I’m Prepared but Not a Prepper
People chuckle when I tell them how I’m preparing for a major power outage or the next shortage of toilet paper. Sometimes, they call me a prepper. Of course, the word prepper immediately conjures up a picture in my mind of a man in camouflage clothing, living in the wilderness completely off grid with ammo stockpiled and an urgent sense of paranoia. That’s what most people think of when they hear the word prepper, I presume.
But hey, I live in suburbia in a 1970s ranch-style house with a tiny yard and only a half mile from my doctor, dentist, grocery store, Target, post office, gas stations, gyms, and restaurants.
That’s right! Everything I want and need is at my fingertips. So, my lifestyle really doesn’t qualify me as a genuine prepper. Being prepared, however, is becoming a kind of necessary addition to what we used to consider suburban life.
Because deep down inside we suspect that our crumbling infrastructures may not be able to withstand the “new normal” when it comes to storms, fires, hurricanes, floods, high winds, tornadoes and the ever-increasing-unprecedented incidents of destruction. Not only are they falling apart from lack of care and a refusal to upgrade, but they were orginally designed for a far different climate.
It’s no longer how much rain will we get but how much rain will we get in the short expanse of an hour. Much more than the original design of our outdated infrastructures are capable of handling, that’s for sure.
So, here I am, a seventy year old woman with a enough life experience under my belt to be able to remember what things use to be like. I can make comparisons. When I do, I realize that in the last two years alone, there has been a steady stream of unprecedented, never-before-seen or experienced, wild weather events, fires and floods. Enough already!
Why wouldn’t I take a few precautions?
In 2020, I first became concerned about the supply chain. Who dreamed that toilet paper would make the news? Not I, but it did. And, suddenly, we were aware of two things. Life without toilet paper would be unlivable and paper money could easily become worthless. I suppose as a last resort one could wipe their ass with dollar bills, but that piece of paper which we long believed was our sole means of gaining access to EVERYTHING that we needed was no longer the key to survival.
My grandparents were never rich, but they always had food and dry goods stockpiled on the farm, enough to feed a large family for months.
They could remember the Great Depression and you might say had been scarred for life. I realized that I could take a page from their diaries and put the information to practical use.
So, I bought a freezer and traded my electric stove for a gas stove.
I developed a 90-day-food plan designed around a dozen of our favorite go-to meals and loaded my shelves and freezer with the ingredients needed. Then, I sat back and admired my handiwork. I felt as smug as a bug in an off grid cabin in the woods.
Except, I was still totally dependent on the grid.
So 2021 found me pouring over means of alternative energy. I became obsessed. Watts and volts, batteries and inverters crowded out my previous thoughts of TV shows and cell phone apps. I was on a roll.
I bought a 2200 inverter gas generator!
Uh oh. I was starting down a slippery slope, but it was too late to turn back. My sole purpose for the generator was to keep my freezer running during a power outage. But soon, I decided that modern technology offered other sources of power that were absolutely fascinating. Before I new it, a gorgeous power station was delivered to my doorstep.
I now had a number of ways to power my house and they could work together to keep my appliances operating.
I had lightbulbs that could stay charged for hours, a gas operated water heater, even a little indoor propane heater and two cords of dry wood for my fireplace. My shelves and freezer were stocked. I could light a room, cook a meal, and recharge my power station with my inverter generator. I may be living in the suburbs but I’m not helpless any longer.
In fact, my next purchase will be solar panels for the power station, because nothing says preparedness better than that!
Of course, money is nice. It bought me my survival tools, but you can’t eat money. It won’t keep you warm or run your lights, or cook your food, or charge your cell phones. It can’t give you access to things that you need if those things aren’t in supply.
We’ve become so dependent on money that we’ve lost the skills our ancestors deemed necessary for survival.
I still contend that I’m not a prepper. I’m my grandparents only more technologically advanced. I don’t understand why anyone would find that humorous.
That’s okay, my unprepared friend.
Joke all you want. When the power grid is down, I’ll have a hot meal, a warm house, lights, and my freezer will be humming happily. And you? Well, I guess you can always pull out a dollar bill and wipe your ass.
Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.