Grocery Store Smack Down

I decided to hit the grocery store today at 5:30 pm. The kids were at home and I had a long shopping list ready to go. I even had meals planned for the next five days.

Yeah, I rock.

All bragging aside, my status as uber-organized mom was stripped as soon as I entered the parking lot.

Everyone else had the same idea. The place was packed.

But hey, I’ve been grocery shopping for years. For years in this same store. I write my lists in the order of the aisles! I know where everything is! I can do this and be home in time to still actually cook the meal.

Apparently someone forgot to inform the others that I was on a mission. They were not on board.

Before I even got into the store, there was a local Crazy Guy, yelling obscenities at another man who was leaving the store with a cart full of groceries. People all over the parking lot were trying to figure it all out, which caused a serious state of confusion between the walkers, the cart pushers, and the drivers. Which then threatened to mess with my plan.

I quickly pulled away from watching that train wreck because well, I was on a mission.

I went over to pick out my cart, because in freezing cold and windy sunny California the carts are kept outside the store. I can tell the store is packed because there are only about 5 carts left out of 500. As I yank and wrestle a cart from the death-grip it has on another cart, I see a woman and her daughter waiting to get a cart behind me.

I’m feeling all charitable because for one thing, I’m not being yelled at by Crazy Guy. And I have five meals planned.

Remember, I rock.

So I smile and offer her my cart. And she smiles back, and we both feel all warm and fuzzy about our grocery store encounter. Well, it seems pretty nice compared to Crazy Guy and his yelling.

Smiley Lady and her daughter go into the store and I follow close behind. Until she stops and parks the cart so that she and her daughter can discuss the list.

Uh, hello? She never even notices that she’s blocking the way. She doesn’t care because she got the cart and got in first. After waiting a few moments, I realized that she wasn’t budging and I had to go WAY around the massive hot soup display to get on with my shopping. I may have grunted at her, my smile fading away.

Then I manage to get into the same hunting/gathering rhythm as Crazed Corporate Lady in heels and a suit. She seems to think she’s on a mission too. I head for the whole wheat bread; she dodges and gets there first. Hot dog buns? Of course, she’s headed there as well. She cut me off on the way to wine and beer, making me change course and go for the milk.

I don’t like to get the milk first; then I have to backtrack to the wine and beer. Trust me, I have experience.

Every aisle with this woman was going to make me crazy. So I had to change up my routine and skip a few departments in order to get away from her. This completely messed up my whole list-in-the-proper-order thing.

So I headed for the pasta aisle, halfway across the store. Which is also the aisle that Smiley Lady and her daughter are now blocking.

“Excuse me,” I say in my most polite voice. OK, there was probably a bit more of an edge to it now, but I’m not meeting the objectives of my mission in a timely manner. Troops stationed at home may be in danger of a revolt.

She looked at me like I was from another planet. Like I should be just waiting for her to choose her things before I can continue down the aisle. So with way more effort than necessary, she moves her cart from the MIDDLE of the aisle so that I can get by and grab the jar of spaghetti sauce (yeah, I don’t make my own; don’t judge.)

As I wind my way through the last few aisles, there are families with hungry, cranky little kids; Big Granny driving a motorized cart who should have her license revoked since she almost wiped out the Oreo display; a mom letting her daughter who is too short to see over the cart handle actually ram the cart into things push the cart; and a teenage couple who can’t possibly shop for food without turning it into a disgusting display of public our-hands-are-all-over-each-other-ness.

Finally I’m done. My list is nicely crossed off, my cart is full, and I head for the checkout.

And, as luck would have it, Smiley Lady gets to the checkout line right behind me. With only about 10 items to my 80.

In which case, I would normally smile and let her go ahead. She would say, “Are you sure?” and I would nod my head, earning major points for my nicey-ness.

But this time?

I just smiled. Smirked, probably.

And I’m pretty sure my dinner was on the table before hers.

All’s fair in love and food.

Remember my Name

I work part-time at an elementary school during the school year.  I work with small groups of students who are referred to me for social skills and school adjustment issues.  This is a job I practically fell into a few years ago, and I absolutely LOVE it!  There is an energy around the school that is addictive, like that morning cup of coffee.  OK, I still need the morning cup of coffee (maybe even MORE than I used to) but humor me here.

Due to the nature of my job, I have the opportunity to work with many different students throughout the year, from many different classes and all grades, kindergarten-5th.  This past school year, I was working at two different sites, which exposed me to many more children than in previous years.

This makes a simple trip to Target or the grocery store more interesting.

I am WAY more likely to see a kid from school now, and not always one of “my” students.  Since I go to classrooms to pick up my students for their half hour sessions, the WHOLE CLASS sees me (and knows my name).  I, however, do not know all of THEIR names.

This can be a problem.

So I have adopted the somewhat casual, easy method of dealing with all of those KIDS WHO HAVE NO NAME.  Girls are Sweetie.  Boys are Bud.  Maybe Dude, if they are 4th/5th graders.

I DO know the names of any kids who have been in my groups, even if I have to dig for it a bit.  This past school year, I saw over 70 students.  But all of their classmates?  Now that would be hard.  So Sweetie and Bud seem to have been the classmates of many, many of my students.  This has worked so far.

Until I visited the grocery store a few weeks ago.

And there is a sweet little girl (Sweetie?) staring at me, open-mouthed, amazed that I actually SHOP FOR FOOD and don’t live off the scraps from the cafeteria, roll out my sleeping bag each night in the library, and brush my teeth in the girl’s bathroom.  And she says, “Hi, Mrs. K!”

“Hi Sweetie!”

“Don’t you remember my name?”


“Sure I do, sweetie, how has your summer been?”

“You don’t remember my name.”

“How could I forget your name?”  Easily, apparently.  Especially since I didn’t know it in the first place.

And then, like a small gift from the heavens, she shifts focus……

“Did you see Mrs. D over by the bananas?”  Mrs. D is a teacher from our school.

“No, really?  I will have to go say hi!!  Have a great summer, sweetie!”

At least I didn’t call her Bud.

Wishes Granted in Aisle 3!

As I was frantically throwing food into my cart enjoying a leisurely grocery shopping trip early this morning, I happened to eavesdrop on overhear a conversation between a mom and her son.  The son, being dutiful and obedient, was “helping” his mom collect the things on her list.  I didn’t get the impression that he was really being much of a help.  He had attempted to grab some unknown item for his mother that was TOO HIGH on a shelf.  At least he had the smarts to stop there, rather than shimmy up the display racks and be the direct cause of the announcement  “Clean-up in Aisle 3!!” over the loudspeaker.

As he was explaining to his mom why he couldn’t reach the whatever it was, he exclaimed in a very grown-up way, “Oh, if only I were a foot taller!”.

If only I were a foot taller.  Such a simple wish at such a simple time in his life.  And odds are that little Timmy will, indeed, be AT LEAST a foot taller later in life.  But it would have come in handy NOW.  Today.  At the grocery store.

His comment stuck with me as I finished the dreaded task shopping and headed home, and now I think I have my own list:

  • If only…..grass didn’t grow.  I mean, once it’s established, people just want to be able to sit on it, right?  Nobody likes to mow it, and it just isn’t attractive when it gets too high.  Besides, who knows what lurks in the tall grass?  (I do….wait for it….)
  • If only…..engaging my abs meant eating an apple pie or downing a few doughnuts.  Apparently it has something to do with exercise.
  • If only…..little girls wouldn’t outgrow those adorable little dresses we stuff them into, before they have a voice in their fashion options.
  • If only…..power washers could be used to battle cellulite and acne scars.  I think it’s a great idea; hubby is convinced it would also take off my top layer of skin.
  • If only…..dogs didn’t poop.  This would especially be nice if my wish about the grass came true. due to the whole lurking thing.
  • If only…..we could drive to Hawaii.  You know, pack up the car for a day trip and just go!  I AM lucky that I can drive to the beach in an hour, but Hawaii is just a whole different vibe.  Flying there takes a long time and a LOT of money.
  • If only…..wealth was measured by the combined weight of groceries, children, junk mail, dirty laundry, and bags of dog food that come into my house any given week.  I would be Donald Trump.  With better hair.

So, Little Timmy, how’s that extra foot taller wish working out for ya?