Saturday, September 11, 2010

Washing Machine - aka Kristin

DAY 166

A day for remembering so much...take a silent minute for yourself...what you have, who you love, who you miss and why you do what you do...

I remember my Dad every day and especially this time of year. Fall was his favorite season - we did a lot of fall foliage day trips as a family to Kettle Moraine, Wade House, Dundee Mountain and loads of other great WI state parks (for you Cheeseheads out there). He always had a hundred questions and was uber-interested in knowing the back story - of the park staff, of the people eating their picnic lunch next to us, of the ghosts of "State Park Past". John Kenneth Skarie was a learner, a researcher, a reader, a conversationalist, a humorist, a teacher.

I am sure I appreciated those trips at the time - even more so as I continue to realize that who we are *now* as a family is because of my parents' dedication to keeping our core strong. (This will relate to greener living in a moment I promise!) The lessons, the love, the support, the faith and the fun all wrapped around each other and I see it in how my Mom still leads us and how my brother and sister-in-law are raising their children.

My Dad reinforced many messages in our home about food safety, cleaning and general organization. He kept receipts, owners manuals, newspaper articles...and labeled everything. Before expiration dates on food were a standard, he would write the purchase date on salad dressings, milk, meat etc. to make sure our frig stayed safe. He also believed that along with the soap there needed to be some friction to actually get the item in question clean. It wasn't enough to touch the soap you had to make some movement with it! In fact, he would test us by hiding a nickel under the bar of soap in the bathroom to find out if we actually picked it up or just camouflaged our sudsing activity with a splash of water from the faucet.

Last week, I spent nearly 60 minutes one day cleaning the dish drainer pad in the kitchen sink with baking soda and Thieves spray. During the experience, I was reminded of the importance of friction in the cleaning process. I had dreamily envisioned being able to leave the baking soda sitting there long enough by itself to remove the black "matter" that had accumulated in the 168 little ridges on the back of the pad (what is that stuff and why is it black? ugh. don't judge me). Not the case, so over the course of the day I would revisit the pad and scrub for a bit with a toothbrush - a dedicated cleaning toothbrush to clarify in case you were worried - then go away to do something else. Finally clean at the end of the day, I was able to move on from the dish drainer pad to other (more important) tasks.

A day later while dragging my suitcase through the Chicago airport I wondered why my right elbow was so stiff and sore. Oh. Right. The dish drainer pad...soap + time + friction = clean.

I am not sure any cleaning product would have worked on its own as I had hoped like "set it and forget it" oven cleaner, and if it did it would most likely have some undesirable toxic elements in its DNA. The trade-off of convenience (no sweat) for non-toxic (workout) is worth it. Look for some great EPA research on the effects of toxic cleaning products with phosphates in my next blog...

Lesson? Good and greener cleaning takes time (and effort) which will probably serve to be another source of lovely procrastination for me...I am the Goddess of Procrastination - ask my friends who have witnessed me polishing silver on tax day.

As my laundry rotates with non-toxic Borax and I prepare to clean my kitchen floor with Dr. Bronner's natural soap and psyche myself up to mow my lawn with my electric mower, I could feel smug in my efforts to green my home. BUT, I know there is still so much else I should do...AND I know that every small significant step is a good one.

What one product can you replace today with a green one? Oh and remember to remember....

Have a Nothing New Day - Kristin

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