Hell is not scorching flames or dense black smoke, stinging the eyes of the evildoers. There are no pitchforks, or red fleshed devils dancing on the broken bones of the heartless. No.
Hell is aisle after aisle of cleaning supplies, produce, frozen vegetables, lunch meat, eggs and diapers. In Hell, you can buy your feminine hygiene products, pick up a bag of cat food, buy paint, poor quality clothes, towels and small household appliances. Tinny pop music filters down from the ceiling and there are people converged around the discounted rack of Christmas decorations. Yes.
Walmart. Is. Hell.
Add in three small, extremely irritated children, a squeaky cart, a huge list and a very small budget. In no time at all, your face will become very red and you'll be looking for a pitchfork, or any other sharp, pointed object with which you would like to poke people. Three small children included.
I had to park at the very edge of the parking lot, because the lot was still snowpacked and therefore there are no lines. Therefore, people forget how to park straight. Therefore, the area that once could hold 50 cars now can only hold 25. It was also zero degrees out. We trudge to the store, baby, purse, cloth bags and cart cover in one hand, Delaney's hand in the other, yelling at Nick TO STOP RUNNING!
I'm gasping for air and pissed off before we even get our cart. And since Walmart only seems to carry one of the carts that actually has the seats for extra kids, I never get one (and it always ticks me off when I see someone in the store with it and they only have one kid in it. It makes me want to say bad words.)
So I get a regular one and set Delaney in the basket part, the baby in the baby seat.
"I DON'T WANT TO RIDE IN THE CART!" She screams. Did I mention that on the way to the store she had fallen asleep in the car and I had to wake her up? Did I mention what a MONSTER she is when that happens? No? Oh. Well. She did, I did and she is.
"I don't care," I say. Reasonably calm. "We will do this fast. In and out, quick and it will be done." Just like sex.
"WAHHHHHH," scream the baby.
"I'm being good mom," says Nick. Kiss up, I think.
"Yes, you are. Thank you. Would you like to carry the list?" I ask him. He takes it and Delaney screams again.
People are starting to stare and I've only been in the door 30 seconds. I seriously contemplate turning around and leaving. And would have, if we weren't in such desperate need of so many things. I could tell that it was not going to go well.
Ok. Breath in. Not too deeply. Why does Walmart always smell like old socks? Breath out. Ok. You can do this. Bananas. Check. Apples. Check.
And on down the list. If I keep the cart moving, Delaney can't try and crawl over the side so I grab things as I rush by. Tortillas. Check. Bread. Why do they never have the kind of bread I like?? Ok, fine. I'll get this one. About 5 loaves of it because suddenly toast is all Nick will eat. Which is also why I need a new toaster. Next aisle... Ok, lady, yes, I see you're in a motorized cart. That doesn't mean you can park it sideways in the aisle. I know you can see me, don't act so enthralled with that box of rice. It says 90-seconds. Now move. MOVE!
"Excuse me," I say politely. Not a flicker. Do I ram her? Tempted. Sigh. "EXCUSE ME!"
She moves about 2 inches. Sigh. I inch around her. I may have accidentally bumped her.
"Nick! Get off the floor!"
"Nick, get over here! NOW!"
"Nick, look out. They are trying to get around you."
"Nick, let me have the li...Nick. Where is the list??"
"Dunno," he shrugs.
I have to get Delaney out because there isn't room anymore. Grand.
"Nick and Delaney! Come back here!"
"Delaney! PUT THAT DOWN!"
"But I love it! I want it!" She whines.
"You don't even know what it is."
"MOM!" Nick shouts! "Crush cups! I have to have these!"
"You don't like yogurt."
"BUT CRUSH CUPS! I know I'd like them."
Ah, the wonders of advertising. With a clever enough campaign, I bet they could even make the kid willing to drink his own urine. Because usually when I suggest yogurt, he acts like that's exactly what I've asked him to do.
Anyway...I finish my shopping, sans list, shouting and hollering at three children. Is there any wonder that I forgot several prime items? It's tough to make tacos without taco shells. If one more person looked at me and said "Looks like you have your hands full! Ha, ha!" when they meant "God woman, curb your frickin' kids!" I was going to impale them on that pitchfork.
In the check out line, I get the woman who bags groceries like she no doubt drives...15 miles below the speed limit. And I like my canvas bags. But she obviously hated them and she made sure I noticed how much more difficult they were for her to deal with. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone in line. I could read their minds. And it wasn't nice. Then I pull out my checkbook and cash to pay, and I swear I could hear people behind me moan. Hey. Give me a break people! At least I'm not counting out pennies.
To sum things up: I got groceries. I got all three kids in the car. I got us home. I got all groceries put away. I got migraine.