Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Store Wars: There Is No Hope

While living alone and across the country from anyone I knew for seven months, I discovered a new hobby. It can get kind of expensive, so I was only able to enjoy it a couple times a month. In fact, I even got into a routine where I would wait until my payday every other Friday and it would often be the highlight of my weekend.

It’s an activity that appeals to all sides of my personality and it’s one of those things that make you feel better about yourself and your place in the world once it’s completed.

What can I say? I now love grocery shopping.

I know some people might scoff at that, but I find no reason to be ashamed. Throughout the years, grocery shopping somehow became seen as a feminine activity, but when you really break it down it’s just shopping for food. I like food. I’m very particular about my food. So why wouldn’t I like to shop for my particular favorite kinds of food?

The defense rests.

Grocery shopping lets me incorporate all of my favorite things I could want in a hobby: food, strategy (each time I go, I try to perfect the most efficient battle plan to maneuver throughout the store), and of course, my all-time favorite pastime, making a list!

I get so excited now when I run out of a food item at the house because that means I can add it to my grocery list. As much as I love To-Do Lists, the Grocery List is great because it’s always on-going. Even once you get done with one list, it automatically resets the following week.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

But recently a new factor has entered the picture that is affecting the high I get from the grocery store trip. I’m now slightly off-kilter in the store and find myself going in new patterns and putting odd and strange items in my shopping cart that would have never seen the light of day in my residence before.

It’s almost like an Evil Empire has taken control of my grocery galaxy and I’m now scrambling like the Rebel Forces trying to regroup.

Only this time, the Empire has a much more attractive leader.

She is, of course, my Wife.

We went to the grocery store to do a major shopping as a married couple for the first time yesterday (I should note that she tried to pull a sneak attack and wanted to go by herself while I was at work on Sunday – fortunately I saw through that one) and it became like a game between the two of us, just testing each other out; seeing what ground we could each establish.

I have a few concrete standards that I have to have in the house at all times from now until I die: Doritos, some kind of soda (depends on my mood at the time), and Claussen pickle spears. These items are not open for debate and will not be challenged.

But we did experience a few cases of turf war in other parts of the store.

SNACKS: While living alone, I loaded up on all kinds of chips, fruit snacks (Gushers became my favorites) and every other kind of salty, sugary goodness that I could find. I knew all along that those items would suffer the greatest casualties after marriage, so I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Now we have a box in our cupboard that literally reads “100% Fat Free Thin Crips”.

Does anyone else notice that there is no actual food product listed in that name.

What is a “Crisp” anyway?

Never mind. I don't think I ever want to know.

I wanted to get a variety pack of chips for my lunches (mini-bags of Sour Cream & Chive and Barbeque Lays, Cool Ranch Doritos, Cheetos, etc.) and we somehow bought Goldfish crackers instead.

Advantage – My Wife

BREAD: As a kid, I had to choke down sandwiches on wheat bread (can’t blame my mom, that’s what mom’s are for) but I remember swearing to myself that I would never eat wheat bread ever again once I became an adult. So far, I’ve done a pretty good job keeping to my promise but last week my Wife brought home a loaf of wheat bread and sat it next to my loaf of white. I can barely get through a loaf on my own without mold starting to grow and now we had TWO LOAVES to sit around and go bad?

We agreed that we had to come to some sort of compromise and I was even willing to go as far as honey wheat but then the bread gods smiled on me and she found a white loaf of Sara Lee bread that had “Only 45 Calories” written on the outside packaging, so she conceded and said we could try that.

Many thanks be to you, oh merciful bread gods.

Advantage – ME

CEREAL AND SODAS: Again this is a case of her being Nutri-Grains and Diet Coke and me being Lucky Charms and Mr. Pibb. We’re beginning to discover that this is an “east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet” situation and any discussions to the contrary would be futile at best.

Advantage – Push

With a tie after three rounds, it all came down to one last category to decide this initial bout:

The ice cream.

Sweet mother, the ice cream.

ICE CREAM: I knew this would be a tough one to win and I knew I had to come up with an intelligent, well-thought out plan. It was either go strong or go home hungry, so I dug deep. As health-conscious as she is, my Wife does have one small weakness and I knew my only chance was to exploit it – my baby’s got a sweet tooth.

Nothing in this world terrifies me more than “Fat Free” or “Sugar Free” ice cream (also known as “Taste Free” and “Fun Free”). If I’m going to do ice cream, then let’s make it worth my while. Give me some cookie-dough or Heath bar crunch with caramel syrup dripping all over it.

Why even bother with vanilla flavored ice shavings?

I’m proud to admit that I handled my business like a man and was able to negotiate her down. I’m further happy to report that there is currently NO “Fat Free” or “Sugar Free” ice cream in the house.

Just a couple of weeks into marriage and we’re already learning the value of compromise and developing the art of give and take.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy one of my hard-earned fruit pops.

Ah, the taste of sweet victory.


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