Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Get away from me with that fork.

I have realized that I'm a little overwhelmed with life right now. Besides last week's events, I'm just swamped. I'm trying to keep a few clients happy, create a few new non-profit websites, be the PTA treasurer, volunteer with a new group trying to revamp the school district's food and nutrition policies, take care of my neighbor's property for her, volunteer at the school, plan for a conference I'm presenting at, etc., etc., etc.

I am exhausted. I was really sick all weekend and now I'm even more behind. I need to step away from a few volunteer gigs. They have taken over. They were supposed to supplement my life, not replace it. Now I'm not baking bread, I'm not working in the garden, I haven't been to the gym, our house is a wreck, etc. Time to reclaim some me and restore order.

Trying to explain to the goob why I wanted to slow down on the volunteer stuff, I said, "It's like if you're at a restaurant with a bunch of people and you have a piece of cake. And everybody asks for a little bite, and you say okay because it's just a little bite. Pretty soon the whole thing's gone, you're left with a bill to pay, an empty plate, and the realization that you didn't even get one bite of the cake because everybody took bigger bites than they said they would." He knew what I meant. He got it. And this afternoon he offered to take me downtown for a cookie, his treat. I love that little man. We went with friends. I had chocolate chip.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In the land of Normal...

The goob's had plenty to keep him occupied. There has been an invasion of sorts in his classroom. Evidence of leprechauns everywhere. Little green footprints, trails of glittering gold, clovers, and general disarray. Desks have been overturned and notes have been left by "Mr. Leprechaun." He has also accidentally left behind his spectacles and hat. A golden potato was on a counter. The kids are having a grand time searching for his treasure. They have been promised a clue today. Other schools in the district have reported similar mayhem.

The first words out of the goob's mouth this morning were, "Happy Saint Patrick's Day!" He put on a green shirt and rifled through my sock bins for my green socks. I made him green eggs for breakfast. I used the stick blender to blend spinach into his eggs. And of course, I made potatoes. You have to have potatoes on St. Pat's Day.

Tonight we are supposed to go to a big party nearby. I hope the rain doesn't interfere. As you can probably guess, I could use a party right about now.

All over the news.

Well, it's all over the news, all over the country. A reporter came by yesterday asking questions. I think we know why the police came to check on us so quickly. It's been reported that, "notes threatening various people and organizations were found inside Woods’ Dodge Ram van."

When I've thought about all the things that might happen in my life, I've never really imagined myself ending up on the hit list of a mentally ill killer. I feel so bad for all the people who are affected by this senseless tragedy. Those poor victims and their loved ones. The witnesses. The lives that were forever changed. And yes, even Larry. He was obviously a sick man suffering terribly. Nobody's like that on purpose. I hear he may have been a father. Probably, at one time, somebody's lover. We know he was somebody's son. And now, to those who knew him the last few years, he is just a terrible memory that we hope will fade, leaving, if anything, only some lessons or insight.

We're keeping mum on the homefront about this whole thing and not allowing our names to be used. The last thing the goob needs to know is that he spent his entire life until now next door to a killer. We already had one frighteningly unstable neighbor before this. And then Larry started his spiral.

No kid needs to ponder something like this. So we've been going through the motions, playing and laughing with him, doing special things. And wondering if he's sensing something's not quite right. Noticing that my replies are delayed, my mind is wandering. Focus, focus, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shocked and still shaking.

The police came to my door today and asked lots of questions about Weird Larry. They wanted to know if he'd tried to contact us in any way lately, if we'd seen him in the neighborhood, etc. They were very nice and took lots of notes. I didn't have the guts to ask why they were concerned. During the conversation I answered one question with something like, "I'm not sure, he had this whole paranoid delusional thing going on," and the two detectives looked at each other. I thought, "Wow, I hit a chord with that one."

Then my neighbor called. The police had called him at work to check on his safety. They asked lots of questions about Larry.

Larry won't be bothering us anymore. Sadly, devastatingly, he took others with him. The investigation is under way. I am heartbroken for the families of those he killed. Absolutely heartbroken. And more than a little overwhelmed thinking about it all.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


So, if your favorite restaurant only allows one trip through the salad bar, and you're really hungry, how do you handle it? Engineering, my friends.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Just try it.