Thursday, December 22, 2011

Notes for survivalists

Or, how to avoid irritating your wife.

NFO put up an excellent post a while ago about "they didn't have the green thing back in my day." Read it, and those of you who have been bitten by the survivalist bug, and fervently think about the end of the economic world coming soon, or the unleashing of the zombpocalypse, or what have you, here's some handy tips to avoid irritating your wife or significant other. Take them with humor, or eat them with some crow and your foot later.

1. "Emergency Survival Food Cache" is pronounced "pantry." Chances are, she already knows how much food is on hand, how long it lasts, how to make tasty meals with it even if the power goes out, and regularly rotates the stock. If you want to make her happy, help convert another storage space into a Backup Emergency Survival Cache for Use After Government or other Looters Confiscate Your Main One. This is pronounced "Extra pantry", or "root cellar."

2. Spices make bland food far more interesting. However, before rushing out to buy Costco-sized amounts of spices to use as trade goods, realize that it doesn't take much spice to flavor a dish, and that spices will get stale or rancid after a while. Instead of buying Bubba's All-Purpose Seasoning, or Trendy Cook's Favorite Spice Weasel Mix, pay attention to what spices actually are going into your everyday meals. Demanding a list of 10 spices, and then returning with far too much to fit into the spice cupboard - bad idea.

3. Do NOT go rooting through her chocolate cache. Rather, buy some chocolate. If she likes it, buy more. Trust me - she'll keep adequate quantities on hand to cope with trying times, like husbands going on a survivalist tear through her kitchen. Don't forget to buy more of her favorite alcohol, too.

4. If she doesn't can, do not buy canning jars and lids and hand them to her. Canning is hard work, hot, wet physical labor with boiling water and high potential for steam burns. If you think the problem is solved by simply buying the jars, prepare to have those jars shoved where the sun don't shine.

5. If you insist that she start packing heat, she won't. Every human walking the face of the earth today is a survivor - they have all survived so far by doing whatever they have done until this moment. To declare that they cannot survive unless they change their ways to what you want is contrary to their entire experience, demeaning, and insulting. Charm, cajole, invite - but do not insist or threaten.

6. Even if you are convinced that the signs of economic collapse / end of the world / black helicopters / rapture / zombpocalypse are everywhere, pointing each one out calmly is pronounced "nagging", and pointing them out with passion is pronounced "stark raving nuts." Even if she believes you, it is no more welcome than her mother's constant comments on how cute babies are followed with disapproving looks at your wife's flat stomach.

7. Very like canning, planting a garden is not a matter of throwing some seeds in the ground and waiting for the plants to produce bountiful harvests. It takes a lot of constant hard work spread over months. Do you have the time now? Will you have the time later? Money is no substitute for work, here, and you can spend more money putting in a raised-bed garden than you can remodeling a bathroom - with far less to show if you don't keep it up.

8. No matter how urgent The End appears to be, you have a budget. Realize that if you label them "survival goods", any money spent is indistinguishable to the uninterested spouse from money spent on any other hobby. Consider your budget, and the wrath of your spouse, accordingly.

9. No matter how much you want to start with the bug-out bag, start with something that actually has tangible impact on the likeliest emergencies. A pair of jumper cables, a blanket, a tire iron, a checklist of what to do if you get in an accident and one on how to change a tire, a can of fix-a-flat, a small first aid kit, a tow rope, a couple flares, and similar items in the trunk will make far more impact on your wife's belief that you are preparing for emergencies than bug-out-bags or sectioning the yard into fire zones with fallbacks.

10. Clean the bathroom. No, really. Nobody likes cleaning the bathroom, and you're asking your wife to put up with an expensive new hobby, lots of extra stuff, a lot of negative muttering, her soulmate and partner being pessimistic and ranty, and general disturbance in the domestic tranquility. If you want her to help you, start by helping her.

11. If the zompocalypse really is coming, then you need to actually fix your house and car now. Yes, I know it's easier to shove fifty boxes of lightbulbs in the closet, but really, now is the time to fix the toilet. If you're hoping the Even Greater Depression means you won't have to deal with that leaking toilet - no, it means your life savings aren't going very far with the water leak draining them away. So fix it now, before money becomes worthless. Besides, you know you'll never find a good replacement stove fan after the looters have been through HomeDepot, and if you think the black helicopters are bad, trying to clean the grease off every surface of an unvented kitchen after cooking bacon is worse.


  1. So did Jenny S learn the concept of "emergency chocolate" from you, or the other way around? ;-)

  2. This ... sounds like Very Good Advice. Take it from a guy who's been married for nearly 32 years. This is VERY. GOOD. ADVICE.

  3. TJIC - I think it's a much more common concept than just the two of us. Any good Alaskan knows that there can be interruptions to supply, from volcanoes shutting down trade to being snowed in - and the trying times are when you need extra chocolate the most.

    Lest there be any doubt, very little of this is directed at Calmer Half; most of it answers the general attitudes of the survivalist community on the internet. Now that it's written down, I can simply refer back here the next time I hear somebody complaining that his wife "just doesn't understand how important this is!"

    I think I heard #5 in a speech by Mas Ayoob once, but I can't for the life of me find the video again to document the source. It stuck, though, as truth will, as the cold, hard rationale behind many a gun nut's lack of understanding on why their wife won't carry.

  4. Heh. Wing, you are one of the wisest people I know. Emergency chocolate indeed. I think the "Clean the bathroom" advice is the most important. A happy spouse is a helpful spouse.

  5. Married 35 years, so far, and I learned a bunch in this blog. Thank you kindly.

    BUT, hey girl!! go easy on the black helicopter thing. Helicopters in ANY color are just WONDERFUL!

  6. Raud - hey! You're destroying my protective coloration of being a flake! If you keep this up, people might start expecting me to return phone calls or be social in a timely manner! :-P

    Miss you, man.

    Gunny - I go really easy on the black helicopters. Especially the ones named Blackhawks. Because they're awesome, and make my little heart go "ooooooooh." I'm still trying to avoid getting a ride in one, because if I do - like riding with you and your motorcycles - I know I'll have yet another incredibly fun addicti... I mean, passionate hobby.

  7. I cannot believe you do not approve of "spiced weasel mix"! this is a favorite in our household. No one wants a bland, dry, tasteless weasel!

  8. Good points all, and I've got another post percolating, so I'll link to this when I do!

  9. Excellent advice; luckily after 38 years of marriage I figured out the important stuff already.

  10. Hand clapping here. Great points of wisdom.

  11. Loud applause on a great witty - down to earth article. Especially the bathroom cleaning part. Loved it.

  12. Just got introduced to you and love the sense of humor that goes along with the salient points of truth!

    Definitely some good advice! Thanks!

  13. Hilarious! I think my boyfriend feels the same about my prepping and survival ideas! Great information and advice!