"A Dark Cloud Over My Head"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday,February 4, 2017

The old saying, “If you don’t like Michigan weather, stick around, it’ll change” is not only true but applies to much of the country this winter.

Weather forecasters are often right, no matter what the location, but they are almost as often wrong. As you travel from place to place and watch the forecasts for various areas, it’s interesting to note weather stations are trying to turn the forecast into entertainment. Some like to present the person, who most often is female, as attractive and inviting. The exception is the national weather station where we often view an older, more serious gentleman or an energetic person braving the elements of a storm.

Graphics and props have become very dramatic as we view our weather report. Bright suns and rolling, black clouds are displayed along with charts and pointers to illustrate comparisons.

I think one of those dark clouds has assembled over my head lately. I have had to take over most of the household duties because my wife twisted her ankle and is in a brace. I usually helped with some of the chores but doing most of them has been an eye opener. The laundry was no problem, how much can there be for two people and I already knew my way around the equipment. Errands were easy too because I did many of them anyway. Quickie stops at the store were also a chore I had often accomplished.

The other day however, I was given a fairly long grocery list and a handful of coupons. The store had advertised a whole chicken on sale for a great price. I got to the meat counter and picked through about 50 choices of chicken without success. When I asked the butcher, he explained the featured chicken had been put in a special case, which we walked over to and I got the last one. Another meat item was a special on burgers offered in quarter pound patties, eight to a pack. Once again I searched the whole beef section in vain and finally had to run down the butcher to inquire. He cheerfully told me, “The warehouse did not deliver that order but we expect to get it soon.” That did not help my effort to scratch it off my list.

Coffee was on the list and the ad offered a “buy one, get one free.” I hoped to buy several because it would be a good savings. After searching the coffee aisle, which also contained all the tea selections, with no success I went in search of an employee to inquire. I was told the store I was shopping in did not stock the brand that the flyer offered but their branch 30 miles down the road did.

If I couldn’t have the coffee, I would move on to the wine aisle. The store I was shopping at provided gas credits and certain items each week had an extra value. My wife’s favorite brand offered 30 cents a gallon with an incentive to buy four for an additional 10 percent savings. I would get high praise for this purchase, so I began the search.

There were four aisles of wine and after the last bottle was examined I determined the brand I was looking for was missing. After inquiring yet again, I was told they sold out of that item and did not know if they would get any more and could not offer a rain check on a sale item. It was suggested I head the 30 miles down the road to their other store.

No coffee and no wine. I was really striking out but I was certain the next item on the list would be easy as I headed to the cereal aisle. Even though it was the longest aisle in the store, I knew what to look for. As I advanced along the row of cereal choices, youngsters and their mothers were in heated discussions over what particular brand would go in the cart. I finally found my brand and faced a decision. There were numerous sizes mixed together, the best value was the large box that a family of 10 could enjoy at one sitting. My problem was it would not fit on my pantry shelf. I kept looking and never found the size my coupon required. The spot where it had been was filled with a different size.

Next on the list was bananas, which should have been really easy — but was not. They appeared to have been in a war with bruises and more brown than yellow all over them. I was warned about that but had a hard time selecting any that looked healthy.

As I see it, I had learned why a trip to the grocery store took my wife so long to accomplish. It even took a long time just to write about it. The final insult occurred when I hauled all the bags in, the wind caught my storm door and broke the latch. That black cloud had followed me home.

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