Usually when I pull on my Happy Hausfrau pants, I have it together. My projects tend to go off without a hitch, and they end up here, at Blogging Barefoot, with lots of pretty pictures while I brag about my housewifery prowess.
This is not one of those times.
I have a dirty little secret. Different from the microwave secret. This one lurks in my pantry. I let it sleep there, in a pile of its own filth on the floor. I feed it regularly – sometimes weekly, sometimes more, sometimes less. It looks like this:
And that’s just a fraction of it. I couldn’t bear to let you see the unabridged truth. I’ll give it to you in words instead.
I have a stash of plastic grocery bags. Like, hundreds of them. I’ve always wanted to be a well-meaning citizen of the planet who uses re-usable bags instead of the landfill demons that have infiltrated my house, but somehow I’ve just never gotten there. And in my shame, I’ve never been able to bring myself to throw them away. At least if they’re in my closet, they’re not in a dump somewhere. Right?
Thing is, I’ve run out of room. They’re literally creeping out from under the door, like the tentacles of a squid who outgrew its aquarium.
I can’t take it anymore.
Then I saw this idea on Pinterest (where else?), and in a moment of housewifery glory saw myself in a plastic-bag free home. Here’s how my thought process went:
(1) I’ll make this cool thing to put in my car and the hubster’s car.
(2) I’ll FINALLY buy the reusable grocery bags and quit using the plastic ones.
(3) Eventually, like in a year or six, we’ll have gone through the 14,000,000,000 plastic bags I’ve accumulated over time, and
(4) I’ll be free of them! Free, I tell you! Like a bird, or a lobster, or maybe even a kids lost first tooth.
So, I set off to do this project. And immediately ran into problems.
The first was since we don’t use antiseptic wipes in our house (good ol’ soap and water for us, thanks), I didn’t have a perfectly portioned container. No worries. I’m good at improvisation. An old formula canister would work just fine – I could figure out how to manipulate the folding of the bags, easy peasy.
Enter problem #2: No scrap fabric that I was willing to part with. Solution? A Boden catalog. I flipped through its pages, hunting for brightly colored pictures that I could paste onto the canister.
What I ended up with was something that looked like a kindergartener’s gift to her teacher. That is, if she didn’t like the teacher very much.
Third problem: I was too over-eager when cutting the lid for the plastic bags to come through. Must have been channelling a little Jack the Ripper because I ended up with half a lid instead of a whole.
So, failure. And I still had this behemoth pile of bags mocking me from under the pantry door.
Couple facts about me. I’m pretty (obviously). I’m stubborn. And I don’t mind failing, as long the failure’s leading toward something. I wouldn’t say I like failing, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. AS LONG AS IT’S LEADING SOMEWHERE.
Which meant I couldn’t let those goddam bags win.
My sister gave me Owl awhile back. She also gave me matching salt and pepper shakers, but they don’t play a part in this story. I don’t remember what they were a gift for, but I’ve loved them since the day they came into my life.
Owl moonlights as a cookie jar. If I remember correctly, he arrived chock full of Oreos. The DoubleStuff kind. He hasn’t held a cookie since. In a family of six, any time cookies are made or bought, the likelihood of them surviving an hour out of the oven or box are slim to none. A cookie jar is useless. So Mr. Owl has spent most of his life empty. For a time he held K-Cups for our Keurig, but with four kids to manage all day every day, I go through caffeine like Joan Collins goes through husbands. K-Cups last only slightly longer than cookies.
As I was glaring at my ugly infant-formula-canister-I-hate-you-Kindergarten-teacher creation, the owl seemed to call to me. Hoot, hoot! Use me! Use me!
I pondered the notion. It wouldn’t be as glamorous as the portable versions touted on Pinterest, but it would be better than the terrifying no-man’s-land in my kitchen pantry.
I do, however, have one last dirty little secret to share with y’all. The bags that didn’t fit inside Mr. Owl – roughly 12 million of them – ended up in the trash. I couldn’t deal with them anymore, so I did the thing I hate, and sent them away.
*hangs head in shame*
I did it, though, with the promise to myself that next time I shop (which will be soon, based on the ridiculous amount of food two pre-teen boys can manage to snarf), I’ll purchase re-usable bags, and make ’em my go-to for grocery shopping. And next time I’m feeling the need to splurge, I’m gonna head over to BlueAvacado and treat myself to their shopping kit. Awesomesauce!
Thanks for chilling with me today, and forgiving my flaws…
The Happy Hausfrau