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I’ve been putting this off for a while. I told myself it’s because I’m not a joiner, I don’t need to quantify stuff to improve, and doing the numbers and conversions is not my thing, and and and… and it’s all too confronting. That’s really it isn’t it? Like the first year politics class where Verity Burgmann made us guess how much of the world’s wealth was controlled by the richest ten percent of the world’s population*, there’s something incredibly shocking about finding yourself a member of the top ten percent wealth wise. I am one of the world’s rich bastards. Even when all my clothes come from the oppie, even when my mother is complaining about how low we have the heater in winter, even when the tax bill looks a bit daunting. I live in Victoria where we burn brown coal for electricity, I live in a country where our leaders play childish games rather than make binding commitments, and there’s only so much I can do about our systemic failures.
I’m joining the Riot4Austerity. I’m confronting the numbers, and, while it’s still appalling how much of the world’s resources my family use compared to most people in poorer countries, we didn’t do too badly. Sure this first time round involved a bit of educated guessing about our consumption and waste, and a few false starts where I realised the billing period was longer than the period in the calculator, but it’s really not that hard. And now I’m sort of looking forward to the challenge.
We’re totally going to fail on the consumer spending record-keeping. I couldn’t even guess what we’ve spent for the last month so it’s not calculated here. For those who are new to the game, the idea is to get those numbers down to 10% or less, that is, 10% of the average American consumption.
R4A Calculator summary:
| Transport: 52% | Elec: 16% | H&C: 14% | Trash: 10% | Water: 20% | Food: 30% local, 50% dry, 20% wet |
I found the camera briefly, and got the photos on the puter, and now it’s lost again. It’s not the only important item suffering the lost, found, lost, found fate.
I found the ring I had thought was gone forever in Adelaide. I had tried to be relaxed about it and think about how it’s just an object, and life is bigger than that, yada yada. But I was feeling rather sooky about it anyway and now it’s much better. In other happy news I’ve finished a few things, some pants for the kid, a summer handbag for me (except for the button, which I’ve lost), the neice’s doll quilt (18 months late), and the Bloke’s quilt (more than two years late).
I like to think of myself as a person who isn’t very attached to objects and things and stuff. But I am. Most of us are. Moving is rather confronting in that regard. I’ve tossed and donated and garage saled and recycled and yet there are carloads and carloads and truckloads of things. We had to drive around yesterday looking for charity bins. Most of the ones we found were nearly full, so we’d get rid of one bag, then drive to the next one and repeat the process. Five bins later there was room in the car to collect the lad from Nanna’s. Christmas usually makes me feel ready to become a Minimalist and toss everything as I become swamped by all the new stuff. Moving house has the same effect. Having both at the same time makes me want to join a monastic order.
We had a quick dinner with friends last night, the kids hit the wall around 7pm, and the adults weren’t far behind. I was awake for the children’s fireworks, but I had been in my jarmies for some time. We saw in the new year in bed, surrounded by bags and boxes, unless of course the bags and boxes get up and move when the people go to sleep. We were woken by a drunk couple arguing outside our house at some stage, but it didn’t last long enough for me to get up and offer relationship advice (go home, sleep, and talk about it when you’ve sobered up). We got up this morning and walked into the city to find the Bloke some new jeans (same as the old ones, but without holes, they’re on sale at the moment) and the kid a few necessaries. If you have to hit the big yucky shops for post-Christmas sale prices, first thing in the morning on New Year’s Day is the time to do it. FYI: Hudsons coffee will be the only place open and they do now serve organic fairtrade coffee, but the staff may be too tired and hungover to notice you asking for it. I’m not really sure what I got, except that it was in a paper cup (which you get even if you’re drinking instore).
In other news, I’m now old enough that cabinet papers from the year of my birth are so old they are no longer secret. The new house, incidentally, is roughly the same vintage.
Last inner city curry on Sunday night. First country living beers (and soup from Nanna) on Monday. We’ve even got the new internet working (albeit slower than the current connection).
I’ve been reading, not just for uni, for pleasure. It dawned on me the other day that, although my reading material might to the casual observer look rather diverse, it’s all really about the same thing.
Do you work to live or live to work? Read the rest of this entry »