Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In The News

You may think we Americans don't have problems, compared to the rest of the world, but I can prove you wrong. Just check out this article in the Washington Post. Look at how we are suffering.

You didn't click, did you? Okay, I'll tell you - it's titled "Cheat Sheets?"

Fuzzy Industry Standards Leave Consumers Lost In the Thread Counts

"It's just gotten ridiculous," said one local shopper, Susan Van Hemel of Fairfax. "It's become so hard to figure out what to buy. And sheets now are so expensive, you can make a costly mistake."

Honey, I can help you. Go to Target. Pick up a queen-size set of sheets for 30 bucks. It's that easy. Really. If the extra money you would have spent is burning a hole in your pocket, send it to me. Or maybe send it to an organization that is helping cyclone victims in Myanmar, or earthquake victims in China.

And if your new sheets don't seem comfy enough, get more tired before you go to bed, okay?

Sheesh - talk about having too many choices and too much money to spend on them.

And, then, in the "how much can we show off that children haven't changed our lives?" category, we have this handy-dandy article on how to take your infant backpacking. Real backcountry backpacking. Because that's what I like to do: strap an infant on my chest, put a 30-pound pack on my back, and head for the woods.

You know, the only reason I would be heading for the woods would be to get away from the crying baby, not to take him with me.

Look at the picture that accompanies this article (I can't upload it - aaargh!) and tell me: just what is this woman trying to prove? Maybe it's a first-baby thing - you know, you're anxious to prove that babies haven't changed your life one bit; you're still a normal person even though you change poopy diapers and catch spit-up food in your hands.

Me, I've got nothing to prove. And my inordinate fondness for indoor plumbing would prevent my ever even entertaining the idea of doing this. What? Life isn't challenging enough with a baby at home, you need to take him on the trail? Good grief.

That's all tonight, folks. I'd like to get to bed before midnight for once. And we've got 9 tons of stone dust to move tomorrow. We try to save this sort of work for when the temperature is above 90 degrees - that way we can sweat out all our toxins while we shovel.

Multi-tasking is the way to go.

[I can't fix the orange mess up there. I tried.]


  1. We are all doing our toddlers a disservice! Why should they only be exposed to household hazards?Why don't we all regularly take our toddlers to the mountains where they can experience real organic hazards like unsafe drinking water, poisionous plants and bugs, unfenced sources of water, wild animals and a two-day trek to the nearest medical facility. Not to mention uncertain-quality sheets! Don't know why I hadn't thought of this before. My children have SO missed out! They are going to hate me for depriving them of this when they grow up!

    PS I know a woman who spent $90.00 on a pair of pillowslips. My brain still has trouble comprehending that.

  2. I took a look at that photo of the hiking Mom (See? some of us do click on your links!) and here's what I figured out: she's using the baby to counterbalance her backpack; with only the backpack, she'd fall backwards, so a baby enables her to hike upright. She doesn't want to commune with nature and bond with her baby . . . she just wants to balance. HA!

    The only thing is that, at the end of the day, it takes TWO people to unpack her: AT THE SAME TIME one person has to take the baby and one has to take the backpack, otherwise, well, you can only imagine what could happen . . .

    Have a great day inhaling stone dust!

  3. I would have to agree on all accounts! Maybe if the Target sheets aren't comfortable enough they could backpack for awhile toting an infant which would exhaust them to the point of not caring what the thread count is. Too funny.

  4. The first years of a child's life are no time to be taking "vacations". I have all kinds of pictures that should illicit fond memories of family togetherness and exploration, but all I think when I see them is "oh, yeah. She nursed non-stop at Niagara Falls, and oh, yeah. It was so hot in Atlanta that she kept throwing up and I spent the entire time at Stone Mountain mopping up after her and trying to get her to drink sips of water."

    I prefer to call these "vacations" what they really are: All the Stress and Hassle of Regular Parenting, Now in a New Place.

  5. Nothing less than Egyptian cotton for me. I just love to know that my bed linen was handpicked by unschooled children.

  6. I don't know, folks. I think it's great. I love seeing my little brood out on the trail. I've done much more tame hikes with newborns and have truly enjoyed it. I think it's great for the kids, what a cool experience, an amazing way to grow up. If I had it in me I would totally do that. I remember doing a hike to a waterfall when I was pregnant with #3. My husband had to carry #2 most of the way, and #1 hoofed it on her own. (She was 4 at the time). The hike there was down down down so the hike back out was rough. But what a feeling of accomplishment when we came back out! I think kids can learn a lot about perseverence, the importance of exercise, and an appreciation of the beauty around us.

  7. I read the backpacking article and was struck by how Mom seemed to be bearing the whole load--not much talk of what Dad was doing.

  8. jenn - 2 guesses as to why: she wants to prove how strong she is, or they are taking a page from the Native Americans - the woman would bear the burdens so the man's hands would be free to fight off predators.

    molly - We go hiking with our little ones, also. But read the article. She is talking back country camping, which is a whole other ballgame. And look at the picture. You don't do that.

    sass e-mum - it's a comforting feeling, isn't it?

    lisa - I hear you!

    bia - it takes a mom to think of these logistics...

  9. I DID read the article, else how could I comment? That's why I said, "If I had it in me I would do it." I DO do the regular hiking with kids. I WOULD do the backcountry stuff IF I had it in me.

  10. Okay! Different spokes for different folks! Though I agree with Bia - there are balance issues here...

    Don't be mad at me! It makes me cry.

  11. How can any of us sleep at night knowing that poor woman has only 400 thread count sheets. I mean come on, forget the people in darfur, tornado's and earthquakes seem so trivial when compared to paying $170 for some dang 800 count sheets and only getting 400 count.
    I do want to take all my kids into the backwoods now. (This time I am not being sarcastic.) I used to hike for a living. It would be fun. They are all old enough to hike themselves up the mountain.I am not quit as crazy as her.

  12. Okay, so maybe the backpacking woman isn't as crazy as I thought. Or, if she is, she's got lots of company.

    Me, I have no hankering to wash out diapers in a mountain stream. To each his own.

  13. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    With both of my babies I tried every type of baby wearing device known to man, and not a single one worked for me. The aluminum frame backpack was the worst. It had the best back support and everything, but no matter how good of a carrier something may be, there's no compensating for am extra 15 pounds on your torso. I took one step in that thing with Max in it and fell over. They need ballast.

  14. Suburban I'm right there with you that lady's off her nut.

  15. I have a book on Canoeing with babies, it is called "cradle to canoe". We used to live right on the Delaware Canal and had a big 'ol "scanoe" (bigger and wider bottomed than a canoe) We would take the girls out for a ride once in a while, but we NEVER did a big trip. I too am awfully fond of indoor plumbing!
    Blessings, EJT

  16. Hmm, I just kept wondering where they plugged the kid's feeding pump at night? Solar battery power I suppose...And what about the IV pole to hang it? Oh I know! She whipped out her handy dandy sewing kit and put a velcro strap up to hang his feeding pump backpack on at night! What a resourceful woman. Wish I could be just like that!

  17. I KNOW that my wife would make me carry the load, so we don't do it. :) Plus, I'm afraid of ticks and all that comes with those lovely little bugs (Lime Disease for one).

    As for thread counts... Didn't really know, or care, too much about them, as long as I had one and it was dry is all I ever cared about. I know, Typical Man! :)

  18. I was hiking the Chilkoot Trail a few years ago with my father (33 miles) and we shared the trail with two men and a woman and her 18 month old. At least she just carried the baby and a few other things. The guys were some sort of military and built like tanks so they could carry huge packs. She said the hardest part was that when they got to camp and were tired, the kid wanted to run around because she had been in the pack all day, and of course had to be watched constantly lest she fall into a river or lake.

    But no, that's not all. In spite of all the kid stuff, or maybe because of it, this group also packed in an ENTIRE CASE OF BEER.

  19. I dont have money to buy the expensive sheet so maybe they "feel" better but I have bought new sheet and I always use my pillow cases I got for a wedding present back in 1984, they are so soft, I love them and they are about warn out (and dont match) but they are so soft, I bet they arnt 800 count or even 500 count. I wish I knew what they were, they are the best. AND I would hardley make it 5 steps with a 30 pound pack and then add a baby on the front. I guess I would need a flat road to hike and a wheel barrel for both baby and back pack. hehe

  20. OK my idea of roughing it is a 5 star hotel with no in-room minibar...

    but the thread count thing? I have discovered that I like the higher thread counts (I do draw the line at ridiculously expensive - you can get them on sale at Kohls for about what you'd pay for "regular" sheets - 300-400 thread count in soft cotton. Try it, you'll like it). But would I sue over it, even as a false advertising attorney? NOOOOOOO, get a life people...you're giving lawyers a bad name.

  21. I liked the look on the baby's face. He's so clearly thinking, "What the hell . . ."

  22. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    You know, the only reason I would be heading for the woods would be to get away from the crying baby, not to take him with me....

    HURRAH for women like you - this is so refreshing!

  23. AnonymousJune 10, 2008

    Donn and I love backpacking, but we haven't done it since the kids were born. Why? Diapers, basically, and then once they were old enough we got rid of all the backpacking equipment and moved to Africa. I think taking a baby backpacking would be an enormous amount of work, but backpacking is so awesome that I can see that for some people, it'd totally be worth it. (except for packing out the diapers. Yuck!)
    For others, it would just add misery to a horrible experience.

  24. And I thought I was the only one who didn't get this whole thread count thing. I like to come over here and be reminded that I am not the only woman in America who does not have $150 sheets, $150 shoes and $150 purses.

  25. Yep! I'm with you. My neghbour just spent an OBSCENE amount of money on redecorating her home. I like it but you know what? It's not all that different from when she did it LAST YEAR. Surely there's some child starving some where who could use the money more!!!

  26. I need to get some of the sheets from my MIL's house before they are given away. She has mostly 100%cotton sheets from the 1940's? You know, back when the little woman ironed her sheets, as they would wrinkle otherwise. Those sheets are so comfortable. I would need to sew 2 top twin size sheets together for my king sized bed. If only she had king sized sheets.

  27. I clicked on BOTH your links. Geesh. Easy on the links. I'm not super woman over here.

    You're right... folks just need to go to bed later and they will never notice the thread count.

    As for the Ergo wearing, back packing woman... talk about motivated. I'm sure she looks damn good in a bathingsuit with that ab workout.

  28. Yes, we've done hikes with all 6 kids (well, no6 was being carried by HB) and we've gone camping (in a caravan park!) but I would not like to go way, way out bush with little babies and toddlers. I am paranoid I guess - I always worry that something could go wrong!

  29. Clearly that woman lost too many brain cells during birth.

  30. AnonymousJune 11, 2008

    They should both be slapped.

  31. AnonymousJune 11, 2008

    Not the baby--the sheet lady and the hiking lady.

  32. By the time I actually get to go to bed, I'm so darn tired that I don't care what the sheets are like. Heck, I probably wouldn't even notice if the sheets weren't there.
    Suing over thread count?
    Some people need to get a life.

    " If the diaper is merely wet, hang it on your backpack or tent to dry quickly in the sun, which kills odors."

    Yeah right. I think it would just bake the smell into it.

  33. Agreed...take him into the woods? I can't keep that kid from falling on his head in a 10 foot by 6 foot room let alone a huge frieking grove of trees.

    Is that an oddly dimensioned room? I suck at math. No idea.

  34. What happens if that hiker mom trips on a rock on the trail and goes head first forward? But, really, I just can't imagine hauling all that stuff in (not to mention what has to be packed out.

    I'm with you on the sheets. I know the really expensive ones are supposed to feel different, and maybe they do? But there are plenty of inexpensive ones (especially at Target) that are soft enough.

    I love this: "And if your new sheets don't seem comfy enough, get more tired before you go to bed, okay?"

  35. I'm with Jennifer H on the "What if she falls?" issue. I'm glad to know she can still hike, but should she?

    "And if your new sheets don't seem comfy enough, get more tired before you go to bed, okay?" - Love. It.

  36. The thing about the fiber type is true and did you know, the sheets made out of jersey knit like t-shirt fabric are like $14 for a twin size set and they are super comfy! $2000 sheets? Insane! And the lady with the backpack and baby, don't tell me she just wanted even weight between the front and back end so she wouldn't fall over. Is she a masochist, or what????

  37. Backpacking with a 2 year old. Wow, I could not do it (and don't want to).

    We have taken Monkey on two vacations (Washington DC and Portugal). Though some people think it is insane to take a toddler in a plane with you, both times was a lot of fun. Monkey really enjoyed (in his way) the change of scene and the excitement we had. He was too young to remember it (I think) but we had a great time.