Comments on: Inconceivable: Why Failure Is Normal, and Should Be Part of the Plan…but Isn’t http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Fri, 16 Jan 2009 09:59:28 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: dewey http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14952 dewey Tue, 16 Dec 2008 19:33:06 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14952 Hey Claire, if you're still reading this thread, I'm in St. Louis too and would love to know where is this co-op from which you get bulk food! We also spent the second night of the 2006 blackout sleeping on the floor in our basement (after sweltering through the first 24 hours upstairs, wondering if the cat was going to have heatstroke - she is used to airconditioning down to about 80 and was overtly unhappy with 90+). Hey Claire, if you’re still reading this thread, I’m in St. Louis too and would love to know where is this co-op from which you get bulk food!

We also spent the second night of the 2006 blackout sleeping on the floor in our basement (after sweltering through the first 24 hours upstairs, wondering if the cat was going to have heatstroke - she is used to airconditioning down to about 80 and was overtly unhappy with 90+).

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By: Heather Gray http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14826 Heather Gray Mon, 15 Dec 2008 17:20:29 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14826 No power here from Friday 4:00 AM to Sunday 1:25 PM. Enough damage from ice and trees/branches falling that the power for the town was shut off so the teams could work safely all over the place. Weren't hit as hard as the next town over though - Goshen. I expect some folks may not have power over there still. Most things went pretty well, although the furnace's alternate system isn't that great. Still, L knows more about how it works now. FIL is now more amenable to getting a backup generator for the furnace (wood-fired but needs electricity for the circulatory system). Because of funky things with the furnace we were actually too warm on Friday, but managed to level things out. With or without electricity/generator, the transition should be smoother next time. Woodstoves are good! Oh and the folks are also now interested in getting a stovetop fan, having used ours yesterday. Not having hot water wasn't fun, but we managed. Although, given the opp. of a hot shower, once we could get out of town on Saturday we did go visit some friends who had power. But we did heat water for washing dishes at home, and ate at home all but the one time while visiting our friends. We heated some of the water on our own woodstove, and some on the gas stove downstairs -- my in-laws have a gas stove with a pilot light. Sunday's lunch, before the power came back, was seasoned chicken (by me), sweet potatoes, spinach (my in-laws buy some stuff out-of-season), sweet pickle chips, a loaf of quickbread (thawed), and apple pie. Most of our frozen stuff stayed frozen -- we finally moved the stuff into a cooler on Saturday and set it out on our porch (north-facing). The chicken had thawed so that's why we had that for lunch on Sunday. My MIL's freezer was indoors but in the back kitchen, which isn't heated and is kept closed up in the winter except when in use. The gas stove is in there, so we curtained off the part of the room with the freezer to protect it from the stove. Our crank electric lantern worked really well, so we've decided it's worth getting a second one. But the oil lamps did well too, as did our little flashlights, so we're pretty happy with our lighting choices. Happy I had enough clean clothing that I didn't have to do laundry, but already know I can handle that. Water wasn't a problem. A spring comes into the house as well as town water. A little limited but not bad -- one bathroom can be switched over to the spring plus there's a faucet in the back kitchen all the time and the J-pipe upstairs (part of the system that keeps the spring water moving so it doesn't freeze). But we did use a few jugs of water -- partly because it was convenient to have them stationed in different places and partly because can't keep the same water in the jugs forever, so they'll get fresh water as part of the rotation. Today I'll be making more applesauce with apples we peeled and cut up during the power outage. I'm also nearly done with making a quilted wall-hanging I've been meaning to make. And L finished cutting up another pumpkin and another butternut squash, so I should steam those today too. We're pretty happy overall with how things went, and have confidence that we could handle more if we had to. But I do want to get in better shape -- very tiring! No power here from Friday 4:00 AM to Sunday 1:25 PM. Enough damage from ice and trees/branches falling that the power for the town was shut off so the teams could work safely all over the place. Weren’t hit as hard as the next town over though - Goshen. I expect some folks may not have power over there still.

Most things went pretty well, although the furnace’s alternate system isn’t that great. Still, L knows more about how it works now. FIL is now more amenable to getting a backup generator for the furnace (wood-fired but needs electricity for the circulatory system). Because of funky things with the furnace we were actually too warm on Friday, but managed to level things out. With or without electricity/generator, the transition should be smoother next time.

Woodstoves are good! Oh and the folks are also now interested in getting a stovetop fan, having used ours yesterday.

Not having hot water wasn’t fun, but we managed. Although, given the opp. of a hot shower, once we could get out of town on Saturday we did go visit some friends who had power. But we did heat water for washing dishes at home, and ate at home all but the one time while visiting our friends. We heated some of the water on our own woodstove, and some on the gas stove downstairs — my in-laws have a gas stove with a pilot light.

Sunday’s lunch, before the power came back, was seasoned chicken (by me), sweet potatoes, spinach (my in-laws buy some stuff out-of-season), sweet pickle chips, a loaf of quickbread (thawed), and apple pie.

Most of our frozen stuff stayed frozen — we finally moved the stuff into a cooler on Saturday and set it out on our porch (north-facing). The chicken had thawed so that’s why we had that for lunch on Sunday. My MIL’s freezer was indoors but in the back kitchen, which isn’t heated and is kept closed up in the winter except when in use. The gas stove is in there, so we curtained off the part of the room with the freezer to protect it from the stove.

Our crank electric lantern worked really well, so we’ve decided it’s worth getting a second one. But the oil lamps did well too, as did our little flashlights, so we’re pretty happy with our lighting choices.

Happy I had enough clean clothing that I didn’t have to do laundry, but already know I can handle that.

Water wasn’t a problem. A spring comes into the house as well as town water. A little limited but not bad — one bathroom can be switched over to the spring plus there’s a faucet in the back kitchen all the time and the J-pipe upstairs (part of the system that keeps the spring water moving so it doesn’t freeze). But we did use a few jugs of water — partly because it was convenient to have them stationed in different places and partly because can’t keep the same water in the jugs forever, so they’ll get fresh water as part of the rotation.

Today I’ll be making more applesauce with apples we peeled and cut up during the power outage. I’m also nearly done with making a quilted wall-hanging I’ve been meaning to make. And L finished cutting up another pumpkin and another butternut squash, so I should steam those today too.

We’re pretty happy overall with how things went, and have confidence that we could handle more if we had to. But I do want to get in better shape — very tiring!

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By: Jim C http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14799 Jim C Mon, 15 Dec 2008 04:07:16 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14799 Most technology systems are designed my engineers. Yes, I already know how anal and boring engineers are, I am one. What I see is that most financial systems, which should be designed by financial engineers are, regretably, designed by the so-called "MBA" people. Most of which are not even able to pass a simple engineering exam covering the basic concepts of systems analysis. So here we are, being managed and governed by lawyers, and MBA, most of which I call crooks. It is our own fault for allowing them to lead, and yet we continue to vote them into power. My other quote of the day, "One nation - under educated" Most technology systems are designed my engineers. Yes, I already know how anal and boring engineers are, I am one. What I see is that most financial systems, which should be designed by financial engineers are, regretably, designed by the so-called “MBA” people. Most of which are not even able to pass a simple engineering exam covering the basic concepts of systems analysis. So here we are, being managed and governed by lawyers, and MBA, most of which I call crooks.
It is our own fault for allowing them to lead, and yet we continue to vote them into power.
My other quote of the day, “One nation - under educated”

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By: Ahmed http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14786 Ahmed Sun, 14 Dec 2008 20:34:15 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14786 Well, at least all the "experts" you cite are, like you, chosen. Well, at least all the “experts” you cite are, like you, chosen.

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By: Grey http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14778 Grey Sun, 14 Dec 2008 18:16:36 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14778 I agree with Stephen. I've often said that 100+ years ago, when a hurricane or flood, or some other disaster hit an area, people would pull themselves up by their bootstraps - organize, help their neighbors, and everyone would pitch in to help each other to get life back to normal. They didn't look to the government for help - THEY took care of it. I'm going to pick on Katrina because it's the most obvious and notorious example: How much different would Katrina have looked if the folks hit there had been prepared, had left when officials told them to, and had everyone pitched in to help rather than shooting each other? I don't take issue with looting of needed materials in a time of crisis - if folks had been stealing water or gatorade rather than beer - but all of them could have worked together rather than sat around waiting for Big Government to bail them out - especially since Big Government took their time about it. I agree with Stephen. I’ve often said that 100+ years ago, when a hurricane or flood, or some other disaster hit an area, people would pull themselves up by their bootstraps - organize, help their neighbors, and everyone would pitch in to help each other to get life back to normal. They didn’t look to the government for help - THEY took care of it.

I’m going to pick on Katrina because it’s the most obvious and notorious example: How much different would Katrina have looked if the folks hit there had been prepared, had left when officials told them to, and had everyone pitched in to help rather than shooting each other? I don’t take issue with looting of needed materials in a time of crisis - if folks had been stealing water or gatorade rather than beer - but all of them could have worked together rather than sat around waiting for Big Government to bail them out - especially since Big Government took their time about it.

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By: Stephen B. http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14777 Stephen B. Sun, 14 Dec 2008 17:48:32 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14777 I'll go further and say that Americans (US'ers that is) look down on people who stock up and prepare as overly parsimonious, or cheap. They’re seen as throwbacks from thrifty eras that don't fit in well with the always-rosy, and devil-may-care, spendthrift ways of today. It isn't only the survivalist in his cabin that is distained, but the Mormon family with a corner in the basement full of supplies, or the grandparents with a similar cache of food, tools, and techniques as well. Once upon a time it was considered a duty for everybody to provide for themselves as much as possible so as not to become an undue burden on the rest of society (esp. when society was having difficulty itself), but now, however, the situation is turned around. Now, it is expected (falsely) that the rest of society (esp. meaning government) is going to come to your rescue in your time of need because society and govt. is *SO* affluent that such rescue won't be any problem for the rest of us and govt. to bear at all. I’ll go further and say that Americans (US’ers that is)
look down on people who stock up and prepare as overly parsimonious,
or cheap. They’re seen as throwbacks from thrifty eras that don’t
fit in well with the always-rosy, and devil-may-care, spendthrift
ways of today. It isn’t only the survivalist in his cabin that is
distained, but the Mormon family with a corner in the basement full
of supplies, or the grandparents with a similar cache of food, tools,
and techniques as well. Once upon a time it was considered a duty
for everybody to provide for themselves as much as possible so as not
to become an undue burden on the rest of society (esp. when society
was having difficulty itself), but now, however, the situation is
turned around. Now, it is expected (falsely) that the rest of
society (esp. meaning government) is going to come to your rescue in
your time of need because society and govt. is *SO* affluent that
such rescue won’t be any problem for the rest of us and govt. to bear
at all.

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By: Eva http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14775 Eva Sun, 14 Dec 2008 16:25:07 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14775 Our culture of denial is pervasive. It not only includes emergency/energy preparedness as you write about above but also divorce, illness, unemployment, death, poverty etc. By living we will likely encounter some or most of these. No financial or personal cocoon is enough to protect us, nor would I want one that was. Just as some people consider you an extreme survivalist, some consider me morbid. But by considering alternatives we are more physically and emotionally prepared. Thanks for your always interesting writing. Our culture of denial is pervasive. It not only includes emergency/energy preparedness as you write about above but also divorce, illness, unemployment, death, poverty etc. By living we will likely encounter some or most of these. No financial or personal cocoon is enough to protect us, nor would I want one that was.

Just as some people consider you an extreme survivalist, some consider me morbid. But by considering alternatives we are more physically and emotionally prepared.

Thanks for your always interesting writing.

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By: Greenpa http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14774 Greenpa Sun, 14 Dec 2008 16:12:36 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14774 Sharon, there's another source of "denial" these days. I'm sure you're aware; but I'm hyper aware, because an old friend of mine has been sucked into the cult - of- "The Secret." You know, the "Law of Attraction" - get anything you want, just generate the right vibes by wishing properly, and quantum physics guarantees the universe WILL give you that new job, sailboat, Beemer, or boyfriend. It's kind of amusing to me, because my friend used to be rabidly anti-religious, and now she's as vehement as the most tenacious pamphlet passer. Part of what they teach is that you should avoid thinking about bad possibilities, because that will cause them to happen. I haven't been tracking the movement; it may have peaked; but for a while there it was growing like crazy, particularly after Oprah had them on her show. Not much to do about it- but it might be a question worth asking, when you're trying to get person A to see what you're saying, and they continue to just ignore any and all logic. "So, are you a follower of the Law of Attraction?" If you get a yes- that may be where the intractability comes from. Just don't think about it, and it won't happen! Easy! Sharon, there’s another source of “denial” these days. I’m sure you’re aware; but I’m hyper aware, because an old friend of mine has been sucked into the cult - of- “The Secret.”

You know, the “Law of Attraction” - get anything you want, just generate the right vibes by wishing properly, and quantum physics guarantees the universe WILL give you that new job, sailboat, Beemer, or boyfriend.

It’s kind of amusing to me, because my friend used to be rabidly anti-religious, and now she’s as vehement as the most tenacious pamphlet passer.

Part of what they teach is that you should avoid thinking about bad possibilities, because that will cause them to happen.

I haven’t been tracking the movement; it may have peaked; but for a while there it was growing like crazy, particularly after Oprah had them on her show.

Not much to do about it- but it might be a question worth asking, when you’re trying to get person A to see what you’re saying, and they continue to just ignore any and all logic. “So, are you a follower of the Law of Attraction?” If you get a yes- that may be where the intractability comes from.

Just don’t think about it, and it won’t happen! Easy!

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By: Jean http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14773 Jean Sun, 14 Dec 2008 15:57:21 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14773 Sharon - Would you please elaborate on your manual water pump backup? Our well pump is in a pit outside the back door and I have no idea how to get water out of it for a longer term power outage. I do store water for short term outages. Sharon - Would you please elaborate on your manual water pump backup? Our well pump is in a pit outside the back door and I have no idea how to get water out of it for a longer term power outage. I do store water for short term outages.

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By: Student http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14771 Student Sun, 14 Dec 2008 14:56:49 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/13/inconceivable-why-failure-is-normal-and-should-be-part-of-the-planbut-isnt/#comment-14771 In 2002 I lived in a small community in the Rocky Mountains - 9000+ feet. In March that year it snowed for three days nonstop until we had 5 feet. Many people were snowed in for a week or more. I worked for the county sheriff's office and our emergency response was limited to search and rescue and deputies on snomobiles. We could only respond to serious medical emergencies. You would think people who choose to live in high, remote mountain regions would be prepared for bad weather. But our dispatch received many calls requesting help because of lack of food, fuel and water. One person complained she needed food for her pets and wanted a deputy to make a 4 hour round trip in a blizzard to bring some Kibbles and Bits. People said they had no wood and had just run out of propane. Our dispatcher replied, "Do you have wooden furniture?" When they replied yes, she said, "Start burning it." As a reminder, don't limit your preparations to your home. Keep blankets, gloves, hats, earmuffs, boots, handwarmers, flashlights, etc. in your car in the wintertime. Don't drive anywhere distant in the winter without food, water and cellphone with you. In 2002 I lived in a small community in the Rocky Mountains - 9000+ feet. In March that year it snowed for three days nonstop until we had 5 feet. Many people were snowed in for a week or more. I worked for the county sheriff’s office and our emergency response was limited to search and rescue and deputies on snomobiles. We could only respond to serious medical emergencies.

You would think people who choose to live in high, remote mountain regions would be prepared for bad weather. But our dispatch received many calls requesting help because of lack of food, fuel and water. One person complained she needed food for her pets and wanted a deputy to make a 4 hour round trip in a blizzard to bring some Kibbles and Bits. People said they had no wood and had just run out of propane. Our dispatcher replied, “Do you have wooden furniture?” When they replied yes, she said, “Start burning it.”

As a reminder, don’t limit your preparations to your home. Keep blankets, gloves, hats, earmuffs, boots, handwarmers, flashlights, etc. in your car in the wintertime. Don’t drive anywhere distant in the winter without food, water and cellphone with you.

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