This morning was a very busy morning that started with me smelling like a wino at 10 in the morning.
I figured that today was a great day for finally recycling the bottles that had collected since January. I threw the bags in the back of the car and went to the recycling machines at Albertsons. On the way, I drove past an old man wearing a medical mask and walking a dog. I also had a roadrunner cross the road in front of me. Once there, I figured out how to use the machine, and boy was it cathartic!
The machine itself is about the size of a large vending machine. You put the bottles, bottom end first, through a pair of metal flaps protecting a hole toward the top. It is eagerly yanked from your hands by a set of little rubber treads. Some kind of barcode scanner checks for a barcode, since not all glass bottles have a refundable deposit. Rejects are spat out an oversized “change dispenser” type of slot. For some reason, it rejects Red Stripe lager bottles. Once the bottle has been accepted, the fun happens.
Bottles, as you know, are meant to contain stuff. When they are empty, they consist of a little bit of glass and a whole lot of air. In order to fit more glass in a smaller space–the bin locked into the bottom of the machine–they have to do something about all that air. That's the fun part. Somewhere, in the bowels of the machine, it smashes your bottle with a very satisfying shatter. It is like being a delinquent juvenile and smashing bottles all over the parking lot, only safely self-contained, and the smashing happens by proxy as the machine digests your glass bottles.
The whole thing was quite cool. The only times I had recycled glass in the past involved taking bags of it to a smelly recycling center and driving away, without any knowledge of what occurs later in the cycle. Anyway, several bottles still had some beer droplets in them. The process of putting them tail end first into a slot at just about eye level left me garnished with a few stale beer drizzles.
It printed my receipt, and I went inside to redeem the bounty of cash from those bottles. It bought me a small package of coffee filters: the 40-pack. It did not even cover the 100-pack! I picked up some veggies from Wild Oats and noted they also have konbu, in case I don't want to go all the way to Uwajimaya for kelp. I did end up going there anyway, though, but for other stuff: a fine grater I forgot to get the other day, some daikon, some bonito flakes, those cute little cookie-cutter things for cutting veggies into fun shapes, tempura flour and sauce, etc. I passed up the chance to get live crawfish, which were slowly wandering around in a washtub of ice.
I also picked up a nice looking stainless steel deep fryer, but am a little scared that the industrial look, digital display, and the rectangular shape of the basket is a little too reminiscent of fast food kitchens. Next time the Beaverton Uwajimaya offers cooking classes, I think I will go. The Seattle store is offering them right now, but is a bit too far away.
The morning continued to Lowe's, where I walked past the 2004 model driving lawnmowers (or whatever you call them). They were shiny and cool looking, but I am not sure I would want to live in a house large enough to require a sit-down lawn mower. At the hardware store, I picked up a square wooden rod to attach just under the front of the oven. (No fire worries, as it does not get hot down there and there is no broiler.) Hopefully I will no longer have to pull out and remove the big drawer where a broiler would be to fish out lost cat toys.
So, now it is 2:30, and I feel like I have done a ton already. The only problem is I am starting to get dizzy and headachy. It seems I set up the coffee maker, but forgot to actually drink any until just now.