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The Observer, Oct. 30 

Seen at a fire station, and we're not saying which one: Two firefighters in front of a parked fire engine, smooching.

Heterosexual, yes. She leaning on the front of the truck, he with his back to the street. Hot stuff.

 

The Observer is no stranger to mud-slinging, so we figured we could run with the best of 'em at the Mud Run last weekend. After all, there's nothing like waking up in the wee hours on one of your two weekend days off, suiting up in a ridiculous costume and trudging through freezing cold mud.

Organizers say the only thing serious about this 5K race is the mud. The race zigzags through Two Rivers Park and ends in a 300-by-50-foot mud pit. Awards are given for, among other things, the dirtiest and cleanest runners, the best-dressed individual or team and the most creative entry into the pit. Almost everyone dresses up in some type of costume and no one leaves clean. Those are the rules.

We were pleasantly surprised when we met up with our friends to get suited up. As it turns out, the costumes weren't ridiculous at all, but something close to art. Our good friend had spent a considerable sum, especially given these hard times, at a craft store and had spent the rest of the night assembling our duds: We were the homemade-but-super-looking Avengers: The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Capt. America.

After taking a couple of pictures for posterity's sake, we crumpled into the car and headed merrily on our way. As far as October mornings go, this one was a beauty. Perfect for a 5K and a tumble through the three-mile long course, covered in our not-quite-marathon-ready garb. Along the way we were passed by a team of Michael Phelpses, runaway brides, the Blues Brothers, a bunch of bananas, Osama bin Laden, Army men, doctors, pimps, ladies of the night, Elvis, gangsters, pumpkin-heads, and even a couple of serious runners.

Then came the pit. Pandemonium ensued. Teams broke apart, friends abandoned friends, or worse, pushed their faces into the murky soup. Shoes were lost, balls of mud thrown. The muck froze our limbs, literally pulling us downward. We thought we would never make it out.

Once we finally made it to the finish line we sat on the edge, wiped the mud out of our eyeballs and looked down at our once-beautiful costumes, now devoured by the mud. We were hungry, tired, cold and there was mud in our ears. We looked at each other, shared a good, mud-soaked belly-laugh, and planned what costumes we'd ruin next year.

 

In time for Halloween, and sparing us the expense of buying fake webbing for our big fake spider, an argiope has begun weaving her orb on our front porch. She has yellow stripes on one side (back or belly, we can't tell) and two parallel lines on the other. She has woven her web in such a way that if you are under 6 feet tall, you can safely pass beneath it, if you hug one side of the stoop. She is apparently not after big prey.

Our street is one that gets about 500,000 trick-or-treaters on Halloween. If one was of a mind to — say one hadn't been relying on the stock market for retirement — one could spend a couple hundred dollars sugaring up the hordes.

But this year … The Observer could leave our amazing argiope in place, shine a spotlight on her and sit back, unmolested, while we consume the lone bag of little Hershey's candy bars we've already bought. Watch the world go by, so to speak. She's so real. It's tempting.

We honestly hate to make our spider start all over someplace else. She's invested in that web. She's counting on it to see her through, so she can rest easy, put all eight feet up, after launching all those spiderlings she's probably loaded up with, whose silks we'll soon see streaming from all the telephone wires and car antennae and anything else that catches them in the wind.

 

 

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