Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Doin' It the Old-Fashioned Way

No - I don't believe there is an "old-fashioned" way to "do it". I think the human race has been pretty creative about "doing it" in various and numerous styles over the years. What would constitute as "old fashioned" in the sense of human twining is not the conversation I am interested in, at the moment.

Picture of a woman and her three children standing in a doorway during the Great Depression.I am however about to launch into what I am calling Project Pare. A month of no TV, no movies (at home), no app or texting or email useage on the iphone; no computer; whole food consumption and homecooking on a budget, mending and repairing rather than replacing, saving dimes and nickles for "treats", paying cash, abstinence from a whole lotta stuff and in general, experimenting with a lifestyle akin to what families endured during the Great Depression.

There are of course limits - I am not planning on starvation, being dirty and homeless and without a job (again), and well I don't have to worry about getting pregnant. Let's just pretend my husband left me to go find work across the otherside of the country, and he decided not to come back. Oh, and I am not planning on brewing my own moonshine. And yes, I am fully aware that Project Pare would have been better suited for when I was actually unemployed; however, I have never been a good one for timing.

I am using this blog as my draft project plan. I will have to print it though, since next week I won't have access to it.


Why am I doing this?
  • I need to start paying off the massive amount of debt acrued during jobless time.
  • I need to figure out what we can really do "without" considering the lesser amount of salary that is coming my way.
  • I wrote a blog called Frickin' Budgets already.
  • I have a fascination with the time period.
  • Lots of people have told me I have that "classic" thirties movie look.
  • I feel like our family has lost the "living" part of our lives. We have become zombified long in advance of Halloween. My eyes hurt from playing so much Candy Crush Saga and I don't even play it well (mushy, mushy brain?). My head hurts from addictively watching whole seasons of HBO and PBS series for hours on end. I gorged on two rows of oreo cookie in 5 minutes flat. I don't know how to have a conversation anymore that does not end in "wtf" or "lol" or ":)".
  • My addictive personality also means I need something to deeply consume me.
  • It will get me and my family focussed on what is important and valuable and will hopefully un-spoil us.
  • And because some guy on CBC was talking about how he tried living like it was the 80s and I am copying him. Just replacing it with another time - one that is a little less extravagant to suit my budget!
Charter is below. For those of you, who like me, have both picked apart and help create these  - no judging. It's not perfect, but good enough. The measurement part is not S.M.A.R.T. but, I can come back to it.

Charter:Project Pare

High Level Goal: Manage our family/home time similar to the approaches used during the great depression for one month.

Start Date: October 7th, 2013
End Date: November 4th, 2013 (subject to extension!!!)

Sponsors: None to date

Scope: All applied at home. Modified at work. Kid when they are with me (does not apply at Daddy's). Me - the whole time.

Measurement (How will I know if I am successful): No headaches. At least one book read. Laundry always put away. Three love letters written. Carpal tunnel recedes. Important conversations with the most important people - in person or on the phone. Listening skills improved. Money saved. Cooking skills better. Penny pinching spirit embraced. More laughing. More story-telling. More painting. Red lipsticks used up. Cupboards and fridge emptied everyweek and not by throwing it in the recycling or garbage (all items used). I will be grateful for what I have.

Record results from PDSA cycles in a hand-written journal.

Changes I will make (things I (we) are going to try):

1. Cook/eat on very meagre budget.
2. Not to eat any "processed food" and try out some recipes from this time. Mmmmm---milk toast and stew here we come.
3. Only buy from what is produced locally.
4. Use all foods and eat all leftovers. I found this list of "meals" on this great site called Could you stomach these great depression foods. It's a real hoot, and possible not all the options would be approved by my dietitian sister, but I may try some.
5. Also budget food amount for the week i.e. a batch of cookies has to last the whole week.
6. To walk and not drive as much as possible to where we need to go.
7. To talk, write, read, listen to the radio, play games, charades, cards and instruments for entertainment.
8. To not buy any new clothes, or make-up. Not to go to the salon to dye my hair, or get my nails done. DIY mentality only.
9. To grow some herbs in the kitchen.
10. No TV, computers, phone app useage.
11. To fix stuff that is broken. Mend holes in clothes.
12. Use cash only.
13. Wash dishes by hand.
14. To wash but not shower or have a full bath every day.

That is what I can think of for now. I may add some more. You will have to wait til November to find out.

To note: there is an interesting measurement  I found in my research called the lipstick index. You would think that during tough economic times that the purchase of cosmetics would go down. They actually go up - women trying to attract a "rich" husband. Maybe any husband at all. Interesting. Does this still apply today? Read the link above!

So my readers (all 20 of you): It's time to say good-bye for a while. The moonworms will still be active - only on paper instead. Wish me luck.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - FDR in 1933.
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