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Posts Tagged ‘heatwave’

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:

fp_bath

Happier Times

And now looks like this:

Is it my imagination or does that shell look on the verge of tears?

Is it my imagination or does that shell look on the verge of tears?

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:

dearstar3

[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. 

 

Gone but unfortunately not forgotten.

Gone but unfortunately not forgotten.

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The Love Bus has many admirable qualities but functional air-conditioning is not one of them. And so, with the recent heatwave that has hit our fair city, we have found ourselves under house arrest.  

My friend KT rang and said “I don’t know how Anne Frank did it.”

What do you mean? I asked.

“Stay in those small rooms for so long.” she replied. Uh, I expect the fact that her country was being run by people who wanted to kill her might have played some small part in her staying power. The heat – however ferocious – doesn’t quite match the intensity of the Third Reich. 

But still, here we are on Day Three of temperatures of 43° C and above (that’s 109.4° F, baby), with a “cool change” predicted at some point soon, sending temperatures plummeting to a positively chilly 35° C… And all this has dovetailed nicely with the end of the six week summer break, so everyone is on their most charming behaviour anyway. 

I found myself on Day One wondering out loud on Facebook (as you do) about how much TV would be considered too much when it was over 40 degrees outside. ValleyGirl came up with the most reassuring answer:

Um – enough is probably enough when the sun has gone down, they’re all asleep on the sofa and you want to transfer them into their beds. Aww, those tired little glazed tv eyes, so cute.

Meanwhile, another friend, who I think has now converted to Foxtel as her new religion, said that the TV was simply turned on with the air-conditioner the minute the heatwave truly hit. After the TV had been on for more than four hours, her ex-Steiner educated son turned to her and said “This is the best day ever!”. 

Anyway, here’s a little diary I’ve kept of my own TV and air-conditioner usage over the last few days:

DAY ONE OF HEAT WAVE:  Implement stimulating morning program of painting, drawing, waterplay, science experiments, the collective- making of frozen chocolate-covered bananas (etc). Air-conditioner turned on at 10:30AM, TV on at 12:50. Both stay on for longer than my conscience would normally allow. 

DAY TWO: Air-conditioner on before 7:00AM. After shouting at the children for painting each other’s bodies before breakfast, TV resolutely switched on at 9:30am. TV switched on and off throughout the day, as required (turns out it is required a lot). 

DAY THREE: Air-conditioner still on from the night before. TV on at 7am. Most likely will be on all day. Past. Caring. 

At least I have air-conditioning. When friends of mine bought their house a year ago, they tossed up between fixing the garden or installing an A/C and the husband persuaded his wife that the garden was far more important. When I last spoke to his wife, she was muttering menacingly about making him do the gardening in the 42 degree heat when he got home from work that night 8pm. And yes, it really was still 42 degrees at 8pm that day. 

My own husband came up with the brilliant idea of squirting the kids with the hose before I embarked on the short walk to KT’s house for dinner last night. He said it would “keep them cool” and I believed him. Being the responsible parent that I am, I of course informed the kids of my plans well in advance and actually got them all excited about it – after all, water restrictions make the hose even more off limits than the treats cupboard. But when I actually did the squirting, Mr Justice burst into tears because “he wasn’t ready yet”, The Pixie started wailing because I had “RUINED. HER. PARTY. DRESS.” and Tiddles McGee just screamed like I was torturing him. All I could do was laugh the long hysterical laugh of a woman who had been shut up far too long with her children during the school holidays and squirt myself with the hose. And then go to that Happy Place in My Mind during the longest and hottest five minute walk of my life, whilst everyone else managed maintained their rage. 

So to all the other mothers in my fair city – and beyond – who have found themselves confined to small quarters with small people, I lift my TV remote in salute to you all and offer a silent prayer that the cool change comes in soon. I don’t know about anyone else but 35°C is looking pretty good right now from where I’m lying.

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