There was a time -about 8 years ago, to be exact- that grocery shopping was a pleasurable experience. I was young, married, loved to cook, had no budget and I was kid free. I sometimes think about those days: Strolling through the Harris Teeter, sampling the latest tapenades and chutneys. Standing in front of the bakery bread for a full five minutes deciding which bread to buy to go with the fabulous new cheeses and chutneys in my cart. Taking a number at the deli and not worrying that there are 6 people in front of me because I.am.alone.
I thought about that today as I was struggling down the dairy aisle at the new Safeway. I was struggling because even though I had gotten the coveted car cart, Little Man claimed the entire coupe to himself. Not because he doesn't like sharing with his Sissy, but because he is almost 8 and much too old to be cruising the Safeway in the car cart. So Little Man is stuffed in the clown car, Little Lady is in my arms, because God knows she won't sit in the top of the cart, where toddlers should live at the grocery. Nope. She wants to walk. More like run. Allllllllll the way down the aisle and into the wine section. That has $30.00 bottles at eye level. Right. So I've got my coupons and list in one hand, a flailing toddler in the other and am trying to push all 150 pounds of cart, groceries, and boy who is begging for sunflower seeds, candy, sugar cereal...down the dairy aisle so we can just get our pepperjack cheese to make the freaking 7 layer dip for our Superbowl experience. Pepperjack is so not worth this.
We finally made it to the checkout line, pepperjack in hand, along with 85 other items that we absolutely needed, despite how our fridge and freezer are already so stuffed I don't know where it will all fit. What can I say, I shop sales, we've got the Super Bowl and second birthday all in the same week. That takes a lot of food. Little Lady decides this is the perfect time to show off her squawk to the Safeway Ladies. Little Man and I already got to hear it...on the way home from school, on the way to Home Depot to get the plumbing pieces, on the way to the grocery...we've had enough. There aren't enouygh M&M's in the world to keep her new squawk away. If you've seen Despicable Me 2, you can just picture my 2 year old Angel in her purple fleece jacket- which is most likely on backwards since she takes it off every five seconds- squawking like the purple minions. My daughter is a Disney minion. I think we have a Halloween costume in the making, folks... Yes, the Safeway Ladies think she is so cute. They also think she is a he since she still has no hair and wears Jameson's Spiderman shoes. Yes, she is so cute. All squawky and smiley until we get into the car and then it is screams for chocolate and nuks the whole.way.home.
All the while, I'm remembering my Harris Teeter days. The way I could listen to the music all nice and low or just have the windows down to hear the breeze instead of having my stereo at max capacity to drown out the squawking screams from the backseat. We make it home and PBS kids can't get turned on fast enough. Thank God for Wild Kratts so I can get to food put away before it spoils and start thinking about making the pizza dough that takes 2 hours to rise even though is already 530 pm. Well it is Friday night and Daddy is working late. Nothing a little Star Wars Movie and a snack can't fix.
Life has changed a lot in the past 8 years. And even though I miss enjoying grocery shopping vs the new experience of almost blowing a blood vessel in my head just trying to make it out of the store alive without screaming and or breaking down in the cereal aisle, I'd never trade what I have now for that old life ever again.
They may make me crazy, but they are so.worth.it.
And now I'm off to caramelize my leeks. We are doing fancy pizzas tonight. A Chipotle Cajun Shrimp and Guacamole Pizza, and a Leek, Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza. And I'm going to open a Deschutes beer while I cook and smile when that cap comes off, knowing that "Bravely Done" written on it was made just for me and my grocery shopping.