Well, folks, the weather recently took a sudden turn--fortunately toward the dee-lightful--and swept Fall right in along with it. I swear, it seems like we went from 1,000 degrees and 250% humidity (this is meant to be an educated estimate, of course...I'm only an amateur meteorologist, ya know...mostly I base my forecast on "how disgusting the outside air feels" coupled with "the amount that my clothing is sticking uncomfortably to my body") to donning multiple layers and turning the heat on in the house to keep warm. Needless to say, it's a very welcome change after our somewhat sweltering Summer, and we here on Team WestEnders enjoy this time of year to the hilt
Speaking of which, with the newly arrived Autumn-like conditions, it finally felt as though it was an auspicious time to procure pumpkins to adorn our porch. Now, in bygone days, this constituted a carefully planned outing to a local farm. There we would tromp around the fields and consider the vast array of available gourds, by examining them thoroughly for such important qualities as: potential carveability, pleasing shape, adequate size, and sufficient weight to indicate an abundance of seeds inside, for later roasting. Inevitably on such a sojourn there were also hayrides, corn mazes, apple cider, and other amusements to keep the kiddies happy. Ahhhh...good times.
But nowadays...my sons are teenagers...and here's how it goes:
Me: (enthusiastically) "We don't have any pumpkins yet!"
Riley: (gravely) "Where are we gonna get them?"
Me: "Um...I...don't know..."
Derek: (unexpectedly taking on the role of Mr. Practical) "We could always just pick them up at Harris Teeter, right?"
Me: (sighing) "Sure...but what fun is THAT?!"
In the end, we compromised by patronizing Southern States (right next door to H.T., but with their emphasis on gardening and landscaping supplies...somehow feeling more...authentic....or something...), where they presented an impressively attractive and varied display of pumpkins outside the store for you to wander through and peruse. I was prepared to compare the merits of many specimens with the boys, and discuss the subject at length--as long as was necessary, in fact, to find just the right ones for our Halloween needs. Aaaannnd...they each had selected theirs in oh, approximately 5 minutes. (Honestly, while I believe Derek might have grabbed the first acceptable one he encountered, Riley actually apologized for taking a little extra time, saying, "You know I'm a little OCD, so I want to make sure I make a good decision." Not a problem, dude--you are once again proving to be your mother's child...)
The other harbinger of the season...at least for the Male Posse around here...is their annual obsession with all things college-football related. I'm not kidding you, Derek actually tries very diligently to arrange his weekend schedule based on what key Top 25 match-ups are happening, and in what televised time-slot. (Yes, it IS a little disturbing, to this staunchly anti-football person, I'm not gonna lie...but what can ya do? Oh yeah: studiously IGNORE it, and wait for it to eventually go away. Also, for a brief, glorious stretch, I intend to focus on the World Series, which may not involve my Orioles (boo), but also doesn't include the Yankees (YAAAAAYY!), and even better, pits two teams that haven't won the Big Finale in a combined...one hundred seventy six years (BONUS!!).
Anyway, to take their love of the game even further--and outside in the fresh air--they often grab a ball and run pass routes in the front yard. But lately for some reason they've gotten into kicking the ball as well...which in order to be performed in the most realistic manner, necessitates...a goalpost of some kind to be used as a target. Therefore, they were motivated to attempt to construct one, using scraps they scrounged up from the garage (a broken street hockey stick, some random plastic pipe)...and copious amounts of duct tape (naturally. Because is there any project conceptualized by a guy that doesn't require this all-purpose item? Yeah, I didn't think so...)
So, how's it going, you ask? Well...let's just say that the prototype...wasn't...um...terribly durable. However, we made an excursion to Lowe's today to pick up some additional pipe in a lighter, smaller diameter size, and they have high hopes that this will fix the balance and adhesion issues they've been dealing with thus far. (And by the way, despite my aversion to football itself, I fully support this endeavor--it seems to foster cooperation, stimulate creativity and problem solving, inspire engineering skills...and, when things go awry, offer opportunities for practicing positive anger management techniques--ha!)
And that, my friends, is how we're getting ourselves into the proper seasonal mindset to appreciate the bounty of Fall. Hey, we have the materials to make jack o'lanterns happen...the trick or treating supplies are already safely stashed away in the pantry for the 31st...I think we're well-prepared...have I earned a pumpkin spice latte? (Aren't you proud of me? I made it to the Very. Last. Sentence before working that in--extra whipped cream for me...whoo hoo!)