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Milk-jug igloo has columnist fulfilling a promise

By Mark Saal - | Sep 11, 2016

Have you any idea how difficult it is to responsibly dispose of more than 500 plastic one-gallon milk jugs?

It’s nowhere near as easy as one might think. As proof, I offer Exhibit A: I’ve been driving around for the last couple of weeks with the bed of my pickup truck filled nearly to the top of the camper shell with crushed plastic milk jugs, trying to figure out how to get rid of them without single-handedly destroying the planet.

It’s a tale almost a year in the making, beginning with an innocent post from a friend on Facebook and ending with … well, I’m still trying to recycle the last of the milk jugs.

Back on Dec. 31, our neighbor across the street posted on Facebook a photograph of a life-sized igloo made entirely of milk jugs.

“I think we could do this for the neighborhood,” Tera Ramage wrote.

The idea probably would have died there, but unfortunately Tera tagged Caitlin Kimball, who lives up around the corner. Within minutes of Tera’s post, Caitlin posted: “100% yes!”

Shortly thereafter, assuming this was just one of those abstract discussions no one ever acts upon, I wrote: “Ooh! And if you build it, I’ll agree to spend a night in it!”

Apparently, that was all the motivation Caitlin needed.

“It’s your fault, you know,” she told me the other day. “As soon as you said you’d sleep in it if somebody built it, I was, like, ‘I’ll do it.’ I just wanted to see Mark Saal spend the night in a milk-jug igloo.”

Caitlin began collecting jugs that very day.

“I don’t even drink milk,” she confesses.

However, Caitlin’s aversion wasn’t a problem, as she estimates between 25 and 30 neighbors began collecting milk jugs for her.

“It is amazing how many milk jugs one neighborhood can produce,” she said. “It was like Christmas. I’d get home from work, and there’d be 10 milk jugs on my front porch.”

It took 27 days to collect the first 100 jugs, 18 days to collect the next 100 and just 10 days for the third 100.

“It just kind of kept snowballing,” Caitlin said.

Construction began March 5 on what would come to be known as “The Migloo” (a portmanteau of “milk jug” and “igloo”). The project was finished on March 20, and on March 26 the Kimballs held an open house introducing the monstrosity to the neighborhood.

This Migloo was indeed impressive, standing about five feet tall and 11 feet across, and made up of about 530 jugs.

So, just who is this builder of the “Eighth Wonder of the Ward,” as some of us had taken to calling it?

Caitlin Kimball is 27 years old, works in her father’s dental office and is a student at Weber State University. She’s also … well … crazy.

“Creative,” Caitlin prefers to call it.

“I’m very creative, and often create things,” she explains. “I build random things in my house all the time.”

Now, when Caitlin says “my house,” she actually means “my parents’ house.” Speaking of whom, Doug and Megan Kimball have gotten used to their crazy, creative daughter’s “random things.” Like the time Caitlin built a huge indoor treehouse in what used to be her brother’s bedroom.

“And my parents knew as soon as I’d seen (the igloo) it that I’d be building one,” Caitlin said. “They were, like, ‘Oh, crap!’ “

True to my if-you-build-it-they-will-sleep word, on July 29 we held the First Annual Migloo Slumber Party, complete with snacks and an outdoor movie of “Penguins of Madagascar.” The entire neighborhood was invited and afterward my two grandsons and I slept in The Migloo.

On a hot July night, it was more like a sweat lodge.

“It is surprisingly warm inside that igloo,” Caitlin understated. “It’s good insulation. The Eskimos knew what they were doing.”

The next day, we found a neighbor with young children who wanted The Migloo for a backyard playhouse. But before we could work out the logistics of getting the massive structure down the hill, across Main Street, and over the fence into their backyard, the summer sun had weakened the hot glue used to assemble it, and the famous Farmington Canyon winds did the rest.

Alas, The Migloo is no more. And in the same way it takes a village to raise a Migloo, it takes that same village to dismantle and dispose of it in an environmentally responsible way. This weekend, the very neighbors who saved up the milk jugs allowed us to leave a few of them in their bright blue Farmington City recycling cans.

So, right now, there are little bits of “The Migloo” all over our neighborhood.

As for Crazy Caitlin Kimball, she’d do it all over again — with one slight change.

“I’d make it bigger,” she says. “You could only fit seven people in this one. I’d like one that fits 15, so you could at least have a party in there.”

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.


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