Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Note to self: do not call George’s for security needs.
10:41 a.m. A caller with Urban Bleu Salon, 113 W. Elm St., reported graffiti.
Oh, the person that crossed out eu and wrote ue? That was me. I was correcting your pretentiousness.
11:55 a.m. A woman at Springdale Animal Services, 321 E. Randall Wobbe Lane reported a man stealing a dog pushed an employee to get out of the building.
I went to their website to find out why someone would steal a free dog. There’s actually a $40 adoption fee, so question answered. However, I find it curious that the pictures of the animals seeking adoption are all taken from outside their cages. I don’t care how cute the little furball is; it looks like it’s behind bars. Three weeks old and already doing time; that’s a badass kitten.
1:01 p.m. A man at 4181 N. Valley Lake Drive reported a screen torn off and plants disturbed.
Officer, arrest that wind.
3:51 p.m. A man at 809 S.E. G St. reported a man attempting to break into the house claimed to be part of an organization that took over the house.
This is what happens when you ignore those foreclosure notices.
8:05 p.m. A woman at 906 N.W. Princeton Square reported a woman entered her house and said she was at the wrong house.
It’s a hazard of living in a cookie-cutter housing development. The only difference in houses is the paint color, and Whisper of Buttermilk and Crème Fantasia look the same in the dark.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sam: I didn’t get a chance to talk to his teacher about the book because she had something to say to me. Apparently, yesterday at lunch Paolo would not sit down and stop shouting until they threatened to call his dad.
Me: Really? Our Paolo?
Sam: Yeah. So after I gave Paolo a talking-to while the teacher watched, I didn’t feel like bringing up the library book.
Me: Wow. I wonder why they threatened to call you. Why wouldn’t they say they were going to call me?
Sam: Because I’m the parent that walks him all the way to the classroom. You just drop him off at the front door like a stray dog.
Also, it makes my hands cold as ice, numb to the wrist. What is it, mentholated? It is twenty-nine degrees outside and I’m washing my hands in liquid nitrogen. Christ Jesus, I can smell my frozen hands from the keyboard as I type. Kudos to the development team who came up with a product that turns my hands into a morgue. Next trip to the bathroom, I’m considering just rinsing my hands really well. Better yet, I will not drink anything all day long.
Softsoap, you have overthought hand washing.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Me: Yeah, it really came out of left field. Do you think I did the right thing?
Sam: No, of course not. The boy is five years old. You can’t just drop him off at the front door. Jesus, he’s in Kindergarten, not junior high.
Me: Oh, hell. I was trying not to hover. It’s not like I abandoned him in the parking lot; he only had to walk down the hallway.
Sam: Yeah, well, he left his take-home folder in his backpack instead of returning it to his teacher and his library book is missing. Just because he asks for something doesn’t mean he’s ready for it.
Me: Well, when you put it that way…
Sam: No more of this front door business.
Me: Alrighty then. So much for my moment.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
As I escorted him to the building, I reminded him to hang up his coat and backpack and stow his lunchbox once he got to his room. He silently let me ramble on, for once not snapping that he KNOWS. It’s not that I thought for a moment he might get lost or forget any step of the routine he’s been performing since August. It’s just that I wanted to do it with him, no, FOR him. I like to see him seated, settled, safe before I walk away from him. Then I realized, those small gestures of mine, I’ve been making them for me. But letting go, this is what I’m doing for him.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Each year about this time, Fayetteville's downtown square is festooned with lights: white lights, colored lights, winding up tree trunks, blanketing bushes, blinking, glowing, pretty, pretty lights. The energy-wasting display is completely over the top, and every year the City Council threatens to discontinue the popular Lights of the Ozarks. And every year, Fayetteville citizens scream, "Oh no you don't!"
How else would we know that Christmas is coming if we didn't attend the parade with our children and sigh in awe when the switch is flipped and all 450,000 lights turn on? What would replace the smells of hot cocoa, kettle corn and cotton candy that fortunately mask the smells of the pony and camel rides? Despite frigid temperatures, almost every night there are bands and choirs providing live holiday music. There is a dedicated lane for horse-drawn carriages, and I've heard that this year there will be reindeer. I totally just got goosebumps.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The era of toilet humor is upon us. Want to know what’s funnier than calling for your mom and, when she looks, bending over and pointing your butt at her? Nothing. And it doesn’t lose comedic value with repetition either. Last night Paolo was perched on the potty working out a dinner that had disagreed with him, when he yelled out, “Help! My butt is throwing up.” I’m not sure if that’s funny or gross. It makes me gag and laugh at the same time.
Luca has begun talking, pointing, and generally getting a whole lot better at communicating. The brain-melting scream is still around, but it is used much less often. It’s unsettling in that we have no experience with a happy child. We’re used to Paolo, who is thrown into a funk by the sun rising, so we’re a little unsure what to do with Luca and find ourselves shaking our heads gravely a good deal. Do you remember the part in Addams Family Values when the mini-Gomez baby woke up with bright yellow curly hair and rosy cheeks, and the parents were deeply confused? That’s us. He laughs for no reason at all. He beckons us to chase him and play telephone with a smile so bright it doesn’t seem human. His favorite activity, hands down, is sitting in things. In short, Luca is delightful. I’m starting to think he’s adopted.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:Imagine my surprise when I was informed that, because the absence was greater than three days, I had to fill out a special form for the principal to review. The form is printed on legal-size paper, stating the regulations governing excused vs. unexcused absences from school, and requiring inordinate amounts of information from me. For example, if the absence is for a family trip, state with detail the educational opportunities that will be afforded to your child. Attach additional pages if necessary. I kid you not.
Please excuse Paolo’s absence from school Monday, November 17 through Thursday, November 21. We are traveling to Florida to visit family. I have already spoken with Ms. C. about take-home assignments and lessons to review with Paolo during his absence. Please contact me should you have any questions or concerns.
Paolo’s Excruciatingly Proper Mother
I considered picking one of the established excused absence reasons, and just lying, but I’m too honest and too scared of getting caught. So now I wait to see if the principal decides to excuse the absence. I’m not confident of my chances, considering the form was supposed to have been submitted two weeks ago. Why is it is such a big deal to have the four days excused? Because a child who has four unexcused absences in a semester will not receive credit for the semester.
Along with the stress of getting the family packed up and flying halfway across the country with two children, I am now sweating whether my son will flunk out of kindergarten. Elementary School, lighten up. You have overthought your attendance policy.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
It’s all fun and games until someone loses an ear.
Nov. 2, 12:11 a.m. A man on White Street, West Fork, reported his ex-wife broke into his home and tried to beat up his mother.
The divorce is becoming acrimonious when your spouse hates you so much she attacks the person responsible for giving you life.
Shocking Examples of Pumpkin Crime
Oct. 31, 6:36 a.m. A woman at 1306 Rebecca Lane reported someone threw a pumpkin through the back windshield of a car.
Nov. 1, 7:44 a.m. A man at 1736 W. Osage Bend reported someone knocked over his mailbox with a pumpkin.
Nov. 1, 7:56 a.m. A man at 60 S. 20th St. reported someone “molested his mailbox with a pumpkin.”
Refusing All Personal Responsibility
Oct. 30, 6:34 a.m. A woman at 3103 Levi Lane reported someone broke into her residence and ate candy while she was sleeping.
She might want to reconsider the prescription sleeping pills and whiskey chaser.
I bet if I asked the driver, he would say it was the other way around.
Just say no to online poker.
Paolo, remember how yesterday you got to vote at school? Today, Daddy and I get to vote, and we’re really excited.
Mama, are you going to vote Farack Obama? You have to vote for him because he has a cool name.
Yes, we are going to vote for Barack Obama, but we like him the best because he’s really nice and he has better ideas than McCain.
Is McCain a bad guy?
No, he’s a good guy, too, but he only wants to help his friends, and Obama wants to help everybody.
Is McCain mean?
Not really, but he told people that Obama was a scary guy and said things about him that aren’t true.
So McCain thinks Obama is a bad guy?
Actually, no, he knows Obama is a good guy. He just wants to be president so bad, he forgot his manners.
Okay, well don’t forget to vote Farack Obama so he can help everyone. And tell Daddy.
We won’t forget.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Nigella is supposed to seduce men with her little sex-kitten act. All of the women on Food Network are groomed to make kitchen porn. First, the uniform of a bright V-neck top and dark-colored pants to emphasize the cleavage and de-emphasize the posterior. If you can ever tear your eyes off of Nigella’s mouth, baby got back. Staying tuned throughout the flirtatious cooking sequence is rewarded by the most overtly sexual moment of every female-hosted cooking show: the money shot, when the host takes a huge bite of her delicious creation and her eyes roll back in her head. "Ohhhhhhh, it’s good, mmm, so rich and creamy. Ahhh, I can't get enough. OOOOh, it tastes even better right off my fingers. Oh, yes, Yes, YES, mmmm. Okay, I’ll see you next time on Licking Lucy’s Bowl!"
Have you ever seen a male host perform a money shot? I think not. If they taste the food at all, and usually they hand it to someone else to eat, it’s a quick, small bite and a terse, “That’s good.” And I’m not complaining, no sir. If I ever see Emeril or Mario Batali moaning in pleasure, smacking their buttery lips, I may have to gouge out my eyes.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Paolo: One two. Hey, Mama, what is one two three?
Me: One hundred twenty-three
Paolo: Whoa! What about one two three four?
Me: One thousand two hundred and thirty-four.
Paolo: What about one two three four five six seven eight nine ten?
Me: Oh. Uh, hang on. This is hard to do in my head…placing the commas…okay. One billion, two hundred thirty-four million…no, wait. Twelve billion, three hundred forty-five million, six hundred seventy-eight thousand, nine hundred and ten.
Paolo: No, it’s not.
Me: Really? Let me think. Yes, it is.
Paolo: No, it's not.
Me: Then what is it?
Paolo: It's not what you said. What you said is crazy.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sam: I wish it would go up to $5.00 a gallon. Gas needs to be as expensive as it is in Europe so people will stop driving huge gas-guzzling cars.
Me: Well, yeah. I just meant…
Sam: And so cities will invest in pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly infrastructure and mass transit.
Me: Of course. It’s just a little Woo Hoooo, not even that big, more of a w’hoo.
Sam: Less urban sprawl! More infill!
Me: A wuh, at most.
Sam: Developing alternative energy sources has got to be a top priority, and it never will be as long as gas is considered affordable.
Me: Yes. All of that. I just thought for me, only me, it was kind of nice to pay a little less today. I drive a small car, you’re a bicycle commuter. We’re good people. Only now I feel like an asshole.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
So, what was it like? Did you think of glass eye balls all night while speaking in fragments because you're staring at the glass eye and you can't get out a coherent thought? You didn't do the JD Mind Wander, didn't you? No really, I am very proud of you. Look at you, all grown up and talking to strangers.I am not a complete fool every time I step out in public, you know. I do have some people skills, and I can work a room without seeing glass eyes in every new face. Although, there was a woman in a dark blue suit with a flesh-colored camisole under the jacket. So flesh-colored, in fact, it was hard to tell where the scoop-necked shirt ended and her skin began. It was sort of mesmerizing, and as she talked on and on about stocks or traffic or something, my eyes kept drifting back down to her chest as if to solve the mystery.
On the other end of the communication spectrum is our articulate Paolo, who talks so much he could do pull-ups with his tongue. Paolo is exploring written language, which is thrilling because it shuts him up occasionally. For several weeks now, Paolo has been writing and illustrating books. So far he has authored novellas featuring Sinbad, Superman, Transformers, and various other heroes and villains, and the theme is always the struggle between good and evil. He can’t actually read and write, but he thinks he can. He sounds out words and spells them the way they sound to him, usually without vowels. Hence, “bad guys are making evil plans” could become BAD GI R MK EVL PLS. Once he completes around 5-6 pages, he staples them together. If you think it’s hard to keep up with your kid’s artwork, imagine having to curate a library. It’s hard enough eliminating some finger-paintings. How do you throw out your kid’s books? That he MADE? Well, as the stacks on the table and the nightstand and the dresser prove, you can’t.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In case you are ignorant of this appalling redneck headgear, behold:
The exec stormed back to his office, instructing over his shoulder, "Charge it to client development." I suppose this isn't any worse than the bright orange hunting vests and mesh-back ballcaps (with our coporate logo) and boxes of ammunition (sadly, without logo) that are distributed at the annual "client development" hunt.
Still, it is moments like these that make me want to leave the state of Arkansas and never look back.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Am I reading this correctly, Arkansas General Assembly? You want to ALLOW idiots and insane people to be able to vote? I don’t know if you’ve noticed who is in the White House, but it appears to me they already can.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 1
(REFERRED TO THE PEOPLE BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY)
AN AMENDMENT CONCERNING VOTING, QUALIFICATIONS OF VOTERS AND ELECTION OFFICERS, AND THE TIME OF HOLDING GENERAL ELECTIONS
AMENDING VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION CONCERNING VOTING AND ELECTIONS; PROVIDING THAT ALL PERSONS MAY VOTE WHO ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES, RESIDENTS OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, AT LEAST EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE, AND LAWFULLY REGISTERED TO VOTE; TO REPEAL THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE RIGHT TO VOTE SHALL NOT BE MADE TO DEPEND ON ANY PREVIOUS REGISTRATION OF AN ELECTOR'S NAME; REPEALING ARTICLE 3, SECTION 5 OF THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION PROVIDING THAT NO IDIOT OR INSANE PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO THE PRIVILEGES OF AN ELECTOR; AND PERMITTING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ESTABLISH THE DATE AND TIME OF ELECTIONS AND THE QUALIFICATIONS OF ELECTION OFFICERS.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Sept. 10, 8:28 a.m. A woman on Southwest Calm Ridge Road reported her husband trying to force her into a vehicle and take her to Tulsa and he wouldn’t say why.
8:10 p.m. A man on Kings Drive, Bethel Heights, reported his ex-wife called and told him to call the police because she was fighting with her boyfriend.
Sept. 9, 10:11 a.m. A woman at Gotcha Repossessions, 1401 Ingram St., reported items stolen from the lot.
12:15 p.m. A woman on South Willow Avenue reported her ex-boyfriend pushed her out of a vehicle, pulling her fingernail off, and put her 2-year-old son down in the middle of the street.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Coach Teva appointed another father to be interim coach. Coach Sparky is a happy-go-lucky church dad who doesn’t know the first thing about soccer. A dear little man, enthusiasm for miles, with his pressed polo shirt tucked into pleated khaki shorts. I could gobble him up! He means well, but his advice to his players is along the lines of let’s kick the ball occasionally in the general direction of that net over there. Remember, this is the under-6 age group, fielding three players a side (no goalies) and switching them out every four minutes, and Coach Sparky is completely flabbergasted by what few rules there are: throw-ins, goal kicks and corner kicks. He can remind the players which goal to head toward, but once the ball rolls over a line, any line, he is lost. He once called the field a court.
Sam has been helping Sparky out with the kids at the games, and at the last game I got to assist with the substitutions. Normally a team has six players, so there’s no need to keep track. Whoever is on the field comes off, and whoever is not on the field comes on. It’s not complicated. However, we were a man down with the coach’s son gone, so someone had to make sure everyone got equal playing time. This was our second game, so I’d already sorted out our players. We’ve got the Bobbsey Twins, the blond-haired, blue-eyed Hitler Youth boys who carry the distinction of giving at least a tiny shit about the location and direction of the ball. Then we have the Bad News Bears, the three shorter boys who poke at the ball every now and then but are far more interested in galloping alongside their opponents and hanging from the crossbar of the goal as they get scored on. One of the Bears is Paolo, and one of the Bears is Emilio, and they are the worst two players on the team. How did that happen? In what world do the Mexican kid and the semi-Italian kid suck the most at soccer? It’s my own personal hell.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This is neither my first rodeo nor my first pony, so the list of things he isn’t doing doesn’t worry me. Gianluca is not behind, delayed, or stupid, and a stack of arbitrary questions cannot qualify his intelligence. There is no measure for the spark in his eyes or the joy in his smile. If there were, pediatricians wouldn’t have to ask any questions at all. They would just look at him, just be in his company for five minutes, and congratulate me on having such an amazing boy.
Friday, September 5, 2008
FLORENCE, 2 September 2008 - For the first time, a national side displays on their shirts a logo reflecting one of their achievements: for Lippi's lads, it will be a special memory. It's a logo that will identify the reigning world champions: the world cup on a white background, with the words FIFA World Champions 2006. "It has never happened before and this shows how much FIFA cares about Italy," said Abete, president of FIGC.
(In case anyone was wondering what I want for my birthday, a-hem.)
Here is Joseph Blatter, FIFA's number one: "The champions deserve special recognition. The Italian side are the first ones to have it; the logo will be on their blue shirts at least until 2010. The players who have that logo on their shirts will have extra motivation." Then came a round of applause, requested by Blatter, who complimented Italy.
The squad and the coaching staff were also present in the ceremony. The captain Cannavaro found some time to talk about a rematch: "The experience in Germany changed all our lives. We believed in a dream and made it come true. We have won a magical cup. However, we have another chance at it now; the chance to silence everyone. This is why I invite president Blatter to hand over the cup to me. He can do that now." After which, FIFA President (who left his place in Berlin to Johansson), stood up and handed the World Cup (that was behind both of them) over to the Italian captain: "It's never too late to do well," smiled Blatter.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Your inclusion on the McCain ticket is supposed to appeal to my kind. Like you, I am a woman, I have a career, and I have a family that means the world to me. However, you do not speak to or for me. You do not speak for any woman with a brain and a conscience. Your views are harmful and hypocritical and delivered in a tone both vicious and demeaning. I watched your speech at the Republican National Convention last night. It was a roof-raiser: the snarkier your remarks, the louder the applause. Noticeably absent, however, were your ultra-conservative right-wing views on social reform.
Among many ridiculous things, you support abstinence-only education, banning access to and information concerning contraception in schools. That trite ideal of yours is awfully hard to defend while you parade your big-bellied teenage daughter on national television. Like a true Republican, in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence, you refuse to admit a mistake or change your opinion. Since you want to impose your lunatic ideals on my family, I feel at liberty to point out how they failed you. How proud you must be of withholding information from your own daughter that could have changed her life, let’s be honest, for the better. Teen pregnancy is a life setback that can indeed be overcome, but it is nothing to aspire to, don’t you think, Grandma?
Second, you want to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. You believe that a woman who did not even consent to sex should not have the right to terminate any resulting pregnancy. That’s mighty compassionate of you. But you’re being marketed as the soul of compassion for choosing to have a baby that you knew beforehand had Down’s Syndrome. That is not your badge of honor; it was your decision, and it does not make you more pious than a woman who would choose differently. I disagree with the choice to carry a baby with known genetic defects to term. However, I would never in a million years make that decision for any uterus but my own. I wish you and the rich, old, white men of your party would adopt the same attitude.
Speaking of your precious fifth child, is it in his best interest that you become vice president of this country? I do not disagree that a father can care for an infant just as capably as its mother, but in the first couple of years, a baby bonds with its mother more. Come on, you’ve had four previous kids, you KNOW that. You also know this baby will need you more than your others did. In addition, you have pledged your full support to your teenage daughter, who is due to give birth in four months. Lady, where will you find the time?
You are not more of a woman for seeking such a lofty position of power at this time in your life; you are less of one.
My Donkey Kicked the Lipstick off Your Bulldog.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The first week of kindergarten was overshadowed by the specter of Paolo’s illness, so this second week feels more like a celebration. Tuesday I dropped him off, which was a big disappointment to him because he wants to ride bikes to school with his daddy every day. I’m losing ground to supercool dad, but the baby still likes me more. Sam went to pick Paolo up at 3:00, but Paolo never came to the designated pick-up spot. Sam watched other kids meet their waiting parents until he was the only one left. He went down to Paolo’s classroom, but it was empty. He started checking other rooms until a teacher, whose room he poked his head in, asked to help. She suggested Paolo might be with the kids at the car pick-up, so Sam headed outside. Paolo wasn’t there, and he wasn’t on the playground.
Just then, the helpful teacher caught up with Sam to tell him Paolo had been transferred to another school. Mystery solved! She explained that Paolo was one of the students who got bussed across town due to the overcrowding in the kindergarten classes. At this point, Sam had had enough. With dwindling calm, he assured this woman that Paolo attends THIS school. He was dropped off HERE this morning. He is NOT a transfer, and she was WRONG. She continued to argue with him and called over a male teacher for backup, because the intimidating father with a baby on his hip wouldn’t leave without his son. Finally, someone found Paolo’s teacher, who had mistakenly sent him to after-school care. Paolo was in the gym about to have a snack with the other kids, having no idea that he’d been lost for half an hour.
Paolo recently got his own library card, and he couldn’t be prouder. He carried it around for hours until he decided to store it in his Transformers wallet. As I watched him slip the bright yellow card snugly inside the pocket, I wished I could do that with him: fold him up and keep him close to me, away from harm. We gave him to a doctor, and he ended up with a scary infection. We gave him to a teacher, and she misplaced him. I want him to grow, I want him to experience life unencumbered by apron strings, but sometimes I want him back.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
I finally registered Gianluca at a new daycare after weeks of deliberation. I had it narrowed down to two, and the last tour I went on clinched it. The director actually thought she could intimidate me. She began by telling me what would get me and my child kicked out of the school; she danced around my question about staff turnover by admitting her reputation for being insanely strict; and closed by saying her program was too good for the state of Arkansas, so she had no intention of meeting state guidelines to be labeled a quality-approved school. Check this, Frau Crazystein, if I’m giving you my kid, I’M the one telling YOU how things are going to be. YOU will fear ME, and you will jump to meet MY standards. That’s how this works. The daycare I chose is moving to a newly constructed building, which is good because their current building needs to be razed. They’re hoping to move at the end of this week, but aren’t sure. So I don’t know where Gianluca’s first day will be yet.
As for Paolo, his pedo-partial broke again, so he’s missing his front teeth until a week after he starts school. (I’ll skip over the dentist visit where they took an impression of his teeth while he gagged and screamed and I cried, and then they had to do it again.) Poor Paolo is also scheduled for surgery this Wednesday to remove his adenoids and put in another set of ear tubes. So it’s really helpful that his school moved its Kindergarten popsicle party to Wednesday evening, because I’m sure he’ll be in the mood to socialize. Maybe he could get a Vicodin pop, and share with his mama. I also just found out he is starting school next Monday, not next Wednesday as we were told at registration. I had to call the school to find this out. I guess this is not information that merits distribution.
Paolo is over-the-moon excited about starting Kindergarten and soccer next week. He’s got his school supplies, a new backpack and lunchbox, and the cutest pair of soccer cleats in existence. He’s also fortunate to have a dad who remains unstressed by all this upheaval and kindly uncurls his mama’s fingers every night.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The lice situation definitely stole my thunder as I handed the director my one-week’s notice. In the letter, I complained that the daycare center had moved to a crime-infested barrio, and I would not have child molesters yards away from my babies. Still, it was an uncomfortable paradox to declare that my boys are too good for the place while removing them before they gave other kids bugs.
Once home I washed sheets, pillows, blankets, carseat and highchair covers, and vacuumed anything too big to fit in the washer. That night we resembled a monkey house at the zoo, taking turns checking each other’s scalp for intruders. Three days, fifty gallons of scalding water, and seven hours of nit-combing later, the lice count is one bug (removed at daycare) and two eggs that I combed off the baby. Are we done? Is a lice episode of this minortude even possible? Maybe they’re regrouping for an infestation of epic proportions. Does my nape itch?
Monday, July 28, 2008
July 22, 9:12 a.m. A woman at 10910 S.E. Campbell Road, Fayetteville, reported a male acquaintance keeps calling, telling her how high he is and that he won’t give her father’s chain saw back.
Could this be why?:
That was a misunderstanding. He just really, really hates tan lines.
July 23, 7:26 a.m. A woman at 16185 Osborn Road, Winslow, reported a man took a bus from her mother’s yard that was full of her mother’s belongings and it’s sitting in front of the TNT Diner.
5: 23 p.m. A caller at 11122 Cannon Road, Lincoln, reported parts stolen off of several vehicles parked on their property.
You think the people whose houses resemble ships floating on a sea of crap don’t know what’s in their yards and might even be pleased if some of it should disappear. You are incorrect. Also, TNT Diner is the best greasy spoon name ever, edging out Terry’s House of Heartburn. It’s always nice when a dining establishment lets you know what will happen to your insides should you eat there.
July 24, 9:11 p.m. A woman on Southeast A Street reported her ex-boyfriend broke into her residence, ate her food and had been in her bed.
10:01 p.m. A man at 2552 E. Neely Road reported he left his door unlocked and someone trashed the residence and ate his food.
Their porridge was juuuuust right.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Yes. That is how you be nice to babies, and you will be nice to this baby. Now.
By this time, since Paolo was standing still, the baby wasn’t chasing him anymore. I told Paolo to say goodbye to the baby so we could go to Paolo’s classroom.
Say. Goodbye. To. The. Baby.
I had no idea this was a hill Paolo was prepared to die on. I threatened the first thing that came to mind: I told him I’d take his swim clothes with me so he couldn’t participate in Water Day with his classmates. He made a tragic face but wouldn’t budge. I scolded, cajoled, counted to three, and then gave up and pushed him out of the baby room. I don’t even want to know what the two teachers in there thought of our ridiculous exchange. There we were fighting to the death over social niceties between a five-year-old and a baby with the attention span of a goldfish. I knew how little it mattered, but once it started, I couldn’t back down. “Consistency in Parenting” and all that.
In Paolo’s classroom, I explained that I wouldn’t take his swim gear with me, but I WOULD take his “ticket.” He’d found a dollar bill on the sidewalk yesterday and was eagerly waiting for the weekend to buy a toy with it. Well, that started the tears. I hated doing this. I HATED it. I hated myself, I hated parenting, I hated this stupid situation. So I did something I’m pretty sure a better parent wouldn’t have. I asked Paolo, if he had one more chance, would he do things differently, would he say goodbye to that baby? I was prepared to take him back into the baby room, let him grunt at little Forrest, and all would be forgiven. But what was Paolo’s response, through his lost-ticket tears? No.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The whole time I’m arguing with myself about whether or not this delightful man that my co-worker is in love with has a fancy marble in his eye socket (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this delightful man has been talking to me. And I have not heard a word. I tuned back in just in time to hear, “So where are you headed?” I assumed he had confused me with another co-worker who is moving, so I explained that I was the one staying behind. Both he and his fiancée stared at me like I’d lost my mind. I got the feeling that tidbit had been mentioned while I was zoned out. My co-worker said helpfully, “No, I think he’s talking about the bag you’re carrying. It looks like you’re heading out.” Oh, right, my bag, my pump bag, my “discreet,” enormous, ugly, black bag containing my electric breast pump and newly expressed breast milk. Oh, that. My brain got sucked into a black hole of embarrassment, and I couldn’t speak. My helpful co-worker jumped in again and stumbled her way through an explanation while I stood there like an idiot, nodding and mouth-breathing.
Then, unsurprisingly, it was time for the happy couple to go. Ever the gentleman, the fiancée said it had been great to meet me (and my breast milk). Oh, it was implied in the awkward way he could no longer meet my eyes and didn't reach to shake my hand, presumably covered in breast milk gore. "Yes," I agreed, "it was nice to meet you, too" (and your glass eye).
Thursday, June 26, 2008
“Um, Sam. Are you saying that you let Paolo go off with some random old guy who promised him sweets? Because that’s like Lesson One of Stranger Danger.”
“Oh, right, no, NO. The guy works there, and I told Paolo it was okay. He never left my sight! It was totally harmless. I guess I left out some parts of the story, huh?
Tell me he couldn't have his own cooking show.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Luca learned to crawl about three weeks ago. Not to be outdone, Paolo learned to crawl down the stairs headfirst. It's very Spiderman. To be honest, I'm a little disappointed at the baby's crawling. I had an all-too-brief spell of freedom between the sitting up and the crawling. I could plant the baby in the living room with bright, fun toys in arms' reach, and he was cool. Now, I sit the baby down, and he crawls after me. This is cute for about five minutes. When he does not crawl after me, he crawls over to pull the fan down on himself or choke on his brother's Legos.
Sam and I have lost the ability to baby-proof. When Paolo was a baby, we owned a chair, a TV, maybe a lamp. All the toys were Paolo's and, thus, baby-friendly. Now we have furniture, electronics with tasty, chewable cords, sharp Power Ranger spinners, microscopic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle daggers. When I look around at all the things in our house endangering a curious baby, I am ashamed and overwhelmed. We're not completely irresponsible, however. We've got Paolo acting as our baby-getting-into-trouble alert system. Is that wrong? He's really good at letting me know when Luca has pulled the vent cover out of the floor, and he is especially indignant when Luca has a superhero in his mouth. They are brothers, after all.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I had the good fortune to sit across from a lady who made her two boys pray over their meal before digging in. Oh Lord, bless these thy chicken fingers, which we are about to baptize in ranch sauce in thy holy name. Amen. Further chatting revealed she home-schools them both, which would explain the bizarre quizzing of the older boy about the origin of the hamburger. I’m not sure what would explain her younger son’s name, Gunner. We had the inevitable conversation about my boys’ names and mispronunciation, wherein she complained that she has trouble with people not getting Gunner’s name right. Even her relatives want to call him Hunter, and she doesn’t understand why. That is really odd, I agreed. Maybe it’s because his name is Gunner, and “Gunner” belongs in the Future Felons of America, along with Shooter Wayne, Cash, Wesson, and Remington.* I did not say that but, oh boy, I thought it.
I cleared the Jesus-freak-home-schooler hurdle intact and turned my attention to the coaches for the trophy presentation. The assistant coach began his speech, but then sort of hunched over and covered his face. At first I thought he was having a heart attack, but it turned out he was weeping…from the emotion…of T-ball. To fill the uncomfortable silence while he composed himself, his wife whispered, “He’s very emotional. He really wears his heart on his sleeve.” That’s fine, I can handle a man who cries, but did YOUR team just suffer a historic loss in the European championship today? Did YOUR team go from World Champions to laughingstocks in the space of 90 minutes? No. Get a grip on yourself, man. If I can hold back the tears, SO CAN YOU.
On to the important part – Paolo got a trophy! With his name on it! And I can burn the white T-ball pants that tortured me so and marked Paolo as having a mom who doesn’t love him. We’ll also be hanging up the T-ball hat, since, as my father-in-law pointed out, anyone named VeryGermanLastName shouldn’t be walking around in a hat emblazoned with SS. That man cracks me up. We have the same sense of humor, and I never have to pretend with him. Although I guarantee he would have gotten those damn pants clean. Probably a closet Oprah watcher.
*I searched a couple baby name websites before it occurred to me to check my own hometown newspaper for birth announcements. In a single issue I found the above, along with some candidates for Future Pole-Dancers of America: Jazmyn, Jorja, Au’Bri, Swiston Shea, and Brooklyn Rain.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The great thing about Haven Kimmel is that her fiction is amazing, too. The Solace of Leaving Early is stunning. Kimmel attended seminary, and faith and religion are major themes in this novel. Kimmel's contemplations are intellectual and inconclusive, which I appreciate because you cannot get to the bottom of religion, any religion. Reason will take you only so far, and then you have to take a leap of faith...or not, because you have better ways to spend your time. As little as I care for spirituality, I enjoyed these meditations immensely. The Used World, her latest, is another exercise in awesome and features the reappearance of several of her Solace characters. To round out her list of works is Something Rising (Light and Swift), which I'm reading now.
Friday, May 30, 2008
BY ROBERT J. SMITH
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2008
“If you go to Google Earth on the Internet, it’s a big chicken and big turkey that’s on there in Springdale,” said Ron Day, one of the supply company’s owners. “It doesn’t say ‘airplane.’ When you make it to Google Earth, you’ve arrived.”
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It was late, and I was waltzing the baby to sleep in Paolo's room because he can't fall asleep alone. (Yes, I wrote waltzing, not walking. Gianluca has been having a lot of trouble falling asleep lately, with screaming and bucking. For whatever reason, my hurky-jerky attempt at ballroom dancing does the trick. Call me Twinkletoes.) So. Between the fussy, floppy, tired baby and the willful five-year-old noise machine, I was on edge. I barked at Paolo, who was lying on his bed sideways with his legs up the wall, to LAY DOWN. He told me no. I walked out of his room and closed the door behind me. He immediately got out of bed and ran to open the door. I was waiting on the other side, furious-faced, and demanded, "Do you say no to me?" Paolo started to answer, but couldn't because I had asked him an impossible question. He had such a perfect oh-shit expression on his face, I couldn't help but erupt with laughter.
I like Five, I do, but it wears me out. Five is literal, scatter-brained, clever, infuriating and hilarious. Five can make me so mad my skin vibrates. But just when Five is making me re-evaluate my stance on corporal punishment, Five says or does something that makes me smile, totally undermining the impression I'm trying to make of how much trouble he's in. I'm figuring out that I don't need to fight the urge to enjoy a moment of levity with my kid. I need to relish those moments.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Defenders: Barzagli, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso, Materazzi, Panucci, Zambrotta
Midfielders: Ambrosini, Gattuso, Aquilani, Camoranesi, De Rossi, Perrotta, Montolivo and Pirlo
Forwards: Toni, Borriello, Del Piero, Di Natale, Quagliarella, Cassano
There are three, THREE Fabios in the lineup. Have I mentioned already...? Yeah, I have.
All in all, I'm pleased with the lineup. I'm disappointed with the exclusion of Pippo Inzaghi in favor of Antonio Cassano. Cassano's a big baby, and Pippo's a pro. Pippo is a cherrypicker and has never scored a pretty goal in his career, but you know what? They all count, even the ugly ones he scores with his knee cap or his ear.
There are two words that explain why I'm not too stressed about our forwards: Luca and Toni. Toni, who broke my heart by moving to Bayern Munich last season, helped his club win the Bundesliga title and finished as the league's top scorer with 24 goals in 31 appearances. Perhaps the national side lost God but found Jesus.
Two years ago when Italy brought home the World Cup, I said I didn't care if they ever won anything else. I almost meant that.
Friday, May 16, 2008
No time for love, Dr. Jones.
Friday, May 9, 2008
What the book does not address is the worth of the "something" being sought. Santiago, the shepherd boy in The Alchemist, is seeking treasure. Is that a worthy quest or merely avarice? What about people with truly laudable quests, like curing cancer, who don't seem to be getting anywhere? Conversely, people throughout history with rotten dreams, like genocide, can be quite successful. Are they getting help from the universe? Should they be? Chew on that, book club, and email me your thoughts.
And now I segue into what's going on in my life and what I have been wanting: sleep. For such a harmless goal, you'd think the universe could help me out. Indeed, it is working against me. There are many things that disturb a baby's sleep. Currently, my baby is experiencing three of them: teething pain, illness, developmental milestones. Over the past several weeks, Gianluca cut three new teeth. Babies are SUPPOSED to get two teeth at a time every two months, starting at 5-6 months old. I have an eight-month-old with seven teeth. And since teeth come in pairs, there's another on the way.
On top of that, he contracted a mean cold that went straight to his lungs. It sucks holding a baby down to force his asthma meds. It sucks sitting in a steamy bathroom at 3:00 A.M. It sucks even more watching your baby struggle to breathe, his body jerking as he sleeps. He's getting better though. A few more days ought to do it.
The third sleep-destroyer is actually awesome. Luca is learning to pull himself to a standing position, as well as learning to crawl. Right now, it's more of a backwards scoot, but he'll get there. Who can sleep when there's potential for pitching over the side of the crib? [Note to self: lower crib mattress.] So I'm still not sold on Personal Legends, but I think my baby is dabbling in alchemy. He has managed to turn sleep deprivation into gold.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Who knew country-fried steak and meatloaf were aphrodisiacs? They got a double helping of love gravy.
April 25 9:44 a.m. A caller at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill, 528 N. 47th St., reported identity theft.
Impersonation of local eatery wherein cooks prepare freshly purchased food items on a stove.
2:25 p.m. A man on Southwest A Street reported a woman causing a scene.
Heaven help us, baby’s got her blue jeans on.
3:57 p.m. A woman at Bible Believers Book Store, 130 Spring St., reported a theft.
April 26 6:40 p.m. A woman at 1801 Anthony Drive reported someone draining Freon from her air-conditioning system.
She went on to report her suspicion of someone stealing gas out of her car. Every time she gets in her car, the fuel gauge is a little lower than before. And also, a person in a safari hat driving a small white truck keeps opening her mailbox.
Monday, April 21, 2008
So we laid the table with cake and cookies, hung the piñata, and lined up the thermoses of hot chocolate. And then a miracle happened. People started showing up. I greeted each new arrival with, "Thank you so much for coming. Are you crazy? It's freezing out here!" I decided that was preferable to what I really felt like doing each time I saw a little person toting a present down the hill from the parking lot - grabbing the parent in a bear hug, burying my head in his/her neck and whispering, "thank you for making my little boy happy." That might have been weird, no?
As kids get older, parents can do less and less to protect them from disappointment. I'm learning that I have to rely on the kindness of others sometimes. Whether it's a patient T-ball coach, an inspiring teacher, or a parent who brings her child to the park on a freezing day in April, we all have a hand in producing happy childhoods. I know I'll think twice now before I throw away another of Paolo's classmate's birthday party invitations. It's a pretty big deal when your kid makes it to a whole hand, and he should get to walk away from it with good memories. And speaking of Paolo's whole hand, it's marvelous how comfortably my whole heart fits in its palm.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Of course there was a snafu with registration because we mailed in his birth certificate separately, and he was put on the roster of two teams. Our fault, naturally, for giving him such a common name. After communicating with both coaches, my matter was referred to the Vice President of Five-Year-Olds. How cute: T-ball bureacracy! I explained to Mister T-ball which team I preferred for scheduling reasons. He agreed that Paolo should be placed on my preferred team, but before he could approve the roster, he would have to contact the OTHER Vice President of Five-Year-Olds. There is more than one holder of this esteemed office. After all, one vice president would be inadequate to administer the complexities of five-year-old T-ball. Case in point, poor Paolo who was on two teams and is now on none. We need PEOPLE on this, for crying out loud.
Several unnecessary communications later, Paolo got approval to stay on his team, and I took him to his second practice. The coach emailed Sam the following day asking why Paolo had been at his practice, seeing as how he isn't on that team. I know! I laughed, too, right before I beat my head against my desk.
It's all sorted out now, and Paolo's first game is tomorrow afternoon. Sam took him outside last night to practice catching. They were back about five minutes later with blood gushing from Paolo's nose due to a flubbed catch. I heart T-ball.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Melissa: You know that song is actually about getting high.
Me: No, it's not! It's a movie, with a cartoon dragon and a boy named Jackie Paper.
Melissa: The song came before the movie. It's one of those songs that sound all innocent, but are really about something...else, like Afternoon Delight.
Me: *gagging* God, that song fills my head with visions of dirty hippies getting busy.
Melissa: Smelling like patchouli...
Me: Yeah, dirty hippies knocking patchoulis.
The two brothers stared at each other with identical solemn expressions.
“See? Gianluca was crying because he knew you were sad. He already loves you.” As ridiculous as that should have sounded to a four-year-old, Paolo nodded in wonder, never taking his eyes off his brother. The strangest feeling washed over me, part excitement and part foreboding. I saw my children’s hearts open up to one another; but with love comes vulnerability. When you love someone else, his or her happiness becomes necessary in part for your own happiness. Sam, Paolo, Gianluca, and me: we are all linked to each other now. Whatever happens to one of us happens to us all. It’s scary and beautiful, this family business.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
APPARENTLY, Gianluca's ears are infected, and the infection is so bad, his right eardrum ruptured. The doctor scooped out an ungodly amount of wax and crud from the ear canal while Sam watched in horror, and then prescribed an elephant-powerful antibiotic to kill the infection. During the excavation, the doctor was incredulous that we had not noticed the amount of pain our baby has been in.
ALSO, Luca fell off his growth curve, way off. He has gained only one pound in the last three months. That's a problem. Sam explained that we'd been trying to start Luca on solids, but he acts like he's not ready. He cries when he sees the spoon coming and spits out the food. "Keep trying," was the doctor's advice. We'll be mixing his organic rice cereal with lard from now on.
AND THEN, just to lay down the buttercream frosting on the Screw-Your-Parental-Confidence Cake, the doctor pointed out that Gianluca's teeth are coming in wrong. He's supposed to have two up-two down, but he has four on the bottom. Thanks, doc, that was necessary.
In conclusion, our seemingly sweet and content baby is actually suffering from a bubbling cesspool inside his head, starving to death, and possibly a mutant. Good to know.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
What would you tell your twenty-year-old self?
Friday, March 7, 2008
Helping Hands is pretty selective for having an office in an aluminum lean-to.
3:22 p.m. A woman at 1877 Wheatland Ave. reported her husband’s 84-year-old mother trying to fight with them.
Never too old to BRING IT.
Feb 27 - 1: 06 p.m. A woman at 15789 Cow Face Road, Lowell, reported a front door left unlocked and an all-terrain vehicle, 18-foot trailer, computer, TV, and 10 bottles of perfume stolen.
Feb 28 - 7: 55 p.m. A man at 545 E. Whitefish Bay Place reported a burglary and 14 rolls of toilet paper and collector videotapes stolen.
These inventories are awesome in their total randomness. When did Girls Gone Wild become a collectors’ item?
8: 39 p.m. A manager at Burger King, 5660 W. Sunset Ave., reported receiving death threats via text message from a former employee.
UR DEAD. LOL. CUL8R.
March 4 - 3:10 p.m. A woman at 5409 Yellow Brick Road, Fayetteville, reported several youths with guns.
They represent the Lollipop Guild these days. They rule the streets in Munchkin Land.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
"Paolo, there's not enough room for both of us to sleep there all night. I told you I was just going to read you books and later I'd go to my room. I told you that. Remember?"
"But there's enough room. We fit very good when we were reading books."
"Yes, but I need to come back to my room to take care of baby brother at night."
"We can put him in the middle. I'll be real careful and I won't even smush him."
"Paolo, then we'd definitely have too many people in your bed. We wouldn't all fit."
"Actually, you could get really skinny and then we could all fit."
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
- I do not want to milk anything. Ever. (Myself excluded, of course.)
- I do not want to make or wear rope sandals.
- I have a 401(k).
- I do not want someone else, of either gender, sleeping with my husband.
- I do not want to fertilize a garden with my own waste.
- My hair is not the right texture for dreadlocks.
- I want my children to learn more than hammock-weaving and animal husbandry.
- I do not like Kool-Aid.
- I am a terrible drummer.
- I do not want anyone besides myself to breastfeed my children.
- I do not look good in curtain.
- Jesus does not want me for a sunbeam. Trust me on this.
Friday, February 29, 2008
*I'm not sure what intrepid means, but I'm using it here to mean waste of a faux leather executive chair.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I’d been dreading Paolo’s dentist appointment for weeks. Whenever I thought about it, my throat closed up and my stomach turned inside out. Remember, I had very good reason to expect the end of the world. I’d planned on getting all worked up Monday morning, surrendering myself to the black dread, before the appointment at noon. However, I was so fraught with images of Gianluca being hospitalized or having to wear an oxygen mask, I didn’t have as much worry to spare on poor Paolo. A person’s heart can only get so heavy.
Gianluca was diagnosed with a double ear infection and bronchiolitis, and prescribed three different medications, but the pediatrician assured Sam his condition wasn’t all that bad. His breathing was much deeper than it sounded, thanks to all the work we’d done prior to bringing him in. Hooray for us! Keeping Paolo from the grave during his first winter yielded a considerable store of experience, which appears to be paying off.
Now, on to Paolo. As noon approached, the sun was blotted out by a cloud of locusts. Not really, but that’s how hopeful I was feeling. Before we left the house, I overheard Sam tell Paolo that, if he went through with this, if he let the dentist do everything he needed to do, Paolo could go to the toy store and pick out anything he wanted. Anything. Before you shake your heads, you have to know Paolo. The promise of kingdom come will not mitigate the terror he feels at the dentist. Besides, Sam and I both knew the staggeringly bad odds those cavities had of getting filled, and Paolo isn’t greedy anyway. He ended up picking out a little Lego set. And, yes, that means he went through with it. I have never been prouder of my little boy, who isn’t so little anymore, not in my eyes.