As most of you who know me are aware, Halloween is absolutely my favorite holiday for one very clear and present reason:
Picture me doing the Snoopy dance here and singing to you, darlings:
I want cannies! I want cannies!
Cannies on the beach there's nothing better
Some day soon I'll make them mine
I want cannies! I want cannies!
I am so incredibly devoid of candy right now that it's an absolute sin. For a week like this, when the roller coaster ride of life hasn't been exactly in good contact with the track, one should never, ever be without a plethora of candy.
The reason is pretty sad, actually, and I think something that I need to adjust. Colin went off on this healthy kick a while back and is all about lean proteins and salad and complex carbs. I haven't had a potato in about 3 months. Ditto bread.
Because he is a bit of a candy head himself, I have avoided bringing temptation into the house. He's not heavy by any means, so his journey to the dark side wasn't motivated by a desire for weight loss, but he has decided to start working out more aggressively and and despite my assertions that candy will give him lots of energy (heh heh heh) he has stayed true to his diet and I don't want to tempt him to fail. I know he's strong enough to resist the temptation, but wow, it's pretty rude to have M&M's and fudge and Tootsie rolls and stuff around when someone can't have them.
Because of this, I am wickedly, painfully, acutely candy lacking.
But we were talking about Halloween.
Mom, who has been busy traveling around from kid to kid across the country for about a year now, decided to spend some time at the homestead with Kye and Vince. Halloween is her birthday, so Colin and I had a long talk about it (trust me, I've had family issues this year big time for the first time in my LIFE) and decided to make the trek down. My motives were not altogether pure. I knew from my previous visit to retrieve my stuff that Kye and Vince and their two curtain monkeys (who I used to think of as sweet little niecey girls until I saw them in action on my house) have pretty much trashed out our house in the past year.
To give a short history lesson, the seven of us Bourland kids were raised in that house, which my father built before he died (which was before I was born). After I graduated from college, I left to do some worldish traveling (at Mom's suggestion), then came home, went to cosmetology school and started doing hair and such. Mom's health wasn't so good, so I mostly worked from home and took care of Mom, especially after her first stroke in 2000. We raised all sorts of herbs and had a nice vegetable garden. Our property was loaded with fruit trees and nut trees, blackberry bushes and an amazing array of flowers that Mom tended. She did the flowers, I did the herbs, vegetables, nuts and fruits. Some of the best memories I have is of the two of us peacefully spending our afternoons out in the gardens, each of us doing our own thing, but still sharing space and enjoying each others' company.
Mom's health got really bad in 2001-2003, so after I retired, tending to her became my main focus. Some oxygen saturation and medicinal adjustment problems caused a lot of dementia and weirdness, so to make a long story short, it was no picnic. The sisters were great about helping us out financially when needed, but the overall care of Mom fell to me, round the clock, until we were able to get some in home help from a nurse, who was Colin, with whom I now live.
Last year, Mom announced to the family at Halloween (much to my surprise since she didn't give a hint of it to me, which really pissed me off) that she was leaving within a month to start two years of traveling around from kid's house to kid's house, spending a few months with each of them in turn. Kye and Vince would be moving into our house with their two little girls.
This was all news to me! Kye and Vince were having some financial problems (I mean really, who wasn't??) and it would help them a lot to not have to pay rent and just live in our house. (?!) My thought was, "Yeah, I'll just bet it would!" As it turned out, about half of the sisters knew about his already and half didn't, so I was pretty pissed off at all of them for not telling me anything. I mean, my whole life was in these walls! Of course, no one said I had to move out!! OF COURSE, I could keep my room! The thing was, I thought of this as MY HOUSE, not a house in which I had a room!
My life changed in an instant. At the time, I was 45 years old and other than nieces and nephews, I'd lived without kids my whole life. Mom and I had a quiet, peaceful existence, despite the problems with her health. I absolutely was NOT prepared for living in a home dominated by small children. I was really thrown for a loop. In the end, I left with Colin (who had now lost his job of being nurse to Mom) and we traveled around for about 6 months or so before settling in Northern California (I previously lived in almost Southern California).
When I first returned to my house after being gone, I was amazed at how much damage a house could take in just a few months. The walls were drawn on with crayons, the carpets were stained and nearly destroyed and the appliances were filthy. Don't get me started on the yard. I left in the winter, so of course, none of the spring projects had been started, not that I should expect it since the lawn also hadn't been seeded, tended or even mowed. Even though it was warm out, the entire property looked like a wasteland. I was devastated.
The only thing close to as sad as the condition of the yard and gardens (or lack thereof) was the fact that the padlock I had used to secure my room (I left my belongings in it) had been broken. All of my belongings had been packed away, rather haphazardly, in an old, leaky shed in the back. My room was now the kids' playroom, even though I was promised it would be undisturbed until I returned.
Evidently, the lack of rent payment hadn't helped Kye and Vince quite enough, so they sold my hot tub. Because I was out of the country and could not be contacted for a month or so, the group of sisters and Mom had taken a consensus and decided that the most immediate needs were most important and that Kye and Vince needed money more than I needed my hot tub. So it was just gone. Mind you, they'd pay me back as soon as they could (hasn't happened yet). I was very grateful that my car was still there, but of course, the money I sent to them to pay the registration for me was long gone and I owed fines for the registration not being paid.
My computer was still there, packed into the shed in laundry baskets, having been there for the winter and spring. Miraculously, it still worked, but all of my files were deleted and it was infiltrated with Blues Clues and Elmo type programs. I had to replace the keyboard and mouse because they were so sticky they could not be used.
I was not a happy camper.
No one had any decent answers for me. All anyone did was express amazement that I was so resistant to helping out poor Vince and Kye. It was never about that at all. It was about respecting my property, respecting my home and respecting me as a person.
They just didn't get it and oddly, I was suddenly the bad guy of the family.
So that was pretty much where it sat for a long while.
Now, I year later, I was going back to my birth home where all of the sisters and Mom were converging to celebrate her birthday.
It was extremely uncomfortable, but I wanted to be there when the family, and especially Mom, saw the house.
Interestingly enough, Kye and Vince had always taken really good care of their other homes, so I don't know what was special about our house that they felt a need to decimate it.
[By the way, none of my family now has internet, so I can ramble about them and they'll never know]
So that's that part of the story.
Now we get to the real part of how I spent my Halloween.
We got to the homestead on Friday night and settled in. Spent Saturday with the family and it was worth the wait as I pretty much just sat back and silently let it unfold. Finally, at long last, everyone got my point that I was making months ago. I got a good many apologies. It was very vindicating. I'm still not feeling particularly gratuitous to most of them, but that will come in time. We're family after all. Mom's birthday celebration was that night since a couple of the sisters had to fly back on Sunday to be ready to work on Monday. It was a nice dinner.
On Sunday, I drove alllllll the way up to Katrina's to spend a little time with her while Colin connected with old friends not far from my home. We had a wonderful visit and I was able to pick up a gift my sweet Vestal Virgin sent to me. (Ves and Linda are my primo liquor connections and Dutchie is my primo candy connection)
After we had a great visit, I drove allll the way back home and got there just at dusk, so it was nearly trick-or-treating time. As in times of old, Mom and I sat on the porch and gave out candy, not speaking much this time, but just sharing time. Just before I left a couple of hours later to take care of some business, she reached over, patted my leg and told me she was sorry for everything. She apologized for how hard it had been to take care of her, for bringing Kye and Vince into the house forcing me to leave, for not telling her my plans so I could prepare and for how my possessions had been mishandled. She seemed sincere enough, so I accepted her apology, but told her it was going to take me a little while to get past it all. She didn't offer any excuses or reasons for what she did, she just apologized.
Kye and Vince didn't have two words for me the whole time I was there, which pissed off Colin, but didn't bother me a bit. I wasn't feeling particularly chatty toward them either.
After I finished up with Mom, I went out for a walk around the old stompin' grounds. There's a big housing development going up not far from our house. When I was growing up, there were only 4 houses for miles. Now the whole area is building up. About a quarter mile away from my house, I looked ahead at a landscape I barely recognized, after only being gone for a year. I looked back on my house, tiny in the distance, and realized that for the first time in my life, it no longer felt like home. I was suddenly very homesick for my goofy little duplex that I share with Colin. That is my home now.
I walked over to Kurt's house, knowing from our conversation the night before at Mom's party that he and Maxine were going to be at a party until late. Whistling, I sauntered up their driveway, reached up onto the door frame and grabbed the spare key. After I let myself in, I fed the dog that I hate and who hates me and made my way up to the bedroom. I opened the shower door in Kurt's bathroom, reached into the bag I'd carried with me and pulled out The Head. Next came the noose, which went neatly around the neck on one end and the shower head on the other. A black cape wrapped around the body and a flashlight with an adjustable head and a huge 18 volt battery. I pinned a note to the cape that said, "Happy Halloween, Suckah!" and put the flashlight on the floor of the shower, aiming the light directly onto the head.
As I left the house and got partway down the path, a thought struck me and I went back to the porch. His jack-o-lantern glowed a welcome and there was a big bowl of assorted candy on the step next to it. I helped myself to a couple of baby Snickers bars and lifted the lid of the jack-o-lantern. Ha! sure enough, a note was folded and thumb tacked to the lid. It wasn't even warm from the little tealight that illuminated the jack-o-lantern.
I held it up to the porch light to read it and laughed out loud, "I know you're going to put The Head in here, dick. Don't even think about it."
Bwahahahaha. Don't worry, Kurt. I didn't I carefully replaced the note, exactly as it had been and whistled my way back home again.
Colin and I made our way back home over the next couple of days, taking our time and enjoying the drive. I didn't even bring up to Colin that the only cannies I got that whole Halloween were the tiny Snickers bars I grabbed from Kurt's house. Such a crime. I gotta fix that. My life just isn't complete without it. I ain't gonna be anybody's candy-rejection bitch. I got my limits.
Saving the best for last, I want to thank everyone who has written such warm and loving letters, more than making up for the months of draught. You guys are the best and it feels so good to be back in gear again. It was worth going through the fire with the idiots to be embraced by hundreds of letter of friendship and love.
I started answering them all, but it's been an overwhelming task, so if you didn't hear from me, please accept this fat kiss as my complete appreciation, love and dedication. Mmmmmmmmwwwwwwaaaaahhhh!!!
You guys rock and as nearly as I can tell, I'll always be around (just keep those EOS donations going so we can stay on the net!) You've all been great and definitely make this job worth pretty much anything.
All my love,
Note: Sage gets a fat ton of mail every day and regrets he can't answer everyone personally. He loves ya, he just might not get a chance to write to ya! Besides!! He writes to you every week in a column whether you write to him or not! So there! Needless to say, if you are an asshole, he just isn't going to write back because you will have proven you're not the people he writes for anyway and therefore, do not deserve his attention. If you're inclined to do that, just pretend he wrote back and said, "That's just like, your opinion, man."