Thursday, May 22, 2014

Banana Maddie and The Jolly Rancher Kid

     This is a story about a happy graduation day that took a terrible turn.  Happiness and joy were changed into chaos and sheer terror.  I truly believed that nothing could bring me down from the high that I was on watching my sole male heir Jesse graduate the 5th grade, but an unexpected right hook from one of my old foes and arch enemy did just that.  That's right, after months of avoiding the horror that is Sam Walton's home for the everyday low prices, I had to walk down that treacherous road once more.  I was not alone.  I had children with me.  You see, I live by a certain code.  I will not back down from any challenge, and I am a firm believer in Spartan law.  Spartan law dictates that there is "No Retreat and No Surrender," and by Spartan law I will fight and I may die.  The Wal-Mart is a place of unspeakable horrors and the walls of this hell on earth should only be breached if there is no other choice.  On this day.....I had no choice.  The line in the sand had been drawn, and as usual I stepped right across it.  Hold on tight.  Things are gonna get rough.

     Even though I almost knocked over a lady with a walker, and had to use my ninja stealth to escape a bottleneck of epic proportions in the sanctuary of the church- Jesse's graduation ceremony went great, and I am extremely proud of that young man.  To be honest, he could do just about anything and I would be proud, but he's proven that he is just as good at Algebra as he is at baseball.  Well almost.  We left intact and safe, but danger was lurking.

      The first thing we did was take Jesse out to eat as a reward for graduating and a year of making A's and B's, and just being a fine young man.  He chose Mexican, mainly because of the cheese dip.  We sat and ate our food, and despite a false alarm of Maddie spewing said cheese dip all over the table, things were looking good.  How in the world could this day go bad?  Outside of paying $8 dollars for cheese dip- my pocket contained the answer.

     We left the restaurant and I reached in my pocket to retrieve my vehicle keys, and I pulled out a list.  Not just any list, but a list that would take me to the very gates of hell.  A Wal-Mart list.  I prepared the children for what was to come.  A trip to Wal-Mart in peak afternoon/lunch business time.  The only thing worse is weekday evening or Saturday night.  There's some freaky stuff going on in Wal-Mart on Saturday night.  I would rather drive a nail into my skull than go into that freak show, but I had to do what I had to do.  We needed stuff to make wraps for a baseball tournament this weekend and food to eat the remainder of the week.  There was no other option but to hit this beast in the mouth and get nasty.  State law requires us to feed the children, so I really had no choice but to ENTER THE WAL-MART!

     It started in the parking lot when a lady driving one of those scooter things almost ran over my foot.  She did apologize, but I knew this was a shot across the bow from Sam and his minions as a warning.  Right inside the door the buggy's were jammed up and wouldn't come apart, as usual.  I had to do some serious pushing and pulling to free the shopping cart from the almost welded together row.  Right inside the door were princess gummies that Maddie wanted, and I made a deal with her.  I told her if she behaved well while we shopped I would buy them for her.  This prompted Jesse to tell me about his desire to purchase some Jolly Ranchers.  We continued ducking and weaving through traffic to find our desired items.  Toothpaste, Wrap Stuff, Potato Chips, Maddie throwing all sorts of things in the buggy that I have to return to the shelves.  Wait there's a sale on peach flavored air fresheners.  Who doesn't need peach flavored air fresheners?  Hold on, me!  That's who.  Damn you Sam.  Moving on.  Coffee creamer, Greek yogurt, Milk, Eggs, Provolone Cheese, man those Cosmic Brownies look good.......keep on task!!  We were actually making pretty good progress with very little evil resistance, but was this all a trick to  lull me into a false sense of security?  Maybe.  I almost ran over a lady in yoga pants in the spaghetti aisle, and I saw two young guys going all mack daddy on some gal over by the bacon.  I told Jesse to go and get PowerAde or whatever drink he wanted for the weekend, and lickety split he was there and back.  That boy is fast.  I used his speed to get the pound of hamburger and chicken strips, but it was around this time that I noticed that Maddie had disappeared.

     After a few moments of panic I finally found her hanging out in the candy aisle holding a package of those single serving Macaroni and Cheese things and some kind of chocolate cereal.  I told her not to run off again and she agreed.  We continued.  However, Maddie continued her rebellion and demanded that we buy flowers for her mother.  I told her, "Your mother doesn't need any flowers!"  This prompted some nasty looks from the women that were in my general vicinity at the time.  I wanted to say, "Like you would let a 5 year old buy a bouquet of flowers," but I resisted the urge.  I went toward the ice cream, and I almost ran over yoga pants again.  The next stop was produce.  I had a certain kind of spinach to buy and it took me a while to find it, and I saw Jesse trying to herd Maddie away from the Banana stand out of the corner of my eye.  I found my spinach and moved on to tomatoes, but some dude was serious about his tomato purchase and he took a long time to make up his mind.  I am a firm believer in grocery store etiquette, and I won't reach across someone who is looking at a certain item unless it is absolutely necessary.  I had to this time, and as I was picking up my tomatoes I raised my head up to see.......Maddie standing literally on top of the banana stand thing.  She was like the queen of the banana mountain.  Jesse was attempting to coax her down, but she wasn't budging.  Sort of looked like one of those police shows where the officer is trying to stop someone from jumping off a building of something.  I know folks were thinking, "That poor child, she can't help it.  People just let their kids run wild."  Problem is, I don't.  Wal-Mart brings out the worst in us.  Heck, it made Maddie climb to the top of a Banana display.  Who knows why people do what they do?  Sam Walton knows.  Don't you doubt it for a second.  I ran over and pulled Maddie down from her banana perch, and I heard a few "bless his heart" comments, but I tried to stay on task.

     I was able to get all the items on my list and I thought I was going to make it out alive, but I still had to check out.  I know this will be hard to believe, but they didn't have nearly enough check-out lines open.  Wal-Mart is known for always opening another register when more than 3 people are in a line, right?  Yeah, right.  My ice cream was melting while Maddie was screaming about princess gummies and Jesse was putting a Jolly Rancher package in my face.  What the heck is a Jolly Rancher anyway?  Can someone explain that whole deal to me.  Are ranchers really jolly?  Is a take off on the Jolly Roger of pirate lore?  Maybe it all makes sense, because if I was one to partake in an adult beverage, I'm not, but if I was I might be drinkin' up me hearties yo ho!  Especially, after this trip to Wally World.

     Finally, another register was opened.  We were able to check out before either my perishables perished or I came unglued.  Between an attempt to fetch the desired "Frozen" princess gummies, and a lively discussion about fruit (fitting if you ask me) with the lady checking me out at the Wal-Mart I was going in all different directions.  I tasked Jesse "Speedy the Flash" to do his thing and retrieve said gummies, and just like always he did not disappoint.  The lady at the check out wasn't sure what my mangoes were, and asked me to name that fruit.  I did, but I have to admit, many times in the past I have either purchased or wanted to purchase fruit and I did not know the correct way to eat it.  That's what Google is for I suppose.  We did escape, with all the items on the list!  My ice cream melted a little more when we stepped out into the 90 degree heat of an Alabama afternoon in May.  I reckon that was like a good bye kiss from Wal-Mart.  Until we meet again!  Next time, I'll have one of those kid leash things to prevent one of my children from climbing any fruit displays.  That's all I got.