No, seriously, yesterday sucked donkey balls. First, at work, the Russian software company we depend on to run our who mail system just crapped out. I was working all day on that, as well as other customer issues. Thank GOD [kiss car roof, ala anyarm] I know basic bash/perl scripting. Then, Widget got hurt. Actually, he got hurt on Halloween. He somehow ripped his nail out of his nailbed of his foot, and had to go to the vet. $273 of surgery later, he's got one less nail on that foot. I feel bad two ways: one, because he's my dog, and two, because I didn't want to be $273 poorer at a time when it is bad to incur surprise sums. This will make it the 15th year, I think, when I won't have enough money to not worry during the holidays. Luckily the weather has been mild, so my heating bill will be less, and I won't have an A/C bill on top of all that, but all those saving have been wiped out.
I try to stay positive. I really, really do. Old habits die hard, and when I was a kid, I used to have this philosophy, "If I predict the worst, if the worst does not happen, I'll be happier." No, that didn't work. What it evolved to is this, "GAAAAHHH DOOM DEATH DESPAIR WAR MURDER APOCALYPSE GAAAAAAHHH!!!" which is great if you're mopey goth, but I am tired of mopey goth, I want to be perky goth because no matter how bad things get, at least I'll be happier for it. As it is now, I worry all the time about everything, always trying to "out guess" the future, and that that's not a game anyone can win. I can enjoy nothing, because I fear it's a prelude to something bad happening.
So it started with me going to work, and that was a major victory because it turns out all the hard 48-hour weekend work I did paid off, and backups are so far running smoothly. The report process is another matter, but I will get to that once we fix the damn mail thing. I left early for a doctor's appointment, but that was quick, and after a bite to eat at Subway's, pickup some backup candy, and then after I ate my delicious meatball sub, I got to work.
First, pumpkin carving. I forgot to do this last year, and I am the kind of guy who likes to do the carving as close to Halloween as I can, because I hate the look of decaying pumpkins. But last year I totally flaked. I did a pretty good job, I think. I got to speak to CR, which was good, because lately he's been annoying and I hate having to push him to do his chores all the time. He's slacking big time, and it's not like he's doing them for convenience sake, we NEED him to do these things. He's already lost his computer for 2 weeks. I hate having to play the bad guy, but that's parenting for you. If I don't teach him a work ethic, who will, you know? Then he helped me set up the graveyard.
Brad came over, and he was in good spirits, which made me feel better. Then Widget got hurt, as explained above. Brad and I had to go to the pet store to get nail cutters, a styptic pen, and first aid cream. I also got Taboo a better collar, since his temporary one was a little... fruity (multicolored happy faces on a black background). When I tried to transfer the bell from his fruity happy wappy collar to his more masculine Malibu surfer one, the clip that held the bell broke off. The only reason Taboo has a bell is so my clumsy big banana feet don't step on his black ass in the dark. It turned out to be moot because the collar was slightly elastic, and he wriggled out of it. He better watch out in the dark!
I set up lighting under the eaves with a "willow tree" I usually have in my den. This tree is actually a white wire willow tree bedecked with little white Christmas lights. I hung "Haunted Harry," a ghost I got one year after a Halloween sale, from one of the branches, and he looked great. We also set up our motion-activated haunting ghost by the stoop. We would have done it my the light post like last year, but some wasps have taken next in there, and I haven't snuffed them yet. I figure I'll wait until they are hibernating in the winter.
Then anyarm showed up and we started waiting for kids. Around 5:45, it was already dark, and Brad got into his Silverdragon costume. I had seen pictures, but never seen him this close. In-fucking-credible. This costume was custom-made by the same people who do a lot of fun park costumes, and one of these most famous creations is the suits used for "Barney and Friends." This isn't the kind if costume that one buys off the rack; it was custom made, and while I don't feel comfortable telling you how much Brad paid for this, let's just say it was made years ago when financially he was doing a lot better. The quality, the "up close" quality, is amazing. It has a fan system, chill suit, and even the inside is well-tailored; no sloppy foam edges and duct tape there. He was a hit with the kids, for sure.
Thank you Brad. Again, you are awesome.
The Heare kids came, but they were gone most of the time I was there, out trick-or-treating with cheesy_reads and CR. Later, stodgycat showed up, and he took his kids out a second time. I didn't get to see him arrive because I got called when the mail system crashed at work, and I was the guy who got it working while the guy on call drove back to his house. We've been nursing the damn server ever since.
I was worried when I didn't see her, but fadedblackrose showed up late because of traffic, and it was wonderful to see her again. She's as quiet as I remember her, and I worried about her not having fun, be she assured us she was. I really wanted to get her out of the choking rich fluff that surround Columbia. I used to live in McLean, and half the rants on her blog were MY rants back then. We FanTek folk gotta look out for one another.
Someone was firing off professional fireworks all night. At about 9:15, the sky lit up with a huge flash. I assumed it was a low-flying firework burst, but it turned out to be a real meteor! How cool...
We had about 50+ kids this year, slightly more than last year. I was a little bit concerned that many of the kids said neither "Trick or treat" or "Thank you," which I blame on parents who don't give a damn or teach their kids basic manners. It's amazing how many kids have no personalities. Maybe I got too used to fandom kids who often are pretty in your face or have more character in their hearts than an entire Shakespearean play. "I wead 'Winkle in Time' when I was just fouw yeaws owld! And dey are wong! Tessawacts as a fowf dimesional concept was dipwoven by Steven Hawking in his book..." Some of these kids are like on automatic pilot, and I have seen them in CR's high school. It's like there are a smattering of "living people" among a sea of grey zombies. But that's a discussion for another time...
Anyway, I had a good time. Afterwards, we all went out for coffee at Starbucks. Well, not the Heare family because what do you do with little kids at Starbucks, you know? I think we should have kidnapped Chance, but then someone would have had to drive her home, and she was freezing in her costume as it was. Brad took off his dragon suit, but still wore the Silver Dragon feet, and anyarm and takayla wore their wigs. It reminded me of good times, and with fadedblackrose and CR there, it was like I was a teen again. It was friends, coffee, and cold night air that really put a good feeling in my stomach that lasted for quite a while.
Afterwards, we all parted ways.