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.
“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 minute: internal debate of Colgate gel vs. paste
- 2.5 minutes: circling the store for minced garlic (produce? condiments? produce!)
- 1 minute: verbal bitch-slap of Viki, the weaker member of the team
- 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.
- 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:
“WOMAN DIES TRYING TO FEED FAMILY.”