Working from home during the pandemic has its good points (All! Day! Pajamas!) and its bad points (All! Day! Telemarketers!).

But mostly we have questions.

Like, why is there stand-still traffic outside Shopping Siren’s living room window every Wednesday at 3 p.m.? And are her cats teleporting? Because it definitely seems like they are teleporting.

Were Bag Lady’s neighbors’ goats always this loud? Also, are they goats? They could be sheep, maybe? Possibly very odd chickens? Clearly, neither of us will rule the farm animal sounds category on “Jeopardy.”

So this week we ask questions, shop for things that will help us find the answers and generally spend the day opening windows (joyous breeze!) just to close them again an hour later (chicken goats!).

Zeiss Victory SF 10×42 Binoculars for $3,055.54 from the Portland Audubon Nature Store. For when you want to see what’s going on from the next town over.

• Binoculars, Portland Audubon Nature Store, various prices


Sure, Shopping Siren could just walk outside some Wednesday afternoon to see why cars are lined up like a very slow motion parade. (Maybe it is a parade? Oddly scheduled construction? A snapping turtle who likes to cross the road at a very precise time each week?) But what would be the fun in just going outside and taking a look? No, this calls for binoculars and peering out from behind the curtain. If you have similar needs, Portland Audubon’s online Nature Store (“Where the profits are for the birds!”) has a ton of binoculars ranging from less than $100 for your basic what’s-that-over-there model to those that cost $3,000 and must do something impressive but we have no idea what. Audubon members get 10% off. Also good for spying on the neighbors, just FYI. Surely they’re doing something interesting today.

Earth Animal No-Hide Peanut Butter Chew Stix, 10-pack, Loyal Companion, $10.49

So, yeah, Shopping Siren’s two cats can teleport. She’s pretty sure. The evidence: They appear out of nowhere to sit on her laptop when she’s trying to work. They appear out of nowhere to complain bitterly, and loudly, when she’s in a Zoom meeting. They’re upstairs completely asleep and then suddenly downstairs wide awake when the refrigerator door opens. Teleportation? That seems to be the only reasonable explanation. She’s going to try setting up a sting operation with a hidden camera and these long-lasting, easily digestible chews for cats and dogs. If it doesn’t catch them in the act, at least the treats will keep them busy for a few minutes. Maybe even long enough to type this senten—

• Great States Reel Lawn Mower, Paris Farmers Union, $98.69

Has the lawn always grown this fast? Or does it just seem that way because Shopping Siren is looking at it every day? One day the grass is fine, the next day it’s like the cornfield from “Field of Dreams” but without Ray Liotta. She’s going to set up a strict mowing schedule (Every Saturday! Unless it rains! Or is too sunny!) and see how fast the grass really grows. This basic lawn mower should do the trick. No gas required, just push and mow. And if Ray Liotta does appear, all the better.

• Smart Living 10-watt LED bulb (60-watt equivalent), Hannaford, $2.99


There’s a three-month-long mystery afoot in the Bag House: Who the *&%^$# is leaving the bathroom light on?

Bag Lady walks by, the door’s open, light on. She turns it off. Bag Lady walks by, the door’s closed, light on. Silence. Waiting, waiting, knocking. Nope, no one’s in there. She turns it off. She hollers, “Who the *&%^$# is leaving the bathroom light on?” loud enough for the neighbor’s sheep-goats to hear. No response but for a simple “bah-cluck-meehhh-not-us-me-lass.”

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Bag Lady’s cat is also teleporting wildly about and not five minutes ago just teleported into a pair of blinds, springing after a bug, bending three slats and breaking two. Amazing that she could sense we were in the midst of virtual shopping when she did it, so . . . maybe she’s also psychic?

• Gold Bond rapid relief itch cream, 1 oz., Hannaford, $3.99

Oh my stars the bugs have been nuts outside.


With all this socially distanced time spent at home, it’s only natural to head outdoors to admire the flowers, grab the mail, lounge in a camp chair, walk the dog and it’s only natural to return back inside with a dozen fresh bites on your ankles, legs, arms and hands.

Keep this cream in your nightstand for when the itching really kicks up as you’re on the cusp of going to sleep . . . or is that just Bag Lady?

Best find:

This site has sound files on hundreds of animals, including camels, macaws, grizzlies and, yes, sheep, goats and chickens! Wondered what your neighbors are keeping in their back roost/moat/camper/tiny house? Give a listen and play pet detective.

Think twice: About leaving your questions unanswered

You’ve got the time.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who can also teleport for treats.) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected]

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