What Does Preparedness Mean to You?

What Does Preparedness Mean to You?

What is it they say about making assumptions?

  • I have four children.–>When they were young, I was routinely asked if we were Catholic.
  • I homeschool my children.–>I am often asked if we’re members of a Holiness Church. (This always amazes me, since I live in blue jeans and boots.)
  • I am a Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse.–>I’m constantly asked if I was too scared or not bright enough to go to medical school.
  • Oh, wait! Let me redo that first one, please! I have four children.–>I’m often asked if I know what causes pregnancy! That’s my favorite!

True story:  Years ago, we attended a church whose pastor thought he was a little wittier than I did.  When he heard we were expecting our fourth child, he marched up to me (in front of a crowd) and said, “I hear you are adding to the nursery again. Do I need to explain what causes that?!?”  I waited until he was finished laughing at his own ‘joke’.  Then, I looked him straight in the eye, smiled, and said, “Nope.  We know what causes it.  We just REALLY like it!”  He wasn’t quite sure how to react, but I laughed and eased the moment.  My response had the effect I wanted.  That pastor never commented on my personal life in public again.  (For the record, there is a ten-year span from oldest to youngest. We wanted each of them and had infertility issues along the way.)

Now, back to flawed assumptions.

  • We live on a farm.  We raise, process, and preserve a large portion of our food.–>We’re routinely asked: Oh! Are y’all some of those crazy ‘prepper’ people, like on TV?  or Oh! Are y’all getting ready for the Zombie Apocalypse!?!  Once, we were told, “I would never have guessed you were in the tin foil hat brigade! You seem so normal!”

Let me clear up a few things.  We’re Protestant.  We’re not Holiness.  I’m an ICU nurse because I love being able to make a difference on people’s worst day.  I do have a sense of humor about sex and family life.  AND…I live on a working farm, because, I love it!  I was the kid who begged to help my farming grandfather at shearing time, butchering time, or any other time.

We love our life!  We also love that our life offers a certain amount of security.  I’m NOT talking about alien invasion, germ warfare, or even a Zombie Apocalypse!  Apart from myself after several twelve-hour shifts, I’ve never seen a zombie out to destroy humanity.  (Although a three a.m. Wally-World experience did make me wonder if the Zombie Apocalypse involves scavenging for brains while wearing Sponge Bob pajamas and fuzzy slippers.)

We have, however, seen power outages, job losses, freak ice storms, and injuries severe enough to bench me from work.  When I say our lifestyle provides us with security, those are the situations to which I refer.  Although should a prepper’s worst nightmare occur, we’re in a better situation than if we had two days of groceries, no extra water, and no way to produce our own chow.

I’m in my mid-forties.  Although I’ve had a lovely life, it’s been far from charmed.  I’ve had enough catastrophes, both minor and major, to know that more drama likely awaits.  So, we try to be prepared.  This doesn’t mean we live in fear or let our quality of life suffer.  It means that we make conscious choices to anticipate problems and compensate for them.

Things we do to be prepared:

  • We work an hour and a half from home.  Texas weather is notoriously unpredictable.  In the last eight years, I’ve been iced in at work four times.  The last time, I was stuck there four shifts.  So, I carry some things in my car.  I always have spare scrubs, ear plugs (I’m a day sleeper.), basic medication, toiletries, snacks, extra cash, bottled water, and other basic emergency equipment.  In ‘prepper’ terms this is a GHB (Get Home Bag) or BOB (Bug Out Bag).  For me, it simply makes my stay at the hospital manageable if it is unexpectedly prolonged.  Having said that, I’ve dipped into that bag on many occasions.  The scrubs help when I spill coffee on myself or a patient manages to nail me with body fluids.  I break into the snacks when I get that hangry road rage feeling.  (Liam has the same commute and carries a similar bag.)

  • We also keep first aid kits in our cars.  As nurses, we’re often asked to treat small injuries among our kids’ friends.  There are days I dispense a lot of band-aids and days I provide actual first aid.  The kit in my car comes in handy regularly.  Once, at a local pool, a child became seriously and acutely ill.  His mom carried him to me crying.  By the time she managed to tell me what was happening, Jonah had run to my car, grabbed the bag, fished out my spare stethoscope, and was shoving it at me asking what else I needed.  Can I just say, my kids rock in a crunch?  (The child was rushed to the hospital and made a complete recovery.)

  • My kids have a first aid bag.  What goes in this depends on the kids’ ages and abilities.  However, as soon as they were ready to stay home alone, they had a kit they were taught to use.  As the kids have grown, the kits have changed.  But, they still go to that bag for small injuries.  When I set it up, I used an old Winnie the Pooh backpack someone had outgrown.  I had to smile recently when I heard Sam shouting “Grab the Pooh bag, please! I got caught on a wire!”  (In nursing, ‘poo bag’ means something very different!)
  • We keep medications and advanced first aid equipment in our closet.  We also keep a supply of animal first aid equipment on hand.  These supplies have come in handy more times than I can count.  Animals rarely decide to be sick or injured when the shops are open.  (They’re a lot like kids in that way.)

  • If you’ve been following along with our pantry series, you’ll know we keep a larger than average pantry.  This isn’t because we live in fear of societal collapse, but because we’ve been through tough times and have been grateful for what we had stored.  We do NOT have hundreds of pounds of dried beans and cases of freeze dried dinners.  We simply built up a stock of foods we use.  We rotate the food, so it has the best shelf life.  If you’re trying to decide what to stock, that’s easy.  Stock what you eat.  Then, eat what you stock.

  • We store water.  There are even jugs of water under our beds.  (Shhh.  Don’t tell the home decor police.  The dust ruffles cover them, I promise!)  We are planning to put in a water catchment system in the future, but for now, we have a pool and a stock pond.  The pond will provide water for livestock.  The pool will provide water for flushing.  The stored water will be for drinking and cooking.  We also have a water purifier in case, as happened in New Orleans, the water is unsafe to drink for an extended time.  (We are very rural, so our utilities aren’t the company’s first priority in an outage.)

  • We keep a non-food pantry including extra toiletries, medications, animal feed, cleaning supplies, etc.  Basically, anything it would inconvenience us to do without, we keep extra on hand.  One of my best friends is a Navy brat.  She was raised on the principle of “two is one, and one is none”.  In medicine, we work with much the same idea.  If a patient needs a drug to live, then you always have at least one backup dose on hand.  We apply that to the rest of life as well.  Not out of fear, but because it brings peace of mind.

If you’ve never focused on preparedness before, it can feel overwhelming.  The trick is to prioritize.  If you need medication daily, start by being sure you have extra of that on hand.  We didn’t suddenly invest thousands of dollars in stocking a pantry, first aid equipment, and backup items!  We built our cushion slowly with money saved from other areas and surprise windfalls.

If there’s no money to spare, you can still make a start!  One of the best ways to be prepared is to be knowledgeable and informed.  Libraries and the internet are full of great information!  Obviously, you must be discerning in your reading, but knowledge really is a treasure.  Read about first aid, DIY, cooking from scratch, or any other topic that will help you prepare for life’s little hiccoughs (or ginormous coughing fits).  You may learn things that will help save money, which will let you begin to build a buffer.

Our farm life is my ideal.  If we knew we’d never be injured, broke, or stuck in bad weather again, we wouldn’t change our choices!  However, we still live in the real world.  As long as that’s the case, we’ll take the time to be prepared and keep a little extra chocolate stashed for emergencies!  We sleep better knowing we can deal with sick livestock, sick kids, or a sick economy more easily for being prepared.

Do you prepare for minor emergencies?  Do you prepare for major ones?  What are your best preparedness tips?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Many of our posts are shared at some of these awesome blog hops and link up parties!  They are great places to go for fun, information, and community building!

About Anne in the Kitchen

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  1. Cute donkey. 🙂 Bet people don’t make fun of you for having a first aid kit in your car, which, as you mentioned, has come in handy. Bad things happen. It’s a kindness to one’s family and others to be prepared. Totally agree with what you said about “knowledge really is a treasure”.. preparedness being more than stocking a pantry.

    1. Karen,
      Thanks, for stopping by and for taking the time to comment! I love the idea that it is a kindness to be prepared. We try to anticipate problems avoid them if possible, and be prepared for them if they can’t be averted. Have a great day!

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