Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Science of Halloween Candy

TomummyHalloween has changed a lot since I was running the neighborhood with eye holes cut out of a sheet with my brother dressed as a hobo. (Modern translation of hobo: a more delicate and antiquated word for homeless person). Now it’s a major production on both sides of the door, so it’s important to know key candy distribution guidelines. Pay attention, kids, this can be the difference between a bag of worthless suckers and a full-sized Hershey bar wrapped with a $5 bill.

Here’s how it works now. Little bitty kids who show up before it’s even dusk get fussed over because they’re beyond adorable in a costume that mom spent a month making or a month’s salary buying. They get one or two pieces of the good candy – name brand chocolate. Mom needs some kind of payback for her efforts, because, let’s face it, that’s who will eat that candy. For that matter, consider just handing her one of those single serving size bottles of cheap red wine.

As soon as it gets dark, look for elementary and middle school kids. They’re more interested in quantity than quality. Feel free to mix in filler candy like Jolly Ranchers, candy corn and those weird circus peanut things (what are those things other than nasty?) along with several pieces of good candy. Remember, unless a mom finds this, this candy will likely live under a bed until spring.

Later in the evening, the older kids come out. You’ve got a 50/50 chance that they didn’t even bother to put on a costume. My policy is no costume = no candy. I tend to vote Republican, so there’s no free candy handout at my house. Earn your candy. You can get a cat ear headband at the dollar store. Otherwise, you better come prepared to entertain me. For what candy costs these days, I want some payback. Sing, tell a good joke. A two-minute rehearsed monologue from a recognizable playwright and I’ll empty the rest of my candy bowl into your pillowcase and throw in a $5 bill.

At the end of the night, if my porch light is off, I’m tired of opening my door and I’m planning to enjoy the last three KitKat bars I held back with red wine at a price point that doesn’t befit handing out for free to young mothers. So stay safe and don’t take candy from strangers.

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Baseball and Taco Hell

AR-309269980Anyone who knows me even casually knows I’m a fanatical baseball fan. So when the Astros are in the post-season, don’t bother me at game time unless there’s fire, homicide-level blood loss, or a minimum of two high-level FBI agents present. Unless you’re my dad.

Twenty minutes before the start of Game 2 of the ALCS, I’m at my dad’s house settling in for the first pitch when he tosses me the keys and says, “Run get us tacos.” Gasp! Wait! What?! Now??!! Okay, it’s his house and he is my dad. I’m going for tacos.

I hop in the Dadmobile and race to the neighborhood Taco Cabana. I hit the drive thru for four chicken tacos thinking I’m in good shape with 12 minutes until game time and only two cars ahead of me. Then I realize I’ve entered Taco Hell!!

It took only seconds to realize the car in front of me has ordered 25 different individual items all special ordered. Surely this is proof that evil is real and Satan is active in our world. Obviously, it can only be Satan, Prince of Darkness, driving the solitary car in front of me. I roll up the windows in order to scream in private.

It has gotten to the point that I could have driven myself to Mexico, executed a quickie divorce, found and married a Mexican national, had his mother make me tacos, and driven back. Faster. I was now missing the start of the game. Okay, forget the divorce part. I could drive to Mexico, become a naturalized citizen, learned to make authentic tacos myself, and driven back. Faster. This was killing me.

Just as I’m picking up my phone to call 911 to report a gas leak inside Taco Cabana that has killed all the employees because there has been no sign of life inside for at least 15 minutes, the window opens and Satan receives his massive bag of food. Of course, he’s paying in what must be ancient coins from Somalia’s Gubon Desert and how the heck do you make change for that? One final, cleansing scream before I pull forward.

By the time I got back, the Astros were down by 1. Yes, I won the War on Tacos, but the Astros lost the game and the next one and all the rest of the series. Somewhere Satan is laughing and my season is over. From this point forward, tacos will always taste like disappointing loss.

Thank you to the Houston Astros for a great season, Jose Altuve and the Daily Herald for the pic.

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Poor Pet Picks

Image result for honey badgerIt’s been just over a year since our well-loved dog Buster chased a squirrel across the Rainbow Bridge. I guess my youngest son believes the official period of mourning should be wrapping up: I can take the sheets off the mirrors and quit wearing black wool every day. Recently, he started a not so subtle campaign for the addition to the family with a text that said, “Talk to Dad about getting a pet from the family of Mustelidae.” This wasn’t going to be good.

I’m sure the Mustelidae’s are a very nice family but maybe we just invite them for dinner first. Before I could Google Mustelidae, a follow-up text explained they’re ferrets, weasels and otters, oh, and honey badgers which, according to the internet, are “very dangerous and deadly to humans.” Okay, dinner is out and I’m questioning the wisdom of letting him major in marine biology.

When I pointed out that I don’t have water for an otter and my homeowner’s association surely will frown on deadly honey badgers, he pushed for the weasel. “Dangerous but not deadly to humans,” so still no.

Today’s text read, “Hey, what about getting a family tortoise. Pass it along in the family.” Nothing says let’s have a game of fetch quite like a family tortoise. But since they live for over 100 years, he says we can pass it down for generations. Which means that there will be Ciampi’s hating us into the next century. He tried pointing out, “Every normal white family has a dog, but the Ciampi legacy is a family tortoise that’s been in the family for years.” Since I’m not driving a crossover SUV or into anything pumpkin spice, I have to do something to maintain my white mom status besides asking to speak to the manager. While the tortoise is cool in a sedate, slo-mo kind of way and a much better choice than a honey badger, it’s still a no.

Son #2 is currently babysitting hissing cockroaches for his Biology lab and is smart enough not to even suggest one as a pet, so college is teaching him something. I’m not convinced there’s another good boy who could follow Buster. I’m also not convinced that Son #2 is giving up. But before he asks, no, we’re not getting a pet giant squid.

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