Wicked Witch of the West Coast

Is there a Halloween equivalent to Ebenezer Scrooge? Or a Halloween Grinch? Because that's where I am this Halloween. I'm Ebenezer Scrooge. I'm the Grinch. I'm the Wicked Witch of the West Coast.

Have you ever had this happen to you? When it's time to starting decorating and celebrating a holiday and you just don't have it in you? That's been me. I'm just not in the mood this year. I have two huge orange tubs of Halloween decorations in the garage that I haven't even bothered to open. Dragging everything out is a process and then 31 days later I have to clean it all up and put it all away. Pulling all of that shit out for Christmas is one thing. But Halloween? No thanks. The above picture? Yeah, that's the extent of my decorating this year. I didn't even buy pumpkins for the porch! What has happened to me?!?

This will be the first time in 14 years that I have not bought a Halloween costume for one of my boys. Of course, I knew with B starting high school this year that he probably wouldn't/shouldn't be interested in dressing up. But my youngest? He's only 11. I kind of thought he had a couple of years left, but he decided that he wasn't really interested in dressing up this year. Am I upset by this you ask? Does this make me sad? NOPE. Not. One. Bit.

Usually, I'm a huge on traditions. I love traditions, especially the ones that are connected to the holidays. Our Halloween involve carving pumpkins, tasteful orange and black decor both inside and outside, candy corn pumpkins, watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at least once. We did watch Linus in the pumpkin patch and of course I bought some candy corn pumpkins, but that's been about it.

When I look at old pictures of the boys in their Halloween costumes, I feel my heart long for them to be little again. Oh how cute they were! They were Dalmatians and teddy bears and little Yodas. There was Lightening McQueen, football players and a fireman, skeletons and Storm Troopers. Lots and lots of cute costumes. Will I be sad on Halloween when my boys aren't dressing up? Will I feel like we are missing out not going to Trick-or-Treat? NOPE AGAIN.

First of all, if there' s no costumes there's no Trick-or-Treating, and I don't need all of that damn candy in the house. The less candy in my life, the better. I promised the boys that I would buy some candy for them. They requested Butterfingers, Kit Kats and peanut butter cups. I promised I would buy a SMALL BAG of each for them to enjoy and that's it. They agreed.

Second, I saved both money and sanity not searching for or ordering on Amazon whatever crazy expensive costumes they requested, and then having to return the costume and find another one when they change their minds a week later.

And finally, no pumpkins means no carving which means no pumpkin guts and mess to clean up or rotting pumpkins to throw away.

So for a quick recap, I won't have gigantic bags of candy in the house taunting me for months on end, I have extra money in my pocket, I feel no stress (about Halloween anyway), and no pumpkin guts to deal with. Does that make me a Scrooge or a Grinch or a Witch? No. I think it makes me a genius.

Happy Halloween! (Or not... I don't care.)

A Home Tour: The Dream House


This was the dream house. The house that I quickly became obsessed with. The house that I only got to live in for two years.

I'll never forget the first time I saw the dream house. It was Friday of OU/Texas Weekend. I headed down to Norman to meet with my sister-in-law, Karen, a relator, who had a few houses picked out for me to look at. Derek and I decided that moving to Norman, for various reasons, should be in our near future. So I decided to go look...just for fun. (For me, this is the equivalent of "just looking" at a litter of new puppies. There's no way I'm leaving without wanting one.)

We stopped for lunch at The Mont, a popular restaurant near the OU campus. The whole city was down in Dallas for the game, so we had the place to ourselves. It was a cool fall day. Pumpkins appearing on front porches, leaves just starting to turn, football excitement in the air. The vibe in the city was perfect. Perfect for making me want to move.

During lunch which might have included a Swirl and definitely included queso, Karen looked at me and said, "There's a house just down the street that I should show you. It isn't officially on the market yet but will be soon. It's DARLING!" I'm not certain that she used the word DARLING, but it doesn't matter because that is exactly what the house was. When we rounded the corner and I laid my eyes on the house for the first time, I knew the house MUST BE MINE!

Karen called the home owner and asked if we could get inside. Before long we were inside my dream house, gushing and moaning and groaning (mostly from me) about how fabulous this house was. Built in the 1920's and recently renovated by the oweners (very Joanna Gaines-esk, before Joanna Gaines was...well...Joanna Gaines), 433 Macy was the most charming house in the whole city. I'm not exaggerating. Whenever I would tell my Norman friends which house it was they would say, "That's the most charming house in the whole city!"

I can't remember many of the details after that. I do know that I called Derek and told him that there was a house in Norman that we had to buy RIGHT NOW! We couldn't wait because I DON'T WANT SOMEONE ELSE LIVING IN MY HOUSE! Was I a tad dramatic about the urgency of the whole thing? Perhaps. But I didn't care. This was my dream house.

By April 2004 we were moving in. It wasn't a smooth transition, but moving rarely is. Shortly after, we found out that we were pregnant with Palmer and a few weeks after that, Derek won his first National Championship. Living on Macy Street was very dreamy. I loved waking up on Saturdays in the fall, feeling the energy of the city gearing up for game day. I loved decorating my front porch for all of the holidays. I loved the brick pavers in the kitchen, the Japanese Maple in the front yard, and the delicate lace roman shades in the front windows. I. Loved. This. House. Life was pretty damn perfect. Things were going well for the Freemans.

Until they weren't. That summer, Derek moved into a new position at our alma mater which quickly grew into a miserable situation. By the spring of 2005, I had a newborn, a 3 year-old, and a husband that was utterly and completely unhappy at work. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Evenings in our darling new home were clouded with constant discussions about the future and what it might or might not bring. Money was extremely tight making even the simplest trips to the grocery store fraught with worry. No matter how darling or charming our house was, the people living inside were stressed, anxious and worried.

I dreamt one night that I had to say goodbye to my dream house. I woke up, panicked, saw that I was still on Macy Street, and fell back asleep. A few months later, in the summer of 2006, we moved to California leaving Macy Street in the rearview mirror of a U-haul truck.

I was heartbroken to be saying goodbye to my dream house so soon. It wasn't fair. I felt like we were just getting started. But we had hopes of returning, so instead of selling we rented it out. The man that we rented the house to would occasionally send me emails, telling me how great the house was, how much he was enjoying it, how fun it was to live there on game days. And I would cry while responding, thanking him for taking such good care of my dream house. Yes, we would hold on to our dream home until we needed it again.

We didn't need it after all.

We sold the dream house in 2008. Surprisingly, I wasn't that sad about it. By that time we had truly moved on in every sense of the word. We had settled comfortably into life in sunny California, Derek winning his second National Championship. He was happy to be a Bruin, our finances were improving, and our evenings weren't spend fretting over what the future might or might not bring.

As charming and darling and loved as the Macy house was, it wasn't the best time of our lives while living there. A house cannot fix everything, nor can it bring the happiness and security that you long for. Will I ever live in another house as charming? No. Probably not. I also have come to realize that you can have more that one dream house in your lifetime, but you never forget your first.