If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Adventures in the Grocery Aisles

Have you ever considered grocery shopping an adventure?

I cannot say that I do as a general rule.  I usually think of it more as a chore.  I try to go when I am relaxed, have plenty of time, and a detailed list.

Maybe when you are fifty-four-years-old and have been quarantined with the flu for about seven days waiting to be fever-free for 48-hours, and then you trek out to the grocery store...

...to shop for the family Christmas gatherings...

...with two of the grandchildren who are ages six and four...

...you might consider grocery shopping an adventure.  Just saying...

It was two weeks after Thanksgiving and one week before Christmas.

This grandmother trekked out to the grocery store with two of her granddaughters strapped into their car seats, giggling, and squirming with excitement.  (Their mother was at home hacking and coughing and feverish...wonder who she had been around?)  Upon arrival at the local grocery store, all trouped into the store - the grandmother with her seven tote bags tucked under her arm along with a digital list on her iPad, and another list from the coughing, feverish mother of the children, holding the hands of the two babbling, skipping little girls.

About ten yards into the produce section, the grandmother realized that it might be easier if one of the granddaughters had a buggy for keeping the items on each list separated.  So, backtracked toward the door they did and the eldest skipping girl puffed up with grown-up importance because she got to step outside the door to get another buggy.

Thence, the team traversed the store.  The youngest little girl riding on the front with her sparkling, chocolate-diamond eyes peeking over the edge of the buggy pushed by the grandmother, who had one hand on the buggy behind her to help steer it with the twinkling eyes of the other little girl peeking over the handle.

As we went up one aisle and down another, each time the buggies came to a halt for the grandmother to comparison shop and ponder, the little girls would twirl and dance.  They also would touch all the different products on the shelves and ask question after question after question.  Never mind that it was the week before Christmas and the store was a bit busy with folks stocking up for the holiday.  If somebody seemed insistent on interrupting the dancing or twirling, the grandmother would herd the girls back between the two buggies and the interrupter continued on their way.

The cereal aisle seemed to be the one that took the longest to navigate.  First, the grandmother had to explain that even though it had a picture of chocolate donuts on the front, there was cereal inside and no donuts.  The eldest child had to inform the grandmother that, "Mama doesn't let us get those sugary fruity-O cereals."  There were several such conversations and much pondering by the two little girls before we settled on a couple of boxes of some Marshmallow Charms and simple, sensible cereal-Os.

About the time the shopping team was over in front of the toothpaste, the youngest girl decided that she needed to go to the potty.  So, the buggies were left right there between the toothpaste and the mouthwash and the team zipped to the facilities.  Grandmother with iPad and purse tucked under her arm, holding the hands of the little girls and weaving in and out of the other shoppers - on a mission!

The front buggy was loaded like that truck that moved to Bev-er-ly... Hills that is...  I mean, it was overflowing.  Frozen pizza was precariously wedged in by a spiral-sliced ham that was lying atop bags of sugar, flour, and corn meal which were resting on a bag of apples that were guarding two big heads of broccoli from smashing by the cans of cream-of mushroom and celery soups.  There was powdered sugar, chocolate chips, juices, frozen shrimp, hot chicken strips from the deli, coffee, cereal Os, loaves of bread, a chunk of bologna, a tenderloin, toilet paper, and more sundries loading down that cart.  After all, the grandmother had not shopped since before the Thanksgiving Feast.

It was so full that the little girls began making comments like...

"I have never seen a buggy THIS FULL before!"

"Have you ever SEEN such a full buggy?"

"Nobody has EVER bought this much groceries before!"

Finally, the checkout lane became the destination.  The three shoppers plopped each and every item from that full-to-overflowing buggy up on the conveyor belt right behind the seven tote bags.  Each item was tossed flopped carefully placed on the conveyor belt in a chaotic haphazard thorough manner.

The seven tote bags were filled quickly and five large paper bags were used to corral the remaining items.  Then, the second buggy was emptied to half-fill four of those tissue-like plastic bags.  After all, the only items to go into them were a few things like Marshmallow Charm  and Os cereals, ibuprofen tablets, cough medicine, peanut butter, and milk.

Out to the four-door truck we went - smallest girl still riding on the end of the front cart, grandmother pushing it and steering the back cart pushed by the larger girl.  First, into the truck went the girls and their seat belts were snapped.  Then, in went all the bags of groceries.  TP tucked between the two car seats, juice and potatoes on the floor below their feet.  The front passenger seat and floorboard were stacked so full that the bottle of laundry detergent and two six packs of soft drinks had to ride in the back bed of the truck.

Since the two little girls had been so well behaved (and because we left home at ten o'clock and were headed back there at almost one o'clock), we drove through the local Sonic.  Another pondering and decision or two at the menu had to be undertaken before we eased on down the road with a corn dog, a burger, a pretzel dog, jalapeno bites, clear soft drinks, and some tots to fill our bellies almost as full as the inside of the truck.

The three shoppers toted all the bags in - the seven heavy shopping totes, the five large brown paper bags, and the four half-filled tissue-plastic bags.  Mass chaos diligent teamwork ensued as we stashed all the groceries in the fridge and pantry.  We munched on the remainder of our kid's meals and slurped that soft drink.  Then, it was time for some book reading, popcorn, and a Disney movie.

By five-thirty when the grandfather got home from work, the grandmother was exhausted!  Everybody ate chicken tenders, steamed broccoli, and sliced apples before the little girls were returned to their mother at bedtime and the grandmother collapsed on the couch.

So, if you have never experienced adventures in the grocery aisles, maybe someday you can go with that 54-year-old grandmother and a couple of her grandchildren.  That adventure really doesn't even compare to a similar trip that woman made almost thirty years ago with a three-week-old baby and an almost-two-year old on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at four-thirty in the afternoon but maybe yours will!

Adventures!  Isn't that what memories are made of?