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Monday, August 1, 2011

The Trip to the Grocery Store

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go grocery shopping. I love to go grocery shopping and sadly my darker half has taken that joy from me. He was away for the day and I had the kids with me and needed to do something. Why I decided to take them grocery shopping with me, I don't know. It must be that it has been so long since I took them to the grocery store that I forgot what it would be like. It wasn't a store I usually go to. I did a cursory look for a kids club but didn't see one so into the store we went. If you listen you can hear the suspenseful music in the background getting louder with each step into the store we too. Did it just change to a horror movie motif?

We started in produce, not that we had a choice, that is where the entrance deposited us into the store. They were excited and wanted kumquats. I wanted snack size veggies. They had carrots, grape tomatoes, pea pods, and cheese. They came with a small container of dressing. Perfect for afternoon snacks, and more healthy than the kids usual snacks. The nice thing about this store is that they have a lot of produce that P and B have not experienced before so I encouraged their exploration of this department.

Then we went into the bulk of the store. I think the major mistake I made was taking them into a store they were unfamiliar with. They wanted to explore and experience it. I wanted to get the food we needed for the week and go home. We had different missions in mind, sadly their mission was the stronger one. Maybe if I had more money to work with I would have wanted to explore all different foods more. But I only had a small amount of money to work with and wanted to get what we needed.

We found the seafood department next (listen you can hear a heavenly chorus now). I thought I was in heaven. Instead of the small seafood case at our usual store this department was at least three times larger. Oh how I wished I had the money to allow me to do more than browse. Please let me find a job soon! P was intrigued by the whole fish on display. He could see their eyes and scales. B was more interested in the shellfish. She is definitely mommy's girl.

As I walked past the Bison Steaks the kids were gaining energy. There were so many new things to experience in the store. They wanted to experience it all. The trouble was beginning and I was about to become the frazzled mommy. Up and down the aisles we went and they grew sillier and sillier. All my efforts to ground them were in vain. The more I tried to get them to focus on calming down, the more wild they seemed to get.

First P saw a train that was running up by the ceiling, then he saw a truck doing the same thing in another part of the store. He found the candy gadgets that are designed to drive parents crazy and cost a fortune. B saw princess items all over the store. It is back to school time so all the shiny new school supplies were on display. Funny how they are like me and want the nice new folders and boxes of crayons.

Then just when I thought I was escaping and almost to the registers they found the new Happy Nappers in a display within their reach. I have been hearing them beg for these reservable pillow toys for weeks. Every time the commercial comes on P declares like it is a matter of life or death that he needs the penguin one that goes from penguin to igloo. Of course B has fallen in love with the princess unicorn one. It is a unicorn that reverses into a castle. Now they were in touching range and I think if they could have the kids would have dove into the cardboard bin and let the Happy Nappers surround them.

I could see the registers and the freedom from the store they offered. Instead I fell into their trap. Mother's beware there is a reason why they put these so near the registers. Parents believe victory is within their grasp and drop their guard. Then at our most vulnerable moment the trap is sprung and we are caught. I managed to get them to put the pillows down with a promise of coming back for them when they can be good for two weeks. Point for Mommy!

Finally we get to the register. The line was short and once again I was fooled into thinking I was almost out of the store. We unloaded the cart and after I separated them from each other a few times I managed to maneuver me and the cart between them. We moved up to the cashier and he asked me if i was having a good day. I just looked up at, my hair must have been a disaster, my gaze was close to insanity. I looked at each of my children on either side of him and replied that it would have been better if there was a kids club. He turns and points to an area far away from the entrance of the store and replies that they do, it's over there.

Over there! I still didn't see it, I trusted that it was there. I followed his outstretched arm and knew it was there and I wished I had known about it earlier in the day. I wished they had neon signs with blinking arrows guiding me to the promised land when I walked into the store. I wished there was a dotted line on the floor that I could have followed to freedom. At least I knew where it was for the next trip and it's location is burned into my memory. Never again will I shop without the joy of leaving my children with caretakers while I stroll around the store and shop in peace.

He finished scanning and bagging and I paid, I was free I thought. I was wrong. My bank card worked but only allowed $7.66 to be charged on it at a time. WHY? I know there is enough money in the bank. So we try again, same thing. One more time and another $7.66. So the cashier calls the manager. I am trying to focus on this when I catch out of the corner of my eye my daughter pushing the grocery cart into her brother over and over. He was trying to stay away from her and giggling. Other shoppers were trying to walk by, I was almost in tears.

The manager has never seen this before, seriously things like this happen to me all the time. I get the kids to get back into the checkout lane and try to pay attention to what is happening with my bank card and payment for the groceries. Finally enough $7.66 transactions have happened that my groceries are paid for. I fear what my husband is going to do when he sees all these transactions. My stress level and anxiety are overwhelming now. I sign the slip and lead my two monsters out of the store. I have a new car so after I remembered what car I was looking for I found it. Somehow I managed to get home and the children stayed in one piece.

To think I chose this over a family wedding with my soon to be ex's family. Even though I have watched his cousin grow up into a young woman, become a teacher and now a bride I chose not to attend the wedding. It would have been too much for me to experience such love and joy of a new marriage while my marriage is falling apart around me and brings me to tears. I wonder if I made the right decision?

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