Sunday, June 5, 2011

Waste Fairies!

If you measure life in terms of "hours expended earning money", then wasting money is equivalent to wasting hours of life.  Now imagine every time you come home from the grocery store and offload, say, 6 bags of delicious groceries at roughly $25 each, some gal walks in out of the blue, grabs one bag, stomps it to bits, throws it down the garbage disposal, then leaves without explanation, without even taking anything for herself.  Just comes in and throws $25 of your life away, not to mention the time it took you to plan and shop for those groceries and bring them home. Senseless, pointless waste.

I suspect you'd feel outraged, as I did this morning making a huge pot of cauliflower soup, and imagined the Kitchen Waste Fairy descending upon me. (Often, when I cook, clean or do chores, I talk to myself, muse, day-dream.)    She watched me pull the leaves off the 3 cauliflour heads, then pull the flowerettes off the stems, then chop both leaves and stems to add to my soup.  She watched me cut the choicest stem parts into radish thin slices and store in a Zip-Lock bag for adding crunch to a future salad (they taste just like a mild radish!)  And our dialogue went like so:

"Why don't you just throw that stuff away, like everybody else does?", she said.  "Not a chance," I replied.  I told her I didn't throw away the tips of whole green beans either (they are perfectly edible, so WHY DO PEOPLE THROW THOSE AWAY????????), never throw away dry crusty bread (makes great croutons), and am bound and determined to figure out what to do with my sour milk besides throw it away. 

Dog Treats: Those tough asparagus ends that everyone throws in the trash, I feed to my dogs as tasty crunchy snacks, which they adore and beg for more.  I give them the apple and pear cores too (including seeds), let them lick the gravy off our plates as well as that last bite we simply cannot finish (which others scrape into the trash), not to mention letting them lick the stirring spoons, pots and pans, measuring cups, etc., with all that scrumptuous residue.  I feel positively weird at restaurants and other people's houses when I see all the wasted morsels my dogs would relish, going in the trash.  I have to bite my tongue not to ask for a doggie bag. My dogs' very happiness revolves around these little treats, and I use them as invaluable training aides, requiring a sit, down, stay, wait your turn, leave it, share, or no-begging posture, before dispensing.  Saves a bundle on doggie treats, and ensures that daily training takes place.

And this is only the Kitchen Waste Fairy!  There are Office Waste Fairies, too, whom I scoffed at later today as I used the clean back sides of printed copy paper to print out a 68 page manual (one I need only for myself, and will probably read only once).  John and I save reams of paper per year this way, at absolutely no inconvenience to ourselves. 

There are Yard Waste Fairies,  Hardware Waste Fairies, and Energy Waste Fairies.  Waste Fairies are everywhere. On this latter, I remember one of my pet peaves running my summer school was parents who stood in the doorway waiting for their child to finish playing, or chatting with an employee or another parent for 10 minutes with the door propped wide open in 95 degree temperatures, letting out all the A/C I paid a fortune for to keep their kids cool enough.  "Come in or go out, but shut the damn door!", I wanted to scream.  Senseless, thoughtless waste.

DAMMIT!  Oh, I could go on and on about WASTE, especially the kind that requires little to no effort to avoid.  John's and my parents grew up during the Depression, they lived thru rationing in WWII, they taught their kids how to conserve, and considered frugality a sign of high moral intelligence. My mother never threw away a garment before cutting off the buttons, and I have fond memories of her letting me dump all the buttons onto her bed, and sorting them by shape, size, color, number of holes, etc. My grandmother took "waste not, want not" to extremes, extracting the thread from the hems of any garment before folding it into the fabric drawer, wrapping the thread around her finger, and keeping dozens of little bundles of colored thread in a small cardboard box.   I never saw her use that thread, but I am sure she felt proud of herself and wealthier knowing she had it handy "just in case". 

I'm proud of their frugality, too, and I'll be damned if any Waste Fairy is going to claim one thin dime of my life either.  "A penny saved is a penny earned", Grandma would say.  I do draw the line, though, on saving used Christmas wrapping paper unless it's a large sheet, or hand-made.  And I refused to recycle until they finally let us put cardboard, glass, metal and plastic all in one bin.  I can't let the Conservation Fairy eat up all my time or space, either.

Upwards and onward!


Nicole on dog diet said...

We must be good in the budget of our money. This will surely save us from being penniless. We must be aware of what we're buying and be wise on what we plan to buy.

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