Thursday, March 29, 2007

You can find EVERYTHING on eBay

There's been a cloud hanging over me recently. Something I needed to do, but didn't know how to begin. Our salt supply is running out.

You have to understand, we don't buy salt like regular people do. James has a thing about salt - well, about any kind of powder at all. He is always building scenes with his Thomas the Tank Engine toys, and if you watch these programs, you'll soon discover that one of the basic plot lines involves a train running into something or other - snow, dirt, coal, chocolate, hay...there's always SOMETHING. James's great joy is to re-create these scenes, and so any time he gets his hands on some kind of powder, it ends up dumped in a pile over a train track, with a train running into it. White powders are the best, because they can act as SNOW, so over the years I have lost countless pounds of salt, sugar, flour, powdered milk, baking powder, laundry soap, you name it, in the cause of dramatic train accident re-enactments.

The worst incident was back in Boston, when James dumped out a whole box of black pepper to run his trains through. He then got mad at Thomas for some reason, and started throwing pepper at him. Thomas, of course, retaliated, and soon I had both of them howling in pain because they had pepper in their eyes. They also kept throwing pepper at each other, because now they had PAIN to avenge! I was frantically trying to wash their faces off with a wet cloth, but Thomas was a little more pro-active, so he sought relief by washing his eyes in the first liquid he could get his hands on - a bottle of apple juice. So now we were in a sticky, peppery, noisy, crying mess, which continued until I hauled them both upstairs and put them in separate showers to clean off.

As a result of this debacle, we learned to adapt. I've switched to liquid laundry soap, for one thing. But the most effective tactic was to go over to single-serving packages. Now I buy envelopes of yeast, baking powder, and baking soda, instead of the boxes. Our dishwasher uses those cubes instead of the pourable powder. Sugar packets, envelopes of hot chocolate, office-style packets of coffee - we've got them all.

The only problem is salt. You cannot buy individual salt packets retail anywhere. Bulk Barn and Costco will sell sugar and sugar substitute, but I've searched in vain for salt or pepper. We could always surreptitiously bring home a few from McDonald's, but that's stealing, and I wanted to find a permanent, as well as honest solution. Finally I tracked down a restaurant supply company that also sells to the public, and got a big supply. But that was 4 years ago, and now we're down to our last half-bag, and the company I used before no longer stocks salt and pepper packets.

I was about to go searching the internet again, when I thought I'd look at eBay first. I never would have expected it, but somebody IS selling salt packets - 6000 US Food Services salt packets! How they got them, I don't know, but this should last us for a good number of years. Then I'll worry about finding more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your posts, Dr. Mabuse!

I am the mother of a 16-yr-old daughter tentatively diagnosed with Angelman's Syndrome. She is non-verbal and about the level of a 3-year-old. Though our circumstances may be different, I can appreciate the various accomodations around the household, ones that would just seem nuts to anyone not in that situation.

For example: my daughter has a thing for soap... any kind. We haven't quite figured out a way to get around that. You might have guessed that, despite her cognitive disabilities, she is not stupid. In fact, she is extraordinarily clever and has successfully defeated most forms of childproof devices & locks, and in a house our size, there are only so many places to hide things. So we're still working on that!

All the best to you and your family,

Karen in Kenosha WI

11:06 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I certainly know what you mean - it's like being part of an underground culture. No one can really imagine it who hasn't experienced it. We've do a lot of hiding of stuff too, and then you have the situation of forgetting where you hid something.

One becomes adept at thinking outside the box. Maybe one of those liquid soap dispensers, like they have at movie theatres, would work? I have to say, though, that I tried that myself once, and James just figured out how to lift the entire soap reservoir out and dump the contents. He wanted "bubbles", and that's what we got.

4:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the idea, Dr. Mabuse. Unfortunately, I can easily see my daughter doing the same thing as James. And forgetting where we hid something is just a way of life in our house!


5:50 pm  
Blogger Phil said...

Silly, soft stuff! Won't stop me!

9:48 pm  

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