Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Adventures in Groceryland (post-Holidays version)

We needed some stuff, as happens. I asked Stephen to add stuff to the list last night, so I'd know where I needed to shop, and whether I'd be able to get steps in whilst at it, or if the car would have adventures with me today. There were sufficient items that we get from different places that I decided to drive and hit 'em all!

I've been having breathing issues. I think you knew this; I've posted about seeing a doc about it before my insurance ran out, and getting a rescue inhaler like asthmatics have. Mine also has a separator, to allow the meds to mist into my airways rather than forming larger droplets in my throat. It's huge and cumbersome and awkward looking, and I'm grateful that as my breathing worsens, come nightfall, I can usually take one or two hits before I go out into the world, rather than carrying it with me Just In Case. Yeah, I do have a little vanity. Whatevs.

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday (yes, I actually scrolled through some of my FB feed yesterday! So what?) that talked about the five houseplants that can help you sleep better. Now, I sleep fine, and so does Stephen, but the reasons the little article gave for poor sleep spoke to breathing issues more than relaxation, so I figured, if I can get a few houseplants to clear our air of unknown toxins, then maybe I'll stop waking with coughing fits, or maybe I'll be able to stash that inhaler away somewhere.

So I made a plan to buy as many of the five as I could easily procure at Lowe's (because we do not have a high success rate with keeping plants alive or healthy, and Lowe's has a one-year guarantee on all of their plants). Shopping at Lowe's automatically means a #WalkingSamplingLunch at Costco, if I time it right. And since a majority of the list was Costco items, BOOM!

I had pretty good parking karma today. Arrived at Costco before noon and parked in our favorite out-of-the-way section of the lot, which was practically empty upon my arrival. Went in for my #WSL and then walked over to Lowe's to shop for plants (~2500 steps each way). Put the plants in the car, which at that point had company in its lot, and went into Costco to shop. As I was leaving Costco, there were cars in each section of the huge parking lot, waiting for spaces. So I made mine available, and headed over to Smart-N-Final.

The items I didn't or couldn't get at Costco, I was planning to get at SNF. If you don't have a(n) SNF, imagine a fairly large grocery store with somewhat-bulky items, intended for small restaurants. They carry items like 10k to-go containers, 4x normal paper products, plastic silverware, chafing dishes, etc., as well as 5-10 lb. bags of shredded cheeses. That sort of thing. They're not a warehouse club; they don't have the space or the inventory that Costco does, but the GROCERIES are great, if you need what they have. It's the only place we've found that carries frozen collard greens or okra, year-round.

So I pulled into the main SNF lot, which was mostly empty, again. I picked up the very few items I needed and checked out, and someone was waiting for my parking space, again. Still didn't have everything we needed, so I headed over to Trader Joe's.

TJ's, you've probably figured by now, is my favorite grocery store of all time. No, they don't carry everything, and they typically don't have a large quantity of the item you're seeking. Doesn't matter. The prices are good, and the quality of the food is outstanding, and the caliber of staff is always very high. The running joke amongst folks who know TJ's, tho, is the utter lack of parking.

TJ's planner, talking to shopping center landowner: I like the building, but how's the parking?
Landowner: um, not so good.
TJ's planner: GREAT! We'll take it!

When I arrived today, there were umpteen open spaces. I backed into one, as I'm wont to do, and noticed the the adjacent SUV was a teensy bit over the line, so I fretted for a microsecond over that driver dinging me with the door. As I walked out of the lot, I noticed that the car in the first space had all of its windows open an inch or two, and there was a chihuahua (or chihuahua-sized other breed) lying on the back dash, sunning itself. I stopped and greeted it, through the glass. It seemed only interested enough to acknowledge the presence of another being, and went back to sunning.

TJ's was my last stop, and now I had frozen items in the car, and I was buying refrigerated items there. So I hit the demo station for the butternut squash and spinach dish they were sampling, as well as a tiny cuppa joe. I circled through to pick up the items I needed, and spoke to the occasional crew member or captain, as I encountered them. I was neither rushed nor lollygagging.

When I returned to the TARDIS, I found a new SUV parked adjacent, even further over the line. Also, the lot was now full, although it had not yet grown its customary queue of waiting-to-parks. However, pup in the window of vehicle in space #1 was now panting, and looked a bit distressed.

Now let me tell ya. It was not HOT today. I think the temp gauge in my car read 64º all day, every time I was in it. And not only were the windows in pup's car cracked, but the sunroof was also open about 6". But you are NOT supposed to leave your pets in the car. You're not supposed to take them in shopping with you, either (although try enforcing that one in this town). You are supposed to leave them at home. Unless you're going to the dog park and then going home, you shouldn't need to have your pet in the car at all!

So before I gave up my parking space to the next contestant, I found Edgar, a crew member who was on carts duty, and showed him the situation, and asked him to relay what I knew to Dave, the captain. I didn't know what they would do, but I certainly wasn't going to be the one to break into that car. Edgar went inside to talk to Dave, and I got into my car to join the queue that had formed (yeah, you can't escape the queue at TJ's; if it exists and you're past parking space #1, you're in it, too). WHILE I was waiting for the queue to move, Bad SUV driver began to back up. Without LOOKING. Thankfully, I saw her doing it, and laid on my horn, and she stopped! Whew!

By the time I was able to exit the lot, I could see in my rearview that Edgar had returned to the pup, with another crew member, and possibly the owner of the car. It was being handled; yay.

So in conclusion:

  • Don't shop for groceries at all during the holidays. Order in, or starve yourself, or go to parties and take home doggy bags. Grocery store parking lots (as well as the stores themselves) suck during the holidays.
  • Once you return to "normal", shop for groceries on Wednesdays, being sure to incorporate as much walking and snacking as you can into your trip. Shop at multiple stores in one day, rather than one store per day. I think I heard or read somewhere that that's better for your gas mileage, and therefore better for the environment, or something.
  • If you MUST take your pet with you wherever you go, um... DON'T. "Go for a ride?" should not be the last thing Spot ever hears you say.


  1. would make an interesting column for a magazine.i love reading about real life stories. you are easy to read and i have told you before you have real writing talent..have a prosperous new year.

    1. aw, shucks. Thanks, Ruth Ann, and Happy Holidays back atcha! :)


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