After Thanksgiving dinner this year I played the wishbone game, and I won. The person I was playing against was cheating and put his thumb way up high on the wishbone to try to increase his chances of breaking off the bigger piece. But I still won. I won the wish. A million potential wishes came flooding to mind…win the lottery? World peace? A live-in housekeeper?
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and made my greatest wish of all: I wished for my husband to be the one to have to go to the grocery store to do the week’s grocery shopping.
With the kids.
On a budget.
Yes, I used my wish for evil. I’m not proud. Although, it IS sort of genius…so I guess I am a little proud.
Now, of course, my wish doesn’t include him having to take ALL the kids to the grocery store with him. I mean, really, I don’t wish him harm. But he has to take more than one, preferably three, and I get to choose which ones. The children who will accompany my husband on his maiden voyage to the grocery store will have to meet the following criteria:
- The child cannot, in ANY WAY, be helpful. He or she can’t actually assist with the shopping by putting appropriate items in the cart. NO. That child (and I think we may only have one, two at best) is NOT invited.
- To make the cut, the child can’t know or appreciate the value of a dollar. They can’t have any concept of the fact that the random food that they are launching in the cart will have to be paid for with real money. In fact, a quick way to narrow the field will be to ask each child one by one if the food at the grocery store costs money. The first one to say “no,” or to look at me like I’m crazy, is an automatic go.
- Know who else is an automatic go? The two kids who are most likely to end up in a physical scuffle in aisle 10. A wrestling match right there on the dirty floor. Yep. You’re invited.
- And the one who will do cartwheels throughout all the aisles.
- The child who will deny that she has to pee until they are all in the far reaches of the store trying to cram a gallon of milk into the overstuffed cart…oh, hell yes. She’s definitely on the list.
- As is the child who will throw a massive, hysterical fit in the checkout lane because she lost one of her earrings somewhere between the lobster viewing area and bread aisle. (This child is especially key to making my wish come true because she will NOT let up. Nothing will stop her screaming fit except a thorough search up and down each and every aisle. Bonus points if, after the search, the earring is discovered in the hood of her coat.)
- Is there a child in the house who will hang on his leg as he tries to walk… Or one who can be talked into performing such a foolish act in public?
Above all else, it is imperative that he bring along the child who will attempt to engage him in meaningful conversation the entire time they are in the store. This is especially important because part of my wish involves my husband forgetting the shopping list at home, therefore requiring him to try to concentrate as he struggles to remember what was on the list, or what MIGHT have been on the list. Or, at the very least, what was positively NOT on the list. I want him to be doing the “listening to the kids” and the “remembering the forgotten list items” while being ever mindful of all the sales, and how they match up with the coupons that he clipped but left on the kitchen counter (next to the shopping list.) I want him to be sure to get all the school snacks. I want him to get stuff to make dinner. I want him to have to remember that we need sandwich size baggies. I want him to have to remember that I asked him to get me an iced tea. Cold from the fridge at the checkout, not warm off the shelf. I reserve the right to complain that he never thinks about me, should he forget said bottle of cold iced tea. I want him to be ever mindful of the budget, but end up buying so much extra random crap that it is pathetic. I want him to know what it feels like to buy a family sized box of Twinkies just to shut everybody the hell up. I want him to feel it because it is a desperation you just can’t explain with words. You just can’t.
When the shopping trip is over, and he has spent way more than he thought possible, and he has packed the last of the bendy twirly straws, that were obviously NOT on the list, into the bag, I want him to emerge from the grocery store all battered and beaten, and just a shell of the person he was before he went in. But not like in a bad way or anything. Just, like, the way I am when I leave the grocery store. Just questioning all the life choices that were made that lead to this very moment. That’s it.
Oh, and I want it to be raining.
Then, for the piece de resistance, I want him to have to come home, unload the car, put everything away, make dinner, and then watch everybody eat a week’s worth of food in 3 days flat.
A few weeks later, when the shopping trip experience is still fresh enough in his mind that the tic he developed hasn’t gone away yet, but far enough away that he isn’t crying in his sleep any longer, I want to lovingly suggest to him that a good way to cut monthly expenses might be to spend less at the grocery store and to perhaps pay better attention to the sales while he is there. And that buying Twinkies is not a good idea if they are not on the list.
And then I want to watch him explode.