ode to costco.

As I pulled into a parking space at the grocery store earlier today, I realized I remembered nothing about the trip from the house. Nada. Apparently, my subconscious had taken over and driven us there, safely. Or aliens did it. Because I was in such an exhausted haze I couldn't even muster the energy to try and remember if I remembered the trip. Ugh.

Slumped and a little cock-eyed in my chair, I adjusted the rear-view mirror as low as it would go and asked Emily if she wanted to go grocery shopping.

"Hmm. No thank you, mommy. I want go to Costco."

I knew I had a brillilant child. I put the car in reverse and mustered the energy. It was just across the street. Thank God.

Costco is a wonderful place. They have a bazillion parking spaces, which means you hardly ever have to parking-stalk to get a decent spot. Unless you shop on a Sunday, in which you could easily confuse it with Disneyland in the middle of July. Also, they have double-lines separating the spaces so you're safe from door dings even if you park next to a dualie with wide mirrors.

Given my sad state, I grabbed a cart before we got out of the parking lot. I sank my 5'1" frame over the fabulously wide handle until my forearms were flat against it and I was barely putting forth any effort to push us along. Emily cracked up thinking I was trying to play. We were set.

Costco is unlike any other grocery store; there is so much more to see, and therefore no need to bring a bag o' tricks to get you through it. There are plenty of happy, smiling people in black polos speeding around in their Reeboks at a breakneck pace, which alone is enough to occupy a 2-year-old's mind.

There is a jewelry section...through which you can wheel your shopping cart , thankyouverymuch (i.e. your child). And who doesn't like shiny things?

There are oodles of clothes. Princess dresses. Ironless Men's shirts. Baby clothes. Women's activewear. Tacky chino pants not seen since the late 90s. Tutus.

Then there are the toys. Perfectly displayed so your kid can see every detail eye-level from the shopping cart. Which, to your typical shopper, sucks. Today, it was entertainment. I was moving slowly anyway, so Emily got to oogle all she wanted. Win-win.

I've never taken the time to figure out what kind of schedule those sweet little old ladies are on that give out the samples, but today they showed up. And we didn't have to wait in a single line. Or wait for anything to be prepared. There wasn't a single sample that wasn't kid-friendly. It was absolutely sample-shopping bliss.

Lunch a la Costco:
- turkey breast drowned in Yoshida's teriyaki sauce
- buttered whole grain toast disguised as white bread
- dried mangoes
- fro yo

Completely balanced.

Usually we don't get out of Costco for less than $150, but today I only bought 2 items: chocolate shakes (in lieu of making breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, breakfast, lunch, snacks...on days like this) and rotisserie chicken (it's what's for dinner, babe). Total was $20.48. For someone who doesn't carry a change purse, finding exactly $0.50 in the little pocket where I keep my cell phone to accompany the $20 I had on-hand was totally awesome. I don't know if I would have remembered the PIN to my debit card if my life had depended on it.

I handed Emily the receipt and we trotted toward the exit. Emily started wiggling: "Smile? Smile?" Ah, yes. The last few times we had been to Costco the person at the exit with the highlighter had drawn a smiley face on the receipt and handed it back to her. Today was no different. *sigh o'relief*

An hour after arriving, we got in the car: two completely satisfied shoppers. Thank you Costco.