Monday, February 23, 2015

Lessons from a Pre-Blizzard Grocery Basket

Image: Market Basket by Suet Eman from
We had another snow storm yesterday and it kind of hit our area by surprise. It's been a week filled with snow and cold, with schools being closed 4 out of 5 days. The kids are starting to get crabby and cabin-fevery. [Editors' note: I live in Boston. You don't know cabin fever, woman. -Guru Louise] While I love snow, I had mixed feelings about this surprise storm. I'm a week into an austerity diet that is taking over my life.

The diet makes being snowed in with my kids (as they eat Girl Scout cookies and drink cocoa while snuggled next to me on the sofa) a lot less fun. I was also stressing out about driving on icy roads and what if we lose power and my husband is still freaking out of town and GOOD LORD WHY DID I PICK NOW TO STOP DRINKING??

We took my littlest to dance class just as the flurries started. I didn't expect the snow to go from flurries to blizzard in 15 minutes. The heavy stuff wasn't expected until after lunch and it was only 10:15am. The kids and I figured we'd knock out some essential grocery shopping and then haul it back home after dance so we wouldn't have to drive anywhere else. It goes without saying that the store was packed and that only two check out lanes were open.

This gave me plenty of time to observe what the people were buying in the 20 items and under lane. Here is what I observed:

College students: All the Orange Fanta and microwave popcorn and Hot Pockets. ALL OF THEM. Also Twizzlers. Conclusion: All that will exist for them in the next 24 hours are Netflix and sweatpants. Carry on, champions. For those days once gone, will not return again.

Older lady in front of me: Two bottles of really good red wine, brie, french bread, a rotisserie chicken, and some fresh fruit. Conclusion: I like her style. Hat tip to you, m'lady. I see your basket of delicious flavor and good taste somewhere in my empty-nested future.

Me: Organic milk, organic eggs, fresh salsa, coffee. Conclusion: The girl checking me out sees all the healthy stuff, looks at my childrens' dejected faces as I've said no to every treat in the store, nods and asks "Lent basket?" I nod back and say "pretty much."*

*It's actually a Whole30 basket but that distinction doesn't mean much. It's a sad basket. It's a healthy basket of sadness.

Dude in Carhartt jacket, jeans, and work boots behind me: 12 pack of Bud Light, family-size Stouffers lasagna, milk, loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, and a Soduku book. Conclusion: This cute, young guy is clearly single & lives alone and I've clearly become an old lady because I immediately go into Mrs. Bennett mode. I start thinking of all the single, young women I know because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a cute, single man with a job must be in want of a girlfriend.

Mom with wriggling baby in Ergo, toddler in the grocery cart, preschooler running in circles screaming for candy: Organic milk, cereal, bananas, OJ, Barefoot Moscato, Annie's macaroni and cheese, wheat bread, diaper wipes, who are we kidding - there are way more than 20 items in that cart. Conclusion: This woman is having a very, very long week and I know this because I HAVE BEEN THERE. I look at her and smile. I want to buy her groceries for her. I want to stroke her hair and follow her home and fold her laundry. I want to sort all the wet mittens, hang up the jackets, line up the snow boots, and make her a pot of coffee. I point to my three older kids and nod so she knows I get it. I tell her how adorable her kids are because dear God - they really are.

Then I leave the store, smiling at her and her babies over my shoulder, herding my kids and my groceries into the snow. I've just seen my past and my future and it all looks delicious.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2014

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  1. Nice 'Pride and Prejudice' reference and general all-round excellentness. Thanks for reminding me life is great.

  2. Great post! I'm the lady with the three young kids!

  3. Hahahaha !! MARVELOUS !! :-D xxxxxxx

  4. Love it! I'm torn about the wisdom to cherish today (6 month old I am way too old to have and 4 year old I'm kind of too old to have, too) and all the snuggles and general neediness versus the decadence of the empty nest years of eating meals made up of brie and wine and baguette and not cutting anyone else's food. Beautiful post!

  5. Oh how I loved this post. You really got me in the feels...

  6. Man the mom in the store suckering you with the cute babies - gets me everytime!

  7. Healthy basket of sadness for Lent. Yes. Great post.

  8. How did that post make me cry?? Oh, I know. Because you want to come to my house and sort my kids' boots and socks and mittens for me, even though I'm maybe not that EXACT woman you saw. Thanks for the long-distance support for a stranger.
    (Over on my blog, we call what you did the "Solidarity Pound It." Well, the #solidaritypoundit to be precise. Because of this post, here:




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