Surviving Survival Kits

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We are almost at the anniversary of the great Easter Sunday Earthquake  and I remembered the conversation I had with MOTNSO (“More Often Than Not Significant Other”) right after that (and, okay, since I freaked out a little, I actually listened) about “being prepared.”

I decided that maybe there was something to his exhortations should “the big one” hit.  I admit I’ve become more cautious than usual since my traditionally “shallow” run of bad luck now seems to be as deep as the Grand Canyon. There were over 2,000 aftershocks in the past year (almost all of them south of me and virtually  unnoticed) and I must admit I started to think that there was something to this whole idea of having some stuff set aside “just in case.”

A Costco coupon book arrived in the mail shortly after that. Among the cases of Lysol, the six dozen eggs and the Honda Accord that were offered with significant discounts by just presenting a small square of paper, there were a couple of  things that caught my eye: a two person survival kit and a three-day supply of freeze-dried food. I was drawn back to that particular page in the catalogue the way everyone slows down at the scene of an accident…or if you live in California, you come to a complete halt on the freeway just to gape at some poor guy changing a flat tire.

So, I ordered them. Along with a container with 60 pieces of jellied candy fruit slices. For energy.

They arrived separately. First, the candy. That had no chance of making it to Doomsday. In fact, it arrived on a Tuesday and was almost gone by that Wednesday. Then the backpack.

The backpack is one of those things like a portable blanket, which comes in a neat little 6″ x 6″ square, but just never folds back up into anything smaller than 18″ x 18″. I peaked inside it and decided that there was no way I was going to inspect its contents. My garage isn’t big enough to store everything (supposedly) in it if I ever took it out. But, here’s just a sampling of what was included:

  • 1  tent, 2 emergency sleeping bags,2 ponchos (I remind you this is a normal, school bag size backpack)
  • 2 whistles, 12 emergency water servings (hello? is it “instant” water? If so, what do you add to it?), 8 water purification tablets
  • 2 3600 calorie food bars (now that’s a scary number of calories.)
  • 2 toothbrushes, 1 toothpaste, 2 wash towels (towels? are they the size of washcloths? do I use the instant water to bathe?)
  • 1 cell phone charger (like there would be service.)
  • 1 crank/flashlight/radio
  • 10 yards of duct tape (obviously, a man designed this emergency pack.)
  • 1 deluxe first aid kit, 1 first aid booklet
  • 1 pair of leather gloves
  • 1 notepad and pencil (no doubt to create a blog.)
  • 4 wet naps (I guess you use the towels after you use those.)
  • toilet paper and plastic bags (I just can’t go there with that.)

Now, again, that is just some of what’s in it. So I put that in the garage. The garage is one-level, attached to the front of my house and has very durable wood shelving attached to the rear wall, so I put the backpack there. Seemed like a good spot; probably accessible enough…and the second refrigerator is out there so I’d have access to more food. Of course, MOTNSO thought that was the worst possible place since it was more likely the garage would collapse so he moved it to a spot where he felt I could climb over the debris (I shudder at the thought of something happening to Black Beauty!!!) and get to the stuff.

The next day, the doorbell rang and when I opened it I found a shoebox-sized UPS package left on the mat. I was puzzled; I hadn’t ordered any shoes. Took it inside, opened it and lo and behold, this teeny, tiny package was my three-day supply of  food. Three meals a day. Appetizers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks. Dessert. A nice California Chardonnay. Okay, I exaggerated: no appetizers and no wine. But all the other stuff. All packed in about ten cubic inches. Obviously, this was not designed by an Italian.

I put it next to the backpack. As I laid it down, I noticed the food in it is good until 2016. It is a very scary thought to me, who buys pretty much only organic food, what is in it that would make it last for that many years. I hope I never have to use any of it.

So are you prepared? and I always love the question “If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?” I hate to admit it, but two of them would be the backpack and the shoebox. The third would probably be a case of vodka. Feel free to offer what you’d take.

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