Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Survival: You're Doing It Wrong

We had a mega storm blow through here a couple of days ago. ("Here" being from Mexico to Canada.) Normally I would just be really annoyed about a potential power outage or sketchy satellite reception. This time...I was panicked. I'm not really sure why. It could be because we still haven't finished unpacking and have about thirty-ish unlabeled boxes sitting in the extra bedroom and I am CERTAIN they contain many items I can't live without. Also, I gutted the pantry when we moved. Even though I only got rid of items that had exceeded their shelf life and random food stuffs that looked soooo good in the grocery store when I shopped on an empty stomach, (I'm looking at you, fancy soup that tasted like duck vomit.) it still makes me hyperventilate to open a near-empty pantry.

I really need to go grocery shopping and I was trying to figure out how to make a quick dinner out of taco seasoning, three slices of bread, Cheerios, and sea salt. That's when it hit me that if we had a storm lasting more than a few hours we would have a Donner party situation on our hands. I would never admit it to Mr. TK, but I was secretly limbering up and positioning myself near the gun safe. Someone was going to have to take one for the team, and it wasn't going to be me.

Brings a whole new meaning to "when the going gets tough..."

I used to be so good about keeping extra food in the house. I even kept a backup stash of non perishables in the guest bedroom closet back in the day. That tradition started after an ice storm left us stranded in the house for four days straight with no food. You can only eat so many Saltines and breath mints before you start to hallucinate. So, I started keeping some extra food in a closet that was for emergencies only. A smart person would have rotated out the items when they neared their expiration date. I am not a smart person. When it came time to break into our emergency stash, I no longer had boxes of breakfast bars and cans of tuna, but instead, a bedroom that smelled like an old dead hooker. Thus, the habit of storing extra food ended.

I think I've let the pendulum swing a little bit too far in the other direction, because it was not looking good this week. I had no food that could be found on any known food pyramid and our emergency supplies were low. I tossed the first aid kit a while back when the latch on the case broke and caused me to spill all 9,567,321 items across the bathroom floor when all I really wanted was one Band-Aid. Our homemade first aid kit now consists of a few bandages and several tiny liquor bottles. It saves space and is much more practical.

I know we have some hurricane lamps somewhere, but they must be in one of the unlabeled boxes. I used to have tons of scented candles that I rotated out according to season. Those were banned by Mr. TK after we lost power a couple of years ago and he started puking from the vanilla-lemon-pumpkin pie-apple spice-cotton candy combination. All was not lost though. I found the treasure trove of power outage supplies, er, supply.

Huzzah! We are saved!

The real terror hit when I realized both of our phones were about to die. I think we would last about 3.5 minutes without iPhones before we started reenacting scenes from Lord of the Flies. At least we have the iPad... Except that I forgot to charge that the night before. Oh well, the MacBook would still work... If the cats hadn't knocked the cord out while it was charging.

Shit was getting real. I didn't think we would make it through the night at this rate. Heaven forbid an actual disaster happens while I'm this ill-prepared. Without a doubt, I would be in the first wave of casualties. Thankfully the storm blew past us without any major inconvenience. I have learned a huge lesson from all of this: I am clearly not responsible enough to shepherd my family through a spring shower, let alone the impending zombie apocalypse.

Does anyone have any weather survival tips? More importantly, does anyone have any milk because I still haven't gone to the store?


  1. I live in Fort Worth and for no reason I can think of, that storm had me nervous as hell. My husband was inexplicably out and about which frankly, pissed me off since he was the one talking about 1.5 inch hail. Ass.

    Anyway, if the shit hit the fan at our house we'd have to gorge ourselves on wild game. My husband hunts and we have a freezer packed full of deer meat. Of course we'd have to do that before his phone died and I had to kill him.

  2. LMAO!! Sounds like Outward Bound is not for you. I don't think they allow iPhones.

    I keep a few days' worth of canned goods (AND a manual can opener, don't forget that!) on hand, and two gallons of water. I don't have a pantry right now, though, just cabinets - when we move in a few weeks I will have a walk in pantry (swoon!) and a back up fridge, and you bet your FSE that I will be stocking that thing.

    I have also informed my husband that I want a gun. It would come in handy for shooting other looters if needed. Look, I have a kid now, don't get in mama bear's way or I will blow your face off.

  3. Uhmm.. I'm a little freaked out about all the possibilities of disaster, probably cos I listen to another nut that goes by the name of Gary Null (yes, please look him up if you wanna be freaked out by just about any topic).
    So first TK, let me thank you for reminding me to rotate the water in at least one of three six gallon bottles I have sittin in different places in my apt. That water probably won't go past two weeks time in mid summer, but that may be enough time for the utilities to bring back power from a freak ice storm like we had here last year. In my mind this water is to be used to cook some dry split peas, rice, and something else I think I have stashed in one of those orange Home Depot 5 gallon buckets. But my ass hasn't gone out and gotten one of them camping stoves or the propane that would make those peas so much more eadible. Duh.
    I also purchased a beat up ol 4x4. Uh, it needs fixin and it ain't gonna get me nowhere til I dump either some non-disaster era monay on it or get around to fixin it myself. Dam co-op association doesn't let us fix cars in our lots, tho. A-holes!!
    Now, the getaway car is in case we get a massive magnetic pulse from a massive solar flare that knocks out crucial parts of the grid that nuclear plants depend on to power cooling pumps after their mandated two weeks worth of emergency diesel runs out and either or both Indian Point and Salem nuclear plants go meltdown and screw the whole East coast for a millenium. No, I haven't plotted the getaway route delicately balanced between the two plants' 50 mile radius yet. My hope is my brother in Virginia will take me in this, uhm, "possible" eventuality.
    Frankly, lately, I've wondered if I WANT to survive any major calamity. The people in power would still stay in power cos they have the loot, the security goons, the well stocked fallout shelters, and the denial necessary to blame it all on us anyway.

  4. First of all, that Donner picture with the dog is HILARIOUS!

    Second, didn't we just talk about this in February when JJ was watching The Colony on Netflix? You might wanna mozy over there for extra tips, although I suppose the apocalypse requires a different type of preparation than surviving a few days power outage from a storm.

    I think the bottom line is... extra food, extra water, extra fuel, backup lighting and backup radio.

    I can't help you with the pantry. Just go to the store and stock up.

    For extra water have empty containers around that you can fill up. Minimum... if you have a bathtub make sure you have something to stop the drain (those flat plastic disks to stop the tub are surprisingly hard to find in San Diego. I had to order them online). In an impending storm, scrub the tub and fill it up. And don't forget your hot water heater. It's just sitting there storing water for you so make sure that overflow valve is working so you can empty it directly from the water heater into those 5g Home Depot buckets.

    You should also have some empty gas cans around. Even if you don't store them full you can use them to store the gas you siphon from your neighbor's... not really... I'm kidding... really.

    For extra light I like to have plug in emergency lights scattered around my house. You can find them that act as nightlights and those that turn on only after a power outage. I like them because they are always charged since you store them plugged into a power outlet. Just don't forget to unplug them if your power goes out during the day (and you're home) and place them at the entrance to every room or you'll have lost hours of use having them on unnecessarily during the day.

    As for a radio I like the emergency kind with multiple power sources (crank, solar panel, battery etc). This one even charges cell phones (oh, that's cool... the ones I have don't do that!).

    And remember... having enough TP for the duration is always a good thing :-)

    One last thing... if you loose an entire fridge full of food due to a power outage some home owner insurance policies have spoiled food reimbursement where you don't need to have met your deductible first. Of course if you've already had a claim or two in the previous year or two it might not be worth making this kind of claim because insurance company's hate multiple claims, so be careful about that. If you do make a claim itemize each and every thing in your fridge/freezer. It will almost always be more than if you just give a guestamate.

    1. What's your address again? You know, so we know where to go when the shit hits the fan...

  5. I'm just going to take your advice on this one - you know all the kids love those tiny bottles. Also, I have promised myself that if the shit REALLY hits the fan, I can start smoking again, so I should stock up on ciggies, too. DONE.

    1. Make sure you grab an extra carton for me. Or twelve.

  6. Yeah..Uh...I know nothing about being survival-ready except how to make a zombie-killing weapon out of pretty much whatever I can get my hands on.

    Yesterday we woke up to 6 inches of snow. Unheard of in the Eugene area, but being a native Michigander, I was pissed becasue it was cold, but not because it was snowy. It was a fun day! Being within walking distance of a few convenience stores and a major grocery store had me less than nervous. We took the dog for a snowy walk and picked up doughnuts. No biggie.

  7. So we're all meeting up at Lila's place in the event of an emergency then? Good. I feel better now that we have a plan.

  8. Time and time again you have me LOL-ing inappropriately at work. Love ya TK!

    xo J

  9. Good to see you found your emergency candle/dildo. That's just the kind of multi-purpose item every home should have!

  10. I remember when my kids were babies I always bought boxes of milk to put in our emergency "go" bag. Now I figure those leeches can drink pollluted water like the rest of us! Living 2 miles from lower Manhattan, I worry less about storms and more about EMP pulses and those pesky dirty bombs. But the really sad part is that urban living does not allow one the room to store a month's worth of water and provisions in the precisely 2 kitchen cabinets that one possesses. Sigh.
    Going to just go back to the oblivious, head-in-the-sand place where I was before I realized that the 3 tampons and 4 band-aids in my "go" bag probably aren't going to get my family very far. I will need Valium and several more tampons...

  11. Twitarded gals, come on! I know you usually take hundreds of years to be up with what's happening, but COSMOPOLIS TEASER T was just released today and it's a blast!!! I really need for you to reviewed it so my day is complete! PLEASE!!! PLEASE??
    (Me mexican girl, sorry for the bad english)

  12. ML and I do have our silly little Armageddon container in the basement that we're adding to... slowly. Just sayin'. We're being slightly proactive. Sort of. Not really.

  13. Hey TexasKatherine, I was looking on FanFic Rec list and found one I really wanted to check out. Alas, Going Down was unable to be located. Is it going to be available on FF anytime soon???


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