Fly Diapers. God, I’m Old.

Monday afternoon I was contemplating diapers for house flies, and that’s when I realized I’m getting old.

It’s complicated.  Let me explain:

We have a little acreage outside the city, with a tiny decrepit forty-year-old travel trailer on it.  The trailer’s only features are a primitive propane furnace and a queen-size bed we shoehorned in after sacrificing all the original interior partitions and fittings.  A toilet is not one of its luxuries, so I built an outhouse.

I don’t like dark, icky outhouses, so ours has a clear roof for natural light, a battery-powered overhead light for nighttime use, and a rainwater collection system that gravity-feeds a small sink so we can wash our hands.  Thanks to strategies I won’t describe here, it doesn’t even stink (most of the time).

The deluxe outhouse

The deluxe outhouse

There are only two of us, so it’s not a big deal to keep it clean.  I regularly evict spiders and sweep out the inevitable pine needles and dead leaves we track in, but that’s about the extent of my chores (other than occasionally scrubbing it just because it’s an outhouse and I’m a weirdo clean freak).

That is, until this week.

This week the flies from hell arrived.  I don’t know what they’ve been eating, but these are sick, sick flies.  Usually fly shit looks like little black specks.  These flies dumped brown and yellow splotches the size of a pencil eraser.  Or larger.  Sometimes much larger.  Large enough to dribble when they hit a vertical surface…

It looked as though someone had taken a baby with explosive diarrhea and twirled the poor suffering child around and around inside our outhouse before fleeing the scene of the crime.

It was disgusting, and I spent a good half-hour scrubbing it all clean again before griping to Hubby about the pressing need for fly diapers.

And that’s when I realized it.

I’m old.

In mid-August thirty years ago (okay, maybe a little more), I was portaging and paddling through the beautiful network of lakes in the rocky Canadian Shield country around Kenora, Ontario.  I carried all my food, clothing, and cooking tools in my backpack.  I slept on the ground, cooked over a tiny fire when necessary, and carried a small trowel whose function I shall leave to your imagination.  There was no human habitation whatsoever, and definitely no outhouse.

(In fact, I only met one other group of people the entire week.  In complete fulfillment of Murphy’s Law, they caught me squatting behind a bush, trowel in hand.  Did I mention I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit? Well, actually, not wearing it at the moment of discovery.)



When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was sitting in my zero-gravity lounge chair in front of our firepit.  I still cook all our meals over the campfire, but I’m not exactly roughing it:

No hunkering down next to the flames for me.  I even use a non-stick frying pan.

No hunkering down next to the flames for me. I even use a nonstick frying pan.

So there I was, lounging in my deluxe folding chair, typing on my laptop beside a heated trailer containing a queen-sized bed.

And kvetching about fly shit in my deluxe outhouse.

God, I’m old.

When the hell did that happen?

46 thoughts on “Fly Diapers. God, I’m Old.

  1. Pingback: Elvis, Me, And A Fly On The Wall | Diane Henders

  2. Pingback: Home Free | Diane Henders

  3. Your outhouse is sooo modern. I thought ours on the farm was all class with wallpaper (on the walls) and a store bought wooden seat with a lid. Were you able to identify the flies? They do not sound like ordinary outhouse flies at all.


    • No, the flies had vacated by the time I got there, so I’m just assuming they were flies – nothing much larger could crawl in. Unless my sick-baby theory was closer to the truth than I care to imagine.

      Wow, wallpaper in your outhouse! And a store-bought seat! I always thought the one on our family farm was deluxe because it had an 8″ square sliding window made of real glass. Oh, and it was a two-holer – one little, and one big. But we didn’t have store-bought seats – just a smooth hole with a square of wood as a cover. Interestingly, there was only one cover – I guess in the “waste not, want not” attitude of the Depression years, they figured if you were in the outhouse in the first place, you’d only need to cover one of the holes.


  4. As usual you broke me up. The outdoor biffy I used growing up was a far cry from yours. My Dad didn’t have a key hole saw so the holes were always square and often not well sanded. To say that one had to sit rather gingerly is an understatement.


    • I guess I was spoiled by the one we had growing up. It was a deluxe model, too – a two-holer. One little hole; one big hole; and the edges were smooth and rounded. It was about sixty years old by the time I came along, so maybe it had been polished by frequent use.


  5. wow, that’s neat. I started out with my small rain collection barrel system and thought it had huge potential. I’m now fully committed to a 900gallon rain water, filth water, contaminated well water, treatment
    I think your open top bathroom is a great idea, I’m sure you’ll figure out an intelligent way to take care of those monster mutant flies.
    Don’t be dogging the greatest chair invention, the zero gravity chair. As long as you have the agility to recline and straighten up again, you are not that old I never go camping without my zero gravity chair!


    • I guess I’ve been living under a rock – I had never heard of zero-gravity chairs until a few months ago. Then Hubby and I tried them and were immediately sold. We like to sit out after dark and look at the stars, and those things make star-gazing positively sybaritic! My only complaint is that the cupholder doesn’t hold my beer bottle properly… 😉


  6. Uckeeee…..when you figure out the fly diapers we would love to have huge quantities shipped ASAP :-). It’s August – we live fairly close to a hay pasture, it has been cut & baled, the cows are now in residence. They eat grass and then they – well you know – until at least October! The poop brings in cluster flies who seem to be attracted to white so they “cluster” all over the front the porch pooping with gay abandon on everything, they bite too! Our sympathies – the disgusting stuff is like tar. Windex works best for daily clean up. Speaking of old maybe we need a package of sticky fly rolls – remember those?


    • Oh, poor you – that’s gross! At least our outhouse flies swooped in, did the dirty deed, and then vanished. And yes, I actually still have a couple of packages of sticky fly rolls lurking at the back of a shelf in the trailer. I’m not sure which is worse, though – live flies or a sticky garland of dead flies… no, wait, I do know. The dead ones are definitely better!


  7. I have a friend who built her outhouse with a nice window for looking out at the lake, a magazine rack, and when you flipped a switch in the house the light and heater came on. Especially nice in winter! We’re just a few hours east of Kenora.


    • Now that is a civilized outhouse! I can see I’ll have to ramp up my efforts if I ever build another. Scraping frost off the seat is an overrated pastime.

      And hey, nice to “meet” a fellow Canuck! That’s beautiful country out there – I just love all the rocky little lakes.


  8. Another coincidence, Diane! A news report only yesterday was reporting on a waste disposal company who weren’t exactly working to their trade description, and had left tonnes of rubbish to rot in their back yard. Obviously, the rot was a breeding ground for flies, who decided to explore the local shops, houses and other places, and, of course, use the facilities (walls, worktops, anywhere!). I’ve never thought of a fly needing to ‘go’ before, but obviously go they do!
    And your bathing suit… it wasn’t THAT bathing suit again… the one that crops up from time to time?


    • LOL! No, it was not THAT bathing suit… though under the circumstances, it wouldn’t have mattered much if it was. Now that you mention it, though, I do seem to have an uneasy relationship with bathing suits. Hmm. I feel another blog post coming on…


  9. Great stories! As to the aging part, I know some really young people who will only stay in a nice hotel away from home! The hubby & our friends in their 50’s, (& me at 61 ) will backpack 2 nights in the Sierras mid Sept., but now only do 3.5 miles in, & have blowup cushy pads for sleeping that turn into chairs, as the granite is so much harder!
    One friend carries a 10lb. block of ice in a cooler strapped to his pack for cocktails & to chill the beer cans we stuff in our packs. I use a slice of granite instead of a trowel, but how lovely to see a mountain & lake vista sans flies! Only big black ants!!


  10. I like your superdeluxe outhouse (minus fly-shit of course). The incident with the bathing suit is hilarious, I snorted coffee. For the rest of it, I think you just became smarter (or evolving as pointed out above) 🙂


    • How thoughtless of me! I should have realized everybody would want to see that. And there was a particularly picturesque brown dribble just below the toilet seat, too. Dang. Missed opportunities. 😉


  11. So you think you’re old ? In my day to send a message you had to ride your horse over to Medville and go to the general store and use the telegraph office next door. It was worth the 15 mile ride because you could always stop by Charlie’s Barber Shop for a game of checkers and a town news catch-up. And for the regulars there was always a poker game in the back room and a snort of whiskey if you were so inclined. We also had stamps and envelopes.


    • You’re welcome – glad I could be of service. It’s nice to get humiliating moments like that out of the way when you’re young – any subsequent embarrassments tend to diminish by comparison. 😉


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