My favorite time of year

Autumn is my favorite season, but not because of pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters and boots and turkey-day and a thousand other things people like about autumn. 

Nope, with me it’s more macabre than that.

I like autumn because that’s the time of year when the world is dying. That sense that the world is dying really speaks to something inside of me that has always felt a little bit lost, a little bit drawn to the dark and depressing in life.

As I look at these pictures, I see parallels to the kinds of clothing I’m drawn to. The color palette is definitely similar, all greys and browns and dirty. The bits of tree that are broken off and lying on the ground remind me of the shredded sweaters and shot-up jeans I like to wear. It’s a bit similar to what I’m drawn to for my house: a hodgepodge of dun colored bits and bobs plucked randomly from the world around me; the dusty, dirty feeling; the stark essential of the bare trees whose leaves don’t block my view of the open sky; the shadows trying to intrude into the sunlight…

Maybe it’s my lizard brain getting ready to hibernate for the winter, or maybe I’m just weird.  Whatever it is, I really like this time of year.

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I never thought I’d hear myself say….

…that I miss state toothpaste.

State toothpaste is that wonderful, multipurpose substance issued to guests of the gated communities that the government uses to manage the lives of those who’s lives have become unmanageable. I was one of those people before I got clean. State toothpaste is made by the Bob Barker Company. No, not that Bob Barker from “the price is right”; just some dude with the same name somewhere in the Carolinas or somewhere like that.

State toothpaste is good for many things, including (but not limited to): brushing one’s teeth, gluing stuff to cinder block walls, treating pimples, taking paint off of metal bunks, cleaning one’s sneakers, and bleaching one’s clothes. Bonus points for whoever figured out that the best way to clean your whites in the gated community is to take state soap, state toothpaste, and the blue wrapper from a package of rolling papers; make a paste with it, and pretreat any spots; then the remaining paste gets watered down until it is the consistency of liquid detergent and used to wash said whites.

This morning,  I realized that I need to clean my shoes and boots. Most of my sneakers have white soles, and the white was no longer white. 

Since I’m not willing to revisit the gated community to get some state toothpaste, my best free-world alternative is Pepsodent toothpaste. However, with the gas crisis happening in the state of Texas thanks to Harvey, I’m not driving to town for Pepsodent toothpaste. 

So I broke out the next best alternative.

I used baking soda to make a paste.

I used the paste to clean a pair of my sneakers.

I’ve still got all the other pairs left to clean, and I’m bored with the task already. However, I need to make my shoes last so I can take the money I would have spent on new shoes and use it to buy some things for the house. I’ll finish cleaning my sneakers with baking soda, then I’ll bust out the leather cleaner, leather conditioner, and leather sealer; and I’ll deal with my boots.

There’s something calming in the simplicity and repetition of the task, at least; and I can take comfort in knowing that I’m being responsible and not adding to a glut of used clothes and shoes flooding charity shops and resale stores and African villages and whatever else they do with all those things we donate to feel better about ourselves.

Final note:  I’m not judging anybody who does donate stuff to charity shops, because I do it too. It’s definitely better than tossing things into a landfill. I’m just trying to do my part to stem the tide of cast-offs from so much consumption.  If you like to stay on top of the latest trends, that’s great (I really mean that, I get it, I like clothes and shoes too); just be sure to donate the cast-offs so they don’t wind up in landfills. Even the torn and ruined garments don’t go to a landfill when donated, they get sold to textile recyclers.

Composting class

Mr B has a friend that is pretty knowledgeable about composting. This guy has invented a large-scale tumbling composter, and he’s found a freegan spool to make an even larger version of it for me.

I can’t reach all the way to the top. That’s how big this thing is!

Side note: this guy says we’re almost composting on an industrial scale, what with all that backdoor fruit my boss sends home with me. Whoa.

I got to pick his brain about composting. He says my compost heap stinks because it’s gone anaerobic.  It’s gone anaerobic because I haven’t been putting enough brown in it. Brown is stuff like sawdust, wood chips, rotten sticks. He and Mr B had some cellulose left over from one of their product testing experiments, and Mr B and I tossed it into my compost heap. I’ve been instructed to keep my ratio of brown to green roughly equal.

This morning, I went out and added some newspaper and egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel cores, and plain brown paper from deer feed bags to the old compost heap and started a new one with our household compost bucket contents and more of the paper products.

Sunday, when I go to work, I guess I’ll be doing my boss a favor by cleaning up all of the wood chips all and bits of bark around his firewood stacks so I can at least start trying to match the amount of backdoor fruits & vegetables I bring home.