The Pumpkin King. And Queen. And Prince.

In hopes of our pumpkins not melting into gross, moldy puddles before the holiday itself, we waited until last night to carve them. Sam was very excited to really carve one himself for the first time, tempered quickly by the gooey, smelly reality that is cleaning the pumpkin out. Also, the constantly bending and breaking carving implements is a tradition. I am going to buy this for next year.

Anyway, on to the results! Sam wanted to use a stencil that came with our carving kit, but it proved to be rather complicated, so he ended up designing his own scary face that I helped him implement. Behold, look on his work and despair!


To even gaze upon this visage is to stare into the depths of madness. And the madness stares back.

Katie had a small pumpkin given to her by her visiting teachers, and carved an appropriately cute face on it:


Wh-what are you doing with that toaster oven, little pumpkin? Stay back! Back, I say!

Moving on. I decided on something a little less traditional. The photo is a little fuzzy, but surely that's just because it is dematerializing:


Yes, that is the TARDIS. No, you can't buy it. It is going on my porch for the enjoyment of all. Yes, I am a great humanitarian.

It's over!

*Special shout-out to Allison, the Pumpkin Princess, who was very interested and wanted to help us, but was not quite ready to tackle a pumpkin of her own.

Dark and Metric

On Saturday Sam woke up with a severe sore throat and a fever. I decided to take him to the nearby Instacare, which was fortunate because he was diagnosed with strep throat. When I went to the pharmacy to fill his prescription, I was getting the dosage details from the pharmacist when I inadvertently created a new unit of measure: the teablespoon.

And it was at that moment that I decided to join the dark side and embrace the metric system. So I burned a yardstick as an offering to the gods Meter and Liter. Then I changed the settings on various electronic devices to display temperatures in Celsius, and the conversion was complete, down to the last gram of my being.

Cookie Monsters

Last night we made and decorated Halloween cookies. Let's see what we ended up with:

Here we have a nice, normal pumpkin. I think Katie did that one. Then there's the evil cat with red eyes that I did, and a witch complete with nasty (licorice) hairs on her chin and her nose. I'm pretty proud of the hat with the buckle, though. Moving on.


Here we have a fanged pumpkin, I guess, and a... I have no idea what that other one is. I think it's safe to say the kids were involved there, though.


Here are a couple of the cookies after Allison got to them, dipping her finger in the frosting and licking it.


Here is my angry ghost. He's a ghost of a star-bellied Sneetch, as if it weren't obvious. And a house that has a ghost in the window, blood oozing from under the door, and creepy eyes to let you know that to enter this house is to welcome death.


And here's a bat that Sam went to town on. I like it. If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

Bonus picture!


This insanely huge tumbleweed ended up in our yard last night. Presumably from Texas.









Slytherin

"Well," I thought as I picked up the staple gun, "At least this will make an interesting blog post." Such was my thought at 3:30 this morning.

Perhaps twenty minutes earlier, I had been awakened by a noise in the room. I stumbled out of bed and wandered over to the door in the dark, to see what it was. It sounded like something rubbing against a cardboard box. And as I tried to focus in the dim light cast by the nightlight out in the hall, I saw something moving across the top of a small box next to the wall.

"Is that... Monty?"

Monty, of course, is our pet ball python. We've had him for three years now, and he did escape once before, turning up behind the dresser in Allison's room. So I picked him up and returned him to his cage, placing a few books on top of the lid. I wasn't exactly sure how he had gotten out, but there were some gaps between the wooden frame of the lid and the screening that it held. I tried to return to bed, but I realized after a few minutes that I'd rather fix the problem now.

So I took the lid downstairs, along with Monty so I knew where he was, and I stapled the mesh to the frame in a whole lot of places. By then, of course, Monty had gotten up into the recliner, which has a motor and all sorts of nooks and crannies inside where he can hide. It was impossible to get him out of there (and believe me, I tried), so I had to wait a while before he decided to keep exploring somewhere else, and finally got him and the reinforced lid back upstairs. I have no idea how long it took me to get back to sleep, but it felt like it was right before my alarm went off.

I guess what I'm saying is, "Free snake to a good home."

Mad Cow

On the Jordan River Parkway in Lehi there is a section that is fenced on both sides, where cows are often out grazing (privately, I call this stretch the Bovine Highlands). Last night while running I happened upon a young cow standing outside the fence on the path. I didn't see a break in the fence or any other indication of how it had gotten out. I decided to ignore it and run by. But my presence spooked it, and it started running in front of me. I was nearly at the point where I would turn around, so I decided it wouldn't hurt for it to jog a couple hundred yards.


And that was when I heard the upset "Moo!" behind me. Mom was coming.

Now, fortunately Mom was still behind the fence. But can a couple strands of barbed wire really stop 2,000 pounds of angry beef? Fortunately, I didn't find out. I turned around a little early and ran past the mom without incident. But for a minute there I was a little nervous, and visions of all the burgers I've eaten in my life made me wonder if I were about to become the victim of a little payback, Bossy style.

Horde of the Flies

Okay, I had to write this post just to use that title. Seriously, though, in our neighborhood there's been a crazy plague of houseflies lately. When I go out in the morning there are dozens in the garage, and they all end up getting in the house. Last night I hunted down 8 of them. I try to snatch them in my hand and just throw them out the door, but the especially tricky and persistent ones get swatted with this:


It is awesome, like an electric tennis racket that makes the most satisfying ZAP sound when you get one.

Saturday Overload

Here's my Saturday, because I'm sure you all care. But sometimes I think it's fun to see the daily goings-on in someone else's life.

Get up at 7:30 and go running. The weather was perfect and I was feeling good, so I made it 16 miles, which is about the max I will do without bringing any water or energy gel thingies. Then I had breakfast when I got back. For some reason, I crave plain oatmeal after a long run (with a big scoop of brown sugar, at least—I mean, I'm not a monster).

Then Allison was begging us to go see the fish at the store. So she and I went to the pet store and we got some  frozen rats for Monty, and Allison oohed and aahed at all the animals, even though she has been there many times. When we got home, Sam insisted that I play Battleship with him. If I won, I would be allowed to finally go take a shower, and if he won we'd have to play something else. He got frustrated halfway through the game and quit, so I got to go shower.

Katie wanted a chance to exercise as well, so I sent her on a bike ride for an hour. Allison was napping at that point, and I decided to put up a shelf in the garage to clean things up a bit. It actually went fairly well, and, feeling satisfied with my handiness that day, I tackled another project I had been wanting to do. I had a small TV stand that is really old, but I took it apart and repurposed it to make a shoe organizer for our kitchen, because the back door is usually blocked by shoes. It could probably use a coat of paint to look decent, but I was proud of myself for sticking with it despite my previously recorded handicap in the woodworking department. Meanwhile, Katie made dinner. She had spent much of the day cleaning the house, and was understandably tired as well.

After that, I don't really remember anything. I guess we eventually got the kids to sleep and collapsed into bed ourselves. But it was a nice day.