NOTE TO SELF: Never, ever, ever clean the house before Halloween. I’m thinking here specifically of the day before, though I may make it my policy not to clean at all in the calendar year leading up to October 31. Wednesday at 4:00 PM our house was immaculate. Just four short hours later, it was a wasteland of candy wrappers and discarded costume pieces, broken orange buckets littering the floor, little chocolate handprints accenting the couch and the walls. The kids have been sustaining life on candy for over 24 hours now, which means that getting them to do their usual chores is impossible. Unloading the dishwasher degenerates into duels with dinner forks, picking up toys from the living room floor turns into a particularly violent game of dodgeball (or, perhaps more accurately, dodgetoy). It is hard to believe that a house could go from “clean and tidy” to “may require the involvement of the Health and Sanitation Department” in such a short amount of time.
This was the first year that the kids got multiple fliers for local churches in their candy baskets. I’ve heard of this idea, which is usually thought of as “using Halloween to reach out to the unchurched masses.” But evidently all the people on our block are Christians involved with the outreach ministries of their congregations, so the result was that trick-or-treating on our street involved different churches swapping brochures with one another.
Aside from the complexities of actually getting there, I’m really looking forward to speaking at the Frassati Conference in Bremerton, WA on November 10. If you’re in the area, do join us! There are tons of great activities at the event itself, including a beautiful vigil Mass and an enrollment of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. (If you’re not familiar with the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, check out this FAQ here. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it’s really interesting!)
Joe was telling me about all the exciting camping opportunities up in Washington and Oregon, which is sort of like telling a slug about all the exciting swimming opportunities in the Great Salt Lake. I stared ahead and nodded politely while Joe brainstormed how we could find ways to sleep outside in the cold rain during this trip, hoping he realized that these were 30 seconds of his life that he could never get back. But then something occurred to me: My only frame of reference for camping is Texas. Could it be that there are places where you can walk through the brush without your ankles bleeding from the thorns, where you don’t have to spend hours picking off burrs and ticks afterward? Could camping possibly involve not being soaked in sweat 24 hours of every day that you are out? Could you stand in one place for more than ten seconds without being covered in fire ants? Could you sleep without worrying about scorpions and RATTLESNAKES SLITHERING INTO YOUR SLEEPING BAG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT???
I dunno. I still need a really compelling reason to take a vacation from indoor plumbing. But I can sort of see how Pacific Northwest camping might have a more compelling ratio of misery to payoff.
While we’re on a roll, let’s talk about another thing that I don’t get but everyone else totally gets: organized exercise. Joe considered spontaneously entering a half Iron Man the other day, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his personality. When he realized we couldn’t fit it into the schedule, I suggested that he do the same distances around here and said it would be the exact same thing, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about my personality. I’ve gotten to the point that I can see the advantages of occasional physical movement, but I still can’t imagine doing it in a group context, or on someone else’s schedule.
Joe and I ended up in one of those absurd conversations where we couldn’t have been missing each other any more if we’d been speaking different languages. I kept trying to pinpoint what, exactly, the advantage is of participating in a race. “If you want to know how you rank, you could time yourself and compare it to the published rankings of the suckaz who got up at 4 AM to do the official half Iron Man!” I suggested. He just sort of nodded his head in pity at his wife who is never going to know the awesomeness of group exercise.
So I finally picked up my Lovenox prescription at the pharmacy. The details of our byzantine insurance policy change all the time, so each pregnancy when I go to pick up my first box of shots, I stand in line at the pharmacy like a contestant on Press Your Luck. As the pharmacy tech types in my info I shout, “NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES!”…and then I either start dancing a jig or shaking my fist at the heavens depending on what the cash register rings up. It’s just like this:
This time I got a whammy: $1, 300 for a one-month supply of the generic brand. But on the bright side, it would be $2, 400 if I didn’t have insurance! (And yes, I am looking into various options for mitigating the expense. Over the years I’ve learned to get creative.) The other day I saw the baby toddling around with one of my needles, and I completely flipped out as I dashed over to get it back. Yaya saw the incident and pointed out that I probably didn’t need to worry since it had a safety cap on it. I said, “Heck, I wasn’t worried about that! That thing cost me 45 bucks!”
I know I’m a couple of days late on this, but as I sit here in my candy-wrapper-covered living room, feeling mildly ill from that third handful of Skittles I had for breakfast, I can’t not post this video of Henri the Existential Cat ruminating on Halloween: