Friday, November 07, 2008

My Sweet Little Leaf Whisperer

We bought our house in September, when the two big trees in our front yard were brilliant with color. Standing on the corner of our lot you could look down our numbered street and see a canopy of trees stretched tall and wide with fiery leaves. It was so romantic as to induce a series of heart-felt sighs.

In October we moved in, after the two big trees in our front yard had vomited all their leaves in a thick carpet that lay, wet and slimy, on our grass. Shortly thereafter, we raked and we raked until our palms were blistered and some 20-odd garbage sacks were filled with tree waste.

Last year I discovered a leaf blower hidden in the bowels of my dry vac, and upon plugging it in, was delighted to discover that magical thing would blow all the leaves off my yard and into the gutter in no time at all. I was in love and, will admit only here, I may have had a few terms of endearment reserved for my beloved leaf blower alone.

This year my children decided to help me rake the leaves and created one huge pile in my front yard, after which they insisted that this chore, inspired only by their love and concern for me, should earn them each a dollar. Those cute little capitalists.

And then it rained. It rained before I had a chance to retrieve My Sweet Little Leaf Whisperer to disperse the leaves and move them to the gutter. And if you don’t know how rain can thwart the powerful magic of a leaf blower, let me tell you.

That pile ‘o leaves, which my children had so lovingly gathered together for me, had become a thick, immovable mass. My Sweet Little Leaf Whisperer blew and blew, and nary a leave budged. Okay, so that’s not true. There was some budging, there was some flipping and flopping (because that’s what wet, congealed leaves do after they’ve been composting in your front yard through a series of rain storms), but there was NO magical swooshing, where the leaves, as if commanded by something stronger than Nature herself, would dance their way to the streets.

So after two hours with My Sweet Little Leaf Whisperer (and two very numb feet), I still have a fairly large pile ‘o leaves in my front yard. Although I did unearth half a bag of Halloween candy, two rakes, one broomstick, one plastic snow shovel, and a handful of squirt guns. My cute little capitalists were obviously doing more than just raking leaves in my front yard.

If the rain stops, today I will find myself on another date with My Sweet Little Leaf Whisperer, once again trying to move that sopping leaf pile into the gutter.

A leaf pile, remember, for which I paid three dollars…

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween!

In a fit of insanity I agreed to make my kids’ costumes this year. Yes, me, the 4-H flunkie, decided to tackle my children’s three unconventional and bizarre Halloween selections just two weeks before the 31st.

The Dreaded Question: What do you want to be for Halloween this year?

When you ask it in September you give children more than enough time to consider elaborate, ornate, and eBay-able costumes. You also give them nine weeks in which to change their minds. Over and over again. When you ask it on October 15th, you run the risk of not being able to find their selections at Wal-Mart, however, at that point there are no taksies backsies and you have a definitive choice.

Upon being asked the Dreaded Question, Sport and Spunk, with boyish resolution, supplied one-word answers.

Sport: Avatar

Spunk: RobotBoy

Decisive and to-the-point. Of course I had to Google them both later to find out exactly what they were, but no matter, I still had sixteen days to sort it all out.

Sis, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as concise. Upon being asked the Dreaded Question, she spun around in a circle and then, performing a deep plei, answered, “I want to be a ballerina princess riding a Pegasus unicorn.” What? This is Halloween, not Fantasy Island.

In seasons past they have all made more conventional, mass-produced selections like Tinkerbell, Elmo, and Spiderman. This year their imaginations had outrun Wal-Mart’s suppliers, and I was left to make a very difficult decision: to sew or not to sew. As mentioned previously, I chose crazy; I chose to sew.

The fifteen dollar costume is a beautiful thing, and only once before have I foregone the convenience of ready-made Halloween-wear. And that one time amounted to an entire week of late nights and pseudo swear words. This year would prove to be no different.

After 72 hours with a pile of fabric, two boxes of Rit dye, a beaded leotard, one iron-on, and a very tall stack of chick flicks, I emerged with three unique, hand-crafted, custom-made Halloween costumes. My children have never been more proud. Or more strangely dressed.

Which proves you can be whatever you want for Halloween.

Me? I’m Martha Stewart this year. Spooky, right?

Here's a picture of the "real" Avatar.

Here's a picture of the "Sport" Avatar. (Yes, we're the crazy parents who shaved our son's head for Halloween...)

Here is a picture of the "real" Robotboy (I know. I had never heard of him before either...)

Here is a picture of the "Spunk" Robotboy.

And because I don't have a picture of the "real" princess ballerina riding a Pegasus Unicorn, I present to you Sis riding a Pegasus Unicorn.