Trina Machacek: Greener trips

For the longest time I thought that where I lived was the only place where people had to travel to do stuff that people who lived in cities could do without having to plan and schedule far in advance. Like doctors and shopping and licensing and meetings and things in daily life that need to be taken care of. Then I had a little conversation with a new friend who lives in what I would call a city and he also travels hundreds of miles to do some of those life chores.

Yes, we all look for better deals by thinking they’re in a bigger city. At some point, nearly everyone seems to get caught up in “the grass is always greener” theory. But. Yes, a greener “but.” Ha, ha. But there’s a difference between going over the fence to get greener grass and going over the fence because there is no grass at all on your side of the fence. There are stages that everyone might go through in taking a “greener” outing.

It starts with the reason. You can’t just go Willie Nillie on one of these jaunts. No, no. There should be a reason because it is a big thing and can have some heavy financial effects on your bottom line. So the reason may be a doctor or dentist appointment. Maybe a holiday is coming up and Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard needs to be filled to the brim with all things you only get when company is coming. You know, the premium link sausage, huge bags of chips, the good coffee, perhaps some libations for celebrations. Whatever the reason the dates are set, the rest of the busy family calendar is cleared of events and the countdown — and list making begins.

Lists are essential, leaving nothing to chance. Especially if you only have one day to fit everything in. Most of the time, now as I am somewhat over 30, a “greener” excursion is an overnighter because there are only so many hours in the day. It’s more likely that everything gets done in one day so a list and strict adherence to it is mandatory. Or should I say lists because a list is needed for more than one reason. The first list lists all the places to go. Appointments with times, sure, sure. But where to go before and after those appointments is listed to be sure to fit in as much as possible in the allotted time on the greener side of the fence. Big box stores, big club stores, get money at the bank. Shoes, pet treats, that one place that has the best chorizos — and that leads to the second phase of lists. Say you are going to that wonderful meat place that makes those chorizos? Well, now you need a list of what you want to pick up and add to that list the list of your friends who have put in an order with you to get them some chorizos, too. See, around here when one goes, we all go — if only in spirit and our names are on each other’s lists. Very neighborly. So you have like 10 lists and your system keeps them straight and you fill them systematically.

Lists are all filled and so is the car. Then you head back home, a.k.a. your side of the fence. Before you head out, you gas up, use facilities and a quick stop at a drive-through. I like that coffee drive-through to get an extra kick to get me home because…

Once home, the unveiling of all things purchased begins. Here’s what a few of my friends and I have come to realize. Take groceries. During a “greener” day do you realize that you have picked up each item like six times? You pick stuff up, put them in your cart. Picked them all up again putting them on the counter at the check-out. Then again putting them back in your cart as the kid fills up bags and bags. Then once again putting them in your car. Pick them up again out of the car slugging them into the house. To finally pick each item out of bags to put onto shelves or in refrigerators. Whew. But you’re not done yet! You still pick up each goodie as you prepare them for meals to feed the family. Now that’s a circle of life.

Oh, I have to say that I shop local. I love the town where I live and support locally our doctors, retail and restaurants. But that “grass is always greener” gene is human nature and you don’t fool around with Mother Nature.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Find her on Facebook, Instagram or at Really!


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