Not Without My Groceries

Sunday has turned into chore and errand day. I’d like to say that is a result of my  scheduling mastery, but it really has more to do with procrastination than planning.  Why spend prime evening and weekend hours doing mundane things that are necessity more than enjoyment?

So, that is how I found myself in my neighborhood Kroger this morning, dragging around yet another grocery cart loaded with things that mean more chores later in the day (dinner to cook, lunches to pack). Of all the things I have to do on my Sunday, grocery shopping is my least favorite…aisles of decisions to make and just the first step in a longer list of things to do.

fire truck

A grocery “non-emergency” that brought out the fire department!

But every once in a while, even the mundane provides a shot of adrenaline, such as it did today when the alarms sounded just as I entered the intersection of household cleaners and dairy products.

Err! Err! Err!

I jumped at the first blare and stopped with my fellow shoppers to look around for the source of the piercing sound. Lights suspended from the ceiling flashed in rhythm with the ear splitting pulses, giving us the answer.

Err! Err! Err!

A bewildered grocery-getter to my left wondered out loud, “What do we do?”

The stock boy conveniently replenishing the Greek yogurt nearby
answered, “Oh, don’t worry. Somebody just bumped something. It’ll stop soon.”

Err! Err! Err!

The thought crossed my mind that this low-level employee might not actually have the authority to give the all-clear, but my need to restock my own shelves spurred me on through dairy, frozen food and pharmacy at a near sprint. On my way, I passed countless children with hands ear-muffed over little ears, making me glad I’d left the Young One home for this morning’s adventure.

Err! Err! Err!

After ten minutes of ear-splitting wails, management finally took to the intercom to assure shoppers all was well.  The looks of agony on the faces of the shoppers told me otherwise, and the blaring continued.

Err! Err! Err!

As I moved to the far end of the store to the check out lanes, I said I quick thank you to the neuro-medicine gods who had granted me a reprieve from a recent bout of cluster headaches. Everything the internet says about these headaches being the worst of all migraines is true–pain that feels like ice picks jabbing into temples, hot pokers boring into eye sockets, brain freeze without the benefit of tasty ice cream. I truly had no desire to set off another six week cluster, but on this Sunday morning, I had an even greater need that moved me. If I abandoned this cart now, I’d have to come back and do my least favorite of chores all over again. I could not let that happen!

Even as I had the thought, I felt the first jab of the ice pick over my left eye.

Err!  Err!  Err!

Self-checkout beckoned me like a lighthouse in the fog. There I could move at my speed, no waiting on a cashier with little sense of urgency. I maneuvered to the last open scanner.

Err! Err! Err!

All the years of weekly shopping paid off this morning. My hands moved with speed and confidence. Bar code, scan, bag. Bar code, scan, bag.

The adrenaline flowed.

The ice pick jabbed again, and I ignored the firefighters standing by the door.

Err! Err! Err!

“These are my groceries,” I repeated to myself. “I will not leave without them.”

Bar code, scan, bag.

More firefighters to the left.

Err! Err! Err!


Bar code, scan, bag.

Err!  Err! Err!


“Attention Kroger shoppers…”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!


“Although, there is no emergency at this time…”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!


“The fire department would like us all to evacuate the building.”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!

Jaaaaaaaaaab and twist!

“No,” I say through clenched teeth.

I glance at my cart–only six items left.

“Not without my groceries!”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!

I am determined. I am shaking. I am crazed by this blaring in my head and this chore that I dread more than the monster of all headaches. I glare at the cashier manning self-checkout and dare him to make me stop.

Err! Err! Err!

Finally, I scan the last loaf of bread and swipe my credit card. I throw the bags in my cart and stride past the cashier, the manager and the fire fighters.


Safe at last!

At the door, I see half-loaded carts parked haphazardly and a line of moms staring longingly at my bagged purchases, their admiration plain on their faces.

I nod knowingly. I am not empty carted.

I will not be back this weekend.

I did not let Kroger defeat me.

I raise my fist in victory, and shout the war cry of harried mom everywhere…



4 thoughts on “Not Without My Groceries

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