Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Appreciation for Modern Appliances

"Good appliances are well worth the cost for the time saved." ~ retired research fellow at my company

Every summer, we do a relatively primitive camping trip in a tent and sleeping bags. Although we bring in food, there is still a lot of work to prepare a meal and clean up afterwards.  We usually spend a large part of the day gathering wood, starting a fire, cook and then cleaning up.  In addition, we can only take in about 2 days worth of food since that's how long the ice lasts.  It has given me a great appreciation for all the modern appliances we own.

  • Stove and oven.  I spent a lot of time gathering or purchasing sufficient firewood, building a fire in advance, and then ensuring there was sufficient heat to cook.  Quite a difference from just turning on the stove and oven to cook.
  • Refrigerator.  Our camping trips are usually limited to two days since that is about the storage life of food in a cooler with ice.  My spouse generally plans excellent gourmet camping meals, which means fresh meat, egg and vegetables.  We do use some frozen foods, e.g. vegetables, to save cooking time. 
  • Dishwasher. Cleaning up is a tedious and time consuming task when camping.  There definitely isn't a dishwasher nor is there a sink with running water.   We usually use a large pot of heated water to was and rinse our cookware.   For reference, we do use paper plates and plastic utensils to minimize the number if items that need cleaning.
  • Washing and dryer.  Of course, we usually can pack enough clothes for two days, even if we do get them dirtier than normal.   In addition, no one really notices dirty clothes when camping.   The tough part is drying out clothes when they get wet, especially if it's raining.
Based on our camping experiences, I realize that not having these appliances could easily add 4-5 hours of extra work to our already busy day.  I am glad to live in a society where access to these appliances is relatively easy and low cost.  (However, I must admit that I didn't have a dishwasher for most of my single adult life :-)

For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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