Monday, March 26, 2007

Northwest Arkansas Crime Report 3/22/07

7: 52 a. m. A man on Raedels Avenue reported his girlfriend had a knife and was scaring his children with it.
I'm just making breakfast for the kids. How else do you get the eggs open?

2: 21 p. m. A man at 13658 Rocky Dell Hollow Road, Gravette, reported chickens stolen.
Maybe they just done run off.

4: 02 p. m. A woman at 2605 N. Villa Blvd. reported a woman trying to steal her shed and threatening her.
Those crazy meth-heads will steal anything that isn't a semi-permanent structure in the backyard. Wait.

4: 03 p. m. A woman on East Central Avenue reported being assaulted by her boyfriend and his mother.
That slut is really, really not good enough for her son.

5: 18 p. m. A man at 3601 W. Hemlock St. reported two tools, a microcassette and tobacco stolen from his vehicle.
Thou shalt not take another man's Skoal. It is written.

March 23, 4: 05 a. m. A man at Holiday Inn, 1500 S. 48 th St., reported an intoxicated man in the office had no pants on, didn’t know where his pants were and had no I. D. on him.
That's typically kept in a wallet, right?

Monday, Monday

I don't know why Mondays are so hard, why it is so far outside the realm of possible to get out the door and on the road at a reasonable time. This morning boy and I were in the car ready to go (running about 10 minutes behind, which isn't bad for a Monday) when he sweetly and shyly requested orange juice of his father who had just strapped him in. Now this ticked me off because we had offered to make him a to-go cup of juice BEFORE WE CAME DOWN TO THE GARAGE, but he had declined. Sam sprinted up the stairs and back down with the vital juice.

About two blocks from home, I glanced around the car thinking that I was traveling light for a Monday when it hit me - Paolo's naptime bedding! Since the daycare had just sent home a reminder about that bedding being a state requirement, and if we send our child without it, said child will have a scarlet F for Forgetter pinned to his chest and be forced to wash all of the lunch dishes while his compatriots sleep, I circled back around to our house. I left Paolo in the car parked in front of the house and ran in and grabbed his bedding. As I tossed it in the passenger seat, Paolo whispered, "Mama, Mama, what about my pillow?" This would be the pillow that he didn't want last week, the pillow that is upstairs in the bedroom. Right. I'll be right back. I guess the third time I slammed the front door alerted Sam to my presence, and he came tearing down the stairs in combat mode to confront the intruder. I panted, "Just me. Getting pillow," as I raced up the stairs. Sam walked outside to the car, and I thought, Oh good, he'll make sure no one takes Paolo. Looking back, I'm not sure why that was such a concern. Hmmm.

I grabbed the pillow from the bedroom, flew back down the stairs, and snatched Paolo's rainjacket on the way out the front door because it was sprinkling. Sam had just made it to the car. "Hey, it's raining," he observed. I wordlessly held up the rainjacket - parent of the year. Sam turned to Paolo and said, "Do you want your Spiderman umbrella?" My whole body slumped. "Where is it?," he asked me. "Upstairs in the bathroom." "I'll get it." Oh yes, you will.

When Sam returned with the umbrella, he poked his head in the car and suggested that maybe we should just hang out for a few minutes while he got dressed so he could drop me at work and take Paolo to school. I happily accepted. Paolo and I disembarked, and he walked around in the drizzle with his new umbrella while I ate my to-go breakfast of dry Corn Chex in a baggie. And just think, we're adding another joker to this house of cards. We must be out of our minds. I predict our Monday mornings will be up and running by Tuesday.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

This Little Pig

Want to know what my clever and interesting son is up to? He is chock-full of innovative ideas and natural curiosity. (Aside: where the hell did that word come from? Is anything ever chock-empty? Half-chocked? What is chock?)

First up, Paolo is in a licking phase. He'll lean in close and you're thinking, Bring on the super-snuggle and slap down a side of sweet lovin', and he licks you. That's more than a little jarring. Even weirder is he licks his own hands and fingers, especially if he's feeling anxious. Once banned from licking parents and himself, he'll apply the saliva to clothing or furniture. Maybe he's trying to tell me something, like he'd appreciate a lollipop every now and then?

I'm in the middle of an attempt to listen to my entire music collection in alphabetical order. I'm still on letter B, so maybe "middle" isn't the right word. Paolo, opinionated as ever, always lets me know what he thinks of the selection. He prefers "boy songs" to "girl songs," boy songs being those sung by a boy or boys, and inferior girl songs are sung by females who are neglecting their ironing and pie-baking duties, for shame. Obviously I haven't cleansed him of his chauvinistic tendencies, mainly because his PIG FATHER ISN'T HELPING.

Speaking of boys, not being one, I feel I should be relieved of the duty of having to explain why there is a hole in the front of boy underwear. And yet, I found myself in just that position recently. Paolo, wearing only a pair of blue boxer-briefs--and let me tell you there is nothing heart-meltingly cuter in the world--noticed an opening in the front of his drawers and proceeded to explore it. He stuck his arm in up to the elbow, which requires no small amount of flexibility, and asked me what the hole was for. I gave him an accurate explanation, and he just stared at me in disbelief, as if to say, "What do you take me for, some kind of girl? I should have known better than to ask a non-boy." Then he patted me on the head and sent me back to the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What I'm Reading: Lee Smith

Occasionally people ask me what I'm reading because they generously attribute me with good taste in literature. Thank you, people, and here's a recommendation. I just finished On Agate Hill by Lee Smith. This was the third novel I've read by Ms. Smith, and I highly recommend her as an author. Smith was an author that I discovered on my own, and it's always such a nice surprise to be blown away by a novel when you have no expectations from publisher's hype, word-of-mouth, Oprah, or bestseller lists. The last time that happened for me was when I stumbled across Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale.

This time my happy discovery was Fair and Tender Ladies (1989) by Lee Smith. I was looking for a novel set in the Appalachians because I was missing my grandmother. She was a spirited, sad, funny firecracker, born and raised in the Eastern tip of Tennessee, and her family's roots in that area are centuries old. I was delighted to recognize little pieces of my grandmother in the main character: a point of view or turn of phrase, her disappointments, rebellions, her restlessness, and her deep love for the beauty of the Appalachian mountains.

Ladies is a lifetime of letters from its heroine, Ivy Rowe, to her family and friends. (That makes it an epistolary novel, if you're into learning new words or checking my credentials.) The writing, all in Ivy's semi-educated voice, is so smooth you don't even notice your eyes are translating text; you hear this novel more than read it. The story is moving, surprising and fulfilling, and Ivy is a character you will not soon forget. The last, broken sentence of the novel echoed in my head for days. I've also read and enjoyed Oral History and now On Agate Hill, but for me Fair and Tender Ladies is her best. Give one a try.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Northwest Arkansas Crime Report 3/9/07

Our local newspaper prints a Crime Report in each edition that consists not only of arrests and court appearances, but also police calls. Oh, how I love the redneck police calls, so trashy and delicious. The Crime Report is my favorite part of the paper, right up there with the baby names (Des'Tinee RaeAwnah, born to Phil and Lisa Brown) and marriage licenses (Bobby Wayne Jarvis, 38 and Loretta Jane Fink, 16 - that's legal as long as she's pregnant).

Enjoy these selections from last Friday and wonder along with me why COPS hasn't filmed here yet:

9: 57 a. m. A man at Auto Connections of NWA, 1805 S. Pleasant St., reported a large freezer, buckets of paint and other items placed in front of the business door so he couldn’t get in this morning.

10: 28 a. m. A man with the power company at 100 W. Oaklawn reported an elderly man threatened to get his Smith and Wesson if they trimmed a tree.

4: 18 p. m. A man on Henryetta Street. reported his wife’s vehicle window broken out sometime after he had to pepper-spray a Chihuahua that was trying to bite him.

11: 38 p. m. A caller at 2608 Stagecoach Drive reported a man pushed another man off the porch.

This being Arkansas, it is perfectly safe to assume that at least three of these four calls were made by or about men who were not wearing shirts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

TS is not contagious

As it gets warmer, my family unit is getting sicker. Paolo has a lingering runny nose, I'm recovering from a cold, and Sam came down with god-knows-what yesterday. He tried to pin it on me, but his symptoms are nothing like mine. For instance, I can get off the couch without sweating or blacking out. Last night Sam was hypothesizing about what illness he may have contracted. As every woman knows, when a man is sick, there has never been another human being sicker than he in the history of the world.

Sam: I think I have Lyme disease.
Me: You haven't been in the woods.
Sam: Maybe it's West Nile.
Me: or SARS
Sam: Oh, dude, I totally have SARS. (pause to blow nose) What did Terry Schiavo have?
Me: What??
Sam: I think I have Terry Schiavo.

As if it's not bad enough that he set himself on the fast-track to Hell with that depraved comment, I laughed so hard I ran out of air, so I'm for sure right behind him.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Fez

Sam dropped me off at work yesterday and noticed a new business had opened in the building.

Sam: The Fez - Hookah Lounge and Cafe. No way!

Me: I give it six months.

Sam: Are you crazy? How cool would it be to sit around puffing on a hookah all night?

Me: I have no idea, and neither do you.

Sam: Do you even know what a hookah is?

Me: Duh. I've seen Alice in Wonderland.

Sam: ....

Me: Okay, see you at 5:00.

Remarkable Discovery: New Treatment for ADD

Saturday morning after breakfast and cartoons, I headed Paolo upstairs to get dressed. He ran right back downstairs when I popped into the office to talk to Sam, who was vesting himself in multiple layers of Lycra to go for a cold bike ride. Paolo was gone for all of two minutes, when he came tearing up the stairs and burst into the office waving a Pez dispenser. An empty Pez dispenser. The Pez dispenser that was full two minutes ago and stored safely out of reach in the snack cabinet. In case we hadn't yet grasped the enormity of what had transpired, Paolo filled us in on the details while sprinting madly around the room and laughing between sentences:

"I had a snack! I had a big snack. It was really long and my belly is really full. It was really good. I ate them all. There was a lot and they were pink. I had a pink snack. It took a long time to eat them all and, look, my belly is long now."

Sam and I stared at each other with horror that we couldn't keep from turning into amusement as Paolo whipped himself into a frenzy jumping and spinning and gloating about the greatest snack ever. And, boy howdy, there was a LOT of it. I must say my amusement faded quickly when I realized that Sam wasn't about to change his plans to leave the house. I implored him not to leave me alone with our small child who was practically foaming at the mouth having just ingested twenty nuggets of highly concentrated sugar. Sam argued that Paolo was only experiencing the level of blood sugar that most kids reach on an average day. Then he pedaled away with nary a look back.

Here's where it gets really weird. I pulled out a big piece of foam board and invited Paolo to decorate it with stickers. That's a pretty calm activity for someone who just snorted battery acid, but he was totally into it. He stayed on the floor working on his sticker board serenely, sweetly, making up stories as he went along FOR TWO HOURS. I have never seen Paolo exhibit such focus and stick-to-it-iveness in his young life. So, all you parents who dump money into medicating your children for behaving like, well, children, here's some good news! Obscene amounts of Pez may have the same effect on your child as Ritalin, with fewer side effects.

Disclaimer: I'm no doctor, but I did conduct a clinical trial in my living room. Try the pink ones, and forget about junior taking a nap.