11 February 2010


My only task this afternoon is to overwrite the dismally grim previous post.  To that end, I am publishing the essay that is to blame for this blog in the first place.  You can thank me later, but remember to thank DM at PBD too.

parenting BY dummiesparenting BY dummies
Grandma v. Guilt:

    I was fortunate to have two grandmas who knew how to get the job done. I could go on and on about the ways Lucy Bernice or Mary Emily might go about the daily running of a house.  The great thing about  grandmas, generally speaking, is that they teach you how to do things without philosophizing.  That is your dad’s job.  Grandmas just let you come along as they do all the daily things.  Dishes, gardening, going to the bank, working (flower shop and beauty shop, in this case), getting dinner (lunch) and all the things they did; both brought me along.
    Now there is a new way to feed me “green.”  No longer vegetables (we are supposed to whirl the veggies in the blender and disguise them in the lasagna--because that’s less work than telling a kid, “here is your dinner.”), green is forced upon us.  Every where you look, someone is saying how we can be greener.  “Get the complete list on our website.”  “Let me help you green your routine…”  People are actually offering to let you pay them to come over to the house and tell you what my grandmas taught me was the way things were supposed to be done.  Neither ever heard of a carbon footprint. The point is, they were already green. 
    Today, on the other hand, there is a shaming element in “swallowing your green“.  “Of course, we all care about being greener…”  My life has been hard lately, but I know there are others who struggle much, much more.  My child or husband are not clinging to life, I haven‘t met with random violence, finances have that skin tight fit they’ve always had, but we are employed and sheltered for today.  No, I see that there are bigger worries than paying 5x what a bottle of vinegar costs and most people have more urgent things happening right now than their kids getting to color on the garbage in the name of recycling before mom spends a lot of time taking it apart to sort for recycling(again).
    I haven’t been capriciously or maliciously burning plastics.   I don’t have it in for earth, or the children from whom I am borrowing it.  I am not ashamed to do what I can, but neither am I impressed with someone being featured in a magazine for doing things that I have always done.
    My grandmas also lived through “the depression”.  Many household economies I learned from them may have been borne of that pressure. What we are enduring now is no “Great Depression”.  It will be, though, just keep running to the federal government to solve your money troubles,…we’ll get there.  Second, the reason the culture is in a position to experience cataclysmic economic disaster is partially because we all stopped doing the silly things Grandma did because she “came up in the depression”.
Most of these silly things are also largely behaviors associated with not harming the environment either, such as the following:
    -use cloth napkins
    - if a jar with a lid could be re-used to store leftovers, personal care items, or art supplies keep it.  Have a couple on hand.
    - simple cleaners used regularly eliminate the need for invasive processes. 
    - if you buy bread that comes in a bag, the bag can be re-used for many things eliminating the need to purchase as many bags.
    - if you can cook it yourself, it is less expensive and creates less pollution if you do so.
    - you are not living for your neighbors.  Who are you trying to impress? Even God doesn’t care if you are cool as long as you do what is right.  Whether it is eating beans and cornbread or staying home Friday night and playing cards.  Or wearing last year’s winter coat or summer sandals.  Or making your kids wear hand me downs.  And then apparently, you have somehow become cool and Oprah will have you on the show.  Don’t worry, it is a little confusing.
    -nothing tastes better than a vine ripe homegrown tomato.  If you plant it in the ground, God will pretty much do the rest.  Believe me.  For reasons that are unknown to me, He doesn’t participate as generously with squash.
    -don’t use a paper towel when a rag will do.  Don’t buy a disposable toilet brush when a permanent one costs under a dollar and will last forever if you let it dry between uses.  You are, after all, using a simple disinfecting cleaner to scrub the commode and not a squirt bottle full of the same stuff you are trying to scrub off?  If you can’t afford the bowl brush, use a rag.  Rags can be made from cloth diapers you are no longer using, undershirts that are no longer wearable, towels that are too raggedy for the use for which they were purchased.  Practically anything really.  If you don’t have enough kitchen rags, excuse me, cloths;  buy more.  After all they are green.  You could even get green ones.
    -hand washing takes a fraction of the time, water and energy of running the dishwasher.  If you have read in Good Housekeeping Magazine that it’s “a wash”.  Try it yourself and see what you think; after all, you are a smart cookie.   If you have an energy smart appliance, it is not getting them more germ free and may be washing in cooler water than you would use at the sink(ask the manufacturer, that is how I found out).
    -hang clothes to dry.  Yeah, I know.  Hang them on a hanger and the hanger will hang over most door frames and some shower curtain rods.  We happen to have a rack.  Some people can hang outdoors.  I don’t live in a place where I can. (I wrote this before I went, but everyone in China hangs clothes to dry).

    I could keep going, but I have things to do.  I just needed to get it off my chest and encourage someone to think about what Grandma told them, too.  And no lady, who is passing out flyers inviting herself over to help me green my routine, gets to take any credit for common sense, itself, or any ideas my grandma or yours taught you, or any ideas that make more work and teach children stupidity, “Coloring on the garbage is recycling.” It is not good common sense to pay someone to give you permission to use your common sense.  You already have it.  Grandma always said, “Don’t pay twice.”

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