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Well, for me, honestly, it has been becoming a prepper! And the first step down this (in a good way) rabbit hole was that New York Times article that referred to this site. Okay, I admit, I had to overcome associating the word “prepper” with camo-wearing conspiracy theorist a bit, but the rationale for prepping had been building for a long time. One, I’ve lived in NYC for about 14 years and was here through Hurricane Sandy. I was lucky in that I live uptown and it didn’t affect me too much, but it sure could have been different. Secondly, I live in an old brownstone coop. In January of ’18, in the middle of an extreme cold spell, our boiler gave out, and it took a good three weeks to get a new one installed and up and running, so that was three weeks without heat or hot water. My mother was then alive and living with me. She was 91 and with advanced dementia. Luckily, she was then in a rehab facility for a few weeks after a short hospital stay. Had it happened while she was at home, it would have been truly awful. After hovering around space heaters and sleeping under a zillion blankets and showering at the gym for a week or so and nothing being resolved, I was able to take off for my sons’ place for a bit. It could have been worse. THEN, last summer, there was a gas leak, and our building was red-flagged by Con Edison, and the gas shut off. So now no hot water, heat, OR cooking. Months and months of permits, repairs, inspections, more repairs, and we finally got the hot water and heat back in October, just in time to not have to pull out the space heaters again. We STILL don’t have the cooking back. We were just about to get that done when COVID hit and shut us down. So I’ve been cooking on an electric hot plate and slow cooker and microwave. Until we got the hot water back, I was heating water on the hot plate and in the microwave, putting it in a plastic watering can with shower-type spout and a replenishment pot, sitting on a shower chair in the tub, and giving myself a “shower” (no way I was going to do cold showers). I mean, I think of myself as a very resilient problem-solving kind of person, but once COVID came it started occurring to me that problem-solving on the fly wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to be prepared! NYC was frankly behind the curve, and it took a while in the beginning for grocery stores to even do minimal capacity control, social distancing, and no one was wearing a mask. Since I’m 65, I wasn’t keen on going into the stores, but getting a delivery slot was really difficult. It has all gotten better, but it sure ain’t hard for my mind to start thinking — well, what if the food supply chain does get really messed up? And what if, say, the electricity goes out, and then I don’t have either gas or electric cooking, and the stuff in my fridge starts going bad. I’m screwed! So with the help of this friendly rabbit hole, I started putting together something of a plan. I ordered a 2-week emergency food bucket (which I’m still waiting on because, duh, they’re incredibly backed up). In the meantime, I completely cleaned out and organized my pantry, taking stock of what I had and starting to stock up. I started dehyrating foods — cooked noodles, cooked beans, fruit, veggies, cooked rice. I got oxygen absorbers, desiccants, mylar bags. I already had a vacuum sealer. And I started scouring the web for backpacking type meals, as well as making meal kits with canned and dried foods. I found half a dozen enhanced ramen-based meals (ditch the “flavor” pack for some PB, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Srichacha, some freeze-dried veggies, and some chicken…). So now I have at least two weeks worth of more-or-less shelf-stable meals that pretty much only require boiling a cup or so of water. Oh, and I got a little folding sterno stove with sterno, which should be able to accomplish that, and I plan on getting a little backpacking stove and some propane (which I will only use by a cracked-open window) that I can put into my bugout bag. And I got my 15 gallons of stored water. I mean, I love to cook, so this has been mostly play time. It feels good. But, yeah, definitely my COVID stress reliever.  But I don’t think it’s weird!

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Well, for me, honestly, it has been becoming a prepper! And the first step down this (in a good way) rabbit hole was that New York Times article that referred to this site. Okay, I admit, I had to overcome associating the word “prepper” with camo-wearing conspiracy theorist a bit, but the rationale for prepping had been building for a long time. One, I’ve lived in NYC for about 14 years and was here through Hurricane Sandy. I was lucky in that I live uptown and it didn’t affect me too much, but it sure could have been different. Secondly, I live in an old brownstone coop. In January of ’18, in the middle of an extreme cold spell, our boiler gave out, and it took a good three weeks to get a new one installed and up and running, so that was three weeks without heat or hot water. My mother was then alive and living with me. She was 91 and with advanced dementia. Luckily, she was then in a rehab facility for a few weeks after a short hospital stay. Had it happened while she was at home, it would have been truly awful. After hovering around space heaters and sleeping under a zillion blankets and showering at the gym for a week or so and nothing being resolved, I was able to take off for my sons’ place for a bit. It could have been worse. THEN, last summer, there was a gas leak, and our building was red-flagged by Con Edison, and the gas shut off. So now no hot water, heat, OR cooking. Months and months of permits, repairs, inspections, more repairs, and we finally got the hot water and heat back in October, just in time to not have to pull out the space heaters again. We STILL don’t have the cooking back. We were just about to get that done when COVID hit and shut us down. So I’ve been cooking on an electric hot plate and slow cooker and microwave. Until we got the hot water back, I was heating water on the hot plate and in the microwave, putting it in a plastic watering can with shower-type spout and a replenishment pot, sitting on a shower chair in the tub, and giving myself a “shower” (no way I was going to do cold showers). I mean, I think of myself as a very resilient problem-solving kind of person, but once COVID came it started occurring to me that problem-solving on the fly wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to be prepared! NYC was frankly behind the curve, and it took a while in the beginning for grocery stores to even do minimal capacity control, social distancing, and no one was wearing a mask. Since I’m 65, I wasn’t keen on going into the stores, but getting a delivery slot was really difficult. It has all gotten better, but it sure ain’t hard for my mind to start thinking — well, what if the food supply chain does get really messed up? And what if, say, the electricity goes out, and then I don’t have either gas or electric cooking, and the stuff in my fridge starts going bad. I’m screwed! So with the help of this friendly rabbit hole, I started putting together something of a plan. I ordered a 2-week emergency food bucket (which I’m still waiting on because, duh, they’re incredibly backed up). In the meantime, I completely cleaned out and organized my pantry, taking stock of what I had and starting to stock up. I started dehyrating foods — cooked noodles, cooked beans, fruit, veggies, cooked rice. I got oxygen absorbers, desiccants, mylar bags. I already had a vacuum sealer. And I started scouring the web for backpacking type meals, as well as making meal kits with canned and dried foods. I found half a dozen enhanced ramen-based meals (ditch the “flavor” pack for some PB, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Srichacha, some freeze-dried veggies, and some chicken…). So now I have at least two weeks worth of more-or-less shelf-stable meals that pretty much only require boiling a cup or so of water. Oh, and I got a little folding sterno stove with sterno, which should be able to accomplish that, and I plan on getting a little backpacking stove and some propane (which I will only use by a cracked-open window) that I can put into my bugout bag. And I got my 15 gallons of stored water. I mean, I love to cook, so this has been mostly play time. It feels good. But, yeah, definitely my COVID stress reliever.  But I don’t think it’s weird!