Archive for December, 2016

Now there’s a title that will attract thousands of readers. Maybe I should have written, “You won’t believe what this woman does with her gift wrap!”

Yesterday, my daughter wondered aloud if we should try harder to save gift wrap on Christmas morning. I shook my head and explained that re-using ribbons (I tie everything with wire-edged ribbon) is recycling enough.

As I wrapped presents yesterday and today, I became even more convinced we’re doing “enough” recycling. It’s been ages since I accepted a gift box. And because I usually wrap the presents that leave the house in the nicer boxes, I’m curating a collection of truly ancient boxes. Olive-colored boxes from the Bon Marche? Of course. Shoe boxes? Naturally. Amazon packing boxes? You know it. Lamonts? Yes, even Lamonts.

The tissue inside the boxes? It stays in place and is used year after year, or until it rips. I confess, the tissue inside one very old Sears box was looking a bit yellow this morning. I’ll probably throw it away on Sunday.

We also re-use the tags. Every Christmas morning as I roll up the used ribbon, I collect the tags and store them in plastic bags labeled with our names. It’s fun to see the tags the kids wrote when they were very small. Some tags are marked with as many as three years, showing that we’ve used them more than once. Sometimes we wrote little hints on the tags (“Open me first.” Christmas pajamas, of course. “Look behind the couch.” A print of a Chris Van Allsburg painting.) which help us remember the presents of Christmas past.

And the paper does, after all, go into the recycling bin.

I think I’m doing enough.

What about you? How do you recycle during the holidays?


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First Come, First Served

I had three experiences yesterday that challenged my lifetime adherence to waiting my turn.

First, I drove to Target. I noticed a car pulling out of a spot, pulled toward it, and waited. As I entered the spot, I realized someone had also been waiting on the other side. Which one of us was there first? Who knows? Normally I yield to the other person waiting–my legs work fine and I could always use a little exercise–but by the time I saw her, I was practically in the spot. I decided I could keep it.

To my surprise, the driver rolled down her window and said, “Actually, I was waiting for that spot.” In what we Pacific Northwest people would call a Southern California accent.

“So was I, hon,” I replied as I got out of the car.

Her voice softened. “That’s okay, you can have it.” She drove away.

Was my argument that compelling? I doubt it. I think she took one look at my head full of gray hairs and decided I needed the spot. Not sure I feel all that good about our interaction.

Next, I visited Rite-Aid for medicated Chap-Stick and one other small item. As I approached the sole register line, a customer ahead of the person ahead of me was having problems completing his purchase. Another cashier invited the two of us waiting to move to another register. The woman in front of me insisted that I go first. I insisted that she keep her place in line. “But I have an entire cart full,” she said.

Well, OK. I can go first.

Luckily, another cashier came along and rang her up two seconds later. A much better outcome for everyone.

Final errand was a trip to the Group Health Pharmacy to pick up a prescription that was called in for me last week. A new system has been installed, and I think it prioritizes service based on the purpose of your visit, or how easily and quickly the people behind the counter can prepare your order. I had to specify if I was there for an order called in more than two days ago or one called in today or another matter. I took my number and picked up a magazine to wait. And then my number was called. People who had arrived well ahead of me were still sitting in place. Guiltily, I went to the counter and purchased my meds. I’m guessing (hoping?) those who were still waiting had orders that required more attention than mine did. I hope this turned out better for all concerned…but still don’t feel totally settled about it.

It was nice going first. But I think I’ll stick with waiting my turn.

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