Saturday, November 30, 2013

Moustache Cat and Her Friend Heisenberg Cat

Well. Very few of you took me up on my challenge to create a meme for Oreo/tuxedo/mustache/moustache cat. This may be because I used the gauche American spelling for “mustache” and you guys didn’t understand that we have a classy undertaking happening here.

That said, for the four of you who partook? You are my new favorites.

PILGRIM
Karen started off with a holiday-inspired idea. I posted it first because it is time sensitive.
cats-meow
Thank you, Beth. Oreo gives you a happy meow for the compliment.
CLASS
Excellent capturing of Tuxedo Cat’s essence, Keegan!
kelly-meme
You are awesome, Kelly. This made me giggle uncontrollably.

Because Oreo was lonely without more captions, I decided to go ahead and give her some myself. I hope you enjoy.

AMATEUR

ARGUMENT

born-with-it

hey-girl

WAY-OF-LIFE


Also, because we’re jerks, we couldn’t stop at putting a hat on just one cat, so when Starfire stopped moving, we dropped the thing on her head and photographed her as well. I texted the photo to my friend who gave us the hat and her husband came back with this response: “Heisenberg.”

Which, naturally, led to this:

heisenberg

Then, because I was having too much fun to stop and because Starfire looked SO damn menacing, I decided to end with this one:

SOON

 Thank you for indulging me. I’ll stop now and return us to our regularly scheduled programming of non-feline-related matters. Maybe.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I’m Forcing a Meme Here, People

Hey there! How is your Thanksgiving going? Are you here reading this because you’re hiding from your relatives? Are you waiting for your potatoes to finish cooking? Maybe you’re in some sort of turkey-induced lethargy and can’t do anything but sit on your couch and surf the internet.

Or you live in any country other than the United States, maybe you are wondering why there are suddenly a billion photos of pie in your Facebook feed.

Well, I am here to help you with your Thanksgiving ennui.

Yesterday I posted this photo:

IMG_2498
Mustache cat is distinguished.
I posted it and you clamored for a tuxedo cat meme.

Well. One of you said that maybe it would be fun to have a tuxedo cat meme sometime, but no pressure really.

Happily for me, I had already made a meme that I posted on Facebook a while back but that was mostly ignored. It is possible—I’m just sayin’—that mustache cat may not be meme material.
Here is what I had come up with:

OVERDRESSED
It is also possible that maybe *I* am not meme material.

You guys tend to be far funnier than I am. Give me your caption suggestions. Or take the photo and make your own. Please don’t leave tuxedo/mustache cat without a caption. She would be terribly sad.
(Happy Thanksgiving!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hi, Team!

How have you all been?

Good, good, glad to hear it.

Hmmmmm.

There is nothing happening in my life. Nothing. I was going to write a whole post about my neighborhood’s two-day group quest to rescue a runaway dog from down the street and how I ended up with a neighbor standing on my front porch this morning with a handful of chicken who was asking why, why, WHY would this dumbass dog not come to him, but it ran into my backyard instead so he closed the gate to trap the dog and he’ll be there until his owners come pick him up and I never actually saw the dog, so I assume someone came and got him or else my yard somehow swallowed him, but then I realized that you don’t care about my neighborhood or the dog, so I decided to not write about it.

*taps foot and looks around*

Then, as I do every week, I cleaned my gerbil tanks and now that I have these kittens, that tank cleaning time is fucking perilous. I’ve had cats jump into the gerbil tanks while I’ve been cleaning them (the gerbils are safely relocated to a smaller holding cage during that time), so I have to remain vigilant to make sure that the kittens don’t sharpen their predatory skills on my wonderful little gerball friends. I was going to write about that, complete with photos and then I realized that this might also not be, how you say, scintillating subject matter to you, so I decided to not write about it.

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Prey, meet predator.
Let’s see.

Then, I read this article (well, most of it—okay, part of it) about how if you put periods at the end of your text message sentences, people will think you are mad at them and not, in fact, that you are just specific about your punctuation and I got all worried about how people perceive my text messages and then got a little clarity about why Alex always seems to misinterpret my texts and get defensive, causing me to have to leave a smiley-face emoticon at the end of EVERY text (right after the period) and then I decided that people are confusing and I am not sure I am ready to interact with life, you know, at all. Thanks, Maggie, for posting that article in your news feed, by the way. Now I feel inadequate on a whole other platform. I was going to share it with all of you but then realized that some of you might also feel inadequate to function in society after reading it, so I decided to not write about it.

*closes eyes to see if there are ideas on the inside of my eyelids*

Ooooh! Ooooh! So, Oreo, my mustache cat, entertains one of my friends more than I can even tell you and she thinks that Oreo needs her own meme, agent, and movie deal, a la Grumpy Cat, but that maybe Oreo needs some props first, so one day she dropped by with her daughter and they had found a top hat for Oreo so that she can be fancy every day.

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Oreo was not as happy about this hat as one would have hoped.
I was going to write about that, but the photo kind of says it all, so I don’t have to.

Well. It turns out that I have written a lot of words about not writing, so mission a-fucking-ccomplished. I do have one last thing to show you, which just might be the perfect capper to this non-post masquerading as a post.

I was cleaning a closet the other day and found this photo from maybe three years ago when my family went to some event or other and there was a photographer there to take photos of people. It turns out that my family did photos three years ago in exactly the same way we do them now.

IMG_2487
At the time, I remember thinking this photo was absurd and not good for a whole lot. Now, I love it more than anything and kind of want to frame it.
From the Wiggles bandage on Jack’s face to the paint all over Quinn to the “I’d rather be over there,” look on Sam’s face, this photo is classic Team Stimey all the way.

Well. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s interlude in pointlessness. Be sure to check back soon for more stories about animals you don’t know and photos from many years ago!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Making Quinn Miserable

First thing this morning, Quinn told me he didn’t feel well and that he didn’t think he should go to school. I didn’t think he was really all that sick. I didn’t think he was sick at all. This led me to assess my options:

(1) Keep Quinn home.

(2) Send Quinn to school only to hear from the nurse 45 minutes later that he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to come home. At this point, I would again assess my options:

     (a) Go get Quinn and bring him home.

     (b) Ask the nurse to send him back to his classroom, only to get another
     call a half hour later when Quinn did one of two things:

          (i) Was disruptive and complainy enough to be sent back to the nurse’s
          office.

          (ii) Wanted to come home so desperately that he convinced his brain
          he needed to throw up, which would lead to his throwing up on a desk
          in the classroom and being sent home.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. No matter what, Quinn was hanging out with me at home today. I decided to just start with him there.

I’m not stupid though. I knew what he wanted. He wanted a fun day, full of cats and cuddling and board games and maybe once I got tired of actively making his day the best it could be, I would send him off to play video games with a smile on my face.

Nice try, little man. Quinn expressed his belief that “taking care of him” was the same thing as “entertaining him.” Thus began my campaign to make Quinn’s day as boring and miserable as humanly possible.

I started by making him nap. Unfortunately, as he was not actually sick and it was 8:45 in the morning, he was unable to fall asleep. Happily, he had a cat to amuse him.

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I spend most of my life trying to get the cats to sit with me and they steadfastly refuse, but Quinn stays home once and they decide that the couch is the most comfortable place in the world to sit.
Unfortunately, cats aren’t very good at holding conversations, so I was the recipient of Quinn’s non-stop chatter until I forced him to read. Funnily enough, this didn’t stop his chatter, but just focused it to the topic of cats, which was the subject of each of the three library books he had checked out last week.

Quinn would intermittently say things like, “I’m going to play video games at one! I have a quest to complete!” and “Can I play video games now?” I alternated answering every one of his questions with either “no” or “Do you want me to drive you to school?”

During hour two, I realized that we were out of milk and bacon, so we went to the grocery store. This provided many opportunities to make Quinn miserable by doing things as simple as pushing the cart slowly past the bakery department without stopping.

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In this photo, Quinn is pointing at cookies. Shortly thereafter, he started heaving his body back and forth, trying to move the cart from within. He failed.
I’m not made of stone though. Per his request, I bought him chocolate chip toaster waffles, causing Quinn to smile slyly and say, “Your no-spoiling plan has backfired.”

After the grocery store, we spent the rest of the day at home, reading, eating waffles, and bickering like an old married couple.

Sample conversation:

Me: “You are an obstinate little man, Quinn.”

Quinn: “What does ‘obstinate’ mean?”

Me: “It means stubborn.”

Quinn: “I think it means epic.”

The low point of the afternoon was our ten-minute fight over what to do with the little bits of soap stuck to the bottom of the bathtub, which were evidently interfering with Quinn’s ability to take an afternoon soak. I was of the opinion that it was soap and the problem would resolve itself as soon as there was water in the tub. Quinn, on the other hand, believed that I should scrub the tub immediately and, upon his arrival home, Jack—who left the soap bits in the tub yesterday—should be promptly and severely punished.

I’m happy to say that I prevailed—in both the bathtub fight and the longer term struggle to keep Quinn mostly happy, slightly bored, and away from any and all screens for the whole day.
He may not know it yet, but Quinn will be headed back to school tomorrow. Fortunately, I think he’s ready.

And if he’s not? Well, today’s chocolate chip waffle mistake won’t happen again.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Is Jack’s Autism and It Is Good


TIA-2-copyI was talking to Jack this afternoon, asking him some questions about what he thinks about his autism and whether I could share it here for the This is Autism flashblog. He was very eager to share with you and painted a verbal picture many of you know, that of a loving, happy boy who loves video games and his brothers.*

Then I asked him how he felt about his autism.

“Um, good,” he said without hesitation.

There is a lot to say about Jack and a lot to say about his autism, but this piece is what I want to share today—the part that is confident that every part of him is good, the part that doesn’t know the picture of kids like him that Autism Speaks is trying to paint with messages like their Call to Action that went out last week.

Honestly, I don’t think it would ever even occur to Jack to say that his autism is a bad thing. He hasn’t learned that it makes him better than or less than anyone else, but he does know a lot of autistic people and he thinks they are pretty cool, which makes him believe that autism is all right.

Here’s the thing: It matters how you feel about your child’s autism, but it matters far more how he or she feels about it. However you feel, I believe your kid should think that every part of himself is awesome, and as his or her parent, it is your job to make sure that this is the case. There are a lot of things I second guess myself about in terms of my parenting, but this? I know I’m doing this part right.

Jack feels good about his autism and that means Jack feels good about himself. Rock on, Jack. This is his autism and he feels good about it.

******

* Jack’s response to what he wanted to tell you about his autism: “This is Jack. He likes to pretend to launch doomsday missiles and plays with his brothers. He has three cats who are not very scared of him and who purr. He is all interested in the Transformers games and Badland. This is autism. P.S. Do you love kittens?”
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Algernon’s Army: New Recruits

You guys. You guys. I have no words for you all. You are SOUL FILLING. My mail is such a happy part of my day nowadays. Would you like some examples as to why I love my mail so much? It’s because my mailbox overfloweth with love. And rodents. And other small furry things that are almost rodents.

new-recruits
From my friends Katie, Sherry, and Michal. Thank you. So much.
That first little guy there? She’s a squirrel who came from my 7-year-old friend Katie, who made sure she was all decked out enough to join the rodent brigade. Even better than the squirrel was the note that came with her:

IMG_2428
“From Katie to Jean. I am sorry that your mouse is gone. So I give you this present to make you happy.” (And, yes, she did use a sad-girl emoticon instead of a period to end that middle sentence there.)
Is that not the nicest ever? I love that kid.

That otter in the middle comes from my old college chum. She sent this amazing note with it telling the story of the debate amongst strangers that took place in the store as to what animal exactly this was and whether it was, in fact, a rodent. Answers: otter and no.

Nonetheless, otters are one of my favorite animals and he is small and brown and fits in perfectly as a conscientious objector to Algernon’s Army.

Then there is Speedy at the end, who is really not very speedy because he is chubby and round and can’t actually move very fast. He’s like the rodent version of me. He is hilarious. Jack almost passed out laughing when he saw him.

Then there was the very wonderful card from my mother-in-law wherein she posited that Algernon had fallen in love and was off on new adventures elsewhere. Oh, and she wrote that inside a greeting card that had this on the front:

IMG_2462
I think she is subtly referencing Algernon’s resiliency here.
Do you want to know what else came in the mail today? A photo book about Algernon from my beautiful friend Bec. The book includes the very first post about Algernon that I ever wrote and then photo highlights of his adventures from the past two years.

IMG_2524
It is amazing.
Algernon’s Army is so large that I had to dedicate a shelf to it. Because I don’t have a single unused shelf in my house, I had to buy and install a shelf just for my new little friends.

IMG_2531
I think you’ll agree that it was worth the effort.
The shelf is appropriately situated over one of the gerbil tanks.

IMG_2528
I like how Jetpack and Jefferie are standing at attention here.
I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to look over my left shoulder and see my shelf-o-love-and-rodents. You guys are amazing.

I think that is probably all of my Algernon-related news. Thank you all for continuing to be so awesome. I love you guys.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cats vs. Gerbils

Cats vs. gerbils, but not in the “cats eviscerating gerbils” sense that you might be thinking. No, the cats are saving the eviscerating for the mice that are apparently living in our basement unbeknownst to us. Well, formerly unbeknownst. Their little corpses dangling out of our kittens’ mouths alerted us to their presence.

No, what I am trying to do is contrast group sleeping patterns.

To wit, kittens:

IMG_2472
A kitten for every shelf and a shelf for every kitten.
Versus gerbils:

IMG_2421
It’s like Yertle the Turtle, but with gerbil stacking instead of turtle stacking.
The cats cuddle with each other, but not quite in the same way the gerbils cuddle with each other…or rather, how they use each other as beds and to prop themselves up.

I like how the guy on top there was all, “Now I’m going to use you to prop me up to the water bottle so I don’t have to expend any effort.” Meanwhile, middle guy was very earnestly cleaning his feet with his teeth.

Come to think of it, the kittens clean their feet via mouth as well.

I’m glad I don’t have to clean my feet with my mouth.

And there you have the first in what will no doubt be a long line of cats vs. gerbil posts. We can only be so lucky.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jump Like You’re 10 Years Old

Sometime last year I took all three of my kids to a bingo night at one of my kids’ schools. On the very last game, Sam (and a bunch of other kids) won. What did they win? They each won a free moonbounce rental from the people who run the aftercare program at the school.

Yes. A FREE MOONBOUNCE RENTAL. For my kids. You know of my kids, right? It was like a dream come true.

A couple of weekends ago, we had a few friends over, put out some Doritos and Oreos, and JUMPED.

It was great. It was better than great. My kids and their friends had a blast and the only blood spilled came from one of my own kids, which is always a relief. (Quinn cut his lip—some cookies fixed him right up.)

IMG_2302
Best. Toy. Ever.
I made the mistake of going into the thing when all the kids were in the midst of their sugar-induced hysteria, which was a huge mistake. They turned on me—and they turned on me fast.

“Get the adult!” they screamed.

Then they knocked me over and stole my socks.

I barely made it out of there alive.

Later, when there were just my kids and a couple of their friends, I ventured back in. It was so great. So, so great. I jumped in that thing for, like, an hour. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. Jumping and laughing with my kids and our last guests was exhilarating. It was such a blast.

IMG_2303
The view from inside.
So much joy.

I work hard to make sure my kids have fun, but all too often, instead of participating in the fun thing, I watch them having fun. I think I’m going to have to remember this—sure, it’s awesome to watch my kids have a blast, but it’s even better to have a blast with them.

******

I want to give a huge shout out to Carnival Day, the party rental arm of Kids After Hours. They were super wonderful and flexible and easy to work with, especially considering we weren’t paying them a dime. Plus, they’re the kind of people that donate a slew of free moonbounce rentals to an elementary school bingo night. If you are looking for a moonbounce or any of the other big party items that they rent, definitely work with them. They are fabulous.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Algernon’s Army

You guys have no idea what is going on around here.

I cannot even tell you how much love you have sent me. All of you…in so many ways. Every comment, every email, every tweet, every message, every photo…

But there is also this:

photo-10
Meet Algernon’s Army: Minnie the Island Mouse, Baggins, Reginald, Demetrius, and Algernon Too.
Every single person who sent me a mouse (thank you so much, Kim, Mir, Thien-Kim, Ann (aka my sister), and the sender of the last guy who came without a note—updated to add: it was Joeymom! Thank you!) told me, “I know Algernon can’t be replaced, but maybe this guy can help.”

Seriously. How awesome? And this doesn’t even include all the others of you who emailed me to tell me that you wanted to send me a mouse—and those offers mean just as much as an in-the-flesh mouse.

I could never have gone out and bought a new Algernon, but getting them from you guys? It feels good. It feels right. And, holy hell, it made my kids so ridiculously happy that I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for you. The munchkins are reluctant to refer to one of these critters as anything other than Algernon, so Algernon Too might have to be the mouse who heads out on adventures first. Trust me though, the rest of them are going to hang out in a place of honor on my desk, because they are not made of stuffing. They are made of love.

Look how cute they are! (And so clean! Damn, Algernon was grubbier than I thought he was.)
Oh, and there is another little guy who will be coming later. Sunday got me a mouse too, but he is currently being needed to cheer up her son Sam, who had a tough doctor visit today.

algernon-and-sam
Sunday’s kiddo, getting support. Algernon and his army are good that way. Shared with permission.
I cannot even tell you how much I loved seeing this photo on Facebook this morning. ALGERNON HELPS PEOPLE, YOU GUYS. Or rather, Scout, as this mouse is named, because this mouse? Well this mouse is literary, y’all.

Oh, and just in case things were getting too uniform for you all, Quinn’s occupational therapist worked with Quinn in a session to make a new mousy friend for us, getting his opinion on choices of eyes (NO BUTTONS! NO BUTTONS!) and enlisting his sewing expertise.

photo-9
I love him so much. I will be calling him Giraffey. For obvious reasons.
But, you guys, it’s not even my new mousy friends that cheered me up. There was the story one of you told me about losing your own stuffed mouse and finding her under your mom’s porch ten years later. There are, as I think I mentioned, those of you who shared awesome stories of losing your own things, some of which I probably shouldn’t detail here. (You know who you are.) There is the friend who sent a gift card for caffeine, which was much appreciated. There is my sister-in-law, who was going to give me a winter hat for Christmas, but told me she’ll be moving up that gift hat to replace the one lost and to keep my head warm. There were all of your nice words—and trust me when I say that every one of those words mattered.

There is also the knowledge that Algernon will live on in memory, say whenever one wonderful person goes to her London grocery store past Algernon Road:

Algernon-Road-London
Algernon had international influence, see.
None of this, however, can replace Algernon, which you all know, no matter how you responded to his loss. Many of you suggested that Algernon might have a wonderful second life with a new friend.

Some of you worked very hard (and successfully) to make me laugh, like one of my very best friends, whom I’ve known since college, who suggested that maybe Algernon’s new life would be a faster one, posed at scenes of his crimes with his new friend, the thief.

Maybe, she suggested, Algernon broke bad.

In fact, she claims that he’s already been involved in some jewelry store heists.

algernon
He gots some bling, baby. Whereabouts unknown.
You guys, I don’t think Algernon is coming back. He’s got a new adventure ahead of him. This whole episode has really sucked, but I learned something really important. I learned that I have a tremendous number of people who really, really care about me. I learned that love comes in many forms and that I got to experience many of them this past week.

I learned that my car thief may have my stuff, but his life is probably not very awesome. I would choose all of you over my stuff any day of the week. That thief brought a black cloud with him, but you all made up a silver lining so thick that it’s hard to even see the storm anymore. Thank you for that.

And thank you for my new mice. You made my kids so happy by sending them, which means so much to me. You made me so happy by sending them. I can’t wait to see what adventures my new mouse friends have.

Thank you for Algernon’s Army. Thank YOU for BEING Algernon’s army.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Hoops

We should talk about Halloween. Mostly because I have the cat for it.

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Actually, I have two Halloween cats, but only Ruby was interested in the pumpkins.
God, Halloween. I have grown to hate Halloween. It used to be awesome because my sister’s birthday is on Halloween, but ever since I don’t live in the same place as her, it is less fun. Now it is just this whole stressful, expensive, sugar-filled, sensory nightmare.

I was talking to a friend of mine and we decided it would just be so much easier if we let our kids go on a candy-buying spree and then locked the doors and stayed home and ate candy all day on Halloween.

But no, you’re not allowed to do that. There are all these little hoops that you have to jump through, some of which Team Stimey accomplishes better than others.

Hoop one: Pumpkins

Pumpkin carving is awesome, right? Except every kid has to have their own pumpkin, but they are too young to go about whacking at a pumpkin with a butcher knife, so what really happens is that Alex and I end up taking orders from our kids about how exactly they want a perfect six-point star for a left eye and a square for the right. And this comes after we have to scoop out the insides because…ick, pumpkins are slimy and smelly and the children couldn’t possibly be asked to put their delicate little hands inside there.

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Honestly, it was kind of impressive that Sam even agreed to be in the same room with the pumpkins.
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It was totally worth it though, because he took knife in hand and carved his pumpkin entirely by himself for the first time. I LOVE it.
Hoop two: Getting the costume to school
This only applies if your costume is bulky.

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Quinn’s was bulky, but hilarious, so it was okay. I laughed every time I saw him. Also, it is apparently difficult to walk with a box on your head.

Jack’s school makes their costumes in the classroom, so I didn’t have to lift a finger for him. Now, that’s what I’m talking about.

Hoop three: School parties

Ugh. I think the only people who have a harder time than parents with school Halloween parties are the poor teachers who have to supervise them. Of course, kids love them.

Well. Most kids.

Sam is in middle school now, so he didn’t have a Halloween party at school, but Jack and Quinn both had theirs at exactly the same time. I wanted to go to both, but that ended up not working out, what with my not actually being two people.

My wonderful friend who has a daughter in Jack’s class took photos of him, so I can show you his costume before I launch into the story of Quinn’s party.

jack-parade
Jack has enough joy to spread around. I like that about him.
Then there is Quinn. Quinn is afraid of many things. Halloween is a really tough time of year for him. He so badly wanted to go to his class party and get all the treats there, but he was absolutely terrified at the idea of walking in the costume parade—even with a box on his head to obscure his vision.

Quinn and I hung out in his classroom while the rest of the school marched around the halls. We spent our time drawing cats.

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For example…
I gotta tell you, Quinn has a tough life. I’m not being sarcastic. I have a ton of sensory issues, so I understand a lot of what he goes through, but he is really intense. He must be on edge all day long waiting for the next assault.

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A kid at a different table opened up a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips, sending Quinn running out to the hall, where he stayed until I made him come back inside. He was uncomfortable even being around that student after he was done eating the chips. It was as if he sensed little chip-dust particles floating around him.
Quinn must be on guard at all times—for sensory stressors, for things that scare him, for things that make him gag and throw up (e.g. chip dust). It makes sense that he can be so irritable. I’d be irate too if I had to be so entirely vigilant all the time.

Hoop four: Costumes

I usually try to not spend too much money on costumes. Sometimes we make them, sometimes we cobble them together out of stuff we have, sometimes I buy them, one memorable year I had someone sew one, and this year I threw a million dollars at Amazon and had them send me two insanely expensive boxes for Quinn and Jack to wear.

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They were both extremely happy and extremely cute about the whole thing.
Hoop five: Handing out candy

Here’s something: Phish always plays a much-anticipated show on Halloween, which means that Alex is always gone. This means that I get to take my kids trick or treating by myself at the same time as I hand out candy at home. This usually entails me putting out a bowl of candy and hoping teenagers don’t take it all before we get home. (See above comment about not actually being two people.)

This year, Sam stayed home and gave out candy. He was so adorable about it. He took his responsibility very seriously. He also totally channeled me later in the evening when we still had a ton of candy left and he started shoveling handfuls of it in trick-or-treater’s bags.

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And he didn’t even get kidnapped from our house, which was my primary concern in letting him stay home and answer the door at night—something I expressly refuse to let him do when he stays home alone.
Hoop the last: Trick or treating, a.k.a. Kill me now

I can’t even. I mean…I just can’t.

Usually trick or treating is exhausting. My kids all run in a million directions and I end up shouting at them to stick together and they don’t and it is a whole thing, but they usually have a really good time. Except when they don’t. Like when Quinn sees a costume that scares him and he can’t relax because he is working so hard to avoid seeing it again.

This year was a perfect storm of nightmare. My kids and I were heading out of the house to meet our neighbors who we were going to trick or treat with when my cell phone rang. It was my insurance people looking to take a statement on my car break-in. I was all, “I can talk to you and walk my kids up the street,” because, yeah, evidently I’ve never met my kids before.

I was almost done talking to the woman on the phone when we ran into our neighbors. Jack ran up to his friend and hugged her. Quinn’s friend, who, incidentally, was wearing a mask that Quinn found terrifying, came up behind him and said, “Boo!” (He didn’t know Quinn was scared of the mask and was just trying to hang out with his pal.)

Quinn lost it.

He shrieked, turned around and ran home.

I made a quick Sophie’s Choice, decided Jack would be fine with his friend, and ran home after Quinn, hanging up on a disoriented insurance agent as I searched for Quinn, whom I eventually found trembling under his bed.

After that it was me (and the neighbors) juggling my sobbing kid and the neighbor’s sobbing kid and finding Jack and trying to convince Quinn that there weren’t terrible things around every corner, because he really did want to trick or treat and even if he didn’t I had to FIND JACK, and thank God for the people who had pets in their living rooms because petting animals finally made Quinn relax a little, but the neighbor kid never recovered and went home and never came back out and dear fucking God, I’m just glad that I have an entire year before Halloween comes again.

Also, it rained.

So. Happy birthday to my sister. Can’t wait until next year! The end.