists of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and salad. SIL #2 proudly discusses how much money she saved while buying the ingredients. Later, when we try to give to BIL #3’s family the McDonald’s game-tokens we picked up on day 2, they inexplicably don’t want them. Eventually BIL #3 admits that they don’t eat at McDonald’s anymore because it costs too much. It was then that I realized that ”economic Depression” is not just my trading stance on the stock market, but is also a real-world horror that my extended family is living through. The sensible pundits are predicting another five years of this—but it could be twenty more years if the ultrarich insist on starting a Class War, which will get them all killed and leave the country without any business leaders until a new generation can grow up. (Similar to Cambodia after Pol Pot?)
Wifey takes some family photos with her camera. Hopefully we’ll get them developed while the technology is still in practice. [October 25th: haven’t done that yet.]
We pick up a package of clothing that Wifey had ordered from a website that refuses to ship to Canada, so she had them mail it to BIL #3’s house. (There were also two other items shipped to BIL #3’s house that we picked up, but I have no receipts for those.)
Hawthorn Suites, Franklin MA. For dinner we eat Chinese take-out, delivered to our hotel room. Somehow the receipt didn’t get saved, but my credit-card statement shows a $24.56 charge for ”Bamboo House”. Not the world’s best Chinese; we probably won’t be ordering from them again.
Day 7: Drive to New York
Hawthorn Suites: A bill for $720.45 was slipped under our door. Yet another reason why we don’t drive to Massachusetts very often.
Stock market: The market is continuing to head downward. Buy *more* TZA!
Wilbraham MA: All my life, every time I passed through Wilbraham on the Mass Pike, I made sure to take a look at the topiary that greets visitors: Welcome to Wilbraham, home of FRIENDLY’S ice cream! The topiary is still there this time, even though Friendly’s filed for bankruptcy on October 2nd. I don’t expect to see it again.
Gulf Express, Blandford MA. Fill up the tank at a highway rest stop before entering New York, whose gas tax is higher. 12:47 PM, $3.57⁹/gallon, 10¾ gallons.
New Lams Chinese Kitchen, Amsterdam NY. Found by Googling for
“restaurants” while at the Pattersonville rest area on the New York Thruway.
Food less than wonderful; we won’t be back.
The local Coke saleswoman came in and wanted to complain about cans of Pepsi being stored in the Coke-branded refrigerator. She insisted on speaking English, but the Mom+Pop owners of the restaurant would have much preferred to discuss the matter in Chinese and their English-speaking son wasn’t in the restaurant at the time.
Cash only; no receipt. Had to borrow US cash from Kid #1’s gift from BIL #2 to pay for it. [October 25th: still haven’t paid her back with loonies.]
Homewood Suites, Liverpool NY: Includes free dinner!
Homewood is now owned by Hilton. Our stay is complimentary because we have so many Hilton Rewards points, which were about to expire so we used them to stay here. Actually, we didn’t have *quite* enough points so we had to pay $12 to buy more ”free” points to top up the account for a ”free” room.
There was a middle-of-the-night false fire alarm, which the hotel blamed on ”the wind”, even though it was a windless night. Apparently the hotel staff have been taught standard lies to tell to guests, regardless of weather.
Meanwhile, in Canada: The Township of Wilmot took $180 from my chequing account for property tax. Union Gas took $88 for methane supply. Rogers took $150 for cable+Internet; one of these days I’ve gotta call them and cut back on the extraneous cable channels we don’t even watch!
Day 8: Shopping & Return Home
Land’s End Inlet, Rochester NY. This is an outlet store for clothing. Total $184.56, net after $150.54 ”savings off original price”. 1:28 PM.
Applebee’s, Henrietta NY. Within sight of Land’s End, but the receipt says it’s in a different town. $61.93 at 2:46 PM. The food seems about the same as always. Some people think Applebee’s will be going bankrupt soon.
Wegman’s Supermarket, Rochester NY. Within sight of Applebee’s and
Land’s End. The receipt is about 30 inches long! We buy lots of stuff that
is more expensive and/or not available in Canada. The receipt shows that we
presented 15 coupons (which Wifey had printed out from the Internet) for a
total of $13.45 discount (plus $3.70 for ”double coupons” less than $1). We
also get $14.07 off for using our Wegman’s loyalty card. Final total
$485.52, which I think is the most we have ever spent at this store (it used
to be more like $300). The haul includes one box of Sunshine Cheez-Its.
Exit at 4:21 PM.
At 3:48 PM, I use the Wegman’s food court wi-fi to check the stock market. The market had been heading downward, but in the last half-hour of trading it decided to zoom up and erase all losses for the past two days. Just as I log in to check on it, my emergency trailing stop activates and sells all my TZA shares. Rats! The shares bought on day 7 got sold for just about what I paid for them, while the shares bought on day 3 were sold for a 13% gain. Not bad, but I’m still waiting for the Big Drop when I’ll make a 60% gain on TZA. Some people say that ridiculous behaviour like a 5% average rise in all 6,000 stocks over a 40 minute period is indicative of market manipulation, but everyone knows the market is rigged so either play along or go home. Automated trailing stops are mandatory!
Wegman’s, 4:36 PM. After loading our purchases into the car and deciding how much room remains, I return to the store to buy more Cheez-Its. 16 more boxes for $35.00.
New York Thruway rest area, Clarence NY. Bought a muffin at Tim Horton’s; don’t remember why. $1.27 at 5:46 PM. Bought gas: Sunoco, $3.76⁹/gallon, 14⅞ gallons, 5:51 PM.
Canadian border, Queenston ON. We declare $1600 in purchases being imported. Because there are four of us and we were gone for a week, this amount is small enough to avoid having to pay sales tax upon re-entry. To verify our story, the border guard asks to see a receipt from a week ago. Wifey thumbs through the receipts envelope and selects the one for Penzey’s on day 4, which is less than a week ago but the guard accepts it anyway and waives us through.
Our house, Wilmot ON. Good night!