Well, I waited until the last few days to see if my entry was even worth reading, but I must say all of us have a different reason for choosing to be ready for anything.
When I go married back in the 70's I didn't know I was frugal. I shopped the sales, it was all we could afford. Some weeks I got a great deal on eggs 25 cents a carton, I would get ten cartons, and didn't have to think about eggs until the next sale. Other weeks it was ground meat for 49 cents a pound; I would get ten pounds. We were broke, really broke; Hubby made $98 a week; out of that we had rent, a tank of gas, and everything else we needed came out what was left. We scrapped by and never went hungry.
Along with others from our church we had “trade” nights. This was when one of our church friends hosted dinner for five others. We had four of us who traded, so for one nights dinner we got to " go out" for dinner three times. On Wednesday night our church had a community dinner from 5:30pm to 7:00pm before church, another night out to eat, that only left me two dinners to plan for the two of us. We ate a lot of Burritos and rice, Macaroni and cheese with tuna and stew and homemade bread. Hubby took Spaghetti and mashed potato sandwiches for lunch. Still we didn't go without, and over a few more years as Hubby made more money and I did some babysitting to fill in.
In 1985 we adopted a wonderful baby boy, our lives changed, I had no ideas babies cost so much to feed and diaper. I could sew so he had plenty of things to wear. I would go to the thrift store on $1 bag day I would find as much good "fabric" on the biggest pieces of clothing and then stuff them in the bag, I made him everything except for diapers and underwear, until I found patterns for underwear though Kwik sew. At this point I bought a bolt of off white cotton for thermal underwear and shirts, I paid $5 for over 20 yards 60 inch wide. I still have some of it left. As people saw the cute applique I did on our son's shirts, I had others wanting to have these cute shirts; that lead to sweats, and for many years I made custom outfits for children. It put a lot of material, patterns and notions "back" for a rainy day.
Early in our marriage Hubby and I worked part-time for a friend from church, Bill had a appliance refurbishing business, we worked nights for several hours, cleaning. Old refrigerators, freezers, stoves, and air conditioners. In return we were paid in a used refrigerator, a used stove and used freezer. We used those for many, many years. It was bartering, something I don’t see too much of, as everyone seems to want “New” and instant.
We didn't buy a new car until we had been married over 15 years. Our first home was a 16x70 foot mobile home with a one car garage, on 1/2 acre. It was a start and we could afford it and save up for a "REAL" home later. In 1993 I realized just how ready for everything we were when Central Missouri had massive flooding, we were only 1/4 mile from the Platte River which feed into the Missouri about a 1/2 mile down river. We were returning from California and my Dad's funeral and as the plane went over our area--we saw the water was everywhere. We crossed the bridge over the Platte as they closed it!!! Through the night I packed up our 1966 Chevy truck and camper with everything we would need for a while. The next day the "town" of 200 came together and "moved" our furniture to a warehouse on the hill above us. My first experience with the government assistance was a week later, when they showed up with cans of water; we got two cases after seven days-- two cases of water! I always had a pantry but this showed me we couldn't depend on anyone. Hubby and I spent two weeks waiting for the river to go down and move back. We had no other "hand outs" and made it just fine.
In 1995 we were able to sell and buy a larger piece of land with a small home. We now have 15 acres and live back off the road a ways. We don't garden, too many critters kept taking our hard work' no chickens, too many critters liked them and got in the coop, no matter what we did. But, like many of our prepping friends who live where they can't have chickens or gardens we still prep. Beginning in 1998 I met some great people who taught me a lot about preparing for whatever may come, just a bit more than I knew, I learned about wheat,rice, milk and beans in bulk. How much water I needed for a month, 3 months, and beyond. I learned how to use and enjoy tvp, can meats, and make my own laundry soap.
Even though some were shouting "Y2K" from the roof tops, I just got ready for whatever. I learned to use everything in my pantries, all four of them. I can truly say we are ready as we had a "dry" run a few years later. Over the years we have learned we lose power in bad weather, but we had never experienced 10 days of nothing. We had the ice storm in mind when we got the oil lamps ready that night. We headed off to bed and were awakened by sleet and ice. It continued for several hours, then the power went out. Not to worry, our clocks are battery powered and wind up, and we have oil lamps mounted on the walls of our kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. But after the lights went out, the noise began--loud pops like someone was out shooting off a shotgun.
Over and over we heard the trees, laden with ice, begin to break. This went on all night and in the morning we woke to a beautiful white coating everywhere. We set up our propane camp stove and made coffee, and oatmeal. We then "camped" in one room. I was a bit surprised just how much heat came off the lanterns. Well, day one was kind of fun. We and our son, a teenager, played games, ate popcorn and soup, made s'mores over the propane camp stove. It wasn't so bad.
That night it was cold, our son slept on the floor in his sleeping bag, with a ski cap on, hubby, myself and four little dogs snuggled down in our bed. We did okay, the next day hubby and son headed out to clear the drive and check out the gravel road, I didn't see them until lunch, then back out they went to clear the way in case hubby could get out to head to work. Two more days, no power, hubby gets out and heads to work, the water comes back on. For ten full days and nights we had no power. We didn't die, we were ready! (And in my spare time I started a Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt. All of it by hand, and two years later it was finished.)
It wasn't so bad' we listened to our wind up radio and read. I cooked; we took "spit" baths with just a pan of warm water. We were clean, fed and fine. On day ten the power came back. We found out later we were the last on the "line". Since then they have changed the grid a bit, but all of it taught me I could do it, in the worst conditions, and be fairly comfortable.
Oh, and the government? Well about a week or so after the power came on, FEMA showed up at my door. They wanted me to know they were here to help "clear" the fallen trees--like we still had any to clear--we had already done everything that needed doing.
Fast forward to November of 2007 the bottom fell out of the commercial electrical end of building. My husband who is a Master Electrician and had never been unemployed and always in demand, was sitting there. There was no work. I saw him go from full time work to a day or two a week. We began to get concerned when we had to dip into savings, but through all that time until this year when it started picking back up, we made all our few payments--our home, our utilities, insurance and we never went without anything. Thank the Lord--no credit card debt.
Now putting something by, or prepping is getting its just due, but truth be told we should always live like tomorrow is coming with NO help. Whether it is no money, Y2K, or the impending whatever we have right to care for ourselves, and not to expect anything else. For those of us who are a bit older, we are very pleased those that are younger are learning to care for their own. We have so many ways to save for a rainy day, put some by or prep. It isn't just for when you need something or when things go bad, it is a lifestyle of being ready and able to meet what comes up the road towards us.
To all of us who make this journey we owe a million thanks to--all those who have set up websites, blogs and businesses who help us find what we need to go forth whatever comes our way. In the mean time, hold on, everything changes and never stays the same.
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