Fredericton — The Stewarts of Nashwaaksis are somehow all labouring under the idea that they are conservative with resources and living a sustainable, green lifestyle.
“We have three vehicles, but that’s just because our second van is only for taking the kids to hockey and gymnastics,” said dad Kirk. “Jenn takes the truck to work, and I take the SUV, but we can’t really carpool because she works on Queen Street and I work on King. So it would be way too cold for one of us to spend all morning walking from the car to work. Plus she gets off 15 minutes before I do, so that really doesn’t work for commuting.”
“Our power bill in January was only $450 — not bad,” said Jenn. “Considering the fact that I do laundry twice a day and run the dishwasher three times or so, that’s pretty low. Not like that bill I saw circulating on Facebook that was around $750. Those people should be ashamed of themselves!”
The couple have three young children, all of whom have their own spacious bedroom in the 3-storey home, and separate playrooms stuffed with new plastic toys that will be around longer than any of the family members.
“We’re trying to save energy by forcing the kids to turn their iPads or their TVs off by no later than 8 p.m.,” bragged Kirk. “They can keep their phones on as late as they want, but those hardly use any power as far as I know.”
The couple are even “green” when it comes to family planning.
“We’re aiming to have probably just one more kid,” mused Jenn, while throwing a bunch of reusable plastic containers in the trash because she didn’t feel like washing them. “I don’t want to be one of those crazy families with 5 kids. That’s just excessive.”
Jenn said she hopes to cut down household water consumption by buying bottled water for the plants and for the dogs, instead of using tapwater.
“I might start taking just one shower a day, too,” she explained. “Maybe. We’ll see. Or I’ll cut down the shower time to like 20 minutes. That’s the only place I get to be alone all friggen’ day, so that would be quite a sacrifice for me.”
Kirk said he sometimes leaves all the lights on in the house when the family goes out. “That’s to avoid break-ins, though,” he rationalized. “We have so much sweet stuff here that I really can’t risk it.”
Every season the entire family gets a new wardrobe.
“But we donate lots to goodwill,” said Jenn. “If it’s really old — like 6 months or more — I drive the SUV over to those orange donation box things and dump a load in there. It’s good to do what you can to help those less fortunate.
“Also, we shop at Costco so we have to do grocery runs less often. I just buy enough to fill our three extra deep-freezes in the garage and we live off that…at least on nights we don’t go out to eat.”
At press time, Jenn and Kirk were considering starting to recycle plastic and cardboard, and maybe even composting in the summer — as long as it’s not too much work.
“Can you even recycle in Fredericton, though?” asked Jenn. “I wasn’t sure if that was a thing here.”