17 August 2014

What Dreams May Come pt. 2: Why Am I So Depressed?

I decided to make this second part to my big depression talk because even though people are talking about depression in general, how it feels, and how to comfort someone during their bad moments, or even the science of depression, they aren't discussing how it starts and what causes depression in the first place.  If you ask me, this is the biggest part of depression; the root of the issue; what started the very first downward spiral.

Here's my story on what brought me to clinical depression.  Like everyone else, I was born, I wasn't depressed.  I was like most other average babies, healthy, happy, had a loving family around me.  It was in Kindergarten that I found what it was like to be shunned.  I was teased by the other kids in class all because I had cats named "He-Man" & "She-Ra".  For those of you who did not live in the 80's, "He-Man & She-Ra" were total cartoon twin BAMFs who lived in a Mid-Evil/Neanderthalic world who constantly OWNED the forces of souped up magical evil.  Rarely were they seen together because they had their own respectively named after shows, but it was the epic of epics back in my day.  Well, the fact that we named our then twin tuxedo kittens He-Man & She-Ra, the kids in my class relentlessly teased me over this.  My nick name from then on was She-Ra.  Now, in hindsight, I now understand how completely BAD ASS that nick name is.  As a kid, it was derogatory and hurtful.  The kids loved seeing me get upset over it.  Some people are just easily sensitive and those people can become depressed easier than most.  I was one of them.  I took things very personally.  I was constantly chastised for getting upset so easily.  The teasing continued when I had to go into a Transition Year of school, thus holding me back from entering the 1st grade.  That year was the first time I was bullied.  3 boys chased me every day at recess trying to kiss me, hold me down, and abuse me.  This was also the year my weight began to escalate.  The next year, my bullies followed me to the same school and 2 new bully continued after me including the neighbor kids, but this time,consistently picked-on me for being fat.  I only had 1 real friend but she had a gimp leg and a severe speech impediment.  We both were teased.  The years progressed and I got fatter and fatter.  I consistently was teased for this all through elementary school.  By middle school, the only mode I knew in myself was sad, mad, and how to be alone.  By middle school, I was completely broken and would never know what it was to be "Happy" happy.

Kristen Stewart's Smile was left out of The Book of
Revelation as the final sign of the Apocalypse 

You see, doctors & scientists have discovered that the brains "happy glands" produce serotonin.  It is a chemical made to regulate emotions in humans.  When that gland stops functioning normally, serotonin no longer is produced as well as it should be.  Here's how this works, me more serotonin is produced, the happier you feel.  The less, the sadder you are.  Here's something that might trip your mind.  Depression is like Diabetes.  Your pancreas creates insulin which helps you regulate and process sugar in your body.  When it isn't working, it creates less insulin and you get sick.  I suffer from mental Diabetes.

So here's my new theory over what actually causes Diabeetus..er..Depression.  It's not that the gland just happens to stop working the way it should.  Let's think of it this way.  When you undergo negative circumstances, your brain knows to reduce your serotonin because you had just undergone a small trauma.  Just like a candy bar, your pancreas knows to turn on the insulin to help regulate and process that sugar.  So what causes a person to become diabetic (type II situation, not juvenile.  That's a whole other bag)?  Eating too much sugar for too long.  When you eat all that sugar for all that period of time, your pancreas just can't handle it anymore so it stops trying.  It's the same for your brain gland.  You undergo so many traumas for such long periods of time that your brain says "Fuck It.  I'm out." and stops producing like it should.  That's depression.  Because of all the teasing, bullying, and shit I went through all through my younger years, my brain just up and said "there's just no pleasing you.  I'm done trying." and I haven't been "Happy" Happy since.  Medications help when a person can afford them, but all those medications can do is just keep your serotonin levels even.  It's why most people with depression don't bother taking them.  They turn them into zombies.  They aren't any happier, but now they can't be "Sad" sad either.  This can also be said of people who have more sever mental health problems.  What can I say, the brain is a tricky lil' sumbitch.

This also isn't to say sudden traumas can't cause depression either. If anything, those major traumas can cause such an acute depletion of serotonin that it could be hard for your brain glands to restart them back to where they can be.  This is why the grieving process is so necessary.  Proper grieving over trauma (along with counseling if needs be) may be how the brain reteaches itself to pump out it's serotonin levels the way it's supposed to be.  Most people who suffer traumas are able to do this.  But when grieving isn't able to happen and people can't restart that brain gland to work again, that's when you get conditions like PTSD.  

So, take my theory as you will.  Just know that understanding how Depression starts is just as important as how to comfort someone with depression.

15 August 2014

What Dreams May Come: Depression at it's worst

Since the apparent suicide of Robin Williams on August 11th 2014 (4 days from the day I wrote this), suddenly everyone is totally understanding what it is to want to off yourself, or how it really feels to be depressed as if it's some rare disease, or just has a strong reaction to how suicide is never the answer.  Let's just take a moment to understand that when a MAJOR celebrity dies or comes out with having a life-altering something, suddenly everyone and their brother just come out of the walls claiming they totally understand, how important research is for it, or have a strong reaction over how it's never the answer to how crappy they are.  Depression & Suicide are NOT a trend for people to be following, hash-tagging, or even start talking about as if they understand and know what it entails...when they themselves don't even have it.

As some of you more well read readers of my blog know, I have diagnosed Chronic Depression.  Note:  I said "Diagnosed".  Not self-diagnosed, not pretty sure, but diagnosed by not just 1, but 3 different psychiatrists/counselors.  I have been on medication a few times, but not as often as I would like due to money, insurance issues, and the fact that as far as I've been told, in the state of Washington, you must participate in a continued counseling program to continue receiving medication.  Why do I not continue counseling?  Because even the last counselor I've seen said I was aware enough in my depression that continued counseling visits weren't necessary, though she did agree I did better on medication.  Sadly, I had to pick both or neither.

So, because you have become self-aware, we can no longer
service your model.  You have become too dangerous
to the human race.

Having said that, there have been some GREAT videos and blog posts by actual people who have their own levels of depression.  You know these people are the genuine article because they are openly admitting to having it and aren't acting like whiny emo jerks about it.  They look and sound like human beings because they are.  They can eloquently and accurately describe how it feels to have an episode and not what it is to "be depressed".  There is one common description of depression I just DON'T like and it's this little cliche gem:  "It's like you're drowning, when everyone around you is still breathing."  Sweetie, that's not depression, that's asthma, which I also have.  I know the difference.  Here is my take on depression:

Depression, for me, is mostly like how a person feels when they wake-up on a Monday after a HUGE weekend of partying.  You're constantly dragging ass the whole day.  You can drink coffee until sweat Americana, you just can't seem to wake-up.  This is the basis of Depression on a normal day.  Now, when you have a good day, that's like sleeping in on a Saturday and waking-up knowing your day is going to be awesome.  Everything seems to be going right.  Plans are happening as expected.  You're going to the mall with your friends and all the cute outfits and things you like are in your size and ON SALE!  CLEARANCE EVEN (that last part is if you're bi-polar).  But those bad days, those are the days people hear about and roll their eyes at.  The bad days are those where you just feel it in your bones the Ides of March are approaching and you're Julius Caesar.  The bad days can come in the form of anxiety.  That's the feeling of sudden panic like you just KNOW the other shoe is going to drop.  For a depressed person, it's that, but they weren't even wearing shoes in the first place.  Bad days can also be sudden dread.  You feel like you couldn't even confront the mailman if he knocks on the door.  You're so sure it's going to be a letter like "your Mom died tragically" or "YOUR RENT IS DUE SO WE'RE KICKING YOU OUT NOW!" even though your rent is and always has been on time.  Bad Days can also be just feeling overwhelmed over a few little tasks, a sudden wash of sadness when there is nothing to be sad about, or even unwillingness to do anything and yet forcing yourself to because you're obligated to (like because you're a parent and you have to raise children for a living).

As far as the serious and most controversial symptom (yes, symptom) of Depression; Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide itself.  First of all, depression isn't something you just "snap-out" of.  Telling someone "We love you" or "You have so much to live for!" is pretty much just patting them on the head like a child and saying "It's okay Sweetie.  Momma still thinks your special."  It's demeaning, patronizing, and really shows a person that you DON'T understand what they're talking about nor do you even care to try.  When a depressed person actually starts asking for help, someone to talk to, even a warm body present to just sit and be with them, TAKE THAT SHIT SERIOUSLY!  When no one (family included) is even willing to go as far as even send a quick text or IM to say "Hey, what's up?", you are leaving that depressed person time to think of more extreme things to do to help "alleviate" their pain.  Now, not every depressed person contemplates just offing themselves.  Heck, not every suicidal person suffers depression, but more often than not, they are suffering at least one TYPE of depression.  Yes, depression has types.  Chronic Depression, Clinical Depression, Post Pardum Depression, Bi-Polar/Manic Depression, PTSD...  The thing is suicide is controversial for many reasons.  For those who've never had a suicidal thought or are severely religious mostly agree that to kill yourself is selfish, never the answer, or is just something someone tries to do or say "Just for Attention" until someone they know and/or love actually does it and succeeds.  I want it known that "Cutting" is NOT the same as being suicidal.  That is a whole other ball of depression wax.  The main reasons a person has to want to end their life is mainly this:  Shit has just piled up and piled up and piled up and they are figuratively drowning under the weight of it all with no one to help dig them out.  You are buried alive in a coffin and no one even knows that you're even missing yet.  For depressed people, our bad days always seem clumped together.  After a while, we can sometimes get out of our funks back to that "Waking up on Monday" feeling, but it takes a while.  When we can't, it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse until we start desiring for other actions.  We're cornered because we feel like we painted ourselves in a corner and the paint never dries so instead of marring the perfect paint job, where else do we have to go?  What other option is there?  People are always flippantly saying "Suicide is never an option/answer".  If this was true, we wouldn't be able to do it, now could we?

How can we begin to understand folks with Depression if we don't have it?  Easy answer:  Don't try to understand it so much as just be present for them.  If they are having a total "Oh Shit" attack on Facebook, then ask what's-up via IM, Text, or call.  Yeah, depressed people are depressing, but they become less so when they have a good network of friends to talk to and help them through it.  The longer people ignore them, the more depressing and annoying we are to talk to.  But keep trying!  Want us to come over but we say "Meh, not today."  Then try your damnedest to go to them if even for a little bit.  Believe me!  I am easily overwhelmed with the one child I do have, the pain from my scoliosis, and dread over the fact that even when I want to clean house or work-out but can't because I know the back-pain will happen regardless.  When any of my friends decide to drop everything to come see me and visit, even if only to lament about what's going on in their lives.  

Do you realize the feeling of happy I get when my BFF calls or IM's me about the drama going on in her life?  Not saying I love that she's going through a SEVERELY difficult time in her life, I'm saying she wants to talk to little depressed me because it shows me that I matter.  That itself helps me get out of a funk.

Let this post do what it does for you.  You can take it as another "Post Robin Williams" Depression/Suicide Confessional or another person's perspective on depression.  There is a depression post for everyone and if this one post helps someone figure out what's wrong with them, what's wrong with someone else, or better yet, how to HELP another, then I can live knowing that my thoughts and experiences wasn't just another Blog Post about Depression.

**To fully understand and appreciate Depression and Suicide, and because ironically Robin Williams made a beautiful yet just as equally depressing movie about it, watch "What Dreams May Come".  Beautiful scenery, sad story, but powerful in it's message.**

01 August 2014

Don't Trust The Silence

If you are a parent, not just a nerd parent, we've all had what some call "Teachable" or "Oh Shit" moments with our children.  If you see the picture above, you know what I'm talking about.  Well, there is a video going round social media right now involving 2 toddlers and a WHOLE bag of flour.

Now, it's pretty easy to judge this mom with "WHY ARE FILMING THIS?  COMMENCE WITH THE SPANKIN'S!" (confession:  I thought and said that).  Another friend said "Probably because she's still in shock!"  I couldn't argue that.  Why not?  Because I've been there.

OMG.  Nerdism aside, if you've ever raised toddlers, you know at least one moment like this.  I haven't yet raised a teen, but I'm going out on a limb and just say that this stage of kid raising is THE MOST FRUSTRAITING!  Some people will say "Aww.  My toddler was never this bad.  Those were my favorite times with my child.  That and when they were babies."  I'm going to call those people out.  Yeah, little kids are awesome in their innocence of how the world works and the way they talk but the other half of the time, they are little balls of rebel scum.

Put that hand down or I'm chopping it off
Now I'm going to share one of our teachable moments we went through when Luke was almost 2.

My husband and I both got hit with the Noro Virus (Read: Gut Rot) that was going around.  We couldn't keep our contents to ourselves nor did we have the energy to keep up with the midget.  At one point, I felt so bad I had to go to the hospital so I called my Great Aunt to sit with the monster until I got back.  2 bags of IV fluid later for extreme dehydration, I'm home but shaky.  My Great Aunt left and I'm the only "awake" adult to even pretend to be mindful of a toddler.  Around this time, kiddo had discovered how to get on top of the dining table.  We were always having to tell him to get down and stop.  This time, he had gotten on top of the table, dancing as he would and all I could muster was a squeek of "luke..stahp.  luke...no.  fahk!"  In which I gave up trying, but cried about it.  I had no one else to call and take him for the day.  When it comes to my family, they are either too old, too busy, or too far away to be helpful.  In the end, I had no choice but to let him have run of the house.  By dinner time, I got a little more steady on my feet to get up and get to the kitchen.  Big mistake.  At one point, the kid had found a Sharpie Marker and just had his RUN on the WHITE Cabinets.  He also had gotten up onto the counters via drawers and just had a time in the cabinets.  He, too found the flour and made a mess (not as much as the video thank GOD!) but he found himself stuff to get into and used various cans and spice/herb containers to use as building blocks.  Bless his heart, he reorganized those baking items.  By bed time, I had broken down and cried.  As for Matt, he slept through it all.  That next morning, I had to clean it all up myself as well.  I couldn't even punish the kid for it because the moment for punishment was long past.  I tell you what though.  It wouldn't be the last "teachable" moment either. It was just one of my more memorable. 

So, we parents can give other parents guff about their teachable moments because we've all been there and learned our lessons.  We have learned to fear The Silence like Doctor Who during an escapade with The Ponds.  

These are how many times I  haven't learned my lesson
and left the child alone for even a second.
Never Trust the Silence.

28 July 2014

Quitters Never Win the Boss Fights

Rage Quitting...like a boss

*Sigh*  I love this kid.  I love this kid.  I love this kid.  I love this kid.

What I don't love is that he quits too easily when he fails at things.  Today's last straw was that he was playing Goat Simulator and asked me to get the jet-pack for him.  Over a year ago, he would CONSTANTLY ask me to play levels for him on games like Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds.  Finally, I had enough and finally had to say something that I can only PRAY other gamer parents have ever said to their children; "HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BEAT THE GAME IF YOU CAN'T EVEN BEAT THE LEVELS ALL BY YOURSELF?  I'M NOT THE ONE WHO WANTED TO PLAY THE GAME IN THE FIRST PLACE!"  In which he responded they way any pre-schooler would respond by getting upset, angry, and stomp of screaming.  He got even more twerked off when I turned of the game.  Hey, if you walk away for reasons other than because you needed something to eat, drink, or use the bathroom, then as far as I'm concerned, you're done playing.  Eventually, he got better at playing and he finally managed to get far enough into the game to hit some good mini-games.  Now when he gets frustrated, he just plays the mini-games.

Now that he's pushing 6 and his dad went through the trouble of fixing his bike (which we got at a yard sale 3 summers ago), he has only ever ridden that thing twice.  The first time, he rode fine until he went into a hedge.  It took us the better part of a month the get him to try again.  The second time he did better, but he does not like to pedal because "It's too hard".  The bike is in good working order.

This isn't the first time Luke has just straight given up on something because he failed once at it.  He CONSTANTLY is doing this.  It's a big reason why he still talks like he's 3.  Heck, most 3 year olds are talking more clearly than he is.  Is disheartening as crazy because it makes his teachers believe that he is autistic (but it's high functioning autism, Mrs. Wilson.) when I know for a fact he isn't.  He's just a quitter.

Here's another great example:  Making friends.  Luke wants friends SO BADLY it's painful.  So when he approaches a bunch of kids because he wants to play and even one of them doesn't want him to play, he gets totally butt-hurt and goes off by himself to brood and play.  That, or he just doesn't want to associate period.  Seriously, where have the days gone when teachers were allowed to give kids ultimatums.  I'm not saying bring back corporal punishment.  I'm just saying, quit with this wishy-washy, not even a slap but a light tap on the hand, teacher business.  No wonder Autism is "on the rise".  Because not only are parents not willing to do some hard-parenting, let alone properly punish their children, but teachers are too afraid of getting sued to do some "hard-teaching", let alone teach against the state standards.  No child left behind my ass!

I get it, hard parenting is hard.  Perseverance isn't something kids "just have".  The sense of survival is.  They are two different things.  We need to teach our kids that quitting isn't something you just "get" to do when learning how to do important things.  Just like in gaming, we don't just beat the final boss on the first time we engage it.  We keep trying and trying.  Hell, we level whore like a sumbitch before we even step foot into that damn cave knowing that we may just get our asses handed to regardless.  But if we don't try and don't keep at it with the strategy or even different strategies, then how will we ever know that we can do it?

So, something to think about.

14 July 2014

Self Image for Knerds

This subject has been swimming around in my head for a day or so and I think this is something that ESPECIALLY us Nerdy Parents need to address not just to our children, but ourselves.  Chances are pretty high that if you are a Nerdy Parent, you were once a Nerd Kid.  If you were once a Nerd Kid, you probably had a really low opinion of yourself.  As a matter of fact (and experience with the subject & research), you probably gave up on yourself a time or two and just let yourself go into full Geek Mode, unwashed, smelly, and covered in acne.

Wasn't like you were getting any invites
to leave the house any time soon.
Can I let you in on something?  Changes in hygiene practices, sleep patterns, and little to no desire for social contact are all symptoms of depression.  How do I know this?  Hi!  My name is Lori and I have diagnosed Chronic Depression.  I have lived (not suffered) with depression since I was in grade school.  I wasn't officially diagnosed with depression until I was 30, but I had/have all the stereo-typical symptoms of it since I was a kid so it wasn't like some big revelation.  Now, why am I making a point to say that I'm not suffering with depression?  Not because I'm medicated.  Medication for depression means counseling and really, all the counselors I've talked to all know I'm aware enough of my episodes, causes, triggers, and issues to where even monthly visits are just a waste of mine and their time.  I would be going in just to do a mandatory 1 hour chit-chat with them about how I'm doing, how's my relationship with my dad & sister, do I resent my current family life, blah blah blah.  It's because I chose to be unmedicated because I am aware of my triggers, stressors, and willingly reach out to my friends and family with full disclosure over what is bringing me down.

Depression has a big part over my discussion about self-image because depression is a big factor in how we feel about ourselves.  I urge you to research Depression Online so you too can be mindful of the symptoms and what you can do to treat it in yourself or your child.  Also, just because I choose not to be medicated, does NOT mean medication isn't necessary for everyone.  I know myself enough to know that my brand of depression will never be cured.  It's just that the right counselor/psychiatrist is VERY hard to find.  The only counselor I ever really enjoyed lives 2 hours away and I don't know if he's even retired yet.  I digress...

Back to Self-Image.  Nerdistry, though trendy as it has become, is still looked down upon.  For us REAL nerds, it's like being a part of "Thug-Life"; we didn't choose it, it chose us.  Real nerds, for the most part, are not the most aesthetically pleasing.  Heck, we're people the majority try to avoid because some how, our obsessive fandom waves reach out and creep people out because it thinks it's funny.  It's not.  There is the occasional "Hot Nerd", like my husband's cousin (let's call her Velma).  Those are the rare people that you think "Seriously, you're only nerd because it's trendy." until they correctly reference that latest anime you've been watching that hasn't even been dubbed yet.  Hell, I just found out that Velma plays World of Warcraft & League of Legends.  Nice.

It's hard for us Geeks to feel good about ourselves.  Even those of us who actually have jobs, live on our own, and even raising a family to feel good about ourselves.  Believe me, we get it.  We see what you do.  Sweaty, over/underweight, and not the freshest smelling people.  A lot of us don't shop the trendy stores because we don't feel we have business there.  Give us a T-Shirt with our favorite cartoon or Sci-Fi show on it and some sweat pants and we'll promise not to mar society with our presence.  Sadly, we do have to leave the house eventually to get at least groceries, batteries, and Taco Bell.

But what if I told you that's utter bull-shit thinking?  Seriously!

Look at these ladies.  About as Average Nerd Girl as it gets.  Do they look ashamed to be dressed as 4 out of the 6 elements of Harmony?  Hell naw.  They think they look hella tight looking like personified Flutter Shy, Rainbow Dash, Pinky Pie, and Rarity.

And that's the face of a dude who is feeling like a BADASS looking not-completely like Cloud from FFVII.  But you know what?  BIG.  ASS. SWORD.  You can't be depressed with that on your back.  It totally says "Don't wet yourself too much, ladies."

Here's the point I'm trying to make is this, nerds have a particularly unique advantage when it comes to building self-image.  If you don't like who you are in real life, then become someone else!  As long as it's someone more on the side of good.  We don't need any IRL Sepheroths trying to destroy everything for the sake of Jenova.

Nerds LOVE dress-up!  Especially the grown-up ones!  If you are seriously down in the doldrums, try to find your local LARPing group and see about making a character for yourself.  Be that character for a while and surround yourself with other people not being themselves.  You'll find after one session,  you'll feel so much better about your real self because you have just found a gaggle of folks who are just as nerdy as you are!  The only difference is they don't give a good Got Dayum what others think about them or their weekend hobbies.

I, myself was a LARPer of (real) Vampires for 10 years.  I came into my group at the age of 18 having a less than desirable outlook on myself.  I was overweight, had very few friends, and was disappointed in who I was as a person.  After gaming, I'm still overweight, have very few close friends, but now I'm pretty happy about myself, who I am, and even how I look for the most part.  Don't get me wrong, I have no disillusions about the severity of my sexiness.  I definitely dress for my body type.  I just have a better view of myself and who I am.

Do you have advice on how to boost a nerd's self-image?  Do you have body image issues you face as a Nerd Parent?  Do you have any questions about depression?  Feel free to make a comment or start a discussion on the Knerd Mom Facebook page.

12 July 2014

Airing Your Science in Public

You pick-up a lot of tricks, gadgets, and Pinterest ideas when you have to wash laundry by hand.  It's no big secret that we're broker than broke.  Especially since we live on a CNA Pay Check, and believe me, that's not a lot of cheddar!  I've talked about all the gadgets we've invested to make our already cheap life cheaper.  The Roku to watch nearly all of our shows, Magic Jack for our phone, even the fact that we only have 3 (well, now 5) monthly bills we pay.  Today, I want to talk laundry.  More specifically, how to do laundry when you can't afford a proper apartment with Washer/Dryer hook-ups.

I want to start this off by saying that when we live cheaply, it isn't because we're trying to save the planet.  We aren't doing this because commercialism and capitalism has replaced American Democracy (which in my personal opinion, it totally has and it's what keeps us po' folks po'.).  And we sure as hell aren't doing this to save the planet, though to a small degree does make for a pretty good perk.  We live cheap because we have no choice in this matter.  We live too far away from any family members willing to let us do laundry in their home.  Also, my husband has is male pride and HATES when I publicly ask friends & family for help on Facebook (which I get, but still.  Even at our lowest when we were homeless, he absolutely refused to ask for help and was just as pissed-off and embarrassed when I had to ask for it.).  So, on to laundry...

The thought of washing laundry by hand is a miserable one, believe me!  It's hard enough for the modern adult to do their laundry regularly, but even HARDER to motivate when you have to do it manually!  Seriously, it is a freakin' chore!  At one point, in our old apartment in Kennewick, we thought we'd be clever by using tax money to get a "portable" washer & dryer so we didn't have to pay for laundry or drive 15 minutes to Richland to do it at my Grandmothers.  The cost of gas for the later eventually equaled to paying for the damn machines at home which was closer.  Sadly, those portable units backed up the sink faucets and caused flooding in the apartment directly below us.  We got in HUGE trouble over that one.  Nearly $1000 down the drain for that one (pardon the pun.)  We tried selling them on Craigslist, but sadly, we had to eat the cost on that one.  Crap.

Goat Simulator; Star Wars Edition
...and because Goat.
Now we've learned our lessons and did our research.  Also, Pinterest is a GREAT tool for learning how to do manual laundry painlessly and without Land Lords threatening to kill you!  **disclaimer, the land lord didn't threaten to kill us.  Just threatened eviction.  Still...**  Here are the tools and tricks we employ in our hand washing.

We own this exact model, but there are other types out there that range from crank operated with no electricity, to some that are electrically driven and can even drain from the bottom!  This little item does a fairly okay job at washing, but there is an art to knowing how much clothing/water ration is too much or too little.  I have yet to try ours with Felting Projects, but until that opportunity comes, I use this for washing our clothes.  Sadly, you have to run separate cycles for wash & rinse.  That means filling the bucket with clothes, water, & detergent; run cycle; dump water out; refill bucket with clean water and optionally softener; run cycle; dump water; hang clothes to dry.  It can take me upwards of 45 minutes to wash a small load of clothes.  A total of 3 hours just to complete what a standard Washing Machine could in 30 minutes.  Still a good little machine to own if you aren't a fan of breaking your back.  I recommend running this thing on the floor with possibly a bath mat or towel underneath.  Will set you back $80 + any applicable tax + S&H.
Wonder Washer via Amazon.  (Feel free to shop around for other types of mini-washers to find one that fits your needs & budget.).

Here is a video demonstrating how these things work :D
HELPFUL HINT:  These kinds of washers take just a DAB of soap!  I wouldn't put in more than 1-2 Table Spoons worth per 1 load.  A painful lesson I learned when washing towels, I won't lie.


This seemingly insignificant tool has proven to be a little rock-star when used correctly!  It's also FAR MORE cost effective than purchasing a mini-washer but at the cost of LOTS more labor!  This thing works on principal of suction.  Work this tool just like a toilet plunger.  End of directions.  It sucks up soapy water through the fabric of your clothing forcing water & soap to swish through all the fibers and nastiness thus cleaning your clothing!  The little "Hat" on top lets air escape so the water can release.  This manual appliance works even better if you let your clothing soak for at least a half-hour in warm to hot water before plunging.  I will post a video demonstrating how this thing works if my instructions confuse you but here's my

HELPFUL HINT:  I've found filling your bathtub with laundry soap, water, & clothing is far more effective than in just a standard bucket.  Even better yet, YOU CAN USE THIS WASHING METHOD ON YOUR COMFORTERS, BLANKETS, & SHEETS!
This Mom used the laundry plunger on a 2 year old, never been washed child's comforter...IT WAS EFFECTIVE!  Just soak the large item for 30 minutes in hot soapy water, plunge the living water of Christ out of it, then hang it up to dry!  It's amazing how clean it gets!

Seriously, my Kindergartner has used this and made clothing properly clean with it.  Speaking of which, this is an AWESOME way to teach your children how to wash clothing WHILE earning their allowance!  It's almost kinda fun!

The Laundry Plunder can cost you at most $30, but really, I got ours for $10
Laundry Plunger via Amazon


Above all else, get yourself a good sturdy drying rack.  Unlike the previous 2 items, the above picture isn't what we have, but it makes a point.  You want a drying rack that can hold multiple wet towels, jeans, and other heavy when wet items.  Also, make sure your drying rack can maintain balance when loaded to the gills!  We had a tall standing "tree" rack In which we had to hang our laundry on hangers, albeit flimsy hangers.  It was like balancing rocks to keep that stupid thing from tipping, but we managed until we got our table top style rack.  I'm loving how much more laundry I can get done and hanging on this thing!  There are various models you can get at various prices.  I won't post a link for one because really, this is something dependent on you and your laundry needs.


The picture is the model we ONCE owned.  It sits on your counter-top and spins the excess water out of your clothing.  As wonderful as this was, it was a bitch to keep balanced and works best if on the floor.  We set our on the counter top and it vibrated itself off and BROKE!  I now recommend a stand-up version that sits on the floor.  Here's how they work.

Note the amount of water that came out.  These expensive little beauties wring out more water than a standard washing machine!  Why is this?  Because that's pretty much the only function of this thing!  When we got our little one, we dropped about $80 discluding S&H and Sales Tax.  One of these more worthwhile floor models will set you back $150 minimum.  Personally, I'm REALLY wanting a floor model spin dryer when the weather gets back to "too cold to dry clothes".

Find yourself a Stand-Up Dryer (and even throw in a mini-washer) here at Laundry Alternative

Now, for my discover of the month!  You know how when you go to dry out a piece of wet laundry, you always go to wring it out first?  This method is quite counter-intuitive, but I have the law of gravity to back me up!

When hanging up your hand-washed laundry, don't wring it out.  Hand that stuff up SOPPING WET!    When you wring out your laundry, there is a chance you are just dripping more water back onto/into your item.  Also, the water is then just redistributed through out the item and is slowly working it's way downward as it drips.  Some will evaporate from the body of your item, but mostly, goes slow and dough down to the ground.  So when you hang  your laundry sopping wet, all that water is clumped together enmasse and just splooshes out quite quickly!

Now, there are some rules and set backs to this method.  Firstly, if you chose to do this, do this in a place where the water can drain thoroughly without hindering your neighbors (if you live in an upstairs unit).  There will be a LOT of water coming from your items and I would REALLY hate if it dripped through onto your neighbor who was downstairs watching the sun rise while drinking Darjeeling.  This method will also soak your feet so either do this barefoot or while wearing shoes you give 0 Fricks about.  Lastly, with faster drying clothing, you have wrinkles more likely to form.  If you don't mind a few wrinkles, then don't worry about it.  If you aren't a fan, make sure you lay your sopping wet laundry as smooth as you can on your drying rack and iron when dry.  Regardless of air drying method, always give each item a good solid shake or two to get the "stiff" out.  Fabric Softener and Liquid Detergents are your friends in hand washed laundry if you hate the stiff feeling of air dried fabric.

06 July 2014

YOU Miss All The Fun?!

I miss fun.  Like adult fun.

Wait, let me restate that.

I miss playing dress-up and pretend with my grown-ass friends.  When I was not even out of High School, I discovered LARPing and made a SLEW of nerd friends.  It was the official door that opened into the world of Nerdistry!  For the next decade of my life, I would dress in costumes, create all sorts of characters, and immerse myself  into the world of (real) Vampires, Animal Changing Vampires, Sick and Twisted Vampires, and the occasional Werewolf.  Some days, I would mix it up with a table top and play other types of characters, but The World of Darkness (WoD) was my nerdery of choice, with Anime a close second.  Sadly, this all changed when I was pregnant with my son.

Gaming is EXPONENTIALLY  harder to be a part of when you have children.  Especially when you have young children & infants.  Mostly because sitters, let alone GOOD and/or cheap sitters, are hella hard to find.  The next major issue is being a person who gives a crap what people think of you for leaving your children behind once a week to play said dress-up with your delightfully immature adult friends.  Sadly, I am one of these people.  Next, lets throw in the little matters of transportation, money, and time.  Mix these all together and you have me.

You see, I'm a stay-at-home mom who is at the mercy of broke-ass circumstance.  I'm home almost constantly.  When I leave to go somewhere which can be even construed as fun, I go with kid in tow and have to keep these "trips" kid friendly.  Can't go to the library without being constantly vigil for my kid.  Can't go to my favorite e-cig shop without having to "quietly yell" at my son to quit bouncing off the walls.  Can't even go inside a cafe to enjoy some reading or knitting without my kid in tow to get him a drink.
     When I do get the rare occasion to go out for my "Mommy Time", I go feeling rushed because I'm afraid that if I'm gone longer than 2 hours, I'm going to be hearing about it or that things will have gone terribly wrong.  Hell, I come home knowing that once I'm back, I have to put my Mommy Pants back on because my kid is going to want to tell me ALL ABOUT Kirby's trip to Dream Land or about Bowser trying to kill Mario & Luigi.

So, when I saw that one of my single, childless friends posted "I miss all the fun", I got a touch steamed.

I'm sorry, you said what now?
When you don't have children, you have more freedom than you think.  Especially nerds.  Sure, some are broker than Christ on Easter, but when it comes to events, games, movies, and gadgets they just have to have, they'll find the money AND time for it because they don't have dependents to absorb their cash.
"Hey, you going to game Saturday Night?"
"Hell yes I am.  9pm as always?"

I miss gaming with my friends.  I miss my friends.  Hell, I miss gaming in general.  But now that I've been away so long, I just can't get back into it.  The stigma of Motherhood has scarred me and it will never be as fun as it used to be for me.  All the players I knew before have come and gone their ways.  New players have trickled in and I know none of them.  Doubt many of them even have kids.  Some days, I really miss those childless days of nerdery.

...as for the comment?  It was actually in response to a Bit Strip I made involving e-mailed nudity at the office.  Ow.  My pride.