WELCOME, K-MART SHOPPERS
23 April 2005
I don't understand people who think of "shopping" as a recreational sport. When we were in St. Louis, I was listening to some women who were talking about what their plans for the next day were.
"SHOPPING!" was the enthusiastic reply.
"I only had time to hit one mall today. There are several more I have to see!"
Sounds like my idea of dying and going to hell.
I don't like shopping of any kind. One mall is pretty much like another. Most of the same shops and once I've gone through the book stores, there's nothing else I'm interested in seeing. And I don't need to "go shopping" to spend money on things I don't need. Oh, I do it. Get me in a Target or K-Mart and I'll browse the aisles with the best of 'em, picking up things we don't need that look like it's something I can't live without. But my life is not incomplete if I never visit another K-Mart again.
I especially don't like grocery shopping. There was a time when it was the high point of the week. When I had little kids at home, it was my time to get away and be with grown-ups (unless, of course, I had to shop during the day, dragging 5 little kids behind, begging for treats)
I remember that when Walt and I first got married, we lived a couple of blocks from a big (now defunct) Lucky Store. I had a budget of $20 a week for groceries and I was able to feed the two of us on that. We didn't eat lavishly, and I did occasionally splurge, but the $20 a week covered not only food, but also household supplies as well. I realize how old I am when I see that $20 wouldn't cover dinner for the day, much less food and supplies for a whole week!!
The $20 budget didn't last very long. Jeri insisted on eating after the first few months and there went the ball game. I breastfed all of the kids (free food), but sooner or later they insisted on having juice and Cheerios. At the same time, food prices began to rise and before you knew it, I had a house full of hungry teenagers and I was lucky to get away with $100 a week for food.
Grocery shopping was still kind of fun, though. Planning meals and shopping for ingredients or just roaming through the grocery aisles trying to figure out what "something" was going to go with the night's hamburger was a real challenge. It was especially fun in the years when we were hosting foreign students because it was my chance to shine as a cook.
I am more of a Julia Child kind of cook rather than a Martha Stewart kind of cook. I'll sling food around and whap it with implements and spill stuff--and in the end produce something that's not half bad (though it often lacks the "gourmet" quality that Julia was able to give it).
When I was feeding folks from around the world, I pulled out all the stops and made my version of gourmet meals as often as I could. I also enjoyed learning how to make foods from other countries and each night was a gastronomic adventure.
But the foreign students are gone. The kids are gone. And, quite frankly, the thrill is gone. After 40 years, the thrill of creating a meal every night is gone...and with that has gone the thrill of grocery shopping. I go to the store when I absolutely positively have to restock the larder.
I've managed to go from shopping once or twice a week to shopping every other week. I've needed to go to the store for several days now and keep finding reasons not to. I'm not sure what it is. I think it's the decision making. I'm just plain tired of making decisions about what we're going to eat. I usually end up buying the same thing each week because I can do that without thinking.
I have to shop when we are out of "main dish" food. Frozen chicken or tuna or frozen meat. I tend to head out when we're out of butter, because I'm a butter-a-holic. I usually shop when we're out of bread or dog food or laundry detergent. But for all the rest, I can pretty much put things off till the next day. If we have no cereal, I'll eat oatmeal. There was no toast for Walt's usual breakfast this morning, but there were waffles he'd brought over from his mother's apartment when she moved (I found them when emptying the freezer before the floor guys came), so I cooked those up. He'll also have warmed over rice, which he loves, for breakfast.
Yesterday I planned to go shopping, but just couldn't bring myself to leave the house. When I found some packaged tuna and realized we had a potato that I could stuff with tuna and mayonnaise and cheese, I figured I could skip shopping for one other day.
But I knew I definitely had to shop today.
Only then I found some frozen chicken, which meant I didn't need to shop for a main dish. We were still out of bread, but I found a package of yeast in the fridge, so I decided I could make bread and postpone shopping for one more day. This means Walt will have toast for breakfast tomorrow morning and then I will have to go shopping finally.
The next big shopping trip will cost over $100, but with luck it will last me another 2 weeks--and I have a 10% off coupon, so we'll save a bit on the food.
But if you want to suggest an activity to do with me, let's do something other than "shopping," OK?
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Another newborn lamb picture