Archive for the ‘laundry’ Category

Scanning the Horizon For Black Ink

June 25, 2007

Dear Diary,

I think we might be doing too much laundry. It seems it’s all I do. Of course, this is one of the first times in my life that I’ve done multiple loads of laundry in a row, so that may have something to do with it. Maybe we’re wearing too many clothes. And then there’s the dishwasher. Its hunger knows no bounds. Forever gorging and disgorging flatware and china.

Everything is mixed up. I went to a new gas station. Who knew that gasbuddy could point out a station right under my nose, even closer than the habitual haunt, with cheaper gas. In fact, looking at some old receipts I was appalled, simply appalled at the price I’ve been paying for gas.

But this Saturday, intoxicated by the sheer madness of a mid-day gas purchase, I forgot the receipt, so my number crunching will have to wait another day. My number-cruncher alter-ego is seething with anticipation. We bought the gas at high noon. It was about 83 degrees Farenheit. Twenty full degrees warmer than the usual Saturday run. So it was, perhaps, high volume gas. How will I ever sort it out the cost-benefit analysis?

What strange ways I’ve taken up. Pulling plugs out of sockets without a thought. Driving 55 m.p.h. (but trying not to piss people off, if possible). Being very aware of when I can coast down a hill. Noticing with no small amount of smugness the other drivers ludicrously weaving in and out, spilling their precious fuel — and then arriving at the light at the same time as I do. Thinking very seriously about whether we are laundering too much.

Have I studied a whit for the EPPP, the national licensing exam for psychologists? No. Not of late. I have drifted into a fringe subculture of frugality, blogging, and plug pulling. Does this mean that I am figuratively “pulling the plug”? One wonders.

I wonder if there is a parody of personal finance sites out there. There must be, no. Maybe an Onion piece? This drifting into the trees, losing sight of the forest. I have lost sight of the budget. Just for a few days, but it nags at me. The budget. There’s where the goodies are. Not this niggling penny pinching. The big plans, the straight and narrow, the total control — the end of debt. How far off is it? When shall we strike it? Like a sailor up the rigging, looking for land, I scan the horizon for black ink. Thirsty.


Frugal New Zealand Laundry Ethic

June 9, 2007

Fast talkers
We recently had some house guests from New Zealand. The male of the species is an incredibly fast talker who was also a treasure trove of trivia. He claimed that New Zealanders are the fastest speakers of English, which makes intuitive sense to me. South Africans are also fast talkers. If you’re not used to the accent, throw in a few idioms and you might find that they’re completely incomprehensible.

Alien behavior
Anyway, our daughter noticed something strange in the bathroom. I went to investigate. There were shirts hanging from the shower door railing — drying! This amused me immensely, not because I thought it was foolish or overly spartan, but I knew my daughter was experiencing something new. Completely alien behavior. She has never seen clothes hung out to dry.

Our climate
Of course this is wrong. We live in Southern California and it is dry as the dickens almost every day. It’s not like we live in Seattle. Funny thing is, it rains in New Zealand quite a lot.

Money laundering
We are swimming in debt and are trying to find ways to save money. Everybody knows that dryers consume ridiculous amounts of electricity. We could at least experiment with drying some clothes. I’m willing to sacrifice a few shirts. (One guy I know swears his shirts feel cleaner now that he air dries them.)

Make it yourself, dry it yourself
Combine this with a recipe to create laundry detergent and I think we could potentially be saving some serious dime. Combine this with the revelation that we generally use too much laundry detergent (liquid hand soap, dishwasher detergent, etc.) and we could potentially be saving some serious dime.