Monday, January 11, 2010

So long, Tannenbaum

You may recall the saga of our Christmas tree, deemed "Thing 1" by our tree salesman.

First, we couldn't decide whether we wanted a real or fake tree. Our hearts and minds were leaning toward a real tree, but our wallets were saying "Don't you have a small fake tree in the closet?" And our laziness was coming out. You can almost hear the whining from our guts:

But we'll have to waaaatttteeeerrrrr it.

But we'll have to caaaarrrrryyyyy it.

But we'll have pine needles eeevveeryyyywheeerrreee.

Ultimately, we decided to go for emotion; we enjoyed every minute we spent admiring our beautiful tree, breathing in its scent.

What we never once considered was how we planned to dispose of it. Sean grew up in the kind of community where the city will pick up your tree with your garbage and do whatever it is they do with it. I grew up in the kind of town where the Wal-Mart hosted a chip-a-thon and you could bring your tree to see it turned into mulch.

Apparently, our community is not one of those places.

I did my civic duty and looked up where to drop off our tree to have it composted. The local newspaper and the city's press releases said to take it to the compost center or put it out for curbside pick-up. Since we live in a complex, curbside pick-up wasn't an option. So I told Sean he'd have to strap the tree to the top of the car and drive it 30 minutes to the compost center.

After wrestling with some bungee cord that I promised would not budge (it did), Sean drove out there only to find out the compost center is only available to residents of single-family homes. The woman who turned him away recommended he just toss the tree.

EXCUSE ME? The compost facility employee recommends we PUT THE TREE IN A DUMPSTER DESTINED FOR A LANDFILL?!

Sean returned home and asked the girls in our complex's office what to do. They were like, "Hm? That is a pickle. I guess put it beside the dumpster."


Sean called to inform me that my plan failed and I was so furious I did something I always say I'm going to do and never do: I WROTE AN ANGRY EMAIL.

And guess what? After a few hours, I received a response saying we could call the compost facility manager's cell phone, meet him there and they'd make an exception for us. AND they plan to talk to our complex' s management about offering more recycling options. Unfortunately, our tree was gone by then, but at least we had the offer.

So forgive my long story, but I felt this was the essence of being Newly Domesticated. Sometimes it's not just about learning to cook; it's about learning to navigate adulthood. I did my civic duty, knowing I might not ever receive a response and guess what? I did receive a response. It was exhilarating.

Moral of the story: Write that angry letter you always threaten to write. You never know what the answer will be.

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