Monday, September 15, 2008


Pretty low on posts here, coming into the toddler years I'm spending more time standing behind my daughter as she goes up and down (and up and down and upanddownupdownup) the stairs than I am read and writing (and thinking). I just really needed to purge a little angst though, because DEAR GOD things are getting scary. Climate is turning nasty in a big way and financial markets are--well, teetering would be a nice way to put it, no?--and I begin to feel like Jacob and I are in a three-legged race against professional sprinters who aren't actually tied. We move at a snail's pace (upanddownandupanddown the stairs), and feel good if we manage to do one preserving project a week and zero other preparedness, and the world we still depend pretty heavily on to function is racing manically towards some invisible but certain tiger pit. Where? When? How long do we have?

We're still critically dependent on electricity for the basic functions of our house--heating, water, food storage, light. We're still fonged without Jacob's high-tech defense industry job. We're still shitty gardeners, as the garden attests too depressingly. Still no rainwater collection. Still no chicken coop. No sun oven, no rocket stove, shit, we haven't even got a solar wax melter slapped together, which is probably the easiest solar project short of a soda bottle on the dash board, and we have dozens of frames of used wax literally molding in the basement. Well, actually, a LOT of things are molding in the basement, including any vegetables we try to store there.

We did make progress this weekend, and good progress too, though as preparedness goes, it's sort of a move sideways, and a gamble on a few more years of relative normalcy and affluence. We bought (most) of the materials for a partial kitchen remodel, so that a) more stuff can be put away, out of the way of good cooking, inquisitive fingers, and weekday evening preserving, b) I can spend the time I would normally have to spend doing the dishes by hand instead making bread or hanging laundry (or standing on the stairs, but ya know). So we're ripping out some really space-wasting installments and an old leaky washing machine we couldn't use and replacing them with better-designed cabinets and a new washer. When we're done, the kitchen will still pretty much look like 1984, but it will be more organized and less cluttered (and, okay, I'm very happy about the oak coutertops), which will be a Good Thing.

For a long time I resisted getting a new dishwasher, because it seemed like a step in the wrong direction to buy a new electric appliance. I was finally persuaded (Jacob thought it was a good idea all along, and only hesitated on the point of repair or replacement) for a variety of reasons. First of all, we have no time and our lives feel out of control and something's got to give, and nothing gets done in the kitchen when first you have to clear every flat surface of dirty dishes. Second, I have a major mental block about washing dishes in still water--I grew up with washing dishes that way, but as soon as it was up to me I switched to running water and I can't seem to make myself do it any other way. I have to steel myself just to reach in and pull the plug on used water after someone else washes dishes...yuckyuckyuck! So anyway, that's the long way of saying that a dishwasher would almost certainly use less water than me. And last but not least, it's not as if turning the dishes over to a machine for now has any long-term repercussions...I'm not gonna forget how to do dishes. It presumably will use a bit more power than the current method, but we've only considered energy star washers, and, well, basically, the cost-benefit analysis came out in favor of the washer. The new washer instead of the repair is because, well, even if we could get it repaired reasonably, the one we have would still be builder-grade crap from 1984. It's been trash for years, and that isn't our just hasn't been thrown away. that enough justifications and rationalizations for not getting our butts in gear? Truly, we're trying, but sometimes the news makes me feel panicky that we're not trying hard enough or moving fast enough. And always it makes me hurt hurt hurt for all the people who no longer have our options and opportunities (or never did).

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