Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Green - it's a family color

Dear Andrew & Abby,

About a year ago, we got more serious about our efforts to recycle. We set out the recycling bins and did a great job at sorting our trash. Until the bins were full. Then we kind of got stuck in a "what do we do now" moment. Getting to the recycling center is a challenge since we are not in town during their weekday hours and they are only open on two Saturdays a month from 8am-12pm. There are many Saturdays when our family is not cognizant of a world beyond our own orbit before noon, so remembering which Saturday it is and getting dressed in time to leave the house with any extra time for a quick stop at the recycling center has proven to be difficult. But for the last few months, we have been doing a much better job. We're doing great with the cans, plastic, and glass. I've figured out that it only takes - literally - two minutes to drop off a bag of cans at 7:30 on our way to day care. If I make you two stay in the van. If I let you both help, it takes - literally - two years. And that makes Mommy pretty late for work.

Our problem now is the cardboard recycling. Have you ever noticed how many boxes of crap we go through in this house?! Wow! We are really going through those trees! I am conflicted about this because I'm pretty sure most of it is my fault. Convenience (ie, boxed macaroni, frozen fish sticks...) seems to come with more packaging. But convenience is also what allows Mommy to feed you more for dinner than your shoelaces on many nights (don't worry, we'll always keep Shoelace Dinner Night - I know how much you love it). And again, Mommy does pretty well at remembering to sort out the cardboard from the trash. Unfortunately, Mommy is short. Um, yes, it does too matter! You see, the recycling center keeps the recycling separated in giant industrial-sized dumpsters. Dumpsters that are about the size of a giant blue ox. Mommy, she's not as tall as all that. They use the same dumpsters for the cans and plastic, but those dumpsters have a lovely set of stairs with a landing. The cardboard dumpster is just sitting all by its lonely self. No stairs. So we have a very large and rapidly growing pile of cardboard in our garage. Mommy's going to have to bring the ladder with us...or find a giant lumberjack who's willing to give us a hand.

So anyway...Last Sunday was Earth Day. You two don't know much about Earth Day, and my feeble attempts to explain it gave me a glimpse into what it must be like for your Daddy to try explaining all the intricacies of automobile seat manufacturing. But you do understand trash. Oh, do you! We are pretty massive trash-generators in our family. Somehow, trash just seems to magically appear all throughout our house. I don't know where it all comes from. Besides all the shoelace boxes. That's a given.

On Saturday, we went to the park for Andrew's Cub Scout Raingutter Regatta. I'm not going to try to explain why he was racing boats in a raingutter right now. Here's a picture, that might help.

You two and I walked home with the wagon. As we were leaving the park, I noticed a soda bottle and asked Andrew to pick it up so we could take it home and throw it in with the rest of our recycling. Something clicked and the rest of the way home, you both picked up EVERY piece of trash you found. Yes. Every. Tiny. Piece. It was a long walk home. But I was so thrilled that you wanted to help keep our town clean. And Andrew especially seemed to get it. I talked about how it helps to keep the earth healthy when we pick up our trash. Before long, Andrew caught on to "saving the Earth" and when I said that kind of made you like super-heroes, well, I hit the gold mine. You two are now the Earth Superheroes, who save the Earth by picking up trash. I can't stop you. You point out trash on the street as we're driving to day care in the mornings, and I think you may secretly be plotting to put me in Earth Superhero jail because I won't stop to pick up the gum wrapper you noticed back there when we turned the corner.

This is our wagon full of trash (Abby had to give up riding and make room for the garbage just over half-way home).

Mommy is going to be much more prepared on our next trip to the park with garbage bags and several pairs of gloves. You two were even checking out the "forest" in our neighborhood commons area. And fighting over who got to pick up the envelope-sized scrap of paper or the near-empty soda bottle. Fighting. Over trash. Seriously, will you two fight over anything?!

And because you are such cute little Earth Superheroes, here are a couple more pictures.

Oh, and Andrew won 1st place in his den at the Raingutter Regatta (4th in the overall pack). He is SO excited about his trophy - his "very 1st trophy in Cub Scouts!!!!" Congratulations, Regatta Champ!



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