Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We were walkin' in high cotton

So I read my wife’s latest blog, and it turns out she has plans to blog about the pros and cons of cloth diapers. Well, little does she know that I’m going to beat her to it.
The idea of using cloth diapers first came to me during my Green Engineering Design class one day when a “Life Cycle Assessment” on cloth diapers was discussed. It turns out that although it takes water, energy, and detergent to use cloth diapers, it is still much better, environmentally, to go cloth. This is especially true if you use them for more than one child.
Dan and Natalie brought it to our attention that if a newborn uses 10 diapers a day (I will confirm/correct this number sometime in the next 4 months), you would go through 100 diapers in ten days, or 300 in a month. Even if you had a farm, and you used compostable diapers, you could not find a place to compost that many diapers!!! Another thing about the new compostable diapers is that, like many other compostable things that go into a landfill, they don’t decompose! This is mainly because land fills are almost completely devoid of oxygen which, beside bacteria, is all that is needed for decomposition.
Anyway, getting back to cloth diapers… I have realized that even if Valerie does just half the laundry, it will be a lot of work to do with a little boy who can’t be left alone upstairs in our apartment, so I gave her the choice on what we will do for diapers.
It looks like she is going to give the cloth a try. Kudos for your enthusiasm Val!
My personal opinion on the issue, is that we need to choose our battles. We would die of eco-legalism if we analyzed every choice to such a degree as it pertains to the environment. However, I think this is a good battle to fight. I have done an internal “sensitivity analysis” (if you aren’t a modeling nerd, I mean I have decided which battles will have the most impact) and I think this is a really big impact. Imagine any part of the created world, piled with 1000 dirty diapers, uncompostable for like a thousand years. I don’t want it in my back yard, and it’s really just wild that our solution is land filling. Land, and specifically soil, is the source of our fertility and, when done in scale, is the proper destination of our waste. Do we really have the hubris or ignorant arrogance, as a culture, to both sentence and punish a certain place and its soil to uselessness until the Kingdom actually comes?
Now, I need to say that I have no disrespect for ANYONE using disposable diapers. I have only changed one diaper in my life, and I have never washed a whole load of dirty ones. In addition, we all live in a culture that deems our waste disposal system completely normal. I have never, ever, looked at a child in disposable diapers and had a negative thought, except that poop is gross. Plus, I was ecstatic to see that Henry Kee was a garbage man for Halloween…prolly my favorite Halloween costume ever, except when Jim was a three-hole punch.

I do happen to have a solution to the diaper issue. If one of you gives me, say, one hundred g’s, I’ll start a company making anaerobic digesters that turn all the carbon in disposable diapers to natural gas. Then the rest can be sold as a soil amendment. We will make a billion, or maybe even a million dollars. Seriously.
I’ve got to go. Val is meeting me downstairs to talk to a lady who sells cloth diapers at the farmer’s market. Ha! Farmer’s market. What a couple of bleeding heart hippies.
And just to give myself an out, Val recommends that I tell you we are willing to change our plan on diapers. If we decide to go disposable, well, I guess there’s no hiding it at that point, so you’ll know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mutant sunflower seeds

In the light of this past weekend's events, it is meet and right to start off by mentioning that we Gators will officially play for the SEC title this year. Now on to other thoughts...

Valerie and I, along with Natalie, Dan, and Tug (sister, brother, and dog-in-law of mine) made our way down to historic Tampa, Florida this weekend for Valerie's first baby shower! Well, like always it is a great time going to Tampa. The highlight of the trip for me was a fishing trip Dan and I went on during the shower. We didn't catch any fish...and no buzz, but after two handfuls of salty sunflower seeds, I had a random sore throat. I figured it was from the salt, what it actually was, it seems, is that someone inoculated these sunflower seeds with this year's version of the common cold, because that's what I have now.

In other news, we had a newborn baby care class tonight at North Florida, where Carver will be born. I will admit, I have changed only one diaper in my whole life, and that was just a couple months ago. (It was Jack James'). Nevertheless, I am ready to tackle caring for a newborn head on! On a similar note, we were driving back to Gainesville and I started thinking about how the next time Valerie and I will be free to pack up and go for the weekend will be when our youngest child is 18 (yeah yeah, I know we'll be able to get away, but from now on we will ALWAYS have a child somewhere). FYI, I'll be 44 when Carver graduates high school. Granted, that is still young, but what it really made me realize is that life is so fast. I'm so thankful that God's plans for us extend past 80 years or so. Here is a news-flash for you'ins who don't have a pregnant wife, kids, or both, you will realize some s%*t when your wife gets pregnant. I don't mean that this is bad in any way, it is just amazing how much your perspective changes with your circumstances.

I have the day off work tomorrow, because I work at the V.A., and it is Veteran's Day. There are three things I would like to do for my day off...
1) I'd like to finish a Sturgeon hatchery I started this summer at my lab.
B) I'd like to somehow honor some vets.
- Steve and Jon and I are going to brew some spiced holiday ale with our wives.

Now its time to pack up some books, so we can give Dan and Natalie our book shelf. If you are interested, right now I am reading To Kill a Mockingbird and The Way of Ignorance, by Wendell Berry.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

...for which it stands...

If you read my last post, you will notice that I've deleted it. You deserve more of an explanation for who I voted for. Until I write that down, the rest of you don't get to know who got my vote, which is better anyway.