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Valentine’s Day 3…I swear this is the last one

Valentine’s Day 3…I swear this is the last one

I’ve never hidden my candy obsession from you. So I don’t want to start now. As is my modus operandi, the few days following any candy-bearing holiday are when I strike. I am not stupid. I know that those chocolate Easter eggs or cherry candy canes will taste exactly the same the week after Christmas as they do the two months before. I can wait, to buy 12 boxes of cherry candy canes for twenty-four cents a box, I can wait.

Since Halloween I have built up quite a healthy (or unhealthy as the case definitely is) supply of candy. My candy drawer is what YOU might call way too full, although I would never describe it that way. It has reached an all time high to the point that it has now begun to seep into my freezer (a ten pound bag of Snickers, Milky Way,Twix, and M&M’s -plain and peanut- and three or four bags of candy corn, for mixing with peanuts. If you don’t know already, mixing a few pieces of candy corn with a few peanuts tastes exactly like a Payday candy bar. If you didn’t know this, try it, it will change your life…for about a minute.) and there is a two and a half-foot tall stack of candy canes sitting in the corner of my kitchen. The candy drawer has candy from Halloween, Christmas, and most recently Valentine’s Day.

I think we can all agree that I have indeed proven my expertise in the candy arena but some might not know that I am also a professional clearance shopper (For Christmas you will be getting a Scooby Doo Ipad cover. I do not care if you don’t have an Ipad and if you hate Scooby Doo, it was a dollar fifty so I will pretend that I picked it out especially for you and you will pretend that you absolutely love it. It’s how the world works.) So I’m just going to say it: As far as clearance shopping for candy, Valentine’s Day is the worst because there are only a few different things to choose from: chocolates in a heart-shaped box or those stupid little chalky “conversation hearts.”

Which brings me to the point of this entire essay. Yes, I realize it took three paragraphs to get here but bear with me, I think it’ll be worth it.

Chalky conversation hearts are one of the worst candies on the face of the earth. If you like them, please skip this part because this could ruin it for you. Conversation hearts are just heart-shaped Necco wafers which are only good for one thing: making the walkway up to the Christmas gingerbread house you make every year. And conversation hearts come in deceptive packaging.. They come in these cute little personal boxes all red and pink and full of the promise of love and good conversation. We were supposed to give them to people as gifts because if there’s one thing that is universal, it is that we all love eating chalk. (Sidenote: I do give props to the candy companies over the last few years in their attempts at evolving the candy hearts into something more closely resembling an edible. Now they have ones that taste like the inside powdery part of Runts. These are actually quite good but then I get all excited and eat the whole box and have those little painful citrus bumps on my tongue for days.)

My other issue with the “conversation hearts” is that they do not truly represent conversations. I think the candy companies could do better. I realize that over the years they’ve tried to jazz up their sayings by getting all Imy (pronounced Ay Em EEEEE) and texty. But still I think some changes need to be made.

Let’s first examine some of the familiar sayings:

GO GIRL – ok, seriously, has anyone really said this since 1992? I myself never said it but honestly, I haven’t even heard this since the early nineties. Even then it made me cringe.

U R MINE – Oh I get it, now we’re teaching kids very early on to be possessive of their significant others. All along I thought we were just giving them something to throw at each other during the Valentine’s Day party at school.

DON’T TELL – Yikes. I think that best explains what we are all thinking.

GO BOY – I’m not sure this was ever even a catchphrase. It’s almost like the candy company is trying to coin a cool new saying.

EMAIL ME – Do little kids not talk on the playground anymore? Or is this an attempt to draw nostalgic adults back into the world of crappy candy?

LUV ME – This one not only teaches horrible spelling but also, no matter what color you choose, if you hold it up very close to your nose, you will smell desperation and patheticness-osity-fullment.(I teach made up words.)

MY HERO – because every little girl needs someone to swoop in and save her. We just can’t do anything for ourselves!

GOT LOVE? – This one made my list because of its laziness and lack of creativity. It’s a crutch and I do not like comedy crutches.

DARE YA – This one kind of falls under the “DON’T TELL” category. Yikes again.

JUST DANCE – Did Nintendo expand into the world of candy making? Or are the people who come up with these just aging and trying to grasp at anything that seems to be “hot” these days?

HOLLA – I’m not sure but I think this short-lived phrase lost its luster around 2004. I don’t know, I ain’t no HOLLAback girl…

GUESS WHO? – My problem with this one is more of a safety issue. If you don’t know who is giving you the candy, perhaps you shouldn’t put it in your mouth. Have we learned nothing from the never-true rumor about the razor-blade-laden apples?

DRAMA QUEEN – Ahhhhh behold, the rarest of rare, the passive aggressive conversation heart.

TEXT ME – Look how hip the candy makers are!

CHICKS RULE – I am not a fowl.

And those are just the ones I could read. Also among the hearts, I found many smudgey sayings (Romy thought one that said “CUTEY” said “CURRY”) and one heart that even had a smudgerific (made up word) picture that looked kind of pornographic.

I think it’s time we got real with our conversation hearts. Put something on those hearts that I feel comfortable giving to people. In my proposal to the candy companies about these much-needed changes I also plan on sending them some ideas for new sayings on the hearts:

STOP STARING AT ME

I GUESS I LIKE YOU OK AS A FRIEND BUT SERIOUSLY, STOP STARING AT ME

QUIT TEXTING ME LIKE EVERY FIVE MINUTES, I DON’T LIKE YOU THAT WAY

YOU SUCK

YOU’RE BREAKING THE RESTRAINING ORDER

I WILL CALL THE COPS

DON’T TOUCH THAT

YOU AMUSE ME. YOU MAY STAY.

YOUR HUGS MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE

I’M DEFRIENDING YOU

YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY ON DRUGS

UR VIOLATING PAROLE!

YOU’RE NOT A FOOTBALL COACH, ARE YOU?

Those are some hearts I would gladly give out.

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Random

 

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The Candy Drawer

The Candy Drawer

When Vern says, “If I could have only one food for the rest of my life? That’s easy…Pez…Cherry-flavored Pez,” in Stand by Me, I totally understand his line of reasoning. Not so much that he picked cherry Pez because I think that Pez candies are just Flintstone vitamins without character. The Pez dispenser though, now that is just innovative. But the idea that if a person could only have one food item for the rest of their life it would be candy,  pure Einstein.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love candy. A lot. Maybe a little too much, as will show in my dental records. But I can’t help it. You know the saying that when someone is so excited  they’re “like a kid in a candy store?”  For me, that’s the excitement I get when I’m in a candy store.

When I go up north to see family, we go into Wisconsin to the Jelly Belly “factory” (Read: Distribution Warehouse that they’ve made into a tourist attraction by having a miniature train take you on a “tour” of how Jelly Bellies are made. Basically you get on these little linked-together golf carts, throw on a paper hat and they drive you around to various wall-mounted flat screens that have video loops of what happens at the real factory. I don’t care what they call it, at the end I get free samples so I’m good.) After you’ve been driven around the outer edge of the skyscraping towers of boxed Jelly Belly products, they conveniently drop you off at the exit, which is the entrance to their OUTLET STORE!  You don’t get to leave the factory until you trudge through mountains of colorful candy. It’s pure brilliance! I’ve never made it out of there with less than four pounds of candy. Once I got adventurous and tried some of the Harry Potter beans. I even tried the one that was called “BOOGER” and while I can’t vouch for whether it’s flavor is accurate, I can tell you that it tasted like a sinus infection.

Candy is everywhere. What does every holiday have in common? CANDY. Christmas has candy canes, Valentine’s Day has nasty little nostalgic chalky hearts (that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone actually eat.) Easter is THE marshmallow holiday and the most important Candy Holiday, Halloween. I know some fellow Christians call it a satanic holiday and don’t let their kids go trick-or-treating and that’s their choice. But I was raised by Christian parents who let me trick-or-treat and other than a few unrelated quirks, (Shut it.)  I think I turned out OK. Because to a kid, Halloween is not about anything Christian or satanic. Halloween is about candy. Nothing more, nothing less. MUST.GET.CANDY. And honestly, if I could get by with it, I would still be trick-or-treating. I’d make a great Wonder Woman.

My parents wouldn’t let me get a job in high school because they were afraid it would weaken my very strong B- C+ average. I lived at home for the first two years of college to complete my Gen. Ed. courses and to save money to go to a university to finish my studies, and it was then that I got my first job.

Yay! I would no longer be totally dependent on my parents for everything! I could go out to dinner with friends without asking for money! I could buy my own clothes! FREEDOM!……FREEDOM TO BUY ALL THE CANDY I COULD EVER WANT!

I tooled around in a few jobs and ended up at K-Mart. I started out in the “Fashions” department (Seriously? Why not just call it the “Clothes that either fade or fall apart the first time you wash them” department?) and spent most of my time folding and re-folding sweatpants. I quickly was promoted (to this day I fold a mean t-shirt, retail style) to work checkout. And with that promotion came a task that was right up my alley: Re-stocking the candy at the front lanes. Sweet! Literally!

But still I hadn’t thought of the brilliance of a candy drawer….

So now a professed candy-freak had a little bit of money in her pocket, a backstage pass to every piece of candy in the store and six to eight hours, four days a week in which to eat and buy candy.  Usually working eight hour shifts, I had two fifteen minute breaks and one half hour lunch. So on my first break, I would buy a Mountain Dew and some kind of candy, usually gummies.  My second break was reserved for chocolate and more Mountain Dew. Sleep? Who needs sleep? I’VE GOT CANDY!

I had a desk in my room…why didn’t I think of the candy drawer?

When I went away to college, I worked in the mall. This put me in the same building as a CANDY STORE for thirty two hours a week. When I became a manager, a Dollar Tree moved in RIGHT BESIDE MY STORE. So now, not only could I get candy on my regular lunch break, since I was a manager and couldn’t leave the store, I could send my little worker bees out for candy! For a dollar! And the Dollar Tree has an entire AISLE DEDICATED SOLELY TO CANDY!   I could buy sour gummy worms, Runts, Nerds, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Twizzlers, and Cotton Candy all in one fell swoop! FOR.A.DOLLAR! The Queen Bee was content and slightly buzzed from a sugar high.

I had my own apartment with lots of drawers and access to the cheapest candy ever and still I did not devote a nook to my candy…

I moved on to selling mobile phones with AT&T (And to those of you who wouldn’t spend the extra five bucks on text messaging because you thought it was ridiculous, I say to you in a Nelson-from-the-Simpsons voice: HA HA!)  in a store that was located right beside a Casey’s General Store/Gas Station. Break time equals Candy time. As for the weight gain that took me three years to get under control, I blame the hours of TV Land, Chinese take-out and Little Debbie Snack Cakes, not my beloved candy.

At this point I was making enough money to build my candy it’s own dark cherry humidor, but alas, the thought never crossed my mind…

With a few moves here and there for short periods of time, I have now settled into my current residence. I moved in right before Halloween. As well as having a lot of floor space, my home has surprisingly large closets and drawers.  The first thing I did after unpacking, and getting Yadi…Ok, the third thing I did was to go to Target the day after Halloween.

I may have gone a little overboard. But everything was ninety percent off! How can I pass up such a deal? I walked out with eighteen dollars’ worth of candy: Jack-o-Peeps, flavored Hershey Kisses (the candy corn ones are the best. Caramel apple, meh.) Bags of regular AND flavored Candy Corn, Gummy Fingers and Toes and Brains and Noses, Chocolate-flavored (It bears mention here that Chocolate-flavored and Chocolate are NOT the same thing. Made that mistake once.) Krispie-injected Pumpkins and more Willie Wonka than I knew what to do with. Every holiday since has followed suit.

So if you BUY eighteen dollars’ worth (at ninety percent off, so it’s probably closer to two hundred dollars’ worth)  of candy at a time, it follows that you have to STORE two hundred dollars’ worth (just so you understand the magnitude of this purchase) of candy at one time.

And on this day unto me was born a candy drawer. The potholders would have to shack up with the forks.

By Christmas of the next year, the candy drawer had not only taken on a bigger residence in my home (the dishtowels moved in Three’s Company style with the potholders and the forks.) but had begun to make its importance known to the pot pies that it was slowly edging out in the freezer.

The thing with buying in bulk, is that once I come to the realization of how ridiculous it is to have three pounds of Sour Brite Crawlers, I tend to slow down on the stockpiling of candy. This realization smacked me in the face (more specifically, the mouth) about eight months ago at my dreaded routine dental check-up when Dr. Scrivello and I exchanged our usual pleasantries:

“How are you today, Miss Jennifer?” he says, settling on to the dental stool, letting out a barely heard burp. Onions. Nice. Note to self: schedule next dental exam BEFORE he goes to lunch.

“I’d be better if I weren’t here,” I reply, every time. And every time neither Dr. Scrivello nor his hygienist so much as chuckle.

“Let’s take a looksee, shall we?” he says, ignoring my lame attempt at humor. Despite the classic rock playing over the loudspeaker system (I kid you not, once I was in the chair waiting for a filling and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” came on. Again, I was the only one who found this even remotely amusing.) he begins to hum something that is not recognizable as he gently pries my mouth open the same way you do a dog when you want to give her a heartworm pill.

“Da dee dee da da da dee dee dee DAAAAA!  (The big finish of his solo hum.) Well kid, it looks like you’ve got a cavity. I thought we’d be past this point by now,” he speaks kindly.

Yes, KID, we probably should be past the point of having a cavity because we are THIRTY SIX YEARS OLD!

And it is with that one statement that my bulk candy days end, as swiftly as they begin although with much less fanfare. I still have the candy drawer and it is still always full but now I don’t spend a dime over ten dollars at a time.

But I still buy it for ninety percent off.

 

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Sleep Eater

I have somehow become a sleep-eater. I find myself eating in my sleep, or eating as I’m drifting off to sleep, or even waking up with telltale signs that I ate during my sleep. The last three days have been especially alarming.

 I  usually go to bed and read for an hour or so, or until I feel my eyes closing. But the last few weeks I have noticed that as I’m reading, I will suddenly think,

“You should get a few Hershey Kisses out of the freezer to snack on while you read.” 

And so I do. 

I have been trying to make better food choices lately so other than my candy drawer (Yes, I have a drawer dedicated to candy. Stop judging me. You have your porn, I have my candy. We’ve all got issues) I have not been keeping junk food around the house. But when my parents come in town, they stop along the way to get snacks for the trip. It’s only an hour and a half drive (if you drive at the rate my dad does which is exactly four miles over the speed limit) but by the amount of snacks they stockpile, you would think that they were going to be in the car for seventeen hours straight with absolutely no stops.  The last time they came, they brought two family size bags of Bugles (one they had been snacking on and with Yadi’s help, polished off before they went home) a bag of Burger King-inspired onion rings and 2 two liters of soda. They also brought a few of those Hormel ComplEATe meals, which is like saying to a single person, “We realize you’re alone and probably going to be alone for a long time so you might as well eat pretend home-cooked meals”.

So about three nights ago, right when I was drifting off, I heard this tiny voice saying,

 “You know, there’s a bag of Bugles in there…Wouldn’t these kisses be so much sweeter with something crunchy and salty?”

Then another inner voice said,

“And also, you can do that I’ll-get-you-my-pretty-thing by putting them on your fingertips.” 

 Salty, crunchy AND entertaining? I’M IN! So I got my Bugles, headed back to bed and pretended to be immersed in the book as I crunched each little salty witch finger off my hand.

The next morning I vaguely remembered eating the Bugles but wasn’t quite sure how much I had eaten until I looked in the trash and saw an empty FAMILY SIZE bag of Bugles nestled in among the Banquet pot pie boxes(another staple of the perpetually single person). I ATE THE ENTIRE BAG IN ONE SITTING. OR, ACTUALLY, IN ONE SLEEPING.

The next night, same thing…except the voice this time said,

“You know what would taste sooooo delicious with those twenty-five Hershey kisses you’re shoveling in? A few Burger King-inspired onion rings. They’re in the pantry. You want me to help you get them?”

 So again, in a sleepy stupor, I stumbled to the pantry, got the onion rings and crawled back in bed. I ate the whole bag (It was one of those Big Grab size bags so I didn’t feel too guilty. Plus, I could play a little ring toss game with them on my fingers. When you live alone, you find ways to amuse yourself. Like figuring out your problems by pretending that you’re being interviewed on TV. Try it. It will change the way you think.) I crashed back to the kitchen, careening into walls like an eight year old in an out-of-control bumper car because I was mid-sleep and quite possibly suffering from food-induced hypnotization from the combination of chocolate, fake onion and ring toss. Once I made it to the kitchen, I headed straight to the candy drawer and got my FAMILY SIZE bag of Skittles. I took them back to my room and pretended to read while I squished them flat between my fingers and popped them into my mouth, only stopping long enough to see what color each Skittle was so that I could prepare my tongue..

Last night, I changed up my routine a little. I wrote first and then grabbed the book I had recently started reading.. I had finished my second Jen Lancaster book (Check her out, she’s awesome!) and picked up a book called After the Wall by Jana Hensel.  I started to read and of course, there was that little devil on my shoulder saying,

“Jenn…guess what time it is?  It’s Hershey Kiss time!”

And I didn’t resist the urge. With the Hershey Kisses I never resist because I can usually just eat a few (if you count twenty-five to be a few.)  I went to the freezer, got five Hershey kisses (because things taste better in fives) and went back to read. I got to my page-turning-without-actually-reading stage and turned off the light.

2:30 AM. I woke up lying there eerily resembling the red plastic monkeys from the Barrel of Monkeys game: I was on my stomach with my right hand reaching towards the headboard, my left arm curled by my side and my feet sticking straight off the corner of the bed. My glasses were resting on the bed below my left arm. Up by my right hand: two empty Hershey Kisses wrappers and one lone Hershey Kiss untouched,

I immediately felt like that person who goes out and somehow wakes up the next morning in bed with a stranger and thinks, “What just happened here?”  Except that the stranger was a single Hershey Kiss hanging out with two empty foil wrappers and a few of those tissue paper banners they shove in each kiss that serves no purpose other than helping you open up the chocolate when you’re fast asleep.

What I deduct from this crime scene is that I got up for more chocolate, and it was too much trouble to get in bed so I just fell from where I was standing and started eating. But apparently I couldn’t even stay up to finish eating three kisses.

I have, over the course of about three weeks, gone from a bedtime reader to that old guy who falls asleep in church, on the toilet and while he’s still eating his morning Cheerios. He could be your grandpa…or he could be your nine-month old son. It may be too soon to tell. But I think that may be the path I’m headed down.

 

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