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Dear Halloween:

You and Christmas Eve are my favorite holidays. For you, I get dressed up and give out candy. For the other, I wait for someone dressed up to give me candy.

Luckily, my family feels the same way about you. Sometimes, we get other people to join us in group costumes.

It’s the one time of year where I let my craft freak flag fly.

Here’s a retrospective of costumes we’ve had over the years.

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Unfortunately, living in an apartment has its drawbacks: All my Halloween paraphernalia is in storage. Plus, I’ll be teaching tonight, so I won’t be able to go all out.

There’s always next year.

Love you!
Beth

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Dear Sons of Mine:

It’s been very weird for me for you to have phones and, with them, social media accounts. You know I gave you phones only because you had good grades and are fairly responsible (and because you not having phones was starting to be a pain for me).

The weirdest conversation so far was this one with you, Gideon, not too long ago:

You: Today is Glenn’s birthday.
Me: Glenn who?
You: Glenn, your boss.
Me: Wait … what? How do you know?
You: We are friends on Facebook.
Me: !!!

But strange conversations are now de rigueur. Behold (this convo comes after your father talked about your baseball team going from “last to first”):

And here is this soon-to-be classic from you, Dominic (you never text me unless you want something):

My head nearly exploded. Please, please pay attention in language arts class and USE PUNCTUATION (or you’ll never again get what you want from me, a grammarian who is a stickler for proper punctuation).

You both make me crazy. And also, I love you.
Mama

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Dear Amazon Stork Prime Returns Department:

When I brought “First-born Son” home, I was so pleased with it. Yes, it did make plenty of noise at first — keeping me up many, many nights in a row (about 240 to be honest) — and it did make somewhat of a mess, but it was adorable. Everyone said so. And it was just what I wanted.

Very cute, right?

My husband and I then enjoyed years of fun with “First-born Son.” Lately, though, this product has started acting up. It started with an eyeroll here and there. Then it began muttering under its breath. The noises coming out of it over the past few weeks, however, are really too much to bear.

We usually only hear “whatever” or “I don’t want to (insert anything except eating Cheez-its and playing Fortnite).” But this weekend, it actually wished me dead.

This can’t be proper behavior of the “First-born Son” product line.

It’s stuck in this position.

I’m not sure what kind of warranty you have on “First-born Son” or refund policy, but I need to find some kind of resolution. Is there at least a master reset button or factory restore I can perform?

Please let me know. Time is of the essence.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Like this, but not as hairy

Elusive creature spotted at community park
From Staff Reports*

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — A group that claims to track the mythic beast known as “Teenager” through the streets of Atlanta says they finally spotted the creature over the weekend in Dekalb County.

According to the group, the sighting occurred around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Murphey Candler Park.

A woman named Beth said the creature made its presence known after she and fellow group members set up iPhones preloaded with Fortnite at various locations in an apparent attempt to lure the Teenager in.

“The angle of the sun was shining straight down on the seats on the Major Field and something big stepped into view,” Beth said. “I lifted my sunglasses to see better, and I saw a large bipedal animal covered in peach fuzz and ill-fitting clothes. It took one step into the stands, (then) I took off running toward it.”

The woman said that she and fellow Teenager trackers proceeded to follow what they claim was a large creature marginally recognized by modern science around the field to the concession stand.

“Its face was barely washed with no hair on it,” she said. “Its hands and feet were enormous. It was wearing clothes that looked way too big, but that is apparently the style among these creatures.”

Though not social, the creature did take extreme interest in the iPhone and was willing to sit near humans in the stands of the Major Field for moments at a time. Though it did not speak, the beast did grunt occasionally in response to stimuli.

*Credit/apologies to Travis Hall and Blue Ridge Outdoors for the words I liberally changed.

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EPISODE 3: Bad taste in beverages
Rated G for grandma, giant babies and “Good God, that Guy is … Gregarious!”

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

ENTER FATHER and TWO KIDS, DOMINIC and GIDEON. MOTHER shows up 30 minutes later after finishing the Season 2 opener of “Jersey Shore Family Vacation.” (Ronnie had a meltdown on social media? Say it isn’t so!) FATHER and MOTHER practically double the average age of pool denizens.

MOTHER
Who are these people (referencing the dozen or so twentysomethings)?

FATHER
No idea.

GIDEON
Can we go home now?

MOTHER
Dude, I just got here!

FATHER (to MOTHER, who is wearing jeans)
Are you swimming?

MOTHER
No.

DOMINIC
Then let’s go.

MOTHER
Here’s the key. We’re going to hang out for a bit.

DOMINIC and GIDEON exit.

FATHER (referencing the cooler MOTHER has brought)
Anything in there for me?

MOTHER (handing him an adult sippy cup)
Yes.

MOTHER plays Words with Friends. FATHER watches a video of a man getting sucked into an escalator in Turkey. MOTHER overhears loud talking from one member of the youngster group.

MOTHER (to FATHER)
Why is there always one loud guy in the group? Which one is it?

FATHER (to MOTHER, whose back is to the group)
Look around. It’s the one you think it is. It’s always that guy.

MOTHER (glancing over her shoulder)
It’s the big guy in the hat, isn’t it?

FATHER
Yup.

LOUD GUY (repeats this phrase three times)
It was the best time of my life.

MOTHER
All right. I’m going to throw this out (references her empty can) and get out of here.

FATHER
Great idea.

MOTHER sees that these children don’t even have good taste in beer.

MOTHER
Bud Light? Ultra? GAH! (The Athena is hers.)

Look at this trash!

MOTHER
You coming?

FATHER
Yeah.

END SCENE

 

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EPISODE 2*: All’s quiet on the aquatic front
Rated G for pooly goodness

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

For a Sunday afternoon, the pool area is virtually uninhabited. There are about four adults scattered around.

ENTER FATHER and TWO KIDS. MOTHER shows up 10 minutes later after getting yet more school supplies.

MOTHER
Did you put sunscreen on the kids?

FATHER
Um … Dominic, yes. Gideon just jumped in.

MOTHER
Harumph. No Father-of-the-Year award for you.
(To her wet youngest) Gideon, come here!

GIDEON
Why?

MOTHER
Because I said so.
(Note that MOTHER never thought she would ever let that sentence pass her lips. She is smarter now. She knows it can’t be helped.)

After MOTHER lathers GIDEON in 50 SPF (waterproof), MOTHER and FATHER hang out poolside, drink adult beverages, and make sure their kids don’t harass others. THE KIDS simply harass each other.

FATHER and MOTHER discuss last night, which was not so peaceful.

FLASHBACK

It’s a pool party for Miles. The only people in the pool are the billion 11-13 year olds invited to the party. A handful of parents cluster around a cooler. (Any time there are that many teens and pre-teens, there needs to be a cooler.)

Suddenly, RAMBO appears. (OK, not Rambo for real, but the new complex security guard who clearly takes himself WAY TOO seriously. He was wearing camouflage. And a gear belt with a taser. And those police boots. Oh yes, he was all kitted out.)

MOTHER was smart enough to bring beverages in cans. The others drew RAMBO’s ire:

RAMBO
No glass on the deck.

ALL ANSWER
OK.

RAMBO patrols the pool/gym area. ASSEMBLED ADULTS remain quiet, watching him incredulously.

RAMBO exits. ADULTS drag him mercilessly.

END FLASHBACK

MOTHER
I’ve got to go.

FATHER
You’ve only been here 15 minutes.

MOTHER
Yeah, but I’m burning. Look (points to shoulder).

FATHER
Of course you are.

END SCENE

*The summer has flown by. I haven’t gone to the pool much. #sad

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