NOTE: If you don't care to read this whole post, please skip to the end and read the question I have posed to you. I would love to hear your feedback.
When I proposed the Green Experiment it was with a dreamy head full of romantic ideas. Such is often the case with my fantasies and sadly, real life seldom often lives up to them. It is easy to have a drastic plan in theory but it is not so easy to implement that plan to the "T" without making adjustments for reality. So here's what's been going on.
When I came up with the idea of this experiment I assumed we would be living within the city of D.C. where everything that I would need access to would be within walking or bike riding distance. Although our military housing allowance went up dramatically when we moved here, it still wasn't enough to afford us a large enough place within the city. A shoebox with a view? Yes, but I'd rather not listen to Jack lick his balls all night, so we opted to live just outside the city in a much larger place that was affordable.
The area I live in does afford me biking access to many of the things a person may need in daily life, post office, dry cleaners, grocers, pharmacy, and liquor store. Sadly, the last one will not be frequented by me in the next several months. I take advantage of these by foot or bike on an almost daily basis and in that regard my life has changed drastically. But, a car is still needed for me occasionally, especially with another baby on the way. Jeremy, on the other hand, has really impressed me with his dedication to our plan. Almost every day he bikes about three miles to the metro, while it is still dark out, and then takes the metro to work and bikes back in the evening.
In the big picture I would say that my bike has become more like an extension of my body than a method of transport. I am more fond of it than my beautiful piece of fine German engineering, and when Ellie and I are riding somewhere by bike, no matter what depths of a foul mood I may be in, biking seems to magically erase it. I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to be angry while riding a bike. Although I bet that guy Puck from The Real World could manage it.
This experiment was about more than bicycling though, it was about changing our lifestyles overall to emphasise activity and togetherness, particularly not togetherness in front of the TV. Not having cable TV was at first a very hard thing for me to come to grips with. I used to leave it on as background noise and was known for my hardcore Law and Order addiction. It took several weeks before I could walk downstairs and not reflexively reach out my hand to turn it on. We made a conscious decision (Prompted by the example of my Aunt) not to put it ( It is a HUGE 50" plasma beauty) in the main living area. By purposefully doing this we made the main living area a Library of sorts and it is used for reading and playing together as a family instead of being used as a plopping ground for butts in front of a Television.
We DO reserve Friday nights for pizza, coke, and a movie and it has become something of a family ritual which we all look forward to. We pull out every down feather bed, comforter and pillow that can be found in the house, and after everyone has eaten, we make a pallet on the floor and watch a movie. Sometimes Friday's involve two movies, one for family viewing and one for the grown ups to watch after Elsbeth has gone to bed. And NO it's NOT porn you pervs. Recently I've been getting some really weird indie flicks from the library (THEY'RE FREE!).
Overall, I feel that these changes have been made consciously and we have shifted into them gradually and seamlessly as opposed to the drastic lobster in boiling water approach I had imagined. And that's OK. Our lives are without a doubt more healthy, more active, and our time as a family is better spent. And that's about it on that.
On another note entirely, A Dear Reader Lauren Robinson is so graciously baby sitting Ellie tomorrow night so Jeremy and I can have a date night. And please don't worry I know her from outside of this blog. I am not in the habit of picking internet strangers to watch my child. We're planning on doing dinner and a movie. Since I no longer have TV; I have NO IDEA what movies are out or what even looks good. So, I need some suggestions. What is the best movie you have seen lately?