The shopping spree

I've never been big on grocery shopping. Blame it on being a male who can't cook, I guess.

In college, I could leave my newspaper office at like 1 in the morning on and head to the local Wal-mart superstore in a blizzard. Once there, I knew the exact location of everything I needed or wanted. A few Hot Pockets, pot pies, some soup, a few boxes of cereal, sandwich stuff, milk -- and in 15 minutes I had most of my meals for nearly a month.

I look back at those days with fond memories. Then something happened ... I got married.

Now, give me a list and send me to the store, and I'll end up getting lost and growing more stressed than cows in a desert. My heart starts beating fast and my mouth runs dry.

Guaranteed ... Or give my wife the list, make me tag along, and I've been known to grow impatient enough during the 60-70 minutes it takes us to shop to convince her to never take me anywhere again.

So it was with trepidation that, while driving home from work on this frigid night, I took a cell phone call from my wife, sighed and accepted her invitation (...ahem, a plea that had guilt ready to pounce on me if I declined) to go grocery shopping with her.

I reminded myself to be kind and patient. She pushed the cart and I trailed behind her with the shopping list ... And slowly the tide started to turn. I was negotiating for the products we chose. I was picking out the groceries. I was choosing the yogurt flavors. I convinced her to buy things she'd never buy without me there -- "the good fish" (smoked chubs! a must for anyone living along Lake Michigan), TV dinners with seafood (she hates seafood) and lots of potatoes (a great addition to any meal -- but usually we have only a couple a month).

As we pushed the cart from the checkout line, I mused that maybe I'll start going shopping with her more often now that I knew I could have a say in the foods that came home.

"We got crap fish and a thousand potatoes," she retorted.

But at least both of us were happy.

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