The Union Creek Journal

A Chronicle of Survival

April 10, 2015: Comfort

Terry and his family are gone.  They all moved back to Terry’s place yesterday.  We sent one of the handheld, battery-powered short-wave radios with them but, as it stands, the only way they have to charge it is with the 12 volt adapter for their vehicles.  Eventually, their vehicle batteries will drain as well.  They need to get PV power in place as quickly as possible.

We were able to scrounge together a complete PV system, but only three of the ten spare batteries we had in storage tested good.  Three batteries won’t provide much power.  With the panels we had available, it will take about four or five hours of no load to fully charge the three batteries.

There’s a creek and a small pond on Terry’s property so they’ll have water.  They have a wood cook stove in the basement to boil the water but hauling water from the creek or pond and boiling it to make it safe to drink will be nearly a full-time job.  One of Mike and Jenny’s boys can probably do it.

We filled the back of my Dodge with canned goods and dried meat.  Our best guess is that they have three months of food in the back of the truck if they ration it carefully.  It’s early April so they’ll be able to plant a garden and harvest throughout the summer to augment what they have.

Terry’s property has always had a lot of deer.  Unless something has changed that, they should be able to put meat on the table to immediately supplement the food we sent with them.  I think the pond has a few fish in it as well.

They don’t have an outhouse so that will need to be one of their first projects.  We didn’t have any toilet paper to send with them.  We’re down to three partial rolls now.  I still can’t get most of the group comfortable with the alternatives.  A few days from now, that won’t matter.  Toilet paper will cease to be one of the alternatives.  Personally, I plan to use some old T-shirts and just launder them up separately from our other laundry.  There is some potential disease risk with that solution so we’ll need to be careful as we do the laundry.  Rubber gloves.  No touching your face.  No one with cuts or open sores.

After nearly six months without any means to re-supply, I’m really kind of amazed that toilet paper is the only thing we’ve run out of.

Of course, we planned.  We estimated.  We included a margin of error.  Actually, on the flip side of the coin, I wonder how we failed with the toilet paper.  Our minimum target for anything that could not be immediately re-supplied in the event of a disaster was a one-year supply.  We planned on having a few more family members join us from the beginning as some now have.  That should have left us with even more of a cushion.

Here we are at six months and the TP has run out.  Interesting.  Perhaps we should have rationed it more carefully from the beginning.

I wonder how others are surviving … or how many have not.  From our mission to the cities, we know the casualty rates have been pretty high in the more urban areas.  As a percentage of the total population … I have no idea.  Maybe 50% or more are dead.  Starvation.  Dehydration.  Disease.  Exposure.  Looters.  Marauders.  Those with medical conditions requiring treatment probably didn’t make it for very long.  Heart conditions.  Diabetes.  Liver problems.  No more Obama-care to pay for your medications or treatments.

Ironic how the cost of government-mandated and managed health care was ultimately a part of what bankrupted our nation and, eventually, caused the death of so many people.

Ironic and sad.

Unintended consequences.

I wonder if former President Obama is still alive.  I wonder if he’s still denying any responsibility and blaming it all on the Republicans.  Not that Republicans are without blame.  They ran up their fair share of debt as well.  No one in our government – or the governments of the other failed economies around the world – is without blame.  Nor is anyone who didn’t participate in the political process.  We needed to clear out the monkeys and start fresh but, as a populace, we didn’t have the courage.

Now, we pay the piper.

I’m rambling.  Am I rambling more frequently?  I wonder.  What’s the first of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?  Admit you have a problem?  Something like that.  I was never an alcoholic but there are sure days when I could use a good, stiff drink.

Do I have a problem?

I’m getting older.  Physically, I’m pretty fit.  I probably consume fewer than 2000 calories a day but it’s good food, for the most part.  I feel like my mind is slipping a little bit of late.  Is it all the killing?  I’ve seen that push a few people past the edge of reason.  Is it simply a coping mechanism that’s helping me adjust to the new normal?

I don’t know.

My grandmother died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.  Maybe I’m in the early stages.  I can still recall how she recognized that she was starting to slip early on.  Will it be too late by the time I no longer recognize it?

Maybe, like Terry and his family, my brain is moving back to a place that feels more like home.  It may not be the best thing … but it’s a comfortable thing.  We could all use a little bit of comfort these days.

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13 thoughts on “April 10, 2015: Comfort

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  1. Michelle on said:

    Oy Vey– if Obamacare was implemented I guess in your literary reality Obama won the current election.
    A toilet paper shortage is less worrisome than 4 more years of B.O.

  2. gravatarisajoke on said:

    You made a reference to Obama and his part in the crash. Given that the crash hit hard in 2014, is this a prediction that he will stand a second term?

    Not a serious question, just throwing that out there. :)

    I am only to this journal enty as of 7/8. I can’t wait to read how the rest of this saga developes.

  3. Glenn Allen on said:

    In first century Rome, there were over one hundred public latrines, many of them with marble seats, scenes from Greek mythology on the walls, running water and ancient Roman toilet paper provided.
    But what DID they use for toilet paper? What most Romans used was something called a spongia, a sea-sponge on a long stick.
    Romans wore tunics (a garment like a long tee-shirt) and probably nothing underneath. You could just hike it up in back and sit on the cool marble seat, leaving the front of the tunic to cover your knees and your modesty. You would sit there, chatting with your friends, and when you finished your ‘task’ you would rinse the sponge in the channel of running water at your feet and – without standing up or revealing anything – you would push the spongia through the hole at the front, give your bottom a wipe, rinse off the spongia… and leave it in a basin for the next person to use! Gotta love those ancient Romans.
    For your group,perhaps a bucket with a bleach solution to sanitize the sponge, a “black ‘water rinse bucket, a clean rinse bucket might work A personal use sponge would work too. You have to keep your sponge clean. Very much akin to carrying your own drinking cup, eating utensils and mess kit. Food for thought.

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