Well, the whole of October has come and gone, and it’s odd to believe we’ve lived in our new house for nearly a month. To me it feels like I’ve been there several months now, but to Michelle it’s not quite home yet. I think it’ll take some time for it to settle, and maybe because we have half our basement rented out for a while that keeps it from feeling like it’s completely ours. But I do think in time, after Thanksgiving and Christmas roll through, it’ll feel like our home entirely.
I have no doubts that some of you have been curious as to how I’ve been faring out here in the climate of the northern Midwest. All I can report is that I’m having a ball. I’ve been waiting to live in a world that actually shifts and changes. Early in October, we saw the first signs of snow. It was falling outside the school as we were setting up some of the aptitude testing in the computer labs. So often now, I feel like I’m home and in my usual routine, as if I’m not far from California. But these little moments crop up to remind me how far I’ve gone from where I grew up and that I’m something of a foreigner in this land still.
There are also wonderful moments of great fun I have here at the school. I don’t know if it’s healthy that so much of my fun comes at the expense of the kids, but I also don’t care. The kids need to be messed with. To me, fun was when during those early snow flurries (that’s what the national weather service calls them, they wouldn’t even be considered drizzles if it was rain), the fire marshall randomly showed up and set off the fire alarm to drill us. So all these wonderful little ten- to twelve-year-olds were standing outside without coats on a breezy, snowy morning. Through their whines of misery, all I could do was smile with the other teachers.
And within a week of all that, it was sunny and warm again. On one afternoon, Austin and I decided it was nice enough to wander around and meet some of the neighbors. We definitely lucked out on the neighborhood, and that point was driven home on Halloween. We got Austin dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and very excited to go around the trick-or-treating. We had gotten started a little late, since Michelle doesn’t get out of work until after six. By the time we reached some of the houses, they were just trying to unload their candy, so Austin by the end of our rounds could barely hold up his bag. Of course, the poor munchkin was absolutely freezing, yet wanted to keep on trucking. We kept him wrapped in a blanket until it was time to ring the doorbells. He’s a real trooper (unless we put him in pants he arbitrarily decides he doesn’t want to wear; now that’s hell).
On a final note of feeling like we’re home, it’s the little things you only do at home that make you feel like you’re there. The night before Halloween, we stayed up to carve our pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns. We actually had a nice afternoon, though with a cold breeze, to go out to a proper pumpkin patch and pick out our pumpkins and pet some of the animals who kind enough to stand in a pen for us.
Austin is so odd sometimes, because he so desperately wanted to use the spoon as a scoop, but wouldn’t dare reach in with his hands and pull out the innards of the pumpkins. I guess he really takes after his mother in being a neatnik, since of course I never made any great effort to remain clean and neat when I was a child. (Mom & Dad, keep your comments to yourselves.) In the end, the big moment was to put our Jack-O-Lanterns on our front doorstep and light the candles inside them. That was the biggest reminder to me that this house is my family’s home.