Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Emergency Preparedness

I have a prickly dread of being isolated at home with a houseful of kids and a husband and nothing to do. When fears of epidemics, catastrophic earthquakes, or invasions from Canada (you never know) worm their way into the conversation, it's one of my first thoughts. What if we were quarantined, or couldn't go out-and-about for some reason? What if we had to remain within the four walls of our house for days, weeks, months? What would we do to keep from going crazy?

So, I have prepared some activities in the event of any or all of the previously listed emergencies. Obviously, if we still have internet, we can find endless hours of information, escapism, and cat videos to keep us occupied. We could sign up for everything—Hulu+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, even the Hallmark movies, just so we had all possible options.

If we don't have internet but still have power, it's lucky I have approximately 170 hours of National Geographic VHS tapes for us to watch. That should lead to some intense family discussion, and likely count as home school.

Also, board games. Last week when the power was out, we played games for hours. It was anything but boring.

Piano lessons. Do you have a piano? Our oldest daughter, Jenna, plays, and some of the other kids briefly took lessons. Consequently, we still have lesson books ranging from beginning to advanced. In the face of months with no electricity, we could all become proficient pianists by the end of our quarantine/disaster isolation/hiding from the Canadians. Luckily I never throw anything away.

Craft supplies. And, if you know how I feel about crafting, you know I would only pull out the supplies in case of emergency. I do have them, though.

Finally, we have books. Do you keep books in your home? Even if you don't read on a regular basis, it's a good idea. Pick a few classics, books with meat to them that would still be interesting on the twentieth read. Remember in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"? Millie had a copy of Plutarch's tales, and the Bible. When the brothers and the hoped-for brides were trapped at the farmhouse for the winter, they read Plutarch (and presumably the Bible) over and over and over. Wouldn't they have loved a little Shakespeare, or Dickens, or even an old Farmer's Almanac?

With that in mind, I keep lots of books on hand. How could we survive without books? And, just to keep things interesting, I often buy books I know nothing about, and leave them on the shelf for boredom emergencies. Makes sense, doesn't it? "Open in case of emergency." We probably have a thousand books. Paper books, mind you, not eBooks.

If our county department of emergency management were to chime in at this point, they would probably add the need to stock up on other things, too. Emergency kits, extra food in the pantry, bottled water, medicines, books… Wait, I already said that one.

A lady I know told me this story (hopefully I have it right): When Mount St. Helens blew on May 18, 1980, she was living in Ellensburg. They were preparing to go to church when they heard the explosion, and the sky went black. They stayed home, of course, as the air was clogged with falling ash. What do you do when you find yourself stuck at home and the world appears to be coming to an end? You bake a chocolate cake, of course. And that's what they did. Comfort food is important in times of emergency, so keep some cake-making ingredients on hand, too. Just in case.

You know, once you're prepared, nothing bad will happen. That's how it works. Get ready to be housebound, and I can almost guarantee that the plague, the Big One, and the Canucks will never come.

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