As I’ve already reported on Facebook today, I started my day by letting the dog out and forgetting to let him back in. Luckily, the First Mate saw him out there and pushed the door open and let him in or he might still be out there. Barely 15 months. Impressive.

When I picked the Little Pirate up from Pre-K today, she wanted to go to the store. This was convenient timing since the pantry has been bare and the refrigerator empty for at least 4 days now. We headed off to our neighborhood Safeway for provisions.

The Little Pirate is obsessed with the “Baby Cart.” It’s a mini-shopping cart they have in the store.  It’s cute for sure, but I have to watch that she doesn’t mow anyone down, fill it with shit we don’t need, or smash into that pyramid of glass Pellegrino bottles that someone erroneously thought they had expertly placed in the middle of the store. Little Pirate pulled a bag of dry beans off the shelf and ran down the aisle and asked me if we needed them. I said no and she headed off to put them back. Those bags are plastic though, and if you have ever touched them you know that once you touch one, the others below it go slipping and sliding. I watched as the Pirate kept putting the bag back, then grunting “Arrgh” (which she clearly got from me) and trying to reason with the bag of beans. I heard her say “Come on beans! Stay there! Arrgh!”

We made it through the store without pissing off too many people and then it was time to select a checkout line.

Here’s my patent-pending formula for selecting the line: If I have too many items to self-checkout, then I look for the shortest line and cross-reference that with the cashier. If that cashier has proven themselves to be incompetent on a prior visit to the store, then I go to the next longest line.

Here’s how the Little Pirate selects a line: She assesses the balloons at each entrance, proclaims (after I already chose the line) that she doesn’t like Cinderella (she’s the balloon flying above my register line) and she wants to go in the Elsa line.

At this point I was clear for landing. The person in front of me in the Cinderella line was paying. I stood there with my jaw dropped. She insisted on the Elsa line, which was three-deep. I shook my head. She said “Elsa Line!” I could see this getting ugly. I said, “So you want me to leave this line here, where we are at the front, to be fourth in line just so that you can walk by an Elsa balloon?”

She looked at me like I was a moron. “Yes.”

I begrudgingly moved my cart just a couple inches toward her while not yet giving up hope on the empty line.

Then, this happened:

Me: I hope one day when you’re at your therapist bitching about how bad a mother I was that you remember this time.
Pirate, nods.
Guy Behind Me: Why is no one in this line? I feel like I’m missing something.
Me: Oh. You’re not. I was in that line.
Guy Behind Me: Do you want to get back in?
Me: No, because that line has a Cinderella balloon and this line has an Elsa balloon, and if we don’t get in this long line over here so that she can walk by the Elsa balloon, she will systematically ruin everyone’s life in this store.

Guy Behind Me becomes Guy in Front of Me.

Lady in front of me in new line, giggling. And, we wait. And wait. And wait.

Me: Pirate, look. That guy who was behind us who we let in front of us is bagging up his groceries over there. And he’s leaving. That could be us right now.

Lady in front of me, turns around, laughing: You are a good mom. We go through this all the time with my grandkids.

Then, finally, we get up to the belt. Yes! It’s our turn! Pirate starts unloading the Baby Cart with all her food, and I unload mine. Pirate says she’s going to return her cart. I tell her “Just over there and come back.” I watch her walk over to where the carts are but she won’t let it go. I motion for her to come back. She says okay.

I went back to the line and finished unloading the rest of the food, trying to expedite as quickly as possible since the line behind me is now 5-deep. I look up to see where the Little Pirate is just in time to hear someone announce my name over the store’s loud speaker.

“Customer Bad Mom, could you come to the (garbled.)” I told the cashier I would be right back and ran over to where I knew the Pirate was…standing behind the floral counter talking to the employee there.  Even though she calls me by my first name most days I guess I should be proud that she got it right on command.

Though I would much prefer that tomorrow doesn’t start with me forgetting the dog and ending with being paged over the Safeway loudspeaker.

The Cinderella Line is for Suckers

The Cinderella Line is for Suckers