Friday, November 19, 2010

Shopping solo is the way to go

It started with garbanzo beans, which is not something that has probably ever been said before. Call them chickpeas or ceci beans if you wish, but they were on my husband’s salad and he scarfed them down.
“You like those things?” I asked, never having seen him eat a legume with such gusto.
“Of course. I always eat them on my salad. You just don’t buy them at home.”
I personally don’t like the garbanzo type, so naturally since I’m the one doing the grocery shopping they don’t end up in my cart. But I started to wonder, just how much is my husband doing without because I have no idea what he likes to eat?
I came up with a brilliant idea. “Dear, I think we should go grocery shopping together. You can help pick things out that you like to eat that maybe I didn’t know you wanted.”
He chuckled and made cracks about the two of us having a romantic date at the grocery store. “Maybe we could sample lunch meat in the deli for a main course and then go to the bakery for a cookie dessert before we get the cart and stroll through the aisles, smelling fresh bread and testing produce for freshness.”
Because, of course, that’s how I always do it.
But sure enough, that evening as I had found an hour gap of time between kid activities and had my list organized, he surprisingly said that he would join me for my weekly shopping trip. With only an hour, I told him it would not be pleasurable at all, and it would be even worse because we would have some of our kids with us and we’d be at the Mega Mart.
He assured me that all was fine and list in hand, off we went.
Although we had an hour, we weren’t five minutes into the venture when I realized that I would never take him shopping again. Shopping is WORK, especially given child and time restraints. It’s not relaxing at all, instead it’s a mad dash from milk to bread to chips to veggies, where all along the way you do your best to keep your kid from chewing on the cart and keep the cart from running over someone else. It’s a constant battle with germs, toys, candy, and a sea of people who obviously don’t organize their lists as well as I do.
I left him in the pharmacy, lolly-gagging around. Five minutes later my cell phone rings and I tell him I’ve moved on to the beverages.
Five minutes later he’s still not there, and I imagine him walking in circles, completely lost, so I send him a text message: In dairy.
Five minutes later he finally shows up, toting along a brand new electric blanket (not on the list) because apparently we needed one. And I know well enough after all of these years of marriage that I need to pick my battles and a fleece electric blanket was not worthy of even an eye roll, especially since I’m the freeze baby of the family.
In the cart it went and I sped off, zooming with great intent through the aisles from destination to destination. Bargain shopping and talking children out of the latest fruit snack craze, keeping close watch of my list and leaving my husband in the dust.
It was produce before he actually caught up.
“Do you always have this much fun shopping? Is it always this hectic? Can’t you just slow down for a minute?”
I would have answered him except that I had to run back to get a forgotten item and left him with a plastic bag, a fruity assignment, and the uncertainty of how a mom’s life really goes because the truth is, it’s not always fun. It’s a challenge to shop, keep on budget, and keep your kids from leaving the store with pink eye. We do it because we have to, not because we like to.
There ain’t no [garbanzo] beans about it.

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