Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Day 2

Yes, the post is called Day 2 and there wasn't a Day 1 post. Sorry about that. I'll try to make amends.

There was no school today so all the Halloween parties at school happened yesterday. Every school does Halloween a little different but the end result is the same, a building full of kids completely whacked out by 1 PM. I chose not to go to work. Been there. Done that. Never again.

Also yesterday evening it was trick-or-treat in our fair city. It happened last night because we can't have kids and drunks on the streets at the same time. Anytime Halloween lands on a Friday or Saturday night, trick-or-treat is moved. We got hit SO HARD last night by trick-or-treaters! The weather was just a little too perfect and every stinking kid, their mom and the new baby in the stroller was out. We ran out of candy and glow-sticks in the first hour and we started out with a ton. My kids hit the roads on their own with a gaggle of neighborhood kids. They were gone a good long time and came home with lots of Snickers bars for me!

Here's our jack-o-lanterns this year. I've got them lit outside again tonight since it really is Halloween and we can use all the protection from evil spirits we can get. I'll go out in a second and get some nighttime shots of them.
The Boy's cyclopic offering...

The Man's very creepy skeleton face...

The Girl's two-faced thing...

And mine featuring a sweet kitty, spider and pumpkin in a pumpkin!

Tonight was Day 2. We went out to the Halloween Walk the Metroparks put on. Every year this event gets better. This year's set-up was excellent and it wasn't too crowded which was a nice surprise. Now we are home and we are trying to decide which scary movie to watch.
Tomorrow is Day 3. The Sister is throwing a Halloween Bash that should be the end-all-be-all of Halloween parties. Stay tuned for how it turns out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kiss it and make it better!

Thanks so much to the two of you who have reached out in my hour of need. *sigh*

In a moment of weakness, which I've been chock full of, I went to peruse my Site Meter account. I made a promise to myself about a year ago to cool it with the constant Site Meter checks. I was making myself crazy trying to matching up the little dots on the world map with people I might possibly know. Then I was making myself more crazy with watching entry pages and exit pages. It got to be too much, so I successfully banned myself from it. It was easy actually. I just took it off my favorites list.

But now its back! At Site Meter, everything looked the same. There was Weaver, there was Brewer, there was Nance, there was a long list of people who stayed 0:00 minutes, okay. But then... Who the hell is that? I wondered. Some person had checked out the Cafe for forty two minutes! Where did they come from? The answer was this posting on that put up almost my entire piece about the Man and his truck. How cool is that? The downside is that this link has been up for about a week and this forty two minute person was the only taker, but still I'm pretty tickled.

So now I'm back to being all cool with the lurkers again. Go ahead and lurk. Knock yourself out! Goodness knows there's a few blogs that I lurk on.

Now onto this:

I want this little key fob so bad it's causing me physical pain. When you whistle, it barks so you can find your keys. ACK! Too cute! Can't take it! Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Finally, here's some big love to my sis who went to CP with us in the drizzle and cold. Three roller coasters, three haunted houses and countless corn dogs later, we were the sleepiest family in the state on the ride home. It was wonderful having you out with us, babe!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Hello? Anyone out there?

I'm asking because it's been a bit quiet around my email inbox lately. Two weeks ago I would traipse home from ZombieLand and there would be like eighteen new emails. And it wasn't junk mail. It was from real people who had questions to ask or answers to my questions or stories to share or venting to do. And while at the time it could be a bit overwhelming, still it gave my zombie soaked day a bit of purpose and sunshine.

And what about this blog? I know you are out there. Lurking. Lurking. I don't mind the lurking usually, but this lack of email has got me looking at the bigger picture. Where the hell is everybody? What offense have I laid out, unbeknownst, that has caused all this shun?

The pebble that started this avalanche of communication examination was that comment from Jen Jen. While I was thrilled to hear from her, I couldn't stop wondering this: If Jen Jen is out there and I wasn't aware of it, who else is reading?

Maybe it's this new "Followers" widget I put on the sidebar. I'm checking that thing out way too much. Waiting to acquire followers so far sucks. But being a follower is very cool. You can check out every one's blogs that you follow all on the dashboard page. You don't have to go from site to site to site just to find out that there's nothing new to read. I'm a big fan of being a follower. Being followed? Ask me later.

So now you're thinking, Gee, J, if you would just write about something comment-worthy I'd be right there.

Is that so? That's how you feel? Well, you all seem to like Zombie stories, so here's a cute one.

Monday I had to zombie-sit gym. No. I'm sorry. Physical education. (Some gym teachers don't like being called gym teachers. W'ever!)

It's my last class of a long day and I've got first graders running around playing an adorable game of tag that involves a witch turning trick-or-treaters into ghosts and pumpkins tagging them back into trick-or-treaters. I've got "Monster Mash" and "One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater" blasting in the background just to crank up the running.

I feel a little tap-tap-tap on my arm. Standing beside me is a tiny guy, about a wide as he is tall with Harry Potter-esque glasses.

"I'd like to have a word with you please", he says in a way that's more than a tad creepy for someone is age and height.

I size the situation up in flash. There's no way I want to hear what this kid has to say.

"Nope, I don't think so," I say with a smile. I wave a hand out toward the melee. "Go play!"

He looks stunned and put out by this, but spins aways into the knot of running kids. Another situation handled in my own expert way.

Ten minutes later the class was being led out the door single file by their teacher. Mr. Potter, I notice, is last in line. As he gets closer to me, he catches my eye and points one of his stubby fingers right at me.

"I'm going to write you a letter!"

And then he's gone with his class, the door bouncing to a close behind him. He didn't say it in a mean or threatening way, but it didn't exactly sound like I was going to be receiving a love note either. The whole encounter caught me off guard.

As the door finally came to a stop, I finally found a witty retort. "I can't wait!", echoed through the empty gym. Funny thing is, I mean it. It's going to be a gem!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Halloweekends at CP

Sorry about this, but I've got to do one last post about Cedar Point. Friday night we went to Halloweekends and it was so fantastic! It was a night full of first. It was the first time going to Halloweekends for the Girl and I. (The guys went a couple of weeks ago when we were camping.) We went to see performances of The Tell Tale Heart and The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe. While we were there, I had my first ever beer at Cedar Point. I must be a grown-up now! And that beer kept me plenty warm on the inside while we waited in line to get into the haunted houses.

The Girl isn't much into scary stuff. She gets shaken up by yard decorations if they are too spooky or gory. Getting her to go to Halloweekends was quite a feat for us. The actors don't start jumping out at you until 8 PM. She must have asked me every five minutes what time it was up until then. She didn't want to be taken by surprise, I guess.

It didn't do any good though. As you walk through Frontier Town you can hardly see for the smoke machines and the lighting. When a insanely scary person does jump out at you in amazing make-up, you just can't but scream. We all did plenty of screaming!

Right by the entrance to the park there is a shop making doughnuts fresh all day. It smells heavenly but we never go in for one reason or another. Friday night, just before we left, we finally stopped and each got a warm doughnut. It was just the right thing to end our scary (and chilly) trip to Cedar Point.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why I hate (and love) the leaf suckers

Ask any official la-di-da person around town and they will likely crow about how lucky we are in our fair city to be provided with curbside leaf removal. And yes, I feel lucky. These trucks perform a very valuable service and save people hours and hours of bagging. Not too mention that most people, without these trucks, would simply bag up their leaves and put them out with the trash. What could be a more wasteful use of landfill space than plastic bags of leaves? It makes one shudder to think of it.

But these trucks go around on a schedule that can only be described as oblivious and unpredictable. The leaf sucker trucks and I have a yearly war and it started today.

Dark and early this morning, I was lounging around waiting for the phone to ring and send me off into zombie hell. (It never rang. Bonus day off for J!) While I was perusing all of your blogs, I heard the unmistakable sound of the leaf sucker sucking it's way down the street. No way, I thought. Not already! Yes, already. Even though most trees are still green, barely any leaves are on the ground and NO ONE has raked to the curb (because there's nothing to rake), the truck was still coming.

I have terrible history with the leaf sucker. Whenever I make a decision to rake, the day before I plan to do it, the truck comes. I'll come home from work and see all the neighbors piles gone. UGH! Or I'll get all ambitious and get everything available down to the curb and it will just sit there and sit there and sit there. The only lucky thing is that the neighbor kids never jump in my leaf piles and throw it all over the place. We've got a history of dog poop in our leaves. Everyone steers clear.

The appearance of the leaf sucker today, so early in the season, is seriously bad news. It probably won't be back for another month, by which time people will have leaf mountains on their curb lawns that will slowly shift and blow into the street and block the mouths of driveways. The weight of the leaves will once again destroy any grass growing underneath it so in the spring only the hardiest of weeds will appear. And if we are really unlucky, we will have an unseasonable snowfall on top of the leaf mountains. When the leaf sucker finally graces us with its presence the leaves will only be soppy, icy messes pressed flat into the earth.

But there is one thing about the leaf sucker truck that I absolutely love: The sound it makes. Truly, when I heard it this morning my first instinct was to run upstairs and jump in bed. The leaf sucker noise knocks me right out. I don't know if it's the sucking noise or the motor on the truck or the combination of the two, but that sound relaxes me right down to my toes. But instead what did I do? I ran out and took its picture just for your entertainment.

You should know though that as soon as I got this shot, I did go back to bed and the truck came back and did our side of the street. Bliss! I won't tell you what time I ended up getting up, but it was decadently late.

But the time of falling leaves is upon us. My favorite dogwood is showing off in style. I think it just likes to prove that it's more than a pretty springtime face. Happy Autumn!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Camping Success

It was a grand weekend at Timberlane. The kitchen staff led by Fearless Co-Leader, Co-Leader Extreme and my mom made wonderful meal after wonderful meal. They were the real stars of the trip.

The weather was perfect. All the stations ran like a dream. We had a clear night for the observatory viewings. And everyone left on time!

It was a complete hassle-free weekend. A great big round of applause to all of my crew, especially my program aide girls who rose to occasion in style. I would put up pictures, but I while I remembered my camera, I forgot to put in a memory card. I hope some of the other leaders there got some great shots.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Man stands alone

This weekend the Girl and I are headed out to Timberlane for our big rented-the-whole-camp event. This event was on the verge of cancellation two weeks ago. On the deadline day to sign up we had 27 people attending. I couldn't understand it because last year it was such a hit we had to turn people away. Even with the measly 27 though, we decided to go ahead anyway and just scale it back. I should have remembered who I'm dealing with here. Since the deadline, I've had more and more reservations trickle in as the leaders get their act together. Tomorrow we leave and we are 93 strong. What a relief.

Coincidentally, the Boy is also going camping this weekend with his troop. That leaves the Man home alone (with the dog and all the cats). Is he sad about this?

"I think I'm going to go up to Detroit for the day and get in a poker tournament."

No, I think he's fine.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Popcorn selling day

Oh, hello there! Popcorn Kernel here! I suppose you've all been losing days and nights of sleep wondering how our popcorn sale went yesterday. What? You say you didn't know we were selling popcorn yesterday at Sam's Club for four hours? Well, lucky for us there were plenty of good folk out there who stopped by to visit and just happened to have cash in their pockets.

Here's our table with our homemade signs. Pretty spiffy. We had some cans of chocolaty popcorn out, but it was so sunny we were afraid they would melt. If you had x-ray glasses on you could see them under the table.

Here's our first crew of salesmen.(Plus this one who had partied too hard the night before.)And the second crew. You've noticed, of course, the problem with being the son of the Kernel. You get stuck working both shifts. Poor kid.

It was all worth it. We sold $225 worth of product out there. That's pretty impressive considering the majority of it was made selling individual popcorn packets for $1 each. Not to mention that little cute Cub Scouts can sell popcorn just by flashing a goofy grin. Guys this big have to work extra hard to get people to shell out some cash for just for popcorn. Popcorn? Shell? Hey, son, that's a joke! Don'tcha get it?

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Power of Anger

The Man has been having a bit of trouble with his truck and its brakes. A bit of trouble meaning that they've been acting wonky enough that he's been wary of driving it. That's bad news for someone who has to drive to Bowling Green Fireland's campus four night a week!

So today, being his school day off, he took his ailing vehicle in for a look over. The news wasn't good. It needed all new brakes, from soup to nuts and it was going to be a very pretty penny. The Man kept his cool with the condescending mechanic on the phone while he was given the grim news. But as he related the whole ordeal to me later, I could see he was fuming on the inside and suspicious that he was being ripped off.

But it was done and he needed a lift to the shop to pick up the truck. As he walked across the parking lot, I got an evil idea. I jump out of the van and started shouting at his back,

"Hey! Watch your temper in there! Don't go beating everybody up in there like last time! I won't bail you out if you get arrested again! I mean it! You better not punch anyone! It's not their fault!"

He never turned around or even quickened his steps. His only move was to slouch down further in his jacket the more I yelled. But the guy across the parking lot? He reacted. He stood there with his mouth hanging open staring at me and then The Man.

The bays to the garage were open right beside my tirade and I'm certain everyone heard my performance. After The Man was safely in the door, I jumped back in the van, slamming the door extra hard and peeled out. As I drove past the gaping mouth guy, I put on my angry school teacher face and shook my fist at the building. And yeah, the kids were in the van too. They thought the whole thing was hysterical.

Inside no one acted like anything happened. Perhaps screaming women in the parking lot are a common occurrence at the garage. The only strange thing that happened was that by some warehouse mistake, the bill for the repairs was $250 less than was quoted. Coincidence? Oh, I think not.