Thursday, October 29, 2009


Sometimes, I know exactly what I want to say, but when I sit down to write, I have to be honest, I start to get really shy. Why? Well, frankly, I don't want you to think I'm gross. Really, that's the reason. I mean, here I am talking about peeing in the shower, not flushing the toilet, using corn water, yadda yadda... I mean, I know that I am reaching some people who are going to hit a point when they're going to verp (vomit-burp) at the thought of doing some of this stuff. Which brings me to today's post...

My back has been KILLING me lately (that's not the gross part, I'm just getting started). It's all this sitting on my fanny, writing all day, I know, I know. So, before I start to look like the hunchback of Notre Dame, I have decided that I am going to take a daily hot bath. Not like ooh ahh hot, I'm talking let's-cook-a-chicken-in-it hot. (Still not the gross part). So I took a bath (NO I didn't use corn water, Jeez!) by first giving my son a bath, then sending him to bed and then filling up rest of the tub with only hot water and taking my bath in that water.

Okay, so are you gagging? Are you reaching for the power button on your computer and opting for the more savory CSI episode with bloody corpses? Well, excuse me for being the grossest person you ever knew, but first of all, my back - at least for the moment - feels pretty good. And this got me thinking, given that I fill the tub every other evening for my kid, I really can't see draining it for any reason. I could conceivable bathe myself this way every night. I looked up other ways of using it and it turns out that some people actually use this water for their hand washing, which I think is an awesome idea ("Hey paw! Fetch that therrr washboard fu meh! I'm fixin to do a warrrrsh!") But the best idea I came across was using it to flush the toilet. eHow explains that you can dump the water in your toilet tank when you flush, but more sources are saying that you can pour the water directly in the bowl. Can someone out there explain this to me like they're talking to someone who say "potty" and not "toilet" because I don't get it. Wouldn't that just overflow the bowl. I really want to do this.

Okay, so the lesson in all this - Karen bathed in water that other people are using in their toilet. Great. I'm no longer afraid of you thinking that I'm gross. From now on, I'll just know that you do. Verp!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dear John

I want to thank my friend for passing along this adorable little short about saving water and saving me time - since I'm swamped and was not really sure what to write about today. Click here to watch!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Ya Like Them Apples?

I went apple picking this weekend, so I was sans technology this past weekend. Despite having lived in the Big Apple for 12 years, I had never done it before. It was so much fun to sit with my family in the aisle between the granny smiths and the fujis and grab to our hearts content - every now and then trying to juggle a few. I noticed while I was at the hotel that I wasn't thinking too much about water when I realized I had kept the water running for the entire duration of my shower. I collected myself before brushing my teeth, so I'd like to think that my newfound focus is something that stays with me wherever I go. I know that my kid is on the right track, after going potty he asked me, "am I going to flush?" I told him no. Poor kid. He does so love flushing a toilet.

Before I get onto the topic of fruit - something I thought I would focus on today since I spent the weekend surrounded by it, not to mention occasionally getting hit in the head with a piece due to poor juggling skills - I want to update you on the coke bottles in my toilet tank. We are having a problem. (Of course, anyone reading this blog for the first time may think that having Coke Bottles in my toilet tank IS the problem. Hahaa!) They are not staying in place. So every now and then, they will float over to the thingamajig that opens to let the water run down - thereby wasting I-don't-even-want-to-think-about-how-many gallons of water until I notice. So I have taken them out. Has anyone else tried this method of saving water in your toilet and had this problem. Is there something I can get to make it stick? Anyone? Hello out there? Am I really going to have to go to home depot and ask them how I'm supposed to keep Coke Bottles from floating around in my toilet tank. Sigh... to be continued... back to our regularly scheduled fruit...

So, we have about a kabillion apples. My son has eaten half a kabillion already so we've already made quite a dent in the bag. THis has left me thinking a lot about washing fruit. Remember Mike Brady on the Brady Bunch? I remember that he used to grab an apple out of the kitchen and rub it on his chest a couple of times before taking a bite. I always wanted to do this, but my mother always insisted on washing the fruit before I ate it. I just didn't understand why. Of course, now I know it was probably because she didn't want me to end up glowing in the dark from all the pesticides. I have this same fear with my kid. Oh, how I worry about whatever is laying on top of that fruit. Of course, now we buy organic fruits and veggies. Occasionally, if there is no organic option, I buy what is available, but the majority is pesticide free. So, as I have been scrubbing these apples, watching the water run over them, I have been thinking about how necessary and effective this actually is.

You know that we are bombarded with way to much information when you Google "wash fruit" and you get thousands of results. To be honest with you, everything I have read so far says that you really should wash fruit. (Because you know I was looking for someone to say, don't bother!) But there is no doubt that running the water over any fruit wastes water. So here's what I'm thinking. One option is to take a bowl and soak the fruit. This way the water is not running and running and... you get the picture. But the other option is to get a fruit/veggie wash such as, well, Veggie Wash. For all of you go getters who's world rotates a little slower than mine and have the time to make your own, there are really simple recipes out there for all natural fruit and veggie washes, like the one at that is made of pretty basic ingredients.

If you look it up, there are sites that will tell you that you should even wash the fruit that have an inedible peel, because you get pesticides on your hands when you touch them and they can then get on the fruit. One way to solve this problem is to buy organic fruits and vegetables. Okay, so if you wash it and miss a spot, you could eat a speck of dirt or maybe a bug (gag!) But, if I'm really honest, I would rather eat that than one drop of pesticide, even if it's on a juicy red apple!

Friday, October 23, 2009


So, I'm sitting here and thinking about what to blog about and I realized that, thanks to my mother, I have a six pack of Diet Coke in my cabinet - all in plastic bottles. Now, in my opinion, it is healthier for you to shove a bottle of Diet Coke where the sun don't shine than drink it (click here and here for some information on what Diet Soda has been linked to). But I think I found an even better use for it - my toilet tank. Does it matter that there is Diet Coke in it? Seriously, can anyone tell me? I'm happy to pour it out and use water, but I just couldn't think of a reason why I should do that.

I have to admit that I flushed the toilet three times before I got it right - thereby wasting water - but I ended up putting three plastic bottles of Diet Coke in the tank. That's 1500 mL or about 3 pints or 48 Fl Oz. Uhhh, anyone know math? Should I just put the whole six pack in there?

Now that I'm writing this, I'm realizing that I have not yet taken the labels off of the Coke bottles, which I should probably do. I just got so excited! I have to admit, I'm a little nervous to flush with those things knocking around in there. I'll let you know if there's a problem. But so far, the world has not crumbled, and the tank filled up just fine.

Anyone else gonna give this a try?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laundry Day

I could do laundry every single day if I had a washer dryer in my apartment. My building has a really nice laundry room with efficient machines - a room I treat like it's another room in my apartment. But it's not. I still have to take the cart downstairs and put quarters in. Am I the only one who feels like a major schmuck paying to do my own laundry? Hey, here's $10 bucks, now put me to work!

I fantasize about the washer dryer being in my apartment, in which case, I feel like I would do a load an hour. I could, you know. With all of our clothes -- my husbands workout clothes, my workout clothes (when I choose to work out), my son's clothes (sometimes two outfits a day, depending on what he eats and whether or not he decides to tell me when he has to go potty), sheets, towels and the occasional stuffed animal -- I could probably do a load a day. But for the reasons cited above, I don't. I have a laundry day.

Well, having laundry on the brain, I decided to see if there was anything that I could do differently to conserve water while schmucking my way to clean clothes. Turns out, the fact that I find laundry a pain in the rear has made my methods of doing laundry more water-conservation friendly. Why? Well, given that my lazy butt waits until a certain day in the week to do it, means that I have pile the size of Mount Yuckamuckastinky. Therefore, I end up - without OVER stuffing the machine mind you - put as much into the washer as I can while still ensuring that the clothes will actually get clean. This is because I want to consolidate the laundry into as FEW loads as possible. Why? Well, of course, this is because I HATE doing laundry.

To all you people who want everyone to smell Tide before you even round the corner, you might want to wait just an extra day or so to ensure that you are using your washing machine at its full capacity. This will use less water. Of course, you might also be the kind of person who likes to sort every article down to the lint on your socks. But, sorry to say that the lazies like me score another point with the earth. If you wash everything in cold (I do, because this means that you can throw everything in together) then you will save a ton of energy. Turns our that 90 percent of the energy used doing laundry is actually from heating up the water. And before you blame your detergent for needing hot water, there are brands, like Seventh Generation, that are specially made for doing laundry in cold water.

Hey, I'm clean, okay! Come over and take a whiff if you want. (Well, maybe not right now. It was very warm today...) Turns out, my sob story of not having a washer dryer in my apartment actually did some good for the earth. I'm not so jealous of all you with your fancy appliances in the house! (Lie...)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hypocratic Oath

Okay okay. So last night was not my best night. It was between watching a double feature of The Ring and The Blair Witch Project, or blogging about water. I thought if I picked the latter, I would actually be able to sleep last night. Guess not.

So tonight I am going to put on the original hat I wore when I started this thing and talk about another water saving tactic that I've read. But before I do just that, I want to make sure that we are all on the same page, so that no one ever calls me a hypocrite. I have not yet put a plastic bottle in my toilet tank yet. It takes two people and by golly, I just have not grabbed my husband to lend an extra pair of hands. I thought it might be helpful for all of you who have been trying to do this since I posted it, if I posted this video that shows you how to actually do this (sorry to everyone who actually just plunked a bottle of water in your toilet tank). This nugget also includes other things you can do to recycle two liter plastic bottles. Anyway, I have to get on this, but I literally am waiting for the next plastic bottle to cross my path (my husband is almost at the end of his weekly bottle of cranberry juice, but I think that might be too big). I'll find one.

My point is this, please know that I am always coming from a sincere place, even if these ideas are coming at me faster than I can keep up with them. The watering can plan hit a few snags before I actually got one. The point is, it is now a household constant. Believe me, if I'm not planning to do something I talk about, I'll tell you.

Anyway, I returned to that great site creative citizen for another idea on saving water and came across the idea of using hand sanitizer instead of washing your hands every single time you want to wash up. Of course, given the pig cooties going around, I know everyone is scrubbing their hands to the bone to ensure they don't get it. Well, I know the brand "clean well" makes a sanitizer that is all natural, so you don't have to feel like you're slathering your hands with plutonium before you eat your PB&J. Of course, this is another area where it will take me some time to switch, because I bought 1000 gallons of hand soap at Costco and have only used about 1/3rd of it since last year. Of course, that is because I add water to it, WHICH in turn saves water because you do not need as much water to rinse it off. So, my water nerd status is saved and for all of you who are about to make a run to the store for hand soap, consider getting sanitizer instead. It can be just as if not more effective than soap and - drum roll please - you would be saving a whopping 3,285 gallons of water.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Procrastination = Do-Gooding

I just wrote out a list of about a million things I have to do in the next couple of days and blogging is nowhere to be found on it. As I started to become paralyzed with incomprehension of how I'm going to get everything done, I made the decision to ignore the whole thing and logged on to this bastion of procrastination. What could be more important than this issue, anyway. Nothing on that list, that's for sure. (Except maybe the one about buying my son more socks. He really need socks desperately!!!)

One of my friends sent me another clip about dirty water -- lucky for you... because today's entry was GOING to be about how I soaked a big soup pot without turning on the faucet once. Admit it, you would have loved it...

Now, you know the situation is not good when Erin Brokovich shows up in your backyard at a hearing about the water in question. Here is a clip from the
Oakland Tribune article:
The poison in question is hexavalent chromium, also called hex chrome or chromium six, given notoriety in the film bearing Brockovich's name. Hex chrome is a carcinogen long known to cause cancer through inhalation but only recently recognized by the federal government as dangerous to drink. Before there was controversy over whether stomach acids converted the chemical into a related, nonpoisonous nutrient, researcher Gina Solomon said...

More than 30 million Californians in 500 communities are at risk of being exposed to far higher rates, Brockovich said.

The most at-risk areas in the state are near Los Angeles and along the Central Valley, Solomon said. The Bay Area is generally safer, though hex chrome has been found in dangerous levels further down the Highway 101 corridor nearer San Jose, she said...
I thought Julia Roberts fixed all of this! Now, I know that stories like this are what cause people to buy bottled water. But here's what the NRDC found:
However, our investigation has found that potentially harmful chemical contaminants are indeed sometimes found in some brands of bottled water. (The box at the end of this chapter highlights a particularly troubling example.) NRDC’s testing of more than 1,000 bottles of water (for about half of FDA-regulated contaminants; see the Technical Report [print report only]), found that at least one sample of 26 of the 103 bottled water brands tested (25 percent) contained chemical contaminants at levels above the strict, health-protective limits of California, the bottled water industry code, or other states[3a] (23 waters, or 22 percent, had at least one sample that violated enforceable state limits).
So, what the...? What are we supposed to do? Well, I turned to the site for the documentary Flow, which is the movie that sparked this crazy new fear of mine about the future of water. And they have a whole page dedicated to what you can do. Click here to find something that fits into your schedule and personal beliefs.
Hey all I was doing was procrastinating and I ended up signing a petition asking the UN to declare water a human right (it literally took a minute). Nothing on my list was THAT important!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Cup of Fire

This might be viewed as a bit of a cop-out post. But believe me, I've been sitting here thinking about how to introduce this article that my friend sent to me and have come up with nothing that will properly prepare you for what you are about to read. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Think Tank

I know I've mentioned this before, but I really have to do something about my toilets. (Admit it, you were just saying the same thing, right?) Did you know that your toilet guzzles the most water out of any appliance in your house? I didn't until recently. My toilets are in mint condition, but they were built before Fred Flintstone met Wilma. You know, back when people didn't use "water" and "world war three" in the same sentence. Anyway, every now and then I've come across this trick of putting a brick in the toilet tank so that it fills with less water, but I thought I would read a bit more about it before running to Home Depot. In doing so, I came across this great site that lists 10 ways to reuse plastic bottles (thx CM!)

Here's number six:

6. Toilet Tank Trick: Skip the brick in your toilet tank -- they can disintegrate and damage plumbing. Instead, drop a plastic bottle or two filled with water into your tank, and you'll displace enough water to save a half gallon to a gallon with every flush. Most toilets flush just fine with a little less water. Savings: Based on FPP ("Flushes Per Person"), a family of four might save 16 gallons of water a day with this little trick, which should save you about $90 a year on your water bill. Now come on, this seems like a really easy thing to do that requires little to no effort, so I hope some people join in giving this a try (not the garbage picking part). The water you save could be filling your bathtub, tea pot or your glass. Of course, now that I do not buy bottled water anymore, I have to seek out plastic bottles for this. Of course, we all know that I slip up every now and then (in fact, I had another farmer's market incident again and had to buy water to go with my kids tomale. But that's glass, which wouldn't work). But if you see someone bent over with her head in a public garbage can, it might be me looking for plastic bottles. Hey, it's for a good cause!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A New Whosamawhatsie for the Doohickey

Just when you thought everything was going to be okay because you turned off the faucet while brushing your teeth... I just read that 36 states in the US are anticipating water shortages by the year 2013.

I was thinking that my water saving techniques were getting a bit stale, so I thought I would look up some new ones, and I navigated to the Kohler website. I highly recommend it, because if you take this three question quiz and give your name, they will donate $1 in water-saving fixtures to Habitat for Humanity. An awesome idea. It takes all of about a minute.

I rent my apartment, so I am not able to do major work on the place, but I did watch a few of the videos on the Kohler site, and it mentioned that replacing the aerator on the sink faucets in the bathroom are a really easy way to save water. Duh! Why didn't I think of that. The only water-saving I had done today thus far was to tell my hubby to move his keester to the bathroom where he could stop up the drain (the drain in bathroom where he usually shaves does not seal up completely). As much as it's fun to get things done by ordering other people around, I think I can do my part and get MY keester over to the hardware store and buy one of those whosamawhatsies for the sink. You think they'll know what I mean?

Time's Up

Once again, I have read my blog after writing it and have decided to preempt what you are about to read with a lighthearted story, since the rest is, I dare say, is a snoozefest. My son often comments on the watering can in my bathroom (for anyone just joining us, the watering can is there to catch water that is wasted when I'm waiting for the shower to heat up so I don't freeze my patootie off). "What are you doing?" he often says to me while I hold the watering in the line of the shower stream. He often comments on it while going potty and picks it up and plays with it every chance he gets. Then, the other day, we arrived home and I told him to go potty as usual. As I waited for him in another room, I heard a loud, echoing stream of water. I had no idea what it could be. By the time I had arrived at the bathroom door, there was my little darling, pants down, pouring "liquid" into the toilet from the watering can. In short, he had peed in it.

So, the little one earned some points for creativity. And, on more than one occasion, when asked what he wants to do when he grows up, has told me that he wants to "pee standing up." I guess this was a dream come true for him. For that I couldn't be happier. But I think there are a few years before he fully grasps what it is we're trying to do in this house. Perhaps he thought that putting any liquid in the watering can would save water.

Okay, now for the blah part of the blaaahg...

Putting the time into a blog means facing the harsh reality that no one might actually read it. Then there is the even harsher reality that there might not be anyone acting on anything they do read. So, in an effort for this to mean something, I sometimes end up talking about it in a way that might put a bit more pressure on people than I mean to. Where is the line between being an informative, friendly person, and being a really irritating. I think tonight I might have inched a little to close to irritating. At a friends house, I found myself going on and on about how we should all slowly cut bottled water out of our lives. I have no idea how long I went on and on before my husband caressed my hand and said, "Hon, it's getting late."

A friend of mine, not too long ago commented on one of my blog entries, saying that she told her mother that she doesn't have to rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Of course, her mother realized that the dishes still came out clean. I don't know if she shared that story with many people, but it seems to me that it would be difficult to relay it without sounding like either the most lifeless person on earth or some raving extremist. Let's face it, although I have to believe that this stuff makes a difference, it's not something that makes you sit on the edge of your seat. But, for anyone who is starting to do this stuff, make sure you tell other people who are willing to listen. I didn't know a lot of the information that I am finding out thanks to this blog, and I'm sure a lot of other people out there don't know about this stuff either. So what if not everyone listens. You'll eventually find someone who will.

I'm fortunate to have awesome friends who did listen and even made suggestions for this blog. My friends are smarter than me, so I have some reading to do before commenting on the scary water tales I heard from them. But next time, I think I will bring a stopwatch and have my husband say, "SO! How about Britney Spears? What's she up to these days." Of course, that will only work if she's not making a total ass of herself by wasting water. You never know with that girl.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making Sense

My wallet was stollen last night. It's okay, these things happen. I wasn't hurt or mugged or even bothered, so that was nice of the robber. And really, I can't complain too much knowing that sometimes people are attacked for such things. But here's the kicker. This is the second friggin time in a matter of... maybe four months. The first time, the loser took it from the front seat of my car while I was vacuuming it (the car, not the wallet). This time, someone must have taken it from my bag while I was reading at a tea cafe. Sipping tea and crime don't mix! (Though I could see Kevin Spacey sip tea while playing a villain. I don't know why. But in all other cases, NO!) Anyway, neither time was I harmed or was anyone I know harmed. And that's all that matters.

What does this have to do with water. Well, in my frustration, I've been muttering to myself all day about how this just doesn't make any sense. Do I have "please steal stuff from me" written across my forehead? Or maybe it's more direct. "I'm a schmuck." So I was thinking about something else that makes no sense to me that I've been meaning to blog about for a while, but too many other things have been at the forefront of my mind. Not this time! Today is the day to talk about things that don't make sense. You know what doesn't make sense to me. Washing out your recyclables with clean water.

Now, I have to admit, I was going to talk about how it doesn't make sense to clean out your recyclables period. I mean, let's face it, it's glorified garbage, right? But then doing a little poking around before opening my big mouth to you all, I realized that there are people who have to sort through this stuff and not cleaning something out could make a person barf when the smell some week old remnants of chipotle bean dip. I HATE throwing up and could not live with myself knowing that I made someone throw up at work. So please, do wash out your recyclables. (For more on washing out recyclables go to ) However, I was thinking of all the used water used for soaking things, washing hands, washing fruit. If there is some way to save that in a bucket, then I think we should all start doing that. Then, if you have no recyclables to wash out, c'est la vie (Pardon, je ne spell francais).

Admit it. We've all wasted gallons of water cleaning out one jar of peanut butter so that it could be reincarnated as a Christmas tree ornament or a rear view mirror. But let's face it: for now, it's just the high face on the totem pole of trash. So dirty water should be as clean as it gets. Now that makes sense!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where Have You Been?

I know. Bad Bogger! The visit with mom was great. But, as with every visit from a friend or family member, something from my regularly scheduled programming has to give. This time it was bloggity-blog-blogging.

I was thinking about you guys though. If you don't believe me, just ask my mother. I kept reminding her that I wanted her to change one habit back in NY. And you would not believe the headway I made! Now, to put this in perspective, I told you what my mother was like, right? The woman who, while watching Lady Diana marry Prince Charles stood at the television with a group of awestruck viewers and blurted, "Who cares? No one put my wedding on TV!"

First of all, she will think twice about having her water glass refilled at restaurants when she knows that she is not going to drink it. In fact, the last night at dinner, she and I did an experiment together by flipping my glass over so that they wouldn't come over and pour more without asking. By the way, this worked wonders against the sniper-like attack of the water pitcher. The waiter looked at us like we were crazy (well, really, me.) but let him think whatever he wants. It worked. Thanks Mom!!!

The other thing that my mother did was she asked me permission before she ordered bottled water at a restaurant. Now, she was treating, so of course I held up my hands and just told her to do what she wanted to do. But she told me that she didn't want to disrespect my rule. She went from the start of the trip, when she insisted on bringing Diet Coke into my house because a guest might want to drink it despite my serious rule, to which she replied, "Too bad," was actually asking my permission. I have to believe that it was more than my rule that made her think twice. Something I said must have gotten through to her. Of course, she went on to point out that the reason she really wanted it was because it was sparkling, and not just regular water. Don't worry, Mommy! The fact that you're thinking about it makes me happy!

Finally - and I know that this isn't a done deal - but I think she's actually considering not buying bottled water anymore. She doesn't know this, but I am going to get her her own Kleen Kanteen so that she has an alternative sitting right in front of her. The fact is, my mom's a tough nut to crack. If I can get through to her, I know I can get through to other people. Believe me, once you start thinking about it, it's tough to go back.

My visit with my mom was awesome, and not just for the reasons I mention above. I have to admit, I loved getting through to her on certain things, but to all you who check off the 0-45 box for your age, I realized something. This is our responsibility. If our kids end up with a water shortage that has spread throughout the world, that's our fault. We can't blame a generation who didn't know that this would end up being a problem. And we can't use anymore excuses. This is not difficult people! Flip your glass over today!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I had to look up that fact I posted yesterday again because it seems difficult to believe. I might have to do a bit more research to prove to myself that it is true that for every 8 oz of water saved, you save another 1.5 to three gallons. When I told my husband about that this morning, he said, "I don't know how we have any water at all!" How true. But I might have to go to a more reliable primary source for that little nugget to sink into my brain. Maybe I just don't WANT it to be true.

Either way, the restaurant thing is going to be the little goal I have with my mom. All she drinks is wine and coffee, so really, it would not be a big deal to get her to say no thank you at a restaurant. I think this might work!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just Say No

I know it sounds weird, given all this talk of water, but I don't drink enough. Water, I mean. My husband calls me the camel because I never drink (gosh, I think that's why he calls me that...) Being me goes something like this: 1. I don't drink enough water. 2. I get a headache. 3. I down enough water to fill my kids blow-up pool. 4. I burp 5. I don't drink enough again for the next two days.

I was out to lunch with my Mother today and the waiter dude filled up my glass every time I took a sip the size of a tear drop. Hey, I'm sure the guy was ready to pass out from boredom given that his only two customers were talking about Project Runway, but that's no reason to waste water. But, I realized, it was my fault. How? Because I didn't tell him to stop. Why is it that when I'm at a restaurant, I feel the need to pretend that I'm going to shrivel up into a scoop of pate if my water glass is more than a half inch from the rim of my glass? So, finally I put my foot down and gave it to him straight. I looked him in the eye and told him what I never had the guts to say before, "No thank you."

Turns out, this could be a really easy easy easy way of conserving water. I found out you could save 1.5 to 3 gallons of water for every 8 ounce glass of water you refuse at a restaurant. That doesn't make sense, you say? Well, believe it or not, it takes water to make clean, drinkable water

So next time the waiter comes over to refill your water glass and you darn well know you're not going to drink it, for goodness sakes, just say no. Just be polite. Or the next glass of water will be saliva.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Guess Who's Coming for Water

Having been at this water conservation thing for a while, I have gotten used to certain things. You know, all the little behaviors I've been blogiphising about. Faucets are turned on the lowest pressure possible. Toilets are not always flushed. Dishes are not rinsed before going in the dishwasher. Then there are the other kinds of evidence of this new endeavor, like driving my husband crazy and writing extremist letters to Coke-a-cola. Sometimes I slip up and make sure to spend a few minutes feeling like a pinhead about it and try to do better. But just as I'm feeling like the Steve Jobs of water conserving housewives, a force stronger than I swoops down and crushes the system like Y2K (you know, if Y2K had actually been a real thing): Mom's visiting.

I love my mom. She is smart and generous and gifted. I mean, I have not had to lift a finger since she's been here. She's made dinner, washed the dishes, and lit the fire under my keester to do laundry - and she's been here for less than a day! But, Lord have mercy, girlfriend can waste some water!

What do you do when you want to be an environmentally-conscious pain in the butt and have guests? If Ghandi's mom came for a visit and wanted a sandwich, would he actually tell mama to take a hike? (No, I'm not comparing myself to Ghandi. Jeez!) Seriously, when you have guests, do you just tell them all the new rules of the household until they decide they will never stay with you ever again? Think about it: my mother is scrubbing my pots - am I really going to get all Poindexter in her face about the amount of water she's using? I'm not. I may not be a good enough daughter not to talk smack about her behind her back on this blog, but I'll be darned if I won't be a respectful schmoopy pumpkin.

So for the next week, while I will continue my own water-conserving behavior, my goal will be not to drive my mother completely insane, but rather to convince her to change one behavior that will save water. Now, some of you may be thinking that one behavior is a pretty whimpy goal. Well, to you I say, you don't know my mother. Ever hear the sayings "get over it," "so what," "big deal," and "What do you think you're the only one who's got a life, Karen?" She invented those. So, unless you can come up with a better plan, I'm sticking to my underachiever goal - get over it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Pouring... Water! (Well, yeah...)

I have so much work to do today that I'm not really sure how I'm going to get it all done. So, instead of getting into it and finding at midnight that I've neglected the blog, I thought I would sit down for a quick word about my lovely, earth conscious neighborhood.

I knew just the place to go to get the bio bags and sure enough, there they were, and cheaper than I had found them online! Still not as cheap as my free paper bags from Trader Joe's, but this foe plastic is made from food and is completely biodegradable, so I guess I don't have to be such a cheapskate. So I'm back on the wagon and off the garbage disposal once more.

I also stopped off for a cup of coffee at this awesome bakery near me called Arizmendi - one of two places near me that I can always rely on for an awesome cup of coffee and something full of carbs and delicious (the other place is Cafe 504 - Hi guys!). Anyway, BOTH of these places do something that I think every cafe should do. Instead of selling bottled water, they just provide it, free of charge to any thirsty customer. I've made a mental note of this before, but somehow today, this hit me a little more seriously. They could probably choose to make a killing on bottled water, but instead, they do the earth conscious thing and just give it away - as if this stuff just pours out of the wall or something! Oh, wait a minute... it DOES.

I know I've mentioned that sticker that restaurants can put on their paper towel dispenser that reads "These Come From Trees." Well, I think it's important to note that, in the same spirit of that kind of simplicity, a huge difference could be made if local places decided that they are not going to take part in the bottled water scam, and instead provide water to their customers. Why. Because, as I've said before, it's the SAME water! There is nothing magical about bottled water. Except, of course, to the people filling up the bottles from the tap and making money off of it.

Look out for the places that provide water for their customers and give them props. They're doing a good thing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bag Lady

I have fallen off the garbage disposal wagon (for those of you just joining us, the g.d. can waste up to 150 gallons a month! Shocked? Yeah... welcome to my world!) the last few days because of a reason you might consider stupid. I don't have any compost bags. I've been using Trader Joe's bags, but I would have to do food shopping for the Brady Bunch in order to keep up with the number of paper bags I would need for compost and recycling. So, I need compost bags. But, I just went to order them and I have to say, they are a bit expensive! And the cost of shipping makes the price jump from pricey to what-you-talkin-bout? So before I break into my son's college fund (okay, it's not THAT bad), I am going to go on a compost bag hunt. I think I know a place in my area that sells them. In the meantime, if anyone notices a sale on compost bags, please let me know!

Friday, October 2, 2009

At the Car Wash, Whoa whoa whoa whoa!

I'm thinking of naming my car the Schmutz Express. No? How about the Crumb Bun? Let's just get right to the point, shall we? Crap Bubble! Is that better? Whatever garbage reference you may like best, you would think of all of them when you see my car. Why don't I get it washed? Well, what stops me from doing every other freaking everyday thing other people do? Water. Unfortunately, I came across a little piece of information before washing my car that has blocked my ability to pay a visit to the nearest 76 station with a drive through washer: it takes 100 gallons to wash a car. One HUNDRED.

Okay, so I'll get a bucket and use it in my driveway. Better? NO! Turns out all the junk in the soap and stuff runs off the driveway, and into the sewer and well, ends up in the ocean (not in magic fairy water heaven, like I thought). Oh, you oceans and sea creatures! Just when we humans want to go do something in ignorance, you're always ruining the fun!

So what is a person who can't see out her car windows supposed to do? Well, it turns out that there are some products that will allow you to do a "waterless," and more importantly, "Non-toxic" car wash. Here are some links:

Please know that I have not tried ANY of these products yet and that I'm just putting random ones I find up here. If you want to let me know about a particular one, please do, and I'll do the same. I'll be honest, I'm just going to go by price unless someone knows of one I should not live without.

I have to say that I am really disappointed that my son will not have the memory of getting all wet and soapy in the driveway in his bathing suit as we wash the car. It's why people live in the suburbs, right? But I guess I would rather sacrifice that cheesy Kodak moment than his future water supply!