After a long day of kids driving me nuts and being confused about what to do next in life, I discovered the secret to happiness last night. Make a bunch of chocolate chip cookies at midnight, eat as many as you can, then play the guitar until 1:30am. There’s something about playing music in the middle of the night that always makes me feel better. I used to do it with the piano when I was in high school. I know it bothered my parents when they were trying to sleep, but they let me do it anyway. I was able to learn some of the hardest parts of my contest pieces because I was more creative at midnight than any other time of the day. Luckily I have a digital piano now so I can use headphones at night. And the guitar is pretty quiet and portable, so that makes it good for late night practicing. I’ve also determined that midnight music is a whole lot more rewarding than midnight shopping.
I don’t mind taking my kids to the nice clean grocery store in town, but I really don’t like taking them to Walmart. So I usually do some late night shopping every couple of weeks after everyone is in bed. This evening was clear but cold. Lots of stars out and everything is clean after todays rain. The store was relatively empty, and I enjoyed taking my time throughout the store. Everyone I met seemed really friendly tonight, which was welcome since I’m feeling a bit lost.
The funny thing about going to the store late at night so often is that I’m beginning to get to know the people that work there. When it came time to check out, I saw that John didn’t have anyone in his line. He’s a great checker. A young guy about my age who is one of the best checkout clerks at that store. There’s a nice lady who’s usually there too. Her name is Shirley. She’s been working the night shifts since Thanksgiving to help make some money since her daughter lost her job last year and had to move in with her. She doesn’t mind too much, cause she enjoys having her grandson living with them now. She retired from being a secretary at an engineering firm a few years ago. She guessed that I was an engineer based on the way that I organized all my items on the checkout conveyor belt. She says anytime she sees someone doing it the way I do, they’re almost always an engineer. John’s a very quiet guy though, so I don’t know much about him. There’s a few other clerks there at that time of night, but I usually go to John or Shirley if their lines aren’t too long. And the best part about tonight: John put my bananas in a separate bag and then placed them out of the way until I had loaded my cart with the rest of the bags. Awesome. No bruises. He must have read my post from yesterday.
I think one of the best inventions is the self checkout lanes that a lot of stores are using now. Maybe it’s because I’m shy and I don’t like to talk to the clerks who always ask me how my day is. Do they really want to know, or do they just want me to say “fine, how’s yours?” Because after a couple hours of shopping with one and sometimes two kids who are crying, hungry, mad, or all of the above, I’m about ready to tell the clerk exactly what kind of day I’m having. And there’s usually no waiting in the lines for the self checkout scanners, which is a big plus when you’ve got those two impatient children who can’t understand why we have to stand in line for 5 minutes behind someone using dozens of coupons and then has to fish out their checkbook and write a check, really slowly. Then they put their wallet away and then act surprised when the clerk asks to see ID and the have to get it back out again. I know I’m an impatient shopper, but I’m even more impatient when I know my kids are like ticking time bombs that could go off at any moment, so I don’t like to waste time while out shopping.
So that’s why I choose the self checkout lane. I can scan and bag my own stuff just as fast as the clerk, plus there’s no human interaction needed, which is just fine with me. I usually do talk back to the scanner computer voice though. Like when she says “please scan your first item”, I’ll say “okay, coming right up.” And when she says “Thank you for shopping with us”, I’ll say “You’re welcome, have a nice day”. The only problem is that on our most recent shopping trip, my son started talking back to the computer too. He’s very polite to the voice, which I guess is good practice since he’s shy around the real clerks like I am. Maybe someday he and I will be able to interact with real people.
Anyway, the whole idea for this post came from the fact that all the bananas I bought on Saturday are bruised because the clerk at the store thought it would be a good idea to put the bananas on the bottom of the bag and then dump the rest of my purchases on top of them. And then toss the whole bag into the shopping cart! I also bought some pears. Which she put in the bottom of another bag and then dumped two 3-pound bags of apples on top of the pears! Doesn’t she know anything about fruit? Doesn’t she know how picky my son is? He won’t eat anything that is less than perfect. No bruises or dents or funny colors. I only went to her checkout because there were no other shoppers around and she was standing there saying “Sir, I can take you in this line.” Next time I’ll just say “No thanks, I’ll go talk to the self-scanner and keep my bananas from getting beat up.”
I’m posting this from the bathroom as I supervise my son taking his bath. I’m finding that my iPod touch screen likes to get foggy, but still works ok. After a day of playing on the farm, there was no way I would let him go to bed without a bath, eventhough he’s really tired from skipping his nap this afternoon. He’s had a few minutes to play with his boats and sharks. Now the fun of convincing him to use soap…
This morning I mowed the grass for the first time this year. It actually didn’t take too long to mow since I put new sharp blades on the mower last week (with the assistance of my little helper boy). And it was quick because the rest of the family was gone so I didn’t have to stop occasionally to help change a diaper or convince my little helper not to be too helpful with something in the garage, etc. I kind of enjoy the time alone on the mower because it’s pretty much the only “quiet” time I get these days. I usually wear earbuds inside my industraial strength earmuffs so that I can listen to music while I mow. But finding good mowing music is kind of hard. I don’t want something too slow, but listening to something really lively is kind of hard since I’m traveling about 3 miles perhour, and you can’t listen to fast music while going slow. And sometimes I don’t like music with lyrics because what if my mood doesn’t match the words they’re singing? So many requirements, it’s a wonder I can find anything to listen to. I usually opt for happy imstrumental music for mowing, although last year I listened to a few audiobooks. Maybe I’ll find a good audiobook instead of music for this summer. The problem is that I usually don’t want to get off the mower when I’m done cutting, since I want to keep listening. Here in the springtime, I’ll probably be mowing at least once a week. I wonder if I can go that long between audiobook sessions?
A few of today’s quotes were:
“I am not a napkin. Please don’t wipe your hands on me after every bite.”
“I don’t think you’ll fit into your little sister’s shirt. No, I don’t think it will fit daddy either.”