This is not going to be a bitching-about-how-things-are post. I’ve done a lot of those lately — with plenty of obvious reason, as we all know — but I don’t like feeling so moved to grouse.
Grousing is popular, and good grousers who write well and warn us of the perils we’re in deserve their rewards. It’s just a pity that the faithful doers and how-toers and other problem solvers (like those publishing the daily details of prepping) don’t usually draw as large an audience. Or they draw an audience that does a quick skim, tells itself, “Oh yeah. I’ve gotta do this. I’ll bookmark the page and come back later.” “Later,” of course, is crickets.
And I know this because I’m as guilty of it as anybody. But who has time for all those projects while life and trying to earn a living goes on?
As a blogger, I am not the fantastic freedomista prepper-doer, canning a thousand pounds of tomatoes while planting acres of fruit orchards while building underground bunkers while raising five children under the age of five (Yes, you know who I’m talking about, don’t you?).
But nor do I want to be the strident doom-cryer, sitting at her desk, scanning for nooz, sizzling mad over a new crisis every week or so.
It’s simpler in my mind: We’re doomed. Face it. Go on from there.
Do practical (and impractical) things. Prepare for what’s coming, but don’t neglect to LIVE in the meantime.
Now having said all that I’m (briefly) going back on my word. I have a small, personal doom moment to convey. It was a mere inconvenience for me, but quite telling about the mess we’re in.
A portion of the digital display on the dashboard of my KIA got wonky. I took the car to the dealer, and of course it couldn’t be anything as simple as bad wiring. Nooooo. The entire instrument cluster was slowly committing suicide.
And there was — in the entire U.S.A. — just ONE (unused, KIA-manufactured) part, clear on the opposite coast — ONE part, singular and unique — available to repair my car. And my car is a KIA Soul, one of the most popular vehicles in the country. Parts should be a dime a dozen. But nope. ONE. In the entire country of 330 million souls and probably hundreds of thousands of Souls.
Every one of you has stories equivalent to this. Half a dozen stories, maybe.
You and I also know that the infamous “supply-chain problem” is much more than a mere supply-chain problem. It’s a symptom of much bigger things. And those infamous, if not infinite, problems are getting bigger, worse, and more dangerous.
Fact: The S has already HTF. All that’s left is for the blades to spin faster.
So yeah. We’re doomed. Face it. Go on from here. As usual.
Except. Because the blades are spinning and the you-know-what is already splattering, even the best of us (a category far above me) need to polish the preps, batten down the attitudes, spark up the security measures, and do some essential, if not existential, deciding.
I’m assuming most people reading this have already been prepping to one degree or another for a long time. Good. I love knowing that many of you are better prepared and more resourceful than I am. But I don’t know a single person whose preps are perfect — or always perfectly doublechecked and maintained. Heaven knows my own fall short.
So here are a few things we should all be doing to the best of our ability while the fan blades are still turning slowly and key items are still available for purchase.
Following those practical practices, I’ve got some impractical thoughts on other things to do now and I’ll be asking you for your suggestions.
Practical small things to do
1. Go through existing stocks — whether of storage foods, ammo, or something else — checking condition, expiration dates, quantities, auxiliary supplies, and your knowledge on how to use the items. Use up marginal items and replace — if we still can — any missing essentials.
2. Top off and treat stored gas supplies. Prices are high now, but it might be best to bite the bullet and do it before things get worse. (I need to do this, myself.)
3. Check go-bags, get-home bags, emergency road supplies, etc. Replace any dubious items, add and subtract items for usefulness.
4. Update medicines, laying in extra if you can (they’re making that harder now, I know), and ensure that you can keep them in appropriate conditions through a long emergency. Check first-aid supplies.
5. Check and update food, meds, and other preps for pets and livestock.
6. If you’re concerned about the prospect of nuclear war but don’t have time or funds to build and equip an underground bunker (and who does?), you can still get potassium iodide, buy plastic sheeting and duct tape (to keep out radioactive dust), set up emergency wash stations, and take other measures to protect yourself and your family. One of the biggest measures is to know how to act in the immediate aftermath of a blast.
7. Get your tools and equipment in good shape. Know where they are (I am personally missing a hand grain mill and dread going into the attic to hunt for it). Have extras if you can.
8. Have or acquire all the spare parts you can manage for crucial machinery (cars, trucks, tractors, generators, tillers, etc.). If you can’t get, and wouldn’t be able to install, some arcane computerized thing like my KIA’s instrument cluster, you can still get spark plugs, air and fuel filters, belts, battery minders, and other inexpensive and doable items.
9. Make sure you’ve either got plenty of clean water stored or that you have an ensured supply of it on or near your property. Check the condition of your filters and purifiers, just in case.
10. Take a look in your medicine cabinet and around your bathroom. How are you fixed for toothpaste, toothbrushes, antacids, everyday pain-killers, feminine hygiene products, stool softeners, enemas, Pepto Bismol, Immodium, and the like? Good news; you can still reliably get most of these things. For now.
11. Keep your friends close — and your enemies closer. And good luck always recognizing the difference.
Yeah, I said I’d be talking about small to-do items, and cumulatively I realize the above aren’t small. But there they are. Better to accomplish a few things than to shrug off the coming sh*tstorm and be caught wanting as those fan blades go into high gear.
“Impractical” things to do
Start thinking, if you haven’t already, about the small pleasures and everyday necessities of a bleak future. They might make all the difference between surviving and thriving.
1. Make sure you have plenty of herbs and spices for those buckets of stored lentils. Also things like sweeteners and cooking oils and cooking wine.
2. Treats like dried fruits, fruit rollups, chocolate bars, and snack nuts are nice, too.
3. Got board games, playing cards, and puzzles? Lovely to have for adults or kids when power is iffy. Often available cheap at thrift stores.
4. Toys. Music. Gadgets. Batteries for same.
5. How are you set for other personal adult pleasures and/or trade goods? I’m thinking wine, spirits, cigarettes, cannabis products (only where legal of course 😉 ), condoms, lubes … well, you can think of more.
And finally, dear wonderful people … don’t forget today. Don’t get so fixated on preparing for disaster that you fail to notice that the sun is shining, the dog is inviting you to play, the flowers are blooming, your significant other is making sexy eyes at you, a delicious dinner is on the table, there’s a fun festival in town, or there’s great company to be had on your own street.
It’s going to be up to us to make sure life is still worth living after whatever happens … happens.
But of course all this merely touches the surface. And the needs are different for everybody. So what practical — or impractical — actions are you taking right now, or hoping to take soon, to complete preparations for the survival and “thrival” (H/T Silver) needs of you, your loved ones, and your tribe?