Another Trip….Part 2

Hmmm. Get my four-year old granddaughter ready for church or go to the store and pick up “things” for my wife?(you may remember last week’s discussion of “things.”). Neither option seemed desirable to me. I thought perhaps I could sneak into the store and get back out unobserved (thereby avoiding embarrassment and societal ruin). I decided to run that risk instead of trying a get the perpetual motion machine that is my granddaughter ready for church.  Off to the store I went in the full knowledge that I was venturing into an area of the store that was heretofore unexplored by the male of our species and guaranteed to cause great personal humiliation (and possible arrest) were I to be observed.

The plan was to park at the nearest entrance to the store where the “things” were. Fortunately, the area in question was just inside the door so as to allow quick access and exit. I was supremely confident in my ability to move about unseen. I am, after all, a retired soldier and had had escape and evasion training. I was ready. Uh huh….

Entering the front door, I looked quickly through the product signs hanging over the aisles until I saw one that stated in bold letters, “feminine hygiene.” Moving rapidly with an eye against detection, I stood nonchalantly near, but not in front of, the target area. I looked sideways at the shelves but the “things” I had come for were not there! All I could see and make out were products like feminine body wash and wipes and such like that. Nowhere in evidence were the things I had need of. This was a false target! I had been duped. I walked away and stood in front of the magazine rack while I attempted to work through this set-back. What do I do now? Steeling myself, I walked back over to the false target area so as to make sure I had not missed something. When I stopped, I noticed the far wall of the store. There stacked from floor to ceiling and as far as the eye could see were the very things I needed. Gadzooks! How would I find the particular brand I would need in this vast selection? Side note: I never knew, and regret knowing now, that there was such a huge variety of these things. How in the world…oh, never mind.

Now, this display was immense but a little off the beaten path so I thought I could get over there, find the target of my mission in the huge display, and get out before I could be seen. No such luck. I stopped in the middle of the selection and looked intently for what I came for. “Can I help you?” A young saleswoman, no doubt a plant, had been waiting for me. In my embarrassment, I blubbered, “Oh no. I’m just looking.” I wish I could adequately describe the look on her face. She stood dumbfounded while I fumbled around and finally found what I came for. I did not look back as I paid and left but I am sure she was laughing hysterically the rest of the day.

Next time I think I will get my granddaughter ready for church.

Another trip…..Part 1

So,  I was at my plot in the community garden last Saturday having a great time. My goal that day was to spread several inches of compost. I was just about done when the wife called. She wanted to know if I would stop by and get some hamburger buns on the way home. Well, I was kind of dirty but, yes, of course I would stop by the grocery store on the way home. “Call me when you get there,” she said. That should have been my first warning.

Now, the wife has limited use of her right arm, the temporary result of recent surgery. In my desire to be helpful to her as she recovered, I have done some grocery  shopping on her behalf.  Dear reader, please understand that I would rather take a beating than go grocery shopping.

I arrived at the big box grocery store and call her from its interior. “OK, if you want to”, she says, “please pick up some oranges, strawberries, bananas,”  on and on. Did you ever try to push an unwieldy grocery cart (you know the one with the single wheel in front that won’t move), talk on the cell phone AND try to find stuff in a big grocery store? “Look for strawberries. They are 2 for $5.00. Oh, and there is boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale. See if you can find those. While you are back in that end of the store, get some cereal.” It was maddening.

Of course, during all this confusion, I kept bumping into people I know. When I picked up hamburger buns (while I am getting instruction from the wife as to which hamburger buns to get) (there’s a difference?) a bread delivery guy pulls up with his rack of bread to deliver. Turns out, I used to work with this guy some ten years ago. I am trying to talk to him AND my wife at the same time. I no sooner get done talking old times with him than I bump into a couple whose kid was in Scouts with my youngest some five years ago.

The end result of all this madness was:  I never found the chicken or the strawberries. I did manage to get the “right” hamburger buns and  oranges (2 bags for $6!). Met an old friend named Samuel Adams and brought him home. I had survived another trip to the grocery store. I should have known it would get worse.

The next morning was Sunday morning. Church day. The wife asked me to make an early morning run to the store. A kindly neighbor had brought us a casserole for our Sunday dinner and it would need lettuce to add to it. “No problem,” I said as I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. “Oh, and I need some things.” I stopped dead in my tracks. “What things?”, I asked suspiciously. “You know, things.” This can’t be good, I think to myself. “I need a better description than that,” I replied. “Things that women use.” Oh no. She wants me to get “things” for her!! I am certain there is a law somewhere barring men from picking up or even being in the same aisle as  “things.”  I begged her not ask me to do that. “Well, you can stay here and get our granddaughter ready for church,” she said.

I went to the store…………….part 2 coming

My “lyin” ways

When I was a little boy in Amarillo, Texas, I was a highly accomplished liar. I could lie my way into or out of any situation. Really. I could. Reminds me of a story (imagine that).

Back then, we went to church at Grace Lutheran Church on Western Avenue. Pastor Messer was our Pastor and my mom played the organ and was the choir director. It was not a big church and finally folded sometime around 1969 or so. Anyway, the church had two buildings. One was the main church building and would seat about, oh,  100 people or so. The other building was a single story house that had been converted to classrooms and a fellowship hall. After church, all the grown ups would go over there to drink coffee and visit.  The kids would, in good weather, be outside. There was an empty lot right next to that house that we would occasionally wander towards. The weeds were very tall so it made for good places to hide and get into trouble.

This one particular Sunday, me and a couple of other boys got into that lot with a book of matches. It was dry this time of year and we were lighting matches to little patches of grass in the middle of the dirt road that ran through that lot. We were having a great time as boys and matches are wont to do. Well…I decided that I wanted to see a little more fire than we were getting in that area of the lot. I put a match to a piece of grass on the edge of the road and let it burn on just a little too long. Of course, the fire got away from us and the next thing I knew, we had a pretty major fire on our hands within 100 feet of the church house! A bunch of grown ups came out of the house to fight the fire but it got away from them too. Somebody called the  fire department and they showed up right quick. I thought it best to get back over to the house and out of the way. On the way, I ran into my dad who asked me who and how the fire started. In a moment of blazing integrity, I said, “I did it.”

I don’t remember a thing after that. I just know that, from that day forward, I became one of the best liars Randall County, Texas ever produced. I did eventually gain an understanding of integrity but that story would take awhile to tell.

You want me to do what?!

My wife had surgery recently. She’s doing fine, thanks for asking. She has, though, been temporarily left with only one usable arm. Her right arm is very limited for a time and, of course, she is right handed. It has been left to me to get a lot of stuff done around the house that she normally does. It has been an interesting experience for the most part until Saturday morning when she informed me that I would do the grocery shopping this week. That wasn’t too bad until she let me know that I would do that alone. Read that again. She wanted ME to go buy groceries by myself. I guess this is what they were talking about when the marriage vows included “for better or worse.” There were enough times that I went with her and only had to push the cart and that was bad enough. Now she expected me to go ALONE into a grocery store. There is probably a law against this somewhere.

On the appointed Saturday morning, she was kind enough to give me a list of what all I needed to buy. I grabbed it and headed for the door with the intent to get in and out as fast as possible and hope not to get lost. Rumor had it that there are men in grocery stores all across the country permanently misplaced somewhere between aisles 13 and 22.  Before I could get very far though, she stopped me and decided to go over my list in detail so that I would not have any questions. I didn’t and off I went. That was my first mistake.

Well, I got to the store ok and managed to get my cart without much hassle. Being the smart guy that I knew me to be, I decided to consult my list and make a plan of attack. You know, you’d think a grocery list would be in systematic order to match the store’s layout. After all, she has been coming here since who knows how long. She ought to know how a store is laid out and have her list in a sensible order. There was, to my dismay, no sense to the order of things. This would require multiple trips through the store to find stuff. I did have enough sense to know all the fresh fruit and vegetables would be in the same general area. That seemed easy enough until I looked at the list. First thing on the list was “salad greens.” There was a whole mess of greens on the counter but none said salad greens. I called my wife. “What’s a salad green?” I said. “That would be lettuce,” was her rejoinder. That narrowed my choice from ten different greens down to four. Why could she not just list lettuce? I dare not ask. Having fixed that problem, I headed off to find the onions. That’s all she listed. Just onions. I had to ask yellow, red, or some other color that I don’t remember right now. Oh, and there’s the ones that still have a stem and are really small. Sheesh.

It went that way for most of my trip and I am glad to tell you that I survived to get back home without missing a single item and only adding a half dozen or so from my own unwritten list. You know important stuff like beer and extra “necessaries” that will occupy the shelf in the garage until the return of the Almighty.  I hope I never have to do that again.