Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Maybe Val Should Write a Primer to Prepare High School Graduates for Everyday Life

Just like Val's mom had a penchant for serving up expired foodstuffs, and Hick has a penchant for collecting figurines such as Thomas Jefferson sitting on a boot taking a crap, (or a wine glass for a proctologist that says, "Bottoms Up!"), The Pony has a penchant for selecting damaged packages off the shelf at Walmart.

The Pony is my right-hand man. My legs. My go-for guy. I tear the shopping list in half, and send him off to the far reaches of the store. I should have learned by now that if a can has a dent, The Pony will pick it up. A box with a crushed corner? It finds its way into my cart, courtesy of The Pony's selection process. Ripped labels? Puffs With Lotion already torn open? A multipack of lunch Cheetos with two bags stale due to open seams? A 12-pack box of soda which spilled cans out the end due catastrophic glue failure? Hand soap with the spout already screwed open, thus dispensing liquid antibacterial goodness in the bag on the way into the house? There are too many incidents to blame coincidence.

So I should have known better. Really. There's no excuse. I only saved a few steps. One more aisle, and I could have done it myself. But no. I met The Pony on the beverage aisle. No need to make my little pack mule carry two 12-packs of soda (what with their tendency to come unglued in his hands), and a six-pack of his IBC Root Beer (in BOTTLES), and a pack of Great Value Cherry Limeade powder. So I took the cart. All I had to do was turn the corner and grab them myself. But no. He had that end of the list.

"Okay, Mom. Now I'll go get the eggs."

Foolish me. I started along the frozen food bins. The Pony could catch up to me by the chicken wings, or in the produce section. And he did. Sure, he set one end of the egg carton down on the bananas I had selected. I pointedly removed it. Only for him to toss two blue boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix on their tender yellow skin.

"Pony. No. That will bruise the bananas. We don't set anything on top of the bananas but bread. Something soft. Not heavy or with corners."

"Oh. I did not know that." Kind of like when I told him he could use the car brakes while making a turn.

A brief disagreement arose at the deli area, where I picked up a bag of already-boiled eggs.

"Ew! That's just wrong."

"Why? I've bought them before. The date is way good."

"I draw the line at buying eggs already boiled and peeled."

"Of course. Because they're going into a 7-layer salad that you are not going to eat."

"Still. That's wrong. Don't get them."

"Okay. I have the dozen eggs. I'll take 15 minutes to boil them. Then cool them in the sink in cold water for an hour. Then dry them off. Then let them sit in the fridge overnight. Then peel them. THEN slice them for the salad. It will only take me about an extra hour and a half."

"Get them then."

"No. Seeing as how you disapprove so much, I won't."

"Please! Get them."

"No. I'm good. Let's check out."

"Awww...I feel really bad now. I'm going back to get your boiled eggs."

"No. It's fine. We're already here."

We made it to the check-out line and parted ways. The Pony went off to the arcade to play a shooting game. Funny how he gave up the driving game once I started insisting that he get his license. I only had one person ahead of me. The perks of shopping at noon on a Wednesday at the end of the month. The checker was a veteran of the Walmart army. She must enjoy the perks of working weekdays, nine to five. Very efficient. Conscientious bagger. She made sure to set my eggs in a bag by themselves, up on top of the carousel. "There are your eggs." Yes indeedy. I put them in the child-seat of my cart, and only placed a loaf of french bread on top.

I made it to T-Hoe before The Pony was done massacring. I had most of the stuff out of the cart by that time.

"You go ahead and get in. I'll do it and put back the cart, Mom."

"Okay. That's the cold stuff. Wedge that heavy bag with the pasta sauce and paper plates against the soda so it doesn't slide."

Yep. We had it covered. A relatively simple shopping trip. Once home, The Pony declared that he was carrying everything in. That I did not even need to get them out of T-Hoe's rear and put them on the side porch for him. Inside, I told him I was going to put the eggs on to boil while we put away the groceries.

"I think I'll boil the whole dozen. I really want about eight. But I might want a boiled egg for something else during the week." The Pony got out my big pan, and I opened up the carton. "Um. Pony? This one has a crack in it. See? Throw it out to the dogs." I ran the cold water in the bottom of the pan. Started setting eggs in. "Pony? This one here in the corner is stuck. Look. It's like a star indentation. Leaked out. Throw it to the dogs." Egg, egg, pan. Egg, egg, pan. "Uh. This one has a big crack down the side. Throw it to the dogs."

"I feel really bad. You should have gotten the already-boiled eggs!"

"No need to feel bad. It's done. I should have known better than to send you for eggs. I guess I will just boil nine. Didn't you check to see if any were cracked? That first one you could see as soon as I flipped open the lid."

"No. Nobody ever told me of such things."

"How are you going to survive out on your own?"

"I don't know! I don't know any of this."

"Okay. When you buy eggs, you open the lid and look. Maybe feel to see if they're stuck or loose."

"All right."

"Now at least you know about buying eggs. Not to put sharp things on top of the bananas. And how to slow the car down when making a turn."

We've got a long way to go.


  1. Hmmm...dented can, crumpled box, ripped labels, open seems, didn't check eggs and wiggle each one, yup did them all before I even reached wife #2. I was good with the 12 pack thing though, probably my experience with beer cans in college.

    1. You obviously respond well to training...with the exception of dressing appropriately for government men.

  2. Three things down, 18 million, 768 thousand, 352 more things to go...

    1. Or approximately 643 things to learn a day, for the rest of his life. Good thing he's a quick study. I already warned him about the wine bottle cap corkscrew, so there's ONE less.

  3. School only educates about useless things like grammar and algebra. The real learning comes when mom sends a kid shopping.

    1. Hey, now! My bread and butter comes from teaching kids useless things! I can't go shopping for bread and butter without teaching the useless things. Does that qualify as irony? Because all that book-learnin', and me being a valedictorian, and I'm STILL not sure about irony.

      I really wish I'd begged my teachers back then: "WAIT! Explain it more! I'm going to need irony in my everyday life!"

  4. I'm good about checking the eggs. But I can't tell you how many times I've been chewed out for bringing home a dented can of something. I think you have a long road ahead.

    1. You were probably more focused on parading around the store showing off your legs in those state-line-crossing short-shorts!

  5. Oh dear; you do have along way to go. I'm thinking POST-It REMINDERS for college dudes. You could make a, that is.
    Don't you have some chickens out your way, laying hens?

    1. Too bad I didn't have the idea first, and pen a book called "Sh*t My Mom Knows."

      We do indeed have laying hens. We even beat the dogs--I mean DOG, not my Sweet, Sweet Juno--to the eggs sometimes. They are delicious, with their deep-orange rich yolks, for scrambling or frying. But when boiled, the peel does not want to separate. They are too fresh.