Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dah who dor-aze!

"He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"

Maybe ... but that didn't stop us from running all over town on Christmas Eve spending lots of money because, as lovely as the sentiment is, in the end somebody's got to go out and buy the roast beast. And, of course, the who-hash.

As you can see from the picture, the tree finally got decorated. ChaplainScout called us on Christmas Eve morning to let us know that his wife was ill so the big Christmas Eve bash that we attend at their house every year would be canceled. We felt very bad for the family, wished his wife a speedy recovery, and then selfishly realized that we now had to come up with a dinner for Christmas Eve. So we tasked the children with decorating the tree as polMom and I took our lives into our hands and headed out to ... (cue ominous music) ... Ukrops. On purpose. On Christmas Eve.

When we arrived we were greeted by the entire population of Richmond. Okay ... maybe I exaggerate. It was only everyone who lives west of I95, south of I64, east of 288, and north of the River. I have never seen it so crowded and though we were gripped by fear we had to persevere because this is where the roast beast Edwards Country Ham was and you can't make proper ham biscuits without it. Ukrops also had the last six packages of Pepperidge Farms Party Rolls in a 60-mile radius which are also a required component of ham biscuits. Six years ago we were forced to use Sunbeam Dinner Rolls and there are still family members that hold it against us to this day. Finally, Ukrops is the only store in the area that carries Crystal Hot Sauce that was needed by the WestPointCrowd. So into the store we went.

We sneaked in through the Back Door (which is a real thing at the Village Ukrops) and the first thing we noticed was that the lines at the checkouts were about 15-deep. We immediately vowed to get only the things unique to Ukrops and leave normal items for a normal (and hopefully less crowded) store. Our primary objective, the deli counter, was all the way on the other side of the store so we needed to be swift and agile. We eschewed the normal carts and grabbed the last thin "sports cart" ... the James Bond Aston Martin of shopping carts. This allowed us to bob and weave through the sea of humanity clogging the aisles. We were moving pretty well until we hit a 20-cart pileup at the butcher area from all the uber-organized people trying to get the party trays they pre-ordered on Labor Day. I saw a small hint of daylight between two carts and forced my way through. Now I had a clear shot at the deli counter as I raced a 72-year-old grandmother for the next "now serving" number. I executed a perfect turn around the European cheese stand and easily grabbed the next ticket, 93, and looked up to see what number was currently being served.

Number 78.

After waiting for a period of time that can only be described in geologic terms, they finally got around to take my order. My order? Oh no! I've been here so long I've forgotten. Oh right, ham biscuits. Six sets. A quarter pound per set. Pound and a half of Edwards Country Ham. Sliced thin. No ... thinner. No ... thinner than that. [sigh] Yes, that'll do (but should be thinner as it needs to melt into the biscuit). Slice, slice, slice. Anything else? No, that'll do. Thank you.

I regroup with Polly who's holding a defensive position at the cheese stand. No ... wait ... she's shopping! Apparently the kids need cheese (I don't question anymore I just react). We've also decided to obtain those items on our list that are in lightly defended areas that we might spot as we fight our way back to the other side. We manage to get oranges, apples, eggs (organic AND free range), cream cheese, Crystal Hot Sauce (4 bottles ... can never have enough hot sauce), bread, and toilet paper. We made a feint towards Ukrop's White House rolls to throw off our pursuers and came away with the Pepperidge Farm rolls fairly unscathed. A quick (relatively) march through the checkout and we were able to breathe fresh air again.

And live to fight another day.

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