Friday, June 27, 2008

Do My Green Eyes Count?

I’ve always relied on my green eyes. If I ran out of the house on St. Patrick’s Day dressed in brown tweed, I just batted my lashes at the critic and got off scot-free. Will my baby greens give me eco-cred now?

If I can’t take carbon credits for body parts, what about working from home before they called it telecommuting or building virtual teams? My husband has worked out of the house for almost 20 years and I’ve been off the road - 12,000 miles per year are peanuts in LALA Land - while the kids were growing up.

Even after going back to work full time, I’ve been hitting the keys from the spare bedroom for the last 6 years. The way I figure it, what were simply choices we made to have a more stress-free life, build two businesses and watch our kids grow up should be applicable in the ‘how green is your valley’ game that I know is just down the road.

Now I’ve read that line drying is an eco-chic option. Again I’m ahead of the curve but pedaling in obscurity. I had been rack drying one, sometimes two loads of laundry a week ever since the girls wore clothes that I dare not shrink on pain of being pronounced an awful mother. Add in my shrinkables and I’d been saving money and electricity, not to mention untold tons of carbon dioxide, for at least 10 years.

I did it because you don’t want to shrink clothes that barely zip or cover your teenaged daughters' belly buttons and that you spent hours of schlepping the malls to find. And with my fluctuating poundage, the last thing I wanted was to downsize my wardrobe.

Then one winter my schedule was slowed down by too many clothes crammed onto too few racks taking way too many days to dry. I had to try the lowest temperature setting on the dryer or end up with mold. Ever the risk taker, I hit ‘start’ and prayed for the best. It worked. No early morning complaints.

But no Russian roulette with everyone’s jeans or my own clothes. There was still that threat of Bad Mommyness and the ongoing shifts in body parameters. But for much of the family’s wardrobe, I went back to the dryer.

I must admit the convenience was a timesaver. I remember my mom hanging clothes on a line that ran down the yard between our apartment building and the one next to us. I don’t recall when we got the dryer but she has reminisced about what it meant in the fifties to be able to purchase this major electrical appliance.

Now I’m going to have to rethink the level of sacrifice I’m willing to make. Am I ready to give up an invention that was one of the steps to liberation for a previous generation?

Read this article about Alexander Lee, the clothesline advocate, and log onto his site at to see why I’m willing to dust off the racks in the garage again.

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