Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sunshine and a Few Birds

The ice fishing folks have finally abandoned the slushy lake, and even though it's still cold, the air smells alive and green and damp.  I want to roll in it.

I work in the middle of a marsh, which, although kind of depressing (there are a bunch of tall buildings invading this lovely land), is one of my favorite things about work.  I'm on the third floor, and yesterday, a pair of Sandhill Cranes flew right by the window.  It was like being at the zoo, but backwards.  Red-Winged Blackbirds are singing from the tops of naked bushes and the street lights.  There are ladybugs!  And no snow!  And pavement. (I wish there was an opposite of an exclamation point...)

In addition to the sheer joy of being alive to see everything coming to life, I've been overwhelmed by dust and work and no-sleep and the strong desire to write and the strong desire to have enough energy to think, let alone write.  But, the days are shifting: it is lighter, and warmer, and I can feel my whole self respond to the shift.  I spent one full day cleaning last week.  Floors, ceilings, packing things away, washing sheets.  A clean slate.  A do-over.  Time to pretend winter never existed.  Time to wash the salt from the floors and dress the house in flowers.  A deep sigh.

It is almost my birthday-- it really snuck up on me this year!  Every year on my birthday, I think of Lucie Brock-Broido's "October Seventh, Nineteen Eighty-Three," and I start reading EB White's essays.  There is maybe a relationship between these two readings, but I'm not sure. Mostly, the weather makes me read them. But, as I was saying, it's almost my birthday, which is fantastic.  This year, I'm getting together with a bunch of friends for dinner and drinks, and the next day I will go to the Half-Pint Resale half-price day and eat brunch at El Dorado Grill, which is the best place to eat brunch.  It'll be such a happy weekend!  Hooray!  Sunshine!  Food!  Etc.!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mother Nature's Diaper Service Review (and notes on cloth diapering)

One of the most annoying, confusing choices I made while pregnant was whether or not to use cloth diapers.  I'd seen, a long time ago, a time lapse video of a traditional disposable diaper in a landfill vs a g-Diaper disposable insert, and it made a lasting impression.  (You can watch the g-Diaper break down here.)

After spending an absurd amount of time on research, we decided to go with cloth.  I'd heard about Mother Nature's Diaper Service, but I didn't understand how it worked. So, I'm here to break it down as simply as possible, because our experience with them was wonderful.  

(Sidebar: Did you know that Yelp filters reviews?  There are tons of great reviews for Mother Nature's, but they've all been filtered out, because the reviewers don't have many/any other reviews on Yelp.  You can find all of these reviews HERE.)

First, you need to know this: 

Rick, the guy you talk to (I think the owner?), is so friendly and helpful.  A smiley face/exclamation point/have-a-good-day kind of guy.  Trust me, when you are feeling like a giant idiot about how to put a diaper on a tiny baby, you will appreciate this.  If you have questions, send an email or call him, and you'll hear from him within a day or two at most.  If you don't know you need fewer diapers or that you might need another size, he will leave a note on your bag of diapers asking if you want fewer diapers or another size. That's right. He'll ask you if you'd like to save money by getting fewer diapers.  I've never had any issues with billing, going on vacation, or last-minute change of plans.

Here's how it works: 

You call or send an email, tell them what you want, and they arrange to drop it off around your due date.  You don't pay until you call them and tell them your baby was born.  So, you can have everything ready to go when the baby gets there and not worry about paying a lot if you're 2 weeks past your due date.  We got the diaper pail (Nicki's Diapers sells the same pail for quite a few more dollars) and the most diapers possible in the beginning.  On a certain day of the week, they leave a large blue plastic bag full of clean diapers on your door.  You take the diapers out of the blue bag, put the blue bag in your diaper pail, and you're set for the week.  When you get your first pack of diapers, there is a great bit of helpful information (when to change sizes, how to fold, etc.) included in the pack.  They stick a money envelope on the bag with the amount due for the month.

The diapers are pre-folds, which, if you're new to this, means they are square or rectangular (depending on your baby's size) cotton diapers. You fold them into thirds and put them into a diaper cover. When you change a diaper, toss it into the diaper pail.  No need to rinse or anything fancy.  On the dedicated day (or the night before), you take the blue bag of dirty diapers, knot it like a trash bag and put it on your porch. Then, like magic, a new bag of clean diapers appears bright-n-early.  We set a phone alarm to remind us to take our diapers out the night before, which was generally super-helpful.

Questions I had:  

* Cloth wipes or disposable?  We have a little trash can for disposable wipes, because washing a load of cloth wipes seems silly to us.

* What kind of covers to use?  You can rent covers from MN's, but we bought our own in case we have other babies some day.  We bought a few one-sized and a few small-sized, because the one-sized swallowed our once-tiny baby.  If you use the kind with PUL lining (we had a lot of Nicki's Imagine brand.  They worked well and are cheap), if your baby's diaper is wet, you will not have to wash the cover with each change.  That's nice.  If your baby fills the diaper cover with poo, you rinse it and toss it in the hamper.

* Does it stink?  Surprisingly, not really.  Our baby is breastfed, and the accumulation of poopy diapers only smells a bit funky when you open the pail lid.  Keep it closed, and you're fine.  Also, MN's will supply you with deodorizing disks, and they do help a bit to mask the stink.  But, I promise, there is no stink when the pail is closed.  

Our baby has officially outgrown all of her small-sized adjustable diaper covers, and we inherited a bunch of pocket diapers & inserts, so we've decided to make the switch to washing our own diapers, since we're washing the covers each time we change her anyway.  I'm sad to abandon such a great community resource, so I want to spread the word!

If you have questions about cloth diapering, check out Nicki's Diapers!  And if you're overwhelmed, contact me, and I will try to help! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Peekaboo: Here I Am!

My baby is asleep, my bills are paid, my work is done, and I am here, writing quickly before everything turns to chaos.

I never got to share my wonderful news: I saw a Snowy Owl two (three?) weeks ago!  Hooray!


Today, C and I are going to see The Lego Movie. I'm pretty jazzed that it's a PG-13 flick and that it actually looks entertaining.  We're also starting to plan our garden today, which is helping me to believe that spring might come.  We'll see.

In other news, this is the first year I haven't been to AWP since 2009.  It's kind of depressing to know all of my writer-friends are tearing it up in Seattle (especially because I've never been!), but I'm happy to be home with my family today especially.  I spent a lot of yesterday submitting my manuscript and working out some chapbook things, so I've been a lot more productive here than I'd have been at AWP.  And next year is in Minneapolis (sadly, another place I've never been...), and I'm very much planning on being there.