Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Weeblenomics


Nutterone asked: ok, it just occured to me as I was dumping an old loaf of bread... What on Earth do TWO people do with TWENTY loaves of bread?

That’s an excellent question, Nutterone, and the answer can be found in nature. Ants, squirrels and other critters stocking up so they would have food for the Winter.

The Weebles were born just after The Great War, WWI. Their childhood was spent during the roaring Twenties and their teenage years during the Great Depression, then as young adults during WWII. My theory is that knowing the hardship of not having and then the frugality of rationing, they decided when they had their own family, this would not happen. They and their children would never want for anything. How often we, the children, heard about that too. We had because of their sacrifice.

When I was in my teens, the Weebles converted the cellar into a three room “apartment”. There’s a kitchen with stove, sink, one wall lined with tall cabinets, and a standing freezer. There’s a sitting area and then a laundry/bathroom. The bathroom has a stall shower, toilet and sink. All they need to have would be a few 55 gallon drums of water, a couple of bunk beds, and they would have a nice, cozy bomb shelter. Wouldn’t surprise me if bomb shelter was the underlying reason for the remodel. After all, The Brother and I grew up during the Cold War.

In the old days, before Auntie Rose scammed Ma, and when Dad had a car and was still driving, shopping was an all day expedition, not just a three hour tour around the Mahket. The Weebles made a circuit of five stores in four towns, and Ma would shop the specials for each store. If Pastene tomatoes went on sale for 69 cents a can, Ma would buy a case, 24 cans. Anything that went on sale, Ma would buy extra, and it would be stored away in the downstairs kitchen. If the store limited how many cans of an item customers could have, the Weebles would each get in line, each with the legal limit. The pantry downstairs would be filled with canned fruits and vegetables. (I counted 24 cans of beets a couple of years ago) Pastene tomatoes and tomato paste to make gravy (spaghetti sauce), pasta of every shape and size. Paper towels, napkins, paper plates, paper cups, toilet paper, cans and bottles of tonic (soda pop). The freezer was jammed with beef, chicken, sausage, bread, bagels, ice cream. If unexpected company showed up, Ma would be able to pull together enough items to make a complete feast.

The cabinets and freezer items reminded me of those bulk superstores. I used to tell Himself that if anything happened to the Weebles, the first thing we go for is the food and stuff downstairs. There had to be thousands of dollars worth of inventory.

Ma prided herself on being thrifty and frugal. She bought things because they were a good price. Though I sometimes wondered what the savings really were considering the amount of gas burned toodling around the countryside. Made no nevermind. Ma was convinced she was saving big bucks.

That frugality also shows up in other areas, too. Remember last year, when Dad had to have FIOS because the phone company had a deal where the phone and computer would be bundled? Their phone bill dropped from $50 (or over, depending if Ma called Jamaica or not) to a flat $39.99 per month. Yup, Dad was pleased as punch he was saving on the phone bill. Never mind my end of the computer bill went up from a manageable $14.95 a month to $39.99 a month. Yup, Dad is saving and I’m out $25.04. My fault, I offered him the computer. Lesson learned. Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

Dad was recently bragging the town granted senior citizens a special dispensation. If the seniors used only a certain amount of water, the seniors would be exempt from paying a water/sewerage bill which in recent years had skyrocketed above the property taxes. Yes, Dad was insufferably pleased with their low water consumption and no water bill. How do they do it? I’ll share the dirty, little secret. They don’t flush the toilet unless they absolutely have to. Yes, you are all allowed to utter a loud and long EWWWWW. I do quite frequently when I’m at the Weebles. I think water savings also extends to hand washing, and bathing, but I don’t like to think about that, and I’m sure you don’t want to think about that either.

I’m sure they don’t run the dishwasher that often. They eat off of Styrofoam plates which Ma used to burn (I hope that’s past tense) in the fireplace. There’s only two of them so the laundry isn’t piled that high. I’m pretty sure Dad doesn’t sort the laundry into whites and darks, just piles clothes in the machine. More like a guy thing than frugality.

We’ve had so much rain; there’s been no reason to water the lawn. No car, so no car to wash. So that’s the why of having 20 loaves of bread. And so we come to the conclusion of Weeblenomics . Any questions? Anyone? Anyone?

2 comments:

Erica Vetsch said...

Makes me wonder what the Weebles of the next generations will be like. The Depression shaped your parents. Our generations are throw away maniacs, our kids are being taught to recycle to the point of lunacy...where will it all go?

Nutterone said...

I just got done with a class on a comparison of the generations! This fit in well. I can well imagine the stock piling. They aren't alone on that... It was the fact that it was BREAD that freaked me out. But then again, I insist on the freshest of breads! I HATE freezer bread! Love the bomb shelter though!