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4.26.2011

Grocery shopping for a hundred


Going to the grocery store these days is a real trip. For years we showed up when we needed something, bought a few days worth of goods and drove off. Now it’s like I’m on a mission. I can’t do it in less than 3 hours from leaving the house to getting everything bought, home and put away. I have to compare prices and weights and sales and god forbid, I’m even considering, gulp, coupons. I can’t stand coupons. But there I am with my reading glasses marching up and down the aisle like a good little soldier filling my cart to the point of spilling while I decide if I should splurge on chips or an extra box of cookies.

I can see the other grans out there, pumping along behind heaps of food you know they don’t eat. Sometimes, they’ve even got the tyke in tow. We exchange empathetic looks as we pass each other in the coffee aisle, then again in the bleach aisle, and again and again through the whole store. I’ve exchanged stories with some and it’s all pretty much the same. Problem kids that couldn’t keep or handle their own kids for a variety of reasons and their parents stepped in. Statistics say there are 14,000 grandparents raising kids in New Hampshire alone, and this isn’t a big state. These reparenters are all back in the workforce after thinking they were done with the 9-5.

I want to afford it all. I want to spend without reserve so that we can enjoy the good life. On the other hand, I know that we’re better off than a boatload of others in this circumstance so I count my blessings and appreciate the store brand bread and generic pop. After all, we have a good support team here with 3 adults in the house where we can spell each other on different days and with different jobs. The kids help out a bit and I can make a decent batch of cookies when I put my hand to it. If one of us is sick, we can get well without having to hustle.

As I plod along, chained to the shopping cart, I always try to find a treat that each boy will like. For instance, Tio likes pistachios, Kit likes tinned clam chowder (I tried to make some and it was a disaster) and Doc likes ice pops. They all like ice cream and Buddy has a couple of frozen entrees he’s addicted to. At the far end of the store is a flower stand where, if I’m feeling particularly flush, I buy my Tish some flowers. But that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

Maybe I can find a coupon for roses.