My Comedy of Errors at the Grocery Store

Last week I decided it was time to attempt a big ole Thanksgiving shopping trip with the three boys in tow.

Mistake of gargantuan proportions.

We arrived at the store, a store very unfamiliar to me and we begin with the usual, “can I get in the cart? or ride on the outside?” No and no. I need space IN the cart and the 2 big boys on the OUTSIDE of the cart make for heavy and unbalanced cart pushing. So, already, I’ve got unhappy campers.

We start in the unfamiliar produce section and proceed slowly, as I mark things off my list, trying above all odds to not miss something. Didn’t happen.  We get about halfway through, when I hear, “I have to go to the bathroom!” And then, a squeal of horror. A little warning a little too late.

“Stop peeing, stop peeing, the bathroom is right over there, please stop peeing!” Was my desperate and genteel reply. As we entered the bathroom (which by the way I had to kick the janitor out of,) and got him situated to finish up, I realized I had no change of clothes. Nothing in my purse, nothing in the car. Road trips do that to you. So, I told him he’d have to suck it up and just proceed. And, of course I also asked if he actually went to the bathroom before we left like I told him to. You know the answer to this.

I’m used to dodging people at stores with my cart and the boys. But, at the commissary, as military folk understand, there are an abnormal number of elderly folks doing their shopping always. And I’d say it’s about 60/40 of nice grandparents types that get a kick out of little ones and their shenanigans and grouchy crochety folk who would like to shoot laser beams through anyone who get in their way as they march down the middle of the aisle.  Either way, I’m trying to wrangle 2 boys out of the cart so they aren’t the cause of a broken hip.

And my boys cannot get it together. Cannot keep their hands to themselves. Cannot keep their mouth closed or produce any helpful words. Cannot pay attention to save their lives. Cannot walk nicely. And what’s crazy is, throughout the trip I got so many compliments as to how well they were behaved.

Are expectations really that low?

It was a nightmare, which is unfamiliar territory for me because even if they behave like crazy lunatics at home, in public, they are almost always very well behaved.

With just the perishables left, we march on in unfamiliar territory that is also littered with construction to make things a bit more confusing and I’m becoming more and more frustrated that I can’t find anything and realizing I’m nearly out of workable kid time.  (You all know what I mean by that too, it’s the time you have to do your errands before you children turn into stark raving mad lunatics which produce meltdowns and other horrifying behavior.) And by this time, my 3rd little big boy, Houdini, has decided to walk, having climbed out of the cart.

Round and round we go through the same aisles looking for frozen rolls and I can’t find them. Soon, Diego noticed our circular route and asked, “Why do we keep going in circles?”

I’m looking for stupid (we don’t say that word) dinner rolls, kid. That’s why! And nearing tears as I say this, they appeared! Thank you, Jesus!  Now we can proceed to our final stops of meats and poultry! Upon approaching the poultry, Diego whines, “I can’t go any further, my legs are too tired.”

A woman nearby busted out laughing. Clearly she was shopping without kids, having her sense of humor still in tact while mine had disappeared aisles ago.  Glad someone is enjoying our plight.

Finally, we head to the checkout lines, which had grown considerably when I hear from the pee culprit, “I have to poo! Now!”

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

So off we head to the restroom, for the second time, this time with a cart FULL of groceries.

Successful bathroom trip and cart full of groceries, bad attitudes and all, we head back to the checkout. I unload about half of my cart when the person in front of me finishes paying and I attempt to take out my military ID card, which you HAVE to have in order to pay for your food and which I always have with me and…I don’t have it.

It’s not in my wallet or pocket or purse.

I had to have had it to get on base or else I wouldn’t be there. But I don’t have it now, in the commissary, at the very end of my stupid (we don’t say that word) shopping trip. It’s in the car, I’m sure of it.

I must have looked completely defeated and pathetic to the chuckling yet sympathetic cashiers and baggers. They told me to run out and get it, they’d wait. So, with the 3 boys in tow we head into the cold to fetch the stupid ID card.  ID card swiped, my helpers and I unload the rest of the cart, (“please stop throwing it and place it gently!”) And then, it happens.  I look up to see my husband smiling and walking towards me. This was no apparition.

Words can’t express how excited I was to see him. And with much relief I exclaimed, “You’re here!” and then I grabbed him and kissed him right there and then. If the baggers were laughing at my folly of leaving the ID in my car, they were downright giddy from this display of affection!

Groceries bought, (except for slices of cheese, dang it!) my children still alive (just barely), no elderly hips broken (phew!) and my handsome prince charming to my rescue–we had survived.  I guess it turned out alright in the end.

I’m just never going to leave my house ever again.

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