I have been worrying—worrying and praying. I know that everything will be all right. We have been making ends meet, and we’re even able to have a bit of fun. We went to the beach on Saturday. My hubby was able to do a paid focus group, which made us a little money, and we headed over to a friend’s house for a game night. Our friend very kindly provided sodas and tacos, and we provided sugar cookies we’d made that morning. (I still had flour and almost enough sugar to make them palatable.) So, we aren’t hurting too much, but still, I am worrying about not having been able to find a job yet and also about HOW FAST the time is going. Remember how when you were a kid, the days stretched on forever? When you were in the midst of winter, summer was so far away? How did I go from being laid off on February 8 to still sitting here filling out applications in the end of May? And, I’m sorry, but wasn’t it May 1st about a minute ago? And now it’s the 24th? We’re almost in June. JUNE! How did this happen?
The positive side of me says, hey, that’s nearly 4 months of quality time with your baby boy that you never would have gotten if you were still working. I would have been dropping him off with a stranger. And I wouldn’t know when the first time he blew a kiss was. I wouldn’t know if he was still chasing after the dog in the back yard. Who knows if he would still be the mama’s boy he is now? I didn’t know his schedule before. I had no idea how many naps he took, when he ate, when he played. Now I know he needs to eat early in the morning. I know he will sleep almost three hours every day. I know he likes to chase our dog and scream and laugh. I know he loves to cuddle. I know he smells great with baby shampoo in his hair. I know he loves to cuddle with teddy bears and his sister’s “borrowed” bunny rabbit. I know a stern “NO” can make him break into tears while falling down and bumping his head into the table won’t.
However, even with all that, I still stress out about not having an income. I’d been working at the same job since I was 22. Ten years later, now married with two kids, a dog and a mortgage, that job is just gone. Poof. So, with the new five million can project, I am walking a fine line between environmentally conscious activist and bag lady with a little dash of money-making mom thrown in. The idea of providing a college education for my children is another thing that I don’t want to think about or worry about right now. I have enough on my plate, right? But if the next 14 years fly by as fast as the previous almost four have, then I need to start thinking about college for my kids. So, enter the five million can project. Getting enough money—at least $125,000 for a college education for each child in the year 2024—is an extremely daunting task. But if I can find something more manageable, say, picking up the “nickels” that people toss in the trash, I can break it down into little tasks, micro-movements. And while many people just throw that can away—I know I used to—not all of them. I recycle at home, but the cans at the office, the water bottles when you’re out, when it’s just a pain in the butt to hang onto that bottle all day in order to recycle it later. You just decide, “Eh, it’s just one” and throw it out.
But my outlook has changed now. I find so many little things, so little, that do affect us, our planet, that are easy, yet inconvenient to do. Now, when I see a soda can or bottle sitting in the trash, I have to pick it out. I look crazy, dirty, going through the trash. Who looks in the trash to pull stuff out, right? Now my outlook is, “Who throws that away?!” I actually start to get at least annoyed if not angry about these things, just because it shows people aren’t thinking or caring that much.
Another thing that made me angry today, I ran to the store for milk and had my canvas bag with me. So, while I filled up the canvas bag with foodstuffs- eggs, bread, juice, bananas, the milk didn’t fit. So, the clerk put the jugs of milk in plastic bags. What the heck is the point of that? Don’t milk jugs have handles already? And what’s going to hold the milk jug’s weight better, the jug handle, or the flimsy plastic handle that will break before I get to the car? I know for a bagger, it’s not an easy life. Everyone wants their bags done a different way. But just ask, dude. Just ask. I don’t want extra bags if they’re not necessary. Every little bag adds up. I just don’t want them adding up in my ocean. (Okay, okay, OUR ocean.)
So, another run to the recycling center tomorrow, but from my past weekend, (the 22nd and 23rd) we got $24.25. That’s 485 cans from my dear friends and all our soda-guzzling gamer pals, my friends who are getting ready to move and had too many recyclables cluttering their kitchen, my friend who was apparently collecting Coke bottles on his shelf at work for decoration. Thank you all for your donations. Once again, that was 485 cans from friends. This points out to me that when we work together (or when I ask for help) we can do so much more. I had reached only 1012. With a little help from my friends, I (we) have reached almost half again what I was at before. We’re now at 1497 cans. I get by with a little help with my friends, I guess. Thanks, friends.