Sunday, July 05, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

No good deed goes unpunished.

As a mother, I should know that. As a shopper, however, it never occurred to me.

It also never crossed my mind that my comeuppance would come in the form of a broken toe.

Before I tell you how I managed that, I'm going back to the beginning.

I am a dutiful shopper.

I follow the aisles the way that marketing psychologists intended. I weave my way through the produce section first and then meander around the outer edges of the store, picking up meat and eggs and milk before getting lost in the mire that is in the middle.

And when I say lost, I mean literally.

I walk around for nearly a half hour looking for the beer (beer being the only food group, in my husband's estimation anyway, that is improperly placed in the wasteland that is the store's processed food island). I have a distinct Deer-in-the-Headlights expression with a touch of Zombie when I finally find it and heft a case of some high-priced India Pale Ale into the cart.

But that's not what I really mean when I say dutiful.

My follow-the-rules personality flaw continues past the checkout to the parking lot, where the design of the cart corrals has always made me suspect that the designer might have also gotten lost in the beer aisle. Why else would a shared shopping cart park be accessible from only one row and impossible to squeeze carts through if cars are parked next to it? The answer has to be the Demon Drink.

No matter. Where there's a will there's a way, right? No one wants to have some errant cart bashing in the side of their minivan all because the last driver was too lazy to put it back.

When the kids were small, I'd leave them in the cart while I packed the car with our haul, and then we'd make a final drive back to the store or to the cart corral.

Now the kids are bigger and more likely to flee the scene or get into trouble if they're not strapped into their seats as I offload the natural granola bars and organic cheese puffs that they require in their lunches. I can't have them playing chicken in the parking lot with the other abandoned carts, you understand.

Instead I bribe them with one of the tasty-treats they were allowed for being quiet and docile in the store if they will sit tight while I run the cart across two lanes of parking spots to the badly designed car corral.

But as they sit and slurp their Gogurt (or whatever liquid sugar-y substance that comes in a plastic tube) du' jour, I have somehow managed to run the front wheels of the oversized kid-friendly/parent-mocking car shaped like a car right into the side of my foot.


And with each step back to the car it just gets worse

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Owwwwwwwwwwwwww.

It's broken. The toe is broken.

As I drive the throbbing only increases.

This isn't good. Usually time has a way of taking pain away, or at least dulling it.

I pull into the driveway.

Conspicuously missing is my husband's car.

There's no one to help me schlep two kids and six bags of groceries (not to mention that case of IPA) up the stairs and into the house.

And wouldn't you know it? Every single time the kids jump around in the waning light of approaching bedtime and processed sugar they somehow land on my battered, ballooning and now blackening toe.

Like I said, no good deed goes unpunished.

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