Friday, February 20, 2015

The day I ate a pound of Red Vines and realized I do not have an emergency plan

Honestly the title pretty much says it all…although I technically ate the vast majority of the pound of Red Vines one day then polished them off and realized I was totally unprepared for any emergency happenings the next day. (Also beware that this is a pretty rambling post with no real destination. So just enjoy the journey if you like.)
Basically this post is about my general inability to be an adult sometimes.  Do you ever go along thinking you are actually doing pretty well and are maybe even reasonably successful at taking care of yourself then along comes a day that makes you wonder how on Earth you are allowed to brush your teeth unsupervised and swim without a lifeguard present let alone live by yourself?!  That was yesterday.
To start with, I feel no shame regarding the Red Vine situation.  They are my weakness and my mom sent them to me. They had to be eaten…so I did.  Quite successfully I might add.  Clearly I am actually demonstrating self control in that area of my life (despite all evidence otherwise) because there is still an unopened bag of Peachy-Os in the box from mom.  Those are being saved for a special occasion or total melt down, whichever comes first.
Now on to the emergency plan.  I grew up in an area where you didn’t panic and stock up on groceries when a storm/flood/volcano was predicted because you were already stocked up.  Central Washington State doesn’t get tornados/hurricanes/etc. like the East Coast seems to, and three feet of snow is more normal than not. I went home for Christmas once and I don’t think it got above 20 degrees out the entire month I was home.  Harsh weather is part of life.  We always had emergency candles, fire wood, and enough canned food to survive the zombie apocalypse. Maybe we were preppers before preppers were a thing.  While we didn’t exactly have family meetings about where we should all meet if the hills around the house caught on fire, I certainly can’t blame my upbringing for my lack of planning.  Also, I am a runner.  I love planning. I have almost my entire year panned out for how much I should run each day.  That said, when the power went out in my house last night and I remembered that the low tonight is going to be 7 degrees, I was a little baffled about what I should do.  Last year I was smart and shut myself in my bedroom with all my animals and cranked up a space heater that essentially turned my room into a sauna the night we were going to potentially lose power due to winter weather.  The power stayed on and I just sweated off about ten pounds. No harm done.  This year I am living in a one room cabin situation with absolutely no insulation.  But I have a fire place which makes me invincible…as long as you ignore the fact that I have no fire wood to speak of. I think there are some sticks I could use, and maybe one or two dry logs outside.  Go me.  To be fair, my stay warm plan is to tuck the dog under all the blankets I can find with me. He’s a very efficient heater so I am not too concerned.  In the darkness, because the power going off in the middle of the day is never as intimidating so naturally it never happens, I started thinking about food.  Then I remembered my stash of running fuel and a story about an ultra runner who got injured and survived in the dessert for a few days on just a couple GUs.  If she could do that I was set…and I still had my Peachy-Os and a six pack of beer.  If worse came to worse there was plenty of cottage cheese in the fridge and some peanut butter and chia seeds.  And eggs if I could figure out how to cook them in the fireplace.  I got up and wandered around the dark house aimlessly looking for a lighter that I knew was laying around on one of three surfaces.  Spoiler alert: the power and lights came back on before I found it. 
Overall it was a very eye-opening experience that made me realize I should probably be a bit more prepared than I am.  Granted I was thinking through what I should do instead while I showered immediately after the power came back on. Because nothing keeps you warmer than going to bed with soggy hair right? 
During that shower I tried to make a list of things I need and essentially came up with an oil lamp, firewood, and more alcohol.  It’s a start at least.
I think the main problem is that I do not take winter seriously enough. I grew up with bad winters so I assume I can handle it.  Tornados and hurricanes, on the other hand, scare the bejabbers out of me in a big big way and I am far more likely to prepare for those things than some snow and cold.
One other rationalization that I came up with is that I am only responsible for myself and my critters.  They have sufficient food and water to get through a few weeks and are sufficiently fuzzy to get through the cold.  Which leaves just me…and this is where I think I rely too much on my ability to improvise and scrap together a plan that gets me through.
So now I am asking for help! Do you have an emergency plan? And what supplies am I not thinking of? How do you cook eggs in a fireplace? (ok the last one is a stretch but I am curious!)

1 comment:

  1. When I was a kid in Iowa the winters were a lot worse than they have been the past 10 or so years. The main reason was we got A LOT more snow & it stayed around from Nov-March. Since we always lived in town we never really had a winter emergency plan other than making sure we had plenty of food. The power would only go off if we had an ice storm which was only really once a couple of years. Then it was only off more maybe 3-4 hours.Even now the power rarely goes except for extreme wind or ice. The town has a generator that can kick in for extended outages (it is quite a small town I live in - only about 700 people). I do love your checklist though oil lamp, firewood & alcohol. I have never lived where we had a fireplace so never needed firewood. Never have had to experience living without power for days so have never had to worry about alternative cooking methods. I do have an outside charocol grill if it really got desperate.

    Hurricanes & tornadoes do concern me but never had to worry about a hurricane. Hurricanes are a little more predicable so you can prepare for them easier as tornadoes can come out of no where. Unless you take a direct hit by a tornado the main worry is loss of power. If a tornado looks to be on the way I would grab my wallet, any important medications, shoes, jacket & go to your nearest pre-planned shelter. I have been lucky enough that I haven't been hit by a tornado.

    So for a winter storm I would just say have plenty of food, way to stay warm, decent battery lanterns or oil lamp & lighters.