That is the question I faced around 5:00 tonight with four kids strapped into their car seats and booster seats. We had just made a quick trip through the grocery store to pick up about 8 things. I had a recipe all picked out, something fast and simple, well except for the shoveling all four kids into the car at 4:30 and braving the county fair traffic that stands between our house and the grocery to pick up a handful of things i was missing. But yeah, fast and simple to make my night easier.
Grocery shopping with the four kids is one of those things that, as a mom, I like to avoid but am stubborn enough to never let it stand in my way. "I can do it, I'm Mom, i have to know how to manage them in the grocery store." And I have to say we manage pretty well. My kids didn't get run over by any unsuspecting shoppers, no produce displays were toppled...we didn't come home with a basket full of extraneous, begged for treats. In and out. That's right, get what you need to get so we can fly home and make that 25 minute meal. Before we knew it, we were back in the car, everyone in place and I felt energized by the lack of disaster until i realized....
I forgot to buy the olives. Olives, how could i have forgotten? It was one of the two main ingredients in my recipe.
"what's the matter mom?"
"why do you keep saying that"
"UUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGH, i forgot the OLIVES"
What do i do? I can't make dinner without them!
I could make something else, but i don't have any other recipes planned in my head.
I could improvise on the recipe i had. But the recipe says olives.
Have i ever told you that I don't really cook? I follow recipes and that's it. Veering away from what is printed in a book or magazine is a frightening to me. Improvisation or cooking on a whim? HA...that would be like me trying to read Japanese. I'm simply incapable. Cooking is not where i shine.
"Mommy, why can't we go back in and just buy them?"
Instead of responding with some more primitive grunting, I contemplated the suggestion. It would get me out of my predicament, but who on earth unbuckles all four of their children just to go back in and buy olives? Perhaps I should just grow a pair and cook without them, that's what any normal person would do.
But no, I was still a little high on mommy-satisfaction from the smooth-ness of our initial trip into the store. This was even easier, all i had to do was go get the olives and come back out. Hmmm, but the sky is starting to look very dark and grey. Eh, this will be fast. I think it was at this point i started removing myself from reality. Running in with four kids, buying Olives and running back out is not faster than an approaching storm. Hindsight is 20/20.
"OK, quick kids, lets go in, but lets be fast" I went into overdrive...this was going to be the fastest in/out ever in the history of grocery-shopping-mommyhood, determined to make the smallest dent in our time schedule as possible.
What good kids, we ran in and bought the olives and were in checkout before we knew it. ***Thinking to myself: "I'm so glad we went back in and bought the Olives...now I can make my super fast, make-life-easier, dinner***
Cashier: "Boy its really pouring out there"
Bagger: "Oh man, it sure is"
OK, no biggy, we just wait it out for a little bit. These storms don't last too long. "Come on kids, lets go wait outside under the roof until the rain slows down" 5 or 10 minutes later and its still pouring. But its letting up a little. I decided it was time to break for it. I run with the kids all the way to the van, splashing through huge puddles in my crocs that had only collected in the last 15 minutes or so. Sure we are getting drenched, but now we are in the homestretch...soon we'll be in the nice dry car, heading home.....in our nice dry mini-va--"
Kid, not sure what one: "Mom! Ohhhhh! Look! You left the door open!" followed by a slight squeal of excitement, because you know rain pouring into the minivan is kind of cool.
It seems in my moment of decision to go back into the store with lightening speed, i forgot to take care of a few things, such as....closing the sliding van door. My calm and cool, no-big-deal, grocery trip had turn into a sopping wet carpet floor in my mini-van thanks to my spastic, one-track mind (is that an oxymoron?). I loaded the kids back into the van, lifting them over the panama canal that now resided by the entrance. I sighed as I schlepped into the drives seat (at least my door was closed) and placed the olives in with the rest of the grocer...
"wait, where are my groceries? Where are the rest of my groceries that I bought?"
Kids: "I don't know, they aren't back here in the trunk"
It only took me 10 seconds or so to figure it out. I got back out of the car....it was only sprinkling now, walked over to the grocery cart that I had left beside the van before the "great rush for the olives"...picked up my pathetic looking little bag of groceries, dumping out the pool of rain that had collected inside, and tossed it into the car and drove home.
We made it back, with everything that i needed, but i felt a little defeated. Not by my kids, you know, the likely culprit. After all, that's why people say "You go grocery shopping with all four kids? I don't know how you do it.....why do you do it?" But I was defeated by my own self, my
1) Don't go back in, no matter what, don't go back in. You may think its worth it, but its really not
2)Olives are delish, but dinner is still edible and fills stomachs without them
3)A quick and easy dinner recipe isn't so quick and easy once you count the hour long trek for only 8 things and the wet van carpet I will be drying out for the next few days.
Oh, and the recipe was good, I'll make it again sometime.