Sat. July 18, 2020 – funny the things that sometimes pop in your head

Hot and humid.  Really.  No kidding.  Hot. 🙂

Yesterday was hot until the rain, then slightly less hot for a while, until the hot caught back  up.  It was pretty late before we got back down into the 80s.

As predicted no real work got done in the garage or driveway while I was running errands.   The kids did play in the pool for a while.  Between my wife forgetting and overfilling the pool, and then 2 inches  of rain, there has been a LOT of sloshing out.

In order to push myself to actually finish the garage/freezer/workbench reorg, I ordered a good bit of food that will end up frozen.  I also did my normal replenishing.  Not much extra canned meat or dry goods, we’re pretty good on them.  Meat and frozen fruit and veg are what needs building up.  I really hope I don’t end up screwing up another order’s worth of food.

I’m still filling other holes and gaps in long term preps.   I’m trying to improve my stores of things I can get cheaply now, but would be very dear if there was a collapse, or long term interruption to “normal” life.  To that end, and because it’s what’s in the auctions, I’ve been buying safety gear and PPEs.  This auction I got several boxes of safety glasses.  Some tinted brown for outdoor work, some clear.  I previously got a huge selection of clear with bifocal lenses.  They are great for carpentry or soldering, both activities that need safety glasses.  Safety glasses are an expendable, and you should have extra.  Same with gloves, and workboots.  Good fitting ones are essential or you won’t wear them.

Hearing protection and respiratory protection I took care of last year.  I have several boxes of foam ear plugs and I’m set for a while on N95 masks and organic vapor cartridge based respirators.   I even managed to pick up some more tyvek painter’s suits.

I’m also considering what I would need to multiply my strength, just like in the old days.  I’ve got very good block and fall setups with synthetic rope and a lot of rigging supplies from a previous career.  I picked up a dozen spools of 550 cord in various colors at Habitat a couple of years ago, and I’ve added some rope when it became available.  Chain and chain binders are incredibly expensive for some reason.  Chaining my forklift into a trailer would cost about a quarter of what I paid for the forklift if I did it with new, so I’ve been watching for ways to reduce that cost.

If I had more land, I’d be looking for gardening power tools.  Prepping the soil takes a lot of work and any way to make that easier increases your chances of getting a good result.  I wouldn’t turn down some things, but as I don’t have space or the need, I’m not looking for them.  Some of you might be in a different place.

Basic plumbing, electrical, automotive and hardware supplies on hand will save a trip to the store, and can be the difference between a disaster and a disturbance.  Of course you need to know what to do with them, but there are lots of resources available to help with that too.  This is a good time to practice as you can still get help if it all goes pear shaped.

Like RBT, I came to consider that, outside of our normal disasters – hurricanes here in Houston – the most likely scenario was an economic collapse or a long slow decline.  Civil disorder, up to a civil war was in there somewhere, with global pandemic as a longshot.  Pandemic has been a focus of the CDC for a long time (and I constantly referred people to their pandemic preparedness pages as a resource for general disaster prepping), and with ebola in 2014 being in Dallas, I moved that up my list DRAMATICALLY.   Panic buy fits pretty well.  Of course, ebola wasn’t an issue for us here, by the skin of our teeth, but the preps have served me well in what the CDC said was this inevitable pandemic.  (Why was the CDC so ill prepared when this was something they’ve been pushing for a decade?  I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.)

So here we are, living in one of the longshot scenarios, generally doing better than we thought.  Which is awesome.  Unlike some places, we’re not stacking bodies in the streets.  But we are also clearly (to me anyway) in the beginning stages of economic collapse.  Supply lines are disrupted.  Prices are fluctuating.  Markets are being distorted by outside forces and have become increasingly decoupled from fundamentals and become more and more like gambling in a casino.  Everything is slightly worse than before.

Trash isn’t getting picked up as quickly.  Dumping is more common.  Maintenance is being deferred by civic units and individuals (with the caveat that individuals with the means have had more time than usual to do ‘projects’ around the house.  The guy with no job isn’t putting up sheds, and painting the siding though, but he might be powerwashing the driveway…)  Graffiti and tags are more visible and common, and stay in place longer.  Crime increases.  Violence for no reason increases.  Civil discourse becomes more shrill.  People contract their focus and concerns to more local issues.  People’s tolerance for the other, the different, decreases.  Behaviors become more extreme.  Tempers get short.

Any of that sounding familiar?

Given where I think we’re headed, it makes sense to me to stock up on the kinds of things I’m stocking.   I wouldn’t FOCUS on them, as there is still a chance of avoiding the worst aspects of the decline.  But it won’t hurt to start putting them aside, especially at low cost and low effort.  This assumes you have the basics in place.   Water, food, shelter, defense, medical, and money.  Huge piles of tangibles will probably buy you any of the things you need, so money is the best prep, but money is in kinda short supply too at this point for most people.

Periods of great change are scary.  Lots of destruction.  But there are also always opportunities too.  Crime goes up, and the guy who can weld burglar bars gets busy.   Some people are finding ways to prosper in this moment.  I believe hard times, however you want to define that, are coming.  If you don’t, if you think good times are coming, I’d like to hear why you feel that way.   Could be I’m missing something important.

Outside of figuring out what that something is, I’m going to keep stacking.  I think you should too.  I know it’s getting repetitive, but really and truly I think you can improve your situation and I WANT you to.  It’s made a world of difference in my life.

 

nick