The day I tossed a (firm) dog turd out of our bed, finished making that bed, and then went back to work without washing my hands I decided my definition of “clean” had changed.
But actually it’s not my definition, but my tolerance for uncleanness that has changed.
I might pretend to consider, say, dishes or clothes “clean” that in previous chapters of life, I wouldn’t have. It’s all relative.
When we lived in an apartment in PA we each had a mug that we used every day. I usually washed mine between coffee and tea since I don’t like those tastes to mingle. I don’t know how often Phillip washed his, but certainly our mugs went at least a week at a time without washing.
Then we were living with friends who have a dishwasher and tried setting aside our mugs each day to keep re-using. But when you’re running a dishwasher daily (or twice/daily) to keep a toddler’s home sanitized, you’re looking to fill up that dishwasher, so those mugs went in, too.
Without rain we have to filter water in two ways to have enough to wash dishes and hands. We’re buying all our drinking and cooking water since neither of our filter systems remove heavy metals and we have no idea what is in the water delivered by truck. With plenty of rain our system is a little simpler. I’m honing dish-washing methods and can do a batch with about 1 liter of water. But I prefer to use plenty of water now that the rain is here, especially since it’s all cold. And because otherwise I think I taste soap sometimes…
The roads are way too rough for our bike trailer (the dogs don’t like going in it anyway) so for awhile it was our dish drainer.
We have an official one now, further from the ground since the “clean” dishes were always getting dirt on them - especially when it rains and throws dirt on everything at least two feet from the ground.
Having literal dirt on things doesn’t seem “dirty” to me in this life - we wait for it to dry and brush it off dishes, clothes; we shake it out of our bed since our 24 feet bring a lot in with us. Now in the rainy season we live with mud, we live in mud, we are mud. We’ve started putting the matress cover over the whole bed (blankets and pillows too) once we ‘re up in the morning so the dogs and cats leave muddy prints on the cover rather than on our pillows.
If we had a washing machine and running water I know we’d wash our clothes much more often. Instead we wash our work clothes…well, about once every two months. Why bother? We’ll just get them dirty again!
I’m grateful to be an adaptable human. And grateful that we don’t have to walk hours each day to get water- millions of women around the world spend the bulk of their day hauling water. We haul buckets from one place to another, drag hoses around, bring water home from the city, but it’s not the only thing we do all day.