Monday, July 28, 2008

don't let dewey die

Earlier in the summer, the family and I were at the library, one of our usual evening outings. Owing to a new tiny kitten in our household, I encouraged the girl to check out a few feline specific non-fiction books. And we had a little exchange, something like, Where's the cat section? And I said, Oh! You need a Dewey Decimal Refresher. I said, you can consult the chart on the wall for general categories and I turned around to point, and turned around, and turned around and what? No Dewey Decimal Chart on the wall in the Children's Room at the Public Library?!

So we approached the librarian's desk and I asked if they had a Dewey Decimal wall chart that I didn't see. She gave me a queer look and responded, "oh, I think we used to have one, but we took it down when we put in the new shelves and, oh, it's probably around here somewhere."

Can we see it please?

(surprised expression). Oh, okay. Let me see. (much rifling around, finally finding it slid behind a filing cabinet). and then she looked my girl and said, "future librarian, huh?"

And I didn't say anything because if I'd opened my mouth it would have been, "Future Librarian? Future Librarian?! How about CURRENT LIBRARY USER!" geez.

Now I've since related this scenario to a number of different people and no one else was quite this outraged. I can get a little worked up about this sorta stuff. But the lack of passionate commiseration I've found has led me to worry that DEWEY DECIMAL IS DYING AND NO ONE CARES.

What with your information age and digital catalogs and internet searches, it might not seem like such an important skill set anymore to know the basic call numbers for Ancient Egyptian History (932), because anything you need to find is but a click away. Many public libraries have axed Dewey all together, opting for the academia preferred Library of Congress system. The Library of Congress system is, in my opinion, a better match for our digital world. But nothing beats Dewey if you want to organize and find items quickly without the use of complicated cataloging. We're talking basic categories by subject, time tested and part of our cultural ethos.

I don't think my reaction is purely sentimental. I fondly remember, and sometimes secretly wish my children could experience, the bygone powdery cylindrical Tarn N Tinys candy, instead of the modern, bullet-shaped candy-coated-shell version. That's sentiment.

This is embracing a valuable, traditional skill, an analog methodology useful for bypassing dependence on plugged-in technology. Widespread power outage and energy crisis? No trouble, I can still access the candlemaking section (745.593) by flashlight!

(this 1985 youtube clip is relevant and hilarious and fan-freaking-tastic)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

feta makes everything betta

I didn't go as long in life missing out on feta as I did, say, cherries, but it's been off my radar for more years than it's been on, so I feel a little like I'm making up for lost time.

Now that we live 30ish miles from the big city (about an hour drive, owing to lights and traffic, it's not an interstate) our trips to Trader Joe's are infrequent. For over a decade, we've been within a few miles of a TJs and I've grown really reliant on certain products. Our proximity has encouraged me to find replacements, for some stuff, but I do try to get there at least once a month. I can often go longer, depending. Depending on whether we've ran of feta or not.

Because not any feta will do, no. And I can't find another retailer that stocks my favorite:

pastures of eden

Pastures of Eden feta, made from Sheep's milk and imported from Israel, is so flipping delicious. Tangy and salty and lacking the same chalky mouth-feel I notice in other fetas. I don't think it tastes sheepy, but then, I don't regularly eat cow dairy, so I have no bovine standard. I do occasionally eat feta when in restaurants and I don't specify the animal milk it was made from (eating out with all of my self-imposed restrictions can be tricky enough, so I have a few gray 'don't ask, don't tell' areas), so it is probably cow and I always, always think it's bland.

As a quick side dish or mid-day snack, we sprinkle the feta on a sprouted wheat english muffin and toast it. I toss it over salads, add it to omelets, pizza. And all of those things are delicious.

But it wasn't until the other day, when I scrabbled together a fast green bean dish (okay, I confess: I found two half used bags of frozen green beans at the back of my freezer, forgotten for who knows how long, and dangerously approaching frostbit stage, and decided I needed to turn them into *something*) did I take my devotion to feta to a whole, new loopy plane.

I sauteed the green beans and a few minced garlic cloves up in a bit of coconut oil. I poured on some Bragg's (liquid aminos, if you're like me, you just say 'bragg's' to mean the product, not the brand name, even though they make other stuff, too, like cider vinegar) and a little water to keep everything from sticking to the cast iron pan, a little more bragg's, a little more water, and then, when they were tender and a little bit caramelized, into a pyrex bowl and I added a lot of crumbled feta. Stir together and eat in unbelievable bliss.

sauteed green beans w feta

This was really the accompaniment to the chickpea croquettes I made (off the cuff, sorta like falafels with ingredients at hand, but using fresh basil and almond meal instead of flour, for a really delicate texture) but I tell you: the green beans stole the show.

It was the sort of flavor combination I couldn't stop thinking about and had to replicate as soon as possible. Yesterday I took a bunch of fresh green beans from my local farmer's market and did the same thing and served it up to a visiting friend. We split the whole bowl and I think she found it just as delicious as I did.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

if i hurry, i'll have an hour

(goodwill run

I grabbed my keys and wallet and left the house in a rush last night, just before 8. The girl asked me where I was going and I said, "to a meeting of the secret society of crazy mothers". And it's trite, but true: thrift shopping is therapeutic for me. I know I've written all about it, but not recently, so I consider the subject due for a revisit. My daughter, of course, gave me that cockeyed screwy face that reads: I know what you're talking about, but do you know what a dork you are? And I do, I do know. But I'm so much more comfortable being a big dorky goofball (saying ridiculous things that can make my children belly laugh or incite the dramatic marriage of eye-rolling and the five syllable "mom", depending) than the short-on patience and humor alternative. The more fun I'm having, the more fun we all have (which is the reverse variant, I suppose, of the old "if mama ain't happy" line). But it takes some key components to cultivate my (usual, as pertains to my mothering) good spirits: adequate sleep, some alone time, and booze. Okay, not really the booze. Well, sometimes. No no. I mean, beer's not booze, right? Ha! See. Anyway, you know it's a secret society because the only attendee is me and and all the group talk happens in my head, in and among thumbing over all the stuff somebody else doesn't want anymore but which I, perhaps, might.

That's my haul from last night's goodwill trip. I went looking for fabric suitable for making a small bathroom curtain. As our first anniversary of closing on this property looms, maybe it's time to upgrade from the precariously hung-up beach towel. You think?

I didn't find the right fabric, but I did find a school desk for five dollars (we already have one school desk, but it's smaller, and, besides, who could say no to a school desk for a mere five spot? I'd like to paint it up art piece style and put in in the yard but the girl wants to use it. I guess we'll see. . .) and (yet another) plate to stash in my cupboard until I (finally) figure out what color to paint my living room and get around to hanging all the plates I've been collecting for a few years. Throw in a runner in my fave color combo (love that brown + orange), a calico apron with ric rac trim, and some clothes and a book, and I call that an hour (and about twenty bucks) well spent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

floats my boat

I've spent the last several weeks counting down the days (don't picture sharpie hatch marks filling my calendar, think peripheral glad awareness) of the season two debut of Mad Men. I thought it was coming on tonight, Tuesday the 22nd. But it won't air until this coming Sunday. I'm not even much of a television watcher, generally speaking, and this is the first cable program I've followed (minus, say, any we've rented in dvd form). Last Spring (late April '07) was the start of so much good and terrible. Moving back to Oregon: good! Staying in tiny, temporary apartment while househunting: Terrible! It was like camping in a crowded suburban apartment complex , with just a smidge of our belongings, both pets, and a flea infestation (oh, and there was a pregnacy loss and resulting complications, bad news!). Getting cable was our tiny, insufficient consolation prize. And Mad Men as a summer premier was such a decadent escape for me. I sunk into the storyline, the set design, the social implications of the era, all of it.

Last year I thought I was the only person watching this show and this year, it's everywhere! Only, not on my television tonight. Circumstance has exhausted the best of my patience and I'm in no mood to wait. So. I'll share the song that's stuck in my head these recent days. The last time I had a song stuck in my head it was Bon Iver's Lump Sum and I couldn't stop hearing it, humming it, feeling it for the bulk of our long, rainy Spring. Wait, actually, I probably still have that whole album stuck in my head, in a background music sort of way, though it's less simpatico with sunshine and freckles, for me, than with rain clouds and hot baths before bed.

No, my summertime song I can't stop wanting to sing is White Winter Hymnal from Fleet Foxes (who, I said elsewhere, I enjoy despite the unfortunate association I can't shake between the word 'fleet' and enemas and rental cars), which is fresh and jangly like a good summer song should be, even if it's about Winter (though it has summertime in the chorus). It's much more harmonic and campfire-song-y than what I think would be a typical 'summer song'. It's not so much drive at sunset, windows down, real fast, it's really more pedal your cruiser around the neighborhood in a late evening breeze. (Do you see everything in analogies, too?)

Monday, July 21, 2008

cape perpetua redux

This past weekend we rectified three accidental oversights, of the life-getting-in-the-way of Life variety: we went camping (it's been four whole years since our last tent sleep in the great outdoors), we introduced our boy to the ocean (at age 2! we have been amiss. our home is but an hour away) and the husband took one (but just one) vacation day off of work (after a year of more work than is good for anybody).


We've done more camping on the Oregon Coast than anywhere else in this great green state, so heading westward was, by default, the easy decision. The girl wanted Forest the husband desired Sea and the Oregon coast has the singularly beguiling combination of offering both. Fairy forests and ferns and old growth Firs and mossy carpets and a short trudge beyond: rock edges and sea sprays and driftwood.


Let it be known that I do not much care for the beach. So raw and salty and severe. I feel the weight of every lonely moment I've ever had chaffing my skin. And maybe, maybe I wouldn't feel this way on another beach. Maybe I should make clear that most of my coastal experiences have been in Oregon, craggy and windswept like some setting from an epic piece of British literature: the howling and roaring competing with heartbreak for loudest sorrow.

"the sea holds too many memories and all the sad ones end up here" -- my daughter

But I don't dislike it entirely. And I was absolutely game for our destination. But our destination, a non-reservable state campsite, just south of the central coast: solidly full. Oh dear! We turned back around, north on the 101, stopping in at every ground, hoping.


The national park site at Cape Perpetua had at least one tent site free. Hurrah! We made small talk with the camp manager. Most camp hosts are the monstrous motor home sort, the yappy dog and whirligig sort, the Good Sam sticker on the back sort. You know. But this woman is there with her husband and children (8!) in a converted old bus turned living quarters, summering in Oregon from New Mexico (New Mexico!). The husband double checked, so just that one last site remaining? And she said, Well, we do have this one other possibility. An old ampitheater area, you can't drive all the way in, it's really private, there's a fire ring, but no grate and no table, would you be interested? Would we? Yes!


It was such a relief. In one moment we went from feeling worried that we might not find a spot at all to ending up with a place so perfect we could not have expected better. Relief and gratitude.


And it was a lovely long weekend. Restorative and peaceful and invigorating and tiresome (that good tiresome that builds ones muscles and evens out the bumps beneath the camping pad).

my breakfast

We did all the usual: hiking and campfires and smushy attempts at sand castles. There were tired boy meltdowns (what happens the day after little legs hike for many miles) and stories read (at bedtime, something they both love and which characters and voices are as comfortable in my mouth as my own teeth: Winnie the Pooh. bah! to Disney for not being as respectful to this beloved Milne bear as he deserves) and a big girl so busy with the kind of creativity she's so so good at (like the long dry vine she fashioned into a hoop, secured with duct tape, and then made up 'hoop tricks' for hours).

they hike

I had plenty of quiet pondering time. Rocking in the camp chair, back and forth, at fireside thinking things like how much more fitting it would be, in the falling night chill, to share furtive sips of some warm hooch, or something with particular warming properties, from out of a flask from beneath the folds of a Pendleton blanket. But since I have neither flasks nor Pendleton blankets, it's common fleece and cold beer and no furtive passing anyway, just the kind of worn down, low-grade sparring that comes from being married nearly a dozen years and camping with two children.

camp coffee

I did a little reading of my own. Henry James' Daisy Miller, which I have not, I don't know how, ever read. I adore James and his descriptions and flouncy characters, a striking and fitting contrast to our voluntarily primitive surroundings.


Of course, it had been so long since our last camping trip that the routine felt stiff and new. I forgot a good lot of items that would have made the experience just that much more enjoyable. Like socks. It was entirely too cold at night for my feet to be bare and I'm so glad my guy thought better than I did and I was able to bum a pair off of him on night two. The temperature dropped down low enough that my sleeping bag failed to keep me warm. Of course, this might be due, in part, to my still night nursing boy and half-uncovered torso, my avoidance of tight spaces which keeps me from zipping up the whole way. It's a shame space is always such a premium, because I'd much prefer camping with a pile of quilts and blankets than with a thin bag crammed into a stuff sack. There is something about the nylon tent and the slick camping pad and the sleeping bag on top that makes for a slippy slidey sleeping arrangement, which, I confess does not exactly suit me. I might come up with a new set-up for next time (next time!).

setting out

But on the whole it was just right, just what we needed. I don't know if you're adept enough at reading between the lines (or if I've left enough width in the spaces for reading), but I don't use 'needed' lightly. And now we need to do it again. Soon!

cape perpetua

Monday, July 14, 2008

a monday manifesto

I believe molasses + cold milk over cereal (plain Joe's O's) is better than it sounds. Oh yes, and the milk is goat milk, fresh from the farm and unpasteurized. I admit to being skeptical, once, about drinking raw milk. And I wouldn't drink just any raw milk. And I suggest you be as discerning. But if you're drinking factory farmed milk, if it comes from sick animals leading stifled lives in unsanitary conditions, then I guess the more it's pasteurized the less blood and pus you'll have to drink and so that's probably preferable. But maybe you might want to wonder why there's so much blood and pus in your milk in the first place. Pasteurization kills bacteria, but why so much bacteria? And what else is it killing in the meantime? All the best of any reason you might be drinking milk in the first place. (that's what).

I believe in taking tastes of raw egg containing batter. Remember when we were kids and everybody licked the beaters? And then we worried about salmonella: licks of batter, tiny nibbles of dough, became fraught with risk, illicit. Now salmonella, e. coli seem as likely to infiltrate your chain restaurant salad bar as anywhere else. Where are your eggs coming from? We bought the best eggs I thought I could get in stores, cage-free, organic, the works, until I sourced a local product. And now we eat eggs laid from happy chickens, treated humanely and fed good stuff. I've baked for so many years without eggs, any animal products at all, that a lot of my baked goods are still egg-free, from habit. We tend to eat eggs more for their own eggy goodness. But I might use them in muffins or brownies and I do make an egg batter every week for French Toast Friday and if I inadvertently lick off a finger or what have you, I don't think twice about it. I'm not worried about getting sick. I do try to wipe the handles off of grocery carts, though, and I always open public bathroom doors with the hem of my shirt.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

early inheritance


do you have a tried and true solution for removing black machine grease from clothing?

i have this skirt. this really lovely, thin cotton skirt in the most pleasing shades of white and gray and green and yellow, stripes, with perfect side patch pockets. i thrifted this skirt many years ago but i've never worn it. the waist is tiny. i have hung the skirt in so many closets thinking that maybe my waist might be tiny someday and it would fit. i'm at the point where i'm not hoping tiny anymore, just crossing fingers for my old regular small-ish again. so i decided the other day i'd just cut the skirt up, turn it into an apron. i could add ties and wear it over pants.

but then i thought, hey, maybe it would fit my girl. she tried it on. yes. we have similar taste in style: she loved it. she wore it two days in a row. on the second day, she did something, i'm not sure, and now the circumference of the hem is covered in black grease.

i haven't touched it because i'm so upset about it. it was just a cheap secondhand skirt. i think it came from 'the bins' and would have been much less than a dollar. but i've had it all this time, see, and i've grown attached. to have it ruined so quickly is more than i can bear!

Friday, July 11, 2008

share the road


A few days after my guy spotted one of these limited plates -which benefit both Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Cycle Oregon- our plates came up for renewal. Truly we would have kicked in more than the ten bucks it cost to switch, because bicycle awareness is that important to us. But with such a reasonable fee, it was a simple decision. I'm surprised I'm not seeing more of these around. Maybe it's still early yet.

I don't commute by bicycle (we non employed types tend to work close to home) but my husband often does. And when he's hugging the shoulder of a rural highway, I sure hope all those logging trucks and tractor trailers and farmers in a hurry are mindful of his presence and share the road.

We ride, as a family, frequently for pleasure and purpose (quick trips to nearby stores or parks). The husband (with the boy on his handlebar mounted seat) takes the lead, the girl rides safe in the middle, and I am the blue schwinn caboose. We ride in bike lanes and avoid very busy roads, as much as possible, but it's likely that we'll still get in front of some a-hole who thinks it's okay to Honk from behind or pass us in an unsafe manner, slamming the gas pedal and screeching ahead. And I guess I don't much expect those people to change. I am sure there are folks who believe firmly that roads are for cars and bikes should stay off, but I'd like to hope that they will become the rare, astonishing exception. Because biking isn't going anywhere and is more commonplace than ever.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

i'll keep mentioning the sink until we replace something else

gratuitious sink shot

While the above gratuitous sink shot features cherries, it just as well could have been a picture of more strawberries. Will you believe that the very day after I bemoaned the end of strawberry season, my husband called me up with a request to glean from some top secret fields he knows?! We all went out one evening this week, after dinner, and brought home four gallons of the smallest, tastiest, reddest, ripest strawberries ever. They were a less hardy variety and, I confess, not a good match for my tendency to procrastinate the process of produce. (please excuse that riff of accidental lip smacking alliteration there). They didn't all make it through the washing, de-stemming, freezing routine, but our stash has grown considerably and I feel entirely prepared now to say goodbye to local strawberries for another year. How about that?

But now let me tell you about cherries. Cherries! I am thirty-two years old and I just discovered cherries. Which might strike you as incredibly sad or strange, but, if you happened to have been around during the winter 06 discovery of Pears (!) then perhaps you are not surprised.

This is what I'm doing and it's not an edict for the rest of you, it's just my personal philosophy: I'm going to assume that the more good food we have around the house, the more good food my kids will eat. And this is pretty much working out for us; which means, my kids have never made the acquaintance of Chef Boyardee but they're able to identify a slew of different mushrooms and they can, now, distinguish between a Ranier and a Bing. At the very least, they won't reach their third decade mistakingly dismissing all cherries based on a few early tastes of maraschinos.

It makes me wonder what else I might be missing out on. . .

Sunday, July 06, 2008

is that just me?

The bad news is: I think I missed strawberry season. And by missed, what I really mean is What? Gone already? Because we've been picking up pints of local berries every couple of days and we picked all those buckets full a few weeks ago to stock our freezer, so it isn't like we missed them at all. But it wasn't enough. We aren't ready to wait a Whole! Year! for more. They taste better, after all that waiting, but my! They sure were so sweet right now. My favorite summer treat, which tastes so fresh and perfect: red, ripe strawberries cut into halves or quarters, a generous dollop of plain yogurt, and then a whole lot of ground almonds on top. I regret not eating that more often. It should be an every single night indulgence, while it lasts.


The good news is: blueberries are here! and I have a new (secondhand) sink to wash them in.

new: berries, sink

(And the best news of all! A long and picture-heavy post ahead!)

So even though the kitchen sink was low on our list of potential home improvement projects, we couldn't help snagging a replacement recently at a nearby church rummage sale for a whopping five bucks. The faucet came from the secondhand building materials store in town (proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity) and the fittings and pipes and such came because sometimes fifty plus year old pipes are so corroded and rusty they just can't be salvaged and, thankfully, my not-a-plumber but earnest-and-capable-handyman husband was patient enough to make a lot of trips back and forth today to Lowe's.

he can do it

It's amazing what a difference the new sink makes. I try to be in the moment, grateful, chopping wood and carrying water despite the irritating little details that clutter my path. I try. But when one of those irritating details is suddenly erased, it's amazing what a difference it makes. I have a clean sink now! Shiny! Not rusty and stained brown, impervious, even, to the caustic kiss of bleach. It's deep enough and bigger on one side to hold so many dirty dishes! No more dirty dishes splayed halfway down the counter for lack of appropriate soaking space! It's wide enough to hold a casserole dish! The pizza pan can fit entirely! Really you must sense how excited I am! The sprayer nozzle works! I can pull it out and spray crumbs and such away! I don't have to splash water to the corners with my cupped hand anymore!

Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. I have wasted a lot of time in the last nine months hand washing dishes all the wrong way. The chore went so much more quickly tonight. And it feels so much better in there now.

But I don't want you to think all I do is moon over enamel (not cast iron enamel, like the old one, no, but apparently enamel over some kind of composite, which hopefully means fewer chipped dishes in my future) and moan about what little project might next revolutionize my life.

While the porridge cooked on the stove this morning, and the berries drained in the colander, I took pictures of the children.

The boy, who did not want to wait for breakfast but did want to wait to have his diaper changed, and he wallowed around on the chair, on both counts:


And the girl took up her customary position, at the table with pen(cil) and paper, an idea in her head, a story growing from her fingers, a hummy song on her lips. . .

above: drawing

. . .and cats on her lap (okay, just one cat, but she is a cat charmer, believe it, and it is a wonder that our sour old puss is tolerating the spry kitten now enough to be this close):

below: knees, cats

There was a busy day of watering yards and putting laundry away and reading and eating sugar snap peas sun-warmed and perfect right off the vine and reorganizing kitchen drawers and then, later, while the pizza dough was rising, a rousing family bicycle ride. We parked the bikes and trudged down a rough path to a precarious dock to the river. It was beautiful and we think we would like a canoe. (Although the one of us prone to motion sickness especially and not at all in favor of boats, in general, wonders if this is really a wise whole family endeavor or not).

from the dock

There was a steep hill on the return ride. I tend to like the hill + bicycle combination quite a lot on the downward journey. wheeee! As close as many of us may ever get to the sensation of flying, I imagine. I am less fond, you may guess, of uphill. I expected to have to walk the hill, pushing my heavy bike (it's a new-ish but clunky cruiser meant for riding with an upright carriage and nod-and-smile attitude toward the people I pass, and it is not, in any way, streamlined and designed for speed, which is fine because I like to smile and notice things and do not, at all, will not, ever, bicycle leaning forward and hunched down low to my handlebars). But guess what? I didn't have to stop and walk it and I made it up at an even, respectable pace AND so did the girl, who also was intimidated by the hill.

I punched down the dough and assembled the pizza as soon as we returned home. It was already closing in on eight, but it's so hard to adhere to dinner-time dinners in the summer in Oregon when it stays bright until past nine o'clock.

And then we ate, sunday night pizza, I've perfected the pizza sauce, after all these years of pizza making, and maybe getting a little bored with the weekly gig, changing up the sauce (of all things, the sauce!) is making such a difference. I get compliments now and they gobble it up and want more and there's not enough left for lunch tomorrow.

I remembered we were out of crushed red chili peppers. Did you know that I can't eat pizza without (a lot) of crushed red peppers? It must be genetic because my sister is the same way. We both have a predilection and a tolerance for Hot and Spicy that maybe edges a little on the weird and neurotic. Anyhow, we were out and the walk-to store was closed and did I really want to get in the car and drive somewhere for crushed peppers or skip the pizza or what? Or how about I just break into my secret stash. What? You don't keep a little emergency packet of crushed red peppers hidden in your wallet?

secret stash

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

and i feel fine

mopless mopping

I find myself tangled in cords in the middle of the night most nights, the price of falling asleep listening to my ipod. Recently, I got a little clamp lamp for the side of my bed, so I've resumed reading before bed sometimes. But I dislike waking up hours later with the light still on, my glasses crooked and shoved into the side of my head, the book fallen over, pages bent. So I listen.

The other night I fell asleep to the most recent To The Best Of Our Knowledge podcast, about It's The End Of The World As We Know It. And while I find all of the TTBOOK episodes compelling and interesting -so much so that I'm always thinking, oh! I should write in my little blog about that. But I never do- this one stuck especially in my head. I probably shouldn't have fallen asleep to the episode about peak oil and apocalypse, because I had a sleepless night plagued with nightmares. Overactive imagination or warning! warning! warning! ? It's hard to know. It's hard to know what is prudent preparation and what might not matter anyway. I don't think any of us wish to be caught the shivering grasshopper. But if the ants don't last much longer. . . ?

In the grand scheme of a world without oil, the hierarchy of importance shifts. Suddenly we're embracing tiny moments and whittling down our fluffy existence to the stuff that really counts. Suddenly things that raise my blood pressure now and have me wondering if it's beer o'clock yet -like my blasted nasty kitchen floor- seem so obscenely trivial.

I'm not anxious to start living a post-apocalyptic life early, but I am trying to not let the trivial stuff get the better of me. Because it really doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if my floors are spotty, if my sink is pitted and ever rusty, if my windows open the wrong direction (it pains me a little, ridiculously so, that I have side-to-side opening windows and not up-and-down opening windows). None of these irritants will survive in the face of global tragedy, so I might as well start letting them fade away now.

I've thrown the mop out all together. Every couple of days or so, I dump some water (with white vinegar and essential oil drops) on to the floor, throw an old dirty towel over the puddle, and scooch around. It's easier than mopping and the weight of me pressing into the rough surface of the floor pulls ground-in dirt out of all the little crevices. It is quick and cheap. To think a few weeks ago I almost bought an expensive steam cleaner, I was so frustrated! With all the dollars I saved on that, I can add more food storage to my End of the World stock. (ha ha, kidding. but not really).