Fifty Four.

That’s how many pumpkins we’ve got at my house this Hallowe’en.

I carved eight of them myself. The annual pumpkin party was a great success and I’m so glad Marilyn has hardwood floors up there, because even though she hollows out the pumpkins before we start carving, the open spaces in 54 jack-o-lanterns means there’s a lot of pumpkin pulp on the floor. Marilyn spreads plastic drop cloths, and they get most of it, but things are still a little…pulpy on the floor when we’re done. Oh, and since Marilyn insists we carve each one on both sides, that means even more debris.

She claims we carve each one twice “so we have something to look at”, but I’ve watched her. She gets as much fun watching the trick-or-treaters discover the double-carved pumpkins as she does watching them charge up the steps in the first place, then startle at the battery operated spooks, skeletons, ghosts and ghouls. The really little ones, she warns. “Oh, be careful, there’s a ghost coming up,” and nods to the parents, who make sure to laugh and point out that the ghost isn’t scary.

In related news, my house smells of bleach. In several moments of weakness, I told some of my students about our Hallowe’en extravaganza, and I think some of them might come to see, judging from the looks of excitement on their faces. “Fifty pumpkins?” “Well, there might not be exactly fifty, but pretty close. A lot, anyway. ” “No, ten pumpkins is a lot. That’s way more than a lot!”

So I got to thinking that they might want to see where I lived, seeing as I go to their houses to tutor, eat food provided, and use their bathrooms as needs must. What they know about me, variously and as a group: I live with E, who is a musician. My house is 100 years old. I have a lot of books. I have been learning to crochet.

And then I noticed the state of my house. Granted, the carpets are being cleaned in two days, but I still

-changed the bag when I saw I wasn’t vacuuming anything much
-vacuumed again
-cleaned the bathroom (they might have to pee)
-vacuumed and bleached the front window frame and sill, which were beginning to get a little moldy
-bleached out a couple of spots where there appeared to be mold forming (basement suite, old house, I have to keep on top of these things)
-moved E’s dresser, discovered that that was where the moldy smell in the bedroom was coming from. Bleached the hell out of everything around there
-washed the ornaments that catch the sun in the front window

It comes to my attention as I peruse this list, that I am an appalling housekeeper.

Also, if prevailing weather conditions hold, no one will even bother coming here. It’s too damned rainy.

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