Saturday, December 12, 2009

In which I sound like a crazy survivalist or just crazy worrisome or just crazy.

I do not consider myself a "Doom and Gloom" person.  I do consider myself a person who is fairly cautious and always has a "Plan B".  Always--work, relationships, money, etc--I have a strong desire (instilled into me from my father) to make sure that I have my bases covered, there is somewhere for me to leap, and I am prepared.  (it wasn't that my father was a boy-scout. Maybe he was a boy-scout when he was a lad but it wasn't like he was teaching us survival techniques. It was just important to him that his daughters were independent people who could rely on themselves and make it through this world on their own merit and so I think he worked hard through lecturing us to death about not depending on anyone else (a.k.a. men we were in love with) so that we wouldn't screw ourselves later). Anyway.  I've taken that sentiment to heart in a number of different ways and run with it.  Mostly that I'd like to do everything by myself and wish I could live and sustain myself by  myself somewhere. (Think less like "unibomber" and more like "Amish". )

I spent a number of years in my old neighborhood being involved in the Neighborhood Disaster Response Plan/SNAP.  I originally did it because I wanted to get to know my neighbors.  I stayed involved because it scared the s*** out of me.  It was a brilliant idea for Seattle to have neighborhoods come up with disaster plans beause, honestly, if something terrible would happen--folks are on their own.  We worked with  the city a lot and other neighborhoods and there is one thing that is going to be absolutely true: In at least the first week after a major disaster, there isn't going to be help for the dead/wounded, for fixing gas leaks, for search and rescue, and no power/water/electricity.

And then New Orleans happened and while my mother-in-law ended up being safe from the initial brunt--her community and the place she loved was demolished.  I've been watching her for years fighting to rebuild the neighborhoods and city she loves and the toll it has taken on her and the impact the disaster had on every single aspect of her life.

Then, just last year we had that snow that effectively shut down the city for a week.  I'm fortunate enough to live 5 blocks away from 2 major grocery stores.  We went in to those stores about 5 days into the snow and it was shocking and scary.  Both stores were fundamentally bare.  

So, Awesome Husband and I have worked to get some pretty solid disaster plans in place.  We now have
"bug out bags" that contain 3 days worth of provisions for both of us and the dog both in our home and his car.   We've got a week's supply of water.  We definitely have days of food in our home.

It just isn't enough for me anymore.  And I think it is less about "survival" and more about being "frugal".   I do have some current concerns about the state of our economy in this country and how that is affecting small businesses (like the one my husband is in).  We're doing fine at the moment, but there is a slow-down coming and we aren't sure how slow and for how long it is going to be. It could potentially be worrisome.Or not.  We just don't know.

Because of that, it has become apparent to me that I am uncomfortable with letting the financial markets and other folks' spending affect our lifestyle.  What if one of us becomes unemployed?   Or injured? Or even--what if we decide to have offspring and one of us decides to stay home? It suddenly became apparent to me that I want to do as much as I can to make sure that we can weather the life-variables as easily as possible.   The things we absolutely need are: shelter and food.  We don't own our own home so there isn't a TON I can do there, but I can make sure that if everything goes to hell, we do not have to worry about food.
So, I'm now getting pretty serious about figuring out what we need to have a 3-month supply of food.  Not only for emergencies, but if we stock up on certain things that we use all the time when sales are happening--we will naturally be saving money.

I'm starting to come up with lists of things: beans, wheat, sugar, honey, rice, toiletries. I'm still thinking through what we eat on a regular basis (besides fruits and vegetables) that I'd like to have on hand.

I still want a small freezer for the basement so once spring/summer rolls around--I can join a "bulk buying group" and go to U-Pick farms so I can freeze produce. 

I'll definitely can some stuff this coming year as well.  I really am not into canned vegetables or fruits, but it makes sense to have SOME canned in case power goes out.  I still want a pressure canner so I can have soups, stocks, etc, all on hand . Those are so dang pricey and so dang big, I think it only makes sense to search garage sales for it.

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"Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day."

-E.B. White

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