I had to go to Fred Meyers yesterday to finish my grocery shopping for the week. It was for five items: milk, bananas, beets, onion, and tea. That is more than one item so of course I need to write it down somewhere. I scanned my kitchen for a spare piece of paper or a sticky note. Aha! My eyes stopped on a piece of junk mail sticking out from the recycle pile. It was like a student in school waving his hand, pick me! Pick me! Perfect. There was enough white space on the envelope to write my list. Milk, bananas, beets, onion, tea. I squeezed in the last word. Should have used a smaller sized font.
E jumped out of the car and raced towards the entrance. I strapped in Baby in the baby seat of the grocery cart. She was a very wiggly one, I’d rather not take any chances of her falling halfway out. We jogged past the floral department and of course had to screech to a stop because E had to smell at least two bouquets. Grocery stores have fairly decent sized aisles, so I absolutely take advantage of that and get some exercise for E and myself. We were whizzing by the canned food aisle and this time I stopped because I saw some kidney beans. I glanced at my list: milk, bananas, beets, onion, tea. Hmm. Why didn’t I write down beans? My plan was to make a vinegret salad, which required beets, which were on the list, and also beans, which weren’t on the list. Oh well. I told E which can to take, she took it from the shelf and hurled it into the cart. A customer walking through that aisle shot me a disapproving look. Oops, must have been too loud.
“E, next time put the items into the cart gently; don’t throw, ok?”
We arrived at the fridge section, E got the milk out, but it was too heavy to put into the cart gently. She could actually take a swing and drop it like it’s hot into the cart, but, nah, not this time. I helped her. Then we walked up the aisle where the tea was. None of the options looked appealing. I wanted something new, but not too weird, maybe a usual flavor that I like but a different brand. Yeah that’s what it was. Maybe the organic section will have some interesting teas. We had slowed down to a normal pace in the baking section and I saw flour. All of a sudden I remembered that I needed flour to make vareniki. I had had some at a party and realized the next time I’ll have some won’t be anytime soon unless I make them myself. With potatoes. I checked my list. Darn! Flour wasn’t on the list. Oops. Into the cart it went. E was looking at some stuff across the aisle and as soon as some elderly gentleman was close enough to pass, she jumped in front of his cart over to my side. I received an annoyed look.
I enjoy grocery shopping immensely. I imagined most people did too, but recently I’ve started becoming aware of the fact that not everything I enjoy other people enjoy as well. Can you imagine that? What a hoot. Anyways, I chased E to the organic section and discovered a wide array of brands and flavors of tea. It was a fun challenge to narrow down teas by flavor, then price, then brand. It’s like a game every time I go grocery shopping. Which item is the best brand or quality, how much in each pack/bundle, and bonus points if it’s on sale. A few mint tea possibilities presented themselves, but then I saw a positive energy tea. Something citrusy, and organic, on sale, and did I mention ENERGY! The baby got the tea pack. Hopefully that’ll entertain her for a few minutes while I decide on another tea pack. Nope, the cart standing still was not her idea of fun. She flailed her arms and naturally everything she had dropped to the ground. A woman maneuvered her cart past us to look at some natural medicine. E began pulling some medicinal tea from the shelves and asking if I wanted any of those. OK time to move on. I shoved the cart forward with one hand, my other arm busy holding Baby, picked up the junk mail grocery list from the floor, tossed another tea pack in, pushed E’s medicine teas back into the shelves and we were rolling. Felt like a ninja for two seconds.
The next aisle had a beautiful assortment of organic trail mix. I was comparing the nutritional benefits of two bags, E was selecting cookies, Baby was crumpling up my grocery list, and then she sauntered up. Ms. Marathon Lady. Tall, tan, in her yellow and black sports outfit. Pursed lips, as if coming to the grocery store was the most inconvenient thing that happened to her all day. Wait, we were in her way, so this was an even bigger problem. She sort of paused and grunted a sound, so I told E to move closer to me to make way for her. Her long cellulite-free legs almost jumped past us. The way she looked at me was extremely discerning. I became acutely aware of my chipped toe nail polish, stain on my leggings, and pulled back shower hair. What in the world was that? Did she just give me the judg-y look? Ugh. Whatever, I’m wearing my nice new trench coat so I’m good.
We finally made it to the bananas. E noticed the bunch I took was too green and called me out for it. But I already had a bright yellow bunch in the cart, so I used that moment to teach her a valuable life lesson about planning ahead a few days in advance once the yellow bananas are out.
Milk, bananas, beets, onion, tea. As I walked around the vegetable stands to find red beets, I noticed Marathon Lady again. You can’t miss somebody that tall, they are quite noticeable in a crowd. Maybe it was her yellow jacket? Red beets were out. Should I go to another grocery store just for red beets? Maybe make this salad another time? Be adventurous and buy yellow beets? I felt adventurous.
Fred Meyer’s has a lot of check out stands. The shortest line was the one where Marathon Lady just walked up to. Yeah, I’m not going to succumb to her opinions. I chose the check out stand right next to hers. I could feel her looking through the TicTacs and gums. I felt sorry for her. I really hope she finds her marathons and organic food satisfying, because in spite of my slightly ruffled appearance I’m absolutely delighted with my life. E wanted to put everything on the belt so I took each item out of the cart and handed it to her and she proceeded to put it on the belt. It was a meticulous process to say the least. When I was about to pay she presented a green pack of M&M’s and very softly asked “Mama, please?” My goodness this child has figured me out. I told her I’ll use her quarters if she wants to buy it. She agreed.
On the 7 minute drive home, E clutched her M&M’s pack and said “Thank you, E, for buying M&M’s”. I unloaded the trunk, took everybody out of the car, closed the garage door, and realized I lost this grocery store game.
I forgot the onion.