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.


The Glorious Unfolding: Finding Our New Home

Lots of cornfields on our house hunt.

Drove by many cornfields on our house hunt.

Would you believe it if I told you that a song pretty much sums up the story of our house hunting adventure? As this particular song was playing on the radio on our way to the airport and I realized just how glorious God’s promises for us had unfolded.

Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman

“Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold”

Lay down, rest from the fight and don’t try to figure it out.  After our first day of house hunting I was exhausted and couldn’t figure it out. To say I was discouraged is putting it mildly.  I had been so sure we’d find a house quickly, but instead it felt like the end had started closing in. I was wondering if we’d find a home at all.  It was not like anything that I thought.  Jesus might as well have spoken the words, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Mt 8:26) to me, just as he had to Peter so long ago.

“And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding”

What I didn’t realize was that there was about to be a glorious unfolding.  God knew which house was right for us, a house he saved and just put on the market that week. A house that my research-obsessive-husband-whom-I-mock-mercilessly-for-it (thanks honey!) found online and added to the next day’s house viewing list.

The next morning, we went and looked at this new house.  This new house that God had set apart and kept out of the housing it, guided my hubby to it online at the perfect time, right after it was put on the market.  I liked it from the outside, it was cute and homey.  As I walked from room to room exploring the layout and spaces, I realized that this house could work for us. This house felt comfortable.  As our agent said, “It makes you want to cozy up with a blanket and pillow.”  It felt cozy and lovable.  We looked at few more houses, but soon, I was comparing all other houses to this one house and we realized that this house was something special.

“God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun”

See, God knew our wish list, our hopes and dreams for the new house even before we fully knew.  And He saved this house, revealing it to us when it was time.  God loves us so deeply and beautifully that he gave us this gift of a house that felt like home.  So, we met with our agent the next morning and made our offer. Then we waited.

“And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding”

We had to wait so we could believe that our story was far from over, that this would be a glorious unfolding.  We found out that afternoon that we got the house and the next morning before we left for the airport, we signed paperwork for the new house.  As we were signing, we got a text informing us that our house in CA was officially closed. I mean seriously — what perfect timing of our Lord!  We closed on our old house as we signed paperwork for the new house.

The entire, stressful house saga–selling and buying–was so perfectly timed and arranged by my God who loves me and cares for me.  Looking back, I can’t look at all the events and not be amazed at this glorious unfolding.