Accidental Poisoning

It’s “Instructional Guides on Spousal Murder Week” here at The Great Unwashed. I kid, I would never poison Tex and had he realized what I was doing, my loving husband would have stopped me.

I’ve alluded to the fact that our family lives in the middle of nowhere, a place so remote that in a strong wind, we lose cell phone service. It’s an hour and a half to the nearest city, which in the grand scheme of cities, isn’t actually a grand city at all. We’re here for Tex’s job but sometimes Tex’s job decides that a cell phone signal, neighbours and street lights are just too great of a luxury, so we’re sent to places so small that they couldn’t even be called the middle of nowhere because nowhere is a place. The kinds of areas that you can’t say “they roll up the sidewalks at night” because there aren’t sidewalks to begin with.

The accidental poisoning happened just before Tex, Mini-Tex and I were about to head to one such place for a month. Seeing as there are no sidewalks, there are no 7/11s either, thus any snacks must be preplanned events; a challenge for someone like me, who feels it’s their duty to consume delicious goods in their entirety, as soon as they cross the threshold of my home.

As I stared down the barrel of thirty some odd days without cookies, chocolate bars or candy, otherwise known as three of my four major food groups,

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This is me at every meal. (Photo Credit : drafthouse.com)

I felt the need to indulge in a big way. This was how I found myself buying both a package of Glossettes and a family size candy bar at a local store at ten o’clock at night.

I decided to be healthy, so I purchased a family sized candy bar of dark chocolate. Seventy percent cacao dark chocolate is delicious and on the same shelf there was eighty percent cacao, ninety percent cacao and ninety-nine percent cacao dark chocolate. I reasoned that if seventy percent cacao dark chocolate is somewhat healthy, then ninety-nine percent cacao dark chocolate is probably like eating a salad

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One with avocados because it has the kind of fat that’s so good it fights both cancer AND terrorists. (Photo Credit: http://www.recipeshubs.com)

so if I chose that then I should buy a package of gummies as well to reward myself for being so nutritionally conscientious.

When Tex is feeling particularly tired or unwell, he’s fond of saying that he feels like “a bag of crushed @&&holes”. I’m being kind when I describe ninety-nine percent cacao dark chocolate as tasting like an unexpectedly salty bag of crushed @&&holes. However, in the face of thirty days without any chocolate of any kind, either delicious or disgusting, I ate the whole bar.

Chocolate in large quantities gives me a migraine, as does any quantity of red wine larger than a thimble. Supposedly the latter has something to do with tannins. I’m forced to conclude that the ninety-nine percent cocao bar of chocolate was also one hundred percent tannins because extremely dark chocolate left me wishing I was dead. The next morning I crawled back under the covers at the first glint of sunlight, and begged Tex to either shoot me or bring me an intravenous drip of migraine medication. My head throbbed in a way that left me fantasizing about guillotines. It goes without saying that my husband whom I normally encourage to sleep in on days when he doesn’t work, was responsible for Mini-Tex from six o’clock onwards.

It was only when Tex discovered the detritus from the night before splayed across the coffee table that he figured out that I had unintentionally poisoned myself. After copious amounts of Excedrin, I made a full recovery by the afternoon and having learned nothing from my experience, I was pressing for us to make a pit stop at a gas station on our way out of town to procure more chocolate for the road.

 

 

This post is dedicated to Natalie*; I miss you too, thank you for your words of encouragement about my writing.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people so organized that they wouldn’t need to hire a hitman to assassinate me for revealing their name to the interwebs; they’d stealthily carry out the act themselves and then cover it up flawlessly.

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The Chocolate Wars

Left to my own devices, I would be one of those people featured on TLC’s “My Six Hundred Pound Life”, I’d also have gestational diabetes and my tiny fetus would be a peep.

"Congratulations, it's a .....yellow chick?" (Photo Credit : www.dailymail.co.uk)

“Congratulations, it’s a …..yellow chick?” (Photo Credit : http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

This is how dangerous my sweet tooth is. It’s so deadly that it’s less a sweet tooth and more of a glucose-hungry, sweet fang.

To combat this need for all things made of high fructose corn syrup, I used to eschew all yummy items at the grocery store. If it tasted good, it couldn’t be found in my pantry because then I would eat it. All of it. I may be small but don’t doubt my ability to consume a 140 piece sampler palate of Russell Stover’s finest by myself in one sitting.

Who am I kidding? I wouldn't even need to sit down to finish this box. (Photo Credit : bostonmagazine,com)

Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t even need to sit down to finish this box. (Photo Credit : bostonmagazine,com)

This system worked well until I moved in with my husband.

Tex is blessed with the kind of metabolism that allows him to eat an entire pizza, a family size bag of Oreos and still have room for supper while still fitting into his Wrangler jeans. Thus my habit of not having junk at home quickly fell by the wayside. At the same time, Tex discovered that while I would happily hand over seven eighths of a pizza to him, if he turned his back for even one moment, all his cookies would have mysteriously disappeared.

So began the chocolate and cookie wars. The last battle ended with the key to the gun cabinet, where the cookies and all delicious goods have been stored for months, being locked in its own lock box after there was an Unwashed break-in to the gun cabinet during a frantic, late-night search for Mr. Christie’s best.

Not surprisingly, Tex was concerned about Halloween. Being an engineer, he likes to be prepared, so we had purchased the necessary candy a couple of days in advance.

Tex “I’m keeping the candy in the car, there isn’t enough room in the gun cabinet for all of it. Is it going to be safe here?”

Unwashed “Mmmphes?”

Tex “How did you manage to open one of the boxes and eat some already?”

The answer- I’m a chocolate ninja. I further proved this the next day when I got up early and decided to have Snickers for breakfast, so I grabbed my car keys and trundled outside. Tex figured out something was up because the door was unlocked when he woke up. This led to my car keys being confiscated until after Halloween.

The next morning I got up, again hankering for a sugary hit, but without car keys. Tex is both intelligent and devious; there were any number of places he could have put my car keys, however he is also an engineer which means there is exactly one place where he would have put his keys.

At ten to six on Saturday morning, I snuck silently into the bedroom and stole Tex’s keys out of his jean pockets. Then I quickly made my way out to the car and snaffled chocolate to my heart’s content. After sneaking his keys back into his jeans, I locked the door to cover my tracks, but was later busted when Tex spotted the wrappers in the trash.

Regardless, I believe I won this particular battle.

Thanks for Joining Our Company, Here’s A Dead Baby

When I was ten years old my father quit his job at a chocolate company and started working as a marketing manager for a business which sold tea. This meant two things; our house would no longer be filled to the brim with delightful cocoa related goods- instead my father insisted on stocking our cupboards with old person drinks because what child guzzles Earl Grey? The second thing was that my tenuous grasp on any semblance of popularity from living in a house filled with candy bars was gone.

Life went on and before I knew it, Christmas was upon us. Previous years my sister and I had been packed in our snow suits and shuttled to the chocolate company’s Christmas party. The fete not only featured Santa Claus but the giant allergen that was the company’s mascot as well. Diana and I would take turns standing next to the costumed people for pictures. This would be followed by a draw in which every child was given a gift then we would leave with a loot bag as large as ourselves after being stuffed with candy, brownies and cake. In essence the chocolate company’s Christmas party was every child’s vision of heaven. I used to picture going there after I died.

This year of course there would be no company party, not for the children in my family at least. My mother and father dressed to the nines early in December and left my sister and me at home with a babysitter. The next night my mother presented Diana and I with a box. “It’s from the tea company’s Christmas party, your Dad said we should bring it home to open as a family.”

It wasn’t a garbage bag full of sugar but it was something. Furthermore after initially questioning the wisdom of his career move I had been buoyed up by a phone call my mother had made to me while on a business trip with my father two months previously.

“Guess where I am girls?” she cried ecstatically into the phone. Sitting at home with our grandparents Diana and I had a vague notion that our Mom and Dad were very far away but not exactly sure where.

“Scotland?” we said in unison.

“No! I’m in the bathroom!”

“Um” was our confused and faintly grossed out response.

“The bathroom in the hotel room is as large as our bedroom at home and there is a phone by the tub!” My mother’s excitement was contagious and I began to forgive my father for leaving his lucrative candy coated job.

As Diana and I unwrapped the small package I could tell we were both thinking of the enormous hotel bathroom with a telephone in it. If this new company had provided something as fabulous as that for the employee’s families on business what sort of wonders had they packed into this little box?

It was a dead baby. Or to be more specific; half a dead baby. The lower half of the infant was a ceramic bell while the upper half was dressed in what looked like a nubby, hooded ceramic jacket. Without a doubt the gift was the creepiest, most homely Christmas ornament I had ever seen. The entire tchotchke was beige coloured except for the eyes which were painted blue, giving it the appearance that someone had dressed the baby crossed bell in a coat then thrown it in a snowbank to freeze to death. “Well, that’s um, nice.” said my mother looking at the ornament skeptically. The baby’s eyes stared back, sinister and unblinking.

Without looking at my sister, I knew what she was thinking “I would have preferred a bag of chocolate.”

Illicit Sugar and Job Confusion

Once upon a time, when I thought glitter glue was a necessary addition to all objects, my father worked for a company that made chocolate bars. Technically he was a marketing manager, but at seven years of age his job title was irrelevant.

Black Chocolate in Japan

The cupboard contents of my childhood home. (Photo credit: gullevek)

The more important part to my young mind and mouth was that this job resulted in every cupboard in our house being stocked with some type of delicious treat. Everyday my father was sent home with an edible good to sample and create a detailed description about. A man can only consume so much sugar before he begins to stash it with the coffee mugs, next to canned corn and behind the stand up mixer. As far as I was concerned this was the next best thing to being fathered by Santa Claus himself.

Life was not all rainbows and unicorns in my childhood home. Although we were surrounded by chocolate, my sister and I could not technically eat all of the chocolate. We had to ask permission. Nearly always the answer was “No”. However we discovered a loophole in the parental framework; what my parents did not know about, we could secretly consume.

Diana and I later parlayed this rule into the consumption of my parent’s old alcohol. As a teenager my sister spent an inordinate amount of time searching for dusty bottles of booze in our basement to decant into inconspicuous containers. Our crime was discovered eight years later when the house was being renovated and my mother was puzzled by a box of twenty cobweb covered bottles of hootch, each with only a couple of milliliters left. God bless my near teetotaling parents’ drinking habits.

I digress. In Canada the legal age that one may stay at home alone is ten. This was an excellent year for me as I discovered a fifteen pound box of abandoned chocolate chips next to a stack of two year old flyers advertising a new candy bar. I ate nearly a third of my bootleg bounty before sharing the news with my sister.

When I was twelve, my father changed jobs and began working for a tea company. Supposedly it was a better position but from my preadolescent point of view it was a step down. In my mind our family was probably one job change away from the poor house.

In high school, my father changed careers again, no longer was he concerned with the colour of tea or chocolate packaging however I never quite figured out what he did. To this day if asked I will answer “Um…..? He’s a banker? He works for a bank? He talks to a lot of people. Stocks?”

My dad has repeatedly attempted to explain his role but he always includes unnecessary technical details which confuse the issue. Once, Phillip my sister’s giant boy friend explained what he did, and everything made sense. Unfortunately then my father tried to elaborate on the topic and my understanding was lost.

Here’s what I know

  1. My father goes to work everyday
  2. He wears a suit
  3. He talks to a lot of people.

Based on this I like to assume that what he does is very important but it’s entirely possible that he could be a well dressed ice cream man.

My father's office. (Photo Credit: www.dreammakericecreamcarts.com)

My father’s office. (Photo Credit: http://www.dreammakericecreamcarts.com)