it’s weird, but i have really missed all of you guys so much while we have been internet-less for the last 9 years- oops, i mean several days… it blows me away how dependent we (i) become on nonessential things. i would like to say that not having internet provided a welcome respite for my family, and that we loved not being slaves to technology, and on and on. but the truth? the truth is that we forgot how to find places without mapquest. we forgot that we can look things up in a phone book. we forgot how it feels to go to bed when you are falling off your feet tired, instead of going into our separate rooms when we are ready to shut down for the night and watch a movie.

happily, this week provided plenty of opportunities to be exhausted at bed time. we are unpacking and setting up and cooking a bit and enjoying lots of hospitality from lots of people we didn’t even know until now. i bit the bullet and did a grocery store excursion. my kids have been awesome about going up and down the stairs 800 million times to put things away and bring things up. some kind soul left a big bag of fresh plums (home-grown, of course!) on our front door. yummmmmmmmmmmmm!!! we made a batch of plum jam last night that we hope to share, and it’s finally starting to feel like home.

ok, it’s starting to feel like home a bit.

i’m still putting our oak park address on most forms i fill out. i’m still mixing things- like writing seattle, MI- or 248 (oak park’s area code) before seattle phone numbers. i’m still searching multiple drawers before i can find a spoon or a can opener, but i’m getting better day by day.

i’m still freaking out a bit about seattle’s trash system. for all of you non-seattle folks, here’s a short summary, as i understand things:

you have to pay for your trash. you choose a certain size bin (which they keep a record of- yikes!), and even if you don’t fill the bin (which will probably never be a problem we have), you pay for collection of that size bin.

you pay a bit for yard waste, but you automatically get a giant-sized container. i am clearly missing something on this one, because even if we compost every single scrap of uneaten food (yes, compost goes with the yard waste, and they even take meat and fish and dairy and pasta and all sorts of things i could never have composted at home!), i would probably use about 1/3 of the bin. unless grass grows here at super speed, or seattle-ites go driving around hacking up other people’s landscaping, i cannot imagine how anyone would need the industrial size yard waste bin. but, it’s one price fits all, so at least that’s not scream-worthy.

then they have recycling. in oak park, we usually had 3 bins a week. that was about 2-1/2 bins more than our neighbors, but bins were $5, and then free to collect, so it all worked out ok. here they recycle almost everything, which is great and fun so far. i asked them to send me out an extra recycling bin, and they acted like i had asked them to sacrifice their firstborn. they couldn’t imagine i would need an extra. most people do fine with one. well, i have needs, darn it, and that includes an extra recycle bin. and no, they did not actually send it. so, in spite of our quest to be the most recycling folks around, and in spite of our diligent posting of the RULES on at least 2 different wall, we are overflowing our bin (which is not allowed), and it’s only wednesday.

also, in case you are wondering, they have a strong OCD component to their rules. if you have more than 10% recycling in your trash, they will not take your trash and will send you a nasty-gram. if you have trash in your recycling, they will leave that as well, combined with a nasty-gram. ditto any non food or yard matter in your yard waste.  when i called them to set up our service, i told them that the people who were here before us left trash in all of the various bins. i asked if they could take it all just that one time, and promised to be better at trash than the previous tenants. so, they guy on the phone says, “we can take it, but i will have to mark down that your bins are contaminated.” huh??? i wanted to just double-check that. “the bins contain contamination. i will have to note that on your account.” i’m a little bit shaking in my crocs (no joke!) about what happens when one has “contamination” in their file… i guess it will be one more surprise down the road!

in other news, i have collected and/or ordered many many reusable shopping bags. i am getting produce ones and i have grocery sized ones. my family thinks i am going over the edge, but with all of these recycling rules and unspoken consequences, i don’t want to be in on the vast plastic bag conspiracy.

i am constantly on edge about purchasing things if they generate packaging material (yes, i know that’s exactly what they want. well, score one for them cuz i’m now borderline neurotic). i keep wanting to ask embarrassing questions, like asking at target if we can unbox all of our stuff there so i don’t have to bring the cardboard home (even though it’s recyclable, therefore free).

can you imagine that in oak park we could make as much trash as we wanted with nary a word from the authorities???????

(ok, i don’t actually know what they did with all that trash- maybe dumped it into the great lakes? maybe shipped it to canada, like they shipped their trash to us? i guess i just imagined they would wish it away, and it would all just *poof* be gone… aw the days of naivite…)

oh yeah- that reminds me (i have about 93 posts that i was for sure going to remember to tell you about when i got online, and so far i have remembered 2…)- guess where our stuff comes from? from big huge boats loaded with bunches and bunches of shipping containers. you know how at certain large chain stores (name withheld cuz i am still addicted to shopping there- sorry!), there are many things with little stickers that say “made in china” or “made in indonesia” etc etc- well, that stuff does not just appear here on the shelves. we got to watch those shipping boats coming in and getting unloaded and going back for more and more and more stuff.

i got an actual sense of stuff having to travel here in order to sit on my shelves and collect dust.

and i am newly fascinated/appalled/in shock at where things originate and how we get them…

i’m gonna have to leave that as a point to ponder, since i have now monopolized my daughter’s laptop way more than is fair. i won’t be back online until saturday night, but i miss you all and i hope i get lots of comments to read when i get back! 😉