I have not forgotten my Quiet Riot. But it has, errr, slipped under the rug a bit. This month was supposed to be all about electricity, garbage and water, remember? But first let’s have a little update on the project in general.
I spent almost two hours yesterday looking over bills, totaling receipts and entering numbers in my charts for the last two months. And you know what I think? I think I don’t care. I care about making changes, I do not care about recording them in detail. It would be fun if I had unlimited time, but as you know, I don’t. It’s a shit ton of work to keep track of all those numbers, and since I am not 100% consistent about keeping receipts, the numbers are patchy and therefore possibly worthless anyway. For example I have a little card in my wallet for purchases that don’t come with a receipt, but I didn’t record any money spent at the farmer’s market for December. I remember going at least twice, but it is so hard for me to remember to jot down each purchase as I traipse from booth to booth with 40 lbs of groceries and 60 lbs of kid hanging off of my arms and legs.
The utilities vary so much seasonally that keeping track wouldn’t tell you much unless you tracked an entire year. Although our electric and water bills have fallen like rocks, this has mostly to do with the fact that it’s not 95 degrees anymore.
As I said in the beginning, I don’t believe that the numbers are not a necessary indicator of change unless you are trying to prove something to the world, as the real Riot for Austerity is trying to do, bless their better organized souls. Myself, with my quiet exploits, I am just trying to draw my own focus back towards things that are hard to stay focused on. Try a little harder, remember that each small change adds up.
By the measure of my own estimation, I think I’m doing good. Without needing to keep track of and tally receipts, I can see my small successes marked by the specific changes I’ve made.
My eating local week went pretty well and throughout November I pushed more decidedly toward the farmer’s market. I had been allowing myself to buy brown basmati rice at Whole Foods because I just like the flavor of basmati better, but I locked myself into local with a 25 lb sack of perfectly tasty brown jasmine (for only $25! Steal!) I am lucky to be able to buy a locally grown grain here, and I’d better take advantage of it. I also switched to the local cheddar cheese, even though it costs $12/lb and we go through a pound a week. A new farm started selling milk in glass bottles, oh joy of my heart, for only $3.50/half gallon, so I dutifully added huge heavy bottles to my farmer’s market pile in the pantry– bags, coolers, egg cartons and strawberry baskets to return. Geesh.
December could be viewed either way, a huge Stuff transgression, or a concerted effort to navigate the line between my own values and participating in cultural tradition. I did think very hard about Stuff for almost an entire month, which prompted more advance planning than usual and planning is always helpful at Christmas. My own gift range was all over the board, from thrifted goodies for the kids, to hand blended organic spice mixes and local art for relatives, to a remote controlled helicopter for My Man (if we can’t play with battery operated toys, we don’t want to be part of your revolution.)
Although I haven’t been focusing on the Riot this month as much as I would like, I started tightening the belt on electricity, water and waste as soon as this whole Riot idea spawned back in August. I’ve been turning off lights and computers and faucets everywhere I go, and thinking about each item I put into the trash can. Which is largely my point here anyway– I had gotten so lazy, I would see a light on and just feel that I couldn’t be bothered to reach that far. So, a little practice leaning was in order.
Specific projects for this month were to test every appliance with the Watts Up, insulate the refrigerator and build the kids play fountain. One down! Awesome.
I did have a few blog posts in mind that I haven’t gotten to– cloth diapering, line drying, and a lazy man’s compost bin. Any requests?