06 September 2007

Rioting update

Well here it has been several weeks without an update, and for that I apologize. I haven't made many changes since I have been struggling to get our day-to-day lives under control and preparing for the new school year (see my previous post for that). We got a new trash can, which I suppose adds to our consumer goods category, but really it was necessary to handle the trash category. Before the riot, we were using a 13 gallon trash can and filling it pretty much every day. When we cut back on the amount of trash that went in there, it could take 3 to 4 days or longer to fill up. That led to the disgusting problem of bugs. As I counted over 200 flies in just my two front windows alone and more buzzing around my kitchen and living room, my dear husband went out and got five fly traps and a smaller trash can. The new one is only 8 gallons and fits neatly under the sink. This solved the problem of bugs since we could now empty it more often, and also the brand new problem of the almost-toddler pulling up on the can and fishing stuff out of it for oral exploration.

As for heating and cooking, I moved the children's play area out into a more public part of the house rather than a bedroom. While it has not had a riot-related effect yet, I anticipate that we will use less heat since the kids won't have an opportunity to play with the thermostat. It also dawned on me that my toaster oven is also an oven (duh!) and will use less energy reheating leftovers than the full-size oven does. I feel so silly for having purchased an appliance for a specific feature, then not using that feature.

Washcloths in lieu of toilet paper are working great. I simply moved the bucket for the used ones in the downstairs bathroom to behind the door so the baby (again) doesn't get into them.

Gasoline usage has dropped a bit now that summer is over and I don't have to take the kids here, there and everywhere. I overbooked it in response to the complaint of, "There's nothing to do. I'm bored!" and I think I went overboard. Lesson learned. Terry can't ride his bike to work right now until we get him a headlight and a new pair of shoes so his feet don't hurt every day, so he has been driving. We will get there, though. If I am to cut down to 50 gallons per person per year, that gives me 350 gallons for our car per year. Picking up my daughter across the state on alternate weekends sucks up 234 of those, leaving us with only 2.2 gallons per week left. At 20mpg, that isn't much. I have two choices here. I can either exclude the trips to go get Cait and allot myself 300 gallons per year for the other 6 of us, or I can continue to try to scrunch down our gasoline consumption. Our second largest gasoline use is our biweekly trip to the farm 30 miles away for fresh milk. That uses another 70 gallons per year. That gives us 0.88 gallon of gas per week allotment. One trip out to visit family and we are over budget. I think I will count half of Cait's usage. That gives us 163 gallons per year, or ~3 gallons per week, after getting Cait and after the farm trip. In our car that is about 60 miles, which I think is very doable for us. I would love to get down to 1 gallon per week, with special exceptions for visiting family, who all live 18 to 60 miles away.

Still no word from my landlord about electric and water usage. I haven't made many changes in those categories since the last update though.

Consumer goods is doing okay. I think I may start categorizing snack foods as consumer goods, though. :) We can definitely cut down there.

So that is the update for this month. Stay tuned.

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