Tuesday, August 20, 2013

God Bless the USA

Hidey-Ho, Readerinos.

I am bloody exhausted and poor as a church mouse (as opposed to those fat cat Temple rodents) so that can only mean one thing - I went cross-border shopping this weekend.

Since I was a teenager, August has always meant "family vacation time" - a tradition we continue to follow despite the fact that we are now all grown-ass adults. This means that, as years go by, we're a little more grumpy towards each other and a little more difficult to pin down, but we're a lot funnier so it evens out mostly. I tell myself it's a positive experience even though by the time we were declaring our haul at the border this year I was practically itching to get back to my house, my partner, my dumb dog. I love my family but it's really strange to realize that your definition of your "family" is shifting slightly. But enough introspection - on to the trip.

I'd like to say I was prudent. I'd like to say I only bought what was strictly necessary and weighed the pros and cons of each item carefully before purchasing them. I'd like to say that I didn't spend $120 here. I'd also like to say I didn't immediately do some online shopping as soon as I got home. I would like all those things very very much. I would also like a pony. Lot of disappointment going on today.

So, yes. Not stellar on the pocketbook or the self-esteem but the pantry and my closet are both looking boss!

We've got a pattern when we go to Syracuse - and woe betide if we don't follow all expected elements once we arrive. There's a trip to Destiny USA (RIP Carousel Centre), a day at the outlet mall, a quick tour around Target and the aforelinked Christmas Tree Store, and then a short pop-in to the liquor and grocery stores. You might think those last two a little odd but let me tell you - when your liquor stores are identical and province-run, the novelty of a rundown store with a hand-lettered "adult juice box!" sign is pretty much the definition of whimsical. And American grocery stores are the stuff of dreams! The frozen aisles, full of tantalizing appetizers and cookie dough, more choice in yogurts than anyone should ever need! It's a magical wonderland for chubby funsters such as myself. I always feel a little weird, flitting from aisle to aisle, oohing and ahhing as we complete our late-night grocery run. Like, my weekend getaway is just somebody else's Thursday night milk-and-eggs run and if they think of me at all, they have to be wondering at the disjointed state of my cart's contents ("sriacha chips, cake mix, dramamine and a hairbrush. Count me out of your weird night, lady."). But I do try to embrace my lameness and this trip was no exception.

Somehow, I didn't manage to gain a pound on this trip which is shocking and bizarre, but I'm chalking it up to my body's innate skill at processing affordable-family-restaurant food and not the 8.5 hours we spent walking the outlet mall (I wish I was joking.) I do, however, have a craving for vegetables that won't quit and I'm pretty sure my sodium levels suggest I've drank more Dead Sea than sweet tea in the last few days. But it was worth it, damn it. Midsized-town America understands me. It understands that I want my skinny jeans high-waisted and my knee-high boots wide-calved. It "please"s and "thank you"s and "sure thing, hon"s me until I glow from the attention. It finds me Birthday Cake-flavoured Oreos and makes sure I'm never more than 5 feet away from an Auntie Anne's Pretzels. I love it, unabashedly, and my visit there is always one of my favourite weekends of the year.

And I will read this the next time I'm in a car with my family, radio always in between two stations, as I bicker with the GPS while sitting in a backseat packed with filled-to-bursting grocery bags. Because I will need the reminder that I chose this. And that I love it.

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