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Going Green With Smacksy

August 16th, 2009

I’m still on the vacay today, so as promised, here’s another terrific guest poster in my place. I don’t remember how I first found Smacksy, but I’ve been reading her for a while now and love the way she writes about this and that. Below is her thoughtful, yet very funny, piece about going Green. Take a look, then go check out her great blog. See you next week!

TURNING GREEN-ISH: 15 GREEN HABITS AND HOW WE SORT OF DO THEM

By Lisa of Smacksy

radish

I enjoy the Mother Earth. I know she’s on hard times. The warming, the extincting, the carbon footprints, the whole deal. I super get it. I am willing to help a gal out. I’ve been reading lots of green lists lately and there is an overwhelming amount of information on the subject out there. The intimidating number of tips for greening it up at treehugger.com is enough to make me give up the whole thing and buy a Hummer. Finding a green starting place for two grown-ups, a toddler, and 2 animals is taking some time. The following habits are the ones I see around most frequently. There are definitely some adjustments to be made here at the Rosen-b pad and we’re trying to turn it around with varying degrees of success and enthusiasm.

Turn down the hot water heater to 120°F. Easy one. Showers at our house are always rushed and tepid. The days of the long, hot, relaxing shower went away when we turned down the hot water heater for baby safety reasons and cut showers short for not-enough-hours-in-the-day-too-exhausted-for-the–luxury-of-cleanliness-please-God-just-one-hour-of-uninterrupted-sleep reasons. Plus, when you are extremely sleep deprived, water hitting your skin sort of hurts.

Grow a vegetable garden. We tried planting radishes because I heard they were easy, quick growers. Turns out, this is true. Oversight: none of us really like radishes. We have a cherry tomato plant and some herbs. We’ve got some zucchini in the side yard that should be enveloping the entire house by August. This may not qualify as gardening. Right now, it just seems like watering.

When it’s yellow, let it mellow. The big people here have this one down but when you’re a 3 year-old guy and you are potty training, flushing is the pay-off. The whole family will “let it mellow” once our son Bob is burning through less than 4 pairs of Elmo big boy underpants per day. Until then, flushing is the fun part.

Use cloth napkins instead of paper. We do this many nights of the week but could step it up. One recent evening, we were eating outside on the patio with cloth napkins, yet using paper plates. I will file that little gem in the category of needing to think it through more.

Keep the cell charger unplugged when not cell charging. My new cell phone inexplicably came with Usher’s “Love In This Club” as a ring tone. I change it, it changes back. It also holds a full charge for a total of 8 minutes. I can vow to keep it unplugged from the charger only during the time that I am beating it against the kitchen counter for cutting off another call. Love not in this club ya’ll.

Buy local and/or organic. The organic thing can be spendy but the stuff that’s in season is usually a little easier on the wallet. We go to a sweet little farmer’s market by our house on Thursday evenings. I buy a couple of vegetables and some berries out of peer pressure but I am really there for the kettle korn. I’ve heard that our kettle korn guy has questionable politics, and I still can’t quit him. Damn him and his cauldron.

Use reusable shopping bags. We have a bunch of these that we bought at Trader Joe’s. It feels awkward to use the Trader Joe’s bags at other markets but to get another set of bags just to use at Von’s is ridiculous. That the issue of reusable bag branding loyalty is taking up any real estate in my brain is even more ridiculous. Pray for me.

Before buying anything new first check Craig’s List and Freecycle. We do this because we are cheap, not because we are green, but let’s pretend.

Turn off your computer completely at night. I am doing this now, although it makes me the teensiest bit queasy. Part of me knows I don’t back up my files enough. (Unless “never” is suddenly enough.) Another part of me knows that sometime in the near future, I will go to turn on this little Powerbook relic, and it’s just going to flip me the bird.

Line dry your laundry. Call me a baby, but I don’t like the sandpaper feel of air-dried towels. My showers suck enough (short, tepid, see above) without the loofah as towel treatment. I have been trying another thing I read about which is a nice laundry hack. Use a dryer sheet once. Use another dryer sheet once for another load. Then use those two old sheets together instead of a new one for the third load. These two aging sheets work as well as one new one. Delightful. Is my clever dryer sheet math saving the planet? Probably not. Again, this is something I do because I am cheap, not because I am green. However, because I am now keeping score, I will call it green. So very, very green am I.

Eat less meat. We aren’t that meat-y anyway so designating Meatless Monday into the calendar was pretty easy. We don’t get into the details with our son since he still doesn’t quite understand where meat comes from and believes that beef comes from a “beef tree”. (His idea.) We do not yet have the heart to tell him otherwise. Little Bob is an extreme animal lover and we are pretty sure that once he puts the meat = creatures thing together he will hate us and we will all be forced into vegetarianism. Yes, omitting the truth is lying, but we are desperately clinging to our bacon while we still can.

Switch to Shade Grown coffee with a Fair Trade label. We have been getting the Shade Grown coffee from Trader’s for awhile now because if you grind it on the espresso setting it tastes almost as good as the expensive French Roast stuff that we really like. Again – did it to save a few bucks and unknowingly added to the greenness.

Use the Diva Cup for your monthly cycles. Que es la Diva Cup? Googled it. Read about it. Gagged a little. If you’re not familiar with this device, accept the brief explanation that it’s a little re-usable deal that takes the place of other products during your lady time. Yeah… no. If you’re a Diva Cup lover, God love you. You are a better woman than I.

Buy reusable water bottles. We did this. Didn’t take long before all of ours tasted like coffee, even after repeated washing. Need to get some bottles designated for water only. Difficult since every vessel in our home is used as a vehicle for getting more coffee into the grown-ups.

Pay bills online with paperless billing. I’m usually low on stamps. I like activities that can be accomplished in my pajamas. Paying bills online was made for a go getter like me. For even more help, I love mint.com. Mint is an easy online accounts and budgeting manager. After the initial 20 minute time investment to enter accounts information (my husband’s initial 20 minute time investment), this thing will chart expenses and remind you when to pay your bills. A gentle Mint reminder is so much nicer than the angry pink past due notice and the interrupted-phone-service-due-to-unpaid-bill type of reminder lacks subtlety and is best left behind in our twenties.

My husband Jeff drives a hybrid. I drive an aging station wagon. We have a front loading high efficiency washing machine. We have a low efficiency refrigerator from the Nixon era. We are switching over to those spiral-y light bulbs. We are switching over to those spiral-y light bulbs except when they don’t really fit in certain lamps and look weird. With greening, as like most things, there is oh so much room for improvement over here.

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23 Comments

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  • 1. Marcia Zoellner  |  August 17th, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Oh my goodness! I could have written this one, except substitute 21 month old girl where you have 3 year old boy, and it’s not Elmo, it’s Dora on her big girl pants!

    One tip I have heard but have not tried yet is to cut the dryer sheet in half. Can’t vouch for it, but I know people who swear by it. Me?

  • 2. Mike the Gardener  |  August 17th, 2009 at 6:29 am

    I can definitely speak for the vegetable garden. Also, don’t forget to recycle your food scraps by burying them 18 to 20 inches deep in your garden. You will feed the underlying ecosystem and they in turn will give you great compost.

    Regards,
    Mike the Gardener

  • 3. Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings  |  August 17th, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I go green because I’m poor. Period.

    Hilarious post!

  • 4. Andrea  |  August 17th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Oh I use my Trader Joe’s bags while I am away at grad school in Iowa. I use them at my food co-op here, the main grocery store, Hy-Vee, and even at Walmart and Target. They are those awesome cloth bags TJ’s used to make before they came out with those colorful plastic ones they have now. Every store I go to here in Iowa loves them, asks what Trader Joe’s is, and how I got the wonderful bags. Screw Von’s and their snootiness….I say use the bags and maybe it will convince them to lower their prices so the normal people will come back from shopping for nearly everything at TJ’s! Oh and I go green because I am a poor grad student….I use the bus, use my reusable bags, share bluk food items with classmates that pay for part of each product….whatever works! Excellent post!

  • 5. Kate  |  August 17th, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Laughed until I couldn’t breathe about the Diva Cup. Gak. Thanks Wendi and Lisa -

    I’d add composting. We throw all of our vegetable stuff into a bucket and I haul it out to the garden and throw it in the composter. Yes, it can be smelly – but then I only really water the garden, too – so I don’t spend a lot of time near it. Easy.

    I too am green because who can afford to eat bacon more than occasionally?

  • 6. BM  |  August 17th, 2009 at 8:24 am

    I love this! I agree wholeheartedly. May I add that I get a little secret pang of satisfaction when I see one of my greener-than-thou acquaintances open a can of Roundy’s black beans (our local generic brand from the cheap-o supermarket.)

  • 7. Akilah Sakai  |  August 17th, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I rinse, reuse and recyle, plus all of my appliances are Energy Star (or whatever the hell it’s called). After your reading your list, I’ll def. look into doing much more.

    My in-laws help with their gardening. They garden and I borrow their extra vegetables.

  • 8. Red  |  August 17th, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Okay, “Diva Cup”? Ew. And those spiral-y lightbulbs are worse than the original. When those break you have to leave the room for twenty minutes and come back with a hazmat suit to clean them up. Why? Because of the mercury. Not green. Just a scam. Of course if Tesla would have conquered the home lighting market, we all would probably be getting free electricity. How sweet would that be? And the Let it mellow thing? Uh-uh. My grandmother would flip.

  • 9. Red  |  August 17th, 2009 at 9:49 am

    And I went to your friend Smacksy blog and almost laughed up my kidney! She’s killing me! http://www.smacksy.com/2009/08/hairs.html

  • 10. Heather, Queen of Shake Shake  |  August 17th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I’m a Diva Cup user and love it. It’s not gross, really. I gag cleaning up cat hairballs so I’m no iron maiden when it comes to gross things – I get grossed out easily.

    The Diva Cup isn’t as messy as your imagination, I promise.

    Okay, I’ll sit here and await my better woman award now!

  • 11. iamstillbroken  |  August 17th, 2009 at 11:06 am

    The only thing green about my household is the stuff in the fridge.

    Congrats on at least trying, regardless of the motivation!

  • 12. Laurie  |  August 17th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    I’m with you. I try and keep trying and succeed most of the time and do sort of weird things for the other.

    For example, I don’t have a compost area or bin so I just bury my left over food (just dig a little hole and drop it in). That is old-school boy scout stuff my Grandpa has been doing for 80 years. Probably making the gardening people wince, but it isn’t going into the garbage. Believe it or not, the dogs don’t dig it up. I don’t know why.

    For my grocery bags, I use all those schwag bags you accumulate from events, work, etc. Every vendor that can’t wait to give me their little canvas bag comes shopping with me every time. They are a little small but they sure are sturdy so they do a good job.

  • 13. Lulu and Moxley's Mom  |  August 18th, 2009 at 7:46 am

    A DIVA cup??? Oh dear.

    For some reason here in Chicago we get people going door to door saying they wish to “discuss the environment.” My husband told one of them he is “against the environment” and this seems to have cut back on unsolicited visitors.

    Okay, going now to Google (not buy mind you) the DIVA cup.

  • 14. jessica  |  August 18th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I use those bulbs only because I’m not dating right now. I look hideous in that light but my kid only cares that I’m giving her money and not how bad the palor of my skin is when we turn the switch to “on”

  • 15. Rene  |  August 18th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    THANKS A LOT, WENDI. NOW I HAVE ANOTHER WEB SITE TO VISIT EVERY DAY (sigh). Also, may I be allowed to express a pet peeve? A hot water heater? Really?? Why are we heating our hot water? Talk about burning up the environment unnecessarily! I believe it is a WATER HEATER. I’m just sayin’.

  • 16. Hannah  |  August 19th, 2009 at 6:06 am

    This may sound obvious but people should really start relying more on public transit during the work week and leave their cars at home. Everyday I’m on the bus and look at the rush hour traffic all filled with single drivers angrily glaring ahead of them.

    Craziness.

  • 17. Heather  |  August 19th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Great. This is absolutely hilarious which means I will now have to visit her sight daily. *sigh* But I do have a tip for any of you if you want a good green, reusable and durable bag. Just stumbled across them. They’re AMAZING. http://www.NatureBag.ORG. Check them out. Websight is a little weird, but the bags are unmatchable. I swear.

  • 18. DG at Diaryofamadbathroom  |  August 21st, 2009 at 4:29 am

    You make going green sound (almost) easy and fun. And if there’s almost no effort involved, you can count me in. However, a couple of these things are not gonna work for me…Mellow Yellow? The *ahem* Diva cup? Hells no my friend. I won’t be googling, yahooing or any other searching of that item. Spirally lightbulbs? OK. Diva cup? NFW.

  • 19. holly  |  August 22nd, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    i swear to you, the diva cup is amazing. sounds creepy. yes. but the benefits outweigh the creepiness.

  • 20. dwl  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    LOVE the Diva Cup. Best thing for heavy periods. Try it & you may convert. (or use Instead, which is disposable cup)

  • 21. DM  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    This was hilarious. I had read it before and was trying to remember where I came up with the dryer sheet tip today when doing laundry. Now I remember!

  • 22. Bonnie Childress  |  August 25th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Diva Cup? I googled it… Not for me!
    I always forget my silly bags! How do you remember?
    I do have a garden and I never use pesticides or anything but natural fertilizer.
    My family only ever wear second hand clothes, and I won’t let my hubby build a house,because that would be more tree’s cut down and there is plenty of homes availiable!

  • 23. Sandy  |  September 5th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    The Diva cup is awesome! I promise! It’s not nearly as icky as some of the things we have to do as mothers.

    And you can skip dryer sheets altogether. Fabric softener ruins dryers! When I bought my new dryer I vowed to never taint it with dryer sheets and do I have static? NO! Only a tiny bit in the winter, but it’s not unbearable. I’m convinced dryer sheets CREATE static.

    Try the Diva cup! I think there’s a money back guarantee.


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