Tuesday, March 9, 2021

SOL21 Slice 9: Can't clip his wings


I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing 
 every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

Tony always carries a list at the store. If I want something in particular, I spell it out on the list. This list-writing, oh my goodness - what a stressor. Seriously, list-making has proven to be one of my most consistently challenging tasks of this pandemic - and, I know how tremendously lucky I am to write that line! It is yet another way, in a seemingly unending list of ways (pun intended!), that this pandemic has taught me that I am not in control. 

You see, Tony does all our shopping. Yes, all of our shopping. All of our household errands. Everything! 

He had already been doing much of this, pre-pandemic. Tony retired four years ago, and I was still teaching. We were both astonished at what household chores looked like when one person is home full-time; it was a lovely division of labor in our home. He took over almost all of the household shopping and meal-making during the week; I taught full-time, and often cooked something special on the weekend. 

I say all this just as a preamble - when the pandemic happened, I was already very accustomed to not going into stores. I have never been much of a shopper. I really am not. 

When the pandemic began, we had a series of long, hard conversations about going to stores. I didn't think we should go at all. I thought we should get very organized and started ordering on-line, as so many people we knew were doing. Tony didn't see it my way at all; he was convinced there was a way to go in, get what you need, and get out; he wanted to do it. I guess you'd say we have different tolerance levels for risk? A friend shared about her husband - "you can't clip his wings" - and I realized that my husband was the same way. So, even though Tony is closer to 70 years of age and I was only 60, when the pandemic began, Tony's cemented his role as shopper.

It doesn't make sense, to me, for both of us to be in the stores. I am completely fine not going; Tony enjoys getting out and about. This is the balance we have struck, to get through this pandemic - and here we are at the one year mark. 

He typically goes at "senior hours" (and I have learned to not freak out when it is not senior hours). He is always very careful, keeping socially-distant, wearing a mask, and moving through the store quickly, efficiently; he is very responsible even when he gets back home, taking care to put everything away, wash his hands, wipe things down, as needed. 

We plan meals together and take turns cooking. 

Most of the time, the system works beautifully. But, every now and again, there's a mistake with the purchases. The mistakes vary and, unlike in pre-pandemic times, they are not easily remedied by me running back to the store. I try my very best to swallow my frustration with minimal groaning (I wonder if he thinks so? I should ask him. ha!). Let's be real, these are pretty simple mistakes in the midst of everything else that is wrong in this world right now. 

One part of my process for letting-go - I pretend we ordered the groceries on-line. Yes, call me crazy, I sometimes mutter, "geez, the on-line ordering certainly misunderstood this item!" Then I imagine myself on one of those competitive cooking shows, "hmm, what fabulous thing can I make with THIS item, instead?"  

I am truly appreciative that Tony does all the shopping on our behalf! 

How many times have you gone shopping this past year of pandemic? I have been in a retail environment fewer than the fingers on one hand - seriously! (Lest you think I have become some sort of hermit recluse, please know - I get outside every single day, regardless of weather. I love walking, hiking. I'm just avoiding crowds and the indoors.)

Pre-pandemic, during pandemic, post-pandemic - these three distinct timeframes we will all be referring to for the rest of our lives. Well, I do hope we get to speak of post-pandemic. We are not quite there yet, but I see light! I have hope.

I wonder how weird it's going to feel to be back in the stores? 

"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out 
with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one."
- Erma Bombeck


  1. The dance of marriage twirls around us regardless of pandemic. Your dance is a graceful one, a loving tale of leading and following and what to do with the occasional toe stepping (wrongful purchase!)

    1. Thank you! Yes, you can see the dance of marriage.

  2. Love this!

    It’s always fun to get a glimpse of how other households are navigating these waters.

    1. It is different from house to house, isn't it? This pandemic has us all thinking through things differently.

  3. Aren’t we lucky to have husbands who will venture into the grocery store! I chuckled reading that you pretend the online ordering system messed up the order. Ken laughed at that, too! He’s much more willing to venture out than am I, although we both go together for the big haul. I keep a running list of things I need sitting on the counter. That’s another Ken influence. Maybe I should tell him to be more like Tony do I don’t have to go at all! Fun post. I needed the levity.

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed! We keep that running list, too - much needed, we are constantly forgetting things.

  4. I liked the part where you wrote about imagining yourself as a contestant on a competitive cooking show...perfect! :-) You are lucky to have a husband who is willing to do the shopping! Count your blessings! :-) ~JudyK

    1. Yes, I am very, very grateful for my husband! I know it is truly a blessing.

  5. Maureen, your grace and joyful attitude comes through loud and clear. I'm sure Tony feels the love. I too hope we can have lots of post-pandemic memories of joy and release! Thanks for this today.

    1. Yes, post-pandemic memories of joy and release!