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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

trauma and drama at the local grocery mart

My life seems to be going by in a whirlwind. Perhaps this is because I am really enjoying the summer, my family and my friends. Couple this with not working a lot and you have a pretty good life minus money. I would never trade nursing my baby for a weekly t-bone. Nor would I trade home schooling my kids for a yearly vacation to some tropical place (though I have to fight a jealous bug every time my nurse friends go). I wouldn't trade a hike with my kids or a swim at the lake for a fancy boat or a nice car. Don't get me wrong, they're all things I desire, but my priority is my time. Life is fleeting. Kids grow fast. Being at home is a luxury that many people never know.
That said, I will debrief with you all now of the untold horrors of the local grocery mart. Had I known that I got out of bed on the wrong side, I would have gotten back in and started over. No little birdie was to warn me of the upcoming grief. If only I would have snuck off a little longer and prayed harder this morning, perhaps I may have avoided the agony.
The hour long ride to town was disturbing in the least. I forgot to eat lunch and I think my blood sugar was a little low. Cramps plagued me reminding me that my monthly "friend" was on her way for a visit. For some strange reason, I wondered if my husband may be getting his monthly cycle because he seemed a little irritable (or was it me?).
We had planned to start a new tradition driving the other way to town so we could bring left over’s to my husbands brother who is a hungry bachelor. Even though its a little further, there is a dairy outlet in that town and people get fresh milk there. The idea was to begin buying raw farm fresh milk and have the chance to sow a little time and food into my husbands brother. In theory, it was a great plan that would make us all a little healthier. In reality, I felt a little more emotionally taxed. The dairy seller was a nice older gentleman who all but kept us a gunpoint to get more conversation out of us. I do love people, but its so hard to get everything done on a once a week trip to town with a baby when you have to have multiple conversations with many friendly people.
After we barely escaped the milk man, we continued on into the next town. Wait! My bladder wouldn't permit it. Remember she is almost as demanding as Miss Belly Fat. So we stopped at a gas station and of course saw somebody else we knew who wanted to visit. On to the next town we drove.
At the next town, my husband dropped me off at the local consignment store with hopeful bags of clothing and two hungry little kids. Its a good thing that McDonalds is next to Porgies. I have had a love hate relationship with "Porgie" the man who runs it. He is very picky about what he takes. He literally won't let you bring anything into his store that's not on a hangar. He always eyes me suspiciously (or perhaps that's in my imagination). Despite my hour long drive in, he will only accept a golden 15 items per week. Under normal circumstances, I would poo poo his shop and shop at Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart is 2 1/2 hours away and I haven't graced the doors in months. This is survival, after all, and I'm not working extra so I can spend money there. As I was saying, you must jump through many hoops, but in the end, you may rejoice to find you have a $10 credit on file! With that credit, I can find fun clothes. I can get a kid a pair of jeans. I have spending power!!! Just the thought of getting to go there makes the trip to town more fun, especially when the clothes budget is $0. At Porgies, I looked for shoes for my daughter. I was sad not to find any, but I amazingly saw a pair of ugly purple and black sandals in my husbands foot size. I eyed them greedily. When he was outside I reasoned with him (perhaps by reverse psychology) to come in and try them on. They looked like they had only been worn perhaps one summer long. "They're purple" my husband stated, trying to keep a stiff upper lip. "You've been saying you needed sandals for a long time" I reminded him coaxingly "and they're only $2.50". "Do you have any credit?" He asked hoping with all hope I didn't. "Nine bucks I proudly beamed". He poked and prodded them (as if examining a used car before one speaks to the seller). He gingerly tried them on. Cinderella couldn't have fit any better into her glass slipper. Reluctantly, he gingerly carried the purple and black shoes to Porgies counter. He's never bought anything purple to wear nor has he shopped a second hand store for footwear. Being home more stretches a person.
By the time I got to the grocery store, I was feeling exhausted. The baby and my 6 year old piled into the "car cart" and away we went. At almost every aisle, I saw somebody who I knew and many of them wanted to yaak. I smiled and nodded while Moonbeam fidgeted. Catman began driving the car cart into produce, meat products and whatever he could find to accidentally ram into. He even hit a pedestrian (me). Since I'm living on a budget, I tried valiantly to keep track of how much I was spending. Just as I'd have it figured out, somebody would break my concentration and begin a story about their garden, their grandchildren and subjects normally discussed in grocery store aisles. I was of course, happy to see them. I loved hearing their stories. I just couldn't focus well on how much money was in my cart. Couple two antsy children and the equation spells for disaster. By the time I was half way through the store I just started dumping items into the cart that were on the list or really good bargains. I knew better, but I figured I'd just add it all up at the end. When the end came, the baby was fussing. I looked for a semi private place to go through everything. Its just a little embarrassing to be counting up stuff and run into somebody. I hid somewhere around the condoms and anti diarrheal medicine. I figured most people didn't want to be seen there. I got out a cell phone calculator and tried adding it. The baby kept fussing. My husband called saying he was in the parking lot. I suggested he come in and help me add, but he mumbled some such drivel about guarding the new tires we had just purchased.
With a "hope for the best" "don't think about it" mentality, I strolled to the check out. Maybe I'd turn out to be within budget after all. Maybe there would be money left over. Nope. I was way over the limit. When I got to the truck, I considered making a big scene in front of the grocery girl in an attempt to plead insanity. Patiently, and maybe a little frustrated, my husband reexplained to me the need to stay within our budget. I tried hard to think of good excuses and ways to justify my over spending. How do you feed five kids and buy healthy foods and live on a budget? Between you and me, perhaps if my "monthly friend" wasn't on her way to visit it wouldn't seem so impossible. “Why’d you buy these ugly purple sandals?” one of the kids inquired as she put away groceries. “They’re for Dad” I replied. “They’re purple” the child replied. “Their mine” my husband responded. Then the house got real quiet…………..


Anonymous said...

I'm so with you on the budget thing - it's not being on a budget, it's about living within the means, when the means are meager. It's about those times when buying food becomes an "extra". I love my life as wife and stay at home Momma, so it is worth the stress, but sometimes it really does get to me.

M from MN said...

I sent you an email with an update. Trust that all is well out there-

Heather said...

Loved this post.

So good to catch up with you!

Toni said...

boy do I know where your at, it is so hard when eating is not in the budget. But I agree I would not trade what we do for all the money in the world I get to be with our kids all the time, and thats so great. My oldest is 13 and she is growing up fast in a few short years she will be on her own.

outdoor.mom said...

you guys are so encouraging!!! its good to know i'm not alone or crazy (well insane anyway).

Becky said...

I like your post. I get the jealous bug sometimes too.

Molly @ Star Cottage said...

I totally understand. We live within our means as well and with Kevin's medical bills, it sometimes puts us over the edge. ;(

toytrkman said...

Lets get this clear, the sandals are only purple on the INSIDE! And at least they say Polaris (even if I don't like Polaris) instead of Barney. Just remember this, when your old and thinking back about your life, wishing you or your spouse had spent more time at work will never happen. However, wishing you or your spouse had spent more time at home will be a definite.