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.
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?
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.
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.