Thursday November 27, 2003 10:44 AM
Fall Back- Way Back

Almost twenty days ago we fall back in accordance with the government mandated regime known as Daylight Saving Time. That is, we set our clocks to the previous hour just before we went to bed.

On that previous evening we'd taken Isaiah to the first play of the third season of children's plays we've been taking Isaiah to at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. The play was "Hansel and Gretel". The play was by the theater group that is our favorite among the regulars who are we've seen over the years and it was pretty good. Afterwards, of course, we continued the tradition by rounding out the evening with pizza at Panterra's.

Panterra's Pizza not only offers good pizza and video games, it's also a trip back in time. It's the quintessential 'adult softball team putting away a couple pitchers after the game' kind of pizza joint and I'm sure the only changes in the decor and ambiance of the place in the past twenty-five years have been almost unnoticeable. Sure, there are some new tunes in the jukebox and the videogames are a far cry from Galaxian, but the pizza has a still delicious taste that takes me back to 1980 and, yes, there were several tables taken up by Bud Light swillin', camaro drivin', mullet totin', softball teams winding down after a game.

I was glad of the aforementioned extra hour of sleep the next afternoon. We had a big potluck at church and after helping set up tables and chairs before, and wading through the tight-packed crowd bearing a tray of desserts for diners to take their pick from, all the while making sure Isaiah was behaving in a manner at least not too outrageous, and then staying after to help with some of the cleanup I was grateful the fortuitous scheduling of the event had given me a little bonus rest.

I remember Monday as being the lousiest day at work I can remember. All day long one frustration after another gazed into my eyes, baring gleaming, acid-dripping fangs of computer-based torment. The managery of attacking beasts ran the gamut- from hardware problems, to user error, to broken programs, to upgrades that instead of increasing my capabilities, negated them completely. Every time the smoke would clear after the defeat of one enemy, at least one more was revealed in its place. They say 'Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you.' Fortunately for my mental stability, the bear was back in his cave on Tuesday.

Tuesday was also the that harbinger of winter 2003, First Heat. As I was driving in to work that morning I noticed that my fingers were getting stiff and numb and I realized that I was cold. I knew that at some point as the year progressed this would happen and that there would be only one thing to do. I turned on the heater in the van for the first time this season. I realize that most folks don't even think of such things. I can hear them (No, not you, O faithful reader, you already know about my idiosyncratic ways. Don't you?) say "First Heat? What the-? Dude, you are messed up. It get's cold, you turn on the heater. It rains, you go inside. What's the big deal?" Ah, well such is like water off a duck's back to me.

Wednesday night I began a construction plan to rival the works of the ancient Pharoahs. Little more actually occured that evening beside the initial survey of building materials at hand and the conceptualization of plans, the foundation was laid for the marvel to follow on Thursday night.

On Thursday, October thirtieth I equipped myself with a knife, ruler, black Sharpie, a box of brads, and several old boxes and began fabrication at about seven thirty p.m. Isaiah had declared months ago that he wanted to be a robot for halloween and I was determined to whomp up the bestest robot costume he'd ever seen.

I made a pretty big mess in the family room with cardboard and tools strewn about as I transformed a collection of raw materials into a wonder of creativity. Isaiah kept wanting to play with the cardboard and I had to keep a sharp eye out to keep him from messing up one of the pieces I wanted to keep flat. He got a little tired of having to not mess with some of the best hunks, he also got tired of the repeated test-fits and body measurements I painstakingly subjected him to. He'd been in bed a long time when I finally finished the last coat of silver spray paint at half-past midnight, but I was pleased and figured he would be too, when he woke up.

I was careful to wake up first the following morning so that I could be waiting downstairs when he came down to see the results of my labor. I had it set up in the family room with the head sitting on the body and the antenna fully extended before he was out of bed. When he came down and rounded the corner his eyes lit up and he delcared it 'outrageously cool' which I took as high praise. I was pretty proud of it- it was all silver and had rivets down the sides. The head had an antenna (of course it had an antenna- Isaiah had said earlier in the week that robots without antennas were 'girl-ish') and a control panel on the front. The control panel was just small pieces of cardboard painted different colors and glued onto a white rectangle fixed the silver main body, but he thought the buttons were very neat. He was pressing and beeping away at them when Ruth called him away from the costume to get dressed for preschool.

He was going to have a halloween parade in preschool. The kids wear their costumes and walk around to nearby local businesses for trick-or-treating. He was very excited and couldn't wait to get going, but before they left Ruth thought it might be a good idea to take a picture of Isaiah wearing it. It was time for me to get going then, so that I could get home from work in time for us to take him to all the friends and relatives houses he has to go to. Yes, we all get in the car and go to every destination. I don't remember being let loose to go trick-or-treating door to door when I was a kid and I'm not about to let him- even if he was old enough. I don't have the patience to shlep from stranger's house to stranger's house and he already had about a year's supply of candy from his preschool parade.

We began at Ruth's folk's house and went to Rupie's and then Mark & Missy's finally ending up at the home of some friends of ours from church who have a daughter just a little younger than Isaiah. He had a good time wearing his costume and being a robot. He kept taking it off (it was a little constrictive) and then wanting it back on. Most of the time he wore the body but not the head since it was kind of tricky keeping the robot head balanced on his head. By the time we'd visited everybody and socialized for a while, we were all ready for bed.

In the interest of just moving on, this is being posted thought it only covers about half the time period detailed in the memory-list write-up Ruth made for me when I started it.

It's pretty bad when the person who usually has to help me remember what to write about asks me when I'm going to updat the site...