Joanne Palmer: Ditching ‘Perfect Woman’ in aisle five |

Joanne Palmer: Ditching ‘Perfect Woman’ in aisle five

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Sharpen up that No. 2 pencil and get ready for a pop quiz. What is your worst nightmare?

A. An audit by the IRS

B. Gas prices hitting $10 a gallon

C. A trip to the grocery store

If you selected “C,” you and I have something in common.

Going to the grocery store is not my idea of a good time. After careful consideration, I have concluded I am grocery-store challenged.

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I know there’s a special spot in heaven reserved for coupon clippers and organized, love-to-cook types who can plan a week’s worth of menus ahead of time. I won’t be there.

I’ll be perched on a celestial cloud reserved for the indecisive, spur-of-the-moment, must-cook-to-match-your mood folks.

My first problem is the all-important list. I carefully make my shopping list at home – eggs, milk, butter – and then leave it at home. Or in the car. Or the recycling container. Or at the bottom of the bring-your-own-bags, which also are usually left at home or in the car.

If, by some miracle, I remember the bags and my list, I am having a five-star day.

The second problem is the atmosphere. Harsh, florescent lighting doesn’t do anyone any favors.

My skin tone matches the cucumbers and my hair color is a dead ringer for the anemic cauliflower. Music is blaring, on my last visit, “We Will Rock You” quickly followed by “Jim Dandy to the Rescue.”

Next up: Too many choices.

Recently, someone asked me to pick up a carton of Vanilla Silk Soy Milk. I found: Very Vanilla Silk Soy Milk, Light Vanilla Soy Milk, Vanilla Soy Milk Plus with bone health, Vanilla Soy Milk with Extra Calcium, and Vanilla Soy Milk with Nutra flora. Why not Very Vanilla Soy Milk with Laundry Folding?

Eggs come in two colors and four sizes: medium, large, extra large and jumbo.

The hen who laid the eggs may or may not have been kept in a cage, had a vegan diet or the run of the range. For an extra dollar, you can visit her Web site at

Then, there is the organic vs. nonorganic debate. Do I go bankrupt and buy organic or save money and die early from pesticides? Unable to decide, my palms start to sweat, my heart pounds and I am on the verge of collapse.

And then it happens!

Trumpets blare, cymbals crash, the freezer doors part and out pops my superhero to the rescue:

Perfect Woman!

P.W. has will power. She never has a problem fitting into her sparkling, skintight spandex outfit. She never eats chocolate, potato chips or ice cream. She hates salty junk food, little goodies loaded with hydrogenated oils and saturated fats. She has no reason to camouflage her thighs with a cape. She also has perfect hair days and is relentlessly perky.

I hate her.

P.W. whispers in my ear, this is the week, this is the day, this is the hour of:

Healthy Eating!


And so, P.W. and I dutifully stock up on healthy things-dark leafy greens, whole grains and legumes. Our cart is overflowing with organic lettuce, black beans and orange juice without the pulp (even though we could have it with LOTS of pulp, medium pulp, high pulp or pulp free with calcium.)

We head to the checkout counter and, with a smile, explain to the clerk that next week we will remember our bags, our list and our coupons. We are perfect people, full of good intentions.

I can’t wait to ditch her.

Goodbye, P.W.

See you next week.