Tag Archives: grocery shopping

10 Things I Found While Cleaning Out the Garage


Paul is out of town this week, counseling at a Christian teen camp up in Northeast Washington state.  I love what he’s doing, but I hate being apart.  The house is too quiet, the bed is too big, and the ten thousand words I usually bestow upon him the minute he arrives home from work are building up, unsaid, inside my brain.  Also, it gets dark at night, and the house makes noises, and even though I’m 36 years old, I’m pretty sure that the bogeyman is lurking around waiting for me to turn out the lights so he can get me.  (I’ve never figured out what happens once the bogeyman gets you, but I don’t want to find out at this late date.)

Anyway, the week is crawling by.  So I thought I’d help fill it up by getting some work done around the house.  On Tuesday I washed, dried, and folded 9 loads of laundry.  On Wednesday, I did our monthly all-day grocery shopping extravaganza, with stops at Walmart, Super One, and Costco.  And today, four months after moving into our new home, I finally cleaned out the garage so that we can park in it.

It was hot, sweaty work, and I almost aborted the mission prematurely when I moved a box only to discover an angry coven of giant black spiders nesting in the corner behind it.  Five of them scattered in random directions, scuttling across the floor so fast that I barely had time to react before they had found new hiding places.  I killed one slowpoke with my broom, and then stood there for several minutes recovering from an attack of the heebie-jeebies.  The rest of the job went slowly as I had to perform the Icky Spider Dance of Girliness every time I brushed up against a gardening tool or felt a droplet of sweat running down my leg, but eventually, I got it done.



10 Things I Found While Cleaning Out the Garage:

1.  The Klingon Dictionary. Boy, am I relieved to have this back!  Just the other day, I was whispering sweet nothings in Paul’s ear, and I wanted to tell him “bomDI’ ‘IwwIj qaqaw”, but I couldn’t remember where to put the second apostrophe. Nothing turns a geek into a pile of mush like Klingon love poetry.  (Just try to keep the spitting to a minimum.)


2.  A poem I wrote in college about sardines. Here it is, for your pleasure:

Oh, the bliss of a fragrant sardine!
(Even though it turns some people green…)
The smell is just made to enthrall,
Though my roommate agrees not at all.
Little fishies in cute little rows
Are a treat for your mouth and your nose.
Packed in mustard and on a saltine,
There is nothing quite like a sardine!

3.  My wedding planner. No, I don’t have a coldly efficient forty year old woman with a walkie-talkie and a list of caterers hidden away in my garage.  But I do have the forty pound 3-ring binder packed with receipts and schedules that I used when Paul and I were planning our wedding in Searcy, Arkansas back in 1996.  I tucked it away in case our kids ever want to know how much my dress cost ($300), the name of our photographer (Ed Wilson), or the song that was playing when I walked down the aisle (God Has Smiled on Me).

4.  A picture of my high school boyfriend sitting in my Dad’s recliner. Little did he know that he was taking his life in his hands that day.  It’s a common enough mistake.  In fact, when Paul, My Future Husband, came home with me for Thanksgiving to meet my family, my Dad’s very first words to him were not “Nice to meet you,” but “Get out of my chair!” (Thinks he’s so funny, my dad!)


5.  A French newspaper. In 1991, I spent six weeks living with a French family in Aurillac, France, as part of an exchange program.  It was a life changing and horizon-broadening experience.  One of the souvenirs I brought back was this newspaper.


6.  My high school graduation cap. It was white.  Do you know how hard it was to find something to wear to graduation that wouldn’t show through a white graduation gown?

7. 1000 feet of 14 gauge A/V cable. I’m sure it’s good for something.  I just don’t know what.


8. My lucky bandana. I carried this battered blue bandana on dozens of outdoor adventures when I was in middle school and high school–camping, white water rafting, backpacking, rappelling.  I tied it around my ankle to stop the bleeding when I cut it on a river rock.  I used it to keep the sweat out of my eyes while I climbed Mount Yonah. I thought I had lost it, but there it was tucked inside a duffle bag full of old camping stuff.  I can’t wait to use it again.  But I’m thinking maybe I should wash it first.


9. My hoarded stash of gift boxes and bags. After our wedding showers, I collected all the bags and boxes like a good little bride, knowing that I would need them for future gift-giving occasions.  Then, I promptly lost them.  For thirteen years.  Perhaps they’ve been floating in and out of a rift in the time-space continuum.  Or maybe they were stolen by a very specific kind of burglar, who suffered an attack of conscience all these years later and sneaked into our garage to replace the plunder.  Or perhaps I’m just absent-minded.

Nah.  That can’t be it.

10.  Space for the car. That was the point of this whole journey, after all.  I can’t wait to go pick Paul up and drive him home, just so I can enjoy his surprise when we actually get to use the garage door opener to…wait for it…open the garage door and drive inside!  It may be a tight fit (Two-car garage?  Ha!), but we will finally be safe from the scorching sun and the drifting snow.


Now to go cross one more completed project off my To Do List!

Drama in Aisle 2


Yesterday, I started thinking about what to make for dinner at the same time I do every night: about five minutes after the kids have declared themselves “starving” and Paul has started digging through the pizza coupons.

Like Old Mother Hubbard’s, our cupboards were bare, or very nearly so. The only things left in them were the things that are always left in them, like the wrinkled half packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix which is sure to make a great steak marinade as soon as I remember that that is what I’m saving it for, or the old stand-by box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that I can’t bring myself to open, fearful that one puff of stale processed cheese powder wafting up my nose will bring back repressed memories of our time in the trenches of university-induced poverty, when we saved our precious mac-n-cheese for celebrations (it was an extravagant sixty cents a box, whereas Top Ramen could be had at eight for a dollar.)

The refrigerator was so empty that it was glaringly obvious how badly it needed to be cleaned. There was only one solution: fill it up with food again right away. It was time to go shopping.

Since Katie is out of school this week for Spring Break, I had only two options.

A) Wait until morning, drag two kids to the grocery store, and spend several hours alternately scanning the shelves for the products on my shopping list and scanning the aisles for my runaway four year old, who picks the moment my back is turned to wander off and visit the doomed lobsters in their watery digs. Go home, unpack kids, devise a miraculous diversion to keep them from breaking/killing/”decorating” anything or anyone while I make fourteen trips back and forth from the car and then put a month’s worth of groceries away by myself.


B) Muster up the last reserves of my Sunday night energy, drag myself to the grocery store alone, and complete the shopping in half the time, arriving home at ten o’clock to find Paul ready and willing to assist me in unloading and putting away the groceries (with the distinct possibility of a follow-up backrub from a grateful husband if I remember to pick up his favorite root beer.)

So off I went.

It was surprisingly relaxing to shop alone. No one begged me to stop at the bakery for a cookie. No one grabbed things off the shelf when I wasn’t looking and put them in the cart. No one insisted on using my shopping list as a coloring sheet, scribbling on it until I was unable to make out whether I was supposed to be buying Tampax or Tang. It was quiet, and even enjoyable.

At least until the couple in Aisle 2 started in on each other.

I heard them before I saw them. They were sniping at each other like two toddlers. Actually, that’s not fair. They had two toddlers strapped into the seats on the shopping cart they were pushing around and they were as quiet as little bugs, just looking on while Mommy and Daddy bickered, their big eyes bouncing back and forth like tennis balls from one to the other as the insults flew.

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I really couldn’t help it. They were delivering their lines with all the dramatic flourish of stage actors trying to project to the very back row of the theater. And their “fight” didn’t even seem to be about anything. Rather, it was two long-running commentaries on each other’s many flaws and inadequacies, punctuated by numerous “Shut up!”s and petulant name calling.

I tried to get away from them, but their voices followed me, and as I worked my way down the store, my path and theirs seemed to intersect in every aisle. My relaxing shopping trip had suddenly turned into an irritation, and my stress grew as I imagined those two little girls growing up bathed in a steady stream of such invective. But what could I do?

I wish I could insert a little paragraph here about how I delivered just the right clever, non-offensive, thirty second comment to diffuse the whole situation and instill healthy conflict resolution skills in the fledgling family (you know, from the bottomless depths of my incredible wisdom *insert eye roll here*), but I’m afraid the truth is far less satisfying.

I turned up my iPod and walked away until I couldn’t hear them anymore.

I finished my shopping and made it home to where help and rest waited (Paul even insisted that I sit down and relax while he put away the groceries!) but I was still thinking of that young couple tearing each other apart. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so righteous. Paul and I argue, even in public, sometimes. But not like that. Not like we’re trying to dig the ground out from under each other with words designed to sting, to hurt. I hope we never come to that place.

I also don’t have a good way to end this post, no pithy little “You see, Beaver…” to wrap up the episode. I only posted about it because it’s still bothering me. I guess some things are like that.