I've got a complicated love/hate relationship with grocery shopping. After the knee injuries and bed rest and not being able to drive for six weeks after the most recent c-section, I really appreciate being able to go to the store myself and pick out what I want. But that doesn't mean I always enjoy the process.
I'm glad I can grocery shop -- that these days I can walk to the back of the store where the milk is without worrying about how I'm going to make it back to the checkout line, let alone get to my car and drive home. And that we can pay for those groceries. It's been a long time since I had to shop with a calculator in my hand. But but after a really big shopping trip with four kids, I tend to wind up exhausted and determined not to go shopping again for as long as I can possibly help it.
This week, we had hit the point where I had to go to the store and do something about our pantry, which is far from empty but had lost its ability to provide meals for six people. If the zombie apocalypse started tomorrow, we'd have enough to eat for weeks. We just wouldn't be eating the same things.
It was time for a big shopping trip.
The grocery store closest to our house is kind of dirty. The selection is limited and prices for some things are almost double what I'd pay elsewhere.
The other grocery store in town is a big chain. It's nicer and the prices are more reasonable, but they have displays in all of the aisles so it's hard to navigate that store even without four kids following me. If something is on sale, they won't have it. Which wouldn't bug me as much if I was trying to get it at the sale price, but if I need that ingredient to make dinner, I'm out of luck.
So a trip to the grocery store starts with at least a fifteen mile drive. I know that if I go shopping after about twelve-thirty on Sunday afternoon, we're going to be there all day. Everyone goes to Walmart after church. What I don't know is why we spent a half hour standing in line at 1:00 Thursday afternoon.
I really wanted to say something to the woman in line in front of us. Her little girl, who I'm guessing was about two, was absolutely adorable sitting there in the cart with her sippy cup and Goldfish crackers. I didn't see how the crackers hit the floor, because I was convincing my own three boys that they didn't need Mentos or Tic Tacs, or little miniature Etch-A-Sketches. But I did see the mommy crouched down, trying to pick up every last one and then trying to console her wailing daughter.
I don't know if she was upset because the crackers fell, or if she threw the crackers because she was upset, but that little cutie had held it together for so long, longer than some adults in that store would've lasted before they started swearing and acting badly. I wanted to tell her mommy that, but first she was paying for her groceries and then she was gone.
And then I was distracted by the woman behind me who gave me a lecture about dented cans of green beans. I know that they'd make my family sick -- that's what I was telling me teenage daughter who'd run back to get the cans for me and somehow missed that one looked like it'd been stomped by an elephant. I don't think it would've made us sick. I think it might've killed us.
By the time we got out of there, it was too late to stop at the other store with the better meat selection and prices, so we wound up grocery shopping twice this week. And I still forgot the shredded hashbrowns I need for a recipie.
Better grocery shopping is one of my goals for 2012.