Monday, September 7, 2020

Red Vines

On Saturday I started getting notifications to my phone about my Instacart order. This was curious, since I had, in fact, not placed an Instacart order.

I had forgotten that some time ago I gave Skylar the login for my account and it seems he, from the next room over, decided to go ahead and place a Costco order without bothering to consult with me about what we should buy. I suppose that was fine. We've nearly committed personal hate crimes against one another inside a Costco in the past. I'm 100% positive that no relationship exits a Costco in better shape than when it entered.

But you'd think we could engage in online shopping without getting the divorce lawyers on the phone. The bulk of our historic Costco contention really centers around navigating the army-tank carts around entire family reunions in order to gather more cheese than we could ever possibly consume and then stand in a line that wraps around the entire solar system twice just to get back out to the parking lot that stretches to Prince Edward Island.

Speaking of buying more than we could ever use: the last time Skylar did an Instacart order he accidentally bought 2,000 garbage bags. We don't go through a lot of garbage bags. After they were delivered he calculated that at our current rate, these bags could last us up to 35 years. 


The point is, suddenly a very angry woman arrived at our house and started chucking boxes of sweet Costco merch, including FOUR loaves of bread, somewhere around 200 cans of Diet Coke, AND, and I'm really not kidding you here, ANOTHER 2,000 GARBAGE BAGS BECAUSE HE ACCIDENTALLY CLICKED REORDER.


He also ordered a bag of coffee beans that is honestly so big I can't find a place to store them. And they're not even good coffee beans. I mean, real talk here: all coffee is actually kind of gross and I've just spent the last seven years convincing myself that I like it and I'm pretty sure everyone else is kind of faking it, too. But these beans are extra bitter and gross.

But the reason I'm writing to you today is because as Skylar was unloading the items from the pallet, he suddenly said "ok, I bought kind of a weird thing."

I braced myself for a My Little Pony doll or a prostitute or something but instead he pulled out a very large container of Red Vines.


Not the strangest thing I've ever seen. I mean, I didn't previously know he was into Red Vines, especially in bulk. I've never seen him express an interest. But we don't have to end our marriage over this. I told him this was fine, and I really meant it. His decision to eat Red Vines was not a big deal to me. UNTIL

Yesterday I walked into the room he has recently commandeered as his study space and I found the container of Red Vines open and unattended. 

Like the responsible grownup that I most definitely am, I marched out to find Skylar and inform him that if he can't take better care of his toys, we might have to get rid of them. He asked me what I was talking about and then said, "oh. No. I did that on purpose. I'm letting them get hard and stale so I can eat them."



I'm not sure. I don't know. My marriage training classes* did not equip me to handle this.

*Episodes of Ricki Lake in the 90s

Please enjoy a Strangerville about Waterbeds. 

This time in Strangerville, Meg got botox, Eli caused a scene in a store, and a woman tells a story about her grandmother’s waterbed.


Waterbed, by Heidi (Music by PC-One)

Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Thank goodness it's Costco and you can return the garbage bags! I laughed so hard at this.

  2. Everything about this confuses me. Why is Costco so popular? (I’ve only been in one once, with my mom). What’s wrong with My Little Pony? They are VERY popular at my house. Did Skylar help you with the calculation rate of going through husbands or did he just use the same rate as he used for trash bags? And again, because no one answered me on Twitter: What are red vines?! Also: thank you for validating my feelings on coffee based 100% on how awful it smells, but never have tasted myself. I’ve been convinced for years that people only drink it because other people drink it and they don’t know what to do with their hands if they aren’t holding a mug of it.

    1. Red Vines is a brand of licorice I discovered when I lived in Utah for five years. It's like their (inferior) version of Twizzlers, but they feel very strongly about it. Maybe it is all of the West? —Mimi (Also did I comment three times? Are any of these going through??)

    2. Mimi was very nice in her post. I won't be:

      Red Vines are a completely disgusting version of Twizzlers. We have them in Michigan too, although I can't for the life of me understand why people would buy them. They must buy them when they're purchasing Peeps. . . .

    3. 1. How do you live without Costco? Only been in once!? You can't be LDS if you don't go to Costco.
      2. Twizzlers are disgusting. Red Vines forever. The judge will grant you a divorce solely based on his treatment of the red Vines. Hard red Vines?! Might as well eat twizzlers!

    4. Who the hell compares Twizzlers and Red Vines?! And are Red Vines really something regional?! Teachers constantly had those big Costco containers of Red Vines at school growing up and come to think of it, those tubs are the ONLY way I’ve ever seen Red Vines (I come from the Costco Motherland). Can you even buy them in less-than-bulk?!

    5. So where I live there wasn’t a Costco until a few years ago, and it’s a solid thirty minute drive and I have stores much closer and maybe just don’t understand the appeal for why I would drive that far? Is it worth it? When I went with my mom we weren’t there for long so I didn’t see much of the whole store.

      And now I’m confused again if red vines and twizzlers are not comparable. And I don’t know if they are regional or not, but I have lived in New York, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Maine, Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska and two countries outside the US and I have never seen red vines. So... maybe they are only at Costco? I don’t have any friends that shop there either so that could be the thing? and I don’t remember ever having a Costco anywhere else we lived. Is it kind of a new store? I’m suddenly wondering if I have been living under a rock much much longer than just for the coronavirus stuff... am I in my own version of the Truman show?

    6. Soft red vines. Hard no to twizzlers. I live in Wisconsin and we get the tubs at Walmart or we buy smaller packages at the theater. Red vines, popcorn, and soda are the best at the movies! Same story in Utah and Arizona when visiting family, so...?

      Loved this week’s podcast! Heidi is such a great storyteller.

    7. Amy Rose, I am amazed that you've never been introduced to Red Vines!! I have lived in Missouri, Washington, California, Hawaii, Colorado, and Connecticut and have seen them in all of those places...Maybe they're a West coast thing? My Mom grew up in California and is a firm believer in Red Vines. My husband is from Utah and also loves them. They are red licorice, but I wouldn't even compare them to Twizzlers. They are red licorice, but they are so so different. Red Vines are thinner/have more hollow space inside, they are easier to chew, and have a completely different flavor than Twizzlers.

  3. I’m with Skylar on the hard red vines. Sorry

  4. Skylar is 100% correct. My husband and I have a silent fight: he keeps putting the lid on and I keep taking it off.
    See also: Swedish Fish

  5. See, if you let them get hard enough you can bite off the ends and then use it as a straw, and after I don’t know, maybe five or ten minutes? it gets all squishy inside and, plus, all the water tastes like red vines. Kind of.

    When I was eleven I asked my mom for a tub of red vines for Christmas. And she said “Is that all you want?” And I said ”...Yeah, that’s it.” Fortunately, she also bought me some books (and probably some other stuff, but I don’t remember anything else), and I lazed around for days reading fantasy novels and eating red vines. It was fabulous. I expect my teeth were red for months.

    On a more terrifying note, I once had a two year old consume so many red vines that his poopy diaper was BRIGHT red. It was so red that we thought he must have had a massive intestinal bleed happening. We took him to the doctor, who looked at the diaper and agreed that it looked like a LOT of blood. It wasn’t. The occult blood test was completely negative. He had just eaten half his body weight or something in red vines.

    If, for any reason, you wish to keep some red vines not-hard-as-a-rock, throw them in a ziplock bag. Just keep it away from stray two year olds or small dogs.

  6. My father-in-law is really into hard red vines. He'll regularly ask for the "display only" box at movie theaters...the one that's been sitting there for who knows how long.

    Once I bought a Costco tub of Red Vines for him and let it get turn into cement over the course of 4 years. I finally gave it to him for his 65th bday. Everyone agreed I had won the "best present ever" contest that year. The vines were so hard they would shatter into tiny pieces when you dropped them. He loved it.

  7. Off topic, but I would like to formally start a campaign to add the Brownie Girl Scout to the Tellin' It Like It Is award roster.

  8. I've never had Red Vines (I'm ride or die for twizzlers), BUT, that's exactly how I like Peeps. So I get it, Skylar.