Thursday, August 26, 2010

Question for you

Do you ever wonder how time passes so very quickly?

I was reminded this week, again, of how fast it flies.

My youngest, who started going to band when he was a mere toddler...

...who for years was the 'water boy'.... a little blonde bundle of energy
who ran bottles of water back and forth from the sidelines during the endless hours
of setting drill and marching practice...

... who joined a percussion class in seventh grade, and the marching band one year later... a senior.

From that first day of band camp, five years ago

when he fell right into that lovable family called marching band,

to seemingly endless days of heat and experiential education

to the first night he wore the uniform

and his first competition

to that first night that the band babies from the pit discovered unattended drums

and the upperclassmen handed over the sticks

there has been band.

There was some strange uniform changes in that freshman year.

until the next year, when we saw the error of our ways.

Then, as his junior year approached, he decided not to go back to band.

Camp started without him. It was a sad day, on so many levels.
I sat that day with my father-in-law, who was gravely ill.
You see, he'd never missed a football night performance.
He sat in 'his' seat, behind the band and watched his grandson so many nights.
He insisted that I 'make' the child go back to band.
We discussed a lot of things that day, including the fact that you can't make a child
like to do something, even if you know that it's in their best interest.

A week passed and things changed... a lot and I took this photo to my father in law,
who smiled and sighed happily when he saw it.

He did not live to see another ball game night filled with the sound of drummers, but he died knowing
that his grandson was where he belonged.

The junior year played on...

and it brings us to now...

an older boy, nearly a man, with lessons to learn and music to live life by and
those band friends to walk beside.

Oh, my goodness, how time has flown.

If you're a parent, scroll back and realize that these 5 years have passed quickly by.
Realize that you should take those photos, and make those trips and make those
memories with your kid, no matter what.

Don't wish you had done it,,, take the time to do it everyday.  Let them find the things
that they love, get on board and support them, for the time passes quickly.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not paper towels

So, about 6 weeks ago, before the unruly digestive tract caused all sorts of drama,
I watched one morning as the paper towel monster spun the roll in the kitchen for the third or fourth time
since awakening for the morning.  Now don't get me wrong... I adore the paper towel monster, but since he joined our family, some 21+ years ago, he's been responsible for a LARGE part of the paper towel consumption in our home.

I contemplated that since he'd been home from college for summer break, we'd used at least two rolls of paper towels a week, maybe more.

Some time ago, I'd seen a post somewhere where someone cut up an old sheet and made some 'not paper towels'.  I'd thought about it then, but never managed to find a vintage sheet that I could sacrifice.  A couple of days after watching the paper towel monster in the kitchen, I found a sale on some 'flour sack' towels.

Now, as a kid being raised in a somewhat 'out of sync' (agewise) family, I grew up with flour sack towels.  They were sturdy, cotton, coarse towels ... just perfect for so many tasks.  They were indispensable in the farm kitchen and easily bleached and hung to dry.  They were practically indestructible.  These 'new' flour sack towels certainly were not in the league of the 'old' towels, but as I stood and felt the fabric, I contemplated anew the 'not paper towel' need at my home.  So, naturally, I was off and running on a project.

I made my 'not paper towels' about the size of paper towels... it works on so many levels, so let's not complicate things with a different size. I also did not excel at sewing skills, but simply snipped and tore the larger towels to size and hemmed, quite unceremoniously.   I made a dozen 'not paper towels' and waited... almost breathlessly, until the paper towel monster arrived in the kitchen.

"Look what I made"... I said  "  These are called "NOT paper towels"...

... and folks, you could just see the lights go on... with no further explanation.
Now this is a very bright young man... a scientist by education and a sensible soul who understands both ecology and economy, but had really never thought of it before.  He bought into the project in an instant.

We explained it to all the other guys in the house... who also understood.

The deal would be to use the 'not paper towels' in place of both paper towels and paper napkins (which we also go through at a rapid clip.  For more than two years, we have not purchased paper plates.  The first month or so of that commitment was a little hard... we'd so accustomed ourselves to the convenience of paper plates for quick meals and snacks, but we have been very successful in the switch over  to 'not paper plates'.

Yes, you do have to wash the 'not paper towels'... so I found a small trash basket and stationed it in the kitchen, thinking to keep the 'not paper towels' all together for the laundry.  Everyone immediately set to using it as well.

It became abundantly clear that a family of four was going to need another dozen 'not paper towels' at least.
So, I whipped up those!  I initially thought that we'd need about 4 dozen, but have determined that a perfect number of 'not paper towels' for our house, for the amount of laundry done here, is exactly 2 dozen.

Then, that whole weird 'two weeks spent in the hospital' thing happened.  When I returned home, as I tentatively made my way around the house, I noticed that in my absence, the menfolk had not only used the 'not paper towels' and washed them, but they'd found a basket to keep them in.

To date, in roughly 6 weeks, no paper napkins have been used and only one roll of paper towels have been purchased and most of that roll is in the kitchen.

I am SO excited about my 'not paper towel' project, that I want to share.

If you'd like to get this set of a dozen 'not paper towels' to be your own, then please leave a comment about your efforts at reducing, reusing or recycling.  If you haven't made efforts, then that's ok,,, perhaps you'll consider joining us now!  A random drawing will be held on Friday , the 13th!

Had I known how easy this would be, I'd certainly have done it long ago. Think of the trees (and money and landfill space) we'd have saved over time.  Tossing the 'not paper towels' in with the regular towels takes no extra effort at all.  On one occasion in 6 weeks, I soaked them overnight in some oxiclean to rid them of a few acquired stains.

And, after a week or so of using the 'not paper towels', the paper towel monster (who is moving next week to his own apartment for his senior year of college) said "Mom, do you think I could have some of these 'not paper towels' to take with me?"

Well, yes, son... you can...