This guest post by MattLBS and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
Hello Wolf Pack. First, I owe you all a HUGE “Thank You” for all of the information you have provided to me free of charge. I have learned a lifetime worth of knowledge in a short time from all of you, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without reading The Survivalist Blog on a daily basis. This is the first write up of any kind that I have done, so I guess I should start by telling you a brief bit about myself. I have been preparing myself and my family seriously for general “unknown” for about the past two years now. I have found however, that I have spent my whole life preparing without really knowing it, or knowing what to call it. I’ve always picked up extra things “just in case” and stashed away things because I knew I’d need them one day. I have a loving (and tolerant) wife, and two mini-me’s who are 5 and 9. I live in the urban South, but have a rural South background. Now onto my latest adventure!
This past week, our family took a break from it all and headed down to the happiest place on earth to see the mouse. Since reading this site is now a daily part of who I am, I tried to be more prepared for the vacation. I opted to leave the tactical 3 day assault pack with MOLLE straps behind and instead carry an old black LL Bean backpack with me instead (how very “grey man” of me) to blend in with the crowds. For the most part, the week went great, better than anticipated. I was really beginning to think that by the end of the trip, they’d want to do a Discovery Channel show about me, and how well prepared I was to survive the urban wilds.
While at the parks, I was Johnny on the spot when it came to having juice boxes, water, snacks, band aids, etc. I had travel blankets to sit and watch the parades and fireworks on, and to keep the chill off at night. I had mole skin for blisters. I had lightweight jackets for all four of us. I had ear plugs in case the noise level got too loud for the mini-me’s. I had handkerchiefs to wipe sweat with, and for the millions of other uses I’ve heard they can be used for. I had disposable ponchos to keep momma and me dry on the water rides, and to build a shelter in case the need presented itself (it did not).
I had a small, very bright flashlight to light the paths to the hotel room each night. I had a mini Bic lighter, even though I don’t smoke, just in case. I always wear paracord bracelets, so I had cordage if I needed it, and had more stuffed in a pocket in my backpack. I had candy to prevent TEOTVAWKI (The End Of The Vacation As We Know It) from occurring during a tantrum from standing in line too long to ride Space Mountain. All this, and I still had room in the pack to carry around die cast monorails, Buzz Lightyear blasters, Jack Sparrow swords, , and light up things galore. I was quite pleased with myself and how well prepared I was to tackle things inside “The World”.
Fast forward to our last day before heading home. We awoke in the morning in the same fashion as we had all week and headed out to enjoy our last day at the parks when I discover, much to my dismay, that the car is DEAD!!!! The battery has completely drained and given up the ghost ( I later found the culprit to be an overhead interior light in the back seat being left on all night that the littlest mini-me was using to try to stay awake on the ride back to the hotel). Now, I am not a mechanic, but I did my best manly duty and raised the hood, shook a few wires and hoses and had my wife try the ignition again while praying for the car to magically come to life again (this is a place full of magic after all).
No dice. I remembered that being the ultimate prepared man inside “the kingdom” that I had a well stocked car kit in the back of our SUV (thanks to my reading TSB everyday and paying attention to the valuable information that it contains), so I pulled it out and began to go through the contents. I had a lot of stuff that could come in handy one day, but not needed for this situation. I had things in there I had completely forgotten about, but also not required for the problem at hand.
The one thing I did not have on hand, probably because I raided the car kit at some point and forgot to put things back where they go, was an adjustable wrench, open end wrenches, or any kind of socket set. I know that I was the guilty party for raiding the kit, because the wife and mini-me’s DO NOT USE tools. Ever. Now, I’m no mechanic, as I’ve already stated, but I know that I have at least a half dozen of each of these things between the cars (well they’re supposed to be with the cars), the garage, the house, and the tool shed.
I did have a small multi tool with some pliers on it, but it was going to make for a long morning of turning all those bolts using a small set of pliers, with a wife who was frustrated with me, and probably wondering why she married me in the first place, and kids who were ready to go have fun at the park and did not want to sit in a car that didn’t run all morning and watch dad peek out from underneath the hood every few minutes, with no success.
I called the front desk of the hotel and they offered me a shuttle ride to the local Wally World, where the problem was easily taken care of with a new battery, and a set of open end wrenches. Remember when I said I had a half dozen sets of such things before? Make that MORE than a half dozen sets now. Battery changed, car running, and off to the parks we go. My prepping ego, thoroughly deflated. I learned a valuable lesson last Friday morning. You can never be too prepared. It also got me thinking about resolutions, since it is a new year, after all.
Here is one of mine. I’ve got to get better organized. You see, I am a slob. There I admitted it. My wife thinks I’m going to end up on a future episode of Hoarders. Bug out bags, still a work in progress, but I could put my hands on them quickly. Other things for the more likely bug in situation, not so much. I am working on food preps, but they are all over the house. The first aid kit is generally in one spot, but still spread out. Important paperwork, it’s everywhere. Necessary tools, I know I have them, but can’t tell you where they all are.
My workbench is a mess of half finished projects, random parts, and just junk in general. Things are not hung up or put up where they go, or at least are supposed to go. So for 2013, I’m going to keep reading TSB every day, and learning everything I can, teach the wife and the mini-me’s how to do some things on their own so they aren’t totally dependent on Super Dad, and I’m going to get myself better organized, so that when the TSHTF next time, I’ll be ready (or I’ll find something else that I had never thought of before, but wish I had to fix the problem right then).
This contest will end on April 22 2013 – prizes include:
- First Place winner will receive – A $500 dollar gift certificate courtesy of LPC Survival that is good for $500 off anything on their site. And a Wonder Junior Deluxe hand-mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads,
- Second Place winner will receive – Two cases of MRE’s courtesy of Camping Survival and a $150 gift certificate off of Hornady Ammo from LuckyGunner.
- Third Place winner will receive – a one year subscription to Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable.
- The Prepper's Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How
- The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America!
- Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution
- 31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness