Perpetually Peeved

How to get blood from a stone

Going to the grocery store with children should be officially deployed by the Department of Justice as a form of torture.  Having your fingernails yanked out is nothing compared with the hour of pure hell involved in picking up a few items for the week in the company of kids.  If I really wanted to torture information out of someone, I would ship her off to the local Kroger with my 4-year-old (Smalls) and my 12-year-old (Biggie).

Phase I – The Parking Lot:  Smalls insists on sitting in the in the “car” cart.  Biggie insists on trying to fit into the “car” cart with Smalls.  Smalls freaks the heck out that her sister is trying to sit on her and screams at the top of her lungs.  Then Biggie says, “Fine!”, gives a colossal eye roll and insists upon pushing the “car” cart.

Phase II – The Entrance:  Biggie, who weighs no more than a small cat soaking wet, attempts to push the cart, making it just inside the doorway where the back of Torturee’s legs act as a guard rail for said “car” cart.  Biggie insists that the cart is broken and unmanueverable.  (Which, is only a half-lie because while it is unmanueverable, it is not broken – some Secret Torture Agent actually designed it that way.)

Phase III – The Preparation:  Torturee decides that to make it any further she needs a Starbucks.  Biggie has watched “Food, Inc.” and decided she is going to be a vegetarian.  Biggie takes off to go get vegetables and instructs Torturee to “text me if you need me.”  Ah, one down one to go.  Torturee, coffee in hand, manuevers cart over to cream & sugar station.  There is no room for cream in her coffee. 

Phase IV – Produce:  Torturee attempts to navigate through the produce section.  Biggie, the vegetarian, realizes she does not really like any vegetables and will start her new diet next week when she has a game plan ready.  Biggie decides to randomly stand directly in the path of the giant “car” cart.  (She is an undercover Jr. Secret Torture Agent and this is part of her requirements to making full-on STA status.) Smalls has collected 6 bottles of Naturally Fresh salad dressing and a Kiwi in the “car” portion of the “car” cart.

Phase V –  Aisles 1-5:  Biggie decides that the supermarket has the best acoustics to practice her step routine in.  She intermittently trails behind Torturee  thrashing like a bird with a broken wing and singing “Shorty is like a melody in my head…” and speeding ahead to debate the necessity of sugar-infested delicacies such as Lucky Charms and Pop-Tarts.  Smalls discovers the “car” cart has a working horn and has decided to grab an economy-size can of Hormel chili, just in case her friends decide to come over for a playdate next weekend.

Phase VI – Aisles 6-10:  Grooving along to a wonderful melody of “… got me singing like…” STOMP, HONK “…every day, like my iPod stuck on replay…” STOMP, HONK, HONK, STOMP, Torturee takes a sip of her latte only to have the lid leak all over her, her purse and the coupon accordion in the front of the cart.  Smalls has added a 24-pack of Irish Spring to the “car” cart because, well, chili is messy.

Phase VII – Meat & Dairy:  Biggie, the vegetarian, decides to recount the various forms of slaughter she witnessed in the movie while poking a pot roast and saying, “ew, Blood, Blood, Blood.”  Smalls can’t bear the silence, so starts in with a song of her own… “Hey soul sister, hey there mister, mister…”  Torturee corrects Smalls: “it’s ‘ain’t that mister, mister.'”  Smalls promptly tells Torturee that she’s an idiot and never to correct her again because she is always right (paraphrasing here).  Smalls then resumes her chorus, which is the only portion of the song she knows, pausing only to scream “CHOCOLATE PUDDING!” at the top of her lungs.

Phase VIII – Checkout:  Torturee, having ditched half the list in attempt to get the hell out of the supermarket, approaches the checkout.  There are only two cashiers and the place is packed.  Biggie goes on a candy-finding mission, Smalls resumes horn honking to the tune of Soul Sister.  The lady in front of Torturee decides she has three different transactions, one of which requires food stamps and another of which requires a check. 

Torturee unloads from the “car” 6 bottles of Naturally Fresh dressing, a kiwi, a tub of Hormel chili, a family pack of Irish Spring and a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Hey, she’s going to need that!  Biggie jumps on top of “car” and when Torturee yells at her to get down, decides to stand directly in front of the cart, where Torturee needs to push it.  HONK, HONK, HONK.  Torturee cries, “the next person who honks that freaking horn is going to get beat!!”  Biggie and Smalls look at each other – “wasn’t us”…  Lady pushing child in “car” cart in next aisle over gives Torturee a dirty look.

Torturee, “I’ll tell you anything, I promise.  Just give me a wine opener!”

Biggie, “Now that I’m a full-on STA, can I shave my legs?”

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