As much as I’d like to say that I’m referring to our children, it cannot be said that they are little punkins any more. Alas, I am referring to actual pumpkins. It’s time for Halloween you know. (In case you didn’t already know)

Our kids went through some agonizing decisions this year regarding Halloween. Evan wondered: Is he too cool to go trick or treating any more? Being a middle schooler, he’s playing a new game this year – one which he doesn’t know the rules of yet and which has severe penalties for breaking those unknown rules. His older niece solved the problem:

“Well, I’m going!”

That did it. I also pointed out that if any questions arose, he could claim that his parents just made him go to accompany his little sister. That’s a pretty good excuse. He’s keeping that one in reserve for the future.

Erin had a somewhat different struggle: the church is having one of those infamous “Demon-free” celebrations to compete with Trick-or-treat. Erin has no problems with that; she seems about as secure in her faith as an 8-year old can be. No, her issue was: Loads of candy or Velcro jump?

Huh? (I can hear you saying.)

One of the attractions at the alternative fest at church is an attraction where you put on a Velcro suit and catapult yourself against a wall. (and hopefully stick). I saw David Letterman do this once and have sort of wanted to do it ever since. Erin apparently feels the same way. She opted for the grocery sack full of candy. You’ve got to hand it to the church for providing an attractive alternative though.

Some more differences between women and men

We carved the pumpkins last night. This year marks the first year that both kids designed and carved their own with very little help. They even reached inside to scoop out the “ooky”. (Please believe me, I didn’t think up that word.) But the debate was timeless:

Erin: “Evan, let’s make a pumpkin family!”

Evan: “WHAT! I’m making a monster!”

“But, Evan! Look! We’ve got a big tall pumpkin, a shorter pumpkin, and two little baby ones.”


“There are four of us…four pumpkins…it’s like a little family”

“Erin, I’m not making a family, I’m making a monster.”

That debate, in one form or another, has taken place since the beginning of time and will continue till its end. It’s quintessential. It’s comforting in its way; except when you’re trying to mediate squabbles.

Evan’s Retreat

Evan almost fell asleep in his pumpkin during all this. He had spent the weekend at the church’s junior high fall retreat. It’s connected with confirmation class. The agenda was pretty much the same as it’s always been but as we watched them pack up, I saw electric guitars and drums go into the trailer so things have improved somewhat since I was a kid. He said they had a good time but it’s obvious that sleep was a low priority; he could barely keep his eyes open and it was only about 7:00 pm. Of course, with the time change, it looked like it was midnight so who could blame him? (I prefer daylight savings time – I like daylight in my life.)

There were two bus-loads of junior high kids waiting on Friday afternoon but only one bus.


It seems that the bus charter company had had some bad luck. The youth director managed to pull a bus out of his hat through the magic of cellular phones. The backup was borrowed from some other church but unfortunately was the typical former Bluebird school bus. Thus we had a good-bus/bad-bus situation. The good bus had plush seats, a VCR, TV monitors, air conditioning, and shock absorbers. Needless to say, the back-up bus had none of those things. Seating assignments were carefully made so that everyone got fair treatment. Youth directors deserve more money than they get just because of having to deal with situations such as this. Did I mention that the busses arrived to get the kids about two hours late? Mel and I had gone out to a restaurant and taken our time about it. When we stopped back by the church just to check, everyone was still there. But everything worked out.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Then we went to see a movie. With Erin over at a friend’s and Evan gone, we could then go to a theater and see a real adult movie. BAH! I wave my hand at you! BAH! Who wants to see a depressing adult movie? After watching a bunch of religious fanatics who claim to be working for God himself destroy the World Trade Center, I’ve had enough of depressing reality stuff. That was like a bad Bruce Willis movie and yet it really happened. We saw “Legally Blonde” instead.

Erin was not to be left out; I took her to a father/daughter bowling thing. The church has a deal with us men; if enough family oriented events are scheduled then we guys don’t ever have to rake our lawns. It’s working pretty well so far. Erin was pretty enthusiastic but she began to get bored after they paired us with a family with a really young girl. The pace of play when a 5-year old is struggling get her ball down the lane is pretty slow. We were all getting a little restless. But of course, there were prizes so everyone managed to muddle through till the end.

I did manage to get a few leaves raked. By the way, you may recall the infamous Easter egg hunt from last spring. Well, I finally found the last few eggs while cleaning out the flower beds. They were faded but otherwise in decent shape. (Plastic obviously)