Enforced Family Fun Time
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.
BUT WE WERE GOING TO HAVE FUN, DAMMIT!
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:
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:
Pretty scary, indeed.
Happy Halloween to you all!
Labels: The Small-Handed Ones