Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Zzzz...zzzz... huh? Wha?

I'm so tired today, I can barely see straight. Of course, tis the season to be merry... but it's not really fair to have a season when everyone has to be merry if you're not going to follow it up with a season to be lazy. Just the opposite - January is the season to be proactive and change your life. After all that merriment? You must be joking...

I know that the first thing to go when I'm feeling this way is my dedication to the environment. This morning I let the shower run hot without saving the water and ran the dishwasher without completely filling it because I didn't want dirty dishes in my sink while I was cooking. It's funny, when I do these things, I feel like I have to say something because I never want to misrepresent myself as a person just buzzing around all the time shutting off faucets and fixing leaks. Truth is, I still don't have all my Christmas shopping done and I resent not being given an award just for putting in the effort to send Holiday cards. I don't know if you would call me lazy, but I truly believe that that the world I live in spins a lot faster for me than some other people who seem to get a lot more done in their daily lives.

If the water saving thing feels like too much work, then just be lazy and pick one thing that you do that saves water. Like not rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Or timing your shower so that you're in there for less time. Just one thing. It's okay to be lazy... jeez, join the club. But while you're thinking about your New Year's resolution, consider one that lets you still eat cake and ice cream.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Two Trips to Starbucks...

As you know, I don't generally talk about all the things you can buy to make your home more water efficient, because, let's face it - if we could all just gut our houses and start all over with low flow from top to bottom, I would just live my life without jabbering on and on about this stuff. But today is different. Today, I'm gonna ask: got $25 bucks?

No, not for me, dude! Turns out, according to Water Missions, if you can spare just $25 bucks, you can provide clean water for a family. Water For People is another organization that will turn your money into access to clean water. Both of these charities got charity navigator's highest rating, which is why I'm listing them first. There's also The Water Project (it's listed on Guidestar, but honestly, I don't know what that means in terms of rating the charity. If you find out, let me know) which claims that a $10 donation is enough to ensure one person clean water for 10 years. Friggin ten years for the cost of, what, like two Venti Carmel Macchiatos? I mean, I don't want to get all Sally Struthers on you, so I'll just say this... that's messed up.

When I started poking around to see if I could give money to get clean water to someone, I totally figured that my blog entry would be about how we should all pool our money to ensure that a family could have clean water. So when I found this out, a big part of me was really happy. But another part of me is kind of depressed. Why is this even a problem in the world??????????????????????????????????????

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Waiting Place

I'm running late according to my little personal schedule... that's the only way anything happens in my life. So I decided I would just put a link. Now I feel sick about what I just read. So, herein lies a dilemma. Do I post this depression inducing article full of statistics you don't want to hear and risk you not reading this blog because I'm the biggest Debbie Downer (One of the funniest sketches ever on SNL - the actors can't hold it together) you've ever met in your life. So, before I post, I will tell you about what I've been thinking lately about, well, all the c-r-a-p (I spell so the kids won't know I'm using a bad word) that's going on, well, everywhere you turn.

The only way any problem is going to get fixed is if ordinary people get it done. Pick something that you make an effort to do every day - save energy, conserve water, reduce waste... whatever - it will become more important to you. When it becomes more important to you, you will encourage other people to do it. When you encourage other people to do it, it becomes important to the broader population. Don't wait for legislation on water conservation - the government is not going to get this done for us. Don't wait for a leader. YOU lead. I'm not talking about using a soapbox, I'm talking about when you're using a bar of soap (Hey, looky there!) Trust me, if your going to the trouble to think about how much water you use, or unplugging your appliances at night (btw, you are using energy if your appliances are plugged in, even if everything is "off" - something like 70 percent of the energy used in a house is used while electronics are "off", just because they're plugged in. I'll look it up with a more exact figure) you will begin to want other people to do it too. It will become important to you. Just like when Seinfeld wanted Newman to try the dental floss he was using. We get into the things we do and that's how it spreads around.

Okay, bring it full circle Karen... back to the depressing link. Children are dying because they do not have access to clean water. Children like mine and yours. 36 states face impending water shortages. Are we really going to wait for leaders to tell us this is a problem? Believe me, I've been one of those people waiting for Obama to take office, waiting for health care reform, waiting for Copenhagen... and where has it gotten for me. Even my son can recall Dr. Seuss' "waiting place" (Oh, The Places You'll Go) and know that that's not where you want to be in life. As ordinary people, living our lives, we can do SO much more than anything any government can accomplish. They are making all of these choices based on what they THINK we're willing to live with. But we have to show them how we ARE living. Save water, save energy, reduce waste... they'll catch up.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Would Brian Boitano Do?

Am I dating myself by making a reference to the very first South Park episode? I'm not talking about first episode on television, I'm talking about the VERY first episode. The one on the VIDEO (yes, video) tape that circulated and go so much attention that it launched the television show. I think it was a Christmas theme... YES, because I seem to remember that Santa and Jesus were putting up their dukes over who's holiday it was. Ah, yes... it was really funny. Anyway, somehow, the kids were trying to figure out what to do, or something (hey, it was like, thirteen years ago, so I'm a little foggy on the details...) and suddenly someone says, "What would Brian Boitano do?" (He's an ICE SKATER, young'uns!) Remember, y'all? And it became a joke, you know? Can't decide which sweater to get? "What would Brian Boitano do?" Don't know whether to get kung pao or lo mein? "What would Brian Boitano do?" Don't know if you should go to graduate school or waste your life wondering if you should have ever gone to graduate school? "What would Brian Boitano do?"

Okay, so right now, you're like, okay, maybe the ice skating thing is going to relate back to water... what we should melt all the ice so we can use it to give our dogs a bath? What, Karen??? Well, actually, no. I'm remembering this because this morning I actually am having trouble making a decision: Should I tell the powers that be at my son's nursery school that I don't think that they should have bottled water and instead use one of the 10 Britas that they use in the classrooms when we have a party. Then I thought, "What would Brian Boitano do?"

Well, I don't know Brian Boitano (If you do, please write), but if he's anything like me, he would wait and wait and wait for the exact right opportunity and the somehow make this really awkward presentation that would be very repetitive and half-assed so as not to alienate everyone or make anyone mistake the interaction for face-to-face conflict. That's me. I'm a chicken when it comes to just giving the straight dope and just end up feeling like Seinfeld once said - a dope giving it straight (I know, another 90's reference. Good times...) But damnit, I don't think Brian Bitano got a gold metal in 1988 by sitting on his butt and thinking about it. I think he would march (or skate) right up to the school and say that instead of getting this generation used to drinking bottled water, we should do our part to show them that this is not good for the environment - not good for the future of their planet - and use the pitchers from the classrooms. Whew! Brian, you're one gutsy guy.

Why am I so mousey when it comes to doing things like that. Okay, maybe I fear that I will never be invited to my friends houses again because I time their showers. Or maybe I think that my parents will leave me to be raised by wolves if I tell them not to flush every single time (Can they still do that now that I'm almost 40!?!?!) Well, for all of you out there who have been irritated by me getting in your face about the size of the ice cubes you use, please know, it's just because I care. I'm sure Al Gore has annoyed his share of people. I'm sure the guy can't go anywhere without letting out a few tisks. This is the only way to get this done.

Okay. Once again, Brian Boitano has pushed me into making a decision. I'm going for the gold... Then I'm going for an orange smoothie. Get it?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shout outs

Yesterday, while in my son's bathroom, I noticed that there was a razor on the shelf (don't worry, it was high above my three year old's reach). Of course, at first, I rolled my eyes, thinking, (begin reading in a fast, high pitched, whiny ramble for the sake of authenticity) "What is this doing here? So ridiculous how I'm the one that has to put everything back in its rightful..." Then I realized something: my husband has been remembering to shave in the second bathroom. Why? Because it has a pluggable drain. This way he doesn't wast water letting it run and run while he shaves ten years off his face (no beard makes him look younger... heheheh). Ohhhh... Awesome honey!

I also want to do a shout out to my kid's teacher, who told me that they will start watering the class plant with the water left in their cups. I don't know that this will keep the kids from actually turning off or turning down the faucet, but I think that it's important just to have the expression "save water" in their heads. I mean, my kid knows that when he comes in the house, he has to take off his shoes and put them in the closet. He knows that if he wants something, he has to say please. Of course, we're still working on a few things - say, getting a tissue when you've got snot running down your face... why aren't kids bothered by a stream of mucus above their lip??? But the point is that these are all things that we started him doing early. So why not water conservation? Maybe, since it hasn't been on my generation's agenda our whole lives, that we don't necessarily think to make it a priority for our kids. But we have to get them ready for the world that they live in, where water shortages are becoming more and more common. So from now on, it's look both ways before you cross, don't talk to strangers and SAVE WATER!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Drip Tips

I'm doing a little cross promotion today, but I've been writing for this series of interstitials called What You Can Do - which lets viewers know what they can do to tackle a particular issue in one minute. Well, of course there was one dedicated to water conservation. I didn't write it, but it lists many of the things that I've talked about on this blog. I did learn something new however: the EPA estimates that about one trillion gallons of water leaks from homes each year.

According to the EPA - as it is cited on the video - that's the amount of water used by Chicago, Miami and L.A. combined. WHAT? Now, let me just say that I don't own a home, so maybe I'm being a little to judgemental, but come on homeowners! Don't you have a dusty old tool cabinet in your garage with some metal thingamabobs to fix stuff? It's time to strap on some overalls, pick up a wrench and start tightening stuff. Don't know how? Umm... neither do I. Here is EHow's how to fix a leaky faucet (and ladies, the guy is totally cute, so don't be afraid to insist on making this your project) and how to fix a leaky pipe.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Polar Express

Last night I was on the way home from my writers' group. There I had been, thinking about how nice it was to sit in a room with a bunch of other playwrights and discuss each other's work. No one HAD to be there, and the world wasn't going to depend on the outcome of the meeting. As seriously as we all take writing, it was nice to just be there simply because we enjoy it. Then I get in my car and turn on the radio...

The radio program was in the middle of an interview with Richard Ellis about his book On Thin Ice: The Changing World of the Polar Bear. Okay, I thought, polar bears... yeah, I know all about them. Ice caps are melting... water is warming... but we're fixing it and we're making it better. Hybrid cars, wind power, recycling... we're on it, right? Well, the way I understood it in this interview was that the cycle of the ice caps melting is such that once, say, part of the ice caps melt, more sunlight hits the water. When more sun hits the water, the water warms and more ice caps melt. More sunlight hits the water and on and on. So, as Ellis says, even if all the bad stuff stopped tomorrow, this process is unstoppable.

I know... it kind of makes you want to go eat some chocolate or do a facial mask or something just to make yourself feel better. I know I wanted to go back to my playwright buds and pretend that the worst problem in my life was that my dialogue didn't ring true.

But my thing is water... so why am I putting all this on my shoulders? Because I don't want to get to the point when there is nothing we can do about this problem of decreasing water supply. I don't want to sit around and wait for some nerd to develop a desalination machine just like I thought that someone would build an underwater air conditioner for the North Pole. I don't want to be turning on the radio in 20 years - this time on my way home from opening night of my off-b'way play, of course - and hear some dude tell me that the water crisis is unstoppable. Or worse, I don't want my KID turning on the radio and hear this problem is unstoppable and then think, "jeez, my parent's generation is the biggest bunch of jackasses for not taking care of this problem when there was still time to fix it." (No comment as to whether that's the thought I had).

Okay, so this is a preachy entry. Tomorrow I promise to write the blog equivalent of a fart joke about saving water in my house. But, for now, I felt like I needed to write some dialogue that rang true.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

About Your Pot...

Is there any reason to use a gallon of water to rinse off the soap on the outside of a pot when you're hand washing dishes? I mean, why not just use a dry towel to wipe it off. It's not like food is touching that part. I feel like Jack Handy right now, but really, come on...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Back in the Groove

How much attention should I give to the fact that I have not blogged for more than a month and then suddenly yesterday, appeared out of nowhere? How much thought should I even give it. I'm just wondering if anyone has been changing their habits and then suddenly, in the absence of this blog, decided, ah well, back to taking hour long showers and flushing the toilet every time I hock a lugie (Is that right? I've never had to spell that word before...).

Just so that you know, I have continued to be water conscious and tried to make a mental note every time I slipped up. I remember that I did buy one bottle of water in the airport on the way to New York for the holiday. I did bring our canteens, but as you know, they do not let you take any damn water though security. So while the prevent terrorism with what may be the dumbest security rule EVER, they are helping to dry up the earth and fill up the oceans with plastic. Well, it's a good thing we're not letting the terrorists hydrate! That'll show 'em!

While I was away from the blogosphere, I was actually also away from my home for part of the time. Being away from home is always interesting because I watch what other people are doing and desperately want to comment on little things done around the house to save water. I'm not sure why - maybe I'm just annoying in my approach, but I always find it interesting that I am met with such resistance. Is it guilt - like people don't even want to have to think about another thing that's doomed about the planet? Or is it that they think what I'm about to say is going to make what they do really difficult. I am willing to accept that maybe I'm not approaching it in the right way, but I have tried different ways. Any suggestions? Maybe put on an Al Gore mask? Or maybe wear a big bow in my hair and hold one of those large, colorful lolipops and talk like I'm a little kid so people think I'm cute. Or maybe I should just release some bees into the air... Hey, I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Potty Mouth

This isn't the first time that I've felt like a big fat dummy, but I would say that this is one of the most memorable ones. While staying with my sister in NYC, we were invited to her very close friend's place for dinner. As we're getting ready, my sis turns to me and says, "Hey, you'll be interested to talk to this guy, because he knows how to make the water go down the toilet without flushing it." Okay... So after everyone scrapes the last of this delicious meal off the plate, I turn to the husband and say, "Hey... can you tell me about how you flush the toilet?" I should mention I had spent the evening up to this point making normal dinner-conversation to build everyone's confidence in me as a completely non-psychotic houseguest, which may be the only reason that that this guy graciously let me follow him into his bathroom to demonstrate how to flush the toilet without, uh... well, flushing the toilet.

Here's the answer - get a pad an paper and write this down: pour water in the bowl.

Am I the only one that didn't know that if you pour a gob of water in the toilet bowl that the toilet will flush itself in order to not overflow? Am I? Come on, I can't be. Anyway, I looked at this guy the way the Munchkins looked at Dorothy when she dropped her house on the Wicked Witch.

Now, for those of you just joining us, (and for those of you who forgot), I've been wondering how to feel better about the gallons of grey water that gets sucked down the drain every other night when my son takes a bath. Ta-dah! I finally know what to do with it. I was a bit ambitious at first and insisted that my husband not drain the water in the bath, but as we were going to bed, I freaked out about the slimmest possibility of my son falling in the tub in the middle of the night (the bathroom is attached to his room with no lock on the outside). I know it's a longshot, but I'm a worrier and pictured him doing a jackknife off the soap dish while I was asleep. So, my latest venture is to collect the water in gallon milk cartons one by one and use it to flush the toilets.

Well, I may be the only one to not have known this trick already, but I'm glad I learned this easy way to save gallons and gallons of water. Thank you to my toilet genius friends!