For the ENTIRE military.
Not the place you want to go with 3 Beans in tow....you end up battling all sorts of crazy just to get your food.
So, we deviated from "The Norm."
We went to Kroger. More on THAT in a minute.
First, a walk down memory lane.....
7 1/2 years ago I was about as civilian as you could get.
In fact, up until February 13th, 2003 - the day before I met My Love - I was POSITIVE I would NEVER even date a man in the military.
Aaaaaand God's sense of humor strikes again.
Before My Love left for Basic Training, I didn't speak in acronyms....know anything about moving....had no clue what "E2" stood for - although I thought it had something to do with a robot on Star Wars - .....and constantly forgot what the NEX and Commissary carried.
As in, I couldn't remember the words. OR their purpose. I was often heard saying things like "I need to get food....what is the name of the military grocery store??" And "Is the Navy Exchange like Wal-Mart?"
Yet, we thought we were prepared for military life.
I guess ignorance is bliss.
At least when it comes to huge-life-changes-that-will-stretch-and-grow-you-in-mostly-painful-ways-to-make-you-a-better-person.
But I digress.
I'm pretty sure My Love's recruiter was given countless hours of laughter-at-our-expense due to the extreme naivete with which we embarked on this adventure....more on that another day.
Back to yesterday....
Apparently, my children have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the world of the military, the pendulum has swung to the opposite side. Because yesterday, when I informed Jumping Bean we would be getting our food somewhere OTHER than the commissary, she was shocked into commenting:
"They have food in other places??!!!!"
Why yes, sweetie, they do. And mommy apparently needs to expand our routine just a tad.
I will freely admit grocery shopping in a civilian store is something I have done very little of over the past 7 years....so I was a little nervous.
Actually, I felt completely like a fish out of water.
Did you know they have special parking places - at the FRONT! Next to the cart return! - for customers with children????
Did you know their aisle signs actually tell you what is ON that aisle???
They don't taunt you with a feeling of knowledge from reading and following the signs....and then the item is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, that does mean my feeling of superiority from knowing where everything is located DESPITE the signage did not accompany this trip.
They had a plethora of specialty cheeses - we can only have goat cheese - and they were ORGANIZED!
It was quite an adventure.
However, in defense of my Commissary....
I could not believe how narrow the aisles were at Kroger. Between the Suburban-sized-car-cart toting my groceries, Bitty Bean, and Jumping Bean; and the Baby Bjorn on my belly carrying Boy Bean....there was very little room left for someone to pass.
Which wasn't the end of the world until our "random stranger" encounter.
Apparently, stories don't just come free-of-charge at the commissary.
A sweet-looking older-lady was in the same aisle, presumably also desperately trying to figure out where Polenta was kept....and coughed into her hands. Which is not a big deal. At all. Except....
....when the freshly-coughed-on-hands immediately follow the visual contact with a baby. She made eye contact and then reached out and grabbed Boy Bean's finger.
I normally am pretty relaxed about germs....but I saw no need for her germs to be shared with my Baby boy. So, I reached up and held his hand...which took her hand off of his...unfortunately, that also made her hand FREE....so she reached out to touch Boy Bean's face. His FACE, people!
Please tell me I am not the only one who finds that distressing!?
After I turned him so she couldn't mess with his face....we were able to extricate ourselves and continue shopping. Unfortunately, I didn't have a quip that would have conveyed my feelings at the time. However, after deep thought...I know what I will do next time!
I will immediately reach out and put my hands on the random stranger's face. Should get the point across, don't ya' think???
All in all, it was a great trip....but I am very happy to return to my Commissary next week.
At least when my Beans reply "wilco" to a direction, people won't look at me like I'm crazy!
Which is naval-aviation-speak for "will comply." Cause that's the way we roll...we are completely fluent in acronym.