Finally settled in to Rumson NJ

Halloween 2014, etc

I must confess that there are times I regret our decision to leave San Francisco, at least when we did. We left at the bottom of the housing market, and although we still made a nice profit on our house, it is downright painful to see what that house is currently worth. It would have made for a nice little nest egg if we could have waited just two or three more years …

Now we’ll be making a nest egg the old-fashioned way. I return to full-time employment with an Environmental Engineering firm next Monday, complete with a l.5-hour commute in either direction. I’ll be taking a car to a boat to a subway, and will finish the trek with a short little walk to Midtown. At least most of the commute is on the ferry, so I’ll still have time to work on my writings-in-progress. But I am definitely not looking forward to the 4:45 AM wake-up time or all the missed events with the kiddos. Fortunately, JP is working at the home for now, so he’ll be taking over all of the “soccer mom” duties that I used to fulfill.

Despite my occasional regrets about leaving San Francisco, I really do like the town we live in. Rumson has a great school system, it is very family-friendly, and I get a kick out of how festive it is … although I could use a little less festivities when it comes to Halloween. I never really liked Halloween, not even as a kid. I don’t particularly care to get dressed up in costumes, I don’t like knocking on the doors of strangers, and I was never really motivated by candy. Now I live in a town where the Halloween festivities go on for several days:

  • In the week(s) leading up to Halloween, residents practice a custom called “ghosting.” This is where you sneak up to a victim’s door, ring the bell and run away, leaving a small bag of candy behind. The kids love it. They love “ghosting” their family and friends. They love catching the people who try to ghost them. I, for one, am looking forward to the day when this practice grows old.
  • The night before Halloween is known as “mischief night.” I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently it is big in the NY/NJ area. It is the night where people are up to no good, and do things like smash pumpkins, throw eggs, and tee-pee people’s trees. Fortunately, the mischief seems pretty tame in Rumson (just some wasted toilet paper), but it is annoying that we have to remember to bring in our pumpkins, etc just in case.
  • It is not enough to go trick-or-treating in this town, there must also be a parade. Make that parades, plural. The town puts on its own parade, and the kids also get dressed up in their costumes and have a parade at school too. This year, JP and I managed to make it to both parades.
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    Erin knew for months in advance that she wanted to be Tinkerbell for Halloween. But (as those of you who follow us on Facebook know), Evan had a really hard time figuring out what he wanted to be for Halloween. It changed every day, and at one point he was adamant that he wanted to be a piece of wood. Then one day, he brought home a library book about the Titanic. He became obsessed. He must have read countless books (and we’re talking 80-page long books!) and he watched several documentaries. JP and I suggested that perhaps he be the Titanic for Halloween. At first he was into it, but the more he thought about it, the more he didn’t like it. “I don’t want to be a boat that sunk,” he said. “I want to be the boat that rescued everyone from the Titanic. I want to be the Carpathia!” And so, with some cardboard, spray paint, staples and tape (and many hours of work by JP with a little help from Evan), a Carpathia costume was born. It just so happened that another boy in first grade came dressed as the Titanic. It was perfect.

    I published a new book this weekend. After writing the Dungeons of Cetahl, I needed a break from the Stewards of Reed. So I delved into a little side project of short stories and poems, several of which were written years ago and had been collecting dust (so to speak) on my computer ever since. It is called Confessions of a False Stoic, and you can find it on Amazon if you are so inclined.

    The only other thing worth noting is that, unfortunately, all my blood results came back normal. The doctors don’t know why I am not myself, why I have a laundry list of symptoms that have just started within the past year. Maybe I AM just getting old. Sigh. Well, I can’t leave this blog post on such a downer, so I will leave it instead with a cute picture of Evan and Madison … everyone needs a little spot in the sun sometimes :)

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