Selam and Mommy and The Morning We Wanted to Move to Australia

So, at 6 a.m., the alarm went off.

I got up, and since she has this mommy-meter that alerts her to any wakefulness on the part of a parent, so did she.

I sat on the sofa, read my emails and had just clicked onto the news when the power went out.

Ah yes, I’d forgotten, today was the planned power outage. I remember thinking that this was incredibly inconvenient for me, but I could maneuver around it by either showering and drying my hair the night before or dragging us both to the JCC for morning showers and hair-drying (for me.)

But no, it was 6:10 and we were powerless and back-up planless. Since I knew that the hot water heater was electric powered, I decided to quickly jump into the shower while there was some reserve left.

I did.

I had just put conditioner on my hair when the fire alarm went off.

Yeah, the fire alarm. (You know that bad dream about the fire alarm going off while you’re in the shower?)

So I flew out of the shower, put on the clothes that were nearest me (neon yellow skort and threadbare save the earth T-shirt for the record).  I grabbed a snarling cat and stuffed him in the cage while Selam found her shoes.  We left the apartment and stepped out into

a monsoon.

with lightening.

I also noted that there was not another soul out in the courtyard. Which was when I realized everyone had taken cover in their cars. We did the same.  My pajama clad daughter (who’d chosen too-small tap shoes as her footwear of choice), my livid cat, and me, the woman with clearly defective fashion sense rushed into the car where someone left a half an ice cream cup overnight, resulting in a vaguely dairy smell.  (I would let you guess who but I think you and I both know that I would never leave a half of a cup of ice cream behind.)

I shoved Selam in the front seat and put Theo’s cage on top of her. He proceeded to howl indignantly and shed. Holy cow, that cat emitted another whole cat in fear.  He has one of those zip up cages so we let his head out, thinking that would calm him down.  It just succeeded in spreading his cat fur farther.  So when I get a chance to vacuum the car, I’ll get my money’s worth–cat hair and molten ice cream.

One fire truck arrived. Two fire trucks arrived. Three fire trucks arrived. Many, many hunky looking civic minded fire fighters went into our building, yielding large axes.  Selam pointed out that axes were dangerous and we weren’t allowed to play with them. Theo howled.

Apparently the 8000 fire fighters decided to just hang out inside the building for a while. Why not? It was raining out and dry inside the apartment. The clock ticked, the cat yowled and I tried to figure out what was the last possible minute that we could be released and still make it to church.  I tried to figure out how, with one bar of battery remaining, I could find a phone number for someone at the church and call them.I also tried to figure out if I could just drive to church with my fashion outfit (covered by robe for worship, except for the pink flip flops) and my daughter in the pajamas and tap shoes. Then I tried to figure out if I could get into Selam’s cubby at the JCC and whether or not there were clothes  in her emergency clothes bin there that would be more decent for church.  Theo yowled. Selam chattered about fire fighters and relayed the important stop, drop and roll lessons she had learned at school.

Finally they let us free, and we ran in the building, sprung the cat, threw on clothes and shoes, slurped medicine, grabbed snacks and sermon and headed out the door. I kid you not: 12 minutes flat.

We got to church with 20 minutes grace before the service began.  (I’m usually there about an hour before, so they were worried, but not panicked yet). I shoved my still-wet hair into a ponytail, found lipstick and mascara, and headed into worship.

When Selam stood up to sing a hymn, I realized that her pretty Ethiopian dress needed a slip. Or shorts. And she was wearing tinkerbell panties. Which I knew from 10 feet away. Well, it could have been worse. At least she was wearing them!

Australia, anyone?


8 thoughts on “Selam and Mommy and The Morning We Wanted to Move to Australia

  1. and I’m not accusing Selam of going commando without provocation. She has a track record, typically occurring when the selection does not meet her standards.

  2. I read this out loud on the way up to camp, but was laughing so hard I couldn’t get through it…particularly the tap shoes…the ice cream…and, of course, the tinkerbelle underwear!

  3. oh yes, Jenny. It was one of those things that was even funny while it was happening. I wasn’t sure if the humor would translate to others….but it was definitely a laugh or cry situation.

  4. I once was about to preach a candidating sermon at a campus church when the police brought in my 10 yr old, raised-in-warm N.C. son caught throwing snowballs @ cars off the nearby Univ. parking deck with a newfound SS friend–the DCE’s kid. We only laughed about it after I got the Call anyway…

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