Monday, October 29, 2007


It's that time of year again.

When you have your own business, there's always a "slow period" and a "fast period". This isn't the fast period. Mrs. Ditchman delineated on the office dry-erase board all the jobs we have left on the calendar for 2007, and the sight of it begets a certain amount of consternation when you consider, among other things, the costs of the impending Christmas gifts. It's also that time of year when I take a look around the abode and notice all of the unfinished projects started last spring. This impels me to the kitchen chalkboard, where I likewise delineate them accordingly. Let's see, there's the custom office filing cabinets, the kitchen closet shelves, the office shelves, the sound system shelves/cabinet, the front landscaping and whole-property sprinkler repair/replacement, back fence, minor painting touch-up and hinge replacement, and then there's the various ancillary undone tasks: old photo scanning, annual videos to edit, boat-seat repair, etc.

So what did I choose to do with my weekend? Build a pond! Yes, and who doesn't want a nice pond in their backyard, eh? People of Oceanside: Behold! I give you The Eastview Court Water Feature:

Okay, so it's not the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Notice Inspector Ditchman standing there, writing me up for not pulling permits. I've always wanted a pond, and since there's no power way out there behind the house, I figured a simple depression in the yard filled with standing water would suffice for a few water lilies. And lest you think this is to become an algae prone mosquito spawning ground, I'll advise at this juncture that it is my intent to have enough plant life to create a bio-cycle as well as certain indigenous mosquito-eating fish. Anyway, it's all part of my vast plan to have a nice backyard that I can sit and look at. Something to take my mind off the aluminum-poisoning that is eating away at my brain.

Saturday was filled with parties that happened, parties that didn't happen, parties that almost happened, and parties that almost didn't happen. It was the day of the OAW (Oceanside Ale Works) Oktoberfest, and since we were invited to a neighborhood birthday party, I decided I would have to let this one slip on by until next year. Imagine my excitement when we walked down to the neighbor's and found it empty with a note on the door! Imagine my dismay when the note explained that the party had been moved to a local McDonald's. Imagine my greater dismay when we arrived at McDonald's and found that all of the neighborhood dads were at the Oktoberfest. Oh well. So it was me at the henfest, pecking away at a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, which I hadn't had in a decade. When the burger grease dripped down my arm to my elbow, I recalled why. The other moms were surprised to learn that the Little Ditchman had never been to McDonald's. "No, mam. And neither have we been here in years." This raised eyebrows. "We don't eat a lot of fast food. Actually, we don't ever eat fast food. But I'll have In-and-Out every couple of weeks or so." There was one response: "You cook for every meal?"

I guess we're old-fashioned traditionalists that way. I might add that the culinary acumen necessary to make a bagel and cream cheese, macaroni, and PB&J is extensive.

Then it was on to the Halloween costume party at the WeeStart. And, no, WeeStart is not the potty-training educational centre you might imagine it is. Rather, it is the pre-pre-school that Mrs. Ditchman takes the little one to a few times a week. I've been once or twice, and it is an impressive operation. There are colorful climbing toys everywhere (surrounded by all the necessary padding) and music going and bubbles blowing and friendly faces. The girl who runs it has a terrific amount of energy and enthusiasm and we were glad to hear that her house did not burn down in the recent Fallbrook fire. My favorite thing about WeeStart? Everything in the place is rearranged on a daily basis. The one and two year-olds and my ADD appreciate it.

The costume party brought out about fifty folks, or so, including several dads who mostly stood idly by in the lobby, talking on their cel phones. There were a few cute costumes, too, as you cannot resist a two-year old in an elephant costume or a superman costume. My Little Ditchman won First Place, (actually it was the only place) in the costume contest and wearing a costume she chose all by herself -thereby ensuring her place as a future youth camp director. Prize: a free month of WeeStart! Between the cost of the costume, the party itself, and other Halloween amenities, it was a wash. Oh, whatever was she dressed as, that garnered such accolades? Well, you'll just have to come over on Halloween if you want to find out! (Or just read the Mundane Details. Sooner or later, all will be revealed over there, I'm sure. I don't want to steal the thunder of the Details.)

And we had some rain this weekend! It was just a bit, but it was enough humidity to assist the firemen. Most of the fires are on their way to containment, but it was reported that the Devil's Winds were going to return sometime this week, unfortunately. The rain seemed a seriously answered prayer, as we haven't had rain around here in, I don't know -months, years, and it was odd to see it arrive just a few days after some of the biggest fires in the county's history. I spent all Saturday morning hosing down the house. Most of the smoke has blown off our hill here in Oceanside, but it still reeks like a motel ashtray. I suggest we keep the prayers moving, as no one wants to see it happen all over again. Last Friday I had a few deliveries and basically ended up touring the vast southland, seeing all the locales of recent charring acclaim. It was brutal in some areas, amazingly close in others. It was similar to standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon: You can't take a picture of it. You just stand there and shake your head.

But remember: It's gonna be a great week! (Better than last!)