Dream, hamthrax, gas

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Oy…I had ‘one of those’ dreams the other night. In the dream I was in some distant city, at night, and suddenly noticed what appeared to be a dark mushroom shaped cloud on the horizon. As Im remarking about this to the people Im with, the streetlights start to flicker and Im thinking “this might be very very bad”. We run down the street to a storefront that has in the window, of all things, a seismograph. The needle is wildy pegging in each direction. Next to the graph theres a small computer display with a news alert saying a bomb has exploded in Seattle (or maybe it was Spokane). And, at that moment, I think “Im not nearly as prepared for this as I could be”.

Fortunately, I woke up at that point.

I haven’t had one of those dreams in a while. When I do have them, they usually spur me to greater progress in being prepared. This time will be no different, Im sure.

I remember reading a review, years and years ago, of a play about life after a nuclear holocaust. The play, whose name I cant recall, took place five years afterwards when life has returned close to normal. One character is a ‘Calamity Jane’-type woman who laments the return of civilization. The chaos and turbulence of the aftermath of the nuclear exchange brought her into her own..she became the rough-n-tough individual she’s portrayed as…and she doesn’t want to go back to being whatever person she was before. Her character discusses the return of civilization the way some westerns have cowboys and mountain men sadly talk about the encroachment of civilization and its attendant rules and regulations. The ‘Wild West’ lifestyle made her realize her full potential and she doesn’t want to give that up. In short, the end of the world was the best thing that happened to her and she doesn’t want to give it up.

I think about that from time to time because sometimes its easy to sound like we want some sort of disaster so we can be heavily armed superheroes of the wasteland. Or we want to be able to shout “I told you so!” from the rooftops. Or we want the chance to be someone other than who we are now and the end of the world is as good a time to reinvent yourself as any other. Some folks, it seems, see it as an opportunity…for advancement, personal growth, personal gain, revenge, vindication, whatever.

For me, none of that is the case. I do what I do because I like my life more the way it is now than the way I think it will be like ‘after’. If I die a quiet death in my sleep thirty years from now without ever having used any of the piles of gear and supplies we have I will think of it as a triumph. After all, we buy insurance because we don’t want a particular event to happen to us, right? I see this accumulation of gear and supplies as insurance – if I never have to use it, it’ll be money well spent.
The news is saying that the swine flu (“hamthrax”) had its first US death. Wait, wasn’t this thing supposed to be a non-starter? We were told the end of the world was coming with every sneeze and then we were told that its only as bad as your averafe flu bug. And now the media is trumpeting this death in Texas. There seems to be a certain lack of consistency going on here. Since Im not exactly an optimist I tend to trend with the negative reports but at least that way if Im wrong theres no harm.
Started rotating out the stored gas from last year. The preferred method around here is to fill a Euro-style can, add a little PRI-G, close it up, and secure it in a safe place. I try to rotate the stuff out every year although I do think that it could go at least another year if it had to. PRI-G or StaBil will work but I like what I read about PRI-G. Cant say Ive noticed a difference between the two so maybe its all just hype, but I use the PRI-G anyway.

The only gasoline dependent thing we have at the moment is the truck. We have enough stored gas on hand to tank it up three times. I figure that gives us about 700 miles of range…on paper. I actually only count it as 350 miles range because I foresee a lot of time in traffic if we ever do have to evacuate. Whenever you see pictures of people leaving wildfires in California, or hurricanes in Florida, theres always long lines of stalled traffic and even at idle you can still go through fuel pretty quick. So…I figure a fifty percent safety margin to account for stalled traffic. In reality, once we got on the interstate I think we’d have pretty smooth sailing until we got near any major population centers. Also, I like to think we might be able to, if we had to, steal a few gallons out of the city agencie’s gas supply if we had to. Regardless, 350 miles of range is enough to get us out of harms way, I think.

Of course, if we ever wind up getting an emergency generator for the house that’ll wind up needing its own dedicated fuel supply. The more I think about it, a propane generator would be nice. I could get a fairly decent size tank for it in the yard and not worry about it. On the other hand, a gas generator has the advantage of fuel compatibility with the vehicle.

I used to think that propane would be a perfect fuel to run a house on..could run a generator, water heater, furnace, etc. Then someone pointed out to me that oil would be a better choice…you cant exactly walk down the road and borrow five gallons of propane in a bucket whereas you can borrow/scrounge/steal oil in any clean container. There’s some merit to that and I need to think about it more. Someday we will have a nice little place out in the sticks and it almost certainly won’t be tied into an electrical grid so theres gonna have to be some sort of compromise in there somewhere.