August 21, 2019

I promise never to take advantage of Costco samples again

There are many advantages to working from home. Usually I work in cut off jeans and a raggedy t-shirt I’ve had for 15 years. Sometimes I might say “screw it!” and weed my garden while I’m taking a really long conference call where the need for my attendance is debatable at best.

I think my favorite activity though is the midday Costco run. No children. No wife. Just me and a big ass cart strolling down the aisle looking right into the face of one of America’s great inventions: overdone consumerism. Gimme that big ol box of cheerios! Yes I’ll take 6 racks of ribs! It’s an amazing, beautiful place.

Better than the unlimited ribs and bottomless boxes of cheerios is the SNACKS they give away. I’ve learned that the best time of day to go is right after normal lunch time. Costco is wise to our ways and know that if they deploy Tammy the Taquito lady before lunch they’ll have a bunch of heavyset middle aged dudes circling sweet Tammy like a hawk from hell. No, Costco pushes their snacks out after lunch. Because they’re wise.

Yesterday I tried to beat Costco at their own game by having a small lunch to save as much room for SNACKS. I walked into the store, grabbed a cart, snagged a larger-than-life bottle of bourbon (because that’s what you do when you have little kids), and then made a bee line to the corner of the store where the snacks are. Almost as if it were programmed into my DNA, I knew the quickest most efficient route.

Avoid the clothes section in the middle b/c you have lingerers who can’t decide what $9 flannel shirt to buy.

Avoid the toys / outdoor section because school still hasn’t started here in the Seattle area and you have a bunch of sugar crazed 9 year olds running around the inflatable pool section begging mom or dad to get it for them.

No folks, I avoided this and chose the route that took me past the toothbrushes and vitamins. You know, the things no one wants.

First stop: Chickpea rotini! Sounds innocuous enough. Sure, I’ll have TWO. Second stop: tortilla chips with chipotle sauce. Real real good y’all.

This is when the story goes from gleeful American consumption to near death (ok, that’s a little dramatic but you’ll see).

The rotini was delicious. But what I did not notice is it was slathered in some kind of pesto sauce. Sadly, most pestos are made with this sweet little fella called the pine nut. And for the past 15 years I have had a minor allergy to pine nuts.

That minor allergy turned into a full blown histamine parade in my body yesterday.

About 30 seconds after eating the tasty FREE snack I could feel in my mouth that weird itchy / burning sensation that precedes an allergic response. For the past 15 years, this was as bad as it got. My uvula (that doodad in the back of your mouth that hangs down like a punching bag) would swell up. My mouth would be irritated. But after 2-3 hours, it would be gone.

Yesterday was a little different. My mouth did all of the above but then after an hour I got hives. REAL BAD. Like my arms and torso turned red. Then I started to itch like I took a plunge into a bath of fire ants. At this point, I did what most reasonable adults would do: I went and got a chick-fil-a milkshake (because why not?!?). I also got some Benadryl. I’m not that much of a fat kid.

After another hour I started having a hard time breathing. I was home alone (b/c my wife has a real damn job) and after calling the minute clinic near my house (“uh, do not come here. DO NOT COME HERE”) I drove myself to the ER.

I wish I could say this was my first visit to the ER but alas, no. The one thing I’ve learned is if you visit the ER with something they know is not life threatening, say, earth shatteringly painful kidney stones, they’ll let you roll around on the floor for 2 hours because ain’t nobody dying from a kidney stone. But if you come in saying you’re having an allergic reaction, your ass will be gurnied within 10 minutes and pumped full of meds STAT. All in all, my trip the ER lasted about 2 hours.

So, yeah, yesterday I went to the ER because of a tasty Costco snack.