Monday, December 13, 2010

Resolving Not to Make Resolutions

I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions. This is because they don't usually end up working out in the long term for me. Perhaps they are made in hopes that something external, like a date, will do all of the work. If change is going to become a lasting part of my true nature, then I feel it should be something I could begin on any day of the year. So I set my resolutions randomly and this seems to work really well for me.

As a mother of two little kids, and as part of a family who likes to get themselves covered in muck, I do a load of laundry almost every day. Last week I made a commitment to only hang my clothes to dry and not use my clothes dryer. Before now, I have been a total cheater who came up with a hundred excuses every time I chucked my pile of clothes into the dryer and switched it on. My favourite reason was that I was too busy. I would even purposefully do laundry on rainy days so that the decision would be made for me. I bought a clothes hamper that I could carry with one hand in hopes that I could cart my newborn baby and the hamper down the stairs at the same time. None of this worked to inspire me to consistently leave the dryer off and get out the clothes pins.

Winter has now officially settled in around here and with it comes a wind that blows steadily across our fields strong enough to blow a child over. It will at least take our breath away and it just so happens that our clothes line is in the path of this heavy "breeze". The way the buildings are oriented, we have not found a better option. When I hang clothes out on the line, I either find them some distance away from where they started having released from their clothespins or they are wound so tightly around the clothesline and themselves that they are still soaking wet after days on the line.

We heat with an outdoor wood furnace that acts as a boiler to a radiator system in our home. It is not a dry heat but our newly built addition is one of those air tight, well-insulated homes without much draft. The result is a very hot bedroom in the night without much air if the window is not left open. Because of the nasty wind, we usually can only leave the windows open for short stretches or else it gets much too cold inside.

So I went in search of a humidifier. My search was unsuccessful on first try and it was my mother who suggested using an indoor clothes drying rack so that the clothes would add moisture to the air. Our washing machine happens to be upstairs where our bedrooms are.

There is no excuse for me not having made this commitment sooner as regardless of weather it is always an option to hang clothes on racks inside. It seems a little silly to have so much land, no bylaws to worry about and I still don't regularly take advantage of the outdoor air. It is better late than never I suppose.

I must tell you that hanging my clothes with clothespins, piece by piece, is a painful act for me. I don't like slow, quiet, non-intense tasks. They make me agitated and fidgety. I feel cornered and suffocated having to do them. I know this sounds extreme, but if I were you, I would much rather come upon me perched three stories up hanging off a ladder trying to get an uncooperative nail into some siding than when I'm hanging clothes.

The challenge of overcoming this annoyed state has become even more interesting to me than saving a few dollars, and the kilowatts of electricity (although these are extremely desirable outcomes). What lies on the other side of this resentment? Will I wake up one day and notice that I have actually come to depend on my 15 minutes every day of quiet time hanging clothes? I hope so.

Until then, I'll be the one sticking to my new resolution, hoping that it makes for lasting and real change in my own life. Perhaps I'll even make it to the New Year.

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