So now we’ve made it into the Wal Mart and I’ve got a list… Well… My daughter’s got the list… well… She had the list… My head hurts… Turns out she dropped the list at the store entrance while kicking her brother… She runs off to retrieve it… In the meantime… I’m wondering… ” If she knows exactly where she dropped it… why did she not pick it up then?” My head hurts more.
Now Auntie is very protective of the little princess… VERY protective! “Why are you letting her wander around the Wal Mart all by herself?!” she wails, in a voice that has the nearest clerk eyeing us suspiciously. “She’s gonna get kidnapped!” Doesn’t matter that I can see the girl from where I’m standing… “Hurry up kid!!” I’m thinking… “She’s gonna blow”… I can tell by the way Auntie’s hands are fluttering around the fanny pack that there’s gonna be a meltdown real soon if’n the kid is not within touching range in about 30 seconds… She makes it… Auntie checks her for missing limbs and we move on.
This is a Super Wal Mart… Milk waaaay to the left… in the back… Everything else we need… waaaay to the right. Did I mentions Auntie’s bad back? We’re still at the front of the store… We can still leave… We don’t.
Milk first! We head right down the center of the store… 30 feet in there’s cookies… Chips Ahoy! “Dad!.. Dad!… Why can’t we get cookies?” “Forget it” I growl… By the time we make the left turn, there are 4 packages of Chips Ahoy! in the cart and Auntie is assuring me that the cookies are hers… did I mention Auntie is diabetic?
On the way to the milk… The kids argue…wander… beg… plead… run each other over… bump into at least three people… and we lose Auntie… Auntie’s wandered off into a side aisle and is fingering a pair of red Crocs in a size 12 when we find her… Of course, she hasn’t answered the kid’s repeated screeches of ” AUNTIE!!”… “AUNTIE!!”… Not even when we are 10 feet away.
We reach the milk 30 minutes after we walked through the door… There’s a kids shirt, a dress and a 12 pack of Bounty paper towels in one of the carts by now… All courtesy of Auntie… Did I mention the 40 rolls of Bounty paper towels already at the house?
We now need dog food, cat food, cat litter, fish food, a collar and ID tag for the new cat (our 4th), deodorant, band aids and light bulbs.
Two and half hours later… I’m shepherding 3 carts, and my 3 charges towards the checkout lanes… All are grumpy… and hungry… And Auntie needs a smoke. Of course… This being Wal Mart… There is not one lane with less than 300 people in line… We pick the one closest to where #2 son runs over my toe with 100 pounds of dog food… Did I mention my ingrown toenail?
Now… We go through the ritual of the line… the kids dash back and forth grabbing and begging for all of the little geegaws that some devious mind at Wal Mart Central has decreed be placed around the registers. Auntie is in Tabloid Heaven… She’s got time to read maybe 3… And while it takes her mind off of cigarettes… I have to be informed of every pound that Oprah has gained and that the Antichrist lives in a trailer park in Kansas and that wrinkles can be cured by a preparation originally discovered by the ancient Egyptians that consists of crocodile dung and beaver fat… This is all gospel as far as Auntie is concerned… Just like Ed McMann’s promises that she’s gonna win $10 million any day now… Of course… Between articles… Auntie is busy approving various and sundry items that I’ve told the children they can’t have.
$287 later… They’re all begging to hit the McDonald’s by the exit… “To go only!” I moan. I’m beaten down into a mere shadow of the guy who looked out of the mirror at me this morning… I’m not sure I’m gonna make it out to the parking lot at this point… let alone home… Please God… Don’t let me die at the Wal Mart! God answers my prayer… Only because He’s got further tribulations for me to endure… We’ve still got to get this stuff home. There’s almost 300 pounds of pet supplies alone in them there carts!
We’re out the door and into traffic with the carts when #2 son yells “DAD!!”… He’s been snagged by the little old lady at the door looking for a receipt… She won’t let him out… Did I mention that I told her that I had 3 carts when she checked my receipt?… Never mind. I park Auntie and the Princess in the cart aisle and head in to rescue the boy… I look back and Auntie’s lighting up.
By the time the boy and I reach the other two… Auntie’s on her second smoke and the girl child has spilled a red slurpee down the front of the white shirt and tan pants she’s wearing… And since there’s no more slurpee… she’s busily digging through the bags for some other sugar laden item to consume… #2 son now feels deprived and an argument ensues regarding what’s fair and what’s not… I’m called in to mediate. Auntie over rules me… cookies are passed out… Another cig is lit… We’re still 50 yards from the van… I’m sure I can feel the left side of my face drooping… Is this what it feels like to have a stroke?