Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 5

January 25
My mom's birthday is tomorrow, and she couldn't think of a gift that she wanted that is made in America, so I got her...nothing. Just kidding. I went to the Bakery on State in Manitowoc and got her some beautiful cupcakes, and then took her out to lunch. We had fun, and I reassured her that as soon as Feb 1 rolls around I'll buy her something really nice from China.

I've managed to stay away from the Fox River Mall all month- even during the 5 days I was in Appleton last week- but today I gave in. I'd like to thank my friend Laura for putting up with my incessant rambling about how I couldn't buy anything because all the clothes are from China. We did have fun discussing whether we thought Chinese people wore clothes made in China (we agreed they probably import their clothes from Thailand). Laura even offered to buy me the clothes from China, but I felt like that would be cheating. We headed to Scheels, where I wanted to check out ski goggles for my upcoming ski trip this weekend, and it was like the clouds parted and the heavenly host of angels were all singing as one: I found ski goggles that are made in America AND the brand name is "Smith". It's like it's meant to be! Laura bought me those for my birthday, and then I found some heavy duty mittens for my ski trip that are made in Minnesota. I'm going to be the most American girl on the ski slope!

Day 4

January 21
My birthday! I received many, many wonderful gifts from my family, but the part I liked the most was my sister said, as I was opening my gifts, "I was so unsure whether I should buy you these things because they were all made in China and I know how hard you're trying to buy American." It was nice that she realizes how much this means to me, and I don't mind one bit that the heavy-duty knee pads and super-awesome bicycle speedometer are from China!

PS We ate Italian on my birthday...that's kinda like cheating I guess. But I'll tell myself that all the ingredients were made in America. It's just the recipes that came from another country!

Day 3

January 19
Today I drove myself crazy with this silly challenge. I want so badly to go buy myself a new shirt for my upcoming birthday, but the only clothing that I can find that is made in America is at Schroeder's Department Store (ie it's made for 75 year olds) or on the internet. So, again, I will keep my money in my wallet instead of spending!

I'm finding that any kind of textiles are nearly impossible to find made in America, whether it be clothing, towels, hats, mittens, underwear... It's frustrating.

I'm not really sure that I'm living up to this challenge 100% because I feel that if I was truly buying American, I would go to whatever lengths necessary to get myself American clothing. Instead, I just keep telling myself, "February is coming, just hold out until then!"

On an upbeat note, I purchased some commercial carpet tiles for in my closet at the ReStore last week and forgot to note their country of origin before I purchased them. Amazingly, they were made in America! I also was able to purchase a can of paint at Menard's that is made in our country. I was impressed overall with the amount of home improvement supplies that are made right here in America. And Menard's even had a Made in America sale the week of my birthday! I should also mention that Schroeder's has a Made in America window display this month too (thanks Dan for the heads up on that). So I guess if you look hard enough, you'll find a few other people who at least give thought to where things come from!

Day 2

This isn't actually day 2 of the challenge, but day 2 of going shopping with the actual intent of purchasing something. Today I am in search of silk or plastic artificial flowers to create a flower arrangement for a friend's baby shower. The shower itself isn't for a couple weeks but I feel the urge to get it done today. This gift also requires several baby items like socks, bibs, etc. I had purchased a few items in November, but still wanted a few pairs of socks to round out the gift. Hereafter is the tale of my adventure...

I started at Younkers, looking at every baby item in the store. Not one (and I mean NOT ONE) was made in America. Everything is from China. I went next door to JC Penny, hoping for better luck. I gravitated to a small rack of socks, onesies and the like and was again disappointed to see everything made in China and Indonesia. But did I give up? NO! I walked around to the other side of the rack to find SOCKS THAT ARE MADE IN AMERICA! I actually gasped out loud when I saw that, and received an odd look from the woman on the other side of the rack. I was so excited that after making my purchase I called my sister, just to celebrate. She was supportive, but didn't seem to grasp the enormity of what had just occurred.

Next, on to Hobby Lobby to buy the flowers. I looked at every label, and I mean EVERY label, on every single style of every single type of fake flower in the store and without exception, they were all made in China. I am not kidding you when I stood in the aisle at Hobby Lobby with my arms crossed, tapping my foot for five minutes, trying to decide what to do! I couldn't fail only five days into my challenge! But I really needed these flowers! Finally, in a stroke of genius, I came up with a solution.

I decided that I would keep track of the money I spent on "essential" things that I purchased this month from countries other than ours. At the end of this month, I will send a check to a 100% American charity for whatever that total amount is. I believe I'm going to send the money to the National Parks Service, but I haven't decided yet. Once I came to a solution for this terrible conundrum, I happily purchased my fake flowers and was able to assemble my gift.

The best part is, my friend loved it! Here's a picture: it's socks, bibs and mittens rolled to look like flowers, then added into a bouquet with fake flowers and placed in a pot (which I found at Goodwill, and the label had been removed so I don't know what country it was made in).

Day 1

I'm a little late in the game here- I meant to start a blog about this year of challenges when the year started, and here it is 25 days into the year and I'm just getting around to it now. I'd like to think I have a fairly decent memory, so I'll try to type this as if I'm actually writing it on January 2nd. (I'm really not).

I went to Fleet Farm today with the sole intent of purchasing a really great pair of rubber boots to wear in sloppy weather when I'm geocaching. I was really impressed with the selection of boots- an entire aisle- but not a one that was made in America. Oh well, I tell myself. I don't really need them now anyway since it actually is winter out and I will just wear my winter boots until spring, at which time I will then buy myself a quality pair of Wellies. I left the store actually feeling a little proud of myself for saving my money instead of spending it! Maybe this won't be such a difficult month after all...

(Fateful last words)