At the grocery store

Sunday morning started with an argument that began when my husband insinuated that we were out of milk due to my carelessness and negligence. It is the same old argument. I respond by telling him that men are allowed to go to the grocery store, too. I have even seen men in the grocery store with children.

By themselves, with children.

I admit I always feel sorry for those men. Don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry for women trying to shop for groceries with their children in tow as well. I’m not particularly good at that game myself. But when I see a man in the grocery store struggling with a crying toddler trying to climb out of the buggy, I always feel compelled to go up and offer him a lollipop to appease the child so he can finish the shopping trip. I tend to carry lollipops and children’s underwear in in my purse, in separate compartments, of course.

Inevitably, my lollipop offer is declined, I guess because you don’t take candy from a stranger, even if she is a woman in her 30s wearing mom jeans. You never know, she might be a witch trying to lure you into her candy house so she can fatten you up and eat you.

Or maybe some people just don’t like rewarding tantrums with treats.

Whatever.

In any case, the argument that should have ended with me making some sort of femininely acquiescent apology about the lack of milk, or maybe some self-deprecating joke about how he’s the George and I’m the Lennie and I “done another bad thing,” didn’t end there, because I decided to pursue the idea that I am not solely responsible for the contents of the refrigerator in our house.

“OK, so you just go to the grocery store and get whatever you think you see,” he continued, “and I’ll go behind you and get what you missed.”

I agreed that this was a workable plan, except that I do not get whatever I think I see (whatever that is supposed to mean) at the grocery store.

“You don’t even make a list,” he continued.

Oh, I make lists. I haven’t been a newspaper reporter for three years, but there are reporter’s notebooks among the stacks of books and papers distributed throughout our house, and they are mostly filled with my grocery and to-do lists.

The fact is, a grocery list is a running list. You never know what you’re going to run out of next.

I don’t know how people go grocery shopping once a week instead of every other day.

Another thing I don’t understand about human behavior is why people take their whole families grocery shopping. I’m talking husband, wife, kids, and maybe an uncle or a grandma. I see this on a regular basis and it never fails to confound me. As much as we disagree, one thing my husband and I do agree on is that, when we are completely out of food, it is preferable for one of us to stay at home with the kids and the other to go to the grocery store.

Because here is what happens when you take your kid to the store with you:

Yesterday, I took my 7-year-old daughter with me to the store to get a birthday gift for her grandmother. We ended up leaving with 1) a gift 2) two pieces of chocolate candy that cost $4 each 3) an iced coffee for me (I had to get something out of this deal) 4) a bunch of time wasted looking at the toys in the dollar bin before deeming them inferior to the toys at the back of the store 5) a miniature stuffed dog for the girl 6) a miniature stuffed dragon for the boy at home (you have to be fair) 7) some really grand ideas about the next toys we want to acquire, which have already inspired letters to Santa even though it is August and the heat index where we live will be over 100 today.

So that’s why I don’t understand the logic of taking your whole family along for your big weekly grocery trip when you actually want to get some groceries.

But I don’t have to understand everyone else’s logic.

All I know is that I crossed a few things off my list yesterday, and I’ve got a few things to cross off today, including the purchase of milk, aspirin and Benadryl. I also want to scrub the shower and grade an assignment that I promised to grade on Friday.

If you’re feeling sorry for my husband because I, on a regular basis, take a private argument and turn it into a blog post, I must say, in his defense, that he has taken both of our kids to the grocery store by himself, and he did purchase most of the supplies on their back-to-school lists.

The truth is that on the rare occasion when he completes one of the household duties that usually falls to me, such as scrubbing a shower, he usually does a more thorough job than I would have done.

I attribute this to the fact that he does these things on a much less frequent basis, and with many fewer interruptions, and so he has the focus and motivation that I just don’t have when I’m folding my third load of laundry for the day.

Back when we were both reporters, we once wrote separate columns about our experiences with camping. He wrote about what a witch I was when he took me to his secluded hunting camp where there is no toilet. I wrote about how much I hated the experience and would never understand why people enjoy camping.

Some of our friends might find it amusing to hear that he still drags me along on the occasional camping trip and I still hate it. In fact, I’m already planning a post about my unapologetic hatred of camping.

And I did tell my husband that if he wants to write a rebuttal to this, he is welcome to do so, and I will post it myself since he doesn’t have a blog.

 

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