On Sunday, we decided to do something we’ve never done in the 7-plus years we’ve lived in this house. We walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. We’ve been to this particular restaurant many times, but we’ve never walked there. We’ve always driven.
We do live in the ‘burbs, ya know. And, public transportation is neither plentiful nor convenient from our locale. But, the sidewalks are well-maintained, and we’d only have to cross one multi-laned street to get there.
It was a pleasant evening, so we decided to give it a try. With gas hovering around $4 a gallon, we figured that would be a good incentive to see how difficult it would be. Plus, we wanted big ol’ burgers for dinner, so walking it off sounded like a good idea. Why not combine our trip to the restaurant with our after-dinner walk around the lake?
According to google, the restaurant is 1.3 miles from our door, one way. Totally doable. The lake is over a mile around, so this would be perfect. We had so much fun! It was great to not have to fight for a parking spot. We rolled right up to the door, took Claire out of the stroller, folded it up and walked right in. We slid the umbrella stroller under the booth, and no one was the wiser.
And, a walk in the cool evening air felt good after our humongous meal. This little adventure was a huge success!
So, on Tuesday, I decided to take my plan a little farther.
What plan is this? Well, it’s kind of an impromptu plan. Yes, saving money on gas is important, but I don’t drive a lot anyway, and my car gets crazy-good gas mileage…so the tiny amount I drive here and there doesn’t really push our budget over the edge.
I want to explore our neighborhood some more. I want to show Claire what it’s like to be active. I want her to think that walking a couple miles a day isn’t anything out of the ordinary. I want to show her that a slower pace doesn’t have to be boring.
So, we decided to take another hike.
Tuesday’s destination was the grocery store. The one we frequent is 0.6 miles from our house (again, according to google). I got one of my big ol’ canvas bags out of the closet and planned my attack. I’d use the bigger stroller, so that I could put items in the under-seat compartment, and that coupled with my bag should be perfect for this trip. The grocery list was pretty light, so this would be the perfect excuse to try this little experiment. Off we went!
We’ve walked around the lake countless times, but we’ve never walked to the store. It was an adventure in our own backyard (or front yard, as the case may be). Again, like the trip to the restaurant, the way there is mostly uphill. And, aside from our street (which is rather steep, with our house being on the upper side of it), the trip back was downhill. And, considering downhill both ways only exists in an M. C. Escher painting, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I like downhill. When people get upset and say things are only downhill from there, I’m secretly pleased…
Some of our neighbors have fantastic curb appeal that just whizzes by when we drive. We stopped to smell different roses. All the while, Claire was reminding me to get the bananas.
“Don’t forget to get the bananas Momma! Do we have room for bananas? Are bananas heavy?”
“No, sweetie. Bananas aren’t heavy. And, yes. We have plenty of room for bananas. And, if we don’t, we’ll make room.”
We made it to the store in just under 15 minutes. For some reason, I thought it would take longer. Pushing a stroller uphill and taking time to smell the roses? We made pretty good time.
Again, we don’t have to park, we just roll right in. I evaluate my list. It may be light, but some of the things on it are kinda heavy. Note to self: Shopping light takes on a whole new meaning when your space is limited!
We find everything we need, including the precious bananas, and I feel weird about not putting groceries in a cart. There’s something odd about putting them in the bottom of the stroller and in the canvas bag on my shoulder. I’m sure the more I do this, the more common it will feel. Even with all of the rearranging, we make it to the check-out in record time. The checker only hesitates a moment when I tell him my plan.
Paper or plastic? Neither, thanks.
And, I actually got a credit on my bill! Granted, it was a whopping 5-whole-cents for not using any of their bags, but still. That made me smile.
The only part of my plan that didn’t work very well was the weight of the items in my canvas bag. I didn’t want to overload the stroller, and I’m really good at packing, so my canvas bag was organized like a Jenga puzzle. What I hadn’t figured into my master plan was what to do with the weight. I mean, I knew some of the items would be heavy, but I just thought I’d suck it up and power through. My bag was heavy. I think we would have made it home quicker if I wouldn’t have had to stop a few times to readjust.
How hard would it be to push a Granny-Cart and a stroller? Where does one buy a Granny-Cart? Can I train Claire to help me push the Granny-Cart so we can just ditch the stroller? That would work! But, not right now, silly. This conversation you’re having in your head is useless right now. Must. Make. It. Home. Without. Looking. Like. A. Freak. Suck it up! You can do this!
Needless to say, my shoulder was all bruised and swollen by the time I got to the top of our hill. Oops. Who knew trying to be green could result in so many other colors?
But, even with this little inconvenience, we had an awesome hike!
And, as is always the case, as soon as we put away the groceries, we start the new list with things we should have purchased. Some of them were too heavy, and I wouldn’t have gotten them anyway, but some of them were light enough that I could have done it.
So, how long was this adventure? In total, including walking there, grabbing items, checking out, hiking home, and putting away? Just under an hour.
That never happens.
When I drive, I’m always in that store for over an hour, if not longer.
So, will we do this again? Definitely! I can definitely see taking more hikes to the store, because all we’re expending is the physical energy it takes to get there and back…and we’re using up time out of the house. Getting fresh air is always a good thing. If I need a lot of heavy items, we’ll take the car, but for the lighter trips, a hike will do us good.
The most comical thing about the trip? As I’m pushing the stroller home and struggling to maintain my composure while lugging my heavy bag, Claire is in charge of holding the bananas. By the time we get to the lake (and are almost home), she starts whining. “Can you hold these? They’re sooooooooooo heavvvvvvvvvvy. Bananas are heavy, Momma!”
It was all I could do to not laugh. How torturous! She had to hold such heavy bananas in her lap while I pushed her, in luxury, up the hill.
So, yesterday, Claire and I decided to take a hike again to the grocery store. We wanted to get Daddy something lite (and light!!) for dinner, so off we went. This time, I made sure everything on my list really was light, my shoulder still tender from Tuesday’s adventure.
The walk was just as lovely as before. The checker was just as nice as before. The 5-cent discount made me smile again. On the way home, one of the neighbors even turned his sprinklers off for us (they were watering the sidewalk…who knew they still made concrete that needed to be watered? *cough* I’d told him I could make a run for it, but he beat me to the spigot. He continued watering the sidewalk after we passed, but I thought turning it off for us was a nice gesture.) The trip home wasn’t nearly as painful for my shoulder or my ears, because there was no whining…after all, we didn’t need to get bananas this time.
And we all know how heavy those are.