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Old 03-30-20, 04:27 AM
Me duelen las nalgas
canklecat's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
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Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

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Yup. I've been a prepper since the 1970s. I went through a late-Cold War survivalist phase but soon regained my sanity and resumed what my family considered normal preparedness.

So I've always kept plenty of toilet paper, food, soap, emergency water, even surgical masks and latex gloves. I didn't need to panic-buy when the rabble raided the local stores.

I've added a few extra boxes of favorite energy/protein bars. I always kept those around for bike rides, but now buy a few more for emergencies. I scrounge the bargain bins at Kroger and other stores often for short-dated stuff.

I don't really understand people who aren't prepared to go at least a week without needing to shop. About 20 years ago I briefly lived in Florida and was stunned to see how ill-prepared so many people were for routine hurricanes and tropical storms. Just before a storm they'd stock up on flashlights, batteries, snack foods, toilet paper. And within a week after the storm passed they'd want to return it all for a refund. Lather, rinse, repeat, every hurricane/storm. But they always had enough money for partying, booze and nightclubbing. Seemed to be a quirk of the entire Gulf Coast. A family friend explained it by saying "There are only two seasons on the Gulf Coast: Mardi Gras, and gittin' ready for Mardi Gras." They only thought about living for the moment.

To some extent, that mentality has infected the government and some institutions. A good friend is an EMT and has been limited to one surgical mask A WEEK. That's for a front-line emergency medical professional whose job is to deal with injuries and sudden onsets of serious illnesses. One mask a week. Another friend who makes prostheses for children had to sew up her own face masks at home.

However that's not as simple as lack of preparedness. It's also due to the entire economic shift toward minimal inventory and just-in-time delivery. And that system has worked well in normal times. But now we're in an crisis better suited to military-style logistics.

My grandparents were young adults during the Great Depression and it influenced them, and some of us, even more than their earlier rural Texas life had. My grandparents always kept a well stocked household and were early adopters of the healthy, self-sufficient living lifestyle by the 1960s -- organic gardening, growing and canning, freezing and preserving enough homegrown food for a complete diet, needing only meat and dairy for variety. The bought almost every book published by Rodale Press, subscribed to many related magazines, etc., and I added the post-flower-child/hippie influence of Whole Earth Catalogs, which I gave them as gifts.

By the mid to late 1970s some friends and I in the military leaned more toward the survivalist lifestyle -- in retrospect a fairly typical thing for young men in the military in almost any era. Our influence was primarily the still-hot Cold War, but with a touch of suspicion of federal government overreach, a bit of paranoia influenced by various actual conspiracies that were gradually being revealed. My closest and sanest friend of that bunch was somewhat influenced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has long encouraged a culture of preparedness and independence from government authorities. Other of my acquaintances were into more extreme stuff, what would later be called the patriot militia movement.

My younger veteran friends are still going through that phase, although their influences range from Ruby Ridge (Randy Weaver) and Waco (Branch Davidians, an extreme offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists) to the endless wars of US imperialism against the Middle East. Basically, we were/are overeager, under-informed young men trained for a mission that didn't exist. So we found our own missions.

The aftermath of Ruby Ridge, Waco, the first attack on the World Trade Center in the 1990s, the 9/11 attacks, our endless Gulf wars and government overreaction including violations of privacy, etc., finally forced me to reconsider my views. In many ways these misguided, disaffected, alienated men who viewed themselves as "patriots" and the last real Americans, were actually creating as many problems as they claimed to be solving or preventing.

They were too anxious to skip right over the 1st Amendment directly to the 2nd as the first solution to every problem. My training was health care, not harming people. And I believe in exploring every option under the 1st Amendment until every possibility has been exhausted. We've never exhausted the 1st Amendment's power, so there's never been any real need to resort to the 2nd as a fix for a broken government.

And, frankly, about 20 years ago I realized some of my family and in-laws thought my views and preparedness methods were kooky. I'd been nurturing my views in a vacuum for so long I had no idea what other people thought of my views and preoccupations.

Long story short, for the past 20 years, my preparedness has pared way back to ensuring we always have enough household supplies, food and basic first aid needs to last 1-3 months. That's about all.

One of my primary occupations for more than 20 years was as secondary or primary caregiver for ailing elderly relatives -- both grandparents, then my mom. I took stock of what we actually needed during emergencies during that time. In our former rural home, we needed enough stuff to get through an occasional power outage for a day or two -- so, basically, flashlights, radios, batteries, lamps and oil. Stuff to quickly patch a leaky roof until a contractor could fix the rest, or I could climb up and do it properly. Never needed a gun, other than an airgun to thin out the herd of squirrels trying to steal shingles or invade the attic.

About 10 years ago I bought big boxes of surgical masks and latex gloves. I seldom needed them as a caregiver. Mostly I used one or two masks each winter for bicycle rides in bitterly cold, dry air. Last week I did a quick inventory and realized I still had a dozen masks. I set aside six for myself, and bagged up six along with pairs of latex gloves, each in individual baggies, for the maintenance crew at our apartment complex. Our apartment complex is mostly elderly and disabled folks. The maintenance crew are in and out of apartments every day, and had only construction type dust masks and gloves. Hopefully they'll get some use from my small donation and minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus or other cooties through our small community.

I still keep enough food for a few months. Mostly boring stuff I don't normally eat, but it'll be handy in an emergency: dried beans, rice, pasta, etc. I've cut way back on carbs and sugar in an effort toward a healthier diet to eliminate some pesky symptoms from an auto-immune disorder. I seem to do better with more animal products and fewer carbs and even fewer vegetables and fruits, although I haven't given up bananas. I still use onions, bananas, potatoes and mushrooms for fixing pot roast. I rarely eat pasta anymore, or rice, beans, corn products, etc. But I have 'em if it comes to that.

When my mom was alive she used a roll of toilet paper every day. Partly due to physical side effects from her Alzheimer's and other ailments (she had a lot more problems with phlegm as she got older), partly a harmless obsession from her dementia. It wasn't worth trying to get her to use napkins for eating, paper towels for cleanup, etc. She wanted to use toilet paper for everything, fine with me. So I always kept plenty on hand. I probably still have 20 rolls, and I go through maybe one roll a week. And part of my use of TP is for cleaning up cat hair and cat barf, just about every day. I adopted my mom's three cats and they make a worse mess than toddlers.
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