Tuesday, October 30, 2012
We've been here, in the Picket Fence Post domicile in the suburbs of Boston, with our three middle schoolers who've been busy doing their adolescent things (including busting a cell phone, overdoing it with the noxious and likely toxic Axe body spray and testing their, uh, independence). We've been here with our freshly emboldened canine thief who aggressively dives at any unattended food with surprising swiftness given his stout build (like that slice of apple pie Max stole from my plate the other night the second I got up from the sofa). We've gone to soccer games, hockey games, band rehearsals, basketball tryouts, and I broke my left ring-finger (I think it was broken but I didn't go to the doctor to confirm because I'm an idiot) while "helping" the kids prep for said basketball tryouts.
We shelled out a healthy fistful of greenbacks for a hideously stupid-looking orange bodysuit (see above), also known as our 11-year-old's Halloween costume. We mourned the horrific conclusion of a Red Sox season which, sadly, resembled the kinds of seasons I used to experience when I was but a young Sox fan in my Sox jacket decorated with my Dwight Evans button, never imagining I'd have to wait until I was the mother of three to see a Boston World Series victory.
Together, the five of us in the Picket Fence Post family have shared laughs during the new episodes of Modern Family (loved the bit about Luke besting Phil at magic) and The Middle. The Eldest Boy and I are still catching up on the new season of The Mentalist, a show we like to watch together.
But I haven't been doing any writing. For weeks. And it's been driving me crazy. It's like trying to hold your breath for too long. It's unnatural and not at all good for you, at least it's not good for me.
Likewise, I haven't done a few other things that I normally do at this time of the year, like take the family apple picking, visit a pumpkin patch where we pay too much for giant gourds, carve said gourds and leave them to rot in a moldly heap on our front doorstep until Thanksgiving, or go to the Big E, the New England fair held in western Massachusetts and indulge in overly caloric, fried grub that would make Michael Bloomberg woozy.
Why? Why have I been off of my writing game and missed my celebrate-my-favorite-season-of-autumn-activities? I've become a full-time assistant professor teaching writing and journalism at a local institution of higher learning. In short order, I needed to craft not just a syllabus for the writing course, but create a new course about online and social media. In addition to teaching/grading and researching/designing a class, I've been helping to advise the staff of the student newspaper two nights a week.
The other big thing that has rendered me exhausted to the point where I don't think mere flavored coffee alone is potent enough to keep me awake over the long-term (I may have to look into those Turbo shot thingies at Dunkin' Donuts) is a non-fiction book project I've been researching for months. I'm in the process of conducting dozens of interviews as well as observing an educational process (can't give you the details now) three mornings a week. We're talking EARLY in the morning. Six o'clock hour early. The if-I-don't-get-caffeine-into-my-system-NOW-somebody's-gonna-get-hurt early.
However, despite sleep deprivation, autumnal celebration deprivation and coping with pediatric complaints about my new gig (one of the kids accused me of ruining this individual's life by taking a full-time job because, you know, I have nothing better to do than to concoct ways in which I can wreck his life, right?), I'm hopeful that things are becoming somewhat manageable right now, or maybe it's just the sleep deprivation talking.
Image credit: SuperFanSuits.com and Jordin Althaus/ABC.
Monday, November 7, 2011
- The Eldest Boy dressed as what he called “a black market manager” (in other words, a scalper). Here’s what he did: He used clear duct tape to attach ticket stubs, fake credit cards, airline tickets, along with packets of candy and gum on the inside of his bright orange, zip-up hoodie. He donned sunglasses and “bling” and even allowed me to spike his hair with gel. When people asked what he was, he opened up his sweatshirt like he was a flasher only he was giving you a glimpse of his “ill-gotten” goods that he was peddling. (This was all his idea, I swear.) When The Spouse and I suggested he add a watch to his sweatshirt’s inventory, he looked at us quizzically. “Why would I do that?” he asked.
- The Eldest Boy went trick-or-tricking with a group of kids including a boy who dressed up as Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett: He wore a Beckett jersey and carried and empty beer bottle and a bucket of fried chicken, or so The Eldest Boy told me.
- The Youngest Boy initially wanted to dress up as Plaxico Burress (with hockey padding made to look like football padding, a football jersey and a plastic western-themed pistol strapped to his waist) but I put the kibosh on that whole shooting-himself-in-the-back-of-the-leg-shtick pretty quickly. Instead, he would up going as Arizona NFL player Larry Fitzgerald (only because he borrowed a Fitzgerald jersey from The Eldest Boy) with two thick, black lines under his eyes, also known as eye black.
- The behavior of the trick-or-treaters was better than it was last year. Only one kid complained about the candy I gave him, putting the two packets of Sour Patch Kids I’d given him back into my bowl and instead extracting two bags of Swedish Fish which were more to his liking. Even the sullen teenagers who came to the door were, for the most part, in some sort of costume, as opposed to last year when I sometimes felt as though I was being extorted by burly looking teen boys who just showed up with grungy pillowcases demanding candy.
- Max the dog was a bit more anxious to greet everyone than he has been the past two years. I looked thoroughly awkward when answering the door for those first few trick-or-treaters with one giant bowl of candy in one arm as I tried to keep the door from slamming shut with the other arm while sticking one leg out to prevent Max from cluelessly escaping into the chilly night. I had to put him in his crate until the trick-or-treating was over.
- Speaking of over, the last trick-or-treaters left here at 9:52 p.m. Isn’t that too late to be out? I thought it was. After I gave the late-comers their candy, I was a party pooper and shut off the lights. I was trying to watch the first Harry Potter movie with The Girl, who’d been out trick-or-treating with her friends, and didn’t want to be disturbed anymore, yo. Plus, after four ginormous bags, we were pretty much out of candy anyway.
Now I just have to steel my willpower and pretend that the candy is not in the house, no matter how much it beckons me from the other room.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Teenagers: What's up with all the teens showing up at my door with no costumes and clutching pillow cases? Seriously guys, is it too much trouble to make a tiny bit of effort if I'm going to be giving you free candy?
Clever gals: Speaking of teenagers, a trio of teen gals wheeled up my driveway on their scooters, which were wrapped with colorful feather boas and lights. They were all dressed up in sparkly skirts, as music emanated from one of their bags. Now those were clever outfits warranting extra candy.
Ringing the bell: I live in a densely developed neighborhood and lots of people drive their kids here to trick-or-treat which means I'm constantly answering the door (and constantly fearful I'll run out of candy) between roughly 5:45-9 p.m. Because the doorbell rings so often, I sit in a chair about three feet from the front door. Last night, in between giving out the candy, I watched the New England Patriots' game on TV, while listening for the sounds of trick-or-treaters. However there were many kids who couldn't handle the fact that it took me three whole seconds to get to the door -- which was open so you could see into my hallway and that someone was home -- and kept ringing the doorbell impatiently, as if they expected adults to stand in the doorway all night long and not move so as not to inconvenience them. Patience, my children.
Oil spill: A BP oil spill came to my house asking for candy. He was very polite.
Grabby: There are some seriously grabby kids out there who try to push my hand out of the way and grab their own candy out of the bowl I'm holding. Or they'll tell me that I didn't give them enough candy and ask for more. (When I was fearful I'd run out, I was only giving out two to three pieces per kid.) There was the occasional cherub who'd tell me he didn't like what I just handed him, as though he could place orders. My least favorite tactic I saw used by the pediatric set last night: Putting their hands out, when they have a perfectly good candy receptacle into which I wanted to place the candy, in the hopes that I'd give them a fistful of candy instead of two or three items.
Did your Halloween go smoothly? Lots of kids?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
|Image credit: NBC|
Sure, I might put on a pair of Groucho Marx glasses or don a weird hat when I'm answering the door to trick-or-treaters while The Spouse is taking the Picket Fence Post kids out to collect sugary goodies which'll turn them into actual monsters, but I've never donned a costume. Neither has the The Spouse. And neither have the parents who've taken their kids to my house to trick-or-treat on Halloween.
Do parents in your area dress in costume on Halloween night when they take their kids trick-or-treating?
Best part of the Parenthood episode -- "Orange Alert," which I reviewed here -- was when the parents looted their kids' Halloween candy afterward. So. True. (It'd be a lot easier to pilfer from their Halloween bounty if The Eldest Son didn't literally count his candy before going to bed.)
Image credit: NBC.