Sad Tales of a Prepper

I grew up in the Cold War.

Duck and Cover Drills at school in California were for the nuclear war. Here in Texas they do the same thing, but they call them Tornado Drills.

Anyhow, between earthquakes where I was from and hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice storms where I’ve now lived for well over half my life, I just naturally drifted into the Prepper circles.

It had nothing to do with my reading adventures, survival stories, dystopian this or thats. Really. And especially nothing to do with the stories I made up as a very young teenager, which mostly involved with me saving all the horses after the nuclear war and living happily ever after never having to go to school again. Really.

But while it’s fun to do the on-line equivalent of sitting around the campfire telling scary stories about Carrington events, nuclear war, biological war, terrorist cyber attacks on the grid and so forth, just living where hurricanes naturally take aim is sufficient reason to stock up.

So, a nice little chest freezer full of frozen chickens, roasts, and veggies. Yeah, yeah and ice cream and popsicles. And stuck in the back of a closet, cardboard boxes of non-perishables.

I started out so organized. Cereals and granola bars for breakfast. Soups for lunch. Meat and vegetables for dinner. Canned fruit, pasta, crackers . . . I’d get about five days worth in a box. Date the box. Start another. I figured, three boxes and rotate them constantly.

Funny thing is, my family preferred bacon and eggs for breakfast. Or pancakes, waffles . . . And sandwiches with deli meat, not canned tuna again, for lunch. Steaks and roasts and fried chicken and salads . . .
So the stuff in the boxes wasn’t getting rotated . . . but it’s good for years. And the boxes were out of the way. No problem, right?

The mice appreciated the privacy, not to mention the granola bars, cereal, crackers . . . didn’t eat much pasta, but they did sample it all.

Well. Once it was called to my attention, we had a bit of a mouse slaughter and tossed half my beautiful preps.

No matter, I still had the canned goods . . . five years later I tossed all of those, as well. I mean would you eat tuna with “best by Oct 2010” stamped on the bottom? And the fact that the Spam still hadn’t expired was a bit alarming.


But there was still a problem.

You know that faint odor . . .

Took out the garbage.

Took the garbage can outside for a hose-down and scrub.

Scrubbed the garbage disposal—tossed that brush! Yikes! The tray under the refrigerator was scrubbed, the refrigerator was cleaned . . . still the faint odor.

Did I mention the chest freezer full of goodies?

So my husband’s down on the floor with the flashlight trying to see if something died under the washer or dryer, when I start wondering about that freezer.

I pull on the lid. A little resistance, then the seal pops . . .

I closed it quickly.

“You can get up, Tom. I have found the problem.”

He was gagging too hard to answer, but I think he believed me.

Yes. The compressor had died.

Now, the freezer was fairly small, like four feet long and three high. But it was full. Garbage day was three days away.
But! As a Prepper, I was well up to facing even this calamity.

“Tom . . . open the back door. Then we are going to move the freezer out to the porch.” I took a deep breath (choked) and volunteered for the ultimate sacrifice. “On garbage day, I will get up very early and empty it. Until then NOBODY OPENS THIS THING!”

I will spare you the details.

It cured me of prepping.


Since the heyday of my prepperhood, I’ve been through three hurricanes with minimal inconvenience. Rita, Ike, and Harvey. A well stocked pantry and keeping your head seems to work well enough. Prepping for Doomsday? Nope. Things will have to get a lot worse before I do that again!


And now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with writing.

(1) Don’t keep it in the box too long.

(2) Throw out the stinkers.

(3) Just because you are well organized at the start, doesn’t mean that you’ll stay that way. Which is okay for writing, so long as you kick it back into shape before you publish.


And my Space Opera.

57 thoughts on “Sad Tales of a Prepper

    1. Be aware MREs have a shelf life, too. I think it’s 5 years, less if they’re not kept cool. I used to keep a case when I was in the guard, and cycle out a couple of MRE’s each drill with fresh ones. Since I retired I keep one of the 5 gallon buckets of freeze dried meals (Not the #10 cans of stuff, the individual meals). Cycle those out on camping trips, but the freeze dried last 20+ years as long as the packages are intact.

  1. The prepping we did saved our butts during that 2009 typhoon. We really hit the canned good stash hard. Learned that the floating fridge-freezer full of food was still good – well, the freezer of meat was – after the waters receded. Notably though, the canned goods was of various expiration dates, and the ones that were expired but not damaged were still good – and quite tasty.

    Except, it wasn’t really ‘prepping’. It was ‘we’re short on money, dip into the canned good stash to supplement meals’ ‘prepping.’ It was ‘Huh, there’s a typhoon coming. Let’s get our shopping done so we don’t have to brave the floodwaters later’ (and we were assuming that the floodwaters would just cover the street as usual.)

    1. From hurricane experiences, the supplies don’t get to the stores until the water’s down, the stores won’t deal in cash until the armored trucks are up and making the rounds, the armored truck companies won’t send out their trucks until they know there’s gasoline available, the gas stations don’t get deliveries until the water’s down and the streets cleared . . . it’s an interesting iterative recovery process, even when there isn’t major infrastructure damage.

      Best to have a full pantry and just sit it out until the problems were solved.

      Hmm, how to bend that to writing? If you expect to have periods when you can’t write, then try to have a backlog of editing to tide you over the dry spell?

      1. Yep. Even now I cannot abide not having a stocked pantry. People joke on seeing my fridge, freezer and shelves that I’m well prepared for the zombie apocalypse, but if we tucked into the supplies, I’d maybe have a month of food, perhaps a bit over, stretched out. Happily, Rhys understands – and has seen – why I insist on the pantry, and knows I keep track of the rotation and supplies (I am house quartermaster!) because it’s 1) served us through some lean times where money needed to be allocated to things like car repair or computer repair, for example; 2)it’s more expensive to play supply catch up as opposed to making sure the supplies are regularly topped up 3) I’ve been able to whip up dinner and dessert for company at the drop of a hat. My only complaint is that kitchens are so much smaller now, especially the ovens! Rrrgh.

        As for how to bend it to writing… Going over the old stories, maybe? Or noting down ideas, going over one’s notes and research with a fresh eye, seeing what snippets and combinations which you were unwilling to discard because by themselves were good, but had problems fitting elsewhere would do well in a new ‘recipe’ (story.)

    2. I am…sort of a prepper, but in my case that mostly means “buy it ALL when it’s cheap and make yummy stuff as you go”. Canned chicken is useful in the event of The Big Oops, also when somebody at church has a death in the family and you need to make casserole STAT. 🙂

      1. I’ve used it mostly for sandwiches, since the canned chicken I’ve seen are in small cans. Roast chickens, from the local grocery, are my go to for a quick casserole.

        I actually don’t like doing online grocery shopping because then I miss out on the treats that get put on sale for the day. I once came home with 3 roast chickens, because they were half-priced. One got eaten, the other two became a chicken bake and a soup, respectively.

        1. Yeah, ours are in small cans as well. But I can take a small can, mix it with rice, veggies and a bit of dairy, and bake it into an eight-serving casserole with basic nutritional needs covered. I save my canned chicken for emergencies of a social nature, and buy a chicken to roast every week or so. One night roast, one night stir-fry or salad, soup or casserole for the rest.

        2. The other thing about on-line shopping is that not even all of the products they normally carry are available through that service, let alone sale prices.

          1. Mis-clicked. Yep. And sometimes, they don’t have even their own brand of product up on the page! The local Woolworths homebrand of chocolate drink tastes exactly like Nesquik, and sometimes it’s not on the webpage. Ditto the Coles homebrand cheapie breadcrumbs that I use to make a crust on a casserole, or bread chicken thighs with after coating with honey mustard and mayo…

    3. My prepping has saved us during long periods of just being short on money for one reason or another (unusual expenses, drop in income), and during three weeks of being snowed in. Also when my back got really bad and I could barely get from bed to bathroom and back again some days — I was so thankful that we had a full pantry with a lot of stuff requiring minimal prep time because I couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time. I will always keep a full pantry.

      1. I’m looking to possibly having to do a long round of meal prepping and freezing again, and am a bit worried about whether or not it would work this time (meat costs are higher, for one, I don’t have my second fridge and the second freezer I used to have, the children being older eat more…)

        The full pantry is there, and I try to keep it that way, and I do have sausages and home made meatballs and burger to use as meal bases. Probably best to look at the stock and take inventory again. ^_^

  2. I do have one of those emergency food buckets (commercially-available) in the back of the closet, as it was a Vine freebie for me, but otherwise – just the well-stocked pantry and deep-freeze. I mean, really well-stocked. I think that we could probably last for two months without going to the grocery store.

  3. Last week we had a power outage. When it became clear the lights would not come back on immediately, I got out my candles and matches and lit a candle, preparing to face the long darkness.

    Thirty seconds later, the lights came back.

  4. I’ve never been a prepper – I grew up with prepper parents in an era when it wasn’t called that. But I do maintain a certain reserve of non-perishable food. it’s just good sense to have enough to feed the family if the power goes out, you get snowed in, you get iced in, there’s a flood… all of which have happened to us in one way or another. However, I’ve learned the hard way not to rely on freezers. Canned food, tins, and dry goods (in mouseproof storage) are the way to go.

  5. I find fuel is an issue. Living out in Hooterville, I try to keep a couple of gas cans full in case something might happen and we don’t have electricity for a week. That’s been known to happen around here. Electric sump pump. electric water pump, fridge, freezer, furnace, I want to have the generator available. Power doesn’t always go out when it is nice weather, right?

    Thing is, gasoline I don’t use much. Diesel is the lawnmower fuel, gas goes in the weed whacker, the chain saw, the “little” lawnmower (its still big) etc. I commonly end up with year-old gas sitting around.

    You can’t throw away old gas here.

    They won’t let you. It’s “toxic waste” and there is literally nowhere to dispose of it. Worse than paint, really.

    Thus, I learned to strain it through a nylon stocking and use it up a bit at a time in the car. A little old gas in the fresh, as long as you get the water out of it, its okay.

    Still a pain in the butt though. One more pointless chore to do.

    By the way. Does anyone else out there -hate- the fuel jugs we have to use these days? The friggin’ things don’t POUR! I stand there for five minutes with a 20L jug, waiting for it to bloody well trickle out. !@#% greenie idjits…

    1. A $5 gas can is now $20, except they’re so “safe” they fail at actually dispensing gasoline…

      At least I can *just barely* get the safety proboscis to the filler on the lawnmower… it won’t work to put fuel in the car at all; you need a flexible spout for that.

      I broke all the safety valve stuff out with needle nose pliers and put a bolt-through tire valve stem in as an air vent, but they sell non-safety spouts separately now. Cost nearly as much as the can, of course… or you can find the “kerosene” spouts in some places, which don’t have the flapper and O-ring stupidity.

      1. I’ve had some luck finding “vintage, for purely decorative use only really we mean it honest Injun’ wink wink” metal Jerry cans here and there. Yes, they are heavier than plastic or composite. Yes, they are metal so you have to be careful about sparks and grounding. But they pour, and are a lot harder to break.

      2. I was afraid it was just me being old and cranky. Nice to hear there are other cranky people. ~:D

        Here in Canaduh the cans don’t have any vents or valves at all, if you can believe it. The air goes in a little hole in the spout as the gas comes out the other, slightly larger hole, gurgle gurgle gurgle. Takes forever! And fill a lawnmower? Good luck with that, bro. Hope you have a rag handy for the spill.

        But, naturally, showing up at the gas station with a “modified” can is liable to get you yelled at by some random Captain Safety idiot. Also they are super-duper illegal. Many people have swallowed the safety Koolaid hereabouts. Snitch kulture lives.

        And yes, you can’t get the gas out of the can and into the car without a funnel/widget to hold the fricking door open on the little filler spout opening in the car. Ghu help you if you run out of fuel somewhere and all you’ve got is the gas can. You’ll be putting it in with a spoon. Which reminds me, I need to get a funnel for the car again, the old one died on me. They perish in the winter. 😡

        None of this stupid shit applies to diesel though. On my F-250 I can still pour out of a jug, gurgle gurgle, if I’m willing to stand there a while with the heavy-ass thing in my arms.

        City people often wonder out loud why I drive that monster around, and it just makes me laugh. Does nothing ever go wrong in the city? Never run out of gas, never have a power failure, it never snows? Because I used to live in Toronto, and I don’t remember it that way. I’d have killed to have this truck when I was 25.

        1. The new 3D printer we got has a power outage feature where it will retract the print head and save your spot in an outage. A reviewer on Youtube who is in the UK said he doesn’t think this feature was really necessary or important and when asked in comments insists that he never flips a breaker or had power go out due to a thunderstorm or other causes…

        2. Same spout design here, sad to say. It can’t spill if it can’t pour, I guess.

    2. Hate? Loathe?
      Yes. Emphatically.
      Ditto for those responsible.

      Fortunately, modifying them is child’s play.

    3. PRI-G is your friend for keeping gas good for a year or two (longer if it is ‘real’ gasoline). For dealing with modern gas cans, I’ve given up and gone to a transfer pump.

      Thanks for reminding me, Ms. Uphoff. I need to use up or throw away the frozen food in my chest freezer. It won’t last forever, and I haven’t touched the thing in over a year.

      1. Nice pump! You have inspired me, I’m going to see about a hand-cranked version. Because if I need that much gas, it’ll be because there’s no electricity. Also because I’m suuuuuper paranoid about electrical things being near gasoline, and that little pump was likely made in China.

    4. Yeah, the safety/vapor barrier dispensers are among the worst engineered products on the planet. I have half a spout broken off and sitting in the bottom of my tractor’s diesel fuel tank. I’d like to take those spouts and jam them up the designers you-know-what.

      1. In fairness to the designers, sometimes a good design for some fool idea that occurred to a politician would take time. How much time do the politicians give to the designers?

    5. Yeah, gasoline has a shelf-life. Also, there are maintenance operations you are supposed to perform regularly on a gasoline-fueled generator, which are real easy to forget about if you don’t use the generator hardly ever. Which is why I decided that I would get a propane generator, if I ever got around to deciding that it was necessary. Fortunately at my current address we hardly ever lose power…

  6. Living down here in Florida, I’ve been trying to gently move my family towards (lite) prepping. So far, it’s not working so well. They are much too acclimated to the modern convenience of a grocery store on every third corner.

    I HAVE been a little more successful with non-food stuffs though because we find it easier to have things like paper towels and TP delivered automatically via the Amazon subscription thingie.

    I have also managed to put a couple FIFO can things in the pantry so they don’t so much notice all the extra canned food and it automatically gets rotated which is a plus. It helps that the kids find it fun to stick the cans in the top and pull them out the bottom.

      1. I have a kid who found it great fun to pull everything out of the pantry cabinet and set it all up. Yep… gotta love having odd kids. 🙂

        Strangely enough, she decided to use one of the “slots?” for jars of salsa. I was amazed that they fit… and also amazed that I had that many jars of salsa lying around. I do like me some salsa, but really? She found all that in the pantry? I need to get eating on it before it goes out of date!!! LOL!

        1. I sympathize with your kid. I always feel all content after buying huge quantities of something and getting it stashed Just So.

  7. I grew up on a ranch. Potentially being cut off from everything for a week was called “winter”, so we’ve always got a bit of a stash for my peace of mind.

    Of course, I’m old enough to remember when preppers were called survivalists. I’ve known a bunch, but never been one myself.

    Which all leads to a man in his mid-40s recently being amazed that city water works when your lights go out.

    1. I grew up on a farm, so that sounds very familiar. When we were snowed in for days on end, having a freezer full of meat and plenty of canned goods in the pantry ensured that we didn’t miss any meals. Milk could run short, and I remember a couple of times when the last loaf of bread got eaten and Mom would bake some bread (assuming she had yeast on hand).

      Looking back, I realize that at least some of it was also the result of being in a line of work where we got paid a lot in one small period of time and had to make it last all year. Sure, Dad had his side hustles, using his truck to pick up wholesale stuff for some of the local businesses, selling seed corn, etc. But the big check was the corn and beans, so there was a reason that we’d always buy a steer from an old family friend and pick up the cut meat in November — not just because the weather was cold and we needed only a few thick blankets to keep the meat cold on the way home, but also because that was when we got the grain checks and had the money to buy it. Or why we got massive amounts of canned goods at about the same time — not just because Winter Is Coming and we could be snowed in, but because we had the money then, and it was best to get the non-perishables bought and on hand so we’d have them throughout the year.

      Even now, I like having enough food on hand that we could weather the disruption of a tornado or being stranded a few days by a blizzard. And since we do some outdoor events that involve camping, we’ve also got some other equipment that would help us, like the camp stove (which I need to buy another couple of bottles of propane for, since we opened our last one on our most recent camping event) and the solar array that enables us to keep our devices charged (although if I set it up in the back yard, I’d need to also set up one of the EZ-Up’s to protect the power box with the battery, charge controller and inverter).

      But I remember how much of a surprise it was when I moved into a place with city water and discovered that no, the water doesn’t go out when the power goes out.

    2. Unless the water department has its own backup power (unlikely), what’s coming out of the faucet when the power is off is coming out of the water towers. From experience with lengthy power outages, I know that’s enough for a little over a week in the winter time.

      *Too many* lengthy power outages, and no attempt at all by the local power company to, oh, cut down trees growing through the power lines… which is why we have far more stored water than we apparently need, and the generator, and the invertors, and the cars never get below half a tank.

      1. There is that. A sufficiently large tornado outbreak that hit a significant number of transmission lines might leave the city without power long enough to exhaust the water towers. I know that a friend of mine in Limestone County, Alabama was left without power for over a week in the 2011 outbreak, mostly because the transmission lines from the TVA got turned into scrap steel and aluminum spaghetti. I’d have to ask her, but IIRC the state ESDA had to truck in bottled water for drinking and tankers full of non-potable water for everything else.

        We usually keep a case or two of bottled waters around the house, and we have four thermos jugs we can fill with water. If I had some advance warning, I’ve got a couple of those big 5 gallon collapsible jugs I could fill (they’re in one of the storage units, so they might take a little searching).

      2. Pacific Power uses Trees Inc. to keep the lines clear. I’m sure they’re more beauty-oriented in the city, but here, if it’s a threat, it comes down. We have enough trouble with our power to let a pine tree take out a 12.5kV distribution line.

    3. That’s pretty much it for us. Groceries are an 80 mile round trip, and Costco is 200 miles. The difference between “prepper” and “prepared for rural life” is subtle, sort of. 🙂

  8. Our supplies include a radio with rechargeable batteries and a solar-powered battery charger. We keep a couple of weeks supply of drinking water, which we cycle through. The goal is, following a major earthquake, to hold out for a week or two, if need be. Finding out what routes are clear out of the city (Seattle) could be critical to know as well.

  9. Grew up in northwestern Illinois the other end of tornado alley. Raised by grandparents who lived through the Great Depression and had kinfolk who were old school LDS, so putting food by was simply what you did. And mice have a really hard time with quart mason jars.
    In a power outage of more than an hour or so keep fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. If you have an emergency generator or other off grid power source run then a half hour twice a day.
    I am partial to Mountain House freeze dried meals. Shelf stable 25 years if unopened. Mostly I buy #10 cans of the stuff. The pouches I make sure are in a heavy plastic sealed bucket for rodent protection. Keep in mind that with such food you need both water and a heat source to reconstitute.

    1. Here on the gulf coast, where we have advance warning of hurricanes, I freeze water in those lunchmeat tubs. A couple of quarts of milk (with a little removed for expansion) and cooked food. I’ve got enough tubs of ice to move to the fridge to keep everything there cold and freeze even more. Really handy. And we fill up the water storage, because we have a water well.

    2. My grandmother the Master Food Preserver passed away three years ago. When my aunt was cleaning things out for the estate sale, she reported finding jars of vegetables labelled with my name and my sister’s name on them, dated in the 1980s. (They are from when she taught us to can)

  10. I can feel your pain, but you did break the one and only hard and fast disaster cleanup rule.
    Never, ever open the fridge or freezer if it has lost power / wasn’t working for an unknown amount of time. Just tape it closed and chuck it.

    I heard stores of one that someone just had to open during a fire demo where the odor emptied a three story house.

  11. Number One: In a disaster, unless you have a working backup generator and fuel supply, your freezer is going to fail. Ergo, frozen food is not a disaster preparedness supply. Even Pat Frank’s, “Alas Babylon” made that point plain.

    Number Two: Buy foods that everyone will eat. If nobody likes reconstituted freeze dried Brussels sprout ice cream, don’t get it.

    Number Three: You don’t have to rotate your supplies through your normal food consumption. but you do need to rotate or replentish them periodically. If you have enough money to do so, you can toss out the old and replace with new. I certainly don’t have that much money. So I cheat.

    I buy canned and dried foods in enough volume for a weeks worth of meals for the family. Box it all together and write the date when the most perishable item expires, minus 6 months, on the outside. Put the receipt for all that inside the box. When you reach the date on the box, pull out the receipt and put it in your charitable donations tax bill pile, and take the entire box to the local food bank. Then go buy fresh stuff. That way you get to rotate it, you get a tax deduction, and you get to feel good about helping the folks in your community all at the same time.

    I like the boxed irradiated milk because it keeps a long time. But it doesn’t keep as long as canned and dried foods; so you’ll need to rotate those out more frequently.

    I also keep about 30 gallons of drinking water in plastic jerry cans that I empty and refill every 6 months. (I really need to get off my duff and dig a water well, but that’s a buttload of work and has significant dangers of collapse if you’re not careful.) Sneaky way to do it is use an excavator or backhoe to dig a BIG hole to below the waterline so you don’t have a collapse problem, then brick, block, tube, or rock up the well and then backfill around it.

    1. I remember the first time I came across that boxed irradiated milk stuff. The only things I had ever seen as far as keeping milk around was my father occasionally buying an extra gallon or two and sticking it in the freezer for later (which I hated because it tasted awful) and powdered milk. Then I got asked to drive a meals-on-wheels van because a friend of my mother ran the meals-on-wheels thing in the area, and she was in a bind because she needed a driver on very short notice for a few weeks while the regular guy went out of town for a family emergency. The route was over a hundred miles, picking up a van full of prepared meals and delivering them to local distribution points in a half-dozen tiny little towns in the area. The first day, they loaded a bunch of these little boxes that said milk. No refrigeration or anything, from a store-room that likewise had no refrigeration. I was completely floored. Milk…. with no refrigeration needed… HOLY COW!!! (heh) We were living in the FUTURE MAN!!!

      Keep in mind, the whole idea of shelf stable boxed milk was new enough that I hadn’t even heard of it yet and I was getting to drive one of those new-fangled Chrystler mini-vans that hadn’t been out very long.

      1. I/we first ran into irradiated boxed milk when I was stationed with the ground launched cruise missile folks at Florennes AB in Belgium. It didn’t taste like fresh, or reconstituted, but it sure tasted 300% better than powdered. If I remember correctly, they run it past a cobalt 60 source which kills damn near everything; and of course lends credence to the concept of a doomsday nuke thoroughly salted with cobalt.

        1. I met it in Germany and then rediscovered it at Wal*Mart, of all places. And then giggled mightily because it was Parmalat brand (from Italy), and that company had just made the financial news for all the wrong reasons.

  12. We aren’t preppers/survivalists, but we do have a nice little stash of food. Things like homemade tomato sauce from when tomatoes are in season and a nearby farm has U-pick at 30¢/lb, or turkey broth from whichever bird was last cooked, or carnitas in vacuum-sealed packages for whatever we want to do. The trick is to only get the stuff you EAT, which is why we never have expired tuna on the shelf (the oldest kid loves his tuna sandwiches at lunch), but the canned fruit my MiL buys and leaves here? Why would we use that when we’re in the heart of someplace where it’s fresh?

  13. Your smartphone is a useful tool in keeping up your prepper kit.


    When you get the items you need, go to your calendar app and set a reasonable date (I personally prefer 30 days) before that item expires. Just a simple, all-day note saying, “Your MREs will expire thirty days from now.”

    This lets you keep track of these things more easily and give you plenty of warning to get new supplies.

  14. I don’t trust freezers after a couple bad experiences, I add an alarm, with a loud beeper, to any of them that aren’t opened on a daily basis so I know before the food spoils. Prefer wireless sensors or at least ones with flat thermometer leads to keep the freezer’s gaskets happy.

    Far from perfect but I can go buy a new freezer and swap the food if it is just a compressor failure. If it is a power outage or the like I can try to outlast it leaving the lid shut but still be alerted about rising internal temps in time time to pop it open and rescue what food I can.

    I second the recommendation to tape it shut and get it out of the house fast. If you have to look that is best done at the bottom of your driveway, not on your patio or inside.

    1. Back when I was in college the first time, the dorms closed for Spring Break and they shut off the power. We were told over and over “clean out the fridge and freezer.” One year, I was the first one back into [redacted] hall. I went into the kitchen on my floor and opened the door. A carton of ice cream waved at me.

      I didn’t need a full bunny-suit and breathing gear, but it was close. Never did find out who left that little surprise.

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