Oh, internets. Here’s another “do as I say, not as I do” incident for you.
So my mom called me weeks and weeks ago, saying she had found the perfect Chanukah gift for the kids. An Amish-made wooden Noah’s Ark, with a set of 12 pairs animals included. She was raving about how gorgeous it was; “heirloom” quality; a little bulky, but all the animals fit inside it. It sounded nice, Shabbat-friendly, good for creative play, so we agreed to it.
My mom put in the order, but you can’t hurry Amish carpenters, apparently, so it just shipped Tuesday. Taxman hauled an enormous box into our apartment on Friday, an hour before Shabbat, worrying that it wasn’t for us because it was addressed to “MaryAnn and Tammy [ourlastname]”*
Twenty minutes before candlelighting, once the kids and I were showered and dressed, we opened the box. There was a lot of packing material: bubble wrap, packing peanuts, yards of tape. Finally we got to the goods. My mom was right; it’s a really beautiful set.
But, oh, the mess of packing peanuts. They multiplied if you just looked at them. Miss M, for once, followed my instructions–she must have heard the extreme distress in my voice–and began scooping them into a garbage bag. But they must be the new-fangled biodegradable peanuts, because they crumbled easily and were static-clung everywhere. Whoo-hoo!
The clocked ticked to 4:21. Instead of lighting candles, I hauled out the vacuum. 18 minutes: emergency use only! We were not, thank goodness, having guests, and although I am in the running for the world’s worst housekeeper,** there’s a limit. Also: Shabbat. I like to pretend for maybe five minutes that life is civilized.
I managed to corral the peanuts. Mostly. I spent the rest of the evening picking bits of them off my skirt, out of the kids’ hair, and from corners of the rug. I haven’t seen them in my dreams…yet. (But I just had a dream about my high school AP Bio teacher teaching me college-level physics and giving me an exam with questions about college football. So anything’s possible.)
* Not the kids names. Kind of close, if you squint and and realize that my mom ordered this over the phone and the person taking the order heard what he or she wanted to hear.
** Eh, it’s not really true. The house is not organized, but it’s not dirty.