We are dog-sitting an incredible little guy called Murphy for a few days. He’s such a sweetheart and Olive has been in absolute heaven (Squash Baby? Fishy Black? These are pets of the past. They’re dead to her now) and I’ve been loving it too. It’s been really nice to have a dog around again, aaaand I will admit that having a fluffy little guy who’s maybe twenty pounds with zero drool or shedding is a far different experience than I had with big Gus (bless his giant heart).
So far we’ve been taking full advantage of our temporary dog ownership status – yesterday we took Murphy on a walk to the coffee shop in the morning and a big romp around the dog park in the afternoon. Today I needed a few things from the grocery store so we decided to walk there and bring him along, too.
This is the story how a 15-minute round trip shopping expedition turned into utter shambles. (tl;dr I tried walking to the grocery store with a three-year-old).
First, we left the house. It was suspiciously easy, as Olive has lately started getting dressed in appropriate clothing with zero fuss. Even the cute clothes I get her that she usually refuses to wear. Even jeans, when she’s basically worn nothing but leggings for a year and a half. I suspect she’s fucking with me, so I’m not getting too excited at the thought that my daily battles with toddler underpants are over. Hubris and all that.
We are heading down the front walk when Olive sweetly asks if she can ride her tricycle. It’s like, a ten-minute walk to the store, max. I’m fairly sure she can do it, but I ask anyway:
“Are you sure you’re going to ride the whole way there and back? I won’t be able to carry your tricycle if you change your mind, I’ll have groceries.”
She chirps something to the affirmative, I believe her (stop laughing) and we start off. Me walking Murphy, Olive happily pedaling in front of us.
The way there is grand, she’s riding along in the late summer sun, wind tousling her hair. Every time anyone stops to pat Murphy, she exclaims proudly, “He’s OUR dog!”
We get to the crosswalk and I shift my purse and Murphy’s leash so that I can carry Olive’s tricycle while she holds my hand across the street. The light turns, the little walking man appears, we step off the curb.
It’s me, a dog, a tricycle, a toddler -I mean, all the things. Animals, small children, bright colours, noise, etc. We are a spectacle.
Yet, an oncoming car making a left turn, somehow misses all of this and turns directly in front of us, abruptly cutting us off as well as three or four pedestrians coming from the other side. I have to gather the leash and pull Olive back and the car just drives straight through as one of the other pedestrians, a middle-aged man, starts angrily shouting at it.
Kind of terrifying, but ultimately we were all OK, no harm done. This is what happens when you go out into the world – risk, right?
We carry on.
We get to the grocery store, tie Murphy up outside in a shady spot and Olive gives him complicated instruction about taking care of her tricycle, including three scenarios involving fire, theft, and earthquake. When we get into the store I mediate a minor dispute over those goddamn shopping carts with the fire trucks and cars on the front which make them eight feet long and impossible to maneuver, I win (I WIN! With very little effort or sighing!) we get a basket and do our shopping.
My weirdo kid requests kale, I indulge in some smoked gouda, we get the rest of our items, do the self-checkout (why, why do I always think this will save me time when it literally never saves me time??) and we leave! Man, I’m doing it! This is great! So great. What a day!
a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence
On the walk back, everything is fucked. It’s way hotter, first of all. During the 15 minutes we were grocery shopping it’s gotten twenty degrees hotter and everything is death. I don’t have my stainless steel water bottle and haven’t purchased any drinks because I hate giving Olive juice and I mostly drink water and it would have made my bag too heavy to carry, anyway.
We trundle onward, I can feel my neck pricking with rage and sweat. After literally two minutes I can’t deal with it anymore and I stop by a local store to get a drink. All they have is pop. GODDAMN. Fine, a sprite! It’ll be a special treat. Life, right? Hahahahahah!
Olive wants to come in, I tell her to wait with Murphy.
I go in, she tries to follow me with Murphy.
I explain she can’t come into the store with a dog, tell her to wait by the door which is three feet from where I am standing at the counter waiting for someone to emerge and let me pay.
Again she tries to come in with Murphy.
“Olive! Just wait there! I’ll be right out!”
She starts crying and says, “But I can’t handle him anymore!”
I look at Murphy, he’s standing there completely still. He looks at me like , “WTF?” and I’m like, “Dude, you have NO. IDEA.”
I go outside, tie Murphy up, place Olive’s tricycle off to the side, then return inside the store with her. We buy the drink, and fifteen seconds later emerge from the store, where I have to reverse the whole sequence of events: I replace her tricycle on the sidewalk, untie Murphy, and we set off again, cold drink in hand.
But! Fucking BUT, too late, I realize I can’t open it because it’s an old-timey glass bottle with a bottle cap (stupid hipster convenience stores) and if I open it, I won’t be able to close it, and then I’ll have to carry it, open, while also juggling Olive and Murphy and the grocery bags and the tricycle while dodging the insane drivers.
The drink goes in my bag, Olive doesn’t understand why we’re not drinking it, it’s gotten fifteen degrees hotter again, a dude leers at me from a passing pickup truck. I hate the world with an all-consuming burning passion.
We reach the crosswalk. Olive decides she wants to walk Murphy, so I hand her the leash and re-adjust my purse and groceries so I can hold her hand and carry the tricycle, too.
When the signal turns, I make eye contact with the car beside me to make sure he sees us before attempting to turn left, then we step off the curb. Halfway across the crosswalk a car honks, Olive turns to look at it and trips, at the same time Murphy gets spooked and bolts, pulling her down. Sooo, now I’m in the middle of the crosswalk, holding a bag of groceries and a tricycle, with a toddler crying with skinned hands (remember that feeling?) and a loose dog who is (thankfully) standing there patiently waiting for us to get our shit together.
In this moment we are a walking advertisement for birth control; we are the inept “before” people in infomercials who don’t know how to use blender lids or open orange juice without spilling it over their entire family.
“Simplicity” I can hear the drivers thinking as they watch this chaos unfold, “What my life really needs is simplicity.”
As Olive wails in pain I grab her and Murphy’s leash, dropping my groceries in the process. The Sprite bottle shatters and begins to soak through the bag, I haul Olive and Murphy with me, dripping Sprite, and kick-push the tricycle until we finally make it to the other side (BEFORE the light turns. Let me have that small victory, please.)
I get Olive cleaned up and settled and everything sorted out, and then we reach the free square on this grocery store trip fuckery Bingo card: She doesn’t want to ride her tricycle anymore.
It’s too hot and her legs are tired and she is sad about our drink and she wants to walk Murphy because she loves him so much. (It is also uphill on the way back but I’m sure that’s just coincidence.)
This entire trip takes one and a half hours. Ninety minutes of my life.
Let me tell you, if I drank I would have drunk myself into a sweet, blissful state of utter oblivion that night. Instead, I put Olive to bed and cleaned up and then called the police because I thought there was an intruder in my house (it’s ok, they didn’t find anything).
As they left, one of the officers looked at Olive, who had woken up when they got there. “Gosh, aren’t you cute!” he said, as he waved and walked out the door.
You have NO. IDEA.