I think that this is how Yom Kippur is supposed to work: We all fast, and push ourselves to new levels of religious devotion. We exhaust ourselves. We promise to do better. The next day, invigorated by our exertion, we do better. Or try to.
This is what actually happens: Two weeks before Rosh Hashanna, I am moving at full speed. I turn over the children's drawers for the seasons. I procure new clothes. I get hair cuts, locate tights, polish shoes, and bake nine loaves of bread. I cook. I style my wig.
In between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, I wash the piles and piles of laundry that built up over the three-day holiday (more or less everything we own). I remove stains and hand-wash tiny children's formal wear. I hem. I re-hem. I tack up hems. I re-style my wig. I iron. Now there's a rarity. I force the five-year-old through a semblance of reading and math. Also, I plant. I lay down newspaper, then soil, and plant it with onions and garlic. I cover the new seeds with plastic. When they sprout, I mulch. I plant all the spinach.
Also, our toilet decided to turn its slow leak into a somewhat less slow, really too fast for comfort leak. As a result we're having bathroom disruption. Don't worry! There's another bathroom in the basement! Of course, I had closed it up (because I don't want to clean two toilets) and the kids are afraid to go down there alone. We're using the opportunity to paint over the ugly green paneling with a charming shade known as "what we already had extra of." So add "sporadic use of a bathroom" to the balls that must be kept in the air.
At the pre-Yom Kippur meal, there were signs all was not going according to plan. I botched both the rice (undercooked) and the bread (over-risen). The rice was crunchy. The children didn't notice, because they were busy fighting over ownership of a glow-in-the-dark sticker.
Then we fast for 25 hours from food and water.
The day after Yom Kippur, I have a tiny mini breakdown. It involves crying a lot, and not having any desire to better myself, or to sit outside in the rain in a plastic hut.
Also, my husband's relatives are coming.
Also, we're taking his father's dog for the duration.
It's been pouring rain every night for three straight nights.
When I prompt my daughter with, "G-d gave Noah the rainbow sign," she cheerfully responds, "No more water the fire next time!" No more water? Not quite.