Costco Deli Chicken Wings in Actifry Air fryer

Costco Deli Chicken Wings (not from food court!) cooked in Tefal Actifry, about 25-30 minutes, tender and juicy, much less salt and grease

The Costco deli chicken wings are always a favorite at my house; they are delicious, affordable and easy to make. You just stick them in the oven for about 20 minutes, and you’re good to go!

Just one small problem: like all chicken wings, they are incredibly fatty, as the foil on which they cook will attest, and more specifically to Costco, they are spectacularly salty! The salt content is not rated, but trust me: if the batch is not properly mixed by the employees, you will find some wings with clumps of seasoning, and they will be downright inedible.

(side note: just now, as I write this, I have completed my bag of Moon Cheese I reviewed a few days ago; as I thought, I will not be buying it anymore)

As I was given a Tefal Actifry air fryer recently, I thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to try something new. The deli manager at my local Costco told me he’d never tried it, that I might lose some seasoning, but that it should work.

Boy, did it ever!

Costco Deli Chicken Wings in Tefal Actifry

This took about 25-30 minutes, a bit longer than the oven, but it was well worth it. Much of the seasoning did end up in the bottom, soaking up the grease, but it would not have been possible to tell; the wings were just as flavorful and delicious as usual, although they did seem a little bit dryer, probably due to the fact that all the grease that I normally would have eaten was at the bottom of the Actifry.

Costco Deli Chicken Wings in Tefal Actifry  (Residue)

I cooked about 2/3rds of the package, so about 1.5 kilograms; in retrospect this is way too much for the Actifry, but I didn’t know, I just got it. Cut me some slack, okay?

Joking aside, check out the picture above; all that salt and grease I normally would have eaten. It’s absolutely wonderful that I can cook these awesome and tasty chicken wings from Costco while not ingesting all that sludge! And seriously, the taste is just about the same.

Costco Deli Chicken Wings in Tefal Actifry  (close-up)

Check out this crunchy, tender and delicious Costco chicken wing! Compared to the version cooked in the oven, it looks downright healthy! True enough, there are patches where this no more seasoning or batter, but honestly, this makes no difference except visually.

On a grosser note, since I overloaded the Actifry, some of the wings got roughed up and lost their skin, which ended up in the bottom rolling around with the seasoning and grease. I mistakenly bit down on one such morsel, and I won’t do it again.

In conclusion the Tefal Actifry is perfect for cooking Costco deli chicken wings; it’s fast, doesn’t make a mess and most importantly, it removes much of the excess salt and fat, which conveniently clump at the bottom of the non-stick surface, ready to be disposed of in the garbage. The wings come out juicy and tender, with the just the right amount of crunch.

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We’re talking here about the Costco chicken wings that are sold raw, to be cooked at home. If you’re looking for the food court chicken wings, make sure to read Lord of The Wings Costco food court chicken wings review, after you’ve read my stuff!

Cheddar Moon Cheese Bites : Costco Product Review

Moon Cheese Cheddar Crunchy Snack from Costco : 283 grams per bag, $12.79 per bag, Costco item number 1395182; Gluten free, 18 grams of proteins per serving; definitely an acquired taste

One of the best things about shopping at Costco is that they are not afraid to bring in new things; who knows, they may discover something entirely new and make lots of sales! In this case, I’m not sure we’ve got a winner. I’m talking here about the Moon Cheese Cheddar Crunchy Bites of Golden Delight, which I got at my local Costco.

Moon Cheese Cheddar

Before we get into the details, let me give you my first impression; the Moon Cheese bites from Costco are very crunchy and quite salty; they will also leave a film of greasy matter on your fingers, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that snack really tastes of dried cheese; for me, that’s okay, but then again, I’ll eat pretty much anything. I find that the taste becomes really cool if I stuff a whole bunch in my mouth, but I find it difficult to appreciate if I only eat one at a time.

The thing is that out of 4 people in my family, only one of them – me – likes them. My wife said that they taste like the bottom of a box of Cheez-It, the stale taste is heavily implied although she didn’t say so, probably out of politeness.

My 8-year-old son ate a single one, made a face and said that it tasted like a failed Cheetos – his words, and my daughter, all of 5 years old, said that it tasted like cheese and nuts and would not have another. Now I’m not saying my kids have the last word on all things snack-related, but it does give me a clue where this is going.

Cheddar Moon Cheese Bites Nutrition Facts

In terms of nutrition, how do I put this … there is none. Except if you have a several calcium deficiency, or perhaps you lack saturated fats or sodium in your diet.

Seriously. For 50 grams of these things, or 2/3rd of a cup, you’ll get a whopping 87% of your saturated fats, 28% of your sodium, 18 grams of protein and 600 mg of Calcium, which is good for 46% of your daily requirement, based on a 2,000 calories a day diet. Of yeah, and that two thirds of a cup of dried cheese is worth 310 calories. Think how long you’ll have to be on the Stair-Master . Answer: almost as long as it’ll take to get rid of that cheese-breath. A long time. Long.

Quite frankly, there is not much good to say here. The positives are the calcium, the proteins and the lack of carbohydrates and sugar. That being said, the ingredients list is honest and devoid of creepy, unpronounceable chemicals. Here is the list:

  • Cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, salt, bacterial culture, annatto, microbial enzyme)

This cheese product is made in the USA, so there’s that going for it, at least it’s not Chinese, although I would be curious to know what type of cheddar they use, and if the milk used to produce it is full of antibiotics.

Here’s a close look at a piece of Moon Cheese; I must admit that the resemblance to moon rocks is quite striking, at least in my imagination. I understand why they rolled with the name.

Cheddar Moon Cheese close-up

Each and every piece of Moon Cheese looks like this, and this is a pretty representative piece in terms of size. Every Moon Cheese ‘rock’ or Bite is about 2 centimetres in length and pockmarked with Moon-inspired “craters”.

Here’s the problem, as I see it. Many people will enjoy this, but many more will not, and at $12.79 for a tiny 283 grams bag, this is a pretty expensive snack to eat mindlessly while watching TV. I like the Shiitake Mushroom Crisps a lot more.

While I enjoy these Cheddar Moon Cheese Bites, or “Crunchy Bites of Golden Delight”, no one else in my family remotely does, so I won’t be buying them again, unless they are seriously discounted. Moreover, even if you’re not shocked by the distressing nutrition facts, there are more enjoyable ways to ingest 310 calories of cheese. For example, by eating actual cheese.

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Crystal Margarine : Costco Product Review

Crystal Margarine from Costco: 1.7 kilograms, $5.99 (Regular Price); Lactose-free, Vegan, No Trans fat, Contains Omega-3 fatty acids, tastes great

It’s fun to write new and exciting products, but sometimes one must pay homage to the true heroes of the kitchen, those whose praise are rarely if ever sung, but without whose existence cooking would be an unpleasant, tasteless chore. Today, I am happy to pay my dues to the humble margarine, specifically the Crystal Margarine, which I’ve been purchasing at my local Costco for many years.

Crystal Margarine from Costco
Crystal Margarine from Costco

Margarine has been a staple of our household forever; I remember as a kid having it on toast, and to this day a toasted English muffin is not the same without margarine. Of course you can forget making Kraft Dinner without this oily, delicious staple. It even goes great with the Pretzel Crisps Crackers!

I’ll get ahead of all the margarine haters right now: I know its made from oil, and I know that it doesn’t replace butter. Even though it may look similar, and in many cases has similar uses, it is not the same; different ingredients, different uses, different taste.

Margarine, or oleo for the crossword lovers out there, has a long and contentious history in my home province of Quebec. Quebec, you see, is home to a large and powerful cartel of dairy farmers, who through lobbying imposed ridiculously draconian laws and regulation on margarine, as they were afraid people would stop buying butter. For many years, margarine could not be yellow, just plain white. For some time it came with a separate little capsule of yellow dye, which you could mix in with the margarine and thus skirt these lobby-imposed regulation.

Thankfully, for the last 20-25 years, margarine has broken free and can now be whatever color it chooses. It’s still pretty whitish.

Crystal Margarine Nutrition Facts
Crystal Margarine Nutrition Facts

Now, to the crux of the matter, the awesome Crystal Margarine that I purchase at Costco. It costs $5.99, Canadian dollars for 1.7 kilograms or 3.75 pounds, but it is often on special, when you can get the same for as little as $3.99. I usually buy a couple in those cases. It’s a product that is almost always in stock, except in exceptional circumstances – more on that later. If you need it, the Costco item number is 1316819.

Crystal Margarine is non-hydrogenated, vegan, lactose-free and contains absolutely no Trans fat. It’s also a great source of polyunsaturated Omega-3.

For those that are interested by this, it’s also kosher, and made from 91% Canola oil and 9% vegetable oil. Here’s the ingredients breakdown:

  • Canola Oil
  • Water
  • Modified Palm and Palm Kernel Oil
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Natural Flavor, Annatto, Turmeric, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2

Like most reasonable people I’m no big fan of palm oil in any form, so I wish that is something that could be addressed by the company, and that this damaging ingredient could be removed. In the meantime, there’s not too much of it, so I’m willing to give them a chance to fix it.

Crystal Margarine is made in Canada by Richardson Oilseed Limited of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and its absolutely great to be able to encourage a local product, such as it is. Not everything has to come from China, and Canada is a major producer, if not THE major producer of Canola, so let’s get to it already. Crystal Margarine is actually made even closer to home, in Oakville, Ontario.

One of the great things about Crystal Margarine is the reusable Tupperware-style container it comes in; it’s clearly designed to be saved and reused, and is it ever. In fact, one of the only times Crystal Margarine was out of stock at Costco was when they switched containers and packaging, causing great distress in Tupperware closets all over Canada, as the old and the new do not stack neatly together; still, its a small price to pay, as for $5.99 you get 1.7 kilograms of delicious margarine, and a container that you can use for lunches and leftovers for years. This is not a cheap container, as good as any brand-name.

Just like rice, flower, pasta or butter, Crystal Margarine is a product that I make sure never to run out of. It’s delicious, affordable, relatively healthy and has a variety of uses around the kitchen. Don’t forget about the container. Never forget about the container.

Please make sure to like and share this post, check out my other product reviews, and as always I welcome your comments!

DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps : Costco Product Review

DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps from Costco : 300 grams per bag, $9.99 (Regular price), lots of fiber, quite salty and greasy, crunchy and delicious, made in Australia

I have not written on this site for a long time, but I thought that I would start again by writing a review of one of my favorite products at Costco, one that I simply cannot avoid purchasing when I’m there – which is often.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps!

DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps

So what are those, exactly? This is a question you’d better get used to answering when you get addicted to them, because they look strange and people will talk.

Basically, these are whole shiitake mushrooms, stem included, that have been very lightly cooked – in oil – thoroughly dehydrated and then seasoned, with quite a bit of salt. It takes about 840 grams of fresh mushrooms to make 300 grams of the cooked and dried ones. Here’s what they look like:

DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps close-up

So when is a good occasion to partake in delicious Shiitake Mushroom Crisps from DJ&A? Well, anytime. You can bring some as a snack to work, munch on them as you’re writing a product reviews – ahem – or just do like a lot of North Americans , and eat them in front of the TV. What I most enjoy doing is just let it sit in my mouth for a long time, so it regains a little bit of that oh-so-special chewy shiitake mushroom texture.

The size of the bag is also quite generous, 300 grams, which they brag about on the packaging. It used to come in a smaller size – 200 grams I believe – but that was too small for Costco. They re-branded the whole thing, changed the packaging and the price, and there you have it! The current price at my Costco for these is $9.99 per bag, and they are occasionally on special.

What’s great about these Mushroom Crisps is that the taste of mushroom is not overwhelming; it’s there, make no mistake about it, however it’s not overpowering. The spices, which include onion and garlic, blend well with the natural flavor of the mushroom and make for a delicious snack, one that you can certainly binge, although I would not recommend it, because of the impressive saturated fat content.

DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps nutrition facts

Each 50 grams, or 1/6th of a bag, contains 23% of your daily allowance of saturated fat, as well as 13% of your sodium and 14% of your sugar. Considering that these are delicious, it’s very easy to go overboard and eat more than 50 grams (which is about a cup).

The good news here is that you get a whopping 46% of your fiber, so that’s awesome. Moreover, DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps are a completely vegan snack option, and the oils used in cooking the mushrooms are sustainable and renewable, even the palm oil.

This product is imported from Australia, and the mushrooms themselves are from China, which is unfortunate, but not so mush so that I’m not buying them. I tell myself that I’m encouraging an Australian company and leave it at that.

DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps

The ingredients of this delicious snack are as follows:

  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Oil blend (which includes palm, sunflower, canola and rice bran)
  • Sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Yeast extracts, spices, onion, garlic and natural flavor

The list of possible allergens in the Shiitake Mushroom Crisps is also quite impressive, and includes wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, sesame, egg, fish, crustacean and mollusks. I guess they are covering all the bases and just don’t want to get sued, which I guess is fair enough. There is even a little warning that says that the stems might be hard to chew, which they are, but it’s part of the fun.

In conclusion, the DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps from Costco are just delicious; I love them in all circumstances, and are for me a much better snack than the pretzels I also get from Costco. They are affordable, relatively healthy and a Vegan option to offer to your friends when they visit. I make sure to always have a bag or two available!

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco: Product Review

Costco Canada has been carrying this product for a long time, but for some reason I’d never tried it. Contrary to a regular grocery store, where you can find a thousand brands and flavors of chips and crackers, Costco has a more … limited … selection, so to avoid repetition I decided to finally try the Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers.

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco
Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco

First things first, the basics. The Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps crackers come in bags of 737 grams, which is quite a bit, and costs $6.99 plus taxes, in Canadian dollars – about $5 USD. Based on the serving size – more on that later – I can estimate that there are approximately 290 crackers per bag, so each cracker weighs about 2.5 grams, and each costs about 2.4 pennies. They are made in the United States, although there is no indication as to where the actual ingredients come from. For reference, the Costco Item Number is 262313 (in Canada).

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco Nutrition Facts
Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco Nutrition Facts

Alright then, enough with the math. As you can see on the Nutrition Fact sheet right here, each serving is 100 calories, for 11 crackers. While this might seem entirely reasonable, it doesn’t factor in the fact that these Pretzel Crisps are friggin’ delicious, and I dare you to only eat 11. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that I are so much of them in one sitting that I gave myself sausage fingers because of the salt content.

Now, joking aside, the salt content is 14% per serving, which is not bad if you only have 1 serving, but that’s not really realistic. If you eat these things are crackers or snacks without putting anything on them, you will hoover down a whole bunch because they are awesome.

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Ingredients

When it comes to ingredients, these crackers are actually not that bad. Here are the ingredients, in order of appearance:

  • Wheat Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Malt Syrup (Tapioca Syrup, Malt Extract)
  • Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium Hydroxide is present in order to give the pretzel their distinctive crunch. In certain cases, Sodium Carbonate is used, but clearly not in this case.

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco
Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Crackers from Costco

These Pretzel Crisps are also Non-GMO certified, which is great if you’re into that kind of stuff. Costco has more and more of those products, because I guess they can tell which way the wind is blowing. Personally, I care a lot less about GMOs than I do about the crazy lists of unpronounceable ingredients you can find in heavily modified and processed foods.

In conclusion, while I’m not a fan of that last ingredient, in part because it can be used as a drain and pipe cleaner, I’m confident that it’s only present in small enough concentrations not to be harmful. Moreover, these Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps crackers are made in the USA, non-GMO certified, and more importantly, they are absolutely delicious either just like that, as potato chips, or with dip, as canapes, or whatever. Just be mindful of the salt content, and you’ll be fine.

Enjoy, and let me know in the comments below how you enjoy them, also if your local Costco carries them!

Check out my other Product Reviews right here!

Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen 200 mg Liquid Gel Capsules: Product Review

It’s no secret that the pharmacy area can be one of the best places to save money at Costco; the pharmaceutical industry is well known for its spectacular profit margins, so it’s a great place to see Costco’s smaller margins in action, especially with Kirkland Signature branded products.

Today I’ve decided to review Kirkland Signature’s Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules, available only at Costco. Contrary to some of my other reviews, this review will be more focused on price than anything else, since the virtues of ibuprofen are already pretty well documented.

Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules
Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules

Do Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules Work?

That’s the $1000 question, isn’t it? The fact is, Ibuprofen either works for you, or it doesn’t. It really depends on the person. For myself, I can only take ibuprofen, acetaminophen doesn’t work, I might as well have sugar pills, so for me, the Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules are perfect.

The bottom line is, is Ibuprofen is right for you, then these Gel Capsules will work, quickly and effectively. Since the ibuprofen is provided in liquid form, it is quickly absorbed and quickly effective.

What are the KIRKLAND SIGNATURE IBUPROFEN LIQUID GEL CAPSULES ingredients?

As you might surmise, the main – and only – medicinal ingredients in these capsules is 200 mg of Ibuprofen, present as free acid and potassium salt.

Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules Ingredients and Directions
Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules Ingredients and Directions

These Ibuprofen Gel Capsules are for adults only, not for children under 12 years of age; for migraines, you should take 1 capsule every 4 hours or 2 capsules every 6-8 hours, at the first sign of symptoms. Don’t exceed 6 capsules per day. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve spectacularly busted this limit many times.

How much do Kirkland Signature’s Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules Cost?

Each container of Kirkland Signature’s Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules contains 250 capsules, and costs $11.99 Canadian dollars, plus applicable taxes. This comes down to a cost of 4.8 pennies per capsule, plus taxes, or $0.05 each. This is an affordable way to get rid of a headache or other aches such as toothaches, menstrual pain, arthritis pain or back pain, among others.

Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules
Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules

For the sake of comparison, you can purchase a bottle of 115 brand-name Advil Liqui-Gels, 200 mg of Ibuprofen per capsule, for $23.49 (plus taxes), or 20.25 pennies each, more than 4 times more expensive than the Kirkland Signature brand, for exactly the same active ingredient, in the same concentration.

When it comes to the expiration date, it is pretty close. I just bought some and the best before date is October 2020, which gives me a year and a half to go through 250 capsules. This is a lot, but not unreasonable. If you think this is too much for you, just give half the bottle to a friend or family member; even if they don’t give you any money, your remaining pills are still half the price of the competition, you just can’t go wrong!

I don’t understand why people insist on the brand name, and paying so much for for exactly the same product. That’s the power of marketing, I guess.

In Conclusion: KIRKLAND SIGNATURE IBUPROFEN LIQUID GEL CAPSULES

I regret to say that I am a great fan of Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel Capsules. They are affordable and easy to swallow, and since the Ibuprofen is present in liquid form, very quick to take effect and relieve the pain. I say ‘I regret’ not because I don’t like them, but because I’d rather not have to use them!

Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel single Capsule
Kirkland Signature Ibuprofen Liquid Gel single Capsule

Shopping at the Costco pharmacy and checking out the Kirkland Signature branded pills and vitamins is a fantastic way to pay for your membership fees really quickly.

Zarotti Light Tuna Fillets (in Olive Oil) from Costco: Product Review

I’m not usually a tuna kind of guy; I like it well enough, in salads or in Kraft Dinner, or as a quick and tasty source of protein when I’m too lazy to do anything but open a can. Of course I’m talking about cooked tuna here; I love raw tuna in sushi or as sashimi, but that’s something else entirely.

This is why I’m so happy to be sharing my review of Zarotti’s Light Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil, which I bought at Costco. As you can see in the picture below, the jar is unopened, but that’s the second one; I inhaled the first one in a matter of days, it was that good.

Zarotti Light Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil from Costco
Prepare your taste buds, this is gonna be GOOD!

Now, let’s start with the basics; Zarotti’s Light Tuna Fillets (in Olive Oil) at available at Costco at a cost of $9.99 (Canadian dollars), in a jar of 520 grams. This comes out to $1.92 per 100 grams, which is more expensive yet comparable to regular canned tuna.

Now this is where the comparison begins, and ends. This is nothing like canned tuna; it is velvety smooth, salty but not too much, just right, and absolutely exploding with flavor. It’s fair to say that this is, by far, the tastiest tuna I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve eaten a lot. I would say that it is comparable to the canned tuna in oil, also made by Zarotti, but certainly better in every way.

The fact that the tuna in neither in chunks not in flakes, but rather large chunks of fillets, gives it an entirely different mouthfeel.

Zarotti Light Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil Ingredients

This is exactly what I love seeing on an ingredients label. See for yourselves!

Zarotti Light Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil Ingredients from Costco
Keep it simple, baby

Three simple ingredients, no preservatives or other weird things: tuna, olive oil and salt, that’s it, and that’s how it should always be.

ZAROTTI LIGHT TUNA FILLETS IN OLIVE OIl nutrition facts

This is where it gets interesting, and by that I mean, the tuna is soaking in olive oil, so there you have it, it’s not light. It’s not that bad, either, but still, see for yourselves.

Zarotti Light Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil Nutrition Facts from Costco

For each 55 gram ‘portion’, and let’s agree that’s like two big bites, you get 100 calories, comprised of 6 grams of fat, 15 grams of proteins – not bad! – and 20 mg of cholesterol, not to mention a whopping 330 milligrams of salt, or 14% of your daily recommended allowance. No wonder it’s so delicious!

You can also eat this incredible tuna relatively guilt-free, as the jar sports the Dolphin Safe logo, which means that the tuna is fished in a way designed to minimize dolphin bycatch and casualties. This doesn’t mean that tuna is fished in a sustainable way, although I certainly hope it is, because I never want us to run out. It’s too tasty.

That being said, this is – again – the most delicious tuna I’ve ever eaten, and if you try it I think you’ll find it’s the same. Zarotti’s Light Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil from Costco is not the kind of tuna that you mix with food; it’s the kind you open the jar, and pick at it with a fork, one heavenly bite after the other, until the jar is empty or you regain control of yourself. Good luck with that!

Costco Commercial Fold-in-Half Table: Product Review

I usually write reviews of products I eat from Costco; I guess those are generally more appealing to me, but my circumstances have changed in the last few weeks, and I found myself in need of a temporary desk. I thought, why not try the commercial Fold-in-half table from Costco?

I’ve seen those tables everywhere, but I’ve never had the occasion to use one. Here’s my chance!

Costco Fold-in-half Table, 6 ft

First things first: the fold-in-half table costs $57.99, plus taxes, in Canadian dollars, and is unfortunately made in China, but what isn’t these days. The dimensions are 72 inches long, 30 inches wide and 29.25 inches high. In my case, the table is long enough for my computer, a desktop, my two monitors, and my mouse and keyboard. For reference, the Costco (Canada) item number is 277974.

For those that need to carry this around, for exhibitions, booths, presentations or whatever, the folding mechanism is easy to use and convenient, and the legs fold easily where they are supposed to. The legs come with a ring to secure them when they are deployed so that the table cannot collapse unannounced.

When it comes to actual load, I would not want to hazard a guess as to how much this folding table will hold, but loaded as it is, with a computer, monitor, et cetera, it’s not even breaking a sweat. I know that I could put much heavier things on it, no problem.

One thing that is a bit annoying is the weight; the table, folded, weighs in at 33 pounds. That is not crazy heavy, but it’s certainly not light. Despite the fact that is has a convenient carrying handle, I would not want to have to lug this around all day, it’s quite bulky and heavy.

Costco Fold-in-half Table, 6 ft, deployed
My living room is going to feel crowded.

All in all, I have to say that the table feels solid and well built, and for about $65, everything included, that is hard to beat. Buying the wood and metal legs separately would have cost at least this much, I would have needed to assemble it and the result would not have been half as nice.

Costco Fold-in-half Table, 6 ft used as temporary desk

As you can see, the commercial fold-in-half table from Costco will work just fine as a temporary desk. I look forward to moving to my office in the basement and using this table as a packing table, which will ultimately be its destiny. For reference, the exact same table is sold at Home Depot (Canada) for $149, plus taxes. If you decide that you need this table, it’s totally worth it to become a Costco member just for that; it’s cheaper than buying it elsewhere!

Extreme Decluttering Technique: Flooding

I’ve written quite a bit about techniques to declutter, or to stop accumulating so much stuff. Recently though, I was introduced to a new method to get rid of lots of stuff: flooding.

My little town suffered the breach of a dyke about 3 weeks ago, which I wrote about here. Writing at the time was pretty traumatic, and the whole thing still feels surreal.

I want to make it clear that all that was lost, in our case, were material possessions. My children are safe, and so are my wife and I. Thanks to herculean efforts and the help of a few dear friends, our house is almost ready to be moved back in, which is a lot more than many people can say.

There’s a lot of decluttering happening on this street.

This brings me to the decluttering angle of things. I find one of the more difficult aspects of decluttering is letting go of items that remind me of things, that elicit memories or feelings. Because so many of my precious books and belongings were damaged by the flood, and the disgusting sewer waters, I had no choice but to get rid of them. In many cases I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.

I catch myself a hundred times a day thinking, yeah, I have something like that … oh wait. No I don’t. Not anymore. My wife was asking me how many bookshelves we had – for insurance purposes. My first thought was, that’s easy, let me go check … oh wait.

As horrible and traumatic as this experience has been – let’s call it that – the fallout has something that for me, is somewhat cathartic. I don’t have to go through thousands upon thousands of items, deciding at every step what makes the cut and what doesn’t. God has already made the choice for me, and He chose whatever was on the lower shelves, hung in the water or fell in the water, as well as the actual floor, walls and ceilings of my basement. And the washroom. And the freezer. And my grandmother’s rocking chair. And all the kid’s toys.

God has made the choice, and I had to carry everything out to the curb.

This is – hopefully – a once-in-a-lifetime decluttering experience.

In the picture above you can see a small excavator picking up 40 years of treasured possessions and dumping them unceremoniously in a truck. We initially took so much stuff out that it took that machine 2 hours and three – THREE – full trucks to haul away our stuff. We put more out afterwards, at least another truck full.

The result has been spectacular in terms of decluttering – silver lining here folks. I never thought that I would get the chance to remodel the basement to my taste, but here we are.

The result, after a week of back-breaking work.

Having lost so much possessions already, I find it easier to select what I’ll be keeping from what has survived. I thought that since so much was lost, I would be keen on keeping every shred of what was not, however I find that this is not the case.

It’s like the Band-Aid has been pulled; I am now able to throw away things that I have been keeping for years, on the odd chance that I would need them again, or because someone I cared about loved them. My dear, departed mother loved books by Larry McMurtry; I don’t. I don’t need to keep stuff someone else loved because I loved them. It doesn’t make me love my mother any more or miss her any less because I am holding on to these things – and countless others.

We are now in the process of boxing up what we have left so that we can finally move back into our house. The water is drained, everything in the basement is demolished and taken out, the decontamination is done. All we have left to do is clean up and move back in, and remember the lesson that was taught to us, at great emotional, physical and financial expense: stuff is just stuff.

Flooding in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-lac, QC

Hey everyone.

The reason that I haven’t been writing so much the last few days is that on Saturday night, 27th of April, my town was flooded. I’m not talking about humidity in the basement kind of flooding, I mean cars pushed away, cops and firefighters going door to door and giving people as little as one minute to leave.

Possessions and pets were abandoned in the melee that ensued. Over 6,000 people, a third of my town, were evacuated and over 2,000 houses flooded. A dike, which some claim was ill-maintained, broke, and all hell broke loose.

At 8 PM, we had just finished watching The Secret Life of Pets (which was hilarious by the way), we put the kids to bed, and … the power cut.

I counted to 10, as I always do, hoping the it would come back on. Instead we were treated to a spectacular chorus of sirens from the fire department and seemingly every cop car in the province. I stepped outside to see what was happening, and a neighbor told me the dike had broken and some streets were being evacuated. It was pitch black and terrifying.

This picture is taken with Google’s awesome Night Sight. I was WAY darker than that.

I went back in the house. My son was already up, panicking slightly. I gave him the task of holding the flashlight while I awkwardly carried valuables (to me) from the basement to the main floor. About 15 minutes later we were ready to go.

We went out with our two cars so as not to leave them to get flooded. We decided on a rendez-vous point, which we reached quickly. It was decided that my wife would go to her parents, while I would go back and try to help as I could. As it turns out the bridge to go to her parent’s house was closed, for, the same reason, so we ended up going to my sister’s.

As I returned I was greeted by the sight of two yellow school buses full of police officers on my street, on their way to evacuate a old people’s home right on the water. The water was already halfway up the street to my house from the lake, and the street parallel to mine was already flooded.

I went back inside the house, but stupidly didn’t use the time I had to move more things upstairs. I wasn’t thinking right. I’m still not.

I left to go join my wife and kids. It was really eerie. The police and military presence was overwhelming, in a good way. At least we felt that we weren’t left to fend for ourselves

As I walked back to my car I was greeted by the sight of a military armored amphibious vehicle, along with more soldiers and police officers.

After driving for what seemed like an eternity we made it to my dad’s apartment, which was unused as he was in Florida. I broke down in tears in the street as I realized I left all our family’s pictures on the floor in the basement.

Now 5 days have passed. We are staying at my dad’s place, which is not ideally located for us, but is warm and dry and safe. My kids have gone back to school and daycare, and I’ve gone to work one day this week so far. I go to our house every day to see if the water has receded but so far, it hasn’t.

Today we tried pumping out the water with two powerful pumps, but the groundwater is still too high, it drops by about 10 inches and then no amount of pumping does anything. A friend helped me clear out some soaked belongings to the yard. 40 years of treasured possessions lie in a broken, soggy heap outside. It’s both tougher and easier than I thought, mentally speaking. One heck of a way to declutter.

This is the same view as the picture above, 5 days later. They are furiously pumping water back into the lake, but it’s going to take some doing. The lake is 1,500 feet away and the area affected, immense.

Thankfully, I was able so save many books, and some photo albums survived. I even think that I’ll be able to rescue most of the photos which are now floating all around the basement.

When we compare ourselves with others who were flooded, we got it easy. It’s not easy, bear in mind, but still. My street is flooded, sure, but my land is dry. All the water came up through the sump pit. My rear neighbor has electricity so I can plug a pump in. When all’s said and done we’ll have had about 25 inches of water in the basement. People I know have their entire basement completely flooded, and other neighbors can kayak through their house. Other house, mainly mobile homes have simply been knocked off their foundation.

Some folks have lost everything, barely go out with their lives. If this had happened in the middle of the night instead of at dinner time, there would have been dozens of casualties.

For my family, the bad news is that even though we’ve been luckier than some (most?), we’re still evacuated, and we can’t go back home for a while, as we can’t pump the water out and we have no power, so no heat, light, refrigerator, nothing.

The kids are safe, my wife is safe, and so am I.

Bump in the road.