Thursday, February 10, 2011


Elizabeth Willis Barrett

I had great plans to keep my mind and thinking abilities with me to the grave, but after a few more experiences reminiscent of the shopping cart fiasco (see my Blog Post of 7-24-10 ), I am beginning to doubt just a bit if that will be possible.

Two Sundays ago when all the kids and grandkids came to dinner, I set everything out on the counter and made sure everyone had what they needed. Then I served up a plate for myself. Twice. I didn’t know it was twice, but when dinner was over and clean-up began, there was a plate sitting on the counter sporting a small serving of Chicken Tetrazzini and a helping of salad dressed with Ranch. No one claimed it and just to set the record straight, Alli quietly said, “Mom, that plate is yours. I saw you dish it up.” I had not an ounce of recollection that I had dished out a plate for myself before I dished out a plate for myself. The kids are already taking dibs on who won’t have to take care of me in my demented state.

Then last Thursday I painstakingly gathered and organized a lot of coupons to take to Fry’s Food and Drug. I don’t always use coupons, but once in a while it is nice to hear, “Well, Ma’am, you spent 61 dollars and saved 65.”

I spent lots of time in the store looking for the brands that coincided with the coupons but finally got up to the checkout counter manned (or is that “womaned”) by a very nice cashier. If I had been Brad, I would have paid attention to her name pinned to her chest and used it five or six times in friendly conversation. But even though I talked to her about how good it feels to save money with coupons, I didn’t notice her name so I’ll just call her Peggy. Peggy was great. She didn’t act perturbed that I had a stack of coupons for her to scan or that I insisted that she make sure that I had 10 participating products so I could get my $5.00 off.

I waited for her to tell me how much I had saved but since she didn’t ever say it, I figured I could look on the receipt when I got home. She did, however, hand me a rain check for Armour Meatballs which were on sale for $1.99 and for which I had a coupon, bringing the price down to $ .99. What a deal! No wonder they were out of them.

The bagger bagged my groceries and asked if I needed help out. I always say “no” to that question because, frankly, I hate to small talk and that is what you have to do if you’re walking side by side with a young man who is pushing your cart while you’re pointing out which car is yours.

So I thanked Peggy and rolled my cart out all by myself and even found my car without any problem, which is something to be grateful for.

I had just loaded the last 12pack of Dr. Pepper—which, honestly, I only use for medicinal purposes and to pacify Kyle—and I had searched for and found the Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix that I wanted to eat on the way home, when I heard it. It was a hostile yell thrown in my direction. Stunned, I turned with my hand still exerting the effort necessary to bring down the hatch back. And there was Peggy running toward me, yelling again. “You didn’t pay!” she accused. “You didn’t pay!”

“What?” I asked. “What are you talking about? I swiped my card. How could I not have paid?” Obviously I had paid if I had swiped my card and I definitely remembered doing that.

“It didn’t go through,” she said, just as flustered as I was feeling. I was ready to be home after spending an hour and a half with the coupons.

So back I went into the store looking and feeling like a very naughty child who had been caught stealing a Snickers Bar. Peggy found the mistake when the next woman in line—a young mother toting two children—said there must be some error when her bill came to $156.00. Peggy had added my $92 bill to hers! And that woman refused to pay it. Humph! Peggy had never completed my sale and that’s why I never got a receipt. The reason my Visa card didn’t go through is because she never hit the right buttons.

So, come to think of it, this was not my problem at all and I shouldn’t even be bringing it up in this mindless essay. Only, I should have realized that I had never signed anything and I had never received a receipt. Maybe the Rain Check had thrown us both off. Anyway, Peggy didn’t apologize so I felt like it was all my fault. And the whole incident made me feel a little old and again, a little mindless. Thank goodness they hadn’t sent a security guard out to haul me back into the store at gunpoint.

The happening that made me feel the most mindless happened last Friday night. We had most of the kids over for a movie night so their parents could go out without them. All eight were mostly great. The only fussy one was Dax who is usually so congenial. I thought I would be able to rock him to sleep but he wouldn’t drink his bottle. He was getting quite upset before his parents got back. And when they did and heard my report, they discovered that I had failed to remove the hidden cap on his bottle. So Dax wasn’t getting any milk and that’s why he was having a hard time and giving me a hard time, too. I knew about the cap. I had taken it off many bottles before, but on Friday my mind let that small detail slip. I could have traumatized the kid for life, bringing on waves of anxiety and unfulfilled expectations.

These are just a few incidences that have added to my fear of mindlessness. In conclusion, I am prompted to write the following, which you may sing if you like:

Oh give me a Home where the old people roam
While the kids and the grandkids all pray
That I will pass on before my money’s all gone
And there I’ll bask in dementia all day.


Jennie Blaser said...

Laughed the second time around as well. Thanks for sharing today! It was a great meeting.

Juliepoolie said...

Another wonderful rendition. I love, love, love your writing. Sad thing is that the "mindless" topic of this one is one that I can totally relate to! My only remaining joy in life comes when my kids tease me about my dementia and I smugly remind them that they will be changing my diapers before long.... Mwahahahahaha!

Tami Allred said...

hahahha, funny stories. You should read "Still Alice" hmmm maybe not it's kind of depressing of what's to come.

Jana said...

First of all, you obviously meant to make an extra plate so that you had leftovers for the next day before everyone ate it all.

Second of all, did you bother to fly my kids down for the movie night?

Third of all, I've never heard of a hidden bottle cap, so you're fine.

No dementia, yet, and I call that Alli will take care of you if any dementia were to occur. :)

LindaR said...

Oh Liz, can I just say that I have this warm feeling knowing that there are others out there that resemble myself in so many ways! I had such a good laugh reading this. You have a great talent!

Doreen said...

I'm not sure I would have the courage to return to that particular Fry's again - but maybe you could line up with another cashier. By the way - she should have apologized. Nobody treats my friends that way - do you have my cell phone number for emergencies? Love you!