Monday, June 14, 2010

Just a bit of trash

I'm sure that most of you have a large trashcan in your home, probably near or in your kitchen that the majority of your household trash goes into. Even if you recycle as I do, it is common to have at least a bag or two that needs to be picked up or hauled of in the direction of the landfill. Because it is required, and it saves on cleaning out the can every time we empty it, we put a plastic liner bag into our kitchen trash bags. It does make removal into the big container outside much easier and neater, well it's supposed to at least.

As I am on a greatly reduced income following my separation and pending divorce, I am trying to cut corners on my finances wherever possible. Thankfully this isn't a new concept as several times during my marriage finances were dire and we had to make do without quite a bit. I cut my thrifty teeth during those lean years, and it is mostly serving me well now. One of the things I learned is that name brand doesn't always mean a huge jump in the quality rating of a product. For example store brand frozen peas are pretty much like the famous brands one finds in the freezer section of any grocery. Both contain frozen peas, and I just can't really tell the difference. However there are some things that saving a few pennies on just isn't worth the supposed savings.

The last time I bought trash bags, I opted for a grocery store brand. I prefer the type that has the tie handles built in, because I really hate those little twist ties. I also opted for a variety that was supposedly like the ForceFlex stretch variety that Glad produces. In all honesty I wasn't all that impressed by the strength of that brand, as it was still easy to punch a hole in them, especially if it got a bit weighty, but I did like the concept. I also got the kind that had a heavier .mil weight having learned that that weight usually equates strength and durability. In this case I was wrong.

This bargain brand, although similar to what I'd used before, did not perform as I would have liked. When I  would lift the bag out of the can to take it outside, the ties would pull partially through the plastic holding it all together, making big tears between the straps and the bag itself. That made trash removal fun. If there was any weight at all to the contents of the contained trash, then I could expect a hole somewhere in that bag before I got it out. Even though I only have to empty the can once or twice a week, it was an annoying task, because invariably the bag would fail somewhere between the inside can and the outside.

Yet thrifty little me suffered through the entire large box of those annoying, poor quality trash bags. I bought them and I was going to use every last one.

As soon as I had used the last bargain trash bag, I went to the store and bought a Hefty brand. It's called The Gripper, as it has those tying strips that you can seal and carry a full bag with. This one is also unscented, as I can't tell the difference and with my allergies, I just don't need all that perfume around me. So far, not one tear, not one hole, not one leak anywhere. I have to fill these bags up just a bit faster as my garbage disposal died of antiquity last week and now my coffee grounds and egg shells are added as well as stuff not destined to the recycle bins in my shed.

I will not be going back to bargain or store brand trash can liners. I sacrificed quality just to save .30 cents or so, it really wasn't worth that savings that doesn't even get a little box of Peppermint Altoids, my favorite mints. Sometimes you do have to pay a bit more for quality. Yes bargain brands do work, but in this case the name brand works much better, and that to me is valuable.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A time in Repose

Today marks the end of the first real vacation in a very long time, and my first adult vacation that I didn't have children underfoot. It is also my first time off of work of any length since my separation. That little fact is made even more important to me, because the last scheduled time off from work, a long weekend, was the day I made the painful decision to end my marriage.

This has been the most restful nine days I have enjoyed since I was a child, and my parents would load the six of us to Florida for the summer. There we'd eat our grandparents out of house and home, swim in the pool, ride bikes or the pony, and take day excursions to local places like Silver Glen Springs or Ormand Beach. I remember those times quite fondly, well except for a nasty fall off the pony, and one particularly bad sunburn. Vacation time, at least for us was relaxation supreme.

Amazingly for the most part that is what my vacation has been. I had a few things on my to do list, and I did have school work to keep up on, as my vacation didn't negate the fact that I am taking four classes this summer, but I made sure that slowing down for a spell was highest on my priorities. I took to small excursions, one to Charlotte. I made a quick trip there and back to pick up a new bookcase for my office from Ikea. It now sits, put together and looks great in the space I made for it. On the weekend I went to Tennessee to visit family and to see my youngest brother's band play.

Sunday after church, my sister and brother in law took my grandmother and I on an impromptu tour around town. We did a bit of visiting and we made a quick passing by of where we all grew up. Our old house looks just a little tired after all these years, but the neighborhood still looked amazingly like it used to. Sure there are a lot of new owners, and changes like trees gone or different fencing shows the passage of time, still even after all this time, I can almost imagine my still living there. Even though I moved away 23 years ago, I still dream of living in our old house.

While I was home this week, I got to really appreciate rest, and the necessity of it. I am usually burning my energy candle on both ends. Not this week. This week, I read, I played, I sat around and did nothing. I took a nap, completed two small "around the house projects", caught some rays, got ahead on homework, avoided the laundry, and avoided the make-up, hair dryer and work related clothes. It was amazing how much I needed this time.

I've had other vacations where I was more tired when I returned then when I left. Yes it was a different recreational type of time spent, we'd take short trips, or spend the time working on a big household project, however I didn't manage to alleviate my stress levels. I think mostly it was because I never got to be left alone, just me, no one else to look after, spend time with, or entertain, unless I wanted to. I didn't get to step back and just rest a bit without having to look after something or someone. This time was different, the only person on the agenda was me, and it was glorious. I didn't play complete, uncommunicative hermit, although it was a bit tempting at times, but I appreciated a stepping back a bit from society and responsibility. Oh how I needed it.

I think everyone needs a bit of time away, literal time away from work, family, duty. Even if we pretty much stay home, and in comfy clothes, that your children would be horrified to learn that we went to the mailbox in, that time is so important, and we don't do it near enough. We should. Therefore I plan on making such a time in repose much more common in my life. I suspect that a rested, less stressed Sylvie is much more fun to be around.