Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saving Planet Earth

Schools have high expectations for parents these days. 

Not only do we have to get our kids to school on time, but sometimes they need to have certain themed apparel.  We  must over see homework even if the planners don't come home with the homework assignments.  We participate in fundraisers, class parties and field trips, all of which require special snacks, equipment, donations or clothes.  Keeping track of all this is a legitimate unpaid part time job.

Now, we must also save the earth.

One school near us has "walk to school Friday".  Which sounds charming and measured and doable.  Unless, you are driving to work after you drop off the kids. Or going to the gym. Or buying groceries.  Then it just becomes a pain in the bahookey.  And you must choose between not saving the earth in the manner defined by the local school and getting a charley horse as you sprint home so you don't miss the 9 am step class.

Our school is doing LFF, which stands for litter free Fridays.  All lunch and snacks are to be sent in reusable containers.  Even apple cores, I found, are frowned upon on these days. Again, reducing litter sounds really good and noble for this planet of ours.

Except if Friday is your regular grocery day and you're bloody lucky to have food to put in the lunches, that not only the kids will eat but that is nut-free and prepared in a nut-free facility. Now  you must find food that produces no litter.  I'm a fan of buying things is only sold prepackaged. Like granola bars.  So it entirely defeats the purpose if I take a granola bar out of a wrapper and put it in a different container.

And once I find appropriate food  -- like mini marshmellows or a couple stale sour worms -- you must find containers.  With lids. That fit into the kids' lunch kits.

If there is anything that is more difficult in this house than finding matching socks, it's finding containers with matching lids.  I buy more and more containers and throw out orphans.  But still when we have leftovers to put away and I can't find the right sized lid for any of the 13 containers I have on hand. I will have 18 lids, but few matches.  More than once I have put away one chicken thigh and a little rice in a container meant to marinade a 12 pound turkey. (I do know one cause of the container orphans is the kids pilfer them to use as water and food dishes for their stuffies.)

For LFF we must find smallish containers and at least four if not six of them. One for a sandwhich or bun for each kid and one for a dessert item. Plus since the fruit can't be something with a core or peel, that means grapes and I need to find two more for grapes, which is after I pick through the grape bag looking for salvageable grapes  -- remember, it's grocery day and the larder is low!

But I recently heard another class in the school requires that the kids bring defined snacks. They must be a fruit or vegetable. Of a given colour. For an entire week.  So I guess I should count my blessings.

When I remarked to the kids how much I loathe LFF, Jackson's response to me?

"But you're saving the planet Mommy." 

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