My kind of night

I was giddy with excitement for Tim to get home from work tonight.  He said he’d be home “early”. Which meant he’d put Hannah to bed and I’d get to (drumroll please) go to the grocery store ALONE.  Really, is there anything better?  Do we not crave that time to walk up and down each aisle, quietly.  Slowly. Methodically.  Who would have thought this is the kind of Friday night I’d crave.

It happens so infrequently, these trips to Stop and Shop without the kids.  Normally I have both kids in one of those “car carts” with the red car attached to the front of the cart for the kids to sit in and crazily turn the wheel back and forth with such force that they nearly lurch each other out of the car, and the yellow “beepy” horn that never works which means the kids spend the entire shopping trip screaming “Beep Beep!”.  Who designed these car carts anyway?  Mothers, they were not.  The carts weigh about 175 lbs without the kids weight inside of them.  They are impossible to turn without slamming into the end of the aisle.  I’ve more than once knocked over the end of aisle display with the cart which is only fun for Luke and Hannah who scream with joy as the stacks of cereal tumble down on top of the car.  I’ve also nearly knocked over a few little old ladies who are taking a wide turn with their canes out of the aisle.  Lucky for me they get over the collision quickly when they see the two wide-eyed kids staring up at them from the car.  The car carts are also too wide to go down the check out lane.  No, scratch that.  They fit INTO the check out lane but with no room for me to stand next to the cart and empty the contents onto the conveyer belt which means I have to pretty much climb into the cart to get the food out, and by the time I’ve emptied it, my child on the candy side of the car has removed all of the candy from the bottom two rows of the candy display and loaded it into the car which is beyond my reach.  I then have to push the car all the way through the checkout lane, past the baggers who are shaking their heads at me because they think I’m trying to shop lift 47 Hershey Bars, 33 York Peppermint Patties and 27 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Although the designers of the car carts are less than brilliant, the merchandisers who work in the grocery store have got us moms figured out.  They place all of the goodies that appeal to little kids right at car cart level.  Do you think they put the Bran Flakes and Wheat Germ cereal down where their little eyes are looking?  Nope.  They’ve even come out with Dora the Explorer corn niblets.  They cost more than the Green Giant brand but of course I have to buy them.  Why can’t they at least put Dora’s face on the string beans?  Don’t they know green veggies are where the real fights are?

Needless to say at 7:45 I was out the door, and in my quiet car.  No radio.  No talking. No listening.  Just quiet.  I pulled into the sparse parking lot at the grocery store and walked in.  Slowly.  I pulled a regular old cart out of the stack and tossed my purse into the space that usually holds Luke if Hannah isn’t with us. I’m pretty sure I was beaming.  I said a warm hello to the cart guy.  I probably would have stopped and had a conversation with him if he had looked at all interested.

All I needed were a few boxes of cupcake mix to make Hannah’s special eggless cupcakes for her birthday party, some coffee creamer, raisins and yogurt.  But I found myself walking up and down the aisles.  Picking up the fruit and actually feeling their ripeness.  Looking for just the right avocados.  Hand picking the tomatoes.  Things I never do.  I spent quality time in the organic aisle, reading ingredients, looking for some new foods for picky eater Hannah to try.  I flipped through some magazines.  I didn’t even know they SOLD magazines there!  (And Jon Gosselin has a new 25 year old girlfriend from 5 minutes from me). I sniffed a few shampoos. Looked at some new mascaras and lipglosses and tossed another 50 hairties into the cart.  Does anyone else have the same problem with losing hair ties?  Where do they go?  I don’t wash them so they aren’t hanging out with the lost socks and I don’t put them in the kitchen cabinets with the mysteriously disappearing tupperware tops, so there really is no explanation for their  disappearance.  Yet, I find myself buying about 50 a month.

And when I got through each and every aisle and found I had a full cart, I decided it was time to head home.  I zipped through the checkout lane without anyone begging to push the buttons on the card swipe machine, waited patiently for the chatty bagger man to pack up all of my goods (and didn’t even get upset when he put my cans of soup on top of the loaves of bread) and exited the store.  No one asked for a quarter for a plastic piece of crap from the vending machine.  I didn’t have to worry about leaving one child in the cart as I put the other in the car.  I just walked.  Again in silence.

And I came home.  Both kids sleeping.  Tim drinking a beer on the couch. Everyone content.  So rarely is EVERYONE content.  But tonight, after a quiet alone trip to the grocery trip… I sure was.  Who needs dinner and a movie anyway?



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26 responses to “My kind of night

  1. So, I saw myself throughout this post! How funny!

    Yes, I love quiet grocery shopping. I have the weekly ritual of doing the next week’s shopping on Saturday. Alone. Blessed alone time.

    Like you, I drive in complete silence. Something that annoys my husband when we are together. Something that only a mother can truly cherish.

    And, no carts work with my kids. I have one that is in the car seat and another that is slightly older. So, I have to somehow find a way to fit both into the shopping cart when we go. It doesn’t work to well. Usually, when I bring my kids to the store with me, I leave feeling more frazzled than when I went in. I try and avoid “family” shopping trips at all costs. Including not having fresh fruits and veggies. (That may have to change. I love fresh veggies.)

    My hair ties are constantly missing. I had like a gagillion last year, and now? I can only find one. Which reminds me of one more thing on my shopping list.

    Thank you for this! It brought a smile to my sleep-deprived face!

    • My husband also hates that I like to have silence in the car. I’m constantly turning off the radio, off the TV, off the noise. He likes it surrounding him. Having a baby in a car seat at the store is impossible. Nothing fits the seat properly, and with two, forget it!
      Happy to make you smile!

  2. First, love the new site! Good stuff. Second, I love this piece. The part about the racecar carts not fitting through the aisle… big pet peeve of mine too. Nearly spit out my coffee reading that one!

    And yes. I find the solitude of ANY kind a tremendous luxury.. up to and including going to the bathroom. *sigh*

  3. Nicki

    I so remember these days. I still long to go to the grocery alone but now, when the teenager or older children come, they are put to work and I am out in no time flat.

    I, though, am unlike you in the car. I have a CD or the radio and am singing at the top of my lungs when alone. The kids hate when I sing in the car. They yell at me.

    • There are the days when I sing in the car when I’m alone. Especially right after the gym. Then I’m all juiced up and raring to go! But then i get home to the craziness and I wish for the quiet all over again!

  4. My car is quiet too. Although not by choice-my radio has been busted for a year and a half!

  5. I totally share the need for alone-time. And contrary to your statement in your profile, you are TOO a writer. (I’ve been playing one in the office for, oh, a long time now.)

  6. FUN post!! I LOVE shopping alone. Which really is more about the luxury of browsing- like you said! And don’t even get me started on hair elastics- between the five of us , I swear I buy thousands a month!!

  7. Did you reach into my brain to pull out this post? I love it, and I couldn’t have said it all better myself.

    My husband doesn’t quite understand my need to run an errand after he gets home from work. Do I really need to go to the post office at 8 pm? Yes, but it’s not for the stamps. It’s for my sanity.

    Thank you so much for the kind comment on my post, and I will definitely be back to your blog as well…love your writing.

    Kisha Floren

  8. I so vividly remember the days when a trip to the store alone was bliss!
    Came over from SITS.

  9. You’re relinked! (Love the new look. Classic.)

    Funny how you spend years craving quiet – anywhere. Then you blink, and it’s too damn quiet.

    I do like the quiet in the car, though occasionally, I let the teens put the loud music on, and I don’t mind at all!

    • You’re right, I should watch what I wish for. I always beg for quiet but when no one is around… I definitely miss the chatter and excitement. Never satisfied am I?

  10. I hear you, sister. But here’s my problem. That hour? The one right after the kids go to bed? I have the hardest time going out of the house–or even staying in the house–and doing something productive. I become a complete vegetable. It’s awful. It’s like I can’t function. It’s like both my limbs AND my mind do not work once the kids are tucked in their beds. But that is EXACTLY the time I should be heading to the grocery store. Working everyday makes it impossible to do any other time than the weekend. And I HATE doing it on the weekend because DAMMIT that should be MY time, too.

    Argh. The frustrations. But after reading this I think, yeah…it’s not so bad. It could be nice. The quiet. The knowledge that you are knocking something off the list and you don’t have to be pissed about it because the kids are driving you NUTS while you are doing it!

    • Yes, normally I don’t get out after the kids go to sleep. As soon as I walk out of Hannah’s room, after kissing her goodnight, I go to my room and get on my pajamas. But the nights when I DO have the energy, getting out to do a chore on my own is a wonderful thing. I come home refreshed and I did something productive! It’s almost as good as getting to the gym at that hour but THAT just NEVER happens…

  11. crnnoel

    I do this all the time 🙂 (all the time meaning whenever I can… so not all the time, but when I go to the store by myself, I do exactly what you did every time!)

    I love taking my sweet time going up and down the isles when I’m alone… because even when there’s just one of the kids, I try to get in and out before we knock over a display or have a meltdown over something…

    So glad you had your time last night! Happy weekend!

  12. Congrats on your blog move!

  13. Liz

    Love this post! I can so relate. You hit it with this one. P.S. Shout out to you on my blog.

  14. I refuse to grocery shop with the kids unless the mountain man comes with us. He never wants to, so I always get alone time as I shop. It is a glorious thing!

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