Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 192

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 192: Shopping

Grocery shopping is traditionally a team sport for the McGee family. There is a very good reason for this: impulse control.

Non-pregnant Abby generally has no problems going into the grocery store, getting what she needs and leaving. Pregnant Abby is a somewhat different story. She has a very difficult time walking past the frozen food aisle and not buying every flavor of Ben and Jerry’s. As for Tim, well, a big part of his staying in good shape diet strategy is not being around large quantities of delicious, fatty, sugary foods.

Once again, it is vastly easier to not eat a pack of Nutterbutters if there is no pack of Nutterbutters to eat.

Plus, it’s a lot faster to split the list, which Tim has organized by aisle, grab everything on the list, and get out of there.

So, he handles the food on the outside ring of the store, meat, veg, bakery, dairy. She gets the inside area.

Then they meet back up, take the stuff out of each other’s carts that they don’t actually need, make sure they got everything on each other’s list, and out they go, all the food they need for the next week.

It takes about an hour.

It also happens, traditionally, on Saturday morning after breakfast (or lunch, if they had a lay in) when neither of them are hungry.

So, it is with a sense of trepidation that Tim is entering the grocery store, alone, on a Tuesday night, not yet having eaten anything.

With all of the wedding stuff this weekend, they didn’t get any shopping done, and while it’s true they’re not unused to eating out, they’re also down to a quarter inch of milk, one serving of decaf coffee, no fruit, and no breakfast food.

So, shopping really does have to happen.

And Abby’s got about another hour of work to go. (The upside of long-term surveillance is regular hours. Eight to five for two more days, they’ll be sitting in a van.)

So he’s grabbing a cart and checking the list, hoping he doesn’t go too far off the reservation with this.

An hour and a half later he pulled into the Navy Yard parking lot, and Abby hopped into the car. She kissed him, buckled in, and then looked around in confusion.

“Thought you said you were going to get groceries.”

“I did.”

Traditionally I-got-groceries in her roadster means grocery bags in the tiny little back seat. She looks behind her to make sure she didn’t somehow miss them.


“Not exactly.”

And suddenly she knew exactly why he’s twenty minutes late getting to her. He’d gotten the groceries and taken them home. “Did you get five hundred dollars worth of groceries again?”

“No.” He’s staring, very resolutely, at the road in front of him.


“Four eighty-six.”

He can feel her roll her eyes. “Oh, Lord.”

“You’ll like them.”

“Not liking the groceries has never been the problem. Not eating all of them over the course of two days is the issue.”

“It’s mostly organic and healthy.”

“Yeah, I remember you shopping organic and healthy last time. Just because it’s organic, responsibly sourced dark chocolate-fudge with sea salt ice cream topping doesn’t mean we need a ton of it.”

He shrugs. They’d run out of that two weeks ago, and yeah, he did get more.  No ice cream, though. They don’t eat it with ice cream.  

When he’d gotten home with the groceries he’d done two things. A: he put some rice on to cook. B: he tossed the cold stuff in the fridge and freezer, and then, having freed up enough space in her car to pick her up, back to the Navy Yard he went.

So, all of the grocery bags were still on the kitchen table when they walked in.

It was an awfully impressive mound of grocery bags.

Abby took one look at it and said, “Oh, God, Tim! What did you get?”

“Stuff we need.”

She’s staring at the mountain of bags on the table as he grabbed oil, steak, salt, pepper, ginger, and broccoli, and started on dinner.

“What could we possibly need this much of?”

Traditionally, he lugs the groceries in and then gets making whatever they’re going to eat next. She puts them away.

He was cutting the steak into small pieces for the stir fry when he heard her open the first bag.


He looked over at her and grinned.

Apparently there are ways to sublimate the desire to buy every snack food in the entire grocery store.

See, Tim has always been vaguely aware of the fact that diapers, bottles, pacifiers, etc. had to come from somewhere. He’s even put together the idea that people buy these things and grocery stores sell them. But since he’s the guy who does the outside ring of shopping, he’d never actually been in the aisle with the baby stuff before.

And yes, he did get more snacks than were strictly necessary. (They don't actually need five kinds of Pepridge Farms cookies.) But he didn’t buy every snack food in the store. He did, however, go a bit bonkers in the baby aisle.

And by a bit bonkers, well, he bought basically two of everything a newborn could possibly need.

He did leave most of it in the bags for her to open up and discover. But there was one thing he had in his pocket, and he wanted to show her special.


Abby looked up from a package of preemie diapers. (Because, just in case, you know. And if they don’t need them, they can return them.)

He crooked his finger at her, signaling come here. So she did, big, wide smile on her face.

“I thought you’d like this.”

“Like what?”

“It’s in my pocket. Don’t want to touch it with raw steak on my hands.”

So she reached into his pocket, petted him a bit more than was strictly necessary, but he enjoyed it, and pulled it out, and, well, squeed, is probably the right word. It was a loud, very excited, and very cute, joyful shriek of a sound.

He laughed and kissed her forehead as she looked at the tiny, sparkly, pink pacifier with a skull with a bow on it.

“Saw that and couldn’t not buy it.”

She kissed him, grinning, bouncing. “Looks like you saw that and bought out the baby aisle.”

He nods, little sheepish. They probably don’t need three different kinds of diaper rash ointment or both baby Tylenol and baby Motrin. But, still, the basics are all in there. “We really will need most of it sooner or later.”

“I know. Just, wow, that’s a lot of stuff.”



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