Monday, October 5, 2009

Break the Chain - Update

Tammy's comment reminded me that I didn't do an update yesterday ... but I have a good excuse. Deus Ex Machina came home last night, and I was ... busy ;).

So, for the first four days of the challenge, it was just me and the girls. We don't, typically, do a lot of shopping, but this weekend, we seemed to really "need" a lot of stuff. Go figure!

We missed the Farmer's Market on Saturday, but we did go to Lois' Natural Foods Marketplace, where we picked up a couple of things (including non-local bananas - but we also bought locally made root beer ;).

I decided that I needed to seal my hardwood floor before the winter, and it needed to be this weekend! (Deus Ex Machina and I have this thing going where, whenever he leaves town, I do something - like paint the dining room, refinish the wood floors, steam clean the carpets ;). So I went to the locally owned hardware store downtown (not an Ace, although there are several of those in my area that I love going to because the service is so great - especially when compared to the Big Box home stores ;). I was looking at the different options, and a fellow came 'round the corner to ask if I needed help. We started chatting, and as it turns out, he used to own a house in the subdivision across the street from where I live, and next door to a woman that my older daughter used to babysit for.

On Sunday, I had to run some errands, and my daughters asked if we could go to the locally owned, year-round toy store downtown. My answer was yes. I emphasis year-round, because so many of the businesses in my downtown area are seasonal. In fact, many of the buildings don't even have heat, because they house only seasonal businesses, but as a year-round resident, I want more businesses to see the value in "my" business, and not be catering so fully to the tourists who do not support the infrastructure that allows those stores to exist (things like roads and public safety personnel and water mains and streetlights - which are paid for with my taxes and not through tourist dollars). I don't shop downtown during the summer, but I try to support the year-round shops when the tourists go away.

Anyway, while we were there, I started chatting with the young lady behind the counter (her parents own the store), and as it turns out, she's just recently left the teaching field, where she taught Latin. I talked with her about the possibility of setting homeschool classes, which she was completely amenable to doing.

And even better, she seemed to have some of the same philosophies about shopping habits that I have :). In fact, the reason she was in the store to begin with was her desire to "simplify" her life, which meant moving back to Maine and changing the way she earned dollars. We had a very nice chat.

We also went to both of my favorite local independent bookstores. Before he left on his adventure, Deus Ex Machina had ordered a couple of books from the one near my girls' dance school, which I picked up on Thursday, and on Sunday, the girls and I actually "traded" some books at the independent bookstore closer to home. I know that I always talk about how I hoard books, and those of you who are kindred spirits know how it is to let go of even one, but sometimes, when the bookshelves are overflowing and books are stacked on every horizontal surface (including the floor), it's time to take stock and let go of a few. So, we did. Of course, we ended bringing home more books, too, using our "credit."

The one really big expense this weekend was food, and the girls and I ate out more than we ate at home. Luckily, locally-owned restaurants are prolific - especially pizza places. We had a lot of pizza, which was okay with Big Little Sister, whose stock answer for "What do you want for dinner?" is "Pizza!" Fortunately, the pizza places also have other yummies, because as enthusiastic as Big Little Sister is about pizza, Precious is that much opposed to it. She loves ham sandwiches, though, and as luck would have it, the House of Pizza across from the dance school will fix just about anything one would want, any way one wants it, if they have the ingredients. I've never gotten that from a place with uniforms.

Unfortunately, when all was said and done, I did end up at Staples for the office supplies I needed. I would have ordered them from the manufacturer online, if I'd had the time to wait for delivery, but as I mentioned, I was told late last week they needed to be done with a preferred delivery by the weekend (and I ended up dropping them off on Sunday - which means, yes, I worked all weekend, in between my chauffeuring duties ;), but as is unusual for us, I went in, got the labels I needed, and left. No extras ;).

With the exception of the labels, so far it hasn't been hard to stay local in my shopping, although, truthfully, so far, we haven't needed anything ... except the labels.

In short, we visited two bookstores, the toy store, the hardware store, the natural foods grocery store, and three restaurants *all local businesses* ... and we went to Staples.

The rest of the month should be interesting ....

So, how have the rest of you been doing?

Be sure to check out Tammy's confessional in the comments section of Saturday's evening post :).


  1. So far this month I only shopped on Friday, and it was at an independently owned Mennonite bulk foods store. I did the shopping for my next cooking class. Unfortunately, during the "practice run" I realized that I'm going to need a second tart pan to get a finished tart to show the class in a 2-hour period. This means I'll need to partially prepare two tarts before class even begins, thus more ingredients are required. So I'll probably be going to Wegman's to look for an extra tart pan tomorrow. Confession time next weekend then. Other than that I'm good. My husband is not officially participating, though he's only gotten a case of beer from an independent distributor so far this month.

  2. Well, I had a cold this past week and needed some ibuprofren so we went to the local IGA. Other than that we were pretty good. I went to the farmer's market on Saturday. I went to a local book store this morning. I bought local eggs at local feed store this morning. I think that we will be eating a lot from food storage as we cut out visits to grocery store. But I know that next week I am going to need cat food and kitty litter and I will have to think about that one this week.

  3. Although I did not formally join the challenge I did purchase local artist product at the Sheep & Wool Festival on Saturday including lunch from NOFA's wood fired traveling pizza oven. For grocery shopping we hit Pete's Greens for all local shopping on Sunday and a local grocery store in Glover for milk, yogurt and a Cabot Cheese box that I want to beautify.

    I don't shop completely locally but I am mindful now more and more and trying to do better at it.

  4. Logan and I got dinner at a chinese buffet one night and a snack at a local mexican place. We went to the local feed store to get feed and maggot spray. I did end up at the big grocery store Sunday night because we were given a chicken that was injured and had bad maggots. I needed hydrogen peroxide and didn't have any. At 6 pm Sunday, the big grocery store was the only place I knew to get it. It is a regional store and not national, but still huge.

    Overall, I think we've done good so far. An exception for a injured chicken seem exceptable to me.

  5. i learned that there is a local place to buy socks for my family that are made in usa & relatively inexpensive.

    the non-local purchases have all been prepared food.

    it's interesting trying to find things like umbrellas locally. i know there are stores out there, but i would not normally seek them out.

  6. great challenge. i really like reading the comments. sorry i can't join. we boycott the only locally owned grocery store because they treat their employees like crap. most of our shopping is in bulk from a semi-locally owned store, seventy five miles away. that happens on a monthly basis but we still need weekly consumables. i think the point is to make a conscious choice for every purchase, something we already do. for everything else we mostly use amazon prime. we live in the middle of nowhere and would have to burn tons of carbon traveling seventy five miles to buy printer labels for instance. UPS already travels locally twice per day so tagging along with their carbon signature seems a better choice for us. sure we could try to combine shopping trips, and we do, but when tabitha needs unforeseen sewing supplies two days away versus twenty days away can make all the difference when trying to get some clothes made for the changing season.
    i know excuses, excuses. i do commend you all on your efforts and strangely already consider myself one of the hundred monkeys;)