Monday, August 30, 2010
"I should, huh?"
"Yes. You have two choices."
"Is one of the choices going back to sleep and dealing with your breakfast in an hour?" I asked hopefully.
"Didn't think so. What do you want?"
"Well, you can go to Vons and get some cheese bagels or if you don't want to get out of the car, just run through a drive through and get Egg McMuffins and hash browns or something."
"All right, bagels sound good actually."
"Oh, and one more thing . . . "
Whenever Theresa sends me on an errand, no matter how small, it almost always includes a "one more thing" addendum. For example, "Chris, we need to go pick up the mail and oh, there's one more thing, we should probably go to Target." Never mind that Target is nowhere near the post office, and Theresa's trips to Target are more exhausting and complex than most Arctic expeditions. The "one more thing" addendum has no such restrictions, nor is it limited to only ONE more thing. In our world, therefore, it's not uncommon for a ten-minute milk run to include a dozen one-more-things and end up killing most of a weekend.
"Oh, one more thing, while you're there you can pick up a bag of ice for tonight." In our household, we normally drink our sodas right from the can. But we were having friends over for dinner and we always assume that our guests (as well as the rest of Western civilization) will be a bit more sophisticated than we are. Thus, the ice.
So I went to Vons Supermarket and headed first to the bakery section. The bagels were packaged neatly in sleeves of six, so I grabbed a sleeve of cheddar and a sleeve of cheddar-jalapeno (my favorite) and went off in search of the ice.
That's when the trouble started.
1. Buy the lime ice cubes and then play dumb when everyone asked "Why does my diet Dr. Pepper taste weird?"
2. Buy the ice block and spend a couple hours chipping the hell out of it with an ice pick, which I do not own in the first place.
3. Go with the 20-pound bag and hope it fit in our freezer, or divvy up the ice in to Ziploc bags.
I went with the 20-pounder.
"Excuse me, Chuck?" The checker's name was Chuck. It said so right there on his name tag.
"Yes, can I help you?"
"You wouldn't happen to have a smaller bag of ice somewhere, would you? I'm just hosting a small dinner gathering, not building an igloo."
"Actually, no. We just changed over to a new ice company, and we're not getting the smaller bags until next week."
Ice company? I've never thought about that. Imagine . . .
What do you do?
I work for the Mr. Chill Ice Company.
Really? What's your job there?
I'm in the water distribution department.
What does that entail?
I pour water into trays.
And then what?
Then the pre-freeze transport department takes the trays to the freezer guys.
That has to be the most pressure-free job on the planet. Unless the freezers break.
I thanked Chuck for his assistance, paid for the ice and the bagels, and headed home.
Theresa was in the kitchen when I arrived. "Jeez, did you get enough ice? There's no way that's going to fit in the freezer."
I told her the story, from lime-flavored ice cubes to Chuck. And then I opened the freezer and tried to squeeze the bag of ice in. Surprisingly, it sort of fit. We only had to transfer a couple of Ziploc bags worth of cubes.
And then she saw the bagels.
"They didn't have any fresh ones?" Theresa asked, with an obvious look of disappointment on her face. Now, had I been thinking quickly, I would have seen the trouble ahead and said no, they were all out of fresh bagels. But I'm not that smart.
"What do you mean, fresh ones?"
"Well, the fresh bagels are right there in the display and you put them in paper bags. The ones that are pre-wrapped in plastic -- like these -- are usually a day old. Did they have any in the display?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"And I apparently screwed up by getting the conveniently pre-wrapped ones?"
"Yes you did. I guess that's the last time I send you to the store for something."
But I think we all know that's a lie. There's always one more thing.