Aren’t we all dreaming of putting 2020 to rest with a final Click! ?
If you think about it, it’s not THAT much of a surprise that the world would experience a pandemic that shut down life as we know it. Yet, I’d say almost all of us were not ready for such an experience. (Preppers, I know, a situation like this has been on your radar. But you are a small demographic.) A pandemic was not really on my radar.
And then it did happen. Wow, what lessons we have learned! It started – for me – on March 12. I was in Wegmans picking up some extra supplies because things were suddenly getting a little weird. Mr. Gordon had dropped me off and went to Wal-Mart to get five-gallon jugs of water for the water cooler. (Our water is safe to drink, but has a high content of iron and Mr. Gordon doesn’t care for the taste.)
I went into Wegmans. It was just bizarre. The store was packed yet very, very quiet. People with carts quickly zoomed the aisles, grabbing stuff off the shelves. What the hell? And then I caught the whiff of something new in the air, something I had never experienced: mass fear.
Holy crap. I better grab some stuff, too.
While I didn’t go crazy, I did pick up more staples than planned. I was concerned before… Now I switched to, “should I be more afraid?” I texted Mr. Gordon about my experience at Wegs. Same at Wallys. He had better luck at Lowe’s.
I did have one interesting experience in the canned tuna section. Wegs offers individual cans of tuna and family packs. We always buy the family pack of cans because it’s a few cents cheaper and a can of tuna is good to have on hand.
There was One. Family pack. Left. A man was near it. He was in front of the shelf, the pack right there. Should I reach around for it? Is he going for it? He glanced at me. I glanced at the family pack of tuna. He looked at it. He slowly reached for it. As he put it into his cart, he said something like, “pretty crazy, huh?”
“Yeah.” I looked at the tuna in his cart. We made a couple of other nervous comments and I turned my attention to the individual cans.
Every region has its grocery store. Wegmans is often labeled as having a “cult following” – which is pretty much true. In fact, when we were looking for our little home and land, we wanted to make sure we were in at least a 30-minute drive of a Wegmans. Sound crazy? Well, Wegmans can be an experience. And, it’s unusual that it’s ever OUT of anything – certainly not anything crucial, like toilet paper. But on that shopping day, it was. And it was out of this, out of that. It was unnerving.
Okay, so enough of that March 12th recap. You probably had a similar experience at some point.
After that wake-up call, we stopped making assumptions (admittedly Mr. Gordon had been feeling and thinking about this for awhile) about what would always be there. We looked at our own security and lifestyle. Certain things could definitely be improved.
We returned to better planning our food purchases (especially in light of the poor gardening year) and ordered a new chest freezer. I work for a company out of Cedar Rapids so my job is already remote. Mr. Gordon switched to working remotely when his company told employees to stay at home. Because of this, we decided that we would finally take the plunge and bring home chickens. There was a “run on chickens” in light of the pandemic – again, I didn’t see that one coming – and we weren’t able to get all of the breeds we planned on, but we love our girls. They are still keeping us in eggs.
There are several local farmers we buy from. We made it a priority to plan big meat purchases this year (“beef boxes,” pork bundles, chicken bundles). It not only saves some money when you purchase in bulk, but its one way to stock up and not depend on the grocery store weekly or monthly. (That night in Wegmans when the shelves were emptying, the meat was going fast, too.)
We had the luxury of ordering some items from Amazon. Did you see some of the prices? Good grief, THAT proved if you are not better stocked up you’ll get raked over the coals pricewise on some items.
We have spent the past year stocking up here and there. No, there’s no three years of food supply in a pantry or MREs. I will admit to having some non-traditional food items, like this Hooiser Hill powdered milk, which by the way, if you mix it in a blender, is not bad for milk in your coffee!
Canned goods and some jarred foods we always have in stock, but we beefed up in some other areas – like toilet paper. I don’t know what it’s like in your region, but our store still limits a lot of paper and cleaning product purchases.
To further reduce our need to go out to the grocery store to limit our exposure to others, we started using Misfits Market and that’s been great. We’ve received two boxes so far (we are getting the delivery every other week) and it’s totally worth it. (I made an “unboxing video” here.)
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And still, with our “better stocked pantry,” we know how fragile our food system remains. I won’t even start on preserving our food (freezing/refrigeration) and our dependence on electricity. We have solar panels on our roof, yes, but we are still tied to the grid. We did look into a battery back-up this year but it was way out of our price-range.
This is where we need to take our own advice: Do what you can, knowing that you can’t do it all. Don’t focus on what you cannot do, but definitely do what you can.
So, as we go into the new year I know that the pandemic will still be with us for awhile. But with the good work of our scientific community I believe that we’ll get past it in 2021. And, this experience will help us be better prepared the next time we have something like this to face. Making lifestyle changes and rearranging priorities will help us better weather whatever storms come our way.
What are you doing differently now that you were not doing in January 2020? Are you doing more of something, less of something? What’s your priority and how are you going to build on your preparedness in 2021? We ‘d love to hear about it!
Drop us a note in the comment below!
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