Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Phone Book Season

The melting snow has ushered in a new round of phone book deliveries. This time it was three phone books all wrapped up in two shocking orange plastic bags. Paper waste wrapped in plastic waste. Ugh!!

My theory is that magical, computer illiterate beings blanket the entire town with plastic bagged phone books while us innocent villagers sleep at night. No matter how hard I try to find the magically culprits, they are as elusive as Santa Clause on Christmas Day.

The wonderful town I live in allows phone book companies to distribute as many phone books as they wish, yet they do not accept those same phone books for curbside recycling. And opting out didn't seem to work either.
The solution? Hide a tiny blue barrel behind a nondescript phone company building on the other side of town and label it "phone book recycling". Yeah, that's going to keep all of those phone books out of the waste stream...
Today I did notice that a new phone book collection bin was added to my side of town. Ugly as all get out, but it's there never the less.

Peeking through the slot, I noticed that my phone books were the only books in the bin. No friends for my lonely phone books.

These bins are bandaids at best. I've opted out of phone books and chased down mysterious phone book vomiting vans. What can I do to stop the hundreds of repetitive (useless in my house) phone books from being delivered to my neighborhood every year? Why don't I have the right to decide what is delivered in my driveway?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lost My Way

Lately, I've been steaming mad at the world. My mummy is sick again and it's the world's fault.

Mummy and myself have both been cleaning our houses naturally, eating organically, gardening without pesticides and generally being as green as we possibly can. I am the first to admit that our reasons for being green were purely selfish. Making green choices is the only way we knew to keep our family and friends healthy.

It was all futile.

All of these feelings of anger have kept me from a lot of things that I loved doing. Specifically, writing about my personal journey.

Thank you to everyone who has helped pull me out of my gloomy hole. Thank you to Alicia for forcing me to talk when when I really wanted to do was talk about her sweet baby girl. Thank you to Marisa and Petra for sincerely offering to take my kids at anytime so I can hold my mummy's hand whenever I need to. Thank you to Hubby for supporting me when I needed to watch endless hours of reality TV while eating endless pints of Ben and Jerry's. Thank you to Andrea for cleaning my plate without a second thought. Thank you to Kim for listening to every detail. Thank you to the kids of the children's museum where I work for bringing amazing amounts of innocent energy to my class.

It's tough to be mad at the world when my mummy is feeling hopeful and ready to fight. It's tough to be made when I have a great group of friends who are supportive. I think that it's time for me to get back in the saddle. (reusable cork leather saddle...of course)

A few weeks ago I was fearful that this post was going to praise the virtues of Round Up and toxic air fresheners. Now, I can truly say that I lost my way for a little while and now I'm ready to continue writing for me. Writing about my journey is good for my soul. In the immortal words of Sheryl Crow," if it makes you happy. It can't be that bad."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

People are spending less. The economy has fallen in the low-flow toilet. School budgets are being squeezed to the point of no return. No news there.

We now hold a greater responsibility as to where we chose to spend our money. We can drive our cars over to the the big chain store to save a few cents. But are we really saving?

When we shop at a locally owned store and spend $100; $45 of our money will go back onto the local economy. Keeping our money close to home is good for all of us.

On the flip side, when shopping remotely or shopping at a nationally-owned chain, the numbers are very different. Spend that same $100 at the chain store and only $14 of your purchase will go back into the local economy. Is that worth the few pennies you saved at the register?

Speak with your wallet. Take a walk down to the mom and pop pharmacy to buy your cotton balls and band aids. Visit the small grocer that you have been meaning to check out and pick-up the ingredients for tonight's dinner. Even better, look for food products that have been made in your home state. Go ahead and patronize the small restaurant down the street instead of visiting that same chain.

I live in a small Connecticut village with quite a few stores and a couple of restaurants. Again and again I hear people talk about the downtown businesses and how they've never patronized these businesses. Yes, everyone has great intentions. It's time to follow through on those intentions and support our neighbors.

Bob from Sesame Street best summed up my thoughts with this song. It was a favorite of mine as a kid and I sing it to my kids (When did the kids learn to roll their eyes?). Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Big Girl Bed

I'm a dork. Seriously. Why else would I be so excited about getting my own big girl bed?

You may remember the meanie company that asked me to try their Zero VOC paint and never came through. Those meanies used me for pictures of my horribly decorated bedroom. I'm still having nightmares about the red circles.

While that whole experience made me a bit more leery about strange paint ladies, it also pushed me to do a little decorating in my own bedroom.

Adults are supposed to own bed frames complete with headboards and foot boards. Since people keep telling me that I am now an adult too, I guess that it was time to act like it. Goodbye to the dorm chic look.

After months of new Big Girl Bed is here!!

P.S. The old bed frame went to a nice family on Freecycle.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do It Yourself

In my naive Gruppie brain I like to believe that every cloud has a silver lining. Million of greeting cards can't be wrong. The dark recession cloud of today has a silvery green lining. People are discovering that being green and saving money can go hand and hand.

The Gruppie family has been attempting to do more for ourselves. We are becoming do-it-yourselfers.

Take this weekend for example. We hosted a basketball team party that got a little out of control. Apparently the cute little b-ballers grabbed as many items from my garage as they could and proceeded to break them. In years past these broken items would have gone into the trash without another thought. Today's greener version of myself whipped out the super glue and repaired the sprinkler in a single leap. Today's greener version of myself discovered that the local hardware store sells replacement broom handles. A few twists, saw it down to size, add some leftover paint and the broom is as good as new.

In years past whenever the car would clang or sputter I would drive the two towns over to the dealership to get it fixed. Pollution and high costs. Now that the family station wagon is getting on in years, the shaking and knocking is a daily occurrence. Hubby has sprung to the rescue by talking to handy friends and reading up on automotive repair. He has fixed up the old wagon (mostly) by himself.

Hubby has also found a new trade to fall back on. He has become a master at cutting Little Guy's hair. A stool in the garage with some cheap clippers and Little Guy is done for a month. Honestly, he does a better job than the salon that we used to take him to and I don't have to listen to the salon gossip.

My Gruppie family of 2009 has come to terms with the fact that we are fairly helpless. We realize that we don't know how to do much on our own. We don't create our own energy, grow our own food, make our own clothing or even make our own entertainment. But we are trying! Is there anyone is suburbia who can truly take care of themselves without the help of others?