just like Visa--I'm everywhere you want to be!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Charlotte 101: Lesson One: A Very [Charlotte] Halloween!

Hey y'all! It's me, the intermittent blogger! (and today's English lesson teaches us that intermittent means alternately ceasing and beginning again).

So I've been shacked up in Charlotte for about a month now, and man what a place! You've seen the digs, so it's time for a little Charlotte 101 for your future travels in this town!

1. Sometimes it's okay to bust through and blatantly run a red light. Now, I know this might seem really weird, because it still is to me, but I've seen this done way too many times for it to be a coincidence. Don't worry, I am a rule-abiding driver and don't dare do this, not to mention it's highly dangerous and flat out stupid.

2. Pedestrians *do* have the right-of-way, and often enforce this rule to the brink of death. I've seen people run out in front of me a few times, and mind you I am in an F-150. Really, people??

3. I know I said this in my last post, but it needs reinforcing--people are friendly here. I've had more people talk to me after meeting eye contact. Or maybe I've just got a 'please talk to me' face, which could be true, too. But for now I'm going to assume it's a Charlotte thing.

4. Lunch time runs from 12-2, not a usual 12-1. When going out for lunch between the hours of 1 and 2, I have noticed a significant wait time or an abundance of people at the local haunts where I eat. Which reminds me, if you're in the area you HAVE to, HAVE TO eat at The Cookout. It's a fast food burger joint, but everything tastes like it came off the grill in your backyard. Thanks, Maggie and Meg, for the heads up on that awesome place!

Tomorrow is Halloween, and usually I celebrate it by going to a Halloween Party hosted by one of the best friends, but this year I am spending it here in town. I thought, "I'm not going to sit around and let Halloween go by without doing some sort of celebrating, even if I don't put on a costume!"

Of course, I had this revelation yesterday, approximately 2 days from the holiday. But of course, I take my go-get-em attitude and tell myself, "Self, you can do this!" And I took myself to Wal-Mart yesterday. Where I only bought candy. For reasons unknown to me, I forgot to get anything else. But hey, I was ready for kids to come knocking on my door.

This morning I wake up and think "I should carve a pumpkin! It's tradition!" And I take my new found excitement and put it off for a few hours. After getting some real work done (because that's the reason I'm here in the first place), I decide to make the trek to the big W.

I am telling you this right now--no matter what holiday it is, never wait until the day before or the day of to try to get anything holiday-concerned done. Just don't do it. And if you are going to take the chance and brave the stores, do not, for all that is Holy, get a big shopping buggy.

I made that mistake, and it was an absolute nightmare. First of all, everyone and their cousin was trying to shop in the same three aisles. Parents who waited till the last minute to get their child's costumes (shame on you, by the way, because they were not marked down yet) were crowding the aisles and when I tried to scoot by, I got the death glare. Apparently All Hallows Eve is the one time that Charlotte-folk turn off their friendly charm and let their inner devil's shine through.

Second of all, Wal-Mart was cleaned out. Of course there were costumes left and some stage make-up, and the occasional baking pan (because people are in a panic now and don't have time to make home-baked goodies), but the one thing that I wanted was non-existent: the pumpkin carving kits that have those cool little wheels and tiny knives for precision and intricate details.

See, I pride myself on being a serious pumpkin carver. Of course, I have a hard time doing it from scratch because my drawing abilities are good if you want a stick figure or a cloud. Beyond that I am not good. But I felt that with the use of those little tools I could be semi-decent. Plus, the stencils that come with it are pretty awesome.

Well, I got my pumpkin and waited in line for about half an hour in the SPEEDY check-out line to pay for a $3.00 vegetable. But I will give Wal-Mart credit because they still had an ample supply of good-looking pumpkins left.

Exhibit A: My super awesome $2.98 pumpkin

Not to be outdone by Wal-Mart, I trekked across town to my local Super Target because I thought "of course Target will have what I need! They'll never run out because they are smart and stock up on that stuff!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I was proved wrong. Target was even scarier than Wal-Mart. Granted, Target had more kids' costumes left then the big W, but Target was marking certain Halloween items 50% off. So people flocked to those aisles like it was Black Friday. This time I was smart and did not take a cart, so I could navigate a bit easier. But seriously people, don't block the aisle with your large cart and your baby because your other child can't decide if he wants the pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket or a bag. Because it's irritating and rude.

Finally, after searching the aisles, I come across the box where the Pumpkin Carving Supplies are. I see a few things sitting in it and I rejoice inwardly. Until I realize that what's in the box are discarded garlands that fell off the hooks, and an empty Starbucks cup.

Gross. Cue letdown.

I only have one option at this point: do-it-myself. And since I'd already bought the pumpkin, I accepted the challenge. I grabbed a bowl to put the previously bought Halloween candy in and a few other items I needed for the house and head home to get to work.

I downloaded a free stencil online (that's a great resource, by the way. Let the Internet be your best friend!) and got to work. After an hour of tracing and slicing, and almost taking my finger off a few times, I finished!

I present to you, in color, my Halloween Pumpkin!

And one more, with my Halloween candy stash, just because I got really excited about it all!

If you can't figure it out by the photo, it's a goofy Frankenstein face :) I forgot to get a tea light to put inside him, so tomorrow I will brave the stores again in search of something to light him up with!

On a side note, it's official: Fall is here! This is my first time living in a state that has a real Fall, and not those silly Florida Falls. Right outside our house you can see all the leaves changing and it's so beautiful and magical and makes me happy.

And thus concludes this post. Thanks for hanging out with me for a bit and I wish you were here! :)

Until next time,


  1. Your pumpkin is adorable and I hate to tell you this, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Z and I bought the last pumpkin carving kit today at any Target. I'll post a pic later. Glad we got to chat some!