pumpkin war

The Ghost of Halloween Past

It was a dark time.

A time of…darkness.

And…not much brightness.

(This is known as “setting the mood.” It’s a literary term. Look it up.)

It was a time of garment-rending and booze-drinking.

Which, most of time, is a damned fun evening.

But not so here. Tragedy. Like when the feeling’s gone and you can’t go on.

So let me take you back.

It was five years ago. A beautiful fall fall.

And the beautiful fall fallness was shattered by…by…her.

A villain of George R. R. Martin proportions.

The Pumpkin Tramp.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Pumpkin Tramp, well, who the hell are you and how did you get here?

Ok..ok…for those of you unfamiliar with The Pumpkin Tramp, let’s just say that she’s Maleficent, Smaug, Voldemort and Candice Olsen all rolled into one Lori-Tormenting Hell-Neighbor.

You may be wondering, if you’re not familiar with history, what she did to earn these invectives?

Did she steal from me?

Did she shave obscenities into one of the cats?

Did she turn the ’96 Camry into a carbeque?

No, my friends, none of those things. It was worse. Much, much worse.

The bitch out-decorated me.

She destroyed my mental stability by annually installing a Halloween tableau of such charm that I couldn’t sleep, and that caused me to devolve into a plot-wielding, vandalism-imagining shade of my former self.

She put pumpkins on her roof.



And as you can see here in the historical record, she was able to do this by virtue of her flat, perfect for pumpkin displaying roofline.

house 2

I, in contrast, had a house with a pitched roofline and my home-value-obsessed, wife-hating husband would not let me engineer a solution because, as he put it, “Drilling holes into the roof to hold pumpkins is irrational.”

Leaving me no choice but to seethe and plot revenge.

Ultimately, I refrained from putting any of those plans into action because we had a pretty active neighborhood watch program and I don’t look good in orange jumpsuits.

So I bided.

And bided.

And then, three short years later, was the proud owner of a house with a FLAT ROOFLINE.

This was a major consideration not really a factor when purchasing the house.

So one day last month, while on a drive, I said to Himself, “Hypothetically speaking…If one wanted, hypothetically, to mount a line of pumpkins onto a hypothetical roof…How would one hypothetically do that?”

“Hypothetically?” He asked.

“Totally,” I replied.

And it appears that Himself maybe really does love me as much as he says he does because he figured out a way to install the 13 Roof-Dwelling pumpkins on to a decidedly non-hypothetical roof.

And so now, after playing the long long long game, I have my revenge.

Would you like to see?




Is that not the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen?

It’s so so so much better than the Pumpkin Tramp’s.

Can you tell why?


So now I can definitively say, despite being the only one playing the game…


Happy Halloween, my pretties.


You don’t understand what I’ve been going through.

I haven’t been sleeping.

I now own thirteen Ronco Vegetable Poachers because I have formed an intimate and personal relationship with the Australian guy who sells them at three in the morning.

I drank salad dressing instead of coffee today when I got up.

My boss was recently seen reviewing the facility drug testing policy.

Himself had to wash my hair for me this weekend. (Well, ok, that was just for fun and had nothing to do with my most recent neuroses, but it enhances the list well, don’t you think?)

I sat in a daze mindlessly munching while watching Law and Order (or House Hunters, I couldn’t tell) and didn’t notice when I finished the Cheetos and started in on the plastic bag.

I have been counting the days, NO, the HOURS till November 1st because I knew that my torment would be over soon after.

I have been wearing the same pair of pink velour sweatpants and orange stripey socks for five weeks! I need to start healing!

I’ve been comforting myself with the knowledge that this blasted holiday was finally coming to an end and that I could stop envisioning orange orbs hovering overhead, just beyond my reach.

I’ve been further assuring myself that I had nothing to worry about in the next round of seasonal decorating because there’s not historically been anything absurdly cute, nauseatingly charming, or disgustingly adorable about the Christmas decor of that house.

So imagine the twitch that started above my left eye when I read this comment.

I reached for my inhaler when I read this comment.

And then I just went ahead and broke out the goddamned bottle of Wild Turkey when I read THIS one.



This kind of “encouragement” and “reassurance” is going to get me admitted to a local rehabilitation facility to treat the attachment disorder I’ve developed with my fully articulated electronic Santa Claus. Or get me on the local news for coverage of my aerial act with the utility poles and Christmas lights. OR land me in jail for launching molotov cocktail fruit cakes at church carolers with the catapult I was forbidden from launching the cat with.

For the love of god, HELP SOMEONE ELSE.

I have a fetal position to practice.

Confused people can click on the “pumpkin war” tag to see all posts that lead up to my impending institutionalization.

A Loving Exchange.

This conversation happened today as we were driving to some friends’ to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday.

Me: Why are you going this way?

Himself: I want to finally see this house with the pumpkins.

Me: It’s not on this street!

Himself: It’s not?

Me: Didn’t you study the map??

Himself: Not carefully.

Me: My family SO doesn’t care about me.

Himself: I’m just bad with directions is all.

Me: Well go left here. Then it’s at the end of the block on the left.

Himself, as we get to the house with the pumpkins: Oh. Yeah, that is cute.

Me: [Deleted to maintain the PG Blog Rating] you.

Clearly my husband is NOT with the program. NOT letting me nail gun pumpkins to our roof, NOT letting me launch our lethal attack cat to wreak the havoc he was clearly born to do, NOT making insulting, disparaging comments at the wretched pumpkin house when he finally deigned to pay attention to it.

I believe the state of California allows me a no-fault divorce in this situation wherein I get all his stuff AND I get to kick him in the shins.

I’m sure a judge would be on board with that.

So the Halloween season has come to a close, and those bordering-on-harrassment decorations will be down from the house any day. Things should be better for the rest of the year, she has not – in years past, at any rate – put up Christmas decorations that do quite the same job of taunting me and robbing me of a decent night’s rest.

But if she lines her roof with adorable wee snowmen, I am getting a friggin’ blow torch.

Programming alert: I am the “celebrity judge” (Paige’s words not mine) of the “Mom of the Year Contest” at Slightly Off Balance. Not your typical parenting accolade, the winner is the person who I judge to  have done the funniest, wackiest or most desperate thing to somehow keep their parenting mojo on track. Or, off track, as the case sometimes may be. Leave a comment here if you’d like me to consider your own special brand of parenting crazy. Contest (and we use the term loosely because there are no prizes, certificates, trophies or Rice-A-Roni deliveries) closes today.

The Assault

I’ve been formulating a plan.

It’s taken me a few weeks to work out the details, but I’ve finally got it.

It’s going to take cunning, guile, and I’ll be honest. Not all of you are going to make it.

But you’ll be at peace knowing that you made the ultimate sacrifice.

Ready? Did you have your Wheaties?



Here’s a review. (You can also read this post to get up to speed.)

I want you all to keep your eyes on the prize! Your noses to the grindstone! Your shoulders to the wheel! Your kidneys to the asphalt! Your hamstrings to the leprechaun!

Got it? Ok. Here is a detailed schematic of target zone.

This detailed map will allow you to penetrate enemy territory quickly and efficiently. Please note, however, that there are far more houses in my neighborhood than are rendered here, that the houses are  not actually colored like this, that I don’t think I’ve drawn the streets accurately, and the target is not really conveniently marked with a big, giant graphic X. BUT, my house is yellow. So you’ll all be fine.

Let’s talk weaponry.

After careful planning and reading the “fun for the whole family” blurbs on the back of the “RISK” box, I am fully qualified to establish means of assault and the armaments necessary to achieve our aims. Which are what?? Taking the Pumpkin Tramp down!

Study this diagram carefully.

As I was not able to acquire any offensive weapons that involved plutonium or gun-powder (damned seven-day-waiting periods) we will make do with older, more classic measures. A catapult filled with a secret weapon.

What’s the secret weapon, you ask?

That’s right.


She is so gonna be toast.

So here’s the plan.

She doesn’t stand a chance.

Once I launch the cat with the…er…catapult the devastation will be the stuff of legends. Her beautifully perfect house with her disgustingly adorable pumpkins is gonna look like THIS:

And I will finally sleep like a baby.

Where does the risk to you come in, you wonder?

It’ll be YOUR job to get Nimbus back into the house.

Good luck with that.

Just call me Sybil.

That’s brilliant, isn’t it? I can barely get people to remember that I’m not called Martha. So that’s just what we need. More names.

I, dear readers, am a study in contrasts.

You could say I’m deep…conflicted. Torn between extremes and wrestling with the big questions.

You’d be wrong, of course, but go ahead and say those things. I like when people think I’m smart. And deep.

I could be deep. I have depths!

Serious, unplumbed depths! Deep, deep depths!

Yeah, right.

Anyone who is cheered up by a Snicker’s bar is about as deep as a shot glass.


See what I mean?

Anyway, for yours truly, “study in contrasts” is a nice way of saying “wishy-washy.” Or if I’m feeling particularly uncharitable, “confused.”

So, in an effort to keep up in the great Pumpkin War of 2010, I – you may recall – broke out the Halloween decor.

I am so not to be trifled with.

However, I seem to be suffering some sort of Halloween split personality disorder.

For instance, you may remember this, which sits on the hutch:

Menacing. Eeeeevil.

But then I have this on the front step:

Charming. Cozy.

Ok, well we can’t have any of that. I want my guests to be freaked out. So I have these:


In which case maybe I shouldn’t have this hanging on the front door:

And if I’m really tying to create an ambience of  unease and give people chills with this:

Then maybe I should knock off buying stuff like this:

Do you see where I’m going here?

Or, more accurately, do you see how I’m failing to get ANYWHERE here?

I can’t decide if I want cute and charming or horrid and freaky. And so I end up with both which ultimately causes an emotional state known in the health care industry as, “Huh?”

As a former performance artist, I can tell you that “huh?” is about the WORST reaction you can get from a viewing audience.

I don’t know what to do about this.

But I can tell you whose fault it is.

The tramp with the pumpkins on her roof.

Not Taking this Lying Down

Because if I do, a pumpkin might fall on my head.

So I have this…

Which serves the two-fold purpose of Halloweening up our house and irritating the cats.

And then we have this…

A little fruit salad, anyone?

And then there’s this…

Because no house is complete without a light-up pumpkin totem.

Pumpkins on the roof? Just damned showy.

Compensating. Clearly compensating.

Pumpkin Grief

I mentioned last week that my nightmare of a neighbor* (not Backyard Neighbor) lined her roofline with pumpkins and that this was CLEARLY a call to arms.

A summons, if you will.

Calling me out as surely as if she’d stood in front of my house and screamed “STELLLLAAAAAA!!!!”

Despite Stella not actually being my name.

But there are no movies where anyone stands in front of a house and screams “LORRRRIIIIII!!!”

The heroine is NEVER named Lori.

Not that I’m bitter or have role-model issues.


Some people expressed confusion about how this worked. How did this wretched woman* manage to get pumpkins on her roof?

Allow me to illustrate.

Here is an artist’s (and I use the term very loosely) rendering of her house. Here is the unadorned house, just so you can appreciate what I already have to deal with.

Even without holiday adornment, this house is just…perfect. I left out the tree on the right with the swing and the bench, and the sweet little dove-cote in the front yard. And we’ll say that I left those out  because I did not want to clutter the visual image and that it has nothing to do with getting tired of illustrating or running out of time.

Because for you, I would paint until my mouse hand fell off.

So here is what it looks like now.

You will notice (of course you will notice because I am now pointing it out to you) that her roofline is flat. MY roofline is pitched. I cannot put mini pumpkins along my roofline without a nail gun. And Himself put the kibosh on THAT plan. Cause he hates Halloween and hates it when I’m happy although he claims it’s because of the damage to the roof the fact that it will cause the pumpkins to rot.

But I think we can all see through that obviously transparent excuse.

Now allow me to offer some suggestions for what the horrid woman’s* house could look like if I were allowed to take off the creative reins, so to speak.

I should probably mention that Himself locked the shed where we keep the paint, so it is unlikely my vision will be realized.

But I figure he has to sleep sometime.

*It should be mentioned that I have never met this woman, spoken with this woman, nor would I even recognize her if I bumped into her at the local Neighborhood Watch meeting, which I’m sure if she ever saw this blog she would rapidly become a member of. In truth, she is probably just as lovely as her house.