Friday, March 21, 2008

On Groceries

We've gone grocery shopping at Scott Airforce base once since you left. Since that's been a while, I needed to get some stuff. I really dislike the drive out, it's 45 miles one way on a boring stretch of road. Since I didn't need any high-ticket items such as cat litter or meat, I considered it could save some time to do the shopping locally, but I was waffling. Soo.......
We left the house around 11:30 this morning. There were several stops to make before we could hit the grocery stores. I still had three boxes of girl scout cookies in the back of the van which needed to be shipped to California. So, off to the postoffice we went. After spending $38 (which didn't put me in a good mood, I assure you. Why did you say this would be cheap? What website did you look that up on?) to support the USPS, we stopped at Family Video to pick up some movies. I like their free kids movie section, which is, well, free. We also picked up Snow Buddies, a movie that Katherine wanted to see again. We rented it before, it's a favorite right now. Christopher took 15 minutes to pick out Scoobie Doo and the Loch Ness Monster, another favorite. This is why I like that video store. You can view the movies as often as you like without having to buy them and they don't have clutter up your bookshelves.
Before we entered Family Video, we discussed lunch as it was now just before noon (yes, the postoffice is always a nice, long stop), and McD is just across the street, so.... OK. I figured that if the kids would eat their kids meal in the car, I could avoid sitting in the boring food court at the exchange for 20 minutes, and so I relented. The only thing that worried me was the long line around the building. After we left Family Video, that line had grown some more, it now being 12:10 on Friday and so the lunch crowd was out in full force. We stopped inside the building and Christopher insisted on eating there and playing in the play-place ("noooooooo, no, no, noooooo", went my inner brat), but a) the line inside was about as bad as the line outside, and b) taking food inside the play room was prohibited. What's up with that? What am I to do as a parent? Sit and watch my kids and NOT eat? At McDonald's? What were they thinking!! So, out we marched, Christopher whining all the way. I told him that we were going to drive to Scott, and that was the end of it. The next stop was at the gas station.
By this time Iwas hungry AND cranky, and in no mood to drive 45 miles which I didn't want to drive in the first place so I turned around and went to the OTHER McDonald's in Webster Groves, which was just as busy as the first one. I turned around (again!!) and then I saw Racanelli's, which just moved across the street. I suggested pizza which was received with cheers. The kids walked pas Racanelli's as if it didn't exist and marched straight into Imo's a few doors down where we had cheese pizza and a nice interlude. Christopher spilt his drink, but the wait-staff didn't think it was a big deal to clean up a big puddle of Sprite which was very nice of them, I think.
With the stress levels down significantly, we aimed for Sappington Farmer's Market. It was probably around 1 by then.
We did pretty well at Sappington, thanks to the train (that nice train) except that at some point the kids horsing around in the isles got to me and I smacked Katherine on the back of her head. Education points: none. Crying kid: 1. Ok, we talked about it for a while and I agreed that having Daddy here would have made this trip probably a lot easier, but since he isn't I am all they have & she was soon a little more chipper (thank goodness!!). Several items seemed to ring up higher than what I remembered. Hm. Well, now. That's not that different from what happens at the commissary. Total damage: $89.50.
Ok, next stop: Shnop & Shave. That did not go so well due to the fact that I am so unfamiliar with the store layout or it's illogical & I usually get irritated by the great wall of Cereal of which I want none because I'm hunting for Peanut Butter!! I yelled at the kids a few times because they were so darn cheerful (as kids are wont to be) and still horsing around in the isles, and I threatened to take off by myself. That made them follow me quickly. At some point I asked a passerby in desperation for directions, and he helped me find the apple sauce (not a big ticket item, so they hide it, I think) for which I was very grateful. Katerine found a basket of peanut butter sitting at the end of an isle, and so that's what we bought. I quickly loaded up on some Yellow Tale wine and off we went. Damage here: $62.54.
The kids got balls out this, so they were happy when we left the store.
Our final stop was going to be at Whole Foods, where all we needed was milk. Really, we were all tired, and discussed that All We Were Going To Buy Was Milk. Katherine even brought, just to be extra sure, just before we went inside that "All we are going to get is milk, right mommy?" I answered: "yes, we won't even need a basket" (<-- famous last words). The first thing the kids saw once we were in the store were some adorable chick cookies, which we carried away for our Easter dinner. Then I wanted something special too, so I picked a shotglass full of some chocolate goody stuff. I could not pass by the cheese display without remembering that we needed Gouda (which goes really well in sandwiches for lunches), and so while I had the cheese dude cut a larger piece than what they had on the shelf, Christopher went and got a basket after all. We picked up the most adorable looking cute piece of Parmigiano Reggiano in our cart (yes, that's a good reason to buy cheese: it looks cute), and I tossed a baquette after it. Next we loaded some chocolate creme cookies (they were on sale!! I saved money!!), and some cheese puffs (Because Christopher looked so adorable when he asked me), and after loading up the milk (I don't think I even stopped the cart that's how fast I picked it up), some hummus, and some pita bread, we made tire tracks on our way to the checkout. $40 later we left the store.
We arrived home at 15:40. Total time elapsed (not counting the USPS and Family Video): 3.5 hours. Total damage: $190.

I will say that when we left Whole Foods, we were all in a good mood. And to be fair, if you are a very smart shopper there are reasonable prices (note that I do not use the word bargains) to be had at Whole Foods, especially if you combine it with a visit to Trader Joe's. The cookies were only $2 a box, and they really do taste much better than Oreos. And I like Sappington as a grocery store much better than the commissary and if I would not have made the stop at the Shop and Save and simply had gone directly to Whole Foods and stopped at Schnuck's at the way home for the remaining few items (I know how to find Peanut Butter at Schnucks: they've got personnel walking around) I probably would have had a much better experience, and so would the kids. Hm. there is a thought How much is the shopping experience worth?

The rest of the day was spend at home. We ate junkfood and watched movies, Christopher played with his new train computer game all afternoon, and we ate almost a box of cookies. Well, I probably ate most of it. For dinner the kids had a corn dog and corn on the cob for Christopher and me and steamed mixed veggies for Katherine. I had a salad (on account of the box of cookies...), but it had regular dressing (when did you buy that? that stuff is so good that it must be evil) Overall we had a very enjoyable evening.

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