The children are in the kind of mood where they think it's worthwhile to have the argument that another child can't claim to be doing "nothing" when that child is in fact breathing, and also their heart is beating, and also their hair is growing, and also they're blinking, so obviously they must be a TOTAL IDIOT to claim to be doing nothing. I'd been sipping a diet Coke, and I added a slug of vodka to it. Just slugged it RIGHT IN.
This might be the only time in my life I see this, so I am making note. First, you have to imagine a woman in her late 60s, with sensible glasses and a conservative grey haircut of the sort I would have called a "mom haircut" except that since it's usually OUR moms we mean, I suppose it's actually a "grandma haircut." (But not OUR grandmas. Unless your grandma is in her late 60s. You know, maybe referring to things with labels that apply to more than one generation is too confusing.) Picture her wearing an Alfred Dunner set: elastic-waist wrinkle-free pastel trousers with coordinated short-sleeved seersucker button-down collared shirt with a subtle pastel stripe that includes the same pastel of the trousers.
Got her in your mind? Now imagine her on a tough-looking motorcycle. Not wearing a helmet. Cruising along. Chin held level. Nothing in her face to show she admits this is out of the ordinary.
Is your Nice Things We Do For Other People list a little SPARSE? Perhaps they asked you not to donate blood again after you fainted six times in a row, and the place you'd like to volunteer isn't something you can do while the children are still small, and things are a little tight for donating money right now, and so on? I have AN IDEA. And what makes this a Great Idea is that it is (1) something that takes almost zero effort, which is nice if you are feeling like if ONE more person asks you for ONE more thing you are going to rip off your clothes and go shrieking down the railroad tracks, but (2) genuinely helpful in its own modest way, and (3) you might be doing it ALREADY for other reasons, but now you can feel Cheerful Community Member about it.
The idea is: bring in a cart with you from the parking lot. Take it from the corral, or better yet get one that someone left in/near a parking space. You need a cart anyway, and this means your Net Cart Effect is zero or better (you take one in with you; you take it back out and leave it properly in the corral) rather than -1 (you walk in; you take a cart out with you; somebody has to go out in the nasty heat/slush and get that cart and bring it back into the store). (Speaking of which: this idea doesn't work in circumstances when all the outside carts are scorching hot or covered in snow/ice or dripping with rain. Yick.)
Plus, it's handy to get the cart early: you can put your purse and/or reusable bags and/or small children in it at the earliest possible moment (these are the reasons you might already have been participating, without realizing you were being a Cheerful Helpy Citizen), and you don't have to get in the way and/or wait for people to get out of your way at the in-store cart area. Plus, as my mom points out, a cart that has been used for an entire shopping trip is less likely to be a bum cart. [Clarification: by "bum cart," I mean one that squeaks or has stiff wheels or has a wheel that pulls to one side so you're constantly fighting it.]
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...