Are We There Yet?

Boy, did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed today. For no particular reason, I caught a bad attitude overnight. Too many late nights? Too many early mornings? Too daunting of a task that challenges our family for a Tuesday? Yes to all of the above, because today is:

No Transportation Day (at least, not of the fuel-guzzling variety).

I knew this challenge would get us kicked off eco-island.

I love the idea of walking and biking for all of our travels. I would love to walk the kids to school. I think a basket on my bike for toting home produce from the Farmer’s Market is so picturesque.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid we’d become roadkill on the way to school, since we’d need to walk along a 50 mph, four-lane road with inconsistent sidewalks, while cell-phone chatting drivers race one another to school/work/Dunkin’ Donuts. Plus, the Farmer’s Market is 8.1 miles away...and my bike is the same blue Schwinn ten-speed that my parents gave me for my sixteenth birthday. Oh--and I can’t remember the last time I actually rode a bike. I need some serious training before I even attempt the hills in our subdivision.

So, today is a bummer. I’m ready to admit defeat. I’ve already driven Mikey to preschool, which is just about a mile from home, but it’s also located on the above-mentioned crazy road...and it was 38 degrees this morning. Since we’re always late for preschool, walking didn’t seem viable--we’d show up just as the teachers dismissed the kids. Kristen does ride the bus home from school, so I’m feeling good about that. But that’s our only “mass transit” option in our area. And--she has violin lessons today, which requires a 30-minute drive to the college, and another 30-minutes home.

Sorry for the negativity. Sometimes I miss living in a community where it’s possible to celebrate “Walk to School Day” by actually--walking TO school, not AROUND its perimeter after the parents drop off their kids.

On a positive note:

I consciously chose to stay home this morning to avoid driving. I turned down Peter’s offer to meet at a nursery to buy pansies. Anyone who knows me understands this is a very big sacrifice. The nursery is in Greenville, which would require another 30+ minutes of driving each way--for both of us, since he’s out running errands. (At least he’s driving the Prius.) Ah, such self-sacrifice for the sake of the Earth!

In more good news--yesterday’s Trash Day went really well. We still haven’t filled even half of a reusable shopping bag since Sunday. You should see the mess in the garage that’s awaiting recycling, though--but, as you know, I can’t drive it to the recycling center today.

Trash Day was also pretty easy for us because we compost. Due to my gardening obsession, Peter built a three-bin compost site about a year ago. I love it. Composting is a fantastic way to dispose of food waste (just no meat or oils, you don’t want to attract animals), grass clippings, and leaves--even newspapers and paper towels. We keep a compost bucket (with lid) on our porch--we tried to keep it inside, but fruit flies became an issue. When it’s overflowing, like right now--we take it to the compost bin. I garden organically because the composted soil is so rich and full of nutrients that I don’t need to buy petroleum-based fertilizers. In the next few days, I’ll post info about building a compost bin and the steps to make great soil.

Trash Day also led to a pretty yummy dinner--with minimal packaging waste. Monday night, we had our first frost for SC. Luckily, my friend warned me about the impending cold, and I harvested the last of the summer’s basil. I spent three hours making five small containers of pesto--how can so much work result in so few meals? Anyway--we ate free-range, drug-free chicken from Live Oaks Farms in Woodruff, mixed with the homemade pesto and pasta. The kids, of course, ate plain pasta with plain chicken. You’d think we were murdering them by forcing them to try three noodles with pesto. Yeesh.

So, Trash Day was a success, I think. And--I’m going to readjust my attitude about Transportation Day. When we started our little experiment, I lovingly named it “No Impact Man-Lite.” We’re not going to go off the grid, and we’re not going to forgo toilet paper. We’re just going to try to improve our relationship with the environment. I suppose I shouldn’t beat myself up now.

Reprieve! Kristen’s violin teacher just called and canceled her lesson! Weird. If I leave now, I could even walk to Mikey’s school to pick him up. Hmm.

Maybe today won’t be as tough as I thought...

tagged under: Growing one day at a time