Sunday, February 26, 2023

Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to be "crunchy"

I wrote on social media that I would be honoring my late mother on her birthday by eating tofu and sprouts (that I had cooked and grown myself, though I didn’t share that detail), which I was subjected to as a kid when all I really wanted in my lunchbox was a Fluffernutter.
For those of you who don't know, a Fluffernutter is Marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter (probably creamy Jif) on Wonder Bread.

I knew about these because kids in school ate them, and also because the recipe was on the jar of Fluff, alongside the recipe for "Never-Fail Fudge," which we made as gifts for the holidays (because you could source all the ingredients with food stamps, therefore it didn't cost anything other than the sacrifice of not eating the food we could have bought).

But we ate brown bread and natural peanut butter. We never had Fluff except at Christmas time when we were making our wreath-shaped fudge gifts, and there wasn't enough left over to make a Fluffernutter. (At most, we could enjoy the scrapings of the jar.)

I just wanted to be like other kids, to fit in. What kid doesn't?

(And when do we grow out of the desire to fit in, if ever?)

But this isn't really about fitting in (or not) or the fudge recipe (which I still use) or how crappy for us processed foods and animal products can be (and my lingering sugar addiction).

It's about reframing some experiences from my childhood that were super awkward and sometimes painful then, but are extremely valuable and useful today. Thank you, Mom.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Disposing of the sharps

I finally got rid of the sharps that had been sitting in my garage for how long? Six years?

I had them because I used to have a special-needs cat. She had diabetes and hyperthyroidism and weighed less than seven pounds. She was once feral (and had always been small), but when we moved into the house where we currently live, she chose not to go outside much.

Getting rid of the sharps was one of those things on my to-do list that I wrote over and over again, intermittently.

I gave up trying to figure out what to do with them during the pandemic. The vet I used retired. The police station said no. I heard you could drop them off at the Board of Health, but I never remembered to put them in my car when I was in that neighborhood, which was every six months or so (because the dentist's office is right around the corner). But who really wants to go into a board of health during a pandemic? I'm sure they had bigger things to worry about.

The needles were in their boxes in the garage, out of sight, mostly out of mind.

But I had started Marie Kondo-ing. I thought we were on the fast-track to downsizing, and though our timeline is now uncertain, it still doesn't hurt to purge.

So today was the day. My youngest son had a dentist appointment -- probably the last I'll ever attend since he'll be 18 next time he's due for a cleaning). After I did all the confirming and signing, I left the dentist's office and drove around the corner and down a couple of streets to the Board of Health.

I traipsed in with my dusty supermarket bags containing the two boxes of sharps (and a mask, just in case) and the woman pointed out where to put them and informed me that it was going to be $5. 

"Five dollars!" I exclaimed and then proceeded to (over)share about how the needles had been sitting in my garage for so long, how the vet retired, and how hard it was to inject my cat twice a day, but how much I loved her, and how awful it was the time I dropped the bottle of insulin and it shattered...

...culminated with how I had to run back out to the car because I "didn't have any money" (I had only brought my cards in.)

I think she was on the verge of letting me off the hook for the money, after agreeing with me about how unfortunate it was to have to pay full price for insulin, but I skipped out and back in with a $5.00 bill.

The whole exchange took less than 10 minutes, didn't affect my budget the way I had imagined, and the relief I felt with being able to cross that off my list and not avoid looking at the boxes in the garage every time I got in and out of my car is invaluable.



But no one will see it

I set up the nativity in the back yard again this year. In the past it has been out front near the fire hydrant that is on our property, and...