Free to be… a Grouch

Dear Diary,

Yes, yes I know it’s been forever. I’ve been busy, ok?

Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow Americans. A day to celebrate all that we have in our freedom, and a day to remember those who’ve maintained it, past and present. I wish I was in Tucson to put flowers and flags on my great-grandfather’s grave in remembrance. Sadly, roadtrips are now out of the question for me since any trip longer than about 30 minutes, makes me get puffy feet. *sigh

I am thankful for my freedoms. And tonight, I exercised the freedom to be a grouch.

This morning started out great! I woke up to my smiling husband asking when I wanted to be woken up. I asked for 30 more minutes and he graciously let me have them. When he woke me up again, I felt ready to face the day. I was feeling pretty good! We finished breakfast and loaded up our tribe into the car and set out to complete my list of errands. Little Baby E was content to kick and stretch the whole ride to our first stop, IKEA. I was never more grateful to stand up! That girl is getting some muscles. I had a list of things I needed and as we walked into the store, I could feel my anxiety levels going up as about 20 people walked in within 5 seconds of the time we did. And they just kept coming. That store was PACKED. I was determined to make the best of herding our cats…I mean, kids (may as well be cats, they don’t herd well….*cue Gracie Allen, “Oh you mean they don’t HEAR well.”) through the maze of people and displays. I’m a weird person when it comes to IKEA. They purposefully set up the store so that when you walk in, it guides you gracefully up an escalator (or to an elevator) that ascends you into the heavenly spaces of  immaculate displays all perfectly placed and done up. You instantly feel like you want to go home, shake out your house and put it all on the curb and bring home the rooms all neatly set up. At least that’s how I feel sometimes. Which is why I do my best to avoid that whole floor if I can help it, unless I’m looking for decor and design ideas. So, after you’ve woven your way through the chic and modern displays of delight, you can either board an elevator or take the stairs down to the bottom level where you can pick up and then purchase said goodies to take home and attempt to build them without leaving out any pegs and pieces. It’s effortless, right? Not the way I shop. When I go to IKEA, I go in and do only the second half of the route…and I do it backwards. So I sneak over past the carts and walk the wrong way through the checkout and head to the “As-Is” section first.  I prefer to go here first because if I can get a good deal, I want to know about it NOW! Then I continue like a spawning salmon against the flow of consumers through the “Warehouse” and back into the rest of the bottom floor. I don’t get to do this trip childless most of the time, so attempting to guide my kids can be challenging. But they are so well-behaved and always careful to say “excuse me” to anyone they thing might view them as “in the way.” It really is wonderful. Until they get their maps. Those darn IKEA maps instantly become this crucial navigational tool to guide our explorers through the jungles of IKEA on our quest for treasures and spoils. I think people look at my kids then, and think, “Those poor kids have had their faces replaced with hideous blue maps! They must’ve forgotten to put the eyes back in too.” Seriously my kids may as well be eyeless. Once in possession of a map, my kids can longer speak politely and really the only phrases they know are, “MOM! WHERE ARE WE ON THIS MAP?” and “MOM! WHERE ARE WE GONNA GO? SHOW ME ON THE MAP!” No more polite, “Excuse me”s or “Oops, sorry!”s when they nearly collide with unsuspecting shoppers. After seeing a few near head-on collisions, the shoppers catch on and give them a wide birth as I, sounding like a broken record, “Pay attention guys, hey! Pay attention guys!” attempt to wrangle my adventurers through the maze of aisles and breakable things. It can be exhausting. Sometimes I say, “No maps this time guys.” and then my IKEA adventures are much more tame and well….boring. Oh well. At least they are cute…right? Where was I?…

OH! So after IKEA, we headed off to do a few more errands. By the time we got to Sprout’s, I was exhausted. But all I needed was a cucumber, some deli meat and some almonds. Tim likes to have almonds to munch on at work when he feels tired because it’s a quick and healthy source of protein. They can get a bit pricey at $5.99 per pound, but I fit it into my budget because I love him. And also because I’d hate for him to fall asleep almondless at his desk and then get fired. All because I didn’t buy him almonds. So as I waddled into Sprout’s, I picked up a basket and waddled to get the cucumber. Then I waddled to the deli section and grabbed the turkey. Then I waddled over to the section where the almonds were. Now, at Sprout’s, you can scoop them out of a bucket and into a bag located next to a scale just like in the produce section. I opened the lid over the bucket and it took me about 7 tries to realize, it wouldn’t stay open on it’s own. So I shift the basket on my arm, position the bag “just so” and with the same hand, feebly hold the lid back. I grab the scoop with the other hand and I dig it deep into the sea of almonds in the bucket.

Scoop 1. I sighed, “This is gonna take forever.” Tim usually gets about 1-2 pounds at a time, so that’s what I was going for.

Scoop 2. “Man there sure are a lot of almonds in this bucket.”

Scoop 3. “This bag is never going to fill up.”

Scoop 4.  “My hand is starting to cramp up from holding open the bag and the lid for these darn almonds!”

Scoop 5. “Does this bucket have a bottom?”

Scoop 6. “I wonder what they do if it get’s empty?”

Scoop 7. “I’m so tired.”

Scoop 8. “I wonder how many scoops I’ve put in?”

Scoop 9. “Maybe I should stop scooping now.”

Scoop 10. “Okay, now.

Scoop 11. “One more…”

Scoop 12. “Ahhh…done.”

I put a twist-tie around the top and lifted a rather heavy “1-2lbs” of almonds into my basket and waddled sleepily to the cashier. I thought, “This may be closer to 3lbs…” Nope. The cashier rang me up and my eyes popped out as I got charged for nearly 5lbs of raw almonds. *sigh… I put my eyes back in my head and paid the cashier begrudgingly, (Who charges so much for nuts??) and waddled out to the car. I told Tim about my mishap and his eyes popped out too. He laughed and I said, “Well, now you have enough almonds for a month.” Oi vey. Tim is getting his own dang almonds next time. Sheesh. We came home and put away the spoils from our shopping trips. Then it was time for lunch and naps.

Fast forward to this evening, we have a little tradition in our house. We turn on PBS and watch “The Capitol Fourth” every year while having a picnic in our living room. Well, our PBS channel wasn’t working. So we opted for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy instead. The kids were not a fan. I don’t know why, I got almost every answer right. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?? So we ate our picnic and channel surfed and nothing. So I grabbed my camera to take some awesome pictures of sparklers. Pregnancy and my brain are not friends (obviously, see the almond story above) and I pretty much forgot everything I know about photography. So, frustrated, I took my camera back in the house and went back outside to pout while Lilly and Matthew whined about being too afraid to hold the sparklers. Jadon was being a pill about not going to see actual fireworks and I can’t say I blame him, but by the time we thought to take the kids somewhere because all our plans were falling apart, it was too late. *sigh. Oh well. Next year perhaps. I wish I was more heat tolerant. But even if you are heat tolerant, who want to go sit out on itchy grass with too many people and not enough bathrooms for 15 minutes of chest pounding pyrotechnics? Evidently everyone. But me. Doesn’t help that I’m nearly 28 weeks pregnant and parts of me start falling asleep if I sit longer than 10 minutes.

So yeah. Grouchy. Well, I’m going to be all done with grouchiness for today, and watch a movie with my husband. Chips and salsa may be involved 🙂

Till Next Time,

Ashley

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