Chip Off the Old Block

US Wealth Napolitano |

Several weeks ago I wrote an article that suggested being a child of a zealously frugal mother certainly presented some interesting challenges for me as I was growing up. When I was a teenager however, I think my grandfather summed it up when he told me that in my twenties, I would be amazed at how much my parents “learned over the last several years”. The translation of course is as a kid, you think you know it all, but when you grow older, you realize that your parents actually provided some pretty sound advice throughout your childhood. 

I can be pretty stubborn at times, but I’ve got to admit that my grandfather’s observation came to fruition. Not only did I eventually come to appreciate some of my mom’s quirks, but I’ve learned to adopt many of them myself.  Whatever you do, please don’t ever mention this to her.

A great example of this is how I’ve become the trash czar at our home. Sure, our family used to recycle the standard bottles, cans, and the occasional pizza box (not the greasy lid however). But I’ve taken it to a new, hopefully not too zealous, level. In my hood, to reduce rodent issues, there were three trash deliveries per week. I realized that, including the plastic trash bags, for a three person household like ours, we produced an obscene amount of rubbish and excess plastic. After doing a little research, I found a company ( that for a nominal fee, services city dwellers and picks up our household compost once a week. Now I was on a roll. What about all those paper towels that we used for just about anything then unceremoniously tossed?  As we did while I was growing up, we switched to a sizeable supply of cloth napkins and also learned to make judicious use of our dish towels. How about the never ending discarded plastic bags? We’ve learned to “donate” those to the local Whole Foods (no charitable deduction however). On any given evening you may find me rummaging through our kitchen trash container fishing for items that were inadvertently discarded. Sorry about that visual. As a result of my obsession, we now send out a trash bag for pickup about once every other week. Funny though, I think my son thinks I’m crazy.  He’ll learn soon enough– when he’s in his 20’s.

My mom is coming to visit us for Thanksgiving. It will be her first time in Boston in just about a decade.  I’m really looking forward to spending time with her. I’m about 99.9% certain that very little of our turkey will go to waste.  I just hope it won’t include turkey pancakes. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!