The Elephants in the Duct Work

A few days ago, four-year-old was on the vent in the morning, getting warmed up as the heat blew in from below. She loves getting a blankie, throwing it over the top of her and having the warm air blast her all around.

Four-year-old was enjoying the moment until the air turned off. “Mommy,” she frowned, “the elephants went back to sleep!”

“What?” I asked, certain I hadn’t heard her correctly.

“The elephants stopped blowing,” she repeated. “I guess they went back to sleep.”

“Oh, what do the elephants do?” I asked.

“The elephants live in our vents. They blow their trunks to warm us up. Sometimes they blow cold air and sometimes they blow warm air, whatever we want.”

“Oh, I see. And how does it all work?” I wondered.

“Well, they blow when they aren’t asleep, or eating or playing. And if I sing to them, they will blow their trunks and keep me warm.”

“Ah,” I smiled, “that makes sense.”


Seven year old, listening to the whole exchange, was stage whispering to me, “Mom, why don’t you just tell her? Isn’t there some kind of fan or something that blows the air? It is not

I took seven-year-old aside and exclaimed, “Sorry, but I’m not going to tell her. That idea is just too cute. Let her believe there are elephants at her beck and call, waiting to blow their trunks just for her. It’s adorable!”

Seven-year-old rolled her eyes at me and huffed, clearly exasperated that I would let such a fallacy stand.

But really, elephants blowing their trunks to keep her warm? And when she sings to them? Could it get any more imaginative and endearing?

I like the idea. Elephants.

Of course, if elephants actually were in the duct work, I’d have to have my ducts cleaned a bit more often.


Shoelaces: Leaving me Tied in Knots

As I went for my run this morning, an all-too regular plague hit me again: the untied shoelace. I learned to tie my shoes in early elementary school. I’ve been tying them on my own for quite some time now. But apparently, I still don’t have it right.
I don’t know if the added movement of running does it. Perhaps it’s the darn rounded shoelaces. Or maybe I never learned to tie it well in the first place. But, for whatever reason, my laces often come untied when I run.
Lift, fly, crash. Lift, fly, crash. I sometimes identify with my untied lace. I think I can float when I stretch out my leg, propel it in front of me and hover for an infinitesimal portion of time in weightless wonder. Then, gravity takes over and I pound back to the ground, only to go through the entire cycle again.
If only my untied lace didn’t spell impending doom, I might ignore it. I kind of like the rhythm it creates as I move down the trail. It reminds me that I’m moving, that I’m blessed with a healthy, working body. But that body won’t remain so healthy if I ignore the shoelace and just keep going.
This morning I decided I’d try to go for as long as I could before I stopped. I’d just hit my stride, and quite frankly, I didn’t know if I’d really want to start running again if I took the time to bend down and take care of the shoelace business. So, I pushed on. As I did, my over active imagination took over.
I could see myself stepping on the flopping end. In slow motion, I pictured myself going down. I would, of course, not be coordinate enough to catch myself with my hands. Instead, my head would hit the pavement, knocking me unconscious. Blood would start to trickle from my ear, drool from my mouth. Eventually, some kind cyclist or fellow jogger would find me, but alas, too late. By the time the EMT’s could get to me on the trail, I would be a goner. My obituary would read, “Death by untied shoelace.” During my eulogy my husband would exclaim between sobs, “If only she’d stooped down for ten seconds and tied her shoe, she would still be with us today!” My running shoes would be placed lovingly on my cold feet in the casket, shoelaces double knotted so my run into the afterlife would have no such issues.
As soon as my reverie hit such silly proportions, I stopped running long enough to double knot my flapping shoelace. But if you ever hear an anchor from your local news station report, “And a strange but tragic story tonight. A woman died today, all because she didn’t tie her shoelace,” you’ll know they’re talking about me.