metaphortunate: (for science!)
Do you wear a wedding ring? Or a ring on the fourth finger of your left hand? If so, do you notice any difference in the way people treat you when you’re wearing it vs. when you’re not?

This question brought to you by the guy who was so very friendly yesterday, like making paper airplanes to amuse a grumpy sick little toddler friendly, like get off at the wrong stop because you just think you’ll sleep a little better if that guy that is soooo friendly maybe doesn’t know exactly what street you live on kind of friendly. Huh, I thought, that’s odd, I don’t get that much anymore, I really thought I had aged out of that, especially what with the kids and all, and then it occurred to me: because of the eczema flareup, I have been wearing my wedding ring on a necklace instead of on my hand.

metaphortunate: (Default)
So when Mr. E got home today, he told me about this guy he had met on the bus on the way home. This guy had smiled and waved at the Junebug (everybody does; he's freaking adorable;) but then when the Junebug smiled back, he told Mr. E, "No! Teach him not to talk to strangers!" (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children DOES NOT endorse this advice.) And then, he related the story of what he himself does with his grandchildren, which is, apparently, every night, five minutes after they've fallen asleep, he presses down on their chins to open their mouths. Apparently the theory is that this will cause them to bond. They'll remember their grandfather! They're all growing and learning, or something!

And then later, eating capers at dinner, I reminisced about how every time I eat pickles, I feel remembered annoyance at my family, who told me not to eat pickles because they are fattening. Pickles. The ones made out of cucumber and vinegar. I have heard a lot of crazy-ass theories about what causes weight gain, pointing the finger at a lot of different things, but pickles is not one I have ever heard of from any other source no matter how dumb. But then, these were the same people who told me not to drink carbonated water because carbonation causes cellulite.

So now I'm wondering. What is the dumbest advice you have ever gotten?

(I feel like this is different in kind from the people who tell you you must have a(nother) baby, or that you mustn't sleep train or you must put a hat on the baby you already have, or similar, but I am sick and do not have the brain to explain exactly how. Something to do with it maybe being fine or at least somehow logical advice for one person but applied indiscriminately to everyone, including to people for which it might be not helpful or actually quite harmful and the advice-giver has no way of knowing. I'm not sure in which category the advice my pregnant coworker got from her mother, to scrub up her nipples with steel wool to toughen them for nursing, falls into; but either way, OW.)
metaphortunate: (for science!)
So, we began our no electrical lights experiment last Sunday.
In no particular order:

God damn, is our apartment gloomy. We’ve been trying not to use electric lights during the day except when necessary, and Christ it is dark and depressing at my place. Also, even in a room that is not very sunny, candles during the day are also pretty depressing looking.

The baby got a terrible cold and subsequently another ear infection. It was probably unrelated to the experiment, though. Poor baby. He’s feeling better now.

It turns out that if you want to actually use candles for illumination, buy tapers. We bought a bunch of pillar candles because you don’t need holders for them, you can just put them in a saucer. But the flame in pillar candles sinks down in the middle, becoming hidden behind a rim of glowing wax. Very pretty, if you want to create atmosphere. Fucking useless, if you want to read or cook by it. Tea lights are better than pillar candles because they don’t sink as far before you replace them, but they still sink. Tapers are the way to go.

One interesting feature is that I can’t help being aware of how many resources we are consuming in order to produce light. Intellectually I know that turning an electric light on burns, um....coal....or gas...or something in a factory far away, which is, like, bad...for the Earth. And will cost me money a month from now. But it’s deceptive like Amazon Kindle app 1-click ordering, really what happens as far as I can perceive is that I flip a switch and light pours out of my house inexhaustibly for free. Whereas with candles, I see how far the candle burns down in an evening. I know how often I have to replace the tealights. It’s obvious.

I will be interested to see what happens to my power bill these two months. (We started last week so that we could do this for a full four weeks before Memorial Day weekend.)

I am not getting to bed as much earlier as I had thought. The baby goes to bed at 7:30, and then I get in my half-hour of computer usage, and then I still have to cook and eat dinner, and clean up, and do a chore maybe, and talk to Mr. E for a bit, and pump, and hello, it’s 9:30 or 10:30. Wasn’t I going to get some reading in before I went to sleep?

We had people over for boardgames by candlelight this past weekend! It was fun! But it is REALLY hard to distinguish colors. We had to not use the green pieces (of Ticket to Ride) because it was impossible to tell them from the blue ones. And it was quite hard to tell the difference between orange and pink.

Unsurprisingly, turning off the computers at 8 is an even bigger deal than turning off the lights. Oh god, I miss you all so much.

My phone is an even bigger deal than the computer. I do a lot of casual reading on my phone: while waiting for water to boil, while snacking, while nursing the baby, most especially while pumping, I’ll be reading Twitter or a book on my Kindle app or something. And now I can’t. Pumping is the worst, because it really is awful without something to distract me. And I can’t really read a book while pumping, because I can’t get enough candles set up to give me enough light. Maybe I can get another taper holder and rearrange shit next to the sofa sometime this week.

I think Mr. E and I are talking more now that we are prevented from staring at our separate computers all evening, though. And it’s nice! I actually had a bit of worry that we’d drive each other mad if we were locked up with each other for several hours each evening with no computers and it being hard to read. :) Actually yesterday he came home and told me of eavesdropping on three younger women on the bus to work who had been talking about how awful it would be to be married: dinner with the SAME PERSON! Every day! And maybe on the weekend you go out on a date, but you go out with the SAME PERSON! Argh, how dreary! But somehow it is working out okay for me.

Anyway, I have to go pick up the baby, and I also just accidentally drank a whole cup of regular coffee. Shit. So tonight should be interesting.
metaphortunate: (for science!)
Earlier in the week we had a friend over for dinner. This friend is in her midtwenties, and single, and at some point we started talking about doing spontaneous things (as in, how one ends up on beaches in one's underwear) and she said that she was trying to really do that, because now was the time for that in her life. And I thought about how once upon a time I might spontaneously decide to drive to Oregon with a friend and call Mr. E from Redding where we stopped to buy clean underwear and tell him I'd be home at the end of the weekend, and now we leave parties at 8 pm so that the baby does not miss his bedtime, and I somewhat grimly said that yes. Do it while you can. Because our days of spontaneous crazyshit are over for now.

Which is of course how we decided to spend the month of May in the darkness on two days' notice.

See, I ran into this blog post on spending a month without artificial light, and I thought it was fascinating, and I sent it to Mr. E, and he thought it was fascinating, and we thought it might be fun to try it sometime...and then we stared at each other...and thought, why not?

Though first let's just get it out of the way that DUH, candles are artificial. But 1) the spectrum is different, and 2) the amount of light produced is an order of magnitude less. The idea is not to eschew the Works of Man, the idea is to cut down on the amount of artificial light in our life for a month and see what effect it has on our sleep patterns and anything else.

Another issue is that unfortunately our apartment is so dark that unless it is early afternoon on the sunniest of days, we have lights on during the day just to be able to comfortably read. We decided that we will work around this by allowing ourselves to have electric light on between the time of official sunrise (6:30 am) and sunset (8 pm). But we're going to do it as little as possible. Another exception: if we have to change the kid's diaper in the middle of the night, as baby happy butt is more important.

And then there's computers. Big source of artificial light. Big source of interesting things to keep you up late. Those are gonna go off at 8 pm too. The big problem here is that the baby's day lasts from 6:30 am to about 7:30, 7:45 pm, which you will note does not leave a lot of time for any necessary computer-reliant tasks. So we may have one slightly later computer day a week. Or maybe we will stay inside all weekend trading off watching the baby & being glued to the screen. If this motivates us to go outside less because we need to spend the daylight hours indoors on tasks that require computers or light it will have backfired. Only one way to find out! In any case, my recreational computer use is gonna go WAY down - especially since we are counting our smartphones as computers - so I won't be around much in May. Unless we decide this is bullshit a week in, of course, but we do want to give it time enough to have more than just the immediate effects.

Also, I'd be lying if I said it didn't cross both our minds that we are gonna have so much sex in the month of May. \o/


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