Thursday, November 1, 2007

Well, it was much agreed: it was the best Halloween ever! Mrs. Ditchman and I smiled and nodded after the last guest left and the kid finally went to sleep, not without a serious amount of coaxing off the sugar rush and prior Halloween stimulation -spookulation, I'm tempted to say. It was the best Halloween ever mostly because I didn't make it through the work day, and went on home to carve pumpkins. Standing there at the manufacturer yesterday, I watched the clock tick on endlessly as they cut my few little pieces, only to bring them out the wrong length. Yes, monsieur, there is a difference between seven feet and eight feet. There is also a difference between Desert Sand and Mojave Tan, isn't it obvious? Well, sure I can just spray-paint it. I could spray-paint your car and your house, too, but it wouldn't be the same, now would it? By the time I got out of there, it was just too late to haul out to the other end of the earth, install it, and then return before the ghouls came out, so I just went on home. Yessir, such is the benefit of being the boss of me. Mrs. Ditchman just laughed knowingly when I walked in the door -almost made me turn around and keep working, but I'm smarter than that, of course. It's a holiday!

My holiday tasks were as follows: carve pumpkins, set up tiki torches, barbecue the teriyaki drumsticks, roast pumpkin seeds, put on wry-but-mildly-amusing costume, drink pumpkin beer. I'm happy to report that I was 6 for 6 yesterday! Even finished a couple more pumpkin ales in the bonus round!

And Mrs. Ditchman looked hot! (And she looked hot before the pumpkin ales, I assure you.)

And I believe it was the first holiday that the Little Ditchman could live through and appreciate. We weren't sure she would take to the trick-or-treating, but after the first house, she was leading the way. There was something that sounded like "trickortreat" when she would arrive at the door, and then there was always a "dank yoo" and the eager collection of candy bars, which was curious in that she doesn't really understand what candy bars are. Her best buddy, Zac, and his parents joined us -Zac was a dinosaur- and the two nineteen-month-olds were impeccably cute. At one point one of us said, "Bye guys!" and the Little Ditchman picked up on it, so after every house it was "Bye guyz!" -which was awesome. The kids walked until we had to carry them back, and that was trick-or-treating on Eastview Court.

The whole neighborhood came out for it, and kids from surrounding neighborhoods apparated on our street, too. Our cul-de-sac was fairly spirited, so it seemed a safe venue, I guess. Mrs. Ditchman and I were wondering if our neighbors were going to be cool enough to wear costumes and we were enthused by the sight that some of them had. One of the men folk, the beer aficionado of the block, was dressed in his best lederhosen as a Bavarian beer swiller, but I suspect that it wasn't a costume at all. He was walking his two little princesses around and when he turned to go, I noticed a half-finished bottle of suds in the water coozy on his pack. "Part of the costume!" God bless him.

The holidays take on all new meaning when you have a family. It's like a satisfying sequel to the Great Movie of Life -in this go-round, all the old characters are back for more, there's a few new ones, and they do all the same great stuff only with more gusto (and more wisdom) than ever before. In the immortal words of (the ghost of) Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone!"

So today, it's back to finishing out the previous day's mess. Today I order the longest single piece of aluminum I've ever ordered. (38 grand aluma-feet. Don't worry, I will have it delivered.) It's been a week of constant movement but going nowhere, like paddling upriver. Hopefully this Thursday will bode well for us, and less water will be flowing over the dam. It's November now, and this year is begging for a close. There's something about odd years not being particularly good or memorable. I'm not sure why that is -my wife was born in an odd year, we were married in an odd year, we bought our home in an odd year, and this year hasn't been entirely loathesome... Perhaps it just lies in stark contrast to the benevolent wonder that is the Even Year. Well, one is coming, folks! Fortify the smile muscles and brace yourself: 2008 is on its way!