Thursday, January 24, 2013

Have a seat. I'll make you some bread while I crochet you some new underpants out of recycled bread wrappers

I hate to admit it and I resisted as long as I could, but folks, I fell prey to The Pinterest.

(By the way, I am following the Code of the Midwest and probably for the South, too, that some nouns must always be preceded by "The" in order to sufficiently convey their importance. For example, The Walmart, The YouTube, The Sonic, The Diarrhea. You must always capitalize both words, in writing and in speech. It's a real rule. Look it up.)

Anyway, I heard the hullaballoo over The Pinterest and I thought, "No way it's as awesome as everyone says it is and therefore I shall resist." And I'd hear people talking about their homemade laundry detergent and see these amazing party decorations and wreaths of every shape, size and make-up for every imaginable holiday or occasion and think, "Nope, still not jumping on that crafty bandwagon of crazy," and then carry on with my life. I mean, some days it's all I can do to keep the children alive and not burn the house down myself, much less create homemade salsa and gluten-free tortillas. In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!"

Abby got to where virtually every sentence the child spoke began with, "OH MY GOSH, the other day on Pinterest I saw..." or "MOM! I totally saw this thing on Pinterest where you..." and would go into an excitedly animated speech about the scarf made out of old t-shirts or the headband made from "upcycled" six pack rings and expired medication (I totally made that second one up.) (Or did I...) and I would smile and nod and think, "My child is a crafty lemming zombie," and then carry on with my life. Then my cousin, Courtney, whom I was babysitting for at the time, came in one morning wearing an adorable scarf made from t-shirts and was going on about the wonderful-ness of The Pinterest and she thought she could get me an invitation (yeah, we're talking about back in the beginning where it was an exclusive club for the crafty-est of crafters) and I said, "No, thank you, but I do love your scarf!" And I did love her scarf. I just didn't have time for crafting what with all the other really important stuff I was doing at the time which included watching her son, but for the life of me I can't think of much else I was doing back then....but still, I didn't have time for crafting. Or homemade laundry soap. Or The Ultimate Valentine's Day Party Decorations made entirely of those little slivers of soap no one will use. Or a necklace holder made out of an old yard rake.

And then one day I looked.

Just a look. I typed in the dreaded URL www.pinterest.com and I looked. First off, it didn't look threatening in any way, my soul still felt intact, but all I saw were just rows and rows of picture after picture. Most of those pictures weren't even of crafts. There were a ton of Channing Tatum and some of those snarky eCards and photos of seascapes and mountainscapes and tablescapes. I saw one t-shirt scarf and no garden rakes. I was confused as all get out.

Something seemed amiss, so I quickly closed the browser and decided to cleanse my brain with some Facebook stalking browsing. Soon The Pinterest once again became something I heard people talk about and still held no interest in joining. Besides, Abby was out of invitations.

Then I heard through the grapevine that The Pinterest Powers That Be had opted out of crafting exclusion and had just opened it all up for any Suzy, Jane or Martha Stewart-wanna be to join. Still, I didn't want to be so .... cliche' by joining. I mean, I kind of pride myself on going against the crowd whenever I can. I mean, I liked black nail polish before everyone liked black  nail polish. That right there makes me cool. So I still resisted The Pinterest even though ALL my friends were doing it. Well, I have like three friends and actually none of them were on it, but ALL of other people's friends were doing it and I wasn't having any of that.

So here I sat with no t-shirt scarves, no faux-paneled walls, no belly detox slim-down drinks ("Straight from Dr. Oz!"), no pins, no boards, no copycat Sonic Cherry Limeades, no baby shower centerpieces shaped like a tractor and made entirely of diapers, no flourless chocolate cake, no refinished kitchen countertops and definitely, definitely, definitely NONE of THE PINTEREST.

Then you know how sometimes you're just sitting around avoiding some major task like housework or fixing dinner and the internet is having like a super unexciting day where Twitter is boring and Facebook is annoying and even though you've refreshed it a hundred times, no one is sending you any emails? And you have played Spider Solitaire, read about the actor who played Buckwheat on the 1990's movie Little Rascals, organized all of your church camp photos, cleared your brower's cache, changed your desktop background and still don't want to go make dinner? And you decide to re-type your Christmas card list and create a spreadsheet for this year's taxes even though tax season is like, eight months away? And then you accomplish all those things and you still just don't want to fix dinner?

That was when The Pinterest got me. I was avoiding work and boom, I was suddenly a Pinterest user.

I downloaded the app first and found it engaging. Then I checked out the actual website.

Did you know you can find approximately 458,792,444,201 pinned recipes for Cracker Barrel's Hashbrown Casserole on The Pinterest? They're all the real thing. Just ask each person who pinned it. You can also find the "only" way to poach an egg, make a single-serving microwave brownie in a coffee mug and yes, make scarves out of t-shirts. Also, skirts, headbands, bulletin board border, socks, stuffed animals, tutus, quilts, wall hangings, baby slings, purses, toddler rompers, wreaths, bracelets, necklaces, vests, bibs, pillows, baskets, and rugs from t-shirts. Seriously, when the zombie apocalypse finally happens it won't be Twinkies or bottled water we're all killing each other for - it will be t-shirts.

I've had to cut myself back from the rapid onset addiction that ensued after that first fateful day, simply because our internet bandwidth is capped each month and we've discovered that because The Pinterest is so image-heavy, it was sucking our bandwidth down like crazy. That is actually a very good thing. It keeps me from spending all day, err' day in front of the computer in my upcycled t-shirt pajama pants and t-shirt scarf and headband set, pinning recipes for homemade Mod Podge, marshmallows and mayonnaise. I check it once a day, pin what catches my eye since the last time I checked it and then go about my business.

It's a controlled addiction.

I've discovered Black Magic Cake (so to die for it's not even funny), the most amazing beef tips and gravy recipe, cinnamon roll cake (yes, seriously), TONS of homeschool resources and am systematically ridding my home of chemical-laden cleaners. I am not even joking when I say I am saving money, learning a lot and making the most of what I have in my house without having to buy unnecessary things.

I also now have a heartfelt, deep and meaningful relationship with baking soda. And vinegar is my new BFF. Now, when we have a cleaning day (or "Home Ec" day to us homeschoolers), the house smells like tea tree oil (a natural germ-killer!) and the showers have never been so white (thanks to baking soda!). Abby's allergies are better and she isn't continually broken out in hives. Our grocery bill has dropped. We spend more time together. We aren't eating as much junk and the "junk" I do make is preservative free and made with love. Everybody needs more of that. Love, not preservatives.

Sam, my outspoken 14 year old, calls me a hippie. He says it's not fair we have to do without store-bought Oreos now that I've pinned a recipe for homemade ones and one of these days will get around to trying it out. He hated the fact that when I attempted to make homemade body wash, the house smelled like Irish Spring for a week until I finally gave up on the non-sudsing jellied mass lurking in my stock pot and dumped it all out. He doesn't care much for the fact that his sister and I are constantly concocting, creating and collaborating, but I think he's starting to warm to the merits of it because the dude is a junior prepper (Doomsday Prepper for those not as neurotic and paranoid in the know as we are) and I've been sharing some tips and how-to's on how to survive when the zombies attack and the government is thrown into anarchy and we all have to learn the value of a good head shot and the boy is reluctantly intrigued.

It won't be long and he'll be right there with the rest of us, crocheting himself a machete holder out of his old t-shirts and discussing the proper way to create fire-starters from dryer lint and candle wax.

We'll bring him over to the Pinterest side before long. In the meantime, I'll just keep pinning those "authentic" Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole recipes and saving used dryer sheets and soap slivers while I wait for him to wake up and smell the tea tree oil.




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