Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Extra Hour My Ass

I hate this time of year with getting dark early and changing clocks. Time zones, fall back -- I don't grasp any of it. I think Ben Franklin actually had something to do with all this, and he is my man having founded Penn and all, but still ...
The main problem is the "gain an hour" routine. I have enough unrealistic expectations as to what I can get accomplished in any given time frame, so the last thing I need is an extra hour taunting me and beckoning with false promises of more time. There is no such thing as more time. Once you have kids, there is never enough. People might feel this way regardless of parental status, but from personal experience, I can attest to the abhorrent lack of time with children under your roof.
It's all about them and their schedules. As a matter of fact, the time change was only made worse by coinciding with Halloween, my son's little league playoffs and World Series (and Hebrew school and soccer) and now a day off from school for Election Day. I don't need any of those things lengthened. Longer school day? Sign me up. Add 60 minutes to the already draining weekend? Not so much.
I hate Halloween. There, I said it. Never liked it, try to play along for the kids, but generally not a fan. Ironic since I love candy so much but I can just binge on my own time, thank you very much (and buy the good stuff rather than collecting everyone's chewy, gooey, gummy junk that I throw out anyway). So having Halloween fall out on a weekend is particularly annoying as it just leaves more time to deal with the whole costume/trick-or-treat thing. Why don't we just pile up some cash and burn it? It would be more efficient than running around looking for my son's costume. What a waste!
He wanted to be some fake GI Joe character. As far as I could tell from the catalog I showed him, there was a white costume and a black costume (um, hi, but what happened to normal camouflage GI Joe from our childhood? and my son hasn't even seen a GI Joe movie or show to my knowledge so why the sudden interest?)
In a rare burst of planning ahead, I bought the black GI Joe costume when the shelves were still plentiful with candy and decorations and the racks full of neatly-packaged costumes. Feeling very impressed with myself, I proudly presented the costume to my son ... who promptly burst my bubble telling me I bought the wrong one. "Mooooooommmmmmmmmmm," he whined, "I said Snake Eyes." Come again? "This is Duke, I want Snake Eyes." But it's black, I protested, you wanted the black costume. "Well, this is the wrong one." End of conversation (if you can call the exchange between a surly almost-9-year-old and me a conversation).
Commence Operation Find the Correct Costume Two Days Before Halloween. Good luck. Sure enough, the Snake Eyes package is now prominently displayed at the front of the picked-over racks ... but not in his size. Three stores and much aggravation later, I got the damn costume. Which he proceeded to wear for a total of maybe two hours, not even with the stupid mask and visor thing it comes with because masks are prohibited in the school Halloween parade and he didn't want to wear it on his own time. What the difference was between the first costume I got and the one he eventually wore I still have no idea, and the whole thing got tossed in the trash as it was covered with silly string and shaving cream from our friend's party. Fabulous. Now remind me why we do any of this in the first place?
I guess it is my punishment for not being a crafty mom who loves the occasion, dresses up and throws an annual party and creates some fabulous homemade costume that wows the neighborhood. My kids are stuck with store-bought me. If it weren't for their father, those poor children might never have had a homemade birthday cake or baked-with-love school celebration cupcakes (oh, right, those are the root of all evil, how could I forget?)
Of course, every cloud has its silver lining or whatever the half-full people say. Overall, the weekend was a success. My son's team won the World Series, my daughter said it was the best Halloween ever, and a good time was had by all. And I guess, in the end, that's all that really matters ... it is not the rush-rush-rush of preparation or the stress of running out of candy for the trick-or-treaters or buying the wrong costume that anyone remembers. It's just the happy memories made along the way, and that's all any of us want for our kids.

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