Posted by: loripalooza | October 7, 2010

Dungeons and Roses

I was in the basement the other night doing some painting prep before Joe got home and I’m in this one corner where he painted it 7 years ago for our very first Halloween party. He painted the cinderblocks to look like stones. Dark, dank stones, with chains and shackles bolted into the wall – our personal dungeon. It served as a photo backdrop for several Halloween parties, because we left it, of course. I like the irony of putting the exercise gear in that corner. But now, we have that Remodel-Before-Halloween going on that’s ever-hanging over our heads like a giant vampire bat, threatening to swoop down us and suck us dry if we relax for even a second. (Joe and I have been reading The Passage as our Read-Aloud vampire saga book, and can’t wait to return to it before bedtime to see what’s going on with the ‘Jumps,’ these vampire-like creatures that hang out in the trees and fly down at people lightening fast and feast on their blood. Not cool, Twilighty, sexy vampires, we’re talking genetically altered, military-funded, super-human (ish) bad asses to the NTH! So, yeah. Vampires on the brain.)

So, I’m on my knees scrubbing this combination of paint, chalk and concrete dust with TSP, not a protective glove to be worn in sight, using a small handled brush that is mysteriously getting smaller as I make my way around the rough textured basement walls. My hands have cuts and scratches all over them, and yet I determinedly scrub on. I start to wonder just what I did to be in this special hell where I’m actually scrubbing dungeon walls. Even Cinderella had it better.  But on the bright side, I’m sweating a lot, and tucking my tummy in as I sway back and forth over the stones, so maybe I’m losing some weight? (said in hopeful, desperate tone). I only have about 25 more square feet to go and Joe arrives, demanding his post-work greeting kiss and hug, but I’m filthy and wet and offer only my lips. His face lights up and he tells me to wait, he has a present for me. When he comes back downstairs, he hands me a gleaming white, larger scrub brush, all the bristles intact. And I’m excited.

Yesterday I was in a grocery store doing a little shopping and I picked up a couple of bouquets of long-stemmed red roses. My plan is to dry them out and use them as part of my Gothic Halloween décor. I had one of those half-sized shopping carts, race carts I call them, because they’re compact and lightweight with extremely good maneuverability, and I tend to zip around with them, and I put the roses in a little basket in front and forgot about them. A while later I had stopped to consult my list and glanced up to see one of those enormous carts with the colorful plastic cars attached to the front with a cute little girl in the driver’s seat, grinning out at me. “I think it must be Valentine’s Day,” she declares. Her dad turns and laughs, and slow me, not getting it, says, “Do you really?” because I’m standing in front of a wall of Halloween candy. Her dad then patiently explains that she saw my flowers, implying that this was what gave her the Valentine notion. Obviously. “Duh!” – me. As they turn away, I tell them: “Actually, they’re for Halloween!” Messing with kids – one of my favorite pastimes. Next thing you know, though, I’ll be scrubbing more dungeon walls.



  1. I am so excited about your Halloween party, I could burst. I have no idea what I’m wearing to it, but am fairly certain it will consist of many black and possibly fishnet items from past costumes. And black boots, of course. Need any help getting the non-live music together? Or any other kind of help? Just let me know!

    • Boooooots! I actually dyed the little lacy boots I wore for my wedding black! I figured I haven’t worn them in 16 years, might as well get some use out of them.

      Joe & Lori Mentele

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