Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Box

My husband is an amazing baker.  He bakes seriously hardcore bread.  Well, the bread is not hard.  Well, it's chewy when need be.  Or fluffy if that's what he's going for.  He makes the BEST homemade croissants you will ever taste (including the ones you ate at that little bistro in Paris) and a mean focaccia.

His current obsession: creating a sourdough culture from wild yeast in the air.  Not using shipped organisms or bought starters.  Just the air. So far, not so much luck.  Mainly, because there is no safe and temperature controlled proofing area in our house. He tried the oven, but one time, I didn't realize it was in there, and I preheated the oven for something else, went to put in my cookies and GAW! Dead yeast all over the place.  Scorched in the very place they thought they would be protected. And by all over the place I mean in his pyrex bowl under a nearly fiery tea towel. I could almost hear their little screams: NO!  I'M MELTING AWAY! I JUST WANT TO RISE AND MAKE WONDERFUL BREAD! OH WHY WON'T YOU LET ME LIVE?!

So I bought Tony a home use proofing cabinet. Like in October.  And have been hiding it under my bed since then, waiting for Christmas. And visions of nummy croissants danced in my dreams.

But the mule couldn't wait until Christmas.

Last week, I caught him googling DIY proofing boxes, involving rudimentary wiring, a treble light, a thermostat, and some sort of insulated box.  So I was like: Really, Tony?  You're gonna do wiring? Involving a  lightbulb? and something containing mercury? You won't even change a lightbulb without turning the breaker off.  And he's all like: Yo, baby.  I can do anything.  And I'm like: how much did that treble light cost? And he's like:  It was cheap, now get off my back, woman!  And I'm thinking: you SUCK. Just lay off the DIY projects and wait two flipping weeks.

This morning, I went to let the cat out at the back door to find this:

An upsidedown Rubbermaid bin with a thermometer sticking out of it and an extension cord.  I'm thinking: GAWD. When will he give UP?!
I texted his colleague at work and told her the situation and she said she would gladly bitch-slap him if he mentioned anymore about building a proofing box or ordering parts from Home Hardware to build said box.

Tonight, he comes home with this:

I'm like: What are these for? He's like: they're for a little project.  I'm like: what sort of project?  He's like: a prototype proofing box.

That was it. 

I marched to the bedroom, told him to follow me.  I pulled out the proofing box and threw it on the bed and said: Here.  Do you want this NOW or can I wrap it and put it under the tree?
He looked all giddy, then sheepish, then said: you can wrap it.  Then I looked at him and said: I ordered this in friggin OCTOBER.  And it was not cheap.  So can you CEASE AND DESIST all the DIY proofing boxes? I don't want you spending anymore money or bringing home garbage to make anymore "projects."

He laughed.  I tossed the box back under the bed and said: Merry Effing Christmas. Now get rid of those styrofoam boxes.
Then he says: Ooh.  I'd better phone Home Hardware tomorrow and cancel that order I made.
I'm like: WHAT did you ORDER?  And he's like: maybe just a small thermostat or something...
and I'm like FACEPALM.

And that, my friends, is how to spoil possibly the best gift ever.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Giving Story

Christmas is definitely the season of giving.  And getting.  But mostly giving.  And eating.  Ok, by far mostly eating.  But there's some giving in there, too.

A friend of mine has a tradition with her children that each year before Christmas, they go through their toys and decide which ones to give away to families in need as Christmas gifts.  I was highly inspired by her example because a) it was a beautiful gesture, b) her kids were actually getting rid of toys of their own free will, c) it was a fantastic way to de-clutter, and d) rum.

Ok, scratch the rum. Not really, but it is sort of non-applicable right now.  I mostly wanted to drink it while cleaning out the toys.  And with egg nog.  Loves me some rum and egg nog.

Anyway, I mostly wanted to do the same thing because my kids have so many toys that they NEVER play with.  Well, until I try to give them away, that is.  But if those toys stay hidden in the dark and mysterious storage bin next to The Furnace, the kids don't even remember their existance.  Of course, I wanted the kids to be involved in the process, giving to those in need, appreciating what we have, so on and yadda.  I asked them what they were ready to give away.

Sashimi: Well, I have two Mater Trouble games. I can give away one.
Keesadilla (runs into iBean's room, comes out with some books): She doesn't like these.  Give these away.
Me: Umn, you can't give away your sister's stuff.  You are supposed to decide on something YOU are ready to give away from your own stuff.
Keesadilla: I'm NOT gettin' rid of my TRAINS!
Me: You don't have to.  But is there something else you want to give away?
Keesadilla: Umn, this movie (he tosses a Baby Einstein DVD at me).
Me: That is YOUR SISTER'S.
Keesadilla: Oh, fine.  Here. (He throws me one of Sashimi's dinosaurs).

Needless to say, I went through Keesadilla's toys myself.  No, I did not get rid of his trains.  But he had some puzzles that he never did and some K'NEX that were rarely played with. And iBean purged of all her infant stuff.  Rattles, flashy toys, chew toys, stuff that sings lullabies.

I posted an ad on kijiji (if you are not Canadian, kijiji is like Craig's list) saying that I had all this to give to a family in need this Christmas.  And then I waited.  And waited.  And checked my inbox. And waited.  And NO ONE FLIPPIN RESPONDED TO MY AD! Seriously? Was everyone here rolling in money and showering with money and wiping their butts with money? No.
The problem is that I live in a small community, one with little anonymity.  I was getting quite discouraged when a couple of days ago, I got a response:

Hi, if you still have this stuff available, I know of a family that had a baby the same day you posted this ad. They are trying to transition to their own home and she is still in school... this would probably be a huge help ... while they are from grande prairie, it just so happens I have family going to peace river to check a house tomorrow ... if you still got em, I would be happy to help pass them on.

Ecstatic, I e-mailed this person back with my contact info.  They replied:

They have put the trip off ... waiting for the roads to improve some, they are traveling from Woking area.  The baby is a boy.  His name is Greyson, You posted your add on the day of his birth, and yesterday, when I responded to it, it was his mom's 17th birthday.  Lots of "weird" coincidences, including having to GO to Peace River to check that house... Thanks Sarah, hopefully we can pull this together ... They're gonna try for tomorrow?

I replied:

I will box up a bunch of toys for a baby boy. I can look and see if I have baby clothes as well. I have given most of it away but there may be some kicking around. I had two boys then a girl. We will pull this off! I have faith :)

They replied (I left the typos in tact):

This is so wonderful, I actually sat with one of her relatives today that said they were hurting for money, and mentioned they also forgot her birthday yesterday, I said, don't worry, I didn't have much to spare right now either, but I was work with some people on line that would doing random acts of kindness... and mentioned your ad, I told the relative that I would be say she was in on the project ...  I'll keep ya posted as to when they are going to brave the road.  :-))))

Today, two ladies showed up at my house.  I gave them two boxes: one filled with baby toys, all washed and looking very shiny and new. The other box was filled with the remaining baby boy outfits that I had and some board books. I also asked the ladies if the mom was nursing, and they told me she was.  So I pulled out my nursing pillow and gave it to them for her as well.

As they left, they wished me a very merry Christmas and told me that this would really make her (the new teen mom) day.  They pulled away, and I then thought of so many more things I could have given: baby towels, baby facecloths, regular towels, blankets, a crib sheet.  But they were gone.  We have so much and this girl has next to nothing.  I could have gone with a few less towels and sheets.  But I did not think of it in time.

I feel so honoured that I was able to help this young girl out, even if I never know her name.  Her baby boy will wear Sashimi and Keesadilla's old clothes, lay on the same nursing pillow that my babies did when they nursed and cuddled with me, play with their baby toys, read their books.  Those objects carry a history to her unknown, and a future that will for me remain a mystery.

I am now a part of someone else's story.

And that is the best warm fuzzy I think I have ever felt.