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Earthquake tracker shows that where I live, we’ve had 43 earthquakes this month. Most of them are small. Here at my house, we feel at least one per week in the wee hours after work while most normal people are sleeping. The floor shakes and the dishes in the kitchen rattle. The largest in magnitude this month was 5.6. The largest in the past week was 4.8. The largest today was 3.3, which is really more the norm.

On the 4.8 magnitude day, there were also tornadoes. But that wasn’t the most epic thing about the past week. The most epic thing was the appearance of the Vikings on 11-11-11.

The only thing not sweet about my night gig is that I sometimes miss out on the greatest things like the awesomeness that unfolds when you have The Kid House. Once you have The Kid House, you grow up to have The Grown Kid House and you never know what might happen there. It could be a sweet thing like a hula hoop gathering in the front yard. Or a fun thing like going for a walk in the park with decorated umbrellas. Or a normal thing like Internet Café by candle light underneath the covered patio in the backyard. Or it could be something altogether different.

The boy in the neighborhood with the biggest afro still comes over but now he’s in his 3rd year of college. The chubby kid who played tuba in the school band is now a skinny tuba-playing senior. The boy who played clarinet with a hunchback had surgery and now stands a straight and proud 6 feet 5.5 inches tall. The boy who moved across the street 13 years ago lives here part time. My kids were the home schoolers. The other kids just found their way here. I think it was the laughter. Maybe the food.

On the night of 11-11-11, they entered my front door as themselves and transformed into Vikings before they walked back out. It was the midnight launch for Elder Scrolls Skyrim at Game Stop.

If you’ve never been to a midnight launch, you are missing out.

You can easily spot the people going to a midnight launch in line at Target or any other store in the hours leading up to the event. They’re usually wearing some kind of gamer shirt that gives them away. If not, they will be wearing a huge smile while purchasing a 12 pack of the most potent caffeine along with other snacks. The smile isn’t about their current purchase but has everything to do with happiness yet to come in the form of whatever video game is being released at midnight.

They wait in line for hours talking gamer talk. My personal favorite memory was the 60-something lady in her bathrobe and slippers talking geek talk with teenage boys. The enthusiasm at these things is a contagious thing and as each small group comes out of Game Stop with their new game in hand, they give a shout (usually the title of the game)– returned by shouts from the crowd still waiting.

On this particular night, the Vikings were a hit.

As they exited the store with games in one hand and all manner of medieval weaponry in the other, they walked in silence. Then together, they lifted their battle axes and swords high overhead and shouted “SKYRIM!!” and ran into the night to the cheers of the crowd.

And by some miracle, I was off work early enough to witness this spectacle for myself.

Back at The Kid House, the gamers disappeared into the game room while another came out with laptop asking, “Internet Café, anyone?”

…to which Breezy responded, “Yes!”

…as she pulled a coat over her jeans and t-shirt and headed to the backyard with a sweet smile underneath the paint of a Viking Warrior.

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