Missoula Cash and Carry opens

I was knda excited yesterday. A new Costco-ish restaurant supply place opened up in town yesterday. Obviously, I don’t have a restaurant but what I do have is an interest in bulk food at low prices. So…off I went.

The biggest problem was that many things are in Costc-size packaging. Sure, it’s a great deal on ketchup but it’s in a 5-gallon bucket that, once opened, won’t stay good until I’m done with it. Lotsa that. But there were a few things that were of interest to the survivalist type. In a display that would make any homeless hardcore-alcoholic salivate, there was a bulk amount of Sterno products:

20170721_094010 20170721_094034There was also a huge amount of paper/plastic tableware…whcih is handy to have when you dont want to waste time and hot water in a crisis.

If you’re a beans-n-rice kinda guy, there was plenty of that as well:

20170721_094556The meat department had the huge cuts of meat all wrapped up in heavy plastic nad ready for cutting. That was a pretty sweet deal. They also had bulk italian sausage, which is always a staple in this household. (especially after this and this ).

All in all, the prices were okay. Some stuff was stupidly not-a-bargain (Coke for example), but other stuff was. There was also a great selection of frozen entrees and appetizers. For my needs, there were a few things in there that were worth making the trip. For a non-survivalist, convenience standpoint there was definitely some good stuff….for example, a few bags of frozen dumplings are nice to have for a quick meal.

If you’re in Missoula, check em out but keep in mind it’s geared more towards commercial kitchens, so you may have trouble with the product sizing.

 

 

Earthquake stuff

You kow, it’s a little weird but I am still a tad ‘shook up’ (get it?) over our earthquake a couple weeks ago. The effect at ground level here in town was, as my friends tell me, negligible but the effect I experienced was a tad more disconcerting. The Lincoln area, where the quake clocked in at a 5.8, is about 65 miles from here. I’m no geologist, but it seems that if there could be such a strong earthquake 65 miles from here, could it not also have happened here as well? (The answer, of course, is “it depends”. Are we in Missoula on the same plate as Lincoln? Are we in similar proximity to a fault? etc, etc.)

Regardless, earthquakes had never been one of the things on my radar for preparedness. Oh, they were there in the sense of “When California slips into the ocean, how will that affect me other than having to buy food and drink for the party?” but the notion of a destructive (keyword there) earthquake happening ‘neath my feet? Hadn’t really entered into my realm of possibility.

My homeowners insurance needs to be renewed next month. I think I’m going to have a very focused talk with the insurance guy about if I’m covered for earthquakes and earthquake related damages.

Speaking of Mom Nature getting PMS’y, we had a pretty intense blow come through here the other day. Folks across the street from me had half a tree come down on top of their nice, new Subaru and turn it into a Fubar-u. I heard the weather alert emergency tones on the radio and decided to err on the side of caution….took down the big 11’ umbrella in the yard, placed some weight on all the patio chairs, and closed the windows….glad I did. Winds were quite intense and there was a good bit of wind damage in the area. I had the EU2000 ready just in case but, surprisingly, power stayed on just fine. It did remind me, though, that I need to drop a few bucks and pick up a dedicated emergency weather radio with one of those alert warnings.

Icom R6 programming

A year or so back I decided that I wanted a small scanner that I could keep in my Bag O’ Tricks ™. The notion was that in a crisis I wanted a way to monitor what was going on around me. The criteria was that it had to be of good quality, run on AA batts, have as broad a range as possible, and be extremely compact. I eventually settled on the  ICOM R6. 

It is indeed small and handy. But thats part of the problem. To pack in all those features into a tiny little envelope, there’s a good deal of button pressing and less-than-intuitive key-combinations. I’d been meaning to take advantage of the radios ability to interface with my computer and use the computer to program the bloody thing. To that end, I wound up with this.

Basically, what I wanted was something that was menu- or spreadsheet-driven where I could just enter a list of frequencies, delegate them into selectable banks, and label them as necessary. This software does a pretty good job of that.

I’d been meaning to get around to getting the software but I had blown it off as other things in life took precedent. However, after being flat on my back last week during the earthquake and having no idea what was going on, a little pack-of-cigarettes size receiver would have been exactly what I needed to find out how the situation was forming up.

Ticom, of Sparks 31 fame, is my usual resource for info on all things radio but he can be a little tough to find sometimes. If you can find him, or find his blog (which seems to move around from time to time), he’s a wonderful like-minded individual with an expansive encyclopedic knowledge.

So…I reprogrammed the R6 with all the info I had on local fire, cop, EMS, sheriff, and other freqs…threw in the FRS range of freqs as well…and feel a tad more confident to be informed should we have another event where I am caught absolutely flat footed.

Preparing against the last disaster

Annoyingly, I have a tube and plastic bag hanging out of me to allow my ..whatever it is…wound, injury….to drain. It’s a very inconvenient thing.

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Check it out…I make my own gravy!

It collects whatever it is that’s sloshing around in my abdomen. To me, it looks like I’m thawing a steak. I’m hopeful it’s outta me by the end of the week.
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So, last week’s earthquake has me thinking. I succumbed to normalcy bias and dismissed the idea of earthquakes being any real threat around here. I distinctly recall rolling my eyes when I had my hot water heater replaced a few years ago and all this stupid mandated earthquake-proofing stuff had to be done. Now I’m think about having the other water heater earthquake-proofed.

Also, a lot of my day-to-day stored food needs to be secured better on the shelves. Especially the glass jars of stuff.

And I suppose I need to do some research on other specific-to-earthquake issues that I should probably address. There’s a saying in the military that you’re always planning to fight the last war, I suppose it could be accurate to say that in preparedness we are oftentimes preparing against the last disaster.
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And we are also often preparing against the last gun ban. I’ve 30 of the 10/22 mags left, and 35 of the Pmags left. Email me if you’re wanting to get on board.

Networking

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Cute blonde installing a port in my arm

So I’m laying in the hospital bed, tubes in each arm and one coming outta my belly, and I’m talking to the  specialist (who, apparently, is the guy who handles things like I was going thorugh) and he says “…and we’ll also get you started on IV Flagyl..”

“Metronidazole?”, I ask.
“Yeah..”
“I was under the impression that metronidazole was for treating things like giardia and similar bacterial infections.”
“Well, yes, but…how do you know that?”
“Same way I know that I’m supposed to avoid alcohol while on it because it can give similar effects as the old antabuse.”
“Ok, really, how do you know that?”
“I’m one of those paranoid survivalist types. I memorized most of the drug section of a book called “Where there is no doctor”.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Its free online, but I can send you a copy. I keep it around in case I ever need to go through the shattered remains of pharmacy or something after the end of the world and I know what drugs I’ll need. Same reason I hoard my leftover antibiotics and pain pills.”
:::pause:::
“Yeah, I do that after oral surgery. I save my lortabs and stuff in case I need them later. I have a cousin who told me I could go online….”, he says.
“And buy antibiotics and similar stuff used for fish, right? Fishmox, etc, etc.”
“Yeah!”
“Thats why I save all my extra meds.”
And we chatted for a few minutes where he told me he saves his leftover meds as well for those times he’s off hunting or he otherwise might be away from a pharmacy. Basically, I let him talk himself into things.
“You know, if you could prescribe a little extra on those prescriptions youre writing I would sure appreciate it….”

And that is how you find sympathetic doctors and wind up with ‘a little extra’  in your  prescription.

I have a few extra copies of WTIND and will drop one off at my next ABX infusion appointment. You never know……..

Earthquake

As you may have read, Montana had one of the bigger earthquakes its had in a while last night.

Where was I? Funny you should ask. I’m actually back in the hospital with an abdominal infection from having my appendix kaBoom two weeks ago.

Yes, thats right. The biggest earthquake to hit Montana in a long time and I was flat on my back in a hospital bed watching and hearing all the equipment swaying and wondering if anyone else appreciated the irony. You spend a lifetime preparing for a disaster and when it happens….you’re too sick to even sit up in bed and look out the window to see if the power is still on.

My room was on the fifth floor, and that made the effects of the earthquake seem more pronounced. So…there I am…self-described survivalist with a home full of everything I’d need to get me through a crisis like this and………..I’m trapped in a hospital bed. I very much had visions of Rick Grimes from the first episode of The Walking Dead.

I’ll be getting out tomorrow, ideally. I have a catheter in my arm and have to self-administer some IV antibiotics for the next week. Annoying.

Summer complacency

Mags, mags, mags.
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Man, it is so bloody easy to get complacent when the electricity is on, the gas is flowing from the pumps, the internet is up, and WalMart is open for business. That sort of day-to-day normalcy makes it easy to forget that for the large part of recorded human history, this sort of relative comfort and ease is atypical.

You don’t think about going hungry when you have a fridge full of food and a McDonalds on every corner. Same for gasoline when every gas station in town is open 24-hours. Ditto for flowing, potable water, relative public calm, mostly unhindered communications, and all those other things we take for granted.

I’m so bloody busy these days it’s hard to remember that there are still gaps and holes in my preparations that I need to fill.

Tuesday is Independence Day which I usually use as an excuse to go to the range, but I suspect this year I’ll only put in a token appearance there and use the ‘day off’ to try and get caught up on prep-related things I’ve let slide as of late.

Anyone else having trouble staying on point with regards to preparedness these days? It must be the ‘easy living’ of summer or something.

Video – Digging up ammo cans from the bottom of a pond after a year

This is one of those ‘nice to know’ things. You’d be seven types of crazy to willingly store your ammo underwater for a long period of time, but any container that would (apparently) let you do that will certainly do a bang-up job of keeping your ammo dry when its sitting in the back of your truck as you drive through the night to your alpha site, or leave it sitting hidden under some forest debris for a while.

I would be extremely interested to see this sort of test performed using the Chinese knockoff ammo cans. Maybe they’d hold up, maybe not. But on this admittedly statistically small sample, it appears that good condition US ammo cans with good gaskets are capable of doing some amazing work keeping your ammo dry.

As an aside, I’m a belt-and-suspenders kinda guy…if it absolutely needs to be waterproof, put it int a water tight container…then put that in another waterproof container. And maybe vacuum seal the goodies inside in a nice thick plastic pouch.

Generator Day

Still have mags: Pmags/$10 , 10/22 Steel Lip mags/$11
Buy some mags…those dang anesthesiologists don’t work cheap.

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Today was generator day. Pull the EU2000 out of its protective Hardigg case, start it up, hook up a few goodies to it to give it some actual work to do, and then after about a half hour turn it off and pack it up.

I’ve had the EU2000 now for a few years and have only had one occasion to need it – big windstorm back in 2015 that knocked out power for around ten hours. But that doesn’t mean something longer and worse isn’t coming down the pike. Gotta be prepared.

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Speaking of prepared, my mailman told me about an experience he had last weekend. He and his wife were out on one of the logging roads way in the middle of nowhere when he came across a couple who, somehow, both rolled their fourwheelers off the road and down a ravine. The guy was pinned under his vehicle with a compound fracture to his leg, his wife was further downhill with a punctured lung, broken bones, and was basically an hour or two away from needing a priest more than a doctor. Mailman was driving along the road and saw the something in the heavy brush…the man had fastened a piece of clothing to a long stick and was waving it for help. They’d been out there, in the sun, bleeding and dying, for about an hour and a half.

Short version: mailman was able to climb up a hill and get a bar or two on his phone and dial in the local SAR. Not one but two helicopters managed to get there and find a landing spot, but it was tough describing exactly where they were in all that mess.

This is why whenever I go off the pavement I keep smoke and flares in the vehicle. Big ‘ol cloud of orange smoke, or a red cluster flare will do a good job of showing the guy in the door where to point the nose of the helicopter. Of course, knowing the UTM coords for where you are andbeing able to give that information to someone on the other end of your phone is pretty helpful, too.