I wanted to use the line from Forrest Gump regarding the bumper sticker slogan, but I’m told that profanity is the result of lack of self-control. I say bullshit. If I say bull poop or bull shit, what is the difference, other than the sounds? The intent is the same….
Ah sweet tangents…I’ve already gotten off subject.
Bad things do happen, no matter how well you plan or prepare. “Bad” is possibly the wrong term at times, the situation may also be:
|annoying, awkward, cumbersome, detrimental, difficult, disadvantageous, discommoding, discommodious, disturbing, embarrassing, incommodious, inexpedient, inopportune, pestiferous, prejudicial, remote, tiresome, troublesome, unhandy, unmanageable, unseasonable, unsuitable, untimely, unwieldy, vexatious|
Whatever the term or phrase, you wish it had not occurred. A splinter, a cut finger, a flat tire, a broken window, a broken arm, loss of a job, a house fire, or the death of a spouse – any of these and more can happen when you least expect it. Random Tuesday afternoons….
How we handle such situations is mostly determined by how we prepare for them BEFORE they happen. Having what is needed, “just in case”, can seem like common sense at times, and others it seems like a miraculous coincidence. Opening a can of green beans is simple when you are at home….but try it when you are camping – if you didn’t bring a can opener. Running out of gas in town can be a inconvenience, but try it when you are crossing Florida on Alligator Alley out of cell phone range. Having a spare can of gas would seem miraculous, wouldn’t it?
Every day, I try to look at things with a simple thought process of “plan for the worst, hope for the best”. A simple effort now can save HUGE amounts of effort some time in the future. Consider it investing time now in exchange for future periods of calm during a crisis.
For example, while opening the concession stand for our local girls softball league‘s opening day, no one thought to bring a can opener for the nacho cheese. However, they did think to ask me if I had one, knowing I tend to carry a little bit of everything. I only had two on me – one on my Leatherman Wave and the other on my Swiss Army Knife, and two more in the car on multitools. Had anyone asked around, I’m sure other folks were carrying something that would have worked, I know for certain that my wife carries a Leatherman Pulse in her purse.
Nacho cheese is not the end of the world, it’s not even life threatening, unless you eat 3 cans of it every day. But what about running out of gas in a remote area? Suddenly, you realize it would be a good idea to plan a little better, and while carrying spare fuel is a bit overboard for some, at least topping of the tank as you leave the “civilized” areas would seem like common sense.
This leads me to what Jack Spirko calls a “Threat Probability Matrix“. My definition of his term is the closer to home a disaster is, the more it can affect me singularly, but can also be planned for by me.
Some are easy to prep for, like packing a lunch for a long day at work, or carrying a change of clothes for each family member in the car. The time invested in packing a lunch, or even just a snack, easily pays for itself when pressed for time. And anyone who has ever left the house with a baby knows how it feels to have EVERYTHING, just in case, not just a change of clothes for the child.
Other things, like a pandemic, or zombie apocalypse is more difficult. Yes, you can buy N95 masks, or Zombie Max ammo, but what about the probably societal breakdown and all the implications? Pretty sure if zombies are running the streets, there will no longer be coffee at Starbucks, you DID stock up on coffee, didn’t you?
Yes, zombies are far-fetched, and I’m not saying I believe it will happen, I mention it to show the range of possibilities to think about, from probable (daily hunger) to improbable (zombies).
The biggest major threat that is faced here (other than the annual snowbird infestation) is hurricanes. In 2004, we had the one-two punch of hurricanes Frances and Jeanne making landfall two miles from each other, and both about three miles from my house, both close enough for the eye of the storm to pass over my house. In each case, we bugged-in, not evacuating, trusting to the fact that the structure we stayed in had made it through multiple other hurricanes.
Once the storms had passed, we found ourselves in far better prepared than most others for the breakdown in services. In fact, by the second storm, we simply looked at the aftermath as a camping-at-home adventure. With no electricity for about a month, we suffered little more than inconvenience, and during the whole ordeal, the only handout we took was a single 16oz bottle of water from the Red Cross while we stood in line to buy some ice.
It was not what I’d call “fun”, and looking back, there are several glaring omissions to my list of hurricane items that I have since added. But, due to investing the time and effort BEFORE it was needed, we survived in more comfort than the majority. The effort paid off.
Another thing I run into from time to time is the fickleness of my work. Being a reactionary job, I can have a period of time where the phone just doesn’t ring. No calls equals no income. We have some cash squirreled away, but cash is king ALL of the time, in my opinion. Wouldn’t it be better to have followed FBH tip #1, and stocked up on some food items when they were on sale?
(This is a pre-tangent warning, I can feel this one pulling me away from the subject matter- you are warned. Inflation is not a possibility, it’s a certain fact that until we change our monetary system, prices WILL increase. Add that fact to the certainties that populations are expanding and food production is decreasing for various reasons – weather, blight, government and/or Monsanto oppresion. These add up to an increased price in food. If you buy a pound of rice today, it WILL cost you more next year. Promise. Buy eating next year on food purchased now, you are hedging against inflation, and the way the current stock market has been performing, you may be better off actually buying those pork bellies, making bacon out of it, and canning it -but that’s another post in itself. So buying food NOW (that stores well of course), planning on eating it at a (possibly much) later date not only adds a layer of breathing room in a crisis, its also a mighty fine investment! I KNOW I made at least 12% last year on my groceries I purchased for long-term storage, and I still have some of it left! Sorry, I feel better now.)
Where was I? Ahhh, yes, FBH tip #1. Having a bit of food and miscellaneous consumables stockpiled for a bad day has allowed me personally to breeze through a couple of weeks of no income. In fact, as the phone calls started to come in again, I actually considered putting them off a bit to allow for a couple more fishing days….HEY! Fishing was putting food on the table too! DON’T JUDGE ME! 😛
What I’m trying to say is if you do a little bit NOW, it gets leveraged into so much more somewhere down the road. Just like it being a good idea to save a bit of extra money fora rainy day (I know “extra money” doesn’t really exist for most families), buying a little extra food, storing a little extra gasoline, carrying a pair of jumper cables, or even something as simple as having a pocket knife on you at all times, anything to improve your situation from small to large, ALL of them impact you, or someone around you, in a positive way.
I will close this with something that happened to me yesterday. One HUNDRED percent true. I was leaving a job I was pleased to have finally completed, and was heading to my next stop, when I saw two young men pushing a minvan down the road in the hot noon-day sun. Been there myself more times than I like to think about. I slowed and asked what the problem was.
The response was, “We are out of gas, and have no money to get any more.”
I told them to hold on, and let me park.
I stopped, grabbed the gas can out of the bed of my truck, walked over, and dumped it into the tank, telling them “This is your lucky day!”
The young man driving jumped in, tried the key only to find the battery was now dead from continually cranking on it.
I laughed out loud!
“This a REALLY your lucky day!” I wen to my truck, grabbed my portable 12 volt jump box, and walked back to them. As I sent them on their way, I told them, “Some day you’ll be ahead of the game, and when you are and you see someone that’s stuck, you unstick them, ok?”
Now who would you rather be, the one prepared, or the one taking the handout?
If you’ve read this far, I’m sure I know the answer…..
PS- Next week I will be doing my hurricane prep posts. Yes, hurricane season is already here, but I’m prepared, aren’t you?
As always, please “like” FloridaHillbilly on Facebook, subscribe to my feed, and tell your friends! The more folks involved in improving themselves, the less likely they are to knock on your door when TSHTF!