Monday 17 September 2012


Once upon a time BC (Before Childers) Mister Husband and I were delighted with ourselves because we didn’t have a rubbish bin.  We recycled as much as we could and invested in a compost bin type thing for food waste. We couldn’t get over the cost of a yearly subscription for a refuse collection and secretly scorned at those who did.  Well, I did anyway.  I was wearing my green eco-friendly coat at all times and never missed an opportunity to announce it.  I even walked round the supermarket once looking at chickens housed in their little plastic poly tunnels checking for the tell-tale urine burns on their plucked legs.  I’d seen a programme where chickens were mass produced in sheds and had so little room in which to move, they literally sat in their own shit thus receiving ammonia burns to their legs before being (mercifully) killed and sold to chippers.  Where yes, I used to eat them after a night in the pub.  I was well and truly flying the flag for animal rights and recycling.  Then we decided to buy a house instead of renting in Dublin.  We upped sticks and moved to Carlow where we continued our green lifestyle.  I even took the bus to work and everything.  It almost killed me, those early morning starts, but that’s another story.  Imagine my delight when we found a fantastic recycling facility in Carlow.  It even took old chip pan oil and everything.  Except we didn’t own a chip pan.  But we still used the facilities.  Regularly.   The place was fantastic.  It was packed of a weekend.  People arrived with empty tetra packs, cereal boxes and tin cans spilling out of the backs of their cars.  The organised amongst us even had those stackable drawers where everything was neatly stored depending on what it was so all they had to do was tip the newspaper drawer into the newspaper skip, the plastic containers into the plastic receptacle etc.  Course, it goes without saying, in a house where children do not rule the roost, the bulk of our recycling was for the green, brown and clear glass bins courtesy of our many parties.  Ah, them were the days!  This recycling centre even had its own little wash room where you could rinse your hands after the filthy job of smashing glass bottles as hard as you could into a large green bin.  Can you tell I loved doing this?  Our green-ness continued for a while and we were completely on board with it.  It cost us nothing and we were doing our bit for the environment.  Don’t anyone mention driving there and co2 emissions.  Our carbon footprints were not perfect but we were trying. Then Screecher Creature No. 1 came into our world and as part of our eco-friendly pledge, we messed about with re-usable nappies for a while.  A long while.  Too bloody long.  My hands were raw with all the washing and the smell of pis……. I mean ammonia in the bathroom would make your eyes water.  It didn’t help that Screecher Creature No. 1 was a heavy wetter so the washing machine and its constant use totally contradicted what we were trying to do in the first place.  We battled with using “real” nappies because you can’t rock up to a recycling centre and just fling them in the nearest receptacle.  So our bin free days were fast coming to an end.   The day the bag of disposable nappies came into the house was the day my life started again.  How fickle am I? I didn’t give a toss about my carbon footprint.  That horrible bucket and its steaming contents were at an end.  My hands grew skin again and Screecher Creature No. 1 stopped leaking through the cloth nappies and onto his cot sheets Every. Single. Night.  Aaahhhhh!  Fast forward three more kids and a new house later.  We have not one but three bins for refuse collection.  The nappies, I am hugely delighted to announce, are coming to an end.  Brendan, be fore-warned.  Your older brother was just two and a half when he decided nappies were not for him anymore so I have high hopes for you next summer.  Don’t let me down boy!   I can’t really claim to us managing without a television. Not when we have four boys.  It’s not a television proper; it is more of a computer monitor and a few wires to connect us to important things like Netflix and Mister Maker on You Tube.  This kept us all going for a while.  Especially me.   I know there are people out there who have television free households and I salute you.  In the very early baby days, my kids were not going to be television junkies.  Snort!  At least I had good intentions.  These were quickly replaced with a desperate need for peace and quiet.   I remember the day a box set of Baby Einstein DVD’s came into the house.  I was outraged!  Educational or not, our precious firstborn will not, I repeat, not be watching these.  Television will rot his impressionable brain and I, as his mother, cannot allow that to happen. I needn’t have worried.  He wasn’t a bit interested in them.  Until the Old MacDonald DVD was “popped” on and impressionable Screecher Creature No. 1 was enraptured for twenty minutes.   He likes tractors and combines!  Quick, where’s the loop button?  That was the end of that and the unpaid baby sitter was firmly established, welcomed with open arms even, into the household.   Then the small computer/laptop/notebook decided it had enough of irritating female cartoon characters and went on strike.  As in upped and died strike.  It also didn’t help that a hungry pup chewed through some wires.  Something had to be done.  Forget about reading books, running about in the garden, making and doing, the television problem had to be solved.  And quickly.  It was time to bite another bullet. Time to put another black mark against our carbon footprint.  In other words, get a television.  How I’ve changed.  This turnaround might also have something to do with the Screecher Creatures wanting to use my computer when theirs is out of action.  Eh, sorry chaps.  God love us all but the excitement is huge. A new television is winging its way to us as I type.  I had to check this bit; it is a forty two inch plasma screen thing that will need to be secured to the wall.  Everyone has one apparently. We nearly do.  I’m still green albeit with envy now.  As a family that have been, until recently, watching our entertainment on a computer screen, this new television the size of a small home cinema, is hugely anticipated.     I’ve even stocked up with popcorn in its honour.  The saucepan popping kind.  A bit more environmentally friendly.               

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