Woe is us… or is it, woe are us? Friday at 11pm our electricity went out here in Maryland where many of our electric lines are underground. I’ve heard over a million people were without power. We would have headed over to visit the in-laws in PA except we had a lot going on at home this week that we couldn’t miss and likely wouldn’t be influenced by the lack of electricity. So we were without power from Friday at 11pm until today, Monday, at 4:30pm. Imagine our excitement as we sat out back in the baby pool when we heard the air conditioners start up! Yeah we were roughing it alright, out in the baby pool. We are so weak, can you imagine how our grandparents, great grandparents, etc. lived? Gasp. God forbid we ever experience a zombie apocalypse.
As I’m typing this, our upstairs neighbor is vacuuming. I turned on my computer to blog. He’s probably got better priorities than I do, but hey… whatever. We sorta cleaned when we didn’t have electricity. Or Daddy B did. I did a lot of sleeping… I heart sleep. Especially when I’m bummed out… and throwing away about 60oz of breastmilk is depressing… throwing away two gallons of ice cream with it sucks because there goes my favorite coping mechanism! Fortunately, we had a backup plan… drinking (just a glass!)…
Here’s my thoughts on no electricity. I think we should all lose power for a couple days each year so we truly appreciate how great we have it and spend more quality family time together. It really makes you think outside the box when you don’t have electronics flashing everywhere to keep you overstimulated. It also meant I got a lot more sleep than normal… it was awesome. We need at least 8 hours of sleep per night to function properly, I’m not sure why so many of us think that 3-5 is sufficient. I normally sleep well (or did, pre Baby G), but as a therapist I see so many people who don’t sleep enough. Easiest cure ever. Go home and sleep. Wow, I’m an awesome therapist. CURED! No seriously though, occasionally that’s all people need.
We did have to think outside the box a little though. We closed all of our blinds and curtains to keep the temperature down, but it was pretty dark inside so Daddy B rigged this great light to help me see while I was washing diapers by hand (more on this later!)… yes, that’s a tripod, some duct tape, and a flashlight!
Fun no electricity required crafting activities include cutting out fabric, adding snaps to diapers, hand sewing, knitting, mod podging photos onto coasters or canvas, and brainstorming good ideas for upcycling all of the containers from the spoiled food that you’ll need to throw away! Wait until you see my guest blog over at zMombie in July 2012 on how to upcycle old cds. I’m so psyched. Even Daddy B got excited brainstorming. I’ll be linking the guest blog on here, but definitely check out my friend’s blog… lots of great upcycling ideas as she participates in an upcycling challenge this month!
The big part of this blog that I wanted to share though is that you can actually wash cloth diapers by hand! I know this might not be a huge surprise to everyone as some people prefer to do this, to extend the lives of their diapers. But I think most people prefer to use a washer and dryer.
Here’s how I managed to do it, without electricity (no hot water):
1. Make sure you rinse all of your poopy diapers as normal… I use a diaper sprayer to rinse in the toilet then flush (of course). You can dunk and swirl your diaper in the toilet. That’s fun. I like to remove the inserts for this because otherwise the insert soaks up all the dirty water. I just rinse off the poop if any got on the end of the insert. With pocket diapers it usually isn’t an issue.
2. I soaked all of my inserts, diapers, and wipes in a bathtub full of water. I swished them around a lot.
3. I wrung them out. I didn’t want to transfer icky urine water into the cleaning wash. Empty and rinse your bathtub.
4. I filled the bathtub with water again and added my normal detergent. I added more than I normally would because the bathtub uses more water than my HE machine and I had a ton of diapers to wash.
5. I found something to use as a washing board, seeing I didn’t have one just hanging around. I used this old shelving rack, and put a prefold under it to keep it from scraping my bathtub up. I also was careful not to tear my diapers on the jagged edges. BE CAREFUL of whatever you use. No need to destroy perfectly good diapers. That would rot.
6. Scrub a dub dub? Scrub the dirty part of the diaper (the inside) and the inserts down the “washing board” to help rub away any stains. Careful not to tear the diapers.
7. After I scrubbed each diaper, I would rinse it with clean water, wring it out, and place it in the laundry basket to transfer outdoors to dry. In the picture, I have the unwashed diapers on my left, the diapers I’m washing currently inside the bathtub, and behind me (not shown) there’s a laundry basket with the clean diapers. It looks like there’s lots of light in the bathroom but that’s just the flash on the camera… those candles and the flashlight were “it.”
8. Dry outside.
Drying cloth diapers, especially prefolds and inserts, takes a while so save yourself enough time between loads to make sure you don’t run out.
And yeah… sure we could have run to the store to get disposables… but that wouldn’t have been environmentally friendly or a financially wise decision, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to wash diapers back before we had disposables or fancy washing machines. Now I know. Whenever I do things like this I feel a little closer to the women who came before me. I like that. I wouldn’t want to wash cloth diapers every day, but it’s sort of the same with sewing. When I sew, I can’t help but feel a little closer to my grandma… and that’s special for me. I’m not sure if Grandma cloth diapered, but I know that my great grandma and my great great grandma had to have… so it’s special. It’s hard to appreciate all that we have if we can’t see every now and then where we were before.
Now I’m excited to go turn on my sewing machine (yay electricity!) to finish Daddy B’s anniversary present in time for our TWO YEAR anniversary tomorrow!