Sunday, June 12, 2011

Make your own gum kit

I've been fighting a cold for the last few days. The insides of my lungs feel like they are covered in sticky goo, and coughing it all out is slow going. So, when Chad got up early this morning to go out on a mountain bike ride, Nimue and I decided to slug about the house instead of going for a ride as originally planned. She lazily watched way too many cartoons, while I enjoyed the latte Chad made me before he left (thank you!) while reading in bed.

Eventually, though, I had to get up. I figured that *something* useful should be wrung out of the day, and headed out into the yard to find some gentle chore to putter away at. Maybe just some light weeding...

which led to the realization that the bushes needed to be trimmed,

which led to the thought that maybe the shredded cedar mulch sitting in the side yard should be put down on the spot that had just been weeded and cleaned up,

which led to the thought that perhaps the other section of the yard needed the same treatment...

You see where this is going. Eventually I managed to stop and emerged back into the house, battered in cedar tufts adhered to me with multiple varieties of sticky sap.

Thankfully, Nimue's morning pancake project hadn't involved any major kitchen mayhem. However, at this point, she had gleefully dug a project out of the pantry: The "Make Your Own Gum Kit".

If one of your kids ever receives this item of wonder, you might want to consider conveniently "losing" it. It looks like an innocuous little box with a few bags of stuff that need to be microwaved and mixed up, and voila -- gum appears.

Right. I was suspicious, and decided to have a snack before taking a shower so I could vaguely supervise the action. Good thing, too.

Step one: put the little bag of corn syrup in a cup of hot water so it'll be runnier and easier to get out of the bag. So far, so good.

Step two: Heat up the chicle pellets in a little plastic tray in the microwave. Nimue grabbed a spoon to stir it. Said spoon got covered in sticky goo, so naturally, she grabbed another spoon to scrape it off. Now there were two spoons covered in incredibly sticky, non-water-soluble stuff. Great. I stopped the process before any more spoons were involved, and got most of it back in the tray, and went out to the garage to find the Goo-Gone.

Step three: Mix the corn syrup into the chicle and knead the whole mess in powdered sugar. The usual powdered sugar mushroom cloud ensued; on the bright side, Nim knows how to clean this one up. I continued to work on the Goo-Gone-soaked spoons. Much kneading ensued.

Step four: Knead in the powdered flavor. Seems simple, right?
Not if you've already kneaded in so much powdered sugar that the mass is stiff and crumbly. Nim took a little break while I finished cleaning off the spoons, and then I effected a recovery of the crumbly gum by getting my hands wet and kneading in a little water. Sounds unwise, I know, but it worked -- aside from leaving a monolayer of sticky gum over every surface of my hands.

Step five: roll the mass out thin and cut into sticks. No way was this stuff touching my rolling pin or knives. We ripped off hunks and rolled them into gumballs instead.

The end product was a gum-like substance, which Nimue reports has good flavor...for about 30 seconds. "Kind of messy, but ok," she reports. Also the grumbling about kid kits that can't be completely done by the kids, on both of our parts. All kid projects should be water soluble, too.

So let's recap: sticky mucus in lungs, sticky sap covered in bark dust all over body, gum-covered hands. A humdinger of a Sunday morning, for sure. Nimue did learn the trick of cleaning gummy hands by rubbing them with olive oil before washing them. As I tried to scrub off the sap in the shower, it occurred to me that I should have brought the oil in there with me too. Clearly, I need a strigil. Or fewer sticky things in my life.

No comments: