Reload the cannon, Smee!

Ready for the pirate cakewalk

Here’s what I wanted to do at 8:30 tonight: Sleep.  Soundly.  Here’s what I did instead:  had moderate success on the third batch of rice crispy treats that we used to make the above pseudocake for tomorrow night’s cakewalk.  
Here’s how that happened:  Wednesday I was napping and Sophie appeared at my bedside.  Mom.  I hafta make a cake tomorrow after school.  

That’s fine.  You don’t have to ask me to make a cake after school.  I’m pro cake-baking in the afternoons. 

It’s for the Fantasy Fair at school.  For the cakewalk.

Okay.  Hey!  I have an idea — what about a vanilla cake with white frosting and then you take some freezer paper and cut a stencil of a flower in it and then after you frost it you take edible flowers and chop them up and sprinkle them into the shape of a flower on top?

No.  (Actually, she cut me off after “I have an idea –“)  It has to be pirate-themed.  You know, like the Fantasy Fair is?  So. . . I’m thinking, like, a cake in the shape of a pirate’s face. . . 
I thought for just a moment about how very badly that could go.  Last year she placed either second or third with her incredible tropical themed cake with fish and palm trees, and this year she would like to do better than that.  Plus?  Girl watches Cake Boss in her spare time.  I ran all the stereotypical pirate things through my head as cakes: Peg leg?  No.  Hook hand with sleeve?  No.  Treasure chest?  No.  Rum?  Rum cake?  Sadly, no.  Cannonball?  Why not?  So out loud, I said to Sophie, How about a cannonball cake?  Or a bunch of little cannonball cupcakes?  

OMG, MOM!  Not cupcakes, though.  One BIG cake.  Let’s make it out of rice crispy treats!

BRILLIANT.  YES.  LET’S.  We can make a licorice fuse, and I’ll get red and orange fruit roll ups for the fire.
Her eyes glazed over as she thought about the possibilities.  By the time we started putting things together, we’d decided to do a chocolate glaze over the rice crispies, and our nanny had upsold me from using a bowl as a mold to make a half-cannonball with a flat bottom, to filling the bowl twice, smashing the half circles together and making it a full-on sphere.
Backing up a little:  Before we put things together, I walked to the store for Rice Crispies and chocolate chips and marshmallows.  I found some readymade chocolate glaze, which I knew was a poor choice, but just walking to the store was about all the exertion I was up for, and I didn’t want to see if Soph was patient enough to melt chocolate in a double boiler. Then I scouted around for red and orange fruit roll ups.  I had a box of strawberry ones in my basket when I saw these babies.  Cherry / orange WILDFIRE fruit rollups!  Hopefully no one heard my OH, HELL YEAH!
Okay.  So the first batch Sophie made, mostly.  She at least helped when I didn’t think she’d end up with melted marshmallow on her skin.  And we got the cannonball shaped and I made the fuse (awesome!) and I put it all together.  The fuse kept drooping over, but that was okay. I thought about having it come out from the side, but figured the top would make most sense, even though it made it look like a bomb rather than a cannonball.  
Sophie helped me microwave the bottles of chocolate glaze and we poured it on and things were looking sort of okay.  At least the chocolate stuff was dark.  I noticed as I was holding the licorice fuse up out of the path of the chocolate that the hole I’d made to hold it was a little bigger, so I poured chocolate in, hoping to shore things up.  Then we stood back to admire our work, and the entire thing split in seventeen different ways and we laughed, sprinkled some mini marshmallows on it and the kids got forks while I rescued the lit fuse.  I mean, LOOK AT THIS:
It’s indistinguishable from an actual lit cannonball fuse, I know!
Lesson learned.  You cannot rush the RKTs.  Even if you’re very tired and want to go to bed.  Before starting the second batch, I sent Nate to the store for chocolate chips because I just couldn’t live with the plastic bottled topping.  Way too gross, and also $4 down the drain.  While he was gone, I googled “molded rice crispy treats how to” or something and got the stellar advice from someplace that if you want your RKT creation to be smooth, you should pulse the Rice Crispies in the Cuisinart for a sec first.  So, I did that and I knew as I added the melted marshmallow and butter that it was another poor decision on my part as there was clearly only enough to make an 8 ball, not a cannonball.  Sophie was smart enough to go out and play basketball, at least.  I didn’t even finish mixing before dumping batch number two into the garbage and handing Nate a ten to go get me more cereal.  
The third time was sort of charming, really.  Nathan was interested by this point, and I showed him the bowl and how I was putting the two parts together to make a circle.  This time, I grabbed a paper straw to hold the place of the fuse so that we could put the whole thing in the fridge to set and make the opening for the fuse and not crack the entire cannonball into bits.  When it was ready I added some shortening to the chocolate chips (I usually use veggie oil, but I wanted to be sure that it would set) and got everything melted.  We coated the cannonball in chocolate, awkwardly and lumpily.  I halfassed smoothed things out with the back of a spoon, but between the texture of the cannonball (lumpy) and my mood (excited, but not enough to give it 100%), things came out only okay.  I should have sent Nate back for black food coloring, but I’m not sure the grocery store had any.  I know that they have black frosting pens, but I didn’t feel like experimenting on dyeing the chocolate.  
As I went to put the fuse in, I pulled out the straw, and Nate said, Why don’t you just put the licorice OVER the straw, Mom?  And I was all OH MY GOD, thank you for being such a genius!  And we finished up and looked at it and Nate said it looked like a caramel apple, and Alex said it looked like a bomb.  So, I grabbed a plastic plate and a sharpie, looked up pirate quotes and pirate fonts and came up with the Captain Hook quote, because it is VERY important to me that people know this is a cannonball.  A crazy-expensive, off-color, likely inedible, but lovingly made cannonball that better freaking take second place or better tomorrow night.  If anyone asks, Sophie made it.  It was more than mostly her idea, and she did make the one we accidentally set off.  Next time, I’ll stick the fuse on the side, use dark chocolate (or get black candy melts?) and do a better job with the
marker.  And, in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, bleach spray will get a shitty looking skull and sword drawn in sharpie marker off your plastic plate.  I hope I rinsed that well enough!
Quick update on my health, thanks so much for asking after me.
Surgery went really, really well.  I was in my room with Scuba and awake a little after noon.  I felt fine all that day, even though I couldn’t have anything more than ice chips and a few sips of water.  The next day was hellacious.  Awful.  Painful.  Still no food.  And then at 3 in the morning on the next day, I finally farted (a very ladylike tiny little fart) and things started looking up.  You laugh, but I was getting IV dilaudid for gas pain.  I’m trying to put it behind me.  It was terrible, and hopefully the last time that a bunch of grownups will cheer for me because I tooted.   
Anyway, my mom came up on Saturday to stay with me, and Scuba brought the kids for a visit Saturday afternoon.  I got tons of flowers and Mother’s Day cards and handmade vases from the girls.  The kids were so good and so sweet.  They left at suppertime and Scuba took them for burgers and fries and to the IMAX 3D version of The Avengers.  I’m still jealous.  Scuba went home, planning to return Sunday before his week long trip to Dallas for work, and my mom stayed with me Saturday night.  Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, when the doc came to check on me, she asked if I’d like to go home, so we got the hell out of there, but not before Scuba’s parents surprised us with a visit (and presents!).  They literally got there just as we were going, and got stuck helping us carry all my stuff downstairs.  Luckily, the hospital is in San Francisco and it was one of the most gorgeous days there will be up there this whole year, so they were able to go enjoy it.    
I’m sore and I get tired easily and I’m not eating anything very interesting, but I already at one week post op feel a million times better than I did before this surgery.  In fact, the change is so dramatic that I find I’m tearing up several times a day in this bewildered kind of gratitude.  Surgery was so scary and horrible sounding to me for so many years.  And, honestly, it was scary and sometimes horrible, but it worked and I’m getting my life back and I am so grateful.  Scuba and I are planning a little southern California road trip for later this fall when I’m more steady on my feet.  Used to be the idea of a roadtrip brought more stress than anything else, but now I’ve got the luxury of worrying about what to pack.  I hope my surgeon is prepared for my follow up visit next week.  I haven’t seen him since the surgery (he left the day after) and I’m going to have to do my best to not do the whole Tom Cruise on Oprah thing.  Really, I Feel! That! Great!     

2 thoughts on “Reload the cannon, Smee!

  1. karen

    Sounds like things are looking up. Was praying and sending positive vibes your way, you are are one strong women. Glad things are working out. Get plenty of rest though.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *