31 March 2009

Earth hour

Last Saturday evening was Earth Hour. I'm not certain what, if any, relationship there is between Earth Hour and Earth Day. Is the former meant to be a replacement for the latter, or something else entirely? Has Earth Day been such a smashing success that it's no longer necessary, or is a case of readjusting overly optimistic expectations to accommodate our short attention spans?

Regardless, it is not hard to sell me on the idea of an hour by candlelight; as long there is enough light to read by, I'd happily spend every night this way. The biggest challenge, as far as I could tell, would be making it up until 9.30, because lights off at 8.30 is a powerful soporific.

fter we put Sacha to sleep and played a few rounds of a color memory game by candlelight at home (considerably more difficult), we celebrated the auspicious occasion by...having a trash burning bonfire with our neighbors. The gods of bulk trash passed over their house last week, leaving them with a small ailing wooden patio set that they in turn, had scavenged from someone else's bulk trash many moons ago. We gathered around the fire, which burned in a large metal tub, as the kids played a few songs on recorder. I can't stand the sound of this loathsome instrument, but in this context, its wheezy honk was surprisingly apt. We played a round of If I Went to the Zoo, enjoying the smells of hot lead and melting blacktop mixed with woodsmoke. When all the wood had been consumed, the boys doused the flames by peeing them out.

Despite negatively impacting our collective carbon footprint, it was a lovely evening.

05 March 2009

On the importance of completing one's work in a timely manner

Sacha is famous for cross-pollination of toys; all day long he brings upstairs toys down, and downstairs toys up, where they all have a meet-up on the first floor. Today this was driving me especially insane, so I decided, on a whim--I can do that, because I'm the MOM--that it was time for the kids to clean up the playroom. I myself avoid this odious chore at all costs, because a) it sucks; b) the kids (well, mostly Sacha) make the mess; and c) if I can't make my kids do jobs that I don't want to do, then why the hell did I have them?

So when I said it was time to clean the playroom, Sarah began her pursuit of the perfect flimsy excuse.

This child, who must be nagged to do her Hebrew school homework, developed a sudden urge to do it right now. Surely it could wait a few minutes, I told her, seeing as it's not due until next Wednesday? Her desire to do this homework was so strong that she brought it downstairs with her, trying to work on it while cleaning. This didn't fly with Gabriel, who knows a thing or two about procrastinating. I told Sarah to put it down and concentrate on cleaning, reminding her that the sooner she was done, the sooner she could get to said homework. At this point her zeal to complete the task became so great that she developed an occupation injury, hurting her shoulder on the craft table.

Now the playroom is clean. Since coming upstairs, Sarah hasn't mentioned her Hebrew homework.

02 March 2009

R.O.U.S., or I really should have told this story sooner

A few months ago I was awoken by David abruptly bolting out of bed. For the next few minutes, all I heard was the sound of the toilet flushing, repeatedly.

My first thought was that David was sick, but this was unlikely. Not to put too fine a point on it, but in the twenty years that I have known him, he has vomited on exactly one occasion, and that was after having a bad reaction to a raw milk blue goat cheese he sampled at Fairway. (He really liked it at the time!) There have been times when our family has been felled by a stomach virus, and everyone is puking with abandon, and while David is as sick as the rest of us, he can somehow manage to hold onto his lunch. I didn't think it was food poisoning because that night, to celebrate my birthday, we'd been to dinner at Prune, where we ate exactly the same meal (unimaginative, but delicious), and did not drink to excess.

After a few minutes of listening to the symphony of flushing, I called out to see if he was alright. "Yes, I'll be right back..."

When he finally came back to bed, he told me he had woken up when he heard splashing in our bathroom. So he went to check it out, and saw A RAT TRYING TO CRAWL OUT OF OUR TOILET.


"What did you do?" I asked.

"I flushed the toilet. A lot. Then I went to the second floor, and flushed the toilet, repeatedly. And then to the first floor, and flushed that one a lot as well. And let's keep the lids down from now on?"

I nodded in approval; it seemed like as good a strategy as any.

The following week, I called our plumber. David mentioned it to a very, very handy friend, as well as the proprietors of a local plumbing supply shop. All had more or less the same reaction: "Wow; I've never heard of that before."

Its not comforting when you stump the home repair experts in their area of expertise. David still can't sleep at night unless the toilet lid is down.