Kroger vs. Kroger

kroger          Vs.          kroger

An ongoing battle of sorts at our house is which of the two Kroger stores close to us is the better grocery store. One would think that a Kroger is a Kroger is a Kroger, but one would be wrong. The Kroger west of our house (considered my Kroger) has items that the Kroger east of our house (what we call Gerald’s Kroger) does not carry, and vice versa. Not only are their product offerings different, but both stores are also laid out differently. For example, the produce section is immediately on your right if you walk into the “west” Kroger and the “east” store has their produce on the left.

So if you frequent one store more often than the other, you get used to the way that store is set up. I do most of the grocery shopping because who else is gonna do it?? of course you know I live to serve my family. But anyway, when I’m making out a grocery list, I attempt to keep it in the same order as if you are walking the store. For example, since my Kroger has the specialty section at the front of the store, I’ll put my gluten free waffles at the beginning of the list and write the rest of my list by mentally going up and down each aisle. If, for whatever reason, Gerald ends up being sentenced the one sent to do the weekly Kroger trip, he has learned he’s probably better off going to my Kroger. If he does go to his Kroger using my list, he’s there for what feels like an eternity (because he ends up having to go all over the store).

Okay, Gerald, let’s take the gloves off and we’ll do a true side by side comparison (all according to me, of course) of the two Krogers and see which one fairs best. And may my the best Kroger win!

My Kroger (west of us) —
1) The left turn into my Kroger parking lot isn’t as daunting as the left turn into Gerald’s Kroger. Although I still try to avoid my Kroger on certain days at certain times.
2) Gluten free and specialty item selections are more plentiful and easier to locate.
3) The layout is better (i.e., it’s what I’m used to).
4) Has personalized service at the deli counter. It may take forever and a day to get your deli cold cuts, Gerald, but by golly you’ll get them as ordered (weight, slice thickness, etc.).

Gerald’s Kroger (east of us) —
1) Admittedly easier to utilize if you need to grab something after work as it is on the direct path to home.
2) Has the big bag of dog food (while, for whatever reason, my Kroger only carries the small sized bag).
3) (sometimes!) Has the (gluten free) Redbridge beer. I have never seen the Redbridge at my Kroger which is kind of strange considering all the other GF choices.
4) Has the self-serve deli order option, where you can place your order and then go do the rest of your shopping and come back and pick up your order. Although when you’ve tried this option, Gerald, they either: a) didn’t see it or didn’t have it ready; or b) sliced it all wrong (which is easy to do because you are so damn picky).

Okay, clearly my Kroger wins. Why? Because my #3 (I’m used to the layout at my Kroger) is the heaviest scoring factor, that’s why. Oh, I didn’t mention the scoring weight for each category? What? Does the scoring seem unfair, Gerald? Well, maybe you should go back and read The double standard.


A letter of apology

I guess you could call this post Throwback Thursdayish. I wrote it several years ago after Gerald and I took our oldest son and some of his buddies to the skating rink in celebration of his turning the big ELEVEN. It was a Friday night. Yeah, I know, what were we thinking? But anyhoo, being at the rink gave me all kinds of junior high flashbacks. We got home and I was moved to write the following letter of apology to my parents:

Dearest Mother and Father,

I am writing to apologize. In the spirit of celebrating your grandson’s 11th year of life, Gerald and I took him and four of his friends to a roller rink tonight. I may need to explain no further, but let me say how shocking, how appalling, the 10 to 15 year old age group. We had the privilege to first hand witness what I am positive were newly learned flirting rituals, flashing light pacifiers (?), vending machine and groin shaking/kicking, obnoxious noises/smells, girls dressed like hoochie mamas, foul language, and good old fashioned rule breaking.

Surely I, your youngest offspring, never partook in such atrocities. Surely I rebuked such behavior when I was a skating rink junky. You would drop me and my bff of the moment off at Skate World every Saturday night. I can recall skating (not sure where we found the time), flirting, skin-tight jeans that required a coat hanger to zip (don’t remember how any of us girls actually went to the bathroom, I don’t think we did), cursing, and I’m pretty sure, other disgusting behaviors thankfully long forgotten.

So if by chance your daughter actually participated in ANY of this described adolescent ridiculousness, for this I am truly sorry. I’m not sure when I developed such a repulsion, but as you know, your daughter DID make it through those crazy years–due to strong parental guidance I have no doubt–and I believe matured to be a sound minded middle-aged mother of an adolescent.

I can only pray that at some point in your grandson’s future, when he has children of his own, he will make the same discovery and his parents will receive the same apology.

This apology letter also requires the inclusion of a “thank you.” Thank you. Thank you for your patience and perseverance. I couldn’t have done it without you, my dear parents!



Eat me

Easter Bunny

You know what I find disturbing? I suppose that’s a loaded question, but I find it very unsettling where, in commercials and advertisements, the food items speak and they’re either threatened to be eaten by the humans they’re talking to or ARE eaten by the humans they’re talking to or they eat or get eaten by their same kind. I mean, I admit I’m no marketing expert, but is this advertising tactic really a good idea?

You’ve got the Chips Ahoy cookies innocently minding their own business while driving (?) down the highway and one of them gets snatched up by a human hand, never to be heard from again. Umm… doesn’t anyone else care about the surviving singing cookie family? Their matriarch was just murdered. Hello? Creepy. And then you’ve got the M&M guys. They’re simply enjoying their human friends’ company but then end up being met with the threat of consumption. Well, yeah, who wouldn’t want to eat a giant hunk of chocolate?? Well, maybe me IF IT WAS ALIVE AND WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH ME. Disturbing. There’s this recent Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal commercial where those tasty squares are engaging in cannibalism right there in the cereal bowl! No square is safe! Strange.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want my food having a conversation with me right before I down it. The way my mind works is that I like to follow through with what happens. Like what ever happened to the surviving cookies? Did they meet with a similar fate as their package mate? Did they go in a pool of milk or simply with a harsh crunch? And let’s say the sexy blonde successfully gets the yellow M&M to her place. Then what? What happens, you advertising sickos?? I think I’ve seen the yellow M&M again in subsequent commercials/advertisements so I’d like to assume he has not yet met his demise.

Then you have to wonder just how far this whole food/candy talking thing is gonna go. It’s that time of year where there’s a lot of Easter candy on the store shelves. I can see it now – Oh look at the cute Peeps chick candy! We’ll have it say something witty and then a kid will bite its head clean off. Funny stuff. Hey, let’s add some red dye squirting out of the beheaded Peeps body too! Bet that commercial would never be forgotten. Let’s just hope the marketing peeps will stick to never-have-lived foods.

And on a closing note (you’re welcome), I was going to add a Jeffrey Dahmer “cannibal” reference in this post somewhere but then I got way too weirded out after reading all about him on Wikipedia. Now that’s some sick shit.


The big move


During the second six weeks of my sophomore year of high school, my family moved. We had moved multiple times before, but this time was different. This was BIG. We were moving to the big city and I was a (gulp) teenager!

I remember being full of teenage girl sadness on the ride to our new home city. I’m pretty sure I played my sad Chicago songs over and over on my Walkman (is that what that thing was called?). And I remember writing torturous, heart wrenching letters and poems to the friends I was leaving behind.

So we get to our (soon to find out rat infested) rent house and since I had yet to get all enrolled into the local high school, my parents were okay with me plopping myself on the sofa in front of the TV for our entire first full day. I’m sure they were glad to have the sulking teenager out of the way so they could tend to all the moving tendings. Well, we didn’t have cable (and we were never gonna get it either), but if I put the TV antenna a certain way, I was able to make out some fuzzy music videos. You know, think of MTV (remember when MTV actually played music videos?) but with snowy screen (and no cool VJs). I think the sound sort of came in and out as well. So yeah, lousy reception for this whatever channel it was. But I guess me being my teenage self and all, I didn’t mind the scratchy videos and actually felt a little comforted by the familiar 80’s tunes. Maybe I felt some needed familiarity.

I recall that, just for a split second or two, I had this thought about staying in this state forever. What if I didn’t have to start a whole new school the next day? That wouldn’t be so bad. I could eat snacks and watch this crummy channel, and, as a bonus, I could get all caught up on Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless! School? Who needs school? I already knew everything anyway, I had just turned 16 after all. Okay, so I admit, there was no well thought out plan here. What do you expect? I had just turned 16 after all.

As another hour wore on, I realized my thoughts of sequestration weren’t very practical. I mean, I’d eventually learn to have fun in this new environment, right? I’m sure I could make at least one, maybe two, decent friends. I couldn’t actually stay in this house forever. (And I really didn’t want to after we discovered the rat infestation. We moved out of there asap. Ewww….)

Anyway, practicality did prevail. It wasn’t easy, but I did adjust to my new surroundings. I made friends and I was able to (shock!) still find things to smile and laugh about. Gerald likes to point out that if my family had never made this move, the two of us may have never met. Hmm… Oh, I mean, true! So true! And I never would have had the same opportunities (education, employment) if we had never made a change to big city life. It’s amazing when you stop to think about how all the big, and even little, twists and turns and decisions you make in your life can totally impact your whole future. (I still hate moving though.)


The reluctant everything

See? Jane and Judy? Flawless.

More and more I am realizing I have developed a “reluctant” personality. (I’m pretty sure Gerald figured it out before I did, by the way.) What is a reluctant personality, you ask? Well, I don’t think you’ll find the definition for it in some formal dictionary, I just made it up, but I’ll give an example — Just this very second I am the reluctant grocery shopper. And earlier I was the reluctant exerciser. And later I’ll for sure be the reluctant cook (gotta do something with all those groceries I’ll eventually get out of the house to reluctantly buy today).

At times I can be a reluctant mother. Can’t they just fix their own food and do their own laundry? The reluctant wife? Yeah, sometimes. I’m just so tired or have so many to-dos to do that when I get a free second, I want to literally sit and do nothing. Why, just this morning, I was the reluctant get out of bedder. I was also the reluctant hair and makeup artist. Oh how I wish the automatic hair and makeup machine had been invented already. I mean, how long ago did I see this dream contraption on the Jetson’s intro? The female characters on the show didn’t have to lift a finger to be ready for the day, they had some automated machine thing that did it all for them.

My gusto for cleaning toilets is also no longer because I have also become the… you guessed it… reluctant house cleaner. (We do have a cleaning service but I have to use the term “cleaning” very loosely here.) The reluctant friend — I believe friends have also noticed my reluctance when they ask me to do pretty much anything. And I am rarely the asker, I’m mainly the askee.

Oh where did my life gusto/energy go? Maybe it is disappearing right along with my youth. Hey… maybe this is my midlife crisis. Hmm… what kind of havoc can I reek for my midlife crisis? What’s typical? I guess a man maybe buys a sports car and/or starts dyeing his hair to hide the grey. I could care less about a sports car and I already do my hair. In fact, I have no idea my actual hair color. Great, now I think I have to add reluctant midlife crisis haver to my reluctances.

But anyhoo, not really sure where I’m heading here with this little self discovery. But recognizing a problem is the first step for fixing it, right? So I’ve recognized it. Good for me. Now if I just wasn’t so reluctant to figure out Step 2.


Necessary nagging?

I thought I’d have all kinds of Spring Break shenanigans to write about this week, but it’s been pretty tame. I suppose my boys are maturing a little? Hmm… I don’t know if that’s the case, but one interesting thing discovered is that my youngest thought “vagina” was “bagina.” That’s bagina with a ‘B’. Goodness only knows how vaginas/baginas came up, but I thought it was pretty funny and blog worthy. So there. But since I can’t really fill up a whole blog post with bagina, I came up with a totally different topic, every married man’s favorite subject, the subject of “nagging.” Enjoy…

Gerald and I do a sort of “tag team” thing for Spring Break. The boys and I travel to visit my parents in the beautiful Texas hill country. It’s a win-win for all. Gerald gets several days of quiet, and the boys and I get to spend time with my parents, their grandparents. The kids and I then come back home midweek and Gerald gets to take charge for the remainder of the week as I head back for a couple work days before the weekend.

Gerald doesn’t hide the fact that he enjoys his yearly respite away from the boys and me. I believe it was last year when we were just pulling out of the driveway and here comes Gerald bringing his golf simulator in to the house from the garage. Really, Gerald? You couldn’t wait until we were at least out of the line of vision?

Every year, I call/text to check on how things are going at the house, if Gerald has remembered to do this and that. And every year I get grief about my constant helpful nagging reminders. I must say I was pretty amused when I received the following Monday (summarized) text from my husband:

…set off the house alarm when letting the dog out this morning, waited for a call that never came (from the alarm monitoring company), couldn’t find my keys, traffic sucked because of rain…

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more needed. There’s so much Gerald doesn’t even realize he doesn’t have to deal with. What can I say? His wife does A LOT. And it’s nice to know my presence does help the house run more seamlessly. And it’s nice to know that Gerald may just notice my absence (maybe, at least a little?).

I know Gerald has to object, if only because he feels he has to, being the stubborn man that he is and all and he wouldn’t want to break any “man” laws, but I do believe that some of my nagging reminders are necessary and even wanted. Oh, I think I hear Gerald hemming and hawing right now. Say what you will, dear husband, but ah shucks, you really do miss me when I’m gone, don’t you? And you really do need me, don’t you?


Out for spring break

I should have some decent blogging material after spending all this quality time with my sweet angel children. Have a great week everyone!  🙂

Last meal worthy


Last week I thought I had a good post idea. I was tuned in to the usual early morning radio chatter, and the DJs were poking fun at Kelly Gissendaner’s, an inmate on Georgia’s death row, last meal request.

As the Georgia Department of Corrections reported, Ms. Gissendaner’s request went like this:

…cornbread, buttermilk, two Whoppers with cheese and all the trimmings, two large orders of French fries, cherry vanilla ice cream, popcorn and lemonade. She also wants a salad with boiled eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots and cheese to be topped with Paul Newman buttermilk dressing.

Not only were the DJs chuckling about Ms. Gissendaner’s request for Whoppers, they called out the “Paul Newman buttermilk dressing.” They were saying that while the Paul Newman dressing is good, is it really that good to make it on a last meal request?

Me being me, I rolled the idea around in my head a bit and thought this whole “last meal” topic could make for a funny blog post. But after I took to the internet to learn more about Kelly Gissendaner, what crime(s) she committed, when, etc, I realized it’s not funny. No, I’m not going to go off on some politically charged rant about the death penalty. I simply lost the desire to joke about a person’s last meal request. I suppose when I read the details about the case, things became a little more real. The instigator, the murderer, the victim, other family members. It just became sad.

So while I don’t find Ms. Gissendaner’s predicament funny in the least, I still think drafting up a list of foods I would want for my last meal would be kind of interesting, maybe even a little revealing (early morning DJs be damned).

A side note that I do believe I would still stick with foods that fall within my food tolerance zone so anything with gluten, lactose, and fructose is not eligible for my worthy foods list.

So here is what I’m thinking —

* BJ’s gluten free pizza with pretty much all the GF toppings
* BJ’s gluten free pizzookie dessert
* Omission Lager (are “alcohol” requests allowed, I wonder?)

No fancy steak for me, no fancy anything. But if the state wanted to throw in one of those cute drink umbrellas in my beer bottle, I wouldn’t object.

Now, if I was, for whatever reason, forced to choose from Mexican fare, I’m thinking —

* Gluten free beef fajitas with all the fixings (on corn tortillas of course)
* Chips and salsa (can’t forget the chips and salsa!)
* All natural margarita on the rocks with salt (fishbowl size)

I don’t think Kelly Gissendaner’s last meal request is strange at all. Surely her included foods are associated to better times and/or times of comfort. I made my two lists of different culinary fare, but I wonder what my list(s) would look like if I was literally scheduled to die. And I’m betting my favorite foods list will change as I grow older.

I’m curious what YOUR “last meal” worthy foods include. Do share in the comments.


Quick and dirty announcement

Woohoo!  I’m on Project Underblog today! Be sure to check it out!

The lady was…

It’s been a little over two years since my paternal grandmother, my last living grandparent, passed away. She’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been remembering little things mainly, and I have this strong desire to be able to go back and watch all those interactions again.

When my family still lived a good five hours away and we’d be coming for a visit at my grandma and grandpa’s in the big city, our arrival would usually be after dark. We’d pull up in their driveway, weary and tired, and make our way to the door and ring the bell. My grandpa had installed this crazy doorbell and I remember being greeted with the La Cucaracha melody. Man, the things my poor grandma endured. But it was funny. Every. Time. It did put a smile on our faces. Every. Time. My grandma would come to the door and give us her warm, “Well, hi! Come on in!” greeting. And we’d come on in and we’d get to shelling and eating the roasted peanuts my grandparents always had on hand.

My grandma was a great cook, but for so many years I didn’t appreciate her unique culinary talents. I suppose my taste buds were about as immature as I was. She would make scrambled eggs and throw in onion and bell pepper. I couldn’t stand my eggs like this. I’d end up picking at the eggs and eating a stack of buttered toast and snagging as much crispy bacon as possible. I would scarf down those eggs now. Funny how my grandma didn’t give in to pickiness. I’m pretty sure she was well aware I didn’t like the peppered eggs, but she wasn’t going to go all “special order” on us. That just wasn’t her way. Smart lady. Oh how I wish I would’ve learned this lesson with my own kids. Sometimes I feel like I’m running a diner. But I digress, I miss my grandma’s eccentric (well, to me it was eccentric) like cooking.

At Christmas time, birthdays and showers, if the gift recipient received a duplicate of something he/she already had, my grandma didn’t miss a beat, “Well, now you have two!” The lady knew how to knock off the pout on anyone’s face. I mean, who could argue with her logic? Pure gold, genius, that was my grandma.

And my grandma had no need to buy greeting cards, she would write thoughtful and sweet sentiments in every card, every note. When she would give one of us grandkids a keepsake, say a candy dish or some other memento from one of our great grandparents, she would always include a description of what it was and the year if she remembered. I love how her writings became the best keepsake of them all.


P.S. By the way, the Crankoutloud poll winner is scheduled to be on Project Underblog on March 3rd!