Thursday, September 29, 2011

Move Over Sliced Bread

Introducing my new most favoritist thing:

TA DA.... Lysol Disinfecting Wipes!

Short Version: 

Bought a 4 pack at Costco as part of the pantry moth cleaning frenzy. Thought I might send a couple tubs to my daughter's classroom. Have become obsessed with their simple fabulousness. All 4 giant Costco tubs are staying here. When  gone, they will be replaced. These things rock. I heart them. The end.

The wipes among the new pantry containers. These are my 2 main lines of defense in the moth wars.

Long Version (because I cannot stop myself): 

I'm no stranger to various presoaked wipes. I have 2 kids and have used plenty of baby wipes. The youngest has been out of diapers for 3 years and I still have baby wipes around as they are genius in so many ways. I mop my floor with Swiffer Wet Pads. Again genius. We have flushable wipes by every toilet for that super fresh feeling. Anything that enables independent pottying = genius!

Cleaning wipes aren't brand new and while I've purchased them before, I've felt a little guilty and wasteful and lazy. How hard is it to get a rag and spray some 409 on it? I used to be really good about using cleaning rags. Well, I used to be really good about having a stack of cleaning rags for my cleaning lady to use. She would come use them and leave them in a big pile on my washer. I could get it together to wash them and have them ready for her when she came back two weeks later. I have not had the pleasure of professional cleaning services for at least 7 years now. I'm sad just thinking about it. I still use cleaning rags some, but have drifted over to paper towels which really doesn't seem less wasteful than cleaning wipes.

What prompted me to buy the Lysol wipes was the moth thing. When I was at Costco buying air tight containers for the pantry I saw the 4 pack of tubs of the Lysol wipes and threw it in the basket knowing I had to go home and wipe down every nook and cranny of the pantry with no patience left to spray and wipe. Initially, I thought I over-bought and would send a couple tubs to my daughter's classroom as she reported her teacher likes the kids to use them on their desks, but after using the wipes for a few days I have rethunk that idea. Nope. No way. I'm using these suckers. They are the greatest. So simple, yet so wonderful. They make the wiping down of the kitchen and the bathroom so fantastically easy. Just pop open the lid and pull yourself out a wipe. No smelling the sponge first to see if it's moldy. No 2 step process of paper towel and squirt bottle. Just pull a wipe out and wipe away. I haven't looked into, but I bet Windex or someone else makes a wipe for cleaning windows. The very idea of window wipes makes me giddy. I will be checking into that situation ASAP!

Peace & Love :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Call Bullshit!

I think most people most of the time can relate to that feeling of 'it's always something'. We have progressed from 'it's always something' to 'when it rains it pours' and I am calling bullshit! 

I am the first one to admit that my current problems are small in the grand scheme of things. We are happy, have a home, an income, good kids, blah, blah, blah, but that doesn't make all the day to day bullshit any less bullshitty. This morning when the boy child started puking all I could think was "are you fucking kidding me?" Obviously, it's very sad to have a puking child at any juncture, but I was selfishly focusing on how it was just one more thing in the recent quagmire of bullshit. 

Let me back up and 'splain a bit.

Around here it's been one ridiculous thing after another. We are still dealing with the raccoon and the moths. Although we were assured by several sources that if we cut off the raccoon's food supply for several days it would wander elsewhere, it showed up in our garage last night after not having access for an entire week. Either it really likes us or it was smart enough to realize that eventually we'd forget to shut the cat door overnight. The moth saga continues (get the latest body count here) and my pantry OCD is soaring to new heights.  

In addition to all the animal fun, Scott and the girl child have poison oak. Scott got it 2 weeks ago while cutting back a jungle area in our yard. He'd never had it before and initially thought the scratches on his arm were just scratches from a branch. He kept getting new spots and got itchier and itchier and uncomfortabler and uncomfortabler until he finally went to the doctor last week. Our daughter's case isn't nearly as bad as Scott's, but she and Scott now have an assortment of pills and washes and creams. I don't have it, but I start to itch all over when they are comparing spots and rubbing various concoctions about their bodies. Our son does not seem to have poison oak, but he did have some unexplained red bumps on his torso for a couple days. They are getting better, however, this morning he puked and he has a low grade fever. I think the puking and fever are unrelated to his fading spots, but can't guarantee it. Unlikely his pediatrician could confirm or deny it at this juncture so I'm not even asking.

My parents are supposed to visit this weekend. After hearing the updates on all our sagas including the newest addition of a puking child, my Mom seemed slightly less sure about coming here. She was being all humorous about it, but I think there might be some actual concern over purposefully placing herself under the black cloud hovering over my house. Go figure.

Peace & Love :-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nightmare on Aisle 3

I went to Trader Joe's today for the first time since the Indian Meal Moth War began (if you missed my last post, but would like to get up to speed on the moths read it about it here). Well, I tried to go yesterday. I carefully coordinated my workout time with a trip to TJ's anticipating just enough time to execute both stops and get to school pick up on time. What I didn't do was check to make sure my wallet was in my purse. Luckily I noticed this while in the TJ's parking lot and not at the check out with a full cart. Having no interest in schlepping the children back to TJs with me and figuring if no one drank milk with dinner there would be enough for this morning's cereal I waited until today to go back. 

Turns out I am completely traumatized by the moths. Everywhere I turned there were seemingly innocuous dried goods and all I could see was larvae lunch. I love Trader Joe's and I in no way mean to suggest that their inventory is full of Indian Meal Moths in various stages of their life cycle. In fact, although I cannot be sure, I think that the original eggs/larvae/pupae/whatever came in on the raisins that I got at a different market. The thing is that right now, if a food does not go in the refrigerator or the freezer, it freaks me out. 

While I have developed OCD in the areas of cleaning, tossing, repacking, and inspecting the pantry and surrounding areas we are still seeing a few moths. From my obsessive internet reading it seems it takes a little while to completely break the life cycle and eradicate the fuckers. The few moths we are seeing have hatched from pupae we didn't find during the scrub down. Our 'attract the males' pheromone trap is trapping moths and we have smashed others. Hopefully we are managing to execute the assholes before they mate and eggs are lain. If eggs are lain, then hopefully hatching larvae starve as we have done our damnedest to cut off their food supply. Then, there is the possibility that food that looks clean and we have sealed really has eggs in it and will one day be crawling with larvae. In that case, at least it will be confined to that container that can then be tossed. There sure are a lot of hopefullys in this situation! (I've put a new tab on the blog entitled Body Count. Check there often if you are interested in how the moth war is going as I'm going to try (but probably fail) to not post only about the insects in my pantry.)

I now really really want to have less things in the pantry and not more. I don't even want new bottled or canned food. I'm going pantry minimalist. 

The dried fruit and nut aisle was particularly anxiety provoking today as the two things that were literally crawling with larvae were a bag of fruit and nut mix and those mini boxes of raisins. I almost stopped to explain to a woman putting dried fruit in her basket how important inspecting and sealing that package is, but I don't think I could have done it in a non-crazy, non-ranting sort of way.

While I can go a long way towards feeding the family on fresh refrigerated and frozen food, we do like cereal, crackers, pretzels etc. around here. I did buy cereal and crackers today, but only 1 box of each because that's the amount of sealed container space I had available. Usually I would buy several varieties of cereal and maybe 2 kinds of crackers or some chips or something. NOT TODAY. Even if we manage to actually eradicate this ourselves and don't have to get the house tented (see the comments on the moth post for a truly horrifying tale), I can't imagine buying dried goods in bulk ever again. I do not even care that it will be more expensive and result in more frequent trips to the market. Maybe I will buy a refrigerator especially for the cereal and it's cohorts...

Peace & Love :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Turkeys and Moths and Raccoons, Oh My!

Jack Hanna could totally come to my house and do a show. He would not even have to bring any animals with him. 

First, he could do a segment on wild turkeys:

Gaggles of turkeys wander the streets in my suburban neighborhood. While it's true we live at the edge of suburbia, almost in the country and also there are acres of open land at the edge of the neighborhood, it's still a fairly dense suburban neighborhood. I thought it was sort of quaint and almost cute (mainly cuz there's always a bunch of babies in the gaggle) when we first moved into the foothills from the city and spied turkeys wandering up the sidewalk. Turns out, there is nothing cute about turkeys in your yard. Their poop is huge and they kick bark all over the walkways and grass. Now when I see turkeys in the yard, I let the dog out to chase them. Turkeys probably have really small brains, but each summer it only takes a few times of the dog chasing them to get them to avoid our yard. Last week, the 5 y/o boy comes up to me and whispers, "Mom, there are turkeys in the yard. I'm going to chase them with my sword." Since the dog is out of town (she spends A LOT of time at my parents' house, but they aren't dognappers), this seemed like an okay idea to me. Very stealthily the 5 y/o opens the front door, plastic sword in hand, and runs at the turkeys yelling and waving his weapon. The turkeys flew across the street into the neighbors yard right quick. It was hilarious. My only regret is that I do not have it on video. Next time.

Next, Jack could introduce his viewers to the Indian Meal Moth: 

We are at war with the Indian Meal Moth aka the Pantry Moth. 

A few weeks ago Scott says to me, "I killed a handful of moths on the pantry ceiling last night and then some more this morning."

Me: "Yuck." 

And then we moved on with our lives killing moths here and there. I didn't really give it that much thought. I briefly considered it and decided they were coming in from the back slider which isn't too far from the pantry which is currently doorless (the doorless pantry is a whole other story best saved for another post) and were attracted to the light on the pantry ceiling as that seemed to be the general area where I always saw them. After the fact, Scott has said he figured the moths had infested the house, but it didn't occur to him they were in the food. Scott has a Bachelor's in Biology. Granted he is not an Entomologist or even currently a Biologist, but I still think he should have been better able to connect the dots than I who have degrees not in science.

A few nights ago Scott calls me into the pantry, points to the ceiling and says, "Look at that!"

Me: Looking at what appears to be a small yellow worm "Ewwww. What the fuck is that?" 

After we smush it, we start tearing apart the pantry to see if we have more icky wormy things on the walls and shelves. Then we start looking in the food (I really hope you're not eating right now) and find many many more icky worm things. There was a ton of them in an old unsealed bag of mostly gone fruit and nut mix. We start throwing things out left and right. Anything with worm or cocooned worm evidence was tossed. Anything old and unsealed got tossed. We were totally disgusted, but thought we did a pretty good job of inspecting and killing. The next morning there were more icky worm things on the ceiling. BLECK! 

Scott headed to work and I got on the Google. It didn't take long to find out that we had Indian Meal Moths, the most common house pest around, and that the worms were larvae and the cocooned worms were pupae. It also didn't take long to find out that these assholes are hard to eradicate and the pantry need a much more thorough going through and cleaning out than had been done the previous night. I went out and bought new airtight clear containers for the flour, sugar, cereal, crackers, etc. I tore open every sealed box and inspected every cake mix, pasta bag, granola bar, can of soup, etc. for any sign of the Indian Meal Moth in any stage of it's life cycle. We had a bag of those little boxes of raisins and every single box had larvae moving around in it. GAG! 

I repackaged everything into clear containers. Even the individually packaged fruit snacks and granola bars came out of their boxes and went into ziplocks. The idea is if anything does have a teeny tiny egg hiding on it, the larvae will be contained and visible in the clear ziplock or container. I did consider tossing everyfuckingthing in the pantry, hosing it down and starting anew, but Scott talked me down and got me to throw away lots, but not everything, and focus on eliminating future food supply. Also, and I admit this is gross, apparently if you unknowingly ingest the eggs or even the larvae or a moth it's not harmful to humans. Skin crawling, gag inducing and disgusting, but not harmful.

I moved everything off every shelf and wiped down every bottle and can and shelf and crevice. The next morning there was another larvae moving along the wall. So like a crazy women I started tearing open anything not repackaged the day before which only included boxes of light bulbs and folded aprons. There were larvae and pupae in with the lightbulbs and on the aprons. ARG! 

At this point I am confident that I've thrown out or opened, inspected and repackaged every single fucking item in that damn pantry. Even so, we went and bought this pheromone moth trap thing that attracts the male moths. After having the trap in the pantry for all of 5 minutes there were 2 moths flying around and zeroing in on it. While I was glad the trap was working, I was amazed and pissed that they had survived my wrath. I am now going into the pantry and inspecting the ceiling, walls, floor and all the food approximately 50 times a day. 

Finally, Jack could do a bit about a raccoon that comes into our garage and eats cat food:

Scott and I have been suspecting that an animal other than our cats has been coming into the garage and eating the cat food at night. We kept finding the lid to the food storage container off and when we super sealed it we would find the whole container upside down and knocked around. I brought home a new bag of cat food the other day, made sure to fill the cat food bowl so the cats wouldn't be starving and tear into the bag of food, but found it torn open with long tears the next morning. Last night Scott her some noise on the back porch and upon investigation found a raccoon sitting on the other side of the screen door. It retreated off the deck to the grass, but seemed totally unperturbed by us shining a flashlight at it from the safety of our upper deck only accessible from our bedroom. Eventually it made it's way back onto the deck and around to the garage where it couldn't get in because we had closed the pet door with the cats already in the garage and thwarted the raccoon. I was worried it might start clawing at the door in frustration and trah the door, but it just wandered off. 

Scott says it may or may not be illegal to trap raccoons where we live, but apparently we can call some relocating/trapping service. He hopes that maybe if we call those people they can also relocate the squirrels that seem to have taken up residence under our s curved roof tiles and may or may not someday eat through the substructure of our roof and fall into the house.

Peace & Love :-).

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's On!

I'm doing this thing with a couple of friends called "The Challenge". The rules of the challenge are pretty simple:

  • No Fast Food
  • No Fancy Coffees
  • No Dessert
  • No Alcohol M-Th
  • 3+ Servings of Fruits and Veggies Per Day
  • Drink an 8oz Glass of Water Before Every Meal
  • 20 Push-ups/day
  • 50 Sit-ups/day
  • If you exercise 30 or more minutes, then you can add in one of the prohibited items on that day like say a bottle of wine (or perhaps just a glass, the quantity is a little fuzzy for me and I'm not rushing to clear it up).
  • If you are successful with all of the above, then you get a star for the day.
  • The person with the most stars at the end is the winner. 

After a summer of food and wine, I thought taking on The Challenge would be a great way to reign myself in and get back to some basic healthy habits. I also thought it would be pretty easy for me cuz: 

  • I only eat fast food under duress on road trips when there is no other option. Check.
  • I like my coffee black. Check.
  • I likey my sweets, but should be able to forgo them and there's always the possibility of adding dessert back in with exercise. Check.
  • It's time to cut back on the nearly nightly wine consumption Scott and I had going all summer, and it's only M-Th, plus there's the exercise add in option. Check.
  • I am all about fruits and veggies. Check.
  • I mostly drink water anyway. Check.
  • I teach indoor cycling and am pretty fit so the exercise stuff shouldn't be a problem. Check. (You cannot add in more prohibited items by exercising more though, I asked :-(.)

Somehow I'm not racking up those stars like I thought I would. My biggest struggles have been with the wine and the water. I have actually not given myself a star for a day when I exercised and didn't even add in sweets or wine, but forgot to drink a fucking glass of water before dinner. If I'm not going to get a star, I would much rather go down in flames. Like the days where I haven't gotten the 30 minutes of exercise in, it's 4 o'clock, the kids are working my very last very frayed nerve and I decide to chill a bottle of wine and try to wait until Scott gets home to open it. At that point, when I know I'm not going out for a 30 minute jog, it's a Tuesday and the wine will be getting drunk, I can throw out the push-ups and sit-ups for the day and consider some dessert as that star is an all or nothing situation.

I don't actually know how my friends are doing on their star count, but I'm pretty sure they are kicking my ass. I am going to keep on keeping on though. I like the concept of The Challenge. I like that is about healthy habits rather than counting calories. Feel free to steal and use it for yourself. However, if you do decide to do the challenge, I have a cautionary tale for you: 

One day, while in the shower, I realized that I had forgotten to do the sit-ups and push-ups while still in my workout gear. I decided to do them after I got out of the shower- naked. I highly do not recommend this. If you must do this because someone has a gun to your head, I implore you to keep your eyes fixed to the ground. Do not tilt your head down and check out what's doing. I may never recover from what was happening with my boobs and stomach. Maybe at age 20 before children this would have worked out alright for me?? Add 19 years and 2 kids to that equation and it's a sad sad state of affairs. I will never get in the push-up/plank position again without being clad in spandex. Probably best to play it safe and cut out all naked exercise.

I'm off to chug some water so I can have my breakfast. I'm getting a star today, I can feel it! Also, it's Friday aka "a drinking day" so just because I'm already plotting which bottle of wine to open tonight doesn't mean I'm doomed. TGIF baby!

Peace & Love :-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's not you, it's me

Dear 4am,

I don't think we should see each other anymore. Things just aren't working out. As I consider our relationship, I can't find anything positive in it for me. It's filled with worry, angst and frustration. I have a great, relatively low stress life, yet with you I find endless anxiety. I realize we are not alone in our relationship. Bladder is a major conspirator in bringing us together. I have been discussing bladder's tomfoolery with her for years. Some nights things between us seem to improve only to go downhill the next. Obviously I cannot cut bladder out of my life. But, you, 4am, will have to go on without me. The list making, the rehashing of the schedule, the weighing of which activity to sign the kids up for, the wondering what we have on hand to pack for lunches, the trying to recall if the bills have all been paid, the fretting about if I will someday need full time gainful employment so the kids can go to college and/or so Scott can one day retire, the worrying the kids will move far away after college and have babies that I won't see often enough, the imagining the horror of me, Scott or one of the kids having an accident or getting a horrible disease...ALL HAVE TO STOP. In addition the tossing and turning, the clock checking, and the falling asleep just long enough to have a cockamamie dream before waking are not working for me either. Can we agree to ignore each other should we be unwittingly brought together? Can you pretend not to notice me and I will close my eyes and return to restful sleep? If you've ever felt anything for me, please do this. I would sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, really really appreciate it. 



Saturday, September 3, 2011

History Repeating Itself

This is my current fb status: 

"Finding all this snot, sore throat, stuffy head and achiness to be rather suckish."

According to fb's weird feature that rehashes old history, my fb status one year ago today was:

"sniff, sniff, achoo, ache, moan..."

REALLY? I was sick last year on labor day weekend too? I wonder if I was sick the year before. Fb hasn't told me what my status was on September 3rd, 2009 so I have no way of knowing. Maybe this pattern has been going on for years and I've never clued in? I don't have a specific way of remembering if I was well on previous labor days. It's not near my birthday or anniversary and my kids start school a couple weeks before labor day so I can't feel pissed that I am always sick right before school starts or what have you. As a kid, I started school the Tuesday after labor day and I don't remember always being sick the first day of school so it's probably not actually a life long pattern. 

It is weird in a very stupid irritating sort of way. Probably this is just a coincidence, but it may be wise to steer clear of me around this time next year.

Peace & Love :-) 

Friday, September 2, 2011

In Related News...

This is awesome, especially on the heels of my Yes, You Can Call Me Sweetheart post from a couple days ago. Thanks to @deathbycupcakes for sending this to me.