After nine days of irresponsible and indulgent living--eating too much, too often; taking prodigious naps late in the day; wadding up the muddy hiking clothes and stuffing them into the canvas tote bag--we are home and must deal with the delayed duties.
We started yesterday. While Doug dealt with some issues with his mother and her house (which we are trying to sell), I tackled my own chores.
Three loads of laundry: done.
Three new pounds to lose: well, that'll take some time.
Stocking up on healthful groceries: Done. But it was an adventure.
They tore down our nearby Rainbow Foods early last spring, to build a new one, so we've been shopping wherever all summer--Cub, mostly, and SuperTarget, even though we don't approve of their anti-union ways. But while we were out of town, the new Rainbow opened, and I went there yesterday.
Wowser. Wowser. Wowser. What used to be a sort of shabby little grocery that nobody but us ever used (and we liked it that way) has become a grand and glorious structure that looks much like those McMansions of the suburbs--faux stone front, a steeply peaked roof, painted inside with soothing Pottery Barn greens and grays, filled with smiling people and balloons and flowers and lots of free samples. Just like a cocktail party, with no alcohol. (Though what would be the point of that?)
And at noon on a Wednesday, man, it was jam-packed with people. Jam-packed! Were they all on vacation, like me? And, like me, did they all decide to squander a vacation day by going grocery shopping?
I think it was the GRAND OPENING banner that attracted them. I've never seen the parking lot so crowded. And it's been landscaped, as well. I parked far down a distant row and tried to memorize the newly-planted sapling that I was next to.
When I came out again, with $98 of fresh vegetables and yogurt (and why is sensible eating always the least sensible for my wallet?) I couldn't find my car. This was embarrassing; this hasn't happened since the time I lost my old gray Toyota Tercel at the Target store in Duluth about 15 years ago. (I was with Mayme Sevander, from Russia, and she was even more clueless about cars than I am; she kept pointing at random cars that weren't gray and looked nothing like a Toyota, and saying, "Here it is! Here it is!")
Anyway, so here I am, wheeling my cart with the cockeyed wheel through the massive parking lot at Rainbow Foods, trying to find my car, and I realize that I am being followed. There is a large child-like man employed by Rainbow whose job it is to gather up all the carts, and he clearly had his eye on mine.
I sped up, pushing the full cart quicker and quicker up rows, down rows, between cars, and the man kept pace with me, about five steps behind me. To make matters even more embarrassing, as he walked he was playing the air guitar and singing, "Feliz Navidad."
I did finally find my car, wedged between, yes, a small new sapling and a gigantic white van. I stuffed my groceries in the back of my car, the air guitarist beamed broadly and seized my cart and rattled it back toward the store, and I drove home.
Doug said, "OK, what part of this story is actually true?"
But the truth is: all of it. Every word. It's just life in St. Paul.