268 - Lucky

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. My immediate family is nearby, my friends are the best, my cats are practically perfect in every way (except for the pooing, shedding and barfing). My garden is growing, my pantry is stocked, my medicine cabinet is overflowing. I have a good job, a nice house, a kick ass car. The only thing I'm missing is that perfect guy and the 2.5 kids... but I can wait.

So times are good. Then I turn on the news and I see all the wonky weather and the glut of natural disasters...

I don't feel crazy anymore for my apocalyptic obsessions. For one thing, I've found a TON of other 'preppers' out there, some on the panic end of the spectrum, but most somewhere in the middle... best to be prepared. Even the seemingly paranoid preppers have something to offer, a gadget, a philosophy or some form of knowledge. You can learn from anyone.

Mostly, I'm realizing that what I'm preparing for doesn't have to be something crazy like a solar flare or 2012... it could be a pandemic, the loss of a job, a hurricane, a blizzard, an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, or flooding (as in the horrific flooding in Tennessee where TS and Lisa Marie live, please keep them in your prayers). Or, yeah, another 9/11-type attack could happen... it's not high on my list of worries, but given that it happened once it's not completely out of the question anymore... now is it?. So... as a writer, I see something on the news and I puzzle it out... what would I do in that situation? Doing that helps me put things into perspective, and yes, sometimes it creates the most ridiculous vignettes, which I write down in case I ever get around to writing another book... you know how my mind works.

What I learned after Ike is that even if you are only minimally affected by the disaster, you still feel the after effects. Stores may not be open, supply trucks may not be able to get through, the power might be out for days, water may need to be boiled. If you don't have enough supplies to last for one or two weeks, you're relying on the kindness of strangers, or the not-always-so-rapid response of the government. People can go one of two ways in a situation like that... they can go the Katrina route and loot and scream obscenities and expect handouts, or they can be rational and help each other and, frankly, themselves. If a true pandemic were to hit, and everyone was quarantined, they say you need three months of supplies. Everyone has to draw their own line. You decide what kind of disaster is most likely to occur in your area, and then you plan accordingly.

Over time, I have become a 'prepper'. Wouldn't you like to be a prepper too? lol

Seriously though, it doesn't take much to accumulate supplies. You don't have to do it all at once. Buy an extra can of veggies when you do your shopping. Grab a $1.00 bag of dried beans. A pouch of tuna. A can of vienna sausage -- no, seriously -- don't do that... read the label, it's disgusting... Do this every shopping trip and in no time you'll be set. Then rotate your stock by using it in your everyday meal preparation. It's also nice because some nights you might not feel like going out, so you just grab something from your stockpile and you're set.

Using coupons, I have amassed almost every conceivable item a person could want in their medicine cabinet. After a disaster you might not be able to get an appointment with your doctor, the hospitals might be full -- you might not be able to get out of your neighborhood. If you can treat yourself at home, that's good. After a hurricane there is debris everywhere, people are cutting up tree limbs, there are zillions of mosquitos after the water pools. It's highly likely that you're going to need some kind of first aid, and with all the stress, you're also more susceptible to illness (not to mention all the nasty crud hiding in the sludge). If you catch a cold at my house I can offer you Tylenol Cold and Flu, Sudafed, Theraflu or Alka Seltzer Cold & Flu. Have a headache? Do you want Aleve, Tylenol, Motrin or Bayer? Allergies? I have Benadryl creams, sprays and pills, and Zyrtec. If Claritin goes on sale I'll snag some of that, too. I also have natural remedies like Tea Tree Oil, Lavendar Oil, diatamaceous earth, thyme, sage... I'm not ashamed.

I don't advertise it to everyone I meet, because I don't want them knocking on my door when the shit hits the fan -- I feel like everyone is responsible for themselves. I am responsible for me, and I'll gladly help my family, and then, if I have the means, my friends. But don't count on me unless I've told you that you can.

So what is on my list?

So important that it doesn't need a number... water... LOTS of water. Water for drinking, water for bathing, water for cooking, water for cleaning, water to flush the toilet (and a bucket to pour it with). Water in the form of ice is also important.

The rest of the list?

1) A battery operated fan, and plenty of batteries. It's gets hot as Hades out here. I'm lucky that I can open my windows and that does help, but only to an extent. I learned that if I wet a paper towel and rubbed myself down with it, that would cool me off a little. After a little while I could whirl that paper towel around in the air to get it cool and do another rub down. Helpful, but also a pain in the ass.

2) An emergency radio. I had a battery operated tv last time, but with the digital transition came the end of that little luxury. Knowing what's going on in the outside world, or being able to take a break from it with a 30-minute sitcom, is very helpful.

3) A car charger for my cell phone. I didn't have one of these, so when my cellphone battery died... no more text messages, no more phone calls. Of course, it only matters if you can get a signal.

4) Candles. When there is no power there is nothing but moonlight to help you see in the dark. It never seems particularly dark outside when the electricity is on, because we have streetlamps. Without streetlamps... dark. And make sure you can light them, candle without flame aren't very helpful.

5) Charcoal. You can cook anything on the grill that you can cook on the stove or in an oven. If you have charcoal. (and make sure you have something to light it with, too)

6) Styrofoam coolers. I noticed that when I filled a styrofoam cooler with ice so I could take milk with me to MS (didn't want to waste what I'd just bought...), by the time we left, about six days later, the ice had just fully melted, and everything was still cold. That means it lasted longer than my refrigerator did. The plastic coolers just don't achieve the same result.

7) Ice and/or 2-liter bottles filled with water and frozen (when the ice melts you can drink what's in the bottles). Good to have ice when you don't have power. I always keep my ice tray full, even though I don't really use ice very much.

8) Food. Whatever you like to eat, but especially things that don't require refrigeration. Clif Bars are one of my new favorite things, they have a lot of nutrition packed into a compact, pretty good tasting bar, for about a dollar. Speaking of food. I'm always at a loss as to how to use my pantry staples, especially dried goods, in an emergency situation. This is a great site for ideas. There's another site, I think it's called Dutch Oven Dude, that shows you how to cook outdoors with a Dutch oven.

9) A gun. Just in case.(think Katrina again)

10) If you have pets, don't forget pet food and supplies. I always keep at least three bags of food and two boxes of cans, plus a couple of boxes of kitty litter. I actually started doing that after one particular Christmas when I needed cat litter and almost didn't find anything open that carried it.

11) Games. Sure there's usually plenty of work to do after a disaster, but we all need our down time. Board games, card games, puzzles... they all make life seem a little more normal.

12) Vitamins. You need these because you may not be getting all the nutrients you need, plus you need all the help you can get to combat what stress does to your body. They're just good to have on any day.

There are tons more things, I won't get too specific. If you think I'm nuts, so be it, but in my mind, it's better to be safe than sorry. If the shit doesn't hit the fan, you can laugh at me all you want... if it ever does... don't say I didn't try to warn you.


  1. While I'm not a prepper myself, I can certainly see why someone would think that way. The world just doesn't seem too stable these days, does it?

    That said, I will admit that in the days after 9/11, I borrowed a shotgun from my city editor and kept in the trunk of my car for a few weeks. I guess I figured that if some terrorist assclown was coming for my family, they'd have to contend with the business end of a Remington Wingmaster. ;)

  2. Heh heh... you said assclown... And yes, in many, many ways, the world seems very fragile at the moment...

  3. Forgot one... wet wipes of some sort. In case you can't take a bath, you still want to get the muck off. It's nice not to stink up the place.

  4. It's just about time for you and me to start preparing... again! I don't even want to think about it. *flashback

  5. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer. LOL. I am OCD after all.

  6. Does that mean my sister should have held on to those 44 cases of bottled water she had from Y2K? I believe that she keeps 15 gal. containers in the garage now...Enough for her family and her brother :) ... I've always had a bit of a survivalist thought process... I have the canned goods, but am sorely lacking in some of the other items...BUT I do have propane and charcoal and enough wood to bbq for about a year..

    HAH!!! I knew those dollar store wet naps would come in handy...Guess I wasn't silly for buying those 10 containers after all....

  7. I have to admit I am not much of a prepper. I am more interested in living in the sticks where you live like that all the time anyway...I keep telling myself...someday...

  8. Screw it.... I'm just coming to your house when the disaster hits.... lol

    Movie night and supplies at Kristy's house!