Thursday, March 23, 2006

A day at the grocery store

So today I did something for the very first time: I braved the grocery store with the three kids, all by myself. I think it is safe to say this was not only the first time, but also the last time.

At 11:30 I loaded up all three kids and set off for Albertsons. I normally go to FoodMaxx because I'm a cheapskate, but I figured I better go somewhere that doesn't make me bag my own groceries.

We arrived and I left the kids in the car while I ran up to the store to grab a shopping cart (Albertsons does a far too efficient job moving the carts back inside; there weren't any already in the lot!) Got the cart and headed back to the car. Unloaded Ezra, stuck him in the back of the cart, stuck Anna in the front of the cart, and strapped Isaiah into the trusty Baby Bjorn, which I would be lost without.

To be honest I was kind of excited about shopping today. I'm getting back into the swing of cooking and had planned out some different meals to make, so I was looking forward to buying all the ingredients. I had a big long list.

First stop was the deli and the bread section. Easy enough. Then produce. About three minutes went by before Ezra ripped open the bag of Romaine lettuce hearts. Okay, easy enough to fix, I just put it in one of the plastic bags they have there. Then I discovered he was squishing the hotdog buns. Moved them to the "underneath" part of the cart (I swear a mother must have invented that!) Not much longer and Anna wanted to sit in the back. Okay, whatever keeps them happy, so I moved her to the back and Ezra to the front.

Not too much later I looked down to discover her happily chomping away on the celery I was buying to make macaroni salad. Okay, better put that underneath the cart too...

And so went the rest of the trip. Before we'd left, Anna stuck her mouth all over the tomatoes I bought, the hotdogs, took a bite out of an avocado's skin, and tried to take a bite of garlic. Fortunately only one item got thrown out of the cart the entire time, and that was the garlic, by Ezra.

I FINALLY have everything I need and get in the ONE line that was open--the line was huge; why do they only have one line open??? Well someone finally opens another line, and the girl in front of me goes in it, and I follow her because we were in the back of the other line. As the girl starts loading her groceries onto the belt, the checker lady VERY loudly and rudely says to me, "She's on WIC; it'll take a long time." Now for the record, I don't think there's anything to be ashamed about to be using WIC; in fact, I think it's a good program. But was it this lady's business to announce to the whole store or even just to me that this woman was on public assistance? I would have been ticked!

Anyway, I just said that was fine, because since I'd gotten in this new line, the other line had gotten even longer and I'd lost my place in it. Plus, I really don't mind the wait. So I'm waiting and then the checker again looks at me and says in an even ruder voice than before, "You know, this is really going to be awhile." Sheesh! So I proceed to ask, "Even longer than waiting in that huge line?" and she rudely answers, "Yeah!" Um okay, so I switch BACK to the long line.

Another employee comes up to me (I think she must have seen me get worked by the checker) and says really sweetly, "I'll go see if someone can open another line." Which they did! Thank goodness!

As I was unloading my things onto the belt the college-aged bag boy fully started helping me unload the plethora of groceries residing on the "underneath" part, basically everything I had had to keep away from the kids. Then the lady checking my groceries offered to just have them bagged and put in a seperate cart, and the bag boy would help me out to my car. How embarrassing is that? Don't just little old ladies do that sort of thing? But how can I refuse, I mean it would have been a pain otherwise. I just hadn't realized how many groceries I was buying.

Now I have to tell you that I was extra embarrassed because this would mean that he would have to see the car I drive. Let it be known that I did not bring this car into the marriage, my husband did. My contribution was a 1988 Toyota Corolla. His? A 1988 Lincoln Towncar.

That's right. I drive a HUGE, OLD car. (So huge in fact that I am not always so good at driving it and sideswiped a car in Pismo Beach once.) It is just a fact of life that the Heldts drive old, ghetto cars, and you would think I'd be used to it by now. Sadly, I am not. Every time I have to take that beast out in public my pride takes a hit.

So we walk to the car and I say "Thanks so much," hoping he'll just leave the cart of groceries and think that the white suburban parked next to me is mine. No such luck. "Oh, I'll load it for you." Shoot!!! So I unlocked the doors, tried to keep my head high, and loaded up the kids, while he was somehow able to fit all the groceries into the trunk, even with the stroller and other assorted junk back there. I thanked him, climbed into the car, and hastily headed home.

Needless to say I will not be venturing out on grocery shopping trips alone with the kids anymore...but at least I can say life isn't boring!


Kevin Heldt said...

How DARE thee impugn the integrity of my blessed vehicle! I'd like to see you fit everyone and everything in your teensy weensy Corolla! (Oh wait we had to do that once too -- which, by the way, you still haven't blogged about...) That car rides like a dream and you should thank your lucky stars that you have the privilege to even ride in it, much less drive it. Sheesh, such ingratitude...

owlhaven said...

Oh, my! I had a bad time at Albertsons today too, but with only two children.. so much easier than yours I'm sure

shells said...

i love it, love it. you are brave. i have at times taken all three, but by the time Anna is in the front and the boys in the back, there is little food to be bought. thank heaven for preschool. :)

Michael said...


Brianna, I was cracking up through your entire message. Wish I was there to witness the chaos! And then to read Kev's response put me over the top. CLASSIC KEVIN!!

GO BIG WHITE! My cheer for the Town Car!

I love you all.

Rachel said...

Dude! I rarely take Aubrey to the store! That's mommy time! I had a nice trip to the Walmart Super Store today while Mike was maning the fort so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious story, should have been on video! Never feel embarrassed to accept help. Think how good you made the bag boy feel. :) I'm so glad Kevin responded to the dissing of the Lincoln so another Heldt didn't have to. It was a real class car back in '88. And remember the bag boy "could" fit everything in the huge trunk. You may have had to make two trips with any other car. :) From now on I bet Kevin babysits for those shopping trips.

Love, Mom Heldt

Renee said...


That was a great story! You did good! Taking three children so little to the grocery store is one of the hardest events in the "Mom Olympics". You should be proud of yourself!


Carrie said...

This is one of my biggest fears about going to three kids. I have issues now with the two I have already! Thanks for the laugh.

Amanda/Mayhem and Magic said...

Ha, ha! Sounds familiar! And it sounds like you did pretty well. No one was in tears, right? Great job!

Heidi said...

Hi Kevin and Brianna-

Your cousin, Tanya Anderson, (She's Kevin's cousin I believe,his face looks a bit familiar and I have vauge recolections of some funny/entertaining blonde male cousins at her wedding) is one of my closest friends from our Westmont days. She just sent me a link to your blog as, what are the chances, my husband and I are waiting patiently for our toddler boy referal from AAI :o) I just read through your entire blog and it was such a blessing to have a real life look into the journey we have ahead of us! Not to mention it was extremely fun to read, written in such a humorous, antidotal and thoughtful way. It was like you were our friends telling us your story. If you don't mind I have a million questions I'd love to ask you. I don't think your email address is on the blog, (this is my first time on a blog, I'm tech. challenged and feared them, but yours is great and seems pretty easy to navigate)mine is I can only imagine how busy you are, but if you get a minute I'd love some more insight to this process. Grace and peace, Heidi

Avery said...

hints for the future inevitable shopping experiences:

There are these magic carts that exist, they are truly God sends, that have the cart attached to a sitting area for two or more kids. Walmart used to carry them and had them in the shapes of trucks (the kids actually sat in the front on those) Lowes has them, and I've seen them starting to pop up at grocery stores. They are great, although the cart is slighty far away, the kids can be buckled into these seats behind the cart freeing the food up to be NOT SMASHED!!!!!!!!! Still have to bundle the little one on the back, but the other two are good to go.

I have on occasion seen carts that actually work for 3 kids, i've had 4 in the old walmart carts.

Brianna Heldt said...

Yeah I've heard about those carts, but have yet to see them at either Albertsons or the Target here! I'm definitely gonna keep my eye out tho!


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