Friday, August 7, 2015

The moment I knew God truly loved me

There are many reasons why living in Texas is amazing. There is college football, wide open highways where you can drive 80 mph legally, the standard "yes, ma'ams" and "no ma'ams" from neighborhood kiddos, and - incredibly- no state income tax. Yep, these things are fantastic. But if you are really in the know, you know HEB is what drives people to adore this state.

HEB is the crazy good local grocery store.  This is what's happening at HEB this week. If you buy 2 pounds of ground turkey, they will give you FOR FREE a jar of mustard, a bottle of grill seasoning, a 2L bottle of 7up, a bag of hamburger buns and a 20 oz. bag of frozen sweet potato fries.  FOR. FREE. This place means business, people. When I first moved to Austin, I went to their customer service counter to get a loyalty card. When I got to the front of the line, the lady behind the desk looked kindly at me like I was a simpleton. Her exact words to me were, "Oh, sweetie. This is HEB. You don't need a fancy fangled card to save money. We're not Neimann Marcus."  True story.

So I guess I had become kinda spoiled. I was used to hopping in the car, grabbing a gallon of banana pudding Blue Bell ice cream at HEB, and being back home in less than 15 minutes- round trip. I could tell you exactly which aisle and on what shelf you could find capers, miso soup, or protein shakes.

Yesterday, I spent 15 minutes in my new store looking for cheese slices. I was wandering around more than Bill Gates in his college years. ShopRite is not that big of a store and the employees were very helpful, but it still took me twice as long to do half as much shopping. I think part of the issue was I kept getting distracted by all the different types of food I hadn't seen before. Just like at BJ's (I always cringe when I have to type that), this place is all about the cheese.

Look at this craziness! And right next to this case??

Was this case. And next to this case?

Was this behemoth. I could not look away. I had to stop and look at each section in each case. What is it about this neck of the woods that makes people love cheese so much they need this many options?? How did I not get invited to this party earlier?

This is the other thing that slowed me down. Italian food is the food of choice at ShopRite. Look at all this Italian bread! They had shelves with boxes and boxes of different types of pasta that ran the entire length of Aisle 13. Gnocchi, orrechiette, lancette, sorprese, chifferi. Shapes I had never seen and could barely pronounce. They had cans of pink beans and soranini beans - cans and cans of them. What do you use these for? Siri kept whining, "Cindy! Quit asking me so many questions and just finish your shopping." I thought her tone was a bit snarky, but she did have a point. I needed to stay focused if I was ever going to get home in time to make dinner. It was Taco Tuesday, so just a few more things and I could get out of there. But then, I ran into this:

This can't be right. Where are all the rest of the tortillas??!? What do you mean you have only one brand of tortillas? No offence, Mission, but where are the rest of the guys in your band? It's like going to a N' Sync concert and the only one on stage is Joey Fatone. Nothing against Joey, but this isn't something I had anticipated and certainly could not condone! And $3.39 for twenty tortillas?? You are no Justin Timberlake, Mission. Not impressed. Not impressed.

Now I was getting worried. This was not something I had even considered before we moved. I had just assumed since I knew how to make good Tex-Mex, we would just eat at home when we were craving a Chuy's run. But now all that might be up for grabs. My heart started pounding a bit, I might have even broken out in a sweat. And then I saw this:

 Sitting patiently on the shelf by her racy sister and weird cousin was one of my dear friends. A woman I could always count on to make the best tacos. Mrs. Renfro from Ft. Worth, Texas. She is the only lady I trust with jalapenos. They had 6 jars and I put every single one of them in my cart.  I think sometimes God sends little messages to ease your mind and to remind you of how much he loves you. Luckily for me, He sent Mrs. Renfro to deliver that message. 

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