Darwin had a long-standing plan to take an overnight trip to Houston last Friday. The young ladies wept copiously at learning that Daddy was abandoning us for an entire night, which sobbing could only be soothed by my setting up the ancient tv/vcr on a dresser in my room and digging out an old videotape of Bringing Up Baby. Screwball comedy, it seems, is easily accessible to the under-six set, especially if it features a leopard, a dog, and a brontosaurus skeleton.
I didn't have the heart to disturb the pile of sleeping girls at the end of the movie, so I made room for myself on the edge. I slept lightly all night, thanks to kicks, murmurs, and the stupid cat crying to be let back in at 3 AM (at which point I made sure that yes, I had locked all the doors). At dawn, fed up with baby's hand grubbing up my sleeve, I detached her and made my way downstairs. Our staircase is the repository for all sorts of items in transition: any clothes found downstairs are thrown on the landing or draped over the banister, and the second stair is usually reserved for a stack of old newspapers awaiting the trip to the garage (all of two feet away). I'd been unusually virtuous a day or two before and had finally packed up the three-foot pile of newspaper in the garage to haul down to the recycling bin at church, so as I passed the newspaper sitting neatly on the edge of the stair I paused to see what section I'd missed.
And there, in my cheerful, sun-lit kitchen, I stood transfixed as I gazed down at that morning's paper.
I was the first one up; I would have noticed if one of the girls had gotten out of bed and gone outside to get the newspaper (which she would have thrown, wrapped, on the living room floor, not opened and placed tidily on the stair). It had not come bundled in with the Friday paper, because I got the Friday paper myself. All the downstairs windows were shut and the doors were locked -- and who would break into a house to bring in the paper? And if someone did enter the house, how would he know that we put our paper on the stair, especially since I'd taken away the pile that normally sits there? I don't recall if it was there at 3:00, when I let the cat in, but I relocked the back door, and we keep our back gate locked so that the girls won't run into the front yard. I asked Darwin if he'd brought in a paper Friday evening, but he had not.
Can anyone give me a rational explanation for how Saturday's newspaper turned up on my stair before anyone had been out of the house Saturday morning?