Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tricks for your Treats

Happy Halloween!

In case you're wondering, Halloween is actually the Scottish contraction of All Hallow's Eve, which, loosely translated, means free candy, yo!

I have bought the ghosts and goblins their candy and carefully arranged it on this most sacred holiday. Of course, I have a well-orchestrated plan for handing out treats. We're talking about candy, folks! Delicious, yummy, mouthwatering candy! You don't just hand that out without careful planning.

As you read this, please keep the following in mind, before you judge me too harshly:

1. I love candy. I'm not saying I'm a candy addict, but if I could lie candy down by the fire and make sweet love to it while Barry White sings in the background, I would.

2. I am the kid who literally ran home from school on Halloween, threw on a bed sheet (ta-da! Instant costume!), and raced Jon, my partner-in-crime-and-candy, to the number-one house on our Halloween hit list: the green house on Center Street. Get this. Those neighbors annually left a giant bowl of candy on the porch. A big ol' bowl of candy! Just sitting there! In the days before nanny cams!

Sure, those considerate folks put a note on the bowl that read: PLEASE TAKE ONLY ONE PIECE OF CANDY AND SAVE THE REST FOR OTHERS! Tsk. Tsk. Poor, naive, silly neighbors. In our excitement each year, Jon and I were convinced the neighbors meant to write: PLEASE TAKE THE REST OF THE CANDY AND SAVE ONLY ONE PIECE FOR OTHERS! So we would dump the entire bowl into our pillow cases and high-five each other. Yes, we felt a little guilty, so we left some of Jon's grandmother's cherry throat lozenges in the bowl for the next trick-or-treaters. We were good kids like that.

3. See #1.

With that in mind,  here's my handy-dandy-candy guide to handling your Halloween treats for yourself trick-or-treaters:

  • When you buy your Halloween candy, buy only candy you like. This is very important. Do not question The Method. My jeans are very tight because I have only been buying candy I like throughout the entire month of October. That's proof that The Method works.
  • As the above story illustrates, never, ever, ever leave a big bowl of candy out on the porch unsupervised. NEVER. People will take your candy! Who wants that? The point of Halloween is for other people to give you candy, not take your candy. I'm pretty sure.
  • When you get your 25 pounds or so of candy home from the store, take the bag(s) of your favorite candy and hide it in the pantry behind something that looks healthy, so your kids will not go near it. For example, I like to take miniature Reese Cups and store them in a box of Grape Nuts. No one likes Grape Nuts. What the heck are grape nuts, anyway? I'm convinced Post only sells it so clever moms like me can hide chocolate in the boxes. Remember, this is your candy, and your candy only. Hiding your favorite candy is your reward for pretending like you are actually going to give the rest of your candy away.
  • I love to see a ginormous bowl of candy in my living room. It makes me happy. Why deny yourself this happiness? Go ahead and fill your giant candy bowl and admire it. Keep in mind, there's always the slim chance that a few clever trick-or-treaters will make it past the elaborate security system you installed just for Halloween. But fill the bowl carefully. Remember, your Halloween goal is to have as much candy left over for yourself as possible.
  • Fill the bottom of the bowl with the yummy, top-of-the-candy-chain treats, like Snickers, Kit Kats, Butterfingers, Reese Cups, Hershey bars and the like. These are placed on the bottom because they are your last-resort handouts, people! You only give this away to trick-or-treaters if you are out of, oh, say, those old restaurant mints you found in the bottom of your purse. 
  • You don't want to take a chance of any little vampires or witches seeing the chocolate in the bowl and thinking it is for them (poor, misguided children), so dump all of those ketchup, hot sauce and soy sauce packets you have been saving all year on top of the chocolate. Kids love ketchup packets!
  • Next, dump in the giant bags of cheap candy you don't really like -- but you can eat it if you have PMS and it's between that candy and the five-year-old chocolate chips you have in your cabinet (ha! Like I have leftover chocolate anything left in my cabinet! Oh, you people and the things you believe...). You can give this candy out if you absolutely must. You won't like it, but you know you have 15 pounds of chocolate stored in those whole-grain cereal boxes.
  • And okay, for good measure, include a few packets of fruit snacks for the tiniest ghouls who win you over with their "twick-or-tweats!"  I am not a monster, people! I have a heart -- probably one clogged by Kit Kats, but still.
If you follow the above plan, at the end of then night, you should have plenty of treats left for yourself. Granted, you can always buy the candy, close your blinds, turn out all of the lights, sit on the floor and ignore the doorbell while stuffing yourself with mini candy bars until you're sick, but that's for Halloweenies. I at least go to the trouble of creating an illusion of generosity when it comes to candy. That counts, right?

Gotta go pour myself a bowl of "Grape Nuts" now.

(Please don't egg me.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

SQUIRREL! : Why My House Will Never Be Clean

Bet you $10 she's thinking, "I can hit him over the head with this."

I've finally figured out why I never get much accomplished around the house.

Case in point:

I decided to mop my floors.

I went to the garage to retrieve the mop, which is beside my CDC-approved zombie apocalypse kit. The lid was off of the kit, and my flashlight was sticking out of the box. Since I don't want any zombies sneaking up on me in the dark, I picked up the flashlight to see if the batteries still worked. They didn't, so I went back inside the house to rummage for batteries.

I didn't locate any batteries, but I did find light bulbs where the batteries should be. I suddenly wondered if I ever changed the bulb in the floor lamp by the couch, so I headed to the living room to check.

Once in the living room, I spied some dirty socks on the floor, picked them up and carried them to the laundry room. Of course, I discovered a load of clothes still waiting in the dryer to be folded (duh). I turned the dryer on to "iron" those clothes and decided to collect the laundry from the kids' rooms.

On the way, I made quick detour into the hall bathroom to gather any dirty towels or washrags. I realized the bathroom could use a scrubbing (torching; whatever), so I skipped the kids' rooms and returned to the kitchen to get the cleaner (gasoline) from the cabinet under the sink. That's when I spied the pack of light bulbs I had left out on the table.

While they were still out, I figured I should go ahead and change the bulb that's over the kitchen sink.

I pulled a chair up to the sink to change the bulb and groaned when I saw the dirty breakfast dishes. I decided to wash them while I was there, but first, I'd have to put away the clean dishes. And that's when I saw the empty water bottles on the counter by the dish drainer.

I ignored the dishes, gathered the bottles and carried them to the recycling bins in the garage.

On the way to the bins, I spotted the mop against the garage wall.

I decided to mop my floors....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Up with the love...

I have standards.

Not high ones (if you've been here before, you already know this), but I do have some.

When it comes to love, however, the bar for my standards is pretty dang high. It's up there.

I want love that triumphs. That sacrifices. That rolls with the punches. That laughs. That lasts.

Filmmakers and writers alike try to teach us what love is.

Not long ago, love was a whiny girl with a vampire. No, thank you. I have already disclosed that I am a lousy housekeeper, so I sure as heck don't want to vacuum all that dang vampire glitter.

Then love was as a fiery Appalachian girl with a poor bread maker. Better, but Hunger Games is more a story of survival than true companionship. If you have to forgo the fireworks for love, though, a girl could do far worse than ending up with a baker. At least she'll always have cake.

Most recently, love was defined as a young college student seduced by a wealthy entrepreneur who likes to, um, spank her. I don't judge here on the Porch, but I don't even like belts around my waist. They remind me that I eat too many snack cakes. If you really want to turn me on, Mr. Grey, tie me to the couch, put on my favorite show and go unload the dishwasher.

Nope. None of those definitions of love speak to me. Nor do Romeo and Juliet. Or Heathcliff and Catherine. Or Lancelot and Guinevere.

I'm Team Carl and Ellie.

I'm deeply in love with the Pixar movie Up. Sure, it's a few years old, but is a perennial favorite in my house. The kids and I pile up on the couch, eat popcorn and pretend we aren't crying while we watch it for the umpteenth time. Up defines love beautifully, perfectly, in a mere few minutes of film. Just watch the four-minute clip below and try not cry. Go ahead. I dare you:

Gulp. It still gets to me. I claim my tears are from allergies (hard to explain the racking sobs), but my kids smile knowingly. I'm a sap.

Although they are animated, Carl and Ellie remain my favorite love story told via film. (Also, it's funny because the squirrel gets dead.)

We love it so much that we recently decided to create our own adventure book, a la Carl and Ellie.

I can't wait for us to fill the pages, write our own story and earn our Wilderness Explorer badges.

Here's to new adventures. Up with the love, people. Up with the love.

Adventure awaits!