Monday, April 30, 2007

Northwest Arkansas Crime Report 4/26/07 and 4/27/07

9:23 a.m. A woman at 3100 Old Missouri Road, Elkins, reported a neighbor stole cattle and other property.
2:27 p.m. A man on Arkansas 264, Healing Springs, reported two asphalt rollers stolen.
Well, they couldn't have gone far…or fast.

1:36 p.m. A woman on North College Avenue reported a cook threatened her, saying he had a big shiny gun to stick down her throat.
Couldn't you just spit on my burger?

2:48 p.m. A woman on Southeast Falcon Lane reported two sisters throwing dishes at each other.
I’m never babysitting here again.

4:30 p.m. A caller in Winslow reported a drunken male acquaintance hit him with a truck door.
Was it attached to a truck?

4:49 p.m. A woman at Hobby Lobby, 5244 W. Sunset Ave., reported a male acquaintance ramming her vehicle with his.
I can’t believe you bought the last mauve crackle spray paint, you bitch!

7:54 p.m. A woman at 14918 Crawford Point Road reported she believes a UPS driver stole her dog.
Just sign the card for re-delivery.

11:46 p.m. A man on West Maple Avenue reported being shot in the eye by his wife.
Stop looking at me like that.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Any Mammal Can Do It

It's been a quiet week hereabouts, which is just the way I like it. Sam took Paolo to get measured for a tux for an upcoming wedding, which is insignificant except for the fact that, while I wasn't looking, Paolo shot up to 41 inches tall. Huh. It does grow.

So, yeah, Paolo has been requested by his future aunt to be a ringbearer in her wedding. It's no secret that neither his father nor I are thrilled by the idea. You see, we harbor no illusions about our offspring. When the idea was first proposed to Sam by the bride-to-be, he replied, "He's going to ruin your wedding." My response was far more diplomatic, "You'd better have a backup plan." The chances of our kid walking down the aisle are about as good as the sun not coming up tomorrow. Sure, it could happen, but every scrap of historical data tends to indicate otherwise.

Which MEANS I'm going to have to walk with (drag) him to deliver the rings. Which MEANS I need to be looking good. Which MEANS I have to find a maternity dress that doesn't suck. Good freaking luck to me. Oh I could easily rant about the horrors of maternity clothes, the tents, the bows, the belly pouch, gahhh!! True, the clothes are improving, and it is much less painful for women WHO ARE NOT A SIZE 2 to purchase them. However, what does one do when a Small is too big, when the sizes start at 8? One moans about it on one's blog is what.

Apologies. No one wants to hear about pregnancy except other pregnant women...excluding me. Even I don't want to hear about it. People ask me how I'm feeling (instead of how I'm doing) and it still takes me a few seconds to figure out why they're asking. I guess I don't get the fascination. You swell up and then you have a baby. It's just gestation. Go ahead, say it. You won't be the first. Pregnancy is wasted on me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not so much with the fillings

First the good news: Paolo had a fantastic Easter and birthday, due in large part to my fabulousness and star parenting. I'm still a little high from the first successful birthday party I've ever thrown for my boy that included real, live other children. The two-week-long extravaganza of colored eggs, candy, family visitors, presents, and more candy wrapped up just in time for Paolo's dreaded dentist appointment yesterday.

I know some people hate going to the dentist, and that's cute and all, but I am not exaggerating one bit when I say that Paolo could be flayed alive and not react more violently than he does in a dentist's chair. He had an appointment yesterday to get three fillings. I won't go into why he has cavities. It's a long story with competing theories and, let's face it, the Internet is not big enough to contain my guilt.

Sam and Paolo arrived at the dentist's office at 8:00 A.M. sharp, as instructed, so that Paolo could down his multiple sedatives. Only they appeared to have no effect. One hour later, the boys were ushered back to begin the procedure, and Paolo went completely apeshit. The dental assistant tried to gas him to calm him down, but the gas had no effect either. Sam had to restrain him just to keep him in the chair, then pry his mouth open so the dentist could at least LOOK at the state of the cavities. Filling them was out of the question, as you can't put a drill into a writhing wolverine's mouth without doing serious damage.

The dentist explained that Paolo would have to see an oral surgeon who could knock him completely out because his pediatric practice doesn't have that capability and, clearly, the most his office can do is not enough in our...situation. Paolo, who had not stopped screaming since the door to the waiting room had opened, sat up and vomited the useless narcotics all over himself, the chair, the floor, and his father. Sam picked him up and carried him out of the office, apologizing to everyone he laid eyes on. He stripped Paolo down to his underwear for the car ride home, and he threw up again on the way. The End. In case we promised you a phone call to report on the visit, and you didn't get one, this is why.

So why wasn't I there? Because I make it worse, to my eternal shame. When Paolo cries like that, with terror, I go to pieces. I used to be so damn tough, but that kid's cries make my bones melt. Besides, I think Sam had enough mortification to deal with yesterday without having to carry us both out of the dentist's office.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What I'm Reading: Cormac McCarthy

My intellectual husband suggested I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and I did just to prove that I can take his advice. You may have heard stirrings in the literary community about this book: it has already been shortlisted for book-type prizes, declared a masterpiece, and hallelujah! Oprah has selected it as her newest book club read.

I don't get it. The hullaballoo, that is. I'm fairly sure I understand the novel. The premise is simple: a man raises his son in a post-apocalyptic world. How the world-as-we-know-it ended is irrelevant; it is merely the setting for this novel of a father's devotion to his young son.

I didn't dislike The Road entirely. McCarthy's spare prose is a revelation. It's not terribly innovative; others have a similar style: Hemingway comes first to mind. However, I tend to read authors who fill a swimming pool with words and write like they're meandering in slow laps. Compared with them, McCarthy is a cannonball dive. His prose is piercing and direct and no less meaningful for its brevity.

Still, I don't get the POINT of this dark, depressing novel, and I've read every review I can find to see where I'm going wrong. Why hasn't anyone said that the father and son were unlucky to survive? Their every moment is a waking nightmare, a hell on earth. McCarthy hits his readers over the head with how delicate and sensitive the child is, and how every atrocity he encounters shatters him emotionally. This child was born after the apocalypse; he has never known anything other than starving, freezing, and hiding from cannibalistic "bad guys." He has no memory of a compassionate humanity. For McCarthy to assume, and expect us to assume, that the child retains his innocence for the 5, 6, 7 years (the child's age is never revealed) of his life, which consists solely of grim survival, is nonsensical.

Some reviewers are deeply moved by the care and love the father exhibits for his son. This theme did not strike me as extraodinary, but I blame this failure on my personal experience. I have the good fortune to witness this kind of devotion every day. One critic gushes over a scene in the novel where the father and son have a brief reprieve in a bomb shelter and the father gives his son a haircut. I was flabbergasted by his amazement at this simple gesture and imagined my son and how his father would tend to him in such horrible circumstances. A haircut? Oh, this and so much more.

My third and most controversial point (aren't you glad you stayed with me?) is that I don't think the father and son should be on this road at all. The boy's mother, the man's wife, concluded years ago that suicide was their best option. In a flashback, she tells her husband that all they have to look forward to is being murdered, raped, and eaten, in no particular order. She cannot face that hopeless existence for herself or her family, and she kills herself. Tragically, she does not manage to convince her husband, who carries on with his son in a state of perpetual fear and misery. Try as I might, I can find no understanding for why the father chooses this shadow of a life for himself and his son.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sweet or Awesome, never both

Most children Paolo's age have figured out that there are two genders. If you were to ask a 4-year-old what makes a boy different from a girl, he or she would probably reference a difference At least that's what I assume. I'm not about to ask a 4-year-old that particular question, or any question at all if I can help it. It's not that I can't take the answer; I can't stand having to repeat the question at ever-increasing volume until I get the kid's attention just so I can ASK THE QUESTION AGAIN.

Thankfully, Paolo presented me with his understanding of the difference in sexes without my having to inquire. Girls are sweet and boys are awesome. That's it. That's the difference. While "sweet" is a little pink and ruffly for my taste, it's not like he's saying little girls stink or are in some way inferior to boys. Girls just have their own thing going on, they're over there in the sweet club baking cupcakes. Since I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that disturbs me about these classifications, I have to let them go. Besides, it makes for some good anecdotes. Once I called Paolo sweetheart and had to endure a lecture on his awesomeness. Also, there are colorful stick figures painted on the set of glass doors at Paolo's school, a girl on one and a boy on the other, and Paolo will only go through the awesome door. Amusing, yes? Well, it makes me smile. I figure if your kid doesn't put a smile on your face as least as often as he puts a frown on your face, your kid probably sucks. (On second thought: More likely, you're not paying attention. Hang up and parent.)

I asked Sam the other night if he knew about the sweet/awesome thing. He replied that he did, and he sounded so familiar with the concept that I then asked if he had taught it to Paolo. Without missing a beat, or even looking up from the paper, he answered, "Oh no, I would never say girls are sweet."

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Saturday in the Park

Some people put their foot in their mouths from time to time. I prefer to insert my whole body into the gaping maw of humiliation. Like this past Saturday, for instance. After a difficult day with Paolo, who refused to take a nap despite my desperate pleas that I was two seconds away from becoming comatose and hated to leave him unattended, I finally gave up on naptime (oh, sweet fluffy unconsciousness, I wished to hold you and pet you and snuggle with you, but my son is the devil) and hauled Paolo to the park.

As we wandered over to the playground, I recognized a very distinctive car parked there that belongs to one of Paolo's classmate's mothers. While that tidbit registered, I recalled in a blinding flash the birthday party invitation that I had thrown away a couple weeks ago...for this park. My head swiveled slowly to the gazebo, the preferred location of kiddie parties, and took in the balloons, the swarm of children, the Birthday Party. And just in case I hadn't fully swallowed the enormity of my screw-up, several children called out, "Paolo's here!"

I had walked into the tail-end of a party I had no intention of attending.

Yeah, I couldn't even play it off like we meant to come and just didn't bring a present. The party was over. Some children were going home while others wandered over to the playground. I led Paolo over to the swings, limply waving at children and parents I recognized, and prayed for some sort of deliverance from this obscene situation. Then the birthday boy himself came over and hopped onto the swing next to Paolo's. I couldn't make this stuff up. Birthday Boy's mother and I pushed our respective offspring while they carried on a comfortable, friendly conversation. After several minutes, she looked at me, her forehead creased in confusion, "Did you come for the party?"

"Um, no. I, uh, didn't know about it," I lied badly, "We're just here by pure coincidence." She seemed relieved, "Okay, I was afraid you'd come for the party and missed it all." Then she looked confused again, "I really thought I put an invitation in everyone's folder."


"Sometimes my husband picks Paolo up from school, and the paperwork doesn't always make it home." Birthday Boy's mother laughed and said she totally understood; her husband is the same way.

So, are you in awe of my ability to recover from this social atrocity? Heaven knows I should be able to by now. This kind of crap happens to me ALL THE TIME.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Why I hate you, Romance-Novel-Cover Fabio

"Hey, Sam?"


"Did you read that article about Fabio Capello, the tactical genius who coached our favorite Italian club, Roma, to a championship a few years ago? Well, apparently, he's very successful at Real Madrid, too, and they're saying he's one of the best coaches in the world right now."


"Also, you know Fabio Cannavaro, the defender I have followed and worshipped for years, from his humble beginnings at Parma to serving as captain of the national team, which he led to its fourth World Cup victory last year? Dear Canna, who, if I had to choose, I would name as my absolute favorite Italian player? You'll remember he also won the Golden Ball and the FIFA World Player of the Year for his performance in the World Cup."


"And let's not forget Fabio Grosso, who also put in an outstanding performance at the World Cup. Not only was he a solid and creative force in midfield throughout the tournament, it was the foul he suffered against Australia that Totti converted to give Italy the win, and he scored a goal against Germany in the dying minutes of the game, putting Italy through to the final. And finally, it was Grosso who scored the fifth and final penalty kick that won the game against France. You could almost call him the face of victory."

"Yeah, he's good."

[Deep breath] "So, if we have a boy, can we name him Fabio?"


Damn you, Romance-Novel-Cover Fabio, for ruining a perfectly lovely name. By the way, when you did that promotional roller coaster ride and killed a goose with your face, I totally laughed at you.