Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 44

LAST POST until March 2nd!

Why the pink boa you may ask? Well, I needed to post a photo that completely captures my mood the evening before the start of this project....the mood of CRAZINESS! I'm excited and scared. Today was full of preparations, and I began filming for the documentary.

I'm not going to say too much...I can only promise that in some way (a way that I am probably not anticipating) I will be changed by March 2nd.

Please be well.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 43

This was Alex's mom's typewriter. As I was setting it up, I realized that I will be using things from different generations of our family...typewriter was Alex's mom's, the cast iron pan was my grandma's, the rotary phone is my mom and dad's.

Yesterday was an interesting day as I dived further into the preparations. I wanted to make sure the rotary phone was good to go, and I discovered something very interesting in the process. If the dial doesn't rotate at the exact speed that it should, the phone dials a different number than the user intended. It took me four tries to dial my own cell number. Twice I got some business, once I got some home number, and on the forth try my cell final started ringing. I can assist the dial by keeping my finger in it and forcing it to move faster, but rotating too fast also results in an incorrert number. Should be interesting.

On a happy note, I did make a very good grilled cheese in the cast iron pan. I also bought an alarm clock and a YMCA appropriate swimsuit...since the swimming pool will replace the treadmill. Also interesting...I'm not a very good swimmer, nor do I really enjoy swimming....maybe this will be an opportunity for change.

Tomorrow will be my last post.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day 41

I know - really gross. This is my first attempt at pancakes in a cast iron pan.'s a little reenactment. I immediately tossed the mess and pulled out my good ole teflon, but quickly after doing so, I thought, "damn, I should have documented this experience." So I pulled the evidence from the garbage and staged it...scary that it looks quite close to the original disaster.

So now a new goal for Feb. By March 1st, I want to be able to make perfect pancakes in a cast iron pan.

Last night Alex made this amazing and very complicated dinner. You know, the type that basically uses all available kitchen tools, bowls, and pans. It was wonderful, but afterwards the reality settled in - DISHES! SO MANY DISHES! So we ran the full load that was already in the dishwasher, then loaded the dishwasher up with last night's dishes this morning...which are running now while all the dishes from this morning's pancake mess wait their turn...don't get me wrong...I actually don't mind doing dishes...on a novelty....but I wonder throughout this project if I will find myself choosing food based on the amount of mess the preparation will make.

Three days left!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day 37

Sorry it has been a few days since I've posted anything...the final week countdown has started. I spent yesterday browsing through antique shops and came across a few good finds....these 1940's magazines - a couple Lifes (1949), a Woman's Home Companion (1945), and a Ladies Home Journal (1946). The most helpful resource in all of these is the advertisements. Did food really look that gross? Or was it just the film? There is this one ad for Byrd's Eye Frozen Peas which includes a recipe for "Pea and Chicken French Toast"...seriously, my stomach turned. But I am going to try a few things in the spirit of the project. I'm considering having a small "last night" party at the end where I only cook things from recipes from my 1949 cookbook or recipes from these magazines. I'll play records.

I also found this ad thing (small booklet pictured far right) on it is 1949. It is for a freezer and gives instructions on how to freeze things properly. So, there may be hope in terms of me being able to use a freezer. I haven't decided yet.

Alex is trying to hook up the rotary phone right now. We got the record player working this a trip to the Salvation Army for a few additional 79 cent records...I only have a collection of classical records, and it would be nice to find some time period appropriate songs. A few small fixes to the typewriter and a cheap wind-up alarm clock, and I'm ready to go...maybe...I'm getting a little scared.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Day 34

So this week I will begin to prepare the house - hanging (purchasing) a clothes line in the basement, getting the rotary phone rewired so it will work, purchasing some vinegar/ammonia for cleaning...etc.. I think I will also pack some stuff away - I've debated about leaving it out as a "temptation" or actually putting some of it in the basement for the duration. I think I'll at least put some of it away - like forbidden bathroom products.

Through all this research, I feel like I'm getting a real good handle on my "can't haves", but I need to find out more about what people (particularly 30-something wives) did to fill there "spare" time...I have this uneasy feeling that I may know the answer based of the research I've been doing...dishes, laundry, and cooking. Any suggestions or comments?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 32

Sorry about the delay in Feb. 1st nears, I find myself scambling to acquire all the needed research. I did pick up these two items while at the store the other day. Through my research, I've concluded that liquid soap and cleaners are primarily a post 1950s invention.

So here's a good story - yesterday, at emu, I was walking to the elevator to go up to the second floor to get the key for my classroom. I was walking at what I considered a normal pace. I heard someone rushing up behind me, but continued my normal pace. Just as I reached out to press the elevator button, this lady who's eyes were literally bugging out of her head because she was so frazzled, pushed me out of the way with her shoulder and pressed the button. In response to my horrified look, she said a stressed tone, "I'm in a rush!", and, of course, I couldn't just let this go...I said, "You must really be in a rush to be so rude to a complete stranger.". She gave me the look of death and said "I teach and my class is waiting!". I ended it with "Ohhh, you TEACH. Okay, I apologize. I didn't realize that teaching gives you the right to be so rude." Another look of dealth, but no more words.

The situation did leave an impression. I never want to be that lady. I never want to be in such a hurry that I am that rude to anybody. I think that just by going through the process of thinking about this project and slowing things down a bit, I have become hypersensative to those around me who are in such a rush. It will be interesting to see how I feel about this during the month of February.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 29

So this is a rotary dial parents have generously loaned it to me for the duration of the project. I thought it would be simple - get the phone, plug it in the jack...oh how naive I am! No, no I must disect a bunch of wiring and find this special module that will convert rotary to touch tone (about $30). I gotta do it though...the phone is so cool. I love the sound it makes as the dial spins and the forced "downtime" between dialing each number.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day 28

I've spent the day working at the airport and, in my spare time, laying out the specifics of the project. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but am encouraged as everyday someone says something like "I tell me friends about your's so interesting...".

Today I felt really overwhelmed as I unloaded the dishwasher...full of dishes. In February, they will be washed by hand...I know, I know...even today many people do not have dishwashers, but I'm realizing that this project is all about what I'm use to...and I'm use to having a lot of technology in my life!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Day 27

A couple of days ago, I purchased this thing for poaching eggs in the microwave. I promptly tossed away the instructions with the packaging, thinking "How hard can this be?"....bad move. After poaching the egg for about 40 seconds, I heard some faint "popping". I removed the poaching contraption from the microwave - everything appeared normal. Then, about ten seconds later, the egg expoded. Literally, the egg exploded all over the kitchen; in my hair, on my clothes, on the cupboards and ceiling...EVERYWHERE! At the moment I wished that I had just threw the egg in some boiling water.

I had some friends over tonight, and one of them mentioned something I hadn't thought of...the garbage disposal. I have no idea about the timeline of this wonderful invention, but my best guess is that it wasn't commonly used in households prior to 1950. Need to do some research. Boy, I'll miss it if it has to go for February.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Day 24

Today one of my closest friends had to go to Omaha immediately because one of her closest friends is very, very sick. She called me with her decision to go at about 9AM and by 1:15PM, we were on our way to the airport for a 3:12PM direct flight to Omaha on a regional jet. She was due to arrive in Omaha at a little after 5PM (eastern time). And she took a later flight than she had to. Had she took the first flight available, she may have been arriving about four hours after she made the decision to go. I am happy to report that her friend is in a more stable condition than he was when she left this morning.

Ahh, the beauty of commercial jet age travel...a post 1950's invention, of course. Alex and I talked about taking a vacation to Florida during my spring break (Feb. 26th - March 3rd...right in the midst of the project). I struggle with the following - Do we "waste" basically three to four days driving? Do I pay a ton of money to select a route to Florida in which I will only be flying utilizing turbo props? Or do I "cheat" and take a jet to Florida even though, if I were staying truly pure, a jet would be completely out of the question. Opinions welcomed!

I've really started organizing the project today - laying out my predictions for the month, referencing sources, etc.. One thing that came up as I was thinking about food was the invention of the outdoor propane gas grill, the crockpot and oven-safe glass baking dishes. Since I do know Teflon frying pans are out of the question, I was trying to think of some alternatives to my grandmother's cast iron pan...I immediately became hopeful with the thought of the grill, as we eat a lot of grilled chicken, vegetables, etc.. Then reality set in...perhaps the outdoor propane grill wasn't invented pre-1950. I need to do some research.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Day 22

This is a pic of the cleaning products I use. I discovered something yesterday - aerosol cans with the easy press down spray were not invented until the early/mid 1950s. Bye, Bye Pledge. I need to do some further investigation for furniture polish substitutes, as well has wood floor cleaners, leather cleaner, and window cleaners. I have discovered that I will be able to use ammonia, vinegar, Pine Sol, and Ajax.

Classes start tomorrow. At the end of last semester, a student said to me "I took this class because "Pick-a-Prof" said you gave out 80% As.". Pick-a-Prof? I had never heard of such a thing. Apparently, it's this internet site that pulls stats from the university and publishes information, such as what percentage of the classes received what grades. It also allows students to publish a review about the professor. This particular student said that the sole reason he took my class was because "Pick-a-Prof" said I gave a lot of As. Poor student....I've change my ways a lot since last semester. Internet information can sometimes be outdated.

Ironically, I have been obtaining a some wonderful items for my project from Ebay. Today I purchased a Better Homes and Garden "Household Inventory" List that was published in 1950. Can't wait to get it!

One more thing - a friend gave me a good idea...she said that she may be interested in doing the project herself for a day of two. I wonder how many other people have this interest? I think I will publish a short "how to" before Feb. 1st for those who may want to give it a go for a short duration...those who do try it, be prepared to get interviewed!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Day 21

Yesterday I needed to by some hamburger. I decided to go to the meat counter instead of buying the pre-packaged meat (which I assume didn't exist pre 1950?). Guess what? Human interaction. The nice guy behind the counter saw me, waved, gave me a universal signal that he would be right over to help, we exchanged friendly greetings, talked about the unusual weather. It was nice. Put a smile on both of our faces that may not have been there had I bought the prepackaged stuff.

I also found a Better Homes and Garden cookbook on Ebay that was published in 1949. I am going to get it because those recipes will be "safe"...i.e. contain ingredients that were accessible in 1949.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Day 19

Here are the first purchases I've made in preparation for the project...some cream-style deodorant (they did have deodorant I've discovered - just not the roll-on kind) and coca-cola in glass bottles.

I ended up finding a ton of useful books at the library yesterday...a bunch about inventions in general and some about people who have tried similar projects (i.e. giving up technology). I look forward to sifting through them all.

As I started to glance through them yesterday, I came across a little fact. Most households pre-1950 did not have refridgerators with frozen food for Feb.. I am going to be so healthy!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Day 18

On Tuesday, I discovered that we have a full-service gas station (Mallek's) one block from our house. We got gas was great. Danny (I think) came out to our car as soon as we pulled up, we chatted with him as he filled the tank. I look forward to going to Mallek's throughout Feb. (and maybe beyond).

I think I covered "Hygiene and Beauty" pretty well the other day. Today, I'll tackle "Entertainment".

Things I currently use for entertainment:

1) Computer
2) iPod
3) Television
4) DVD/Video player
5) Digital camera
6) Car radio

Also, yesterday I babysat one of my best friend's son. He is in the midst of potty training...throughout the day I thought of all the wonderful technologies that make raising a child a little easier (maybe?)...pull-ups (although, as I found out, they will not function if put on backwards), sippy cups, even the car seat. Makes me grateful that I will be attempting this project before kids come into the picture.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Day 16

Yesterday Alex and I made ice cream is this electric ice cream maker he got me for Christmas. It was amazing ice cream...but, alas, a technology that was probably not created until fairly recently.

I also had a discussion about the project with a close friend. I told her my idea of giving my neighbor's phone number to a few close friends and family, in case of an emergency during the time. She made a very good point...having this easy access to an emergency phone number may prevent face-to-face interaction; i.e. change the course of things (I'm not sure how else to put it). After thinking about it, I agree. Also, Alex said that all my neighbor would do is come across the street to tell me...if I were home, I would have answered the home phone anyway. Good point. This is one of the reasons why I'm glad I'm getting my whole support structure involved in this...there's just to much to think about otherwise.