Snow Storms, Grocery Stores, and Jeans Shopping

I don’t normally get flustered by snow storms. After mumble-mumble years, you realize they come, you shovel, and they go. But yesterday, when local weather forecasters started tossing around dramatic terms like “crippling winter storm,” “historical snow event,” “intense weather,” and “dangerous snow storm with blizzard conditions,” coupled with prediction potentials ranging anywhere from 10″-13″ on the low side, up to 15″-17″ on the high side, I started getting a little antsy. Like the 2 million other folks living in the Kansas City Metro, I decided, like a fool, to visit the grocery store.

All I can say is this, “What I experienced at the grocery store yesterday is something I never want to experience again.” Why?

I was lucky to get a parking spot. And a cart.

I have never seen so many people, with unsettling looks of irritation and panic spread across their faces, filling their carts to the brim, waiting in lines that were 3, 4, 5, sometimes 6 carts deep the full length across the checkout aisles. When you consider there were about 15 checkout lanes, not counting the 2, 10-items-or-less lanes, that’s a lot of groceries leaving the store.

But I have to give my fellow, panic shoppers credit. Though nearly every aisle and checkout lane was blocked with carts, everyone was polite and cordial to one another, to the point of letting folks whose carts were less-full go in front of them. Midwesterners tend to be thoughtful like that, God love them. I also credit our local groceries with keeping their shelves well-stocked. While some milk and bread selections were low or out, there were plenty of other brands available. No one left the store without an item they were needing.

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Now, onto blue jean shopping with a teenager. This activity is not for the faint of heart. There was another mother there, who was my age, doing the same thing with her teenage daughter. She can vouch for me. Our kindred experiences went something like this:

We, the moms, thought exchanging jeans for our respective daughters would be a slam dunk: go in, find another pair of jeans, try them on, exchange, and leave. Viola! Boy. Were. We. Wrong. Thank goodness we had each other for moral support. Never underestimate the power of jeans shopping with teenagers to bring two moms, who are complete strangers, together on a cold January day.

Problem number one:

The store didn’t have the exact pair of jeans either girl walked in with in the next larger (or smaller) size. Ruh-roh.

Problem number two:

The store didn’t have enough of the jeans that met either of our daughters’ discriminating criteria, which for both girls, went something like this: low rise, skinny fit, a little bling on the back pockets (but not too much), and something that didn’t look like every pair of jeans out there.

Are you kidding me? Other mom and I agreed we’re just happy if we can find a pair of jeans that don’t make our derrieres look like Mount St. Helens. That’s it. That’s our only criteria. Do not make our rears look bigger than they are. It really is that simple. But we were teenage girls once too. We remember how important a simple pair of jeans can be.

Problem number three:

Even when each girl found a pair of jeans that more or less fit, something was wrong with them: they creeped in the thigh, the pockets sat funny, they were too long, they were too short, they were fill in the blank.

Twenty-plus pairs of try-ons later (I think the other girl beat that number by 5), my daughter hit hit pay dirt: she had narrowed it down to two options before asking my opinion. But here’s where it got scary: after 45 minutes of being trapped in the Buckle, doing my best to keep our preschooler entertained, I didn’t care which jeans teenager picked, as long as she loved them. I mean, God forbid I picked the pair she liked least, and risk throwing all the progress we’d made into a tailspin.

After 5 minutes of hemming and hawing, trying to stay out of it, I finally gave beloved daugther my honest opinion and was ever so glad to hear the words, “Thanks, Mom! I felt that way about those jeans too.”

Thank goodness.

Other mom and I bid each other adieu, and shared a smile that said, “I know.” It was good. It was all good.

So after a Sunday spent with weather forecasters scaring the bejeebers out of me, conquering the chaos of the grocery store, and successfully exchanging a pair of jeans with a teenager, I have no moral to this story. All I can say is this…

I don’t normally get flustered by snow storms. After mumble-mumble years, you realize they come, you shovel, and they go.

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