It’s been one of those days. One of those days that ends with me pouring chocolate chips into my mouth with my only free hand, balancing Harrison on my hip with the other, one of his hands reaching for the chocolate chip bag and the other ripping my hair out. Oh, love hurts. Even if you have your hair clipped up in a “mom” clip. Not that I wear my hair like that…or leggings and T-shirts with fleece sweatshirts…
Grocery store days usually turn into “one of those days”. I do my very best to hit the grocery store once a week. That’s about all my tired momma heart can take. Grocery shopping out here is an exercise in physical and mental endurance. The first challenge is finding a parking spot within reasonable carseat-hauling distance from the doors. This takes patience and a sharp eye- trucks always speed through the parking lot like there’s a fire sale on FRs. I’ve pretty much given up on front row parking. My new strategy is to park by a grocery cart stall so I can use a cart to hold the carseat and push my way through the slushy ice. Survival of the smartest, my friends. 🙂
Inside the store, the mental battle begins. I get pretty focused once I step inside those doors, which makes it a little awkward when I run into oilfield drivers I know from work. If I even recognize them, I am so thrown out of my Hunger-Games-plan-of-attack mode it makes for a strange exchange, where I inevitably laugh nervously, drop my coupons and wonder if they saw me talking to myself in the paper towel aisle. (Is Bounty ever on sale? Are these the paper towels that smell weird? Ok, there are 80 sheets on this one and 83 on that one, but the 80 sheets are on sale and the 83 is a buy two for a dollar off deal…)
I might not be so insane at the grocery store if it weren’t for the next two points of mental strain: the outrageous markups and low supply. I could give about a thousand examples of food costing twice or triple as much as anywhere else, but I’ll just give two. The $8.00 for a bag of non-GMO, organic tortilla chips that cost less than half that back home, and about $9.00 for one pound of grass-fed beef (not organic or particularly fresh). If only I’d never seen Food Inc. Darn you, Netflix! So, there’s me, trying to mentally calculate my grocery bill, decide if beef stroganoff really NEEDS beef, (ground turkey, anyone?) and if I can re-plan my weekly menu to include more of the coupon items. I get through ALL of that, and guess what? Half of the stuff on my just-revised list is already sold out, coupon item or no. The coupons have been out ONE day, and I can’t get the pepperoni, the cheese, the beef, the laundry soap OR the gluten-free bread because the shelves are wiped OUT. I swear to you, no matter what my list is, this happens EVERY SINGLE WEEK.
To finish the experience, I’ll most likely be bagging my own groceries. They will make it home only to tumble out of the truck into the snow as I heave a hungry, crying Harrison out of the truck.
Three hours later, (after a diaper blowout that meant the groceries stayed on the floor for an hour while the little man had an emergency bath and feeding) Harrison is napping, the TV is humming with season one of The Middle DVD, and I am eating copious amounts of tortilla chips and salsa (those $8 tortilla chips were on sale today- 2 for $4.88!). I don’t really have the energy to do dinner anymore…and the house is still an insane wreck from moving…but I need a few minutes of “me” time. Yes, this qualifies.
I was actually lucky enough to do something else for myself today (before the grocery store). I met some wonderful moms who are a part of a Facebook page I belong to for girlfriends, wives, and moms in Williston. There’s always a lot going on within this group, but I haven’t been able to do much since baby was born. A great opportunity came along yesterday when another mom posted about starting a Bible study where babies were welcome. This morning, I met her at her home with other moms who were also excited to not only have a Bible study but socialize. It is so uplifting for the soul to meet other women who are in my shoes. Far from home, from family and friends, trying to adjust to the climate out here and the culture, to new jobs, a new living space, and the solitude of being a mom. Tack lonely onto lonely! The good news is, I don’t see my future out here as being quite so desolate as it seemed before. I’m not the only one wishing I had friends to have coffee with or invite to a party. The women I’m meeting want the same thing! We’re from all over the states, we’re from all different backgrounds, but we’re all in the Bakken, making the best of it.
Currently, the chocolate chips are my “making the best of it” coping mechanism. But hey, I don’t have to grocery shop for another week. 🙂
(And yes, there is still going to be a name change for the blog!)