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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


Me and Aldi Go Way Back

Another amazing installment from Clay

So April does have Internet access this week but she wanted me to post a few more times while she is away.  So, here is installment number two of “Clay’s Life Pre-April”:

My Dad was a preacher and a teacher so “goin’ it cheap” has been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember.  Among the things that were “normal” in our house when I was growing up was the phrase “it has already been spent” when depositing a check in the bank.  Other normal events in our house: hanging our sopping wet laundry in the basement in front of a fan because our dryer didn’t work and the spin cycle on our washer was broken; carpooling everywhere because our car was usually in the shop; and running to the local Aldi store.

Dad loved Aldi much the way I do today.  It saves a lot of money.  But Dad really, really loved Aldi.  It was a dark, dirty, scary place when I was a kid and if you didn’t really love it, you never, ever went in.  I think we were in there three or four times a week.

Our Aldi used to identify the content of the aisles in the store by pinning poster boards onto large foam core panels and suspending from the ceiling by fishing wire.  These were at the end of each aisle and low enough for a gangly, unusually tall nine year old to reach and knock about.  The poster boards were attached to the foam core with push pins, the kind that are about one inch long with a small colored ball on the end.  And because my brother and I could reach the signs, we would grab a couple of push pins to, usually, poke each other in the butt.  Sometimes the arm, but mostly the butt.

He and I once took bottle rocket sticks, small rubber bands, and a collection of those push pins and made home made darts that we liked to throw at each other.  I’m pretty sure he stuck one in my head once.  Playing “darts” usually capped a fun filled day of using rolled up newspapers to beat the crap out of each other.  A game that we called “Beat Each Other to a Pulp.”  Anyway, back to Aldis.

The poking of each other’s butts was cool, but after a while, even that wears thin so we started to poke other items in the store:  spaghetti boxes, cereal boxes, bags of flour, meat.  Anything that we could stick, we stuck.  It was fun.  Vicious, terrible fun.

My brother once stuck a bag of sugar and we watched the sugar trickle out a little bit at a time until there was a thin layer on the shelf.  That was cool, but I was not to be outdone.  We happened to be by the two litters of soda at the time and…yep, I stuck ‘er right in.  It was cool, it took a little force, but it went right in and just stayed there.  I showed Jody and we snickered a little bit.

Then, well, I decided that I needed an object lesson in fluid dynamics.  I took the pin out.  And the soda immediately started spewing onto me and the shelf, sort of like I was in the titanic just after the iceberg hit.  “Captain!! We’ve sprung a leak and we’re going down!”  I put my finger on the hole and tried to slow it down but it was too much pressure and if I stayed there too long, Dad would notice and he would kill me.  I mean it, I would be dead now.

It just so happened that Dad was at the checkout when all of this was occurring so I pushed the two liter toward the back of the shelf, turned it so that the hole faced away from the aisle, and got the heck out of there.  I was the model son during the packing of the boxes and the long ride home.

I don’t know who found that leaking bottle and the mess I made but I’ve winced more than a hundred times in my adult life at that experience.  I don’t really even like going to Aldi anymore because of it.  I’m convinced that I’m going to run face to face with some old dude in an Aldi apron.  We will mumble something about “pardon me” and “no, no my fault” and do the step-the-same-way dance.  We will chuckle and he will stop and look at my face and say, “Hey, do I know you?”  “No, no…impossible” I’ll say.  But he will stare into my eyes and it will slowly dawn on him that I was the kid.  The kid that stickified the enter center aisle of his beloved Aldi.  The kid that caused him to spend months wiping syrup goo off the shelving and the floors and all of the other boxes of groceries that the soda lovingly coated with sugary glee.  The kid that gave him the worst mess in his 45 years as an Aldi stock boy.  THAT kid.

And he will rage.  Oh, he will rage.  He will throw his arms in the air in order to bring them down on my head and pull a muscle in his back or break a hip.  And I will have to help him in the only way I know how.  I will place him on a shelf, shove him to the back, turn him around so that he is facing away from the aisle and get the heck out of there.

It will happen.  Just like that.

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