Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shlepper's Paradise

Lately it seems like my days involve shlepping and more shlepping. The problem lies mainly in the fact that we live in a second-floor apartment with about 14 steps to get down to the front door, another 8 steep steps to get to a path of other apartments, and a final set of 10 steps to get down to street level. The final set of 10 steps can be bypassed by walking to the end of the path which leads into a ramp. Once on street level, the car can be anywhere from 'right there' to a block or more away across a major street.

Major street = buses, ambulances, fire trucks, delivery trucks, bikes, steady car traffic on a regular basis. Ugghhh. Why do I live on this street again?! Most sane people like Ezzie and other friends of ours probably use this street only for giving directions to their homes, or waiting for the bus.

RaggedyAndy is extremely heavy to carry to the car these days. RaggedyAnn fortunately walks nicely and stays close to me during this trek, but is certainly given to bouts of refusing to carry her own school bag and/or whining about staying outside to run and play for a few more minutes. Plus the other boy we take in a mini-carpool has a funny habit of sometimes just standing still and not . . . progressing . . . in our walk . . . to the car. With my bag . . . and baby . . . steadily slipping . . . from my hands.

Once at the car, our doors are manual of course, so there is the manic flustering of trying to get the key to open the door, getting these kids into their carseats, strapping everyone in, unfolding my side mirror (remember: busy street), reassuring the child who does not get to choose the music that yes, next time it will be their turn (isn't all the kiddie music exactly the same, kids?!), and getting to our destination. Whew.

When making short errand-stops, I used to just carry Andy around, but his squirmy desire to try to walk, try to grab anything and everything, and generally forage for food wherever we go, has made me realize that the $16.99 umbrella stroller is going to be a must, even for just making a quick bank deposit, or to pick up a bottle of milk. The idea of carrying him, the milk, getting money for it from my own backpack (I can't do the one-shoulder diaper bag anymore - too unwieldy) and fielding that perfect-timing phone call from RaggedyDad asking for someone's phone number or what's for dinner - well, it's just enough to make me want to go home, put my feet up, and eat some bon-bons. Since that's all I do anyway (see last post - I'm still apparently not over it, guys!)

Since RaggedyDad works long hours and goes to school part-time, I try to leave no grocery shopping for the weekends in order to maximize "family time." As in, I don't want to spend most of Sunday navigating through supermarkets and other stores. Only problem is, getting the groceries home is a major ordeal. Let me just disclaimer this rant right away and say that I kind of enjoy the whole "iron-woman-how-am-I-going-to-do-this-what-was-I-thinking-buying-flour-and-sugar-and-juice-and-milk-and-potatoes-and-EGGS?!" aspect of it, and that the challenge of it thrills me. Somewhat. That being said, it is a serious, serious pain getting all of this food, and my kid(s) into the house.

Of late (including today), the system has been as follows:

(Note: This is when RaggedyAnn is at preschool from 9 am to 2 pm)
Park the car in front of my front door
Take out groceries and lock doors (Andy in car)
Run up the hill with groceries, in shifts, while looking down at Andy in car
Bring groceries from top of hill up set of 8 steps to front door
Run down to car and take out Andy
Bring Andy inside and secure him (highchair, crib, pack-n-play)
Run down and bring up groceries in shifts

Sometimes there is a (double)stroller thrown into the mix, which would add the step of running back down to bring in the stroller. Just this post is making me tired! (bon-bons anyone?)

Yes, some of the supermarkets here deliver. To date, I have never availed myself of this service because

My preferred supermarket, where the prices are the best for what I buy doesn't deliver.
My next favorite option delivers, but for $5, and IMHO their items are already about 20% more expensive than everywhere else.
My least favorite neighborhood store delivers only after 1 pm and only on $60 or more, which I don't often have, since I am kind of a "filling in here-and-there" style shopper, and afternoons get hectic here anyway.
My favorite (cheapest) non-Jewish supermarket does not deliver. Or maybe they do, for $10 or something crazy.

So many people - RaggedyDad, friends, my mother, my grandmother - have told me I'm crazy for not doing the $5 delivery. Try as I might, I just can't seem to fahgin (agree that I deserve) myself that luxury. I always think, I'll do it one of these days. But just not today. I can push myself one more time.

Until then, I remain, the hunchback of Queens. And if you see me running up and down the hill, trying not to crack an egg, just smile and wave.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Oyy poor thing. It reminds me of when I was in Israel post HS and I lived in an apt on the top floor and had to shlepp and shlep.

Ezzie said...

LOL. Yes, we only use that street for directions and to get buses. Otherwise, we avoid it as much as possible.

I don't know which stores are your favorites, but KeyFood (all the way on Union & Main) delivers, and I believe it's $3/delivery.

I keep hearing great things about the fruit/veggie delivery place (FreshExpress?), but haven't used it yet. I think that one has no delivery charge (it's built into the prices), but I may be confused.

This is why we don't have a car... :)

Baleboosteh said...

It is so hard going shopping or anywhere with little kids. When I go out with mine, I feel like I'm continously getting them in and out of the car and like you - madly trying to unlock doors, dodge traffic, and straping them in their seats!
It makes it even harder if you have one that won't actually walk to the car (the mini-carpool boy)- Lol!

Get an umbrella stroller, I have had so many different prams and strollers with my girls, but the umbrella stroller is really handy - it isn't to heavy and it does't take up much space, especially in the car boot.

PsychoToddler said...

You're bringing back memories of when we lived on the 7th floor in our apt in the Bronx.

Not good memories, btw.

RaggedyMom said...

SWFM: I feel like these are the kinds of things that we can only do while we're young and later look back on and wonder how we managed!

Ezzie: My question to you is this - how late do you get to work? And is that okay with your bosses? :) Kudos to you guys for going car-free. Car-free is kind of like carefree - no alternate sides to worry about. Thanks for the delivery tips!

Baleboosteh: It is getting kind of comical when we go places, since there is always so much stuff and we all pile out of the car like circus clowns. I've been using the umbrella stroller more and more!

PT - 7th floor, huh? How many kids did you have then? The logistics of living like that - groceries, Shabbos, forgetting something 'upstairs' . . . just thinking about it, I need to sit down and have a bon-bon. You and your wife deserve a medal :)

Ezzie said...

Err... late. And I'm usually the last to leave, so that kind of makes up for it. Honestly? They don't notice.