Valentine’s Day Wet Blanket

GG valentines
What says “love” better than old single ladies?

Yes, today is Valentine’s Day, as you may have noticed from the obnoxious month-long “Every Kiss Begins with Kay” commercials. (Know what else begins with K? Kick to the kidneys. Knock out to the kisser. Knee to the gonads. So congratulations, ad man, you get paid this month, courtesy of Sesame Street brought to you by the letter K. Plus, I’m sorry but that bead bracelet in the photo booth commercial is just ugly.)

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And, while I’m on the subject, if my lover-for-life XFE sent me an Edible Arrangement for a Valentine’s Day gift, I would assume he’s telling me I’m too fat for chocolate and you really do not want to go to that dark place. Also: a teddy bear? What the stuffing? What grown woman wants a teddy bear? Where do these gift ideas come from??

As you can tell, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday heavily celebrated around thePoeLog household. (I’m much more of a birthdays girl)

You know where else it’s not heavily celebrated this year? Syria. Check out this cheerful quote:

“My business is almost dead. Most of my old clients, who once came to buy bouquets for thousands of Syrian pounds, have fled the country because they fear kidnapping,” the shop owner told AFP on condition of anonymity.

And don’t even get me started on this incredibly sad story.

If you’re married and you’re still looking for a gift, this lawyer in Michigan is giving away free divorces.

Walter H. Bentley III says he got the idea after a student at a night-school class he teaches invited him to a party to celebrate her divorce. He told ABC News that this led to a revelation: “Why not do something special for Valentine’s Day? You can’t find a new love before you close the chapter on the old.”

Indeed. And one last little cheerful tidbit. This infographic on the high cost of Valentine’s Day. On average, each American spends $120 on Valentine’s Day gifts! That’s a lot of Edible Arrangements, y’all.

Now, aren’t you glad you stopped by today? And be sure to check back for my rant on President’s Day (just kidding. I LOVE President’s Day.)

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Porktober

October is a very special month around thePoeLog household. It’s the birthday month of XFE, aka my boyfriend-for-life. It’s also the month we met. Yep, seven glorious years ago this month he wore me down and convinced me to go out with him. A couple of weeks later, on Halloween, he tricked me into our first smooch.

October is also when we usually celebrate Fall Fun Day. This year, Fall Fun Day has been postponed till November and extended into a weeklong event to be celebrated in the Basque region. Speaking of travel, October is usually a pretty big month for that. In October 2009, we did an amazing driving tour of Ireland and XFE bought me my first pair of Louboutins.

Kissing the Blarney
Pretending to kiss the Blarney Stone so I could get the hell off that freezing rampart. No injuries sustained, surprisingly.

In October 2010, we went to New Orleans with our friends Matt and Melissa, and Troy and Eddie. I slipped in the shower at the W hotel and had to get seven stitches in my forehead.

Not at all glamorous shot in an airport bathroom stall. Seemed fitting at the time. The grumpy expression is quite real.

Last year was a big improvement over the previous year. In 2011, we went to Paris and XFE bought me my second pair of Louboutins.

Paris gift

By my count, that means that this year, I might be do for stitches again.

And, if I do require stitches, it will most likely be related to the main reason why October is so special to us: Porktober. Porktober is a fairly new addition to our repertoire of made-up celebrations and traditions.

Porktober logo. Notice the tiny TM for trademark pending.

Porktober started last year, and arose because XFE read about pig roasting in Men’s Health or some other nonsensical place. I was, quite naturally, reluctant about the whole thing. But, using the whole birthday argument, XFE swayed me into agreeing to allow him to roast a small (ish. 56 pounds or so) pig on our back patio.

It was a mixed success. First off, the pig had to sleep overnight on ice and there was only one tub in the house – mine. We started the process ridiculously early in the morning – not a way to get my buy-in on a project.

Porktober pig
2011 pig. We’ll do about the same size this year, I suppose.

The weather was a bit uncooperative and as a result, the coals died down a number of times, which meant it took longer to cook the pig than we had planned. A mistake in the early mounting of the pig on the skewers meant it was not securely fastened and slid around during the whole turning and cooking process, a situation that compounded as the pig cooked and shrunk down.

We had made a whole host of other food products, including two briskets, which was a good thing since the pig was taking so long, but also turned out to be a bad thing since people were already pretty stuffed (and tipsy from hours of mint juleps) by the time the pig came off the fire. The result was a TON of leftover pig. More than the two of us could eat, that’s for sure.

Porktober pig
Tasty pig.

Then there was the subsequent cleanup the day after, which was completed by me and XFE on a very cold and drizzly wet Sunday, and required removing and storing the pop-up canopy, bleaching the fire marks off the patio, cleaning the spit and loading and returning it to the rental place, along with all the other dishes and recycling and trash gathering and floor mopping. And, of course, scrubbing the bath tub multiple times. Not a fun way to spend a Sunday after a party.

So while everyone had a good time at the party (how could you not when the juleps were flowing?), in my opinion, it had been a bit of a logistical mess. To me, the whole exercise had seemed like an awful lot of trouble for very little return. Sure, the wow factor of having a pig roasting on your patio is pretty fun, but overall, it just didn’t seem worth it to me.

So I was very surprised, gob-smacked even, when immediately after moving into our beautiful, completely renovated, and thus-far, pristine house, that XFE started mumbling about another Porktober. An even bigger and more grandiose affair. With a logo. And Porktober-branded paraphernalia. And, a trademark on the term, Porktober.

Porktober koozies
The logo, designed by my friend Brian, who only charged us a “friend” fee on his services. Fun fact: Brian is vegetarian, so he will not be partaking in the eating portion of Porktober. Also: he has two small daughters who will probably be traumatized by the sight of the piggie-on-a-spit.

XFE’s reasoning was that there had been lessons learned during the previous year’s event, and we could not let those lessons go to waste. We would build a better Porktober, complete with more coals (we’ve already procured seven bags of coals) and a sturdier (aka: proper) mounting process for the pig. The cooking will start later and the coals will be hotter so the pig is done sooner. There will be no brisket, only other snackie-ish items (don’t worry, I’ve preserved the pigs in a blanket).

One thing that has not changed – Monsieur Piggie will again have to sleep overnight in the only bathtub in the house – mine. So this Friday, I open my bathroom door again to a pink snout peeking out of my shower curtain. We’ll see if this year’s event sways me over permanently to the Porktober bandwagon. At least I know I’m getting a cute t-shirt out of it, and, hopefully, no stitches. I’ll be staying away from the mint juleps, just in case.

Porktober logo
Oh, did you want to see that logo again against a white backdrop? Because, we have that as well.