It’s starting to look a bit like rural Arkansas around here.

For one thing, Jack is missing three teeth.

For another, piles of scrap wood, which my son salvaged from the neighbor’s deck remodel, litter the back yard. There are a few old bike tires back there, too. And a bunch of broken bricks. We don’t yet have a car up on jacks, but give us a few years. I’m sure we’ll get there.

Wait a second. Did I say “yard”? I was being generous. It used to be a yard. Now it’s hard to tell what it is, other than a pernicious-weed-infested tangle of overgrown non-native plant species.

Butterfly bush sprawls across the back fence. Dandelions carpet what used to be the lawn but is quickly turning into a moss garden. Holly trees and blackberry bushes are sprouting everywhere. And the garage and several trees are being strangled by that Imperishable and Most Pernicious of Weeds, loathsome ivy.

Rural Arkansas encroacheth upon our fair emerald city.

But wait, there’s more: last night for dinner, I made tuna-noodle casserole. I haven’t made tuna-noodle casserole since I lived in Bakersfield. And while Bakersfield is not actually in Arkansas, a lot of people who live there are originally from Arkansas, so it’s practically the same thing.

The only thing that saved dinner from being a total trip to the trailer park was the sauce. I did not use Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. I did not have any. Instead, I made a bouquet-garni-infused bechamel.

Ooh la la. Color me French white trash.