When ErinGoBrawl and I were in college, we used to make weekly pilgrimages to the promised land. And, by the promised land I mean Wegman’s, obviously.
During those delightful visits, we learned many important life lessons, including that a few fresh vegetables can turn a packet of ramen into a gourmet dining experience and that wearing excessive eye make-up does not make it more likely that the cashier will sell you beer without an ID.
But, the most important lesson that we learned, which we repeatedly had to yell at each other when tempted by the bright lights of the dairy section, was this:
DO NOT BUY BULK CHEESE.
It never tastes as good as you think it will, you will never eat it all, and it always ends in digestive distress. Always. Just ask ErinGoBrawl. She knows.
I have fastidiously applied the Just Say No Bulk Cheese rule ever since, extrapolating the hypothesis to reach all bulk items.
I have never succumbed to the Sirens that are CostCo, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s (who named that company? I mean, really?! How did that make it out of market research?), refusing to be seduced by their sweet discount songs into shipwrecking my already too small home on giant jars of pretzels, mountains of toilet paper, and industrial sized vats of vile mayonnaise.
I know better.
I know that buying in bulk always ends badly.
But, recently, that magic life-saving mantra escaped me just when I needed it most.
As you know, Country Boy and I have been remodeling our house for approximately 4.5 eons. We are FINALLY on the last phase of the outside overhaul, which is the landscaping. Because Country Boy is a landscape architect, our yard revamp is not going to just be a quick sod, shrub, and mulch job. Oh no. He has a much greater plan that I am absolutely in love with.
But, with great plans comes great time commitments.
As Country Boy began lining up nurseries from which to obtain his plethora of plants to transform our yard into the world’s smallest botanical garden, he began casually dropping little gems like “We’ll need to rent a UHaul to pick-up all of the plants,” “Most of these nurseries are over an hour’s drive away,” and “This could take months.”
Things that I do not want to spend one, let alone many Saturdays doing? Riding in a UHaul for hours on end while shopping for plants.
But, I really wanted my amazing yard to be finished.
And then, one of the nurseries told Country Boy that if he bought all 250 plants at once, they would give him a substantial discount and deliver those plants directly to our door.
No UHaul?! No epic journeys to nurseries?! No belabored plant shopping with a picky professional?! A discount?!
SIGN ME UP.
I immediately and effusively praised this as the greatest idea ever, and I insisted that Country Boy take the nursery up on its offer.
I was so overjoyed at saving hours of shopping and getting a discount that I overlooked one glaring detail of this plan that became painfully obvious on delivery morning.
We had just bought bulk plants.
WHAT HAD I DONE?? I KNOW BETTER!
As with everything that is purchased in bulk, operation landscaping has ended badly.
Because you know what happens when 250 plants arrive on your doorstep? You have to plant them. You have to plant them ASAP to avoid them being stolen and to avoid having to hand-water each individual pot to prevent a bulk-plant dust bowl.
But, it is physically impossible for two people to get 250 plants perfectly aligned and in the ground in one day, which means that we had to start doing things like this at 10:00 pm on a Monday night after a 10-hour work day:
It’s been well over a week of midnight gardening sessions, and we still have not managed to get our foliage army safely packed in the soil. As soon as I arrive home every night, I reluctantly trudge myself out to the yard to commence planting and watering the never-ending battalions of plants. I’m like Khaleesi, except for that my soldiers don’t respond to my commands.
By the time we (hopefully) finish planting this weekend, we will have spent countless long weeknights and several 12+ hour weekend days furiously and frantically flinging dirt around our yard all while coddling our over-stressed and unhappy little green friends.
And, in the course of this insanity, Country Boy and I are both exhausted and so sore that we can barely walk normally, requiring bulk-plant-discount-negating financial and emotional investments in Aleve, massages, and general disgruntledness.
So, to recap, buying in bulk has resulted in no euphoria, yet has produced a host of physically, emotionally, and socially destructive side effects.
Remember kids, Just Say No to Bulk.
March 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM
GORGEOUS PLANTS. Seriously — it looks like you’re living in the Garden of Versailles. Perhaps a smaller version, but so long as you’re channeling Louis XIV, there’s another thing you need in bulk: wine. That’s the one thing I buy in multiples (thanks to your recommendation), and my life would be incomplete without it. Please tell me you still make an exception for wine.
March 14, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Thank you! Although, I also think you might be pandering in order to get first dibs on the limes, lemons, and grapefruits when they start growing. I respect that level of cunning and manipulation.
I do buy wine by the case, but I do not see that as buying in bulk. For me, buying in bulk means buying in quantities that you will not use in a short amount of time to avoid regular shopping. I go through a case of wine in a shockingly quick amount of time and I still have to regularly wine shop. Ergo, ipso facto, other latin words, my regular WTSO purchases are not bulk purchases.
March 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM
I don’t know if I can believe you about bulk cheese. Mmmmm, cheese.
I am a CostCo-holic. I limit myself to one trip every 2-3 months, but then I load up on ginormous parmesan cheese canisters, bulk coffee pods and huge ass laundry detergents. They are things we use every day, so it’s completely worth it to get the huge ones.
Gardening at night does not sound fun. But just think how lovely it will be when it is finally finished!
Oh, and I have a Wegmans near me. Need me to pick you up anything next time I swing by? 😉
March 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE cheese. But, when you buy it in bricks, things tend to go bad and fast, especially when you have the self-control of a goldfish. We would eat cheese until we made ourselves ill. Over and over again. We just could not be trusted.
I’m assuming you have a house big enough to put all of your cheese, coffee pods, and detergents? I think that might be the key. I just don’t have room for the stuff and it becomes the bane of my existence. I have been shuffling around a giant CostCo bottle of Tanqueray that was purchased for a shower that I hosted for 4 years — it fits in none of my cabinets, the cap was lost about two years ago (the top is now classily wrapped in foil), and no matter how many cocktails I make with it, I just cannot f-ing kick that bottle. It’s like the bottles is refilling itself every night. Just the sight of it makes me feel both irrationally angry and like a total failure.
You have a Wegman’s! No wonder you could find magical golden grahams treats!
March 13, 2014 at 4:23 PM
I guess the only thing good that will come out of this is that you’ll be so happy to be done and so pleased to be that much closer to your completed nirvana. 4.5 eons is a long, long time to wait…
As for me, I’d be scared of the critters that come out in the dark. I’m not fond of them during the day, either.
March 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Don’t even get me started on the critters! The other night, after I gave up on trying to garden in the pitch black and went inside the house, Country Boy stayed behind to keep working and had an encounter with two foxes getting into a fight next to my car. Fox gang turf wars?! In the city?! And I thought we moved into a nice neighborhood…
Its definitely not safe out there, and I’m not so sure, based on their recent performance, that my plant army is up for the task of protecting me.
August 20, 2014 at 2:50 PM
Yo, that’s what’s up tryhuftllu.
February 21, 2015 at 1:19 PM
That’s a mold-breaker. Great thinking!
March 13, 2014 at 4:47 PM
Your landscape project is my basement project. I have a garage full of Ikea cabinetry and this weekend I’m driving a Uhaul full of stuff from Chicago to here. To quote Bill Clinton (in some circles he’s the anti-Nancy) – I feel your pain. It’s also a coincidence that we’re going to start looking for a landscape architect soon. Would Country Boy consider bartering services for wine? Or how about pictures of Lohan?
March 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM
Ikea and storage units — that is the stuff of nightmares! Allen wrenches and having to sort things into piles makes me break out into hives. I don’t envy you at all. But, it will look awesome when it is finished.
As for the landscape architecting, CB will totally help you out, especially if wine is on the line. You know how to find me when the time comes.
March 13, 2014 at 6:45 PM
Great advice. Of course I used to call this “age-old advice” but now that I am “that age” it’s just great advice. Thanks for sharing.
March 14, 2014 at 10:19 AM
Haha! Any time — please learn from my ridiculous mistakes. While bad decisions often make for good stories, this is one that no one else needs to experience.
March 13, 2014 at 8:18 PM
You are so right… Wegman’s is the promised land!!!
The landscaping and plants look gorgeous – I’m impressed by your dedication, and headlight planting ingenuity!
Any way to get the trespassing raccoon to help plant?
Think of all the wine and margaritas you can enjoy when all the planting is done 🙂
March 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Hahaha! If Kato showed up while I was out there, I would totally toss that bitch a shovel and tell her to start earning her keep.
And, yes, based on all of the wine cocktails I am already enjoying while I am planting, I will definitely be enjoying a lot once this project is finished. My lemon tree has exploded with flowers, so I need to start searching for all sorts of recipes since, in about a month, it’s going to be all lemons, all the time in my world.
March 13, 2014 at 8:50 PM
KATO, OH KATO! Your woodland retreat is almost ready!
March 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM
SHHHHH!!!! Kato hasn’t been around lately — she has clearly taken up other digs while my backyard is closed for renovations — and I’m hoping that she’ll forget all about us. We definitely will not be announcing our grand re-opening to the woodland creature press.
March 13, 2014 at 9:34 PM
My biggest nightmare! Not the cheese but the plants. I know 0 about plants and flowers and have no knowledge/interest of planting. Mr. Brickhouse is into gardens – especially vegetable gardens which end up being acres of weeds because I do not maintain them while he is at work. I hope that in the end it will all look beautiful! Even if it doesn’t look good, who cares. As long as you are finished planting. 🙂
March 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM
Haha! I’m sure it will look great, but the success of our botanical backyard largely rests with him. Luckily, he knows my limitations and built/installed an automated irrigation system before we started so that the plants will survive no matter how much neglect I throw their way.
March 13, 2014 at 9:55 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but… what’s a Wegman’s?
Oh, and +5 extra credit for the GoT reference! 🙂
March 14, 2014 at 2:19 PM
A Wegman’s is the GREATEST grocery store ever. Amazing store brand products and prepared food (we’re talking a sushi bar, pasta station, insane salad bar, sub shop, and pizza counter), perfect local produce, an absurdly friendly staff, and reasonable prices. It started out as a Western NY chain but recently its expanded throughout the mid-Atlantic. It absolutely crushes Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
August 21, 2014 at 3:25 AM
Apiirceatpon for this information is over 9000-thank you!
March 13, 2014 at 11:43 PM
Ha ha. I visited Wegman’s once – 20 years ago when I flew to Rochester to visit my friend. Teased her that she lived in the boonies. All they had was bowling and Wegman’s. And ew….we don’t shop at Costco, though all our friends do.
We keep Trader Joe’s and the health food markets running. Great part about the plants.
March 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM
That’s how good Weg’s is — you still remember it 20 years later!
Isn’t Trader Joe’s the best? We just FINALLY got one near our house (I developed an addiction when I used to live in a different city), and I have been behind myself. Awesome organic and sustainable delicious products at affordable prices!
March 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM
Depends on your standards. I read the ingred carefully to screen the sugar, wheat, and additives. =)
But yes, we love it.
March 14, 2014 at 2:19 AM
I’m with you on bulk buying. Never worth it. And that cheese – ugh! But the plants, hopefully, will be a one-off. The sore muscles will heal and you’ll enjoy your garden of Eden….congrats!
March 14, 2014 at 4:41 PM
Thanks! And I’m glad I’m not alone in eschewing the bulk buying trend. I just never seem to need THAT much of anything or have the space to keep it around even if I do (I get that eventually I will use 200 rolls of toilet paper but I would need to build a shed in the backyard just to store them all!).
I’ve got just over 12 hours until this weekend’s plantapalooza begins — here’s hoping this is the final stop on that tour.
March 14, 2014 at 7:44 AM
Oh, Wegmans–for a long time it was the promised land (and it still is when we head back to PA to visit family) but Fairway is my one true grocery store now. And buying bulk is not a bad thing–for certain items. Like paper towels and toilet paper and chicken stock and good Italian canned tuna.
Re: the plants, I too would be too distracted by the delivery and discount that I wouldn’t register that 200-odd plants need to be planted RIGHT AWAY, but your garden is going to look amazing when it’s all done, and it’s going to have grapefruit and lemon trees!
March 16, 2014 at 9:46 AM
Fairway is pretty spectacular, although it hasn’t replaced Wegman’s in my heart yet. Although, to be fair, my view of Fairway is a little skewed because I was trekking to the one in Brooklyn. While it had killer views from his patio area and tons of delicious items, I finished every trip there by having to walk 20 minutes back to my apartment lugging bags that I could barely carry because I couldn’t control myself and bought too much.
And I love that your prime bulk item is good Italian chunk tuna. Of course it is.
And, yes, the garden is getting there. We were out there until dark last night and are about to go out again, but I finally feel like the end is in sight! And everything smells like lemon blossoms, which makes pushing around wheelbarrows full of dirt slightly less offensive.
March 14, 2014 at 10:48 AM
One word of advice: outsource. 😉
March 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM
You have no idea how much I wish that I could! And, I’ve tried. I even mustered up a willing crew of our closest and totally competent friends to come over and plant in exchange for beers, and Country Boy turned them down. He knows that he is very OCD about making sure that the plants are put in the ground according to his exact specifications, and he didn’t want to subject any of our friends to that level of insanity.
So, just I get to be the unskilled labor on this project, because I promised to love him for better or for worse. And, in my relationship, the “for worse” involves digging holes in the dark way past my bedtime while he frantically micromanages, measures, and consults his plans. But, at the end of the day, as with everything else Country Boy has done on our home, it will be beyond stunning and worth every moment. I just need the end of the day to come already.
March 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM
I am lucky my city boy likes to pay others to do that work. Fuck I was beyond stressed when the giant crew was putting in the pool, the stone and the landscaping. And all I was doing was watching. 🙂
Good luck finishing soon.
ps There is no such thing as too many plants and trees. 🙂
March 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM
Ahahahahaha!!!! Ok, first of all, I misread the title of this post and thought it said “Pants” so I was reading this wondering when and why you were going to end up buying pants in bulk! Seriously, though, your backyard already looks incredible and I hope you’ll be sharing photos of the finished project! I almost died when you said you were like Khaleesi! See, this is why we hired a landscape designer for ours…
March 16, 2014 at 9:50 AM
Hahahaha! Bulk pants are also a bad idea.
Photos of the finished project will be forthcoming, although it will probably be a while. Having an in-house landscape designer, means that, while he’s free, the yard is never really finished. Just yesterday, as we were battling the plant army, Country Boy already started spinning out new ideas…
March 18, 2014 at 12:39 AM
I cannot imagine taking a UHaul to pick up plants, that is incredible. Granted, I just became obsessive and would sneak off to buy plants after work and on lunch breaks and possibly while I was supposed to be out of the office at meetings so maybe all total it would have filled a UHaul…
You absolutely must post photos of the finished yard, though. I’m impressed. Kind of jealous.
March 20, 2014 at 2:16 PM
Is this your first house? This sounds like a serious, horrifying rookie mistake. 250 plants?! Whaaaa?? I freak out when I have to plant a dozen bulbs.
I am so pleased that the younger generation knows Paradise. That’s what we called it in college, when we got on the furniture and performed Paradise singing into our beer cans. I was a back up singer.
March 21, 2014 at 11:07 PM
Wegman’s original chocolate chip muffins were heaven.
March 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
I kill all plants, so no matter how big the discount was, I would not be able to buy them in bulk unless it was part of a grand plan to get rid of all of my money on pointless purchases. Although I have wondered lately if I could keep a plant alive now that I have a Keurig and have kept it alive. All I do is put water into it, so it’s basically the same thing, right?
We just got a Wegman’s near us about a year or two ago. I had no idea what all the hype was about becasue the closest one to me before that was in upstate NY (I’m in MA). People love Wegman’s on some whole other level. There was a newspaper article about the grand opening of the one by me and about how a couple had gotten engaged there because Wegman’s was some symbol of their relationship. So weird.
March 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM
I’m ready for an updated post to see your progress!
April 7, 2014 at 2:52 PM
Wish I’d read this before I went to Costco yesterday. At least 500 spring bulbs take up less room in the garage than trees.
April 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM
Hey there! I’ve been reading your website for a
while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout
out from Portger Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up
the good work!
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