We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Many years ago, I'd read a piece about how we did as much housework today as we did 100 years ago, despite a plethora of labor-saving devices. This may not be as true as it once was, but the recent storms gave me some insight about why it may have been.
I noticed that without power, we were busy doing many things to keep the house going. Finding firewood, getting gas, sweeping, going to the laundromat, getting and cooking food. Clearly having power means the gas lines are shorter and I don't have to seek out firewood on a daily basis. But what is it about labor-saving devices may have caused us to do continue to spend as much time doing housework as we may have prior to having them?
One day, as I was sorting the laundry, it hit me. By being able to do more in less time, our standards and expectations rose, so we tended to do more. We do things we couldn't do before, because we can.
I didn't like that my home's cleanliness took a slight dip during the storm, but given the time I was forced to spend doing other things, it just seemed like there was a logical trade-off in letting some things go for a bit until I had the chance to get around to them.
I believe women's liberation is a result of the free flow of oil at market prices. Our local historians have mountains of early photos of how we lived before electricity. If it weren't for electricity in my home, I'd have a (probably) muddy work-yard (instead of a flower garden) - with wood or coal piles, and chickens scratching while I wait for them to be big enough to slaughter (hopefully, the red-shouldered hawk I saw a few days ago with a dead squirrel in his claws wouldn't be eating well on my chicks!) And, I sure wouldn't have the energy or the desire (or the means) to go gallivanting up to the cabin for a weekend with my Quilting buddies if I couldn't get there in 40 minutes by automobile... Susan Lee
You have no idea how much more time it takes to do stuff when you don't have electricity. I've heated with wood, hauled water (even enough for a garden), and tried to keep a house clean without it. On the other hand, there were more "hands" back then, either family members or hired hands to help with the work.
I saw a report on a study recently. Seems energy efficiency doesn't reduce energy usage in the long term. Instead of doing with less, we simply do more for the same cost. It is the cost that is the driving factor. And raising prices isn't a solution as we cut back in non-energy expenses to compensate.
With labor saving devices, we have more clothes, bigger houses to clean, larger lawns, etc.
I agree with this, to an extent. As a bachelor, I cleaned up regularly, particularly after I bought my own condo, or especially if I was having guests or a girl over.
That said, I usually did as little as I had to, simply because that's the way I am. As my wife said recently, when looking at my office, "you're a spreader, your papers are all over your desk. I'm a piler, I like to know where everything is." However, if someone walked in and asked me for a particular file, I'd know exactly where it is on my desk.
The other thing about women and men - I clean our house pretty regularly. When my wife comes home, she'll usually look around and say "I thought you were going to clean?"