Halloween And Other Diversions

It was after 9:30 when I rolled out of bed this morning with big plans. The Doc is away so I am on my own for Halloween. This is not unusual because Halloween often coincides with the beginning of hunting season and a trip to the big boy’s camp in northern Ontario. Today, the plan was to start with yoga, as I do most days, then change the bed, set the oven to self clean, clean the bathrooms, practice piano, stick a few pieces into my jigsaw puzzle and at some point, have a shower. And, oh yes, prepare for Halloween.

It was almost 11:00 o’clock by the time I finished yoga and a nice breakfast so I turned my attention to the oven–the very dirty oven that had begun smoking the last time I used it on a high temperature because I like to broil in this oven and roast things that splatter grease and oil all over the sides and bottom. The oven is over six years old and I clean it less than once a year because a clean oven in my house is very short lived. 

The concept of a self-cleaning oven is just that, only a concept because you are not allowed to leave the racks in while the oven is being cleaned. So you have to clean the racks yourself. Cleaning the racks is, by far, the worst part of cleaning the oven. I would really like to know why you can’t leave the racks in. Some say it is because the chrome discolours during the cleaning process. Really, I wouldn’t care if my racks were discoloured. That, to me, would be a price worth paying for not having to clean them. 

Now before you all start giving free advice in the form of rack cleaning tips that require me to purchase oven cleaner then spray the racks and put them in green garbage bags to sit and self clean, let me say this: oven cleaner is toxic and I am a person who cares about the environment. I have no desire to dispose of or rinse out anything associated with oven cleaner because it will eventually leech into the ground water. That’s my stand and I am sticking to it.

Between setting the oven to “self” clean and scrubbing the racks, I open several windows because oven cleaning vents massive amounts of heat into the house, and the last thing I need is to get overheated. I strip the bed and load the sheets into the washing machine and then dig out our old Halloween pumpkin that lights up with the aid of three AA batteries. Why such a tiny light bulb requires three batteries is beyond me. Today the battery stash is void of double A’s. I search the house, mostly The Doc’s messy playroom; but come up empty. Then the bottom falls out of the pumpkin and it looks like something from a low-budget cartoon. So much for letting the neighbourhood kids know that I will be open for Halloween business?

In same closet that is home to the pumpkin for 363 days of the year, there is a bag containing dust bunnies, dead bugs and a few Halloween things from when JT was little. I take the spider and the skeleton outside and display them to the best of my abilities, shove the bottom back on the pumpkin and set it on the step just outside the door. It looks like new. Works for me.

Also in that bag was a set of alien lights that I think I must have thought were skeletons when they were purchased years ago and the tiny house pictured above that I have never used. I have no idea where it came from. Even the tea light candle was brand new. These two things are heading for the donation bag.

By now I need a diversion, which takes the from of a couple of Halloween treats because unlike last year, this year I bought the nuts. The only way I want to eat chocolate is when it is accompanied by nuts. The nutty things are set aside to be the very last things to go out the door.

It takes way too much time to scrub those damn oven racks, especially since I don’t really need them to be spotless. Spotless is for my mother’s generation. I just need them to look like I made an attempt. Now is when I decide that, more than anything else, I really need that shower.

Outside it is pouring and water begins flowing over the rain gutters right in front of the door. This will not do. I have over 100 miniature bars to get rid of. I need at least thirty kids, that I can distribute three bars a piece to. In order for this to happen, these kids need to make it to our front door without feeling like they ventured through Niagara Falls. This requires the step ladder.

The step ladder is in the garage, the back of the garage, under the larger ladder, behind the trailer, and the ride-on mower and a lot of other stuff that is not portable or easily moved. It’s like an obstacle course that once I get through, I have to retrace my steps carrying the ladder. I feel like I am performing a feat in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

With my hair still soaking wet and me wearing black rubber boots and orange rubber gloves I climb up the ladder. I have been making a case for gutter guards for years. This situation is preventable. This is what I am thinking while standing on the very top of the step ladder holding on to the roof with one hand and scooping out leaves with the other, hoping like hell I don’t blow over and break a hip. All I can do is get the leaves that are blocking the downspout and hope for the best.

It is after three in the afternoon when I finally get to making the bed, which I don’t finish making because what’s the point of doing it all up when it is getting close to dark and I am going to be crawling into it in a few hours. By this time the oven is also finished, but it’s not really finished because self cleaning the oven creates ash that needs to be wiped out. I whip out the vacuum cleaner and suck up the loose stuff then wipe the rest up with a damp cloth. Good enough as long as it doesn’t smoke again in the near future.

At 3:40 I have no desire to do anything else. I think a drink is in order and I make myself a classic Canadian Caesar (no not the salad) and sit my butt down to relax and enjoy it before dinner. Then proceed to somehow dribble it down my shirt. Dinner, which is leftovers, will probably the last thing to get done today besides Halloween. No piano. And probably no puzzle.

The first kid shows up at the door around six o’clock, which is actually later than other years. A few others follow and I start to give out four bars at a time. By 6:20 the water is once, again pouring over the rain gutters. Between showers, a few more kids make it to my front door and a few more chocolate bars leave. By 7:30 the candy bowl still has too many bars left in it. 

I take a quick break in the form of a mad dash to the bathroom. The cleaning supplies mock me from the vanity where I put them last night to remind myself of today’s priorities, but I will not be mocked.

There! Out of sight out of mind. Proof positive that I can find a lot of diversions to fill my time with in order to avoid cleaning toilets.

Thank you for reading.

Photos:  Jenn Stone

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21 thoughts on “Halloween And Other Diversions

    1. Well I hope I didn’t mislead everyone because I didn’t get that many kids. Even with giving four bars per kid, I still have too much candy left over. I always buy too much. Years ago the street was full of kids but theses days it’s full of retirees.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I can’t decide if I should applaud your for being so productive, or scold you for not goofing off the entire time your husband was away! O course I don’t like a dirty oven or leaves in the gutter, so I’ll applaud. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I always have to clean my gutters alone as I live alone – I just did mine the other week as it had been pouring over the top of them and we’ve had a lot of rain. Luckily, I only have a bungalow…

    I never gave Halloween a thought but early evening there was a knock at the door. As noone ever calls at my house, I was really puzzled and surprised and then I remembered what date it was. I answered the door to a couple of cute girls with their father and said I wasn’t sure I had anything ‘kid-friendly’ to eat in the house. Anyway, I found a pack of Love Hearts (fizzy sweets) so gave them those. It’s the first time anyone’s called here as our village is only 8 houses and at least a mile from anywhere else!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Just a few personal reflections…

    There is something mystical about the “self-cleaning” option on our oven. There is only tiny amount of ash at the end of the cycle. (One quick swipe with a sponge, done.) We also leave the racks in there, and everything comes out clean and shiny. I don’t question the it and carry on…

    We had a constant swarm of kiddos for Halloween this year. I gave out tons of Ziploc quart bags stuffed with a variety of candy. (It’s a big production in our house, and we start buying those giant bags of candy in September, snapping them up when we see them on sale. Halloween is close to my heart, so I go all out. And it’s worth it when little eyes shine with surprise when I plunk that mess in their buckets.)

    We had our gutters removed several years ago when we had the exterior of the house painted (we have a pier-and-beam house, so standing water, should it happen, does not affect the foundation), and it’s been wonderful. No gutters to clean, ever…

    Great post, by the way. I really enjoy your words…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok that’s it. The racks are staying in the oven next time. I won’t get my hopes up too high for overly clean and shiny. I will just be very happy to avoid cleaning them. And to know that nothing will explode.

      Lucky you no gutters to clean. Here in Nova Scotia there is a lot of wet stuff that requires direction so gutters are unfortunately a necessary evil.

      Sounds like you had a great Halloween. I miss the days when lots of kids used to come. Thanks for the kudos. Coming from you, they mean a lot and are always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

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