This house­hold needs a re­cy­cling czar

Baltimore Sun - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - By Amy Dick­in­son askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com Twit­ter @ask­ingamy Copy­right 2020 by Amy Dick­in­son Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been mar­ried for eight years. We’ve al­ways shared house­hold chores, which has worked well.

She re­cently put her ca­reer on hold to fo­cus on our two small chil­dren, and she is an amaz­ing mother.

My only com­plaint is her ap­a­thy to­ward re­cy­cling. I’m con­stantly pick­ing re­cy­clables out of the trash and trash out of the re­cy­cling bin.

Re­cy­clables that do make it into the cor­rect bin are of­ten con­tam­i­nated with food waste which,

I’ve read, gum up sort­ing and pro­cess­ing ma­chines.

I’ve gen­tly re­minded her of the proper way to han­dle re­cy­clables, but I am usu­ally met with a “what­ever” at­ti­tude or dis­mis­sive com­ment about “wash­ing garbage.”

More of­ten, I just qui­etly pick through the re­spec­tive bins and put things in the right spot, but I feel like that’s en­cour­ag­ing her to con­tinue not to care.

I re­al­ize in the grand scheme of things this is a pretty mi­nor in­frac­tion and part of the is­sue is my metic­u­lous­ness, but I’m won­der­ing if you have any sug­ges­tions on how to per­suade her to care more about proper re­cy­cling eti­quette?

— Wearied Waste War­rior

My so­lu­tion is to sug­gest that you re­al­ize your wife is a non­starter in this re­gard, and to stop cam­paign­ing and cor­rect­ing her. I am thereby ap­point­ing you the Re­cy­cle Czar of your house­hold (your scepter is in the mail). As such, you will take on this job with

Dear Wearied:

en­thu­si­asm. Fur­ther­more, I’m ap­point­ing your chil­dren to be your of­fi­cial as­sis­tants.

Even very young chil­dren can en­joy the job of sort­ing (clean) plas­tics (no sharp me­tal edges, please). De­lin­eate a color-coded bin for the re­cy­clables, teach your kids the ba­sics, ex­plain to them why you are do­ing this, place the clean plas­tics and pa­per goods on the floor, and ask them to put these things into the ap­pro­pri­ate bin (there are videos on YouTube il­lus­trat­ing the process).

Quite soon your chil­dren will start to po­lice your wife, re­mind­ing her which bin to use. This might in­spire her to get on board.

Dear Amy: Thank you for your wise re­sponse to “Frus­trated in the Kitchen,” who was so up­set that her two step­sons (both ad­dicts) were so of­ten ex­tremely late for her spe­cial home­cooked meals.

As a mother who lost a son to ad­dic­tion, I can tell you that I never stop wish­ing there was one more birth­day or hol­i­day meal with my son.

Es­tab­lish­ing a “home” for those suf­fer­ing with ad­dic­tion is the kind­est act a par­ent can do.

Yes, they can be late and un­re­li­able and maybe they won’t stay long. But com­ing home for hol­i­day meals can be a great bless­ing for trou­bled souls.

A fam­ily group like AA or NA could be of great help to these par­ents.

At the end of a meet­ing, they al­ways say, “Keep com­ing back ...” And that’s what par­ents should al­ways say to their chil­dren.

I would give any­thing to see my son at my front door. “Frus­trated” and her hus­band can work out the kitchen prob­lems. Time with fam­ily is so much more im­por­tant.

— A Griev­ing Mother

Dear Griev­ing: Thank you so much for your thought­ful and lov­ing re­sponse to a heart­break­ing prob­lem. I hope your per­spec­tive will help other par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse (dru­gabuse.gov), drug over­dose deaths rose from 38,329 in 2010 to 70,237 in 2017; fol­lowed by a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in 2018 to 67,367 deaths.

Ad­dic­tion takes an in­cal­cu­la­ble toll on loved ones that sta­tis­tics can never mea­sure.

The wis­dom of “Keep com­ing back ...” works in so many con­texts, and I thank you for shar­ing it.

Dear Amy: An­other re­sponse to “Frus­trated in the Kitchen” whose step­sons were of­ten late for fam­ily meals.

She should con­sider us­ing a Crock-Pot. Then she doesn’t have to think about tim­ing her meal.

— Big Fan

Dear Fan: Many peo­ple of­fered cook­ing sug­ges­tions for this ques­tion, which wasn’t re­ally about cook­ing, but about “Frus­trated’s” feel­ing that she was al­ways on the hook for oth­ers’ late­ness.

How­ever, I agree with you. A Crock-Pot solves ev­ery­thing.

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