Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The one where I confess I am one-part snob, and nine-parts dork.

Updated: Ha! Replenishing my "Panty" --- ha! Spell check sure didn't catch *that* one, did it??? Although that reminds me, I do need some new underwear .....
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You know, the thing about moving is that not only is it a lot of work, but parts of it can be expensive. Curtains never seem to fit, bathroom rugs and accessories are always the wrong size and/or color, decorative and organizational needs can change from house to house. The kitchen island that was perfect in your last house is six inches too long for your new kitchen. Or you suddenly have an entryway that requires some kind of table or hutch or bench or something, for goodness’ sake. Luckily for me, I like to shop, so it works out ok.

I also like to grocery shop (WAY unlike Blaine, who would rather submit to a full body waxing than go to the store) which is good, because re-stocking the pantry and fridge and freezer is always a big project whenever we move. The movers will always pack up all our dry goods, but they won’t bring anything liquid like oils or sauces. Sometimes they pack them anyway, which is not a good idea, as we discovered thanks to a broken jar of Tabasco sauce this go-round. They won’t pack batteries, they won’t pack cleaning supplies, and they won’t pack (for obvious reasons) anything frozen or refrigerated. While we can pack the cleaning agents and bring them ourselves, it’s not like we can throw our meats and cheeses and chicken breasts and frozen vegetables and Stouffers lasagna and ketchup and milks and eggs in a laundry basket and drive them across country. Normally, we just give it away on one end and go shopping on the other end to replenish it all --- that’s what military families do. Or at least that’s how we’ve always handled it.

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to grocery shop. But I am a bona-fide, 100 percent, no doubt about it, grocery store snob. I want to shop in a grocery store that is big and bright and clean, with wide aisles, and plenty of selection. I want a deli and a bakery, and a pharmacy is nice, too. A food court offering DDP would warrant a big two-thumbs-up from me. I want it to be pretty (hence the reason Wal-Mart is ruled out.) I want there to be PLENTY of choices when it comes to food … plenty. Ninety-two varieties of sausage is a good example. Italian? Chorizo? Kielbasa? Knackwurst? Toulouse? Smoked? Cured? Hot? Extra Hot? Spicy? Mild? Pork? Beef? Turkey? You know what --- we don’t even EAT sausage. But by golly, if I go to the store to buy some, I want to see every shape and size and variety on the PLANET from which to choose. *THAT* is my idea of a good grocery store -- lots and lots and lots of choices.

Now, as you know, one of the perks to being in the military is getting to grocery shop in the base commissary. And while yes, the majority of items are somewhat cheaper, I’ve definitely had to compromise my grocery-store-snobbery over the years. I mean, these are defense installations, and the condition of the commissary (in buildings that are often many, many, many years old) is often indicative of the state of the defense budget.

I still appreciate getting to shop there, where boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.89 a pound, instead of the five or six dollars a pound they are at the local store. But not all the savings are that good, and possibly some things are just as expensive as their civilian counterparts. Also, the commissaries normally aren’t large enough to humor my ridiculous consumerism wants. When space is at a premium, I *GET* that they can’t stock seventeen varieties of Pringles. But occasionally, they will be out of something I want. Out. I went to the commissary in Georgia once and they were out of sugar. Completely OUT. How is that even possible? And another time, they were out of the chicken breast, which resulted in me calling Blaine on my cell and shouting about "what a stupid, stupid, stupid commissary this was and how freakin’ ridiculous is that!?!?!?" (Why I thought he should be able to do something about it, from our house, ten miles away …. I have no idea. But sometimes you just need to call someone and vent.)

And, the hours stink at the Georgia commissary. Open at 9am, close at 7pm, and closed on Mondays. And closed on Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday. And it’s always packed, with tons of veeeeeerrrrrrry slow-moving veterans (who I am totally respectful of, because it won’t be long until that is ME, and it seriously brings a lump in my throat when some old guy has on a WWII baseball cap, and for a brief moment I don’t even mind that he’s got his cart parked right in the middle of the damn aisle while he browses denture cream.) But see? If the aisles were wider it wouldn’t even be an issue but they are not so IT IS. So really, shopping at the commissary has never been my ideal, but I’ve always done it because it seemed cost effective.

So this week, when it was time for me to make the traditional “Replenishing of the Panty” commissary shopping trip at the new base, I primed myself for a day of agony. We had nothing. And my list? Was long. We live half an hour from the base, so I knew I needed to make the trip worthwhile and not drive out there accidentally on a day the commissary was closed. I double-checked the calendar that it wasn’t Monday, got directions from Blaine, and took off, anticipating a grueling ordeal of squeezing through the aisles, getting stuck behind all the retirees, and not being able to get many of the things on my mile-long list. We have a spare fridge and a spare upright freezer in the garage. The freezer was completely empty --- as in, not one thing inside. The fridge had two Sprites in the door. THAT is how much grocery shopping I needed to do. So, deep breath, here we go.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I thought the building looked rather large, but we all know looks can be deceiving. And, the commissary is attached to the BX, so probably that was why it looked so big. I couldn’t find the cart corral, and thought, “Great, here we go …. They have so few carts they’re already all taken and I’ll have to stand in line and wait for one.” (Which, yes, that has happened to me quite often at the commissary.)

Then, I walked through the doors, and oh. My. Gosh.

This place is HUGE! Easily twice as big as my last commissary, if not more. It is only two years old, clean, well-lit, and plenty of space. Plenty of carts located inside, and EIGHTEEN check out lanes --- all of which were actually manned, which I discovered to my delight when I got ready to check out and didn’t have to wait in line. They are open seven days a week, from 7am until 8pm, although my bagger warned me not to come on Sundays if I can help it because that’s their busiest day.

I found (are you ready for this?) EVERY SINGLE THING on my grocery list. They have a deli, bakery, florist, international foods department, sushi department, and a sitting area with complimentary coffee for the folks who need to take a breather. How stinking cool is that???? (Note to self: must start drinking coffee.) Now granted, the store is set up completely backwards than my last commissary, so I was a little disoriented. In fact, I had to wander for a few items, and actually got quite a work-out, pushing those full carts up and down the long aisles. But the entire time, I was gazing with wonder at the wonderful wonderfulness of my new commissary.

I spent two and a half HOURS inside, shopping.

I spent $485.58.

I think it was the happiest commissary experience of my life.

I thought I couldn’t be any more satisfied, until I got home and put away my groceries.

My friend Jadine has asked for photos of our new house, so I’ll start here, with my pantry. My pantry, which is the biggest pantry I’ve ever had, full from my Replenishing Adventure. This pantry is bigger than Brayden’s bedroom in our old house. (OK, that is a slight exaggeration. But only slight.)

You know that sound Tim the Tool Man Taylor makes when he walks into a hardware store? That sort of grunting in satisfaction? That is the sound I now make (this is the nine-parts dork I confessed to earlier) whenever I open my pantry door.

Or perhaps a better description is the sound Wayne and Garth make whenever they are excited about something:



Scha-wing!!!!



I mean, seriously, is it normal for a grown woman to derive such joy from a stupid pantry??? I think perhaps I have a defective gene or something, that I can feel such happiness from a well-stocked pantry. And please, no smarmy comments about how all my canned goods are arranged by section with all the labels facing forward. If you don't appreciate the beauty of my organizational skills, then I don't need to know about it. For now, let's just all take a deep satisfied breath and pretend to enjoy the beauty of the pantry.



But look at it, it's huge! Or at least huge as far as I'm concerned. Of course, I have no doubt I'll still manage to run out of something before the next shopping trip.



Scha-wing again!!!

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally understand the commissary thing, having stood in line to check out for longer than it took me to shop. Wish I could pretend I'm nearly as excited as you are about a big, well stocked pantry.

Marie
www.caringbridge.org/visit/marielle

Rachael said...

Wow! What a beautifully organized pantry. And, what a great deal about your commisary! Grocery stores are key to a woman's happiness I think. It is where we spend a LOT of time...heehee! My husband will go but he will buy weird things...cheetos, more butter and salsa.

After living in Angola now for 4 months and shopping at THESE grocery stores I can really appreciate your story. Just a few days ago I broke down and bought a carton of cream for $23...Luanda has been out for some time and I needed it to make soup.

Anyway, great post!

cakeburnette said...

yeah, there are a couple of things we actually miss from VA--one being a commissary that is open 7 days a week (although the one at Altus was the first one I ever encountered, oddly enough) and the fresh fish counter. But I suspect the NEW one here would've passed muster with you...if it EVER GETS BUILT! arghhh!

Hyzymom said...

Okay, how big a dork does it make me if I derived great pleasure from looking at YOUR pantry. It's bee-u-ti-ful!! It must be the 38+ years of military (as a child and adult) that do that to me. John and I have done 8 moves in 16 years and I felt like you were writing about me and the commisary. I knew I'd become a parent when I found myself giggling with glee over the fact that I got to "sneak" out to the grocery store BY MYSELF. Nerd or parent alert... who considers it "sneaking" to go to the grocery store. "Sneaking" would be to the Chippendales show, the bar down the street or the closet to eat my Reese's without having to share, NOT the grocery store. Yikes I better stop now. Keep 'em coming I consider you part of my morning routine now. Coffee, Crossword, Email and Kristie. Thanks!

Cathy from Suwanee said...

Good Lord woman! That pantry is like the Energizer Bunny....it keeps going and going and going. Very Nice!

Anonymous said...

You totally crack me up!! I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the "Replenishing the PANTY" line. You are such a stickler for spelling and I don't want to point it out, OK, I do, just b/c it was so funny coming from you. I can't wait to see pics from the rest of the house. I have never been to a commissary, but wondered what it looked like inside. Glad to hear that your new one is so much nicer, despite being in a small town.
Wendy in Winder, GA
P.S. It has been 77 degrees the last two days in GA. Can you believe that? Much different than the ice ya'll got.

Renee said...

My favorite part of your pantry: SKIPPY!

Caroline said...

I'm in love with your pantry! I usually pick apartments/houses based on the size of my bedroom closet and cabinet space in the kitchen!

Anonymous said...

OMGosh - I love your pantry! I'm highly impressed with your organizational skills too! :-)

Wish I had a pantry like that!

The Running Girl said...

So glad to know that you have food now since your city is still covered in ice. Nice pantry there. We had a really large one at our last house and it was nice. Enjoy the pantry and the commissary. Sounds like you are going to enjoy shopping.
Briana

Sandie In MN said...

I can't believe you have the elusive, gigantic, cylinder shaped Quik can! I haven't been able to find one of those for three years! I am so jealous.

Hmmm.. have a hankering for a glass of Quik now too.

kelley said...

Sure it's a great pantry but...can ya'll really eat all that food??

krunck said...

I am sooooo ENVIOUS!!! A real live stocked pantry!!! You won the lottery for sure!!! :) Enjoy!

lizinsumner said...

I'm not pretending - I have PANTRY-ENVY!!!!!!!!!!! Especially since I have none, and my cupboards are in serious need of overhauling (I think I have some things in there that are almost as old as my son). Love the pantry - and, I'll ***overlook*** the fact that you have {{{gak}}} Minute Rice in it (I'll bet the new commissary has real rice!!!)!! When Blaine retires, will you still get to use it? I'm assuming you will. PS - the pictures on the news of all of OK look horrendous - but, it must be okay where you guys are at since obviously you AND the commissary have power! ALso - I've never spent that much for groceries at one time in my whole life - how'd you do it without passing out???!!

Laurie said...

I am loving your pantry. Mine isn't as big, but it's totally organized like that, too. How else would I know to write down what I run out of on my grocery list?

I aim to have as nice a pantry as you do in my next house. I want to be as cool as you! :)

Anonymous said...

WHAT??? A commissary that is open on Mondays? And Tuesdays after a Monday holiday? Unheard of in the Army world...or at least the one we've always lived in.

Gayle in AL

Grandma J said...

I love your pantry!! It's huge and could as a library if it had less food and more books. I line things up with labels facing forward too. I can't help but notice all the Hefty bags and Dole Pineapple cans! Umm maybe some are peaches.

I hate grocery shopping and I'm anal about certain items and brands, so I make sure the store I go to has everything to suit me.

In So CA (before I retired) several grocery chains started internet ordering and free delivery, depending on the time of day and the length of window you gave them. You order on-line, selecting your items by aisle, department, specials or your own list of favorites...then you submit. I loved it and the delivery guy has a refrigerated area in the truck and they are forbidden to take tips.

It's much different where I am in TX. There is only one grocery chain, HEB, and there's WalMart...that's it. I am adjusting!

Stay safe with all that ice!!

WendyK said...

Wow! That is one massive pantry, and how great is it to only go to one place to get everything you need! I love a well organized pantry, but well mine is too small to really make it organized :(, but at least I have one in this house.

Congrats on finding the perfect commissary, and hopefully y'all will be stationed there for a very long time.

Amy said...

I've found the DECA website to be pretty helpful in figuring out our nearest commissary (Fort Belvoir; I'm totally spoiled). The DECA website (www.commissaries.com) has information on each commissary including what is on each aisle. To get there go to: Locations-> Store Locator-> search by whatever input you want-> on the left side of the page, under Store Information, click on Floor Plan. You can sort it by item or aisle. I've gone so far as to put the aisles into Excel and then put my grocery list in there, and then print it before heading to the Commissary. If you go to Shopping-> Shopping List you can also search a commissary's inventory for a specific item. Hope you find this helpful!

Anonymous said...

How much do you charge for "panty" organization because my pantry needs your help?! When do we get to see the rest of the house?
Lisa

krueth said...

I love your pantry size and I am glad I am not the only one who must have my same items together with the labels faceing out, so I know what they are. I look forward to, and enjoy reading your blog everyday. Wendy

Jeanette said...

I am so envious of your panty. It's soooo much bigger than my panty, much more well-stocked than my panty too.

abbie said...

I. Totally. Want. That. Pantry. Not kidding. And I, too, face my labels out and have everything organized by category. (Soups, tomato products, canned veggies, noodles, crackers, etc.) Of course I don't really have a "pantry". In fact, I don't have one at all. I have all of it crammed into 3 cupboards. (Which is, incidentally, half of my eye-level cupboard space.) But when things start getting messy and knocked over I just take it all out and start over. And then it's clean again and I can see what I have. And then I open all 3 doors and just look at it for a while. :)

I can't wait to sell my house and get one with a pantry. A real one. (Wanna know the funniest thing?! I live alone and go out to eat more than I cook! HA!) But should I get snowed in...I would be ok. Because my "pantry" is stocked and well organized. "So I've got that going for me, which is nice." (Movie quote.)

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Just wanted you to know you aren't the only one who is 9 parts dork.

Abbie
DSM, IA

Shannon said...

Is it reasonable for a grown woman to be so envious of your enormous pantry?

Wowsers...that rocks and just a note to thank you for stacking your cans that way. If you had, by chance, shown us pictures with your cans in dis-array, I might have passed out. I can handle piles of magazines on the counter, stacks of movies by the TV, but please, please, please, don't mess with my cans.

~Shannon
www.caringbridge.org/tx/ethantf

Elonda said...

Wow, let me just say that I am so jealous of your pantry. It is almost as big as my kitchen. I loved how organized it was!!!

Victoria said...

I gotta admit, Kristie, that I was looking at your pantry pictures and thought "Doesn't everybody do it that way?!" Apparently you're not the only one who is anal about their pantry--I find it remarkable that there are people out there who aren't! I hear ya on the commissay too, my sister in law is military, and the few times I have been grocery shopping with her were quite the adventure. Note to self: avoid the commisarry/BX on payday Friday, since EVERYBODY on base gets paid the same day :::shudder:::

Anonymous said...

The first thing that popped into my mind while enjoying your pics.....you are so totally prepared for an earthquake. Then I remembered that's my life, not yours, but still.....

Dixie in CA

Anonymous said...

LOVE. THE. LONGABERGER. BASKETOS. At least that is what they look like in the pics. Are you thawed out yet? Love your pantry!

Lori

Lorna said...

I totally get it. I have always gotten a real feeling of satisfaction both from completely emptying something and throwing it away and then from restocking so the container, pantry, etc. was full. I didn't think anyone else was like me!

Love the pantry.

erunginung said...

scha-wiing is right!! That's a nice panty, er I mean pantry :D

Jennifer said...

I love the way you use rubbermaids to store smaller items in your pantry! I think your pantry is beautiful! I went from having no pantry to having a decent sized one (at least one I can walk into) and I love it! And if I may say so, I didn't even notice your typo of "panty" until you pointed it out. As far as I was concerned, it had an "r" in it. Thanks for the funny journals. And not to rub it in or anything, but it has been 75 degrees in Atlanta this week!

Monica H said...

I, too get great pleasure out of a well stocked pantry. And all my labels face one direction and are categorized just like yours, so I guess that makes me a dork too :)

Patty House said...

I am So Jealous!!! I LOVE your pantry!!! Can I have it? =) I don't have room for it anyway...