4/13/09

It's kind of like a steel trap

Monday~April 13th, 2009

I make grocery lists and then I don't look at them while I'm at the store.

I think it's because I have a mind like a steel trap. Therefore, I remember (almost) every item all on my own, without the list. So I just leave the little list in the diaper bag, or my purse, or my pocket, or wherever it was tossed to the floor by small hands.

So yeah, what was I saying? Oh! Mind like a steel trap...

Yeah, that's probably not it. Actually, it could just be that in the midst of all the unbuckling and re-buckling, the chasing, the reminding, the nagging, the answering of questions, the telling not to touch, to hold my hand, to stay by the cart, sit on your butt, and answering of more questions (deep breath)...Yes, I forget something(s), including the fact that I even made a list in the first place.


So I've been trying those special tricks. Like making up a story or poem based on the first letter of each item I need. You know, like if I need Bread, Eggs, and Tea, I'd say to myself, "Bob Eats Toast." But the thing about that is that I might as well just be memorizing the items rather than even more words. And chances are I'd remember that Bob eats toast, but I'd forget what each letter stood for in the first place, you know?

Were you ever taught these very special ways of remembering stuff? Like the one I learned in elementary school? I can still remember (see? steel trap) sitting in class, astounded at how brilliant my teacher was. She talked about how she never needs a list because she makes up stories with all of her needed items as the characters. No paper and pen needed. Just a brain.

So let's say she needed toilet paper, dish soap, potatoes, and creamer. She would tell herself a little story like this one: A family of cute little potatoes needed toilet paper, so they headed off to the store and came across a sale on dish soap. But as they were rolling to pick it up, they slipped in some creamer. The End.

Isn't that FUN?

Well, I used to think so too. Until I tried it several times and found that I would get to about the part where the potatoes "came across a sale on...on...on..."
What was that again? Huh, I can't remember. (Even if I made up the story.)

So I guess I'll just stick to my usual routine.

Yes, I'll just keep making a list, forgetting about it or losing it, and forgetting an item or three. Then when Ryan gets home, I'll say what I say most every grocery shopping day, "I need a couple of things for dinner, I'll be right back." Then I head off to the over-priced corner store and snatch up the mystery items. I always remember what they are. (steel trap)

This is working just fine for me. Because you know what? Those few minutes of alone time at the corner store are priceless.

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P.S. Read this post and then watch Oprah! He's from the Minnesota, you know.

36 clicked right here to comment:

Muthering Heights said...

You can't put a price on alone time!! :)

I usually remember things based on the layout of the grocery store. I make a list in the order in which I will encounter them, so as I walk, I know that I need fruit first, then flour, then eggs, etc.

Kind of random, but it all makes sense in my mind...

Heidi Ashworth said...

So funny and so true! When you get even older and less steely and traplike (like me) you will only need to remember one thing, ever. The list. You will live by the list. You won't be able to remember a single thing and must keep lists for everything---so you will focus muchly on that list. You might even get to the point where you write things on post it notes and leave them in locations you are sure to notice them, like, on the toilet seat or the steering wheel. See how much you have to look forward to?!

Em said...

Oh lists. They mock me so. I make them, they fall out of my purse, get dropped in the parking lot.

If it's lucky to make it into the store, you can guarentee the #1 thing that I really needed never made it to the list, because I foolishly thought "how can I forget THAT?"

I miss my brain. But I totally dig that alone time thing you have going on there. Hmmm...

Debbie said...

Nope. That time alone is so good.
I learned a few of those little mnemonics when I was a child. Like: a rat in Tom's house might eat ice cream - to spell arithmetic. But, I was blessed with the spelling gene so I didn't need them. I needed other tricks that they didn't teach me.
If I get to the store without my list, know what I do? I drive home and get it. Yep. My mind is a sieve. No groceries in that thing.

Kristina P. said...

You are so funny! I love that you make it and don't look at it.

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I DO THE SAME THING!! SAME THING! (i needed all caps and exclamation points to prove it ;)

LexiconLuvr said...

I live and die by my list. And my steel trap? It rusted shut a long time ago.

Tooj said...

I don't do stories, but I do make lists. I used to forget it all the time but then along came a "budget"....and so what helps me is I always write down the (rounded) price so that I know if I'm within budget....and I keep a net amount as I go along, computing for taxes of course. :) It helps me get all my list items AND stay in budget...never mind the fact that oreos are never on the list but always make it in the cart. Hmmmm....

sara said...

I used to make up stories like that to learn spanish vocab words!

I am the same with the list, but instead of going back to the story myself (I really hate grocery shopping) I send my hubby on his way home from work! :)

blueviolet@A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I play those same memory games and I often add them into a little tune, in hopes that might get it stick better. I probably should just write it down.

Elizabeth said...

Lately, I forget to even make a list!

Saw Oprah-little Maddy wasn't on, but her daddy made some funny jokes.

Jen said...

I make lists b/c I have precious brain power left and I don't want to clutter my brain with the things that could be written down and then forgotten. Now if I could just figure out how to get patient's lab values from 6 months ago out of my head, I would be all set.

Mylestones said...

This was too funny! And hit quite close to home. I've got the same list abandonment issues you've got. I have very organized intentions, but alas, the road to grocery store hell is paved with organized intentions and all those lost lists....

Deb said...

oh, i could be holding the list in my hand, with my eyes staring at it and still forget to buy at least one important thing on it. it's ridiculous. but i do like the idea of stealing a little time alone. even if it is in the cold, dismal aisles of safeway.

Rachel said...

My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon a Napping Porcupine.

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

A gold nugget from grade school. That is until they decided Pluto wasn't a planet anymore. So, now she sits on a needle.

My lists evade me daily too. I try to remind my kids of what we need so they can remind me when we're at the store. It works about 50% of the time.

Sabrina said...

I heart Matt and Madeline!

Blessed said...

Oh I do the same thing too... Hubby doesn't understand why I'm always wanting to run off to the store alone :)

Lately though he's been working nights and has been home when Sugar is awake and wired - I think he's starting to get it!

wendy said...

I HAVE to make a list also when I go for groceries. and yes sometimes I forget the list --but having wrote it down seems to conjure up in my minde better. I have heard of those memorization skills. I don't do them very well.

Becky said...

Well, heck, that's better than what I do! I remember the list, have it handy for reference, and STILL forget crucial items.

Steel trap, indeed.

Lee of MWOB said...

Thank God this post went the way it did. Now I feel totally and utterly normal. And life wouldn't be as full and wonderful if you didn't forget your grocery list and a couple of items along the way. At least that is what I have convinced myself of.....

:-)

Melanie J said...

This all sound so painfully familiar. And it's such an ordeal to get to the grocery store that I get really mad at myself when I forget stuff. Soooo annoying.

nikkicrumpet said...

And as you age...the kids are grown and there are no hands to hold or buckles to buckle and no distractions or excuses....well then you're just old and you have "senior moments" lol...it doesn't seem to change or get any better. I'm to the point where I just want to buy one of everything and then I know I can't forget something important!

kel said...

I ALWAYS write a list and I ALWAYS forget it on the kitchen table.

C said...

I think those are called mnemonic devices. . .

Problem with your example (for me) is that I would want to buy Bread, Eggs and Toast. . . I'd probably walk around the grocery for an hour, looking lost, trying to find toast.

xo, crock

Kazzy said...

I usually just remember a number, like 5, and then I can attach my items to each number. Yes, I am weird that way. I respect numbers.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

You are hilarious lady! :) You are so fun. Yeah - I am finding the need for lists more and more apparent in my life lately. I have been so forgetful and scattered these days. It's embarrassing. I think I might as well embrace it instead of being embarrassed by it though. I hear it only gets worse.

Growin' with it! said...

i sometimes remember the list...from the car...but what gets me is 2 little boys saying "hey what about this" and the list is non existent!

Keyona said...

Girl you are too funny. I was like 9 posts behind but now I'm all caught up but it would be ackward to comment on posts from last week right? Right.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I tend to remember the number of items I need, but not the actual items. It still works for me, though, because I often walk out of the grocery store with 4 (4!) different types of cookies or 7 (7!) kinds of pastries. And I wonder why my clothes are too tight...

happygeek said...

Am I a true Geek if I tell you that one of my FAVORITE things is being able to grocery shop alone?
There is a chain of grocery stores here that have free babysitting while you grocery shop. It rocks.

Mrs. Dunbar said...

Couldn't find my written list this morning. So on the way to Walmart I remembered, each of my guys needs something. That helped but I still ended up spending $50 extra bucks. Should have stuck with the list.
PS. I always do the memorization tricks.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Since the birth of my kids, my ability to "trap" anything with the power of my brain has diminished greatly. Maybe it is the lack of sleep, I don't know. However, if I ever to make it to the grocery store alone, I am an incredibly happy Mom; totally content to wander the aisles list-free and simply gaze at meat and produce.

In other news, I have a little proposition for you, my friend. Do you remember long ago when you posted a short video of you and your orange pots? I have never forgotten it...still makes me smile just thinking about it. Do you think you might be ready to return to the world of vlogs?

-Francesca

Kimberly said...

I do the exact same thing. I tell myself that I remember more because I wrote the list than I would if I didn't write it at all...

yeah...

Beck said...

I write lists. Frantically detailed lists. And this is because I rather love writing lists, but also because I have NO memory at all.
None.
Nada.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I have a list. Many lists, in fact. Do I use them? Sometimes. Most of the time, I mean, as in I write them, but I always forget stuff. And I'm reeeeeeeally good with my ADD and browsing and "OOH OOOH! LOOK HONEY! WE TOTALLY NEED A WAFFLE CLEANER THINGAMABOB!" while my husband smacks his head, Homer Simpson-style, waiting to die besides me.

Ah, yes, lists....

charrette said...

I so do that! (The forgetting the list part.) Like, every single time. I write a to-do list and forget where I put it, write stuff in a planner, then leave it in the car (or in the house, if I'm in the car). No lists work for me. If it's not inscribed deep in the recesses of my mind (even if you reminded me 5 minutes ago) it's not gonna happen!

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