This past week, the kids have been on break but I haven’t. That means they are always on my computer, and I can only wrest it away to do lesson prep and boring things like that. Ilsa is entering an essay contest, not to mention writing a novel, and not to be outdone Abel is also going to enter the contest and write a novel. I’m wondering, if there are any other mothers of twins out there, can tell me at what age they stop bickering and being so competitive?

We’ve gotten into the habit of pizza and a movie on Friday nights. I usually make one large and 3-4 medium pizzas for our family, and we have enough leftovers for a rousing fight at Saturday lunchtime. (Note: I don’t need to fight since I am the pizza maker, and I effectively family-proof extra pizza with slices of eggplant and zucchini, which no one else likes.)

Friday afternoon, Denise was over for tea. She has a fear of fresh yeast, so I conceived the plan of showing her how to use it to make pizza dough, and then having her collect her family and come back to eat it with us. “It works just like regular yeast,” she said in wonderment, which is what I’d been telling her. No reason to fear the fresh yeast, I said. Just eyeball an approximate amount and dump it in.

So, she returned with her husband and child, and we hung out. I’d served a large plain pepperoni (actually chorizo) pizza and a medium pepperoni, red onion, green pepper and black olive pizza, and both had disappeared rapidly. I could not figure out what was taking that 3rd pizza so long, but in the meantime I got another large one ready to go. Why was that pizza in the oven taking so long? 15 minutes later and it looked just the same…and the oven was getting cold…and I still don’t know why it always takes me so long to realize the gas bottle’s out. I’ve been living with these for 9 years now.

Gas bottles empty themselves at one of the two times: when you have guests, or when you’re baking a cake.

Our stove is connected to a large butane gas bottle, which lasts about 2 months. Usually the gas bottle’s right in your kitchen but Ismail, who is rightfully worried about gas fumes and fires, has rigged up an ingenious system. Outside his kitchen downstairs is a little cage that holds TWO gas bottles and a little plastic pipe that runs up the outside of the house in through a hole in the wall into our kitchen. The beauty of this is that when you run out, you don’t have to go up to the hanut and be told they’re out of gas bottles until some indeterminate time, like you would otherwise have to. Instead, you simply go downstairs, unlock the little metal door, and switch bottles. (Later, you replace the empty one. Or, if you’re us, you forget and later, you replace them both)

The problem is that switching them somehow freaks something out somewhere. Yes, this is the scientific explanation. So then, even though your oven is now connected to a full gas bottle, it doesn’t work. This lasts for about an hour or two (or long enough for the cake to be ruined beyond repair) and then, suddenly, magically, starts working again. Healthy logical options like blowing into the plastic tubing or leaving the stove on while unlit gas whooshes into the room do not help speed the process along.

And so, in spite of multiple trips up and down the stairs and into the kitchen to try and try again, we ended up with our friends leaving, hungry and unsatisfied, at 11:30. Naturally it started working as soon as they left. If only they’d left earlier, I could have finished cooking all that pizza and gotten to bed much earlier.

Sunday was Daylight Savings Time for Morocco. It’s different every year—last year it was in June. We forgot and slept in. Elliot came to me in the morning. “You know, I still feel like it’s 9:15, not 10:15,” he told me. Me too, kid.

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