Dealing with A New Anxiety and a Sneak Peek

As I become more dependent on others for help and my appliances events that could pose more difficulties bother me lately.

The New York Times story of recent attempts to hack our power grid and the increasing tensions with North Korea have hit me particularly hard.

Should have raspberries soon.

 

When I lived in Arizona, we lost our power due to a transformer fire (caused by bird droppings getting too hot).  We saw how hard it was to replace that transformer.  The transformer  had to be ordered from Europe, then could only land in a port in the northwest, it took more than a week for it to travel the highways at night to reach us.

So if the grid went down I know the job to bring it back up could take months.

Instead of letting the anxiety sit and fester I’ve become proactive.

First is to make sure I have plenty of water on hand. Our water is still  horrible with no signs it will get better. After water is food.  I try to have at least six months, preferably eight months of food on hand to get through winter. This year I’m trying to increase that to a full year’s worth of food.  Instead of ordering seeds for next year’s gardens in February I’m ordering them now to be safe as well.

We’ve had a super rainy and cold summer so not everything I planted has done well.  The strawberries didn’t produce any where as much as they should have for one.  So now it’s a rush to assess what I might run low on and purchase enough to make ends meet.

The freezer has been empties and inventoried. The pantry of my staples have also been refilled.  Lots of dried beans and legumes make up the basis of my staples.  I still need more tomatoes for sauces which I hope to have by the weekend.

Along with food and water, I needed to address extra blankets and other warm clothing should we be without power for any length of time.

Of course if all I did was allow myself to worry about basic needs my anxiety would probably grow. I distract myself by working on furniture and playing in the gardens – mainly pulling weeds this time of year.

If you read this far, I probably spoiled your day so how about a sneak peek at the bench I found on the curb. Here’s a reminder of how I found it.

The fabric for the seat arrived today and immediately went into the washer so I can recover that tomorrow but here’s how the bench looks today – minus the cushion.

With so many neutrals on the deck I wanted a pop of color and this turquoise was the perfect pop I needed.

 

So I’m wondering, are you worried about our infrastructure or am I the only one letting this get to me?

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27 comments

  1. The bench looks great Lois. Being practical is a good idea to allay anxiety. Being prepared for disaster is not something I do consciously, but our lifestyle means we would fare better than most, with our own water supply, firebox for heat and energy and home orchard and garden.

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    • Thank you, Anne. I tend to make more safe choices in furniture because I’m usually selling them when they are done or because in my home I like neutral pieces that can go with any of my moods or seasons. Sometimes I just have to go with my gut and make a bolder statement. 🙂

      You are very fortunate to have your own water supply, it’s one of the things I could have had if I moved just a bit further out. Let’s hope all the planning is for nothing and peace prevails.

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  2. Oh Lois, I would never say getting prepared for an interruption to our energy grid would be silly. I actually admire those of have taken steps to prepare – if they are able to do so. Being prepared is always a good thing. And if it never comes to needing that stuff – you can always work the items back into your regular cycle of living – in fact, it is helpful to rotate food inventory once it is established.

    What I find depressing is how close we are to a major conflict without adequate skilled leadership at the helm of our nation. No matter how people feel about our current president, it is clear he is not a statesman in the international sense. He is a business man. His promises domestically fed into some missing needs in our citizens. His background (and I believe his temperament) is totally unsuited to dealing with this kind of international crisis. But no matter, in truth, at this stage of the game we as individuals can only watch – and be prepared for our own survival and needs – hoping it never comes to that. Which is sounds like you are doing.

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    • Elaine, Trump’s temperament and is lack of common sense scares the daylights out of me. I was concerned Bush Jr didn’t know enough about international issues but while I might not have liked the people he surrounded himself with they did have years of service and understood the bigger picture. Of all countries to have an escalation with North Korea isn’t the one to test this president with.

      I do rotate my food and water. The freezer gets cleaned out in late spring or early summer and moved so what’s left is eaten first and the new foods get buried for later. Any new pantry items always get placed behind the older ones so it’s a good system for me.

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      • Lois, I totally agree. I try to be careful with my words when discussing anything to do with this man who holds the office of president because I am never totally sure who his supporters are. While I believe we are in big big trouble now because of him, I try to be careful not to make others angry because of their belief in him. There is so much anger and hate right now. But I believe you and I are on the same page. So prepare in whatever way you can …

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        • Elaine, you are so right. The country is very divided right now and so I tend to avoid talking about politics in all situations this year. I lived through desegregation then within three years saw peace among the races in my hometown. It was as if we were color blind. I was so naïve then. I believed we were heading towards a world where all would be accepted on how they treated others and not the color of their skin. To say I am sad today to see how far we’ve reversed course is an understatement.

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  3. Whether it’s a weather event or an international event, it’s always good to be prepared for an emergency. Your post is a good reminder for me that in our move, the emergency supplies got distributed and need to be reassembled.

    Love the pop of color that the bench will add to the deck.

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    • Glad I could be of help. Moving and finding that right spot for emergency supplies is always a challenge.

      Thanks, it’s surprising how big a change the turquoise made that bench.

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  4. wow…Love the bench colour. Love it.

    Yes, it always helps to have stuff “put away”, for an emergency. We try to have plenty too. I suspect we could survive for a year, but water for that length would not last…Have seen lots of different “filter” systems (Berkley etc), but of course that means one must get the water somewhere…

    I think that more and more folks are trying to put up enough to last for “some time”. It is good common sense, especially if bought on sale. Very little we buy is not on sale, usually some big managers or shelf special. So….although we buy the odd bit a regular or near regular…we save money on food that way too.

    Years ago, maybe ten or so, I was talking to one relative on the phone, and made a casual comment that due to huge weather concerns/flue outbreak concerns, I would be buying a bit extra to stock up so I didn’t have to go out. I had lots, but was trying to influence this person to “buy up a bit”…Well she basically made fun of the entire idea, and no way would they bother, as they could just run out to the store. Funny how things change (and I have no idea when it changed or what made it change), not too long ago, was talking on phone to same person, and she was telling me what a good stock of this and that they add…mmm

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    • Look at you changing the world behavior one person at a time. 🙂 It’s difficult being that one person who is different but eventually they all catch up to us and then we are seen as visionaries. 🙂

      I’m not sure if my anxiety is just on high alert since our election and therefore I am more susceptible to the little blips that happen. I know our energy grid has been attacked before and it didn’t leave me with this feeling. Of course, this attack was closer to being successful. When I add up the current attacks, North Korea and Trumps outlandish comments, along with environmental issues including changes in Yellowstone it makes me wonder if we are racing to the end now.

      The turquoise was a drastic color for the bench but it has gotten a lot of attention on the deck already. I have so many neutrals out there it was time for drastic. 🙂

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      • “difficult being different” —oh yes..sigh

        re the food stores….I do not let anyone know….how much….sigh…

        heard too often what folks think…

        am glad though this person is stocking up….

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        • Same here. I do not talk about my putting up food with anyone locally. My family knows I do but that’s it. I’ve made references to friends who ask what I will do if my kids can’t pick up groceries for me and tell them I make sure to have enough on hand for emergencies such as that.

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  5. Well, as you know, I’m no stranger to this sort of anxiety. I have to say that having a good stockpile of food in the basement has eased my concerns considerably. It’s also really nice to have more flexibility when things get busy and I don’t have the time or energy to get to the store regularly.

    In terms of water, I have a two-pronged strategy. I’ve set aside a closet in the basement which I jokingly refer to as my “water closet.” Whenever I have a glass bottle, instead of recycling it I wash it, fill it with clean water and store it in the basement. Sometimes I think this is just an excuse justifying my affection for cheap white wine… but it also does encourage me to buy things that come in glass rather than plastic. I have to come up with a good system for rotating my supply at least once a year -I’ll probably just use it for watering my garden and then re-sterilize the bottle and refill it with fresh water. I also bought a filter called a “Life Straw” – they come in different sizes and were designed for use in 3rd world countries where finding safe water is difficult. The one I got is a hanging model designed to provide thousands of gallons of clean water on one filter.

    I do think that it would be good to have some sort of system for generating and/or storing electricity. I’m seriously considering some sort of small solar system and/or rechargeable battery designed to provide emergency power. The other thing that I have been thinking about is building or buying some sort of a solar space heater. It’s basically just a big box that you put in the sun. It heats up and then you duct air through it. You can buy a small one for under $300 – or build one for much cheaper. It might not make things completely warm, but it would probably keep me from freezing to death if the power was out for an extended period of time in the winter. I’d LOVE to install a wood burning stove, but that’s probably not in the cards for the moment.

    Anyhow, I like your new bench – can’t wait to see it with the cushion.

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    • Like you a wood stove isn’t in the cards for me yet. I’m not very good about rotating my freezer more than once a year. I do it during the summer when I pull out the food scraps for compost and then take stock of what’s left. I do have to put up some store bought canned foods in the pantry to get by if I want food for a year.

      I’ve seen many DIY solar hot water heater the easiest would be one using aluminum cans painted black and contained in a box with a clear cover. I have to get a portable solar system so I can charge my chair. Prices have come down so that’s feasible before winter. I’m not sure how to address heat yet. I have a gas furnace and it’s in the basement which complicates things as I don’t have a safe way of getting down there. This anxiety is new for me. I’ve put food and water aside for years but only with the intention of making sure I had things on hand for a normal power outage or if roads are bad and I can’t get to the store but not for a long term emergency which is what I feel might be coming.

      The bench should be done by the end of the week. We have a dry day tomorrow so house painting is on the agenda along with lawn mowing, But the rains return Friday when I’ll get the fabric on the cushion and can show you the finished piece.

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  6. There’s definitely a lot out there to be anxious about, Lois, and to be prepared no doubt is a good thing. Can’t say we’ve been very proactive in those terms but we do have wood to burn in our fireplace and a well (if we can maintain some sort of electricity for the pump). It’s scary to realize how dependent we are on these things and getting more so with our technical devices. Seems like we don’t know how to do normal stuff anymore without having a device do it for us.

    Love the bench — color is beautiful. You’re right. It really makes it pop. What a lovely way to repurpose a bench.

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    • The one thing I’m lacking is an alternative source of heat. It’s been on my list but there is a lot to repair, such as the chimney itself, before I can address that.

      Thank you, I am loving the bench and I haven’t even gotten the cushion recovered yet.

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      • You’ll get there, Lois, an alternative source of heat and all the rest, no doubt. Just takes time and an appreciation for the process. Love and hugs, my friend. 🙂

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        • Hi, Pat. There are so many things I would like to do, such as adding a wood stove for heat, but worry about the insurance issues for my son when he has to rent this property to someone else.

          How have you been? Are you safe up there in the mountains? Not sure how close the fires have come to you but you’ve been on my mind. Be safe.

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          • I know what you mean, Lois, with what improvements to make. We haven’t done much but have been getting our basement bathroom back in order after the leak we had a year ago (sorry to say it’s taken us so long). Our daughter and grandsons are coming home for a short visit from back east early October and want to have it good to go by then.

            We have 2 fires burning in Colorado but they’re not close to us, not like what a lot of others are experiencing in the other western states. It’s been a wetter and cooler summer for us this year. Thank God. Thank you for asking.

            Hope you are well and safe, my friend. Take care — hugs.

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          • So good to hear you are safe from the fires in Colorado, Pat. Lately, I feel that the whole world is experiencing disasters with little pockets of safety here and there. You and I are very fortunate at the moment.

            Enjoy your visit I’m sure it will be a good one after so long away.

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  7. Aw, your bench is a wonderful color for your deck. Can’t wait to see the fabric you chose.
    It’s interesting to read about your preparations for a possible disaster. You’ve put a lot of thought into it and implemented some good ideas. I’m wondering though how you will cook things like dried beans in the winter without electricity/gas. Also, what your thoughts are about the effectiveness of simple solar power in winter with all the gray sunless days in the north? I have never contemplated being prepared for anything longer than a hurricane. Our solar battery charger was useless which was disappointing and our windup radio wasn’t very useful either. The radio stations we could get provided little useful information. Our little camping stove heated canned things up fine but cooking dried beans would have been pretty difficult. What you are undertaking boggles my mind!

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    • Thank you, Cynthia.

      As for my preparedness. My neighbor has a grill that I can use to cook on. Of course that’s only while their propane holds out. My back up would be to use a metal bucket I could burn wood in to cook over. I’m also considering cooking beans now and canning them as an option.

      The effectiveness of solar in the winter is a concern and one of the reasons I haven’t purchased a portable solar system yet. I’m not sure yet what I will end up using. As you can see I have some things to work out yet. I have a wind up flashlight but find it’s tiring to wind it up enough to get a steady long use light from it.

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