Hmmm, let me see. Where did we last leave off? Oh! Right! I said “Tomorrow I can tell you all about what country bumpkins do when they have a child-free day in Atlanta.” And of course by “tomorrow” I meant TODAY, which is technically two days later, but that’s just how it goes.
(Hey, I was still recovering. And time is a fluid concept, dude. Peace.)
ANYWAY, yes, my husband and I had all of Sunday spread out before us to have a Big Day in the Big City and Otto really wanted to go to the High, and I really wanted to go back to sleep for about three days, and so naturally we compromised and went to Ikea and Trader Joe’s, instead.
The thing is, we’d planned to hit all three, originally, you know, before I spent part of Friday night and most of Saturday morning puking up my toenails. Given my weakened state, I chose to pursue the more SELFLESS options, because I really want to see the High, but preferably when I can truly appreciate it. And my going to the High benefits my children not at all, whereas going to Trader Joe’s and stocking up on foods I either cannot find or cannot get as cheaply in our home town is an act of MOTHERING.
[You don't think it's an act of mothering? Shopping for hormone-free chicken breasts after I'd just had food poisoning? TRUST ME. Only the maternal instinct could overcome the gag reflex.]
Well, that’s my justification for Trader Joe’s, anyway. I’m not sure why we went to Ikea.
And here’s the thing about Ikea: For someone like me who generally dislikes big crowds, Ikea is an overwhelming place even when I’m feeling perfectly fine. To go there when I’m still tired and shaky and nursing a dehydration headache could result in only one of two things—either I would have to have an anxiety attack due to the lights and noise and crush of people and my delicate, weakened state, or I would have to become positively loopy and find everything EXTRA HILARIOUS!
I opted for the latter. It is more fun to giggle in public than to cry.
We wove our way around the path and I would periodically declare “We need a ! Find one!” My organized Ikea shopping list was filled with important things, like a kitchen timer (we never even found those, somehow), fun throw pillows, a shower curtain, possibly a china cabinet, and SOMETHING SWEDISH SOUNDING.
“Oh, Otto!” I would say, grabbing his arm with urgency, light-headed from the effort of plodding along through all of the brightly-colored plastic. “Do you know what we need?” And then without even pausing to let him respond, because I’m just rude that way, I would merrily conclude, “A GORSTJÄFVÖRDINÅRGÉN!” And then I would dissolve in snorts and giggles, because I am so very witty.
“Yes, Dear,” Otto would respond, completely unfazed, patting my hand and feeling my forehead. “I think maybe you need to go home.”
“NO!” I protested, waving my hand in the air, “I most emphatically do NOT! Because I don’t yet have a FLUGENGÄRKA! And I NEED one to be HAPPY!” He would then give me a withering look, one that said I really needed to at least ATTEMPT to act my age, and then I would meekly conclude, “But I really DO sort of need an organizer for my desk. Please?”
In the end we had some lightbulbs, a cutting board, a toilet brush, a stack of plastic bowls marked down to a nickel apiece, and one of those ice cube trays that makes tube ice to fit in our water bottles. Worth the trip? I’m not sure, but at least now in the future when I say, “I really want to go to Ikea!” Otto will probably remind me that actually, I don’t like Ikea all that much.
[There was a time in my life when I would've spent gobs of money at Ikea and loved everything I got there... but that time was probably grad school. Now that I own real furniture it's hard to get excited about the prospect of outfitting an entire house with items that come in giant yet flat boxes.]
After Ikea we headed over to Trader Joe’s, and although I actually gagged when I noticed the sushi in one of their refrigerator cases (I’m sorry, TJ’s! It’s not you, it’s me!), we were able to fill the cooler in our trunk (and later, our freezer) as planned.
It is a testament to the magic that is Trader Joe’s that I was still able to go food shopping so close to having been poisoned. I mean, I walked in there knowing what I wanted to get (hormone free chicken! eggplant cutlets! wild-caught salmon!), but I was not exactly EXCITED about it, is my point. It’s been a looooong time since I had a local Trader Joe’s, and I’d forgotten how wondrous it is.
Of course, I’d also forgotten that some of them carry alcohol. And we walked in and beheld a wall of wine and I said “OH! WE CAN GET WINE!” and was all excited… until I remembered that it was Sunday, and I live in Georgia. Here in Georgia, the baby Jesus cries if you purchase the devilwater on a Sunday, you know. So there was no cheap wine for us. But it reminded me that I was happy to be there, anyway.
So by the time I came across the shelf of Trader Joe’s brand light coconut milk, I was positively SWOONING. In case I haven’t mentioned it a dozen times already, my family has two favorite meals now thanks to my friends inside the computer: Chris’ chicken curry with sweet potatoes and coconut rice, and Stephanie’s coconut beef (which I stretch with the addition of green peppers and yellow squash added a few hours before it’s done cooking). Both of these recipes call for coconut milk. My local supermarket doesn’t carry light coconut milk, and in case you’re not aware, coconut milk is THE NECTAR OF THE GODS when used in cooking—velvety, rich, delicious—but also so totally bad for you that it helps to have a couple of extremely skinny children so that you can justify adding it to your food. Ahem.
So. Given that I cannot buy light coconut milk locally, AND that the full-fat stuff costs a full 50% more at my local store than TJ’s was charging for the healthier stuff, it was perfectly logical for me to buy every can they had on the shelf. Right? Right.
We’d filled our cart in no time at all, and then with the cold items safely packed into the cooler, headed home with supplies to last us for quite a while. That night I slept about 11 hours, no doubt due to the excitement of it all.
I’m sure that the High would’ve been great, too, but do they have organic cheese poofs or gorstjäfvördinårgéns there? I don’t think so.