[awa] Defining Terms: What's a "bump?" (and: surreality)

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A constant thing that comes up in this subject is the whole 'bump in the road' thing.

Now, the Senate subcommittee report says clearly it will NOT be "just" a bump in the road, and anybody who thinks it is, is ... uneducated. (Forget the exact term.)

The formal suggestions by all are for 3 days of prep, except from FEMA who I think recommends 2-3 weeks?

Here is the thing. We have had power outtages in entire cities in this country pretty much every year for a long time. Ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, just plain bad luck. Cities have done without power for 3 days, even 10+ days. It happens, more often than most people like to think. And as we know, when the power's out, EVERYTHING is down. Stores, gas stations, work, school, etc. In other words, so this survival scenario has been seen before.

Is the senate under the impression that the average family in america does not have food for dinner until the visit the store somewhere between work and home? Even without counting any Y2K preps whatever, I and just about everybody I know who isn't on welfare could stop buying groceries and, while doing without stuff like milk, could still live on the stuff in the cupboard for at least 2-3 weeks. More if the power was on so the stuff in the fridge/freezer was available.

So to me, in order to make any event a "bump in the road" -- something which really interrupts me -- I would have to have no power or food (etc.) available to me for at least a few weeks.

I don't know anybody, short of people on electric heat in Minnesota (which should be nobody!) who would actually be anything more than really inconvenienced if they lost power and grocery shopping for three days.

I want to know how "bump in the road" is defined, and who is it that 'gets' to define it for the media for example. If I think nothing under two weeks qualifies as even a 'bump' and they say it's much more than a bump, then I think to myself, "4-12 weeks planning, minimum." If it only means 3 days in the minds of people who obviously live in some other reality than me, then gee, my two weeks of stove top stuffing in the cupboard might do it for me.

The senate says, in their report, that it's very serious, that they have very serious concerns. Then they say to prepare for 2-3 days. That is hard to take seriously.

Sometimes, at night, I wonder if I am a lunatic. If I'm going to look back on myself and think, see, you got so whacked out about nothing. Then I realize that I can't afford to be afraid of that. If I'm wrong I'm just broke. If I'm right and don't plan like a maniac, I could be dead (and my darling child too). I think sometimes the reason I spend way too much time in this forum is because I want the reassurance of people, many of whom here seem to think a lot like I do and have the same kinds of values. When the world around me is acting like nothing is wrong at all... it's kind of surreal.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), May 01, 1999



I am right with you on this. You are not just preparing for Y2K. You are also helping to insure your family's needs in case of loss of job, health, fire or some other "disaster". Just make sure you spend plenty of time living life and enjoying your child! Goodnight!

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), May 01, 1999.


Remind me of this exact question when we get a chance to talk. Which I predict will be soon. Check you personal email

- Greybear

-- Got Neighbors?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), May 01, 1999.


I continue to read the "bump in the road" as an intentional metaphor that is pregnant with possibilities: good or bad. Later on down the road, more people are going to describe the bump as either a little bump in the road or a monsterous, hellish, and punishing kind of BUMP. While three days (or two weeks) doesn't mean much to you, it does mean a lot to many Americans-- especially those in the cities and suburbs. My indoor pond would shut down and my koi (Japenese carp) would die a terrible death of suffocation as the ammonia from their waste built up to the kind of minute levels that would burn their tender pink gills. This might be averted if I am able to buy enough batteries to run the air pumps and as long as the public water is running and I can make water changes. It'd be a lot of work to keep the koi alive for 3 days.

Before I GI'ed, there was only enough food in the frig and shelves for a few days at best. There wouldn't have been water or heat, however. We eat out quite a bit. We work long hours and often see cooking as a leisure. Our gas furnace is controlled by an electric thermometer and the heat is blown through the vents with a big electric powered fan. Maybe, there would be a six pack of Coca Cola, a few bottles of wine, and many other fifths of things like brandy, rum, scotch, and cognac.

We used to have canned food in the cup board and food in the frig and freezer. But what was in the frig and frezer would rot or get freezer burn and what was in the cupboards wouldn't come out until the next time we moved. If we need a midnight snack, there are plenty of places to go 24 hours a day. A lot of people we know have thrown out their coffe makers and stop in at Starbucks every morning for their coffee. Making two or three runs to Starbucks everyday wasn't very efficient, so I kept mine. And water, we turn it on to shower or water the lawn.

Just yesterday, a friend came over and saw one small stack of canned food about six feet high. They thought that would be food enough for a year! This is a good example of how things like how much food you have in the pantry is not relevant for the those in the fast lane. In fact, some people we know don't even do their own shopping. They do it online and have a grocery service bring things over Just In Time (JIT). We also have Restaurant services that bring cooked meals JIT. Worse, most of these people are living from paycheck to paycheck. You might think it saves a few hundred dollars to do things the old fashioned way, but if you are billing at $50, $100, or $1000+ an hour, you'd be losing more by canning, cooking, gardening, cleaning, etc.

At the same time, the problem with the three day winter storm warning is that it does not seem like enough of a threat to get prepared now. This is the Catch 22 in the city and suburbs.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 01, 1999.

Yes, and you'll be sorry Greybear, I wrote you a novel in response (have you EVER seen me post something truly SHORT?). (Other than the first response to 'chuck's info' which was mine. That was my first posting under a rude alias.... this forum is corrupting my otherwise stellar online behavior, I tell you.)

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), May 01, 1999.

Good points Stan. I know the paycheck to paycheck thing myself -- it SUCKS, and makes it pretty darn hard to do the Y2K thing. On the other hand if I were making over $100/hr you'd better believe I would find a way to take that cash and invest in enough bought-stuff to keep me longer than the average GI is planning for. Heck, you could buy dehydrated food, alternative energy and camping stuff that'd do most people very well.

I'm with you on the workaholic thing though. I lived the single-executive life for nearly 10 years, doing a lot of travel and massive work and home was a luxury -- I paid somebody to clean my one bedroom apt. and my car because hey, time is money, and I had a lot more money than time back then. (Now I have neither, haha!) So I can see that a lot of seriously-metro dwellers really MIGHT be in trouble if they went without food for three days.

This only makes me considerably more worried for the cities. When I first GI nearly a year ago, I predicted (envisioning total doom) they'd close the borders of the city, post guards, let 'em burn, and sort it out later -- not enough manpower or food/water resources to do anything else. My dark side thought a convenient deadly virus released in that fairly "closed in" area would be real effective. But I am more hopeful now, especially in TX which seems more optimistic about power than most all other states, that it won't be SO bad... but.... if three days would really be bad for you... and for many metro dwellers... then I might go back to my initial estimate. If it's really that "on the edge" for urban dwellers than maybe Milne is right, and maybe even a non-catastrophic Y2K effect could BE catastrophic in areas so densely populated and incredibly dependent.

P.S. But can you EAT those fish?

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), May 01, 1999.

PJ....I have wondered, like you, what this whole thing is about but I have decided that it is a good wake up call about what is important and what is not important. My family, like many others, has become used to having things easy and we had forgotten to put 'first things first'. Water, shelter, food...that is important. Be it a tornado, hurricane, flood, earthquake, or other disaster, it is best to be prepared. y2k has made us aware of how little thought we give to having to really rough it for awhile. I am grateful for the wake up call and if y2k brings us trouble we are prepared and if it is just 'a bump in the road' we will be glad. In the meantime we are learning more about living more simply. Who knows what will happen next. Life today is challenging to all of us. We turn on the news and can't hardly believe what we hear. We read the newspapers and seldom find any good news. It is a fast changing world and a violent world. We try to live one day at a time and attempt to find peace in our lives. But, the real world lurks out there and we face it every time we go into town or to the mall. To ignore the possibility of problems with y2k would be folly considering that millions of dollars are being spent to rectify the problems that the rollover may bring about. Would the government or the corporations be spending the money if there were no problems? I doubt it. I think it is prudent and wise to prepare as individuals and families. Our children won't be hurt by learning about being prepared and becoming self sufficient. It won't hurt them to learn that food comes from the earth, eggs come from chickens, meat comes from animals, etc. It won't hurt them to learn that there are others things that are more important than movies, rock concerts, television and shopping for the latest fashion. For me, y2k has brought about some reality in an unreal world. Water, shelter and food....being prepared for whatever comes is wise. It feels good to have things on hand and to know that in any emergency we can get by while we put our lives back into order. Also, whatever is spent on storage of items we need and use is not lost. We will use them and then replace them. In the meantime we will sleep better. I think we will eat better too. When at the grocery store I now see things with different eyes. Those prepared foods that will not store are expensive and I pass them by. I am making bread again, checking out new receipes and learning new ways to cook. Learning new things and remembering how we used to do things before we had all these new fangled things has been a good thing. I will not feel like any time has been 'wasted' in having prepared for y2k. Rather I appreciate the wake up call that it has been. I'm enjoying the garden and looking forward to the veggies. Life is becoming more simple and I find myself remembering that it is one day at a time. I am going to enjoy it...y2k, or other disaster may befall us. Relax, be secure in the knowledge that you have done what you can for yourself and those you love. Be creative, be loving, become whatever it is you want to be. Be good to yourself.

-- Old Gramma (gotitincalif@webtv.net), May 01, 1999.

PJ, I can only repeat that in Durham we saw the first signs of civil breakdown on the second day after Hurricane Fran went through here. And it was middle-class white people I saw losing it.

Sweetie and I and the Hungarian were without power for three and a half days; others a bit further out in the county and in parts of the Raleigh area were out for two or three weeks. We heard from pre-storm reporting that power crews were standing by to come in and fix the damage, so we knew there would be an end to the discomfort in fairly short order. But still there were fights and frayed tempers on the second day--over gas, generators, and ice. Witnessing certain signs of breakdown is part of what caused me to GI almost instantly when Sweetie explained Y2K. The experience has also taught me not to venture out for ANYthing after any disaster until order is restored.

This is the big question: you've read above how civility began to crumble on the second day after Fran--what do you think it would be like if nobody had any idea when power was going to be restored? (Substitute gas, phone, water, or any combination, for power.)

I have a feeling that the Powers That Be are hoping that the more intelligent among us are reading between the lines and preparing for a bit more than three days so we're not out there on the streets, adding to the disorder. At the same time, they don't want to say there might be problems for more than three or so days because some people WILL panic. Perhaps if the truth were told there would be loud and angry rallies and marches by people demanding government assistance for those who cannot (or will not) afford some prep to stay in their own homes. For those, reality will come too late and they will be forced to go to shelters where aid can be dispensed more economically and efficiently. The more cynical will say the longer TPTB put off panic, the more time They will have to prepare for martial law, and so on. I'm not so sure this is the main reason. I often think They must be scared spitless and don't know what the hell to say or how to say it.

This is speculation, of course, nobody knows what will happen. But you cannot be wrong if you put aside whatever amount of supplies makes you feel comfortable. You gain security and lose nothing. We all know the alternative. Better to have and not need than the other way around.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 01, 1999.

As usual, Old Git, I agree 100%. My number one statement to people is that I am not going to be one of those fighting to get into a grocery store New Years day. We are not venturing off the farm until we are well aware of what is going on "out there". If the TV is down we have our BayGen SW radio. Thank goodness that I have some knowledge of Espanol as the only station I have been able to get is Havana. LOL But if you need to know what is going on in Havana at the time, I should be able to tell you. LOL Sometimes, I wish it were tomorrow so we could find out what is going to happen and get on with it. Othertimes I look at the date and think," Oh my God, time is running out." Then I have my last minute list of things to buy. On it are mayonaise, margarine, p-nut butter, cereal ,crackers, canned tomatoes, nuts, yeast, cookies, dog and cat kibble and ketchep. Sure would like to know what is on the last minute list of others. Think I will start a thread on that. Need all the help I can get.


-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), May 01, 1999.

I think of bump in the road as government agencies sending out the right checks through the post office.and walmart open for business

-- zoobie (zoobie@zoob.zab), May 01, 1999.

Prepare for 2-3 days?

PJ, there are households where this would be considered preparation. Look at some couples who work in big cities, get home late, and carry dinner home in buckets or, as mentioned above, have dinner sent in from a nearby eatery. For these people 2-3 days is big time stockpiling.

(Begin rant mode)

My neighbors here in the mountains and I have already had two incidents of power outages lasting over 3 days, just this winter, and most of us have cellars full of last year's garden crops. For us, 2-3 days is nothing, and preparing for 2-3 months only means planting more this spring. My bug-out bag has 3 days food for two in the main section; it would take me 2-3 days to get anywhere.

Depends on where you live. Also depends a lot on what happens where you live -- and that is the unpredictable thing. If it's a "storm" and some sections of the country are not effected, 2-3 days is great -- if you live in that section of the country. Two to three days didn't feed the bulldog after Andrew.

The thing is the mentality. Once a family or an individual makes a committment to begin preparation a 2-3 day period can be gradually increased without causing panic. We've discussed this before. It's 2-3 days now, then a week, then 2-3 weeks, etc.

Another thing to consider is what you expect to fail. Power outages for 2-3 days can be a pain, but not gross........if you have candles or oil lamps, if you have a way to keep warm, and if you're not dependent on power for a life support system. But, if the food supply system is hosed to the point where the only food in the store for weeks at a time is pickled eel, then you might want to be able to draw on reserves. Many of us think that one of the effects will be a disruption in international trade. That won't result in an immediate shutdown of our economy. It may result in a relatively long term loss of jobs for many people, and probably will result in shortages of items that are imported today. Is this important? Two to three days food supply doesn't do much if you don't have funds coming in for two or three years.

This is an interesting problem. You get to chose your scenario. You get to read between the lines of all the public statements. You get to put up with the trolls who attack others on this forum as you sift through information, disinformation, on-topic, off-topic ----- the good, the bad, and the ugly. At the end of it all, you get to decide what you think will go wrong, how it will effect you, and how you can minimize the impact, given your own circumstances.

This is something new for most Americans. Somehow we seem to have lost that capacity for independent thought and any ability to decide for ourselves that maybe a loss of computer chip manufacturing capability in Asia could possibly mean that PCs get scarce in America next year, or that loss of ball bearing manufacturing in Brazil for a few months could put a glitch in our capability to manufacture or repair anything that requires ball bearings, that maybe it would be a good idea to buy a new pair of Nike sneaks now, or that food shortages can result in public unrest and panic, and that it's far better to be able not to have go to the grocery store when 5,000 people are fighting over the last 20 rolls of toilet paper :)

Course, if you like chaos and confusion, are one of those shoppers who thrives on fights, if your intestinal system loves all sorts of junk in your drinking water, if your family is determined to lose a lot of weight fast next year by resorting to a starvation diet and by walking miles to the store, and if you really enjoy sleeping under one blanket when the temperature is down to zero, go for it.

You get to decide. Isn't our country great?

(Rant mode off)

-- De (delewis@inetone.net), May 01, 1999.

sorry. bold off

-- De (delewis@ionetone.net), May 01, 1999.


When I GI'd, I thought that putting a hundred dollars a month into preparations was going to be hard.... and this wasn't going to do me and mine much good. But when I started thinking about where all the money was going, it became clearer that there was more money for making preparations than I first thought. Of course, this took some time and I'm still working it out. The cleaners don't come to clean the house as frequently... if we eat out, we're eating at the best cheap eats as opposed to at the top 25... the empire sofa in the corner is not going in for repair and re-upholstery... any vacations are cancelled... and so forth. I'm even trying to quit smoking since cigarettes per carton run about $25. It adds up fast.

I don't see how the official statement on three days of preparations can be changed-- even if Koskinen were to think that it is going to be more than a bump in the road. As we get closer and closer to the big day (or highest rate of failures), the likelihood of panic increases and the reaction becomes more unpredictable. An official and straight- forward recommendation for two weeks of preparations now would impact the stock market and get people to think about taking their money out of the banks. People would demand something be done and wouldn't hear of anything less than fixing the problem before the New year rollover. Just imagine if they upgraded recommendations like this in the fall!

I see people like Koskinen having their hands tied behind their back. What I had heard him say at the National Cathedral (of the Episcopal church) was interesting. On the one hand, he was saying the same old thing. On the other hand, he wasn't refusing to answer questions that were beyond what he usually talks about. He seemed to be telling people that they really needed to take responsibility for their own preparations... that he wasn't in a position to make recommendations. There were moments where his emphasis on local action seemed urgent. At least that is my take on Koskinen and other people just like him.

I'm still not sure how a person is to really prepare for possible hard times. I think it is one thing to prepare for about two weeks of on and off problems, but it seems more complex if you believe that more preparations are required. For example, if you prepare for one month of heat, water, and food for four people, is this adequate considering the many other problems that might happen during a 14 day shut down. What about the aftermath? Three months of heat, water, and food might seem more appropriate with all those unknowns adding in. If you think it is going to be TEOTWAWKI, how do you ever prepare for THAT beast?

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 01, 1999.

You know, it seems that people in authority, ie. government, parents, doctors, have always been soft selling bad news to me my entire life. (This is hurting me worse than you.....pay more taxes because you aren't doing your fair share....open wide and you might feel just a little stick) The governments official "bump in the road" sure sounds like pablum to me. After all, they do tell us that if we don't prepare for 2-3 days for the "bump in the road" we might "feel just a little discomfort." I think they have been listening to my doctor too much.

-- smfdoc (smfdoc@nospam.com), May 01, 1999.

PJ: "I don't know anybody, short of people on electric heat in Minnesota (which should be nobody!) who would actually be anything more than really inconvenienced if they lost power and grocery shopping for three days."

Dollink, you haven't lived through a Minnesota winter. St. Paul is where I grew up. One February in the 1930's the temperature at no time rose above 0o F., with lows often near or below minus 30o F. During winter months in any year temperatures often fall to minus 30o F. and below, especially in the northern half of the state. Daytime highs can remain under 10o F. for days at a time.

Some folks now may have electric heat, but most I think have conventional oil or gas fueled furnaces. Very few homes, apartment buildings, offices or schools have woodstoves capable of heating the premises by convection. Oil, gas and coal fired furnaces all use electricity to distribute the heat produced. Without power, these furnaces will not function. Without heat, in a severe cold spell, indoor temperatures will fall below freezing. In high wind conditions this can happen overnight. The longer the outage, the farther the temperature will drop.

It may be possible to wear enough winter clothing to get through such a time -- but there is no way to keep water in the plumbing from freezing. When it does the water lines break. Fixing these breaks is a very expensive proposition.

A week without a trip to the grocery is a breeze.

A very cold week without electric power is sure to cause great damage.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), May 01, 1999.

You folks couldn't possibly know what you mean to me. If I didn't have your discourses to read and draw strength from I don't think I could make it. There must be only 5 people in Utah who GI. And none of them live near me. Oh, yes, many people here do storage and prepare as the Mormon church advises, but they act like it is a church secret. No one will even talk to me about the problems we may be facing. Friends and family just get that far away look in their eyes, that is, if they don't laugh outright. My brother told me my food storage wouldn't last forever then went out and bought a new ATV. My 83 year old father is a GI, but he thinks he needs to put away some spaghetti sauce. He agreed to help me moneywise with food storage, but when I told him I had bought some stuff he became very suspicious. He hasn't mentioned it since. Thank God, my DH believes. Although I usually lurk, sometimes I have to put my two cents in. You are mostly educated and express yourselves so well that I get intimmidated. I often print out your opinions and quotes. They sustain me offline, and my daughter will read them sometimes. Well, I just wanted to let you know. Thanks to all of you. I wish you well.

-- Juniper (silverfox@netutah.com), May 01, 1999.

Hello, all...this is a very interesting thread. But I'd like you more-affluent folks to think about the other side of this coin, for a minute. Many of you seem to have the luxury of various options and choices available to you; you're trying to decide which is the best course of action for you. But I live out here with "the great unwashed" in an "economically-challenged" area populated largely by relatively-unaware mobile-home-dwellers, where unemployment is 11% and getting worse, and where many families have to squeak by on $10-18k per year. On top of that, y2k gets almost no notice in the local newspapers and other media. So it's very difficult to interest any of these people in preparing for something that may or may not happen next year. These people just don't have 2-3 weeks of food in their pantries. This is a scary situation for those of us who do see the potential for serious disruptions in utilities and services...and it won't get addressed or solved anytime soon. I don't know if this situation prevails elsewhere, but it's loaded with serious problems for all concerned. Just something with which to temper your own considerations and uncertainty. (At least we're not in the LA basin!)

-- Norm Harrold (nharrold@tymewyse.com), May 01, 1999.

Norm, what you describe is something lots of us on the forum have been talking about, on and off, and it's always in the back, if not the front, of our minds. Many of us GI so fast because we've been in the position of living even below paycheck-to-paycheck and want to avoid deprivation again. Those who can prepare should do so NOW, so that what bit of aid the government and private agencies can muster will go further for those who cannot (and even those who will not) prepare. I don't know how long you've been checking into the forum, but you'll find that those who are lucky enough to have sufficient income are also putting aside extra supplies for those unable to provide for themselves. I don't know what else we can do.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 01, 1999.

Good question PJ.

That ambiguity is the intention of "bump in the road"

So, now it depends on what you are driving on the road. If you are on a haywagon the bump is what you just ran over. If you are in the supermarket parking lot, the bump is designed to slow you down (or take evasive action). Now, it's a lot different if you are at the Indianapolis speedway. A bump in that road is... well, smoke, flames, crashing metal, and flying debris.

So, what are we? Are we the haywagon, the car in the parking lot, or the Indy car cruising at +/- 200 mph?

-- Jim the Window Washer (Rational@man.com), May 01, 1999.

A Y2K bump-in-the-road analogy

On the street beside my house is a bump in the road. I know there's one, even though I can't see it easily, because my vehicle does a little jiggle when I go over it. There's also a bump in the road beside my dad's house but if my vehicle hits it, I lose an axle and have to wait for someone to come move my disabled vehicle out of the way. Both of these bumps are in the road. Of course, if I had a monster truck, I wouldn't worry about the bump in dad's road. Since I don't have one of those testosterone-driven trucks (no offense, guys), I have to be careful with what I do have and take extra precautions.

(Okay, so I'm not poetic, nor particularly literary for that matter, but the bump in Dad's road _is_ a monster and I would be stupid to ignore it. I keep my head up and eyes open to those things which might be a bump in the road so that I don't fall in and do any permanent damage.) Thanks for listening to me ramble. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (linda@home.com), May 01, 1999.

I was stuck in NYC for three days during the blizzard of '96 (I guess here I should say 1996!). The first day was a novelty...people skiing down Broadway, kids off, etc. The second day tempers were visibly fraying. And some items were not to be had or in short supply. There were the beginnings of standing-in-line types of trouble. Fortunately by Weds AM all was OK. The day the cops were acquitted in the Rodney King beating we were let go early from work due to rumors about riots in the city. PENN STATION WAS A MADHOUSE! And the rumors were just that. As the police chief said in "Young Frankenstein", "A riot is an ugry ting." And don't ever think "It can't happen here." Preparation makes sense, and Y2K actually got me to prepare for...well, whatever!

-- Mr. Mike (mikeabn@aol.com), May 01, 1999.


I have something called Section VIII housing within 1 klick in two directions from where I am citting right now. I have a VERY "diverse" neighborhood, and an extremely "mixed" set of homes on teh third side, with an industrial/retail area on the fourth side, including a retail mall, Super Kmart, and a copper and brass company, not to mention the neighborhood Superfund site.

My neighbors do NOT live from check to check, they live from food stamp card refill to refill. I have NO IDEA how I'm going to be able to have a low enough profile. And, NO there is NO clear probability of moving. I guess I'll just board the porch windows, and teh rest of the downstairs windows and try to think small, thin, quiet thoughts.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 01, 1999.

Tom dahlink, are you saying that even if I have oil, or natural gas, for my stove and heating, that they won't work if the power is off?

I guess I never noticed that, or thought about that.

Eeeeeeeewwwwww..... that's bad.

Chuck: maybe you should be driving when it arrives. Driving AWAY.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), May 01, 1999.

Old Git, thanks for your comments. If I had your real e-mail address, I'd send this privately because I don't want to offend anyone...but here goes. Now that I've cooled off a bit, I should tell you that what set me off was Stan's laments: "The cleaners don't come to clean the house as frequently... if we eat out, we're eating at the best cheap eats as opposed to at the top 25."

Well, geez, break my heart. Stan's post, overall, was quite balanced and reasonable, and I don't want to criticize him unfairly. But those comments just triggered my deep resentment of what I consider the worthless yuppie scum in our culture today. Note: I'm not saying that Stan is one of them...just that his words triggered that reaction.

Where I live now, many people don't have even $10/month discretionary income, let alone $100/mon. They are trying to get by on minimum wage, social security, or minimal retirements. "Big bucks" around here is $8-10/hr. They don't have cleaners come to clean their mobile homes. They don't go out to eat anywhere, let alone at the "top 25". And there is no likelihood that they will ever have to make any of these "sacrifices". They don't have 2-3 days food in their pantries. If they run out of money before the end of the month, they just do without.

All that aside, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of them are completely unaware of the impending y2k transition and all that it portends.

My own background includes 36 years of military and civilian Federal service in duty stations around the world. My most interesting assignment was as a Plans Officer for the Air Force's SR-71 Blackbird program. So contingency planning for events such as y2k is not unusual or difficult for me. What really scares me is that, with very few exceptions, no one in this area is preparing...and none of the local or county governments has a clue, either. I've talked with the managers of the only two markets within a 35 mile radius, and they won't be ready for y2k. So we've got all these unprepared people, many of whom have the almost "inbred" attitude that "government will take care of me", who may in for the biggest surprise of their lives in a few more months.

Unfortunately, I see no easy answer for this dilemma. I regret that officialdom is not getting the word out to the citizenry that they need to be prepared to take care of themselves because neither government nor anyone else is going to do it for them. And if things do get nasty, those folks are going to be rather angry that "no one told me...!" They'll be looking for someone to blame, a target for their resentment. That target could well include, in addition to their officials, those of us who have taken y2k seriously and have done what we could to prepare.

Stan, nothing personal, please don't take offense; I just think you need to be aware that not everyone can afford to hire folks to clean their houses for them. And Git, I enjoy your posts, and will continue to look forward to them. This forum is very helpful to me in that the posters generally come up with interesting and provocative perceptions that aid me in making my own decisions. My thanks to everyone who has participated.

-- Norm Harrold (nharrold@tymewyse.com), May 01, 1999.

Today, I feel lousy. If you saw my post on American Harvest Foods, you know that I made an order for canned foods a few months back and have not received delivery. The check has been cashed and a recent reply to my post suggests that this company is not on the up and up. So I am sitting here thinking about what I am supposed to tell my family and close ones and wondering if everything is going to be alright or if I was scammed. It's embarassing to talk about this problem (and at that, publicly!), but I think that talking about may help someone make better decisions about who they buy from and who to steer clear of.

Of course, I did a D&B check on American Heritage Foods before I made my order, but D&B doesn't always tell you everything that is going on. Still, I'm not sure how to talk about this at home. It took a great deal of effort to get some on board and a greater effort for everyone to be ok with making the order that I made. If it turns out bad and we've lost money, there will be less confidence here about continuing with preparations and, possibly, some loud and clear exchanges about my foolishness... not just about the order, but about Y2K in general. I think a lot of people in this situation would think it's better to quit. Most people can't afford to risk making that same mistake twice.

Juniper and anyone else, don't let my problem get you down. Keep on going, keep on keeping on! As for Norm Harrold... I've been thinking a great deal about how less affluent folks can prepare for Y2K, whether they live in a trailer park or in a government subsidized apartment in the inner city. I've also been talking to people across the country about how different groups can prepare and they they would respond to different disaster situations. Still more research to do, but I think a reminder of the basics (first things) is in order.

Keeping warm, storing water and food, and having something to cook with for a month of problems are not out of the reach of people on welfare-- if they started soon. At the most basic level, they need to make an inventory of what they have and what they need. Get needed clothes at yard sales, salvation army stores, and other places. With a list of the expiration codes and shelf life of different foods, you can stock up on canned foods, little by little. Starting this week, if you put aside three or four cans of food every week, this is going to add up. Water storage and cooking tools may be a little more tricky.

You don't need an $1,800 Vermont Castings fire-engine red Defiant wood stove to keep warm and cook up your food. A propane stove that you vent through a window costs something like $150 at the local hardware store. A small propane camp stove is even cheaper, but may pose some fire hazard to the apartment dwellers. As for water, use soda bottles or big old trash cans with new FDA approved liquid storage liners. You can even dig a water pit lined with FDA potable water approved liner. The liner for a 3,000 gallon water pond wouldn't cost more than a couple hundred bucks. Compare that to a 3000 gallon capacity FDA ok polyethelyne vertical water tank which runs about a thousand dollars.

Things like matches and long burning candles are pretty cheap. Just don't leave those burning candles unattended or in a place where they could set fire to something. In an apartment building, you should know where the fire extinguisher is and make sure it's full and that it has been inspected recently. If it hasn't, get in touch with the landlord or the local fire marshal-- whoever will respond quickest. You might even want to learn a little about fire safety-- especially if you live in an apartment building. You might also be able to put up hand-written fliers in the laundry room or community center that talks about Y2K and gives some tips on how to prepare safely for problems.

You may not be able to afford all the gadgets that you'd like to get, but if there's enough people around you that are making preparations, you might get organized enough to figure out who has what gadget or who will get what gadget (crank operated radio, solar battery recharger, walkie talkies, solar oven, etc). This is a time to build relationships, settle arguments, and make peace with your neighbors... you don't even have to mention Y2K right now -- if you just aren't comfortable talking about it. It may also be a good time to have a yard sale yourself or take things down to the pawn or antique shop. Get rid of unnecessary things and get cash to buy the needed things.

If you are drinking a 6 pack of beer every day and smoking a carton of cigarettes every few days... every week... start cutting back now and you'll soon see that you have as much disposable cash as a lot of well to do people. Illegal drugs also cost quite a bit, if you use them, try to get help now and use that money for preparations. Take a hard look at how you are spending money and you'll usually find a way to make preparations. In December, you may even discover that you are better prepared for Y2K than the Smiths and Jones on Fat Cat Street.

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 01, 1999.

--this is an interesting thread, so here's my take a little-there are so very many ways to prepare on a budget it ain't funny. I grossed under 10 g's last year-that's it. I got more stuff saved up than you can imagine. Anyone want to know the biggest secret to preparing is to go out on front lawn the day before trash day. Spread out some plastic or old newspapers. Dump all your accumulated trash and garbage out and LOOK at it. Take a pad and pencil and write down every single thing you are now throwing away. You are THROWING away the vast majority of your preparation and living money paying for advertising, and over packaging. Why the heck anyone wants to pay an additional salary to some millionaire tv actor to sell them over priced crap is beyond me. It should be quite possible to go almost a month without one full garbage bag of trash, if you buy and eat in bulk. I do it, and have been doing it since the early 70's. If you don't or can't make a ton of money, you learn to improvise, buy in bulk, grow food, barter, buy used, etc. There is ZERO excuse for anyone with children to not have at least 5-6 months of food for their children at any time, especially if you have the means to do it now. And if you live in a very cold clime, you should have one full winters worth of firewood and a woodstove and means to get WATER. Period. If you are an adult and chose to waste your time and money on movies, professional over priced sports stars, or screaming musicians, luxury cars, or any of that stuff before you have the necessities of life covered, than that's your lookout. If you have children, then it's CRIMINAL in my opinion to not have REAL insurance to take care of them in case something completely unexpected happens. I, too, have seen what happens immediately after a hurricane, or a riot-human beings can get really ugly, really quick, and waiting and hoping for the nice ones to come by and save your unprepared butt is wishful thinking, and don't ask the government to do it with stolen "tax" money. And by the way, if you live right on the ocean, and you know you are gonna get hit with a hurricane every few years, please quit taking other peoples money from them for your beach front living "insurance", the rest of us would like to pass on that one, thank you. Just a pet peeve of mine when I see these poor unfortunates with the zillion dollar mansions getting governement assistance every few years to rebuild the beachfront homes. Boy, I hate that in particular-not sure why, just gets my goat it appears. And no, even though I could get it, I take no government assistance or anything, it's wrong, and I just choose to live simply and frugally, because I HATE supporting big international businesses, so I do it the least I can. Still have to compromise, but oh well, it's that interconnected thing.I try to practice what I preach as much as possible, and still be "in society". I tried the hermit deal for a very long time, and found out as nice as it was, still needed human contact, so-o-o....I guess that makes me a middle of the roader between complete isolation out in the wilderness, and total "jit" living in a downtown condo..soon, though, not much of that action.....good luck and better skill to the bump in the roaders, hitting even a small bump at speed will sure ruin your day, let alone your suspension.....and gee, maybe there won't be anyone on the other end of the cell phone to talk to and come tow you to safety..........

-- zog (zog@avana.net), May 01, 1999.

Stan, I sure hope something works out for you re: the foodstuffs. I can imagine the emotional situation you must be in with this and I really feel for you. How frightening -- how maddening -- I'd be tempted to take my Y2K-planned gun and go look for that guy...

You said in your post:

The liner for a 3,000 gallon water pond wouldn't cost more than a couple hundred bucks. And also: Compare that to a 3000 gallon capacity FDA ok polyethelyne vertical water tank which runs about a thousand dollars.

Where would EITHER of these things, at these prices, be? I have found nothing like that.

Btw, a propane stove at Walmart probably costs $40 for a camp stove. I lived in a van and used one of those for 8 months, never killed me. As for digging ANYTHING, that is NEVER an option for people in apartments or condos, except in rare cases... yard just isn't theirs.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), May 02, 1999.


Right. There will be no digging in apartments! In fact, the weight of a couple hundred gallons of water may be too much for the floor of your apartment in one place. Each gallon of water weighs something like 12 pounds, so 200 gallons weighs 2,400 pounds. Check with the building engineer, and probably don't try to exceed 100 gallons in any one place. If you can, try to locate a soda bottling plant in your area, you may be able to get free 55 gallon containers. You must realize, however, that living in an apartment is limiting in terms of making preps. You might want to check out your local housing assistance services agency and try to see if you can get into a house where the government makes co-payments to the landlord/house owner.

A 3,000 gallon tank (vertical, FDA approved, polyethylene) runs from $US 1,000 to $US 2,000 at http://www.watertanks.com. This price may not include shipping. Of course, you may want to bury this (so it doesn't attract attention) and that means digging a hole 9 feet deep and 8 feet in diameter. This could also be hooked up to a rain water-roof drainage system or an impromptu rain water catching tent-like structure. Other places to call/email and get prices from: http://www.chappellsupply.com/norwesco/index.htm (in Oklahoma City), Diverse Plastics (http://www.diverseplastics.com) in Ontario,Canada.

As for FDA approved polyethylene liners for potable water and that have UVA stabilization, you might try talking to Dick Ashbaugh at Koi Unlimited in Frederick, Maryland (http://www.koi-unlimited.com). His phone number is 301-473-5518. Dick sells Koi (japanese fish) and he helps people plan fish ponds, but he would be able to help you figure out the dimensions of the digging, the size of the liner, and how to install it. You can tell him that this very crazy idea came from Stan Faryna. Otherwise, check out a koi dealer that is local to you. I know Dick can have these liners drop shipped directly from the factories.

If you put a couple of fish in the pond and you are not going to make it a fish friendly pond (filters and pumps and all), don't put more than one large fish (6 to 18 inches) per 200 gallons and make 10% water changes every month. With a good water filter, you will have water, fish to eat, and fertilizer for your garden. Don't drop the fish right in after filling the pond up as chlorine, chlorimine, and ammonia may be used to treat your water (unless it is out of a spring). Wait a week or two. You might also want to cover the pond to prevent algae. Finally, don't use a water conditioner (like you would in an aquarium) as these often contain carcinogenic chemicals.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 02, 1999.

PJ-- We are hostage to electricity.

The normal oil- or gas- burning furnace is controlled by a thermostat which sends an electric signal to the furnace. This tells the furnace to ignite the fuel, using an electric> igniter. Every furnace I've seen for the last 40 years has a fail-safe arrangement which cuts off the fuel supply if the power is off. This prevents unburned fuel from entering the combustion chamber.

Natural gas is delivered under pressure, maintained by pumps in the distribution system using electric motors. Oil is delivered from a storage tank, possibly by gravity, normally by an electrically operated pump. Both oil and gas flow are regulated by valves operated by electrically driven actuators. In forced air and forced hot water heating systems, the exchange medium is circulated thru the system, air by a fan, water by a pump, both fan and pump electrically driven. If the fan or pump quits while the furnace is operating, the air in the plenum or the water in the tank will overheat. Fail-safe mechanisms insure that the furnace is shut down when this occurs.

People in the northern tier of states have to be concerned about extended power outages.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), May 02, 1999.

Oops! Italics off.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), May 02, 1999.


Update on the American Harvest Foods (AHF) situation. I received an email describing a highly positive experience with AHF but also an unsatisfactory experience with someone else. I'm not saying who as I could suddenly discover I am an unwitting pawn of competitive firms. The email said that the AHF phones were being answered, so I picked up the phone and gave them a ring. Someone answered the phone. Hurrah! Someone's name was Nancy. After a long and, ultimately, satisfactory conversation, we can only wait and see what will or will not happen.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 04, 1999.

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