Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin, Take Two

Ok, so that didn't happen. The beginning of the baking, I mean. Despite my careful planning, the inventorying of the necessary ingredients and the liberal application of the mental coaching required to get the baking juices flowing, I neglected to factor in one very important thing when coordinating The Start of the Holiday Baking Extravaganza: the fact that I had a fundraising dinner to attend and would be unavailable to, you know...bake.

Ingredients and motivation are important; physical presence is crucial.

Sooo...I carefully checked my social calendar and I find myself completely available to begin the Extravaganza tonight. Barring that pesty exhaustion thing, obviously. Oh! And the possibility that I planned something else and forgot to write in in the social calendar.

As an aside, the Old Timers disease does run in my family.

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

Or, you know, the holiday baking, same diff.

So, yeah, I'm starting my baking this evening and, before you say that it is too early to start baking for Christmas, allow me to remind you that I traditionally make eight varieties of cookies, two types of sweet breads (not to be confused with sweetbreads and four or five varieties of candy, so; the earlier I start, the earlier I finish (I know, like, duh).

Tonight, the madness begins with chewy gingerbread cookies and a couple of varieties of fudge. Assuming I don't fall asleep on the couch, that is. Which? All bets are off because, lately, I am tired, like, all the time.

I Blame the exhaustion on old age, which is appropriate, since I gained that new year, yesterday. I also gained a Cricut Imagine, however so; no complaints, here. Also, my family rocks the gift giving. Now, I just have to shake the exhaustion long enough to learn how to use the Imagine.

Obviously, I'll do that while the cookies are baking. Because I clearly know how to party.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Year Older, 100% More Morbid

My Christmas cards are on order, following another epic battle for the perfect picture; this particular battle took a good year off my life, easily.

That's ok, though, because today is my birthday so; I get a new year. I mean, that's how that works, right? I gain a year? That's why they add up, right? That's actually sort of backwards, if you think about it; one year older is technically one year closer to death; shouldn't we count backwards?

Have a coffee and discuss.

Or, look at some pretty pictures and forget that I just connected my birthday with my mortality; that's what I'm going to do.

Sit still, the sooner she gets a good picture, the sooner this is over and I can go back to texting my boyfriend.

Stop pinching my nipple. I can do this alllll day; I don't have a boyfriend to text and the Bronco game doesn't start til two.

Do you think she'll notice that I am sticking a lightbulb up my nose? Crap, she noticed.

I did not sign up for a family that inflicts such abuse. I do, however, up the cuteness quotient of this photo session, exponentially.

See how much easier it would be if you would just feature ME on the card? Really, Motherrrr.

Friday, November 25, 2011

They Call it Stuffing For a Reason

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I would have posted earlier but I was busy recovering from a turkey coma, battling the crowds on Black Friday and decorating my front porch for Christmas; I've been busy, is what I'm saying.

Let's start with that turkey coma; caused by possibly the best damn turkey I have ever cooked. Actually, I"m blowing my own horn a bit here but; the entire meal was fabulous, representing my very best efforts to date. As I said, the turkey was absolute perfection, the gravy was easily the best that I have ever made (no lumps, right consistency, perfect flavor), my cranberry sauce was tart yet sweet, tangy but ending in a nice finish on the tongue (could have been the wine I substituted for cranberry juice, you know, maybe) and, to top it all off; everything came out of the oven and was on the table at the same time, that like, totally messes with the space/time continuum but; there it was.

"This is possibly the best looking turkey I have ever seen". Damn right, husband. Damn right.

Today, The Teenager and I braved the mall in Neighboring City. We didn't do any of that crazy-ass shopping at midnight crap, opting to get up at (the still unGodly hour of) 5:30 to make the drive. Happily, because so many crazy-ass people did do that shopping at midnight crap; The Teenager and I were able to shop in relative peace, grabbing fairly good bargains without ever once feeling the need to pepper spray our fellow shoppers.

Once we got home I set about decking the porch for Christmas and I am happy to say that the chore is complete. Hugh brought the tree down from the attic and, as I type this, we are waiting for him to set it up. We won't actually decorate it until tomorrow, however; I am exhausted from all the cooking, shopping and decorating and just want to eat my third helping of leftovers, heft my butt up the stairs and fall into yet another turkey coma. This time, though, I'll have to blame the stuffing.

 Why yes, Finnigan did enjoy his first Thanksgiving; thank you for asking.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Just Had My Way With a Turkey

This year's organic free range sacrifice to the masses, also known as my Thanksgiving turkey, arrived Saturday. This morning, I removed the neck and giblet sack from his body cavities to simmer on the stove top for broth for my stuffing. I'm not sure how the turkey felt about having his personal space invaded like that but I'm really looking forward to that stuffing.

Last night, the Man-Cub and I baked the small sugar pumpkins for our pumpkin pie, which we will bake this evening while the above-mentioned turkey innards simmer away next to a saucepan of homemade cranberry sauce.

While all that delicious simmering and baking takes place, the Man-Cub and I are going to start on my village; I want it up before tomorrow so that I can concentrate on the turkey and the tree; the holiday spirit having finally invaded my soul, much like my fist invaded that poor turkey's nether-regions.

Tomorrow, we are having Oscar and Emily over for Thanksgiving dinner after which the pre-Christmas preparations will really get underway; The Teenager thinks that we should start our Black Friday shopping at midnight, when a majority of stores open for holiday business. This idea makes me frowny as I believe that 5:00 on Friday morning is plenty early for Black Friday shopping. Of course, the mere thought of shopping that day makes me frowny, whatever the ungodly hour involved, because, really; whatever happened to leisurely hitting the stores at 9:00 or 10:00? Did that go out of style along with cave drawings and wheel inventing? The Teenager thinks so.

So, you can imagine her confusion when I attempt to explain to her that stores used to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin their Christmas advertising, decorating, etc. Christmas carols never played on the radio before then, and; television specials featuring flying reindeer and snowmen that came alive were unseen until December 1st.

I miss the good old days.

Not enough to wait until December 1st to put up my tree, of course, just; in general.  And, now I'm off to plunge Tom Turkey into an ice-cold brine bath where he will spend the next twenty-four hours, marinating for a juicy finale.

Yeah, like that's the worst thing that has happened to him, today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Kardashians Should Take Note

My parents celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary, today. That's like ten million in dog years and something to be proud of, for sure.

I know I'm proud of them; not too many people marry right out of high school and are able to weather the many storms that life throws at them. Not very many couples can survive raising three daughters, what with all the eye-rolling, temper tantrums, histrionics and blatant shows of disrespect (and that was just my older sister, ba, dum, dum. Thank you; I'll be here all week) but; my parents did it. They raised us to be decent and productive and, most of all; to be grateful for the sacrifices that they made in order to see that happen.

My parents set an example of what marriage should look like, every day; they laugh together. They argue and then they kiss and make up. They forgive each other and they accept the blame for each of their own short-comings (few and far between, in my estimation). They accept each other for who they are, encourage each other to strive for their personal best and, they show real affection for one an other.

When I was in high school, I was mortified by their occasional need to chase each other through the house for a kiss; I mean, good lord,I had friends over, what would they think? Now, I know; they thought I was lucky.

And, I was.

 I am.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both with all my heart; thank you for teaching me how.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Darn Update

We were fortunate to have my parents visit this weekend; Dad is just a few weeks past shoulder surgery and I am amazed at how well he is doing. Actually, considering that he also had surgery on his neck back in August; I am doubly amazed and; was really happy to have them here.

They made the trip primarily to watch the Man-Cub play basketball, which he did on Thursday and Saturday but, while they were here, we also attended a jewelry store open house (well, Mom did, Dad's not so much into the jewelry open houses, who knew?) and my woman's club's annual holiday festival.

The Cub's team won three-out-of-four games and, aside from my Dad wanting to thump the coach on the head for not playing his grandson more; I think he and Mom had a good time. Plus, they got to see the Fearsome Foursome in action and, look at that; I finally got them all to hold still for a picture.

Well, mostly still...

Darn teenagers.

Friday night's holiday festival went well; it was the first time my parents had been here to attend so, I was hoping for a good turnout and the community did not disappoint. Unfortunately, my centerpiece was not the top-grossing centerpiece this year which is fine with me since my mother was the winning bidder on it despite my protestations that I could have made her the same centerpiece for far less than she spent on it.

Darn senior citizens.

Anyway, it was a nice visit and, as always, we were sorry to see them go. In an effort to salve our disappointment, The Teenager and I accompanied Jana and Kaley to the matinee showing of Breaking Dawn, yesterday. The movie followed the book fairly well and the scenes that you would expect to be gory certainly did not disappoint (as an aside, remind me never to give birth to a half-vampire demon spawn; that shit looks painful). Now, of course, we have to wait an entire year for Part Two to finish off the saga.

Darn movie studio executives.

Hey, at least I have the rush to Christmas to occupy my time and, according to everything I am seeing on television, the rush is definitely on. Time to break out the cookie sheets and sprinkles.

Darn sweet tooth.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is Going to be Awesome. Or, Slightly Awful. Coin Toss!

Last year, The Teenager played volleyball on a competitive traveling team and she loved it. Although her teammates attended high school in Hooterville instead of here in Petticoat Junction; she fit right in and even made some pretty good friends. Unfortunately, because the team was based in Hooterville, we had to make the drive into town twice a week for practices which, was sort of inconvenient, so; you can imagine my delight when, this year, The Teenager was invited to play for a competitive team being organized here in Petticoat Junction.

No more trips into town. No more finding something to do for two hours while The Teenager practiced (because I was too cheap to drive back and forth, twice). No more worrying that The Teenager was missing out on unofficial team-building activities held during school hours. It's all good, right?

Well, maybeee...unfortunately, the coach of the local team is not someone that we know well and, what we have been told, has been somewhat, well...not negative, but; worrisome enough to cause me some reservations. Not enough to keep the girl from playing, obviously, just enough to make me wonder if the experience this year will be as positive as the experience last year.

On the other hand, since I really have no first-hand knowledge of the coach, I'm going to refrain from making any judgments and just see how it goes. And, I get to start, today, at a meeting to discuss the fundraisers planned by the club. So far, I've heard rumblings about Pampered Chef sales and a three-on-three volleyball tournament; both ideas that I can get behind because I think they will be more popular than the coffee sales fundraiser done by last year's club.

Also, since last year's club was coached by the Hooterville High volleyball coach, preference was given to the girls who actually attended the school, meaning, not my daughter so; with any luck, this year she will see more play-time, even if the coach does get on our nerves and, here in the adult world, we call that compromise.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To Decorate or Not to Decorate, That is the Question

Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow; how did that happen? I'm usually so much better about my holiday planning but turkey day snuck up on me like a mugger in an alley in a bad part of town. Luckily, I did pre-order my turkey which should be delivered early in the week but, otherwise; my planning is way behind.

This does not bode well for Christmas, me thinks.

Also, since we are planning to be in Mayberry for Christmas, I am debating the merits of actually decorating our house or in going all out on the holiday baking. On one hand, it's Christmas; I have to go balls-to-the-wall, it's what I do. On the other hand, balls-to-the-wall takes a lot of energy. And, time. And, willpower not to eat all of the cookie batter before it becomes actual cookies and; to say that I am lacking in willpower lately would be a vast understatement.

We will set up the tree, regardless of whether or not I do anything else, of course. And, the village has to go up, I mean, that's just tradition. Oh, and the porch tree; the neighbors have come to expect the outside of the house to be festive and I wouldn't want to let the neighborhood down. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm doing Christmas like I always do despite my laziness and despite the fact that I'm pretty sure Finnigan will manage to destroy just about every decoration he can possibly get his paws on.

I suppose I should mentally prepare myself for that, right now.

And, I suppose that answers the question of whether or not I am decorating this year; someone get the tinsel.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We All Go Through Phases

I'm afraid Finnigan has entered the Terrible Two's, or the kitten equivilant of them, anyway. Lately, his favorite pastime is stalking us, ninja-like, before leaping out and trying to trip us. If he should happen to succeed, he then proceeds to gnaw on the closest body part, sinking his claws in for good measure. We are currently administering a spray of water from a bottle to discipline him, it works about as well as one might imagine spraying a toddler with water would work which is to say; not at all.

Here's hoping it's just a phase.

In other news, Jana and I attended a play at the local community theater Friday night. The play, The Dixie Swim Club, is about five college friends who meet every year at a beachside cottage and it follows their friendship through thirty-some years. It was hilarious and heartbreaking and made me miss The Girls quite badly which is probably why I found myself in the bathtub with a glass of wine two-out-of-three nights of the weekend. I'm sure that was just a phase, too.

Speaking of the weekend, Hugh was working a security and the kids were busy conducting their social lives so; in addition to defending myself from stealth kitten attacks and weeping into my bubble bath, I also managed to do quite a bit of scrapbooking and can now proudly announce that The Teenager's book is less than a year behind. The Man-Cub's book, however, still lags an abysmal three years behind so; there is still much work to be done.

As an aside, boy did I have some cute kids; I realized this tidbit while looking back over their older scrapbooks, hoping for inspiration to spark my creativity. They were cute, indeed and, in the Man-Cub's case, ornery, as evidenced by the pages dedicated to self-inflicted haircuts, broken bones, inappropriate crayon artwork incidents and the random picture wherein the child decided to forego clothing in exchange for Buzz Lightyear underwear and a cowboy hat; I think he was in his Terrible Twos at the time, but; at least he didn't lie in wait for an opportunity to gnaw on our ankles. You know, that I can remember.

Friday, November 11, 2011

News Flash: Teenage Boys Smell Really, Really Bad

While waiting for the Man-Cub's basketball game to start yesterday, the Fearsome Foursome managed to disperse the fans from an entire section of the bleachers just by taking off their shoes. There was an actual green cloud emanating from their feet, I swear. Gagging ensued.

The boys thought the whole thing was hilarious, of course, which led the father of one of them to lean over to me and declare his shock at the fact that teenage girls actually like these boys; how does that happen? I told him that it is clearly a case of hormones over-riding the sense of smell and that, if that didn't happen, our species would die out.

That can be the only explanation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Think We Can Safely Lower the Threat Level

According to my StatCounter, someone from the Department of Homeland Security visited my blog yesterday. I'm guessing it was a bored employee searching for pictures of Ryan Reynolds' ass since, also according to my StatCounter; that is what most people are searching for when they land here.

Or, it could have been a frantic parent, searching for Toothfairy letterhead which is also a very popular search of this blog. I'm torn between hoping for that and hoping for the ass search since I would feel a bit more secure if the people charged with defending our whole country from terrorists were also capable of remembering to put two dollars under their kid's pillow.

No judgement, of course, I mean; I created that letterhead for a reason, after all, and; one could argue that defending the country is a titch more important than remebering to do one's Toothfairy duties but, still.

Actual reciept  from the Great Tooth Buy-Back debacle of 2003

And, you know, Ryan Reynolds' ass is smokin' hot. Probably not a threat to national security or anything but, yeah, hot.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

There's a Tickle in my Throat and I Don't Think That's Funny

I am incubating my first cold of the winter season which makes perfect sense because, yesterday, I renewed my gym membership; I always get sick just as I rededicate myself to my health and fitness. It's a conspiracy, I'm certain.

Thankfully, I am sleeping quite well. The secret appears to be having a small, warm, purring machine tucked under my chin which, is Finnigan's favorite place to sleep. In the morning, when the alarm sounds, he shows his approval of the snooze button by patting my face with his paw each time I hit it, then; he purrs us both back to sleep for another nine minutes. Awesome.

Also awesome; pomegranates are in season and relatively affordable (10 for $10 at my local supermarket). The Teenager and I have been eating one a day for the past several days and I'm sure the antioxidants can only serve to diminish the severity of this cold. Also, they are delicious and fun to eat, despite what Hugh  and the Man-Cub think (they are not fans of the pomegranate).

In unrelated news, I made my first Christmas purchase, yesterday. I am on track to finish my shopping before Thanksgiving, allowing me to enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas, as is always my goal. This year, we are headed to Mayberry to celebrate the holiday with my family and I am very much looking forward to it.

 In the meantime, The Hallmark Channel has already started showing holiday programs on the weekend, in fact; I spent a couple of hours on Sunday, working on scrapbooks while watching A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion. At one point, The Teenager and her girlfriends came into the room and asked me what I was watching and it took every bit of my self-control not to cry when they asked me who the Waltons were.

 That, right there, is the problem with today's youth.

Goodnight, John-Boy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I'm a Believer

Not to be confused with a belieber because; I can't stand that kid.

Nooo, I'm a believer in salon quality hair dye. Because, I'm one day short of a week in and I've noticed not one bit of fading nor have my roots made a reappearance which, with store dye; they totally would have, by now. And, please, oh, please, oh, please, Gods of Hair Dye; don't strike me down with gray roots for saying this, but; I'm pretty sure I will be cancelling next week's appointment for a do-over.

I mean it, GOHD, please don't strike me down.

In less vain news, I was informed today that I am in charge of decor at the gala being planned by our local Community Foundation. The gala is in February and I am envisioning a wintry color palette, shimmering snowflakes suspended from the ceiling, arches constructed of birch branches, dripping with crystal accents and cool metallic flourishes. I know; I have no idea why I was volunteered for this job, either.

Speaking of decorating; my woman's club annual Festival of Trees is a week from Friday. I decorated a centerpiece again this year and, because we were having a hard time finding decorators for several other items; I did a wreath as well. I'm pretty happy with both items and am hoping that one, or both, of them will come in with the highest bid of the evening (in each of their respective categories) since I had the highest-grossing centerpiece two years running and don't want to ruin my streak.

And, speaking of streaks (Smooth Segue Train is leaving the station in three, two, one...), have I mentioned how much I like my new haircolor? Yes? Just checking.

Monday, November 07, 2011

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

My weekend went exactly as planned; scrapbooking, reading, movie viewing and relaxing. The same could not be said of my husband's weekend, however; he and the Man-Cub went hunting yesterday and found themselves stranded in the foothills when Hugh's truck refused to start. Luckily, they were hunting with friends so Hugh sent the Cub home with one of them while he stayed behind until a tow truck could arrive, otherwise, I'm pretty sure my relaxing weekend would have turned into butt-clench misery faster than you can say "broken fuel pump".

As it was, Hugh finally made it home at about 1:00 this morning. He did manage to get a cell signal (by standing on the roof of the truck and holding the phone high over head, Say Anything style) so, I was in the loop and knew not to worry. Hugh certainly wasn't worried; while he waited for the tow truck, he built up a nice fire and cooked a couple of steaks from the deer that his friend had managed to kill that day; it was quite the moonlight picnic, I'm sure. Also, have I ever mentioned that he is an Eagle Scout?

Actually, I think the Man-Cub was the most worried out of any of us; he really didn't like leaving his father alone on that mountain.

Anyway, as I said, the remainder of the weekend was delightfully relaxing and ultimately productive. I caught The Teenager's scrapbook up to 2010 while supervising what turned out to be the loudest giggle-fest slumber party in household history (Note to self: certain teenagers + sugar + scary movies = a late and loud night) and did some socializing of my own at the purse party held at a friend's house.

Today, I'm continuing the relaxation theme with a massage. Granted, I have to work first but, the massage should work out all the kinks and I should be completely blissed out for the rest of the day. Of course, now that I've said that, Murphy will turn my day to shit, somehow.

But, let's hope not.

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Weekend Without Obligations, Whatever Shall I Do?

Any damn thing I want.

Seriously, though, I can't even remember the last time I had a free weekend but I'm guessing that I spent it cleaning the house. Not this weekend, though, instead; I fully intend to take advantage of my free time by catching up on my Kindle downloads, Netflix queue, and scrapbooks; all of which have been terribly neglected of late.

I also plan to treat myself to an OPIcure, to pluck my eyebrows and to revel in my still-brunette hair (Look, ma; no roots! Two days in! Can I get a woot-woot!). And, while The Teenager does have a houseful of girls scheduled to spend the night tomorrow, I don't plan on doing more for the slumber party than tossing a few pizzas in the oven, popping some popcorn (I might even break out the old fashioned popcorn popper, you know, for the second time, ever) and occassionaly venturing dowstairs to ascertain that the movie selection is appropriate for its' audience. Otherwise, I plan to take a nice hot soak in the tub with my iPod and a nice glass of wine.

On Sunday, Jana and I are meeting up with one of the Porch Ladies to carpool to a purse party and, by Sunday evening, I should be blissed out with all the relaxation. God willing.

Speaking of being blissed out...

Finn is as relaxed as a kitten can be. Probably because he got himself a piece of tail...

Rowdie, as you might imagine, was somewhat less than impressed (Also, second porniest blog post, evah!).

There is no dignity in this.

On a completely different topic, the Man-Cub's basketball team lost another close game, yesterday. The score was back-and-forth for the entire game and came down to the last seconds which, makes for an extremely exciting game. My nerves are still all tangled up, however. Hey, good thing I'm going to be doing all that relaxing this weekend, huh?

 Three-out-of-four of the Fearsome Foursome, in uniform, even. I'm getting closer.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

I Am Cautiously Optimistic

I realized something about myself at the hair salon, yesterday; I like having someone else do the heavy lifting involved in dying my roots. I was afraid that might happen.

Not only did I not have to engage in the mental and physical gymnastics required to see the back of my head (Mirror in the left hand, dye wand in the right, comb clenched between the teeth, rotate to the left, rotate to the right, wait, everything is backwards in the mirror, or is it? Do the reflections in two mirrors cancel each other out? Wait! Is that my hand? Oh, shit, glob of dye on the counter top! Kill me! Kill me, now!) but; I got to sit in a comfortable chair and to read a magazine.

Which, by the way, Kim Kardashian? My new dye job will last longer than that marriage did. Um, I hope.

On the off-chance (according to my new best friend, otherwise known as my hairdresser) that the dye job starts to fade in the next week (like it ALWAYS does), I have an appointment to return to the salon for Round Two. New BFF believes with her whole heart that I will cancel that appointment, so pleased will I be with the longevity of the new color. I am less convinced but, I chalk that up to Hair Dye PTSD and am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I do have to say, today, the color is gorgeous. I would post a picture but; I didn't shower for fear of washing out even a smidgen of the color. Maybe tomorrow.

But, probably not.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Organized Disorganization. That's How I Roll

Yesterday, I gathered up all of my Halloween decorations and stored them away for another year. While I was in the attic, storing the boxes, I got a wild hair to organize and now my holiday boxes are in pristine order; I even sorted through ten years of Halloween costumes, bagging and tagging as I went and, people? We have a lot of really cute costumes. You know, if you're ever in need or anything. Anyway, this.. now neatly stored away and Thanksgiving decor has taken over the house.

While I was in an organizational mood, I rearranged the furniture on the porch in anticipation of Christmas decorations (Ugg, I said the C word before Thanksgiving! Forty lashes!). I was amazed at how warm it was outside, then, this morning; I woke up to an inch of snow. After forty-some years as a resident of Colorado, you would think I would have learned that a snowstorm is generally preceded by a warm front but, you know, I'm special that way (Or, as one of my Southern friends would say, "Oh, bless your heart").

In kitten news, Finnigan went in for his first shots, today. He was a trooper through the process and the vet couldn't believe what a love-bug he was, considering that she had just stuck him with a needle, shoved a thermometer up his butt and squirted foul-tasting liquid down his throat (Porniest blog post, evah!).

Later today, I am visiting the salon to have my roots professionally dyed. I have low expectations given how stubborn my gray is but, fingers crossed, anyway. Also, if I drop a bundle of cash on this process and I'm sporting granny-hair again by this time next week, I may have to picket. Who, what or where, I have no idea but; everyone else in the country is protesting something so I might as well get myself a cause.

Down with prematurely gray hair!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

No, not that friend...

You don't realize how lucky you are to have good friends until those friends spend their Halloween helping you scare the beejeezus out of small children. Thankfully, I have very good friends.

Yes, this friend

Hugh spent several hours yesterday, setting up his haunted porch for the neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters.

It would have taken him even longer and he would have been up past midnight tearing it down had it not been for Chris helping him. Plus, he wouldn't have had a "scare buddy" with whom to terrify the children and; that would have been most unfortunate.

The Man-Cub is also lucky to have good friends and, while not all of the Fearsome Foursome were available  to join him, Mikey was. Combine those two with Darren and the result was a rambunctious and awesome scare team for which, we were quite grateful.

The Teenager and Kaley spent the majority of their time laughing at The Teenager's boyfriend who, along with three of his good friends, spent the majority of the evening trading masks and "haunting" locations on the porch. They were super good sports and we appreciated not only the help they provided but the large bowl of candy that one of their mothers contributed for the cause; I couldn't have fended off the Trick-or-Treaters without it as I was already running low on candy by 7:00.

I'm sorry, we are out of treats; would you care for a bone? Wait, come back!

We finally pulled the plug on the fog machine around 9:30 despite the fact that there were still a few stragglers roaming the neighborhood. Then, following an inventory of the cupcakes and caramel apples eaten by the teenagers; declared Haunted Porch 2011 a complete and total success.

And we really could not have done it without our friends.