When we look back on it we laugh.
But at the time it was happening, it was a horrifying experience. You feel completely helpless–you forget that one item at the store.
Dave and me had recently moved in together. We were doing a lot of things new couples do when they combine all of their worldly possessions: we bought more stuff, and Dave dumped his cat on his mom by saying she only had to watch him for two weeks.
Two weeks and seven years later she still has him and I don’t think he’s coming home to “Daddy.”
We also went to the hardware store–a lot. We would grocery shop together so we could discover what kinds of foods and brands we both liked. I discovered that Dave didn’t like pre-packaged meals; frozen, boxed or seal-packed.
He has never eaten a banana and he doesn’t plan on starting any time soon. The same can be said for peanut butter, and Fluff? What’s that?
Oh. My. God.
Good-bye, Hamburger Helper.
Hello, cookware and spatula.
We also had the added bonus of co-parenting kids that both of us had to work on getting to know better.
Augie and Nick, Dave’s boys, came to visit one weekend. It was on a Saturday that Dave and me had to go to the grocery store to pick up some items for dinner. None of the kids wanted to come along except Nick. Nick, being the youngest–eight or nine years old–is the smartest of all of our boys.
Don’t misunderstand me; all of our boys are smart, but we knew early on that Nick just ticked differently than the other two. He had different interests besides the normal football, baseball and heavy metal bands. Nick liked to discover things; take stuff apart to figure out how it worked and put it back together. He liked to climb trees and learned how to ride a unicycle by himself. At the young age of eight (or nine, I don’t remember), he was doing a lot of things kids his age typically wouldn’t do until they were older.
We were lucky that Nick went to the grocery store with us that Saturday. If one of the other boys’ had come with us, it could have been complete anarchy.
Meijer is a huge grocery store. Wait. Let me rephrase that: Meijer is a GINORMOUS grocery store. The store has every single item imaginable under one roof. In addition to your groceries, you can also buy charcoal grills, tiki torches, plants (real and fake), cookware (which I needed), sports equipment, paint, power tools, as well as a stereo system for your car.
After the car stereos, you enter the meat department. Go figure.
Side Note: I’d like to know who configured Meijer Stores? I mean, if you want people to buy meat, you don’t segue from the stereo department. When’s the last time you heard a song about meat? Don’t answer that.
We check out at the register, pack up the car and head on home. Meijer is only about a five-minute drive from our house; pretty convenient, huh?
As we unload the car and unpacked all of the items, Dave makes me a drink and pours himself a beer. Both the older boys finally mosey their way down the stairs so they wouldn’t have to drag in all the grocery bags.
I’m flipping through the cable channels and Augie asks in a very non-nonchalant way:
We forgot that one item at the store. OUR KID.
We completely forgot he was with us because we weren’t used to having kids grocery shop with us. And, as Dave raced into the store after leaving thirty minutes prior, he discovered Nick chatting it up at the customer service desk.
In a pissed off tone Nick said, “They pronounced my name wrong on the loud-speaker.”
“Nobody gets our name right. Sorry about that, Nick. You okay?”
“Yeah. No problem. I figured you guys forgot about me, so I just walked up here and made myself comfortable until you came back.”
Nick was smart enough to realize his dad and step-mom were idiots and had terrible short-term memories. In our defense, it was the one time that Nick didn’t bring his cell phone with him.
This is why you have a smart kid go to the grocery store with you. At some point you–as a parent–are going to make a really stupid mistake in that vast wonderland we buy our groceries. It’s bound to happen; you have to go there at least once a week for something…anything.
As my son, Matt, got older I didn’t want to bring him to the grocery store anymore. I couldn’t afford him being there because he was throwing stuff into the cart snowballing my food bill to twice the cost of what it normally was.
Now being 21, he still complains I don’t have enough food in the house, so I just tell him to go to Meijer and get lost.