When Pumpkin Spice is Less Than Nice

It’s that time of year. Fall. My favorite season, to be honest. But it also means our world is briefly transformed into a pumpkin spice hell-hole paradise. You may think that pumpkin spice is just a Starbucks thing – which my daughter loves by the way – but alas, there are more pumpkin spice things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

A friend of mine (yeah, a friend, not me, a friend) went to a veterinarian recently to get some medications for her dog.  She was glancing around the office as the receptionist ignored her and was caught by a sign posted by the office’s groomer that boasted pumpkin spice shampoo and spa for dogs.  Yes, this is a thing, and I can’t imagine what a wet-dog pumpkin spice smell would be. In fact, I try not to think about it at all.

If you’re wondering about other bizarre pumpkin spice offerings (and really, why wouldn’t you be!?), wonder no more.  I have researched the most incredible pumpkin spice products, that actually exist, and compiled them here for your enjoyment.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder:  For those guys who want to bench press five hundred pounds while staying in touch with the purity of the season.

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses:  For the love of all things pumpkin, why? If you are a bit more high-browed in your chocolate choice, never fear: chocolate royalty Ghirardelli has a version as well.  Still not enough?  Check out pumpkin spice truffles.

Pumpkin Spice Oreos:  I think this one is the most offensive one on the list.  Is nothing sacred?  Don’t panic, there is also pumpkin spice milk for dipping these atrocities.

Pumpkin Spice Sparkling Water:  Carbonated pumpkin; who could ask for anything more? Personally, I hate sparkling water … especially flavored sparkling water. You expect this delicious, refreshing beverage and all it is, really, is just angry water. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life?

Pumpkin Spice Burrito:  I guess this makes your post-burrito bathroom experience a little more pleasant to those on the other side of the door?  Rest assured, there is also a pumpkin spiced hot salsa to complement these.

Pumpkin Spice Bagels:  Yep.  Never fear; there is also pumpkin spice cream cheese and pumpkin spice butter to spread across these New York Hell Spawns. Prefer pumpkin spice English muffins?  Yup.  They’ve got you covered. This one might actually not be so bad, all things considered. It’s kind of like a pastry in a way, so I might could get on board with the whole pumpkin spice thing here.

Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn:  As if candy corn wasn’t already awful enough.  On a side note, the dreaded pumpkin spice Peeps are on the shelves as well.  If you want to deter trick-or-treaters forever, offer them a handful of both. I’m stocked up. Just in case you were wondering.

Pumpkin Spice Pasta:  There are no words.  I suppose pumpkin alfredo would require pumpkin pasta. If you’re feeling especially spicy, there is also a pumpkin spice pasta sauce.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pringles:  I bet you CAN eat just one.

Pumpkin Spice Vodka:  Well, after the first drink I suppose this one won’t really matter. If you’re not a vodka lover, there is pumpkin spice moonshine as well.  Follow this up with a little pumpkin spice chewing gum, and you can’t go wrong.

Pumpkin Spice Toothpaste:  There is a fake meme about Crest’s pumpkin spice offering, but Breath Palette does offer pumpkin spice toothpaste.

Pumpkin Spice Toiletries:  Soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, beard oi, lip balm, nail polish, and body spray are all available in pumpkin spice aroma.

Mentholated Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops:  Turn your cough into a gag with these medicated nightmares. At least you’ll forget about your cough!

Am I the only one that thinks pumpkin spice has gone a little overboard?  Sure, we all love a little pumpkin spice candle on a fall night, but these other monstrosities have got to go.

The saddest thing about all of this, is I just know that some of you are already Googling these to see where you can buy them.

 

Cookbook of the Cursed

I apologize for the recent radio silence.   I thought I would make up for the unexpected peace and quiet silence on my part that you’ve been blessed forced to endure, I would regale you with a real-life incident that really happened, no really, it did, or, as they loosely say in the movies … “events portrayed are based on a true story.”

I was browsing the used book store a couple of weeks ago and stumbled across an old cookbook from the 1930’s, well-loved and dog-eared, with lots of pen scribbles in the margins of the recipes. To be honest, some of the chicken-scratch in this dusty, old tome read more like a “how to” on summoning a demon than your typical Sunday dinner recipes, but who was I to judge?  I had to have it.  It was high time to bury myself up to my elbows in flour and try something new, or old, however you want to look at it.

I flipped through the book and found a bean casserole; what could be easier or more wholesome than a bean casserole?  I decided to make it that very evening for dinner. I parked in the lot in front of the grocery store and jotted down the ingredients.  Difficult to spell spices, Devonshire cream, Hawaiian sea salt, banana flour, Lychee and sea beans?  Easy-peasy.

An hour later after a lengthy search for obscure ingredients, I came out of the store with my Devonshire cream, on sale for just $8 a quart, my $25 Hawaiian sea salt, my $18 banana flour, and a variety of top shelf – if not odd smelling – spices.  I was also given directions to a produce market about two hours away for my lychee.  I was in it to win it, though; I don’t know what a lychee is, but if it’s in this book it’s got to be good.  I plugged the directions into my navigation, and off I went.

I pulled into the dusty, broken down roadside shack and got even more excited.  What other culinary delights are hidden in there? The bells jingled behind me, and a German Shepherd barked menacingly behind the counter.  There, in the back, was a faded sign that read, “Lychee.”  The recipe called for ten bunches of Lychee …at $15 per bunch.  I was feeling a little less than thrilled, but still determined.   I forked over the $150 for my bunches and mentioned that I hadn’t seen any sea beans.  He handed me a sack and directed me to a swamp about five hours south.

A quick stop by a Wal-Mart outfitted me with my rubber boots and pants, on sale for $169!  I couldn’t believe my luck.  Five hours later, I arrived at the swamp.   I wandered through the murk until I found them; sea beans!  I would have shouted for joy, but I didn’t want to wake the napping alligators on the banks. There was already a water moccasin watching my every move.

Around midnight, I got back home and took my finds into the kitchen, eager to get started.  First, it seems, I needed to “bruise” the lychee.  I hesitated to do this, I was rather fond of the fruit by this point.  I took the bunches and began bashing them with a hammer.   Although it was a great stress reliever (you don’t even know!), this just didn’t seem right, so I looked up the term only to find it means “gently” crushing the fruit.  I slopped the remains into a pot; it couldn’t matter that much, really.   I peeled the sea beans, only to read a pen scribbled note in the margin of the recipe that the beans shouldn’t be peeled. That can’t be too important, right? At any rate, I dumped them into the bowl with the remains of my Lychee. Looking good so far, folks!

Now, on to the fun!  I grabbed a measuring cup and my imported Devonshire cream.  I checked the cup several times but found no measurement for a “jigger.”  Undaunted, and remembering back to the days of my youth when my own mother cited this oft-used but heretofore forgotten in my mind measuring increment, I poured the entire quart into the soggy mess of lychee and sea beans.  Ok, next I needed a saucer of flour.  I still am not entirely clear what measurement a saucer is, but I gamely dumped several cups into the mixture figuring a saucer is pretty big … you know, to catch all of that spilled coffee.  Next, I included a stick of butter in response to “butter the size of a walnut” (because …butter), a quarter cup of garlic powder (one saltspoon? What the heck is a saltspoon?) and, of course, a pinch of Hawaiian salt.  I have small fingers, so I added a few more pinches to make sure.  I mean, who knows who wrote these recipes?  It could’ve been Paul Bunyan for all I know, and you know what size fingers he must’ve had.

Next, I needed to cook my delicious dish in a “slow oven” for 30 “scruples.”  Not sure what a “slow oven” is, since mine has never shown any inclination to run a marathon, I heated it to 425, poured my mixture into a casserole dish, set the timer for an hour and a half, and sat at the table waiting with excitement.  This was going to be awesome; I could see myself serving this dish to my neighbors, bringing it to office picnics, offering it for holiday feasts.

The smell hit me first; somewhere between skunk and sulfur, the smoke was billowing out of the oven and the casserole was on fire.  I took it out to let it cool “for a few moments” before having to admit, I was defeated.  $370, including my fishing outfit, and hours later, I had a congealed scorched mass of I don’t even know what.   I put it outside for the crows and raccoons, but so far, they’ve only been sitting around it, in a circle, mumbling to themselves and periodically looking up at my window as though they’re plotting my demise for having insulted their taste buds in such a manner.

Come to think of it, summoning a demon might’ve been easier, and certainly a lot more interesting. Smell probably would’ve been the same. Still, there are 153 other recipes in the book, and I can’t wait to try them all …once I pay off the credit card debt from this one.

Monday … Mournday

I think no matter how much you love your job, Mondays are bittersweet, if not downright traumatic.  Unless, of course, you’re the Director of Cat Cuddles at the local cat sanctuary… then Mondays would be a joy. Alas, such a job opening has been quite elusive, and trust me, I’ve searched the want ads until my vision is blurry.  In the meantime, Mondays will remain coffee fueled.

I Have a Great Attention…Look, a Puppy!

Facebook, in its ever evolving need to placate everyone, has implemented a service to help busy Facebook users better manage their time.  You may have noticed that under each article or video, Facebook has added a handy dandy estimate of how much time it will take their oh-so-busy users to read an article.

I won’t even touch on the fact that many Facebook users don’t (or can’t) read an informative article to begin with.

I will even ignore the fact that I can read a 300-word piece in well under 5 minutes, Mr.  Mark Zuckerberg.

Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we?  If you are on Facebook for the twentieth fiftieth gazillionth time today, explain to me exactly what tight, rigorous schedule you are on that prevents you from choosing to read a five-minute article?

“Wow, teens exploring a wooded area next to the local mall downtown discovered a live wooly mammoth family today in New Hampshire! Oh wait, it’s a 5-minute read!? Who the hell has time for that??”  *Keeps scrolling* … “Coke adds the name Adonis to its line of labeled bottles and cans … 2-minute read. All right! Now, that’s the kind of timeframe I can get behind! Let me at this one!”

If it takes you more than five minutes to read the article, can you sue for lost time and damages?  Does that five-minute read include pictures and captions?  Really, Facebook, I have so many questions!

I suppose you could time your Farmville crops to article lengths and give yourself something to do while the crops ripen.  “This one will take exactly one corn harvest.”    “Oh, man, I’ll never get to harvest those yams in time if I read this one, forget it.  Who cares about the newly discovered pyramid on Mars, anyway?  Those crops are waiting!”

Now, what happens if I choose to invest my time in, say, a five-minute article and it only takes me three minutes to read?  I have two extra unplanned minutes in my day.  I could:

  • Post a vague, slightly disturbing update in the hopes it will gain attention from my friends.
  • Read someone’s political beliefs and become angry … not by the post, but by all the comments under it (although I may not have time to post a reply to any of the more egregious statements).
  • Share eight lost dog posts or three Minions memes.
  • Place four posts that I will never look at again in my “saved” folder.
  • Like three posts by accident when swiping up. These will include a friend’s dad’s funeral, someone who broke both legs falling down a flight of steps, and someone’s cat being run over by a bus.
  • Type out a well thought out rebuttal to someone’s post, then spend the next two and a half minutes trying to figure out how to delete it while frantically realizing that I am now over my allotted time limit.
  • Accidentally click on an ad for hemorrhoid cream and watch my page fill with ads for hemorrhoid creams.
  • Try to understand why a video about cake icing has been “covered because it may contain gore.” Uncover it.  Watch in amazement as someone falls into a vat of frosting and is iced.
  • Wish happy birthday to three “friends” I have never met in my life.
  • Search for a two-minute article. Find it, then realize it has taken me two minutes to find so I don’t actually have time to read it.

Years from now we’ll be telling our grandchildren, “In my day, we had phones that plugged into the wall, TV sets without remotes, and we never knew how long it would take to read an article on Facebook!”

So, my followers and friends…what will YOU do with all of your extra time?

A Little Game Called Doorbell Dodging

I am sitting in my comfy chair, in my fudge stained favorite sweatshirt, hair pulled back in an unkempt knot at the back of my head.  My teeth aren’t brushed, no make-up on, coffee in hand, laptop on lap, Maury about to announce who the father is (I gotta know!).  I stop cold, a spoonful of Captain Crunch lifted to my mouth.  I hear a car, I hear footsteps…I know what is about to happen.  Yet I’m powerless to stop it.

The doorbell rings. Ugh.

I immediately go into Doorbell Dodger mode.  I haven’t moved this fast since I found out there was only one chocolate glazed donut left in the kitchen at work.

First step, shut off the TV (dang it, now I’ll never know who the father is), then dive head first under the coffee table and hold my breath.  I can’t recall if I closed the curtains on the front door, and darn it, I see the visitor doing the “shade the eyes and look through the window” thing; it’s really kind of creepy.   The doorbell rings again, then the mystery person knocks.   Maybe even a cheery “Hello” from the other side of the front door.  Is it my neighbor?  A friend?  Publisher’s Clearing House? Jehovah’s Witness?  The police looking for me after I jaywalked last week? I may never know, because I hear a scuffling of feet before a car door slams and the sound of a car engine fading into the distance.  I tiptoe to the window and gently pull the curtain to the side, not far, just enough to peep through.  Car is gone.  That was a close one, I narrowly escaped. Whew!

Now that the threat of invasion is over, I start to wonder about the identity of the mystery caller.  I open the door and check for packages, letters, any clues at all.  Now the burning question — other than who the father is, obviously, is…who was the random caller?  And why the hell were they at my door? The downside of Doorbell Dodging is that you will be obsessing the rest of the day over who it could have been.

I feel kind of hypocritical.  I post sweet statuses about my door always being open, I’ll always be there, night or day if you need me…but really, those are just statuses I copied and pasted because I was too lazy to think of one of my own.  The reality is, I don’t like unannounced people on my doorstep.  I’d say call me first, but I never answer my phone either.

I have learned to transform into full Ninja when I hear a car in the driveway; I’ll be locked in the basement before you even hit the first step.  When I miss the tires on the gravel, though, I can get caught short and have to hide behind curtains or furniture. I’ve gotten really good at, if I may say so myself.

What is it about a doorbell that turns us into secretive fugitives in our own homes?  The guilt of our actions makes us feel that our visitor has X-Ray vision and can see right into the bathroom, behind the shower curtain, and into your soul.

I don’t mind company if I know it’s coming.  Ok, I don’t despise company if I know that it’s coming a week in advance.  All right, all right; I will tolerate company if they have made a preset appointment a month prior and have stated the exact purpose and length of their stay prior to arriving.

I’d be a little more ashamed of this if I thought I was alone, but I know I’m not.  I am working on a few inventions for my fellow Doorbell Dodgers, if you’d like a sneak peek:

  • I am going to design a cover that turns my car invisible because I feel the car in the driveway is a dead give-away that I am doorbell dodging.
  • I will be inventing a table disguise that can be slipped on at a moment’s notice, transforming myself into a piece of furniture for the duration of the doorbell episode.
  • I have brainstormed the idea of stick-on house numbers that can be slapped over your real numbers, making your visitor think they are at the wrong door. I just can’t figure out how to install the numbers in stealth mode. Slipping my arm out the door long enough to affix the decals – and in full view of the intruder on my welcome mat, seems a bit awkward … not to mention alerting them to my whereabouts.
  • I have crafted suction cups for your hands and feet, so you can scale the wall like a fly and hang on to the ceiling to avoid detection. (this one is my favorite just in case you wanted to know)
  • I have recorded an endless loop of shower noises to be played over a loudspeaker, activated by the push of the doorbell. I have also recorded sneezes and horrible fits of coughing to scare the offender away.  For a small additional charge, you can upgrade to my recording of the barks of St. Bernards, German Shepherds and Great Danes with a voice frantically screaming, “Get back, get back!” in the background.
  • When all else fails, I have created a pair of “pants” that slip on the front only, so it appears you are wearing pants when you answer the door. This is a last resort … a Hail Mary if you will. Just be careful to remain facing your visitor at all times.

Let’s face it, the doorbell can ring at any time; it’s just a matter of when.  Always be alert, and until I can roll out my aforementioned handy-dandy inventions, be prepared:

  • Have a blanket the same color as your couch cushions to throw over you when the doorbell rings
  • Practice your escape route often. Be prepared to hurtle over barking dogs and dodge obstacles in the hallway for a clean escape.
  • Have more than one hiding place in case someone else in the house beat you to the first one.
  • Plan a spot to meet your family in the house after the visitor is gone so you can monitor windows in case he changes his mind.
  • Never let your guard down. Doorbells can ring at all hours of the day and night.  You are never really safe. Practice your stop, drop, and roll crawl across the living room floor on a routine basis.
  • Remember that sometimes a visitor will remain on the step for a minute or two after the last door chime. This is a trap that has caught many unsuccessful doorbell dodgers in the past.
  • Keep a pair of pants by the front door, just in case.

All kidding aside, anyone is welcome to my home, any time.  Just sign up for an appointment, call me in advance, and answer my prescreening questions.

Also, bring a bathing suit and be careful; that moat is full of alligators.

What a Pain

I read in some disbelief one woman’s birthing experience, in which she described labor as comparable to having an orgasm.   Here, go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.

Now my first thought was that Brits are a strange lot (though I love them nonetheless! …the accents? *swoon*).  My next thought was that this lady must have had some crazy sex in her day if she could compare giving birth to an orgasm.  My last thought was, hmmm.  I guess you really could compare them, couldn’t you?

Oh, not the pain per se, but rather the descriptive language that so often accompanies such acts. And then, as my mind so often does, my thoughts meandered … in this case, to other situations that could also be misconstrued if one only heard the soundtrack… with no visual to confirm the actual goings-on. Don’t believe me?

Let’s play a game.  Here is a conversation, and you get to pick where it belongs:

Oh God, come on! Let’s go! Just go. Please, for the love of God. Go, go, go. Dammit! You’re stopping there?  No, no… okay.  Yes. Good, good! 

The above conversation was overheard:

  1. In a traffic jam, late for work
  2. Delivering a baby
  3. During sex

You lose, the answer was “D.  All of the above.”

Seriously, no matter which of these three activities you’re doing, chances are, there’s more than a few “Jesus Christs!” being bandied about and quite a bit of cursing, not to mention moans and groans that sound eerily similar.

And really, when you think about it, all three of the above choices are about getting to your destination, aren’t they? Yeah, I’m a little warped, but that’s why you all love me so much.