Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Night of Insomnia, but with Cool Links :-D

Yep, it's another night of insomnia, or rather, I got my second wind while perusing one of my favorite FB pages (they also have a website) and some folks had posted interesting links that I just had to go to. So, next thing you know, I'm wide awake and figure, what the hezmana, I might as well be productive and stay awake all night in order to make sure my husband wakes up for work on time. (His 2nd job is as a manager at a movie theatre. If he's not there to open on the Sundays he's schedule to, we're all SOL.)

So, I paused from on online pursuits, unloaded the dishwasher - which husband was supposed to do. For some reason I HATE HATE HATE to unload the thing, but will willingly stick my hands into a disgusting pile of dirty dishes. Actually, that part I get. Only I can load it right! LOL! I also, after washing my hands of course, made myself a cup of General Foods International Coffee. Sidetrack Time: I got sick for two months this summer, somehow lost my taste for my beloved instant coffee (no flames please, the Brits love it!,) and decided that since coffee is bad for my high blood pressure (frell, just remembered I forgot to take my meds, again :( ) started drinking the GFIC, which once used to be a treat because those little cans are expensive. (Tried making my own and it's just not as good.)

Back On Track Time: I also picked up some crap in the living room, namely the dishes I forgot to load in the dishwasher. (We're a proper modern family that eats either while on the computer in the library or at the coffee table in front of the TV. The kitchen table is where the sewing machine and other odds and ends are.) And I put away some leftovers, threw out others, and wrote up my shopping lists. (I'm out of olive oil and my son's out of bacon. We're both in a panic and so plan on making an emergency run to Sam's Club tomorrow. LOL!)

Then I went back to the computer, perused (Hal, I don't understand that input. Had to use spell checker a 2nd time for that word) some more and a little while later thought, "Hey, why I don't I share some awesome links with my whopping 5 followers and anyone else insane enough to read this blog?" Besides, there's that whole insomnia & wanting to stay awake for my husband and continued putting off cleaning the bathroom thing.

So, those cool links:
1. Still Tasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide -
You can look up a ton of foods either by Search or Catagory, plus read some short Q & A's to common queries or facts they decide to throw your way. I discovered that many things I didn't have to throw out after their Expiration &/or Best Buy Date as long as they didn't smell or look funny. You know the whole "if the can is bloated or the food has become a colony of sentient life forms, toss if or die" type of common sense. I also learned that instant white rice can be stored indefinitely. Yes, I know it's nutritionally inferior to brown rice, but that's what we like when we actually eat rice that doesn't come in a Chinese take-out container. (I do own a rice steamer & use it occasionally for the "better stuff.")

I also learned the my annual purchase of multiple big cans of Hershey's baking cocoa will last indefinitely. (Okay, this has got to stop. Seriously! Words should be spelled like they sound and when I finally go crazy enough to live permanently in my alternate universe they frelling will! Speaking of which, I really need to add frell, frelling, hezmana, and dren to my computer's dictionary.)

2. Food Storage Made Easy -
Two lovely women (sisters-in-law) who make preparing for emergencies easy and fun. They have a wealth of information, a blog, and a Facebook page which anyone is welcome to post on (as long as you're nice of course :-) Though their faith advocates a 1 year storage of supplies, they have guides for preparing your Go Bag/Emergency Bag/BOB (that thing we've already had to use twice this year,) and a 3 month supply (which is what we do, plus a little more.)

Yeah, I know, some will think these women, and my own family, are nutters. But, then you look at all the real life emergencies that happen all the time - fires, floods, gas leaks, power outages, storms that knock down trees, etc. The latter happened on our block earlier this year and we were without power for 3 days. Aside from realizing we needed more D batteries and a better hand crank radio, we were perfectly fine. Someone else we know though was in hell, even though both our families could easily drive to the next town and get supplies such as a freshly baked pizza.

Then there was the past Christmas which we call "The Christmas of Poo." Days before Christmas, our area experienced an "unofficial-but-it-sure-as-hell-felt-like-it" blizzard. Roads were closed, businesses shut down, the whole deal. And that's when our poorly-capped sewer line in the basement bathroom decided to become clogged with tree roots and back up into the basement. And of course, how did we find this out? Husband went downstairs to shave (goodness forbid our main bathroom have an outlet,) and went to turn on the light located some 2-3 feet inside the bathroom. Husband wondered why his feet were wet, turned on light, and there it was - many, many, many inches of water and floating "poo presents." You couldn't turn on a faucet or flush the toilet or rush the washing machine unless you wanted it all to pour out into the basement.

So, until we could actually get our plumber (who shakes his head every time at the crap-work that was done on our 85+ year old home) out, we had no water, no way to flush, a ton of literal shit and ruined stuff to clean up, and did I mention that husband got dysentery from the poo flood? Oh, you can't imagine how the main bathroom was smelling after a few days. :-(

Which all leads to the fact that had we had an alternate means of bodily waste disposal and kept up with our water storage, we would've been much better off. (We've since remedied that with the purchase of a Luggable Loo, an excellent product! that can be found on a link listed below.)

3. Emergency Essentials -
A great place to buy many of your emergency supplies. Sign up for the their paper/mailed-to-you catalog. It's much easier to read. Still, their website also has a number of articles and good information on shelf lifes, storage, etc. They also have a blog, but I don't follow it. I do get their emails & "liked" them on FB so I can be notified of specials.

4. The Luggable Loo - This is the generic one we have from Emergency Essentials:

This is the brand name one from Amazon:

In essence, what you get is a delightful, useful, bucket with a toilet seat, and lid, that easily holds 2 boxes worth of Double Doodie Bags (if you take them out of the box and put them into gallon-sized Ziploc bags,) extra packets of Enzymes (EE carries them for 60 cents a bag,) handi-wipes, a container of kitty litter, and many rolls of toilet paper. I tried it out while camping and even after an "eventful meal release" you couldn't smell a thing.

EE and Amazon also now carry Double Doodie Bags that fit over a toilet seat. So at the very least, it's worth buying a box of these. Like I said before, we learned the hard way why these types of products are necessary. (For those thinking why we couldn't just bury it in the back yard, you don't know that our small back yard is covered in asphalt. See my other blog for details & pictures of The Asphalt Garden.)

5. Another product you technically could live without, but it'd be a shame to do so - BACON!!! Yes indeed, canned bacon. This stuff is AWESOME, real, honest-to-goodness, cooked, and delicious BACON!! The brand is Yoders, which makes a variety of canned meats. (Just look on the web.) EE sells their bacon here:

6. Boomd1791 -
This guy is fun to watch as he talks about his food storage and other emergency preparedness. Check out his video on how to dehydrate water. :-D

7. MRE Info -
First off, let me tell you that the one MRE entree I tried, during our small tongue-in-cheek It's the End of the World as We Know It Taste Testing Party, SUCKED. As John Crichton once remarked to Rygel, "Salmonella! Was it getting delicate in your butt?" (or something very similar.) However, their peanut butter, wheat bread, jelly, and dessert cakes weren't bad at all. They have a great shelf life and can easily be stored in your Go Bag.

So if you want some info on MRE's and where to buy whole cases of suck, then MRE Info is a great place for...obviously...information about MREs. They tell you how to avoid the knockoffs such as the one company that actually includes short-lived little packets of saltine crackers that one gets in a diner with their bowl of soup, rather than the real MRE deal.

EE is the least expensive place I've found to buy the good stuff like the peanut butter, bread, etc. MRE Info though does list other sites for such things (places where you can buy whole boxes of them) along with cases of MRES. (EE also sells cases and individual complete meal kits.)

8. Backpacking Food Suppliers - multiple links below
We're not big on storing #10 cans seeing as how we're a family of 3, and 1 of those 3 has an eating disorder that limits his food choices (extreme picky eating - yes, it's a real medical condition.) However, we do store some backpacking meals as they offer variety and are actually pretty good. (IMO, Alpine Aire sucks, while Mountain House is the best, but your tastes may vary.)

9. Emergency Essentials: Freeze-Dried Mountain House food in Pouches for 1-2 people

10. Enertia Trail Foods - Good food, dehydrated so it does have a shorter shelf life, lots of vegetarian options, meals you won't find with other brands. They're also the makers of Coleman Foods

11. Wilderness Dinning - lots of products for your backpacking and camping needs which also work well as emergency supplies and for the "Oh, frell, the camping trip with our friends is tomorrow?! I thought it was next week! Glad I had these meals on hand!"

12. Note: Walmart and many online & brick & mortar sporting good stores also carry Mountain House foods. The later often carry multiple brands.

13. Lastly, because of all the Farspeak I was using, I give you an awesome site for Farscape, Firefly, and other sci-fi favorite shows' avatars:

Till next time where I promise not to talk about emergency preparedness, but can't guarantee nixing the topic of insomnia. I remain, the crazy-in-a-good-way,


"My life is different, but it is my own." ~John Crichton, Farscape

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