Monday, October 30, 2006

Enforced Family Fun Time

Pictures for you

It is somewhere mandated that, as a parent, there are certain things you are compelled to do, depending upon where on this planet you are raising your offspring and what cultural/religious/culinary/political/commercial values you have. For instance, if you believe in the teachings of Walt Disney, thou shalt take the fruit of thy womb to one of the officially sanctioned meccas each year or so, for the standing in lines and buying of icons.

I should note, here, given the popularity of things Disney, that I have nothing against this particular sect, in fact, we in the House o' Piffle even own multiple Disney movies and one plush Baby Mickey. We draw the line at Disney Princess underwear, however, and urge our kiddos toward costumes like creepy spiders and characters from The Lord of the Rings licensure. We sigh in a resigned fashion when they chose to be the Red Power Ranger. None of us have ever been to Disneyland or Disney World or Euro-Disney or that one in Japan.

This year, Sara is going to be, yet again, a spider. I tried to tempt her with things like lions and witches and such, covering her eyes when we passed the Barbie section, all hot pink and glitter and slutty. (Whoops. There I go, trashing the Church of Barbie. Better mention that some of my best friends are Barbie people. I do in fact have boxes of Barbies in the bomb shelter, waiting for Sara to be just a bit bigger. I just don't care for the Barbie style of, well, style. The colors make my teeth hurt.) But, no. She wants to wear the spider costume, this time with the antennae head band that she flat out refused to wear last year.

Colin will be an orc-like creature. As they are not allowed to bring weapons or wear masks when they take part in the annual school village Halloween parade, he will be only 1/2 a costume, but that's his lookout. He may opt to wear his Power Ranger costume from last year, instead, to school and go all evil minion for the getting of the goods Tuesday night.

As part of all this living in farm-land, one of the things that is also mandated in the Give Your Children A Happy Childhood Charter, is that the pumpkins are not to be bought in a store, but from an official pumpkin patch, complete with hayride and petting zoo consisting of an arthritic goat and an ill tempered sheep. Maybe a guinea pig or rabbits. Haunted house set up in the barn for an extra fee. Cider for $2 a small styrofoam cup.

We'd been wanting to make our trip to pick out our 2 large carving pumpkins and some pie pumpkins for weeks, but we kept getting busy or otherwise side tracked. This weekend, however, it had to happen. Halloween is Tuesday. Time is running out to create a Happy Childhood Memory, dammit.

Thursday, we decided, would be our day. Colin was out of school. We had other errands, however, and by the time we were done with them, neither kid wanted to do anything but go home. It was also raining. Hard. And about 40 degrees out. Bleh.

So. Friday! All we had to do was go to the grocery store. Piece o' cake.

It is when you get cocky that mistakes are made. Mistake #1: Trusting the weather report AND online weather radar, both of which said the day would be without wet and, actually, rather sunny! Mistake #2: Letting Sara chose her brown suede shoes rather than her tennis shoes. Mistake #3: Forgoing my 'muck out the barn' hooded, warm, deeply pocketed rain-resistant coat for my kickier leather one. The one you'd see if you leafed through an Eddie Bauer catalogue with the styling, hip people picking out pumpkins with crisp, clear sky and such. Mistake #4: Tennies on my feet instead of 'muck out the barn boots'. In fact, note the lack of boots in general.

I really DO know better.

So, yes. It rained. As it had been raining for a couple of days, the ground was saturated to the point of slipping and sliding with every procrastinated mis-begotten step. In addition, each step brought up large pounds of muck that cleaved to our soles like, well, muck. Of course, the pumpkins were also rotting. Almost all of them. The ones that had been brought up to the little store area, the ones sitting along the path, the ones still languishing in the fields. Sadly, they were also covered in the muck, so it was quite difficult to tell the rotten parts unless you stuck your fingers in the mess, probing for rotten parts.


And we sort of did. We trundled out to the fields with a little red wagon with the fattest tires we could find. Sara slipped and fell in the mud several times. Sara doesn't like to be mud covered. Colin and I just got quite damp and splattered. We did find 4 pie pumpkins (for Thanksgiving baking) and 2 carving pumpkins. With those and 2 bags of apples, we ended up spending about $27!

Back in the car, I blessed my foresight of putting in plastic bags and used a vast number of baby wipes to get as much mud off us as possible. I didn't think the grocery people would look kindly upon us depositing the contents of the pumpkin patch on their aisles.

Upon returning home, all 3 of us cranky and chilled but with bags of groceries and the pumpkins, which I washed and found that 4 of the 6, including the 2 carving ones, were rotted under the mud. Bastards. Of course, at the grocery store, there were many non-rotten, non-muck-covered, perfect stem in place pumpkins for $4.95 a piece. Barbie pumpkins.

Sunday night the kids gleefully mutilated the two big pumpkins:

Pictures for you

Sara's (on the left) has been drawn on and sawed with one of those kid-safe carving things. She only got the hang of making one eye but had lots of fun pulling the guts out and putting them back in again, which aggravated her brother.

Colin's (on the right) I think shows him as a budding ENT/facial plastics surgeon, as the jack-o-lantern clearly has a cleft lip:

Pictures for you

Pretty scary, indeed.

Happy Halloween to you all!



Blogger Karen said...

That slip-sliding mud thing? That's our back yard right now. And probably will be til late spring. *sigh*

Being childless, but vaguely earth-conscious, I went to the local farmer's co-op for our pumpkins. No hayrides or haunted houses, and the pumpkins have been kept inside the nice, dry store.

I gotta ask 'though... my yearly grumpy question - just when did Halloween become a 'season' and not just a single day?



11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

;I still recall you and Gail "snacking" on trick or treat candy after t and t-ing; and then racing for the bathroom to "un-eat" several candybars. One of my most vivid images of your youths. But I did warn both of you that would happen.

It all sounds like fun. We reallly need to include Halloween in our holiday visit cycles. But this is in the future. We need to focus on this Thanksgiving--only 3 weeks away and we are there.

Also, Piffleheads. Don't forget to vote next week. As Richard J. Daly used to say, Vote early; vote often.

The Ole RF-er

12:37 PM  
Blogger Cagey said...

CRAP. I didn't know about the Pumpkin Patch Mandate and bought ours at Target. There went my kid's Perfect Childhood Moment, right into the gaping maw of Corporate Giant.

re: Barbie- I've always argued that my college boyfriend did a far greater number on my self esteem/body image than Barbie and her sidekicks managed to do. So, count me as one of your Barbie friends. :-)

However, I've totally got your back on All Things Disney.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

The neat thing abou doing stuf with kids is that no matter how it turns out, you are still carving a deep memory for them that they can dredge up years from now and say,"Rememember that?!"
The most fun memory-dredging we have as adults are the ones where everything went wrong!

Have a fun time Tues. night!

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

You have to ask Kate to tell the story of her friend's daughter slipping in the mud at the pumpkin patch. Sara's slip was nothing compared to Abby's! That bites that some of the pumpkins had rotten spots. Oh well, they only have to hang out another day, right?

Is it supposed to rain in WI tomorrow night? I guess we're supposed to get rain during the day, but it will be cold. Of course, today was a gloriously warm beautiful fall day. Figures.

5:12 PM  
Blogger listmaker said...

Ah, I can laugh now that I'm on the far side of all those memory making trips.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I *love* Colin's pumpkin! Carving is hard work--good for him for not abandoning the effort after the knife slipped.

Way scary effect.

That really does suck that it was such a yucky day at the Pumpkin Patch.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Barbie. Gah. Barbie. Barbie was different - not so damn slutty - when I was younger. I don't remember all the Barbie merchandise, either. The kids got two costumes each this year - 2 parties, 2 different days plus indecision - and one of Pockets' was a Barbie Asian Princess costume - very Geisha-like. Be forewarned. I might have to send you pictures.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous KateW. said...

Oh Abby- nothing could compare to Abby's swim a skanky, stagnant crap filled swamp. It was hilariously bad. You can tell I am seriously cranky- Halloween/Fall is my favorite time of year and I have yet to get any decorations out. Our pie pumpkins come in a can. :) Ellie is only being Dorothy from the wiz. because she thought "the real dog in the catalog came with the costume." Barbie... I am on the fence with this one- she is a skinny bitch but I can still french braid her hair faster than you can blink. Lots of time playing with Barbie when I was younger. Of course we used to put kleenex up her dress and pretend she was pregnant. And then all of the times in the camper when Ken fell asleep at the wheel...

9:37 PM  
Anonymous christie said...

This was the first year I've ever set foot near a pumpkin patch. I was determined to forge those happy childhood memories that you speak of. Please don't hate me but it was gorgeous, sunny sky and slightly pink cheeks to end the day. We had much fun and if I can ever figure out what the hell is wrong with my photo uploadingcapabilitiesorlackthereof, will post pictures of the lovely day. Alas, my 30 lb pumpkin cost $15...who knew I coulda gotten 5 at the grocery store for the same price....but, hell, damn memories are worth it, yes? Hope tomorrow is gorgeous weather to make up for it and that there's no un-loading of candy in your near future!

10:44 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Okay, I died laughing reading this, especially since we just finished carving our pumpkins. Allie's is a cheerful pumpkin with prominent eyebrows- a Eugene Levy pumpkin if you will...Mine has long eyelashes and is winking. Justin preferred to cut out paper bats and ghosts.

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

This entry is hilarious! I laughed out loud at the cleft lip thing, but only because it really DOES look like that. I think he might have a career in plastics...

We meant to carve pumpkins this year, but didn't get a chance to because we went to visit friends in St. Louis last weekend. Next year!

7:34 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Karen- See, you should have planted pumpkins last spring and had your own expensive and muddy authentic pumpkin patch! Probably would have paid for the yard renovation with the profits.

As a fan of scary stuff and candy, I personally applaud it becoming an entire 'season'. Go ahead and toss that rotted pumpkin at me.

Dad- Didn't stop us from gorging in the future, as I recall.

Cagey- Smart, smart woman you are. For some reason, our Target didn't have pumpkins. Target was one of our errands last Thursday, of course. Any excuse to 'Target'. I remember wishing Barbie was less pointy and wasp-waisty so she would be easier to dress, as a kid. I liked Skipper better. Flat as a board.

Ruth- You are so right about that. Tuesday night should be fun. No rain and all of us tromping around the highly decorated village.

Colleen- Oof! I just read Kate's tale. We would have certainly forgone the store and probably have just thrown out all the clothes and the shoes to boot. We're supposed to be clear and cold, so parkas or layers of fleece under the costumes for us.

Listie- Laugh away. You deserve it.

Rozanne- Between the cleft lip pumpkin and his 'lungs' decoration on one of his Easter eggs, I'm wondering if I'm having too much of an influence on him. He says he wants to be a geologist, though. That would, well, 'rock'.

Teri- She was, wasn't she? And there weren't all the slutty kids' clothes then, too. I'm dying to see Pockets dressed as an Asian Princess Barbie. Of course you will be getting shots of the Dungeon Warrier and the spider. Have a wonderful time!

Kate- How horrible! That will make a good tale for years. You are having a shitty fall. No wonder you are not in the mood for Halloween. My friend, Lisa, had that big Barbie head that I learned to braid on, too. We used to dress poor Ken in drag. A lot.

Christie- How could I possibly hate your having a Hallmark Pumpkin Patch experience? A 30 pounder! Wow. Have a wonderful Halloween, too! Are you guys doing the trick-or-treat thing?

Stacy- I have always been fond of Eugene Levy's eyebrows, perhaps because they remind me of mine. Allie is marvelous.

Ariella- Plastics would be nice and lucrative, that's for sure. Plus I could get 'work' done at a discount. Perhaps I should encourage this. Maybe we could do a bit of reconstructive work on Pumpkinhead after Halloween is over.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

You know, Erik had some "work" done when he was 17 by a very talented maxillofacial surgeon. I think Colin could consider that field, too. I mean, really, what I'm saying is that there are a lot of OPTIONS, and all he really has to agree to is going into medicine. With that kind of talent, he can't lose.

By the way, I think it would be a hilarious thing to send in a med school application with a picture of that pumpkin and an essay about how it inspired him to become a doctor...

12:51 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

At the mo I'm completely jealous of Enforced Family Fun Time and pumpkin guts. Halloween isn't the bloody same here on the island anymore, apparently.


4:25 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I adore you. Seriously. Colin's pumpkin is quite good for his age. I like the one eye on Sara's pumpkin. Cute!

Barbie is not bad. Wait. Barbie is very bad. But then, I grew up with a twisted cousin who liked soap operas and Barbie usually played the ultimate villian. I have coloring books around here still that tell tall tales of Barbie taking out her competition and ooh, how that extra fertilizer made her roses grow.

Can't wait for the trick-or-treat adventures post!

5:53 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Babs- Jealous? Of all this? Maybe you need a shrinker in addition to the spazzy docs. Although, Halloween isn't the same anywhere, is it? We used to trick-or-treat for hours and hours, now it's from 5-7pm, unless they run out of candy sooner. Sad.

Beth- Te adoro, too, dahling. But you knew that. Barbie is such a love-hate sort of thing for me. I had several and played with them for years, but, looking at her from an adult perspective, I don't want my daughter to look at her as the ideal of femaleness. But then, I clearly didn't.

I love your cousin. Muchly. So. Did she bury her victims in the rose bed? There's a thought.... Sort of 'Rear Window'.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

LOL It's been suggested before!!

Also--we ALL know you're raiding the kids candy stash. My parents did it, too, under the guise of 'we must check to make sure no one has fiddled with the candy'
Which always seemed to center on the chocolates.

I declare sharesies, dammit!!

*grabs a Three Musketeers bar*

6:06 AM  

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