Provisioning at Winn-Dixie

Susan s/y Genesis

by Susan Wyatt, s/v Genesis

Editor's Note:  I have been corresponding with Susan and LA for at least a year now.  I first received an email from them when they were planning their trip to Central America.  They are currently in Isla Mujeres, and just as we did, they are having a hard time leaving that great little island.  I am enjoying reading about their trip and re-living some of the adventure through them.  When I read this article and saw the pictures I just cracked up.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I never realized how much WORK it is to provision a sailboat.  While we had the boat hauled out for a bottom paint job in Slidell, I decided it would be easier to get all my staple grocery goods loaded on the boat while I could drive the Suburban right up to the boat.  I could just haul my groceries right up the side of the boat using a canvas bag tied to a rope line.  So, one Sunday night at 8 p.m., I headed out to my local Slidell Winn Dixie (yep, the very one I BRIEFLY worked at back in 1998).

I had been making my list for months, adding things that I thought would not be available to me once I left the country.  (Of course, LA has told me time and time again..."people everywhere in the world have to don't have to take everything with you".)  Well, I am a planner and an eater so I can't just cast off the bowlines with no food in my pantry.

Winn Dixie in Slidell, LAI left LA at the boat because I wanted to stroll down ALL the aisles at my leisure.  And stroll I did.  I filled up one grocery basket completely and took it to the front of the store.  I got some looks from the checkout ladies and they asked what I was doing.  I explained that I was provisioning a boat and I would be buying a LOT.  So, I headed out with basket No. 2.  A while later the lights started flashing and they announced "Winn Dixie will be closing in 15 minutes".  Panic set in as I still had 6 or 7 items left on my list (being a perfectionist/OCD personality, it would drive me CRAZY if I didn't get every single thing on my list!).  I flew to the front of the store with my now filled basket No. 2.  I immediately noticed that none of the regular cash register lights were on.  The two ladies were standing next to the SELF CHECK-OUT... yep, you guessed it, only the self checkout registers were open at that time of night (11pm).  Yeah, that's right, I spent 3 hours in the grocery store and I STILL wasn't finished yet.  I told the ladies "please don't tell me that the self checkout is the only thing open. I HATE those things".  I won't even go through them if I only have 4 or 5 items.  All that weighing and stuff... they never work correctly!  They said "don't worry, we'll help you!".  I told them a had a few more things to get so go ahead and get started without me.  So, the SELF part of the checkout went to finish shopping.

I ended up with 3 grocery carts full of bagged groceries.  I held my breath as the cash register heaved and sighed and spit out the final total....$850.  More than I planned to spend but I did get some great wine so I figured it was all worth it.  I swiped my trusty (and well worn) debit card and DECLINED stared me in the face!  The clerk said "maybe you have a daily limit, have you done any other shopping today??".  I said oh yeah, I dropped $350 at Bed Bath and Beyond and another $100 at Home Depot".  So, here it is, now at 11:20 pm and I am stranded with a very small purse with only a debit card and a driver's license. (By the way, I have lightened my load considerably since retirement... I don't wear a watch anymore, so I never know what time it is...hence, my surprise when the announcement was made that the store was closing!).   I asked the clerk "can you suspend the transaction and just let me come back tomorrow and try it again or use my credit card??".  She said that the transaction would cancel at midnight (which was fast approaching) and we would have to ring up the groceries AGAIN.  I told her my boat was in a boatyard 10 minutes away and I could go and get my credit card.  She said "go for it".

Genesis in the boat yard.So, I jumped in the Suburban and flew all the way to the boatyard and when I got there, the GATE WAS LOCKED so there was no way to drive up to my boat!  I had to drive around to a small office and cut through a small gate and run all the way to my boat.  I climbed the ladder to get to the boat (the ladder is 12 feet tall) and fly down into the boat to rummage through my wallet to find the credit card.  Meanwhile, LA was snoring up a storm and never even knew I was there (some guard dog he is!).  I ran over to a boatyard worker who was working on his boat late at night and asked him to please open the gate.  He said "oh, it's not really locked, it just looks like it is".  Grrrrrr.  I ran back to my vehicle and flew back to Winn Dixie with credit card in hand.  The ladies were waiting patiently.  Ready for the big card swipe again..... guess what.....DECLINED!  I was freaking out!  I knew the card company had a 24 hour customer service line. the process of all my running around... I LOST MY GLASSES and couldn't see the numbers!  One of the ladies ran back to the pharmacy and got a pair of reading glasses for me.  So, with tags hanging off the glasses, I called the credit card company.  The customer service lady said "yeah, we saw that come through, but we declined it...$850 for groceries and 11pm at night....we thought it was fraudulent.  So, after answering all kinds of questions such as dog's name, cat's name and underwear size, I proved it was me and the transaction went through.  It's now 12 midnight and the one lone grocery boy was still there and we loaded the Suburban up and away I went.

By this time, I am so high on adrenaline, I know I am never going to get to sleep.  So I figured why don't I get a little head start on this and get a few of these groceries put away.... I fill a canvas bag with grocery bags, tie a line to the bag, climb up the 12 foot ladder and then STRENUOUSLY haul the canvas bag FULL of groceries to the top of the boat and OVER the lifelines..

(Hey, didn't I start this story thinking that this was going to make things easier??!!).

I started putting groceries away (and away, and away..).  I made three trips back and forth, and by 2:00 a.m., I decided I'd had enough for one night.  (All the while, LA's snoring).  I get into bed and at 3:00 a.m., LA wakes up and decides he's going to read for a while (he has been asleep since 8:30 p.m.- he's had his 6.5 hrs for the night).  I wake up and begin to tell him the "Winn Dixie saga" and inform him that I have gotten some great "deals" at Winn of which was "10 bottles of Kraft BBQ sauce for 10 dollars".  LA: "TELL me you DIDN'T buy 10 bottles of BBQ sauce...." Susan "Oh, yes!"   LA: "Please, please, don't tell me you REALLY think we are going to need 10 bottles???" Susan: "Oh yes...I am sure that in third world countries those little chickens are going to be so bony that we are going to need a LOT of BBQ sauce".  LA: "Please don't tell me need to go to sleep." (he's thinking I went around the bend at the Winn Dixie, which, of course, I did.. but I certainly wasn't going to admit to that!). 

Genesis' new waterline.The next morning in the bright of day, I leapt up and was ready to get back to it.  I opened the Suburban back doors.... and I felt a sinking feeling as a surveyed the grocery bag damage from the night before.... Grocery bags were EVERYWHERE.  Just as I was thinking "WHAT IN THE WORLD DID I BUY LAST NIGHT??", I heard a voice behind me "So you are the little lady who's trying to sink this boat".  I turned around and it was the owner of the boat yard, whom I had not yet met.  He and another worker were looking at our boat and calculating how much the water line on the boat needed to be RAISED due to all the things I had moved onto the boat. (And, of course, 99% of the groceries had not even been loaded, and I also had a roomful of things still at Mom's!).  Well, his little comment just put me right over the edge. I started to cry, and of course, he didn't know why.  About that time, LA walked up and explained that raising the water line was not an unusual occurrence on a cruising boat and not to worry. (Thankfully, the boatyard owner had wandered off by now, thinking what a lunatic wife LA had).  

I got over my little breakdown and LA and I began to load the groceries from the Suburban.  LA (also known as pack mule, hauler extraordinaire) climbed the ladder to lift the groceries onto the boat.  Now, on the previous night's operation, I would haul a canvas bag of groceries up, put them away, then go back for the next load.  Today's operation was quite different.  LA hauled up grocery bags as fast as I could load them in the canvas bag and the Suburban was unloaded in no time flat....HOWEVER... what a surprise I had waiting for me when I got on the boat.  He had placed the bags EVERYWHERE inside the was quite overwhelming....thus it was time for CRY #2 of the day.  (And to think, prior to this day, I had done so well...nary a tear shed!).  Well, baby, I'm catching up! 

Where in the world am I going to put all these groceries???As soon as I saw all the bags, I thought "WHERE IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO PUT ALL THESE GROCERIES???.

I told LA to vacate the premises and he was out like greased lightening...cry # 1 was enough for him already!  I sat down (on top of grocery bags, of course) and had a good little cry.  I finally got up and "snuffled" around thinking "ok, ok, ..get it together..I can do this...I can do this".  I put on my "big girl panties" and got the job done... only took me SIX AND ONE-HALF HOURS!!! And I even know where everything is, because due to my OCD personality, I made a list of everything I put away, where it went, and how many there were.  Of course, LA doesn't actually expect me to COOK anything yet.... secretly, I am TERRIFIED at having to find the ingredients to cook my first meal on our passage to Mexico.  (But, being the good girl scout I am, I am secret weapon for the passage.... a HONEY BAKED ham!).

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