Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Single-handedly trying to kill the Earth

Remember that horrible Meatloaf ballad from the early 90s I Would Do Anything for Love, But I Won't Do That? And no one knew what it meant and everyone assumed "that" was some extremely kinky sex act, when in reality "that" was probably something really prosaic like taking out the garbage? Anyway, I was thinking about Meatloaf this morning in the shower because I came up with an I Won't Do That list of my own. I've been making good strides in the slow but important process of greening up or lifestyle, but I have my boundaries. I now present:

3 Things I Won't Do For the Green Movement:

1. Sho
rt Showers
I'm sorry, I WON'T do it. Long, hot showers are sacred to me, like a tiny, heated meditation room. Every time I'm in a long, hot shower, all seems right in the world. I'm more relaxed, my life is on track, nothing is stressful, I can breathe better, I'm finally warm, the list is absolutely endless. Marissa told me about some friends of hers once who treated showers with the same sense of reverence that I do. The deal was, you could shower for as long as you wanted and take your time and no one could bother you or ask you questions or try to make you get out, but as soon as you were done, you had to go back into being a parent and deal with the daily chaos. I don't know these people, but clearly they should belong to Mensa.

Now, to be fair, I don't shower everyday. In fact, when it's the winter and if I'm not working out, it's not even remotely rare for me to go several days without a shower. This really freaks out my husband as he's an obsessive showerer. Sometimes twice a day and always at least once a day. Also, he's a wild exaggerator, so I think in his mind the two days it's been since my last shower turns into six or seven. Anyway, that's my justification.

2. Thermostat
I will NOT turn our thermostat below 68 degrees and it is often higher. Much like the shower thing, this is one of those staple Green Movement steps that are really easy to do and yet I refuse. To my mind, your house is your temple. It's where you live, love, eat, relax, think, create, connect, and everything else. I believe in the architectural design of a house, I believe in the interior design of a house, I believe in the cleanliness of a house, and I believe that all of these things deeply affect our lives and our well being. I really respect and am impressed by those people who are willing to shiver all winter to save money and energy, but I absolutely won't do it. Life, work, and the world at large is hard and complicated enough and we all need a warm and relaxing place that we love to come home to to deal with that. Anytime our house is cold, I feel like I can't think and I feel lazy - like all I want to do is sit on the couch under a hundred blankets and warm the hell up before I do anything else.

3. Polar Seltzer

This one is actually pretty recent and unlike the other two, I feel kind of bad about it. B and I have had a long standing love affair with Perrier sparkling water, but it's pretty expensive and only comes in one flavor. We have also gone on several diatribes throughout the years about the propensity for there to be sugar (or sweeteners) in absolutely everything when it's often not even necessary. We've been lamenting for quite a while that they didn't make a sparkling water that just had a hint of flavor and NO sweetness of any kind. Enter Polar Seltzer flavored waters. We found them a few weeks ago at Wegmans and are nothing short of addicted.

There are a ton of flavors, they all taste amazing, and they make it so that we drink far more water than we normally would. At the current rate, we're going through one a day, which is where the anti-green part comes in. Obviously, it's not very responsible to be flying through bottles of water everyday, but I'm putting my own need to stay hydrated above the plastic problem.


feather nester said...

OMG, I have so many comments to make on this post:
* I thought I was the only one having that internal dialogue about the Meatloaf song. Good to know I wasn't alone.
* I thought I probably needed to shorten up my showers, too, until I timed myself one day: with washing hair, I only spent 6 minutes in the shower! Without trying to be especially speedy! Made me feel like such a master greenie. We do not, however, have a low-flow showerhead. That is on the long-term, green to-do list. I don't take showers every day either. I tend to see bathing in general as a tremendous waste of time that I hate participating in. I do, because society expects it, and I can't stand my own stench if I don't. But I easily only shower every other day, sometimes even less frequently. Since you're doing the same, I'm sure your low-frequency showering counteracts your long-duration meditation sessions.
* That thing about M's friends who see showering as sacred, too: I know so many parents with that rule! Though you hear about it most with parents of multiples. Probably because they're the most needing of the shower/alone time. I've heard of people taking half-hour long showers in that scenario just to avoid having to get back to parent duty.
* I keep the thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter and the Husband wanders around (barefoot and in a t-shirt) declaring me mentally unstable, a heartless tyrant, and a cold-hearted sadist intent on giving our daughter frostbite. I tell him gently to "PUT ON CLOTHES ALREADY!!!" I would keep it even lower, actually, if it wasn't for him. Though I already drink my weight each day in coffee and tea to keep warm. And I'd have to invest in more sweatshirts. And flannel-lined jeans from LLBean or something.
* And I don't know what to tell you about the seltzer water. You're sure they don't sell it someplace in gallon jugs or something? Can you buy the plain kind in a bigger container and add your own flavoring? Otherwise, you're going to have to get real creative in what to do with all those bottles! Just buy some carbon credits to pay off your guilt.

Ouiser said...

What is with you unshowered people? I'm with B. I REQUIRE showers. If I've gone more than 24 hours without a shower, I literally start squirming. I feel disgusting. It's the major reason that I no longer have any interest in camping.

I've said many times that showers are not in play when it comes to our greening. I will not take cool showers, and I will not take abbreviated showers. The only way our showers are green is through our choice of products.

M requires the thermostat to be set within green-acceptable levels, and I've made my peace with it by layering. And bitching.

As for the water, it is what it is. You have to be happy, right?


Wonderland said...

I'd say my showers are about 6 minutes too. I also don't shower everyday (John thinks I'm gross, oh well). But I DO turn off the water in the shower when I shave my legs. I leave a little water in the bottom of the tub to rinse the razor off with. But I turn off the water. It's actually great. I don't get cold since it's so hot and steamy in the bathroom at this point. And the water doesn't rinse the soap off my legs before I'm done! Awesome.

Strongmama said...

I just posted this on ouiser's too. Turn the thermostat down slightly on your hot water heater and it will use less heat to warm the water. you'll still get a warm shower, maybe not as warm, but you'll save some energy in the process. Then you can shower away guilt free.

die Frau said...

Try not to freak out: I try to take Navy showers as much as possible. This means I get wet, turn off the shower, lather up the hair and bod, turn the water back on, and repeat as needed. I don't do it every time, but as I don't have a lo-flo showerhead either (T refuses to mess with it because we've had problems, though Gaiam does sell one that has low flow AND decent pressure somehow), I try to keep the water waste down. I don't shower every day either--it's better for your hair if you don't wash it every day.

We keep our thermostat at 66, I think, but turn it down during the day and in the night with a wonderful little timer. This is done mostly for bill-paying reasons. As someone who once had to wear mittens in her dorm room because the space heater always blew a fuse, I am ok with putting on extra layers...but when my fingers get cold, the heat goes up.

I, too, love Polar waters. T loves the Polar diet orange--very tasty. We stopped having them as much for similar reasons: it's a lot to recycle, and we went through them so quickly, it was almost a waste of money. I might start buying them again, though... they're soooo tasty....

Do what you can to green. Don't beat yourself up; just make the changes as you go along.

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