Once when I was about 15 years old, I was babysitting two little boys. One of them threw up in a small windowless bathroom downstairs. I tried to clean the vomit before their Mom Mary Ann got home, but every time I went in to clean, waves of nausea overtook me and I had to go running out of the bathroom. I really wanted to clean it up as I felt it was part of my duty as a babysitter. I also wanted to do it for Mary Ann, as she was really nice AND she paid $10/hour at a time when most of my customers only paid me half that much!
Unfortunately I just couldn’t do it. When Mary Ann came home, I repeatedly apologized about the mess. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, “God prepares you for this as a mom by starting you out with the little baby spit ups and then works you up to this.”
(You’re probably wondering why I’m starting a blog about my CSA experience with a story about vomit. Bear with me.) I got to the farm bright and early this morning and was set up with some work to do in the greenhouse. Some flats of broccoli, cauliflower, watermelon cucumbers (can’t wait to see these!) and lettuce needed to be fertilized. To do this, I would need to pour approximately 4 tablespoons of concentrated Alaskan fish emulsifier fertilizer into a watering can, fill it with water, and then pour it onto a metal-topped table. Then I’d need to lay the flats down in the fertilized water and let them soak up the nutrients from the bottom up.
As the plants were soaking, I’d be on the other side of the table doing some transplanting. After about half an hour, I would take the flats–dripping with stinky wet fish juice–and put them back where they belong and start over again with some other flats.
This wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that I really, really hate fish smell. I’m sure there are very few people in the world that actually like that scent; but for me, it’s on the list of top 5 worst smells. I also don’t care for seafood so I can’t even appreciate it in that sense. “I’m sure you could have asked to do something else,” said my friend Karen when she showed up to work.
No, I don’t want to be that much of a wimp! I hate the smell but the job needs to be done and I was there to work so I could endure. The worst was moving the fertilized flats back to their tables while they dripped fish-water down my arms. But I could do it!
After all, I am a Mom now. And Mary Ann was right…after years of stinky diapers, spit up, diaper pails, vomit, etc. I was prepared. I now know how to just turn off my sense of smell and attend to the job at hand, whether it be clean up a bathroom full of vomit or fertilize a bunch of plants with fish emulsion. But I sure did need a good shower when I was done…after all I’d be seeing other people after the farm and not all of them have developed the ‘turn off your nose’ skill!