Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Swimsuit Shopping

I never thought I would find myself doing research on the history of spandex, but today I did.

It all started because I'm shopping for a new swimsuit.  For fun, I've been trying to follow the guidelines in my 1950's housekeeping books while choosing one.  The books tell me to check the fit of my swimsuit by doing a few things, and I have highlighted these for you underneath the picture below.

1. Sit on a chair or floor to check whether or not the suit is long enough for comfort and coverage.

Coverage?  Since when is a swimsuit about coverage?  I couldn't find one in stores that would pass the 1950's "coverage" standards, so I've been looking online.  So far, no luck.

2. Be careful not to catch your flesh in the zipper as you work the suit up over your hips and waist.

I have never seen a suit with a zipper.  That seems very strange.  Also, catching your "hip flesh" in a zipper?  Yowza.

3. Raise your arms in an action test to note whether or not the bra provides ample coverage in this position.

This one seems valid.  I'm really over the under-cleavage that you see at beaches nowadays, although I'm pretty sure some people do this on purpose.  Ew.

While searching my swimsuit options, I noted that the homemaking book tells me the best and most used fabric for making swimsuits is wool.  Have you ever heard of a wool swimsuit?  Apparently the professional swimmers in the 1950's used them.  I couldn't figure out why the book didn't mention spandex suits, as almost all suits today are made of spandex.  After researching the history of spandex, I found out that it wasn't even invented until 1959.  Wow!  So swimsuits in the fifties had no spandex whatsoever, because it wasn't invented yet.  Also, fun fact: did you know that the inventors of spandex named it "spandex" because that's an anagram of the word "expands"?  I thought that was super awesome.

So anyway, I've spent some time looking for an accurate fifties swimsuit.  I can't imagine that a zippered woolen swimsuit going halfway down my thighs could be very comfortable... but I guess I'll never know because I can't find one.  The only wool swimsuits I found were hundreds of dollars, and most of them were still at least partially spandex.  Most of the "vintage fifties swimsuits" online are made of spandex and incredibly revealing.  I guess advertisers feel that if you put polka dots on something and make the model wear cat-eye glasses, that makes it vintage fifties.  Well, that's not true!  I might have to make my own swimsuit this summer if I want it to be authentic...time to go buy some wool and zippers.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Cleaning out the refrigerator is never a fun chore.  It actually might be my least favorite.  If I cleaned it out every week it wouldn't be so bad, but I don't.  After a while, gross leftovers sit and get moldy, and then I finally clean it out and am totally grossed out by the things that have been lurking in the dark corners of my fridge for weeks.

Today I had to clean out the refrigerator.  I thought to myself, "This would make a great Vintage Housewife post."  After all, women in the fifties had refrigerators, so obviously they had to clean them out.  I figured there was a technique to it, and I was right!  I found a whole section about it in one of my homemaking books (this one was from 1961).

First of all, the book reminds me to clean out my refrigerator frequently in order to allow for better cold air circulation.  If it is all cluttered up, the cold air can't get to all of the food evenly.  Ummm...oops.  From now on, I promise to clean out my refrigerator frequently.  Scout's honor.  Okay, moving on...

The book says that before cleaning, I need to be sure to unplug the refrigerator.  What?  I've never unplugged a refrigerator!  I don't even know how to do that!  The plug is behind the refrigerator, and I'd have to pull the refrigerator away from the wall in order to be able to unplug it. I think I'm going to have to skip this step.  I hope it doesn't make too big of a difference.

Next the book tells me to make sure I'm keeping the evaporator defrosted and to clean out the moisture collector box.  This needs to be done at least once a week.

I've lived in this apartment for two years, and I've never cleaned out the "moisture collector box."  I have also never checked to make sure that my evaporator is defrosted.  I don't even know what that is.  Do I have one of those?  Do you have one of those?  I looked all over my refrigerator and freezer, but I couldn't find one.  I'm going to guess that somewhere between 1961 and 2013, they stopped using those. I hope so, anyway. otherwise my moisture collector is probably really dirty.

So far I haven't done a single thing that the book tells me to do.  The third step is to make sure that the temperature is set correctly.  It should be set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Well, I looked all over my refrigerator, and there is nowhere to set the temperature.  There are "levels" to set the temperature, but those range from 0-6 with no indication as to what the corresponding temperatures are.  With no other ideas, I stuck a thermometer in there (the kind you use if you have a fever) to try to see what the temperature of the air was. The only reading I could get was "LO."  I guess the thermometer doesn't go down that far.  I put my hand in the refrigerator and estimated that it feels about....40 degrees.  Perfect.  ;-)

The next step was one I could do - clean the shelves and the sides with a warm water/borax mix.  I couldn't believe that I actually had borax, but I did!  I used it in an experiment for fifth grade the other day, and I had no idea what it was before then.  Ha ha.  Apparently it's a great kitchen cleaning agent.

The book didn't say anything about throwing away the old moldy food, but I guess they just considered that to be a "duh," factor about cleaning out your refrigerator.  Or perhaps they did it so often that it wasn't a huge consideration.

This is the first day that I'm glad I'm not a real fifties housewife.  I really hate cleaning refrigerators, and theirs took a lot more maintenance than mine does.  I guess I should stop complaining.