Really, that wasn't so bad.
Luckily, all the laundry had been caught up enough that I didn't have to make good my intentions to do a load of laundry in the sink in cold water. We've been to cottages and camping enough for me to know that washing ones' own and one's beloved's underpants is generally cause for tension. It can be done but it ain't that good for the soul.
I had a cold sponge bath, I didn't turn on any lights until well into the day, didn't listen to music but did play my recorder. There was one moment of complete forgetfulness when I sat down while the dinner was cooking and turned on the TV but quickly remembered that I had pledged to read.
Earlier in the day I had a crisis of conscience. I had determined that I would work on the loom, putting on a new project. I have this new thing called a Trapeze that allows a single person to get the warp onto the loom without messing up the tension. Ordinarily I would have to bribe a child to come home for dinner in exchange for holding the warp while I wind it on to the loom. I took a course on how to do this back in April and the one time I attempted it back at home, it was an unholy disaster. The crisis was that I have excellent instructional photos on my computer and I had pledged not to turn it on.
I paced around a bit, did some distracting chores and had an argument that went something like this;
"You (meaning me) can't turn the computer on, that would be cheating."
"Yeah, but that means you (meaning me) can't get any work done, no writing because the computer is off, no weaving because...the computer is off."
"There must be something else that you could do that is still in the nature of studio work that doesn't involve the computer."
"You could spin, but that's really leisure time stuff. In order for this experiment to work, you should be exploring be how to consolidate work that involves a plug versus work that doesn't involve a plug. Going off to knit or spin isn't working."
"Turn the bloody thing on and get to work!"
So I did. I felt bad about it all day long. Maybe I should have been better prepared, maybe I should have printed those images into a booklet so I don't have to keep returning to the computer. No conclusions were reached about this breach of pledge.
I went to the Sustainability class to see how the students responded.
Many of them took the bus to school, or walked, several took cold showers, several were writing their notes for the day and a few had done alternative things that weren't given discussion time. The professors had the lights in the room dimmed and gave up 15 mintues of lecture time for discussion.
One of the students, on the on-line discussion board had made a comment along the lines that doing something symbolic once a year was a waste of everyone's time and focus and why not get together and sing "Kumbya"? Steve decided that this was a challenge so he found the music and offered to sing "Kumbya" with any student who wanted to. Kate and Hailey (I might have the wrong name there) were the only two brave souls, but they did it! And I laughed.
That night Steve and I explored how to have a relaxing evening without the TV or music playing. We went for a walk around the neighbourhood and did the dishes together (in cold water)(the dishes were in the water, we weren't) The banjo/recorder duet attempt turned into a guitar/recorder duet and had its amusing moments. Steve is very quick at sight reading, so he was able to read the Baroque music I had found much faster than I could and when he switched to playing chords, I became completely lost. I couldn't figure out the chord changes in relation to the melody and so we switched to some blue grass kind of music. We had attempted this duet business last winter so I had seen the music before. Still, I was slower and not clear on the chord changes relative to the melodies. Things became stormy. Actually, I became stormy.
We shifted to making tea and coffee and reading or knitting. We had a discussion on how does a person take the day's experiences and experiments and move them alongside for the rest of the year or life. As I mentioned, we have done many of the easy things to reduce footprints. That means we are looking at tough life style changes. It is clear that because our whole society is very plugged in, it is very difficult to get paying work done without a computer. We survived nicely without the cell phone or any other hand-held devices so that will remain off our things to own. The most logical next step for us is to determine if a solar water heater is the way to change up how we heat water for showers etc. After awhile we switched to the read aloud book we had decided upon. We were sure we had the second book in the Arthur Ransome series Swallows and Amazons but couldn't find it. We then looked for Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling but that seems to be in the attic. Don't go there after dark if you value your life. We settled on Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey. Short stories about Homer Price's life in 1950's middle America, rather soft but amusing, nostalgic-ish and not too challenging for the end of the day. When we look for read alouds they don't have to be childrens books but they can't be a lot of work. The reader is usually tired by day's end and the listener is usually asleep. That would be me. I think I snored.