Archive for September 16th, 2007

After putting together another bag of my clothes to go out plus a suitcase full of bags, I realized that I had to do laundry ASAP because…

Today is the beginning of Crunchy Chicken’s Cloth TP challenge!  I’ll tell ya, I’m pretty excited about this one.  The thing is, as I started the Riot for Austerity back in June, there were a few things I really never thought I’d be able to handle.  Among them were cloth diapering, growing food, cloth mama pads, and cloth toilet paper.  Over the course of the summer, though, I’ve come to realize how much of my trepidation was really pretty silly.

The thing is, as I’ve gone through the reduction, I’ve learned a lot about what I can and can’t do.  For example, I can’t force my husband to take cloth bags to the grocery.  And often I can’t make big grocery runs by myself because I can’t carry that much.  Therefore, our plastic bag tally is through the roof.  When we moved Lucy out of our bed and into her own, one of the conditions we set was that she could keep her light and the foyer light on in case she had to get up to go to the bathroom.  This, I’m sure, has impacted our electric bill.  These are fights that, in the long run, aren’t worth it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly disgusted with the number of plastic bags we have, despite using them for trash bags and I really don’t know we’re going to reduce our electric anymore with these lights on.  In the long run, though, transitioning Lucy from our bed is more important than the electric bill (plus we should be able to get at least one of the lights off here pretty soon.)  And not turning into a harpy every time C gets home from the grocery with yet another stack of plastic bags is probably better for my blood pressure and marriage, even though I can’t for the life of me figure out why the cloth bags hanging on the back of the front door don’t seem to function as a reminder to take the frigging things.  But I digress…

The point, because I do have a point, is that I can’t force anyone else to do anything, but I can make sure I’m paying attention to what *I* do.  And one of the things I do is pee.  A lot.  I am, hands down, the biggest user of toilet paper in the house.  If I can cut out the TP I use for peeing, that’s a lot of toilet paper saved.  And so last night, after washing a load of prefolds, mama pads and washcloths, I carefully cut several of the washcloths into quarters and set up a basket in the front bathroom.  And this morning when I got up, I used one.  And it felt pretty damn good!  Maybe after the baby gets here I’ll get brave enough to start using cloth for #2 as well.

I’m really glad to have these challenges to, well, challenge me.  I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few months, and I really feel that, numbers aside, I’ve grown as a person and I’ve certainly become more knowledgeable about what the choices I make really mean in a more global sense.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk to my daughter about conservation in the context of everyday decisions (and to a bunch of other folks too.)  I’ve eaten meals seasoned with herbs I’ve grown and become inspired to try my hand at more containers.  Over half of our food is currently coming from local sources (up from, like, none) and our meat intake is at the lowest it’s probably ever been.  I’m sure some of these gains will fall off once the baby gets here and winter comes, but overall the best part has been realizing that there is a lot I can keep up with.  It’s hard sometimes feeling like my numbers are good enough, but I’m proud of the effort we’ve made so far and I’m proud that I haven’t given up no matter how discouraged I’ve gotten at some of our results or because it seems like it would be easier to just give up until after the baby is born and I don’t have so much going on in my head.  I may never be able to get to 90%, but I do think that I’ll know to have more faith in how much I can accomplish from now on.

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