Saturday, March 07, 2020

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Our aliens are microbes

There is a line in the movie Independence Day where the character who has been warning people about aliens says, "I've been telling you for ten d*m years!".  My husband likes to quote it from time to time except he says dang.  No one paid attention to what the man said because he drank.  A lot.  (Spoiler alert:  He ends up saving the world.)

Our aliens we are dealing with are microbes and those who have been warning us that our now global travel and economy will someday support a pandemic, are saying that very thing.  If you get a chance, watch the movie Contagion but you might want to wait until the current crisis is over.  On second thought, it will show you that COVID-19 is nothing compared to the virus in the movie!  At least so far...

In addition to my usual big once a month shopping day earlier this week, I was able to do some additional stocking up... adding another layer to the pantry of items we could use whether or not we are quarantined.   I didn't have any problem finding items on my list but it did take going to four different stores to find what I needed.

One store was completely out of flour and didn't have the sugar I use in stock, another was almost out of rice and dry beans.  This is before there is a confirmed case in our area.  There have been shortages of specific items for some time now, taking awhile to get them restocked even before the coronavirus was on the radar.

I don't usually have conversations at the grocery store, especially on stock up day.  I just want to shop my list at each store and go home. However, with the additional shopping this week, I was not in a hurry and people were all talking about the coronavirus.  Most I talked to were at the store to stock up "just in case".  Some were there after realizing their employers were taking this very seriously.

I had planned to purchase the mega size TP at Sam's Club like we usually do every three months.  However, in a conversation at one grocery store, I found out the local Sam's Club was having a hard time keeping TP in stock.  Which was surprising because there was plenty at all the other stores.

As it turned out, it was time for our annual renewal payment to Sam's Club and after talking about it, we decided not to renew this time.  We no longer purchase enough bulk items to make it worth the fee.  I found the same package we usually purchase at Walmart for almost the same price.

What have I learned from this stock up?  Well, you can write about preparing each week but that doesn't mean you are prepared.  Honestly, I hadn't thought much about a pandemic.  We almost threw away the hand sanitizer a couple months ago because we hadn't used it.  Now we are thankful for a last minute decision to keep it, "just in case".  We also have a tiny bottle that was given out to veterans at one time, it is now going in the car after reading that one should use it immediately after pumping gas.

We have a few masks and a reusable respirator only because of my husband's environmental allergies.  I know there are no masks to be purchased anywhere but I was curious about the respirator.  I checked and it was now only available third party on Amazon and the filter that fits in it is selling for a time and a half what we paid.

I was also curious as to the status of various Mountain House and Augason Farms products.  Many are sold out and what is available is ridiculously high.  I don't know if the ten pound bucket of Augason Farms quick oats is always $33.99 but really... oats store very well in a food grain container when used regularly.  Third party sellers were selling the oats for over $50.00... for ten pounds of quick oats.  Yes, they store for twenty-five years but really...

I knew most of the Mountain House emergency kits were sold out and/or on a two month back order but I was shocked to find a Mountain House meal I had purchased last Fall for around $8.99 a pouch, now selling for $22.00 to $30.00 and only third party.  ONE POUCH!  I only purchased a couple for the emergency kit I've been putting together because it seemed pricey at the time.  Now it seems like a bargain.

Which brings me to my ponderings this week.  It is good for a crisis to wake us up once in awhile for the need to be prepared ahead of time.  I know we can't be prepared for everything, I hadn't thought of what would be needed in a pandemic.  However, if we are prepared at least a little at all times by keeping a deep pantry and basic supplies, what extra funds we do have can go to additional purchases rather than starting from scratch.

If we have been putting some thought into being prepared for emergencies already and we have been stocking the pantry (including essential non-food items) a little at a time, we are far less likely to forget something essential.  Especially if we have written out an emergency list of essentials to look over when needed.

I didn't have much time to do research this week but I plan to do more next week.  What we do know is this... the death rate is now around 3%, still very low but more than the flu.  This may have increased because the numbers coming out of China were under reported and now it is in other parts of the world.  Those who died were mostly over 50 or already in poor health.

On one hand, we don't know what we don't know.  I heard an interview where the medical reporter was asked if this virus will die when it gets hot as most coronaviruses do or if it can come back worse in the Fall as some viruses have done in the past.  Her answer was that the experts do not know.

Having said that, I was talking to a woman at Kroger who was stocking up after her employer had sent out an email asking employees to avoid even personal travel.  It brought the seriousness of the situation home.  I told her, from everything I have researched, even if there is no breakout in our area, fear of the possibility makes it necessary to stock up on essentials.  Fear can cause a run on the grocery stores, creating shelves such as shown in the photo above.

We need to take COVID-19 seriously by being prepared to be quarantined.  We also need to take it seriously to be prepared to stay away from places where there are crowds of people.  Preparation and prayer help alleviate fear and fear can lower the immune system.

Having two auto immune diseases, I already wash my hands immediately upon returning home no matter where I have been.  Prayer and washing our hands for at least twenty seconds are both necessary (they say to sing the Happy Birthday song and that is about twenty seconds).

Stay safe my friends!

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Contagion... here and here.
Independence Day... here and here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Image: No credit was given for this photo.


LaurieS said...

Randy Quaid played that character you referenced. I enjoy your posts.

Ann said...

We keep a large pantry and have done so for years now (in case of SHTF) but I, too, had never really considered a pandemic and quarantines, etc. So I was able to get a few things at our local Walmart -- hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes as well as extra toilet paper and kleenex. I keep a good stock of everyday meds (colds, flu, etc.) on hand all the time in case of "whatever".

Some shelves were pretty thin -- toilet paper for one but a few days later they had restocked. I was, however, surprised to see people "stocking up" on their electronics and wonder if they had more than a week's worth of food in the pantry and freezer. Sometimes we seem to be oblivious to the obvious.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Years ago I got in the habit of using hand sanitizer or some kind of cleaning wipe while out shopping and running errands. We’d had three months in a row of nasty stomach virus run through the whole family, and was determined to do all I could to avoid that again. So we worked to boost our immune systems, taught the kids to wash their hands well at all times but especially when out in public. It worked. All these precautions work for avoiding the flu as well.

I’m stocking up on basics and this week added a few each of several kinds of canned soups/ stews to be able to serve over rice.

I’m not worried about the virus as much as I am wanting to prepare for quarantines.

Thanks for sharing practical tips and useful information for so many years, friend!

Rachel H said...

I live in Florida where a few cases have been reported. One person just a couple of counties away has died.I have asthma, which has been flaring up this week, so I'm avoiding crowded places. I did some grocery shopping yesterday and shelves seemed full as usual. But this is Florida, so having supplies on hand in case of hurricanes is the normal. My concern is for those who may be sent home from work and have no savings. Another reason savings is so important.

Cheri said...

We are relatively well prepared, thankfully. We could quarantine for two months without too much hardship. I did my semi weekly store run the other day. There was an ample amount of toilet paper in stock - even some stacked on the floor. Bleach was a little thin.

I am supposed to fly in two weeks to visit family. Unless things change drastically for the worse, I plan to go armed with disinfectant wipes for my plane seat and tray and hand sanitizer. I'll bring my own food too, for the plane.

Prepping and trusting God,
P.S. I love talking to people in the grocery store. We live in a small town so I see lots of people I know.

Elizabeth said...

Hubby and I just came across this today and we feel is great advice for things we can do to take care of ourselves and stay well: I do hope you can avoid falling ill with diabetics do not have the easiest time of staying well!! We are staying home more...tho' going out if needed...and I have found chewing Spry Xylitol gum seems to keep me from catching things even if coughed or sneezed upon as has happened to be from time to time. Also great for tooth health!!

Carol said...

I have not found this type of issue here yet with many things being out of stock except for hand sanitzer. I hate that this virus has seemed to take over lives across the country. I feel that washing hands and making sure we do what we can to remain healthy is the best solution.

Keri said...

Brenda, I haven't been in the habit of stocking up, but I can tell you that because of reading all of your pantry posts for so many years, my ears perked up a couple of weeks ago when the talk about coronavirus was starting to increase. I decided to go ahead and stock up on some essentials, despite the fact that my husband kind of chuckled when I told him about doing so. (He's now quite glad I had the foresight, needless to say! :-)) I'm definitely glad that I bought toilet paper at that time, because as of today, I only know of one place in my area that had it...and once word went out about that, I imagine it flew off the shelves! I only bought a month's worth, which is what I normally buy, but here's hoping that's enough. I also bought some of the last hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes that were in the area. Those shelves have been empty since the day after I bought mine.

Anyway, I want to say thank you for opening my eyes to the need to stock up. I can tell you that although I was lax about doing so, despite reading your recommendations, I will be keeping more essentials in good supply in the future. Because, as I've been saying to myself with a smile over the past few days, "Brenda was right!"