Random thoughts about disposable stuff [day 20 & 21]

I haven’t had much time to blog, but I have run into many crazy situations and learned a lot over the past few days.  Here are a few random things.

7I’m reading the book 7: Mutiny Against Excess.  (a) I should have written a book about all of my challenges and experiences.  Shane Claibourne is my hero too.  I also think the world will someday be like a scene from the Book of Eli.  (b)  This book very much parallels with this challenge.  It’s a really good read.  It will mess you up, in a good way.

space shipI wonder what the aliens think of us?  We’re a pretty wasteful society.  I guess their thoughts about planet earth may depend on where they land their spaceship.  America?  Africa?  Mexico?  Finland?

the-colony-tv-showA post-apocalyptic world.  My kids have started watching a new show called The Colony.  Yes, I know, 2009 is not new, but it’s new to us. We only have Netflix.  The program follows some people who must survive in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment.  No, I didn’t make them watch it.  They started watching it and insisted I watch it with them.  It’s a good follow-up to MacGyver, Pawn Stars and Mythbusters.  They have to live off waste and old junk.   Continue reading

I wear your granddads clothes, I look incredible [day 12]

Being that I’m out in the country, in the middle of a snowstorm, there’s not much to report on disposable stuff.  The real issues were encountered before we came to the cabin.

A pain to others…

Buying food.  My sister took care of shopping before we took off to the cabin.  The closest store is 45 minutes away, so there’s no running up to the store for something you forgot.  My kids were thrilled that Aunt Selena did the shopping, as we are in a winter wonderland of prepackaged treats and processed foods.  I brought a few things from home, mostly containers to put food and beverages in while on the road.

IMG_7690W%*&!@#t.  We needed to pick up a few last minute things before leaving town.  We followed my sister to the store, which we were not making the connection that the grocery store would be Walmart.  We don’t shop at Walmart.  I teach my kids that where you shop is your vote for what you stand for.  It’s not that Walmart has not done any good in the world, but I don’t think they do enough to offset the “we buy American” bait and switch or make up for the way they bully their suppliers.  My kids started flipping out in the car.  We decided to go to a different store.  See?  Others are more affected by all of these things we do.  Not that I plan to change that, just an observation.  😉  Continue reading

Most say I don’t have a filter [day 4]

electrostatic-air-filters-hvacFilters: You can say I don’t have a filter, but I have proof that I do.  Yesterday, I bought a reusable HVAC filter.  I’ve always heard these are a lot of work and they’re not as effective as disposable filters.

For just under $50, I got an electrostatic life-time air filter.  I decided to take a chance and ask my HVAC guy about these yesterday morning on Facebook.  I didn’t know if I would get a reply on a Saturday, but I did!  Matco answered!  I had already done some homework on these types of filters.  When shopping for something you’re not familiar with, a little googling goes a long way.  The original filter I chose had a lot of bad reviews, to the point that I didn’t see any good reviews on it.  I had landed on this one, but I waited to hear from Matco before pressing the “send order” button.


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The parable of cat litter [day 3]

My goal today is to find a challenge-suitable cat litter.  There’s not enough litter left in the cat box to even cover the bottom of it.  I’ve spent the last hour and a half researching cat litter options.  Here are my findings:

non-environmental-cat-products-dumb-cat-platic-litter-searchLimited options for non-disposable or 100% biodegradable packaging.  I figure clay cat litter is a natural product anyway, but all of the added chemicals to deodorize and clump make it not so great.  I was just looking for litter I can buy in bulk, and place it in my own reusable container or 100% biodegradable packaging.  I’ll let you know how this plays out after my trip to the local pet store.

Products are designed for comfort and ease.  “Make your life easier!  Buy all of this plastic crap (pun intended), throw it away and start clean and fresh!” Seriously, a Diaper Genie for cat poop?  Yes, I’d like to keep the poop for a while and make it into plastic sausage links.  Really??!?

All-inclusive marketing.  Dumb Cat is pretty clever.  I call my cat that name all the time, but I don’t need a spray to make her dumber.  How about the  environmentally friendly plastic bags?  The polyethylene* allows us to make the bags thinner.  Thinner than not using one?  No. And I’m just picturing my kids taking that out to the trash can.  “Mom!!  I don’t how that bag broke, I was just walking it out to the trash can!”  Yeah, slinging it around and hitting his brother with it.  Bad vision!  Let’s move on.  Continue reading

the little plastic faces are taunting me…

While grocery shopping a couple of nights ago, I found myself in a quandary.  I’m a frugal shopper, although I dislike calling myself anything with the word “shopper” in it.  I’m also a bit of an activist against plastic waste.  I’m not a radical activist who stands in front of stores with a picket sign, I’m the type that is trying to set an example by doing what I think is right.  I try desperately to avoid needless plastics, and really just trying to avoid anything unnecessary, in a society of disposable excess.

I love cake.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been craving cake since my birthday in May.  I usually buy one, but I just never got around to it.  As I was looking on the sale rack, I found a box of white cupcakes with white icing.  My fav!  Wait.  What’s that on top?  Plastic rings, clearly visible through the transparent plastic box.

Look. The cute little smiley faces are taunting me.  The red ones are visual oxymorons, tiny stop signs saying go.

The cupcakes are on sale.  50% off.  The smug little plastic faces are staring at me, saying, “Plastic waste is okay.  You can buy us with no worries.  Look around.  Everyone else buys us without a second thought.  We were designed for short-term party enjoyment, and we understand that the trash dump is our next destination.  Go ahead, put us in the cart.”  Continue reading

is it politically correct to say, “no?”

Why didn’t I just say, “No thank you?”  It was nice that the doctor gave each of my kids a plastic sports bottle, but I knew as he was offering them that we’re not keeping these.  Why did I not speak up?  Would it have been rude to say no?  Do these advertisement bottles really work to get new clients in?

I went through all of the mental gymnastics and it all pointed to the fact that I won’t use these and neither will my kids.  Thoughts swimming around in my head…

  • I don’t need more stuff.  I have enough sports bottles.
  • I’m not a fan of advertising on my stuff.
  • How do I know these don’t have BPA in them?
  • Braces are expensive!  Give me a discount and keep the bottles.
  • If I take these and keep them, I have to get rid of 2 things.
  • They’re just not attractive.
  • Mental image: bottles in the recycling bin

Am I the only one who even considers not taking the plastic crap that comes to us in situations like this?

plastic thingy [minimalist challenge item #297]

[item] Some plastic thing-kitchen gadget.

[purchase info] I have no idea where this came from.

[time in my possession] Approximately a long time.

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] I had fundraiser, but I think I’ll add it to the plastic crap Christmas tree.  (plastcicrap.com)

[replacement item] None

[info]I don’t know what this is even if I wanted to use it.  Seriously, sometimes I even amaze myself with this insanity.

…customers will form a line outside the store…

I love reading and making fun of the Black Friday ads, but better than that, reading the fine print can be quite entertaining.  I started this last year on black friday.  I got to do it this year with my friends Jason and Carrie.  You can read last year’s post about this or just read this year’s insanity.  Get out your reading glasses…

Let’s start with the big stuff.

ACADEMY.COM OPEN THANKSGIVING DAY!  Wow!  What a great idea!!  Have your online story open on Thanksgiving day!!  Why didn’t anyone else think of that???  LOWES.COM says you can start on Thursday.  Sure glad they gave me permission!

Guitar Center:  They have happy returns and surprise protection.  And you can shop from your smartphone!  Again, why didn’t I think of that???

Kohl’s Early Bird Deal:  For $19.99 (regularly $49.99) you can get a motion-activated candy dispenser.  (a) It’s plastic crap nobody needs, (b) do you really want candy spilling out on the floor every time you walk by this thing?  (c) It probably takes batteries, and really big ones.  (d) Does your family need candy?  You probably still have leftovers from Halloween.  (e) Candy not included.

Now for some fine print.

Old Navy:  Customers will form a line outside the store.  I guess it’s good to be prepared.  It’s kind of presumptuous though.  And they’re giving out cameras.  If they’re a clothing store, why give out cameras?  I just don’t get it.

Burlington:  *Savings off other fine department stores.  Great!  they’re cheaper than Neiman Marcus!  I’m getting a deal!!

Dick’s Sporting Goods:  Something about a cash bonus.  Here’s a picture of it, because I cannot read it easily and it would take so long to figure out what this deal really is that it’s just not worth it.  The one thing we know is that your $99 purchase must be all the same brand, even though they have 3 brands pictured.  Don’t even think about mixing and matching!


I paid full price… twice

Yes, I paid full price.  Two times.  But it was planned.

As I said early on in the no retail shopping challenge, I would love to have a pair of TOMS shoes.  I love what they’re doing and if I buy a pair of shoes, a child that is in need of shoes gets a pair.  The one-for-one model.  [day 295]  I went to the mall… I know, but let me explain!  I went to the mall to go have my phone checked out at the Apple store.  I told my son I would take him to the Lego store too.

After going both of those places, wondering how I’m going to lower my blood pressure, I made my way back to Nordstrom’s, where I parked.  The ambient noise included crowds of people doing their weekend shopping routine and the louder noises of my son chatting about plastic crap and how Lego pieces are not crap and his friend begging to go to girl stores to clothes shop.  Why are these kids with me??!?

We stopped in Nordstrom’s in the shoe department to try on some TOMS.  I guess I could have bought them there, and I might have, but they didn’t have the color I wanted in the right size.  I decided to go home and buy them online.  The shopping experience is just not my happy place.

I bought my ash gray canvas TOMS online.  I paid about the same price I would have at Nordstrom’s when you calculate shipping for the online order versus tax that I would have paid retail.  I also bought a pair of TOMS boots, or botas, as they call them.  These were not an impulse buy, as I’ve been planning on buying boots for months.  I’ve been looking at thrift stores but either women don’t have boots or they don’t give them away.  Now that I have two pairs of TOMS, I feel like I bought two pairs of blank canvases to paint.

While thinking of what I will paint on my TOMS, I found a pair of beige Sanuk’s at Plato’s Closet for $10.  Screaming deal, but I’m allergic to beige.  Yes, these are perfect to paint!  I can practice my painting techniques and ideas on these.  I used fabric paint, fabric dye, old fabric scraps, glue and acrylic paint.  I also used a piece of iridescent plastic and some paint pens. So what happened?  All of my ideas worked just fine.  They’re a bit bright, so my next pair of painted shoes will be toned down a bit, but all in all, they turned out good.

I feel good about all three of these purchases.  Why?

Goodwill. Two kids somewhere got a pair of shoes they desperately needed.  TOMS are not cheap, but what they’re doing is awesome.  I will gladly support a company that helps people in need.

Good deal. the Sanuk’s were a good deal.  They retail for $54 and I paid $10.  Not my best deal, but still good.  Very comfortable shoes!

Good practice. I was glad to have a pair of practice shoes to paint before painting my TOMS.  I’ve painted shoes before [day 145] but these would be a little different.  $10 is not a bad investment.  I had all of the painting and embellishment supplies.

I also thought of a fundraising idea to do with TOMS to help the kids down at Casa Hogar Elim, and the ball is rolling on that.  Great stuff!  Yes, I feel good about these purchases.  :)

tired of ‘stuff’

I’m at the store blogging this, waiting for bringer card proofs to be printed for tinselectomy.com. I have to say, with the ‘tinselectomy’ concept, I feel guilty purchasing 1000 candy candy canes and 500 feet of tinsel.  Does it take all this ‘stuff’ to start a movement?  Live differently!  This doesn’t feel different.

As I walk through the store, I realize they are piping in this holiday-cinnamon smell, I suppose in hopes that it will make me get into the ‘holiday’ spirit and start shopping.  I also realized how irritating the smell is. It’s the smell of Christmas, the commercialized materialistic version of Christmas.

If some candy canes, tinsel and a catchy .com can start a movement of changing Christmas, I’m all in.  The proofs are ready.  They look great, “I’ll take 500 prints.”

Sent from my iPhone…