Our luncheon companion excused herself yet again. “My husband is grocery shopping” she sighs rolling her eyes as she left the table with her smart phone held out in front of her face.
The remaining women chuckled and a lively debate started about the recent joke circulating on Face Book; a woman’s tale of her well meaning man, volunteering to do the grocery shopping but utilizing a list that was not current. The punch line as delivered as her hubby strolls out the door answering his wife’s’ query. “Do you have the grocery list?”
“Oh yes” the husband affirms. He proudly displays a wadded slip of paper from his pocket, “I saved the one from last time.”
Our companion rejoins us, quizzically looking at our animated faces. “What is so funny?”
“Does your hubby have the right list?” We chuckle as we relate the joke in discussion.
“Oh this is even better than the last week’s list story!” She slides her phone across the table to me. It shows a man’s arm, holding up an orange. He is clearly in a grocery produce department of the grocery store.
“Keep going!” She encourages me to scroll through the recent shots on her phone’s picture gallery. There are several more photos, each of slightly different types of citrus.
“Now read his text.” She reaches back for her Droid and quickly opens the text screen for all of us to view. Her hubby is clearly confused about the difference between Navel and Valencia oranges.
“You have to hand it to him, he is eager to get it right.” I dish out some praise for the hubby. “Smart phone photos and text technology has possibly saved many a modern marriage!” chimes in another woman.
A well coiffed silver haired woman in the group laughed aloud. “I wish my husband would get a smart phone!” “I have to decide, based on his verbal descriptions, which items to have him bring home.”
“If I can’t decipher his clues well enough, it’s my fault if he doesn’t bring home the right item.”
I’m proud to say my Hubby is pretty savvy on the grocery shopping trips. He does cook a good percentage of the time and is usually in charge of procuring his ingredients. A cute demo chef with a totally awesome recipe can alter his menu plan, but he is a guy after all.
Our biggest challenges happen when he raids the pantry for one of his dishes. He forgets to let me know that he just used up the last container of tomato paste, emptied the curry powder jar or some other ingredient that I had plans for I another meal or recipe.
We do have a magnetic grocery list pad and pencil too, stuck right on the front of the fridge. Sometimes it gets utilized. I am just as guilty on this omission as he. Actually, the dogs did just abscond with the pencil, which is now in splinters down in their dog run. No matter… there is usually something within reach to scratch down an item on the shopping list if we will just pause a moment and jot it down.
We have a distinct advantage in obtaining all the items we need for our household, if either of us in accompanied by our son, Nick. He may be blind but I will tell you he has a great recall of what is in the pantry. His inventory of the contents of the fridge and both freezers is equally amazing. He is a bit OCD about making sure that we are ALWAYS in stock on any of the items he eats or uses in any way.
He knows the exact quantity of frozen orange juice cans on the bottom shelf of the freezer downstairs. He can advise me of the count on the bagels he loves for his favorite breakfast item; smoked salmon and cream cheese on toasted bagels. Want to know how many slices of Tillamook cheddar or Deli style boneless sliced turkey are in the refrigerator’s Tupperware containers, just ask Nick.
Not only are the jars of his favorite sandwich sliced pickles inventoried before any given shopping trip, he usually knows how many slices are remaining in the currently open jar on the top shelf of the Maytag Plus refrigerator in our kitchen.
We recently faced a perceived emergency on the supply of toilet paper at home. Nick keeps a pretty close count on the individually wrapped rolls we use in our household. He is the one who carries in the bulky packages of the bathroom tissue, distributes and organizes all the rolls in both bathroom cabinets.
He announced one evening “We are out of toilet paper in my bathroom!”
“Truly not a roll left?” I seemed to remember purchasing this item recently so I ask” Did you look in our bathroom?”
“It is all gone Mom.”
I get up and trod down the stairs to the bathroom on the lower level of our home. This is primarily Nick’s domain. Unless we have guests, he is the main user of this bathroom.
“I see two rolls here which means you still have enough for a few days or maybe even the week, certainly enough to last until tomorrow morning. The store closes very soon so we need to wait to go shopping first thing.”
He reluctantly agrees that tomorrow will be soon enough to shop for replenishment. He cannot argue with the logical fact that the store is closing in 5 minutes. It is a 15 minute drive, with good traffic, so there is no possible way we can obtain the desired big 40 count container this evening.
As I write this I have to share; I heard rustling behind me and have stopped typing to investigate.
Oh, oh! Someone didn’t get the door completely latched on the powder room just outside my office. I swivel around in my chair just in time to see our two Elk hound puppies absconding with not one or two, but three rolls of the individually wrapped toilet tissue that were stashed on the pretty wire rack that sits in that extra bathroom.
The game is on! Can I catch them before they destroy all three rolls? I manage to get between the dogs and the master bedroom door. If I could not have cut them off, they’d be under the California King bed, out of reach and free to shred all three rolls. Clever pups, they seem to know just how far I can reach under that bed!
“Bad Chew!” I say this sternly and offer several toys that are “Good Chew” items. I retrieve the rolls, which are only slightly damaged and firmly close the powder room door. Click goes the latch; a” good sound!”
Back to the supply issue at home last week, it is tabled until the next morning. We get to bed and all is well for the rest of the evening.
Next morning I am awakened by the pups growling at a sound. It is still early enough that I can’t see the alarm without turning on the light and waking my Hubby. He seems to sleep through all but the most violent canine disturbances. I swear the slightest whimpers can catapult me out of the bed. Must be my mother’s ear or maybe it’s the fact that I have to clean up accidents that might happen if little puppy bladders get beyond their capacity, who knows?
I crack open the door of our bedroom. There is someone in the kitchen! Nick is already up and has begun assembling his breakfast items. He is determined to get to the COSTCO as soon as possible. Eating breakfast is all that stands in the way of his ability to restock the supply and feel the comfort of knowing his cupboard is full again.
Sighing, I throw back the covers and swing into morning mode. Our curly tailed Norwegian elk hound pups scamper out into the hall, down the stairs, to dash out into their well fenced dog run via their dogie door. “Whack, whack” the vinyl flap slaps to and fro as they rebound right back to our bedroom. Our canine alarm clocks hop up onto the bed, waking Hubby with wet kisses and cold noses on any extremity that is poking out of the covers.
With an early start today at least my Hubby will be up and on schedule to catch the bus at his usual stop. IF he dawdles a bit too long, there is one last park and ride he can hit before the Community Transit bus hits the interstate for the express lane to travel directly downtown.
Monday is “THE” day that Nick restocks his vitamin container. This will use up approximately half an hour, as he carefully and meticulously counts out each of his supplements and installs them in the Daily Dose container he uses every morning. This allows me a block of time to get going on the Smoothies without dodging my blind son as he navigates to and from the cupboards and precariously close to my work space. It is truly amazing that he manages to not step on pups or run into counters, chairs or the occasional cupboard door that is ajar. We all do our best, pups included, to keep a clear path for Nick.
Finally breakfast is consumed, puppies are fed and Hubby is backing out the drive routed to his usual bus stop. Enough time has elapsed that we will be arriving just about the time that the early wholesale shoppers are admitted to our COSTCO warehouse. We select a cart, Nick folds up his long red tipped cane and we travel toward the entrance. Since the main purpose of this trip is obtaining more bathroom tissue, we go straight for the aisle where the household supplies are located. Facial tissues are also on the list, so this big plastic bundle of 250 ct. boxes is tossed into our cart, along with the paper towels.
Oh rats! I do not see any big bundles of the individually wrapped single rolls of the Kimberly Clark bath tissue. I scan the aisle for COSTCO personnel but to no avail. During “early wholesale member” hours there is not the usual staffing in the warehouse. I am reluctant to share this news with Nick just yet. He is rarely persuaded to switch to another brand or package configuration. His need is not only to restock the toilet tissue in his cupboard. There are a certain number of rows of individual packages, stacked to a certain height, that fit just so in his cupboard.
“ Let’s walk down a few rows” I say, hoping that the game of musical merchandise played by this big volume warehouse means the desired item has just been relocated to a new spot. The TP gods are not smiling on us today. We locate the new home of all bath tissue products but do not see the desired brand. I finally locate an employee who informs me that this item is now only sold at the COSTCO “Office Supply” location. It seems most of the household type shoppers at this warehouse location did not purchase significant quantities of the individually wrapped products. It is all about the numbers!
Fortunately this other location is only 20 minutes from our home… in the other direction of course! Nick is happy to hear this news and we are back in the car motoring toward the location up north. I feel as though I am on a scavenger hunt, homing in on the final prize.
Nick is still fairly calm and this is good news. If he doesn’t hear an absolute “No” he is a pretty patient guy. Singing is one way to keep his brain occupied while on the road. This morning we are in conversation about favorite childhood items he enjoyed long ago. Many family members and friends took the time and effort to give Nick gifts that “made noise”. These ranged from the well intended gifts of mugs that would play electronic music when lifted from the table surface to the talking Mattel toys like “the Farmer Says” or the “ABC Bee Says”.
Here is a helpful hint for those of you who have received those musical cups. Running them through the full cycle of the dishwasher usually disables them! The clue is the sticker on the bottom with instructions that say “hand wash only”. One can only hear the chirpy electronic version of Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas so many times without screaming. This is especially true in families that already have that quote filled by other behaviors from their special kids.
Nick is fluent in both Spanish and English. I turned his usual recitation of the entire alphabet via the “Bee Says” by asking him “Nick what would this toy sound like if it were a Spanish version?”
He started out on the very first item.” A is for manzana! Oops! This doesn’t translate.” Nick was momentarily stumped. “Okay, let’s try A for agua” he said beaming with pride. We spent most of the rest of the trip figuring out what words would fit the alphabet using only Spanish. He even included the extra letters, like “ll is for llama” that would be found in the Spanish version. This was actually lots of fun and detracted him for worry about the bathroom tissue for the remainder of the trip.
The good news is that our shopping trip ended well. Cupboards are restocked with the necessary paper goods again. If the future tsunami threat ever occurs, our home’s paper supply could probably stop that wave in it tracks and save our community on the Puget Sound.