Monday, February 4, 2008

power outages, blind pigs, and bats - oh my!

So, on the subject of Gothic Novels, I had my own Catherine Morland experience on the Labor Day Weekend of 2006. I wrote about it in a journal at the time, but I would like to relay it here because it is fun and is on topic. And it's fun.


It is titled: Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! (And it is only very, very, very, very, very slightly edited)

This past thursday (meaning, a week from today) I finished class, packed my things, and took a two hour train ride on the NJ Transit to a place called Wassaic. I'm not sure if it was in Massachusettes or NY. Either way, it was far. Oh, and let's not forget the fact that I walked from my dorm to Grand Central Station because the subway was being annoying and not coming. Right. So I walked.

My mom and my aunt picked me up and we went to the farm where the rest of my family and cousins had been staying all week - Sweet Pea Farms. My brother and one of my cousins were going to arrive later than night because they'd been at hockey camp all week. It was a 45 minute drive from the Wassaic train station. Basically, with every minute we went further and further from civilization.

It was evening when we got to the house. There was this long drive up to the actual house itself, during which we passed a fenced in area for the horses. I couldn't see much of the animals then because it was dark. Anyway, we reached the house which, from the outside, definitely looked like a haunted house. I went inside and everyone was in the living room watching Batman Begins. But, since my cousin and sister (Trademark, if you remember) had requested it, I brought She's The Man. So Trademark, my cousin, and I all went to my parents' room to watch it. Some of my other cousins came, too, I think. In any case, a few of us were in there when we went to put the DVD into the DVD player by the TV. Upon approaching the TV, we noticed a certain home video on top of it belonging to the people from whom we were renting the house. The title of the video - Death I, Death II, Death III. I'm not joking.

We all shared looks of, 'who the HECK lives in this house???'

That night, I was on this sketchy computer in the house talking to someone. Then I went to bed, but first I decided I was thirsty. I went down to the kitchen to get a drink of water, but it was all dark down there except for the Christmas lights that the owners of the house left up in random places all over. Out the windows, it was all trees and wilderness. And I was suddenly quite scared. I mean, it was like just out of a horror movie. You know, innocent family goes to remote farm. Owners of the farm are secretly nearby and murder everyone in their sleep. Sheesh! I need to stop watching TV, I know, but still. I ran back upstairs, back to the sketchy computer, and talked to my friend some more until I finally gathered up enough courage to actually get my drink of water.

Friday morning, we had a whole debate with everyone about whether or not we should go alpine sliding or canoeing. Come on. Alpine sliding! In the end, we didn't do either but went on a hike instead. But it was a pretty heated debate, which was amusing. Every single kid wanted alpine sliding, though. I'm sad we didn't do it. Anyway, so first my dad took my brother and me to take out the garbage. Taking out the garbage was a big deal because you had to walk all the way down that long path from the house to the road where the garbages were. On the way, my dad showed us the grounds which we could now see properly, since it was daytime. We saw the horses - all three of them, and the pig (which we learned later was a pot-belly pig named Rollo who was blind because he got so fat the rolls of fat over his eyes wouldn't let him open them. I think that's really depressing), and the rooster and some chickens. And there was this little creek/brook thing with a bridge over it that kinda creaked worryingly when we walked across it. And as we walked, my brother was like, "you know the movie Chainsaw Massacre? Yeah, that happened right here." But anyway. On the road right in front of the house, there are three signs. One sign says "Sweet Pea Farm." The sign immediately next to it says "Welcome to Massachusettes." The sign immediately behind that one says "Welcome to New York." Yep, we were right on the border of two states. Literally. There was also this monument saying that there was the place General Henry Knox passed to bring artillery to George Washington in order to kick the British out of Boston. We weren't even anywhere near Boston, but that's cool anyway.

The rest of the day was sort of uneventful until we came to half an hour before Shabbat. Us kids were just sitting in the living room doing whatever when, suddenly, a big, winged, flying thing appeared out of nowhere. We all shouted, "Hey look! A bird!" My dad and my uncle went chasing it with a broom and a mop, which was quite amusing, but, alas, they lost it. My mom told us it probably disappeared as mysteriously as it came and that was that. BUT. My brother (Straight Man) made an observation I had been considering but hadn't mentioned. The way the flying thing was flapping its wings was, er, quite un-birdlike. And it was, er, very much BAT-like. Yes. So. Of course, once my brother suggested that out loud, my sister freaked. But it was okay, because the bat-bird-flying thing did not reappear that night.

The next morning was quite like any morning in a haunted house in The Middle of Nowhere, Berkshires, USA, The World. The weather forecast was for rain, but it was quite a nice day in the end. Sort of. It was windy, but there was no rain. And it wasn't even VERY windy. Just windy. Well, right around noontime - before we started eating lunch - there was a sort of medium-sized gust of wind, and then, the power went out. All the power. In the house and in the barn (which was converted into a full court basketball court with a volleyball net in the middle. The only non-sketchy thing about the place). And, as my mom and my aunt put it, we couldn't go see if the neighbors lost power too, because THERE WERE NO NEIGHBORS. WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.

However, my dad and I did go to the barn, I forget why, and we noticed that the circuits in the barn were all on. Meaning that wasn't the problem. But while we were walking along the grounds, I pointed out to my dad quite an interesting thing the people who normally live there built. They took a very large tree branch and tied it to another large tree branch and put both of those in between two big tree trunks so that it looked just like a huge cross. I was like, "they definitely crucify the people who come to stay here." It was an odd thing to have on their grounds, to say the least.

Anyway, back to the power-outage, we were all a bit nervous for what would happen later, when it got dark out and it would be PITCH BLACK. And it was Shabbat, so we couldn't even use flashlights! And there was talk about leaving the next day if the power didn't come back. But anyway, we ate lunch. About two hours later, we were still sitting around the table in the dining room and there was another medium-sized gust of wind. My dad was like, "heh, I bet, if we count to ten, the power will come back. Ready?" And he counted to ten, as a joke of course. About two minutes later, literally, the power came back. We all went, *blink* and then we started laughing. It was just odd. Creepy.

Not long later, guess who decided to show up! Our good friend, BAT-BIRD-FLYING THING! My dad and my uncle went after it again and, somehow, it got caught in my brother and my cousin's room in between the window and the window screen. So, it was sorta trapped in there and we all got a real good look at it. It was most definitely a bat. It was actually kind of cool. I've never been that close to a bat before. We could see all the details. It was awesome. My littlest cousin was crying for a bit, though, because she was scared.

A bit later, this girl named Lily who comes to take care of the animals came to the house and took the bat out by carrying it in a towel. As she released it into a bush, she mentioned the nice teeth the bat had. "My, Batman, what big teeth you have!" "The better to make you a vampire with!"

On Sunday, we went to the Columbia County Fair. It was kinda fun. My sister and I got to shoot a bow and arrow and I actually hit a balloon! Granted, it was a total accident because I had not been aiming for that particular balloon, but still! I got a ribbon!

And there was a ride called "Haunted Pirate Ride." It looked pretty frightening from the outside, but I thought, come on, how scary could it be? I wasn't scared at all. I was all, "bring on the scary pirates! Arrr!"

My dad and I got on the ride (no one else was brave enough to join us). We went through the curtain into not-quite-pitch blackness. And, er, that was about it. It was about thirty seconds in the dark, no scary images or anything anywhere, and every few seconds there was a loud buzzer sound.


Anyway, needless to say, that was a sad, sad disappointment. I still can't believe that was even a ride. Sheesh. THERE WAS NOTHING IN THERE. Like, go into your room, turn off the light for thirty seconds, and every ten seconds or so make a loud buzzer sound. THAT WAS IT. Gosh. How did that even have anything at all to do with pirates? Or ghosts? Or anything besides buzzers??? The ride should have been called "Thirty Seconds in the Dark with Loud Buzzers"

Ahem. Anyway. The rest of the fair was okay. I refused to play any of those games where you pay to not win that stuffed animal that you could buy from a toy store for cheaper than you spent trying to play the game over and over and over. But, finally, I did play one game - and won! So I got this really cute stuffed moon with a cow jumping over it. Yay for winning! And I went on the Swings ride, which I LOVE. So yay for that, too.

Monday was the day we left. FINALLY. Goodbye to the haunted house! It was also the day we finally noticed the name on the mailbox in front of the farm. The family's name was Adams. So, of course, everyone was like, "omg! So THAT'S why the house was haunted! It belongs to the Adams family!" Ha ha, quite funny. And we took a picture with the pig.

Before we left, we went to the Norman Rockwell Museum. I love his artwork. It's amazing. So yeah, that was awesome.

And that is all. The moral y'all can take home with you is, uh...don't stay on Sweet Pea Farms?

Oh, and the house is for sale, if any of you want it. Really! It is! Goodness knows why.


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