Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Mom and Halloween

I've never been big into Halloween. I was a very bookish kid and I was definitely never the type of boy who liked snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails, so to speak. I didn't like getting messy, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" gave me night terrors, and anything remotely related to horror made me nauseous (I'm not joking).

When Halloween season came around I took to the more light-hearted, cartoonish side to it. My mom was a certified genius when it came to costume making. One year I went as Johnny 5 from the movie "Short Circut" and she managed to pull this off. She made the large metal tread-like wheels for my legs from the lids to copy paper boxes and glued HUNDREDS of popsicle sticks to them for the "treads" one at a time. Having to buy a costume was like admitting defeat for her. I only ever remember wearing one store bought costume in my whole childhood and it was as a Power Ranger in the first grade.

Other things I went as include a gay space man (it was a character that I invented and she brought to life in and EXTREMELY flamboyant, bedazzled fashion), Superman (which she bought a Superman costume JUST to cut the emblem off of it so she could put it on her home made outfit made of sweat clothes and quality fabrics so I wouldn't have to wear a coat over my costume, per my request), Ash Ketchum from Pokemon (this was rather boring for her but she made my brother Picachu) and finally a computer. Yes, an entire computer.

The Gay Spaceman

Dowl rods in the spangly gold cape to make it extend like wings when I lifted it, a modified and bedazzled Robo-Cop helmet, and (you can't really tell from the photo) gold, bedazzled boots.

Then there was the computer. The mother of all Halloween costumes to ever be created. I went to my mother and told her that I wanted to be a computer for Halloween and without questions she created this.

That is a REAL mouse Velcroed to the side of the apparatus and a REAL keyboard sticking out of the front. This all would probably have been fine but she did not stop there. What you can't really tell from this photo is that those colorful "CPU" lights in the front have actual, working lights in them. My mother started by buying a set of battery powered, decorative Halloween lights from the dollar store. It was a short string of Christmas-style lights with small plastic pumpkins over the bulbs, attached to a small battery pack. I suppose it was probably designed to put on an office desk or in a window. Mom pulled the pumpkins off of each bulb and fastened the string inside the large box behind colored cellophane. She taped the battery pack with the switch on it inside the box by the bottom where I could turn it on and off with my hand. In short, she wired it so that my chest actually lit up while I was trick-or-treating.

The point of these anecdotes is this: my mom worked full time, every day. She's damn good at her job and has done it for a lot of years. Her work didn't always stop the second her key hit the door either, she spent a lot of nights working from home after a day of working in the office. She never stopped being incredible at her job but that NEVER stopped her from being an amazing mom.

My mom never missed a sporting event I was in, she led my den in cub scouts, we went camping and on family vacations, I never wanted for a single thing in my whole life, and believe me, I wasn't always the greatest kid in the world. I was sick as a kid, and it made me a wholly terror a lot of the time.

There are a lot of stay at home moms and even certain organizations who think that if a woman works, she can't be a real parent to her children. To those people I have to say, quite frankly... suck it.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Camping in Roscommon

This past weekend, my wife and I went on a wonderful weekend camping trip to Roscommon, MI where we went kayaking, walking, roasted marshmallows, drank rum and beer by a warm fire, and slept in a tiny cabin watching DVD's on a portable player.

Neither of us had ever been kayaking before, apart from Loren when she was about 9, so it was an adventure to say the least. We dressed in multiple layers and took it slow and we both managed to have a really great time.

Loren even managed to have a great time despite the fact that she was consumed with fear about tipping over and drowning in the 3 feet of water at any moment.

The trees in that part of the state where at their peak for color changing and the scenes we saw were immaculate and picturesque. Beautiful explosions of golden leaves everywhere you looked with perfectly constructed houses perched along side the river peering down over it. We saw ducks and deer and felt the cold water rush past our kayak and it was paradise to me.

We came back to our campground and had a campfire where we roasted marshmallows, made smores, drank beer and rum, and laughed together as the sun set over the Au Sable. It was gorgeous. We ate lunch that day as a diner in town called "Angel's Place" that served some of the most amazing home cooked food I've ever eaten and for dinner I had a steak at Fred's, a restaurant slash bowling alley that was amazing.

After all this we piled into our tiny heated cabin where we played board games and watched movies on a portable player until we drifted off. Best weekend that I have had in quite some time. I know that it's only been 4 months of fatherhood but I still feel like a break to remind me why I married the woman I love is important. Something to break up the day to day of cleaning, cooking, homework, diapers, crying. This is DEFINITELY something that we will be doing again, most certainly with Lyric when she's old enough to come along.