Bad luck

I’ve never heard anything like it.  There was a loud pop and the shatter of breaking glass, a moment of stillness, and then a second, floor-shaking, monumental crash that followed.  I had no idea what it was, but I didn’t look around.  We were all in the living room.  I ran to the kids and wrapped them in my arms.  Whatever it had been, they were safer right where they were than anywhere else.

As it turns out, the massive, gilt-wood framed mirror that hung in our dining room had fallen.  There was glass everywhere.  Our dining room floor was covered in jagged tiny pieces.  It was a complete mess.

photo 6

This doesn’t quite do it justice. We’d already started cleaning at this point (the vase was mostly disposed of, for example). It really doesn’t look quite right in the pictures.

The kids did great.  I closed them in the living room, put on the TV, attempted to impress upon them how vital it was that they not leave the room, and went to assist Dan with the cleanup.  It’s one of those jobs where there is no good place to start.  You just have to start picking at the edges and hope that it gets less overwhelming as you progress (which it did).  The mirror had fallen on a vase (a gift from my sister) which had been holding our Osterbaum, the boys’ Easter baskets, and a pile of papers, drawings and unopened mail that had not been sorted in much too long.  The vase shattering under the weight of the falling 40-50 lb mirror was the first sound we had heard.  Then all of that tipped onto the parquet floor which, though vacuumed earlier in the day, had toys strewn on it.  What a mess.

To my great and pleasant surprise, the actual Easter baskets survived, even though they, too, must have caught part of the weight of the mirror directly (points to Pottery Barn for sturdiness).  The eggs (all of the real ones and several of the plastic ones) and candy were mostly a loss (poor chocolate bunnies) and at least one of the fluffy chicks inhabiting a basket was beheaded.  The beautiful, fancy, hand-painted Austrian Easter eggs we’ve collected since our arrival here were mostly destroyed.  A few were basically vaporized — only spots of sparkly dust and a few sad, squished ribbons remained.  Most were just horribly broken.  Three were damaged but sound enough to keep.  I kept pieces of 3 others that were intact enough to hang again … more or less.

photo 8I dealt with the Easter carnage while Dan broke down the remains of the frame and starting dealing with the broken glass.  There was SO MUCH glass.  There were big, jagged triangles and long vicious-looking shards, plus all of the teeny, tiny bits and the pieces that had become little more than dust.  (Plus a lot of glitter from the destroyed eggs — and it’s very hard to tell glass dust from glitter.)  It took 2 hours, but we got everything cleaned up.  The kids patiently watched TV while we worked.  Our floor hasn’t been this clean in a while.

As it turns out, that huge, heavy, ornate mirror was hung with TWINE, which apparently broke.  It was just a question of time.  I’m kind of horrified at the way it was hung — we’d never looked at it, because it was MASSIVE, and it came with the apartment and had hung there for years without event.  We completely took it for granted.

We were so lucky.  We were running late, but we should have been eating dinner, or at least setting the table, at the time that it fell.  We weren’t.  We were all hanging out in the living room.  But the kids play in the spot where it fell, all the time.  Bailey lays there, often.  We walk back and forth past that spot dozens of times every day.  It is, quite literally, in one of the highest traffic spots in our whole house.  We are so lucky that no one was seriously hurt (or worse).  As it was, it was a huge pain, and a complete disruption to our typical Saturday evening, but no permanent damage was done, except to the mirror and some eggs (which I will miss).  Dan even managed to avoid injuring himself with the glass, which is beyond impressive to me.  All is well, we are all safe.  We’re down one huge mirror, but I’m just so, so glad that it wasn’t a much more awful story to tell.

Finger paint

20130427-150429.jpgI don’t know how I managed it, but somehow, in my nearly 5 years as a mom, I’ve managed to never before delve into the world of finger paint. For Benjamin’s second Christmas, he got an easel, including paints, brushes and paper for painting, which we’ve used sporadically. Honestly, it always seems like so much trouble — getting everything set up, trying to contain the paint in the general area of the paper, dealing with the resulting mess — that we don’t do it very often. When we lived in Virginia, I’d set it up sometimes in the kitchen 20130427-150451.jpg(with the easy to clean up tile floor) and since we’ve been here, I’ve actually set it up on the terrace a few times. The boys always enjoy it when we get it out, but the mess is usually pretty significant. We still have a few marks on the walls from our last painting adventure, and I never manage to get all of the paint out of their clothes.

I guess I always imagined that finger paints would be worse. No brushes, actually requiring the kids to use their hands . . . it seems like if brushes were a mess, finger paint would be a disaster. I think that’s why we never did it. Yesterday, though, I was feeling brave. B was off of school (teacher training day) — it can be so hard on days like that to not 20130427-150508.jpghave the day turn into an entire 10 hours of tv and video games. I’ve been thinking ahead to the summer, when I’ll have both boys home, and reminding myself to be proactive about getting us all involved in activities together, so yesterday I (rather bravely) asked the kids what they’d like to do that didn’t involve anything electronic. Liam voted to build trucks with Legos (which we do a lot — I’m rather an expert) and Benjamin wanted to paint. I had a little moment of panic when I imagined setting up the easel, getting everything out, containing the boys and paint and then cleaning everything up. And then I remembered that the finger paints at least claim to be “washable”, and we wouldn’t need an easel or anything fancy — I could just set them up with the paint at the table in our living room and some sheets of computer paper. So I decided to give it a try.

20130427-150531.jpgAnd we had a great time. After a tentative start (both boys were worried about making a mess . . . I think mommy’s mess-aphobia must be catching) they absolutely loved it. I was really surprised to watch them get in to it — Benjamin was full of messy enthusiasm, squishing the paint between his fingers and experimenting with the outcome of mixing colors, while Liam was dainty and purposeful with his choices. (I had expected the opposite.) B made several handprint pictures, while Liam refused. B made a butterfly, Liam made a rainbow. They both laughed and giggled and showed off their pictures to each other.

20130427-150544.jpgTruly, we all had a wonderful time. And, as it turns out, the paint was easily contained at the table. (And it actually appears to be washable. I got it off of the kids and off of the table without a problem, and it seems to have come out of their clothes as well.) The boys loved it — they had so much fun playing and making a “mess” (which really wasn’t bad) and being creative, and they couldn’t wait to tell Dan about it when he got home. I’m so glad that we’ve (finally) discovered the joy of finger painting. It was well worth the trouble.