Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Memory Day: Saturday Mornings

The Saturday Morning Routine was an aspect of life instilled by my Dad, who saw every weekend as an opportunity to do extra work for the Home. We would wake up every Saturday between 6:30 and 7 and eat some cereal while perusing the Washington Post. At the time, I limited my reading to the comics and the NASDAQ stock exchange, where I could keep tabs on my shares in Babbage's and Sierra On-Line (both of which ultimately went out of business).

Around 7:30 we would load up the Nissan Stanza (license plate XVX-881) and travel to the Shoppers Food Warehouse on Little River Turnpike. This store was built in a converted Safeway and had a high domed ceiling and classic 70s architecture. The polarity of the aisles was reversed -- you came in on the far left for produce, and finished shopping in the freezer aisles on the far right.

We would hit the same aisles every trip with my sister and I in the cart or running along side, avoiding the aisles with too many tantalizing treats. The trip through the entire store usually took less than fifteen minutes, and culminated in an aisle run where our pleas to get some Juicy Fruit gum were denied because it's "not cost-effective to buy anything in the checkout line". If there were any major sales with the classic fine print "LIMIT 6 PLEASE", our shopping expeditionary force would divvy up the stack of 18 chicken pot pies (or pizzas) into thirds and we would get to pay for our purchases separately. Particularly huge sales would result in a second trip back in after we had loaded up the trunk.

After the grocery run, my Dad would wake up my Mom (who tended to sleep in like normal folks) and the pair would head off to BJs or Costco (née Price Club) for a bulk shopping extravaganza. Meanwhile, my sister and I would get tasked with cleaning the house, which involved dusting everything and vacuuming from top to bottom. Being kids, we apparently didn't do a very good job, since most of it would get redone anyhow. However, this taught us to work smarter, since we learned which areas got inspected without fail and spent our efforts there, while making all the other areas just look clean.

Once we had learned how to beat the system on cleaning the house, we were left with a good hour or so with the parents gone. We usually spent this time doing one of our two weekend "mandatory extracurricular activities": reading a book for 2 hours per weekend or practicing our musical instruments once we got older. Doing these things while the parents were out of the house meant that we could do them our way (i.e. playing through the fun songs for a half hour instead of practicing scales and fingering exercises, or rereading a Beverly Cleary book for the eighteenth time instead of branching out).

As an adult, my Saturday Morning Routine still persists out of forced habit and necessity (since shopping in the region becomes irritating after about 10 AM). I have two routines that I follow: either Shoppers Food Warehouse at 7:30 followed by a leisurely breakfast and a Costco run at 9:30, or an extended sleep cycle that ends in a shower at 10:00 or whenever I get up. The latter case is preferred.

Happy Birthday to Sarah Hurt and Catherine Hicks!

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