I used to be a once-a-quarter shopper at Costco: toilet paper, maple syrup, a huge box of Goldfish. But packing school lunches every day can make a mom downright lustful for prepackaged applesauces by the case, vats of juice boxes with a multitude of flavors, more string cheese than you ever thought it was possible to consume. (But, turns out, is gone in about three weeks.)
So now I grab one of those minivan-size carts once a month, cruise the book tables, then buckle down and pull out my list, which I do my best to stick to. As any regular Costco shopper knows, when you step inside the warehouse, you step into price jet-lag: $10 at Costco feels like $1.99 at a regular grocery store. $7 .99 for a massive container of hummus? It's only $8! Nevermind it's the size of a horse trough and we won't get through it in 3 years. It's only $8! Once my cart has become harder to push than a double jogging stroller, I know it's time to add it up and hear the damage.
But I always have one last stop: the faux-aisles full of snacks and sugar, where fruit leathers are the healthiest things going. Amid the nine rows of Oreos in one neat package, 5 pounds of M & M's, I see the jar. Three-3!--pounds of milk chocolate-covered almonds. Brown nuggets of goodness that I just need, even though nobody, save hibernating rodents, needs 3 pounds of nuts at once.
I stare at the jar--nuts are healthy, right?--and I can taste the first handful, and then the second, and then I know it goes downhill from there. Considering there are three whopping pounds, the virtual slide goes into next week and screams headache. Knowing no good can come of it, I slowly step away from the jar.
Until Friday. I just grabbed it. Not sure why: not PMS'ing, not in a particularly bad place personally. Maybe the jar just lived in my subconscious for so long, I couldn't fight it anymore.
I got to the parking lot, and was unloading one minivan into my other minivan. I put the jar in a corner, accessible so I could unscrew the jar and grab a handful or three for the drive home. But some woman--the nerve!--drove up as I was about halfway through unloading, slapped on her blinker and waited for my parking spot. I was too embarrassed to have her wait for me as I squirreled away the nuts--and knew I couldn't have them sitting next to me as I drove home. So I pretended I had some self restraint.
Until I arrived home and had to unload once again. Holy milk chocolate almonds. A handful every time I brought in another load. Within 30 minutes--the length of time it took to find nooks and crannies for bags of Raisin Bran and the like--I was officially gone. I was zoomed up on sugar, and was about to slam into the concrete. I ate a salad to dilute the effect, pretending the greens could minimize the 100 or so almonds fermenting in my stomach.
I run for a variety of reasons, and weight control is a big one. But there's no way to control 7,200 calories, the total number of calories in the almond jar, which is approximately 72 miles of running. Um, that's a month of running for me crammed into one jar of splurge. One serving is 11 almonds, 160 calories. That's helpful info in theory, but one serving and my relationship with milk chocolate almonds do not get along.
Forty-eight hours after the lapse of judgment, about half the jar is left. I mixed a bunch in with gorp--regular almonds, cashews, raisins, peanuts--so it can't be a fix. Thankfully, the Costco jar fantasy has officially been deflated; I will no longer roam the aisles, pretending I'm not thinking about them. The only thing I'm thinking about is how tomorrow morning I'm sending the rest to my husband's office.
After, of course, I take a couple more handfuls.