Friday, July 11, 2008

A fishbowl changed my life.

Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But it has made my life easier.

Another one of FlyLady's techniques/methods is the Swish and Swipe. I was going to quote it here, but her explanation is pretty long. You can read it here. The CliffNotes version, though, is this: every morning, you take a rag, a little windex, and wipe down your bathroom mirror. Now you take that same rag and wipe down the counters. That's the "swipe". Then, you take a toilet brush and "swish" around your toilet bowl. Take your rag again, and wipe down the lid and sides of the toilet bowl. Done. All together, this takes about five minutes. But it does wonders for making your bathroom clean and presentable. By doing this little bit every day, you never have a, "Damn, my bathroom is disgusting" moment.

Here's where the fishbowl comes in: FlyLady suggests that you keep a crock next to your toilet filled with water and bleach/soap/shampoo/some sort of cleaner, and keep your toilet brush in that. That way it's accessible and easy to swish your toilet. I was trying to figure out what to use for my crock when I was GoodWill and spotted a fishbowl, just like the one above. It's tucked in the corner behind my toilet, and unless you're looking for it, you'd never see it.

I would have never guessed, but it really does make things so much easier. Especially with work and kids, it can be hard to find a 20 minute block of time to clean the bathroom. But five minutes in the morning I can handle, and it keeps the bathroom sanitary.


I've really been making an effort the last while to "green up" my life. (I guess I have Amber to blame, LOL.) Changes I've been considering:

1.) Making my own cloth pads. I keep putting this off, though, because I seem to have the worlds largest collection of traditional pads and tampons. I'm not really sure what I'd do with them if I switched to cloth, and it seems doubly wasteful to throw them away unused. They're not exactly something you donate to GoodWill, either. But it is something that's in the back of my mind.

2.) As Amber just did, I'm reconsidering my milk purchasing. There is a local dairy here that bottles its own milk in returnable glass bottles. It's slightly more expensive than the other milk, but it's SOOO much better. If I had my way, I'd have my own cow and drink whole, raw milk. This stuff is the next best thing. It's absolutely delicious. I'm currently receiving WIC, which won't allow me to get this milk, but when I am done with WIC, I think that I will probably be switching to Burbach's milk.

3.) Along the same lines, I've been giving greater thought to buying locally. It all started when I listened to an NPR report on bottled water. One of the questions emailed in was, "Does Fiji water really come from Fiji?" The woman answered that, yes, it does, and consequently, it has an enormous carbon footprint. Though I don't remember off-hand, she stated the amount of oil that is used in producing and shipping Fiji water and it was appalling. I have to confess: I think all bottled water tastes the same, but I like Fiji for the bottle *blush*. Thinking about that made me start thinking about the carbon footprint of food in general.

Then, a couple days later, I heard on NPR an interview with Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She and her family made the decision to eat only those foods which they raised or grew themselves (or were able to buy locally) for one year. The interview was really intriguing, and let me to borrow the book from the library. I've just started it, but it's fascinating. Did you realize that the U.S. exports 1.1 million tons of potatoes each year---and imports 1.4 million tons? It not only goes into the environmental impacts, but also the ethical and economic impacts. It's fascinating. I highly recommend this book (I'm talking to you, Amber!).

SOOOOO...all that was to say that I'm going to try to make a conscious effort to buy more items locally. I wish very much that we lived in a house and had a garden, but for now, this is something I can do to make a small difference.

I went to the Farmer's Market last weekend, but was a bit disappointed. I do think I probably got there too late (10:00 a.m., Saturday morning), but there were only two vehicles there--and one of them was selling only flowers and plants. The other seemed to only have a head of cabbage, a sad head of broccoli, and a couple other veggies. I didn't even stop; I just drove on by. When I bought my vegetables at the grocery store, though, I did manage to find some tomatoes grown in Nebraska, and I purchased some organic lettuce, as well (though who knows where that came from).

I know I'm not doing a lot, and certainly not as much as I could be, but it's all about baby steps.