Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Had to run to the grocery store tonight for some late-night commerce. I usually go to a discount chain (LoseCo) rather than a standard type store (Dangerway). I began doing so after moving here to Bedroom Community; there is a Dangerway nearby but the LoseCo isn't much farther, whereas the closest one to my old house in The City was a bit of a hike. One day out of sheer ennui I decided to check it out...

It definitely does lack for certain amenities, but all the basics are in place, and good golly, the prices are so much cheaper, generally speaking. There are still certain items I buy on sale at the other stores, for instance soda pop, which is rarely priced all that well at LoseCo. Unless you like the cheap brands, which I do not. But here's one example: Ovaltine, a staple in our house. I used small amounts of it in the baby's warm milk as a weaning aid: "Sorry, kid, no more nursing, but look! Ovaltine!" At the Dangerway it's around 5 bucks a canister. The same canister at LoseCo is less than three dollars. Substantially so, like $2.64.

Anyway, having crossed over to the dark side of shopping, I am becoming yet more crafty in my penny pinching. Yes, friends, I have reached the final frontier of frugality: the bulk foods aisle.

It all started innocently enough. Some cinnamon. Last summer I needed some cinnamon. I don't use a lot of it most of the year, until the holidays when I am mandated to bake a jillion apple and pumpkin pies, and as such I'm not that willing to sink a lot of money into it if it can be helped. Plus I'm just cheap. So, I visited the always-interesting bins of bulk foods and filled an eensy-weensy bag -- so cute! so cunning! -- with ground cinnamon. I was astounded at the price, something like 28 cents. A container of the cheapest brands would run me four times that much. I dig this!

Today I needed Italian seasoning. I am no gourmet cook, though perfectly competent in the kitchen, and I fail to appreciate the Finer Things in this respect. I don't need my Italian seasoning to come directly from Italy, for instance. And since frugal mode has kicked in once again, I wandered back to the bulk foods this evening for another tiny plastic bag. This time, it was seventeen cents. Lordy. I will never go back.

I am always amazed at the people in that store shopping with the entire family at 9:30, 10:00 pm, even the toddlers. Our daughter (age 2) is in bed by 7pm most nights. She has stayed up til 8 a handful of times, and the latest was 9:30, once. And we suffered for it the next day. I can't tell you how many people I've seen at the LoseCo pushing a bleary-eyed baby around late at night. It's insane. Then, their kids may sleep past 7am, which Delia has done about five times in her whole life. I don't know. But I saw a kid tonight being wheeled around the store whose eyes were so red and weary-looking I wanted to just snatch her away and lay her down in the nearest crib. Perhaps these folk work non-traditional hours or something, but considering how many of them there are roving the store in chaotic throngs, clogging up the aisles to my great annoyance, you'd think they could spare one of the older teens to stay home text-messaging all their friends while the baby got some sleep.

Today we heard the baby sing a short ode to a favorite toy: Nah nah nah, la la, Hot Wheels cars, la la, la la... Last week on my birthday we went to a restaurant right on the river and she saw various types of boats plying their way up and down, and turned to me and said, "I want to ride on a boat." I told her we didn't have one, and her reply was, "We need a boat. We need a big boat."

The crowning glory of parenthood thus far, however, was yesterday morning when she climbed into my lap, threw her little arms around my neck and told me, "I wuvs you, Mama."

I didn't know it until that moment, but I had been waiting 39 years to hear her say that.

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