Blog Archives

GETTING AHEAD OF THE CURVE – MAKING PROGRESS: LAUNDRY

As I stated in “The Challenges of Getting Ahead of the Curve”, there are just too many moving parts to keep up with for the paltry two days you get for doing everything that needs attention. Not to mention how much more so if you are actually trying to make some kind of significant change to your lifestyle. Nevertheless, there is no excuse to give up. You must keep chipping away, like Andy with his rock hammer in “Shawshank Redemption”. Eventually some progress can be realized, although it is often after changing the way we look at things. I think a critical change that must take place to accomplish this is to stop caring what other people think. The Bible would say do not fear the opinions of man.

Along that line of thinking I have implemented a way of doing things that my grandfather (pop) brought to my attention when I was like 12. I was looking at my new pair of Levis 501 (they are worth the money because they really last) and something printed on one of the tags caught my eye. It said “ Wash Less, wash cold”, which was similar to the message my pop had tried to convey to me so long ago. Every day when he got home from work he would immediately change out of his clothes and hang them up to be re-worn another time.

I’ve been doing that for a couple of months now, but rather than rotating out my slacks, I merely re-wear the same pair each day and wash on the weekend if I have enough for a load, or leave them in the hamper and start the week with a new pair of slacks. I’ve also started doing it with my work shirts. It is always freezing at work so I never ever break a sweat, plus I wear a short sleeved t-shirt underneath my shirt so it is basically clean. I currently wear each one 3 times before washing. After a little more research I have discovered that denim should be rarely washed at all. Just freeze for 24 hours to kill any germs or bacteria. This won’t work with the jeans I wear when working in the yard, but other than that…

This practice is going to be even more important now that I am in full stride toward minimalism. I won’t have enough slacks or dress shirts to wear a new one each and every day. So now I have just freed up more time on the weekend, reduced the amount of electricity and water used (and money spent) for doing laundry by doing laundry less frequently, and my clothes should last longer stretching thereby my clothing budget some. More free time, less money spent, and smaller carbon footprint.

As a side note, I also found a work shirt (which is actually a sweater) that I like so much I have bought two more – a charcoal, navy, and plum. Now I don’t need to spend as much time in the morning deciding what to wear. I also threw away an older pair of slacks that I wore all of last week that are too big, and I’ve kept around “just in case”. I did not wash them first. I feel like I am making progress; I feel good.

Our System of Credit

"A great industrial nation is controlled by it’s system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world–no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men." — President Woodrow Wilson

The Hamster Wheel

Man it’s been a long time since my last post. As the song says: time keeps on slippin slippin slippin, into the future. I’ve really had no choice though. I have had to reduce my expectations and re-evaluate the reality of what I am able to accomplish with the time I have vs. the necessary obligations I have. It’s not just me though, it’s our entire working class / disappearing middle class caught in the avalanche of downward class migration.

Point in case, here is the sign of the times: I’m getting emails coming in begging parents to volunteer their time for various yearly events for the kids. These aren’t events that are new, but that take place every single year around the same time. For instance just this week (and it’s only Wednesday) there are requests for field day at the elementary school, a youth event at church (which surprised me as I thought there are many stay at home moms and many of the kids are home schooled), the high school after prom party which – according to the email – needs 100 parents to open the doors and 27 have volunteered so far. These events take place every year at the same time every year. Why is it that in years past the pleas weren’t as desperate?

The answer can be summed up with a single declaration: more bricks less straw! This is the sign of the times. “But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” “ – Exodus 5:4. What was his motivation for doing this? The people wanted a few days off to deal with something non-work related, and Pharaoh didn’t see any value in it for himself. He knew he needed to do something to keep his slaves under his thumb, so he decided to work them so hard they could think of nothing else and had no strength or time to do anything personally meaningful. These days it isn’t so blatant, but a book by the title More Bricks Less Straw: Ancient Keys to Unlocking Potential and Increasing Productivity within Your Organization by David Farrington rather sums it up. From the description of the book it sounds as if this is considered a successful approach to management, something to be emulated. “In today’s cutthroat business environment, leaders are expected to do more with less. Bottom lines are on the increase; available resources on the decrease.” “…And really, it’s nothing new. In ancient Egypt, the Israelite slaves were forced to make more bricks with less straw. With fewer and fewer resources, the Israelites had to find ways to meet higher and higher demands. David Farrington transports this and other familiar Bible stories into the modern workplace, demonstrating time tested solutions…” (emphasis mine). Really?

I find it offensive that expecting more productivity with fewer resources is considered a model for success. It is destroying families and communities. Public school has become a factory for producing interchangeable cogs rather than a place for kids to develop critical thinking skills or to learn to become innovators. Parents no longer have the necessary one on one time with their kids to teach them morals and family values. The stress of being overworked and having no time to do anything is wreaking havoc on our society and the consequences are obvious in our imploding economy and run-away inflation and taxes. Oh sure, people say inflation is not that bad, but these same people are getting their information from a 30 second sound bite called a news story. If they actually ran the numbers for themselves they would come to a far different conclusion. But who in the world has time to do that? And so we’ve come full circle.

Last year I planted my first veggies in an attempt to start gardening. It was not a total failure, but it was not even close to a success. I’m trying again this year. Between work, the house, the yard, parenting, and now the garden, I am overwhelmed. The need for high quality food in my family’s diet is paramount, but I can’t do it on my own. It takes a village, and I don’t even have a partner in this endeavor. I think the only hope an individual has of succeeding in becoming more resilient in these times is to have far more money/income than I do, far more free time or flexibility job-wise, or maybe even both. I am coming to fear that in this battle of man vs. suburb, – as far as the common man is concerned – suburb is winning.

OUR GRANDPARENTS WERE SMARTER THAN WE ARE

There was a time when the average person was fairly resilient and resourceful. Men and women had a fair amount of knowledge about how to deal with unforeseen circumstances that they may encounter. They knew “stuff happens” and weren’t completely helpless when it did. They didn’t have the luxury of a cell phone, a credit card, and a convenience store on every corner. They also tried very hard not to spend unnecessarily, and the best way to accomplish that was to be able to fix things; reuse repurpose recycle. Knowledge alone was not enough, so they also carried a few basic accoutrements to aid in said endeavor. Your great grandmother didn’t view her purse a fashion statement designed to carry some overpriced designer sunglasses.

There was also the way they looked at life – the way they thought and approached life. There was no one to bail them out of their bad choices; they were accountable for the outcomes of their decisions.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, Put some away for a rainy day, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Patience is a virtue, Waste not, want not; Have you no shame?; Have you no honor?; Shame on you

Being resilient means a return to accountability. It means if you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you squander what you have, you will then go without. It means the perpetual adolescence is over, it is time to grow up and act like an adult. Our parents and grandparents provided for their families, they didn’t rely on the government or their own parents to provide for their needs. They took action. They knew that sitting around watching other people live their own lives was not living. They also knew that they were entitled to little beyond their right to self-determination.

04/02/13 Tuesday – ACTIONS TAKEN TOWARD RESILIENCE

An Update – I should make note that I no longer have a spouse to contend with when making decisions regarding my prepping. She got tired of struggling so she moved out (like the struggle going on is somehow my fault). I am, however, still saddled with serious money and time constraints.

– Last Wednesday I had my saliva gland removed – a surgery I have been putting off for years. Start getting all medical procedures handled before it becomes too cost prohibitive, before insurance starts covering even less and less than they do now, or while you still have insurance at all. The future of health care is uncertain, insurance is not getting any better, and neither is getting any cheaper.

– The second week of March (3/10/13?) I sent off my completed application for a Virginia non-resident Concealed Carry Permit. It took me several weeks to get it completed. One day I took the training course and requested the application (it has to come through the mail, but you can make the request via email). I had to take a day off work to get my fingerprints done. Once I had saved up all the fees I would need for processing I got my money order and passport photos. You can get passport photos at CVS, btw, so I got my money order and passport photos at the same time.

– Yesterday I ordered 4 more Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. As I replace dead batteries with rechargeable I find that I have more things utilizing batteries than I realized. Recharging is far less expensive, and far more convenient, than buying new batteries. I also don’t have to worry about running out or there being a run on the stores during a power outage. I can run the charger off of my inverter.

– I also bought some spare batteries for my glucose meters

– Saturday my 9 year old and I started our lacto-fermented pickles. This is a good prepping skill for gardeners, and lacto-fermented food is very good for you.

– The last Saturday of March I bought a tomato plant, peppermint plant, and basil plant. I put the mint and basil in the ground where they won’t get that much of the Texas sun. I’m experimenting right now because I don’t know what the best places in my yard are for the various things I want to grow. In a couple of weeks I will buy another tomato, basil, and mint plant and then I will plant them in a different location. I want the tomato plants to go into the ground at the same time so late planting can be ruled out as a cause of failure.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability=Resilience, Resilience=Sustainability

“those with great wealth have captured the for-sale machinery of governance, and “persuaded” the Central State to carve out quasi-monopolies and cartels that enable artificially high premiums. They also buy subsidies, exceptions and tax breaks for their income streams.” “The financial and political Aristocracy will continue to do more of what’s failed because they have no alternative model that leaves their power and wealth intact.” – Charles Hugh Smith

Quit thinking in terms of total collapse, and start focusing on personal independence.  Become resilient and become free from the artificially high costs that dependence on the current systems enables.  The reason people resist becoming resilient is because they worship convenience.  We have become over-dependent on single source systems, and dependence is not liberty!  Liberty is one of the foundational and fundamental pillars of America.  It is intrinsic in the definition of America.  America is supposed to be the land of the free, and I for one don’t want to be enslaved.