So, my husband, Trader Joe’s and I are in a bit of a rut. I went four times the week before last and it totally felt like I was more into him than he was to me. I mean, I went with the same enthusiasm and enjoyment each time, but by Friday (coffee clutch day) Spenser and I were old news. It didn’t feel like My TJ’s was excited to see us by the fourth day; we just got casual hello’s, the other customers didn’t stop and fuss over Spenser’s cuteness, the almond butter and strawberries still hadn’t come in yet and no one gave us stickers. TJs was taking me for granted and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
We were in a little rut.
I didn’t go to My TJs at all last week. I just needed a little space. I needed to make him want me again.
Today, I realized, we were totally out of food, so I went to a different TJs; a New TJs.
Perhaps over zealous, I got there at 8:45. We waited in the parking lot of New TJs for 15 minutes. It was the kind of lot with a ticket machine. 1 hour free with validation. Then $1 each 15 min. I tried to distract S with stuff in my car, but he wasn’t so happy about it.
At 9am the doors opened and we headed for a banana.
The store was huge. I didn’t quite know where to begin and instead of nervous excitement of the first date, I felt a little homesick for the familiar embrace reliable My TJ’s.
Spenser was excited and wearing his beads and name tag, so when stranger Crew Members called out “Hey, Spenser,” it felt good. All the new Crew Members were quite nice and welcoming and I felt a tingle of newness and appreciation.
My thoughts drifted to My TJ’s. I wondered who was working this morning. I wondered if they had the silver dollar pancake sample, with syrup too. New TJ’s let you pour your own coffee and they had 2 different coffees to choose from. New TJ’s is really attractive. He was really trying hard to please me, which is nice.
But here’s the best part and worst part:
New TJs has mini carts.
Guess who was obsessed with them? Me. Oh, yeah, and S too. It’s great because it’s fun but it’s awful because S is really too young to be responsable with his own cart – it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
“Hey! This is Spenser,” a New Crew Member said. “The famous Spenser!”
I was confused. Was he mocking me because of the name tag. I smiled, trying to be nice.
“I’ve heard about him,” the Crew Member said, “My girlfriend works at the other TJs and told me about him and how they got him a name tag.”
I was floored. “She talked about Spenser?” I asked. “Really?” I blushed a little. My TJs talked about me/us? Awwww.
“Oh yeah!” the New Crew Member replied.
I couldn’t imagine we were the topic of a Crew Member’s dinner conversation. I wondered if the were eating the fettucine with chicken and mushrooms. “What’s her name?” I asked expecting to reply, ohhh! when I recognized her.
I had no idea who that was.
God, we are famous.
S was freaking out about pushing his cart and putting stuff in it by himself (that I put back when he wasn’t looking) while I had a coffee sample.
Suddenly, Spenser abandoned his mini cart and took off laughing down the aisle and rounded a corner! Shit! I had a split second panic that he’d run into an oncoming cart and it would crush him. (These are the nightmares I have. I’m sure all parents have these horrible worries of their child running off into traffic or into crowds… well of course they do, that’s why they invented toddler leashes. I think I want one.)
I ran after S, catching up with him in the wine aisle (next to case after case of two buck chuck which I would only buy to dump out and use the bottles for candle holders. The only two TJs products I don’t like: cheap wine, namely Charles Shaw and Toilet Paper, which is rough, but I do sometimes buy anyway.) Spenser was laughing as he ran. I scooped him up, putting the coffee in my teeth and then as I picked him up, dumped my coffee all over my neck, hair and shirt. Of course I looked to see if anyone saw. No. I took S back to our carts.
One of the best smells is fresh coffee brewing. ONe of the worst smells is cold coffee lingering on your clothes.
The novelty of the mini cart was over. S realized he had the ability to run off at will, and I was leaving 2 carts in the aisle, not just 1. I put Spenser back in my cart and gave him bananas and inner peas.
I dragged his mini cart along side of me as he pointed to Gretchen’s boyfriend using a big mechanical floor cleaner to clean a spill. Great. Another flashy attraction here that Spenser loves. We followed Gretchen’s boyfriend for a bit as I kept trying new ways of grasping both carts. There were a lot of “excuse me’s” to old couples, who were not exactly ornery, but not thrilled.
We were done shopping.
They opened up a new check out lane for me, which was very accommodating. Spenser hit “Credit” on the credit card swiper with the stylus, without being prompted and I thought either I have a very smart child or I shop way too much. I got my parking validation and we left.
A good time. Food bought. Spenser was ready for a nap. Success all around.
I missed My TJs, even though it was farther away and they didn’t have mini carts or self-serve coffee.
I put my validation in the ticket dispenser and it registered $3.
An attendant came over. “This machine isn’t working well,” he said.
“So I don’t owe $3?”
He looked at my ticket. “You were here over an hour, so you do.”
“But I got a validation.”
“But you were here over an hour, so it cancels your validation out.”
“That’s not how it’s supposed to work,” I said very nicely. “I think I’m only supposed to pay over time. $1.”
“No, it cancels out.”
“OK,” I said with a fake cheery smile. That was annoying.
I was ready to go back to MY TJs anyway.
I was going to appreciate the hell out of him. I loved him and I was glad he was my husband.