Mary's kids are on Spring Break (Winter Break? I don't know. Some break the whole state has off.) We decided we go to Dover to a children's museum her kids like.
We got to the museum and I fit right in. New Hampshire are my people. I've said before I dress/look like a plus sized model in an Eddie Bauer catalog - pg. 92 to be exact. The moms in New Hampshire look just like me. I was welcomed into a cocoon of fleece and canvas and sturdy, practical shoes today. It was like coming home. Ahhhh....no over achievers, right?
Wrong. New Hampshire has a different kind of OAM. Maybe we can call them OA Earth Moms.
Damn it, I don't fit in here either.
I first realized this at the museum when I overheard some crunchy, baby-wearing moms trading organic homemade baby food recipes. OK, not so abnormal. Even Kansas has some moms this crunchy. Except just about every mom in there was talking about homemade baby food or reusable diapers and I didn't see one ZipLoc bag of Goldfish crackers. Shit.
I went to the restroom and as I sat on the throne doing my business, I was suddenly plunged into darkness. Apparently if you don't move for a long enough period, the lights go off automatically. I shifted my weight and the lights came back on. I had to do this two times and I wasn't even constipated - imagine if I was there for a long haul!
When I was finished with my work, I turned to flush the toilet and I was met with a list of instructions as to how best to handle my waste. Flush up for "liquid waste" and flush down for "solid waste." In Kansas our toilets barely flush, so this newfangled thing was way too confusing for me. I decided to go with the immortal words of Bernie Focker: "If it's yellow, let it mellow." Call me "Super OA Earth Mom" - yeah, that's right, I won't even flush.
After the museum (which by the way is super fun and if you live here with children, you should totally go) Mary and the kids and I headed to Portsmouth for lunch.
Portsmouth is a very cute, adorable hamlet by the ocean. There were lots of nice stores and historical sites to see.
|We read all the little plaques in town telling us historical facts like George Washington gave a speech from the balcony on the top of this building.|
|We found this friendly little spot after getting lost. You had to park outside the gates and you could only walk on the blue line.|
If New Hampshire is green, I think Portsmouth might be the Green Capital. I felt this immediately when we walked into a local yokel sandwich spot for lunch and I proceeded to take more than my fair share of napkins. I felt like everyone stopped eating and watched my display of excessive napkin taking. I was dining with two little kids, for goodness sake, and peanut butter and jelly can be messy stuff! Ten napkins probably wouldn't do the job, but I was too nervous to take more. My fellow diners looked at me like I'd clubbed a baby seal in the middle of the restaurant.
I sat down and tried not to draw attention to myself and my egregious pile of napkins. Two moms were sitting across from me and without losing eye contact with me, one of them reached down into her (organic cotton?) bag and pulled out a cloth napkin. She snapped it open with authority and draped it across her lap as if to say, This is how we roll here in Portsmouth, you troglodyte.
I wanted to say: I can do better than that. In Kansas, we don't even use napkins, we just lick each other's faces clean like cats and then use our sleeves to wipe off anything that's left - no additional laundry to waste vital resources.
After a few minutes, everyone went back to their lunches and left Mary and I to ours. In the end, we used 17 napkins (Mary took a turn getting more so that I wouldn't look so greedy and we were afraid to whip out Wet Wipes since they're not biodegradable).
Then it was time to clean up our mess. We walked to the trash can(s) and we were met with a sight we've never seen in Kansas. Not one, not two, but THREE refuse bins. Luckily, these came with instructions and pictures for us or we would have never done it right (I'm still not convinced we did it right).
The first was: LANDFILL - There were pictures of potato chip bags on this one. I tried to throw our 17 napkins in there, but luckily Mary stopped me and pointed out they were NOT in the picture. The second was: RECYCLE - This is where our plastic water bottles and glass juice bottles went. The last was COMPOST - We put the remaining pb&j in there, the leftover chips (sans bag), my lobster bisque soup (which was a tad disappointing) and the 17 napkins.
I felt the whole restaurant holding their breaths while we read the instructions and placed our refuse in the appropriate receptacle. When we were done I heard a collective sigh. Phew. At least no one yelled at us.
In Kansas, we recycle in our homes, but never in public places and I barely know 5 people who actually compost for real. I only started recycling about 2 years ago, because Gomer guilt tripped me into it and my HOA dues pay for it. I am very used to recycling now and I do a pretty good job at it. I even take my dad's 40 lbs of newspapers from his house to my recycling bin!
The composting thing is beyond me though. The idea of a steaming pile of food scraps in my backyard is more than I can handle. I know, I know, you'll say buy one of those buckets that holds it all, but I'm way too cheap to buy those things. And what will I do with my compost? I don't garden. I guess I could spread it around my bushes in my yard, but I will always imagine I see a chicken bone sticking out there. Won't this stuff compost at the landfill just as easily as it will in my backyard? Please tell me yes so I won't feel so bad.
All in all, my visit to New Hampshire has been great. I loved seeing Mary and her family. I loved going to the movies (yes, it was worth it - The Descendants is fabulous) and the historical (and shopping) tours we took. I really loved seeing moms in fleece. I just wish I could be an Over Achieving Earth Mom so I could really live here - that is one over achieving mom I could work at harder.
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