Hunters or Gatherers. Nothing about Shop-Rite.
On a typical Sunday in our house, where there used to be a Mass, there is now a run to the grocery store. (Never mind the spiritual implications of any of this. That should be addressed in another post, at another time.) Also on Sundays, Child #2 has a Sunday Basketball League at her school. Husband is an assistant coach. Other than those two things, our Sundays are pretty easy going.
On a recent Sunday, Husband offered to go to the grocery store in my place. Now, I don’t usually complain about grocery shopping; in fact I kind of like it. I usually go by myself, so there are no children hounding me for Fruity-O’s or mounds of candy or that crummy magazine at checkout. And if I time it right, many of the shoppers are attending the church service of their choice, so the aisles are relatively empty. But fine, Husband wanted (?) to go, so sure, I’d make a list for him.
First, some things we must get clear. We are a family of 6, with two (or three) dogs (depending on the week). Not a day goes by that I do not usually hit a grocery store or market for something. (In fact, I’ve been trying to cook more fresh, healthy meals lately, so I’m in the produce department of some kind of food store at least once a day.) I buy milk in bulk, and paper products too (apparently the kids supplement my healthy meals by eating toilet paper). Therefore, the list that I prepared that Sunday wasn’t too extensive: milk x3, fresh fruit (buyer’s choice), a loaf of bread, tp, paper towels, diet Coke, lunch meat, chips for lunches, etc. Nothing too dramatic or overwhelming. In fact, the list took up only one side of a piece of paper that I had folded in half.
About an hour after Husband left for the store, he called home. “Hey,” he said, kind of quietly, “I got all the way through the check out lane and I don’t have my wallet. Can you come over to Shop-Rite?” I didn’t really have a conversation, I just kind of laughed and said oh sure, be right there. I lassoed Child #2 to come with me, since she could run in and give Dad the ATM card and supply the PIN for him. I was in pajamas, so there was no need to even get out of the car.
When we were waiting at the traffic light just across from the supermarket, Husband called back. “Listen,” he said, “It’s getting close to basketball time, and I didn’t get a chance to finish the shopping because I filled this cart — ”
What? How is that even possible? What did you buy? But of course I said none of those things.
“–I didn’t do any of the cold or freezer stuff yet,” he continued. “So you can take this load of groceries home –” “But I’m not dressed,” I told him. “And we’re right here. I’m about to drop Child #2 off with the ATM card –”
He cut me off. “You’re not listening,” he said. “I want to give you these groceries –” and by this time he is agitated. Don’t know if it was the embarrassment of doing a $100+ order and finding out you have no means to pay for it and then standing by the courtesy counter like a deadbeat waiting for a financial bailout, or what…but as he began to raise his voice to me I told him that he was not listening to me and hung up on him.
I continued to the front of the store, dropped off the child and the money, and headed back home. As it was close to noon, I figured it was time for the Grande Dame (that would be me) to shower and dress, so I did that. By the time I came back downstairs, Husband and Child had arrived home and unloaded the car — a total of about 8 bags. I didn’t count them, but probably less than 10. He then growled at me, something about being a lot of help (well, you’re welcome, I did rescue your butt and pay for the groceries) and then said that he would go back to the store after basketball to finish the order. Off they went to bball.
So I looked around the kitchen at the bags and wondered what was so difficult about this order that he apparently filled one cart and couldn’t also handle the cold stuff. I thought boys were better at spatial relations than girls — is it possible that the Bounty and Charmin threw him for such a loop that he had to bail? The worst part about this mystery is that he was so hacked off at me, Shop-Rite, and maybe the world, that I’ll never be able to ask any of the dozens of questions I have about this shopping expedition.
After basketball, he returned home to drop off Child #2 and headed back out to the store to finish the order. About 25 minutes later, he came back into the kitchen. “Wow,” I said, “that was crazy-fast.”
“Not really,” he answered. “I forgot my goddamn wallet again. But I’m going to finish this. I’ll be back.”