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Monday, October 10, 2005

Weekend Warriors

Well this may come as a shock to no one, but we had a very busy, fun, and interesting weekend, with an interesting pothole.

I started the weekend by working far too late, but getting a revised draft off to the business owner at 10pm on Friday. Then I headed on to Friday Night Waltz. Dancing was great. I really enjoyed the closing Bronwyn with Bob, Tracey, and Sam, followed by mad polka-ness when Joan wasn't standing close enough to the player to stop it before it played the next track.

I came home to find leftovers from The Vegetarian House and an Auntie Alex curled up in the guest room. She and Rick had had a lazy evening of Tivo and Firefly. Auntie was our test case at Serenity, confirming that yes, it was a good movie regardless of never having watched Firefly. And now she was curious about the rest of the story. So we all headed off to bed and rose the next morning to grab breakfast at Hobee's and go see The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Wallace and Gromit are every bit as much of a total joy as they've ever been, and all the little bunnies said, "Wheeeeee!" Anyway, it was great. Since late September, it's been a smorgasboard of fabulous-for-me movies - Corpse Bride, Serenity, MirrorMask, and now Wallace & Gromit. Coming soon is Rent. Can't wait!

Anyway, after that we headed on to the "I'm not old; I'm 37!" party at Fred's parent's place. Rick, Fred, and Shauna are all 37 this year, so it was sort of a joint birthday party. There was a mountain of food, a warm gathering of good friends, and Scott got us all rolling with a couple of perfect party questions. His first was "What's your most interesting weather experience?" An hour or so later we had all told amazing stories of crazy weather while I sat roasting my back by the fire. We kept on with other questions and adventures and all in all, it was just a practically perfect party.

We talked Auntie into spending the night again, and slept a few hours and roused ourselves for Second Sunday brunch at Kevin's place. Just before we left, our power went out at home. We figured it'd be on when we got back. Many of the same faces returned to gather round a square table to sip mimosas, gnosh on bagels, savor quiche made by Rachel, and basque in the glory of an October day in Sunnyvale. We were even treated to a fly-by by a flock of green parrots. We returned home between five and six to find we still had now power. We figured it would certainly be on before we got back from the Swank Farms maze.

So we headed to Hollister, making it in an easy 45 minute drive, and I must say, it's really worth the drive. Everything about it was a blast. There was the little pedal carts, the pumpkin slingshots, the wonderfully complicated maze, and the Conover Mystery Ranch haunted attraction. For $15 a head, we spent over 3 hours and could've easily played for another hour or two, but it was getting late, and we hadn't had dinner beforehand. Dick and Bonnie are just about the nicest couple you can imagine. We spent two hours finding our way through the maze, assisted by my suprisingly skillful map reading skills. And then there was the mystery ranch, which has a corn maze of its own, but has several buildings along the way. What makes this better than most haunted attractions is that the staff really wants to make it an interactive experience. There was a group just behind us with a scaredy-cat named Christina. The line ghouls scared her senseless, and her friends said things like "Oh Christina's scared, ha ha." And then the ghouls knew her name. When we came into the smokehouse room with a butcher's shop up front, written on the "Today's Specials" board was "Christina". It was priceless. The haunt was non-gory and tasteful while still delivering some really good scares. The staff work hard to make it great experience, and the layout allows for them to really give you plenty of room to run away without blowing through pieces of the attraction. And yes, you will run.

So we headed home, thinking we'd have a light snack for supper and hit the hay. Only when we got home, the power was still out. A call to PG&E yielding little more than, "Yes, we're aware. We have a crew working on it." After 11 hours, I was looking for a little more information. We headed out again to see if we could verify that there was a crew working because we hadn't seen one on our way in. We found them over on San Fernando and 26th. The guy with the sign said it had been something related to a pair of birds, and that they thought they had it fixed at 8:30, but then it all blew out again. We also knew there was a big accident at 24th and William earlier that may have been the cause or the result. Either way, I'll be contacting my city council woman to discuss all the power outages that keep happening at that corner. So, we headed toward home, and called Christyn and Brian en route to ask if we could borrow some freezer space. Luckily they weren't home yet and so I wasn't waking them up. Our street is a little funny in that the grid ends two doors down from our house, so people two houses over had lights, but not us. As we were driving home from the lit direction, the street looked like it just fell away into a black hole. It was eerie. We pulled into the driveway, ready to mount a battle to decide what to save and what to give up on in the fridge when Rick said, "What is that?" One of the street lamps was glowing red. Then the neightbors porch light started to flicker. Then our porch light started to flicker. Then the street slowly glowed back to life, faltering momentarily, and then glowing again. We headed inside and sure enough, everything was back up and running. So we settled in, grabbed a bite to eat, and watched the partial episode of West Wing that had recorded thanks to the UPS on the Tivo. It was late, and it had been a mighty long day, but it was nice to have a few minutes of at home time on the sofa with Pixel happily purring on either one of us from moment to moment.

And now I really need a day off to recover from my weekend.

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