Thanks for the requests for Brain, Child! They’re mostly in the mail. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said just leave a note in the comments. That I would get in touch with you via Sylvia Browne, who could tell me in her trademarked sugar-and-ice manner what your address is? (Sweetie, she’s in Indiana.) Yeesh.
If you haven’t sent your mailing address yet, give me a shout at Jennifer at practicallyperfectbook dot com.
Oh, what else. It was a busy, busy weekend. On Sunday night, we had a karaoke party and tested out this drink (the winning one), which totally knocked my socks off. The karaoke was fun, fun, fun, too. There may have been one too many vodka drinks, in retrospect, retrospect being the place where you suddenly recall a vision of yourself taking the microphone from a friend who didin't IMMEDIATELY jump on "Ice Ice Baby" and then rapping in semi-public. Word to my mother.
The kids were there, too, running around half-feral. At one point, I realized that they'd stripped one of the beds and were sliding down the stairs into a pile of bedding. It seemed to me to be ripe two unfortunate end scenarios: 1) someone hurting themselves on the stairs and 2) possibly more laundry, so I put a stop to that and they danced and watched Garfield and other things.
They still must have been up late, the whole crew of children, because the next day, Caleb came home from playing outside with a few friends and said, "I don't want to die."
"We're all going to die," I said. "But probably not for a very long time."
"I'm going to die tomorrow," he said. Even though I know he can be dramatic (in the way that the Pope can be Catholic), I got shivers.
I looked at him closer. His eyes held a miniscus of tears and he pressed his lips together.
"What happened out there?" I asked. "Did someone get hurt? Is someone in trouble?"
He didn't want to tell me, but I cajoled and pressed and urged. Finally, the story came out.
"We found this stuff outside and we took a little tiny part of it and ate it," he said, demonstrating the tininess of the serving with his fingernail.
"What was it?" I asked.
"I don't know!" he cried. "I don't know what it was and now we're going to die!"
"What did it taste like?"
"What did it look like? Where did you get it?"
"Like black powder." It turns out, four of the kids had put their fingers on a mysterious substance found on a car's tire and licked. (Ewww.)
"Why did you do it?" Caleb shrugged. I knew this sort of shrug. It's the kind you given when you know you did something stupid and inexplicable. (Once, when I was a teenager—teenager!—I stood in my mother's closet behind her clothes. No good reason. But then I heard her approaching the closet and realized, with panic, that there was nothing to do. No matter if or when I spoke up, I'd still scare the crap out of her. So I didn't say anything and when she parted the clothes…it was me! Crazy, sexy, weird!)
"Did you think it'd be interesting?" I asked. He smiled and nodded. "Okay. You're probably not going to die"—niiiiiice mommy, with the probably—"but don't do it again."
He looked sheepish and mildly reassured but I think we're clear on the ingesting-mystery-powders front, for now anyway.