Happy Halloween! I apologize for not updating my blog for two weeks. It's been crazy busy around here. What I really feel bad about is leaving you all hanging with my last heavy blog entry. Half of you probably think I checked into a psych ward for some well deserved R & R. Alas, I have not been vacationing at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Furthermore, my mom has been out of town for two weeks so I really feel bad that she hasn't been able to log onto the blog to see what her grandkids are up to.
Well Mom, other than Halloween, you didn't miss too much. First, Chris was sick with high fevers. He did most of his sick time over the weekend so he only missed one day of school. A week later Riley got sick. He missed three days of school which is not good when you are in the college prep 4th grade at West Homer Elementary. He was not a happy camper when he had to spend Thursday night studying the rock cycle so he could pass his science test. But last night made up for all that.
I'm going to spare you the diatribe on my like-hate relationship with Halloween. I can't even call it a love-hate relationship because there is nothing I love about it. There is way too much emotional trauma over the costumes. When I was a kid, I made my own costumes. My mom did not stay up all night sewing costumes for me or spend hundreds of dollars on expensive store bought costumes. Sounds like I'm diatribing. Okay, I might as well get it off my chest.
When Sarah was little, I had an irrational need to make her costumes for her. At the age of five, she wanted to be princess. So I went to a fabric store and bought the most difficult princess dress pattern I could find. But because I am not a seamstress, I did not know I had picked the hardest one. I had never made anything from a pattern before. I never took home economics. My electives in high school were math, science and foreign language. So when I unfolded the patterns and had no idea what the instructions even meant, it still did not occur to me that I had picked a really hard pattern. And because I have a tendency to procrastinate, I ended up staying up all night to finish the costume on October 30, 1990. It was not until she was about 9 that I finally gave up on trying to sew her costumes. After she rejected two pairs of harem pants for her Princess Jasmine costume I threw in the towel (or rather, I threw the harem pants at her) and declared that she could make her own costumes from now on. The learning curve of motherhood is sometimes steep and I'm not a quick study.
As she got older, I had to explain why I was opposed to her dressing up as a french maid when she was in 6th grade (it's not easy being the feminist mother of a femme fatale, but still much easier than being the mother of a drag queen). So when she was a freshman in college she called me to say, "Mom, I finally got to be a french maid!" The following year she was the St. Pauli girl. This year she was a ballet dancer. I guess all that money I spend on her college education is finally paying off.
When the boys came along I allowed myself to let them wear store bought costumes. You would think this would be easier. Every year, Riley has trouble deciding what he wants to wear and waits until all the costumes are sold out in his size. And because we live in Alaska, I end up spending all kinds of money to get the costumes shipped here on time. This year I said, we are not procrastinating. I started showing them the catalogues as soon as they began arriving in September. Riley did not know what he wanted to be. Chris quickly picked out the Ironman costume even though he has never seen the movie. I paid $39.99 dollars for it, plus I sprung $6 for the gloves and of course, there was the shipping. Two weeks later I saw the same costume at Costco in Anchorage for $19.99, sans gloves (I have to throw out those French words occasionally since I took all that foreign language in high school instead of home ec).
Riley decided in early October to be the same thing as his best friend, a $60 Storm Trooper. I had trouble coughing up that much money for a storm trooper costume knowing that I had already paid way too much for Ironman. So I did what I usually do, procrastinate, hoping everyday that he would change his mind. I didn't feel too bad about it since he was being a copycat which is not okay in my book. Not at those prices.
Three days before Halloween Chris asked if his Ironman costume arrived. I said, sure, it's been here for weeks. He tries it on and lo and behold, it was too small. How was I supposed to know that I should not have ordered a size 4-6 for a child who wears a size 5? Okay, so I should have had him try it on as soon as it arrived. Why? So I can pay more money to send it back? (There's that steep painful learning curve again.) After much sadness on his part and much guilt on my part, we headed to town and found a ninja costume that made him very happy. Riley settled for a vampire cape. We found an inexpensive make up set that came with the vampire teeth. Alana worked her magic with the make-up and Voila! Count Riley is alive, I mean, undead.
So here's the only part of Halloween I like: the cute little kids in their costumes. Maya was the perfect dalmation puppy. She figured out very quickly what trick or treating is all about. I hate trick or treating. But Alana, the perfect Halloween mom, took the kids with her. I joined them after work, complaining the whole time about the bitter cold, the traffic, how much I hate trick or treating. Maya stayed far away from me, preferring the fun Halloween mommy. She stuck to Alana like a shadow. If they were separated for a second, she would shout "A-wana!"
When the boys were little, we only went to three places: The Senior Center, the Long Term Care wing of the hospital, and Dr. Alvarez's office. At the first two stops the kids went around taking candy from elderly people who enjoyed seeing the kids in their costumes. It's a win-win situation. The last stop is fun for mom and dad. Dr. Alvarez and his friends have a grown up party in his office while passing candy out to kids. The first time we trick or treated there, we were invited in for crab enchiladas. I've been hooked ever since. The menu changes every year. Dr. Alvarez is a great big kid himself, lots of fun, larger than life, kind of like Hemingway or Babe Ruth, only he's a surgeon.
Last night we were joined by friends dressed up like mariachis. Mike Heimbuch on guitar, Tom Klinker on accordian. They are actually very talented. Mike would play a well known tune and then make up his own words as he went along. Maya was enchanted by the music and stuck to the two musician like a magnet. They got down on their knees and serenaded her for about 30 minutes. Once in a while Dr. Alvarez would join in with his great big tenor voice like Pavarotti. Maya had all the men smitten with her.
This morning she carried her candy bag around, protecting her booty. What's the difference between a toddler and a pitt bull the day after Halloween? Candy. Who ever said "It's like taking candy from a baby" has obviously never tried taking candy from a baby. Maybe they meant it's easy compared to taking money from the Mafia. She even growls when we try to take her candy.
Finally, we had a surprise visit from Matt's best friend Eric this morning. Eric is captain of an Arco Tanker, traveling all over the world. He is up for a special simulation thing in Seward and came to Homer for one day to see his extended family. He and Matt got to hang out and get caught up a little. Matt's birthday was on the 29th (that is a topic for a whole 'nother blog entry), so Eric's visit was a nice way to end the week.
Dr. Alvarez being himself.
The mariachi band sernading Maya.
Riley the vampire, Maya the dalmation, Chris the ninja, and Falcom the cheerless leader