Retrieved from the trash bin

We were fifty minutes into the hour-long Outlander episode “The Deep Heart’s Core” when the DVD player stopped. Didn’t even give us any warning of weird blips or slow motion stoppages–just died. Just as Roger is about to escape from the Indians who are dragging him to New York far away from Brianna. Not only did it stop playing, but the disc wouldn’t eject. Visions of having to pay for a Netflix disc made us disgruntled, as well as the DVD stopping just at the exciting part. It might take us a week to find out what happened to Roger.

Mr. H.C. is handy with pliers and screwdrivers, so he took the thing apart and we physically took the disc out of the player. We retired to the bedroom and watched the last ten minutes on the laptop. Roger escaped.

Now, I can hear you saying, why do you even rent discs from Netflix anyway? Can’t you just stream like the rest of the world?

Well, thanks for asking, but no. We can’t, actually. Because we live in rural Pennsylvania, where there are hills and hollers, and the nearest 5G network is 50 miles north in Pittsburgh. We have three options for internet service: Windstream, whose fastest rate in our neck of the woods is 1 mbps (yes, 1); Dish networks, which everyone knows are worthless when it is cloudy (and let me just say, we have cloudy here); and a hotspot. Which is what we have. It’s serviceable. It works. Sort of. Most of the time. It’s expensive. We don’t have unlimited data. But I digress. This is not a post about our crappy internet service.

The next morning Mr. H.C. took a look inside the player and (unbeknownst to me) tossed it in the garbage.

Let me tell you, this is something that NEVER happens. Mr. H.C. keeps everything so he can fix it someday.

By the next afternoon we had surveyed our options and they were: 1. Buy a cheap one on Amazon for $45; or 2. buy the one they had left at Walmart for $150.  (I would just like to interject here, that when we lived in Pittsburgh, we had a very modern set up with streaming and a decent-sized multi-screen that functioned both as a TV and a media screen, and if we ever got discs we played them through the computer. It all worked smoothly.) DVD players seem so 90s. So I spent some time online the next morning to see if anyone could tell us how to fix it. The best I could come up with was a YouTube video on cleaning your DVD player.

“Maybe it just needs to be cleaned?” I asked him.

“Well, it’s in the garbage, so it really needs to be cleaned now,” he said, as he rooted through the trash and dug it out brushing off some crusted oatmeal. (No, that’s a lie. There was no oatmeal on the DVD player because we are a zero-food-trash- composting family.)

Genius husband then cleaned the DVD player and tried an old disc we didn’t care about, and then ended up watching the whole thing. DVD player is as good as new, which is a great thing, because now we don’t have to spend our Lockdown money on a 90s DVD player. It’s also a great thing, because now we can avoid the news and watch the last few episodes of Outlander. Unfortunately, we’re a season behind, because we live on a country road (almost heaven, but not quite) where there is no streaming (in heaven the light will be all the streaming we need). Oh, I mentioned no streaming already.

The moral of this story is Never throw anything away because you might have to retrieve it from the trash bin. Yes, our recycling place is closed too.

The real moral of the story is Don’t live in rural Pencilbania. Where there’s no recycling and no decent internet. And the yard signs are all for the wrong guy. (I’m debating about whether to put a Biden sign in the front yard, but I don’t want to start a sign war…)

The real, real moral of the story is Can our country be retrieved from the trash bin, cleaned, and fixed so it works once again?



Plastic wrap? Sandwich baggies? Just Say No

Lunches get packed around here five days a week. I take the leftovers; Mr. H. C. prefers a sandwich, fruit, and cookies.

I have Pyrex bowls for the leftovers, but sandwiches just don’t fit well in the bowls. Plus, trying to cram three bowls into a lunch cooler that already contains an ice pack, a pair of safety glasses, sundry small tools, first aid supplies, and yesterday’s banana isn’t easy.

I would guesstimate that 90 percent of our trash is food container waste: plastic that isn’t recyclable. We burn our paper here in the country, we recycle hard plastic, glass, and metal. We are down to one small garbage bag per week. But plastic bags…

Yes, I buy sandwich baggies AND I HATE THEM. I also hate plastic wrap (and if you have never had a long length of the stuff just magically turn into a stuck-together-mess in your hands, I’d like to talk to you about your skills…) The stuff is just plain evil, but until a couple of weeks ago I felt that I didn’t have any other options.

And then I bought 9 organic food wraps from Eteeshop. Here is Mr. H. C.’s neatly wrapped ham sandwich. There are three sizes in a set: small, medium, and large. The medium wraps a sandwich very nicely:

The small wraps up cookies, fruit slices, hard boiled eggs…

These apple slices are not so neatly wrapped but they dropped on the floor and did not open or spill out.

The large wrap will cover a pie or a casserole dish.  Maybe vegetables, like celery or cucumbers? I haven’t experimented with that yet. But I do have a brick of parmesan cheese wrapped up in the fridge.

After using, they might need to be  washed depending what food you’ve wrapped. I usually just brush off cookie crumbs, but I wash the larger ones with cool water and mild soap using a sponge. The wraps are very waterproof and water beads up on them. I usually hang them to dry, but they can easily be dried with a towel.

I’ve used them for two weeks and I’m sold. They are made of cotton and coated with waxes to make them stick to themselves or a dish. If you have trouble getting them to stick (I didn’t) here is a video made by Etee Shop that might help. (Etee is an acronym for Everything Touches Everything Else.) I don’t know how long the stickiness will last, but they are recyclable when they can’t be used as a food wrap any longer.

And just so you know, I’m not getting any material benefit from saying how much I love these cool food wraps. The bright colors make me smile early in the morning. And I’m also smiling because I don’t have to spend time untangling plastic wrap any longer…