Sunday, September 18, 2011

half a life ago ...

Gas was $0.89/gallon.  Life was easy.  My parents were amazing.  I was 16.  On my sixteenth birthday my parents rented the local neighborhood club house and bought about 20 pizzas from Customs Pizza (they were B1G1).  We set up a stereo, decorated, and just hung out.  Me and about 20 of my closest friends at the time.  There are moments of that night I will never forget.  Mimi (my grandma) was there.  Fussing at people for going outside, complaining about the noise, just being a grandma.  My friend S was there, and my friend L, who I think were trying to get back together after “breaking up” or something.  I can name almost everyone there.  And most I still at least talk to on Facebook ™.  That was the night I met someone who would be a dear friend for many years.  (Looking back I think it’s rather odd that someone I had never officially met showed up at my birthday party.  But there were actually 3 people that fit that description.  A little creepy, I suppose.  But I was a little odd.  I was building computers when other girls were shopping for new shoes.)  He introduced me to a new kind of music, a great author, and the idea that women were something special, to be treated with care and respected.  That stuck.  I held everyone else I ever considered dating to that.  It’s why I married Clark Kent.  But that’s another subject.

On my 16th birthday my mom got me this massive cake.  It weighed 20lbs.  Seriously.  I’m not even making that up.  The sucker was HEAVY.  And there were presents.  And dancing, and a black light.  It was great.  Probably one of the best moments of my teen years.  Thanks mom and dad.  After it was all over I remember distinctly lying in bed and thinking about where I’d be in 16 years.  Yeah, that deep of a thought.  When your parents drop that much on a party for you, you think about what got you there, and where it was taking you.  I was pretty sure I’d be married to someone at that party.  Not really sure who, but someone.  I mean, that was my tightest circle of friends (at the time).  Life was that moment.  It was band, AFJROTC, Power Rangers (yeah, I watched it religiously), eating outside at lunch, getting yelled at by my band director, and tolerating my little sister.  Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I hated it.  But it was my life and I couldn’t imagine much beyond it.  I mean, what else is there besides friends, pizza, music, and high school?  Shallow isn’t something a teenager understands.  It isn’t self centered for them.  It’s just how the world moves.  I understand that now, even though I didn’t ever see it then.  And oh my goodness what would our life had been like with smart phones and facebook?  Lawdy lawdy we’d have gotten in trouble.  I watch the high school kids on my facebook lament over boyfriends, get angry at friends, and use facebook like the bathroom wall or the back of a yearbook.  Our fights would have been shorter, meaner, and well … involved more people.  Other than that fight that my on-again-off-again beau K and I had during a marching band day camp that seemed to involve the entire band.  Oh yeah.  I bet lots of people remember that.  It involved saying mean things under our breath while marching around during practice, and across the street to the football field for a run through, and during the run through.  Oh yeah.  Good times.  That’s being 16.  That’s being awesome (in your own mind) and having to have the. Last. Word.   

Anyway, I thought.  Laying in my bedroom, under the Power Rangers fleece blanket (that incidentally Monkey Man is currently sleeping under – true story), looking at my glow in the dark stars.  Listening to my dad watch John Wayne movies on TV at a volume reserved for rock concerts.  Sure I thought of practical stuff.  I’d have finished college.  I was going to be a trauma doctor (how’d that work out?).  Perhaps I’d be dating some guy and be thinking about marriage.  30, that’s when people do that sort of stuff.  I also figured I’d be living in a house on the beach in South Carolina (still on my to-do list).  My life is SO not that.  But I can’t imagine it any other way.  It’s amazing.  I love Clark Kent, and I can’t imagine life without my Peanut, Bean, Monkey Man and Bug.  As I sit and reflect over the last 16 years (I’ve been with Clark Kent for 12 of them) I can look forward to the next 16.  Where will I be in 16 years?  I’ll be 48.  Peanut will be 26.  My mom and dad could be great-grandparents.  I could be a grandma. *cough*  It will be 2027. Holy future Batman!   

Monday, September 5, 2011

Creepy Loyalty

Loyalty.  It’s such an interesting word.  The dictionary defines it as “faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.  I’m loyal when it comes to the “cause, etc.” part.  I drink Pepsi ™.  I am not a fan of Coke ™.  Hands down.  If you offer me both, I’ll choose Pepsi.  Every day.  And all their products.  Sierra Mist ™ over Sprite ™.  I just like it better.  I prefer Target to Wal-Mart (for a kazillion reasons that I really won’t get into but suffice to say that one is the creepy people that shop there, and another is the way that they go and build 100 cash registers and only ever intend on opening two of them).  I prefer McDs over Burger King ™ if I’m going to ingest MSG-laden grease.  And I won’t go to a BP™ unless it’s the only gas station for 100 miles.  Call it what you will (psycho, sad, obsessed, impressive, astonishing), I call it loyal.  It’s who I am.  I find something I like and I stick with it.  All that to explain the following lament.

When Clark Kent and I first moved to Memphis we knew nothing about the place.  Even our small ‘burb.  Nothing.  And everything here is different.  All the stores we were so familiar with in the southeast are not here.  Everything is just different.  The only grocery stores here are Kroger (which we already weren’t fans of) and something called “Schnucks”.  So, when we moved here, we went to Schnucks.  Check it out, right?  See what it is, and whether we’d just be forced to shop at the other grocery store that I already didn’t like.  After all, if there’s no Bi-Lo (my favorite grocery store, which has stores all the way to Nashville.  Nashville.  300 miles to the right of us there are great grocery stores, BTW).  My first time in the Schnucks by our house, I was greeted, spoken to like an old friend, and invited to church. (There are two questions everyone asks you when they meet you in Memphis and find out you just moved here: What brought you to Memphis? and What church do you go to?)  Plus it was clean and had nice produce and meat.  These are important things to me.  And so I became loyal to Schnucks and those people.  I shop there for everything.  Peanut’s gym has a fundraiser through Kroger, but I don’t shop there.  I could.  It would help offset gymnastics.  But I don’t.  I don’t like Kroger.  It’s not further than Schnucks … it’s across the street, actually.  But the produce isn’t good, the meat is gross, and the people aren’t friendly.  In fact, they are the opposite of friendly. 

Now that you’ve been introduced with my weird love of grocery stores, you can understand a couple things.  One, I am obviously a bit off center.  No one should feel that way about a grocery store, right?  But if you haven’t figured out that I’m a few crayons short of a full 24 count by now, then you just wait … I haven’t told you my feelings about Dora yet, have I?  Two, you can understand why it devastated me a couple days ago when the news announced that Kroger had bought all the Memphis-area Schnucks.  Yup.  My favorite grocery store is going away. But it’s more than that.  It’s that all the people are likely going too.  They all have to reapply for jobs.  All the cashiers that know my kids, speak to them about school and dance and gymnastics, ask them how their day was … the nice guy who stocks the dairy area every weekday and knows I like the Gogurt instead of the Dannon for the kids.  The sweet ladies that are in the cook-demo place that understand that having four kids is a blessing, not a curse.  The one cashier who is “our” cashier in the morning when we go in and was excited with me when I found out we were going to have Bug.  The managers who will go back to the aisle you missed something on and get it for you at check out.  The nice bag boy who shares all the great fun things to do this weekend with you.  And the cute little high school guys who want to be smooth and “grown up” and try to impress me while they are checking out my groceries.  I will miss them all.  Even if they keep their job, which isn’t likely, I won’t see them.  I don’t like the other grocery store.  Not even if it has my favorite people working in it.  I might be crazy, but I will miss Schnucks.  So much that I took the time to whine about it here.  Maybe if I whine enough Bi-Lo will come save us from the not nice people and yuckiness.  Yeah, I’m whining about it.  It’s my take on loyalty.  And I can pout if I want to.  And enjoy my store.  For the rest of this week.  A few more days of the “way things are supposed to be” for me.  Then I guess I’ll move onto something else.