I’m all out of sorts, lately, which is even worse than being all out of love, by the way, because I have plenty of love, but I’m still feeling lost which makes me feel like there is no answer and I just may be an excessively flawed human being with no hope for redemption. The fact that I’m discussing how I feel about my feelings tells you just how severe this “all outta whack” condition I have is. It’s causing me to make bad decisions and do stupid things – like go grocery shopping with Lucy and Phoebe all by myself.
It happened last Friday that I was feeling foolishly capable and set out for Wal Mart with the two kiddos in tow. I was armed with a list and plan which I wanted to show you through a Family Circus style drawing of the store with a black dash trail of the path I intended to take versus the red dash trail of the path I actually took and maybe even a heat map of where I spent most of my time, but it turns out that I can’t draw for shit. And you know how they say a picture is worth 1,000 words? Well, that’s how long it’d take me to explain what I wanted to draw, but I’m really too lazy to do that, so I’ll break it down like this:
Hours spent at Wal Mart: 2.75
Percentage of that time Phoebe spent demanding to be carried: 67
Number of people who told me I had my hands full: 5
Trips between the clearance toy aisle at the front of the store and the regular toy section in the back while trying to determine whether to get the marked down Eyeclops that was a little over budget or the Star Wars Trouble Game that might make me look cheap, but was within the theme of the birthday party for which the gift was being purchased: 7
Trips between the clearance toy aisle, the toy department and the card/gift wrap aisle trying to determine a) if there was Star Wars wrapping paper and cards, b) if the prospective gift would fit better in gift wrap or a gift bag and c) to get a matching bow, put it back to save money, feel cheap, then go and get it again (only to have it get lost on the trip home and never make it on the gift anyway): 3
Number of grandmas that asked Lucy if they could take her home and she told, “Sure! Let’s go right now!” : 1
Times I filled the grocery cart, went through the checkout, bundled the kids up and unloaded the contents of my cart into the van because 1) there isn’t a whole lot of space in the cart when a baby is taking up the kid seat and you have to use the big basket portion to cage your toddler and you’re shopping not only to feed your family of five and a great big dog and a zillion cats, but also your parents: 2
Minutes spent in the family bathroom: 27
I know 27 minutes seems like a lot of time, but I had to nurse the baby. And then I had to change her diaper. Then Lucy wanted to try and go to the potty. While we were washing our hands, Phoebe spit up on me, so I had to change her outfit. Then I decided I’d better go, too, which is hard with an infant in your arms. I had to put her on the changing table, pull down my pants, pick her up, waddle to the potty, use the potty, waddle back to the changing table, put her down – and before I could pull my pants up, Lucy had shut out the lights. I asked her to turn them back on, but she couldn’t find them and it was pitch black, so I had to pick up the baby and start feeling around for the light switch, which I couldn’t find, so I cracked open the door forgetting my pants were still around my ankles until Lucy tried to slip out. I yanked her back in, turned on the lights, went back to the changing table, put Phoebe down and pulled my pants up. By then, Lucy had put her hands on the toilet seat so we hand to wash them again. All the while I was stressing about whether or not my cart – which was nearly full – was going to be there when we came out. Thankfully, it was, along with the Wal Mart employee who had greeted us at the door when we entered the store. She asked Lucy where her stickers were because she’d given her two of them. And yeah, where were they? I told the greeter she probably ate them. This made the greeter very concerned. I tried to assure her that Lucy has eaten worse, but it didn’t help the situation, so I just left.
I had just enough time to get home and unload the van before I had to pick Julia up from school.
“Hey, Julia,” I greeted her. “How was school?”
“Great! What did you do today, mom?”
“I got groceries.”
“Oh, is that all?”
And then I wept.