Grocery List


It isn’t that I think the General is routinely passive aggressive, but sometimes she gets my goat. She is sly like a fox. What can you do but shake your head and bite your tongue? Yesterday morning I mentioned that I needed to run into Austin to purchase cartridges for my printer. In addition, I wanted to stop by Barnes and Noble to pick up a book for a friend. I didn’t anticipate that I would be away from home for more than about two and a half hours. I figured thirty minutes to accomplish the two tasks and two hours to negotiate the traffic.

The General had mentioned on Friday evening that she and Lilian, our granddaughter, were going to the grocery store on Saturday morning. Consequently, I didn’t anticipate she’d have any problem with my quick trip into town. We’d both be gone from home at the same time.

As it turned out, she didn’t have a problem with it at all. In fact she seemed highly relieved. Obviously there was a method to her madness. She asked: “Would you mind stopping by the grocery store for me?” As I’ve shared on a number of occasions, sometimes when the General asks a question, it comes with the expectation that she’ll get the answer she wants. I had the presence of mind to know that “No” was not an acceptable response.

We have been married all of my life. For the past thousand years, I’ve expressed repeatedly that I’d rather not go to the grocery store. That is particularly true on a Saturday morning. To add insult to injury, I had come home from work on Friday afternoon and “miracle of miracles”, I had cranked up the gasoline powered weed-eater and given the weeds that are taking over a portion of our yard a run for their money.

The General has my cousin to thank for my efforts. I had visited with her on the telephone after I got home from work on Friday. Until her husband’s death a couple of months earlier, my cousin had never been personally involved with any responsibility related to the lawn. Her husband did it all. With the precision of an expert gardener, he personally mowed, edged, weeded and ensured the sprinkler system was in working order.

When my cousin made arrangements for a youth in their neighborhood to assume responsibility for her lawn, he didn’t tell her he was only available every other weekend. Consequently, the first time he didn’t show up to mow, she was somewhat stressed. Hers is a large lawn and it needs attention on a weekly basis. How was she to know that the boy’s parents are divorced and every other weekend, he spends time with his other parent?

Since the kid was a “no show”, she subsequently contacted another resource for an estimate. She didn’t share with me the price, but she did tell the person providing the estimate that her husband would turn over in his grave if she paid the amount he wanted to charge for doing her lawn.

The folks doing our lawn service are scheduled to come every other week. Sadly, it looks half done when they finish. They edge the lawn with their weed-eater and they do a great job cutting the grass, but they don’t invest the time to do anything with the weeds in the non-grass areas inside our yard fence. The General mentioned to me on Thursday that the lawn service has increased their price for the work to $90 for each cutting. I almost turned over in my grave and I’m not even there yet.

At any rate, after talking with my cousin I decided to see what I could do to regain my reputation for having a stellar lawn. Years ago, I often received compliments for the way our yard looked. Ten years ago when Andrea and Kevin had their wedding reception at our home, the lawn was an absolute show place. It may not have been the Garden of Eden, but it was picture perfect.

The General will now tell you that our yard has a “they don’t care” look. By the way, she does care. She credits me with being the problem. Now whenever the lawn it mentioned, it is the General doing the talking and she’s not being complimentary concerning the look. She will tell you her assessment is accurate and that my lack of involvement in orchestrating a different look is unacceptable.

One of the things I discovered on Friday is that in the five years since I last did anything in the yard, I’ve forgotten more than I know. For one thing, I should have known to wear long pants when using the weed-eater. Instead, I was foolishly wearing shorts. Half of the stuff I wacked off with the weed eater was like a missile coming toward my bare legs. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

The General heard the sound of the weed eater on Friday evening and it was music to her ears. It momentarily gave her some level of hope that she wouldn’t have to be embarrassed by the slovenly look of where we live. She really does want a carefully manicured yard. For that matter so do I. So, if she was grateful for the investment of my time on Friday, how did I wind up on the grocery store detail on Saturday?

Actually, the grocery list wasn’t that long. Finding the items listed was the problem. I spent one and a half hours at the grocery store. During that time, I made four telephone calls to the General asking were to look to find items reflected on the grocery list. Part of the problem is that she was “name brand specific” on her list. Why would she tell me to purchase Pepperidge Farm® stuffing mix when the store doesn’t stock that brand? I don’t know if the telephone calls gave her a sense of importance or if it simply validated she was successful in orchestrating a “why don’t you search for a needle in a haystack” experience? That will teach me to spend all my time on the computer.

The most difficult thing to find on the grocery list was edamame. And for the record, I spelled it correctly. Two years ago, I never heard of it. I don’t have a palate that craves soybeans and I don’t have the patience to look for edamame in the grocery store. Trust me, it is not a big-ticket item. If it were, it would be easier to find.

I was far more successful at finding onions. Even then, the list posed a problem. It simply listed “3 – onions”. So what were my choices? They had white, yellow and red. The General didn’t specify what kind she wanted. I wasn’t making a fifth telephone call to ask. I figured it was up to buyer discretion. Did I mention, I’ve been wrong before? Not that it matters, but the white and yellow onions were both $1.29 a pound. The red onions were $1.69 a pound. Consequently I opted to go with the red onions. Since they were more expensive, I thought they had to be better. Besides that, I liked their look.

Last night the General wanted to know why I bought red onions? She added for my edification, “When you cook with them they turn a washed out color.” How was I to know?

Twice in the same day I had the identical thought: “What can you do but shake your head and bite your tongue?”  I wanted to say: “If you want it done right, do it yourself”.  Obviously some things are better left unsaid.

All My Best!




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