Beating the holiday rush

Now that Thanksgiving’s over, we’ve officially skidded into the most perilous part of that steep slope that began gradually back in October with Halloween.

And that is, the downward spiral of eating, eating, eating — which doesn’t end until you find yourself on January 1, bloated and popping out of all your fat clothes and swearing that, as God is your witness, you will never eat another brownie again.

Of course, it all began innocent enough, really. Some candy. A little snacking out the bowl for the trick or treaters — which rapidly progresses, after a night or two, to full-fledged scarfing out of the kids’ bags. (Not that I did any of these things, you understand.)

OK, maybe a little, but by mid-November I had vowed — VOWED, I tell you — that it’s Not Going to Be Like That This Year and I won’t gain 10 pounds over the holidays … or as I like to call them, the Twelve Days of No Fitness.

This year, I made it through Thanksgiving fairly well. Despite baking two apple pies from scratch, I consumed only one piece when the actual day of eating arrived. There was some ice cream on top, I admit it — but I felt positively virtuous next to my brother Mark, who topped his piece with not a decorous scoop of ice cream, but a veritable SLAB of pecan-toffee goopy-gob Breyer’s Yumfest — or whatever it was that Paul bought — taking up practically his entire plate. For dinner, I had a modest plate of turkey, dressing, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, ya know … and I think I went back for seconds. A small seconds.

But that’s not the point. I was trying to take it easy, and early Friday morning, I was up and ready for a good, healthy vigorous walk. If you call noon early, but hey: I was up.

Christopher and I hoofed it around the track, battling the wind but otherwise enjoying the sunny, though cold, day. Kristoff dropped off after one lap and I — still on my virtuous high — galloped through another lap, iPodless and Christopherless, but hey I can entertain myself for 15 minutes just dreaming up ideas for blog posts.

The park where we walk is at the bottom of the hill outside my neighborhood, which means after exercising, one is faced with the joyless task of dragging butt up the hill to the top, where the house awaits. It had been several weeks since I’d walked so buddy, I was tired. I climbed the rather gentle slope at a dead slog.

All was well until the next day, when, fool that I am, I decided to venture out shopping. It wasn’t Black Friday,  I know, but similarly bad from the shopper’s point of view … sort of a Dark and Moody Saturday. I set my sights on Target for a few errands, then vowed to do my weekly grocery shopping at Meijer. Trassie and I set out.

Things went fine for a good solid 10 minutes or so, and then my left foot began to ache. Then throb. Then, agonizing pain shot through it when I merely lifted the foot from the floor.

The aforementioned errand took me all the way to the back of the store, which is where they conveniently put the toy department. I foolishly thought Trassie could point out some things he was interested in, which Santa could be persuaded to bring him come Christmas Morn. This he translated as I GET A GREAT BIG GIANT TOY RIGHT NOW.

We lapped the toy department several times, me leaning more and more heavily on the shopping cart as we limped, er, strolled along. When the inevitable meltdown occurred, I was in no shape to perform my Sworn Mommy Duty, which would be to snatch the screaming child up and haul ass out of the store. So instead, I caved and permitted the purchase of an overpriced race car. There was peace in the valley once more but, unfortunately for me, this didn’t extend to my metatarsals, which by now were positively howling.

Somehow, I limped to the checkout, paid for my goods and got them and the now-sunny Trassie out to the car. There my doom awaited, for I knew this: a trip to the grocery must be accomplished, if my brood  was to be fed in the coming week.

At this point, I experienced a simultaneous flash of brilliance and flush of embarrassment. Call it what you will — but I called it a plan.


That’s what I’d do — I’d acquire me one of them thar scooters, direct from the Scooter Store for Grocery Stores, and have it tote my gimpy butt around Meijer for the few necessities I had to get.

Honestly, I was mostly prompted by the fact that one of the items on my list was milk. Have you ever been to Meijer’s? It’s approximately the size of the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. And the milk is on the far back aisle.

Believe me,  I didn’t undertake this scooter thing lightly. I am, after all, an active and healthy young (looking) woman, and I can certainly negotiate a few hundred thousand square feet of mega supermarket.

Most of the time.

After double-checking with some employees lounging around that you didn’t need a handicapped parking tag or any other officially sanctioned disability seal of approval — “Hey, take it! That’s what they’re for!” I was told — I timidly sat my behind in the scooter, sat Trassie upon my lap and laid rubber toward the back of the store.

That was just a figure of speech.

The rest of the trip you can probably imagine — my eyes constantly darted around, waiting for the inevitable accusation from some frail old lady, wheelchair-bound amputee or otherwise legitimate gimp along the lines of, “And what do YOU think you’re doing in that scooter, young lady?!” Eyes downcast, I would have to plead my case: “My foot is ouchie. I walked too hard on it yesterday.”

Trassie thought it was all pretty fun, and, sympathetic soul that he is, he finally took in that I had a temporarily bad foot, and tried to make me feel better. I did, a little. And after a while it got to be kind of fun, especially executing 180s mid-aisle and then flooring it toward the produce.

Throughout, I did, of course, arise from my seat and actually take items down from the shelves. I made sure to perform a full limp as I carried cans of beans and bags of apples back to the cart, should any sharp-eyed busybody decide to challenge my status. After a while I was reminded of another holiday, years ago, when I uncharacteristically lost my voice and found myself a disabled holiday shopper. I was looking for a pillbox for a vitamin-popping friend, and no store in the free world, that year, appeared to carry them. “DO YOU HAVE PILL BOXES???!!!” I’d shout in an inaudible whisper to thousands of clerks, who would whisper back, “Any WHAT?” 12 hours later, I found one, and I think my voice finally came back around President’s Day.

Now, several non-exercising days later, my poor foot is still ouchie, and I really don’t know what I did to the blame thing. I feel sure more rest will bring it ’round — and if you’re certain these symptoms are a precursor to the dreaded deterioration metatarsalitis, please refrain from letting me know. The ignominy of my scooter-aided shopping trip is still just a little too fresh.

Speak your words of wisdom.

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