Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 20

with 3 comments

Let me start by saying that I’m going to assume that the button flew off my shorts this morning while hiking the dogs because the shorts are very old and I had a lot of stuff in my pockets.  After almost three weeks of exercising everyday I refuse to believe that I’ve actually gained weight, so forgive me for looking at my shorts as “half-empty”.

I have a standard Friday routine: I take the kids to school in the morning– usually they’re in a good mood because it’s only a half day and if they’re not I remind them it’s only a half day– I do grocery shopping which I enjoy as I’ve discussed before, I hike the dogs (thus the button fiasco– by the way, it’s a challenge having to control two dogs with one hand while the other hand is struggling to hold up a pair of very old shorts with filled pockets that would have lost their button no matter how fit the person who was stuffed into them was), then I grab lunch, coffee, maybe get a manicure with some old Orthodox ladies, then head home and wonder how the hell it got so late as I race to get everything done I need to do before sundown.  Time permitting, I also go to work, but that’s not an issue right now.

Today, my routine was thrown off right at the start.  As I mentioned, I think last Friday, because Saturday is a day of “rest” for us, every little imperfection in my house mocks me, knowing I can’t do a damn thing about it.  Then, miraculously, come Saturday night, I completely forget about all the things that need to get done until the following Friday night when all the wall cracks, sofa stains, rug pulls, and general smells reemerge.  Last Friday night, however, I noticed that my daughter’s Teddy bear lamp was broken and I was determined to remember to fix it the second the sun went down Saturday night (and by fix it, of course, I meant check to see if it was a burned out bulb and if not, throw the lamp in the garage).   Cut to: this morning, six days after Saturday night, when I happened to notice the broken lamp (there must have been a communication error with all the imperfections that were supposed to reappear at night when I couldn’t do anything about them).  Anyway, lucky for me, and the lamp, and the garage, it was just a burned out bulb.  Even luckier, I had a replacement bulb.  Now nothing could go wrong: victory was mine.

The problem was, of course, that it’s one of those CFL bulbs– the tiny, curly fluorescent bulbs that advertise that they give off “natural light” but make you look like you used to look when the lights came on in the bar at 3:30 a.m. Saturday night.  (Maybe some people are still out that late, but no one I know).  In any case, these bulbs are actually supposed to make you money and seal up the ozone layer by using them.  There are only two teeny, tiny drawbacks to using this type of bulb: 1) you have to drive to a hazardous disposal site to get rid of them, and 2) if they break– and who’s ever broken a light bulb!– you have ten seconds to get every living thing out of your house or you will die.  But they save $7.00 a year in electricity, so what’s the downside?  Cut to:

INT. THE DOWNSIDE — MORNING.  Jeff drops the burned out bulb which shatters on his daughter’s floor.

With a high pitched scream reserved only for these kind of emergencies, I alert my family that everyone needs to leave the top floor of the house.  I recall reading that when these light bulbs first came out, Hazmat teams and rescue units from fire departments were sent when these bulbs broke.  I came downstairs and scrubbed myself like I was in “Silkwood” (anyone who knows that reference is not up at 3:30 a.m. on a Saturday night).  My wife, the unrealistically calm one, asked me what’s wrong and I, the reasonable panicked one, told her that we may have to evacuate.  My wife’s unreasonable response was, “just clean it up”.  My more measured response was, “YOU CAN’T JUST CLEAN IT UP!  THERE’S MERCURY GAS CIRCULATING THROUGH OUR DAUGHTER’S ROOM!”  My wife, living in her own dream world, “So what?  We were exposed to mercury all the time as kids.  We used to break thermometers just so we could play with the little silver mercury balls.  I think I actually have liquid mercury fillings.”  Me: “Yes, but that’s different!”  Her: “Why?  We turned out okay.”  Me: “Yes, but that’s because back then we were immune to it!”

The truth, of course, lay somewhere in the middle.  These bulbs are dangerous when you break them– you have to open windows, shut off air conditioners and throw out everything you clean it up with.  But you probably won’t die from it.  Anyway, armed with a box of rubber gloves, a CSI-type sandwich bag and a roll of duct tape, I held my breath, ran into the room and cleaned it up– only having time to do one shard at a time before I had to run out and gasp for more air.  Needless to say, the kids were late to school.

So, after I dropped the kids off… What the hell– how did it become 5:00?!  I have to go.  And when did that paint start peeling?  I’m going to get to that first thing tomorrow night.  I promise.


Written by 100daysoff

March 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. the visual of you running in and out of the room while attmpting your little hazmat cleanup – lmao.


    March 5, 2011 at 5:12 am

  2. Well it is good to see that you did not over react and kept some perspective. No doubt ten of these potentially life threatening accidents occur while you are at work, hence the calm response from Mrs A!

    John D

    March 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  3. This made me literally LOL and if possible, love Shawni a whole lot more.


    March 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: