Friday, May 2, 2008

The Cost of Sweet Nothings

The News is screaming these days about the price of food.

It seems to have increased by a third.

I haven’t noticed, not because I don’t shop, or because our budget hasn’t been hit.

I haven’t noticed, because for the past five years, whatever food I bring home gets ripped through by a horde of happy raccoons within five minutes of darkening our doorway.

So I’m aware that it cost more, for the price of air.

The other day, I spent two hours at the store. I had brought a list. I had planned a menu. All the organizer/budgetary/helpful how to manage your family type books and web sites suggest using such things. I had even used coupons. I felt like a good mom. I unloaded and then went to pick up my little darlings from Mother’s Day Out and school.

When I got home, there was a need for a double diaper change which took me out of commission for a few minutes, followed by a phone call and a frantic search for the Spanish to English Dictionary for one’ child’s homework. I returned to the kitchen to prepare snack.

You know that 70’s commercial about the American Indian crying by the side of the freeway at the sight of pure devastation?

Green apples in refrigerator –gone. Well, okay, that’s alright, at least it was healthy. Sure I planned to hand those out the next day for school lunches but…hey…the apples are still here, on the table. Five of them have bites out of them. Who was the apple eater? Goldilocks had sampled the fruit until she found the one that was JUST RIGHT. Then there was the little matter of the two children opening a cereal box, and a fourth making two peanut butter and banana (Nuts, that’s my back up plan for tomorrow’s fruit in lunch), sandwiches.

Lest one think I only deal in healthy issues, I checked the closet. The box of five sets of Zebra Cakes? Open. Down to two. The Chips Ahoy, the only processed cookie my middle son eats? A sleeve is missing.

OKAY. I do not use my inside voice. WHO HAS EATEN? I wait for responses. It seems, each of them have now had a snack, they just each chose different ones, leaving six separate foraging trails for me to follow. I declare war. I threaten major chaos. I promise a semester worth of snack baggies filled with nothing but raisins and celery if I don’t see some major clean up detail. I promise to purchase freeze dried space bar ice cream and store brand beef jerky instead.

They think I’m bluffing.

So I remind them, I write fiction. I write articles. I could make a query to a magazine…Frugal Mom or some such on how to economize during this fiscally turbulent time. We’ll live on oatmeal, pasta and eggs for a month. It will make a great piece, feeding a family of ten on just ten dollars a day…what a hook…

There is a flurry of cleaning activity and a few verbal commitments to follow the menu schedule. Still, there is a seventh child I haven’t seen yet. I take the remaining fruits out to the second fridge to keep them safe until the next day. There is my four year old in pure chocolate bliss, having found the Double Stuff Oreos and done just that.

“These are my favors Mom.” He says in a goey voice. There is a layer of top soil cookie crumbs on his hands and face. He offers me a cookie.

Looking at the refrigerator, I eat the cookie and take another. It’s very expensive rare air, but it still tastes good.

For more tastey mental treats, try!

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