You Have To Start Somewhere, by Jason F.

As a blessed and married father of five, you continuously do what you can to make sure that all will go well on a daily basis.  Things like the car running, the roof not leaking, the kids having shoes on their feet, clothes on their back and family having food in their bellies.  Just recently I have been thinking more about the possibilities of a tragedy striking and the “what if” scenarios that could be involved.  You can call me crazy, concerned, or even paranoid but whatever the case may be, I want to be prepared.

I’ve never considered myself to be an apocalyptic nut or a survivalist of sorts.  I have to be honest with myself  though and admit that it completely terrifies me that I will not be prepared to take care of those around me, in which I love dearly, if it came down to the worst case scenario.

What would I do in the event an EMP does strike and all h*ll breaks loose?  What would happen to my family if in the event of an electric grid failure?  We would have no source of heat and any frozen food we did have would spoil.  At this point, when would store shelves be emptied from looting?  I could come up with millions of possibilities in which any could occur but what if it was an even simpler case?  What if I lost my job and my family didn’t have assistance?  When would I see cupboards bare?  Would it happen in a week?  In a month?  What would my next step be?

The answer?  Prepping.  Seems like a scary thing if you ask me.  I think about things like gas masks and warfare.  Maybe prepping is more than that though.  Maybe it’s just paying attention to what you have and making sure that you and those you love are taken care of.  What would I pay for something priceless?  How much time would I invest in something that I treasure?
I want to make sure that my family will have full bellies at the end of the night and that my provisions can handle those unfortunate courses of events if or when they did happen.  I wouldn’t do anything less on any other circumstance that means the world to me.  As an example, I have Band-Aids in the cabinet if anyone hurts themselves.  Heck, I have Band-Aids in the cabinet if my daughter looks at me and says she wants one for a doll which is obviously not bleeding out.

So now I look into the mass of confusion on the Internet which graciously lends me a hand as to where to start, what to do, what to pack, what not to pack, what to eat, what will spoil, etc.  You get the idea! It’s an absolute whirlwind.  It’s a violent tornado of best concepts which all will inevitably succeed or fail, time will only tell.

This morning I woke up reading a portion of a blog which quoted some studies from experts.  It stated that if the electric grid decided to crash east of the Mississippi “my location” that the mega transformers which supply us power would take 12-18 months to manufacture.  If this is true, I could be without power for 12-18 months?!  Along with this little tidbit of information, it also stated that we have 300 of these mega transformers that potentially could need replaced in a catastrophic event.  Where am I located on the list of first come, first serve in that scenario?  Here’s the scarier stat; if out of the 130 million people who would be affected by this scenario, it is also estimated that 117 million people would be dead within one year.  Hold on one second.  Within one year!  Gee!  I always thought we had things under wrap better than that.  I mean, I can go grab a gourmet pizza and some drinks and be home watching my favorite saved show with the family on any night of the week but this morning I read a stat that states in a blink of an eye all chaos is going to begin.  Nice.

So here’s my plan:  I am not going to pay attention to the hype.  I know myself.  I would drive myself completely insane if I was constantly looking for tragedy to fall on me.  In fact, I am a 100% sure that I would have a migraine by day three and an eye twitch by day seven or eight.  The year 2000 has indeed come and gone.  The Mayans failed to have a guy keep writing on their calendar.  At this point, I am confident that there have been thousands of other TEOTWAWKI scenarios that have come and gone and yet we are still here.
I asked myself if the impossibilities of something happening outweighed the possibilities of something not happening, would I rather be wrong or not be prepared.  This is what I answered myself, “Yes, you would rather be wrong but you should plan sensibly.” 

Reading another blog led me to a 52 week calendar which listed anything I should need if a tragedy occurred.  I needed to buy 50 lbs. of wheat on one of the weeks.  (Okay, where do I buy bulk wheat?)  I have 7 people in my family.  That means I need 350 lbs. of wheat.  In the same calendar year, there was another week that I was buying wheat yet again…700 lbs. of wheat waiting to be bought and stored in my house!  Now let’s do the same for rice at 150 lbs. per person.  At this point I would have to throw away the Christmas tree and décor, along with half of my childhood keepsakes, and still have 47 more weeks of stuff to buy.  At this point I’m done.  Or am I?

I know what my family will eat.  I know our habits and those that I don’t, you better bet that my wife will lend a helpful word of advice on where I am wrong on those opinions.  But, if I only looked at the 52 week “oh my gosh” calendar, even with the start path right in front of me, I would feel lost.  It also came to mind that if a crisis began halfway through the year on this 52 week plan we would only have half of our stock needed to survive.

Leaning against the kitchen island I ask my wife, “How many times a week do we eat green beans?”  Her answer was sweet and simple, “A few.”  I ask, “What about corn?”  She answered with a gently laugh, “Why?”  This is when I realized that I didn’t know anything about what my family eats and how we eat it. Thank God for my wife!  Per our conversation, I now know more realistic estimates of what we eat and how often we eat it.  Some of our kids will never eat one particular food but for others, it’s a favorite.

At this point we’re going to collaborate in buying canned goods on sale and if we have coupons, you better bet we’re going to use those too!  My wife says Chef Boyardee and Coca Cola are a must on that list.  I personally would love to have coffee on the list.  So it’s on the list as well.  I’m guessing with time and trial and error, we will be able to tweak this plan to accommodate our family.  Above all, essentials will come first…remember, sensible.

I have looked at the best by dates and found most canned goods are marked two-three years out.  That should give me ample time to use the previous year’s stock and then restock so nothing goes to waste. 
In the case that we would need more stock, I will locate the non-swelling, un-rusted cans from the stock of 117 million people which had a two year stock pile to feast upon and met an unfortunate demise.
Am I wrong?  Probably.  Initially I anticipated on buying a three years stock pile but I believe two is a fantastic start.

I am also looking into buying food grade buckets to store rice and beans in.  I have read that white rice stores better for longer, so I am going to start with white rice.  When I feel I have enough white rice, I will get bold and start buying brown rice. The dry beans…where to start?  I figure between the random assortments, we will buy what’s on sale and have a nice variety to choose from.  I still have some homework to do on researching bean spoilage.

I figure at the same point of time when shopping, if anything else looks good to me that will store nicely, I’ll make that purchase.  I laughed when I was talking this through with my brother in law.  I said, “Man, I’m going to buy Ramen!  If I get sick of beef, I always have chicken.  If I get sick of chicken, my backup is shrimp!”  It seems simple enough to just grab a few more items to throw on the shelves.
Also on the essential list will be water.  Lots of water!  Water will be needed for cooking, drinking and washing.  Though I do have a few ponds nearby, I am not sure that those will be suburban swim holes.  I’d rather take my chances with cleaner water for the cooking.

Last but not least, I need batteries and flashlights.  Kids are scared of the dark and at that point of time, I might be too!  Flashlights for everyone!  Oh, and fire starters.  I would like a few starter sets in which I could slowly work on perfecting before I need to use them in a crucial situation.

On the long list, I would like to start a larger garden than I already have.  I’ve been planning to buy heirloom seeds this year for planting so I can save the seeds for next year’s crop.  I can’t wait to can goods which we have grown with our bare hands, while my wife teaches our kids the principles and importance of self-sustaining.
I’m prepping.  At least beginning to and I am more than willing to take this journey because like I said before, I’d rather be safe than sorry.  Let’s face it, you have to start somewhere.

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