Trick or Treat

Russ is in LA and Carter is in Boston so I decided I would take Shay to our neighborhood Halloween Parade since it happens right at our house. This parade started 18 years ago and remember so well taking Carter the first year in her stroller dressed in her dragon fly costume that I sewed for her.

That first year of the parade it was only about thirty kids and their parents. Mostly our friends the Elams and the DeBerrys who organized it. Each year the parade grew bigger. And every year I would make Carter a costume. My favorite was the year she was a garden. Then about first or second grade she put her foot down and said she wanted to be Ariel with a slinky green sequins dress and long red wig. My days as costumer were over.

So with no child to dress up and a giant parade right out my door I got Shay’s jockey costume out and put it on her. Thanks to her girlish figure it fits year after year. As we walked down our walkway I noticed many cars parked in my driveway. My friend Helen had emailed days ago asking if she could park here with her grandkids, but I noticed three cars parked behind her blocking her in.

Our neighborhood has had a big influx of new young families so this parade was going to be huge. I am certain I would not know one kid in it. Shay and I got to the street and she saw two little girls dressed up in their princess costumes. She froze. I pulled on her leash to get her to go a little further, nothing. Shay started to pull back towards the house.

Then another princess came up and asked if she could pet Shay’s costume. Interesting request, but not out of the norm for a three year old. Shay obliged, but did not want to go any closer to the throngs of firemen, dancers and multitude of princesses.

So we went home. No parade for us. So far we have had one trick or treater. I am praying for a crowd to come and take this candy, but with St. Marks, the street behind us, closed off to traffic I expect everyone is trick or treating over there and I will have bought this candy in vain. Come by if you need a chocolate fix.

No More Political Ads

It’s one week before Election Day. Day to day politics are bad, but election season is a special kind of hell. Everywhere I turn are the worst kind of ads for politicians. The ones I hate the most are the ones that say what someone’s opponent will do if they are elected. No one should be allowed to say what someone else will do. They just don’t know that.

My Election Day happened more than a week ago when Russ and voted early. Since my decisions have been cast in bubble ink I feel like I should be spared having to listen to any political ads.

I think we could greatly increase voter turn out if there were a technological way to turn off all political ads once you have voted. I am not saying you get a free pass from all advertising, but once your have checked in and voted you could get a special code that you enter into your cable box. Then when there is an ad you just get regular erectile dysfunction, or GEICO ads, just like non-election season. If you haven’t voted you still get nothing but swill from politicians talking smack. I can’t think of a better way to encourage all citizens to partake in their constitutional duty and vote.

One thing I do know is that even come a week from now when the mid terms are over, many politicians are not going to be acting any better, but at least they won’t have the money to run ads and show us how badly they are behaving.

Bridge Halloween

Today was the Halloween bridge party at duplicate today. Since my partner Deanna has missed so many Fridays playing with me she asked me to play this game with her. It was a costume bridge game, but she told me I did not have to dress up.

Since I got home late last night I had no time to think about a costume, but I hate to go to Halloween parties not dressed up. I thought for a minute what “bridge” themed costume I could whip up in a minute, then it came to me.

I pulled up a photo of our current President. I drew a red circle with a slash through it over his face. I pasted that photo to a piece of card board and cut out a number 7 and taped it to the corner. I hung this thing around my neck.

What was I? I was a seven no trump bid. The best bid in all of bridge.

Some people got it. Some people got it and loved it. If anyone was a Trump lover they didn’t say anything, but my retort was ready. It wasn’t a political statement but a bridge pun.

Sadly, this is such an “inside baseball” costume I can’t use it for any regular Halloween parties, but I do think it is a good one.

Worst Seat In The House

After a family filled two days where Russ and I spent time with all our parents and siblings on both sides as well as cousins and an Aunt and an Uncle we got to spend a little alone time together. We left Buck Hill Falls after driving around and looking at all the beautiful old “cottages.” It is so quaint to call mansions cottages. It should have been peak leaf peeping time, but we only saw one really spectacular tree.

We made our way to Philly to spend time at the art museum. Since we have gone to the Whitney, Moma, Chicago Art Institute and the Frist In Nashville in the last few months we are becoming museum connoisseurs. We had been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art plenty in the past, but as far as I am concerned you can never have enough Art.

TheWorst Seat In The House special exhibit was one on fashion. The museum has over 30,000 pieces in its fashion collection. That’s one big closet. Imagine trying to keep the moths out of all those dresses. The exhibit had some glorious dresses mostly from the 1950’s to the early 2000’s. The one constant is the mannequins were all equally skinny with pencil like legs and young boy like chests.

Russ and I made our way to the nice restaurant in the basement of the museum. We have learned that most museums run good restaurants. Even though it was 1:45 we had to wait thirty minutes for a table. While we were waiting I went to the ladies room. It had one of the best exhibits in the museum. That of three toilets in a row out in the open. One side of the ladies room had regular stalls and the other side had one stall with the three open air potties attached. Since it had a black stanchion in front of them I took it to be an exhibit. The “plein air potties” are probably the worst seats in the house. Actually the one furthest from the toilet paper is the worst.

We finally had lunch and continued on our tour of the museum. Now at the airport I am praying we don’t have any issues getting home like we did getting here. I am looking forward to being home and enjoying my own bed and Shay. It was a great weekend, but packed with lots of visiting.

Family Through and Through

It was a cold and rainy day in the Poconos, one I am thankful I didn’t miss. Russ and I woke up at his father’s house and drove up to the Mountains to join my family for the memorial service for my Aunt Susan. My mother and her sisters are very close, perhaps too close because they spend time together without any of their spouses or children. So this was a rare gathering of my first cousins on my mother’s side.

Before Russ and I got to the beautiful Buck Hills Falls, where my Uncle Hank lives and we all were staying, we made a little detour to find Russ’ family childhood summer home at Lake Naomi. It took no time to find the little cabin in the woods, which Russ says looks exactly the same, except for the color. The most amazing thing to Russ was that it still had the shutters his father made over 45 years ago. To say he does quality work is not going far enough.

We hooked up with my parents and sisters who had arrived last night. Then my Aunt Edie and two of her sons Wright and Winston and Winston’s girl friend Emily joined us to follow Hank to their little church. Five cars driving the winding roads of the Poconos in the rain trying to follow each other did not result in us all arriving together or on time. Thank goodness they don’t start funerals without the family.

There were more friends there than my Uncle had anticipated and the minister blamed him for the the lack of enough bulletins. It was definitely not a southern funeral. In the south the clergy never blame the widower for anything, especially not for guessing how many people are going to show up to remember their wife. I am not sure any of us know how many souls our spouse may have impacted. Of course since the church did not print enough bulletins they also did not have enough wafers for communion. Just a little hiccup in the day.

After the service I finally got a chance to hug Susan’s boys, Jimmy and Steven. With the exception of my cousin Billy it was the first time since my grandmother’s funeral almost 20 years ago that we had all been together.

We had the polite time with the other non-family mourners in the parish hall but the real fun happened at a dinner my Uncle and Cousin Jim gave for just the family and two of Jim’s childhood friends. Many of us got up to speak about what a kind a special person Susan was. My sister Janet worried out loud that no one was going to talk this way about her. Not something she needs to worry about. But it reminded me we need to tell each other how we feel about each other while we are still around and able to remember.

I am so happy Russ and I made this trip, despite the seven extra hours at the airport. I loved seeing my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins as well as my immediate family. I just can’t believe that Susan was not there, although I am sure she was.

We never took a photo of us all together and for that I am sorry. I hope we have a happier reason to get together again soon.

Waiting Seven Hours Is Too Much

My Aunt Susan passed away last month, but it took a little while to plan her service. My mother let my Uncle Hank know that this weekend would be the best one for us all to come so this is when he planned for us all to gather. I am not sure if it was the best weekend for him, but my mother usually decides.

Russ and I planned on flying up to Philly first thing this morning to spend the day and night with my in-laws who I don’t see often enough, and then drive to the Poconos tomorrow to be with my family.

We arrived at RDU at nine, very early for our 11:15 flight. At the appointed boarding time we went to the gate. No plane. It was at the airport since it had come in the night before, but apparently there was a problem with the landing gear. Probably it will take off at noon.

No noon. Maybe 1:00, according to the two nice pilots who were waiting at the gate with the passengers. No 1:00. Now we had to change gates because another plane needed our gate. Maybe 2:00. The plane was brought to the new gate and the pilots went down to do their inspection. No it was not fixed. Maybe 3:00.

The gate agent had someone roll the “Sorry for the very long delay” snack cart up to the gate. That made the passengers less hangrey. I called my mother to say we might not be making it to the funeral. She felt bad we had sat at the airport all day.

Finally word came that the plane was fixed. We boarded the plane and took off at 4:00. We had only sat in the airport for seven hours. If I had not gotten us there so early we probably would only have waited six hours. I consider this all my fault. Waiting seven is just too much.

Be Home For Repairs

Last month our Frontier phone line went dead. That is just normal for us these days. Since it was after the hurricane the phone company was backed up and said they would come repair it in two weeks. They came a couple of weeks later and laid a temporary line. At least we had a land line. I know we are dinosaurs with that, but our cell phones don’t always work well in our house so I like to have the back up.

When the guy came and laid the temporary line all the way around our house on top of the grass I asked him to put on our work order that I want to be home when the guys come to bury the new line. We have two conduits that run under our brick walkway so that wires can easily be run and I wanted to show the contractors where they were.

Two or three weeks went by and no one called. The 811 service that marks all the underground utilities had not come out and spray painted our yard with lots of bright colors so I was not expecting the Frontier people any time soon.

I came home today to find a truck parked in the middle of my drive way and two men with the big line digger just finishing up laying a new line right down the middle of my driveway, not where my old line was on the other side of my house.

I got out of my car and asked why they hadn’t called me or called the utility marking service. They acted like that was news to them. I had them show me where they ran the line since they knew nothing of the conduits. They had run the new line right over my gas line and just left it on top of the brick behind my grill.

That is when I noticed a gas smell. “Do you smell gas?” I asked the guy. He said “yes.” Great!!!!

I called the gas company and while I was doing that the Frontier Contractors left my property without leaving me any paperwork and they didn’t have any name on the side of their plain white truck.

The gas guy got to my house fairly quickly and found a nicked gas line that created bubbles the second he sprayed detergent on it. He was able to unhook the line and turn off my gas. It will be a day or two before he can fix it.

What the hell. What if I had not come home and seen the phone guys putting in the new line. I probably would not have gone out back of my house and smelled the gas and not known of the leak. Who knows what could have happened.

Calling Frontier to let them know of this has been a frustrating scenario. Five phone calls to different departments and transfers. There is a reason to have underground utilities marked before you dig!

My advice is tell all repair people that you giant dogs lose on your property and that they have to call you before they come and do any work. Don’t let anyone dig one shovel worth unless they have called 811 and had your property marked where not to dig. And if you think you smell gas call the gas company immediately. Trust your nose.