Flash Fiction #231

Boxing Day

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

BOXING DAY

I am a genius, if I may say so myself – and I have to – ‘cause you won’t acknowledge my brains.  I’ve solved two irritations, with one brilliant idea.

To cut costs, the city now collects garbage every two weeks.  Hauling out one extra-heavy, or two regular bags, was a hassle.  Breaking down boxes from on-line Amazon shopping was a pain.

I peel off the labels, fill them with garbage, and leave them outside the door.  Within an hour, some porch pirate steals my used tea-bags, coffee grounds and banana peels.  Some boxes I ‘accidently’ forget on the subway, during my commute.

***

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

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Garbage Picker

Garbage Can

I remember the first time that I ate out of a garbage can. 😯 It was in the late 1940s, and Kellogg’s was trying a new marketing scheme.

Variety-Pack

Their cereals came in small and large boxes, but they began offering them in tiny, serving-size boxes. The equivalent of a large box would get you 10 or 12 of these, all wrapped together. The fronts had an H-shaped perforation. You peeled back the two cardboard wings, and did the same with the waxed-paper liner inside. You poured milk right into the box, and ate the cereal right from it.

This was one of the first “labor-saving devices.” Working mothers didn’t have bowls to wash. The extra labor and packaging material made them more expensive, so they didn’t do well in my cheap, dirt-poor little town.

Kellogg’s produced them in every flavor that they made. They also made a ‘Variety Pack”, with some of each. The tiny, independent grocery carried them for a while. It sat beside a laneway to another street. There was a garbage pail right beside – not a dumpster – nobody could afford to throw that much away. Somehow, one of the sampler packs came apart. Unable to sell it, the grocer just gathered the pieces up, and dropped it into the garbage pail beside his building.

Finally dry from his immersion in the Niagara River, yours truly was busy skulking and gallivanting around town. I approached the store by the alley, from the next street. I stopped to look in the garbage pail, and couldn’t believe it. Someone was throwing perfectly good food away. There were little boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Vim, Rice Krispies, All Bran, Shredded Wheat, Bran Flakes – several types that I’d like to try, but couldn’t afford to purchase a whole big (or small) box, in case I didn’t like them.

They were all “Good-For-You” cereals…. and all that Bran! You wouldn’t be just regular – more like steady. I don’t remember any Sugar Corn Pops, or Sugar Smacks, or Sugar Anything. Sugar hadn’t been invented yet – or perhaps it wasn’t off wartime rationing. That’s why old people like me are sour and bitter. They had nothing sugary to sweeten them up.

The pail was relatively new and clean. The bulk package cardboard was pristine. The small inner packs touched only it. I dug out most of the tiny boxes – as many as my little arms could carry, and quickly headed for home with them. I told my Mother that ‘someone was throwing them away,’ without mentioning the garbage can, and had a bowel-cleansing assortment of breakfasts for almost two weeks.

Even today, there are individuals and groups – and not just homeless people – who regularly comb supermarket dumpsters for food deemed unsalable – packaged meats, cheeses, bread products, even fruit and vegetables, past their ‘Best Before’ dates. They eat it themselves, or donate it to food banks, to be used today. It saves money, and reduces the amount going to landfill sites.

The son works a midnight shift. He leaves work at 7:30 AM, and reaches the nearby supermarket just as it opens at 8:00, to purchase a discount copy of the Toronto Sun newspaper. He has learned to look at the other discount racks. Stock that will be thrown out tomorrow, is on sale today, for 20%, 30% – 50% off. He often comes home with half-price ground beef, steaks, roasts, bread, and buns. What doesn’t become his 9:00 AM ‘midnight snacks’, or goes into his little apartment-sized freezer, often makes its way into the household larder.

Reduce Reuse Recycle! Waste not – Want not. Do you do anything like this, to aid your economy, and the Ecology?

’19 A To Z Challenge – S

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The judge asked the accused in a paternity suit, “Have you ever slept with this woman?”
He replied, “Not a wink, Your Honor! Not a wink!”

Bed

Without even thinking about it (and that’s what causes problems) most people expect social conformity.

Despite my liking for archaic language, there are just some 19th century insults that should not be brought back. Have you ever been called a

SLUGABED

a lazy person who stays in bed long after the usual time for arising

Neither have I. Not quite.

Late one Sunday night (by my calculations), about 4:30 AM, I walked down to the end of my driveway to pick up Monday’s newspaper. I arrived at the same time as my neighbor across the street, who was putting out Monday’s garbage.

Full of perk, and perhaps perked coffee, he brightly said, “Oh, I see that you’re up early too. I have to drive to Ottawa today (5/6 hours), so I thought I’d get an early start.”

I told him that I wasn’t getting up. I was about to go to bed at 5:00 AM, and would be back up at 1 PM. “You sleep in till 1 o’clock??! How in Hell do you get anything done?” I had just spent four quiet, productive hours – half a workday – on the computer. It was fine for him to modify and set his sleep hours, getting up at 4 AM, rather than at 7:00, to suit his needs, but he felt that I was wasting time by doing the same thing, to fit my schedule and my usual time.

There was no ASSUME here. The only ass was the one trapped in a car for hours, while I recharged my energy in a nice soft bed. He didn’t make me into one. 😯

Now that I’m awake again, feel free to comment.   😀

’19 A To Z Challenge – R

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Raven

My grandson asked, When is raven a verb? (With all due apologies to Edgar Allen Poe) When it’s pronounced (rah-ven),
verb (used without object)
to seek plunder or prey.
to eat or feed voraciously or greedily: to raven like an animal.
to seize as spoil or prey.
to devour voraciously.
Noun; rapine; robbery.
plunder or prey.

and it’s a homograph
noun; a word of the same written form as another but of different meaning and usually origin, whether pronounced the same way or not, as bear “to carry; support” and bear “animal” or lead “to conduct” and lead “metal.”

I will read the same book today, that I read last night.

The nurse wound the bandage around his wound.

I had to polish my Polish aunt’s end table.

I demanded that he produce the produce from his farm.

We should refuse to throw refuse out our car windows

He would not desert her, out here in the desert.

We did not present her present last night, so we have to do it today, in the present.

Don’t play your bass while you’re fishing for bass.

She finally had to bow to the inevitable, and buy her son a toy bow and arrow set.

When he dove into the lake, it startled the dove.

I would not object, if that ugly object were removed.

They had a big row over who had to row the boat.

His claim to be an invalid, was proven to be invalid.

Are you close enough to the front door to close it firmly?

After he would mow the lawn, he would mow into a big lunch.

All the deer who came to feed were does. Why does that matter?

The sewer managed to repair the shirt that he had ripped in the sewer.

The old sow had eaten all the seed wheat that he had planned to sow.

If the wind gusts any stronger, it will wind that flag right around the pole.

I just took a real buffet. Some guy almost body-checked me, on my way to the buffet.

If you tear down the sidewalk, you might fall and tear your pants. Then you’ll shed a tear.

I had to scuttle downstairs to add a scuttle of coal to the old furnace, because I didn’t want to scuttle the great party.

I can’t even write a short simple sentence for the word founder. As a noun, it might be a person who starts a town, or a business. Or, it may be a metal-worker who toils in a foundry. As a verb, it means to become wrecked, fail entirely, sink, or fall down.

You cannot subject the Queen’s subject to this kind of questioning.

The author was trying to intimate that the butler had been intimate with Her Ladyship.

I don’t think that most husbands want to converse with their wives during a hockey game. Rather, I believe the converse, that they just want quiet.

Why doesn’t Buick rhyme with quick? For that matter, why isn’t imply pronounced like limply? If a male sheep is called a ram, and a male donkey is called an ass, why is a ram-in-the-ass called a goose?

Somebody goosed me, so I’ll have another post ready in a couple of days. C U   😀

I Confess

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I went to confession after a long break I was feeling depressed, and life wasn’t going so well, when walking down the street I passed the church. It had been many years since I went to church, and just as long since I last went to the confessional. Perhaps, I thought, getting right with God would help fix my life.

I went into the church, and the dim light and smell of incense brought it all back. I headed for the confession booth and went straight in. Wow, things had changed in all those years.

There was a comfy chair, a small screen TV, the Wi-Fi password. Then I opened the cupboard and inside was a bottle of fine malt scotch, and some cigars! Suddenly the door opened and the priest appeared, and he said sharply “Get out, you’re on my side!”

Or maybe that guy is confessing because….

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: “Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

***

THE LAST SUPPER

And it came to pass that they were having a glass or two of vino. Jesus looked but only saw 11 disciples. Yet in the place of Judas was a six pack of Guinness.
“What is that?”
“That´s Judas´ carry out” replied James.
“Will he be along later?”
“I doubt it,” said Thomas.
“What about some music? Peter you are the Rock star. Play some heavy metal.”
And Lo, Peter did play some Nine Inch Nails.
“Why are you dressed in all of those dark clothes?” asked Jesus.
“I thought it was a Black Sabbath,” said Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.
It was a great night, though later on Peter let himself down a bit; you should never wait up for the cock.
And in the morning, Jesus Swept.

***

Texas
The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, “Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don’t you see that sign right over your head.”

“Yep,” he replied. …. “That’s why I’m dumpin’ it here
’cause it says: …. ‘Fine For Dumping Garbage.’ “

***

Ole was talking with his brother Sven, who lived next door, when Sven said, “Ya know Ole, you and Lena should really get some new curtains.” “Vy’s dat?” Ole asked. “Vel last night I saw you and Lena, vel you know…” Ole thought for awhile, then said, “Ha-ha Sven, da yokes on you! I vasn’t even home last night!”

***

On a recent lunch hour, I decided to take a walk down by the harbor. A big wave washed a lawyer off the dock, and he was drowning. Now I was stuck with a moral dilemma. Do I just ignore it, and continue with my lunch – or stay here and watch?

***

 

TANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

Tank

That little Iraqi War thing was the first time the American military got to play with GPS on a large scale. Iraqi tank corps were ready….as long as it came down the road.  Out in the middle of the trackless desert, it’s easy to get lost.  GPS enabled American tanks to take off from Uncle Ibn Saud’s pool and spa, travel across hundreds of miles of open desert with no signposts, and still arrive at Saddam Hussein’s garden within a couple of yards.

One night, a trio of American tanks (one mission commander and two wingmen) were moving forward. They came to the crest of a small hill, near a bunker, spotted earlier by recon aircraft.  At the bottom of a small, bowl-like valley was a tank laager – 22 Iraqi battle tanks, parked in a rough circle, facing outward, in front of the bunker.

With 3 against 22, they might have inflicted serious damage, but with the possibility of losing one or more American tanks. Wars and battles are not won by getting killed.  The commanding officer was considering calling in the warplanes, but that would give up the glory to the flyboys, and dawn was fast approaching.  By the time the bombs and rockets arrived, these guys could be long gone.

Suddenly, one of the tankers had an inspiration. Abrams tanks can do over 60MPH on flat ground.  As the first Iraqis started exiting the bunker, there was no time to explain, or receive permission.  He just accelerated down the slope and dashed inside the ring of tanks, where he roared around a couple of times, raising a huge cloud of dust.

He now had the advantage. Everything he saw that moved, was a target, while the Iraqis couldn’t fire, for fear of hitting their friends.  Some of them scrambled for their tanks, but smashed into, and blocked others.  In the American tank, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.  Target – fire – boom.  Target – fire – boom.  Target – fire – boom.  Soft target – co-ax machinegun.  Splash one rag-head.

Suddenly in the night-vision screen, they saw a soldier running from the bunker, readying an RPG – a rocket-propelled-grenade. It’s possible that the grenade might have just clanged off the tank’s armor, but it’s better not to find out.  Too quick to activate the machinegun, the gunner simply fired the main cannon.

Rags fluttered to the ground. The 40-pound warhead, travelling at 2800 feet per second passed right through him, striking an already damaged tank.  The hydrostatic shock left a fine pink mist settling to the sand.

The other two Americans watched in awe and wonder. After about five minutes, everything got quiet.  Final score: USA-22 – Iraq-0!  One lone American tank had destroyed 22 Iraqi tanks, and heavily damaged the bunker.

Proudly, the lone wolf pranced back to the pack with no more than a few dings and scratches from bumping into, what was now, a pile of garbage. Essentially, the mission Commander told him, “I understand the need for quick action, but if you ever scare me like that again, I will shoot you myself.  By the way, here’s a commendation, and maybe a little medal.”

Technology, ingenuity and independent thinking, as well as grit and guts, prevented what might have become a nasty, protracted war, and turned it into more of a police action, with relatively few American casualties. The GroPosground-pounding infantry – are the ones who write the final chapter, but ya gotta love the tankers who clear the roads so that they can get there, and get the job done. Salute!   😎

Spring Forward – Fall Back

Nasty old Verna Equinox – AKA Mother Nature – has been toying with us this year.  She’s promised us since March the 21st that it’s Spring, but, like a drunken bar pickup, it’s a lot of talk, and very little action.

Despite Verna’s claims, it’s not really Spring until it warms up, and she just keeps teasing us.  Hold out a little sunshine and warmth – and then snatch it back with an icy hand.  Hold out a little….well, you’re living through it; you know what I mean.

We all want the warmth of real Spring.  We need it.  We hope for it.  Some of us pray for it – except in California, where they’re praying for rain.  They’d even take the forty days and forty nights, and out there, where Sodom meets Gomorrah, they might get it.

I think we all have those ‘It’s Really Spring When….’ benchmarks.  I know I do.  This year, every time we reached one, and hope began to blossom, Frau Nature took the proctology scope out of the refrigerator and said, “Bend over and cough – Bitch.”

It’s really Spring when all the snow finally melts – and two days later, I’m sprinkling the last of my urea crystals to melt the ice on my driveway and sidewalk.

It’s really Spring when you see your first robin.  The first one I saw was in a clothing store in the mall, buying a North Face insulated parka.

The ‘really Spring’ point for the gardener wife came a couple of weeks ago, when the nearby supermarket assembled their outdoor garden center.  We might as well buy plastic plants.  They’re just as hard, and they won’t wilt when they thaw out.

I thought I’d finally reached the ‘really Spring’ point Sunday night/Monday morning.  The ‘warm Spring rain’ had been coming down steadily for hours, and had finally melted the permafrost that is my front lawn.  The grass was so sodden that the poor earthworms were drowning, and were crawling up and out of the dirt to breathe.

Monday being garbage day, I was taking out the trash at 3 AM so that the neighbors would not be blinded by my sartorial splendor.  It’s really Spring because the earthworms are out of the ground, and all over my driveway.

Here I was, lugging two bags, and daintily pirouetting down the driveway, avoiding worms, in a pair of fleece shorts and slippers.  It’s not that I believe in the Hindu/Karma thing.  It’s just that She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn’t take kindly to having worm guts all over her floors.

Two days later, BrainRants could have used the worms like frozen spikes to hold down the planks on his rebuilt deck.

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The above photo of my deck was taken at 3 AM Tuesday April 22nd, Earth Day.  Really, snow?? Again?? C’mon Ma Nature, over a month since you claimed it was Spring?  Have a hot flash or two.  I am so looking forward to putting away my ice scraper and snow shovel….  Wait, that means I have to get out the rakes and lawn mower.  🙄

#449

Check My Bitchy Office

 

You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.  Please remember to wipe your feet – on the way out.

HEEllis recently treated us to some photos of her pristine, well-organized office.  If she weren’t a great little writer, (double accent on little) and the second nicest person in the world, right behind me, I might think that a neat, clean office is a sign of a diseased mind.  (Could still be right.) 😯

I recently stepped into my office to begin a post, this one as it turns out, and looked at my private pigsty.  The wife has given up on it.  I am only visited by wild animals.  It started life as a small, third bedroom, and has devolved into the recent cover photo of Mess & Clutter Magazine.  Work in there??  I don’t know how I even think in there!

This is a craft table, which can’t be accessed, because it is topped with two thrones of the Alien Overlords who rule me.  Oh look, one of them has beamed in.

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Many of my ideas do not work out, and much note paper is thrown out.  I really need the cute garbage pail the son produced at his plastic parts plant.

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A paperless society, indeed.

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This is where neurons flux, and ideas flow – when I get back with a sandwich.  You may have noticed, I file by the sedimentation system.  Oldest papers on the bottom.

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When I can’t convince a cat to vacate my Captain’s Chair, I sit in the Navigator’s Chair.  It affords an alternate viewpoint, which I have to share with dirty laundry.

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Just a little business humor – which sadly has carried over to blog themes.

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There’s a floor down there somewhere, shared by a sewing machine and hassock, and a crosscut shredder to guarantee destruction of any documents with names and addresses.  Hoodoo, voodoo, identity thieves.

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The wife’s hand-tatted lace doily, made from bequeathed crochet cotton that her aunt bought, along with the antique pattern it was made to, in the 1940s.

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One of Granma Ladybug’s ladybugs clinging to the wall, beside a shadowbox full of visual drivel.

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A couple of her stuffed mascots, guarding wheat bags which are heated in the microwave, to ease arthritis pains.

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Maybe not a typical man-cave, but I’ve taken it and made it mine a mess.  Perhaps you can now understand the strange and varied mix that gets spewed onto my blog-site.

Sunshine And Lollipops

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In my 300 post, I mentioned, again, the fact that some of the long-established bloggers are disappearing, or cutting back on their volume of posting, due to life changes. I thought by now, that just about everybody had a blog, except perhaps, coots even older than me – and yet, new ones keep popping up.

One such new one is Cordelia’s Mom. She must be the youngest retiree ever. Such a lovely lady can’t possibly be almost as old as I am. I know she’s not as surly. Cordelia doesn’t have much to say, but her Mom is full of wit and wisdom. Click on the link above to go have a look for yourself.

Mom has been blogging for about six months. We often use the same tags on our posts, so I kept running into her, and began commenting. Perhaps intrigued by the lack of references to psychiatric treatment, she started visiting my site.

I received my first blog award when I had only published 14 posts, and didn’t really know what to do about it. Similarly, Cordelia’s Mom recently received two awards. One was the Sisterhood of The World Bloggers Award, welcoming her to the distaff side of writing and soul-baring. The other was The Sunshine Award.

Since I don’t qualify for the “Sisters” award, she kindly passed on a version of the Sunshine Award to me. To prove how well she knows me already, in her nomination post, she lists me as Grumpy Old Dude – Archon’s Den. She sent a big chunk of Sunshine my way. I’ll just have to reflect it on you as best I can.

This is my kind of award. Other than acknowledging receipt of it, there are no rules. It’s just a way of showing that other bloggers are aware of and appreciate you, and perhaps bring a few more readers to your site, by being part of an ever-widening circle of writers.

By begging and whining to the wife, but without actually tripping over my ego, I managed to get a copy of the Sunshine Award graphic installed at the top of this post, just to prove that I’m not hallucinating (again). I thank Cordelia’s Mom effusively for including me in her group of worthy recipients.

I don’t have to answer any questions, or make up new ones. I don’t have to reveal even more about myself, which is good. There’s only so much toilet paper on a roll. Once it’s empty, it’s empty.

My co-defendant buddy, Oscar the Grouch, tells me that I can take The Fifth – even though we don’t have it here in Canada – and not actually nominate anybody else for this award, to protect my persona. He and I are going to do some tequila shots, put a big platter of nachos out of our misery, and watch the Die Hard marathon. If anybody wants to make something out of that, just knock on the garbage can lid.

We’re Not QUITE Hoarders

I previously published a post titled Something For Nothing, where I listed several of the things I do to conserve or make a little bit of money, to help us, and others, in our retirement.  This one shows another facet, with some ideas some of you might want to think about, and maybe try, for a couple of reasons.

Less garbage = more money!

Reduce, reuse, recycle — and reap rewards. Really!

Hoarding gets a bad rap from many.  Some are joking, but many are serious.  Some of my behaviour could raise eyebrows among the non-frugal.  I even prefer to use the word frugal, instead of cheap or miserly.

I save or scavenge things like egg cartons, coffee cans, plastic containers, cardboard boxes and large envelopes. The difference between me and a true hoarder is that I use them, instead of letting them pile up — and they save me “a significant amount of money.”  In fact, such tactics save money in several different, interrelated ways.

For example:

  • The less waste  you generate, the fewer garbage bags you have to buy, and the lower your  disposal bills might be.
  • Buying in bulk  to reduce packaging waste means you get a lower cost-per-unit price.
  • Putting  leftovers into a pickle jar or bread bag reduces the need for foil,  plastic wrap or food-storage containers.

Repurposing used to be common. Outgrown clothes were cut down for younger siblings or reborn as quilt patches. Old buildings were torn down to provide lumber for new projects. My mother poured homemade jam into peanut-butter jars (which used to be made of glass) and sealed them with wax.

These tactics work

In a post on the Silent Springs blog, Vincent Smith suggests that “more thoughtful living” could greatly reduce waste. Why do we throw away an old shirt but buy cleaning rags?  Whether your motive is saving money or saving the planet, slashing waste is a giant step in the right direction.  We do things like buying in bulk to eliminate individual packaging, packing a lunch to cut down on fast-food waste, and bringing our own water and coffee containers.  You don’t need to contribute to that trash can outside Starbucks, overflowing with single-use paper cups.

I do many of these things myself and can attest to their cost-effectiveness. A roll of aluminum foil can last us a couple of years.  A used piece is often not “dirty.”  Wipe it with a damp cloth, to clean and flatten it, and fold it, ready to hold the next sandwich, or piece of pizza. Produce and bread bags get re-used until they shred.

We repurpose empty jars for storage, buying things like spaghetti sauce in Mason-mouthed glass jars, which later hold things like bulk cornmeal.  Wide-mouth plastic jars which held cheap crackers when we bought them, now hold bread crumbs and potato flakes, for cooking.  Not that we attend them anymore, but I have found Tupperware in the free-box at yard sales. A pile of reusable shopping bags lives in a plastic shopping basket in the car trunk.

We buy in bulk when we can, and choose large sizes the rest of the time. We make our own jam (sometimes using foraged fruit).  I’ve mentioned about buying condiments like ketchup and mustard in gallon cans or jugs, and repeatedly refilling the small squeeze bottles, for a fraction of the cost.

Adding less to the problem 

Not that I’m a green saint, mind you. For example, we drink a lot of Pepsi, and buy individual yogurts, both for the wife, who has a small eating limit, and for the son to pack in his work lunch. However, we do recycle the cartons and the plastic containers.

The municipal recycling committee recently complained about the cost of sending around a truck to pick up “air.”  I stomp flat, any plastic bottles or other containers.  As three adults, we often put out less than a Blue Box full of recycling.  The two adults, and two small children next door put out three, or even four boxes every week!

Recycling is not mandatory here in Kitchener, but I can feel it coming.  All allowable organic matter goes into our composters, but the Committee is also bitching that residents are not putting out enough in the City-issued Green Bins, to cover the cost of the disposal contract, so I guess I’m not the only cheapo in the city.  Compost includes tea-bags, coffee grounds and filters, citrus rinds and banana peels.

Bananas contain magnesium.  It’s good for you, and good for plants too.  The tea and coffee contain tannic acid, which also feeds plants, and breaks down the paper to produce good, rich loam to be used in the gardens.  We buy unpeeled shrimp (when we can afford a bit), for considerably less than pre-peeled.  The wife peels them and the casings also go into compost.  As the Indians taught the Pilgrims, seafood makes rich plant food.

We use cloth bags where we can, because local cities allow stores to charge five cents each, for plastic bags. We used to use those in the cupboard-door-mounted garbage container, but recently purchased a new model, and the wife prefers to use the ones specifically intended for it.  I save bags from trips to stores and vendors who do not charge, and use them for kitty litter waste, or carrying newspapers to the crazy cat lady for flooring in her kennels.

Clean ones are flattened and folded and given to our bookstore lady, to cut down on the number of new ones she must purchase.  Soiled or torn ones are accumulated and put out with the blue box, so that someone else can melt them down and re-use the plastic to produce new products.  One of our shopping bags has a little sign on it that says, “I used to be a milk jug.”

While I don’t kid myself about saving the planet single-handedly, there is a fair amount of satisfaction in not adding to the problem any more than we must. Also, it’s nice not to have to shell out cash for things like more aluminum foil, or sandwich bags, and reduced retirement income goes a little further.