Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The joys of shopping with...MEN

I've read lots of blogs and stories about the joys of shopping with children. Most are hilarious and true. I know, I have children and I've taken them shopping.

But, have you ever been shopping with three men who are leaving in 4 days for a two week elk hunting trip? Have you ever watched 3 men plan a hunting trip? It's quite similar to taking children shopping.

Our three main characters are my wonderful, loving, handsome husband, his best friend, Lynn, whom we often refer to as my second husband, and our somewhat anal-retentive and much loved neighbor and friend, Bob. In all fairness to Bob, he's only anal-retentive when it comes to food, cooking and shopping. In fact, in my mind, he was the most logical of the bunch.

Our story begins 3 weeks ago, give or take a week. Our three boys traveled to a town far, far away (100 miles!) to pick up their cabin tent and heat stove. I suggested that they plan their meals and get a shopping list ready while driving. They did. Sorta. Kev came home with a list. At least he called it a list. But there were mysterious items on this list, like "Quakers".

Mistake number one. They let Lynn write. Lynn has his own spelling rules. "Quakers" is in reality, crackers. That's just one of the mystery items. (I'll save the rest for another time, we just don't have time to go through them all right now.)

"Where's the menu?" I asked. "We didn't make one. We decided we'd do that later." Kev replied. I felt a little sense of doom. After all, how did they know how much hamburger to take if they didn't write down what they were going to use it for?

Bob and I visited. He mentioned that he'd really like a menu, so he knew what to plan for. I agreed. I promised him that I'd get the 3 of them together to get a menu planned. After all, I know that Bob will do the majority of the cooking. He's a natural cook. He's a damn good cook. He's an anal-retentive cook, but you forget all about that when you are eating his cooking.

So, two weeks ago, I managed to corner 2 of the 3 men. I had Lynn and Kevin. So, I got bossy and started quizzing them on their menu items. We went day by day and wrote a menu. To the side, I wrote ingredients needed. We left some leeway, I had 10 solid meals down and left a couple blank for things like leftovers, or sandwiches, etc. This menu is not written in stone, but it will give them an idea about what they can fix.

Last night, Bob came over and he and I wrote out a shopping list. (Remember, he's the anal-retentive one, not me!) Then he and I went to town where we picked up Lynn and met Kev at the store. Yes, I know, I'm married to Kev, but he just got off work and it was more logical for me to pick up the other two yea-whos.

So now, we are at the store. Anal-retentive Bob, Spontaneous-shopper Lynn, and Kev. I could relate best to Anal-retentive Bob. He was the most logical shopper. We started in the fruit and veggie section. You know, that stuff that will get smashed? yep, that's where we started. I don't know why, I wasn't pushing the carts. Yes, carts. By the time we were finished, we had three carts.

As we were going through, we (they) had to discuss things. Like... do we want deli lunch meat or do we want packaged stuff? They finally decided on the packaged stuff. Why? Because it was packed full of preservatives and would last longer. Then on to the hot dogs. I grabbed three packages of a common brand that we all buy for our kids. But, the guys weren't sure if they needed 3 packages or more. And, size. Lynn likes the big, manly sized hotdogs. Lynn decided they needed more "manly" hot dogs and got some bigger ones. Fine. Whatever. Then hamburger patties...We all agreed that patties would be best for a quick, hot meal. Easier than making patties themselves. But, which brand. Not too expensive, not too cheap. And, how many? Two summers ago, Lynn and I bought a lovely brand of cheap patties that tasted like cardboard when cooked. So we knew which brand to stay away from. But which brand to buy? After much debate, they found some.

Then Kev decided that I needed to make gorp. So he had to get all the ingredients for that. Then somehow, a large package of cookies showed up in the cart. I was informed early on, that I had to make two different kinds of cookies to take--two batches of each. So, then, why do they need another large package of cookies? And then I saw a package of English Muffins. And a box of instant oatmeal. And boxes of crackers with cheese and just crackers and then snack crackers. Then Sardines and Smoked Oysters showed up...

Just what are these guys doing? Bob and I did not have any of this stuff on the list.

Poor Bob. He had to stay and shop with these guys. I strategically wondered off, because they were driving me crazy. There is no escape for Bob.

Two hours later, the Final total was: $340.

That's more than I spend in a month. That's more than I spend in 2 months. But get this, we didn't buy any meat (other than hotdogs and hamburger patties) or any vegetables (other than potato's). They are taking meat from my freezer and taking veggies that I have in my pantry. They are taking eggs from my chickens. They are taking my sausage and bacon. I don't even what to think about how much the meat bill would be if we had to buy all of that.

They have enough food to stay up there over a month, maybe two. I know they are going to bring most of it back home. I know without a shadow of a doubt that those damn sardines will be back home. No doubt in my mind.

I think I'd rather shop with my kids than with three men who are going hunting.

Stay tuned...they aren't packed yet. I'm sure I'll have to vent before they are on the road.

No doubt about it.

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