I am always up for an adventure with the kids.
After all, I have four kids. So spontaneity sometimes has to be...ahem...planned.
Yes, I realize how dumb that sounds.
Last week we received a circular in the mail advertising the grand re-opening of a local grocery store. Sales! Specials! Cooking demos! But the thing that caught the eye of my oldest son was the mention of a certain celebrity that was to make an appearance at this particular grocery store at 4:00 p.m. today.
The celebrity was Adam Richman, of the Travel Channel's, "Man vs. Food".
My two oldest boys love watching Adam in his quest to eat his way across America, as he highlights local favorites and takes on food challenges. My 9-year old begged, "PLEEEAASEEE, Moooom?!?! PLEEEEEASE can we go to the store to see Adam that day? I NEVER get to meet celebrities!!!"
Can you believe he has lived NINE-ALMOST-TEN WHOLE YEARS on this planet, and I have deprived him of meeting a SINGLE celebrity?
Let's have a moment of silence for my boy, people.
Yo. The depravity.
I thought about it for a bit, and decided we would go. It would be fun! Spontaneous! Memorable! Also, with the size of my brood, and their quest to eat us out of house and home, I always need groceries, so at least I would be able to complete an errand at the same time. Besides. How many people would flock to a boring grocery store on a Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., in the middle of October just to see the host of a cable show?
Well, to answer that question, A LOT of people. Or, more precisely, A CRAPLOAD.
No, make that a CRAPLOAD TIMES TWO.
Yep. That many.
Undeterred, we parked the minivan, and walked the 2.8 miles (ish!) to the entrance of the store. (Barefoot! Uphill! The whole way! Just like our grandparents did back in the olden days!) I spotted a saucy little race car cart and grabbed it before someone else could snatch it away, and I scooped up my two youngest children and dropped them in the "driver's" seat. My two oldest boys stayed close to the cart as we trudged forward.
So far so good. There were many people as we approached the produce department, but since it was only 2:45 p.m. at this point, and Adam wasn't scheduled to appear until 4 p.m., the crowds weren't quite massive.
We reached the cooking demonstration area.
I saw people congregating and I asked a lady, "Is this the line to get seats for the Adam Richman show?"
"Yup," she muttered before turning her head in the opposite direction.
With our cart half-full of groceries, we stood in that spot for about ten minutes, until I noticed that everyone in line had yellow tickets in their hands. Coincidentally, I had ZERO tickets in my hand. I leaned toward the elderly gentleman next to me and said, "Do we need tickets for this?"
"Yup. They're free, but ya gotta get 'em at the concierge desk all the way at the front of the store," he answered.
I looked in the direction where the man pointed, and I could see that the concierge desk was 8.7 miles, and 2,752 people away from the spot I was standing in line with my four children.
Not cool. It would have been nice if the THREE different employees who directed me to the cooking demonstration/Adam Richman show area had mentioned that juicy little nugget of information to me BEFORE I trudged my way to the cooking demo area, complete with cart and four children. You know, "Hey lady! See this yellow paper! You need five of these!"
I was done. With a capital, "D". My two youngest kids were squirming and starting to whine. I decided that what we wanted to do was an impossible feat. It. Just. Couldn't. Be. Done.
My oldest child looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, "Mom! Don't give up! We can't leave yet! We HAVE to see this! This is why we came here!"
Darn that child and his optimism and his perseverance. Clearly, he did not inherit these qualities from me.
Sigh. My heartstrings had been tugged by my boy. Hard.
We soon learned, however, that it probably would have been easier at that point for the five of us to sprout wings and fly to Florida rather than get tickets to stand or sit within spitting distance of Mr. Man vs. Food. I felt like I was sludging miles through a muddy swamp while wearing lead boots. I was not making any headway.
Feeling defeated, I stood by the the large crates of onions in the produce department and wanted to cry out of sheer frustration. And hunger. And tiredness.
The irony of wanting to cry by the onions was not lost on me.
Niiiiice spontaneous, fun afternoon.
As I looked up at the big television screens near the produce department (this is not your grandmother's grocery store) I overheard an employee say that Adam's presentation would be televised on the large screens. This is the next best thing, kids! We can stand right here and watch the whole thing!
"But Mom, we always watch him on TV. I want to see him live."
Oh. Good point.
As we stood off to the side and waited, and waited, and waited, out of consideration for the 1.8 million people (ish!) trying to pass, I made sure that my cart was pushed out of the way of traffic. My gesture, however, was not appreciated by a group of teenagers. Two boys and a girl stood directly behind me as they waited for traffic to clear so they could pass. The girl sighed dramatically and said in her most passive-agressive voice, "Uggggh. I can't believe people here are LAME enough to think that they can actually use a cart in this store right now! This is crazy!"
Stupid me! To think I am LAME enough to actually use this CART for my groceries! In a grocery store! Of all places!
The boy next to her agreed and said, "Yeah dude. That's so lame. Heh. Heh. Heh."
Oh silly teenagers. Silly, silly teenagers. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss. I wish that all of your future precious, children are adorable little sweethearts who are born with healthy sets of lungs, strong vocal chords, and RIPPING cases of colic. For a good six months. And then, when you finally get them to calm down for a bit so you can get some grocery shopping accomplished, I hope that a group of teenagers scoffs at you as you push your unwieldy shopping cart in a store, and then, just as you and your kid(s) are minding your own biz, I hope that same group of teenagers calls you LAME. Just because they can.
Of course, I am not the least bit confrontational, so I just ignored them.
And I may or may not have given them a harmless little stink-eye.
Don't mess with Mama, kids.
Besides, it's not like I was bothering anyone in my little stake-out area by the onions. Another mother hoisted her 5-year old son on top of the sweet potatoes! That people eat! He stood on them, and of course, as expected, EVERY SINGLE SWEET POTATO CAME TUMBLING TO THE FLOOR.
But it's not like I couldn't see that one coming.
Who's the lame one now, teeny-boppers?
More waiting commenced. I was proud of the patience my children displayed, despite the hour and the situation.
Finally, after shouts throughout the store of, "Adam! Adam! Adam!" the man of the hour appeared.
See? This is as close as we got.
I should mention that I had to zoom in quite a bit because even the television screens were far away.
My sons were ecstatic because they were able to peek through the crowds and actually see him for real, even though he was about 12 miles away. Ish.
A celebrity sighting. Finally. At 8 and 9 years of age. Phew. Life is complete.
Despite the hassle and the crowds, it was worth it. I'm always up for an adventure.
Even if it's planned.