Friday, September 11, 2009

Seasons and Hours

While I was out and about this week with Teddy, I noticed two things:

-At-home-parent outing season has returned
-Old-and-infirm hour at the grocery store

First, because all of the big kids are back in school, it appears to me that the at-home parents in my 'hood have come out of the woodwork. Summer, when the big kids are at home, doesn't seem like a good time to hit the library and the bakery and the playground with the little ones. It feels so much easier to go on an outing with just one child, even if it's the little, unpredictable, nap-time-bomb-ticking, equipment-intensive smaller child. Now, it may be that all the other parents were in all the at-home-parent outing spots all summer, and it's just that I've returned to the spots. But I think it's actually a community-wide shift. There's an urgency about getting out now because the bad weather's going to come. It's so great to go out without worrying about jackets, boots or finding gloves and hats.

Second, based on a trip to the grocery store at 2:30 today (Friday), I've concluded that the mid-afternoon is when the old and physically broken shop for groceries. I saw more canes in carts today than I ever have. Swing the big truck/racecar kid shopping cart around the end of an aisle at 2:30, and you are going to bowl over a crowd buying Depends and Metamucil. I've seen it on weekday mornings, too, but this afternoon felt twice as extreme as those mornings. Before I became a part-time at-home parent, the only time I could shop was in the evenings after work. Totally different crowd: very few older people, not that many parents with kids, a few people each time who looked like they'd come straight from work to shop before a late dinner. There's a different pace at night, too. People who shop later in the evening are moving fast and trying to get home. In the afternoon, they're trying to kill time until the early bird specials start.

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