The Scariest Thing

I have already told you all how I tortured myself by watching scary movies as a kid (Friday the Thirteenth).  I watched almost every scary movie they made.  I did it by myself, in the dark, and usually while babysitting.  As a result, I was SO FREAKING SCARED of everything, all the time.  Scared to be home alone, scared to open the shower, scared to close the medicine cabinet, scared to go camping, scared to go to sleep, scared to swim, scared to drive at night, scared to make out in a parked car (just kidding… I still did that).

But over the years I have gotten smarter and I stopped watching the scary movies.  I saw The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense (those were really the last horror movies I intentionally sat down to watch all the way through), but they were from last century.  I won’t even look at the previews for Paranormal Activity, or The Ring, or Mama, or the one where there is a really creepy old lady in Harry Potter’s window.  I just won’t watch them anymore.  And – funny thing – I’m not as scared of everything as I once was.

Except that I am.

I don’t know who I’m trying to fool.  I am no longer a teenager driving around the woods in the back of a pickup truck, looking for the Jersey Devil.  I am no longer the girl kissing a boy in a Nissan Pulsar in an empty church parking lot.  I am no longer the babysitter who answers the phone and fears that the call is coming from inside the house.  I am no longer any of these people.  I have evolved and changed.  I am different.  Now, I am a grownup.  Now, I am a wife.  Now, I am a mother, five times over.

And parenthood is by far the scariest thing ever.

"It's not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes." - Norman Bates, Psycho (1960).

“It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes.” – Norman Bates, Psycho (1960).

Happy Halloween!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Ding Dong, Bitch

There’s this Halloween tradition in the suburbs called “Boo-ing.”  I’ve attached a copy of the note (go to that anonymous revelers leave along with the treats on your front porch, Ding Dong Ditch-style, that pretty much explains it all.  I don’t care how it came about; I simply find it awesome that people leave candy for me right on my front porch.  I hope that once day the girl scouts will start doing it this way with their cookies.  And I wish they would do it during the day instead of at night when all of my pesky kids are around to lay claim to the goodies.  But I’m also considering cutting my doorbell wire.

We got Boo-ed a couple of weeks ago.  It was dark out and Kid B had just come home from soccer practice.  The boys were already in bed.  I have no idea where A and C were… I tend to lose track of a few them as the night goes on.  Eh, they’ll come back home when they’re hungry.

I am a grouchy old lady, so I turn my front porch light off early in hopes that it will deter any late night visitors.  Most people ignore this, so I was not surprised when I heard the doorbell ring after 8 p.m.  Kid B answered it and proudly announced to everyone and no one that we got treats.  I just crossed my fingers that the boys (a) didn’t get woken up by the doorbell, and (b) did not inherit my sixth sense about chocolate being anywhere within a 50-foot radius.  Luckily, the boys stayed in bed.  Luckily, we had candy in the house (not for long!).  Unluckily, now we had a job to do.  The very next night we had to go Boo some neighbors.

“There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” – Linus Van Pelt, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

I don’t know if you have ever tried to do anything stealthily with little kids, but I can assure you it is next to impossible.  Remember, Boo-ing is supposed to be done anonymously so you have to leave the basket of goodies and skiddoo.  This created several technical difficulties for us.

Obstacle Number One: My youngest kids go to bed by 7:30, when it is still kind of light out.  That meant that our mission had to be carried out without them (yeah, right) or at dinnertime in the daylight with the hopes that the recipients take at least ninety seconds to get up from the table and come to the door, so we would have enough time to run out of sight after we rang the bell.

Obstacle Number Two: Little kids can’t run very fast, no matter how much you yell at them.  They aren’t very quiet, nor do they follow directions until they are given to them umpteen times.  They also don’t react well in situations of panic.

Obstacle Number Three: Who to Boo?  I never knew that these kids had so many “best friends.”  Where are these so-called best friends when there’s heavy lifting to be done, huh?  I immediately narrowed the list to one house.  Boo-ing rules be dammed.  This was going to be crazy enough once without having to do it again.

So with a basket full of Halloween candy and a “You’ve Been Boo-ed” note, we finally headed out into the pre-twilight to accomplish our mission.  The house we had agreed upon was at the end of our street so we decided to drive most of the way down for a quicker getaway.  But not in my (highly identifiable) XL truck.  We opted instead to take Kid A’s car, which fewer people would recognize, and hide it behind some bushes.  We mapped out a plan so that everyone got to partake in the fun, while also attempting maximum potential for a clean escape.  When we got to the house we saw that both parent’s cars were in the driveway and the garage door was open, indicating they were most likely at home.  It was on.

Kid A stayed in her well-hidden car, with both back seat doors open and ready for the quick getaway.  Kid C held Kid E’s hand along the front walkway so he wouldn’t have to maneuver up or down any steps (face plant on the concrete driveway, anyone?) during their escape.  Kid D had the biggest and most important responsibility of carrying the basket to the porch and dinging the dong.  I stood at the end of the driveway to watch everything go down (that’s when I realized that Kid B wasn’t even with us… oops).  After a minute or two of absolutely nothing I whisper-yelled to Kid D, “Ring the bell, dummy, so we can ditch!”

Several things happened at once.  Kid D jumped off the porch.  Kids C and E spun around to hightail it out of there, but C was giggling and E got confused and ran in the wrong direction.  D and E collided somewhere along the driveway, but they quickly recovered and everyone headed for Kid A’s car.  They made good time, but they were so pumped up from their caper (or the body slamming) that they went in one back door and exited the other one.  Twice.  Finally, I was like, “Get in and stay in!” and we sped away.  With Kid E in the middle back seat yelling, “I’m not hooked!” I asked Kid D if he heard them coming to the door after he rang the doorbell.  His answer, “I don’t even know if I actually rang the bell.”  Awesome.


This morning parents and kids were in our driveway waiting for the school bus.  Today was also my day to drive for pre-school carpool, so Kid E and his friend were running around all of the elementary school kids.  They kept running to our front porch and then back to me, laughing hysterically.  When I asked what they were doing, Kid E announced to everyone (in his little boy, lispy speech) that they were “practicing the ‘Bing Bong Bitch,’ I mean the ‘Ding Dong, Bitch'” so they would be better at it next time.  Double awesome in front of a school bus full of kids.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…


It is that time of year again.  The air is cooler and the sky is darker but somehow more colorful at the same time.  Things are shutting down in preparation for the cold weeks of winter… swimming pools, outdoor activities, trees.  Orange and red and brown and yellow gold are the colors that line our streets and yards and front porches.  Sometimes autumn sneaks in gradually, but other times it comes crashing upon us with very little warning.  I can’t believe it is October already!

And along with the first signs of autumn come Halloween things.  Pumpkins and costumes and candy corn.  Apple cannons and corn mazes and hayrides.  “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and gourds and black plastic spider rings.  These things are everywhere I go… the grocery store, a neighbor’s yard, Yahoo’s home page. (No, I don’t get out much).

So it is not much wonder that I have been thinking again lately that our house might be haunted.


Okay, how does a (relatively) normal person come to the conclusion that she is living with Casper?  Seriously, go and poll your friends.  Asking “Do you believe in ghosts?  Because I do.” makes people question your sanity, and they might even stop letting their kids play over at your house.  Unless your friends are all kooks or they already know you’re a little different and they have come to expect these kinds of things from you at random intervals.

So I’ve got that going for me.

Maybe I don’t actually believe that I have a ghost in my house.  But I am serious when I say that I think there is still some residual negative energy floating around in here.  We bought this house from a man who had just gone through an icky, nasty, angry divorce (his own words) and there was definitely a bad feeling inside this house that Sheepdog and I both commented upon when we walked through.  I can’t really describe it any other way.  But we loved the house and the neighborhood so we bought it anyway.  Oh, and sometimes when I fold laundry on my bed upstairs I often see something in my peripheral vision moving around near the stairs.  Did I forget to mention that?  Now I sound like the kook.

So say I choose to believe that there is some paranormal activity going on here or even just an excess of yin.  Being a girl who likes to take care of business instead of ruminating, I decided to do some research.  I googled “getting rid of negative energy in my home” and came upon an article that advised the following steps:

1.  Clear stale energies.  Open everything that is closed (doors, closets, windows, etc.).  Then, walking from the front door in a clockwise pattern, circle each room and go into the next while ringing a bell.
2.  Use salt to cleanse.  Sprinkle it everywhere.  Be sure to sweep up the salt and throw it into the trash outside of your house.
3.  Feed your ghosts rice.  Sprinkle it around the perimeter of your home, beginning at the front door and walking in a clockwise fashion until you come to the door again. 
4.  Scent the air.  Use smoke from incense or from herbs, such as lavender for transcending problems, eucalyptus for healing, or mint for prosperity. 
5.  Use light and sound.  Tinkling wind chimes and bright crystal rainbows or lit chandeliers are both excellent ways to introduce beneficial and cleansing energy to your space.
6.  Take a salt bath yourself.  Salt will purify you and remove negative energies from your body. 
Figuring I’ve got nothing but the previous homeowner’s lingering divorce energy and maybe even a ghost to lose, I tried to follow the directions with at least a modicum of seriousness and (temporary) conviction.  Because otherwise what would be the point, right?  But I couldn’t bring myself to actually go and buy herbs to burn or special sea salts for sprinkling or bathing.  And after opening every cabinet, window and door and ringing the only bell I could find (an old bike bell… whatever, it dinged just fine) and then sprinkling freshly ground table salt then brown rice (it was what I had in the pantry) in each and every corner and cleaning it with the dustbuster , I sprayed lavender Febreze and waved around some Vicks VapoRub (eucalyptus) and splashed a little soft mint-flavored Listerine.  Then I lightly blew a whistle and clicked a flashlight on and off on all of the rooms.  Afterwards I took a shower and rubbed some epsom salts on my elbows and feet while I sang the new LMFAO song, “Sexy and I Know It.”

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah.

Following my makeshift space cleansing I have to say that I felt a little silly but also a little lighter and happier.  Plus, my heels and elbows were super-smooth!  I think my the kooks might be onto something here and I just may have restored the yang in our home.  I actually recommend the process if you too have some unidentifiable icky floating around in your space.  I also recommend skipping the rice part, as it is almost impossible to clean it all up afterwards.  Damn you, Uncle Ben.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…