Prepper Diary July 22: We Break Quarantine, Again

After avoiding the city for almost a month and going on self-imposed quarantine for more than a week, I venture out and find others are playing it safe, too.

I ventured out into town today.  My first trip out of the house in more than week and my first visit to our  nearest city in about four weeks.   I had a doctor’s appointment, but I took advantage of being out and all masked up to go to Sam’s Club and then pick up some takeout for dinner.  Here are my observations:

People are Staying Home

Traffic was light.  Maybe it is the heat, but it seemed like more people are staying home.  Our state has gone through the reopening and seen an uptick in cases, so I can’t help but think that people have just decided to play it safe.  Also, to be fair, it was 1:30 p.m., the middle of the work day.  Maybe a lot of people were stuck “working from home.” 

There was far better adherence to the “wear a mask” rule than I had observed before.  A couple people had their nose sticking out, but I didn’t see anyone who was unmasked.

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Prepper Diary June 11: Shortages Continue

We do some shipping to take advantage of the gap between the first wave of coronavirus and possible second wave, but there are still shortages.

On May 28, exactly two weeks ago, I said that we would probably be ending our quarantine diary because so much of the country was reopening.  That may have been premature.

Yes, we made a road trip, we had company, and we increased the number of stores we visit, but it does not look like the coronavirus is cooperating.  In fact, cases are growing in states all around us. So while we are not going back on a lock down, we are planning to minimize our outside excursions and go into what I’m goign to call, “Quarantine lite.” 

We were ahead of the curve when it came to self-quarantining, and I think we may be playing it a bit extra safe this time around, too.  Still, better safe than sorry.

That didn’t stop me from getting the first haircut I’ve had in more than three months.  I’m happy my hair is back under control, and my wife is thrilled that my mountain-man beard was neatly trimmed.  I miss having something to grab onto at the bottom of my chin, but that’s a reflex I’ll outgrow in a few days.

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Prepper Diary June 4: Inflation Rears its Head

We’ve done some shopping since our last diary entry, and we’ve run into inflation and some of the strictest social distancing rules we’ve seen yet.

We have done a little shopping over the past week and we’re seeing unmistakable signs of inflation.  Food is not only more expensive at grocery stores, but the rising cot has become a topic of conversation.  The takeout we got at a local restaurant was more expensive than it used to be sitting down to eat inside.  My wife spent $200 at the garden store, and she didn’t even get that much.  She reported that some small plants were $2 more than the used to be.

Rising prices are a side effect of coronavirus.  Businesses struggling to hang on have raised their prices just to try to pay their bills.  Shortages and supply chain disruptions are causing prices t move upwards as part of the supply and demand cycle.  Services companies are charging more to make up for the need for providing PPE and extra time spent cleaning.  Salons are charging more because they are required to limit the number of employees who ca work at one time.

The only thing that hasn’t seen inflation is the cost of gas.  It’s under $2 here, sometimes well under $2, and that helps.  Of course, we haven’t driven very far lately.  I just filled my talk for the first time in three months.  But that’s going to be changing as travel starts back up.

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Quarantine Day 76 – Still Shortages

While Walmart was clean and well managed, there were a surprising number of empty shelves 10 or 11 weeks after the first panic buying.

I went to Walmart today for the first time in three months and I was shocked that there are still shortages and empty shelves.  I can’t believe that there is still a shortage of toilet paper, but there certainly was in this store.  I’m going to give details and photos below detailing the shortages, some of which are surprising.

First, however, props to this specific Walmart for tightening things up; she store was the cleanest I’ve ever seen it – I’m talking floors, shelves, racks, produce area, etc.  A young woman cleaned the handle of my cart and rolled it to me when I came in.  Every employee I saw was wearing their mask, and all but one were wearing them correctly.  I would say more than three quarters of the shoppers were wearing masks while a minority were not.

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Quarantine Day 75: Our Accomplishments

We’ve had more than two months locked in, so did you use y our time well or waste it?

I think this may be my last entry in my Quarantine Diary.  I plan to continue posting plenty of prepping-related diary entries and other articles, but I doubt the focus will be on quarantine, unless we end up back in a government-mandated lockdown. Our COVID-19 coverage will continue until the story goes away. The coronavirus and it aftereffects are something that I expect will concern preppers anyone else with a strong sense or self-preservation for some time.

We are not giving up on quarantine, but we are relaxing our personal lockdown a bit.  We’re planning to have friends over next week and grill outdoors. 

As quarantine winds down and we look back at the past 10+ weeks, I think we should all take stock and ask ourselves, what did we accomplish?  Here are a few things I did:

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Quarantine Day 70: Things are Reopening

Regardless of what the governor or the mayor says the rules are, things are bustling in our home town as business reopen and people hit the streets.

I went out Friday afternoon and drove to the city to pick up something that could not be delivered.  I noticed a few things right away:

First, I don’t care what the governor says, things are definitely reopening. About the only thing that looked closed were the restaurants.  The streets were noticeably more crowded and there was a buzz that had been missing.  Some of the shopping centers I passed had less cars than normal, but the business district looked busy.  It was a warm spring day after a period of rain, so people were probably happy to get outside, but there was far more foot traffic than I had seen several weeks ago.

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Quarantine Day 65: We Start Stocking Up Again

As grocery stores and online retailers finally restock some of their canned goods and dry foods, it’s a good time to rebuild your long term food storage.

On Friday, my wife went to the grocery store for the first time in more than two months.  She actually walked around inside and picked out her own food, something she has missed doing with all our curb-side pickups.  She was planning a short hit-and-run visit with a defined list, but the store was so empty and quiet that she felt comfortable doing a longer shopping and spent about $150.

There were a few things on our list that they did not have.  She didn’t give me specific details but reports that there were definitely empty spots on the shelves and many cleaning supplies were out of stock.  there was a limit of three fresh meat items per family.  We’re still eating meat out of our freezer, so that’s OK with me.

later that night, I went online and tried to buy what she had missed.  I checked out a number of our online suppliers and settled on an order from Amazon.com and an order from Costco.com.  I put everything in our shopping carts at around midnight but decided to wait to check with her the next morning.  When she OK’d everything I found out that an 8-pack of black beans had sold out on Costco and a box of 80 K-cups of coffee on Amazon had jumped in price by $5. Bummer!

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Quarantine Day 63: Stocking the Little Extras

I’ve said that one of the biggest lessons the coronavirus pandemic has taught me is that we need to store more junk food and snacks.  This may be good for a laugh, but it’s also true! 

One thing that our coronavirus quarantine has proved to us is that once we are in decent shelter and have food and water taken care of, we to need ways to entertain ourselves, something special  to eat occasionally, and things that will remind us of normalcy.  Otherwise, we’re going to go even more stir crazy than we are now. There’s also the danger that six months or a year in, we’ll get tired of our limited food options and redundant menu.

A Scenario

Let’s say that you are at your retreat or your home and some cataclysmic disaster strikes.  “Ah ha!”  You think, “Just what we have been prepping for.”  You have buckets of rice, oatmeal, wheat and beans, shelves of canned goods and dehydrated food, and more guns than you have trigger fingers. You feel pretty good about where you stand.

Over the next week or so, a couple family members and a few friends you had been counting on stagger in to help you hold the fort.  They tell terrifying stories about stripped store shelves, riots in the cities, mile-long traffic jams on the Interstates, running gun battles, and national guardsmen who charge travelers $50 or 5 gallons of gasoline to let them off at an exit.

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Quarantine Day 56: A DIY Project Mushrooms

We’re eight weeks into our stay-home period so to console ourselves, and to support a local restaurant, we got take out for only the second time.  We ordered online, drove to the restaurant, and they came out and stuck it in our car.  The restaurant itself is not letting anyone in, but they had a cash register outside so you could walk up and order. 

The takeout is pretty damn good.  Clearly, we’re going to have to do this again.

A Project Mushrooms

You know how a small project can sometimes mushroom into a huge one?  We’ll, that’s what happened today.  (Sorry to get your hopes up If you were thinking this was about mushrooms.)

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Day 53 of Quarantine: We Fall Back on TV for Entertainment

Our lives remain quiet, for which we are thankful but also looking forward to reopening. We spend our time with books, TV, YouTube and look for a new home.

It is day 53 of Quarantine and about the most exciting thing that has happened is that the wife and I broke our three-day television strike and watched all three Bad Boys movies over the past three nights, just finishing Bad Boys for Life this evening.   I couldn’t believe she had never seen the first two, but she was a good sport and watched them all.

Maybe this quarantine diary wasn’t such a hot idea because things have really slowed down to the point that not much is going on and continue reports of us taking a walk and cleaning the attic just aren’t that exciting and I refuse to make stuff up or do something wacky just so I can blog about it.

In the past week, I’ve re-read a bunch of mil-SF books by John Ringo and I’m on the fifth novel of the Jane Whitefield series by Thomas Perry, which I am also reading for the second time.  I’m watching more preparedness videos on YouTube, mostly catching up past episodes of on Gridlenessness and Living Off Grid with Jake & Nicole.  Honestly, I’m getting a bit tired of Jake and Nicole who are cute but young and learning as they go.  I’m probably way older than their target demographic so I shouldn’t complain, but  I sometimes want to yell at the screen and tell them that they are doing something or incorrectly or inefficiently.

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