Our decrepitated deck was demolished this morning and with it went the internet and with that went all access to the outside world: our telephone connection dropped to a single, wavering bar; our television is basically defunct (though we still have our DVDs, I suppose); no Facebook; no email. Poor us, right?
Fortunately, my phone was able to pick up the call of some new friends inviting our girls to play at the park so we spent the morning there, getting to know one another.
Rachel went over to her new friend’s house for lunch and a prolonged play date while I took Miriam and Benjamin home for naps that didn’t happen.
All three children were terribly grumpy today.
Yesterday was terribly stormy and so we were stuck in the house with each other all day long and by the end of it were getting on each other’s nerves. We went out to Barnes & Noble’s to pick out a book for Rachel—she’d completed their summer reading program (on the first day out of school). Granted, she only had to read eight books to earn a book but half the books she read were novels.
She picked Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth—it’s Fancy Nancy all grown up.
Miriam, of course, wanted to choose a book but we took her to Wal-Mart to do that because Barnes & Noble isn’t really within our price range. We knew she’d also want a book, though, so we grabbed one of our gift cards and searched everywhere for the book section which is puny. Most of the books had some sort of electronic gizmo on it and in the end we were left with three 5-minute-fairy-tales to choose from, the only books free from noise-making implements (not that there was a great selection otherwise). Miriam chose the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
We also got a mirror to attach to Benjamin’s seat, hoping it would help him be happy in the van. He hates riding in the car. The mirror proved magnificent—I don’t know why we didn’t get one earlier. He likes being able to look at himself and we enjoy being able to look back there and see his face. It was almost like turning his car seat around. Almost.
The books we got saved the day and the girls began reading them with vigor. They read while we got dinner ready. They read after dinner. They read after being put to bed.
When I checked on them to tell them it was time to go to sleep, Miriam had already drifted off. Rachel, however, was still glued to her book.
“Finish the chapter,” I told her, “And then it’s time for bed.”
She nodded her head in agreement but later wandered out of her room to beg for more time to read.
“Ten more minutes,” I caved.
“Okay, here’s the thing,” she said. “Reading for ten minutes is going to be hard because I just finished the chapter, like you said, so that means I’m going to be starting a new chapter and I don’t know if I can just stop after ten minutes, you know?”
“Read one more chapter, then,” I agreed. “And then it’s lights out.”
In a decent amount of time, I saw her light click off and called out to wish her sweet dreams. The house was as quiet as could be, while I sat rocking Benjamin, until Rachel wandered out of her room. It was nearly eleven o’clock.
“Sorry, Mom,” she whispered sheepishly. “I just had to finish my book. I had to find out who the murderer was!”
“There was a murder in that story!?” I asked, shocked. It’s Fancy Nancy, for crying out loud. I read the back cover and there was no mention of murder!
“Yeah. Nancy’s little sister did it,” Rachel yawned casually.
“Nancy’s little sister killed someone?” I asked, still shocked.
I hadn’t intended to send my five-year-old to bed with a murder mystery at all!
“No,” Rachel scoffed. “She stole a marble.”
“Oh,” I sighed, relieved. That sounds more like the kind of mystery novel I’d send to bed with my five-year-old. “So, tell me… What does ‘murderer’ mean?”
“I don’t know!” she said.
“Apparently,” I agreed. “A murderer is someone who kills someone else. But a robber is someone who steals something. I think you mean robber.”
With that cleared up, I patted her head and sent her off to bed. She fell asleep relatively quickly but was still a little terror today so we sent her to bed early tonight so that she could still stay up reading in her bed but not stay up reading until 11 PM!
Tonight I was the one to stay up reading. I finally finished reading The Poisonwood Bible and I thought it was fantastic. I loved reading about the Price’s experience in Africa, perhaps because it gave me opportunity to think back about our experience in Africa (though we didn’t live in such a ‘primitive’ situation). Kingsolver gracefully addressed the question of “the other,” revolutionary (as well as pre- and post-revolutionary) society, white man’s burden, sibling rivalry, life, death, love, faith, and survival. It was a beautiful book—and the first one I’ve read just for me in quite some time, due part in thanks to the internet blackout.
I suppose it took me so long to read because it gave me so much to think about. I got through East of Eden much faster and I know this because I read East of Eden in time for book club. I didn’t even begin The Poisonwood Bible until after we discussed it at book club (because I still go even when I haven’t read (sometimes) (and other times I don’t go even when I have read)). I don’t even know what the book is for this month but I suppose it doesn’t matter because I’ll be out of town anyway. Perhaps I should look for July’s book then…