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

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

Well Happy Divali yes!

In Trinidad and Tobago tonight is the eve of Divali, the Hindu festival of lights, the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. Tomorrow Hindus pray to the goddess Mother Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity, for her to fill their homes which will be beautifully lit with deyas and celebrations will be had.

Today some schools (I say ‘some’ because I suspect not all) give children the option to dress in East Indian wear to celebrate and give significance to the East Indian community because the festival is largely cultural as it is a deeply religious observance. My gremz both attend Roman Catholic primary schools and the request is the same every year which is no big deal to me because like I said Divali is also very much a cultural thing and Trinidad and Tobago is chock full of different races and cultures mixed into one. So even though children are of African, Chinese, Syrian, European descent, East Indian wear is welcomed. 

Now Mam’zelle wore East Indian clothing and Son-son didn’t. He said he didn’t want to be noticed too much which is fine with me while she was down for the fanciness. This afternoon I picked them up from school and in the car we had the usual banter of what happened during the day. She told me “Mummy ‘soandso’ and I wore the same thing, could you believe that?”. I replied “wow! twinsies!”, glad that she wasn’t mortified. She’s very particular about what she wears, but then she said “…and thennnn ‘soanso’ tell me ‘why you have on that? you looking ugly!'”…….I understood the underlying meaning and looked at her trying to gauge her emotional state at the recollection. Then I tested her by saying very matter-of-factly “And?”. She replied “I know right? I was still feeling sad though”. It was her first time wearing East Indian wear, last year she was sick and didn’t make it to school so she missed out. I told her that she looked beyond beautiful and anybody who couldn’t see that is probably blind.

I’ve arrived at my point. There is a blindness that pervades this Trinidad and Tobago society which is beyond irritating. I get that there are residual historical, societal and cultural issues and biases that affect and are passed down from generation after generation. But….have mercy……when will it stop? A next ten/twenty years and the same nonsense? When do we begin to teach our children or to reflect to them the appreciation of the beauty and culture of all races especially in this country? The Indian/African/Syrian/’Chinee’ thing is so played out. One doesn’t have to subscribe to a religion or be a certain race to show tolerance, understanding and appreciation. This doesn’t stand for Hinduism alone, I’m ‘African’ and Catholic, not Orisha which I guess makes me less of an ‘African.’ I’m blasted for what I believe and practice which by the way is a freedom I enjoy without having to prove the rightness and wrongness of Catholicism. Don’t even get me started on Islam.

So back to Mam’zelle. I posted her dress pic early on Facebook this morning and 38 people clicked like on the photo. It may sound trivial but those 38 people, though not children,  reaffirmed what it means to be Trini for me. They helped me to make my point to her that it does not matter what some may think, in this country there are others who will disagree, do away with the blindness and still strive to make this country the rainbow that it should be.

Shine light in your hearts man, sounds good to me. What do we say about every creed and race in the National Anthem? We sing it twice for crying out loud! Sigh.

Bless up

TMIDM

Germageddon

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Ebola is at the forefront in many ways than one and you know when things are bad in Trinidad and Tobago when people start making up jokes as a coping mechanism.  So overheard a caller on the radio today: “You go by the doctor to find out if you have Ebola and the doctor tells you well hear nah,  you don’t have Ebola but you’re HIV Positive! which then makes you shout for joy: Thank you Jesus Thank the Lord!”. The radio announcer says he knows he shouldn’t be laughing but it’s funny because the thinking is at least you can live with HIV…sigh….Imagine the biggest debate in Trinidad and Tobago regarding Ebola is if to cancel Carnival in 2015…-_- Carnival yuh know, dat is what people studying!!!

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Everything is a joke in this country. That’s how we deal…..

This deadly disease is on my mind because germs are transmitted so easily as far as I see. No amount of pitchy hand-washing campaigns by the Ministry of Health and hand-sanitizers on sale in exotic fragrances of Japanese Cherry Blossom and Midnight Pomegranate can sway the fact that germs still bounce from here to there. People still sneeze and cough wildly in public, in taxis and buses and still talk animatedly over food being sold (watch your doubles vendor). Today I saw one of my students sucking her thumb and it dawned on me that it’s a habit that can exacerbate the germ-spreading much like biting the nails, both of which are mostly done so absent-mindedly, both of which are ever-present in schools….yikes….

I’m no germophobe but my mother always clued me in to germ-spreading when I was growing up so much so that I was forced to “see” germs being spread. So I used to press the button in the bus with my knuckle, open doors with my forearms/elbows, hold my bag on my shoulder when I have to use a public restroom, pump the soap with the corner of my wrist and I have hand sanitizer in every one of my handbags and my car. I’m not perfect with it and I certainly won’t reach my mom and her level of OCD where she takes grocery cheddar out of the plastic, washes it and then proceeds to slice……..yes…….I’ve talked to her about that.

My daughter Mam’zelle sucks her thumb, a habit she picked up before she breathed air. When she was born she was searching wildly for the finger by the mouth so much so the head nurse exclaimed “Aye Aye! She fass! Look she suckin finger! Chile yuh jus’ born!” I’ve never cut the habit with her because I too know the sweetness, so too my husband, same issue, same hand, (is thumb-sucking genetic?) and I figure she will cut that out very soon. She doesn’t do it in school which tells you the level of pride (or shame) that she has. So when I pick her up and I don’t hear her antics in the car, I know she’s sucking the thumb as though she suffered withdrawal and de feeling so sweet but then I have to yell about germs and cleanliness, rinse and repeat the following day. Sometimes she asks me “Can I suck my finger now?” or she would casually ask if I have hand-sanitizer as if we’re talking about the weather (“oh, by the way…”).

It’s all well and good with the common cold and sundry other mutated forms of viruses that I can battle with doctor visits, meds, excessive talking and frenzied harping and hand-washing but Ebola??? Who am I against a disease that is dismantling West Africa, is one-up in the US, crept into Brazil and made it’s way into Spain and Germany’s news headlines? I am praying to God that Ebola doesn’t make its way into Trinidad and Tobago because we are studying Carnival and at our very best I don’t think we are anywhere close to handling it the way we should and if it’s one thing about this country, ting does realll spread.

Stay safe and be wisely informed. Pick sense from nonsense.

Bless up

TMIDM