My Aching Ass: Découpage, bento boxes and Halloween in September

Ready to tie yourself to Martha’s whipping post?

Apparently fall is the time our pal Martha, fresh from a few restful weeks of torturing the locals for pleasure in Maine, really starts feeling ambitious and decides to crank up the domestic wheel of pain. Not content with flogging Louis Quatorze lawn parties and Gatsby-themed luncheons as the best way to throw a picnic, the evil one has recently shifted the MSL lifestyle dream-machine into overdrive. Her timing is, as ever, impeccable. Once fall is upon us, any reasonable adult can finally breathe free with the kids back at school, the house guests out of her hair and the in-laws safely stashed back in their golf community, at least until the Thanksgiving horror/torture begins. Unless, of course, you live in Martha world.

I don’t, but I like to peek through the keyhole from time to time, and in the past week or so I’ve had ample opportunity after receiving about a hundred emails from the Domestic Death Star nagging inviting me to do the following:

This is SO my life.

This is SO my life.

Start your Halloween preparations early, like now.
Madame Stewart suggests using September to get a jump on updating last year’s party-planning spreadsheet, start crafting spiders from pipe cleaners and hot glue and prepare the fifty-piece pumpkin carving and microsurgery tool set for this, the most festive holiday of the year.

And of course it’s never too early to begin planning your costume, because there is nothing pathetic about a sixty-year old woman in a French maid’s costume or a fright wig.

Now I don’t know about you, but I hate Halloween, and frankly I’d rather set myself on fire than spend a full month gearing up for it, unless by that you mean buying and consuming six dozen bags of “fun size” Snickers bars, Twizzlers and mini Dove Bars, but somehow I don’t think that’s what she has in mind.

Create savory lunch box meals your kids “will want to eat.” Now, of course these days the little slattern is away at college and in charge of her own meals, but I can say with certainty that never, in eighteen years of lunchbox slavery, did I encounter a situation in which a “bento box” featuring cold Asian noodle salad, or an avocado-cream cheese-cucumber-sprout sandwich on grainy bread, or cute little lettuce leaf cups filled with apple and chicken salad would have been greeted with anything but misery followed by pitiful efforts to trade.

0306_kids_applechickensalad_xlLet me tell you, nobody in the lunchroom is going to give up half a PB&J for anything that involves even the suggestion of a lettuce leaf. They might, however, tease your child unmercifully for the rest of her academic life on the basis of such a meal, so there’s that added incentive to provide it — as if you needed another reason to spend three hours every night preparing the next day’s lunch so that it could be thrown in the trash and your child could arrive home exhausted, bullied, and in the middle of a full-on low-blood-sugar meltdown. Parenting, the Martha way.

Learn the venerable art of découpage with Martha’s five part video tutorial after which you can run out and buy all fifty items in her new découpage product line. Yup, DECOUPAGE. Look!

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 8.56.38 PM

Those of you who have succeeded in repressing memories of sleep-away camp — where arts & crafts classes were the only alternative to swimming in a freezing lake, hiking fifty miles carrying a two-hundred pound pack or spending a sleepless night on the ground quivering in a stinky sleeping bag all the while freaking out about bugs, bats and snakes — will no doubt be pleased to revisit this wonderful crafting activity via Martha’s instructional videos.

In FIVE installments!

I mean really, what is there to say beyond, cut some pictures out, glue them on something then shellac the hell out of the whole mess? I’ll tell you what else, NOTHING, except maybe, “Here’s how to spend a hundred bucks and three days making a shitty old picture frame/lamp/piece of furniture look like a craft project you did at Camp Wankaweewee in 1979.”

Okay, that’s enough. I’m going out to get a pizza and a six-pack for lunch, then I’m going to toilet paper and egg that witch’s house but good. Happy freakin’ fall, Martha.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on September 23, 2013, in Commentary, Life and times and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I can’t tell you how many “bento box lunch ideas” I’ve perused before realizing that not a single g.d. one of them would please anyone in our household but me. This morning I put tuna fish on a mini hamburger bun and felt like a genius. That’s as good as it gets. They may get the same thing for dinner.

  2. I wouldn’t have taken you for a Halloween hater, Wendie. Though I have to say I can’t see you in a big orange pumpkin costume, green leotards and a pumpkin stem hat doling out lettuce cups for the kiddies. But what do I know? What you and Mr. Slattern do in the privacy of your own home is your own business.

  3. Wendie, meet me outside the witches house. I know how to get past security, I know a three headed dog is a bit much, but a Quaalude laced leg of lamb should do the job. I’ll bring a thirty pack of Bud and you supply the tp. Invite some friends, they can bring eggs.

  4. You have me shivers with your camp flashback. Yuck.
    How does a lunch like that survive a jaunt to school and a cramming into a cramped stuffy locker anyway? If really like to know that trick. Peanut butter in between two slices of wheat bread wins in my house every time. Durable, manageable and above all , for this inept mom, doable.
    Pizza and a six pack…. You’ve made me hungry now. But you had me at bite sized snickers already.

    • Apparently that kind of lunch comes with concierge service to heat, serve and clean up. For the adult, nothing says happy midday like a couple of greasy pepperoni slices and a Bud suitcase to wash it all down. If you bring the eggs, I’ll get the Charmin.

  5. You have “eloquently” expressed my horror/disgust over everything Martha. I think it was a mistake putting her in jail. All it did was give her a few months with nothing to do but cook up new forms of domestic torture. 🙂

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