Saturday, September 14, 2013

Drama at the Teeter

After a long day of teaching and yet another sinus headache I willed myself into the local Harris Teeter.  Originally I thought I would head home first, change clothes, and maybe even take a walk- and then head to the market.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  As soon as I stepped outside and ran smack into the humidity hanging in the September air I knew if I went home first I would surely never leave.  So even though it was the last place I wanted to go I pushed my aching feet through the electronic doors with the hope that my short list of must-buy items wouldn’t take too long.

That didn’t happen either.  Can I just say I don’t know what has happened to grocery stores lately? The aisles look and feel much smaller than in the past, making it difficult to maneuver a cart through the store.  With only 6 or 7 things on my list I really didn’t need a cart but I’ve recently taken a page from my mother’s book and found that sometimes it’s nice to have something  to lean on when shopping.  Just to be clear, I don’t need cart assistance every time I shop but after 10 hours at work my feet were killing me.

Did I mention it was about 5:30?  Yes, that can only mean the after work crowds- along with the after daycare parent and child group- had arrived.  Suits and skirts were scurrying through the store in search of fruit, salad items, milk and wine.  The parent/child groups were all over the place.  Kids were crying as parents searched every ounce of their souls for the patience they needed to keep it together until everyone was home and happier.

This particular Teeter also has a second floor which means that in addition to rolling large carts down narrow aisles, it may also be necessary to move into the elevator along with a few others for items not found on the first floor.  I often skip the elevator altogether, preferring to park my cart out of the way downstairs and take care of my second floor shopping by hand.  On this trip I found myself in the elevator not once, but twice. 

The first time I returned to the first floor I noted there was quite a traffic jam in front of the elevator.  I silently cursed the couple who walked out of the doors first only to stop three steps later.  This ridiculous move is just about as annoying as the people who insist on walking off an escalator and then suddenly coming to a stop.  I was stuck halfway in and halfway out of the doors, with a line of frustrated people trying to push their way inside so they could get to the wine or whatever else upstairs.

With a shake of my head I thought, I need to get the hell out of here.

Fortunately, there were only three more things to grab- Graham Crackers, heavy whipping cream and Key Lime Juice.  After a quick mental mapping activity I swung right and headed for the dairy aisle.  Getting to the cream was like running a short obstacle course.  First there was the long line at the self check out, then after successfully managing that hurdle I ran into a mass of shoppers crowded around the dairy cases.  A pallet of un-stocked groceries blocked my way.  I was too close to finishing to give up so easily.  With a quick back pedal I turned around and created a detour to my heavy whipping cream destination.

And then I was stuck.  Where was the Key Lime juice?  I had been up and down just about every aisle downstairs and it was nowhere to be found.  Figuring I must have missed it on my first trip to the second floor baking aisle I took a deep breath and headed back to the dreaded elevator.

Once again I was greeted by a mob of carts.  Unfortunately, this time one of the carts was being driven by a clearly inexperienced preteen and her sister.  I watched as their mother took the stairs with a rather bratty sibling.  The teen moved closer and closer to the elevator door.  A bad decision on her part- experience would have allowed her to recognize that her cart placement was going to create yet another traffic jam. It did, but eventually we all made our way in and up.  Hoping to miss any sort of jam on the way down I moved with purpose in search of my last item. (Although I should mention that the very same inexperienced preteen rammed my cart back near the chip aisle and then looked at me like it was my fault.)  Before long it was easy to see that lime juice was not to be found on the second floor after all, so I headed back to the elevator only to be met by the same two gals.

This time I tried to model proper elevator behavior by positioning my cart in a way that would allow others to “deplane” before we boarded.  It worked pretty well and I was happy to see that three carts glided into the elevator without much of a hitch.  Well, except the girls, who got in last, and didn’t realize they needed to push a button to begin the descent- I leaned forward and selected GF. 

Just as the doors began to close I could see an older woman trying to make her way inside.  The girls stood motionless, not really knowing what to do, as the doors slowly moved.  I heard a “Don’t close the door!” and reacted with a quick lunge to the open door button.  It wasn’t pretty, but somehow she made it in with a rather annoyed and frustrated look on her face.  One of the girls let out a soft giggle- an innocent reaction to seeing the older woman practically shut between the two large walls of steel.

Unfortunately, the victim wasn’t laughing at all.  In fact, when I looked at her I saw that her eyes were half-closed and her breathing was labored.  She steadied herself against the wall and leaned her head back.  Everyone else knew pretty quickly she wasn’t feeling well.

“I will never come to this store again,” she barked.

“Certainly, not at this time of day,” I responded with a friendly chuckle, “It’s crazy!”

“Not when you’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer!”

Okay, no one was expecting that.  The rest of the ride was one of uncomfortable silence.  The girls clearly didn’t know what to do, although they did know enough to let her out first. 

I was the last to exit the elevator-giving way to a younger woman in front of me who was sporting a brace on her arm.  We both just kind of shook our heads in recognition of the moment that had occurred.

“Wow,” she said, “some bad days really are worse than others.”


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Too much pollen plus too many meetings equals one big headache.  However, in an attempt to see the best side of the day I can add that I had an unexpected dinner with an old friend.  My headache hasn't gone away but a few laughs and some good pizza made me forget about the pounding for awhile.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Yawns

Today was the first Monday morning of the school year.  Monday's are usually pretty quiet in middle school.  The first one is surely the quietest of them all.  The excitement of the first week of school is over and with most of the newness out of the air the beginning of the week blahs take over pretty quickly. 

Hopefully the yawns and drooping heads of today will disappear tomorrow allowing us to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Signs of the Season

Football season starts tonight and for me that means the delightful colors and crispness of cool autumn days can't be far behind.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Reminder

Standing in line at Safeway this afternoon my mind was somewhere else.  My brain was listing things to accomplish this afternoon.  Physically I was focused on the incredibly annoying itchiness in my eyes- a result of the recent spike in ragweed pollen.  Even though my mind was racing the line I was in was moving nowhere.

I looked up to see the cashier in full chat mode with the couple at the front of the line.  Heads were nodding, smiles were widening and the chitchat was full on going strong. 

My first reaction was a quick nod of frustration.  And then just as I was about to launch into a full on really, don't you see the line here, hello, some of us are waiting over here, I stopped and smiled.  Because really in this overwhelming life that so many of us seem to live everyday isn't nice when someone takes a minute or two to say hello and share a laugh?

Yes, it is.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 1 Done

Today was day one of the new school year.  As usual I was bombarded with questions about classroom locations, schedules and how to find the nearest bathroom.  There was also talk of sleep- mostly in regards to the lack of it last night.

The end of the day brought a few yawns, smiles and anticipation for another great day on Wednesday.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bye Bye Summer

As a child the Jerry Lewis Telethon was a sure sign that summer vacation was over and the start of school was imminent.  The telethon that stretched over 21 hours of Labor Day weekend is still around. There have been a few changes- last night it was only on for 2 hours and was broadcast under a newer name, "The MDA Show of Strength."

Even without Jerry here to remind me I know today is the unofficial end of summer.  Summer 2013 was a good one, and even though I'm sad to see it go I'm excited (and a little nervous) about the school year that will greet me in a few hours.

Some things don't change.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lights Out

It was a long day yesterday.  One that started early and ended late...very late.  That's the way it usually is with this group of friends of mine.  We enjoy using every minute and second available to us for conversation, reminiscing and fun.  Sleep isn't high on the priority list, although at some point even I have to cry wolf and lay my head down on the pillow.

Yesterday that point finally came at about 2:30 AM. 

Tonight I am home with a full heart- happy to have spent some time with friends and looking forward to an early bedtime.