What do you do with a plague? Cut a hole in its head, reach inside, and rip its guts out.
This time I knew it was 5:30 in the morning, and I got up anyway. Sometimes I can just feel the fight for sleep coming on, and the best option is to remove myself from the battlefield. I prepped the coffee last night, and there’s pumpkin bread left from the weekend, so I’m in a good place. Let’s do this in chronological order:
I must have been Saturday when the kids made these chocolate haunted houses. It’s a kit from Trader Joe’s. Note the fact that they’re chocolate, not gingerbread. I suppose TJ’s has such respect for the traditions of the nondenominational, nondescript, nameless, vague, celebratory season that revolves arbitrarily and with no grounds for any particular reverence around the inexplicably specific date of December 25th, that it reserves gingerbread for that particularly non-particular time of year. Halloween gets chocolate. Because there won’t be enough of that.
The Boy made his frenetic attempt, and was pleased. He decided that it’s sloppiness does not, in point of fact, represent poor workmanship. Rather, it is purposeful, as the house looks more haunteder that way. Who would argue?
The Girl worked slowly and deliberately, and of course came away with a much more polished product. I thought I had a picture of it, but alas (is that redundant? Is the “but” too much, alongside the “alas?”). The Boy thought hers was a little too nice to be scary, but that was just jealousy playing at insouciance, and it is a stance that fails to account for the horrors that stalk perfection like a dormant cancer.
Did someone say plague? We’ve been having weird data corrections. Two days ago, some 16,000 tests were removed from the “total tested” category. Yesterday, over 22,000 were added. I think that those numbers warrant a slightly less generous term than “data correction,” but you know me – always looking for someone to punish. An empty gallows is a waste of tax revenue, I always say.
18 Hospitalizations? Imma call that another data correction, considering there are 60 in the past 14 days. That’s fewer than 5 per day (and conspicuously absent any data about COVID patients being released from the hospital, but pay no attention, and all that).
Deaths remain very low and are getting lower – 3.1% of total positives today. I remember a steady 7 or 8% for a long time. Hospitalizations are also very low, so it looks as if (he said, wondering if his readers noted the skepticism) the prevalence of COVID is as real as ever here in King County, but the severity is on the decline. We seem to be inching closer to that “living with the virus” situation that was on everyone’s lips for a while. It won’t be good enough. Nothing will, until we’ve had time to prevaricate about and refuse to accept extant vaccines, virtue signal about our trust in either pharmaceutical companies or the government (depending on your party affiliation), and hold society hostage for a ransom of tweets.
The pumpkin carving was a success. We were able to decorate nicely and put together enough shelter to keep the stuttering drizzle off of everyone. I had a crock pot of spiced cider staying warm that went more or less undiscovered for most of the afternoon. I was feeling a little down about it – you know that feeling when you do something that you’re just sure is the perfect thing, but no one else seems to be catching on? That was me, until a neighbor kid ladled herself a cup and proclaimed it decent, and I anticipated the rush of drinkers and compliments. It never really materialized. A few cups were had, not much was said in the way of praise, and I had to chalk it up as a generally underwhelming effort.
There was to be a contest of sorts, but the judging never really got underway, and of course with the varying ages and skill levels, prudence would not have allowed anything like winners and losers. The Girl had done well by making several certificates for things like Cutest Pumpkin, Scariest, Weirdest, etc. Nobody seemed too put out by the fact that awards were not issued – except The Girl of course, who was not shy about saying that she felt like her certificate making efforts had gone wasted and unappreciated.
Talk to the guy who made the cider.
I took pictures with a real camera throughout. Our neighbors have 3 kids ranging from 2-ish years old to 6 or 7, and I remembered how much more photogenic they are than the 9 and 12 of my own children. I spent almost all of my pictures on them, then had to go through that old fashioned process of transferring them from a memory card to my computer so that I could touch them up and send them.
The Italian and I sat at different tables, chatting with the carvers while we did the slimy work of separating seeds from guts. Later I patted them dry with paper towels, then dried them further by putting them in the convection oven at about 225 degrees for 10 minutes or so. Then it was a quick toss in butter, Worcestershire, garlic, and salt, and a good long roast to wake them up. I turned the convection back on in the last 10 minutes for a little extra crispness. They’re delicious. I’ve bagged them up so I can give them to the neighbors, who will enjoy eating the labors of their fruits.
-Haunt your houses, Comrade Citizen!-