There are two things I don’t do: go grocery shopping during peak hours, and bring the kids with me to the store. These boundaries are necessary to preserve whatever shreds of my sanity are left. I’m convinced that I have a genuine grocery store disorder, and when I don’t follow these rules, I’m liable to walk out of the store having spent a hundred bucks but without the ingredients to make a single complete meal. Like I’ll have frozen waffles and no syrup; marinara sauce but no pasta.
(This never happens to CC. He can walk into a grocery store at rush hour and walk out in fifteen minutes with our next six meals, all fresh food. He can also pull a meal together for the seven of us with enough for last-minute guests and have it on the table in twenty-five minutes. Husband Contest: I Won It.)
So what does an accidental stepmom do on a rare Sunday off when she discovers there’s no food in the house? If you answered order takeout you would be correct, except for the fact that we have to go look at cakes for #4’s upcoming birthday.
This is how we end up at the Shop Rite at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, along with 22,012 of our closest neighbors.
The aisles are packed. There are no carts left. I can feel my tenuous grip on reality sliding away. Jersey broads are serious and hardcore, not to mention pointy, and they handle their shopping carts like they do their SUV’s. It’s terrifying. I’m from Indiana. I am out of my league here. Thank god my roadie training kicks in and I go into damage control mode.
The first thing I do is decide to make CC deal with the cake tomorrow.
The second thing I do is decide that everyone will be given lunch money because there is no way I can handle the mob scene at the deli counter to get lunch meat.
The third thing I do is let the kids pick dinner. They choose:
frozen french fries
frozen bagel bites
I manage to pick up fresh salmon and spinach for CC and I. That’s all I can manage.
In the checkout line we wait for a while, and eventually get close enough to read the tabloid headlines. This sparks a lively conversation about Teen Mom, which I’ve never seen, but am vaguely aware of solely due to time spent waiting in checkout lines reading tabloid headlines.
#2: It’s stupid. It totally sends the wrong message.
#3: No, it shows how hard it is to have a baby when you’re, like, sixteen. Like, who would want that?
#2: Yeah, but then they give these idiots a TV show! What kind of message is that?
They proceed to argue about this. They are thirteen and fifteen, and I’m pretty proud of both of them right now.
#5: Julie, how does somebody get pregnant and have a baby when they’re sixteen?
This is the point where I should probably remind you that #5 is our only boy and eight years old.
Me: Because either they have sex without birth control or they have sex and their birth control fails.
He grows very quiet and tilts his head at me. The puppies do this when they’re trying to figure something out.
I turn back around and there’s the cashier, standing there, staring at me with her mouth open.
In my defense, it was a pretty deep question for the checkout line.