September 16, 2007

So it's all..pretending to be Fall here. We have had a few days of crisp, cool, bordering on cold weather. A few trees have even prematurely started to change colour. They are going to be so embarassed about that because next week it will be back in the 80's.
This is the season I refer to as Chaos. Every year, when Fall approaches I have this cozy sense of anticipation. The one thing I will give to living on the tundra is that the seasons are very clearly differentiated and Fall israther glorious (if you can put aside the fact that it is followed by Winter...dark, cold never-ending, soul-destroying, ugly-as-sin,  time-to-question- why -a -loving -God -would -allow such hideousness...and for so LONG....Winter)
Anyway sorry back from taking a double dose of antidepressants...where were we...ah yes....Chaos..aka Fall. Yes so anyway, this time of year I allow myself to be swept up in romantic envisagings of Fall-glorious Fall, and this Fall I am going to overcome the fact that the kitchen and I are not exactly on a first name basis. The stove, the oven and me? We're going to  BFF's. This year! Warm appley, cinnamoney things are going to burst forth in abundance from the bosom of my kitchen. Perhaps even a pumpkin-y thing or two. After apple picking we will all pour into the warm, fragrant ,sparkling clean kitchen laughing in a wholesome manner and joyfully eat the very special manifestations of the love that  the kitchen and I have developed for one another.
Of course, because hope springs eternal and at times I have trouble being a realist, this IS the way this Fall 2007 is going to be. Just like that. Totally.
But allow me to reminisce for a moment on the way that Fall/Chaos has turned out in years long past, you know... way back in 2006.
In this here Land, "Fall" (known by the rest of us as Autum) also heralds Back to School. "Oh yay!" everyone said  to me, "you must be so excited for that! Time to yourself! Peace and quiet."
No.Not so much. Summer is the mellow time. Fall is not. Between the endless volunteering invitations that I feel compelled to accept at the kids school,  digging myself out from the daily mountain of multi-coloured paper that the kids bring home and shower upon me, their homework, my homework, and of course, soccer and did I mention SOCCER, 4 children, 4 teams...many miles to travel, many windswept sidelines to shiver on..
All this added to the various other  random activities which fill my life, Fall is just chaotic.  The closest we have come to gathering around a warm oven singing popular folk tunes lately was huddling around the Burger King drive through window, united in wonder that 4 happy meals could take 12 minutes to produce with the rousing chorus of "I want my chickUN NUGGGGGGETS "swelling from a certain blue carseat.
Added to this mess, there's Mother Schizo Nature. That chick CANNOT commit. Like I say...freezing the last few days...shorts weather predicted for tomorrow. So what do we do? We go up to the attic. You know what's coming right? Time to do the seasonal clothing switch. Ah if 'twere only so crisp and simple as the name implies. This "swap" in fact involves bringing down a multitude of plastic tubs, not just one per child (because you never quite know if your child will actually for real GROW between one year and the next , or at least I don't, so we hold onto a variety of sizes.)
After digging out something more appropriate to the weather then shorts worn over tights with sandals, we can't then just be all....putting away all the summer gear back in the attic and putting the Winter stuff on the shelves!!! Of course not! No!  Why not? Because, gentle reader, it is neither Winter nor Summer. It is Chaos. Plus It's not so much fun clambering up and down the flimsy ladder into the attic so we tend to be a little retiscent about picking a season and taking our chances.
And so, this is how it comes to be that the "tubs" become a permanent feature in the corner of the bedrooms until Mother Schizo Nature gets properly medicated or whatever, and settles on a season sometime early November.  But even that sounds quite simple. What's a big ugly plastic box in the corner of the room right? Ah yes, but now imagine many small children digging in those boxes every day with flagrant disregard for season, corduroy mixing freely with cotton! And then! Throwing in a few toys and some puzzle pieces, maybe even some candy wrappers to make it all that much more interesting of a soup. And lo,behold the creation of...CHAOS. And I pronounce it Not Good.
Every October I imagine having a Halloween party at our house. All those fun and creative magazine photo spreads making wholesome snacks into graveyard scenes and such..they warm my heart and inspire me. Ghosts and ghouls, blood and gore, what could be a more special way of spending time with friends?!
Instead, every October 31st my house is not warm and fragrant sparkling clean and tastefully decorated in Graveyard Chic as I so fondly imagined it would be. This is how it looks instead....let's take a tour shall we?
When you walk through the door you will find  an entry way scattered with bits of dried and yet to be raked leaves, possibly mixed with bits of candy wrappers from where small children have fallen to their knees after crossing the threshold and commenced a sugary feeding frenzy from the spoils of one of the million of Halloween themed parties/events/parades/early trick or treating opportunities that occur at this time of year.
Walking into the kitchen you will find the mind blowingly messy vestiges of some sort of scary and creative snack which I have prepared en masse for some class party. To my credit these at least usually turn out quite successful-however they tend to the belie the hours of angst that went into them and the fallout they leave in my poor kitchen (not to mention my pscyhe). Because I always seem to be the person organizing said class party, I usually only roll home at around 4:30pm on Halloween if you will look to the right, you will see that my "craft...sewing...miscellaneous junk" cabinet is torn apart from the panicked search for ingredients needed for the frantically assembled /repaired last minute costume parts and accessories.
Walk into the dining room with me won't you? Upon the table you will find the uncleared remains of the hastily consumed pre Trick or Treating dinner. If I'm having a particularly good year, these may include something roughly resembling food (usually thanks to Aaron). If not, it will be fake food of some type and the smell of cold and stale French fries will assault you. Cozy.
And then of course upstairs the plastic tubs will be projectile vomiting their clothing/toy soup all over the bedrooms.
But not this year folks, this year we will have a simple yet nourishing meal of warm pumpkin soup (using the pumpkin carved out of the Jack o' Lanterns of course, with crusty bread (no not homemade! I may be delusional but I'm not suicidal).
We will be able to take a picture of everyone in costume in the living room without kicking various debris out of the frame first.  The kitchen will be clean before we leave! It's going to be spectacular in it's homey, Autumnal coziness. (Note, the idea of the party has lost some of it's lustre...age has made me ever so slighly more realistic).  I have no idea how this will all come about since this year I will be involved with 3 Class Halloween parties (at the same time) but I'll find a way. I'm kicking my competitive spirit into high gear and taking this on as a challenge.
I always find Halloween to be an endurance event, rivaling  the most arduous of any athletic pursuit I have ever engaged in, but this year I tell you...I'm going for the Gold. The Harvest Gold.
Chaos Through the Ages
Oct 31, 2006 Taken at the last moment in my friend Amy's pristine kitchen. My kids demonstrate how much children relish being asked to pose as everyone else is running out the door to Trick or Treat.
Oct 31, 2005 Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and the Crocodile in NeverEnding Chaos land.
October 31, 2004 Princess, Dinosaur, Power Ranger, Clown. We moved the next day (as per tradition). Things were fairly chaotic. Note the handprint festooned glass door behind Finny's head
October 31, 2003 Scooby Doo, Spider Man and Alice in Wonderland. Alice and Scooby are sicker then dogs, we move across the country a few days later. Total (may I say Freaking?..) Chaos.
October 31, 2002 Gracie's first Halloween. We moved the next day. So much chaos that the computer crashed and lost any other photos of this occasion.
October 31,2001  We did not move the next day. There may not have been chaos. Although, I was pregnant so there probably was.  Actually now that I think about it, there was.  This was the first year I started helping with school Halloween parties you see...
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You can come over to my place and I will make apple crisp and pumpkin bars.
Posted by: Julie | September 16, 2007 at 05:58 PM

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