Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Post-Easter Egg Hunt

We learned a few things this year when we had our annual Easter egg hunt. We do a traditional event with a few real hardboiled eggs that the kids colored the day before, and then a lot of snap-together brightly colored hollow plastic eggs filled with jelly beans, M&Ms, and miniature candy bars. The eggs are hidden by the Easter Bunny, and the kids go haywire trying to procure as much sugar as possible in a limited timeframe.

The first thing we realized was our kids are surprisingly bad at finding small semi-hidden things. I always figured they would be really good at it, since they are closer to the ground. Not so. Most of the time, we had to stand over the egg, pointing to it, because verbal directions were just not cutting it. “It’s the only bright pink thing in that otherwise completely green and brown bush! Come on, dude! How hard is that? I can see it from all the way across the lawn!”

Maybe they’re all colorblind? That would explain a lot of the shirt/shorts/socks combinations that Son Number Two comes up with. My wife thinks their lack of ability to find things stems from the fact that they share my DNA. Many times she has accused me of going completely blind as soon as I open the door to the refrigerator or the pantry.

“Honey, where’s the hot sauce?”
“In the door, right in front of your face.”
“No, I already looked there. It’s not in here.”
(Sound of wife coming to the refrigerator, sighing heavily)
“Here it is.” (Handing me the hot sauce 0.13 seconds after arriving at the open refrigerator)

I have been certified completely un-blind by the DMV, so it is obvious to me that she has these things ingeniously hidden somewhere and then pulls a David Copperfield when she steps in front of me to retrieve the obviously hidden item, magically making it seem as if I am a doofus and it was right in front of my nose the whole time. I have no idea why she does that, but she’s good at it. She could have her own gig in Vegas.

Anyway, the second lesson we learned this Easter is to count the eggs before you hide them. If we had done that, we would at least have some idea of how many are still missing, because we have no idea where they were all hidden. That brings us to the third lesson we learned: Be careful who you have doing the egg hiding.

My wife and mother-in-law had spent the night before Easter filling the plastic eggs with candy, and as previously stated, neglecting to keep a count. On Easter morning, we all woke up, had breakfast, and headed for church. Not really one for a lot of churchin’, my father-in-law volunteered to stay behind and play the part of the Easter bunny. It had been on-again off-again rain in the early morning, and it was not clear which direction the weather was headed, so to be safe he opted to hide half of the eggs inside the house, and half of them outside. He did a very thorough job. The only problem was that apparently, as soon as an egg was hidden, its location was immediately erased from his memory.

Well, we got home from church and the kids immediately went at it, gathering as many eggs as they could while running at top speed. It was like watching a polo match without the horses or giant croquet mallets. Little colorful eggs getting kicked everywhere by children too excited to slow down long enough to actually pick them up on the first try.

When we had seemingly run out of places to look, the kids finally slowed down enough that we thought we could get a rough count of the findings.

“How many have we found?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t trust the boy’s math.”
“How many did we make?”
“I don’t know. A lot.”
“Dad, how many did you hide?”
“I have no idea.”
“Do you think we got them all?”
“I have no idea.”
“Does this look like how many we made?”
“I can’t tell. They’re all open now so it looks like twice as many.”

After some conferencing by my wife and her mom, and some rough guesses as to how many the kids had found, and some unanswered questions to the hider remaining unanswered, we decided we had probably not found all of them. The kids were already knee-deep in candy, so they didn’t really care, and we were getting hungry, so the Easter egg hunt unofficially ended with some debate about whether or not it was really finished.

I am here today to tell you that it was not.

We had rounded up and bagged all of the kid’s candy after they had devoured as much as they could get away with, and put it in the pantry for safekeeping and future orderly distribution. Later that day, however, the kids were a little too quiet upstairs and I went to investigate. I found them sitting silently around a pile of plastic egg shells and empty candy wrappers, chocolate smeared on their faces, dazed looks in their eyes, just one or two milligrams of sucrose away from three simultaneous diabetic comas. They had stumbled upon a previously unexplored section of the game room, and came up with two or three eggs each. So much for dinner.

The next morning as I was heading out the door to go to work, I found about six neighborhood kids in my front yard shrubbery. Most of them scattered like roaches when the light comes on, but the few brave souls who didn’t make a break for it informed me that a kid on his way to school had noticed a plastic Easter egg under one of our whatchamacallit bushes, and upon further investigation, had apparently hit the mother lode. It wasn’t too long before we had nine or ten kids searching our front yard and by all accounts, doing quite well for themselves. My apologies to their teachers that day!

After work that evening, I made a concerted sweep of both the front and back yards and came up with another basket full of eggs that had gone undiscovered the previous morning. Much to the boy’s dismay, those went into the trash under the guise of candy going bad if it stays outside too long, what with all the ants and ticks and fleas and whatnot. Everything except any mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, of course. Those don’t go bad, and need to go into Daddy’s tummy.

Well, I thought that was that. I had surely found them all.

I am here today to tell you that I had not.

The next evening I mowed the grass. The front lawn was uneventful, but the back lawn was downright exciting. In a surprising and painful kind of way.

About midway through the back lawn I ran over what I can only guess were two or three candy-filled plastic Easter eggs that had somehow remained hidden through all the various searches. If you have never hit a plastic Easter egg with a lawn mower blade spinning at 3600 RPM, I can assure you it is eventful.

Any chocolate that was in the eggs was instantly vaporized into a cloud of shiny gold and silver tinfoil dust. The plastic egg shells splintered into roughly 8000 individual shards of pastel-colored shrapnel and assaulted my shins and ankles with a fury that any military superpower would envy. Luckily, this all happened very quickly, so the other projectiles were away from the energy source and heading for their targets before the egg shell shrapnel had dropped me fully to the ground. It was the jelly beans that were the real weapon. Thankfully, I only took a direct hit from one of them, and it was on the side of my shoe where it was only able to cause major damage to one of the bones in my foot. The rest of the jelly beans dispersed from the bottom of the mower at about 400 MPH in all directions. Thankfully, our wooden picnic table took the majority of the beans heading toward the house, saving our sliding glass door from certain death. Many of the others were slowed slightly below lethal velocity by ricocheting off of nearby toys, trees, and bushes, but one or two of them got away clean and had a straight shot at the fence.

There are at least two holes in the fence that I’m pretty sure were not there prior to the jelly bean Claymore mine touching off under my mower. I’m pretty sure at least one of the high-velocity treats hit the neighbor’s dog… or one of their kids. I heard a high-pitched yelp, anyway. I would have investigated further, but I was down and crawling for cover.

The moral of the story is simple: If you’re going to hide eggs, people, keep an accurate count! And a map! And shinguards.

Besides my injuries, and possible unknown injuries to our neighbor’s pet or offspring, I have one more real concern. We know for a fact that there were eighteen hardboiled eggs that the kids colored, and we have only accounted for thirteen of them.

We are just praying they are all outside. We’ll find out soon enough.

See you soon,

Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen

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  1. That's hysterical! LOL as I am sitting in the hair salon as I can't contain my hysterics! Could be worse- one year we couldn't find the "big money" egg and I had to put out another one finally! Big money eggs come much later when your kids are too old to want to hunt so you basically bribe them by having a big money egg in the hunt. Then they run! ;) gail

  2. excellent story! thanks so much for sharing it!!