Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In which we honor an exemplary vegetable and reap fabulous personal benefits

Today is National Carrot Day.

I kid you not.

If you don't believe me, then feast your eyes on this incontrovertible photographic evidence:


See this guy?  He is clearly celebrating National Carrot Day, and doesn't he look delighted?  

(An aside: I visited this display in person and saw dozens of bottles of what purported to be carrot juice stuffed in the ice.  Nonetheless, I am having a hard time accepting the claim that anyone squeezed a bunch of carrots and ended up with juice.) 

Here is more proof:


Ha!  I  told you so.

And if that is not enough, then here are some singing carrots who will certainly change the way you view the world.

We are, of course, long-time supporters of the carrot.  We eat many of them and are tolerant of a wide variety of carrot forms.  Tall, short, fat, thin, dirty, clean, cooked, raw, plain or with dip.  We are equal opportunity carrot lovers. We have even planted them, although the local bunnies (hooligans, down to the very last fluffy cotton-tail!) seemed to benefit more than we did.  Long have we extolled the carrot's many virtues as a healthy food. But never, until today, were we fully aware of the power of the carrot to sustain and strengthen us.

Today was one of those days that had tremendous potential for disaster.  Absolutely fraught with peril.  Much better to stay in bed and hide under the covers than to venture forth and try to conquer such a schedule. It is, of course, a Wednesday.  Wednesday means grocery shopping and grocery shopping means that the children have been asking for two days whether I have gone to the store yet.  Apparently, as soon as the chips run out, they think we have reached the Food Crisis Point and are in imminent danger of starvation. As I have mentioned before, I firmly believe that grocery shopping should be treated like a polar expedition.  Or a military campaign. Or a presidential campaign.  Plan carefully, execute faithfully.  Any unnecessary improvisation or variation is to be avoided as it will result in frozen explorers, politically suicidal remarks, or an improper snack/staple balance (too many marshmallows, not enough milk). Timing is also key. There is a tiny window of time between the end of preschool and the time that buses start dropping big kids off, just barely enough to get the shopping done.  One false step into a different store, one extended conversation with a friend you found in aisle 5, and you'll come home to find that your children had to take refuge in the chicken coop because you weren't home to let them into the house.

Today was blessed with some bonus obstacles.  First, the orthodontist appointment.  It is cleverly scheduled to coincide with the 26 minutes* allotted for a middle-schooler's lunch, thereby minimizing missed classes.  But,  again, timing is crucial. If the most-excellent braces-repair people linger too long over their tooth-related tasks, there will not be enough time to shop and we will either have to live for the week without any foods that are shelved beyond aisle 12 or we will have to extract poopy-booted children from the chicken coop and bribe them with chips not to tell daddy that we were late again.

To further complicate the schedule, the furnace quit yesterday.  By last night, we were beginning to notice that the house was a little colder than usual.  By this morning, it was 53 degrees inside the house, and it was clear that we would have to call for assistance.  The very helpful people at Isaac Heating gave us a window of 8-10 am for the arrival of the repair guy.   Could be good, could be disastrous. Timing is everything.

So now we have arrived at the Supermom Challenge of The Week: exercise, kids, furnace, orthodontist, food, complete all tasks on time and retain bulk of sanity. And it all worked.  I got up mostly on time, made sure that everyone who was planning on leaving the house was wearing clothes and had eaten breakfast, signed the requisite school papers, set up an appointment with the nice furnace repair people, did yoga, bathed and dressed before the nice furnace repair people entered the house, walked the dog, took care of the chickens, and finished the shopping list before I left the house at 10:10.  Now, admittedly, I was a little behind schedule here.  But, the furnace repair guy, after fixing the furnace, asked if I would like a little furnace maintenance.  Having blown off furnace maintenance for 5 years only to end up in a 53 degree house, I opted to mend my evil ways. So I  told him yeah, sure, as long as he could be out of the house by 10 am, time being of the essence and all that (I did eventually remember to ask how much the maintenance was going to cost, money also being of the essence).  And he really did stick to the established schedule.  And then he offered to fix a small problem with my water heater.**  For FREE.  And who is going to turn down that kind of an offer?   At 10:08 he was done and paid and I was squawking at Matty to hurry up and get his &^^$ boots on.  And he did.  And then, when I was sure we were going to have to call the orthodontist and admit that we were running late  for our 10:40 appointment and risk being told that they could no longer accommodate us so could we please reschedule, I got to school and Emma was already waiting for me.  She hopped into the car, and suddenly we were on time again.  At 10:39 we were parking (see, not 10:40 yet; we win!) and at 11:19 we were headed back to school to drop off brace-girl-- following a quick lunch detour-- and before we knew it we were at the grocery store, and we got a good parking space, and a reasonably snow-free shopping cart, and there was enough time to buy food and drive home and put it away without children having to wait in the chicken coop and, to top it all off, the bill was $50 less than usual and I'm pretty sure I bought everything I was supposed to.

How, one might wonder, is it possible to have such a day?  I'll tell you: the minute I walked into the store, I understood the source of all my good fortune.  For there was Daryl, who is paid to greet Wednesday shoppers with free food samples.  She was stationed at the entrance to the produce section, armed with tiny plastic bowls of carrots and hummous*** and she smiled and said "It's National Carrot Day!! Have a carrot!  They're really good for you."  And all became clear.

Behold the Power of Carrots.

Happy National Carrot Day to you and yours!

*Not that the appointment will take 26 minutes. In fact, it takes  15 minutes just to get to the appointment, plus another 15 to get back, plus waiting room time, plus the wildly variable amount of braces-repair time. Again, timing is crucial here.

**I have been ignoring a series of blinking lights for  months, mostly because I didn't like the way the last repair guy criticized my basement and wasn't ready to open myself up to more negativity.

***Very tasty, by the way.  I made sure to buy some for home consumption.

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