Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomePreppingExpensive Diary: It is Me, Jessica.

Expensive Diary: It is Me, Jessica.

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Expensive Diary,

It’s humorous to put in writing one thing like that.  For that matter, it’s humorous to put in writing in any respect.  On certainly one of Dad’s scavenger journeys, he got here throughout a stack of composition books, pens, and pencils in a dumpster.  He introduced all of them house and instructed me to start out a diary.  Again in regular instances, seven months in the past earlier than the ability stop, I’d have simply seemed up on my telephone ‘What’s a diary?’

With the ability gone, so too went the web.  So I requested him, ‘What’s a Diary?’  He gave me a humorous look, blinked just a few instances, shook his head, and mentioned it was a journal to maintain observe of each day issues, vital occasions, and my ideas and emotions on the time.  I ought to write it as if I used to be writing a pricey pal.

So, right here I’m, Diary.  Sitting in my chilly bed room with my stuffed bear, carrying socks, slippers, sweatpants, a winter hat, and a heavy sweater.

In all probability ought to again up and clarify the rationale for all that.

Let me begin over.

Expensive Diary,

It’s me, Jessica.

Seeing as how that is the primary time I’m writing you, I’ll let you realize what has occurred over the previous seven months and even some issues earlier than.

About this time final yr, Dad received what he known as an incredible Christmas shock present: a promotion to administration.  I do know what a promotion is, however I used to be not too positive concerning the ‘administration’ half as he was describing it.  Gave the impression of extra of a headache ‘managing’ that many individuals, conferences each in individual and on Zoom.

However it got here with a giant pay increase.  Two months later, we moved from our tiny, crappy house throughout from the subway tracks to a small however very good home within the ‘sub-burbs.’  Mother and Dad have been very enthusiastic about it.  I suppose it’s good however older.  Dad mentioned it was a Fifties-era starter house.  My room is greater.  We’ve a garden and yard with woods behind it.  However it took me a few month to get used to the . . . quiet.  It’s deafening!  No subway trains working until late at night time.  No police sirens.  No vehicles or automobiles driving by.  No gunshots now and again.  I imply, I can hear the wind exterior my window proper now.

Faculty was totally different, too.  It was a lot nicer and clear, and every little thing appeared new.  Carrying a uniform was totally different.  I truly kinda preferred it.  No considering of what I wished to put on to high school.  No taking the general public buses both.  Dad would simply drop me off on his technique to work, and Mother would decide me up.

Diary, right here was the loopy half!  The varsity didn’t have cellphone protection or wi-fi.  Actually!  They mentioned it disrupts class, and we spend an excessive amount of time gazing screens.  We have to speak extra to one another face-to-face!  At first, I assumed it was a bit bizarre, however actually, it was similar to dinner at house.  No telephone on the dinner desk, and I talked with my dad and mom.

I made pals with a number of college students from totally different teams.  Although we have been all carrying uniforms, there have been nonetheless totally different cliques:  Jocks, hoods, stoners, preppies, and possibly one other half dozen I don’t even know exist.  I had pals from all teams, besides one group of ladies, who took a direct dislike to me.  One among them, Savannah, tried to bully me someday.  Earlier than I may put my books right down to defend myself, one of many jocks, Christy, instructed Savanah to again off or she would “put you in a damage locker.”  I’m not positive what a ‘damage locker,’ is, however Christy needs to be a MMA fighter and is in coaching for it.   Savannah and her pals by no means seemed in my course once more.

So, the primary few months have been going fairly good.  Mother was all excited to have a yard to plant a backyard and began ‘raised’ beds in mid-April.  Dad’s work was, as he put it, ‘hectic,’ however he appeared to love it and the paycheck that went with it.  We have been even speaking about occurring an actual household trip to an actual seashore on the ocean.  Mother received an electronic mail from an organization that was considering her work.  She known as it ‘headhunted’ and took the job.  She laughed and known as it extra pay for a similar work she was doing.  Faculty was going effectively.  I celebrated my sixteenth birthday in early Could.  Dad mentioned he would get me a automobile, and I may get my driver’s license.  That may have by no means occurred if we nonetheless lived on the previous house.  I must take driver’s ed, however that class didn’t begin until after faculty let loose for the summer time.

It was Memorial Day weekend when the ability went out.

I  awoke Saturday to a greater than ordinary quiet home.

I walked into the kitchen, staring into my telephone with no cellphone connection bars.

Dad mentioned it have to be a big energy outage to take the cell towers down, too.  He commented on how we must restrict opening the fridge door to maintain issues from going dangerous until the ability got here again on.  He did pull out eggs and bacon to make breakfast potato hash casserole.  He had to make use of the grill lighter to start out the flame on the propane range.

That afternoon, out of boredom, Mother and I went for a stroll within the neighborhood.  Diary, it’s actually bizarre. Folks wave to one another and say ‘hello.’  That by no means occurred within the previous neighborhood, even within the house complicated.

After we received again to the home, the neighbors throughout the road have been out on their entrance porch, sitting in rocking chairs.  We went over to say ‘hello.’  Sam and Joanna have been retirees, having lived there for 30 years.  They appeared to know everybody within the neighborhood by title.  They mentioned their neighbor behind them had a ‘HAM’ radio and will speak to folks throughout the nation and even typically in Europe.  He mentioned the ability outage was not simply in our space however for a lot of the state, and somebody he talked to mentioned it was nationwide.

Mother didn’t appear too involved, however when she instructed Dad, he seemed frightened when she instructed him that bit of stories.

After two days of no energy, Mother and Dad began what they known as an ‘stock’ of issues we had readily available.  So we’d not have to maneuver as a lot ‘crap’ as mother put it to the brand new home, we used up as a lot as we may of canned items, what was within the fridge and freezer in our tiny house, not that there was a lot.  As soon as within the new home, Mother and Dad received a membership to a bulk low cost huge field retailer and restocked from there.  All the things was in bulk sizes, multi-paks, flats, or got here in industrial-sized containers.  The pantry within the kitchen was simply larger than all the cabinet house within the house. It appeared huge after we first moved in, however it was rapidly crammed ground to ceiling.  Something that didn’t slot in there went into the storage.  On the time, it appeared like lots.

Monday got here, and nonetheless no energy.  Out extra of behavior than the rest, I received up and dressed for varsity.  Dad did the identical for work.  He pulled into the college parking zone to see it was closed, however there have been quite a lot of different dad and mom there to drop off their children, too.

Dad and I received out, and he talked with different dad and mom whereas I talked to a few of my classmates.  Some I knew, others I didn’t.

One boy just a few grades decrease than me mentioned his dad was curing and smoking all of the meat.  One other mentioned his dad was ‘canning’ all their meat over a propane boiler.  I didn’t know what both of these meant.

Dad and I went again house.

Mother and Dad went out into the storage and spoke in hushed tones.  That’s once I started to fret.

Properly, Diary, it’s that point within the afternoon to assist Dad get some dry firewood.  Extra tomorrow.

Expensive Diary,

The place was I?

Oh, sure.  It was a few week with out energy when issues began to get bizarre.

Our neighbors throughout the road have been sitting on their rockers, speaking with a person.  He had a rifle slung over his shoulder and a handgun on his hip.  He had a really huge, black German Shepard with him.  Dad poked his head out the entrance door to see if one thing was unsuitable.  There should not have been, because the neighbors waved him over.  I noticed the person supply his hand because it seemed just like the neighbors made introductions and Dad took the person’s hand and shook in greetings.  They talked for about half an hour when Dad got here again, and the person and his huge canine left.

Dad had Mother and me sit down on the eating room desk, and he repeated what our neighbors and the person mentioned.

The facility outage was, in reality, nationwide.

With out energy, water didn’t come out of the faucet.  The bathrooms didn’t flush.  Gasoline pumps didn’t work.  Credit score and debit playing cards didn’t work.  Grocery shops didn’t get resupplied.  We had been fortunate, so Dad mentioned.  Our neighborhood was a lot older, with separate wells and septic programs.  Dad did should make a hand pump-like device to pump water out of the effectively, however not less than we had water.

The person mentioned the native, state, and federal governments have been making an attempt to do one thing about all of it, however there was a whole lot of confusion, and nobody appeared to know what to do.  He mentioned if the ability didn’t come again on quickly, issues have been going to go from dangerous to a lot, a lot worse.

By week two, we started to know what worse was.  For some folks, meals was getting quick in provide.  Mother expanded her backyard.  Among the neighbors began gardens, too.

Week three was a lot, a lot worse.  It had been almost half a yr since I heard gunshots in the course of the night time, not to mention throughout the day.  And never simply the standard gang banger popping off two or three rounds however dozens of photographs from totally different instructions from greater than two shooters within the distance.  No police sirens adopted.

That’s when the neighborhood shaped a militia.

We didn’t have any weapons, so Mother and Dad have been a part of the ‘assist’ part.

A little bit over a month for the reason that energy went out, I used to be over speaking with Sam and Joanna, when the person with the large canine walked up.  His title was Jack, and his canine’s title was Samson.  Jack had simply returned from a ‘scouting’ journey to the West.  He mentioned on the huge river bridge, somebody arrange a blockade with heavy vehicles, huge rigs, and over turned automobiles to forestall anybody coming from the town to our aspect of the river.  Folks may nonetheless stroll throughout, however somebody demanded fee within the type of ammunition, gas, alcohol, antibiotics, or ‘different issues.’  I observed when he mentioned ‘different issues, ’ he mentioned it with a touch of disgust.  He mentioned most individuals turned and walked again the best way they got here.  However just a few demanded to cross with out paying the ‘toll.”  That’s when the taking pictures began.  Jack shook his head and mentioned it was like “taking pictures fish in a barrel.”

Mother had planted issues that grew fast, like chard, spinach, and a few inexperienced beans.  It’s not like I dislike them, however it was getting boring, the identical factor almost daily.  Mother and Dad have been by no means what I’d name ‘fats,’ however they each misplaced weight to the purpose dad needed to punch further holes in his belt to maintain his pants up.

Then, just a few weeks later, Jack got here by to tell us a farm just a few miles down one of many again roads was searching for ‘an sincere day’s work’ in alternate for meals.  The subsequent morning, Dad received us up early, and he and I hiked it to the farm.  It took about an hour and a half to get there.  Diary, it seemed like one thing proper out of a historical past guide.  Massive, white farmhouse, clothesline, not one however three huge barns, and a windmill.  The previous form, not the brand new ones.  We have been about midway down the lengthy filth driveway when three canine got here out barking.  Then, a person and a boy got here out of one of many barns with rifles.  Dad mentioned to place my palms up and hold calm.  The person and the boy got here nearer, and requested us what we wished.  Dad mentioned that Jack instructed us there could be meals for ‘an sincere day’s work.’  On the point out of ‘Jack’, each the person and the boy relaxed.  The person was Farmer Miller and his son was Billy.

Diary, what Jack didn’t point out about ‘an sincere day’s work’ was it was sizzling, sweaty, onerous work.  The subsequent time I noticed Jack, I let him know that too.  Jack hardly ever smiled or laughed, however he did then.

For ‘an sincere day’s work,’ we received two dozen eggs, they usually made us lunch.  Lunch was a thick ham slice on toasted and buttered bread, a giant glass of milk, and a small piece of apple pie.  Diary, I swear it was price ‘an sincere day’s work.’

Dad and I grew to become ‘farm palms,’  coming to work for farmer Miller three or 4 days every week.  We might get different issues than simply eggs.  Ham, milk, beef, flour, and the occasional apple pie.  We might see Jack on the farm about as soon as every week.  Farmer Miller mentioned that Jack was the ‘go to’ man who may get issues others couldn’t.  He was additionally somebody nobody messed with.

Being a farm hand was not all onerous work.  I received to speak with Billy and his two youthful sisters, Olive and Daisy.  They aren’t like different children.  They appeared extra grown up for his or her age.  I requested Billy why I by no means noticed him in class as we needs to be in the identical grade.  He mentioned he was home-schooled.  After I mentioned I by no means heard of such a factor, he defined it to me, however I nonetheless didn’t perceive why they appeared so ‘totally different.’  However I didn’t say that to him.  I used to be afraid I’d damage his emotions.  I like him.  I’m additionally studying all types of latest farm issues.  Billy is even instructing me to experience a horse!

Sooner or later, farmer Miller, Jack, and Dad have been speaking.  Farmer Miller was involved concerning the fall harvest.  Not solely him however different farmers across the space.  They received their crops planted within the spring previous to the ability going out.  However now, there was no market to promote to.  No level in harvesting crops which are going nowhere.  All of the farmers had huge tanks of diesel gas as they normally purchased within the earlier winter when costs have been low.  Now, higher to avoid wasting gas for different issues.  Some farmers have been speaking about culling a part of their herds or flocks.  Farmer Miller supplied Dad his personal starter flock of chickens for just a few days’ work.  Dad agreed readily.  Farmer Miller did say with crops going un-harvested, wild recreation may have an excellent winter.  Deer, turkey, and different wild recreation will probably be plentiful subsequent yr.

The man with the ‘HAM’ radio additionally stored observe of what day it was.  The significance of the seasons by no means occurred to me.  The Winter Solstice was just a few days in the past.  The shortest day of the yr.  The longest night time of the yr.  One other day nearer to Christmas after which a brand new yr.

I’m excited for Christmas tomorrow.  We’ve been utilizing the propane for less than cooking, utilizing the hearth place for warmth that solely heats the household room.  We’ve lots to cook dinner a giant meal.  Dad traded Jack some moonshine for a wild turkey.  Dad cured and smoked a ham Farmer Miller paid him for work.  Now I do know what curing and smoking is.  Mother is making home made stuffing with chunks of the ham, some wild mushrooms she discovered within the woods, walnuts from bushes within the woods too, thyme she grew and home made rooster inventory.  Mother had loads of inexperienced beans, snap peas, and onions for a inexperienced bean casserole.  She can also be roasting carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga with a honey glaze.

We invited Sam and Joanna, and Jack to spend Christmas dinner with us.  Joanna is bringing an apple pie.  Jack is bringing one thing he calls a ‘venison’ meat pie, no matter that’s.

Expensive Diary,

For the primary time in . . . months, I really feel ‘fats.’  ‘Fats’ as in a really full stomach ‘fats.’  All the things was unbelievable.  Even Jack’s venison meat pie was scrumptious.  And the apple pie.  I couldn’t assist myself!  I had two servings!  Everybody laughed at me.

Jack, Sam, and Dad all had just a few photographs of the moonshine dad traded Jack for.  Jack additionally introduced two bottles of mulberry wine for us ‘girls,’ as he put it.  I didn’t prefer it, however Mother and Joanna positive did.

I used to be sitting in entrance of the hearth with Samson’s huge head in my lap, scratching his ears, when the boys started speaking.  Sam heard from the ‘HAM’ man that issues in components of the nation are very dangerous.  Within the cities, there was one thing known as a ‘mass die-off.’  One thing about unsafe water, dysentery, ailments, and lawlessness.  The federal government at totally different ranges has failed.

It was then not solely did I really feel ‘fats,’ however ‘secure’ with Dad, Jack, and Sam behind me, Samson quietly loud night breathing in my lap.

Issues have been onerous for the reason that energy went out.  However I had a Christmas that a whole lot of different children didn’t have.  From what I get listening to them speak, they by no means even made it to this Christmas.

About 1stMarineJarHead

1stMarineJarHead just isn’t solely a former Marine, but in addition a former EMT-B, Wilderness EMT (courtesy of NOLS), and volunteer firefighter.

He presently resides within the nice white (i.e. snowy) Northeast along with his spouse and canine. He raises chickens, rabbits, goats, sometimes hogs, cows and typically geese. He grows varied veggies and has a bizarre fondness for rutabagas. He enjoys studying, writing, cooking from scratch, making charcuterie, goal taking pictures, and is presently increasing his woodworking expertise.


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