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When the kids were small, as regular readers know, they suffered from allergies — to foods, to outdoor trees, plants, grasses, dust, some fabrics, hairy pets. They had extremely sensitive skin — delicate English roses they were…except they weren’t English. When it comes right down to it, they were probably allergic to more things than they weren’t allergic to. If I could have put them all into a bubble, I would have. Imagine, my own flock of bubble babies!

The most common complaint from them was : “I’m itchy, Ma.” They scratched themselves raw. ( A close second was “It’s too bunchy!”  or “It’s lumpy!”when being forced to wear snow suits for the cold weather.) Judging by the looks they got from other people, the fear was that they had bugs or coodies of some sort that might spread. It wasn’t bugs. If anything, it was because they were TOO clean — it was often a reaction to laundry detergents.

It took me a long time, but I finally found one that didn’t make them itch. It was President’s Choice detergent with no perfumes or dyes…’Nature’, I believe they called it. For lo these many years I have used it. Everyone was happy. Scratch that, no pun intended. When Crazy D and L’il Sis entered the world of hippies and unicorns and vegans, they rebelled against my ‘corporate sellout’ and started using hippie-dippy soap. Gill and I are of one mind that, although it doesn’t smell and doesn’t cause rashes, it also doesn’t clean! So two warring camps have emerged in our house.

Imagine my horror when I went to the store this week to buy my P.C. detergent — only to find it didn’t exist in its old format. The only way I could buy it was in ‘new, improved, convenient pods’. I lost it…

I have railed against the slothful nature of people who use Keurig coffee pods. Are you really too lazy to spoon coffee from the tin into your coffeemaker by hand? And don’t you feel even the tiniest bit guilty about throwing all those non-biodegradable pods into the landfill? Now the powers that be want us to add detergent pods to the mix? Really? We’re too stupid to measure our own detergent? Well, I might have to plead guilty on that one since I still have not successfully made the change from Imperial measurement. But I still would make the effort.

When Tide started selling its detergent in pods, kids mistook them for colorful candy and tried to eat them. And why wouldn’t they? They look like fat gummy bears! So what did we end up with?  Poisoned kids! So why is it that so many things are being sold in ‘pods’ now? Next thing we know, breakfast cereal will come in pods. Or Big Macs in pods.One more way we are being separated from our environment: press this button, pick this pod, plug in, tune out…

Meantime, while I’m ranting about detergent in pods, Gill has her own issues with British detergent. She tried to replicate the detergent I use here but couldn’t. She relived her childhood agony with rashes while trying out various kinds of cleaning products and was finally forced to go the hippie-dippy soap route. L’il Sis and Crazy D were thrilled to have her back on ‘their side’ again. But all was not well in hippie land. She didn’t itch but she also wasn’t clean. When she was still a student, it wasn’t a big issue. The unkempt look was de rigeur. Now that she is in the real world and has to look semi-professional , cleanliness matters. And now that she is officially a delicate English flower, she is revisiting her  battle with the itchy-scratchies. With that hint of her current War of The Rashes,  I will leave you to ponder her fate with the British laundry detergent. Tune in tomorrow for her trials and tribulations.