Grocery games

Image result for sad grocery shopper cartoon

I used to love going to the grocery. It was like a field trip that I looked forward to each month end. I would make sure all the members of the home clan are washed and fed, dress myself up and head out. I don’t favour carrying the whole family to the supermarket with me though unless I really have to. Boyo doesn’t like to stay in the stroller for long periods of time even in wide aisles and air-conditioned comfort. Mam’zelle and Son-son forever squabble about who gets to push the trolley which drives me up a wall and Husby always makes me buy random stuff outside my budget.

Now I say ‘used to love’ because even with my happy intentions and my genuine need to put food on the table, I’m finding it to be a droll chore. This is mainly because there is such a heaviness when I observe people (read: women) in the grocery. One after the next stare at the shelves at the products, hemming and hawing, deliberating, pro-ing and con-ning. People quarrel to themselves, mutter under their breaths, suck their teeth (steups) and even outrightly complain about what a state we are in with food prices rising and rising to seemingly meet the Lord. And I completely understand it. The fact is, money is tight and when you make out that monthly budget, that allocation marked “Grocery” seems to be rising higher, denting your other categories of spending.

Image result for sad grocery shopper cartoon
Adapted from https://www.attwiw.com

Once I spoke to a friend of mine who told me she wished she could just walk into the grocery, see what she needs/wants, take it, dump it in the trolley, head to the cashier, pay and leave.This may seem very normal to some of you reading this, but that reality is far removed from some of us like me who live in the middle.   Going to the grocery is indeed a process. You spend more time doing mathematical functions, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing as well as justifying, predicting and wondering if it’s cheaper in Pricesmart or Maharaj Wholesale.

The thing is I usually make sure I get everything I need to I wouldn’t have to buy food outside which is a bad habit that I’m trying to cut down on. Eat home and save money? Sure! But this idea is also under the scrutiny of a ‘cut-eye’. Example: hot dogs work right? For dinner, work, lunch kit, breakfast, you name it unless you are a parent who is adamant against processed meats but dais not me. Everything requires balance like box juice one day, freshly squeezed the next. Anyways I wanted to upgrade my hot dogs so I decided I will buy the jumbo ones instead of the usual skinny franks. Usually I make those with the lettuce, grated carrots, the full nine for family dinners or for school. There is a particular brand I like that I’ve been buying for $32.99 for the longest while. Aye aye, when I gone this month to pick it up, is $39.99 staring me in my face yuh know! The prospect of paying that extra seven dollars out of nowhere hurt me, made me consider a hit or miss with a next brand, a return to the skinny franks with an addition of tortillas or fries to the meal. Sigh, I really liked those jumbo hot dogs dammit!!!

Food prices are ridiculous. Now let me say for those of you who are thinking “set up a kitchen garden” or “budget your money better!”, my thumbs are as black as they come and if my budget were any tighter it would give millennial jeans a run for their money. Mankind needs to eat and you see particularly as Son-son is hitting puberty and again, nobody adequately warned me about his voraciousness that has no bounds, I have to do what I must. But the fed-upcy is growing. You know with carefully crafted buying of ingredients, follows the carefully crafted providing of food for a month using said ingredients and meals must be varied. At times this mother here does not have the mental fortitude to win at this game every day and with the way things are looking at the grocery, the odds are beginning to stack higher.

Adapted from http://www.fiterature.com

Bless up

TMIDM

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Wanna hear a story?

Here it goes:

Once upon a time on a random Tuesday afternoon, a teacher set aside her lesson to scold her class of form ones (11-13 years olds). They had been behaving badly in recent times and they needed a shake up to try to bring them back to reality.

When the teacher was finished and the bell had rung signalling the end of the school day, she had scarcely reached her office and begun to pack up when she was confronted by another teacher who indicated that two girls who were part of the class to whom she had spoken earlier, had instigated a fight with another female student that very minute. The teacher was aghast. Hadn’t she just spoken to these students about their deportment and their lack of discipline? Was it simply a matter of her 35-minute sermon going in one ear and coming out the next? Had she lost precious teaching time for nothing?

The teacher went outside and proceeded to call the two girls who proceeded to delay in walking toward her. This got the teacher annoyed because she began to think about her own biological children who needed to be picked up from school a whole 60-something kilometres away while she had to be there dealing with that nonsense. She began to shout with authority at the girls about the mere stupidity of their actions and insisted that they go to the office.

Concurrently, one of the girls had a boyfriend who was in another class who decided that he would jump into the fray to save his girlfriend from the teacher who was admonishing her. Upon realizing that the boyfriend was addressing her, the teacher turned to the young boy and spoke to him directly, indicating that no one had called him and he should excuse himself. The boyfriend muttered. The teacher asked for clarity and indicated that if he had something to say he should come to her directly. The young boy bounced up, pointed a finger in the teacher’s face and said she should mind her business. Unrelenting in her purpose, the teacher told him that he had no authority to point at her to which he replied “Hush your cunt”. The teacher replied that she didn’t know that he was aware of any body parts belonging to her and then turned to the girlfriend and said, “You have great taste in men.”

In the office, while writing up the notices to see parents for the two young girls, the teacher’s annoyance switched to amusement.  In all of her years working at the school, never had she been so disrespected but she felt as though if it had to happen, it should have been someone a bit more worthy. She jumped in her car and went on her merry way, eager to give her husband the joke about these students’ obvious loss of mental capacity, ruminating on her strategy for the following day and boy would it be a good one.

THE END

EPILOGUE

The mother picked up her own children from school and after her usual pleasantries, realized that something was wrong with her son. He was unusually quiet. He then randomly asks (or maybe not so randomly) when was the next occasion for Confession at their church. This made the mother anxious. At home she realized that he was shadowing her and kept asking for hugs. She didn’t ask him anything but merely waited. Eventually he said he had something to tell her and after almost five minutes of fidgety eyes and playing with his fingers, he said that he knew she was going to get mad but he proceeded to outline what happened. Apparently he was part of  a WhatsApp group with boys commenting using very strong obscene language. A parent found out and the boys got in trouble at school with their teacher. He looked at his mother and said that he was sorry and he knew it was “out of his character” and that he got “caught up”. The mother sighed and said she was glad that he told her and she spoke to him about being responsible on social media and not bowing to peer pressure. She imagined that it would be the first of many like conversations but boy was she proud that he found it enough on his conscience to recognize his missteps and to come clean. She trained her son to be sensible enough (not perfect but sensible!) to identify a basic right from a wrong approach and wondered why other parents couldn’t do the same.

Bless up

TMIDM

Have merSEA!

Well my Son-son is 11, in standard five in primary school and about to write the big Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam this Thursday. According to Trini culture and lore, this is the most important exam of a student’s life, destined to make you or break you depending on which secondary school you are headed when the results come in. Parents cry, teachers lose hair and the children drill mathematical formulae, grammatical exercises and seemingly endless compositions up until the dreaded day that they aim to get their first choice out of four. Cue ominous voice:

may_the_fourth_be_with_you_by_themooken-da1apux

http://themooken.deviantart.com/art/May-the-fourth-be-with-you-606841449

Knowing that he is prone to anxiety, I laid all the pressure on Son-son on standard four and eased off the valve considerably. As the date draws near, I think I am more anxious than he is. However my anxiety stems from the fact that I am completely FED UP! of the preparation for the exam. I’m so thankful that his teacher is so meticulous, another parent told me some time ago that he has a ‘system’ to churn out boys to perform at the SEA exam. But at this point if I see YET ANOTHER quasi difficult poem, I will scream. I think a couple of nights ago was the last straw.  He came and said he read the poem and didn’t understand it. So I took a look. This is a poem called Children’s Song by R.S. Thomas which he had to read and answer about ten questions:

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.
 
Ronald Stuart Thomas
Dafuq is subterfuge??? ‘Remoter heaven’??? My poor child!
I mean honestly, I get the gist of the poem, but I think it’s a bit much for an 11 year old to find extra deep metaphorical meaning in a high stakes exam. I understand that the poem is usually the difficult part of the exam but have mercy, this or any poem like it reads like stress! The questions that followed were even worse.
So these last few days I haven’t been harping on him at all partly because I think he’s reached his zenith and partly because again…me…fed up…. He had practice tests for the past two Saturdays and beyond that I gave him a free pass to the TV and the games on his tab. Of course everything was done in moderation so he also had to clean inside my car and do his regular chores as well. I don’t want this SEA pressure to fold him in even before the exam.
Thursday morning I plan to wake him up, act as normally as possible and not make a big deal about it. On our way there, he may get a Bruno Mars karaoke session, lame jokes in the car and I’ll kick him out with a hug and a ‘good luck dude’! If I get the butterflies, they’re going to remain in stasis at the very least until he’s out of my sight. I hope I don’t wig out. This SEA can’t drown us both.
Bless up
TMIDM