Adventures Without a Car

This is what life looks like in suburbia when you don’t have a car, and have to wait for other people to drive you places or walk there yourself. I have just cancelled my monthly midwife appointment for tomorrow morning, because my Milly who usually drives me is flying to Seattle with her mother tomorrow to visit an aunt dying of cancer. As frustrated as I feel, um, I’m not dying of cancer, or losing someone close to me to it. I just feel like a 13 year old asking her parents to drive her to the mall, again. So I’m shutting up now.

I’ll tell you instead about a different day without a car that happened a couple of weeks ago. It’s my guide to simple errands.

1.) Remember that you have stewing meat in the fridge and need to use it soon, decide to make beef stew.
2.) Realize that for beef stew you need to buy onions, and potatoes, and hey you need several other items at the store, it’s time for a grocery run.
3.) Pull out your trusty double jogging stroller that’s easy to push and carries two children plus many bags of groceries, only to remember that it has a flat tire from the last time you took it out.
4.) Go online to see if Target has the little old lady pushcarts to wheel your groceries home in. They do.
5.) Take two children and backpack and walk to Target, several blocks in the opposite direction of the grocery store, in order to buy cart before going to the store.
6.) Wander around Target until you find someone who informs you that this particular store doesn’t carry those anymore, although they are available online and at other larger stores.
7.) Bite tongue and fight laughter/tears as he helpfully informs you of another store nearby, as in 15/20 minutes of freeway driving away, where they might have what I’m looking for.
8.) Decide not to tell him that you don’t have a car and that’s why you need a grocery basket on wheels.
9.) Walk with children the several blocks in the other direction toward Albertson’s.
10.) Try the drugstore next to Albertson’s, they have old people stuff, maybe they have one.
11.) Look fruitlessly at the rows of bedpans and walkers and canes, none of which are going to help at all.
12.) Take children into grocery store. Purchase necessary items. Resist the urge to buy anything else, reminding yourself that apples, even on sale, are heavy, and you are pregnant.
13.) Fill up backpack at the checkout, while everyone looks at you as though a third eye just sprouted from your head. “What you’re walking? Why? How far?”
14.) Calculate a weight of at least 40lbs in backpack, based on individual purchases.
15.) Realize with dismay that hip belts are not made to accommodate pregnant bellies.
16.) Decide to check BigLots for a basket since they are close by. Stand with groceries growing heavier on your back as kids pretend to ride the horse and elephant rides outside the store.
17.) Ask at the front counter if they have any baskets on wheels, only to be told that they did during the promotion, but they are out of stock now.
18.) Begin the short but distracting walk home with two toddlers in tow.
19.) Bark like a drill sergeant to keep them from climbing every rock and tree and rolling in every piece of grass they can find.
20.) End up irritated and frustrated and only slightly less slow moving.
21.) Continue by sheer force of will and voice to coerce children toward home without examining every blade of grass, and picking up every dried up worm on the sidewalk.
22.) Finally arrive at home.
23.) Drop the backpack on the floor.
24.) Collapse in a chair from exhaustion.
25.) Get it together an hour later and make something else for dinner; it’s way to late to start a stew.
26.) Spend the next day wondering if the Braxton Hicks you are having are normal for 26 weeks.
27.) When a few start to make you gasp because they hurt, call your midwife.
28.) When she asks if you have done anything strenuous lately, say no, and then remember the day of grocery shopping.
29.) She says to go lay down and it will probably stop by itself, but don’t carry groceries again.
30.) Tell husband entire saga while trying to finish dinner prep during mild contractions.
31.) Don’t tell anyone how worried you feel.
32.) React in anger when he thinks it might be helpful to point out that if you were in better shape you wouldn’t have a problem right now.
33.) Have mini argument.
34.) Finish dinner and go lie down.
35.) Hopelessly wish you had a car so that errands would be simple.
36.) Find the tire patch kit instead and toss it in husband’s direction out of gratitude for his ever so sensitive commentary.
37.) Appreciate fixed stroller 100 times more the next time you have to go out.

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