From the editor’s desk: Deadline chaos reigns again

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 5/29/24

Have you noticed that a recurring theme in my life is, “Why does it that have to happen on deadline day?” That’s what will be engraved on my headstone.

Well, the chaos struck …

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From the editor’s desk: Deadline chaos reigns again


Have you noticed that a recurring theme in my life is, “Why does it that have to happen on deadline day?” That’s what will be engraved on my headstone.

Well, the chaos struck again. I thought it might take a break since it was a holiday, but to no avail. Some parts of this story are funny, some parts are infuriating and other parts are sad. Hang onto your hats as we take a trip to the Crazy Town that is my life.

My daughter has been battling a cold virus for a few days, not a fun way to spend Memorial weekend. Normally she would accompany me on my Memorial Day rounds, but she stayed home to sleep in while I attended the American Legion Post 121 Memorial Day program in River Falls. I wish there were multiple of me so I could go all over, but God only saw fit to make one of me so I had to choose where to go. River Falls it was, because of the dedication of their breathtaking new veterans’ memorial at Greenwood Cemetery. Please check it out. You will be moved.

Once home, I settled in to work on this week’s paper but with all four kids and my husband home, you know it wasn’t quiet. I finally occupied the youngest two by letting them search my car, our bedroom and basically the entire house for loose change. This occupied them for several hours, as they counted out their piggy banks and haggled over who had the most pennies and quarters. The negotiating going on was fit for Wall Street and I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe they’d leave me be for a bit.

A family friend soon called and asked if we’d consider taking a young male cat. They will soon be moving and cannot bring the cat with them. Carolina is very attached to the cat, so after a lot of thought and discussion, we agreed. We were nervous at how it would get along with our cat and dog, but hoped for the best. I knew we’d need to keep them separated for quite some time, as felines are territorial, but little did I know what I was in for.

Dawson held our beloved, angelic cat Snuggles as he eyed up the new visitor. This normally placid, sweet cat turned into a growling, hissing ball of fur. The other cat had started off by greeting Snuggles with purrs, but soon turned into a guttural, seething beast. Dawson made the fatal mistake, before we could stop him, of setting Snuggles down, who immediately turned into a Tasmanian devil, a whirling dervish of teeth, fur and eyes. Lincoln dropped the other cat and the chase ensued. I now know what a real-life version of Tom and Jerry looks like, except there were no mice. I sat stunned as alley cat howls and hisses echoed through the house. Tufts of fur floated through the air as Carolina opened her mouth and screamed. Dawson threw himself into the fray and received a scratched eye for his efforts. They zigzagged back and forth through the house, fur flying, items crashing to the ground, meows screeching forth. We finally snatched up our visitor and Carolina put him in her bedroom. Snuggles wasn’t done and went after poor, innocent, Bagle Hound Trapper as he dared to walk past him. Shane leaped to the rescue and saved the dog while Snuggles hissed his disdain for us all one last time and retreated to the basement.

We made the tough decision that we probably shouldn’t take the new cat and our friend tucked him back into the cat carrier and departed. Poor thing, he had to be traumatized. That did not go as planned. We had meant to keep them separated and acclimate slowly. As Carolina sat bawling in her bedroom, Lincoln started bawling and locked himself in our sunroom. We thought he was upset about the cat incident, but that wasn’t it at all. How I wish it had been.

We coaxed him out and he told us two of his friends had just sent him a social media message, telling him that one of his sixth-grade friends had died five hours earlier in a car crash. After a lot of sleuthing, we learned this was not true. It was some kind of sick joke. Lincoln is a sensitive soul and he took this news very badly. It took hours of comforting him to calm him down as I seethed with rage inside. Why would anybody tell someone else that their friend had died, as a joke? I know they are kids, but I can’t wrap my head around it. I just can’t. Their parents will be getting an earful. I hope other parents read this and have a talk with their kids about social media use and “jokes.” This is a trend I’ve heard about and it needs to stop. Please be aware of what your kids are doing on their phones.

And there you have it. After the sobbing had ceased and the kids were tucked into their beds, I was left alone to stare at my computer and wonder how on earth to concentrate after that.

From the editor's desk, Sarah Nigbor, deadline day, parenting, family, column