Kids Things that piss me off

Damn You Tree Huggers!

April 26, 2010

Last Thursday was Earth Day. I know this because everyone was talking about offsetting their carbon footprint. I learned that my blog gives off 8lbs of CO2 each year and that my hair dryer emits 57 lbs of the stuff.  I won’t ruin your day by telling you what your car, air conditioner, lawn mower or dishwasher puts out.

I don’t worry about offsetting my carbon footprint and I certainly am not going to buy carbon offsets, though I wish I had come up with a scam like that. Selling carbon offsets is much like the church’s practice of selling indulgences for sins. At least when you buy a carbon offset, a tree gets planted.  I am in complete agreement with George Carlin regarding saving the earth. I am not going to stop driving my truck, using my hair dryer (no one wants that) or writing my blog.

Luckily for me they were giving away carbon offsets at my daughter’s school last week. She came home with three saplings in a, get this, plastic bag!

Daughter came home with three saplings. Two evergreens and an oak tree. Stapled on the bag were directions for planting the trees. Basically dig a hole big enough so the roots aren’t all balled together, cover with dirt, water and wait for 20 years or so to have a little shade.

What it doesn’t say on the bag is that in order to plant the oak tree I need to call my utility company to find out where my gas and water lines are so I don’t hit one of their rusty pipes and break it, causing a problem. The directions also don’t say anything about where to plant the trees. I know how big an oak tree can get if I don’t run over it with the lawn mower but I don’t know how fast the evergreen trees are going to grow or how much space they might need. I don’t know what kind of damage the acidic needles are going to do to my grass or other plants that were there first. I don’t feel like doing a whole lot of research for these things either.

My front yard is the size of a postage stamp and I already have a maple tree in it. I also have two lindens on the boulevard in front of my house. One of them might be falling sometime soon but that still leaves very little room for a big ass oak tree. My back yard is only slightly larger than my front yard and I already have a maple tree there that creates more raking than I would like. I have lilacs and peonies and other shrubbery. The only place to put a big ass oak tree is right in the middle of the yard, at the bottom of the slide. I just don’t think it will work.

I could probably bring them up to the lake where we have more room for these carbon offsets. The problem is I have to keep them alive until I go up to the lake, I have to remember to bring them to the lake, and then I have to actually plant them.

None of these things were part of my plan for spring.

Now I have all kinds of anxiety about keeping these damn trees alive. I’ve kept them moist since Thursday by placing a wet paper towel (I know, I should have used cloth) in the bag. I think they are alive but I really can’t be sure. These trees are just like the stupid hermit crabs. I can’t tell if they are alive either and I keep forgetting to water them.

How long can they stay alive in their plastic bag? They aren’t getting much sun in their plastic bag, that can’t be good for them. I don’t know when I am going to the cabin next, it could be this week or it could be the next week. Do I have to make a special trip just so I can plant these damn trees?

I considered putting them in the compost container but that just didn’t seem right. I’m not a hater of trees, I like trees. Trees are fun to climb, they provide shade, they provide homes for all kinds of animals that I am trying to kill with my slingshot, and in about 100 years the oak tree will provide someone with some great firewood. I’m all for trees.

Yay, trees!

But I didn’t ask for these trees. I have enough people, animals, plants and crustaceans to be responsible for, I don’t need more. I don’t need anymore guilt, I have a mother who makes sure I am getting my daily requirement, the trees are just overkill.

Why didn’t they just give her a puppy?

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  • Reply mama-face April 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm


    The fact that they were sent home in the plastic bag with a paper note…hahahaha. Those PTA moms and their good intentions.

    Compost away.

  • Reply comedyplus April 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Bwahahahahaha. I'm so with you on this. Pass me another side of guilt will you.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

      And what about ripping those poor saplings out of mother earth? No one seemed to think that was an atrocity. I wonder how many of these trees were killed in the name of Earth Day? Damn, I should have put that in the post.

  • Reply Alison April 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Puppies I'm sure have some kind of carbon footprint or whatever it is too haha. Doesn't there farts smell. Just saying.

    I actually got a tree planted for my blog. All I had to do was a blog post about the program. Isn't that simple! I don't even have to plant the darn thing, some schlup (I think that's what I want to put down) will be doing it for me in Germany! I hope he's getting paid a pretty penny for it.

    If anyone is interested in being a good tree hugger you can find out above. Slackers. Haha. 😛

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      I'd rather have a puppy than give up my hair dryer.

  • Reply MandyP April 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    So now not only are schools teaching our kids to pressure us to buy more magazines, cookies, wrapping paper, and books than we can afford, but now they're adding guilt for killing a living thing to the equation? Hmmmm…really making me strongly consider homeschooling! =)

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      If I had the ability or the desire I would home school, except I really want my kid to learn stuff beyond third grade. It is getting really expensive to send her to a public school. This tree business will end up costing me a lot, I can already tell. And don't even get me started on the wrapping paper, wreathes, books and all the other crap they want us to buy. Hell, I may as well send her to a private school.

  • Reply Warren Contreras April 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Since you already noted that you are aware it will take 200 years to reach full size, why not plant them in a POT and it should give you a couple of years to get to the lake and transplant them at your leisure?

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      That's a great idea Warren, but then I'd have to find a place to put the
      pots and water the pots, still more responsibility than I want or need right
      now. I'll just have to get them to the lake or the compost.

  • Reply samliu April 26, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I'm all for environmental protection, but how do they expect people to plant a ridiculously over sized oak tree in their garden for every trip they make to the supermarket?! Yes, it is carbon neutral, but it's also impractical! I don't know what to suggest…good luck with finding a suitable spot for your trees (the trash can, maybe?) 😀

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      Oh, I can't believe you suggested the trash can! At least I am willing to
      send them back to the earth from wence they came rather than stuffing them
      in a plastic bag and burying them in a landfill. At least in the compost
      they have a shot at growing. Or maybe that's just a slow death. I don't
      know, see how much anxiety these trees are causing?

  • Reply babs (beetle) April 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    You know, you are daft! Who bought those trees home? YOU didn't. Tell daughter that it's her job to look after them until you can get to the cabin. If they die, she will come and say “Mum, my trees are dead” You can say “Aww, what a shame (try not to grin at this point) never mind” You are guilt free! Daughter won't care after a second or so. Job done!

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm

      I had to look “daft” up. Thanks!

      What if they don't die? And besides, Margaret wants me to send them to you.

      • Reply babs (beetle) April 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm

        That knickerlady gets everywhere hahaha!

        Just think of all the plastic packaging you would need. I'd just send 'em back marked Not known at this address!

        • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm

          I probably couldn't send them anyway with all the customs restrictions. I
          actually have Margaret's address however.

  • Reply Margaret (nannygoats) April 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Pawn them off on (oop – I mean, give them to) someone else and you won't have to worry about it any more.
    Next crisis?

  • Reply IndigoWrath April 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Hey Jen! When I was a kid, the schools planted trees on their own property, and said they would stand to all future generations to enjoy. They even got the mayor to “dig” the hole. Much better. Then you could take the puppy round to pee on them. Nature, unbound. Indigo

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 9:11 pm

      This is why you guys are so much more civilized than we are. We have too much guilt from stupid things like this. I like your idea better.

  • Reply buggys April 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Put a bow on the saplings and give them away. Next time you run to the store for bread just refuse the plastic bag to carry it home. Ok, you've done your part.

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 9:12 pm

      I already tried to give them to my neighbors. They have kids at the same school.

      I always refuse the plastic bags, which is another reason I don't shop at Wal*Mart.

  • Reply themother April 26, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    We got goldfish from school one year. That was a $200 gift. Meh.

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      We haven't gotten goldfish but we came mighty close to getting guinea pigs. Thankfully we dodged that bullet.

  • Reply Jayne April 26, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    LOL! Such a dilemma! Make it easy on yourself. Buy three 5″ containers and a little potting soil and plant them in those. Then give them away as gifts and make them someone elses problem… Always glad to help out. 😉

  • Reply joannmannix April 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I'm feeling your angst, sister. I've got 3 kids, 3 dogs, 1 cat and 2 freakin' ducks and my daughter brought home some stupid plants for Earth day. I feel the same way. I can not possibly take care of another living thing. They need to send home a gardener with those plants.

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm

      Yes! A gardener, he must be sultry and speak in a romantic language, he will
      make Margaritas and won't talk back. I'd be all over earth day then.

  • Reply Nicky April 26, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Silly Jen. It's all very simple. You take daughter out to the front yard and make a big deal of planting them. Anywhere will do. You dig a hole that's just deep enough for the things to stick out. If daughter is a typical kid, she will forget about them 3 seconds after they are planted. Then you mow them. Presto. You've got mulch which will help your yard. No guilt, you did something good for your environment. In 2 or 3 years, when daughter remembers the trees, you can just spout something along the lines of “I'm guessing the PH levels of the soil were too acidic for those kinds of trees. Maples require less alkalinity, which is probably why they thrived and the others didn't”. Daughter thinks you are a genius.

    You're welcome. I accept all major credit cards.

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      I'm printing this one up and putting it in the secret place right now. Thank
      you, did I mention how smart Canadians are?

    • Reply meleahrebeccah April 27, 2010 at 4:47 am


  • Reply lindamedrano April 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    We have a huge Oak in the front yard. Dang! Pretty tree but so huge and so full of critters who take the things (acorns?) and plant them all over the place. I have little oak trees growing out of little planters holding geraniums. Tough to pull out too. Okay, make this a science experiment. Twine the roots of all those tree thingies together and see what unnatural creation comes out of it. An Evergreen Oak, 100 ft high and 6 blocks wide and then you can be on Ripley's Believe It or Not and get money for it.

    • Reply redheadranting April 26, 2010 at 11:19 pm

      In about a hundred years!

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm

      I forgot all about the acorns, just another reason to find another home for these guys.

  • Reply sheila April 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Either go up to the school on the weekend and plant it or sneak out in the middle of the night and plant it in an annoying neighbors yard (that way you don't have to worry about pipes or growth)

  • Reply frogmama April 27, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I love the earth, I really do, but an oak tree is going to get big. Regift them. Or, I like Sheila's idea. Or…take a drive out to the country and huck them out your window. If they're meant to survive, they will. Darwin's theory, right?

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      That's right, let them fend for themselves. If they were meant to live they will!

  • Reply frustratedpricilla April 27, 2010 at 3:22 am

    You can keep them in your refrigerator.

    That or send them to me and I will eat them.

  • Reply mikewjattoomanymornings April 27, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Gotta disagree with you on this one, Jen. We'd better start worrying about our carbon footprint or we're all going to get fried, and soon. I'm not sure planting trees is the solution, though, and I do agree with you about having enough responsibilities in life. So I'm not really doing anything, either. But I believe we ought to do something. And believing is enough, right?

  • Reply meleahrebeccah April 27, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Oh Jen! I feel you on this one. Thankfully where I live no one is allowed to plant anything without the approval of the 'Association' so, I wont have to feel badly about NOT planting trees with my son.

    “I don’t need anymore guilt, I have a mother who makes sure I am getting my daily requirement.”


  • Reply Janiss April 27, 2010 at 5:31 am

    OMG, tree guilt! I have a brown thumb, so I hate having growing things around. I always feel so awful when I inadvertently kill them. I own some stock in a company that has its main offices right near me, so I go to the annual stockholders meeting. A couple years ago, they gifted us with little evergreen saplings. Ugh! I put mine in a big pot (figuring that since it's a tree it would probably get kinda big and I wanted some time to figure out WTH I'm gonna do with it). Two years later, it's microscopically larger than it was when I planted it, a little browner and I'm still stressing out about it. Avery Dennison ruined my life by putting that thing in their goodie bag.

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      Janiss, I feel your pain. There are many options here that you could follow too…

  • Reply LInda April 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

    LOL! You have gotten so many suggestions which are all so good! Hmmmmm

  • Reply BarbWillThink4Wine April 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

    One of the deal-breakers on my list of wants when I was house-searching was mature trees. I have lots of trees and I love them all, but I would not feel guilty about NOT planting one I did not ask to have.

    Send them back to school with your daughter! Done and doner.

  • Reply Anne April 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    We got a tree this weekend at an earth day festival. I planted it in a pot in my family room. I figure that by the time it gets big enough to outgrow the pot, I will be long dead and it will be my children's problem.

  • Reply Ian April 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    At least you get something. I don't think my kid's school recycles at all yet

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      They don't even recycle? Wow. What decade do you live in? We've been guilted into recycling since the 80s, and I live in flyover country.

  • Reply Emm April 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    My husband has worked in health, safety and environmental matters for years and before we left South Africa, he was involved in setting up a company dealing with carbon credits and trading them with overseas countries. He was appalled when i came back from visiting National History Museums in London and New York and told him I no longer believe in climate change. I don't think I could have shocked him more, to be honest.

    Oh, and the person that buys me any form of trees or plants is only going ot be disappointed in some way. I can't even make grass grow.

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Emm, why don't you believe in climate change. I have never heard anyone admit that. It's just not cool to admit that the earth might know how to care for itself better than we do. How arrogant of us. I'm all for not wasting, using natural products and certainly not polluting the atmosphere but the world has survived a lot longer than we have been around. It will recover after we are gone.

  • Reply suzicate April 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    You've gotten some great suggestions. Know anyone who lies in the country. My kids took theirs to my paretns and helped Granddaddy plant it. Eerytime they visit him, he shows them how big the trees have gotten…and I must say they grow a lot in sixteen years!!!! I think my father is more proud of them than my sons.

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      If I had a bigger yard I would be all over this too but there just isn't a place to put them. It would be fun to watch them grow (sort of) or at least compare them in years to come.

  • Reply Ana April 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    You're great Jen! My daughter would've loved a puppy!

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      So would mine. A puppy would be a lot easier than this, at least I wouldn't run it over with the lawn mower, and they are cute, trees aren't really that cute. Maybe to another tree but they can't touch puppy cute.

  • Reply Kelly Seal April 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Maybe after taking Nicky's advice you could just turn the remains into a compost pile…
    Sigh, Earth Day can be a pain in the ass. Thank goodness I'm not that ambitious and just try to remember to throw my plastic bottles in a recycling container.

    • Reply redheadranting April 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm

      Kelly that's about as much of the whole tree hugging thing I do. I know, PETA will be knocking down my door soon. At least it only happens once a year.

      PETA probably wouldn't be knocking down my door, unless they read the part about my squirrel killing, or attempted killing.

  • Reply Katherine April 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    OK Hermit Crab killer, here is one of my posts: Hermit Crab Care. LOL!

    You know what I did for Earth Day? SERIOUSLY? I was offsite replacing a broken monitor. I took the broken one downstairs, walked to the dumpster and threw it in. In mid-toss, when it was too late to get it, I thought, “Holy CRAP it is earth day and I just hurt the earth.” Hmmm consider it a payback for taking down half of my backyard with a tree. No wait that was Mother Nature, not Mother Earth. I love Mother Earth. Oh and Mother Nature too (shrinking back from potential lightening bolts.) I just love them all. I better get out of here. I feel so guilty.

  • Reply kathryn April 28, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Wow…I'm stressed out just reading about this. Can't you just tell daughter that you planted them over there…(points to small twig sticking out of the ground near trees)? Would she really know the difference?

    • Reply redheadranting April 28, 2010 at 3:31 am

      I don't think she would notice at all, in fact, she has already forgotten
      about the trees. That isn't the problem. The problem is that *I* can't
      forget about them.

  • Reply dickster1961 April 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    the problem with the puppy is that it would have just added to the carbon problem. I wonder if the saplings will more than offset the plastic bag? Might defeat the purpose.

    oh, and thanks for the link

  • Reply dcr April 30, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I'm late to the party but I would think you have two options, if it's not already too late.

    A) Plant them in the middle of the school's football field. It's a wide open space with plenty of room for the trees to grow. The kids will have to run around them, but everyone has to make sacrifices to save the Earth, right?

    B) Bonsai.

  • Reply Lanita May 4, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    My daughter brought one home. I had great intentions of planting it. I put it in the crisper drawer to keep it alive…then I forgot about it. It died. I guess I didn't offset enough my carbon footprint.

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