Sunday, January 06, 2008

Optimistic Song

The day before the shopping expedition to Market Basket had been blessedly short, but not pleasant. In anticipation of the shopping day, I prepared as an athlete before running a marathon only instead of carbo loading, I acetaminophen loaded. Took some after the meltdown day when I got home. Took some before I went to bed and took some just before I left being careful not to exceed the maximum dosage in a 24 hr. period.

Thursday. 3. January. Market Basket day. After Wednesday’s weeble meltdown, I debated giving the Weebles the “There Will Be No PDA” speech while we were out in public. PDA. Weeble shorthand for Public Displays of Attention. They appeared to be in a good mood so I back burnered the speech.

Since the Summer, one of Dad’s friends had been taking the Weebles shopping sparing me the aggravation. I should have realized my freedom would have been short lived. Ma had said something to the woman and she refused to take them shopping. Maybe forever. Deep sigh. Forlorn look.

Driving down the road I was keeping my jubilee close to hand when Dad’s voice piped up from the back.

“This isn’t where you turn! You’re going the wrong way.”

Nothing can kill my good mood quicker than a backseat Weeble driver or a front seat one for that matter. Fortunately, Ma had dozed off and wasn’t paying attention.

“This is where we always make the turn!” I snapped. The morning dose of acetaminophen hadn’t quite kicked in.

“Oh, I see. You’re right.”

At 10:30AM, we pulled into the market parking lot. Us and every weeble from miles around. The third of the month. The date when all of the social security checks hit the weeble accounts. There were no handicap spots to be had so I offloaded the Weebles at the front door and went to find a parking spot. Every weeble for miles around coupled with lots of snow piles made parking rather scarce and I ended up parking in Nebraska.

Venturing into the store, I found Ma and Dad in the dairy aisle. She was caroming down the aisle with him pushing his carriage at a safe and respectable 20 paces behind. Ma had the little basket on go cart filled with two gallons of milk, a gallon of orange juice, two containers of cottage cheese with pineapple and her steamer trunk of a handbag (aka pockabook)

She came through dairy to the deli. She debated about getting deli meat asking me what I would like for lunch. I explained I wouldn’t be staying for lunch, but I took a ticket for the deli.

“Nevermind. He doesn’t deserve anything here.”

“Oh, I need eggs!”

Eggs live at the beginning of the dairy aisle which we had already passed through.

“How many dozen?”


I sprinted back to dairy and found Dad by the eggs with a deer in the headlights look.

He had a 12 pack of root beer in the carriage.

“She wants 3 dozen of large, brown eggs.”

He picked the egg cartons, put them in his carriage, crossed eggs off a shopping list .

“I need to get milk and…”

“She has milk, orange juice and cottage cheese.”

He crossed the items off the list.

I thought we would continue on our way on the outside of the store to the ritual of the Blessing of the Meat when Ma banged a left up the pickle and olive aisle. I could see Dad coming down the other end of the aisle. What the?

Before the friend had taken them shopping, they had a fairly organized way to shop. Ma did the outside circuit, covering dairy, the blessing of the meat, produce and frozen foods. Dad meandered his way through the aisles.

But now, they were duplicating where the other had already been.

We’d be here for days! Maybe months! This was not good. Not good at all.

At the end of the pickle aisle was a display of canned vegetables 10 cans for $5. Ma was trying to offload cans of peas into her cart. Dad came up behind us and I shifted the peas to his carriage.

I tried to convince him the wisdom of going back to them dividing the shopping chore. I was blinded by the reflection of his deer in the headlights glow.

“I want 5 cans of French cut green beans and 5 cans of regular green beans!” she demanded.
The cans were stacked 5 feet high and all the regular cut green beans were on the bottom.

“You can have 10 cans of French cut. I’m not unstacking cans!”

“I want 10 cans of corn, but not the creamed kind!”

I was tempted to toss one can of the creamed kind into the mix.

With cans of vegetables picked and stacked, Ma zoomed off to the other end of the store. Dad was following behind.

“No!” I shouted at him. “Go up and down the aisles. Let her do produce and meat. Her basket can’t hold all that and stuff from the aisles.”

Ma had turned the corner into produce.

“I need a 10 lb bag of potatoes. Make sure they are big ones.”

I hefted a few bags, showed her the large potatoes peeking through the mesh. She nodded in satisfaction. She took a fast right and whammed into the stand that holds the plastic produce bags. It banged to the floor with an almighty clang. Activity in produce came to a halt. Ma hit the accelerator and kept going with the dead stand blocking her way.

“Stop!” I yelled. “Just stop.”

She released the button.

“Back up. SLOWLY!”

I picked up the stand and moved it out of her way.

She was looking at egglplants. Pawing them. She had two candidates and handed the one she wanted for me to put in her basket. Ma went to put the other one back when it happened. The poor eggplant suicided with a ripe thump to the floor. There were no weebles in the aisle so no one saw an gave me an accusing, murderous look.

Unconcerned, Ma continued rolling along.

“Get me those pears. Those brown pears [Bosc] for him.”

Now since the summer, Dad had taken over the household funds. Ma had relinquished the purse strings, albeit reluctantly, in an attempt to “show HIM HE can’t manage the household funds by himself”. So far, if you’re keeping score, Dad was managing.

She began picking more produce. Bananas, apples, 2 pounds of tomatoes which I hand picked and none suicided.

“Get another one. He’s paying for it.” That became her mantra as she tried to sabotage Dad’s funds.

We finished in produce and then like salmon swimming upstream headed to meats. We blessed a few.

“Go over there,” Ma pointed, “and get him some sausage with fennel.”

I put the sausage in her now overflowing cart.

“Go get another one. He’s paying for it!”

Ma continued down the case eyeing specimens.

The meat manager had come out and was stocking that section of the case. He tried to remove a box that was in the way.

“Take your time,” I said inclining my head towards Ma by the roasts. “We’re going to be here all day.”

He chuckled.

With meats out of the way and her basket in the shape of a small mountain, Ma went down the cleaning aisle.

She stopped behind another weeble lady in another go cart.

Ma was fingering a box of Swiffer wet jet pads and frowning.

“Get me the thing that goes with the thing.”

“That’s a very helpful description.”

The other weeble lady snickered.

“Are you looking for the Swiffer cloths?” I asked.

“Yes, but not the wet ones and the store brand.”

“Oh, I have a plastic box with a lid,” said the other weeble lady. “I put the dry ones in the box and then add my own Lysol,” she added helpfully.

I smiled politely.

We continued down the aisle leaving Heloise to do her shopping. Ma grabbed laundry detergent, (2 because he’s paying), and a jug of bleach. There was no possible room in the basket so we put the detergent on the floor between her feet and Dad just happened down the aisle so the bleach went in his carriage.

Ma was contemplating brands of dishwasher detergents.

“I need to get laundry soap,” said Dad looking at his list.

“She got it.”

He crossed off his list

“Let’s see. Bleach.”

“Got it!”

“Well, we still need…” and Dad rattled off several more items from his list. “We’re going to need another carriage. You’ll have to get one.”

“Excuse me? I don’t think so. I don’t do my own shopping and now you expect me to push a carriage?” I said in my best Little Princess voice. Another empty carriage would just be begging to be filled. We had already spent an hour and a half in the store. Dad still had room in his carriage for the items left on his list.

As if Ma realized the time, she announced she would get into line and Dad would get the couple of items he still needed.

I was never so happy to bolt out of the store and sprinted to Nebraska to retrieve the car.

I trolled the parking lot, but there were no handicap spots to be had and after the second circuit, I lost my space in Nebraska. I pulled up to the end of the building and with my emergency blinkers flashing sat in the fire lane.

Five, ten, fifteen minutes went by and Ma came out. I offloaded her into the car because it was wicked cold outside. I started loading the car with grocery bags expecting Dad to come trotting out any minute.

I went to sit in the car to get out of the cold.

“Where’s Dad?”

“He was right behind me.”

Another five, ten, fifteen minutes. Right behind you. Right behind you and every other weeble across the country.

Dad came out of the store with that charming deer in the headlights glow.

We unloaded his carriage.

“I’ll take the carriage out of the way, you get in.”

“No, I have to give her this.”

He went to the passenger side and opened the door to hand Ma the receipt to show her how much they had spent.

I shook my head. Why didn’t he get in the car and hand her the freaking receipt? Weebles!

With Weebles and groceries loaded, I headed home.

“Oh! I forgot the frozen foods,” Ma said as the left arrow light out of the parking lot turned green.

I took the corner sharply and burned rubber down the street away from the grocery store.

“Well, I’ll have enough to get by. You’ll have to take me shopping in two weeks.”

Maybe we would have a blizzard.

As we got to the large intersection by Dennison Crossing, I debated going back by way of 135. It was now 12:15pm and the Labs would be letting out for lunch which meant 27 would be backed up in both directions. I decided to go by the Dennison plant to pick up Hartford Street cross Speen and down Rte. 9 to Weeble home. Ma nodded off.

Just as we passed by Boston Scientific, the old Carling Brewery, Ma woke up.

“Where are you going?”

“Taking you home.”

“I knew what she was doing,” said he who accused me of making the wrong turn at the start of the expedition.

Dad and I unloaded Ma and the groceries in record time. I announced I would be cutting it close to pick up the Young One and rolled to the Pike as fast as my Taurus wheels could go.

As I crossed under Rt 495, the imaginary demarcation of the Land of Here There Be Dragons and Ground Weeble, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from me. I described the sensation to Himself when I got home.

“The sky turned a brilliant blue and rays of sunlight streamed through the clouds.”

He started to sing the song from the Wizard of OZ when Dorothy and companions come out of the forest and realize they have reached the Emerald City.

You're out of the woods, You're out of the dark, You're out of the night.Step into the sun, Step into the light.Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place On the Face of the Earth or the sky.Hold onto your breath, Hold onto your heart, Hold onto your hope.March up to the gate and bid it open

"I'll go get the Young One," he said while I was still laughing.

"Thanks! I need more drugs."


Anonymous said...

LOL, CJ! I think after that trip I would have taken the whole bottle!!


Nutterone said...

I would have SO slipped in the creamed corn. I think that long in a store would have killed me!!! Go medication!

Erica Vetsch said...

Better living through pharmacy. LOL Perhaps you should buy stock in Excedrin. :)