Friday, November 09, 2007

I am Alice

I am my mother. I could always see Alice-like tendencies in my sister and sometimes in myself too, but since moving into my house, I have grown an even deeper understanding for why my mother did the things she always did. I used to question these things, but now I understand.

For instance, I remember always liking to stand over the heat register in our house because it shot out hot air. I think our house was kept fairly cool. I think that is how we saved energy. I remember when our house was heated with electrical base-board heaters and each room had its own thermostat. My mom would come in and make sure the thermostat was around 17 degrees. My dad would then come in and say, "It's cool in here" and turn it up to 22 or so. And the cycle would continue.

Also, I always marvelled that our mother would never let us use the dishwasher. We had one there in the centre of the kitchen. We used it more as an island for counter space and food preparation more than we ever used it for its dish-washing abilities. My mother would let us use it on the rare evening that we had company. But on any regular day she'd say, "If I'm going to fill up the sink to wash the pots and pans, I might as well just do the dishes!" I knew she was saving energy. But I always figured, wouldn't it be lovely if we could actually USE the dishwasher!

Well, Mark and I just recently purchased our first home. We've now lived in it for 14 days. And since I learned how to program the thermostat, we walk around in sweaters and slippers, wrapped in blankets and occasionally vests because I am so adamant about keeping the temperature low enough to save energy. I'm not a total penny-pincher, we DO turn it up by three degrees when we have company. I don't know why it matters so much, but I have this overpowering urge to be thrifty about the heat! Genetic perhaps?

And I am so leery about this new dishwasher we have. I remember Mark was overjoyed at the prospect of owning one. And yet, while we ate dinner on our first night in our new house, he looked over at me kind of sadly and said, "I have a terrible feeling you aren't going to let me use that dishwasher." And I replied, "I won't lie to you. My instincts are telling me not to use it. But I will fight them.... I will." So I've resigned myself to running the dishwasher once every three or four days and doing cutting boards and pots and pans and tupperware by hand, but wouldn't you know it, I just figure that if I'm going to do a few dishes in the sink and put water in there anyway, I might as well just do the dishes myself.
Isn't that right, Mom?

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