Monday, November 12, 2007

Rule Number Four

Shopping with My HusbandI have three rules when I go food shopping each Thursday: 1) Don't go hungry 2) Go with a list and a budget and 3) Go early--your life is forfeit if you try to go shopping at Costco after noon or any time on Saturday when you're guaranteed to get creamed by a cranky lady with a flat cart full of cat food, pop tarts and paper towels.

But this morning Andrew asked me, "Are you going to Costco?"

"Yes."

"Can I meet you there? I have a new prescription for glasses and want to pick out some frames. Will you help me choose?"

Thinking that I was going to get some unexpected Andrew Time in the middle of my day--and I always love me some Andrew Time--my automatic response was "Sure! Woo hoo!"

So ten o'clock came and I was pulling into the parking lot at Costco and there Andrew was, waiting for Lillian and me. First thing we picked out some eyeglass frames but when we were done he said, "I don't have to be back at the office right away, I can hang out with you while you shop--"

And like a sucker, I bought it. The first display we passed was dedicated to the beef jerky god and as soon as he saw it the begging began.

"Oh! Hey! Beef jerky! Can we get some? Please?"

"No."

"But you never buy any beef jerky!"

It hit me that I'd done it again. About every two or three years it happens and I just hadn't seen it coming this time. I love my husband, love him with all my heart but I just can't take him food shopping. To take Andrew with me is worse than breaking all the first three rules in my Shopping Catechism because he begs like a little kid for whatever he sees. You see, he doesn't watch Saturday morning television, rarely sees the inside of a store and has no idea all the food products that are out there so when he actually sees a supermarket he goes crazy, wanting this, begging for that and drooling over everything.

We passed the produce section where I bought a small bag of clementine oranges.

"You know, it would be nice if we could get some grapes. I like fresh fruit, could we get more fruit? We need more fruit, you know--like the grapes, those grapes really look good . . ."

Sigh. "Yes Andrew the grapes look yummy and oh so swell but I do, in fact, still have two pounds of kiwis, five pounds of apples, a bunch of bananas, two pummelos [that one left him puzzling, he has no idea what a pummelo is] and two boxes of mandarin oranges still at home waiting.

"Oh."

We drove past the frozen food section and suddenly he was clammering for popcorn shrimp, egg rolls, bagel bites, steak and cheese sandwiches and any other of the delights the freezers had to tempt him. I finally had had enough and went into turbo so I could lose him, leaving him stuck to the front of the glass freezer door at the pizza section, his tongue frozen to the glass.

Of course all this time Lillian was following me obediently, quietly observing the scene and probably thinking, "Wow, Dad."

Then we got to the cereal. His absolutely favorite part of the day is his nightcap of sugary goodness that he has just before bedtime and I knew the minute I turned the corner the enormity of the mistake I'd made. I'd already promised Lillian that she could pick out the cereal and she was quietly examining a three-pack of Lucky Charms, Trix and Cookie Crisp when Andrew found a monster box of oatmeal that he instantly bonded with.

He came to me with both arms wrapped around the box. "Can we get this Michelle? Please? I love oatmeal, please!"

"But look, there's a whole bunch of plain packets in there, you'll eat all the berry ones and I'll be stuck with a box of dumb ol' plain ones--or worse yet, the 'flax and oatmeal.' I can see those languishing in the cupboard for years."

"No, I'll eat them, I promise--could we get this please?  I really really love flax!"

"Fine, talk with Lillian. I'd told her she could choose the cereal this week so you're going to have to work it out with her first."

He smiled and did a little jump for joy and ran back to talk to Lillian who, predictably, wasn't budging on her Lucky Charms platform. She has principles you know and who in their right mind would trade oatmeal for Lucky Charms? I pushed on ahead, grateful for the diversion so I could lose the two of them and get through the checkout line without any more begging from Captain Stomach. Last thing I saw was them in front of the Corn Flakes doing rocks-paper-scissors to decide the matter.

When they finally found me at the checkout stand Andrew was drooping while Lillian clutched her box of "Lucky Larms [sic]."

"Too bad" I said consolingly.

"She beat me five out of seven," he moped. "I thought I knew her system but then she threw me for a loop there.  I didn't even see it coming--" he mumbled.

My love for my man kicked in and the sad puppy eyes were more than I could bear. "Well how about this? Why don't you go get your oatmeal and get Lillian to put back her triple pack then when we get to Fred Meyer I'll buy her her own single box of L.C.s No one likes the extra bag of Cookie Crisp that they stick in there anyway."

That perked him right up and while he duked it out with Lily about the cereal I pushed on through paying for the groceries--I wanted to hurry before he remembered that they sold pizza and hot dogs. I've come to realize that that's what I'm here for, that's my part in this partnership called marriage. I'm the voice of reason and wisdom, Solomon Mom or something.

But I'm not bringing him back to Costco for another couple years.

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53 comments:

Karen (miscmum) said...

Oh, man, I'm hearing you!!!

They turn into such big kids themselves. I have mine asking me to buy extras like ice-cream, or gourmet biscotti's, and then the kids chime in "Yes, please please mummmyyyyy!"

ech!

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

Stephanie is going to laugh hard at this one...It sounds eerily familiar...

Loralee Choate said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

I am sure it will come as NO surprise to you that I am the "Andrew" in my relationship with my husband.

He's forever telling me "NO!" (Although he seems to find enough justification for repeatedly buying a Gajillion-pack of triple A batteries at Sam's Club)

Stephanie said...

Yes this had me rolling. Oh so familiar.

Funny thing about Tim though, if I send him with a list alone he sticks to the list. When we go together the begging begins.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

"...guaranteed to get creamed by a cranky lady with a flat cart full of cat food, pop tarts and paper towels." Hee hee hee. That lady shops at Costco in Alaska, too? Man, she gets around.

snarflemarfle said...

Ha!! That is hilarious!

Jeana said...

Didn't the free samples distract him at all?

This post cracked me up. Completely. But you know, at least you didn't come home with a tooting pig. (Do you remember that post of mine?)

Jen@BigBinder said...

Ohhhh yes. As much as I love the idea of grocery shopping together (share the burden, spend time together, etc) my husband would have to take on a second job if he came with me every time. I still have a year old jar of tahini hanging around from the time he was going to make his own hummus.

Irene said...

And I thought MY husband was the only one! This is hilarious.

Luckily, my husband never wants to go shopping, but if he does, my cart is mysteriously filled with Cocoa Krispies, Chips Ahoy, pop, JUNK!

Once in a while he offers to shop for me, other than the fact that explaining what I need would require 20 pages of diagrams, maps and photos, I also would end up with 50 bucks of unneeded crap in my cupboard. No thanks honey, I'll just go myself.

Yes, they are just like kids...sometimes worse.

Summer said...

ROFL! I love it when husbands act like cute little boys.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Laughing so hard... oh, the same way here! I'd take all three kids with me to the store over just my husband ANY DAY.

Steph

Janet said...

That is so funny, but I absolutely have no basis for comparison here. Since Scott and I didn't get married until I was 40 and he was 37, he had been doing his own grocery shopping for years. Then when I got pregnant, I couldn't actually enter the grocery store because the smell made me throw up (actually everything made me throw up when I was pregnant), so he did all the shopping and cooking then too, and he's pretty much kept at it, since now shopping with 2 children in the cart pretty much limits the amount of purchases you can actually make.
And Jen, I have a VERY EASY hummus recipe to use up that tahini. I would come up there and make it for you, but I think it's a 12-hour drive. :) Hummus is one of the few things I make (noting that it doesn't involve actual cooking).

G's Cottage said...

I hate to break this to you but after 33 years I still can only afford to take him to the grocery store once a year.

The kids were easier, maybe because I was bigger than they - or I had the money - whatever works. They knew that requests had to be on my master list before the car was turned on to leave for the store. Period.

I know, I'm such a meanie.

thordora said...

Oh I've been there. Thanks for the good laugh this morning!

Mrs Mecomber said...

ROFL!

If your husband reads this, your blog is finished. ;)

SpokaneMama said...

I have those same 3 rules...but for reasons apparent to all moms, I have added rule number 4: LEAVE THE KIDS AND HUSBAND AT HOME! Somehow the total at the end of the shopping trip increases exponentially whenever they are involved.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I feel for you. My hubby is the same way. He would start walking down the candy isle, or the chip isle and I would yell after him, "No, we never go that way." By the time we would reach the checkout my food budget was busted and he would ask me why food is so stinkin' expensive. I would just roll my eyes and silently vow to never take the man with me again.

P.S. I went to Costco once on a Saturday before Mother's Day and the experience was so traumatic that I've never been back.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh Michelle, that is SO my husband too!

LOL...this was a great post.

He is banned from: grocery shopping, gift shopping, card buying...any shopping whatsoever, at least with me.

He begs, he whines, he asks if we are finished yet, and then, when asked to provide input waffles for HOURS and can't decide. Oy.

It's not like I want it all, but really, we're both happier this way LOL

Julie
Using My Words

jubilee said...

We have banned ourselves from Sam's/Costco. We spend way too much money there!

My hubby and I split the grocery list to get done faster -- plus he takes the boys with him and I get the girl. I always have to allow for several impulse items in the budget for him. He has the puppy dog eyes down pat and it's hard to resist that!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I needed a good laugh this morning :) !!

I only go to Costco in the morning hours, typically on Thursday's or Friday's.

NEVER go the day before a major holiday, even in the morning!

Coralie said...

In the first year of our marriage, it was quickly decided that either one of us could shop, but not both together. He soon figured out that when I shopped we saved money, because I don't stand in the exotic fruit section and say "Hmm, I wonder how you cook this?" so I'm the shopper. It's a good system.

Cocoa said...

You hit home on this one! What a great post.

Tammy said...

ROFL I can so relate!

Poppy Fields said...

That's funny. My husband has crazy shopping habits. He only shops the end of the aisles, where all the bulk specials are. We sometimes end up with 4 kilos of canned peas. If there was such thing as beef jerky in France we would surely end up with that to.

Lisa said...

This is SO FUNNY! I love it.

This totally reminds me of my dad. My mom doesn't buy any sweets and most of what she buys is generic. Once we brought over some mint oreos to their house. My dad about passed out from the delirious joy. He asked why my mom never buys that stuff. She acts all confused and says they don't have that stuff at their grocery store. AND HE BELIEVES HER.

I love this post. I need to print this one out and send to my mom.

Theresa said...

This had me shaking with giggles. A wonderful diversion from grad school papers and folding laundry. Thanks! And way to stay strong. You are a rock. With some flexible filling thrown in for good measure.

michele said...

I'm sorry, but apparently even though we're in California and Alaska, we married the same man. Right down to the, "Plleaaassseeee."

Jen said...

I'm in need of a Costco run today and I'm torn between forfeiting J's nap and going now or letting Tom take the boys tonight. I can't decide which is worse. I'd pass and go tomorrow except we're completely out of coffee and that's just unacceptable.

Melissa Garrett said...

HAHAHAHA!!

Wonderful post, Michelle. So very true.

Rani said...

hmmm, and I thought MY hubby was the only one...

hilarious writing. thanks for sharing.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

That's funny. You'd think it would be easy because he's an adult, but he is a man and that's the problem. Imagine if he was in charge of your weekly shop, you'd be poor.

Daisy said...

We've had that situation -- in reverse. Husband and son usually do the shopping in our house!

Heffalump said...

My husband is good to shop with... its the kids that are the beggars.

Fresh Girl said...

If you ever let him go back to Costco with you again and he starts drooling over and begging for their Rotisserie Chicken Greek Pasta Salad, give IN! You'll be glad you did. ;)

mumple said...

LOL! What fun!

My Sweetie does fine, IF he has a list and sticks to The List...if he falls off The List, it's usually pretty bad (he beats himself up after he gets home) and I hear about it every week for months on end....

Puddintane! said...

When my husband and i met i use to love to go shopping with hime.. hes like a women! he loves to shop. By the time i learned what a budget was... i had to stop taking him! i still have stuff in the cubered from 2 yrs ago that he HAD to have that no one will eat! lol loved the story

cheeky said...

That was hilarious. He was "that" kid in the candy store.

dcrmom said...

Hahaha! So true.

Anonymous said...

Well,
Andrew sounds like my brother-in-law. Have you seen the new Subway commercial about the steak & cheese sandwich? That’s the picture I get.
But as for your post, I felt bad for Andrew. It's not like that in our marriage. In fact we'll make a date out of shopping. It's fun, easy and we both like food. Budget tightly on other things and loosen up on the food. For heaven sakes you're suppose to be partners. You sound more like a mother to him. Let the man spend some of his hard earned money. After all don't you have a lot of handbags?
(Now if you were exaggerating just to have a good read, then don't take this personal. However, if you are that strict then lighten up a bit.)

crissybug said...

What a fun story. My husband despises shopping...he is always begging to leave. :)

crazy working mom said...

Husbands are definitely worse than kids while shopping. Mine always gasps when the total pops up and wonders how we always spend so much. I'm like...I don't ALWAYS spend so much. Only when you're with me! *LOL*

Great post

Ter said...

I'm laughing so hard at this. My husband is the same way, especially in the chip aisle. He's always sneaking things into the cart when I'm not looking or if I don't buy something he'll stop at a store on his way home from work. Drives me bonkers.

frog ponds rock... said...

Oh hohoho I laughed so much at this. I have been shopping with the spouse today. My bill at the checkout was double.. yep double...I just can"t say no to him at the supermarket. Thankfully He only comes with me once or twice a year. Today we came home with 2 kilos of prawns, processed sandwich meat*shudder* etc etc etc.
cheers kim

grace said...

We follow the first three rules too. Thank God there is no Costco here in Dubai!

Makita said...

OMG! That is so funny! My husband is more the budget conscious one than I but I'm always saying I have 3 children rather than the 2 that are most obvious.

JAM said...

Wonderful story, though our house is the opposite.

I'm the one in our house that tries to stick to the budget. Lovely Wife is more like your husband.

I even went so far as to do all the grocery shopping for a long time, and early in this era I came home from Walmart, and when asked how things went, I pretended to cry, "There was this mean old lady who kept hitting my cart with her cart and then there were these two women who stood in front of the tuna and wouldn't let me look for Albacore, because you know they always put Ablacore on the lower shelves..." She laughed, and understood that grocery shopping isn't a man's world.

She gave me some pointers for handling rude women and their buggies and I've been pretty good since then.

Your husband didn't have any idea he almost upset the balance of nature by trying to cut into Lillian's choices, did he?

Pieces of Me said...

Funny, my man doesn't behave like that. I have to send him to buy the skillet, but boy does he know how to cook..

btw, I miss pomellos from Israel...

lovely I love your writing style.. you have such a fluid voice... will try to catch up with the rest of your posts. Lots going on.

Magpie said...

Hysterical! We too come home with the damnedest things when my husband participates in the shopping.

wayabetty said...

THAT was hilarious, sorry to laugh at it but I can see Andrew begged like a little kid. Too funny!

iZING said...

I think Andrew deserves the beef jerky. Next time you go shopping be sure you have it on your list.

Great post.. I'm still laughing!

luckyzmom said...

My husband picks things out when we're shopping and forgets we have them til they're stale or completely spoiled. Ya gotta love them though!

gwendomama said...

laughing so hard. i think i just spit. so hard.

i usually lose my hub (also doesnt get out much) right in front of the oversized plasma screens and laptops and RUSH through the frozen food section first so he can't toss steak-n-cheese goodies in the cart; by the time he catches up with me, i am in the uber-exciting DIAPER area.

heh.

aisling said...

This is exactly why I don't bring my husband, nor do I allow him to take a list and go, on my shopping trips at Sams or Costco. No No No> They want everything like little kids!!!