Getting prepared to prepare

I think we can relax now and slip back into our usual trip down denial. It’s the end of National Preparedness Month. 

I know I was on my toes the whole time…How about you? No? Yeah, me either.

There are those who are apparently prepared for any disaster and they really want the rest of us to toe the line. Whoa, dude. What a giant buzzkill. I recently saw some literature that first reminded us that Sept. 8 was the one-year anniversary of the “Great Southwestern Blackout.”

When it first happened, “Did you view it as an excuse to grill that steak and open that bottle of wine by candlelight?” they scolded.

Well, sort of. While lots of neighbors enjoyed a lovely night of revelry by candlelight I chose to go to bed early and read by flashlight. I was proud of how well we avoided the Chicken Little syndrome.

From there on the whole article pointed out just how sadly unprepared we are and even though they were right, they sounded kind of like your mom. Never mind it was great advice. You just wanted to roll your eyes like a 16-year-old again.

I know we have to consider earthquakes, fire and any number of ridiculous terrorist threats, but doing it every day is just too exhausting. There is no way I could have sustained that level of Def Con 1 concern for an entire month.

Yes, I admit I need to stock up on non-perishable food, water and cash, sleeping bags and such. I did have all that 10 years ago when my kids were little. One day I opened the plastic container where I thought I had it handily stored and was knocked flat by the smell of mold. The water had leaked and you can imagine the rest. It seems I had created a small disaster all by myself.

Since then, I haven’t yet figured out a good place to keep it all. If it’s in the garage or a closet or really anywhere in the house, there is every chance it will be out of reach after that 10.4 quake finally gets our attention. If I try to keep it outside, the ants, rats and other flora and fauna will overtake it. I’m flummoxed.

Meanwhile, my husband is a sap for the big discount stores and loves to buy in bulk. Since our pantry is always overflowing, I figured we must have something we could survive on. Turns out we would have to live on gallon jugs of olive oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, parmesan cheese, peperoncinis, olives, tuna, pickles and salad dressing. Fear that I will die from indigestion long before I starved has finally inspired me to get out and create my own stash of canned and dehydrated stuff.

I’m picturing some of that beef stroganoff I remember from my backpacking days and several bottles of wine. When the tsunami hits, jump on up here. I’ll share the peperoncinis and I’ll probably stock up on mini-Snickers too.

Jean Gillette promises to get right on that tomorrow, or maybe Thursday. Contact her at


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