Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Letter to the garbage man

Dear Mr. Garbage man.

I would like to start with an apology. It dawned on me today that for the past nearly 4 years I have not been meeting your expectations with my garbage. I have continually gone out of my way to make sure that my garbage was bagged and in garbage cans sitting upright, with lids on them.

I realize that this was a mistake. I should have noticed the hints that you had given me sooner.

You've made it excessively clear that lids on garbage cans only get in your way, that must be why when you are finished with my garbage that you go out of your way to throw the lids away in the garbage cans so as to remove them from any future hindrances. I should not have been taking them out and putting them back on top. I finally got the point 3 weeks ago when you decided to run over one of my lids and leave it in broken useless shambles.

I also apologize for standing my garbage cans up. If you wanted them in a standing position you would obviously put them back that way to make it easier on yourself, but you clearly want them laying down and half in the alley, that must save you from having to walk the extra step to get it. If it were an occasional occurrence I may think that the wind just blew them down. However with them laying down nearly every time for 4 years I understand that you prefer them that way. I have also deduced this by paying attention to the neighbors garbage cans when you are done with them. Every one of them is laying down. Thank you for making it clear to all of us that this is how we should present our garbage to you.

I apologize for thinking that the purpose of my throwing garbage away was to actually get it to you in a bag that is in a garbage can with a lid. I mistakenly assumed that you didn't want rodents, raccoons or dogs tearing through it. I also figured that a garbage can half full of water would be hard to deal with, so I kept putting the lid on it. I guess that leaving the garbage can lay on it's side results in the same outcome.

So next week, when you get to my house, my garbage cans will be full, but I'll make sure that they are already laying down with no lids on them, to make your job easier.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Challenge

The challenge: What 10 things do you/we do to help the earth.

Sounds simple enough but there is a catch, Erin and I are both posting the challenge on our blogs so we need to have 10 different items.

Since we were coming up with the list and she started first, she got some of the easier ones that we do. However, I have managed to come up with a pretty good list.

1. Compact Flourescent light bulbs. - We have one light in the kitchen that has 4 40 watt bulbs with the very narrow base. Within the next year we plan to replace this light fixture to one that we can also use the CFLs in.

2. Recycling - I have been big into recycling my entire life. I recycle all cardboard, paperboard, newspaper, magazines, plastic (1-7), tin, and aluminum cans that we get as packaging.

3. We have a high efficiency toilet that uses less water.

4. Reuse plastic bags - When we do go to the store and end up getting plastic bags we get more than one use out of them. We use some to throw out dirty diapers, and others as the garbage bags for the small bedroom garbage can. Mostly I try to recycle them at the grocery store though.

5. Reuse clothes - We try to re-use things as much as we can. We get hand-me-downs for our kids from our friends and then pass them on again. We also buy a lot of the clothes that the kids from garage sales.

6. Garden - We are tomato lovers. and tomatoes are used a lot in our house when they are fresh, but we don't care for canned tomatoes. We took our love of tomatoes and have planted a garden each year. Last year we expanded our garden from tomatoes to include green beans, peeas, cauliflower, and green peppers. Some did better than the others, but we were able to grow some of our own food.

7. Compost - Our yard happens to be only half a lot, there is very little grass and no trees. This year we have started composting. There's not much yard waste to add to the compost pile, but we throw all of our fruit and vegetable scraps (apple cores, pepper cores, onion skin, potato skins if we happen to be peeling the potato, orange peels, kiwi peels, etc.) into the compost pile

8. We only run the dishwasher when it is full.

9. We just bought a new washing machine that is Energy star rated.

10. Last year our TV died. We replaced it with an energy star LCD TV.

Ok, that's the 10 for the challenge. I have a few items left though, so here they are.
11. We use reusable plastic containers for lunch and eat leftovers instead of frozen meals that have lots of waste.

12. We set the Air conditioner to 80 in the summer time. The heat isn't too bad, we just try to get the humidity out of the air.

13. We have been cutting out High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diet. I'm not sure what impact this has, but I expect that using foods that are less processed is better for the environment.

14. Generally we try to avoid buying water bottles, because we drink tap. Sometimes we are on the road and need a drink so we'll pick one up. When we do, we re-use the bottle with tap water quite a few times before we put it in the recycles.

15. Finally an earh friendly and romantic one. Erin and I shower together. In about the same amount of time as a single shower we both get washed, cutting down on the water usage, and the load on the hot water heater. Plus it's fun.

Erin threw out an added challenge to me. Come up with two things that I want to work on doing better next year.

1. When I take cans of soup to work, I throw away the can because there is no place to recycle soup cans at work. I've decided to open cans of soup at home, take the soup in a reusable container, and recycle the can immediately. This will recycle another 1 or 2 cans a week.

2. Walk instead of drive. We live within less than a mile from 2 grocery stores, a Wal Mart, a few gas stations, and several fast food restaraunts. I want to try and walk to these places when using them more often over the next year.

3. I plan on moving as many of our Vampire technologies as I can to power strips that we can turn off at night.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

I got an awesome card in the mail from my son yesterday. He wrote that he's sad that he couldn't be with me this Easter and I nearly cried.

Holidays as a divorced parent are hard. Holidays are when the most planning has to be done in order to make sure that you can spend time with your kids and family. Getting little things like this card when you aren't expecting them make any pain that you go through as a parent completely worth it.

This Easter we are being blessed with another baby. It's not ours directly, but my sister-in-law is in the hospital right now bringing into the world her second daughter.

Four years ago on Easter Sunday, my wife's best friend gave birth to a boy. And March/April is the largest concentration of extended birthdays that we have. It's a great time to celebrate.