Bones and I stood in our kitchen, discussing plans for fetching haunt panels in the morning.
(For those not in the know: A “haunt panel” is a 4×8 piece of plywood, OSB, or lauan that makes up a section of wall in a haunted house. They’re usually framed with pieces of 2×4, or – sometimes – they’re mounted onto steel frames. When you’re carrying them, you want them to be made out of lauan. When you’re working with them, you want plywood. Science has not, unfortunately, found a way to change a panel from one to the other depending on your need/desire.)
(Also worth noting: Haunt panels do not multiply like coat hangers and pennies. Instead, no matter how many you have? You nearly always find yourself wanting/needing 50 more.)
…So, anyway. Bones and I were discussing our plans to go pick up 60 or so panels in the morning from a Generous Benefactor. And as we talked, I realized we were about to venture into a whole new realm within our relationship…and I began to get a little worried.
“Honey?” I said, stepping forward and resting my hands on his arms. “We haven’t really haunted together before. We may see some new sides of each other. Can we promise to try to not forget to talk through future frustrations?”
He smiled, leaned forward, and kissed me on the forehead. “I was just thinking the same thing.”
We didn’t get that in writing or on tape…but I don’t think we’ll need to. Communication has never been a problem for us. 🙂
The next morning, we were up and out of the house by 7:30AM to meet up with our Generous Benefactor, the owner of Phatman Haunts, around 10AM. He and his crew had already loaded 60 flats onto pallets, and they were ready to help us load the truck in record speed!
(…This is Austin, owner of Phatman Haunts. )
There was still a good bit of room in the truck, so Austin added a bonus loan of nine wooden coffins and eight 8×8 walls…!! Bones handed him a thank you gift – namely, a case of Halloween-themed beer – and we talked shop for a bit before hopping back into our respective vehicles and driving off.
…And then the truck started acting up, flashing lots of warning lights and acting like it had no intention whatsoever of driving back to Kalamazoo.
It occurs to me that having a hearse as a daily driver for several years has numbed me to the majority of car problems. We used to have a saying: “It’s not a road trip until you’ve had to have your hearse towed home.” And so driving behind this suddenly sluggish, VERY stinky truck, all I could think was, ‘Heh! It’s like driving with a hearse.’
We went back to Austin’s, Bones called Budget to have someone come out and look at the truck, Budget promised they’d reload the truck if we had to swap vehicles, and I ran out to get us some lunch. On the way, I sent a text to my haunt “dad”:
Then I told him about the truck, and his response was, “Could be worse..could be raining.”
I looked up at an amazingly blue gorgeous sky as I drove back to have an impromptu picnic with my husband and thought, ‘Yup. Could sure as hell be worse.’
An hour or so later, a mechanic showed up to take a look. He tinkered for a bit, walked over to Bones, and asked, “So, it’s 2013, isn’t it?”
“We have all this amazing technology. Rovers on Mars, computers on our phones..”
“I just fixed your truck with a paper clip and a rubber band.”
Turns out a faulty sensor was wrongly telling the truck that it was out of antifreeze, so our superhero mechanic used the paper clip to block the sensor. “I’ll be sure to tell them they need to fix that,” he assured us.
Annnnnd ZOOM, we were back on the road!
Due to varied family obligations, the best we could do was to drop off the truck at the haunt and go back to unload it the next day.
…Well, hell. I think we needed more coffee. I also think this truck is more full than the one of the same size we used to move me to Michigan. 😦 But our brave crew of three started grabbing stuff and shuffling it all into the haunt.
Annnnd this is where that kitchen discussion a few days before came in handy. Bones is used to doing the grunt work himself. I’m used to being the chick haunter on the job that feels a huge need to prove herself. Having him tell his daughter to help me because I couldn’t lift these panels by myself…oh ho HO, them’s FIGHTING words, they are!
..Only not so much fighting as it was, “Heeeeey…these things are just lauan! They’re not that heavy.”
“Well, she can’t really lift them by herself, and it’s safer if you two work together.”
“..Ok, that makes more sense.”
…and then drove back home with the truck to – YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! – refill it with props and hardware and lighting and tools and all the other miscellaneous crap one needs to build a haunt before we could really seriously look around our haunt-to-be and our collection of flats and start to freak out about how we really need 50 more walls.
The second truck loading, however, happened today. And despite my earlier “WAAAAH I CAN DO EVERYTHING DON’T TREAT ME LIKE A GIRRRRRL!” fussing? Here’s how that second load happened.
…and I had coffee.
(To be fair, yes I stumbled out of bed and offered help a few times, but – wisely – Bones let me wait for the coffee to take effect. Which took a while. And yes, while waking up, I scored us another faboo donation of supplies..YAY TEAM! But still. Coffee.)
Well, THAT looks a helluva lot more like my moving truck.
Bones’ kidlet sat this particular truck unloading adventure out. As we shuffled stuff into the haunt, the owner of the Very Pretty Car showed up and moved his Very Pretty Care to a much safer part of the building…thank heavens. We started setting up a tool area and we probably could have done a whole lot more, but…
“Dude. It’s HOT.”
“Awww, who’s a cranky lil’ haunter?”
And, this, dear Readers, is where I need to praise Bones most mightily. He did a whole lot more work than I did. Hands down. He’s kept up his humour, he’s kept his motivation and determination, AND he’s kept us fed – which means planning AND cooking. So he’s being a great dad, and driving trucks all over the dang place, and loading and unloading and reloading said truck, and planning out what this haunt is going to be, and keeping us motivated and on track AND making sure things at home are getting done. And yes, I’m helping with the house stuff, but…wow, y’all. He’s an amazing partner, and I’m sure he has no idea how amazing he actually is.
…Yup yup. He’s pretty damned impressive.