The Deterioration of My Night

I had such a good yesterday. Sure, I had cramps from hell, but CareBear was so good in the morning. We played with blocks and read stories and played with toys. She helped me cook breakfast and clean her Guinea pig’s cage. Steve took her to a playground while I got to rest before work. Work actually went really well. I got off in time to put Kara down to sleep for the night. She went without a fuss. I nailed my workout, took a shower, and relaxed before bed.

Right after I lay down, I heard my angel cry. Steve got to her before I did, and I heard her clear voice. Since I wasn’t sleeping anyway, I decided to get up and see what was going on. She was thirsty and was saying so clearly, “I want water. And I want milk.” It was kind of sweet, really. After Steve lay her back down, I even started to drift off to sleep with a picture of it in my mind: her tousled hair and big, sleepy blue eyes, her pale skin and big red lips, the way she leaned against Steve while drinking, one cup in each hand. And that was my last peaceful moment of the night.

The rest of the night was quite a blur of Kara waking up, Steve and I doing the age-old dance of trying to decide whether to try to cater to her increasingly erratic requests or to leave her screaming. Problem is, we live in a duplex, and when I say Kara “screams,” I mean her vocal capacity gets possessed by a dragon—like, “Smaug in a rage at finding his cup missing,” full-throated fury of a decibel level that I never would have imagined a person her size capable of reaching.

I’m pretty certain that I didn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time, between Kara, cramping, and, at 5:45 in the morning, the rhythmic bumping of the neighbors’ headboard against the wall. (But maybe it wasn’t what it seemed… maybe they had heard the monster stirring before I did and were beating their heads in unison against the wall. ‘Cause sure enough, just as I was dozing off again 10 minutes later, she once again began to cry.)

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Definitely a Hippie

I made my first batch of homemade deodorant a couple days ago. (The batch I’ve been using was a gift.) Let me tell you, it’s exceedingly strange to whip up a batch of deodorant in the kitchen, then use the same utensils and some of the same ingredients to make granola bars.

The granola bars, by the way, have no sugar, just honey and a mashed banana. (Kara’s friends are going to be totally weirded out and disappointed when they start coming over for dinner. “Spinach burgers? WTF?” “You call these granola bars? There aren’t even any chocolate chips.”)

My worms are eating my garbage. You’re not supposed to feed them meat or dairy, but that still means I can feed them almost any leftovers we don’t get to in time. And, of course, all those odds and ends of the vegetables that we don’t eat. And banana peels. Point is, they eat royally, because we eat like hippies.

It’s a good life, the hippie way. Of course, our hippie way doesn’t smell bad. Or involve drugs. So maybe I’m not that big of a hippie after all.

 

My Vermicomposting Adventure Begins

I know you’ve all been waiting in tense anticipation to hear about my foray into worm farming. Well, it began about a week and a half ago when my little critters finally arrived from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm:

DSCF1396DSCF1397 They came in a nice cozy-looking (I guess?) travel bag. You can see in the second picture that Kara was real eager to see what this was all about, too. I was a little worried about how they’d travel; some of the reviews said that the worms seemed half-dead upon arrival and it took them several days before they bounced back. But I guess the extra shipping paid off; my worms were squirmy and only a little skinny. Here we are introducing them into their new home:

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Kara, of course, needed to help with this process. She wanted to hold the worms. I wouldn’t let her do that, but I told her she could pet them. So that’s what she did. Their new home is just a Sterilite container from Walmart with holes drilled in the bottom, sides, and lid.

I got 2 pounds of worms for only a couple dollars more than 1 pound. The book I read (Worms Eat My Garbage) suggested 1 pound for an average family of 2-4, but I don’t think I’m flattering us too much to say we eat more vegetables (and thus, have more organic compost) than the average family of 2-4. I keep a 2-quart jar in the fridge and throw all my stuff to compost in there, and once it’s full, I bury it in the worm bin. So far I’ve been “feeding” them about every other day. The bin doesn’t stink, and my worms aren’t trying to escape, so I guess I’ve been doing ok so far.

The other exciting thing about doing this is that the trash can doesn’t stink, either. So we aren’t going to have to take the trash as often.

What’s REALLY Going On?

This morning on the way to the store, I was listening to my local rock music station. Now, while I like rock music, I genuinely hate the culture surrounding it, so normally as soon as the station switches to something other than music, I change the station. But today, when I turned the car on, the DJs were talking and sounded much more empathetic than usual. They were talking about how much it must suck to be a woman, particularly in regards to her reproductive cycle. Then they got back to their on-air guest, an 8-months-pregnant woman complaining about strangers touching her belly.

She told a story about it happening just this morning at a nearby Starbucks, and the men sympathized and genuinely tried to empathize for a couple minutes. Then one asked, “So that must be annoying, but what’s really going on? I mean, is it the hormones? Did your aunt forget to throw you a baby shower? Were people who were excited about the pregnancy before now just acting like it’s no big deal?”

And that’s when I changed the station again. Because, really guys? What’s really going on? Strangers. Are. Touching. Me. There’s nothing cool about that at any stage of a woman’s—a person’s—development. Non-pregnant women don’t like it when strangers touch their butt, or breast, or thigh. Pregnant women don’t like it when anyone uninvitedly touches her belly. Here’s a rule of thumb, men: when asking yourself how to physically engage with a strange woman, ask yourself if you would do the same thing to someone with a penis. If the answer is no, then what makes you think that the lack of a penis and the addition of breasts makes a person welcome your intrusion into her personal space?

I Want Worms

A couple weeks ago at work, one of my coworkers started emptying the coffee grounds and some eggshells into a container to take home. It’s not uncommon for people to take compost from us, but I happen to know this particular guy lives in a studio apartment, so I asked him where he was taking the compost. Why, home to his worm bin, he told me.

This probably isn’t as big of news to the rest of the world as it was to me, but as he told me about the system he had set up at home, I got really excited. Because I’ve been very interested in composting, but I thought that was something I would have to wait for until I had a yard. I doubt many landlords would take kindly to a compost heap in the back of the duplex; even if the landlord was forgiving, I doubt the neighbors would be.

But now, enter the world of vermicomposting. With a drill, a rubbermaid-type tote, some shredded paper, and some purchased redworms, I can start composting in my home. I’m pretty sure that a very large percentage of the trash we’ve been throwing in the dumpster is actually compostable, and I feel pretty bad about throwing perfectly degradable things into a landfill. But with a system like this, I won’t have to. All you do is drill some small holes in the container to ensure a good air flow, shred up some paper/cardboard/etc. and get it nice and wet (but not too wet), and add some worms. Then you bury your food scraps under the paper and let the worms turn it into compost. The only reason I waited this long to get started is because I was hoping to find a place I could buy worms locally. Today, I finally decided to just dive in and order some worms online.

I’m inordinately excited about this whole thing, and I hope it works out for me. Kara’s getting excited about feeding the worms “trash,” too. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how this journey works out for us.

Spider Slaying

Hello again.

My word, but it’s been a while. But I just had an adventure I have to share.

Kara has been asking to go out on the back porch intermittently for the past several days. My answer has always been “no.” Not because that’s my default response to anything she wants to do, but because I know that Shelob and her family have taken up residence on my back porch. We have sliding-glass patio doors. Shelob’s web takes up the entire left-hand side. We saw her in the flesh one evening when she scurried down from her lair to get a leaf out of her web. She is, in fact, a ginormous monster.

But today, I decided that I could do it—I could let Kara play on the porch. (Hey, in my workout videos, Coach Kozak always tells me that if I can finish his workout, I can do anything. So I chose to slay spiders.)

I opened the blinds and, stroke of luck! I thought I saw Shelob lurking in plain sight between the screen and the glass door.

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I armed myself with a broom and a can of Raid and went out the front door and up the stairs to the porch. I aimed my long-distance weapon and sprayed the monster ’till he stopped moving. He couldn’t escape, trapped as he was. Mwa ha ha. While I made sure the big guy was dead, I sprayed the battalions of tiny eight-legs and eradicated their webs with my broom.

Feeling pretty safe now, I nonetheless used the broom to slide the screen door all the way over to finish getting the smaller webs and discovered, to my absolute terror, that the spider I thought was Shelob was a decoy! The dark goddess that haunts every arachnophobic’s dream showed herself. I screamed a war cry (a war cry, see, not a girly scream) and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. I think she actually started disintegrating even before I started beating her still-twitching corpse with my broom.

I was victorious.

Now I can finally get to the Rubbermaid bin on the back porch and get it ready to house a pound of worms, but that’s another story for another day.