There’s paperless. And then there’s EW!

On the bus this morning, I noticed that photo in the PG and the photo went with a story entitled:  “Paper cutter:  Wilkins mom goes to great lengths to make paperless household work.”

So I went to the caption thinking I’m going to read about how right there in this picture she is sewing maybe some homemade book covers for the kids, or maybe a change purse, or a children’s book, or a fanny pack.  In fact, you could ask me to stick ANY WORD into this sentence “She is sewing _________________” and I would run through words like “a refrigerator” or “hate mail to Marian Hossa” or “howler monkeys” before I would ever get to the REAL word that completes that caption:

An expert seamstress, Mary Beth Karchella-MacCumbee makes paperless products in her home workshop. Here she is stitching menstrual pads.

[thud].  I stifled a laugh then looked sheepishly around the bus after the sudden guffaw and bowed my head to my paper as my seatmate looked quizzically at me.

It immediately got better/worse:

But surely there’s got to be toilet paper, right? Not for this family. There’s no paper towels, facial tissues or toilet paper. Instead, she sews cloth personal wipes out of hemp velour, cotton flannel, cotton velour or bamboo fleece.

What?   NO TOILET PAPER?!?!  Not even after Granny goes in there and does some wild nasty green goo?  Not even if someone has diarrhea? (sidenote:  spellcheck suggested “beforehand” in place of my misspelled “diarrhea”)

Used personal wipes go into a waterproof bag and then are emptied into a diaper pail. From there they’re washed and used again.

My mouth dropped open and I turned to my seat mate, “I’m sorry. This is offending my delicate sensibilities.  Can you imagine the STINK during the diaper pail to washer transfer!?”  My seatmate pretended to fall asleep.

One of her friends in Michigan sells crocheted cotton tampons and panty liners made of hemp, cotton and organic velour from an Internet Web site.

CROCHETED COTTON TAMPONS?!  That you insert into your body?  Then remove?  THEN WASH AND USE AGAIN?!  My seatmate looked concerned as I kept saying, “What?  What.  WHAT?!?!” to my newspaper.  Like it held the answers.  I read on.

“I’ve gotten three years out of my first set of [menstrual] pads,” she said,

And that’s when I knew.

I’m on Candid Camera, aren’t I?

Also, girls, here’s some pretty tampons for you to look at and imagine inserting into your vagina, ONLY after praying to the Gods of Toxic Shock Syndrome.



  1. Sarah
    September 5, 2008 8:35 am

    100.Summer said …

    Suck it up, get over and MOVE FORWARD.

    Does this mean we can drink!? I’m going to Mad Mex for lunch and a Big Azz rita sounds pretty good…

  2. workingmama
    September 5, 2008 9:16 am

    I’m so confused now – is BACmom/Menstrual Mom the lady from the article?

    And why is she talking about Ostomy bags in comparison to the grossness of her poo? Am I missing her point there?? It seemed like a random topic in the middle of her post…

    The article was about her natural paper products including cloth personal wipes which the article leads us to believe is for wiping your bum after you do a number 2 and then she washes and re-uses them? In my opinion and in the opinion of others on this board – that’s just gross. I’m sorry if she doesn’t like my opinion, but that’s why it’s mine and according to the Constitution of the United States, I am free to speak my mind in whatever forum I want to thank you very much!!

    On a side note – I’ve known people that have had ostomoy bags – when you think about them, they are gross, especially when they accidentally burst in public as what happened to a classmate of mine in the 8th grade – but those people that had them didn’t have them by choice, but by medical necessity. Unless I have misinterpreted the article, which I went back and re-read this morning after reading all the posts – this woman chooses to wipe her bum with a re-usable cloth wipe. And some of us think that’s gross. So to try to compare her grossness to the grossness of someone who had to have a medically necessary poo bag (as I affectionately call them) – it’s just doesn’t make sense.


  3. Carla
    September 5, 2008 9:23 am

    Kind of sad this much anger is directed towards something so silly. Everyone needs to chill and have a cocktail.

  4. CriticExtraoordinaire
    September 7, 2008 8:37 am

    Just found this thread as I am a newbie to The Burgh Blog.

    After I wretched my breakfast over the thought of this thread’s subject matter, it occurred to me that Pittgirl is doing us all a public service with The Burgh Blog. Too bad Seinfeld is still not in production, he coulda done an episode based on this thread alone. :-)

    I see the glass as half full here. It is long overdue for Pittsburgh to shed its heavy industrial steel image. The lady from Wilkins could well be our next Henry Clay Frick or George Westinghouse.

    Let’s EMBRACE her craft as our new regional identity. I say rename our local football team the Pittsburgh Tampons, replace that dreary black and gold with red and… um… white. The Pirates could have Butt Wipe Day, where reusable cloth TP, bearing the logo of the Philadelphia Phillies, (or Barry Bonds) would be handed out. Bring your own Ziploc® bag.

    Cleveland subsequently copies our success, and launch an entire industry devoted to recycling used Saran Wrap® into green condooms. The Rust Belt is saved.

    Mrs. MacCumbee will be having the last laugh when her enterprise takes the country by storm and 100 years from now people will wonder what all the stink was about. ;-)

  5. pittgirl
    September 7, 2008 9:11 am

    I often feel sorry for readers that are new to my blog, because I imagine it is a very confusing place to be at first.