more “new normal” . . .

by mulberryshoots

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Hey, guess what? I’m not the only invalid around here anymore!

My husband, G., who moves, tunes and takes care of pianos, is suffering from a pinched nerve/vertebrae in his back and suddenly, the tables have turned and I am now the one going downstairs using only a cane to fetch the morning newspapers off the front stoop. He was lucky to see our chiropractor yesterday and is there for a follow-up adjustment and ultrasound treatment this morning.

What this means for us is that because he has difficulty going up and down stairs, carrying my wheelchair down and up is now out of the question. I’ve put on my thinking cap to figure out how to do grocery shopping without being able to use a wheelchair at the store, never mind trying to figure out how groceries would be carried up to the third floor where we live in our splendid treetop home!

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Then, I remembered a suggestion that one of my daughters, C., had made very early on when I was waiting to have surgery on my broken ankle: to use Stop and Shop’s Peapod online ordering and delivery service to buy groceries. For a long time, I resisted the idea, feeling like this is something the “rich and famous” might do or that the helpless infirm/elderly might have to do in New York City (ordering from De Luca’s!) and that there would be a hefty premium to buying food this way. Plus, I like to pick out things myself but the current exigency we’re faced with rapidly blew that prejudice out of the water too.

“This is great,” said the little red hen to myself, as I browsed the online grocery store–so many choices, reasonable quantities and I was able to find just what I wanted. This was at 2 in the morning last night when I couldn’t sleep, feeling depressed about the two of us getting older and not being able to do simple routine things, mentally looking into the abyss of how to manage things “later.”

My mood brightened this morning when I discovered that this kind of process for shopping is actually much more efficient than walking around a store. I can reflect on the meals I want to make and add on ingredients I sometimes forget about (like fresh rosemary for lamb loin chops;) and, after tightening the list of what we’ll eat for lunches, dinners and breakfast for six days until we travel up to Rockport to visit and celebrate our granddaughter’s high school graduation next week, I cut out extras and purchased ONLY what we’ll use for the duration. I’m surprised and pleased to discover that online ordering allows one to more comfortably select what we decide to buy.

With my Stop and Shop card, the program also automatically deducts savings that I would normally get in person. And a rolling shopping cart adjusts on the screen as you remove or add items which helps you to see how much you’re spending as you go along. At the store, you don’t see that final number until it’s been rung up–usually 20% more than you thought you might be spending, right? Being in control of how much you are spending before racking up the total is a way to keep on a budget in real-time. I loved it!

To top it all off, I went online for promo coupons and found a code that took $20 dollars off my first Peapod order! The delivery charge was only $6.95 (for an order >$100) and I selected a delivery window of 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm tomorrow (Saturday.) I’m also allowed to add anything I forgot to the shopping list until 3 p.m. this afternoon. Very convenient. Also avoids buying mistakes that occur every so often when written lists are somehow “lost in translation.” Best of all, the groceries will be delivered to me all the way up here on the 3rd floor when they arrive!

VOILA!! All food-buying logistical challenges seem to be resolved. Now, THAT’s a “new normal” that I could really get used to!

POSTSCRIPT: The proof is in the pudding as they say: so here’s a report on how the Peapod delivery turned out. I received an email alert that the delivery was going to happen soon. I went downstairs with one crutch and saw the big Stop and Shop Peapod truck drive by and then slowly came back, parking along the street. A tall young man walked up the driveway carrying about four full plastic bags of groceries. His name was “Tom” and he wanted to bring the groceries up to the 3rd floor. He made a second trip, carrying up another set of bags up to the kitchen. When we unpacked everything, I was impressed by the size of the vegetables (squash, zucchini, beets) and particularly the freshness of the kosher chicken legs and lamb loin chops whose sell by dates were not until mid-June! I gave Tom my thanks and tipped him for bringing the groceries to our kitchen. So, my review of this first order to Stop and Shop Peapod is FIVE STARS!!