Going Publix with My Problems

Whew! The last few weeks have stretched my nerves a little bit. Katrina’s recovery has been slower and longer than we had expected, but I’m happy to report that the last few days have been more encouraging. She’s still unable move herself from place to place; but once she has gotten into position, she gets busy and manages to get a lot done. She’s doing her therapy each day and getting back to her routines. Her nausea has lessened and her strength is slowly coming back. We can’t wait for the doctor to let her begin using her arms again. Last Saturday was our 34th wedding anniversary, so we’re going to Atlanta this Thursday, eat at our favorite restaurant, and stay overnight in our favorite hotel.

In the meantime, I’ve been working hard on my sermon series/book about angels, my Exodus sermons for TDF, and my upcoming Christmas and January messages. I’m also working on a couple of book projects that need increasing amounts of attention. Last week was our annual staff retreat, which was exhausting but productive.

I have to guard carefully against those little moments when a straw lands on me that breaks the camel’s back. I’ll confess to a moment of frustration yesterday in the checkout line at Krogers. They didn’t have enough lanes open, and I was worn out from my hour of grocery shopping. I tried one lane, then another, finally finding one that seemed shortest. The woman in front of me was almost done, and I crammed all my groceries on the conveyer belt.

But that woman…. she had already questioned how several items had scanned and now she was sure the bread was mispriced by fifty cents. She discussed it at some length with the cashier, and I had the smallest sense that my blood pressure was rising. The woman dug out her Krogers card (why do we have to carry around cards all the time to get ten cents off our toilet paper?). The customer discussed the situation with her companion and then again with the cashier as they decided what to do. The cashier scanned the Kroger card again but the bread was still fifty cents off.

The cashier sent the bag boy to check the price of the bread, and if he had walked any slower he would have gone backwards. By the time he got to the bread aisle he forgot what he had been sent to look for. He wandered around in a daze and finally sauntered back saying he couldn’t remember exactly which loaf to check. My ice cream was starting to melt. The cashier and bag boy inspected the loaf again and wondered what to do. Finally she called for someone important to come from customer service to solve the problem. By and by, here came customer service who I thought would say, “Give the woman her bread and get her out of here.” Instead it was, “I’ll have to go back to the bread department and see what the sticker says on the shelf. Now which loaf of bread was it?”

That’s when I threw up my hands, said “Oh my goodness!” and turned and walked out of the store with my groceries sitting on the belt. Frankly, I don’t intend to go back and get them.

I guess this is an honest admission. I can get impatient with the best of them. But every caregiver knows these things happen, and I’m only glad I’ve lived long enough to know when to make a strategic exit. Sometimes it’s better to walk away before you say something you really regret. Walking away is always better than blowing up.

Of course, we are running low on toilet paper…