Anatomy of a day trip to the States

We used to have so much fun going to Bellingham, just across the border, and beyond, for day trips and longer.

The past couple of times have felt strange and I think it also reflects our changing priorities.

We could hardly get out the door earlier than 9:30. The kid woke up frightfully early at 6 a.m. so we had been up a while before getting into the car and I’m keenly aware it’s a long, boring, understimulating and underactive day for him with the potential for terrible sleep and wonky eating/hydration as well.

We hit up our new “usual” McDonald’s in White Rock. Before, we’d get two breakfasts and nary a drink for the kid, but now his appetite is making a dent. We got a two breakfast deal on mailer coupon with one drink being white milk for the kid, an extra hashbrown because it’s only $0.40, and my drink was an iced coffee because it’s a summer special offer. The kid picked the two-top booth we sat at and ate most of a hashbrown and all of the egg of my sausage ‘n’ egg McMuffin. The kiosk does not allow you to customize your breakfast sandwich to contain two eggs LOL.

We crossed the border shortly after and since we were going for just half a day, I didn’t buy a roaming package and simply wrote down some addresses. (Confession: I wasn’t 100% sure we were allowed to bring fresh squeeze OJ across the border but I blustered to NPY that we could.)

Our first stop was to pick up the play tent I ordered on Amazon to set up on the balcony. NPY is cynical and thinks we will be disallowed by strata but we’ll see. I collect Bing rewards and often redeem for Amazon credit and merely had to pay for the storage locker fee in Blaine. It is so civilized to pick up my parcels and I know I’m late to the game.

We thought we’d hit up Target before the kid napped but he fell asleep before we arrived at Bellis Fair so I walked around inside first. I didn’t get further than Payless – ironically, I was headed to DSW – and bought three pairs of shoes and didn’t take a bag so I had to head back to the car.

I was noisy on my return so he woke up after a 30-minute nap and we went inside and straight to Payless. The sandals were too big and they didn’t have his size and the Converse look-alikes were too stiff so both of his shoes were returned. I did see a pair – wrong size – that is matchy-matchy with my new grey chambray tennis shoes though I’ll have to look for in Canadian stores.

Bellis Fair at this point is much worse for the wear so we were only there for Target and only at Target for Hot Wheels for the kid – $0.99 each! and 10% off! – and snacks.

The rampant consumerism and overstimulation as we presented the kid with tens of Hot Wheels options was slightly scary and he’s still young and reined in enough to not want it all. He got two and I am creating a Fiat 500 collection by buying two more. It is an exercise in restraint that he doesn’t get to open more than one Hot Wheels a day.

I didn’t turn up any of the snacks I listed that The Impulsive Buy has recently mentioned which was somewhat surprising. So to bulk up our purchases from four Hot Wheels, I got some charcoal face wash and a bag of animal crackers.

We next went to the “new” Costco which isn’t so new but we don’t have that new street on our 2016 model car’s navigation system. We got gas which didn’t seem like at steal at $1.22 when it’s ~$1.60 in Vancouver. Then we walked around in Costco and the price of storage boxes seemed so enticing and then I could throw all the unsightly clutter inside! We followed a forklift to catch it at work but were disappointed the request was called off.

We went to Mi Mexico, my third and NPY’s second time. I still really enjoy having chips and salsa as soon as we sit down and we need only order two “small” combinations ($10.99 each) and its more than we can finish. This time we remembered to ask for black beans instead of refried but concluded that despite having different entrees, there isn’t much variation to the flavours. Next time, I think we’ll get one small combination, a kid’s meal and have room for dessert so we can try their fried ice cream!

It felt draining already so our last stop, as agreed upon, was Trader Joe’s. It was really bustling inside and we finally did some damage with an eye-watering $89 bill.

The grocery items had a few themes:

We were back across the border before 6 p.m. and the kid passed out, awake less than 12 hours and hopefully making up for some sleep recent sleep deficit.

On this day..