Sunday, March 28, 2010

how we spent our Earth Hour

I once thought there should be prorated levels of "earth hours" when it came to the real "Earth Hour." For example, if you have two young uneasily-occupied children, as I do, 50 minutes counts as a full hour. If you live in my neighborhood, you're most likely in bed by 8:30 p.m. (we have a lot of Ben Franklin types here), so you must forgo your mid-afternoon soaps that day--no TIVOing allowed. If you're single or married and without kids, you have to do 1 1/2 hours in order to help out the rest of us activity-challenged parents.

I thought all this until today's Earth Hour.

At 8:31 p.m., my kids and I ran frantically through the house to get the electricity off and dig up flashlights. It was like an early Easter egg hunt. The nays were: the refrigerator (it's old and crotchety), the alarm clocks (too much trouble to reset for one hour), and the fish tank (it would be the end of Earth Hour in this house if snail died during our little romp with energy savings).

We decided to head up to my room, far away from a TV set. The bed was made, so it felt cozy. (There is something about a neat bed that makes all the piles of clothes scattered around the perimeter of the room magically disappear.). I settled in and resolved to get through the hour, no matter how long it seemed to drag.

Starting at 8:32 p.m.:

1. We made circles on the ceiling with our flashlights.

2. We reassured our terrified dog, who is deathly afraid of wind and storms, that she was going to be okay.

3. We told ghost stories under the covers.

And even the newest member of the family, Mighty Bean, got the chance to tell a spooky tale.

4. We played Whac-A-Mole.

5. We played Don't Spill the Beans.

I think the pot was so happy for the attention that he started to drool.

At 9:25 p.m., the kids asked if Earth Hour was over. I could have easily said yes, and they would have been none the wiser for it. But in the darkness we had only eachother to focus on. No distractions from the usual background noises of a home, and the security of knowing that we weren't in a storm with the power out. It was nice. We had the fossil fuel/climate change discussion, and then I flicked on the lights so they could brush their teeth. At 9:37. It was one of the shortest hours that I remember having with them in quite awhile.


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