Last year around this time, I had been working on a Saturday morning when I noticed that the Google home page was completely black. I thought it was strange and clicked on the link to learn why I wasn't seeing my normal Google screen. I learned about the conservation effort known as Earth Hour. Basically a time is set up on the last Saturday of March where cities are supposed to go black and turn off all non-essential lights. Usually it is 8:30-9:30 local time. Big cities around the world have embraced the practice. The Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House and Golden Gate Bridge sit in the dark for an hour each year at the same time.
Ignoring the fact that turning all the lights off and then turning them back on an hour later is actually more taxing on the generators than just leaving the lights on, I embraced this new holiday as something quirky and fun. I even got my wife to buy into it. So after learning about it, we planned to have all our lights off for an hour that night.
While doing so, we decided that we wanted to walk to frozen yogurt to get a treat to enjoy during our Earth Hour adventure, and we called one of our friends to join us. He just so happened to be coming from a mutual friends' house that is also obsessed with froyo, and it turned out they were planning to get froyo too. We invited them all to come along with us on our walk. When they got to our house they started to question if we might have been playing a prank on them since everything was completely dark, and it looked as if we weren't actually home. We explained Earth Hour to them, and they all embraced it (especially since we were about to leave our dark house and pick up some delicious froyo).
After getting our frozen yogurt, we walked to the CVS that was in the same parking lot to get some ibuprofen. While there we noticed that Guinness, Baileys and Jameson was all on sale. It made sense when you consider we were just over a week removed from St. Patrick's Day, and I'm sure there were plenty of left over Irish themed items. We decided that if we were going to sit around in the dark we may as well enjoy some Irish Car Bombs. It was a natural progression and made perfect sense at the time. So we lugged all the fixins back with us to our house. We created a new term, Guinness fingers, which basically is what happens when you have to carry a six-pack of Guinness about a mile. We also did some hardcore parkour. Or at least we joked about it being on The Office.
Once we got home, we lit a bunch of candles so we could see (in spite of the fact that Earth HOUR had ended 20 minutes earlier). And we got prepared to celebrate this momentous occasion. As we were preparing, we noticed something smelled extra earthy. Apparently one of us had stepped in dog pooped on our way back from the store. We couldn't actually figure out who it was simply by candlelight, so we turned on one light to identify the culprit and clean the carpet. After that it was back to the stone ages.
We poured our drinks. Sat around our kitchen table and talked. Erin was on the same swim team with everyone who was there, and one of her swim team friends actually went to high school with me. So we told old stories about swim team and high school. We talked about life and plans and families. We told jokes. And we drank Irish Car Bombs. Six each to be exact. Which if you're keeping count, comes out to 3 full Guinness, 3 shots of Jameson and 3 shots of Baileys for each Car Bomber. We didn't come to the realization as to how much alcohol that we really consumed until we stood up to move to the living room. We were WAY drunk, so we sat around and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. When we surmised that this wasn't going to sober us up enough, one of our friends decided to spend the night and the other couple (who actually had a DD) drove home.
|Irish Car Bombed on Earth Hour 2011|
This year we basically did the exact same thing with a few tweaks. We put the girls down as per their normal nightly routine before everyone came over. We didn't have the luxury of walking to frozen yogurt and leaving them, so we stayed in and went straight to the bombs. We lit as many, if not more, candles. Erin had champagne instead because she can't have the Irish cream. We told new stories after a year filled with weddings and babies and a few stories that we forgot to tell the previous year. A few new people stopped in to check out what we did exactly during Earth Hour. We played cards via candlelight. We laughed and joked and learned even more about each other.
What started as a kooky tradition to sit around with no lights on, turned into a tradition about friendship and the realization that all you really need is to be surrounded by people you care about. It reminded us what was really important. I hope to pass these lessons on to Ana and Grace (sans the copious amounts of alcohol). We traded a reliance on technology for time with great friends, and I'll take that trade every time.
Next year around the end of March, any people interested in spending time with friends, telling stories and doing way too many Irish Car Bombs are always invited to our house for another Earth Hour. You'll definitely have a great time, and you may even get waffles in the morning.