Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Compact...hmmm...

So Rick had to make some purchases, which normally fall under his category of things to buy since he is in charge of the computer and all things electronic in the house. But I'm in charge of most things photographic including printing photos of Ada, creating photo albums, and organizing and archiving our photos.

To cut to the chase, he had to buy printer cartridges because we ran out of time while trying to get Ada's valentines into the mail. They will still be late by a day or so, but closer to the 14th than they would have otherwise. And why so much drama? The Compact.

You see, instead of sending Christmas cards each year, I've started the tradition of sending a Valentine's day card from Ada to some of our closest friends. Last year I had 100 copies of a photo we took of her at the lakefront copied and I made valentines frantically to send out. Knowing we would keep up the tradition again this year, we discussed how to go about such an undertaking while respecting The Compact. We considered having Snapfish print and send the cards, but Rick would have to make that purchase since I'm "not allowed" to buy things that are new and unnecessary, and it would be costly. Creating more waste defeats the purpose of The Compact so I instead wanted to use up supplies we already had in order to make this project more "Compact friendly". The solution was to do it all ourselves and instead of ordering photos from a chain drugstore or Snapfish, we'd print them on our home printer and reduce our mailing list. The list dropped from about a hundred to less than forty. We then incorporated an email version for friends who aren't big "photo people" or who have Internet access and can get the sentiment and print the photo, or make it their computer monitor's wallpaper, if they like.

To achieve this feat of printing the photos on our home printer, we had to get new ink cartridges since ours were dead and Rick didn't have time to reload them with our refill kit we have in the basement(which we may have already refilled them to death anyway), nor did he have time to stop at the cartridge recycle store a few blocks away since he's been working late. So again, we had to compromise, but do so with good intentions. We now have the old cartridges to refill and can use the new ones as back ups to refill and alternate so we always have some available. That's the theory anyway. Or we'll take them to the recycle place next time around.

Unfortunately, after printing most of the photos, the last 2 pages didn't print properly because, after spending $31 on ink for the printer, the color couldn't last beyond 11 full-color photo pages and lost it's luster on pages 12 and 13. Knowing that we still had 6 valentine's to stuff with a photo of our little angel, I received a photo coupon for a free 8 1/2 x 11 from Walgreen's today and bit the bullet to purchase 2 pages of photos so we'd have the six images we needed. I only spent $4, and technically it breaks The Compact, but... it's also technically an errand I did for Rick since I put this all on his plate two weeks ago and he just ran out of time. As it turns out, we didn't even use one of the sheets yet...the one I actually paid for...so it's an "extra".

We did, amazingly, only have to buy stamps to complete the rest of the mailing. It just so happens that I have a huge supply of heart stickers from years ago when my mom must have been doing a mailing for work or something. And my mother-in-law came to make valentines with Ada and just happened to leave us the "extra" cards and envelopes, which we exhausted for the mailing. I used returned mailing labels we keep getting from various charities, and hand labeled the envelopes myself.

Talk about The Compact changing my thought process and increasing my awareness of what I purchase. Whew!

In all of this, I've also justified the purchase of the new printer cartridges as a "necessity" for work since I use the printer when working from home. And even though Rick bought them, I still feel guilty for not planning ahead further so that we had more time to get them recycled from the ink cartridge store, or refilled them from our kit downstairs. I'm also feeling bad since I asked Rick to purchase some DVD's to backup our computer files, mainly photos of Ada, so that we can store them in a secondary location and be able to recreate my work files and condo association records. Again, something I "needed" for work, something Rick purchased, with my final justification being that by using DVDs that we didn't have instead of CDs that we did have, I can use less because they store more data, again making better use of the resources we have available to us.

Does your brain hurt yet? Because I'm exhausted just from thinking about it.

I also must admit to buying gift cards for two friends having babies in the next month since I bought them from a baby store. I didn't buy them gifts, and the gift cards could be used to buy cloth diapers or environmentally friendly toys or laundry soap, but that's less than realistic. I did buy them in conjunction with other friends as "group gifts" if that gets me any points, and I encouraged the "groups" to support a local baby store instead of going to Target--part of the whole "buy local" idea. So if we are keeping track, $10 goes toward one friend, and about $17 goes toward my portion for another friend. Keep in mind that they also may be used to buy nursing bras which would fall under the "necessity" category of The Compact as I interpret it. (I'm all about the technicalities.)

And I also bought a gift card for a local ice cream shop for a friend's son who just turned five. It's local, it's food, and it encourages him to enjoy a treat with his parents and new baby sister-to-be. How's that for a trifecta? Not to mention the homemade card Ada and I made for him tonight from our stash of leftover cards, envelopes, and stamping supplies. Entertainment all around.

Poor Ada must feel like she lives in an art studio or a sweatshop with all of the cards we've been cranking out of here. I'm not sure which but she sure seems to be enjoying it so far and I'm getting a tiny bit more storage space from the supplies we are using up.

Moral of the story: The Compact will make you think harder about how your actions affect the world around. Just know your head might hurt as a result of too much thinking after awhile.

1 comment:

RebeccaC said...

Can I just say "thank you" for including me on the "not big photo people" list. As much as I LOVE seeing and recieving photos and cards from people (and I certainly send them)...I suffer from the worst guilt over what to DO with them in the long run. How long can you seriously keep those Xmas card photos of distant cousin's children before tossing them? What a conundrum!!! I loved getting Ada via email so that I could appreciate her...without throwing her in the trash.