Oct. 29, day 7: Drive from New York to Ontario
Best Western (Liverpool NY, 2:46am). Yet another bill-under-the-door. Only $111.76 for a 2-queen room — and the pool is heated! Looks like we’ll be back here next time, although the side-by-side beds caused Kid #1 to be quite unhappy with Wifey’s breathing noises. When we were last here in 2007, the neighbouring airport was very noisy, but no problem this time.
US Postal Service (Liverpool NY, 10:43am). $4.17 for delivery
of an item to New Jersey and for a box to mail it in. The item is my old
E-ZPass transponder, which hasn’t worked
since 2009 or so yet they keep charging me $1/month for it. The return
address printed on the transponder is no longer valid, so I had to call them
to get the new address.
I just checked my E-ZPass account balance and an “adjustment” was made to my account on Nov. 4th. I now have a $50 credit balance. Anyone wanna place a bet as to whether I ever see that money?
Jo-Ann’s Fabrics (Amherst NY, 1:59pm). Wifey paid $46.91 for sewing stuff, mostly for Kid #1’s birthday present.
Tops (Amherst NY, 3:00pm). $134.87 to stock up on inexpensive American groceries for our Canadian pantry. Includes canned gefilte fish and mass quantities of turkey pepperoni, chocolate baking morsels, and AA batteries.
Tops (3:02pm). As a thank-you gift for our preceding purchase, the machine spat out a coupon for a 75¢ discount on our next purchase. Kid #2 noticed a pack of gum for 79¢, so we bought it to use up the coupon. With tax, the net cost of the gum was 11¢.
Key Bank (inside Tops, 3:02pm). Get $20 to ensure that we can pay for tolls on the way home, but it turned out that we already had (barely) enough cash — so now we have USD $20 to hold onto for our next trip to the States. No ATM fee for Key Bank, but $3 fee for our bank plus the exchange rate was $23.07.
Tops lottery vending machine. Once again, Wifey buys an instant ticket for $1 which wins $2. She also buys a $2 Powerball ticket for the evening’s drawing (it didn’t win anything).
Wegman’s (Amherst NY, 3:35pm). $52.63 for salad bar lunch. Still pretty good, but notably lower quality than last time. Robert Wegman died eight years ago. Things change after the founder dies: stores become less distinctive and more like every other store, because that’s the “safe” move for an MBA executive.
Wegman’s (4:48pm). $463.59 for even more groceries, including mass quantities of boneless chicken breast, peanut butter, horseradish cheddar, Hebrew National® hot dogs, and — as usual — 160 cans of “Wegman’s Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water” (which costs half as much as similar products in Canada). Wegman’s might not be as distinctive as they used to be, but you can’t argue with their prices! In fact, they have the same Sea Dog blueberry ale from Maine that I bought at Shaw’s in Massachusetts — but Wegman’s price is about 20% lower. Oh well.
Wegman’s parking lot. We bought too much stuff on this trip! Wifey spends considerable time jamming everything into the trunk. Eventually she gets it all in *and* leaves enough open space down the middle of the van so the rearview mirror will work. She is amazing.
Delta Sonic (Amherst NY, 5:38pm). $50 for gasoline. This station is very close to Tops and Wegman’s, so we generally stop here before beginning the long drive home. Once again, prepayment is necessary due to rampant American xenophobia. No zipcode means no right to a receipt showing how much gas you got for your money!
Canadian border (Queenston ON). Border guard waives us through, perhaps in part because we have Canadian passports. Once again, no sales tax on our declared $1000ºº of imported goods!
Our house. After bringing in the food from the car, I looked in the fridge and said, “Hey, know what we forgot to buy? Fridge light bulbs!” Both of them had failed just before we went on our trip.
Oct. 30, day 8: The day after
Country Paws (St. Agatha ON, 10:53am). $165.20 for a week’s stay at a dog kennel. That’s $20/day plus tax plus $1 per day to feed him a customer-provided chewable beef-flavoured arthritis pill that’s no trouble at all to administer because he likes it. And the dog came home with a limp, so either they didn’t actually give him all the pills or he overexerted himself (which he often does at the kennel).
Home Hardware (New Hamburg ON, 3:46pm). $5.53 for a pair of lightbulbs specially designed to provide “true daylight colour” inside a fridge.
Oct. 31, day 9: The day after the day after
Our house. Halloween party. We had only two guests over. After trick-or-treating and then some trading, each of my kids ended up with a gallon-sized bag filled solely with candies that they actually liked. What a nice neighbourhood!
Nov. 2, day 11: The last day
Carl’s Jr. parking lot (Waterloo ON). Presented the items to my furiend, but he didn’t want to do the Furry thing I had in mind, so the whole exercise turned out to be pointless. He gave me USD $12 for the Cheez-Its and Starbucks (even though he also had Canadian money in his wallet), so now I have even more US cash to hold onto for the next trip. I gave him the blueberry ale as a consolation prize.