Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Napkins to Wipe My Brow

I’m sitting at the computer with sweat dripping off of me. It’s 10 pm and the downstairs thermostat says 80°. I can see that the little degree symbol and I will become close buddies this summer. Whoever said that air conditioning was a crime against humanity has not had to chat up newspaper editors in a home office with the door kept shut because the dog barks at phantoms and the window is only partially open to minimize the sound from the neighbor’s gardener’s mower.

I’m hoping the money we save on AC electricity will put the kids through college. Or this water weight loss will show up on the scale tomorrow. I checked my face in the mirror and I swear the wrinkles have smoothed out after years of near-desert living. I’m glowing like an Irish lass. Or else I’m reliving my childhood in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City, when we only had a window fan and I tossed and turned on the bed searching for a cool section of sheet. Actually I think I’ll go for the weight loss.

As I sink into a puddle on the floor, let me quickly share today’s eco moment - my morning rummage through the fabric box in search of scraps big enough to make cloth napkins. I’ve been wondering if the family would tolerate a shift away from paper. I’m a heavy, mindless user. I grab clumps of them at a time to wipe up coffee spills.

My husband isn't too keen on the recycled brand I bought last time. Then I remembered the fabric scrap box. I also remembered how last year, in a fit of purge, I gave away yards of material and old curtains. But we won’t go there.

I found some swatches large enough to be cut into, let’s be kind and call them ‘breakfast napkins’. Small but I counted 30. This weekend I’ll crank up the old Singer and edge them to ward off complaints about tackiness. I’ll sneak them into a basket on the counter and see if anyone notices. Dinner napkins and anything for company will have to be bigger and made out of something besides leftover kiddie fabric. But we’re taking baby steps.

Now I must stick my head in the freezer before I haul myself upstairs, where more hot air is waiting to enfold me, to check the temperature of the sheets.

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