Happy belated Earth Day. What have you done for the planet lately?
Me, I gave myself an iffy report card. An April examination of conscience:
Water conservation: D+. Beyond pre-rinsing dishwasher-bound dishes (firm believer), I tend to let water run longer than necessary and have a nasty habit of turning it on then turning my back. And I’m still hose-happy in the warm months. But I do use a water-saving showerhead (admittedly more for the impressive pressure) and I did have one low-flow toilet installed. Baby steps?
Energy conservation: B. I’ll take a little credit for keeping the thermostat low in winter, but unplugging computers, TVs and microwaves when not in use? Eek. I will turn the lights off when I leave a room, no doubt due to years of paternal reminders that the family did not own stock in the electric company. (Which we all apparently believed.)
Saving the trees: D. My almost-love affair with paper towels (got a crush on Viva) incriminates me, and I haven’t talked nice about that big sweetgum tree/bane of my domestic existence. But is it OK if I tell you I absolutely love living on a tree-lined street and am all about other people’s trees?
Carbon footprint: C+. Because I often can get two full weeks out of a tank of gas, will you forgive some of the above sins?
In any case, in honor of the Big Three — reduce, reuse and recycle — I’ve made some grand plans this year, and I’d like to run them up the flagpole. Be my flagpoles, please.
I’ve never been all that hot at anything having to do with “reduce,” and to “recycle” is too easy, so “reuse” seems a fine 2013 focus. Falls in line with my little home-improvement addiction, whereby I can’t sit still for long and not focus on how I can make something over. But with Champagne tastes on an Asti budget, most of these whims must be indulged via the D-I-Y route. Or, actually, D-I-Y-W-A-H-F — Do It Yourself, With A Handy Friend. Trouble is for every something new comes something old, which can be tricky to shake off. A piece-by-piece inventory of the past few months:
• One 12-foot orange Formica countertop. Spans practically the entire width of the garage. The idea: Paint it, perhaps with that nifty Rust-Oleum countertop paint, stand it on two barrels and make a wine bar in the garage. Time frame: Now. Unless you stop me. Or unless I can’t find barrels. (Hey, where do I get barrels?)
• One scratched-up stainless-steel, shallow sink. The idea: a water cooler, perhaps cut into the wine bar? Time frame: Expired. Already put the sink out on the tree lawn, on a whim, and somebody took it. Good for somebody.
• One piece of new countertop, cut out to make room for one new, single-basin (yes, finally!) sink. The idea: Attach it to a small table and make a matching kitchen computer desk. Time frame: Done. (Why thank you, Handy Friend.)
• Cans upon cans of leftover paint. The idea: Buy an old picnic table and have at it, willy-nilly spreading colors all over it. Invite the kids. Make it a painting party. End up with the coolest picnic table ever.
Yes? No? Maybe? I can do this for hours, you know. Some say I ride the crazy train.
But I don’t mind.
Normalcy is so overrated. And the unexamined home is not worth inhabiting.