The Amazing Race: Look, Kids, Big Ben!

The week started out nicely enough for our young heroine.

Monday morning dawned bright, with a southwesterly wind and dry roads.  Speed would be on her side.  She closed her eyes with gratitude.  Then looked at her watch.  8:59 a.m.

One minute until the babysitter.

A last-minute check of the itinerary, confirmation of available cash, and consultation with Viki, her teammate.

9:00 A.M.

“Juice!  Jacket!  Diaper!  Snack!  Kisses!”

She was off in two-shakes of a disorganized kerfuffle, a stream of gum-wrappers trailing behind her.

After beating traffic, bribing a crossing guard, and graciously allowing a confused squirrel another shot at life, she arrived at her destination:  Safeway.

Surprisingly, she is ahead of schedule and quickly goes about finding the clues hidden throughout the store.

“I’m pretty sure cream of mushroom soup was on the list.  Which I left it at the starting line, okay?  NOW STOP WITH THE ACCUSATIONS, VIKI!  And maybe Russian dressing.  Hidden in what remote corner?  I’m pretty sure the recipe calls for half-and-half.  Where’s the dental floss?  Go, Viki, go!  Aisle three!

She leaves the store 7 minutes behind schedule:

  1. 1 minute:  internal debate of Colgate gel vs. paste
  2. 2.5 minutes:  circling the store for minced garlic (produce?  condiments?  produce!)
  3. 1 minute:  verbal bitch-slap of Viki, the weaker member of the team
  4. 1 minute:  dreaming about grocery shopping with Gwen Stefani, sitting in the cart while Gwen pushes her, singing “This shit is bananas!  B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”  A marching band following us, chatting about kids, when our husbands are coming out with their next records, why Zuma looks albino.  The usual.
  5. 1.5 minutes:  waiting for Fake Nails to stop reading Us Weekly and SWIPE HER DAMN CREDIT CARD.

Our contestant makes it to the airport with seconds to spare.  The little Cessna Prop-SUV arrives at the dry-cleaner… where none of the dry-cleaning is ready.


Wednesday morning dawned foggy, a light mist coming down, winds 10-20 mph.  The babysitter was 10 minutes late.  She closed her eyes with despair.

And she was off!

Narrowly avoiding the cop hiding in plain sight on the side of the road, she arrives at her destination:  Whole Foods.

Viki, as usual, slowed the whole process, ogling fresh figs, organic almond butter, the fresh spelt, tubs of quinoa.

Despite vast confusion at the meat counter, our heroine emerged only 2 minutes behind schedule, thanks specifically to the lack of Us Weekly at checkout.

She hitched a ride on the back of a farmer’s mule-SUV and arrives at the dry cleaner…where the shirts are ready.  But come back in two days for the pants.


Friday evening dawned…dark, as evenings tend to do.

The husband returns from the market with ingredients for dinner, fruit for the child, wine for the wife.  But the wife will not be calmed by wine.

No.  Not tonight.

“I’ve had it!” she cried.  “The fruit at Safeway sucks so I have to go to Whole Foods but I’m tempted by Trader Joe’s and we’re out of stuff by the weekend and we never plan for Saturday dinner so we have to go to the market again and the race is never really won and do you realize I passed out in the deli section and when I awoke, Viki – who may or may not be my imaginary teammate – had abandoned me and a man in white told me that my EFFICIENCY HAD FLAT-LINED?”

Someone very close to me once said that free time is the new meth and Momma is fresh out of drugs!” she screamed.

Husband calmly puts the groceries away.

“This is probably not the best time to tell you that we’re out of milk.”

The next morning’s headline dominates the page, a cautionary tale to mothers:


26 thoughts on “The Amazing Race: Look, Kids, Big Ben!

  1. Judgmental Mommy subtracts 2 points for not adhering to new recommendations to avoid meat particularly of the deli section variety, 4 points for not driving a Prius and 27 points for not growing your own food…FOR SHAME!

    And a babysitter? Whether real or imaginary, Judgmental Mommy must consult the points book for a deduction of this magnitude.

    Expect a ruling by next week.

  2. “Viki – who may or may not be my imaginary team-mate…”

    Wait! Viki! How could you leave me?? I have strategies to plan, assaults on neighbors to coordinate…how could you jump ship like that!

    I was GOING to introduce you to the family…umm…any day now! Truly!

    Fine. Be that way. Bitch. I don’t need you. You were dead weight. I was always doing all the work ANYWAY.

    Plus, I met someone new.


    She’s lovely.

  3. Stupid milk gets us every time. Oh and lazy team mates.
    You are all sorts of funny. I like you. Not your partner though. She should get checked out for Mono. I heard that can slow a person down.

  4. Force husband to do all shopping if he insists family be fed and all of your problems solved, thereby allowing LOADS of extra free time! He gets extra bonus points for taking children along, etc.

    Which reminds me…need to call my husband and tell him I need velour zip track suits while stopping at big box store. Seriously wishing I had me some of them!

  5. I say get rid of Vicki all together. She’s obviously the problem. Too much extra baggage slowin’ ya down.


    Could be the uggs. Those things are so hard to speed shop in!

    This really sounds all too familiar. I’m thinking of getting an assistant just for the grocery shopping. But, they would probably never get the right brands. Oh well.

  6. Oh Tarja, I’m dying here on my couch! This is my life to a T…even now! I seriously think that you and I may lead parallel lives….and I would SO be your partner (imaginary or not) on the Amazing Race of Totally Boring Errands and Chores.

    But we would have to add In n Out Burger to the destinations.

    Free time is the new meth. I love that…so true, and it’s so addicting (when we get it, that is).

  7. Goodness gracious sakes alive and bless your little pointed head, Mommy Chalupa. Very funny. And I’m getting better. It only took me two tries to figure out the Viki ploy. May I suggest a trip to the nearest Costco (probably 1000 miles away), where you can buy a Yard O’Beef. Get two…one to eat and the other one you can use as a club. Here’s the deal. Yard O’Beef on toast in the morning, on a sandwich (Miracle Whip or heart attack of your choice) with a pickle and chips for lunch, and served with fine-sliced tomatoes, and sides of potato salad, vodka and gin in the evening. How about Spam Lite and Mary Kitchen Lite Corn Beef Hash in the shape of a can? Fried egg on top.

  8. I experience vast confusion at the meat counter as well. Vicki is not bringing out the best in you. Put her on solo on the Safeway-WF-Traders circuit while you see a movie. Then the headline will read ‘entire family perishes due to the ineptitude of fictional friend’. Still all Vickis fault.

  9. I’m pretty sure I have never seen the word “kerfuffle” in a blog post before. I love it.

    And I agree with some of the other commenters. Obviously, Viki needs to suck one up for the team and quit ogling the figs.

  10. You are hilarious! I love your writing so much. You are so good. Girl, I went to see Gwen Stefani in concert a couple of years ago and was singing that BANANAS song at the top of my lungs. Love her…and love you!

  11. a few things:
    -the whole time i’m reading this all i keep seeing are flashes of Supermarket Sweep. ‘Pile in the HAMS, Betty Sue! THE HAMS!’

    -you quoted Holla Back Girl. i could not be happier.

    -you referred to me as ‘someone very close’. i smiled. then wished the sentiment wasn’t followed with me talking about meth. someone get me a muzzle.

    -miss you. 🙂

  12. Hilarious! After the line, “This is probably not the best time to tell you that we’re out of milk.”, I thought, shouldn’t this be where the headlines read, “Husband dies from a swift kick to the family jewels.”

    Forget the meth, screw the dry cleaning ~ I say go get a massage. You earned it!

  13. First, I swear I have now signed up for your email subscription at least 3 times! Argh!

    Second, isn’t it insane how many trips are needed to the grocery store during the week? I swear sometimes we’re there at least 5 times in a week, and that’s with 1 main shopping voyage.

    Third, and almost most disturbing, why in the world is the jarred minced garlic in the product section?!?!

  14. Sigh. Eating 3 times a day is way overrated…I’m with the Empress on that for sure! Before I had kids, I loved going to the grocery store. Now? It sucks. I don’t have room in the fridge to store 5 or 6 gallons of milk that I need for the week!

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