Heidi’s Annual Grocery Store Panic
The Iowa grocery store chain known as Hy-Vee never closes. It is open at Easter, open on New Year’s Day, open even on Thanksgiving. In the middle of your turkey dinner and realize you forgot the cranberries? Send someone out to Hy-Vee. Middle of the night and you need cough syrup? Hy-Vee. They are open all the time, a constant security blanket of Stuff, some you need and some it’s just nice to know is there.
Except for today, and tomorrow.
Hy-Vee will close today sometime in the afternoon or evening. It will stay closed until Saturday morning. This is Christmas Eve, and tomorrow is Christmas Day, and employees want (and deserve!) to be with their families. I’m not against this at all, and in fact, I’m all for it. It’s good, really.
It’s just… I MIGHT NEED STUFF. AND THEY WON’T BE OPEN!!!
And so begins my annual freakout about food, groceries, and other sundry stuff. It does not help that this year all is chaos, and I am not organized, and there may or may not be a snowstorm, and my sister may or may not make it up here today, and people may or may not make it up here tomorrow night. I need my security blanket of the grocery store that is always willing to trade money for stuff now more than ever, and I’m not going to have it.
Add to this that Dan just gave me the checkbook total, and buying milk would be tough. Apparently we bought gas and went to the chiropractor and bought groceries once or twice or three times already. Huh. So maybe it’s good the stores are closed.
I think—no, I know—that this is actually not about food or Hy-Vee, and it isn’t any year. It’s about my need to try and prepare for every and any eventuality, to be able to face the onslaught of life with the calm serenity that comes from being prepared. I am always the one on every trip who will have packed every medicine you might need, the one who thought to bring the article of clothing nobody else considered, the one who always, in short, has everything. No surprises, no gotchas.
This year I am a particular fail on many fronts of preparedness, and this year I really do need to double check and make sure I don’t need anything at the store, because I could easily have overlooked something vital. Like cat food. We have enough until Saturday if they skimp. I’m not sure about milk. Dan wanted some soda… Yeah.
My grocery store panic always comes out of my unwillingness to accept the loss of a support system in my scheme to maintain control. This year it’s more like the temporary closure of an artery. It’s in these closures, these changes where the magic happens, where the creativity thrives. I know this. I just don’t like it. And really, I approach this the same way when I write. Yes, the good stuff comes out when the story throws a curveball at me, when my nice and tidy plans get chucked out the window and I have to invent on the spot. Yes, that’s true. It’s just also true that I’m going to whine.
Merry Christmas Eve. May your grocery stores be open, and failing that, may your cupboards and refrigerators be full, and may all your surprises be good ones.