ATTENTION: Pumpkins Are Using Jedi Mind Tricks On All Of Us

A pumpkin after my own heart.

A pumpkin after my own heart.

Summer is practically synonymous with sunscreen, ice cream, and barbecues.  I mean, I can already smell the bbq bacon cheeseburger coming fresh off the charcoal grill and it’s not because I am eating a cheeseburger at 10am.

Or it is, the jury is still out.

With each season, there is a specific scent we associate with it.  Normally I’m all for it, because scents mean that there is food somewhere in the vicinity, and that’s never a bad thing.

But I have a bone to pick with one particular scent/flavor/permeation that really just makes me angry, because it’s trying to be the favorite, and I learned in kindergarten that being the teacher’s pet meant getting special treatment, and then everyone hates you.

I’m about to drop some high voltage knowledge bombs about this goddamn pumpkin spice obsession.

I’m not going to say I hate it, because hate is a word I reserve for push button faucets and people who talk in elevators.

I’m just not all up in pumpkin’s face asking it to hang out with me.  I don’t let it have a special season, because that’s how egos grow, and I need pumpkins to know their place in this world.

Frankly, I just think that pumpkins are jedi mind tricking us all into thinking we NEED them in our lives, creating demand during the fall solstice.  Whoever is marketing for the pumpkins of the world, reveal yourself!  I need you on my team, you could probably take this here blog to new heights and help me achieve my dream of being married to Danny McBride and Jimmy Fallon at the same time. 

Seasonal privileges are for treats that make you feel like you’re going to vomit if you so much as look at another piece.  Like candy corn. It’s a scientific law that candy corn has to get the hell out of your life by October’s end, because you start to see all foods in a tri-color hierarchy of white, yellow, and orange.

Let me make this perfectly clear, there are rules set in place that have been there for hundreds of years.  They were rules created by the bromagnons and the bromosapiens to protect our taste buds from over-indulgence.

In order to be a seasonal treat, you have to follow a strict criteria, which goes as follows:

1. It must be a treat that is solely used or consumed during a specific season.

ie. candy canes, candy corns, peeps, eggnog.

2. You must want to vomit after over-consumption of said treat.

Ever tried drinking Eggnog after December? It’s almost impossible. It’s at this time you may actually realize that it doesn’t even taste that good to begin with, and you’ll regret all of it.  Eggnog = regret. Remember that.

3. You can’t be a gourd.

Plain and simple, they are a decorative item in a cornucopia. You can’t have your own season if you’re part of a fucking cornucopia.

4. As  a seasonal treat, you have to have absolutely no value to the outside world after your said season is over.

You don’t see candy canes trying to make an appearance on Valentine’s day, or Peeps trying to squeeze their demonic candy crusted bodies into your summer pool party.  They know their place, they don’t want to be in the pool with you, they want to be there when you’re running around your house trying to find where your mom ninja-hid all the colored eggs.

There you have it. A tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme.  Pumpkins, go back to your hole in the ground, ya gourdy betch.  You don’t deserve your own season; not on my watch.

Now let me go finish my breakfast cheeseburger.

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A thousand words describing my time spent locked in a bathroom.

I was nine when I got locked in a bathroom inside my own house.

And no, it wasn’t easy to free myself.  I was actually, truly, really stuck.

The following is a (slightly embellished) version of how I was deserted in my own home, left to fend for myself inside a desolate, personal bathroom prison.

It was summer.  The day in question was pretty hot, if I remember correctly.  My mother implemented this rule she liked to call, “Amish Time” during our summer breaks.  Meaning every weekday from 9-5pm, there was no technology – i.e. GameBoy color, Nintendo 64, AOL 5.0 – of any kind allowed.

The only exception to “going Amish” was when the US Open of Tennis was being broadcasted, because she wanted to watch that.  I cannot wait to be a parent and make self-benefitting rules.

I digress.  Since technology wasn’t allowed, we were reduced to remedial means of entertainment, like having conversations with each other, imaginative play, and embracing the great outdoors.  We always gravitated towards the pool because it passed the time extremely fast, and it was always fun to have our mom rate belly flops for hours on end.

It was after lunch; all four of us steamrolled down the hallway and onto the deck.  We waited for my mom to sit down in her chair under the umbrella, her idea spot for visibility and shaded protection, before we all made our entries into the shallow end.

We had been outside for a while when nature called.  I had to pee.

There is a bathroom very close to the pool; yet for some reason, unbeknownst to me in the present day, I chose to use the upstairs bathroom, located on the opposite side of the house.

I approach the bathroom, go inside, close the door.  Routine procedure. Until it wasn’t.

At the moment I closed the door, the handle on the interior of the bathroom fell out of the socket. From the inside, the door looks like this:

NOOOOOO!

NOOOOOO!

I immediately freaked out.  I look my new surroundings, there are four walls.  No windows.  A shower curtain and rod. And a door that will not open.

I yelled for probably eight minutes.  Immediately after screaming at nothing, I screamed at myself, “WHY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH DID YOU PICK THE ONLY BATHROOM WITH NO WINDOWS?!”

My screams fell on deaf ears.  Everyone was outdoors enjoying the sunshine; a luxury I was no longer afforded since I went and trapped myself in this four-walled, shame cellar.

I was here, alone, stuck in the bathroom of my nightmares.  After about fifteen minutes of wasted tears, unheard screams, and pathetic cries, I rescanned my surroundings for something I could use to get me out of this joint.

I contemplated.  I saw the shower rod as a weapon; I yanked the curtain down from the wall with the brute strength of a toddler, and quickly disassembled the curtain from the rod. I had seen jousting before; I knew poles were deadly.  And this door was my opponent.

Only I had no idea that blunt, hollow, metal poles were not strong enough to break down a two-inch thick wood door.  I tried anyways.  I took the pole over my shoulder and rammed it as hard as I could into the back of the door.  There was a dent.

“YES!” I thought, “SMALL VICTORIES!” This dent was a small step towards freedom, and I quickly got into position to make another one.

I hit the door with the shower rod eight times before giving up from boredom.

That was it.  That was all I had.  No more ideas.  No more drive.  I was stuck.  I wrapped myself in the shower curtain and cried.  I thought about how long I could survive in there.  “Probably seven days without food, maybe four without water.” I guessed, “But I have a sink, a shower, and a toilet for the worst case scenario – hydration was covered.”

I planned out my missing persons ad, “Girl locked in bathroom, gone for weeks before found.”  It sounded sincere, I guess.

I had accepted my new living conditions, because I had decided that I may as well take a nap.  Putting my head on the floor, and using the curtain as a blanket, I prepared to snooze the time away in my new surroundings.

Until I heard my brother’s footsteps.  He was coming up the stairs; I was immediately filled with glee and adrenaline.

I shot up off the floor, shed my shower curtain blanket, and started screaming through the hole where the door handle used to be. “BRIAN! HELP ME. GET ME OUT OF HERE.”

He heard my cry and comes to my aid.  “Meg, get the door handle from the floor.”  He points to the handle on the inside with me. “Pick it up and stick it back into the slot where it was before.”  I picked it up and did as I was told.

“Now turn it.” And so I did.  Like magic, the door opened and I was freed from captivity. I ran outside, fell to the floor and hugged the ground. I was so happy to be out of there.  It was the worst twenty minutes of my life.

After helping me escape, Brian looks at me and says, “Yeah, I came up here before lunch and had the same thing happen to me.”  I was relieved I wasn’t the only one.  “I just used the door handle and got myself out.  Super easy if you think about it.”  The sad thing was, he wasn’t even gloating.  He was genuinely smarter than me.

I was trapped and immediately resorted to jousting my way out, but only after I wrapped myself in a shower curtain cape.  Brian just picked up the source of the problem and immediately let himself return to society as a functioning human being.

After the whole ordeal, I still had yet to go to the bathroom.  I used the downstairs one though, just in case.

Proof that exercising is dangerous.

The following story is a recountance of true events.  Emotions, time frames, and dialogue are potentially misconstrued and over exaggerated due to the fact that there was alcohol involved. 

It started with a paddleboard.

Yup, you know, one of these things.  They’re supposed to be fun, a good way to exercise, a tool to relax on the open water.

Only it wasn’t.  It was a plank of desolation, inconvenience, and misery.

Well, wait. Let’s backtrack a little bit.  I was on vacation.  Minnesota. July 2013. The purpose: a bi-annual reunion with my best friends with whom I studied abroad in Dublin back in 2009.  We have had about six reunions prior to this one, the most recent summer event was at this exact lake house.

heaven, paradise, whatever you call it.

heaven, paradise, whatever you call it.

We agreed that this was the only spot to spend our summer reunions from there on out, so we returned with anticipation and a thirst that only a multitude of beers, margaritas, and shots could quench.

The day started as most days did, on the boat, in the sun, drinking beverages of the adult variety.  Friends were seen jumping off the stern, or port, or whatever you call it, into the lake, floating on noodles and crushing beers.  Others were seen riding a jetski at high speeds.  Some were tanning on the lawn.  It was a great day.  And it remained that way until everyone had their fill of each activity that was offered.

As the sun transitioned to set, Audrey* and I decided we wanted to take one last trip out on the paddleboard before dinner – you know, because we needed exercise and stuff.

** Name has been changed to protect Audrey's identity.

We float/don’t do much at all but sit/paddle out into the lake, singing songs in what I’m positive was completely off key, laughing, and trying to balance enough to both stand up on the board at the same time.  It was only a short time later that we both realized the current was a lot stronger than we thought, and we had drifted quite a bit away from the dock, safety, and our friends.

“Audrey, we’re really far away.  What are we supposed to do?”

“Get off the paddle board, start swimming and pull us like you’re in a dog sled race.” She responded.

trying to dance... or something

trying to dance… or something

I tried my best, but to no avail, we ended up floating farther and farther away, but at a rapid pace.

“Let’s signal for them,” I suggested, “they’ll hear us if we yell loud enough.  I heard that sound travels on water.”

We both screamed for help, and a man with a jetski came to our rescue.  “Here,” he said as he motioned to jump, “you two climb on the jetski, I’ll paddle the board back to the dock.  I left the keys in the ignition.”

It seemed fool proof.  Only it wasn’t.  I lost my sunglasses in the transition from the water to the platform, the second pair of the day.  Audrey was grabbing my arm like you would a toy on black Friday so that I wouldn’t fall back into the water.  It was a complete disaster.  We looked like we had just learned that we each had limbs, only had no idea how to maneuver them.

We looked off into the distance and the lad who had helped us was already halfway back to the dock. “What the hell did he do that we didn’t do?” I asked. “He probably didn’t have eight margaritas today.”  Audrey answered.  She was probably right.

We’re both (almost) securely on the jetski when Audrey reaches for the key and turns right to activate the ignition.  It chuggs.  She turns again.  It sounds almost like the noise someone makes before they sneeze; just heavy, mechanic, wheezing.  I don’t know a lot about motors, but I know that when there is fuel inside them, and you turn the key, they turn on.

Then the red light of death starts blinking.  “FUEL GAUGE ERROR.  PLEASE CHECK ENGINE.” I read in complete dismay.

We’re drifting fast towards a set of docks on the opposite side of the lake.  No one is around us, the kid who rescued us has since rescued the paddle board and himself, and has now safely returned to land.

We were stranded.

struggles.

struggles.

I have no threshold for sanity or patience in these types of dilemmas so I immediately start freaking out.  “HOLY SHIT, WE’RE LOST. AUDREY, HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET BACK.?!?!”  I’m frantic.  Audrey starts to feel it as well.  She jumps out, and starts to pull the jetski towards the closet dock.

“Jump out and grab the rope, tie us to this dock.”  She instructs me.  I followed the directions.  We had landed on this empty dock.  Audrey was sandwiched between the Ski-Doo and the dock pole, a place I like to call, Barnacle City. Once tied, we looked up at the house the dock belonged to, and noticed a woman on the balcony, just staring at us.

She was drinking a margarita. I can only imagine what her view was like from up there.  Two drunk girls in bathing suits, a broken jetski, and no sense of direction just tacking up on her property.

Audrey and I made our way up the steps, crossing her lawn, and eventually made awkward eye contact. “Hi!  Excuse us, we’re like lost. And our jetski has no gas.  We’re just trying to get back home.” I explain to this woman.

“Well, my husband isn’t going to be home for a while, and I’ve just had extensive back surgery.  I’m on multiple pain medications, and I can’t really think or see straight at the moment.” She explains her situation to us.  It seemed like… a little bit of an overshare. But we had no choice.  Audrey and I looked at each other, thinking about what our next move would be, when suddenly she interrupts our thoughts, “Would you guys like a sandwich? You can use my telephone, too.”

so happy after the jetski debacle.

so happy after the jetski debacle.

A telephone sounded great.  A sandwich sounded amazing.  We had worked up a serious appetite, and I was hoping to the high heavens that she had bacon, lettuce, and tomato in that house.  An avocado wouldn’t hurt either, but I wasn’t banking on it. We started to walk towards the basement door when we heard the honking of a boat horn.

Audrey and I turned around and saw all of our friends on the boat, honking at us, laughing at us, and most importantly, rescuing us.  They took a rope and towed the jetski back to the dock. We turned and thanked the woman for her almost-hospitality, and promptly ran back to the boat, and grabbed a towel to dry off.

It had been a long day. On the safety of land, I pondered to myself.  I know I don’t like to exercise, but this incident damn near proved me right.  Exercising is dangerous.  It’s better to stay stationary and enjoy all the things the lake house has to offer – and that’s what I did for the next two days.

With beers, shots, and margaritas, of course.

rtt-new