Jack Attack

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A few things have changed since my last blog post, which was over a year and a half ago. I ordered HelloFresh, Stitch Fix, and Birchbox subscriptions; I gained and lost 30 lbs; and last week I got a new bathing suit, complete with a forgiving ruching across the front, a little skirt, and ample ahem support.

I had a baby. It’s a boy.

The midwife said I was an excellent pusher – I was at once both intensely proud of myself and thought wildly, I bet she says that to all the girls. However, in barely 20 minutes I pushed my baby boy out to meet the world, pulled him up onto my chest, and became a mother. Months of anxiety, stress-eating, insomnia, restless legs, carpel tunnel, and amazon-shopping came to an end and, for a few short minutes, were covered over by that red, wailing, wrinkly beauty that my husband and I named Jack.

Being pregnant became sort of an obsessive thing for me. Before I knew I was expecting I symptom-spotted constantly – even informing my mother at one point that a runny nose was an early sign of pregnancy. Later, in the second trimester I became overly anxious about what I ate [now that food was actually appetizing again] and would sit in the evening on the couch, frantically googling what I’d just eaten in order to make sure that it was ok for the baby. In hindsight I probably had some pregnancy-related anxiety, but I guess I’m symptom-spotting again.

In the days leading up to giving birth (which happened a week before my due date) I did not get the nesting instinct that people talk about (thankfully my husband got it and built the crib, changing table, and set up the car seat). Instead, the day before I went into labor, I watched 3 seasons of Sherlock and ate pecans dipped in salted caramel for dinner. For breakfast, while my contractions were about 3 minutes apart and quickly approaching the “table grippers” my midwife told me to look out for, I ate a cinnamon roll. Jack does not seem to have been adversely affected by my ill-advised pregnancy cravings.

I had two lovely baby showers and received lots of beautiful gifts. Why do babies grow out of their most adorable clothes the quickest? I waited for months for Jack to fit into some adorable patch-work overalls we’d been given. He wore them once, promptly spit-up, and had outgrown them by the time they’d gone through the washer and dryer.

I’m currently sitting in my gliding chair surrounded by a nursing pillow, a floor jungle gym, a book titled LMNO Peas, a jump-a-roo, a video baby monitor, and a dying plant, with spit-up on my shirt and the tv turned down too low so as to not wake the baby. Babies involve a lot of life-changes, but I didn’t realize how multi-colored my living room décor would become.

I took six weeks of maternity leave and, since my time seemed so short, I would snuggle Jack during naps and would only lay him in his bassinet at night. Just last week, since I’m on summer vacation now, I started to teach him to nap in his crib. This involves a lot of humming (whatever tune pops into my head in my hurry to get him back to sleep before he wakes up too much) and rocking. I tried to let him “cry it out” – but I think he has inherited my stubbornness, and all that ended up happening was he just skipped that nap. But, now that he is sleeping in his crib during the day, he has stopped sleeping at night. They say that I should sleep when the baby sleeps, but then when would I cook, clean, shower, do laundry, and watch HGTV?

Baby Jack has innumerable adorable traits. The most adorable, I think, is when he smiles really big, so so big that he pushes his chin in tight [creating multiple chins], shows his two little teeth, and pushes his belly up in glee, all while making a fuzzy sort of excited growl. He is especially excited when his daddy comes home from work. He also recently started planking and, when he really wants to, lunging at his toys across the floor. He can almost sit up and enjoys trying to grab at our food while we’re eating. We might try sweet potato next week.

Remember when I mentioned that Jack has stopped sleeping properly at night since he started napping in his bed? Well – progress has been made – in the process of writing this blog post, I’ve only had to hum three renditions of “God Bless America”, two run-throughs of the Welsh national anthem, and one excerpt from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

 

 

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The Sun Spoke…

I crawled through the dark tunnel, careful to keep in my group of four, snagging my green tights on something that stuck out from the carpet. It was very dark. I couldn’t see where my hands were touching the floor. I emerged into a dim bubble of gray. I fought the rising claustrophobia as I heard someone near me cough and splutter. I looked for a safe place to sit.

The sun spoke to me. Venus and Mars had a school-yard fight about who was better. A laser-pointer narrowly missed my eyes.

A few days ago I was, in fact, not on drugs, but attending a presentation by a planetarium at school. There was a bouncy-house-esque bubble in the gym. I went in with my K-2 classes to the bubble to see a presentation on the planets. There are several pieces of equipment that I would have appreciated the opportunity to bring with me into the planetarium. One such item would have been a night-light. Crawling into the bubble was dark and confusing. I’m surprised that the kindergarteners managed it without breaking into a cold sweat. I’m surprised that I managed to do it with only a cold sweat. A little glow-in-the-dark night-light would have made a huge difference to my comfort while going into the planetarium.

A second item that would have brought me peace within the planetarium was a facemask to block out all the germs. As time went on the air in the planetarium became heavy and hot. I could practically sense the germs from 70 little ones settling into my body and beginning to grow into a stomach-flu monster. In my mind, at that time, the stomach-flu monster looked an awful lot like the presenter’s rendition of Mars – hot and swirly.

Speaking of monsters, the sun introduced us to all of the planets. Along with the increasing sense of an oncoming fever, the disorientation of sitting in a dark bubble, and a strange sensation that sound seemed to come from anywhere except where it was actually originating, I started to feel a little dizzy. When Jupiter opened his mouth to swallow us whole I started to wonder if I wasn’t just making the whole thing up in my head as some sort of pre-vacation mental breakdown.

But no, it was very, very real.

Adding to my increasing disorientation was the realization that the children were in no way disturbed by any of this. They had no concept that the sun should not be talking to us, nor that it was ludicrous for Venus to carry a parasol. They did not mind that they were baking in an oven of bacteria, and neither did they hesitate when asked to crawl into a dark hole.

After the presentation was over I had a discussion with a co-worker who had been fascinated by the display and was overcome with a sense of smallness in comparison with the stunning display of God’s heavenly handiwork. Perhaps if I had worn a facemask I would have noticed these things, but instead I focused on the slow introduction of laryngitis into my system.

The children learned wonderful things about the stars that roam the heavens. I learned that next time the planetarium comes to town that I will provide my own mask, night-light, and take some preemptive Vitamin C.

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Teaching Tactics

Now that we are back to school I thought it was about time I wrote something again. I meant to write over the summer. But, you know how it goes. I could have told you how I binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy or killed my hanging baskets, but that would have been embarrassing. I like talking about work, that way you’ll all think I accomplish things.

Throughout the course of my job I sometimes wake up and find myself saying the strangest things. Yesterday I was working with a group of first grade students, and I suddenly heard myself saying [in my teacheriest of voices], “We can only drive our dirt bikes if they are silent dirt bikes.” No one listened to me. Additionally, only a few minutes later, I heard myself [as out of a dream] advising my group of 6-year-olds to park their buses outside my door as they would be too big to park inside.

Later that same morning a couple of second graders decided to imitate my sit-down-and-shut-up face for the entirety of their half-hour with me. It’s really hard to get 7-year-olds to sit down and shut up when your usual tactic has become a source of hilarity. [I should note that these students don’t know the name of my sit-down-and-shut-up face, for they all believe that Shut Up is the S-Word, which makes curse-word tattling very difficult to decipher]

In order to encourage students to be on their best behavior [and avoid S-Words of all kinds] in several of my groups I use a system of check marks and stars. Three stars equals a special ticket and three check marks means they lose 10 minutes of recess. Lately I was working with 3 first grade students and one of them was doing a great job, quietly working, not bothering anyone. So, I gave him a star to encourage him. As I continued my work with another student I felt this boy’s eyes on me, then on the board, then on me. After several minutes of this I noticed that his eyes were swimming in tears, and I realized that I had given him a check mark instead of a star. I tried to fix my tragic error by giving him two stars instead – but the damage was done. His little first-grade heart was broken.

You would think that walking down the hall is the easiest thing in the world – but if you are in 1st grade it is completely necessary to dance, swing, run, throw out your arms to block someone from cutting, and drag your body along the walls. If you stop in the hallway for any reason it is totally reasonable to attempt to climb up the walls. Children who climb walls get check marks, not stars.

One student has discovered that there is food in the teacher’s room on Fridays. Every time we walk past the door he gazes in longingly and then looks at me as though he has never seen food in his life – even though I know that his lunch bag is stuffed full of every delicious morsel imaginable. Yesterday I was smart and took a different route to my room [through the gym] in the hopes that he would forget. He didn’t. He asked three times if we could walk back the regular way. I did not give him stars.

Sometimes I wish that people would give me stars and check marks so I know how I am doing with my teaching – you know, so if my groups of students manage to walk down the hallway without trying to cut in line, then I will get a star. If one of mine gets lost while in the bathroom, then I should get a check mark. If, at the end of the day, I have more stars than check marks I should get a reward. Maybe I’ll be allowed to eat something delicious from the teacher’s room. Maybe a nice, ultra-caffeinated, cup of tea.

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Marble Halls and True Israelites

We didn’t end up with marble halls in our living room, but we had our fair share of diamond sunbursts and, at the end of the day, we just wanted blue.

The long-awaited painting of our living room, hallway, and staircase was scheduled for this past week of vacation. Thankfully we had help from my brothers and my parents in order to get the work done in good time and without too much cursing. It would probably be bad luck if I cursed our living room as much as I cursed our bedroom during our last painting extravaganza.

The painting project began when mom and I left work on Friday to go to Home Depot to buy the paint. I had narrowed the choices down to three blues: Clear Vista, Carefree Skies, and Promise Keepers. After 45 minutes re-examining the color swatches in Home Depot we ended up with an entirely new color altogether: Clear Water. We chose this color by my mother holding the cards up in the light from the garden department and me squinting at it without knowing which color name it was. This method, while confusing to other customers, was very successful.

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On Saturday I moved everything out of the living room except for the couch and the piano. I took all the pictures off the walls, washed them down with warm, soapy water [I also inadvertently washed out my eyes] and filled in all of the little holes in the wall with spackle. I also filled in the larger holes in the wall left by the former owners. It looks to me like they attempted to drag furniture down the hallway without turning it sideways and left gashes in the wall – looking much like a deer sharpening it’s antlers. I know this is rather farfetched but, “when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.”

Sunday was a day of rest. And a day of staring at the walls, while holding up the paint swatches, and allowing my imagination to run away with me. I decided, much like Anne [you know, of Green Gables fame], that Clear Water was a truly boring color name. It will henceforth be named “The Blue of the Lake of Shining Waters.”

I then decided that I would make a patch out of spare drywall to fill the hole in our wall where the former owners ripped out a thermostat. I used three kitchen knives, a tape measure, a straight-edge, and a proficient amount of second-guessing myself. Eventually I ended up, through trial and error, with a piece of board small enough to fit in the hole, but big enough not to fall out the other side. I was not able to work out a way to attach the piece into the wall. I decided I would leave that mission until tomorrow, for “tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”

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On Monday, bright and early, the painting began. Painting on this day was done to the playlist “Chuffed” which is a Northern Ireland word meaning “warm and fuzzy happy feelings inside.” Littlest Little Brother and my mother were in attendance, and we began by putting a coat of sealant on the trim. At this point we realized that when you paint the trim above the door you look remarkably akin to an Israelite painting the door posts of his home with the blood of a lamb to prevent the entrance of the Angel of Death. From this point onward all door-trim painters will be known as True Israelites and are entitled to all the rights and privileges thereof. [For those of you unfamiliar with this Bible story you may refer to Exodus 12 or your handy video-cassette of The Prince of Egypt]

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The worst part of painting, as I am sure you will agree, is the preparation to paint. The coat of sealant was the only painting we completed on Monday because so much time was taken by taping up the carpet, the door handles, the trim, and the window-panes. My dad came and painted the sealant of the built-in shelves. We should put a picture of him on the shelves in celebration of his work.

On Monday night we celebrated by trying out the non-pizza food of the new local pizza place and watching the first half of Anne of Green Gables. To say that tears were not shed would be a lie. When Marilla told Anne that she could stay at Green Gables my brothers cheered and hugged.

Perhaps the paint fumes were getting to us. Perhaps there was something in the calzones. Perhaps there’s something about Anne.

On Tuesday, Mom, Littlest Little Brother, Biggest Little Brother, Husband, Father, and Me all painted. We started [as each was able] and went from 8 – 5. On this day we were accompanied by the tunes of the 80s. Events included frequent validations of our True Israelite status, impromptu hall-way dances to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and falls into the “depths of despair” when Almond Cream drips settled onto the Blue-Gray carpet or into our hair.

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Mom and I under no circumstances followed everyone else around with our paintbrushes to finish their previously finished doors. We aren’t fussy or perfectionists at all. We did not instruct Littlest Little Brother on the correct method to put paint on a brush or the correct way to stick tape onto the floor.

At the end of Tuesday’s painting we had completed the second coat of Almond Cream and all of the trim was finished. Words could not express our joy.

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Wednesday morning dawned bright and windy. Impatiently and excitedly Mom and I opened The Blue of the Lake of Shining Waters. Mom did the “cutting-in” by the ceiling and I did the edging by the floor. We filled in the middle with the paint rollers. At this point we sent panicked texts to my Father to ask him to pick up another gallon of paint. The Blue of the Lake of Shining Waters did not go quite as far as we had expected.

Additionally we realized that we were not giants, nor Mr. Fantastic, and could not stretch to reach the top of the wall on the stairs. We tried to balance planks on our stepladder, but they were too short to reach the top of the stairs. Our lives were “perfect graveyards of buried hopes.” And we had to paint only up to the edges by the stairs.

At times when the paint went on the wall it looked white. At other times it looked brighter than the brightest color on the color cards. We hoped that when it grew up it would be a “real nice auburn” [that is to say, blue].

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By the end of Wednesday we had completed our painting [the stairs aside] and it was lovely. We, accompanied by the strains of popular Disney songs, did two coats and then touched-up around the trim to get rid of any accidental drip-marks of blue where it was not welcome.

On Thursday I slept in. Then my husband and I moved the furniture back into the room. We tried various configurations and [because the piano weighs 435,565,359 tons] we settled on the one that required it to move the shortest distance.

Friday was made of grocery shopping, laundry, and pizza. The second half of Anne of Green Gables was watched. When [SPOILER ALERT] Matthew died tears were shed, shamelessly.

On Saturday my mother and I went to one of our favorite places: T J Maxx. We got curtains. What a simple sentence that was, “We got curtains” – what actually happened was a 1.5 hour trip to the Home Goods department where we had in our carts, at one point, 4 different styles of curtains. We narrowed it to two piles of room-décor stuff and, after much deliberation, calculation, measuring, hemming and hawing, and over-chair-draping we decided on one of the piles.

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I will [for the sake of time] gloss over the 2 hour event that was the measuring, drilling, assembling, ironing, hanging, and rearranging on the curtains and leave you with a picture of the final result. “I know I chatter on far too much . . . but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t – give me some credit!”

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Buying a House 101

This blog post is a step-by-step guide on how to buy a house. If you imagine this will be a ten-step guide, guess again. It turns out that buying a house is the most complicated and stressful thing that I have ever done. It was more stressful than getting married [because the bankers and realtors were not as cute as my husband] and more stressful than public speaking [because at least the audience can give you some idea of it you’re doing it right].

The first thing you must do if you want to buy a house is math. I did this on paper, on a calculator, in my head on the way home from work, and out loud to my husband. You must add up your income [a quick sum] and your outgoing expenses [a long subtraction]. You will never stop doing math. Not ever. We have finished buying our house now and I am still doing math. Usually subtraction.

The next thing you must do if you want to buy a house is take several days off work. In order to find out if we would qualify for our mortgage, and to find out approximately how much money the bank would give us to finance the purchase of our house, we had to go to the bank. We had to go during regular office hours. Office hours at banks end are from 9-5. My husband and I have jobs. We cannot both make it to the bank between 9 and 5. So. In order to make a large, expensive purchase, we began by taking days off work.

After the bank tells you how much money you can spend on a house you may do the fun part – going to look at houses. We were lucky and found our house only a few weeks after we started looking. Some people look for months. We did, however, see our fair share of cat-pee, mouse-guts, renters, faulty wiring, questionable paint-jobs, and sloped floors. We knew our house was “the one” because it was not next to a creepy grave-yard, nor did it have a make-shift toilet.

[In all seriousness, we choose our house because it was totes adorbs, was within our budget, had the right bedroom to bathroom ratio, and was right smack-dab between our two workplaces.]

After you look at houses the next thing you must do is make an offer. During the week leading up to making the offer you will google things such as, “what to do before you make an offer on a house” and “10 things to look at when you are preparing to put an offer on a house” or “how do you know if you’re ready to buy a house.” You will also dream about houses.

During the process of making a formal offer and negotiating the final agreement with the seller you will hear phrases you don’t understand, such as “kick-out clause,” and you will sign papers without reading the fine-print because it’s too small to read and you’re really hungry and the pile of papers is really big and Gilmore Girls is now on Netflix.

When your offer is accepted and you are under contract your husband will take a video of you dancing around the house in your pajamas. You will forbid him to share this video with anyone on pain of death and dismemberment. You will remind him that if he is dead and dismembered that he will not get to live in the new house.

The worst part of buying a house is applying for the mortgage. You will cry. You will sit on the floor by the coffee table with every piece of mail and every document that you have ever signed and you will cry. Your phone will die because you used your calculator too much. You will lose paycheck stubs from 3 years ago. You will discover a mistake in your jointly-filed taxes. You will become afraid of your phone’s email notification sound in case it is the mortgage officer asking you for another document that you will have to find. You will make three copies of your green card. You will write letters to explain that no, you will not in fact be continuing that non-profit work you did for 3 months in 2011. And you will cry.

The next step in the home-buying experience is the waking up late and night and thinking that you can’t possibly earn as much as that document you just signed said you did and you will begin to do more math. You will go to your husband at work at 6am and lecture him about how the bank must have made a mistake on the math and maybe we should call and let them know. Your husband will remind you that the bank does not open for 3 more hours and that really you should just leave well enough alone.

Later, on the way to work on his cell-phone, your dad will remind you that sometimes you need to stop being a controlling know-it-all and that the bank is pretty good at doing math.

At some point during the home-buying process you will realize that you cannot spend any more money. You will begin to eat the reserves of dry goods that you have stored up in your pantry over the years. It will not be frowned upon to eat cheap, sodium-free, canned tomato soup. You will go out of your way to car-pool and avoid spending money.

The next thing that you will do while buying a house is get an inspection. You will have a house inspection and a septic inspection. You will pay lots of money for them. You will follow the inspector around with a notebook and when he tells you to put some more insulation over the basement door you will write it down studiously. When he notices that there is an outlet not working correctly in the bathroom you will nervously ask him, “so, is that a bad thing?”

Once all these things are finished and the bank tells you that it’s ok – you can buy a house. To buy a house you must leave work early and go to the bank. You bring a special check that is $600 less than was quoted in the Good-Faith estimate. While at the closing you will write a check for $600 to the seller to pay for the heating oil and propane. While buying a house you will not save money.

When you google, “typical length of a house closing” the internet will tell you to expect anything from 1 to 2 hours. Our closing took 25 minutes. You will sign papers while listening to the lawyer tell you what you just signed. There will be at least 6 or 7 other people watching you sign. You will get really good at signing your married name really fast and illegibly. When you are done signing you will get keys. Then it is over. You own a house.

The first thing you do when you own a house is run home and jump up and down. Then you buy your Christmas tree and bring it to the your new house. Your husband will curse while trying to get it to stand up straight in your new house. You will bring your I-home so you can play Christmas music while you decorate your tree in your new house. You will explore all the closets and try to make the ice-maker work in your new house. You will stand around and say to yourself, “this is my new house.”

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Snow-pants, Bossy-storm

“2 inches of snow may fall on Saturday night”

That’s what the man on tv said when I was at the gym on Thursday morning. I took note of this forecast and promptly forgot.

On Friday my husband and I left one of our cars at my parents’ house so that we wouldn’t have to drive them both home. We planned to pick up the second car [the one with winter-ready tires and four-wheel drive] on Sunday after church. We also forgot my rich, moist, ganache-covered chocolate birthday cake at my parents’ house.

When I said “we planned” what I really mean is that I said [in my whinest voice, most likely] “But I don’t want to drive home tonight” and Tim reluctantly agreed to let me leave my car behind.

I think a few of you may be able to sense where this story is going.

On Sunday morning we awoke [bright and early, because of the time change] and had breakfast. Then we got an email saying that church was cancelled because of snow. It wasn’t snowing at our house yet.

We decided to set out at 9:30 to go and pick up our other car before the snow got too bad.

I should note at this point that I made this decision against my father’s warnings and with much dissension from my husband. But [as all those who know me may attest] I am a control-freak, bossy-pants. And, if we didn’t go and get the car, then I wouldn’t have been able to get to work on Monday.

Like I said, we left for my parents’ house at 9:30.

We drove off the road three times before winding up on the side of a hill about 3 miles from our destination. The snow was about 4 inches deep and falling fast. Our tires spun. Tim pushed and I revved. Nothing. A man stopped to help us. He pushed too. Nothing. We tried going backwards. Nope. We tried going forwards. Nope. We tried beating on the steering wheel. Nope.

We called AAA. They told us someone would be there in 45 minutes.

They called back 45 minutes later to tell us someone would be there in 45 minutes.

The nice thing about being trapped in a car for 3 hours is that you have time to be mad at each other, time to give each other the silent treatment, and time to make up again before you even get picked up.

Four hours and ten minutes after we left our house we were towed into my parents’ driveway. We thanked the [rather grumpy] man who had picked us up and left our car exactly where he dropped it. The bald tires wouldn’t move anyway. We prayed that no trees would fall on it.

An unfortunate side-effect of an early snow-storm is that the leaves have not finished falling off the trees yet. This makes the [already dense, wet] snow weigh the branches down heavily. When this happens, trees fall. When trees fall they sometimes fall on power lines. When this happens the power goes out. When this happens you have to cook your Sunday pork roast on the charcoal grill [while standing in the barn, hoping that the 2 cords of wood next to you don’t catch ablaze]. You will also make coffee on the woodstove. You will also light all the scented candles you can find. Your house will smell like a Yankee Candle.

At about 5:00 the power came back on for about 10 seconds. Just enough to get our hopes up.

My family was lucky, our power came back on at about 7:00pm. Others in the area still do not have power.

Due to the fact that I am a control-freak, bossy-pants Tim and I still had the problem of having 2 cars at the parents’ house and one car that was completely unsafe to drive on the roads. At about 8:00pm Tim drove our 4-wheel-drive back home. It took him over an hour. I had to sleep at my parents’ house so as to drive to work in the morning with Mom.

In the end, however, school was cancelled. For two days. There was no power at school. Instead, on Monday, I got the snow tires put on the car and Dad and I went to Wal-Mart and nearly got eaten alive in the candle department.

On the way home on Monday afternoon I dodged fallen trees and power-lines.

I will never be a bossy-pants again. Promise.

PumpkinFest

If you are [as I like to imagine] an avid reader of my blog, then you will know that [in addition to buying touristy sweaters and doing random vacation activities] I live in Tourist-Town.

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At the end of each summer season Maine does this thing where it attempts to grasp all the tourists by the seat of their pants and hold them in the state for another few weeks. It does this by turning into shades of red and orange and gold. My particular town takes this desperation a step or two further. It hosts a pumpkin festival.

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At the height of PumpkinFest each local establishment has a large pumpkin placed outside its entrance. They paint and carve their pumpkins into crazy, silly, artistic masterpieces. One was a puffin. One was a lumber delivery truck. One was a toilet with a plunger in it.

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I stepped out my front door this morning, in my new black flats, into a pile of leaves. The woman across the street was having a yard sale in order to take advantage of all the extra traffic in town. She tried to sell me a vintage wedding dress in dupioni silk with buttons to the wrist. Also cashmere sweaters.

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I then walked through town to see all the sights. I first saw a gaggle of children in line for the pumpkin shaped bouncy house. There was face-painting. There was kettlecorn. Someone had carved several pumpkins into the shape of the snowman from Frozen.

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I then walked down main street and saw a pumpkin with a paisley print, a pumpkin with a beak, and a pumpkin currently being carved with a cluster of onlookers. It was very hard for me to push several of them out of the way to get through with my iPhone so I could record the craft for you.

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Confession: I don’t own an iPhone. I borrowed my husband’s iPhone because I dropped my own smart phone too many times and now the camera has a constant fuzzy kind of filter. I’m going to put a new phone on my Christmas List. I have an upgrade.

My fave pumpkin

Also while downtown I bought organic, freshly-grilled, locally-raised, grass-fed cheeseburgers cooked by a gourmet chef on the side of the road. I wouldn’t taken a photo for you but my fingers were greasy and my mouth was full and I forgot.

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On my way back home I paused to take a photo so that you too could appreciate Tourist-Town in the Fall.

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I think it cleans up nice.