Apr 222020

When this Whole Nasty Bidness started, I did what any other red-blooded American would do, I ordered a boatload of coffee. We can do without a lot; but we cannot do without coffee.

Perhaps I should have studied more chemistry, because I failed to consider the properties of matter in my decision to buy only coffee. Matter has three properties. Correct? Coffee is a liquid, and carried to its logical consequence, it can produce gas or a solid.

But I did not consider that in my quest to find coffee; I did not order extra toilet paper.

For six weeks now, we’ve ordered groceries successfully via Instacart from our local grocery. It’s gone very well, in spite of a few substitutions. But there hasn’t been a week when there’s been any toilet paper. None. Nada.

I’ve read all the articles about why the supply change isn’t working, but shouldn’t it have caught up by now? On a regular basis, I check about six web sites. As a back-up, I’ve purchased baby wipes (and learned the hard way hat they should not be flushed. Imagine the delight my husband felt when I woke him up at 3 a.m. to finish the job I could not complete, plunger in hand?

Friends have not been helpful, except for those two gracious souls who have volunteered to give us some of their stash. They both know that when I’m down to one roll, I’ll be sending out an All Points Bulletin. But other friends will say things like, “Schnucks had it last Thursday at 2 p.m.” “Aldi’s had it last weekend.” I have failed the time travel test to go back in time to WalMart at 3 a.m. last Sunday when apparently truckloads of White Cloud arrived.

I’ve been ordering the blasted stuff online and currently have three orders pending. One order is (and I swear this is true) from Afghanistan and is made from bamboo. My husband doubted me, saying there was no bamboo in Afghanistan. I guess that’s why it is taking so long. The other two orders are from Amazon, one has an arrival date of May 5 to 26. Just this morning I found a company that will have it to me by April 29. We’ll see.

We had a secret stash — a 12 package megaroll CVS premium. Then we heard the pleas of our only child who lives in an urban area with one CVS and one grocery store in walking distance. He doesn’t have a car, and lives in a “hot spot” area where taking the train or a bus to find toilet paper is probably not a good idea. Like his mother, he has orders placed online.

Parents out there: what would you do? Would you risk your own life to go to the Post Office and spend $12 to send your secret stash to your only child? Of course not, but you would send your husband to do it.

We gave our kid money for a big birthday so he could have a trip to New York with his girlfriend and see “Hamilton.” That didn’t happen because of the virus, but I swear he was more ecstatic about the arrival of the toilet paper than the chance be “in the room where it happened.”

I can relate. We have been talking about going to NYC this fall to see Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in the 35th revival of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.” Honestly, I’ve seen “The Music Man” on Broadway and would trade it all in a heartbeat for Hugh Jackman to come to my door, bearing a 24-pack mega roll of Cottonelle or Charmin. As Jackman walks up the steps to deliver my treasure, Sutton Foster will sing, Til There was You, though The Shipoopi, might be more appropriate. Would it be too much to ask for the Charmin bears to dance on the driveway?

Yes, there IS trouble right here in River City. It starts with T and continues with P, and that stands for Toilet Paper.

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