Pumpkin Patch

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     My kids have been bugging the hell out of me to get a pumpkin since they first saw them on display at the grocery store back in early September (because apparently, we have to wheel out all the decorative crap at least one to three months BEFORE an actual holiday anymore).  So, this past weekend, I promised them that we’d make a trip over to the pumpkin patch to get their long-awaited pumpkins. And, like most things these days, it didn’t end up to be the fun-filled adventure that I’d envisioned.    

     The “pumpkin patch” is actually just the front lawn of a local church here in town.  All of the profits go towards different charities. In fact, the sign in front of it says, “Our pumpkins help people.”  This idea totally appealed to me because I wouldn’t actually feel like I was throwing money away  when I look out the front door in a few days and see a possy of squirrels going to town on our jack-o-lanterns. My pumpkins may be mutilated, but I helped people, dammit!  

     So, the search was on for the perfect pumpkins.  My daughter wanted a tall, skinny one, and my son wanted a big, round one.  They must have inspected every friggin’ pumpkin there trying to find exactly what they were looking for.  Pumpkins were rolling here, pumpkins were rolling there, and I thought for sure that I was gonna end up having to pay for a bunch of damaged goods.  Eventually, the kiddos found two that met their standards, as well as two other smaller ones that they somehow talked me into buying.  (Yes, I am a sucker.)  I tracked down a wagon, and we loaded it with our findings.

     It was at this time that I realized that our car was parked clear around the corner, and I was gonna have to juggle four pumpkins and two kids across oncoming traffic. Now, I may be one of the world’s greatest multi-taskers, but ain’t no way that scenario was gonna play out successfully.  So, I asked the man at the checkout table if I could leave my pumpkins there while I moved the car around.  He agreed, and I dragged the kids back to the car.  In the short amount of time it took to move the car, the kids must’ve asked me damn near seventy-five times if they could hold their little pumpkins on the way home.   

     I pulled up to the curb, and the very nice checkout man helped me load the car.  As I was thanking him, I decided to ask about the charities that benefit from their sales, and he gave me a handout with about ten different organizations that they serve.  He was right in the middle of telling me all about his favorite charity when my extremely impatient children decided to roll down the car windows and yell my name OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again.  I didn’t want to interrupt the guy when he was so passionately describing this beneficiary, so I nonchalantly tried to wave my hand behind my back to shush them. This only seemed to add fuel to their fire, and the cries grew even louder.  I was so embarrassed that I actually had to stop him and tell my kids to pipe down.  I was absolutely furious on the inside, but I tried like hell not to let it show on the outside. I slapped a fake smile on my face and pretended to listen as he continued.  When the kids turned their volume up to full-blast, he finally took this as his cue to thank me and walk away.  I held my breath and counted to fifty before I got back in the car to let my kids have it.  

     They started in with their demands to hold their pumpkins, but I quickly squashed that idea altogether.  I explained how incredibly rude they were being and gave a whole glorious speech about the importance of giving to others in need.  Although I’m quite sure it all went in one ear and out the other, I at least said my peace, and we drove home with the pumpkins in the very back of the car all by their lonesomes. And just like that, my idea for a warm and fuzzy fall adventure was smashed like a pumpkin.

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It’s War!

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     The time has come, people.  My dukes are up, and I’m ready and willing to go to war once again with our nut-loving, bushy-tailed neighbors.  I’m talking about the over-populated clan of squirrels that mistakenly think they rule the roost around here.  They have made it very clear that they have a personal vendetta against me, and I refuse to go down without a fight.  These deranged and incredibly ballsy squirrels here have been pushing my buttons for several years now and have earned themselves a number one slot on my all-time shitlist.

     This whole rivalry began when we moved into our house six years ago.  What Florida is to retired folks is what our neighborhood is to squirrels.  With all the ginormous oak and elm trees around here, these bastards are truly living the high life, running rampant and stealing everything in sight. After we’d been living in the house for about a week, I kept on hearing scratching noises in the walls and insisted that something was living in them.  My husband thought I was smoking crack until he was awakened at four in the morning one day to a whimpering sound coming from the wall on his side of the bed. After some Sherlock Holmes type of investigating, we discovered that a massive hole had been chewed in the soffit of our roof.  The little shits were using the ceiling above my son’s bedroom as their friggin’ front door to Partyville.  Since we live in a very tree-hugging community, we had to hire a pest control company to come and set up traps on the roof.  (I would’ve preferred to pick them off with a BB gun, but that’s just me.)  When all was said and done, we ended up paying these money grubbers over $1000 to capture and release the whopping SEVENTEEN squirrels that had infested our walls.  I don’t know about you, but I can think of about a million different ways I’d rather spend that kind of money.  So, as you can hopefully understand, we did not necessarily get off on the right foot with this particular rodent population.

     And from that moment on, it was as if a hit was put out on our family by these acorn a-holes to avenge the “disappearance” of seventeen of their crew members.  They made it their personal mission to terrorize the holy hell out of our family.  They chewed through the seats of two of our strollers that were left on the front porch.  They dug up countless pots of flowers to bury their stupid nuts.  They nibbled a huge gaping hole in the kids’ plastic picnic table.  They even gnawed through our trash cans in the alley to rip our trash apart, causing us to purchase aluminum cans as a result.  But the biggest kick in the ass was when they decided to mess with our Halloween pumpkins.

     The traditional jack-o-lantern carving ritual is something that is pretty sacred in this household.  The kids really get into it, even stripping off their shirts so they can get all down and dirty with the pumpkin guts.  The finished product is always a sight to be seen. However, the degenerate squirrels around here seem to think a decorative pumpkin is their own personal meal ticket.  They absolutely go to freaking town ripping them to shreds.  It breaks my kids’ hearts, as well as my own, when their beloved masterpieces are turned into something like this:

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     And we have tried everything from spraying Pledge to sprinkling cayenne pepper on the pumpkins to deter them, but nothing seems to work.  It’s like they see these preventatives as special seasonings or something, since they still continue to completely devour them.  We have learned the hard way that the Nucking Futs Family simply cannot display our jack-o-lanterns until the actual day of Halloween, which really sucks for getting in the spirit of things.  You can only imagine what pitiful-looking pumpkins we’re left to choose from by that point of the season.

     I’ve decided that I need to hire my own private hit man to settle this bitch once and for all.  Hey, wait, I do believe we just recently added a new member to our little anti-squirrel coalition.  And, coincidentally, I hear that terriers LOVE to hunt squirrels.  And, hey, who am I to stop someone from doing something they LOVE to do? Look out you little furry-footed fiends — there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Wrigley.  Woof!