SUMMARY: Waking up to dogs, groceries, and death, and groaning in a major way at the very end.
I love waking up in the morning with my dogs. It's one of the few times of the day when they'll snuggle, and they're [mostly] so gentle at that time. Boost might stretch out while I'm stroking her face or her tummy, eyes closing blissfully. Tika for some reason will curl up right against my body until I'm fully awake, then move to where I can barely reach her with my fingertips and glare at me reproachfully if I don't pet her. She particularly likes having her face rubbed--I put my palm over her eyes, one thumb near one ear, middle finger near the other, and push and rub, and she presses her head into my hand and moves it around to get everything rubbed--or she wants her ears massaged, and leans into it, groaning. Ahhhh! That's the life.
Today was Michael Jackson's memorial service. Apparently millions of people, literally, tried to get tickets to be in the actual stadium for the 2-hour performance/service, and the whole thing was broadcast live over TV and radio. I groaned. Sad celebrity death, very talented but very odd man. Only 50. There have been four major untimely deaths in my lifetime that I remember clearly as being media circuses during and after, with worldwide outpouring of grief and dismay and coverage that went on for weeks afterward: John F. Kennedy (at 46), Elvis Presley (only 42), Princess Di (a mere 36), and now Michael Jackson, the old man in the crowd at 50, which, darn it, is younger than I am, and I still think of myself as young. Well--young enough.
I decided to hit the grocery stores, since there seemed to be a huge number of people (judging by their FaceBook entries) glued to the TV for the service. I tried to be efficient in 2 ways:
(1) First, I tried Safeway.com to pay to get my groceries delivered so I wouldn't have to drive 5 minutes to the store, go up and down the aisles, stand in line, and drive back. Would've probably taken 45 minutes for this trip. My past experience has been that it takes as long or longer to order online as to just find the stuff in the store, but every year or 2 I decide to try it again.
First, the interface wouldn't work with my browser. Took a while to figure that out, let's say 10 minutes. Switched to another browser.
Search for dairy. There, search for nonfat milk. There, scroll through the choices, of which there are a couple dozen, to find mine. Faster than going directly to the shelf where I always get my milk and popping it into the cart? Maybe not. AND I can't check the "use by date" but have to rely on their shopper to get me the freshest bottle. Search for "whole wheat sourdough bread". Only one choice comes up, no photo. Not sure it's the one I usually get. Waffle about whether to select it, but OK. Want some small bananas. Have to choose between regular and organic. have to type a note in a separate window saying "please choose really really small ones" except I apparently have only about 20 characters for "custom order info," so have to experiment with phrasing.
Am I saving time? OK, half an hour into this event, I've got 7 things in my shopping cart and I'm not done yet. Groaannnnn! Abandon ship!
(2) Drive to the store--Lucky's is next to my bank, so that's where I end up. Fill my cart halfway within about 10 minutes. There's only one checkout line open with 3 people standing in it, so I go to the self-checkout lanes, all of which are open. Figure it'll be faster, right?
To ensure that you aren't cheating, you swipe the item and then MUST put it onto the bagging area shelf, where it weighs it to be sure you're not sneaking in some unpaid extras. So what happens when I put my own shopping bag onto the shelf? Error! Clerk has to come clear it. I foolishly don't put all 4 bags onto the shelf to sit there and wait, so the clerk has to clear it again and then again when I add more of my own bags. Doh!
Next, you have to put each item onto the shelf before swiping the next one. So, sure, you can pick up 4 small items, but you must swipe, set it down, wait for acknowledgment, swipe, set it down, wait, etc. Not efficient. And you can't just put the big items like boxes of soda back into your cart; it won't progress until they're on the shelf with everything else.
Thirdly, for produce, you have to find the info in the database. Bananas are easy, they come up as "common items" on the first screen. But the cantaloupe? The clerk has to come tell me that it's under "melon", not under "cantaloupe." I have to search for Kiwi, then type in how many I've got. And so on.
Then I have to rearrange everything in the bags because I couldn't bag them in the most effective combinations while scanning them. Then into the cart. Not efficient. I groaned when the clerk had to come over to do special processing when I wanted to write a check; OK, I said to her, I guess this wasn't the wisest thing to do with this many items.
By the time I'm done with my 30 items or so, the one open checkout lane has processed probably 4 or 5 people. OK, I love the self-checkout for half a dozen or fewer items, but from now on, with more than that, it's the regular check-out lane.
Usually I take the merle girls with me when I go to the bank or shopping, and then we walk for 10 or 15 minutes in that area for something new to scratch and sniff. Today I didn't because it was a tad warm and I wasn't sure there'd be shade. There wasn't, and it took me long enough that I'm glad they stayed home. Dogs were happy to see me; annoyed that I then sat down at my computer again.
And now, I just wanted to share with you what some dogs have to put up with to get their four square meals a day, because it made my morning when I read it in the paper: Don't say I didn't warn you about the groaning.(Source: July 7 2009 strip at http://www.gocomics.com/duplex/.)