Let me share a little something with you: I now know why excessive use of the air-conditioner and TV is a bad, bad thing. It’s because it leads to power-cuts on a grand scale. And worse. So much worse.
Following my post “It’s Too Darn Hot“, that cool change that I had hoped and prayed for did come in. But, as the temperature outside dropped 8 degrees in 8 minutes (according to a reputable source), our power consumption also dropped from the equivalent of lighting Las Vegas to zero. Just like that.
It was like someone had come and kicked my legs out from under me. The TV was dead. The air-conditioner was dead. What could I possibly do with these overtired, overwrought, overheated kids of mine that didn’t involve them getting eaten alive by mosquitos in the paddling pool? (Though I tried that for a while, I must confess).
In my desperation, I allowed The Pixie to forage through the Cupboard Rarely Opened. There, she found a bag of old bath toys that had been stashed away ever since the Bath Toy Epidemic of 2006 threatened to replace the bath water entirely with plastic. And amongst this hidden treasure was a FisherPrice bath toy set that once looked like this:
And now looks like this:
Notice something missing (other than just general hygiene standards)? The Pixie certainly did. That thing had been hidden away for more than two years and she remembered that there was supposed to be a star.
Now, god knows what happened to The Star – it may very well be cowering in a cluttered corner of the House That Ate Paris. But then it also may have become host to a dangerous fungal organism and had to be thrown away.
Whatever the truth, I had to immediately extinguish all hope that it might still be somewhere out there, otherwise I’d be searching for it by candlelight the whole night through. So I had to say it was broken. And not just broken in a Dad’ll Fix It kind of way (why do my children think everything can be fixed with stickytape?), but smashed into a million billion trillion pieces. And then accidentally set on fire and burnt to a crisp. And then thrown into the bin. And not just the bin, but the Big Bin. I felt heartless as I said all this but it had to be done.
“The Star is gone,” I concluded. “Forever. Ne’er to grace our bathtub again. Let’s remember the Good Times we shared together and then move on. And swiftly.”
Unfortunately, my little ruse didn’t work – it just made The Pixie want The Star even more. More than anything in the whole world. She began crying for The Star. Begging me to look for The Star in the bin. Shrieking, tearing her hair and clothes, scratching at her face – all for That Freaking Star. I bundled her up in a move that was half-hug/half-straightjacket and held her on my lap.
Mr Justice was, in the meantime, drawing pictures in the fading daylight. “Draw a picture of The Star. When it’s Dead”, instructed The Pixie mournfully, from the shelter of my arms.
Mr Justice was already onto it. “Oh,” he said. “I am writing the Saddest Thing Ever – for today.”
And then, with a tear in his eye, he showed me this:
[Notice the “Goodbye Old Friend”? Shortly after I had written my post of the same name , I found myself having to explain to my six year old son why I had A) taken photos of my maternity bras and B) posted them on the internet. Ever since then, he has become overtly sentimental about throwing anything out. He’s brought me dried-out textas and, with his voice cracking under the weight of the emotion of it all, said “Good bye old friend” as he’s put them in the bin.]
The Pixie, looked up at me with a tear-stricken face and said: “Why did we have to say good bye to our Star? I’m really sad that we lost our Star. Our Star. My Star. My Happy Lucky Star.”
Followed by a stirring: “I know what would cheer me up! Buy me another one! Go to the Star Shop and choose just one that looks like a Yellow Star for me to play with! In the bath!”
And then finally, returning to the fetal position in my lap, just: “Star. Star. Star. Star. Star. Star.”
So there I was, no power, too many mosquitos outside, a house like an oven (and a dutch oven at that), and with two of my children mourning a bit of plastic (Tiddles was having far too much fun emptying the rice canister to much care). And I only had myself to blame for all this by willfully disregarding small screen-time quotas and using far more air-conditioning than was conscionable. It all seems so obvious now, but at the time…? Would I do the same again in the same situation? I don’t know, my friends. I don’t know.
But I do know this: I sure as hell am keeping that Cupboard Rarely Opened firmly shut in the future, no matter how desperate the circumstances. I know now why it was Rarely Opened in the first place. Stupid Cupboard. Stupid Star.