Monday, February 9, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

The sun was shining today, so I bundled up the babies, with the goal of walking to Superstore for milk and some bread, and a chance to meet Thyra at her bus stop. Yes that's right, I said walk to Superstore. (Never mind that Malachi abandoned both of his mittens and toque somewhere along our way, and that only the mittens, now completely sodden were retrieved on the return trip.... I am trying to incite envy... is it working?)

When we bought our house, we were pleased to note a Safeway, and Coop within a 20 or so minute walk from our house. Not that we did walk that often. Nor did we actually shop at those actual locations. Groceries were usually had at

A) whichever store was first seen on the commute home or
B) a further away Superstore or Costco trip on the weekend.

While I abhorred Superstore, (abhor being reduced to mildly-disliked upon the introduction of their wonderfully adorable and affordable Joe Fresh line for Men, Women and Children.), I had to concede that savings gleaned were worth having to pay for my own bags, and pack and carry my groceries to the car occasionally.

I was a born-and raised-Coop shopper. Because, to borrow a line, "sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your name", or Coop number. I loved the products, the service, the free bags, and the automatic assumption that you need help to your car. I loved my refund cheque at the end of the year. I loved that I was supporting our local economy.


I am ashamed to admit, that I turned my back on a friend, and whored myself out to big business, all in the name of saving a buck.

We love the location of our neighbourhood, but not really our neighbourhood itself. We live in a somewhat inner-city, older neighbourhood that consists of a lot of renters and seniors. Our neigbourhood resides somewhere between Suburbia and Cool. We could sit around and wait for one or the other to happen to our street, but the likelihood of that occurring before we require hip replacements is not probable.

Our house is small, and partially renovated, but we are not convinced this is our "permanent residence", as of yet. For some reason, the idea of a family home really appeals to both Gavan and I. A place where our kids spend the bulk of their childhood. Where their memories are formed, and where, one day, they can possibly return to with their own children and sleep in their old rooms. We are realistic to know that life doesn't always permit such idyllic permanence, but nevertheless, the vision remains. To turn our current residence into the set for familial bliss would be a rather large, and expensive undertaking, and one that is probably not worth the effort. Our street is too busy, and really isn't it always about location, location, location?

So while we are not going anywhere anytime soon, we tended to go around in circles contemplating all the pros and cons of moving vs. renovating. (You all know that when I say "we", I mean "I".) Is it off to the suburbs then, with the look-alike housing, and kiddie playgrounds galore? With kids in every cul-de-sac, playing street hockey and riding bikes unsupervised (gasp)? Or shall we save up and move even further towards the city centre, nearer our kids schools and into a trendy neighbourhood where the trees are mature, and life smacks of gentility.

We did have to admit that our present location does have some advantages. Not too far from anything, every kind of fast food or ethnic restaurant within close proximity. Handy to work and school and the Deerfoot. But these are things we felt we could easily do without in Suburbville, or would be upgraded to even superior proximity and quality in Trendytown. Plus, we smugly liked to point out that there was not even one decent coffee shop accessible by foot, and we were still schlepping 15 minutes away for cheaper groceries. Take that neighbourhood!

And then the Superstore opened. Gavan and I looked at each other in horror. "They have us now" I exclaimed with despair. "We're trapped! How will we ever escape? We are doomed to a life of residential mediocrity!"

But that's not the end... oh no! The plot thickens.

Just as soon as I begin to feel the first fingers of boredom with Old Neighbourhood once again, and my love for convenient food shopping is starting to wax a little cold, I discover on our walk today that there is a full-fledged Starbucks about to open right at the foot of the RCSS (as she's known on my bank statements). Groceries and Chai at the same time? Taking a family stroll on a summer's eve for frappucinos and blended lemonade? We'll be here forever.

You're oh so clever Neighbourhood! It's hard to shake my fist at you when it's full of steamed, frothy goodness.

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