Weekend Roundup, Halloween Edition

Saturday morning we headed out to Karine and Adam’s place for a birthday party. We were the first ones there, so we blew up balloons and put up streamers while Adam got the birthday boy into his costume and Karine whipped up a fabulous brunch (first round for the kids, second round for the adults!). I was fighting a headache and realised halfway there that I’d forgotten to put on my glasses, which didn’t help at all. (I swear, I have to think of something to get around the dark-glasses-on-a-dark-dresser problem.) Almost half the invitees had to cancel due to illness, which was sad, but those in attendance had a wonderful time. There were a moments where my heart nearly broke, though; the boy came to get me at one point and said, “Mama, they’ve locked the door and won’t let me in.” The birthday boy and his school friends had closed the bedroom door against him, and he couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him play. So I sat with him in the playroom with an arm around his shoulders and tried to think of a way to explain it but couldn’t put it into words for him, so I just hugged him and offered to help him build with the toys at our feet. But then there was a stack of birthday cupcakes and presents, so everything was all right.

We headed home and it took the boy a while to settle for nap, of course. When he woke up HRH had hollowed out the pumpkins in preparation for carving them, and we got the boy to draw the faces for them. The results were great!

We packed up the pumpkins and headed out to the local grandparents’ house, where the boy does his trick or treating. Except it wasn’t that easy. The transport ministry had closed down half the Mercier bridge, so there was a single lane going each way. We figured it would just take a bit longer to get across, but when we encountered a staggering lineup at our alternate entrance (our regular one was closed) we tried a second, then a third, and discovered that most of the entrances to the bridge were closed, and all the traffic was being funneled through LaSalle onto one on-ramp and taking this way would eat up an insane amount of time. So after forty-five minutes of being five minutes away from our house in various directions, HRH decided to take the Champlain bridge and drive all the way around the south shore of the river to get to Chateauguay. We got to my inlaws’ house an hour and a half after we left. Normally, it’s a fifteen minute trip.

Anyway, tempers were tight and gas was getting dangerously low when we go to the Champlain, but right then the sun came out. It had been an extremely windy, rainy day up till then, but the sun suddenly broke through at just the right angle for magic to happen. As we crossed the Champlain we saw the fattest rainbow I’ve ever seen grow from the opposite shore and reach up to the clouds. I rolled down the window and took a photo:

Then we looked in the rearview mirror, and the sky behind us was on fire. Copper and gold and blazing apricot-bronze; absolutely incredible. When we got across the river I rolled down the window again (rather dangerous in the high winds, whoa) and took photos looking back at Montreal:

We had to stop for gas in La Prairie, but after that it was relatively smooth sailing, and we got to the boy’s grandparents’ door just before six-thirty. After a quick gulp of alcohol to soothe the stress we’d incurred on the way and much admiring of the decor there we got the boy out the door. He loves dressing up, he loves the decorations, he loves the candy… he is not such a big fan of older kids in scary costumes. In fact, after the first house he started digging his heels in because there were two teenagers right behind us wearing horrific rubber masks whom he saw every time he left a door, and on the corner he stopped and started crying, asking to go back home to Grandma and Papa because he was scared of costumes. The woman in the next house heard him and came out to talk to him, and she jollied him up nicely, getting him to come to her front door to see her decorations, and talking to him about the scary costumes. It turned out she worked at the local elementary school and knew exactly how to handle it. (Another example of how what one’s parents tell you doesn’t count, but hearing the same stuff from a different adult is OK.) The boy left in a much more cheerful mood, and I suspect the woman talked to the teenagers behind us because at the next house they stopped to talk to the boy and lifted their masks so he could see they were just people underneath. He was better then, and got to a whole two more houses before saying he was tired and wanted to go home. So this year he hit a total of five houses, three or four fewer than last year.

At home was more fun for everyone, actually, because my mother-in-law had finger food for us as well as more alcohol, and the boy had a delightful time answering the door in his costume and handing out candy. My father-in-law kept slipping more candy into our bags as well! It was a perfect Halloween night: windy, not too cold, piles of wet leaves all over the ground, with wisps of clouds racing across an almost perfectly full moon.

I slept horribly that night, despite being in a wonderful mood going to bed. I got two hours of sleep before midnight, then woke up so very completely at midnight that I had to get up. I knitted Gran’s scarf till two, spun some of the dye sample I’d done a while ago, spun some Aran-weight singles and plied them, then took some herbal sleeping pills and went back to bed around four. I got one hour of sleep before the boy woke us up at five, because of of course the clocks had gone back the night before and his body knew it was six. He tried to snuggle with us but wouldn’t stop squirming or talking so HRH put him back to his own bed, and I slept on and off till nine.

We went out to vote in the municipal election at ten, and wow, worst voting experience ever. The gym in which they were supposed to set up this polling station had been damaged by the wind and rain the previous day so it was squeezed into a cafeteria area instead, and the insensitivity of those waiting was just boggling. It took about forty-five minutes before our station was clear, and a good half of us waiting were polite, but the other half were just asses and made things miserable for everyone else… and this was within the first half-hour of the polls being open. The abuse the volunteers were receiving was dreadful. Now, okay, smaller area, perhaps not as many booth open per polling station number, but at the same time every single person had to unfold five ballots, mark them, and fill them in again. With only one person per booth allowed in the room at a time, yeah, that’s going to slow things down. Anyway, no one I voted for was elected, a result that I fully expected.

As the voting process took twice as long as we’d expected it to take, HRH pretty much had to leave as soon as we walked home because it was open house day at school. He took the bus in while the boy and I stayed home for lunch and a rest. We drove in after the boy’s nap to pick HRH up, and discovered that the open house had been insanely busy and successful.

Dinner was remarkably delicious homemade spaghetti sauce made from the garden tomatoes I’d canned two months ago, and then I headed off for a cello lesson. These are getting better, although I’m still having moments where I freeze up or can’t work through a small problem. My teacher had to remind me about things we’d worked on months ago — caterpillars, the little bounce in the shift that provides shock absorption so the shift doesn’t sound harsh — but for once my right hand was behaving. So now my focus is on smooth shifts, elegant ones, done at the same speed my bow hand is moving at instead of rushing the shift.

2 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup, Halloween Edition

  1. paze

    Wasn’t the sky absolutely spectacular that night? Perfectly halloweeny. Your pictures are great. I love the pumpkins, too.

    Give Liam a big hug for Devon and me—he looks so cute in that costume!!


  2. cymry

    I still maintain that the best view of the island is the one from the Champlain bridge. I love taking it near sunset, when all the lights are lit, or just after dusk… Gorgeous pictures!

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