Monday, March 22, 2010

Another twin moment

We were just playing a guessing game with letters. It was N-man's turn. He said, "I'm thinking of something that starts with the letter N."

We all made a few wrong guesses, then N-man gave a further clue: "It's something you celebrate at night."

B-man yelled out almost immediately, "Halloween!"

"Yes!" Nate said.

We did let both kids know that Halloween starts with an H. I wonder what they think Hanukkah starts with...


A still-not-well well update: We had our well repaired today, so the first step is done. A water sample has been taken, and results will be ready in 1 or 2 days, depending on how backed up the lab is. If by some miracle it's bacteria-free, we can start using the water. If, as is probably the case, it's contaminated, they'll have to put in chemicals to kill the bacteria. That takes 24 hours, plus a while to clear all the chemicals out. Either way, we're in the home stretch and should have usable water by the end of the week, or the beginning of next week at the latest.

I love clean water. I miss clean water. I think next time we chose a charity to donate to, it's going to be for a clean water fund or well fund. This has been pretty eye opening. I knew it would be inconvenient to live without running water, but I didn't know quite how inconvenient it would be.


Green tip for the day: Be thankful for your water, and think of a way you can conserve water today! I'd love to hear your water conservation tips in the comments. It can be as simple as "turn off the faucets while brushing teeth" or the like!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


When we moved, we went from city water to well water. Something neither TK nor I were super excited about, but most of the towns we were looking in, that was the only option. Neither of us had well water growing up, so we've been slowly learning about wells since we moved.

We're about to get a crash course.

I'm sure it's not news to anyone to hear there's been lots of flooding throughout New England this past weekend. Half of my friends' facebook status updates have been about flooded basements. While our sump pump has been running CONSTANTLY, and we spent 24 hours with our backup sump pump kicking in (and ringing the backup alarm nonstop), our basement managed to stay dry. Yay!

Then yesterday afternoon I noticed our tap water was coming in slightly discolored. It got worse the more I ran the water trying to clear it. TK changed the water help there. Parts of our yard are flooded, including the area around our well. While the well is capped, we suspect the well might have flooded. Which means the well might be contaminated. Which means we can't use the water.

TK's taking the day off today. We're going to try to find a hardware store that still has a pump in stock so we can try to pump out the yard near the well. We're going to call the well service company. We're going to get our water tested.

I started researching on google, and I had to stop. It was as bad as relying on Dr. Google when I have a runny nose. I have no idea how bad this is, but I saw on one of the first hits that it can take MONTHS to get the well back to usable condition. I'm trying not to freak out. As I started out saying, we know pretty much nothing about wells, so I'm not even trying to diagnose this one ourselves. Hopefully we'll get okay news about all this...


So, I already miss running water. No shower today, have to brush teeth with bottled water, can't drink tap water (my main beverage of choice), can't do dishes, can't run laundry. Still can flush the toilet, though, so I guess that's the one good thing since we technically still do have running water.

You'd think, for one minute, "Oh, can't use the water! What a great chance to learn some really great water conservation techniques." Well, you might think that for a minute while you were desperately searching for the upside.

Here, so far, are all of the horrifying anti-green results of the unusable water:

  • had to buy gallons of water to use for things like tooth brushing, drinking, washing, and cooking. Me, buying bottled water! Ugh!
  • had to buy disposable diapers since I can't do laundry for the cloth diapers (yes, if this is a long term problem, I'll have to find a laundromat. Since I have to do diaper laundry every other day, this will be a HUGE drag).
  • bought purell to disinfect hands.
  • I suspect we'll be eating out more as it's a pain to cook (not to mention, can't wash dishes with this water). I am making corned beef and cabbage tonight, though. Can't keep this Irish-American gal down! I've got it in the slow cooker with Guinness instead of water :)
  • I'm going to have to go out and buy disposable plates, cups, and silverware. Ick, I hate paper plates. I hate paper cups. I hate plastic forks. But again with the "can't do dishes", we're quickly going to run out of real plates, cups, and dishes.
  • I'm going to have to go back to paper napkins and paper towels, because of the "no laundry" thing.
Hopefully, we'll find out today if we can at least boil water to use it. My problem now is that besides the worry of the water being unsafe, it's also very dirty. I mean, I can boil it to kill any germs, but that doesn't get rid of the dirt so I still can't use it. Can I? I certainly can't drink it! But even if we could use boiled water to wash dishes, that would be a huge help. Hopefully we'll be able to get a professional out today to service the well and give us some information about all this. And hopefully, the news will be better than I fear. I tend to overworry about things. Fingers crossed that this is one of those times.

For now, I'm trying to cut myself a break about how eco-unfriendly I'm having to be now, and focusing on making the best choices available given the situation. Time to test out the recycled unbleached paper products!

Anyone know anything about wells? Anyone ever deal with a contaminated well?


In the "whoa, irony" department, last week's Change the World Wednesday was about using less water, letting the tap only run a trickle. I'd been trying that out this week, until all this happened. It's amazing how much water you can waste just by letting the tap run full speed! So that was a good, easy tip last week to just run it a trickle. Of course now I'm alternating between running the taps full out trying to get the water to clear and keeping them totally turned off...

This week's challenge is:

This week, make use of returnable/reusable containers at the market. If your store takes back bottles (or any other containers), return them. If bulk shopping is available, reuse the bag/container for your next purchase. If you buy veggies and use the store's produce bags, keep the bags and reuse them on your next trip.

I try not to buy drinks that come in returnable containers as they're normally soda and/or single-serving drinks, so I don't often use the store's bottle return. None of our local grocery stores have a bulk section (an annoyance for another post), so I don't get to use any reusable bulk containers.

Veggies and fruit I've written about before. A lot of times, you don't even need a bag at all. I do carry plastic produce bags in my purse to reuse. I also recently got a couple reusable mesh produce bags, which I think is ultimately the way I'll go. Oddly, though, I'm having trouble remembering to bring them with me. I have to get a workable plan in place. I don't know how I can remember my reusable grocery bags and forget the produce bags, but somehow I manage!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've finally discovered my superpower

I was with the kids, brushing teeth before bedtime. N-man once again cracked me up with his random randomness. I love how his mind works! Here's the conversation we had:

N-man, out of nowhere and completely unrelated to anything we'd been talking about: Mommy, you've got MAGIC in you!

Me: Oh boy! Thanks! What kind of magic?

N-man: Silliness!

Very astute, my fine fellow!


Green tip for the day: Rhonda had left a comment the other day on my post about shampoo asking about conditioner. I don't use much conditioner, but have been experimenting with using diluted apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. It works surprisingly hair ends up really soft. I'm not a big fan of the smell, though. The smell does rinse out...I don't smell it all day. The jury's still out for me on the vinegar-as-conditioner thing.

Does anyone have any suggestions for environmentally-friendly conditioner?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Antibiotics rule! Antibacterials don't.

N-man and B-man came down with strep throat this week, and scarlet fever.

No surprise, a few days later, I was at the doctor. Strep throat for me too. Wow, that hurts!

Anyway, we're all on antibiotics. The boys are much, much better, and I'm well on my way. How awesome are antibiotics? You hear "scarlet fever" and think of some wicked terrible disease. Turns out it's quite easily treatable and no big deal as long as you get on antibiotics. Who knew?

This got me thinking about one of my pet peeves: the overuse of antibacterial products. I think people are starting to understand why it's dangerous to overuse antibiotics. But what I can't understand is why supermarkets (and to a lesser degree, toy stores) are filled with antibacterial products. Unless someone in the house is immune-compromised, why does anyone need it? Just like with antibiotics, antibacterial products can create resistant strains of bacteria. Here's a good article from the CDC.

It seems to me that companies who sell antibacterial products are really being irresponsible, relying on fear-mongering and misinformation.

Not to mention, triclosan, one of the most commonly used antibacterials, pollutes the water supply and may have potentially dangerous health consequences (check this for more info).

What do you think of things like antibacterial soap or products impregnated with antibacterials? Do you use them in your house? If so, are you aware of the risks? My theory is that most people who buy them think it's a good thing that will protect their family and don't realize they are contributing to the rise of "superbugs", polluting the environment, and potentially contributing to health problems. Now there would be some good truth in advertising: "buy our antibacterial soap! It probably won't help you, but it will screw up the world!"


Green tip for the day: Unless there's an extremely compelling reason (i.e., an immune compromised family member), just say no to Microban products and cleaners containing antibacterials.

As always, do your own research and/or talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. The internet is filled with nutjobs making wild claims about the dangers of this or that. I tried to include links that contained actual scientific research rather than someone just screaming "antibacterials will kill us alllllllll!" I am not a scientist. However, I do find the research compelling enough that we don't use antibacterial products. Says the person who has a house full of strep throat :)