Having braved the frigid tundra of rural Iowa in the pursuit of vittles for cookin’, I thought it made sense to share the experience with you, faithful readers.
As you can see, the day dawned crisp and well, freakin’ cold. As far as the eye can see ( a half mile) was an unending white sheet of newly fallen snow, (actually more like a skiff, which is between a few flurries and actual full coverage of ground by white stuff).
We traversed the landscape where no road had been drawn in record time and emerged onto the rock road unscathed and with all vehicle attachments such as mufflers, tailpipes, side mirrors and such, still intact. A slight pause to release the wheel locks and reset to normal driving mode soon followed. The heater pumped it’s heart out, as wafts of somewhat warm air bellowed from various vents.
We were off! Admonished to be ware of “ice” patches, we quickly came up to speed over the dark asphalt, cleared of the wintry flakes by high winds. Winds that have not diminished for days now and cut deeply into the body, reaching ugly tentacles betwixt cap and gloves and beginning the seepage of cold that will take hours at home later to evict.
Nothing is quite as grand as the blast of arctic air (thanks Canada!) that assaults one’s limbs in any parking lot of any decent size. Millions of Eskimo clad humans ( shaped as humans at least, since very little visage is viewable with the coats, hats, scarves and such), are waddling as fast as short legs can go streaming to the entrance of the mega store, that behemoth W A L M A R T.
The Contrarian is suitably dressed, although I nixed the Yooper hat. He grumbles about how farm folks know how to stay warm, but agrees to wear just the normal skull cap knit job. He’s been grumbling all morning, mentioning again and again, how he’s preparing a suitable reply to my scathing insults of yesterday on the blog. I have assaulted his masculinity it seems with the eyebrow hair incident.
Inside the store, one has to contend with the purposeful shopper (like me) with all the window shopping morons, hoping that the slower they proceed down any aisle will increase their chances of finding that elusive and unknown but perfect gift for uncle Albert. I want a horn on my cart to clear the way. Or, perhaps, God should be gracious enough to “part the carts” just once in a while?
The Contrarian collects a number of preset items. It’s not clear why these items are his responsibility, but they are. Dog and cat food, and bird food (finch and suet) are his first order of business. Then it’s on to the manly aisles which virtually smell of maleness. All manner of gadgets and potions suitable for car and machine. He locates more window plastic to finish off the weatherizing. We are of course now late on that, since winter has arrived, and it’s freakin’ cold. Did I mention that?
For reasons known only to a genie in a bottle located off the coast of Spain, the Contrarian is also the chief picker upper of bread, popcorn, and coffee. He has miraculously found a pair of winter pants for work outside. His cart is laden as he turns the corner and meets up with me, now just cruising through dairy.
I’ve been shopping in the winter wear aisles for more gloves and hats. Whatever is on the rack looks warmer than what I have on now, at least one can hope. The Contrarian picks some of my items and places them in his cart. I shake my head no, as he picks up my new bra. I suspect that might raise some eyebrows. Better leave that with me.
He departs for checkout and then off to other stores to return in time to pick me up with the balance of the groceries. I elbow, pinch, shove, and otherwise beg my way through the rest of the store and only have to knock down one little old lady in order to get the last bulb of garlic from the bin.
My life turns to instant hell as the checkout clerk peers with a screwed up face at that precious bulb of garlic and then looks desperately on their chart for a similar picture to identify what she obviously has no clue about. Finally, she looks questioningly at me. “Garlic!” I smile through clenched teeth. This is going badly.
After three hours, she finishes and I go out and search a sea of cars, and do not see the bronco. But I have not been abandoned, the Contrarian too has dealt with irresponsible customers and rude traffic. We leave, and head to the grocery store two.
Here I secure various meats. The Contrarian heads to candy land stuffing bags with sugary delights. Then on to grocery store three. Here I rush in and head to the Chinese joint on site. Not manned by a Chinese by the way. I get the “dinner for two” takeout. Oh yum. That takes care of dinner!
Finally we head home, down the bleak roads, looking over windswept terrain that is sans leaves and greenery. Nothing but the pine remains. A bumpy cross country run through the fields brings us full circle, and the unload begins. I put away. We both hate our jobs but hate the other’s job even more. We get it done.
As I sit before the heater, and type away, I hear the faint by final end to this episode. “Well babe, it’s sure good to have that job done for the month.” Amen, Amen I say.