I can't slow down long enough to change a routine

11/16/2009 12:00 PM

11/17/2010 4:19 PM

On the way to the Harris Teeter, my son asks why we never go to Trader Joe's. And I say "no reason."

But there's a reason all right. Same reason I don't do anything new. I'm a one-trick pony with a preschooler who's in school just three mornings a week. That puts me in a nine-hour horse to get everything done for the week. I don't have the luxury of getting off track.

I have to stick to what I know. I have to move quickly and efficiently, with great speed and precision. I'm not wasting an hour maneuvering a new grocery store when I can hit the Teeter and knock it out in 10 minutes.

And I have got the Teeter down. I know the best time to go, the best place to park. I know what meat's on special and what new movie just hit the Red Box. I know where to find Fajita Seasoning Mix. I don't necessarily need it, but I know exactly where it is, and in fact I might make chicken fajitas tomorrow night because I can get the chicken, mix, rice and beans in four minutes. Three, if I don't look at the cover of Us magazine.

I cannot even fathom making any big changes until everybody's in elementary school. Like, my coffeemaker? I know it so well, I don't even have to measure out the water. I pour to the count of "tracy tracy, bo bacey, banana fanna, fo facy" - dump two scoops of coffee and press start. If I had to get a new coffeemaker and learn how to use it, it could conceivably throw off my entire week. Not worth the risk.

We did have to replace our cordless phone because it sounded like I was talking from the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I don't how to turn it up, or check caller ID, or use the speaker function. And because I don't know how to set the ringtone, it rings like a spaceship and scares me half to death every time someone calls to tell me how great Trader Joe's is. But I don't have time to read a manual. If I did, I'd learn how to work the oven.

I'm not learning new computer applications, or experimenting with new hairstyles, or reading the latest best-seller - which we all know is "The Help" - which my friend tracked down, borrowed and delivered to me. I told her to keep it. I learned how to "redial," so I just call her each night for a chapter synopsis. You should hear her southern Mississippi accent - it's really gotten quite good.

So I don't know when I'll get to Trader Joe's. It'll have to be some lazy Sunday afternoon, when all the kids are in college and I have all day to figure out where to park and how to lay my hands on some Israeli Couscous. Until then, I've got to go with what I know.

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