Saturday, July 23, 2011

Apocalyptic Adventures Part 1


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We had one hell of a storm a couple of weeks back. We were among the lucky folks who had only 26-hours without power; some folks did not get electricity restored for several days. My daughter, who lives in a nearby town, was without power for over 48-hours. She used blue-ice packs from our freezer to keep her food safe on the first day. At the end of the second day, she brought all of her perishables over to our fridge and freezer. As fate would have it, as soon as she packed everything into our house, she received a phone call from my ex that power was back on at their house.

My little generator got quite a workout. Our contingency plans worked very well; we had plenty of fuel, food, water (the public water supply went offline for a while), glow sticks, portable lights, and batteries. The generator powered our refrigerator, a few essential lights, a TV, the sump pump, the coffee pot, and our microwave oven AND had enough power to spare for use by my Westside next-door neighbor. I was prepared for other neighbors to tap into the generator but only the one asked; my policy is to grant all reasonable requests for assistance but neighbors do need to have enough extension cord to reach from their house to mine.

The storm damage was not isolated; the entire county was down and very few electrical grids survived the fury of the storm; officials declared a state of emergency which meant we were on our own. Downed trees and power lines closed many roads; traffic lights were out and slow moving cars jammed every open road. Very few stores or banks were open; the few gasoline stations with electricity had lines of cars waiting in the roadway. This was not a good day to be without supplies or contingency plans.

I told my brother-in-law that if he did not have back luck he would have no luck in his life at all. This good old boy needed some help to keep from losing his house, so the morning of the storm we were to take care of business. He had a simple agenda laid out; we would get together and I would get a certified check from my credit union and he would get a certified check from his bank and we then go to the post office and overnight-mail the funds to his debt collector, beating the drop-deadline. HEH! By midday, my brother-in-law was in a near panic. Ultimately, it took us six-hours and three quarters of a tank of gasoline before I found a branch of my credit union open and we found a branch of his bank open. To complicate matters further, all of the post offices were closed because of the power outage. We finally found a FedEx store on a grid and, thanks to $30 in my wallet, got the money shipped out just in time. I mentioned to my brother-in-law that waiting to the final possible moment to save his house was ill advised; obviously, what could go wrong did go wrong and we just barely pulled his ass out of the fire.

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9 comments:

THE FISHING MUSICIAN said...

Your brother in law is a lucky guy. Glad you made it through the storm and aftermath. I am sure that there was a Glock or Smith or other fine instrument of protection involved in this scenario as well, should any miscreants have tried to take advantage of the biblical admonition "Evil seeks the darkness".

I have no doubt your family was well protected. They are lucky to have a man of your constitution. I hope your broinlaw realizes how lucky he is.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

No less than a Seecamp .380 and/or a J-Frame was with me at all times while I was on my property; a couple of issues did have me upsize the hardware for a short while.

To comply with Illinois law while on the road, a Glock-26 with an empty chamber and loaded mags was in a case with me in the car (a loaded mag cannot be in the pistol).

I sport plenty of pepper spray no matter where I am... I suppose it may be better than to be armed only with a wish and a prayer.

Glenn B said...

How big is your little generator in watts. I would like to know what size would be enough to power things in my home should we ever need one. Not that I will buy one right away but I am saving up.

I wish your brother luck with the mortgage.

hanks,
GB

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

5600 watts; a fairly standard size. We have never hit the limit with it, but we are aware that we may need to unplug some items (or our neighbor) on a rotating basis in order to plug in others.

So as not to disturb the sleep of the neighbors, we don't run it between midnight and 6:00AM when we lock it away in the garage to prevent theft; it is hard to post a watch 24hrs. Our polic scanner was buzzing with reports of folks finding intruders in their homes, garages, and yards, so we slept downstairs where we could "hear things," armed, with only the upstairs windows open to stay cool.

Arthur B. Burnett said...

It sounds like you have things well in hand. I expected nothing less.

While we were without power for a week I would go to find gasoline. Helene would sat on the porch next to the generator. There would be at least three cats in her lap, the dog at her feet, and the double barrel shotgun across her lap! No one bothered her strangly enough.


From time to time you do need to spell the generator. I have a cart consisting of an invertor and a deep cycle marine battery, the biggest I could find. That's what I would use at night for my C-pap machine. I would recharge it when I started the generator back up.

You can do the same with a car battery, invertor and a battery charger. For what it's worth.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Art, I may just use your idea... rig a couple (or more) deep cycle marine batteries to an inverter for household use for when the generator is off during "quiet hours." Having it all on a cart sounds like it would be very versatile.

Thanks!

Helene Burnett said...

Nobody gets Mama's generator!

We also stock both our freezers with frozen water in 2 liter bottles. Keeps stuff cold, and thaws out into drinking water for "man" and beast.
Have to have water for critters, too.
Good thing our local convenience store had a generator to run the gas pumps!

Your B-I-L is lucky you could help. You're one of the good guys.

THE FISHING MUSICIAN said...

As a fellow American, I'm so sorry you have to live under such draconian second amendment conditions. If you were here in my hot and waterless, but nonetheless beloved, Great State of Texas, you could be packing your 26 fully loaded, with a riot shotgun and black rifle in a double case across the back car seat (all fully loaded if you wish) and some sort of 7.62/5.56 assault pistol under the front seat. Python in the glovebox and maybe the Glock 19 in the center console glove box.

The rifles and shotguns can be in open plain view. The handguns must be "concealed", which can be a case, under the seat, in the glovebox, etc.

Of course, you could have a handgun on you as well, or five handguns on you if you wanted, with a fairly easy to obtain concealed handgun license.

Texas law makes no distinction between loaded and unloaded weapons. For the normal citizen with no criminal convictions, they can carry a rifle and shotgun anytime, anywhere.

And indeed, law abiding citizens are encouraged by most local authorities to lawfully carry weapons, not only to protect the family but to rescue an officer of the law if you see one being attacked on the roadway or elsewhere.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Heck, El Fisho, the only folks in Illinois toting that much hardware are gang members and Chicago Politicians ;)