It'd been over two weeks since I'd been grocery shopping. I usually go every week, so...Old Mother Hubbard, the cupboards were BARE! Monday evening had reached the point of opening random cans of things and heating them up in an event that cannot, except in the most fundamental sense, be termed a "meal." So, yesterday I decided to head to WalMart right after work and get the shopping done...Buttercup in tow.
Buttercup and I left school at noon. I was tired and she was hungry, but I knew from experience that if we went home we wouldn't get back out for a while, so we pressed forward with the plan. I drove through Chicken Express and picked up some sustenance (chicken and mozzarella sticks for Buttercup, caffeine for me) to enjoy on the way to WalMart. Now, in Woo-Town, Chicken Express and WalMart are just about as far apart as they could be and still be in the same town, but somehow Buttercup only managed to stuff in one whole bite before I had parked and was ready to go in and shop. Of course, realizing that she was going to have to leave her meal in the car caused her to become suddenly ravenous! We sat in the van for ten minutes while she chowed down and I played Words With Friends.
When she was finally sated, we started to climb out of the van, but I opened my door to find a pick up pulling in the space next to me. He was close. So close that I wasn't going to be able to squeeze out of my door. I pulled it shut and watched as the driver of the truck spent several minutes attempting to BACK INTO the parking space. After an excruciating 26 point turn, he finally shut off his engine. Was that really better than having to back out of a parking spot upon leaving?
We finally got into the store. Buttercup insisted on holding the list for me...which would be much more helpful if she could actually read. I successfully distracted her from the toy department by suggesting that she pick out her own new toothbrush, but my shopping experience went downhill from that point on. She wasn't bad, exactly, but the Queen of Quite a Lot is just hard to shop with. Yesterday she was very helpful. Too helpful. Not only did she insist on holding the list for me, but she was also determined to physically get all of the items on the list. Buttercup is 3' 3" tall. And, (please excuse me, but I feel it bears repeating) can't read.
So, we developed a system for getting all of the necessary items into our cart. It went something like this...
Me: Okay, let me see what the next thing is (cheerful)
Buttercup: (holding list close and turning to shelter it from my view) No, I'LL tell you.
Me: Alright. What does it say is the next thing? (forced cheer)
Buttercup: (looks intently at list while furrowing brow) I can't read what these letters say.
Me: Here, I'll help you. (hopeful)
Buttercup: (turns the list ever so slightly toward me without loosening her vice like grip) What does it say?
Me: It says two cans of whole tomatoes.
Buttercup: Ask me, now.
Me: What's the next thing on the list?
Buttercup: (looks intently at list while furrowing brow) Two whole cans of tomatoes. Where do we get those?
Me: Over here...(proceed to area where they can be found)
Buttercup: I'LL get them.
Me: Okay, they're up here. (pointing to the shelf above my head)
Buttercup: I can't reach those! (exasperated)
Me: I'll get them. (reaching up and retrieving cans)
Buttercup: Okay, but I get to put them in.
Me: (obediently handing over cans)
Buttercup: Two cans of tomatoes holes. (literally throwing them into the cart)
Repeat, substituting various items.
Our shopping trip was punctuated by two restroom pit-stops, each being requested at the furthest possible point from any available restroom. It was accompanied by periods of Buttercup singing the same stanza of a song over and over and over and over again in between discussing the list. It was complicated by requests for a variety of foods and knickknacks that were not on our list. Finally, we had everything (or so I thought, but that's a blog for another day)! My feet hurt, my head hurt, I was tired and hungry, and I was struggling with my patience. I was thrilled to head toward the self-check.
Unfortunately, so was Buttercup. She wasn't finished "helping" me, yet. She unceremoniously unloaded our cart onto the belt while I hurried to check and bag everything. She was fast, and had the cart completely emptied onto the conveyor belt before I had a quarter of our haul checked through. Then the Queen of Quite a Lot took over the scanning and our progress slowed significantly. She was actually pretty good at finding and scanning the bar codes herself, and didn't refuse help when she had trouble. Eventually, she swiped my card for me, I signed, and then she tore off and stowed the receipt.
Our shopping trip took almost two hours. I have a new theory about all of those celebreties who end up in hospitals for exhaustion. I'm guessing their fatigue is brought on by too many assistants who are providing too much help. It all makes sense to me!