Travelling with the group I am out with as regular company I have had many experiences that have taught me to watch what I say and do with the “Peanut Squad” in tow. Given the ages range from 2-19 years almost anything can happen. (!!) The older crowd is always worried about being embarrassed by me (with absolutely not a thought as to how I might feel in the presence of some of their antics). Nonetheless, I preserve each week on an assorted forays into stores and other establishments of business to get all the errands done that this family of 11 depends on.
Naturally, feeding the tribe I find around my dinner table each night requires almost daily visits to the grocery store and often for weird items. In my 47 years on the planet I have yet to become so disciplined as to write a list. This is largely because locating a writing tool (that works) and paper at the same time in my house totally eludes me. ( I often am reduced to writing phone messages in lipstick either on an old envelope or the back of my hand…for those of you I never seem to call back …I may have either lost or washed away the message!) Before the hordes of you organized folks figure that I am totally inept I have (to date) been blessed with almost a photographic memory and the need for writing anything down in my life has just never been something I wanted to be (or was interested in) doing.
Sadly, age has now caught up with me and I find many things are escaping my memory. This terrorizes the children as they all beg dad to confiscate items because they know if I do it they may never see their stuff again. I put it in a “very, safe place” and then for love nor money I cannot remember where I put it. On the other hand if I am out and threaten a child disciplinary action for poor behaviour I have heard the kids in the car (as I am backing the 15 passenger size van into the driveway) discussing their impending punishment until a little voice says “Don’t worry about having to go to our rooms…SHE ALWAYS FORGETS!” (!!) Nice!
So as my age advances (and my inherent denial of same) I often find myself making trips to the store more frequently than I would want to. One of these such trips was to get garbage bag liners. No family this size can be without them. In spite of all the regular trips I make to a wide variety of stores I was confounded to discover that this particular evening (one I weekly celebrate…the eve before GARBAGE day) there were no liners!!
Head off to the store with as few of the tribe as I can get away with having to take with me. Therefore six children (all under the age of ten years) in tow…oh goody! I cannot locate (maybe it was remember) where the garbage bag liners in this shop are merchandised. I stop a “callow youth” in the employ of this store and I ask him for where I might locate the garbage liners. Instead of doing the usual customer service protocol (take the customer to the aisle and demonstrate where the store keeps this stuff) this lad hurriedly said “they are in Aisle Five…Ma’am” and dispensed of me with barely another glance (could be I terrified him with so many small customers).
Dutifully I wander through the store to “Aisle Five” and scour the shelves…nothing even close to garbage bags are present. Alas with certainty I can say there is no such item in Aisle Five. I should know better but muttering under my breath I happened to say “that guy has absolutely no clue where those bags are…he is out of his mind…what was he thinking (?) there are NO bags to be found in Aisle Five!”
After several trips around the store, collecting children, tossing back indiscriminate stuff little fingers put in my cart, discovering where the bathroom was and that the meat department has wet-disposal wipes (if you ask for them) it was time to check out.
At the checkout the lovely gal that was helping the lady ahead of me (not sure if it was because of the herd I was lined up with) decided to “cash out” as it was her break and the staff to relieve her was nothing other than the “could-have-been-more-helpful-callow-youth” from earlier. (!!!)
I started loading my groceries as per usual (family this size CANNOT go into a store for one item and not come out with several other things “remembered” along the way) weighing whether this old hag (spelt g-o-a-t) should say anything about the garbage bag liners not being in Aisle Five. Not to worry as within one minute of putting some of my items on the conveyor belt a little voice said “Hey mom…there is the guy you said was out of his mind and does not know how to think…he is the SAME guy doing our groceries!” I knew this was not going to be good. Before I could say anything to mitigate this statement another little voice chimed in with “You should tell your boss he trained you wrong ‘cause my mom couldn’t find the bags and wants to know what you are thinking!”
Well the look on the guy was priceless but I think the colour of my face said it all. I thanked him for processing my purchases and in true “Karma balance” I believe I heard the guy mutter something about me being out of my mind. Something I would never contest. These are the same children that I can holler and call their name for a chore and no one can ever hear me. Mutter something to myself and oh no, every single child heard it in stereo… (apparently). Lesson learned if you really want your children to hear you, mutter under your breath or pretend it is a secret. Who knew?
The kid-whisperer (The Garden Goat)