Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Types of Green in this World

I posted this a couple years ago, but it honor of gas prices once again making me cry, shrink rays not yet invented, and Earth Day being celebrated today, I thought I would repost it.

I have an announcement: I have decided to go green. You see I like green. I think it is very important. Only the green I’m talking about comes in paper form. You know the kind you might find in a wallet or bank; although not a lot of banks anymore (stupid lending practices), or, for that matter, wallets (stupid spending practices). Don’t get me wrong, I love our environment. The moon would be fun to visit, but who would want to live there? Plus, I’m all about clean air and water. And I’m sure you all realize that SUV’s caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Kyoto treaty wasn’t signed during the Little Ice Age of the 1600’s.

But my green helps with other important things in life, like eating or buying iTunes songs. Lucky for the over the top, crazy environmentalists (you know the ones fighting for the rights of one species of roach or flying in private jets all over the world to environmental conferences), my green happens to correspond with theirs this time.

You see, funny thing about 6 kids, they TAKE UP A LOT OF ROOM. Which is why I drive a huge, gas guzzling, 9-seat Suburban. With the rising gas prices, I am having major green anxiety. Did you know most gas stations have a maximum amount you can buy per purchase? I do. In fact for certain parts of last summer I hit that limit EVERY week. I think it would have been less painful to actually give the station an arm and a leg.

Nowadays, $75 dollars seems to buy about 5 gallons of gas. With my Suburban’s mileage, I estimate that is enough to drive the 3 miles directly home and almost make it back to the station (on fumes, of course). So I have decided I need to find a way to save on my gas budget (which is closely approaching my house payment in size). Here are my ideas thus far:

1- Shrink the children with a shrink ray so they fit in the backseat of a car. This idea was perfect, until I found out shrink rays are hard to find. Did you know that “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” ISN’T a documentary?!? I know, I know, I was shocked, too.

2- Bungee cord one child on top of a minivan. I was in the middle of trying to decide between bungeeing a seat up there or just hooking the cords directly around them when I remembered how our window broke in our 1st house in PA- it involved bungee cords and near eye loss. And a lot of parental yelling. I decided I didn’t want to risk losing my voice (or eye) so I had to retire this idea.

3- Walk. Pioneers did it, why not? I was trying to estimate the size I needed to make my handcart. By the time you added everything I take with me in the Suburban (6 kids, water bottles, snacks, diapers, toys, extra clothes, missing shoes, candy wrappers, old french fries, the kitchen sink, etc.) I found my handcart would need to be, well, suburban size. I tried pushing the suburban. Not so great.

4- Combine outings for fewer trips. Hello, I actually tried this one after the oldest kids started school. Did you know that taking 2 kids to 6 stops is as exhausting as taking 6 kids to 2? And they said I would never need to use 1st grade math skills in real life.

5- Have my husband take the Suburban to work while the kids are in school so I can drive the Audi with my preschoolers. He told me he would get back to me on that one. . .

6- Convert my SUV to run on natural gas, or maybe milk, or uneaten french fries residing under car seats. My kids can come close to producing enough natural gas but not quite (only way to get it yet), milk is nearly as expensive as gas (don’t get me started on my exploding grocery budget), and the science just isn’t there yet for french fries (although I’ve heard some interesting things about used fast-food oil).

7- Buy a transporter. Star Trek isn’t real either? Science-FICTION?!? Totally not fair.

Well I am about out of ideas, plus I just found out that I could only sell my SUV for about $3.67 anyway (apparently no one else wants to spend a fortune on the drive to the supermarket either). I guess I’ll resort to sobbing miserably every time the gas gauge approaches “empty”. It’s not easy being green. Or losing green to my Big Red Suburban. And I think science should start researching shrink rays, transporters, and french fry cars. That would be great.

>Join me next week when I discuss how I am trying to conserve water. Family baths anyone? We can wash the dishes at the same time!



  1. This was the perfect re-post! I am totally laughing over the bungee cord thing. And you have awesome math skills, babe!

  2. So very applicable! My grocery budget is unbelievable this month. I'm buying the same stuff, and yet, it is SO MUCH MORE! It's making me a little nutty. And don't even get me started on the gas prices...

  3. Hah, thanks for a good laugh, my Prius was in the shop and the only rental they had was a wonkin' big Dodge Ram truck. I only drove 56 miles in that thing and it cost me more than 5 gallons. I have six kids and drove a Suburban too. My heart goes out to you!

  4. This might make you feel better (it did me): about 45% of ANY vehicle's carbon footprint is created during building and transport to the dealership. That means, no matter what kind of car you drive, the greenest thing you can do is keep driving it.

    That really doesn't help with gas prices, and I'm completely at a loss as to how to help you with that, but... maybe your kids will get a sudden hankering to ride their bikes every where they go, despite the weather? No? Well, I'm out then.

  5. I think this might be my favorite post you've ever written. Hilarious! And I stood at the gas tank this week begging for it to stop, and it just kept going, and I realizes that soon, we might have to make a choice between eating and driving. If only my minivan ran on whining...

  6. I feel your pain. I've calculated my regular routes in terms of gas price, and my thinking has switched from travel time or distance, to travel cost. Every time I visit relatives, or even just drive my shift of the carpool to school, I think, "There goes X amount of dollars."

    We're currently outfitting the family with bicycles. The idea was to take trips in Moab and along the Provo River. Now I'm thinking those bikes will likely be a regular form of transportation everywhere else whenever it's not snowing. At least we'll get our exercise!

  7. #2 might work if you strap a dog crate to the top of the vehicle and THEN put the kid in! It worked for Mitt!

    I am actually driving less these days but I'm a nut about watching the gas mileage gauge in my new van. Good thing I drive less now than I used to.

  8. I just have little Saturn to fill up at the gas station, and it STILL hurts me to fill up! I can't imagine having to drive around a huge gas guzzler! Good luck on those shrink rays....

  9. Here here. I have to control my gag reflex when I pull into the gas station. And you should be grateful we don't have Star Trek technology down because that would also give us body scanners and your husband would be out of a job except for when the sick bay's scanner is not working and you call your doctor friend that has one at his house. :)

  10. I feel your pain. With commuting more than 160 kms a day (I'm sorry, I don't know what that is in miles) the green is really adding up. My gas budget for the month is beyond the point of ridiculous, but what do you do when all the gas that you use is to actually get to work. It seems quitting my job is NOT an option. I'm a bit stuck.

  11. I love how you put food and iTunes in the same category. :)

    My smaller SUV gets decent mileage and we drive it mostly around 200 miles per week, so we don't cringe too much at the pump. However, we are planning a cross-country drive this summer. Kill me now.

  12. While I am extremely grateful to live in a small town where we can walk a lot and we don't have to use that much gas even if we drive, it still hurts. Especially the groceries. Ai yi yi.

    Loved this post...I like your kind of green best.

  13. Loved this!!! You are hilarious! Maybe your family could invest in a fleet of mopeds. :)