THOSE napkins~ nerdy and practical!

Okay, so last night I had a slight accident in the yard.  Well, I guess it wasn’t slight.  I really dinged up my shin pretty good.  A piece of iron fell and scraped a few layers of skin off. At first I though it was just a nasty scrape but the pain got worse and the blood began to pour and I was hastily making my way inside.  I’m a bit squeamish with things like that~ I really don’t want to look at all.  I cleaned it up and quickly opened up the first aid drawer for a dressing.  Unfortunately the size of this gash was more than my selection of bandaids could handle.  I had gauze and first aid tape but I know all too well that putting gauze on a wound like that is a recipe for disaster when it dries.  I was running out of options while the blood ran down my leg.  And there, in the same drawer were neatly wrapped little blue packages. Bingo!  I opened up one of those puppies and it was a perfect fit! A few wraps of tape to secure it and I was pretty darn proud of myself.  Well, that is until I looked down and realized that I had a panty-liner on my leg.  Oh well, off I went back out to help with yard clean-up.  My husband had the strangest look on his face when he saw me.  I wonder why? I mean, they SAY “Sanitary Napkins”.  Isn’t that what we’re going for when dressing a wound? Sanitary?   And suddenly, I knew.  I am a nerd.  Not just any nerd but a soon-to-be 40 year old nerd. The kind you see in grocery stores and at the post office.  The mothers who have been embarrassed SO many times by screaming toddlers, puking babies, poopy infants at the Sears photographer studio(yes, it happened), lippy pre-schoolers,  and hormonal pre-teens that they have long since dropped their pride in the doorway and sailed on the good ship: “I don’t care”.  *Sigh*  It happened so fast.  I didn’t see it coming.  The sweat pants with yesterday’s spaghetti stains and the t-shirt with a couple stains~ whatever. I can wear that out for a quick errand or two? Right? Why can’t I?

I suddenly feel for those poor women on What Not to Wear.  The ones where they are secretly video taped wearing all manner of hideous outfits in all kinds of routine situations.  I mean, they’re not hurting anyone, are they?  You just…sort of….let go.  Ahh yes….I’ve let myself go.  Somewhere between c-section number 1 and 4 I realized that you can’t be pretty all the time.  And certainly not with a group of 1st year residents looking at your ……umm…….”incision”.  Ya, I learned after the first time to just turn my head, avoid eye contact and pretend they were looking at my darling baby.  Ha!

Ya, well, back to good ole maxi-pads.  Here’s the thing~ my mom was a single mother with a very limited income. AND she had 3 teenage daughters! oh the inhumanity!  Shopping was a lesson in frugality and pathetically inferior products all in the name of saving money. We only ever bought the bulk pack of maxis.  Yes, in the 80’s that meant the big blue box of 72 LARGE, fluffy pads at Safeway. With the very bold yellow text that said 72 Sanitary Napkins.  Oh how I wished we could buy the much smaller Kotex pack.  But no, there were 4 of us and we needed as many as that box supplied.  The poor check-out bagger boys…there was no way for that to fit in a bag.  I so wish it would have.  We lived down the street from our local grocery store and that meant pushing the cart home.  Yes , the cart with all of the groceries and the big blue box announcing to all the neighbours that Aunt Flo had come to visit. Humbling, to say the least.

In my early years, I didn’t understand the label: Sanitary napkins.  I didn’t get why we had them, what they were for and why we needed so many.  Years later, upon hearing the story of the little girl who carefully laid one at each place setting for Sunday dinner, as everyone else laughed I secretly pondered how that could have easily been me.  Why else call them a napkin?

Our big blue box was not discreet~ it could barely be stored in our bathroom cabinet. Each “pad” was not wrapped and folded as we have today. They were simply carefully stacked and packed in a cardboard box like SOS or Scouring Pads.  Yes, utility pads they were and along with that, the stigma of something less than glamourous.

When I became a mother, these utilitarian essentials took on many new uses.  For example, did you know that if you run out of diapers one or two maxis will do the trick for a couple hours?  And if you have little boys who are potty training, a carefully placed pad will suffice and save tons of moola on the pull-ups! 🙂  I know, it’s pretty dorky….but how much more practical a use for a SANITARY NAPKIN?

And then there was the dreaded c-section incisions.  Some were good, some not so good.  The more babies I had , the more active I was and desperate times really did call for desperate measures.  I often wore one or two LONGs  straight across my lower abdomen to protect my clothes.  Well, it worked and once again…..nerd meets practicality!

I’m sure there are many of you reading right now who have stumbled on to other uses:  a fluffy Barbie mattress perhaps? , rip one apart and you have cotton balls in a pinch!, or in case of a spill on your carpet do you know that the extra-absorbency power is JUST the ticket? It really is!  I’m telling you, buy bulk and you’re set for all manner of emergencies…and first aid too.  Just, uh, don’t go pick up your daughter in front of her friends while wearing shorts to expose your um…”bandage”…..hee hee….oops.(Okay, well, good thing she came out to the van and I didn’t have to go to the door!)

So, here I am, a large slice on my leg and nothing more appropriate than a sanitary, full-coverage pad to do the job of several bandages.


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