For many years it was not the norm. I'd schlep along all three of the limelets to the grocery store to get the job done. They were under strict orders to keep one hand on the cart at all times. I did not tolerate kids running up and down the aisles of the supermarket and causing mayhem. Once they all entered school I did my trips solo....with an ordered list. I do not especially enjoy shopping so I am in and out with as little fuss as possible.
This week there was a deviation when I had to pick up Mr. Lime from an engagement he had and then do a shopping trip at the local bulk warehouse store. I offered to drop him at home first since he hates shopping even more than I do. He said it was silly to make the extra trip since the store was on the way home so he'd come with me.
Here then is how the trip went.
(Walking from the parking lot, grabbing a cart and heading to the door. Once through the door, Mr. Lime offers to push the cart. I walk quickly toward my destination and turn around to find Mr. Lime still barely past the entrance and sauntering along.)
Me: (waving) Uh! over here.
Mr. Lime: (catching my eye and still moseying) Yeah, I see you. There's a lot to see here. (picking an item off a display) Look a giant pack of batteries!
Me: Yes, that's what they hope you notice so you'll buy more stuff. Moving on....(I stop for a can of stuffed grape leaves)
Mr. Lime: Those are disgusting. I don't like them. They look like cigars and don't taste much better.
Me: (placing them in the cart) More for Calypso and me then.
Mr. Lime: Can I get cigars for Isaac and me then?
Me: Clearly you've been smoking something else already if you think I'd consent to actual cigars.
(The trip continues in starts and fits as I rush ahead for what I want and know is there then wait for Mr. Lime to catch up to me.)
Me: (standing in the middle of frozen foods looking down the aisle as Mr. Lime bounces on something) What are you doing?
Mr. Lime: (excitedly) We gotta get one of these!
Me: (giving up and walking back toward him and the cart with an armload of frozen berries) What is it?
Mr. Lime: (bouncing happily) It's a squishy mat. It feels good! You could have one at the sink. I could get one for work.
Me: (taking a turn bouncing) It's a chef's mat. How much are they? (looking) $39.95! We'll pass.
Mr. Lime: (slightly whiny) But it feels good on my feet.
Me: Yeah, and you see all these bulk sized boxes of cereal and things? The boy is going to scarf through them in no time flat. $39.95 is about a week's worth of cereal, milk, and bananas for this kid.
Mr. Lime: (shocked into reality) Crap, you're right. Ok, when we have the money.
Me: Ok, so maybe in about 10 years when he graduates college...wait, no...then we'll be eating ketchup sandwiches while we finish paying off parent loans to get him through college.
Mr.Lime: (picking up a pack of frozen fish to read) China! It's from China! I knew it!
Me: (grabbing some flounder) Very good, Kreskin. Where's the flounder from?
Mr. Lime: (waving the frozen fish in disgust) Chinese Tilapia! It's ruining the American Catfish industry!
Me: (glancing at the back of another package) How do you feel about Ecuadorian Mahi Mahi? (I am ignored while he mumbles under his breath about Chinese fish.)
Mr. Lime: (picking up the next object that interests him and puzzling at it) I don't get it.
Me: (grabbing a bulk pack of cheese and looking over my shoulder) It's a pastry brush with rubber or silicone bristles or something like that. Not natural bristles.
Mr. Lime: (raising eyebrows suggestively) I don't really think it's a kitchen gadget. I think it's a bedroom gadget.
Me: (looking at him like he's crazy) Uh, it's next to barbecue tongs, spatulas, and large knives. What on earth would make you think it's a sex toy?
Mr. Lime: If I took this thing to school and left it in the faculty lounge every single guy in the place would think that's what it is.
Me: Then every single guy needs to spend some time in home ec. class. I mean ok, it could be used for your purposes sure, but that wasn't the original design intent, I'm thinking.
Mr. Lime: (grabbing a two-piece hinged spatula) Oh look! An itty bitty flipper....Oh wait, no, it's two pieces so it's a grabby flipper.
Me: (looking over the rim of my glasses) You do realize we could have been done and at home already if you didn't need to touch and play with every shiny object, right? I mean who are you? You typically hate shopping more than I do. A trip to the mall makes you break out in hives.
Mr. Lime: (trying to pick up a box with his grabby flipper) Yeah, but the mall has herds of punks and people squirting you with stuff.
(Eventually we manage to finish the trip. Mr. Lime helps me unload the heavy stuff onto the conveyor belt. We pay and he pushes the cart out to the car where we pack the bags.)
Me: (reaching for things from the cart) Hand me a couple boxes, please.
Mr.Lime: (with an air of superiority) You forget I once did this professionally. Fastest pack in the west. All the old ladies on senior citizen day headed for my line.
Me: Ok, lay it on me, Mr. Packing Whiz.
(He finishes with a flourish and puts the bags in the car.)
Me: (on the drive home) Thanks for your help with the cart and the bags.
Mr. Lime: (suddenly breathing a dejected sigh) Well, I figured I may as well be useful since I was being held hostage.