Archive for the ‘Bugging In’ Category

Along Came a Sandy

Posted: December 11, 2012 by Sarge in Bugging In, Preparation
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My wife thinks I’m nuts. Her opinion is based on a large number of things, and I will concede that she has some valid points. She is convinced that I am one purchase away from hoarder status (I blame tv) because I tend to buy more of stuff than I need, and refuse to throw stuff away (who wouldn’t keep 3′ long sections of pressure treated lumber?). The addition of my prepping habit has not helped my cause (“you bought more ammo cans?”).

The whole issue changed faces recently. In the days leading up to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, we were told that our area could get some flooding, and possibly significant wind damage, which might result in days without power (which did happen in our region, but thankfully not at our house). My wife scoffed at most of this stuff, until about noon on the day the storm was supposed to hit us. The weather folks said we would be seeing high winds in the overnight hours.

I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if my wife, while doing her weekly grocery shopping, picked up a couple gallons of water. I also recommended that she ought to consider filling up the car with gasoline, just in case. On both of these points I caught some ridicule on her way out the door. While she was gone, I checked all of my flashlights (I have many, all part of my hoarding) to be sure that the batteries were good. I got out the candles I keep in the basement, made sure I had my Zippo filled with fluid, and generally prepped the house for possible high winds and power outages.

When my wife returned, she seemed a bit out of sorts. When I asked if she was okay, she said “the grocery store was a madhouse, and they were all out of gallons of water, so I had to buy bottles instead.” I asked why the change of heart, and she said that with everyone else seeming concerned, she got nervous. I think the whole prepping concept hit home for her for real when she heard about the gas rationing in the NYC area. She still thinks I’m crazy, but she has gotten a little bit more accepting of the whole idea.

When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks.  I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:

“Do not use cherry Jell-o.  Makes an atrocious color!”

“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”

Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages.  I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife.  Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been.  She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman.  There’s a reason they say “Military Wife:  Toughest Job in the Military.”

When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five.  She was a very stoic lady.

So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life.  The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems.  These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.

The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand.  It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.

I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!

Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith.  It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.

It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation.  Pretty badass.

So there you go.  My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!

 

So, last night the doorbell rang, the dog was losing his flipping mind, and I realized I should totally install a peephole in the front door.  Sometimes I’m curious about who’s on the other side, but not enough to risk opening the door to find out.  I get tired of the vacuum salesmen who offer me a four-pack of Charmin’ if I’ll just let them do their presentation.

Yes, I could totally use more shit tape to add to my cache, but I can get 24 rolls for like eight bucks, which means you’re offering me $1.33 to not only listen to an annoying presentation about a vacuum I don’t want, but to LET A STRANGE MAN INTO MY HOUSE.

Seriously, WTF are these people thinking?  Does anyone actually take the bait?

Also?  If it’s after dark and you haven’t called ahead of time, I’m not opening the door.  There are too many crazies out there, and I don’t want to have to answer my door with a loaded handgun every time, so that door is staying closed.

Anyway.  Back to the peephole.  If I want to see who’s at my door without actually opening it, I currently have to peek through the front window blinds like a crackhead.  So I was thinking, what if shit hits the fan and like a police officer comes to the door to tell me I need to evacuate and I don’t get the message because I think it’s the Jehova’s Witnesses and I don’t want to answer?

I was all set to go to Lowe’s and buy a peephole and a big ass drill bit when I started to think about it I realized that using a peephole after TEOTWAWKI is a surefire way to get yourself killed.  I mean, think about it like this.  You’re all bugged in, feeding on your stash of Cheetos and Twinkies and basically living it up.  And then one day, someone knocks on your front door.  You’re pretty sure it’s nobody you care to speak to, but curiosity gets the better of you.  Suddenly, just as you press your piggy little eye up to the peephole, BANG!  BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!

You’re shot right through your own front door.  And then the shooter busts a window, climbs through, and suddenly *he’s* feasting on your Cheeto supply.

I’m serious, folks.  It could happen.

So now, I’ve started thinking about other ways to keep tight surveillance on my front porch.  I toyed with the idea of a camera system, but the minute the power goes out, you’re screwed. And then, I had an idea that borders upon genius. I need a fuckin’ parascope.

When I was a kid, we had this plastic periscope toy, and that thing was awesome.  You could totally sneak up on someone to spy on them, and provided they were deaf enough not to hear the giggling, it would totally work.  We used to sneak out of bed at night and use it to try to watch whatever my parents were watching on TV.

So I was thinking, if I could build a parascope and mount it into the front wall of the house, I could use that bitch to see who was at my door, without standing in front of the target zone myself.  I Googled “How To Make a Periscope out of PVC Pipe” and discovered I’m not the only jackass who has thought of this!  Literally, the third link that came up was about building a Periscope for your Bug Out Location. Damn, did I feel validated.  Make fun of me now, assholes.

As an added bonus, any leftover PVC could be used to build a potato cannon which could be a good nonlethal weapon for home defense (the downside?  launching your food supply 200 yards into the neighborhood).

Plus, I needed an excuse to huff PVC cement.