Friday 30 Sep 2016

Pumpkin Picking
Jennifer Flaten

Well, we’ve officially answered that age-old question “is pudding aerodynamic?” What you haven’t laid awake at night wondering if it is? Well, in any case, it isn’t.

Trust me, I speak from experience, pudding has a tendency to fall quickly to the floor and lay there in a nice glistening inert mass. I really wish I learned this from watching a science program. Alas, I learned it firsthand.

Really, nothing compares to watching your kid running across the living room clutching an open container of pudding. It is like watching a horror movie, “Nightmare on Pudding Street,” you know something bad is coming but you’re helpless to stop it. In cinematic slo-mo I saw the cup slip out of her grasp, up, up, up it went. Then gravity kicked in and down, down, down it plummeted. It smashed face down on the living room carpet. Does messy food ever land face up?

Luckily, our carpet is chocolate pudding colored. Actually, I have a theory about that, I think the carpet started out as a light tan or even white, but after years and years, our house is decades old, of abuse it morphed into the brown mass I see before me. I don’t dare clean it, I am almost positive the rug would just disintegrate under the soapy onslaught.

I’ve learned it is best not to think about the various stains on the carpet, look it is either that or cover everything in plastic--favorite decorating choice of moms and serial killers. I’m not too worried about this stain. I will just slide the huge pile of Legos over the stain, voila, no more stain.

Figuring a good way to avoid further stains and the cleaning up of the aforementioned stains would be to vacate the house I decided to take the kids somewhere, anywhere, as long as it didn’t involve pudding. Since the calendar flipped over to October, the children are now in full Halloween mode.

In order to appease them and keep from having to talk about why I do not have the makeup skills necessary to transform them into an exact replica of their favorite cartoon character, I decided it was a great idea to go pumpkin picking. What a perfect fall activity. It’s easy, right. You go to the pumpkin ranch, you see a pumpkin, you pick it and you take it home. 

I am obviously delusional. While all pumpkins are round and orange, it seems not all pumpkins are equal or at least they aren’t to my kids. I’ve seen hostage negotiations take less time than my children picking out a pumpkin.

First, I had to convince them that if it didn’t fit in the trunk, it didn’t come home. I want to display it, not live in it. Then I had to break up a gourd fight. I don’t care if they look like little grenades it is still inappropriate to lob them at strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t check a pumpkin’s “goodness” by kicking it.

Finally, pumpkins selected, it was time for my next trick it was getting the pumpkins safely across the parking lot and into the car. Hell hath no fury like a kid whose pumpkin fell to the asphalt and smashed. 

Of course, I don’t mind as long as it doesn’t splatter on my rug.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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