June 20, 2008

Going Green, Part 2: The Opposition

I am excited to go green. Believe me, I have spent cumulative hours dreaming and planning about "our house" - the house where the kids and I will live soon (please, God? Please?). I think about the simple kitchen and the bathroom. I think about what cleaning products I want to use. I think about decorating and painting, and now decorating in green way with vinegar and low VOC paint, for example. To fan my flames, the kids and I have been watching a lot of this.

If you haven't already seen this advertised, please visit their website at www.planetgreen.com and check out the channel. The shows are amazing and eyeopening, and truly make going green very easy for those of us without a lot of cash.

If you're thinking about incorporating some green decisions into your life but are afraid of biting off more than you can chew or afford, don't be scared! Going green doesn't have to be a total commitment to be worth doing. I am taking it slow. Partly because I want to do it right and not oversaturate myself to the point of burn out, but also because I have some opposition at home. I wanted to blog about this part because some of you may benefit from reading about this.

So, we all know that I'm pretty clean and crisp. What I mean is, I like things simple and uncluttered. Some might say anal-retentive. Or OCD. Whatever. I recently shared with you all that my dad used to measure his pillow before retiring for the night. I wasn't joking. He also lined up all of the canned and boxed goods in our pantry in alphabetical order and by size. They all had to be facing forward. Now, I'm not that bad, but clearly I got this organized, list-making, do it all, simple and clean and crisp blood in me from him. Because my mom? She is NOT like that.

We have been living with my mother for almost 8 months. Every single night I thank Jesus that she offered and was alive to offer a roof over our heads. I am so blessed - WE are so blessed to have Nana. I literally could not be supporting my children without her right now. We might actually have to live in a shelter if it weren't for my mother. And I tell her that. I tell her thanks. A lot. And I mean it. But. Living as an adult - as another mother - is a whole new ballgame. See, in my own home I had my way of organizing and cleaning and doing things. Here, I can't. My hands are tied. Let me explain and you can fill in the blanks with your imagination.

Judy seems to love and need STUFF. I'm not sure if it's because she grew up in the Depression and having stuff makes her feel secure, or because she finds creativity among the chaos. I don't get it. She's always been like this and hasn't purchased anything new, really, since the boys and I moved in. Let me explain some more.

She has 27 coats.

39 dinner plates.

27 drinking glasses.

13 coffee mugs.

17 canisters ON the countertops.

38 plastic storage bowls (almost all of them (7) plastics, all orange and bubbly from tomato sauce - this also does not include her extensive Pyrex collection).

53 lids for the plastic storage bowls.

Every single surface in her home contains a doily, a lamp, a box of tissues with a decorative cover on it, 4 coasters, a silk floral arrangement or trinket of some kind, and an electrical appliance. Every surface. To give myself more ground, I counted her bath towels (for her one shower). There were 17. She has 19 washcloths. This doesn't include her rag collection for cleaning. Speaking of cleaning, she keeps 3 sponges behind each faucet along with a brush and washcloth, and there are several types of cleaner under every sink.

Don't ask the obvious question, either. Of course I have offered/asked/wondered aloud/insisted that she allow me to help her clean. She gets very offended when the subject comes up. Even when she watches Planet Green with us and sees that those plastic storage containers (think Gladware, Ziploc, Cool Whip) are bad stuff. And like I said, I am deeply grateful - so I'll just keep my serious angst and claustrophobic feelings to myself for now. I don't want to hurt her feelings.

My point in sharing this with all of you is this: going green in a big way all at once is not for everyone. Don't feel pressured. Think of the small things that can be done and start there. Eliminate as much waste in your life as you can. Perhaps switch out your lightbulbs to the energy efficient types. And turn your lights and television off when you leave the room. Baby steps.

Disclaimer: Judy is fully aware that she is part of this series of blog posts. (And likewise, she feels famous. I have a Judyism coming soon, too.)

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