Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What do the Squirrel Syndrome, Time Change and a List Have in Common?

I don’t know about you, but a few days ago when the news reporter said that summer was gone and fall is officially here, I almost choked. Good Grief, my to-do list for December is still not completed. That is last December, you realize.

If summer is officially over, that means it’s time for those fall reminders. Which brings up the question, what do the Squirrel Syndrome, time change and a list have in common?
If fall goes by as quickly as summer did, we could all be in deep trouble. When fall officially arrives, cold weather plays games as it comes and goes. About the time you get chilly you realize you had better do something. We, as people, become like the squirrels, scurrying about so that we can stash all kinds of things in our trees, only we call them closets. Well, if you follow that path, you could find yourself in a few situations you don’t want to be and don’t need to be. This could happen, if instead of well thought out planning and spending, your preparedness “supplies” are thrown together in a stash. This could bring temporary comfort, until the need arises for you to use whatever it is you have stashed, only to discover that it wasn’t what you needed. You got it because everyone else was scurrying and stashing, and it looked or sounded good when you saw it in their tree.

Not only should you be looking for Pumpkins, you should be looking toward being able to enjoy the cold weather and all that comes with it, such as power outages and no heat. “Enjoy it, you say? Well here she goes again. Barbara’s off on a tangent.”

Well the point is, wouldn’t you be able to enjoy a huge, cold storm, if you were inside, had heat and light and the windows were secure? That seems to be a no brainer, … except, when the storm comes if you have not done anything to keep you warm and snugly, then there is no enjoyment to be found anywhere in that stash in your closet or cupboard.

So now is the time to make that list and check it twice. (There is the list.) Start immediately to evaluate what the real needs might be. As you think of items that need to be replaced or acquired, write them down. Carry a small notebook all of the time to jot things down so that you can remember them. Once an item is jotted down doesn’t mean it’s an absolute purchase, it means you will check out all of the factors required before you purchase it.

Check out your area, especially if you have recently moved to a new climate or geographical area. Wherever you live, what kind of storms should you expect? How severe? How sturdy is your dwelling? What are the critical things that you need to acquire now so that you AND your household will make it through “a dark and stormy night – or days – or weeks”? Start now to gather those things one or two per payday or week. Place them together in the same place, where you can immediately find them, such as in a labeled box on an easily accessible shelf.

In what condition are your flashlights? How many do you have and how many do you really need? You should have at least one, that you know works, per household member. Remember the LED kind burn longer and brighter than the inexpensive “regular-plastic kind”.

What about thermals or extra sweat suits to keep you warm if there is not furnace heat available? How many pair of extra warm socks – not wool – does each of your family members have? Gloves? Warm hat? And so on …

What about a workable emergency- stove to be able to fix a warm meal or a pot of soup? The safety rule of thumb is that you cannot/should not use camping stoves in the house!
Do you live in an apartment, mobile home or house? Space or lack of will definitely affect the kinds of equipment you need to have on hand.

What do you have on hand to get you and yours through several days and/or nights of a total power outage? Seriously think about what that might mean and what areas it might include. I would wager if you start a serious list you will be surprised as to what you might have to deal with. I’ll give you a hint; it is a lot more than just trying to see in the dark. Consider the ages of you family members and what you might have to help them deal with if it is very dark for a long time. Think about how long three days of dark might seem to a very young child. And then think about what if they are cold in addition to that. And then think about more …
Now about that time change question, the time of year to change your clocks will soon be upon us. This is a good time to schedule a Saturday afternoon – or longer – to check your equipment, kits, supplies, etc., to make sure that everything is in working order, and of course, that you know where it all is. No, no, not that you know it is under the pile of tires and tarps, but that you have hauled it all out, straightened it up and really know where it is. I know, I know you’re thinking, Barbara is nagging again. You have to remember, Barbara knows the words to that song, “I told you so …”

Your homework assignment is to be a wise squirrel and choose your stash carefully. Check out what you have on hand – after you haul it out from under whatever. Then make a comprehensive list of needed items that will suit your circumstances.

Can you believe an entire article that didn’t mention chocolate? That’s because I slipped it in subliminally three paragraphs back.