I don't have a good photo for this. Sorry. Use your imagination and picture a photo of me banging my head against a wall. Or something like that. I'm going to go fix myself a drink.
We got our Utility Bill in the mail today. Where we live we get one bill for electricity, water, & sewer. Normally it, like all other bills, isn't something I'm excited about finding in the mailbox, much less eager to open. This past month, however, we've been on our "re-using water challenge" and so we've been eager to see the dent it made in our bill. (See the "Damn Spigot" post from March 30th if you are totally lost here)
Imagine my shock then when I opened the bill and found out that our water usage has gone UP! Not down but UP!!!! I called the City and they told me to give it another month before starting to worry that something is amiss. Maybe they should've told me that before I drank that huge cup of coffee.
I called them back and asked them to pull up & print out a compilation of our bills for the past year. As you will note if you look to the right of the blog, we've been keeping records of our energy usage over the years. I did do something different this year and note on here the dates I was starting and ending at - I can't remember what I did in previous years. So .. note to self for future years.
Since we moved in we've been able to see the usage drop from an average of 49 kwh a day to between 32 and 34 a day. Trying to figure out where we stand "on average" with other households in the area is pretty near impossible, but from what I've gathered we are on the low end, so that is good.
Justin and I talked about where we thought we were doing good, where we've maybe laxed in things (line-drying clothes), and other things that could help.
It is really frustrating though, and this is something I can't deny or gloss over. To some degree I don't want to even try and gloss over it, because that would take away the truthfulness of it all.
This is part of life. And it really is pretty much as simple as that. Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you try. We KNOW we're saving water, we KNOW we've taken (important) steps to reduce our energy uses. Maybe those steps aren't big enough to show up on the bill and make us run around going "WOO HOO!!!" Apparently, we might not even be able to tell by looking at that piece of paper that we made a difference. I wonder if our generation hasn't almost been raised to expect, in this type of case, that if you do such good things that when you open your bill the next month it will be either 1)only for $5 or 2)contain a check made out to you for $200 in place of a bill. Wasn't there some vague monetary promise for every A, B, or C earned????
And now, with my Wonder Woman magic shield & bracelets being put firmly back on & in place, here is how I think it ought to be looked at:
You do the things you do because you KNOW them to be right. You reap benefits of your good actions and deeds, but not always in the way you want to. Part of our reward is our kids. Not in living our lives through them, but in seeing the things we've helped to show and teach them. Part of our reward is the way we begin to immediately see the world differently. The way our minds & actions don't immediately follow & fall into patterns we've been trying to get out of.
Those are the real rewards. Yes, a much smaller utility bill would've been a REALLY NICE "reward for good behavior" - but we know we're doing the right thing, that is good enough.
Of course .... the bill has only just come today. The check hasn't been written. The mantras of the above paragraph will need to surely be repeated many times between now and then. Many times.