Preparation vs. Obsession

I just woke up, after an early bedtime shortly after 7 pm. The notifications sound on the phone penetrated my consciousness, and I finally realized that I had overslept my intended short nap.

It was my brother and sister, reassuring each other that the tornado alert was over, and they were all good.

I’m a heavy sleeper, much like my late Dad. When I was a pre-schooler, he once laid down for a short afternoon nap one weekend, having locked the screen door.

When my Mother returned after visiting friends, she was locked out. She banged on the door, yelled through the open windows (covered with screens), tried calling the home phone, and even brought along a borrowed pot and a metal spoon to make noise.

The neighbors gathered to watch the situation with great amusement. This was prior to TV being available, and was much more entertaining, to boot.

Finally, in a fit of pique, my Mom turned the hose on through the screen, to try to wake my Father, who was snoring away on the couch.

No luck. It wasn’t until an hour later that he woke up, noticed my mother sitting on the step, and unlocked the door to let her in. “I was really sweating”, he said, having noticed that he was soaking. When she explained what had been happening, he didn’t believe her, at first. Only the amused agreement of the neighbors who had enjoyed the real-life reality show finally persuaded him that she wasn’t lying.

Afterwards, she told her coterie, “If I’m found dead, like Marilyn Shepherd, and he says he was asleep, believe him.” Sam’s lawyer should have used that experience in court – he could have escaped the conviction. It was one of the factors that made my mother such a champion of the doctor’s story (Well, the other was that she knew the family. Sam Shepherd’s doctor father had treated my grandfather when he suffered a cerebral hemmorhage.)

Well, that’s my family’s experience with me – when I sleep, I sleep – hard and deep. As a kid, I slept through a tornado tearing up my neighborhood. I’ve slept through firefighters tramping through my apartment (not just the building, my bedroom). My husband stopped them from trying to resusitate me by saying, “Don’t worry, she always sleeps like that.” The only reason I’ve not slept through a hurricane is that I’ve never been in one.

It would be no surprise to know that I was a bedwetter into elementary school – once I enter that deep sleep level, even the need to take care of business can’t shake me.

For those who don’t know the levels of tornado weather, a tornado alert indicates that the conditions are right for a possible touchdown, a watch means that the local weather spotters are scanning to see if there is a tornado forming in the broader area, and an warning means, head for the basement, the thing is in the neighborhood.

I missed the whole thing. If it had hit, I would have been taken completely unaware. Fortunately, my house is sturdy, nothing happened, and the storm is past.

I’m the same way about prep. I do prepare – I lay in basic supplies – food, water, candles, matches, flashlights. I’ve got auxiliary power resources, I don’t let the gas tank go to empty, and I keep a watch on neighborhood conditions.

I lock my doors and windows. I use deadbolts, and have glass block windows in my basement. I use my home security system, and keep my radios charged (And, I have one of those multi-power units meant for hooking up a dead auto battery, which is kept charged. In a pinch, you can attach things you need to run – phone chargers, emergency medical equipment, a small refrigerator – to it for some time).

But, I don’t go nuts. I’m not even a member of a neighborhood watch (Although I am getting to know my neighbors. That task is assisted by walking my dog several times a day. He is friendly and approachable, and I’ve gotten to be someone that is recognized.) I plan to get to know them better as the weather warms up, and we are outside more.

I’ve started attending meetings and get-togethers of the local radio group. Gradually, I’m getting to extend my comfort zone, and sink into the community.

Maybe I’m wrong, and I should be making my checklists, battening down all entrances, and laying in the firearms. From what I see, in my neck of the woods, we haven’t reached that level of need. We aren’t desperate.

Some are. They live in unstable neighborhoods. They are without nearby family. Crazy people roam their streets. For such people, it’s LONG past the time for frenzied preps.

My thinking is that any outbreaks of violence will be largely localized. How bad it gets will depend on local and regional conditions. Those in large cities will need to make their decision – stay or go. Their lives will depend on the answer.

The wild card in this is the supply chain. If medical or fuel supplies become irregular or unavailable, chaos could result. I’ve begun stockpiling necessary meds, and am currently looking into solar panels, which I will be attaching to my back deck/attic windows. If all I do is to charge a few batteries or power supplies, that may easily fill my needs.

Where I live, access to food is close. I’m in the process of laying in a garden (Flowers first – they are food for the soul.) My family has organized for a blitz this Saturday – they will be descending upon me, tools in hand, to assist me with some long-overdue chores. One of those chores is prepping the vegetable garden.

I will be traveling to a store in mid-OH for some canning supplies with my sister on Monday. It will be a girl-bonding trip, as well as a chance to pick her brains about her long experience with container gardening and canning.

I’m planning to hit the near farmer’s markets and food stands, and get to know who might have meat/hard to get produce and milk. Active farms are close by, and many of them sell locally (Not to national and international corporations. The prep community panic about foreigners – and Bill Gates – hoovering up our food supplies is unlikely. There’s a hell of a lot of farmland in the USA.)

I’ve lived in this house during some very cold days. Even with fuel prices up, and no change in my insulation, the monthly cost on non-budget billing never exceeded $150/month. Summers are even easier to manage – just head to the basement for cost-free cooling off. (Life in relatively temperate Northern OH is pleasant in the warmer months. Most of the older homes have basements, which stay at a comfortable temp. One advantage of the older homes is that they were built with solid materials, designed for keeping things warm in winter, and cool in summer. Having access to windows that open, and can be used to set up cooling cross-breezes with little use of energy, is a blessing only one who lived in the muggy South can properly appreciate. The same with winters – if temps plunge, just close off rooms, lay down draft-dodgers along the doors, and use layering to adjust your personal comfort level.)

How are you managing? Is your home set up for power, food, and meds? Most importantly, are you keeping a cool head, and sleeping well at night?