Patsy Porco

Two Christmas Trees

In Babysitting, Christmas Season, Humor on December 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

The other night, I babysat two young boys, aged 4 and 7, while their parents, Jodie and Joe, went to dinner with another couple.

Christmas TreeJodie is Jewish and Joe is Catholic. Jodie solved “the Christmas tree conundrum” by putting up a Christmas tree and decorating it with blue and white Hanukkah lights. The ornaments are mainly Santas and snowmen, though, since they’re much more plentiful in stores than dreidels or latkes. Jodie did, however, manage to find a few Hanukkah ornaments, and also hung several of those handmade picture frames that elementary-school teachers are required by law to have their students make. This year, Jodie persuaded Joe to buy a fake tree. It was so tall and full that I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t a real tree until I touched it. Even though it looked like a real tree, Joe didn’t like it on principle.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, I had brought an unconstructed gingerbread house to make with the boys. I have never made a successful gingerbread house. Even though I always buy the pre-made gingerbread, I am never able to get the walls to stand up and the roof to stay on. This one had interlocking walls. You would think that would have been foolproof. You would have been wrong. The notched pieces mostly stuck together, or the pieces that didn’t break off did. The adhesive was made of confectioner’s sugar, and the picture on the box made it look like it would be easy to pipe it out of the bag without slopping it down the sides of the walls and all over the roof. It wasn’t. Confectioner’s-sugar glue dries instantaneously, so you can’t wipe it off when it drools all over the gingerbread. You just have to move on. I built the house by myself in order to avoid more mayhem than necessary and then called the boys over to decorate it.

The plan was for me to dab sugar-glue on the house and the boys would stick candy all over the walls and roof. Those kits are stingy when it comes to how much candy they supply so we would have run out even if the kids didn’t eat most of it. Luckily, they knew where their mother hid candy, so they were able to find enough to make up for what they consumed, plus plenty extra. When it was all done, the house didn’t look bad. It didn’t look especially good, but it was festive. It was also germ-ridden since one of the boys had a cold and the other kept licking the candy before sticking it onto the house.

Afterwards, we had some leftover candy canes. I remembered that I had seen a recipe for handmade candy ornaments, so I decided to melt the candy canes and then pour the liquid into cookie-cutter molds. The three of us smashed candy canes and I put them on a plastic plate which I transferred into the microwave oven. I melted it for a minute at a time, stirred the candy, and then microwaved it for another minute. I kept doing this until it was melted … along with the plastic plate. The boys thought it was hilarious that one of their dinner plates had a big hole in it. I doubted their parents would be as amused.

Then I lined a cookie sheet with waxed paper and put a plastic Christmas-tree cookie cutter and an angel cookie cutter on top of the waxed paper. I poured the melted candy canes into the molds. The liquid went into the molds and right out the bottom, spreading all over the waxed paper and melting the empty plastic cookie cutters. I added two Christmas Cookie Cutterscookie cutters to the list of things I had to replace.

I took a picture of the melted plate and cookie cutters and sent a text to Jodie: “I owe you a plastic Christmas tree and angel cookie cutter and a plastic plate, which I melted.” I attached the picture and sent the text. I then cleaned up the mess and told the boys that they were forbidden to eat any more candy. They each grabbed a handful of candy and scurried off to watch TV. In the meantime, Jodie sent me back a text saying, “No worries.”

After the boys were in bed, I sat in the living room with their adorable poodle puppy. Suddenly, the puppy woke up and went to the garage door. Somehow, she had heard her parents come home, whereas I had heard nothing. This says something about who was really watching the house. I heard the inside door to the garage door open and I called out, “Hello!” A strange woman answered, “Hi!” The dog didn’t seem alarmed, so I decided not to be either. The woman came into the living room and said that she and her husband had gone to dinner with Jodie and Joe. She said that they and her husband would be right in. I introduced myself.

She laughed and said, “Jodie was freaking out when she thought you burned down her Christmas tree.” ”

What?” I asked.

She laughed again. “Jodie read your text about melting her tree to us at dinner. She really lost it.”

“I didn’t burn down her tree,” I said. “I melted a Christmas-tree ornament.”

We figured that out,” she said, “when Joe took the phone from her and said that there was a picture attached. Then we saw what you had melted.”

Right then, Jodie, Joe, and the woman’s husband came in. I said goodnight to everyone and Jodie walked me to the door. I told her I was sorry that I had melted the ornaments and the plate. She said, very calmly, “No problem at all. I was initially a little surprised by your text, but we eventually figured out what you were talking about.”

“I’m sorry I upset you,” I said. “I’ll replace the plate and the cookie cutters.”

“I wasn’t upset at all,” she said. “I am happy, however, that the tree wasn’t burned down.”

Her husband called out from the kitchen, “I’m not.”

Jodie shot him an annoyed look.

Joe needs to learn how to sugar-coat the truth like his wife does.




Don’t Pass Gas in a Puffer Coat

In Humor, shopping on November 29, 2017 at 1:28 pm

As a public service announcement to all of you out there who are about to start shopping Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 2.42.21 AMfor winter coats, you should know that puffer coats grab onto smells, absorb them, and hold on like a baby to a pacifier.

I went to a Korean-barbecue restaurant the other night and came out smelling like I had never left. My coat drank in the pungent scents and retained them like water. It’s two days later and that coat still reeks.

Which brings me to some other aromas that will stick to your coat like glitter to anything: body odor, bodily gases, perfume, and cooking smells. Basically anything that your nose can sense will move into your coat and start unpacking immediately.

My husband has asked me not to wear my puffer coat until it’s stink-free. He came at me today with a bottle of Febreze but I wouldn’t let him spray my coat for fear of staining it. So, for now, it’s hanging outside in the yard. I hope there’s nothing smelly out there.

Wearing a skunked coat would really stink.

I Think I Love You

In David Cassidy, Death on November 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm

When I was 10 through about 12, I was determined to marry David Cassidy. So were millions of other preteens. We all thought that we, alone, had what David Cassidy needed in a wife. We weren’t sure what that was, but we had it.

I remember reading my Tiger Beat magazine and discovering a contest to meet David. All I had to do was explain why David would want to meet me, personally. I told my mother that I was going to win because I cleverly wrote, “David, you have to meet me because ‘I Think I Love You!'” My mother said she imagined that every young girl was going to use the title of his hit song in their plea to meet their idol. I was stunned. Really? Others would think of this, too? Well, it turns out that they did. And some other girl, who was not me, won that contest.

Teen and preteen crushes are powerful things. They twist up your insides and can bring you to tears. You think that you just cannot live without the object of your infatuation. You learn that love can be physically painful.

And then you move on … to crushes on real people, or older famous people. I worked with a young woman, when we were both in our late-20s, who was determined to meet and marry John F. Kennedy, Jr. It was lucky for her that her dream didn’t pan out.

I moved on to real people in my late teens and 20s … and to Barry Manilow. I was way too old to still have crushes on celebrities, but that didn’t stop me. I listened to his albums day and night. I even exercised to them … and forced my boyfriends to listen to them. I ignored comments from those who said he was gay. How could he be gay? He was going to marry me! Of course, it turned out that he was gay, and he was not going to marry another woman. (He’d been married to a woman in his younger days.)

Speaking of inappropriate crushes, I was in my 50s, and married, when I was infatuated with Robert Pattinson. Looking back, I’d prefer to think that I was infatuated with his Twilight character, Edward Cullen, instead of a young man in his 20s.

But, as they say, I digress. All of this reminiscing started with David Cassidy’s death. He brought many people joy with his music and his show, “The Partridge Family.” Both are firmly entrenched in the memories and psyches of multiple generations; kids born in the 50s, 60s, and maybe the 70s, as well as their parents, watched the show when it originally aired, and then later generations watched it in reruns, when their parents insisted.

Many are saddened by the passing of David Cassidy. Are we mourning the death of our youth, blah, blah, blah? No. We’re mourning the loss of David Cassidy.

Why? Because we think we love him.

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