Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Halloween, the Chicken Pox, and 175 bags of Doritos


Have I ever told you Halloween is my favorite holiday? Sure, any holiday that involves chocolate is high on my list but Halloween gets top honors. Mostly because it doesn't involve family. I know that sounds totally sacreligious and bad...but let's just say I'm not a fan of family centered holidays for various reasons. Halloween involves no obligation, no gifts, no guilt. If you want to participate you can go all out by dressing up and converting your home into a haunted mansion, and if you don't you just turn out the lights. It's simple. It's no fuss. There's no obligation, and it's all about the candy. My kinda holiday!

The Halloween bug didn't really bite me until Kevin was born. Of course, his first Halloween was very memorable. He was nine months old and John was working out of town, so I was doing the single Mom thing. I hadn't felt so good at work that day and somehow made it home, got Kevin into his little home made cow costume, and decided we'd do a lap through the mall since we were out of diapers.

The mall was full of excited children all dressed in every costume you could imagine. Pooh bear, vampires and witches mingled with princesses and knights. They were all running through the mall collecting their treats and as I watched them, I began to feel worse. Somehow just getting to the store was sapping my energy so I sank onto a chair in the food court and watched for awhile. It was as if someone had cast a magic spell over me and I couldn't move. Even the shop keepers thrusting candy at me (for a 1 year old?) wasn't appealing. Something was wrong, and I immediately went home.

That year was the first Halloween after my husband had been laid off from his job running a group home for street kids. We used to house teenagers that were far too dangerous to be placed in regular foster homes and the house, as well as my husband, had somewhat of a reputation amoung the juvenille delinquents in town. Let's just say that they didn't like him too much because he was the guy that often turned them in to the police. That night as I struggled to stay awake and felt sicker by the minute, a group of about 20 teenagers in dark hooded coats appeared in our driveway and stared at the house. It was not unsual for us to deal with gangs and mentally ill people at our door only months before, but that had been my husband's job. Now I was completely on my own. Fearing for my saftey I called the police, who sent by a cruiser to check on us a few times that night and the crowd eventually dispersed. Fever began to claim me as I became a little delirious and slipped in and out of sleep on the sofa-too worried to sleep but too sick not to.

The next morning I discovered that I in fact had chicken pox that I had caught from a student in the grade 1 class I worked in. In the ensuing days I became sicker then I have ever experienced in my entire life. Can't get out of bed sick. Call Mommy and beg her to help me sick. Can't even look after the 9 month old sick. Hey, if you can avoid getting chicken pox as an adult I highly recommend it. I didn't even realize how sick I was until my doctor phoned me at home and warned me that if I had any sort of a stiff neck or headache I was to call 911 immediately. Turns out that you can get encephalitis from the pox when you're an adult. It eventually passed though and I recovered, only to have Kevin break out 10 days later. Besides being a little cranky, he didn't even notice that he had them.

Kevin loves to hear that story over and over again, about how his noble mother made sure he got some trick or treating in even though I could hardly move, only to be bedridden for a full week after. Fortunately we've never had a Halloween nearly as exciting since-unless you could count the 175 bags of chips we were stuck with last year. You see, I buy Halloween candy that I'm not fond of so that I don't eat it. This time it back fired and we ended up eating Doritos until March because our neighbors greatly overestimated the amount of kids that would come our way.

This year I'm buying chocolate. I wouldn't mind getting stuck with that......

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