Last night, Caroline went to a sleepover birthday party. While I *thought* I was off duty for the evening, with only a computer, TV and caramel tracks ice cream to keep my attention, a group of energetic, pumpkin guts covered girls came bounding through the door at 7pm asking me to roast their pumpkin seeds.
That's what happens when the birthday party is at the end of your street. Travel time is minimal, which is a plus, but the chances that your quiet night could be interrupted are highly favorable.
Anyway, as part of the party festivities, the girls went to the same local pumpkin patch we went to on Monday. They selected pumpkins and were going to decorate them after eating pizza and cake back at the party house. I think the original idea was for them to paint the pumpkins, which is much safer than handing over sharp pumpkin carving instruments to a bunch of shaky handed kids. However, the girls must have issued one convincing plea to allow them to hack up their pumpkins with sharp knives because before I knew it, I was handed a huge pot full of pumpkin seeds, which the girls claimed were in desperate need of roasting.
Here's the thing: I like roasted pumpkin seeds, in all their salty delicious glory, as much as the next person. I do not, however, enjoy cleaning the sticky pumpkin goo off of the seeds before roasting. It's slimy, time (and labor) intensive and the whole task simply requires more patience than I currently possess. Thanks to the eager, roasted seed loving girls, some of the work was done for me, and I don't like being a total meanie, so I obliged.
However, it wasn't until I took possession of the pot of seeds that I realized the seeds were hardly clean enough for roasting AND there were twigs and leaves in the bowl because they scooped out their pumpkins outside.
It took forever to get those suckers clean.
So there I was, on my NIGHT OFF, cleaning stringy orange guts and dirty autumn foliage from a pot of pumpkin innards. It took a little time and patience, but the results were great and the girls were happy.
I guess that's all that really matters.
And then I got to do it all over again today.
More pumpkins were carved; more seeds were retrieved, cleaned and roasted. Thankfully the girls did all the cleaning this time which made my job as official pumpkin seed roaster MUCH easier. I think they were so eager to help out, not because they cared about my feelings, but because the had their eyes set on a bigger prize. Yep, these budding entrepreneurs wanted to sell the seeds. Those girls try to sell everything. It's kind of embarrassing. Like who would want to buy a dirty rock they sloppily painted or a half finished friendship bracelet?
Maybe it's because I'm timid and recoil at the thought of having to sell anything, but this whole selling things to our poor, unsuspecting neighbors leaves me feeling very unsettled. We do have a rule, though: Only ask people we know. Do not ring the doorbell of neighbors we don't know or who look scary or mean. And especially do not ring the doorbell of our neighbor two doors down-- the scary bald guy who walks around without a shirt on and (for the sake of those with the gift of sight) SHOULD NOT. His wife seems nice and they have two cute little kids but he just grunts and curses a lot.
As pumpkin seed roasting goes, this afternoon's batch was an easy task. However, no matter who cleans the pumpkin guts off the seeds, I'M the one stuck doing the dishes.
I'd continue to wax on about the unfairness of it all, but I have fully accepted my lot in life. We will forever be the house where mud pies are made, tents are constructed, pumpkin guts are cleaned and snacks are eaten. In the long run, this is a good thing. Sure my house is always a wreck, the phone and door bell ring non stop, the front door slams open and closed a million times a day and our food bill is astronomical BUT (and this is a big BUT) when the kids are here I always know what is going on. I have a feeling this will come in handy when the girls are in the throes of their snotty, teen aged angst.
Snacks have a great way of facilitating conversation, which is great because I find myself wholly unqualified to handle most of the parenting situations that will be thrown my way in the next few years. Snacks I can handle. Meaningful conversation and wise counsel? Probably not. So for now, I hold out hope that there isn't much a chocolate chip cookie couldn't coax out of a closed lipped kid. Please tell me I'm right. Otherwise, I'm out of luck. For at this moment, the cookie is all I've got.
Well......cookies AND roasted pumpkin seeds.