Thursday, March 17, 2016

When Life Gives You Limes (But Charges You For Lemons)

I have not darkened the door of a grocery store for nearly two years since Instacart came to Austin.

It's glorious. Grocery shopping just sucked so much time out of my day - I now can use that time for cooking with the delicious fresh ingredients Instacart delivers to my door.

But today - because I am making my world famous Irish stew for St. Patrick's Day, I broke the pattern and went to pick out my ingredients myself, mostly because my Instacart shopper (normally quite accurate) does not know the difference between a 1015 onion and a completely substandard regular onion, and I cannot subject my stew to the wrong kind of onion.

So I went to HEB.

I went super early this morning so as to avoid all the worst things about shopping (like the people) and encountered a situation which we must now discuss.

The angry person tipping point. Specifically - the unjustifiably angry person tipping point.

I see this a lot on the internet, but don't often get to experience it in real life (thankfully, because I work from home), so it was amusing to me in a scientific way to see it play out before my eyes.

Here's the situation.

There are people who believe that their entire lives have been an incredible sequence of micro-injustices, back-to-back - a relentless, day after day conspiracy of misery, and they ultimately land in a situation where they just cannot take it anymore (and by ultimately, I mean daily) and they HAVE to unload this anger on the nearest unsuspecting human.

This unfolded before my eyes at 7 AM at HEB.

I was in the self-check line, and my receipt didn't print, so I went to the self-check helper person and asked for a copy. As he was working on it, a woman appeared behind him with a giant palm tree in her cart, hand on hip, clearly SEETHING about something. She radiated this palpable anger that I think might actually have COOKED the chuck roast in my cart.

I smiled at her and said "Wow - I didn't know you could buy those here!". She glared at me until I could smell my own hair being singed. I averted my eyes, and closed my hand around my pepper spray.

Since the receipt process took a little longer than the nice young man expected it to, he turned to Seethy McAngryson and said "So sorry ma'am - this will take just a minute - can I help you with something?"

And like VOLDEMORT, this woman just explodes into a human fountain of rage on the poor guy, clearly after having held in the micro-injustices for far, far too long.

"YES YOU CAN" she barked.

"I BOUGHT limes, but I WAS CHARGED for lemons."

He and I both recoiled from the white hot rage this woman expelled - it was like Mount Angry had just erupted and shot lava all over the store and we were running for our lives from the molten hatred.

It was a ridiculously disproportionate response to what seemed like a) a fairly easy problem to solve and b) an awfully benign, friendly and previously not jaded young customer service agent who was totally unaware of the lemon/lime micro-aggression and certainly not part of the conspiracy that was depriving this woman of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I, as is my custom, dissolved into a hysterical fit of laughter at the ridiculousness of it all, which I don't believe really helped the situation any, but it was 100% involuntary and a great start to my day. I think plastic surgery should fix the eye holes she burned into me as this occurred.

The young man, who was too frightened to laugh, suggested she go to the customer service desk, whose employees he apparently despises.

Or he was just trying to save his own life.

He made the right choice.

I truly don't understand the philosophy of chaining all inconvenient or unpleasant things you've ever experienced together to make it seem like your whole life is terrible. If you get a cold, or have a flat, or God forbid - get charged for lemons when you're buying limes - you really don't have to Hoover up every other negative thing in your life to compound the lemons into a Greek tragedy at HEB at 7 AM. You really can just walk it off, get your 17 cents back and go forth into the day.

You can. I've done it.

You can also do the opposite - you can snowball all the really super awesome things that happen to you into a giant ball of happiness that you carry around and share with people.

The fact that it even involved lemons made it so much more poetic that I could not resist telling the story. I am 100% sure this poor creature has never made lemonade.

You make your own luck, as my dad often told me - and I do most definitely believe that.

So the universe gave me the perfect St. Patrick's Day story. :)

I actually wasn't going to blog or even make a card today, but how could I resist that timing?

So I took out my NEW favorite watercolors  - oh my goodness bless Kristina Werner for introducing me to these - Mijello Mission Gold Watercolor (crazy low price for them right now too) - and I used three colors just as a test for my first experience with them - to paint some four leaf clovers.

They are so easy to blend and move and the transparency is just gorgeous. I used Rose Opera (WOWZA do I love this) in the background, and Olive Green and Greenish yellow for the leaves and stems. I accented those with some of the Rose Opera and that's what creates that fun rust color. I used Strathmore Ready Cut watercolor cards - another Kristina recommendation - for the watercolor panel. 

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The stamp sets for the sentiment are Project Life Remember This and Concord & 9th Beautiful Words

And - it IS a lucky day to be you, by the way - my newest online class, featuring three duplicatable CAS designs with the Happy Home stamp set is now available here. This fun class features one super unexpected use for this set that I'm kind of proud of :).

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of St. Patrick's day - and I hope you are too.

I hope you ball up all your happy moments and carry them around with today and always, instead of not making cherry limeade out of the limes you were charged lemon prices for. 

May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

And not like a volcano of doom. :)



  1. You had me laughing out loud! Off to check out the watercolors.

  2. Oh man, I love your stories! Great card too :)

  3. Lydia- I adore this story and I adore you even more! Thanks for always sharing and making me smile! Happy St. Patrick's to you! Love your card and the watercolor.

  4. I am the luckiest person in the world, first because Limes cost more than lemons where I live and second my son bought me this partictular set of watercolors. They are fantastic. Such vivid colors. I just love them. The best time to shop here is about midnight. Fewer night trolls out then.

  5. Gorgeous card! Fabulous watercolor and amazing colors. I think I want those watercolor cards!

  6. Thank you for the way you told your shopping story! It made the start of my day, with a few chuckles. I actually felt like I was witnessing the whole hilarious scene!
    And, I love your philosophy and poem.
    Hope you enjoyed your St. Patrick's Day meal!☘

  7. Oh my gosh thanks for the great laugh this Friday morning! I often have similar thoughts while driving in the DFW area with the crazies--people just need to relax and enjoy the ride instead of raging down the road! Love your card and the dimension you created with the watercolors. Beautiful!!

  8. The image is wonderful, and the sentiment couldn't be more perfect. Reminds me of a time you rode on an elevator with an upset worker at 2333 Thomas Road. You ain't scared.

  9. ha ha ha I'm so glad lemons and limes cost the same where I live! 😝 I would have done what you did too! So funny! Love the card - I love Rose Opera too - I have a tube of it by Winsor and Newton but now I have to check out another watercolour set!!! I'm so easily lead astray! :-)

  10. Great story! I still shop the old-fashioned way and do so as early in the day as I can!

  11. Great card! LOVE, love your post this morning. Thanks for my first belly laugh of the day.
    Yes, been on both sides of this scenario. I now, know that one catches more flies with honey, lol........


  12. Beautiful card Lydia! And thank you ever so much for the giggle. Your lemon/lime injustice story gave me a nice chuckle!

  13. OMG, I am just glad I wasn't drinking a glass of milk when I read this - it would have been a disaster to the laptop.
    Love the card and well I would have laughed out loud at the lady too but only I would have had little horns coming out of my head because it would have been only to make her day all that much more traumatic.

  14. Unable to sleep at 2:30 AM, EDT, I read this latest post. When I got the part where you mentioned your hair singing and wrapping your hand around the pepper spray, I kind of lost it. But, being 2:30 AM, I was unable to fully bellow. I'm re-reading now for proper laugh volume.


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