Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Halloween Reset

The first year it was a ghoulish free-for-all. The next five annual Skinner Girls' Halloween Bashes found us desperately trying to outdo the previous year's over-the-top menu and decor for themes including, in order, 101 Dalmatians, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Harry Potter Conglomeration (my personal favorite), and Wallace and Grommit. But this year, we're drawing the line. It's back to sweet, simple, no-holds-barred Halloween horror; come as your favorite creepy thing. Oh, and bring something with frosting. Or gravy. Or carbonation.

For the first time in seven years of Skinner tradition, M and I won't be crouched in the basement every night of October, lost in a sea of fabric and craft supplies. The sewing machine won't be zinging for hours, no more bloody, pin-pricked fingertips, no hot-glue blisters, no more locking four confused, neglected dogs outside the laboratory door so they don't spill paint or glitter or get tangled up in the Singer's accelerator. We've had a blast making group costumes in the past but this year it's every man for himself, which leaves me free to resurrect Mom's masterpiece Cleopatra from 1996 (just to prove it fits) or recycle another of my favorite costumes from the San Diego years.

It's been the busiest fall in recent memory for me, what with travel, moving, and a major motorized purchase to agonize over. But the real reason we just have to back off this year (and it's so worth it) is that for the next six weeks, Morgan will be spending weeknights at a hotel in Murray, while by day she trains for her new job: drafting from home. After more than a decade mired in remarkably miserable office environments, she'll be working for an engineering firm out of Salt Lake City that is so desperate for experienced drafters with good work ethics that they're meeting her halfway and allowing her to telecommute. There will, of course, be a probationary period, but after a year in the Evanston branch of a San Diego firm working on southern California projects, I'm confident she'll have no problem communicating via phone, e-mail, and IM and fulfilling their wildest Microstation dreams as efficiently and beautifully as she does everything else.

So this year we're asking for more treats than tricks. We're on our fourth location, Roger and Amanda's spacious, inviting home, which worked so well last year, especially since when we ran out of oven or refrigerator room we could just walk down the hill to Rae Dell's and commandeer her appliances.

Anyhow, invitations are inevitable, appetites and costumes are recommended but not required, and watch out for Roland. If you're not careful, you may find yourself with a Basset in your lap, and he has no regard for your costume.


Blogger a572mike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 3, 2007 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger a572mike said...

What kind of major motorized purchase are you going to make?

Good luck to your sister with her new gig... Microstation... Better her than me!

October 3, 2007 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger A said...

After -- what, like four? -- years of debating, I've settle on a 2008 Dodge Caliber. No details until I have photos and a VIN, though, and it's 45 days out upon order. (I can't just get one off the lot because I want a manual transmission, and you know how that goes.) Plus I'm still having a hard time with the color.

M has actually been using AutoCad since college, but Carollo is switching to Microstation, so all the drafters in the company are having to switch. I think it has to do with their being more of a specialized utility engineering firm than a general civil engineering firm, but I don't know. Something about the capabilities of MS is supposed to make it more useful to them.

October 3, 2007 at 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Deanne said...

Brent said you took Halloween seriously...

Anyway, maybe, now that I've at least met you and all, I thought I could impose to ask a favor.

Maybe you can help Todd and I out. For the first time ever we're going to a Real Grown Up Halloween Party where putting on a red shirt and khaki pants and going as Target employees probably isn't quie enough. And I have no idea what costumes to wear.

Here are the challenges:
1) must be a paired costume — not necessarily his and hers, but A and B.
2) Should be easy and fun to make/buy and easy to wear
3) No heavy coats, nothing that will make us sweaty
4) creative and fun are always good; it's a party put on by a client
5) Need to pull it together this weekend, cause it's the only time I have to do it.

I am a crafty sort, have access to a sewing machine, and could justify some expense, but only enough to be offset by the free drinks available at the party

Bring on the suggestions. You can get my e-mail from Brent if you'd like to take this offline.

October 3, 2007 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger a572mike said...

Good call on the manual transmission A! I hate how the auto makers have rammed automatics down our throats in the last 20 years or so. Modern automatics are scarily unreliable (especially if you like euro stuff), and super expensive when something goes wrong once it goes off of warranty...

October 3, 2007 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger A said...

Exactly. I'd much rather replace a $300 clutch than a $1,200 transmission.

October 3, 2007 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Doolin said...

I thought you were gonna get the Toyota FJ Cruiser?

October 5, 2007 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger A said...

I love the idea of the FJ. Retro, Toyota, genuine off road cred. But upon closer inspection, the interior was so industrial it had all the warmth and friendliness of a meat locker. No carpet, all-weather fabric, lots of rubber and metal- just too industrial.

Also, it was $10k more than I wanted to spend (with the features I would have chosen), I wanted better gas mileage, and I wanted something more accommodating to passengers. The FJ's rear windows don't roll down, and the suicide doors make things difficult for people in the backseat. It's like a prison back there. Also, it's so trendy among people who will never take it off the pavement, and I don't want to belong to that club.

I've coveted so many models since I got new car fever a few years ago that I can't think of them all now. I wanted a four-door 2002 Montero to replace two-door Monte. I wanted a Nissan Murano, A Chevy Trailblazer, a Nissan Frontier, a Honda Ridgeline, a Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix, and I'm sure there were others. But the confluence of certain factors -- mostly timing, price, attraction and superstition -- tells me this is the one I've been waiting for. I'm going in to order it this week, and I have no doubt we're going to be together for a long, long time.

October 5, 2007 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Doolin said...

Ah, cool beans. Getting a new car that you customize yourself is going to be awesome because it will be YOUR creation!! (insert evil laugh here) I am looking at getting a motorcycle soon.

There's a white "monty" that parks in the parking lot at work.

Can I vote for the "Steel Blue Metallic" or "Brilliant Black Pearl" for the color?
Shouldn't it being a manual bring the cost down too?? Good luck with picking out the car!!!

October 6, 2007 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger a572mike said...

So did you get it ordered???

October 10, 2007 at 11:25 PM  

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