......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

29 November 2011

Gettin' My Urban On......

The best way to get to know a city is to pick a destination  -  a restaurant,  a store,  a park   -   give yourself plenty of time,  and see if you can find your way there.   You might end up there or you might get lost.   Like if you take the Green B line instead of the Green E line  (because that's not confusing at all!  Why just letters that fall off the end of the same word?   Why not choose a different color to avoid confusion?   To emphasize the relationship between the 4 (!) Green lines,  why not call them Lime Green,  Pea Green,  Blue Green and Puce?   Because I did not even see that E!   It just registers as a typo!).   Either way,   you just learn more about navigating the city and what to do there.   And you'll probably make some bonus discoveries along the way.

Our Thanksgiving weekend concluded with a day in Boston with the purpose of figuring out how to get to the South End.   This is NOT Southie.   It's taken me over a year to take on this neighborhood because I was not confident in the distinction between Southie and the South End.   I was afraid of doing it wrong and getting shot by Marky Mark and dumped in the Mystic River.   But after a year of assurances,  I am finally ready.

Boston's South End feels like Brooklyn  (the Cosby Brooklyn,  not the Godfather Brooklyn).   It's all brownstones and curvy, tree-lined streets and a handful of funky shops and restaurants.   It seems like a place I should hang out.

For our destination,  I choose Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe.   It's a diner/coffee shop known for having  "The Best Breakfast in America!"   (this is a blogpost for another date   -   because everything in New England is  "The Best!"   And I'm like  "Are you sure?   Like really sure?   Because that sounds like a pretty big claim to me."   My theory is that none of these claims are substantiated in the way I think they should be.  By the way,  did you know that I am "The Best Blogger on the Internet?").   It's been open since 1927 and has no bathrooms but it does have a sink along the back wall.

I choose this place because I need something that reeks of the city.   Not the fancy, sophisticated and edgy city but the authentic to the core city.   When you live in the woods,  sometimes anything that is not the woods can seem manufactured;  uncomfortable in its wooded surroundings,  all Dunkin Donuts and gas stations and diners that miss the mark.   I complain about not having anything in the woods but maybe it just doesn't work.   So I'm seeking something that just is what it is without having to try so hard.   Something that has a solid sense of self.

And Charlie's is the poster child for authentic.   When we walk in,  there's a cop with a standing order,  a little old man with a bow tie and a lady with a funny hat.  The people behind the counter are ambivalent to us (entertaining as always) but they know why we're here.  For a real breakfast.   Nothing creative or fancy just breakfast.

I order the turkey hash because it's their specialty and Liam orders bacon and eggs.   When the waitress asks if he'd like white or wheat toast,  he says white and then shoots me a look out of the corner of his eye like I'm some kind of bread nazi.  I relish letting it go without a word (hah!  you didn't expect that, did you?).  He eats a stack of white bread with a bowlful of butter packets and sops up his runny egg;  I watch him eat this like it's birthday cake and I fear I've made a mistake.

This is the kind of place that doesn't season the food because you'll surely want to do that yourself.  The turkey hash that everyone raves about is bland  - but then I picture the fry cook saying   "That's why the salt is on the table, dummy."

I try not to take too many photos so I don't turn my authentic spot into a full-fledged tourist trap,  but there was no avoiding this:

What event in your past made you so sensitive to unnecessary noise?  How much do you have to hate unnecessary noise to actually go about procuring a sign to request that people not make any?     And now I'm nervous about whether my noise is necessary or unnecessary.  

On our way out,  we spy a little park.  It's dedicated to Harriet Tubman.

This is exciting for me because I get to tell Liam how Harriet Tubman was my very first hero.  How I learned about her in second grade,  how she disguised herself by reading a book (only freed slaves could read!),  and how I never quite got the hang of the underground railroad.   Too abstract.   I also get to explain to him that The Museum of Afro-Americans is not a museum about people with afros.  An Afro-American nearby (with no afro) says,  "Yo, you should tie yo shoes!"   I immediately think to myself,  "But I'm wearing boots."   But Liam plunks down in the middle of the sidewalk and obediently ties his shoes.   "People in Boston are so nice,"  he says.

We walk and walk and ride trains and ride trains;  the last one takes us to the Amtrak train that will take us home.   And I feel tremendously accomplished.

22 November 2011


There is only one other person at the beach when I go for a quick visit;  an older woman with white hair searching the ground for treasures and putting them in a cup.   I walk the length of the beach and find a good spot to sit,  settling in for a good long look at the water.

The woman wanders closer and closer to me, searching the ground all the while, until she's too close to ignore.   So I say,  "Finding anything good?"   Later she will say that she was drawn to me.   That she didn't know why she walked so close to me but that she couldn't help it. 

She answers me in a thick French accent.......and tells me that she is collecting things to bring to a nursing home.   The residents love things from the beach.   It is the simple things that make them happy, she says.   Not fancy things or things that cost money.   A smooth stone feels good in the hand and reminds them of happy times.

"Everyone is so bee-zy,"  she says.  "They do not know that thees is all they need."   She gestures toward the rocks and the water.   "They do not know that bee-zy does not put anything here."   This time she puts her hand on her abdomen,  as if she's reaching into her soul.

I tell her that's why I come to the beach.   To sit still.   Absorb the beauty.   Shut off the noise of everyday life.   But mostly to sit still.

"Oh you are so wise!"  she says.   "You are so young to be so wise!"

That makes me feel good.   Like the teacher gave me a star.

"As woman,  we must lee-sen to our inner goddess,  she always know what to do.   But instead we run run run, go here, do thees, buy that.   We so bee-zy we don't know what we want.   We don't lee-sen.   But your goddess always know.

I tell people you must stop and just be or you will not hear the messages properly.   And they say  "I cannot be!   With be there is too much lost time!"   But be is where we get our energy, our motivation.   Yes?   Life is about be.   Not go here, do thees, buy that.

My niece have husband with lots of money.  But she is not happy.   She keeps getting bee-ger and bee-ger house to make her happy.   But it does not work.   I tell her what I think;   I do not do bullshit,  I do not play game.   But she hang up on me.   I say  "ok, that is enough for today."   She has not found her goddess.   This is why I am committed to woman."

Eventually, she tells me her story.   She grew up in an orphanage,  very shy and afraid with no social skills.   She married at 19 and her husband brought her to the United States........where he burned down their house to collect the insurance money.   And then he left her.   She had a 4 year old,  a two year old,  a 7 month old baby.   And she was pregnant.   And she didn't speak English.   A kind person helped her get on welfare, find subsidized housing, a job and childcare.   She put all her faith in God and prayed for strength every day.   She acted like a goddess so she would feel like one.   When people were surprised to find that she was on welfare and lived in the projects,  she knew she was doing something right.

All of her daughters grew up successfully with happy marriages, good jobs and beautiful families.   One is a doctor, one is a nurse.   But her son is still lost.   It is very difficult to replace a boy's father.

Now she lives simply but comfortably and visits elderly people in nursing homes with smooth stones and pretty shells.   She has no electronic devices, no computer, no email address  -  just a name and a phone number.   She writes letters.   "When you get my letter,"  she says,  "you get a part of me.  My energy is on the page."

After an hour,  we share a hug and wish each other well.   She leaves me by saying,  "If you stop asking the question,  you will get the answer."

Then I hop on my bike and pedal home.

19 November 2011

The Whales Don't Know it's Almost Thanksgiving......

That's me walking on the beach on Monday.......in a tank top.   Today I was walking in a down vest and a scarf.   But by Sunday I'll be walking in a tank top again.   This place that is better known for its ski slopes than its seacoast is surprisingly mild this time of year (stormlets that knock out your power for a week notwithstanding).   In fact, we still have brightly colored leaves clinging to our trees.  And it's almost Thanksgiving!  Who knew?

And so it is that we can squeeze in some last minute summertime adventures in our quest to conquer the lengthy New England To-Do List.   In addition to autumn lobstering and surfing,  we managed to board the last whale watching boat of the season.

Here is my picture of whale watching:

My camera thought it would be funny to hide from me on whale watching day.  I'm sure it was hilarious watching me rip my house apart while I scream  "Get in the car!  Now!"  about 500 times while I keep not getting in the car.  So I go whale watching with just a camera phone which is just pathetic.  Pictured above is my attempt at a self-portrait.....Liam waving, me holding phone........just so I can mark the occasion.   It's all you're going to get because a whale is a fleeting thing, usually speedy and far away  -  it's not like they pull up next to the boat and pose.   Getting that perfect whale shot is stressful with a good camera, let alone a lame camera phone,  so I give myself a break and enjoy the show without trying to capture the elusive perfect shot.   But I'll always have our shadow portrait to remind me of our happy day.   Sigh.

The boat itself was not exactly what I expected.   It's small and cramped with no "inside" to speak of.  No "seats" to speak of either, unless you're lucky enough to score a spot on the bleacher seat that rings the perimeter of the boat.   I also start to sweat when I see the "railing"  which is more like a loosely woven mesh curtain.   And then here comes the mom with 3 little boys under the age of 4;   danger radar going off so loudly in my head!   Mom chats absent-mindedly while boys roam the boat freely  -  or should I say roll around and fall down and jump freely?  Here's the running commentary in my head:   "Would I be a bad person if I didn't jump in and save them?  It's the mom's responsibility, right?   I would like to take my eyes off of them but I can't because she's chatting with her neighbor.   But they are not my responsibility.  She can take care of her own children.  STAY AWAY FROM THE MESH CURTAIN!"

Finally I see the boys strapped to the bank of life jackets piled in the middle of the boat,  their arms and legs held firm by the bungee cords holding the pile in place.  "Oh thank god,"  I think.  "Single mom found a system!"

But no!  Single mom starts yelling "Get out of there!  What do you think you're doing?  Those don't belong to us!"   And she untangles them from their safe haven and sets them free to wander ever closer to the mesh curtain.

(not my children.  not my children.  not my children.)

There's another group, maybe an extended family, who brings a cooler on the tiny boat.  The kind you need two people to carry.   The kind you have to scooch around or step over on a crowded whale watching boat.  You can buy hot dogs and bagels and chips on the boat but these people are apparently serious about their lunch.   I'm having lunch with them.   They probably have tuna sandwiches and macaroni salad and fresh fruit. Screw hot dogs.

But when they open the lid I see only 3 unopened loaves of bread and a bushel of veggie booty.   They take turns sitting on the bleacher seat by the cooler and balancing pieces of bread on their legs, one on each thigh, while they dig for lunch meat.   I smell peanut butter but I don't see jam.   I don't see any condiments for the dry lunch meat sandwiches.   More than one sandwich half falls off a wobbly thigh and lands, peanut butter side down, on the floor.   I don't want to eat lunch with them anymore.   And their cooler is in my way.

At the front of the boat are a group of people I have identified as our "whale spotters."   They wear camp hats with draw strings pulled tightly under their chins.   They have binoculars.   And walkie talkies.   Their binocular straps feature Nature Conservancy or Sierra Club logos.   Their eyes stay focused on the horizon.  They site, point, discuss, talk into walkie talkies.   This is where the action is.   If I can hang by these people,  we will have a front row seat to the whale show.   I'm surmising that they spot whales and radio to the boat captain;  the captain redirects the boat for better viewing and then gives the location info to a narrator who makes the announcement to the passengers so they can look in the appropriate place. 

This is such a score. 

We wedge ourselves in close to the spotters and wait.  After an hour of patient waiting, there's a flurry of activity;   all the spotters rush together and point their binoculars in the same direction.  The lead spotter starts talking into the walkie talkie.   There's a possible sighting at 1 o'clock!   I grab Liam and run over to 1 o'clock;   we have to fight our way in.  I push Liam to the front so he can see his first ever whale!

The walkie talkie spotter shouts excitedly,  "Confirmed!  Confirmed sighting at 1 o'clock!"

Where?!  I don't see anything!

Again,  walkie talkie spotter, louder this time  "Common Loon!  Common Loon!  Confirmed!"


Getting excited about a loon?  Freaky birders with your freaky walkie talkies!  How did you not check that box when you were a junior birder?  If a common loon makes you wet your pants, what will you do when you see a whale?  Or are you unimpressed by such big animals and you're just using us for your selfish aviary purposes?    I thought I was going to see the world's largest animal and you show me a loon!   Freaky birders!   I swear,  I can't say this enough.   Freaky birders!   I go sit on the other side of the boat.

Omigod.  Getting antsy.  We've been on the boat for two hours and we haven't even reached the prime whale watching area yet.   I'm a grown up with a healthy attention span  - I wonder how the 3 year old boys are doing?  I wonder if they know what a whale is.   I wonder if single mom is having fun.

And then it happens.  Finally!   A mother humpback whale and her calf swim alongside our boat and shoot a stinky mist out of their blow holes.   It's like a whale fart!   All the irritation and cynicism evaporate and the boat erupts in a collective reaction;  whale farts!  We all squeal and clap our hands like kindergartners.  They swim with us, arching and diving, for a good 20 minutes and we keep squealing and clapping.   Every time.   It never gets old.

Liam's face is stretched into a shiny smile the whole time and I'm like  "Science!  Nature!  Yay!"   I realize how relieved I am that he gives a shit about this,  that he's not just sitting there thinking about the Super Mario Brothers.   Video games will not win today!   Today, the winner is NATURE!

At the end of our trip,  our boat is surrounded by a dozen frolicking Right Whales.  You don't even know what that is, do you?   That's because they are so freakin' rare!   There are only 425 of them on the  whole planet..........and we saw 12 of them!   Our narrator was practically in tears.   Seriously, she got a little chokey on the mike.  If you're a marine biologist,  and you lead multiple whale watching trips every day for 5 years,  and then one day you spot a rare specimen that you've never seen in your entire marine biologist life, it might be difficult to keep your composure in front of your audience...........that was a career high for narrator girl.  

And we were there for her moment.   I felt like her mom or something,  I was so happy for her.

The right whales put on a show flipping their tails high in the air over and over and over.   It's like they meet under the water and tell each other  "Just flip your tail.  They love that!"   And it's true!  

A giant (and I mean GIANT) whale tail, dripping with water droplets and sliding back into the ocean is just too amazing to get used to.    We go home and we draw whale tails.  Over and over and over. Liam, a boy who has no time to draw,  sits and perfects the image he has seared in his mind;   two backs emerging above the surface of the ocean, one big and one small,  a fin,  a volcano-like blowhole,  and hasty pencil stripes shooting out of the volcano indicating the spray that was our first signal to squeal and clap.   It is his new go-to drawing subject. 

Nature wins.

16 November 2011

Oh My God, I Hate Gym.....part 2

Fast forward to last Wednesday night.   When Liam plays his first soccer game ever. 

When we show up on the first day of soccer,  it's clear that every kid on his team has been playing professional soccer since infancy.   Oh my god,  why didn't I make him play soccer when he was in diapers?   I was so busy taking things out of his mouth that it just didn't occur to me.

I naively thought that soccer for 9 year olds would still be about learning how to dribble.   But it appears that that ship sailed long ago,   back when Liam was begging me to  "unsign"  him from T-ball (aka "drawing-in-the-dirt-ball").   When we arrive,  I assume there will be some warm-ups or drills or skill review before the game starts, some happy clappy game of "kick the ball like this"........and I'm hoping Liam will pay attention instead of doing air guitar to some song only he can hear.   But instead the kids are immediately put into "positions" like "defense"  and  "some other thing I don't remember"  and sent out onto the field to compete.   I watch Liam run around aimlessly until another kid points to a place on the ground - like "stand there, new kid".   I suddenly panic.........does he know he's not supposed to use his hands?

Had I known that the soccer window would close by 3rd grade,  I would've forced him to try it at age 3 like everyone else.   Had I known that this little recreational outlet would give me a stress headache as I watch my child try to figure out what he's supposed to be doing,  I may have considered recreation-by-coercion.  But I wasn't planning ahead (should I be saving for college?).  Plus, he was so busy with his training for drawing-in-the-dirt-ball.

BUT WAIT!!   It's not like I was negligent in not exposing him to soccer!   He specifically, repeatedly, year after year, said the word "NO" each time I asked if he'd like to sign up for soccer.

And I thought I should respect that.

But now, as I watch him on the field, a child among wee men,  I think to myself  "It looks like we should play some soccer in the backyard after school."   Followed by......

.......oh my god, I hate gym.

11 November 2011

Oh My God, I Hate Gym

The flyer said:

PE Night!
Come learn about what your child does in physical education!

I'm almost positive, although I wouldn't swear to it, that the word "curriculum" was mentioned.  If it wasn't actually on the flyer,  it was certainly implied.

And so I put PE Night on my calendar and put a pen and a notebook in my purse for taking notes.

When we arrive at PE Night,  I instinctively duck as we enter a gym filled with grown up children whipping playground balls at each other.   It's a response I can't shake after getting hit in the face with a frisbee in 1985 (Marcia Brady says "My nose!"  And, yes, it was broken.  And ugly.  And I had to wear full make-up to the beach to cover up my black eye.  Ok, I would've done that anyway in 1985 but still).

So I duck and hold my hand over my nose...........it looks like they're making us play a game first.   Shit.   Whatever,  I can be a good sport.   Mike is psyched and immediately starts chucking balls as hard as he can at complete strangers.   People who could be our neighbors.   I fake enthusiasm and play along until a bowling pin ricochets off the top of my foot  -  a spot that was newly healed after a putt putt golf accident that broke my foot in two places (putt putt golf is dangerous!  Not as dangerous as frisbee but be careful out there, people!).  I get pissed and limp over to the sidelines to take off my shoe.   Mike sees me and snickers.......and then chucks another ball as hard as he can.

"OH MY GOD,  HOW OLD ARE YOU?!"   I say.  Out loud.  Really out loud.

Shortly thereafter, the gym teachers start collecting the balls and directing us outside.   Finally.   Are they doing the presentation outside?   Should I get my pen?

They bring us to the baseball diamond and divide us into 2 teams.   Christ on a bike.

They quickly explain the rules for tennis ball which is baseball with a tennis racket.   My team is in the outfield first, and I strategically place myself in the back near the sideline because everyone knows the ball never goes there.   I look for someone to talk to.   I stand and chat with another mom while a ball rolls by us   -   and a dad tries to hide the fact he's mildly pissed.

It is in this moment that I realize that there will be no presentation of the physical education curriculum.   This is PE Night.

It is also in this moment that 1979 and 2011 cosmically converge;   they are existing simultaneously on this stupid tennis ball field.  Or diamond.  Or whatever.   And I groan and say,  "Oh my god,  I hate gym."

05 November 2011

Rocky, Flatty and Shell-y

When we have visitors,  which happens often now that we're far from home,  our first priority is always the beach.   Which one should we go to and how should we get there?  Walk?  Bike?  Drive for immediate gratification?   We're like  "Look what we've got!!"   It's always the big reveal.  

We have several kinds of beaches within minutes of our house and it's always interesting to discover each visitor's beach personality.   There's the wide, pristine sandy beach perfect for long walks and watching surfers;   there's the flat town beach across from the ice cream stand, used mainly by people who pack coolers and beach chairs and stay for the day;   then there's the rocky beach,   known as Rye on the Rocks.   It's private and secluded, watched over by a single fish shack perched above it.   This is the beach for quiet moments and tidepooling and collecting rocks and shells.

For some,  this holds little attraction.   You can tell that they've checked the box as soon as they walk across the rocks,  look at the water,  and then look at you like  "Ok  -  what's next?"

These people prefer party beaches.   For these people,  the beach is for summertime.

And some people have no beach personality at all.   The fact that the beach is within spitting distance doesn't even register.   They play along patiently while we proudly showcase our greatest assets........but they look surprised when we suggest actually getting out of the car.

These people like the mountains.

The beach chair and boogie board variety is the default beach preference for most people   -   maybe due to experience;   if you don't live near the beach,  you tend to spend the day at the beach.   You probably couldn't spend the day looking at the water and collecting rocks and shells.

Although I could.

Mike and I have identified a phenomenon that occurs when sitting on the shore of the rocky beach;   you inevitably see a pretty rock   -   so you pick it up.   While you're picking up that rock,  you see another one,  just to the right.   So you pick that one up.   As you put the rocks in your pocket,  you see a perfectly shaped stone just ahead   -   so you reach out and get that one, too.   And while you're sitting there,  it's impossible to look away from the display at your feet.   You can't stop looking and you can't stop finding and you can't stop putting them in your pockets.   And even as you walk to the car,  you look down the whole time,  not wanting to miss anything.

This is something that the beach chair / boogie board people may need to experience just to know that it exists.   Children don't have preconceived beach notions and once you hand them a pretty rock and tell them that the striped ones are lucky,  they're all in.

Our 4 year old friend, Hadley,  not only searched and collected,  she also named.  There was Rocky and Flatty  and Shell-y  (pronounced  She-wy) and many, many more   -   all named quickly and easily for their physical attributes.   She could have stayed all day and collected, just like me.   And when it was time to leave,  and someone mistook Rocky and Flatty and Shell-y for mere gravel and assumed they belonged on the ground instead of in the car,  there was hell to pay.   These were her friends,  not gravel.   And she unleashed a rage that said,  "I'm not leaving!   I'm staying here forever!   You ridiculous cad who threw my friends on the ground when it was time to leave!   I will make you pay by subjecting you to the loudness of my voice!   AAAAAAAH!"

So Rocky and Flatty and Shell-y made it home.   All the way to Minnesota.

I have a habit of collecting stones on vacation and bringing them home in my suitcase.   The first time I did this was at Salina Beach in California.   Each rock was prettier than the last and I took them all.   When I handed my suitcase to the ticket agent he grunted and said,  "Man!  What have you got in here?   Rocks?!"

"Hahahaha (nervous fake laughter)!   Yeah!  Rocks?!  I mean, who would do that?  Not me.  I wouldn't do that.  That's so dumb."   (quickly run away)

After that trip,  I saw the need to be more judicious and tried to choose just one rock as a souvenir from each trip.   When I get home,  I write the name of the vacation destination on the rock with a paint pen and put it in a bowl.

World's cheapest and most beautiful souvenir.

But the judiciousness doesn't work so well at Rye on the Rocks.   And I often think to myself:   someday I will inevitably move again;   will I pack all of these rocks and take them with me?

02 November 2011

The Halloween Recap

You need to know how it turned out, don't you?   I owe you that much.  I can't just complain and launch a campaign and then leave you hanging.  You've probably been losing sleep over this.

First of all,  it’s already been established that this is the greatest Halloween costume ever worn by any child at any time in history.   I know this because I kept looking at him and saying out loud,  "This is the best costume ever worn by any child at any time in history."   The only way he could do better is by re-using the wig next year and going as Rick James.   You should’ve seen how the curls bounced as he ran up driveways;  add some glitter and a guitar and it would be SUPERFREAK SUPERFREAK SUPERFREAKY…….NOW (or is it yow?).   Once we got the perfect wig and the perfect mustache, everything else seemed to fall into place.   Although he looked worried when he put on the boots (my boots) and said  “Are these high heels?”   

And I quickly said,  “No!   They’re WEDGES.”

My due diligence in scoping out a more trick-or-treat-friendly neighborhood was working great until……….(dun dun DUN)……the great Halloween “stormlet” of 2011.   The night before trick-or-treating (did I mention that our town doesn’t trick-or-treat on Halloween?   For no apparent reason?   No matter how many people I ask,  no one seems to know why?  And then they do nothing on Halloween.  Like, seriously nothing.   I will always have trouble with this.)….ahem…..  the sky opened up and dumped a full ¾ of an inch of snow on our heads.   Our yard was almost completely covered with snow, with only a few patches of grass showing through every few feet.   It took almost the entire day to melt.

This super embarrassing excuse for a snow storm also managed to knock out our power…………right in the middle of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Because of my previous experience with power outages,  I swore a few times and then sat patiently on the couch waiting for Mary to return.   I even kept looking at the screen,  just in case.

But I guess that’s not how it works here.

Instead, when your power goes out,  you’re supposed to empty your fridge into a cooler with ice and go to your cousin’s house for a week or two until power is restored.  So that’s what we did.   Our cousins being the friendly front desk staff at the Hilton Garden Inn.

But what to do about trick-or-treating??????  Would anyone even be home?  Or would they all be somewhere warm with lights and hot showers?   What about the universal sign for  “we’re home and have candy”?    Or the universal sign for  “we hate kids!  And candy!”?    With no front porch lights,  we can't tell the difference! 

My dark, power-less neighborhood was beyond deathly quiet.   Even quieter than the usual quiet  (except, of course,  for the sound of the neighbor’s generator mocking me).   And even my campaign to make alternate plans with alternate people was in jeopardy because the power outage had hit virtually  all of New England.   But after a flurry of back and forth texts in all caps saying  WHAT SHOULD WE DO????”  and  SHOULD WE SCRAP IT???”  and  “SCRAP TRICK-OR-TREATING????"  and   "OUR KIDS WILL NEVER FORGIVE US!”   and   THIS BLOWS!”,   the group of alternative-seekers decided to go for it.  We took a chance and drove to the alternahood.  And what we found there was a moderate number of kids (better than minimal!) many of whom were classmates and, more importantly,  we found people who were HOME!  People who were committed to trick-or-treating!  They wore mittens in the house and waited by candlelight and even took pictures of Rick James (I mean Inigo)  and his friend who was vaguely costumed as a third grader with a knife.
Oh thank goodness.

So I’ll give this Halloween a solid B.   That’s a respectable grade.   It’s not Halloween Hall-of-Fame-worthy but my kid was happy and didn’t ask to go home and even begged to go one more block……….and I was like, “Dude, it’s a cul-de-sac.”   But it made me smile nonetheless.
Thank you, alternahood trick-or-treat die hards;   you have no idea how important this was.