Friday, May 11, 2018

GRUMPY OLD DIVA: GROCERY STORE EDITION

One thing about being a snowbird is that if you return to your northern home the first week in April, you are in for a world of misery. There will be snow, freezing rain, grey skies, and zero plant life. That healthy lifestyle you developed down south? The daily walks on the beach, the fresh fruit, the wholesome vegetables? Kiss all that goodbye as it's all about comfort foods and strolls from the sofa to the kitchen. This is not good for one's mental well-being, people!  In fact, the entire month of April turned me into a walking Maxine cartoon. I was so grouchy from the lack of sunlight and flip-flops, that every little thing ticked me off.
Me while Snow-birding
Vs. Me back in Ohio

The first thing to set me off  was grocery shopping. Now, that's no picnic in Florida, either.  There,  just getting to the store requires driving through an absurd amount of traffic. Before heading to the nearest Publix, my Waze app told me, "Destination 2.5 miles. Estimated travel time 25 minutes." Still, there are no blizzard warnings, so there's always plenty of bread and toilet paper when you do arrive. Here, it's  a five minute drive, but the April weather means getting from car to storefront while wearing a 20 pound winter coat and fighting a 40 MPH wind.  Of course, the weather is just the half of it. There are no less than a million reasons that grocery shopping in April turns me into this:
Let me share a handful of them, dearest reader.

1. The Line Cutter (AKA: The LC.) This particular annoyer does not actually cut in line. Instead, they use subtle, psychological warfare to get you and the other shoppers to allow them to float to the very front. This is the person who sidles up to the busy check-out aisle carrying only two items despite the availability of  express lanes. Since those lines are too long for the impatient, self-important  LC, they employ a simple, yet effective, strategy. The LC catches the eye of The Shopper in front of them who has just unloaded 380 items onto the conveyer belt. "Oh," says The Shopper, "You only have two items. Why don't you go ahead of me?" "Are you sure?" replies The LC, coyly. "Of course!" says The Shopper, exuding piety.  Peer pressure prevails, and, before you know it, those in front of The Shopper allow The LC to move right up to the register.
"Brilliant."
On our first day back from the Sunshine State, I needed to buy groceries. Lots of groceries. I rolled my full cart behind three other people with equally full carts and prepared for the wait. I used the time wisely, perusing the National Enquirer (Roseanne is pregnant and the Pope wants to nominate Trump for Sainthood,) playing Candy Crush on my phone, and stalking old classmates on Facebook. Then, it happened. Just as the person in front of me was almost done checking out, an LC stepped in line right behind me. Normally, I simply sigh and offer up my place, but it being April in Ohio? NOT TODAY, SATAN!

I casually unloaded my groceries, not so much as taking a glance behind me. I even started humming to the tune of the "I Don't See You."  I snatched the horoscope book off the rack and read aloud, for effect. "Scorpio: Today, you will stand your ground and not renege your well-earned position." But, just as the cashier was about to begin ringing my purchases, it happened. Another shopper with an overflowing cart got in line behind The LC. I was given a choice. I could either stand my ground, thus sticking up for the rights of all shoppers who have been taken advantage of by The LC, or I could cave to peer pressure.
"You only have two items," I said, in monotone, "Why don't you go ahead of me?"
"Gosh," said The LC, "Are you sure?"
"Move it, before I change my mind, you con artist," I hissed.
Foiled Again.
2. Being Judged For Wine Purchase: When I arrived back in Ohio, it was cold and grey, and I needed wine to sustain me. I'm not talking about a cute bottle with a kangaroo or pair of flip-flops on the label. No. I needed a BOX. A sturdy, hefty, all-powerful BOX. And when I slammed that thing on the belt, I expected the cashier to understand that I meant business. I was not some wimpy Wine Mom purchasing a chardonnay for the book club.  Until it's warm enough for me to have spritzers on my patio, I need it straight, and I need it strong. What I do not need is for the cashier to glare at the box as if it's a kilo of heroine. "SOMEONE'S having a party," said she. "Um, no," I replied. "This is all for me."  I narrowed my eyes and dared The Shoppers behind me to make a joke. Instead, one woman said, "Good for you!" and another asked if he and his wife could stop over to help me drink it. Soon, we were all sharing stories about Ohio weather and it's direct relationship to our alcohol consumption. It was like our own little Anti-AA meeting!  It was fun until the rude cashier said, "Ma'am? Could you please remove your card from the machine and take your receipt?" Some people just do not know how to have a good time.


3. The Self-Check-Out Nazi: The next day, I had to return to the store to pick up a few more items. Fortunately, I could use Self-Checkout this time, thus saving hours. Boop. Boop.  Wait. I can't just Boop apples. I need to type in the code and weigh them. Dang. Where's that code? Now, how am I supposed to read that without my reading glasses? Where are my reading glasses? Oh for heaven's sake! I didn't bring them. Well, that looks like a 4-6-9-2. There we go. Please place items in the bagging area. Cool. *Places items in bagging area.* Please place items in bagging area.  I DID! Please wait for assistance. Oh, for Pete's sake! Please wait for assistance.  Fine! But, the cashier is busy helping another customer, so we're both going to have to be patient. Please wait for assistance. What do you think I'm doing? Also, why can't I just ring up the other stuff  while I wait. Wouldn't that be more time efficient? Please wait for assistance.  I'd had enough, "Shut. Up!" "Can I help you, ma'am?" As luck would have it, the cashier who rang up my wine purchase the day before appeared by my side. "This machine is not cooperating!" I said. She quickly noted I had punched in the wrong numbers for the apples. She fixed my mistake, completed transaction, then smiled and told me to have a nice day.  Oh, but I was onto her. I know what she was thinking, "People who talk to machines probably shouldn't be buying wine by the box."


4. Shopping Cart Etiquette: First of all, grocery stores should have traffic rules.  When on the move, keep your cart in the right hand lane, pass on the left. The center and end aisles have the right-of-way, while those in the side aisles must stop and look both ways before dashing forward. The most important rule, however, is: Do Not Clog The Aisle! I was headed down the soup aisle when I realized my travel would be impeded by an elderly couple who were shopping together...side-by-freaking-side. Now, as they were elderly, I decided to forgo making a citizens arrest, and simply turned around. I headed down the next aisle only to be curtailed by a woman who had parked her cart in the center while she was taking her time choosing between two different brands of tomato paste. I paused briefly, giving her the opportunity to do the correct thing and move her cart. Then, I said, "Excuse me," in as pleasant a voice as one can muster in April in Ohio. Without so much as making eye contact, she yanked her cart to the side  just enough so I could squeeze between it and the salad dressings. "Thank you!" I called to her.  No reply.  Geez, some people are just....

Fortunately, April is behind us and it's now time for the merry,  merry month of May! With the beautiful weather upon us, I guarantee my grocery shopping experience will be much more pleasant.
Well....maybe...

Friday, April 27, 2018

I'LL BE WATCHING YOU

Well folks, I received the infamous message from Facebook that I was one of the quadzillion users whose data was compromised. Apparently, thanks to a FRIEND (cough-cough) who used an app called This Is Your Digital Life, Cambridge Analytica was able to mine any and all information from my page that was set as Public. I'm sure the techs at CA enjoyed the pictures of my dog, as well as my deep thoughts regarding wine, Real Housewives, and Ohio weather.
Imagine the information they were able to glean from this profile picture, alone!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

PEG OF OUR HEARTS: THERE WERE NEVER SUCH DEVOTED SISTERS

Let me tell you the story of the Dunn Twins. Born in Ohio in1931 to parents of Irish descent, they thoughtfully arrived on March 16, leaving their father free to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. The first-born was named Patricia (Pat) and the second, Marguerite (Peg). Lest the birth order fool you, Peg decided from the beginning that she was the boss, and Pat decided to let her  believe it. Thus began a lifelong relationship of love, devotion, and some crazy games of Checkers.
"I've been waiting for you to move since 1967. Now get on with it!

Monday, January 22, 2018

THE SNOWBIRD CHRONICLES: WINTER HAS COME (AND GONE)

One problem with being a snowbird is you can't complain about the weather on social media. If you try, people up north will flag your status for "unusual cruelty."  In truth,  there is something a little silly about griping because it's 59 degrees (with a windchill of 44!!) when folks in your hometown are getting  ice cream headaches just from opening their front door. Therefore, it's important for potential Snowbirds (aka Egglings) to know what they are getting into should they spend one of the rare cold Januarys in the Sunshine State.

Don't forget your sunscreen!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

PEG OF OUR HEARTS: A CHRISTMAS STORY

I considered creating a blog about my mother, one of 5.5 million Americans diagnosed with dementia. I wondered if her struggle with the disease as well as the experiences of my sisters and myself would be helpful to others in the same position. I thought it might. Then, I wondered, "Would Mom truly want to be the subject of a blog that discusses the details of her life post-diagnosis?" That answer came to me like a coconut being dropped on my head from an angry palm tree.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

GRANDMOTHER SHOPPING WE GO

Now that I'm in my 60's and of age to be a grandmother (Tick-tock, Son. I'd like to be upright and still consuming solids when I become Granny Diva,) I am taking stock of all the Christmas gifts I used to buy for my own two. In those days, grandmothers were not treated as separate entities with distinct personalities and wants. Instead, their gifts were bought in pairs, one for each, from the Grandma Aisle at Montgomery Wards. These simple purchases might not have been glamorous, expensive, or particularly thoughtful. But, they did say, "Grandma, I bought you something," and that's all any Nana, Oma, or Nonna could ask for! Right? Let's peruse Granny's Gift Cabinet:
"I told you she took after your side." 

Friday, December 8, 2017

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, WAR IS OVER!


Twinkles the Intern

Hi! I'm Twinkles, the Intern, and I'm the guest blogger this week.  The Invisible Diva is under the weather because she got into her holiday stash of Bailey's Irish Cream a little early and now has a case of the Blarney Flu. She wants me to report that each share of this blog post counts as a thought or prayer toward her recovery!  I did not know that God had Wifi, but the Diva assured me, "Twinkles, if God didn't love social media, then why would he create the prayer emoji?" That makes so much sense!!!