Now that everyone is mostly recovered, we gladly took advantage of the fresh air outside the House of Vomit and were eager to walk to school this morning. Yesterday was trash day. I noticed (while I was returning two of my neighbors’ trash cans to the tops of their driveways) that there is more trash in the street on the day after trash day. Why is that? I can only assume that the stubbornest scraps escape somewhere between the garbage can opening and the trash compactor chomping. In an effort to make our walks to school more scenic, I hatched the plan for today’s little project. It required me enlisting the help of my
minions devoted children. On the way out the door this morning, I handed them each a plastic grocery bag. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t own any of these sacks without a social conscience, but they come in handy when it’s time to change the litter box.) Anyway, they each got a bag. Even the baby. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t let a baby play with plastic bags, but they come in handy when you need her to be entertained for more than a couple of minutes, while under full supervision of course.) Anyway, they each got a bag. I grabbed the hand sanitizer and off we went. They seemed pretty keen on our “treasure hunt”. I have no idea where they came up with the idea that we were hunting for real treasure. I repeat, no idea. Certainly not from their doting mother. (Do I protest too much?) When they found out we were actually going to be collecting garbage in those bags, they weren’t exactly thrilled. In fact, someone said, “Seriously? Are we being punished?” Oh, sweet babes. How can you learn to be good stewards of the Earth without lots of practice, without getting your hands dirty? So I laid it on a bit thick, but I did want them to take part in the good deed of the day. My son was not bothered by the getting dirty part one bit. He took off first. After he put a few dented bottle caps and broken straws in his bag, his sister would not be outdone. She took this as a very personal competition. At every corner, she wanted to know exactly how many articles of trash her brother had bagged so she could make sure she didn’t fall behind. I kept saying that it wasn’t a competition, but she assured me that I was mistaken. I suppose the ends justified the means. When we were about a block away from school, I noticed that the final bell was due to ring in precisely four minutes. I picked up the pace and told the work crew that we had to hustle. My daughter, who hates being late as much as her mother, took off down the hill with her plastic bag full of garbage flapping behind her like a sad little kite. “You didn’t tell us that this project was going to get me a tardy slip!” she yelled as she pulled further and further away. We chased after her and made it to their classroom doors as the bell began to sound. “What am I supposed to do with all this trash now?!” she asked frantically with one foot already in the door. I relieved them of their stinky burdens and quickly sanitized their hands. Mission accomplished. It may not have been what they had in mind. It may not have been the most relaxing walk to school. I just hope they notice the walk to school tomorrow is just a little bit prettier. That is, if they agree to go.