Arrrgh! - I am so frustrated! : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

You know, this whole Y2K thing is sure to cause one thing - before, during, and after - that of people developing mental disturbances due to the stress of trying to prepare for something that we aren't sure will happen. I am a professional computer programmer/analyst - I have seen code that would stop working, and I know about how projects never get completed on time.

Still, I am anguishing over certain things - even if I store as much water as I can, it may not be enough. I don't have room (or the extra cash - I have bills and rent to pay) to store everything like water, food and such, since I live in a small apartment. I can't save back payments for rent - or afford to make "extra" payments (though both are good ideas if you have the cash). Even so, if I have got food and water, what happens when it runs out? Where will I get more? If one thinks about the food one eats in a year, they will quickly realize that it won't fit into a house, let alone an apartment. I can't move to the hills - I can't even afford to buy a house in the city...

What happens if I do as the extremists - and store all of this stuff, pull my money out of the bank and convert it to gold/silver, and move to the woods? What happens if I do nothing? It all depends on what happens with Y2K. Make a mistake either way, and you're hosed.

I can only take the middle ground, unless I start to see real impact in my life. I will have a few months food and water (food - yeah, rice, beans, and other staples - yum - but I guess in a pinch one will eat anything), a couple of solar panels and a 12V battery to charge, a CB radio (though with the flare that is suppose to happen it may be worthless), a laptop, a crossbow and a slingshot (Why these? Ever try to make a bullet? Can be done - people do hand build/load - but I don't have time to try to figure that stuff out - besides, no waiting period for either), as well as other things.

I don't know if that will be enough, though. I don't know if we will see a calamity beyond belief, a depression, a recession, or nothing (other than a few blips).

I read a book recently called "Out of Control" - I think it was published by Wired! or something. Anyhow, it stated that complex systems tend to react in suprising and sometime counter-intuitive ways, and that it was the complexity that caused this. The writer gave the idea of complex systems being on the edge of chaos, always circling, but never quite falling over into disorder. Sometimes systems fail - but most last quite well. Some seem to self correct, even when that function isn't built into the system. It is an excellent book to read, because Y2K, since it revolves around computer systems (some large, some small, most all interworking - even if only by sneakernet) may fall under the same ideas in the book. Businesses and societys also exhibit a weird, "chaotical" balance...

When I was younger, I thought that the turning of the millenium was going to be a fun thing - something to cheer about (and yes, I know that the real turn is Dec. 31st, 2000), a real milestone in history. I never thought I would be worrying about my mortality and whether I would have enough food/water to survive.

-- Andrew (, March 17, 1999


Welcome to the club Andrew. I don't take the head for the hills view, but I don't believe the 3 day advice either. Hopefully as the year counts down, we will get some real news and a better feeling for what will really happen. Just do what you can for now. Better safe than sorry. <:)=

-- Sysman (, March 17, 1999.

Well Andrew,

I think you're going about this prep thing wrong. It's simply impossible to prepare forever - so don't sweat it. Our idea for preps is to give ourselves long enough "breathing space" to stay alive and pursue options as they appear.

In other words, if TSHTF and it's bad for say, two months. You'll be able to be alive, and fed, and relatively comfortable while awaiting the outcome - good or bad.

Without the preps, you're on the streets with everybody else, risking life & limb for whatever the Salvation Army or Red Cross hand out.

Without the preps, you take a gallon jug to the army water truck two miles away and wait in line for 3 hours for your gallon of water.

Without the preps, you lose your news when the power goes out, and you go outside (in the cold) to get the rumors flying around with all the other clueless people.

Finally, if it's *really* bad. And your preps last long enough, you may literally be one of the few alive to start figuring out how to grow food (not trivial) or otherwise rebuild.

Preps are there to give you more options, and time. Mostly time.

Without the preps, none of these options are possible.


-- Jollyprez (, March 17, 1999.

Taking the middle ground isn't a good idea, IMO, Andrew. You asked what you'll do if you run out of food and water. The big question is, when will you stop being double-minded? You're hedging, hoping that Y2K will not be too bad while worrying that it will be horrific. Only you can weigh the evidence, and only you can decide if the situation warrants a major change in your life. Given that you live in an apartment (which demands payment of rent), are poorly armed, have too little food storage, have no land on which to grow food should your provisions run out and have not even mentioned storing seeds, I'd say your situation is grim if Y2K is any worse than a 5.

You said you'd get hosed either way... wrong. One way you get hosed, the other way you get dead. Personally, I'd take a "hosing" over a "dying" any day. As long as you are alive, there's hope. If you change your life sufficiently to ensure your survival, and Y2K turns out to be a dud, sure, it may be a setback for you personally, but that's the chance you take.

Now quit bellyaching and decide.

-- sparks (, March 17, 1999.

Hang in there! I second sysman's comment of "join the club". Don't let this consume or depress you...Identify your greatest fear and each day take a positive step to tackle it - It sounds like you are doing great with your 3 month (?) prep in your apartment but you need to look outside your norm and think about a family member who might live more appropriately and have space for you to stash food and supplies... I realize this is a challenge but you can! Also get a 3 year ($50?) supply of gardening basic seeds: Turnip, green beans, drying beans, dent/flint corn, pumpkins, cukes, tomatoes (inc. drying type), etc...non-hybrid so you can save seed...Find a spot you can learn to will feel better learning a skill for possible hard times and also it is tough to beat the wonder and satisfaction of helping things grow. Anyhow, sorry to ramble, I feel your anguish - I have had my share of anxios moments at O'Dark-thirty.....One step at a time...keep it simple. Good luck! Kristi

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), March 17, 1999.

Sorry to sound "tough", but as one man to another, t'aint so that you're hosed if you "make a mistake either way."

If Y2K is a bump, worst you lose is money and some security. Otherwise, yes, you might lose your life. Which do you value more? Sorry, that's reality.

That said, you're quite right that our systems are marvelously strange. I still feel there is a slight, though VERY slight, chance we will discover our systems to be far more resilient than we think (or deserve). OTOH, the die is largely cast, computers don't care about anything other than executing dates properly and the barrel is cheerfully winging its way to the head of the falls ....

-- BigDog (, March 17, 1999.

More ramblings, When I say to learn gardening I mean NOW! It takes time to learn basic organic (or almost) gardening and it is really good for your head! It is obvious you are taking this seriously, now just get off the fence - you will be prepared for most natural disasters and more able to be a help instead of part of the problem....Store food that keeps a long time, rice, beans, wheat, corn, salt, sugar are CHEAP right now...consider it an insurance policy. Don't let fear cripple you. Bye! (smile) Kristi

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), March 17, 1999.


Check around and read the news for yourself (from different sources) in order to make your decisions. You'll find no objectivity in this forum, or probably any others, for that matter. I'm not trying to get you to not prepare, but just to realize that these people represent a very small percentage of the population, and some with certain agendas. Would you want to be assessed by a psychologist or evaluated by a doctor over the internet? Probably not. Then why take advice from complete strangers of whom you know nothing about?

Evaluate on your own and do what is most comfortable based on your knowledge. Don't be swayed by posted opinions of people you can't see, one way or another.

-- larryB (, March 17, 1999.

The Feds say store for 3 to 5 days. By that time they will be ready to come pick you and your family up and redeposit you in one of their fine camps, that they are busily preparing as we type. Then all of your worries will be put to rest along with your mortal remains. Unless you do exactly as they say.

-- Paladin (HaveGun@Will.Travel), March 17, 1999.

Andrew - You have already done a lot so just keep it up. Now you have enough so you are questioning where to take it next, very reasonable, if anxiety-producing. IMO it is unnecessarily risky to be in an apartment esp. in very populated area (you didn't say if it was). You probably do have the option not to be there, without burning your bridges. Rack your brain for friends, relatives, acquaintances, who have a place further out of town where they might welcome you as a friend to stay for a while, especially in return for work you might do in return, helping fix up their place or whatever services they might need in return for the favor of staying there over the rollover and a while after. Just being on some land and being further away from heavily populated areas could give you so many more options. Of course, there are those other questions - your job, your money, and so on. Can't address those. If you have credit cards, it's not so bad to use them if you don't go overboard. People answering here have the right idea though. Once you start thinking in small steps, not all or nothing, things will look better. Start by making some phone calls. You've got to get out of a thinking rut and get creative. Do it. Take action, then take some time off from it completely, then come back to it. Don't stew! Your best survival asset is your mind and will. Been there, am there, understand.

And to any and everyone, on the subject of nonhybrid seed. There's a whole lot to it! It needs to be studied and practiced to make it work. It's not just a matter of letting the plant go to seed and collecting the seeds. Surprised the heck out of me how much there is to it! Read "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth.

-- Debbie (, March 17, 1999.


The people on this forum know no more about what will happen in the year 2000 than you do. One tells you about camps being built in preparation of Martial Law (can't say I've heard about that one). BigDog says he feels that there is only a very slight chance that we will get through this. How does he know? He tells you that computers don't care about anything except executing dates properly. He says the die has been cast. Is this true? Somebody else tells you about waiting in line for water fron Red Cross or Salvation Army trucks. Lots of different scenarios can play a lot of games with your head. Who's right here and who's wrong? I don't know. You don't know. They don't know. The opinion that is most important is yours.

-- larryb (, March 17, 1999.

P.S. I agree with Larry B. - try to get a broad spectrum of info - I try to research what I can but when I investigate local resources (water, EMS, etc) I find more questions than answers....I personally believe there is a small (5-10%?) chance of big difficulties but CHOOSE to prepare in ways which make my boat a bit more difficult to rock... If nothing big happens GREAT! I am not a doom and gloomer, just trying to sort through for myself - you need to make your own choices so you can live with them happily... (Debbie, thanks for the hybrid seed info! Quietly.....Kristi

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), March 17, 1999.

larryb --- right on, you won't get any arg from me. I know I'm right (;-), natch, but everyone must/should make up their own mind. Absolutely. No conflict between that reality and expressing our convictions. This isn't a zero-sum game, where one person wins and another loses.

-- BigDog (, March 17, 1999.

Larry B - agreed. Reading my own advice in print to a complete stranger is like - duh! Maybe on point, but maybe not at all. It's my way of trying to make a difference I suppose. Being on this forum can be helpful, but it can also be hypnotic if you let it. That's not the forum's fault. It's how you relate to it. Big difference! Everyone needs to look to themselves for the only real and lasting answers. This needs to be said.

-- Debbie (, March 17, 1999.

Well dear LarryB, I'd say he's studied quite a few things, reviewed what the federal government has said, and what it is has actually done the past two years - and decided that the "unknown people" he meets over the internet to be more reliable than the propaganda-and-lies from people equally "unknown" but found on the news each night. Who, of course, have no agenda - right? Who, of course, he cannot review and challenge directly. Who, of course, are deemed (by you) for some reason, to be worth listening to.

By the way, what's your agenda?

Sir Andrew - in an apartment, on a little budget - been there, done that - it's (I agree) no picnic - no grass for one anyway, but definitely no picnic.

You are on the right path - focus first on everything you would need to stay warm, dry, lighted and "fed and watered" and informed for one week - if you felt you had to huddle up in your place for one week.

That's fairly simple, and a postive step towards some self-sufficiency. Focus on canned soup, veggies, flashlights or maybe two lanterns, blankets/sleeping bag, heater (kerosne ? - keep the fuel outside on the patio, chained up or in a storage shed from now till late Dec?).

Get some simple canisters or containers for water - figure 2 gallons per day for a week is 14 milk cartons cleaned and dried with lids. Fill tehm late Dec. So far, your expense is 60.00-100.00, depending on the sleeping bag. The heater, probably 100.00 more, unless you have a fireplace - then just get hardwood now. Solar panels to recharge falsh batteries? - depends on which way your patio faces.

Good radio - battery powered - 20.00, more if you want short wave to get international news.

Next, get a "bugout" bag and keep it well-stocked - if you were forced to leave your apartment - (fire, riot nearby, martial law, sanitation overflow, whatever...) you want a knapsnack or carrybag immediately available to support you outdoors (assume walking to some government mythical shelter) for 48 hours - again food, dry clothing (poncho + jacket), socks, cleaning gear and toiletries, water (canteen), emergency rations (Twinkies and granola bars - if you don't want MRE's), and some kind of first aid kit would be included.

Cost? - figure 40.00-60.00 bucks, depending on what you have now.

So, now you can manage - And you haven't paid anything to those vicious, cruel, money-making survivialist internet wacko-freaks have you? Just bought simple things now available at your friendly neighbor drug store.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 17, 1999.


Heres a few ideas to help your brain get going. I am sure there are wiser and better suggestions forthcoming.

Does your apartment have a south facing window or patio door? You can do a small salad garden in a south facing window. You can build an insulated greenhouse box that you can slide out on the patio during a sunny day and slide back in the house at night. You can build a solar cooker for pennies that would work on your patio. If you have no window or are on the north side of the building, consider moving to the south side.

Get some sprouting seeds and a sprouter. Thats gardening anyone can do anywhere.

Get a tent that can be pitched in the apartment. A candle can go a long ways toward keeping a small tent (be careful!) warm.

Get rid of some furniture and build some furniture out of prep items. Cases of veggies make a fine end table with a cloth over them. Those short water barrels make a nice (well relatively speaking) table as well. Not pretty, but it works.

Have an apartment sale and get rid of the excess junk and stuff that you wont need for the next year and use the cash for preparations. Ill meet you at Wal-Mart in the spring if its just a bump in the road and we will buy back all the stuff we gave up this year.

Yes preparations are sobering, but they dont have to be depressing. Its only when I buy into the myth of continuity-- the idea that tomorrow in America will always be the same or better than yesterday-- that I get depressed. I study a little world history and see that disaster is the norm. We have just been amazingly blessed.

For someone like myself who loves working through tough problems, Y2K preps are, dare I say it lest I get

Hope you can find some peace as you meet your challenges.

-- Booster C. (, March 17, 1999.

Andrew: I'm really glad you posted that because I'm in the same boat as you, both in attitude and in level of preparation (to a very uncanny degree of similarity). I just wanted to tell you that you were not alone having these sentiments. I think the key is to find fellow GIs in you're community whom you can trust and cooperate with.

As far as the lack of an armament... I have a hatchet, a bix axe, some big knives, and a scary tape recording of a 12-gauge being cocked followed by a big dog barking which can be played LOUD in case of intruder. BIG DEAL. But I am a college-educated wimp in grad school. I don't know how to shoot. And if it came down to it, I don't know if I ever live with--let alone rest easy with--the consequences of pulling the trigger on someone in a defence situation. So I'm cooking up some non-lethal defence schemes like EXTREMELY potent pepper sprays, but I'm not confident that it could work in an emergency. Any other thoughts about non-lethals?

This is the final issue of my contingency plan. Defence of myself and my WIDGI/DWGI girlfriend and my cat. If I'm POSITIVE things are going to sink down the toilet, this fall I'll be more properly armed. But I really hate guns; they scare the s*** out of me. Thus, the darn thing's going out the door as soon as the y2k mess gets cleared up.

-- coprolith (, March 17, 1999.


You have already received an abundance of wisdom on this thread.

Sounds like you are ready to get through to the first harvest.

Add seeds in your bugout bag and take lots of tea and coffee to a farmer with fertile land and water.

You will be able to make a life saving deal.

All best wishes,

-- Watchful (, March 17, 1999.

Andrew- good question, and good advice thus far. Basically, the way i see it, noone knows just what will happen, and we can't possibly prepare for all alternatives. For instance; you might be siting there with your off the grid solar paneled house, years supply of food, lots of ammo, etc, and the nuclear plant 50 miles away goes beserk- then what? Can we really know what's going to happen with Russia's nukes either? So- all we can do is decide as to what level of preparation we personally feel comfortable and to what level is practical and go with that.

This doesn't mean saying oh I'm in an apt- I'm doomed. Think outside of the box some- explore all possibilities. If you don't feel secure in your area; get to know people in other places. Consider moving if that will make you feel better. On the other hand, maybe you don't want to. There is no way to be sure that you will do the exact amount; no more and no less, of preparation necessary. You won't know what was truly needed til the fat lady sings....

So- check out the risk matrix that's posted on the net somewhere- anyone remember where?? Figure out what feels comfortable to you and go for it.

Remember- even if you store a years worth of food, water and supplies; it will run out eventually. So there is no way to prepare for all eternity unless your future is very short. Get yourself to a level of preparedness which will leave you enough time if things get bad to figure out your next step without starvation setting in if stuff gets rough. And store stuff you'd eat anyway- it's like a savings account.

-- anita (, March 17, 1999.

Mr. Cook

Please refrain from putting words in my mouth. In my first post, I said "don't be swayed by posted opinions of people you can't see, one way or another." I'm telling him to look at all sides for himself and evaluate everything. I'm telling him to think and research for himself and come up with his own opinions. Additionally, you put words in Andrew's mouth when you say that he has researched and found unknown people over the internet to be more reliable than the propoganda-and-lies of the media. I didn't see that.

At no point do I say that the people on the news each night are the ones worth listening to. I'm sure that you have done research on Y2K on your own, and there are a lot of different sources of information, from government reports, to websites, to experts, and so on and so forth.

I'm basically saying that as far as Y2K goes, no one knows more than anyone else,and in order to reach an acceptable comfort level, you need to research on your own, draw your own conclusions, and then prepare in accordance with your needs. Is there anything wrong with that, Mr. Cook? Does that constitute having an agenda?

Next time, please read my posts a bit more carefully- and leave the spin to the spinmeisters. Or I'll start thinking that it is you that has an agenda.

I didn't expect that I would have to defend myself over something so simple. Sheesh!


-- larryb (, March 17, 1999.

Robert Cook,

Don't use old plastic milk jugs! This has been discussed here many times. No matter how you wash and bleach them, particles of the milk fat are molecularly bonded to the plastic, and will cause bacterial growth in the water.

-- mabel (, March 17, 1999.

Okay - okay - blushing and bloody after being beaten about the head and shoulders.....would they okay for a few hours though? Got to be better than the "fill your bathtub" that the media will recommend in a few weeks.

(My own barrels and pumps are coming in about 2 weeks.)

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 17, 1999.

Should be OK for a few hours, but 2-liter pop bottles are much better. You can store water in them indefinitely.

-- sparks (, March 17, 1999.

Use those milk jugs for water to flush the john, wash dishes, and to clean up with. I save my detergent and bleach bottles for water storage for the above uses also. Then store water for drinking and cooking in the 2 liter soda pop bottles. I also save bottles and jars for storage of beans, popcorn, sugar, salt, etc. to insure they stay dry. Much better than the bags or cardboard boxes they come in. Sure this is not for long term storage, but for those food stuffs you will be using in the first few months, this is a good method. Keep preparing.


-- Sandra McGuire (, March 17, 1999.

We are preparing with this scenario in mind: that we will not even WANT and/or BE ABLE to leave our house for 6-12 months. That's right, just hunkering down, literally. Hubby and I have kept this idea in our head and it has determined the direction of our preps. Storage enough for 800 gallons of water and counting......

Now if only we could convince our dearly beloved family members....

-- Preparing (, March 17, 1999.

For water storage, I haven't seen anything better than the 200-gallon food grade 20-mil vinyl bags at $89 apiece from

They also have a pump designed to connect to the bag's outlet.

They will sell you an expensive frame to hold the bag, but knowing its dimensions (48" x 40" x 24" high) anybody could cobble one up using 2x2 corner posts with 1x2's between them. Build it right and you could stack two high (careful -- 200 gallons weigh 1600 lbs.) One bag presents a floor loading just over 120 psf. Something to consider on a wood frame floor.

As for milk cartons, I've read that many of them are biodegradable and do not have a long shelf life.

-- Tom Carey (, March 17, 1999.


I can relate to your dilemna to some degree. As a GI that would rather not have to deal with this issue at all, I would tell you to look at your own situation very carefully and make plans accordingly. While generic preparation is would pay to try to figure out where are you most vulnerable. It may not be advantageous to store a bunch of wheat in farm country Kansas, or corn in rural Iowa, or water near a clear mountain lake, (get a good filter instead), or fish in coastal Washington. Don't worry about heavy duty winter gear in southern Texas and forget solar water stills in coastal BC or Alaska. I think you get my drift.

Every situation bears close scrutiny. Everyone's preparations need to be site and lifestyle specific. My plans will necessarily be different from someone elses plan in another area of the country and it is dependant upon individual preferences, vulnerabilities and beliefs.

Don't overly sweat things that you have no control over. What exactly can one do about the nukes in Russia or China or the potential for terrorism? Aside from bunkering in somewhere in the western Rockies, there isn't much that you or I can do about these threats. I am not planning to transplant on that basis and I suspect that few of us are, so do the best that you can for reasonably forseeable Y2K situations and failures based upon the best and worst case scenario speculation. So what are the threats in your location? What happens if the planes, trains, ships etc. aren't running as scheduled or aren't able to transport what they normally transport? What happens if the power and other utilities go out in your neck of the woods in January? I would really love to be in rural Alabama, hell, just light a candle, build a fire and be done with it, but that's not my reality. Is it yours? What happens if food or water is not available for short or longer periods of time? How long is your winter? How cold can it get? How populous is the area in which you live? Are you able to get to a supply of fresh water if your stored water runs out? Do you know how to properly treat/filter the water? Do you have resources that you can tap in case of a longer scenario than you are presently preparing for? In other words, do you have a plan B? These are all questions that you must assess for yourself using your own data and do the best that you can given the limitations that you are saddled with. While there is some great and timely advice on this forum, you need to measure each piece of advice against your particular sitaution and you will come up with the answers that you need. Good luck.

-- Ramp Rat (Aviation_R_us@noname.nocity), March 18, 1999.

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