Tuesday, July 29, 2008

POST # 150-What I learn from Challenges: (Or No, I am not insane!)

Wow! Post number 150. Fanfare! Somebody toot a horn. This should be the mutha of all posts! Afraid to disappoint. I am simply going to write about challenges. Yup these *&%$# blogger challenges.
I like to participate in a myriad of challenges. I like to think I learn something from all of them. When I thought about writing a post on challenges, I first thought “Hmmm… Maybe I could write about the females who put these on, you know gals that sit there and eat cold porridge for dinner and bug with us fun folks.” But then I would be doing them a disservice (although it is truly fun to picture Crunchy or Chile sitting there like that wringing their bony hands wondering what they will do to us this month!)
Then I thought the idea is to promote these challenges as a tool of self learning and self realization, why not write what you have learned? So that is what I will do.
In Crunchy’s Don’t Buy Nutthing challenge- I learned that I am basically a consumerist. When I can’t find something- I go out and buy a new one. When something breaks or I cant find something, my first reaction is automatically go out and buy a new one. Or rather it used to. Now I ask myself if I need it, what good will it do, and have I lived without it? Usually the answer is NO. Then, hopefully, I don’t purchase whatever it was!
Then I went onto Chile’s Cut the crap challenge. The idea behind that one was to organize your spaces. I am no where near where I should be on this. Take a look at my garage and you would say a pack rat lives here. But I am better at it. And this is a good thing as it goes in tally with Crunchy’s don’t buy nutthing challenge. If you can’t find something- you want to buy a new one! If my tools are all neat and organized I don’t want a new tool! If my tool shed is nice and organized I don’t need another shovel to replace the one I can’t find!
Then we move on to Chile’s Addiction in a Peak Oil World challenge where the idea is to give up something that you seem to be addicted to. I gave up eating in restaurants, and that included fast food, and take out. And let me tell you this was a hard one. Like most single guys, I enjoy take out and fast food something awful. And while I joke that this challenge put a bunch of restaurateurs out of business, that ain’t so far from the truth. And a really hard part of this one was no coffee at the "bigbucks" espresso shop. How could I go in there order a coffee and just look at the pastry? Even if I bring my own trusty old steel cup?
That was a tough month. And while now I don’t eat out every lunch, and I now eat take out very rarely, I found out I like to take my lunch to work! I like filling my little jars with food I made myself. And yes… I will admit it- I like to cook! I like to bake pie! And desserts! I have turned into a regular Martha Stewart in the kitchen! Okay I look like and use as much butter as Paula Dean, but you get the picture.
Then came phase two of Chile’s Addiction in a Peak Oil World challenge- giving up diet soda. This was not a difficult thing for me to give up. Diet Soda is expensive, and I waste so much gas trying to find ones I like. I can’t drink regular due to my diabetes. I’d rather have a cup of healthy coffee! I know – I am kidding. I would rather have a gallon of healthy coffee!
Now we hit the big one! SHARON’S INDEPENDENCE DAYS CHALLENGE! The idea on this one is to Plant something, harvest something, preserve something, prep something, cook something new, manage your reserves and work on local food systems, of course compost, repair, re-use, reduce, recycle something and do all this each week! My first thought was- is she kidding? But after doing it for a month or two you would be amazed how easy it gets. And what better way to learn to be more self sustaining? I have fallen back in love with gardening, and it is fun to eat something and know you grew it! And putting up jam and pickles and such is good because you are extending your growing season. AND this year I have been jamming. I have even proclaimed myself "Rob...The KING of the jam!" And I even learned to make my own beef jerky!
And I signed up with Crunchy Domestic Goddess' 5 minute shower challenge. I already do this but I like to learn more about what the outcome is. 1- I save money. My water bill is about at the minimum for my water district. 2- At Bean Sprouts’ suggestion I plugged my drain and found out what my water usage is showering- 10-15 gallons per shower. And it made me check out my shower heads flow. (3.5 gpm). These things are all important!
Sure there have been fun ones like Crunchy’s Golden Shower Party. Imagine getting a bunch of folks to pee on their gardens! Again more money saved- Every flush is 3-5 gallons or in my case 1.8 gpf- no flush is no flush, add into that the numbers of time I urinate in a day, (due to medication) and you save somewhere around 18 gallons a day, plus your bodily fluids are full of nitrogen and other things good for your soil – no need to go out and buy Miracle Grow or some other chemically induced fertilizer. Just water down the urine (10-1 ratio) and there you are!
And recently I joined Melinda’s growing challenge. She is a local (Seattle) blogger, her and her husband just moved back to Seattle. She is into community. She is into local eating. She wants folks to grow new and different things. Smart girl. People will try new and different produce, fruits and vegetables. And know where it came from. You gotta love her style!
So in short I want to thank Crunchers, Chile, Crunchy Domestic Goddess, and Melinda- you ladies have shown me a new way to live. A more self sustaining, greener lifestyle. One that saves money, is healthier for me and the enviorment, and toughens me up.


Connie said...

Hey you hang with some tough ladies. Looking good - though I think they are making you soft - no hard ribbing anywhere in a week or two - what's up?

Robj98168 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robj98168 said...

My ribs are hard- I ain't soft. You insulted my doggies! Binky is not happy with you! Say's he is gonna hunt you down and gum you hard!

Connie said...

Sorry Binkey. Didn't mean to upset your doggies feelings.

Really though I think I could get you something with legs...maybe even teeth.

Chile said...

Rob, I really am happy to hear the challenges have had positive benefits for you. That is the reason we host them, or at least the reason I do.