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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:21 pm 
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Day Thirteen

What a day. Scott was so sore he could barely get around, but he wouldn’t take a Vicodin until he was ready for bed because they make him loopy. Stubborn as a mule and twice as irritating! Lordy I love that man.

The kids have been anxious and edgy one moment and ecstatic the next because Scott is home. I know this is a natural reaction to the high emotions of the last few days but it hasn’t made it any easier to take. It was nearly impossible to keep any of them on task for more than a few minutes at a time. I was ready to turn time outs into knock outs. But at least I was able to constructively use that nervous energy most of the time.

Breakfast: I started the day very early by having the girls help me bake two loaves of bread from the Amish bread starter. One loaf was for today’s breakfast and to that one I added drained, crushed pineapple. The bread tasted divine when it was toasted. The other loaf is for tomorrow’s breakfast and I added raisins to that one. While the bread was baking I made a small pitcher of Tang. To the Tang I added the juice from the crushed pineapple. I then added lots of crushed ice to make it into a kind of breakfast slushie. I swear, the kids dug into it so fast you’d think I never fed them.

After breakfast we started moving around everything outside that wasn’t nailed down. We pulled up the decorative fencing I had bordering my flower beds. We stored most of the outdoor furniture in the shed except for a few lawn chairs we left on the lanai. We moved our gas grill onto the lanai and removed the propane tank and chained it in with our other tanks that I have in my “fuel bunker” out beside the shed. The bird feeder and bird bath that had been out front were moved to the backyard. All of my flower pots and the mulch that Scott brought home what feels like a year ago was moved into the shed as well until I can use it. James made me edgy last night when he mentioned that it felt like the neighbors are always watching us. Paranoia maybe, but there are stories on the news how people are starting to have things stolen out of their yards.

After we finished that I had the kids get started on the laundry that has piled up the last couple of days while I got started on lunch.

Lunch: I made Easy Chili Skillet Bake. This was a very simple meal that only used a couple of cans of the family’s favorite chili and a crust made from Bisquick. The single egg needed for the recipe was replaced by the flaxseed substitute and instead of cheddar cheese; I used more of the processed cheese that I opened previously.

After lunch, and since it was the hottest part of the day, I had the kids stay inside in the air conditioning and do their school work while I finished off my plant beds. After laying out the mulch paper I planted sweet corn (yellow, white, and bi-color), cucumbers, okra, peanuts, black eyed peas, peppers (green and hot), pumpkins, summer and winter squash, and watermelon. I hope the power stays on or its going to be hard to water my plants and I have a feeling we are going to need everything we can grow.

I have always fantasized about having a hand pump put on our well but it never worked out. Its too deep for a hand pump, nor would a well bucket work from what we’ve been told. Scott was going to drill me a shallow well but we could never get the permit and the one time we tried to do it ourselves without a permit we had a neighbor rat us out to Code Enforcement. Grrr. Wonder how those people are enjoying the loss of their rights these days? Wonder if they are recognizing any irony in the situation?

It didn’t take long for the afternoon to be all used up and then it was time for me to fix dinner.

Dinner: I fixed Ziti Chicken Casserole. Ziti pasta, canned chicken, condensed cream of chicken soup, Parmesan cheese, and some processed cheese and you are good to go. Its kind of a one-dish meal so clean up was easy since I didn’t let the cheeses congeal on the plates or baking pan. A package of commercially baked bread sticks completed the meal and everyone was able to eat their fill, even Scott and James who have both turned into garbage disposals.

You’d think from what I’ve journaled thus far for today that our lives have returned to the mundane. Not so. Totally not so.

Scott, unable to do much more than hobble around and give orders, stood watch with a gun clearly visible to our neighbors. While some may have been curious about what we were doing, seeing him armed they kept their distance. That suited me fine as I didn’t feel inclined to play twenty questions.

Our neighbors may have kept their distance but that didn’t mean we didn’t have visitors. We had two cop cars show up. The first was in response to a complaint of a man with a gun in the neighborhood. Oy! Scott just showed him his license and the cop shook his hand and left. I pretty much know who made the call as they were looking awful hard through a pair of binoculars before the cops arrived and flagged them down as they were leaving. They looked none too happy with whatever the cops told them. Serves that interfering meddler right. Stay out of our business and we’ll stay out of yours. That situation is going to have to come to a head if this keeps up.

The second cop car came to follow up on the report the guys at the Keel Outpost filed concerning Carlo’s attack on Scott. They wanted to know if the guy Scott thinks he ran over got up and walked away or how badly Scott thought he had injured Carlo. Scott explained about his eyesight and how it made it impossible for him to know for sure what he had seen, plus how quickly it happened.

The investigators admitted that blood and window glass at the scene, as well as the line of destroyed mailboxes heading away from the area, supported Scott’s story but that they had been unable to find any witnesses. Naturally. There was a significant amount of blood found in Carlo’s apartment, but no Carlo and the place had been torn apart. We were warned to immediately report if we saw anyone suspicious in the neighborhood on the off chance Carlo sought revenge.

We also received a visit by a hazmat team that took samples and then cleaned the little bit of blood I had missed in Scott’s van. I had cleaned that up yesterday but I used rubber gloves and plenty of bleach because Carlo has Hep C. There wasn’t much blood to begin with, but better safe than sorry. Looking back I now wonder if the “investigation” was actually about NRS and not the injuries Scott sustained. Maybe I’m being too suspicious.

The last visitors we had were when one of the green military-style hummers that had been patrolling periodically through out the day pulled into our drive way. I was able to personally thank the medic that had taken care of Scott’s injuries. While Scott stood talking, I had the girls help me fix some glasses of sweet tea. I had Rose stay inside. No need to have those poor boys distracted by our pretty daughter. I remember young men like that from when my dad was a First Sergeant. No sense tempting fate. I had James help me take everything out and he slowly edged his way over to stand by his dad and listen to the news the men were exchanging. One of those boys from the hummer didn’t look much older than James to be honest. That gave me a moment’s pause and I wondered if his mother was wondering how he was doing.

After the hummer left – with its occupants I hope comforted with a little old-fashioned Southern hospitality – Scott seemed to run out of energy. James took over guard duty while Scott went to sit down, do bills, and listen to the news. I knew, judging by the look on his face when I finished and came in, that things were pretty grim.

We are still OK financially, or at least we are getting by. Even though it seems like this whole fiasco has been going on for a long time, in reality it hasn’t even been two weeks yet. The fact that we already have plenty of food stored will offset what we normally spend at the grocery each month. We haven’t had to stop for gas yet either because we’ve been pulling from our reserves. That won’t last forever and we’ll need to get a ration book so that Scott can try and keep his work van topped off. Because it is a commercial vehicle he might get a business ration book in addition to our private ration. At least we hope so. That wad of cash that Scott found was mostly hundreds and fifties unfortunately. Scott plans on depositing a couple of thousand in the bank every so often to avoid notice. We’ll use that to pay down bills. He’ll also try and break the larger bills while paying for things like fuel and apartment supplies. If he only uses one or two at a time we may be able to finally have a turn of our luck. Any twenties and smaller bills are getting tucked away in our floor safe for a rainy day or retirement, whichever comes first.

There are some new rules around town that are going to make things a little more challenging for folks. One, all banks are going to drive-up tellers only. If you can, you are encouraged to do all of your banking online to avoid wasting gas waiting in line. Two, mail delivery and pick up is being reduced from six days a week to three. Tell me that isn’t going to upset folks. Refueling at gas stations will no longer be self-service. Apparently people won’t be allowed out of their vehicles at the gas pumps and some "official" will be there to inspect and stamp each customers' ration card. That’s not going over too well with the Stop-and-Shop type places that make their profit on whatever they can co-sale with their fuel sales. Also, there will be ration cards for nearly all commodities starting next week - sugar, salt, flour, meats, dairy, etc. That’ll certainly make going to the grocery store interesting; glad I can avoid it for a while. There are also checkpoints all over town at many major intersections and at Interstate on and off ramps, at least on those that aren’t being closed all together to redirect traffic. That’s definitely going to create problems.

In other news we’ve learned that an area equal to a 100 mile circle around NYC has officially been quarantined. No one will be allowed to leave. Period. Whether they are NRS-positive is immaterial at this time. Boats entering waters within this circle will be consider hostile and treated accordingly. I'm not sure how they have this cordoned off but it doesn't seem possible to completely stop movement in or out of such a large area.

Los Angeles is under the same type of sentence but is no easier to triage. Fires, some deliberately set, are burning out of control and have escaped into the surrounding hills. Communication nodes for both cities have been taken off line and blogs and emails from those incarcerated there have fallen silent except for the odd satellite hook up here and there. Being a rich or a celebrity now nets nothing and many of the homes of the rich and famous have been the first to be looted.

The number of confirmed NRS infections continues to rise though authorities say the current levels are still manageable as long as the public continues to cooperate and report sightings of any infected individuals rather than resort to vigilantism. In other words “rat out they neighbor and let the authorities do their job” is a new commandment. Not that I don’t agree to a certain extent. If NRS cases are allowed to increase unchecked the pandemic could overwhelm any possibility of controlling it. And seeing as there is no cure for NRS – no one is even really sure if NRS victims in the final stage are technically even alive anymore – it would be better for the health and safety of the public to see that the infected are contained humanely. If they are alive give them palliative care until death occurs. If the NRS infected aren’t really alive then destruction of the brain stem seems to be the only way to end the resultant … “creature.” There have been arguments on both sides of the case for months now and no one is any closer to a definitive answer.

Families of NRS victims have been filing docket-clogging numbers of court cases. That is they were until federal, state, and local authorities began to bill them for capturing and “sanitizing” their NRS-infected family members. The families have tried to have their insurance companies pay for the costs, but the insurance companies are falling on the side of the argument that says the NRS victims “no longer constitute human life so are therefore no longer covered by a policy.” And it looks like the Supreme Court has decided to quickly hear a suit from one of the higher appellate courts. The current thinking is that the SC will designate NRS an “act of God” similar to a tsunami or earthquake and that those infected with NRS are no longer human after the infection reaches its final stage. That will answer the question that has arisen regarding the euthanization question. You can’t euthanize a dead body, nor do you give a dead body palliative care. This will supposedly make “disposal” of the infected legally easier to handle. It should also remove some of the moral hazard from those agencies and individuals trying to protect themselves or the public.

I’m glad the SC is hearing this quickly. I’ve had nightmares of seeing Zombies v. The State of Florida where John Smith, Esq. brings a class action suit on behalf of zombies everywhere because they are having their civil liberties violated. Some people are just too stupid to be allowed to procreate.

Locally we are being warned that we may experience some utility interruptions. Oh goody. Thinking it is one thing, hearing it confirmed just sucks. People on municipal water have also been warned to boil their water until further notice due to some water mains running through areas that saw rioting being damaged. Just to be on the safe side I’m keeping all of our water containers topped off. I am also pulling all of our solar powered gear out tomorrow and getting everything checked over and charged up.

My “to do” list keeps getting longer and longer no matter how many things I scratch off. And my patience is becoming shorter and shorter. I’ll have James walk with me around the house one more time and then we’ll call it a night. Tomorrow will get here bright and early. Ugh.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:50 pm 
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Awesome! I'm glad to see Tang making a cameo appearance. :D

I don't mean to nitpick, but I don't believe bleach will kill Hepatitis C on surfaces.

Great job so far! I can't wait for more.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:42 pm 
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DryGrain wrote:
Awesome! I'm glad to see Tang making a cameo appearance. :D

I don't mean to nitpick, but I don't believe bleach will kill Hepatitis C on surfaces.

Great job so far! I can't wait for more.


Well, you made me use google fu. :lol: There is no proof that bleach positively kills Hep C on surfaces; however, the CDC recommends bleach as the cleaner of choice for spilled blood that has Hep C in it.

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/cFAQ.htm

Hep C is one of those "you can't win for losing" kind of things. :?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:28 am 
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Kathy in FL wrote:
Hmmmmm. While I can see Martha Stewart kicking some zombie butt I never pictured Sissy in quite that light. :lol: Sissy is a little more ordinary and a little less ... a little less ... well, bitchy. :wink:


Fine. Starring Sarah Palin as Sissy. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:26 pm 
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That brings such memories of slum lording. The guy that I worked with/for, his brother actually was carjacked from one of the properties at knife point. He escaped by ramming a passing police car and bailing out.

Maybe Lansing was rougher than Florida, or else people just didn't care. Even without zombies around, we'd take our jackets off at times and have firearms in open view while we were working or doing things on various properties. It was never an issue.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:52 pm 
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Nice job...

Looking forward to more.

or is it MOAR?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:31 pm 
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Kathy in FL wrote:
Los Angeles is under the same type of sentence but is no easier to triage. Fires, some deliberately set, are burning out of control and have escaped into the surrounding hills.


And that was just a few days ago.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:34 pm 
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My wife and I are enjoying your stories. I mainly just wanted to say your doing a great job and I like the "mom" perspective the story has. Keep 'em coming!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:00 am 
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Glad everyone is enjoying the story. Played soccer mom most of the weekend - gotta take the time with the kids while they are still kids you know - but I will be posting another two "days" today.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:24 am 
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Day Fourteen

A good night’s rest did wonders for my disposition. Scott on the other hand was suffering even worse. The bruises look just awful and he says he feels as stiff as a board. The medic said he didn’t think he had any cracked ribs but I’m gonna keep an eye on him just the same. We’ve got insurance but things are so crazy right now that I’m not sure that I trust that route. I heard on the news this morning how they are “pre-screening” people and taking blood samples for some government studies. You don’t get to opt out apparently. You see a doc or go to the emergency room and you get “sampled.” Ugh! Scott says he’s not so bad that he needs a doc, just some rest and to be left alone for a bit. Hopefully form this point forward he’ll start feeling better although he did run a fever off and on today. I think it was mainly caused by him pushing himself too hard too soon.

Breakfast: I was in such a improved mood that I made Cinnamon Batter Dipped French Toast. I didn’t even have to wake the kids. The smell drew them out of bed. I used the loaf of raisin bread I had made yesterday by slicing it into uniform pieces. I made the batter out of Bisquick, milk (from powdered), cinnamon, vanilla, and eggs (from powdered). It was good and filling but very rich.

As two of the kids cleaned up from breakfast, I had two other chopping ingredients for lunch and let Johnnie play with legos in the middle of the floor rather than in his bedroom. After that James took his turn entertaining Johnnie and keeping him out of trouble while the girls aired out all of the linens in the master bedroom.

I decided it was time that I got brave and asked Scott how he was really feeling. Not physically, but about having to use the gun. After we had a good talk I’m fairly certain that he’s OK with having to use the gun to defend himself. He’s not happy about it actually coming down to that but he knew that by carrying the gun he was admitting that he had to be willing to use it. What’s bothering him is Carlo’s betrayal.

Scott and I employed Carlo off and on for nearly ten years. We gave him steady work for decent pay even when he wasn’t at his best. Even after spending six months in jail for contempt and violation of probation (DUI and failure to pay child support) we looked after his stuff while he was serving his time and took him back when he got out. We even advanced him the money (some of which we still haven’t been repaid) when his mother died so he could pay for a plot and a funeral service. We did other stuff that went beyond your typical employer/employee relationship. Heck, I even had him over to the house for dinner a few times.

I guess I began to lose my trust in Carlo when I realized what a womanizer he was. It didn’t help his case with me that he wouldn’t pay his court-ordered child support except to stay out of jail. That really bothered me. I don’t know, maybe it’s a female thing, but a guy who won’t take care of his own kids is untrustworthy on such a primal level that I couldn’t bring myself to fully trust him in any other way either.

I know this will cause us some unexpected problems but I’m glad Carlo is gone. After having time to cool off, my need for instantaneous revenge is over. I don’t necessarily wish him dead, but I won’t mourn him if he is. It could have been Scott; and if that makes me appear cold-hearted I can live that.

Scott is going to stay home another day or two so that he can heal and make some calls to see if he can find someone to ride with him. This isn't a good time to try and go out in certain areas of town with no back up. I told him to make sure it isn’t anyone that Carlo hung around with 'cause he didn’t get a good look at whoever it was that was helping with the ambush. I guess I’ll worry more about it when the times come but at that point in our conversation I had to get up and start lunch.

Lunch: The Ham and Corn Casserole I fixed calls for Bisquick, canned ham, a can of creamed corn, and a can of Mexicorn that has the red and green peppers in it. I opted to use shredded processed cheese instead of cheddar, powdered eggs instead of fresh, and dried chopped onions. My family never knew the difference. It filled their bellies and that’s about all anyone cared about after such a rich breakfast.

After lunch I dragged some of my garden containers onto the lanai and started to refresh the dirt in them. I need to get my tomato seedlings planted. After I plant all of my heirloom seedlings it’ll be another two or three weeks before I can plant anything else. In September I have a lot of to get in the ground and then in October I have another round of planting to do as well. The more I think about it, the more I know my garden is going to be important. Momma feels the same way. I talked to her again this morning and she told me she had Daddy and Brother till their whole garden area rather than just the kitchen garden like she has the last couple of years. August and September is going to be even busier for her ‘cause they need to feed two families – assuming my sister in law doesn’t pack up and leave for her parents’ place. She really isn’t adjusting well to rural life. At least her parents are telling her she needs to stay where she is at because they don’t have enough food to feed themselves, let alone adding her and the kids into it. I have a feeling that the stress of moving and now the NRS situation added on top of the financial stress they’ve been under is going to really try their relationship.

Everything going on makes me want to be careful of taking my own marriage for granted. Gender role is one of those questions that arises from time-to-time in history. Scott and I worked most of that out between us when we were dating and in the first year or two of our marriage. But we are both hard headed and not above having to learn a lesson more than once. I have a feeling that if things get worse and/or persist for a protracted amount of time, we’re going to see a shake up in many so-called “modern” relationships. You've gotta be flexible if you expect your relationship to work, but at the same time you have to share a list of absolutes so that you can build trust in the other person. If you become to flexible or too fixated on too many absolutes then there is going to be trouble.

Speaking of trouble, thus far we are still being left along by the neighbors but we’ve started doing our own spying since they seem so intent about being into our business. People are getting cranky and there looks to have been a few fights. None appeared bad enough to call the cops over – or maybe they called the cops and it was way down the priority list so no one ever came out. Either way, illusion or not, while there is some outright antagonism apparent here and there, a certain amount of normalcy is being maintained.

Some parents aren’t using good sense and are going off to work, leaving their kid(s) unsupervised. With the school still closed I guess some don't feel like that they any other option. The strict curfew controls most of the problems that could result, at least in our neighborhood. Of course the threat of being hauled off to a quarantine center for “anti-social behavior” has caused both kids and adults to think twice about how they act in public. Come to think of it, maybe that is why we didn't see any cops at the neighborhood fights. It won’t last, of course. Civil unrest is bound to return. The next time may get very bloody as modern social order breaks down.

Dinner: After breakfast and lunch, no one was really in the mood for a big dinner. I thought it was just about time to use up one of the Chorizo sausages I had stored away. Chorizo is a shelf-stable Hispanic sausage that comes in an airtight plastic package in our area. If you watch the “best used by” dates on the packaging you can find them so that they will have nearly a year of storage possibility. Chorizo is what is popular in our family’s area because of all of the Hispanic heritage; however, other areas have their own varieties. Summer sausage, jerkies, Trail sausage, pepperonis, and salamis are just a couple of other examples of shelf-stable sausages. There is also canned sausages and sausage-flavored TVP to pick from, but I decided to use Chorizo to make a Sausage Pie. After baking it was quickly sliced and consumed. Anyone who wanted some had plain popcorn during our board game time. After that the kids were off to bed, except for Johnnie who was already there. James had had to carry to bed when he fell asleep in his dinner plate. Scott was too tender to lift Johnnie’s weight and I had strained my back lifting a bag of dirt.

After everyone was out, I gathered the ingredients to make Horchata which is a kind of Mexican rice milk. I also baked the last of the bread from the Amish Bread starter. After it cooled I wrapped it and stored it in the freezer just in case one of this coming week’s meals are a flop.

Another thought I’m having is that I’m thankful we can continue to homeschool the kids. It makes it so much easier on us these days. Our kids are already used to the idea of doing school at home. It means that Scott and I already have time in our schedules set aside for facilitating the kids’ education. The loss of freedom to go to all of their other curricular and extracurricular activities still impact us, but at least we have an established pattern of behavior rather than having to create something totally new during an already stressful time. However because the majority of families are struggling with this issue the government is mandating that the public schools reopen within the week. They are also calling it an economic move so that parents can stay in the workplace. Schools that were damaged during the rioting will have classes in alternative locations. Lots of other details will be announced in the next couple of days by the NRS Committee, or so claims the mainstream media who I fear is becoming nothing more than a mouthpiece for the NRSC. At least that is one thing we don’t have to worry about, thank goodness.

I can understand how the kids are feeling to some extent. I’m too busy to be bored but I am to a certain extent. I’m still running on the high of Scott coming home safely but at the same time the anxiety isn’t totally gone. I’m too focused on survival to have lost hope, yet there is a certain amount of depression to deal with. I guess I’m feeling a little edgy and kinda claustrophobic from being stuck at home on top of everything else. I’ve got to find a way to spice things up a little. I mean we can’t go crazy but to fight the food fatigue gremlins that have been coming on and to keep everyone’s morale up I need to come up with something. I think I have an idea but I need to think about it some and confirm a few things with Scott before I’m sure.

As far as everything else goes I guess it is going OK, or at least there hasn’t been much change. They haven’t had to widen the New England quarantine zone though they have created a secondary quarantine boundary approximately 50 miles outside of the original. They’ve turned Alcatraz Island into a Safe Zone and they are moving infection-free children out of San Francisco as quickly as possible as SF will likely be quarantined like Los Angeles if they can’t bring the NRS under control. Its spreading quickly through transient populations like tourists, the homeless, and students.

All communications have been lost in Haiti and stories are coming out of the Dominican Republic that their military is holding off hordes of infected people trying to cross the mountains. Guantanamo had to be evacuated, at least temporarily, after the Cuban government failed to contain an outbreak of NRS as well as issues with resupply ships being hijacked by hungry and desperate Cuban nationals looking for a way off the island.

To address an unusually large outbreak, authorities in Quebec set fire to a large apartment complex and continued to pour flammable liquids onto the conflagration until there wasn’t anything left to burn. Millions of dollars in personal property was destroyed in the blaze and the number of dead is not being publicly released at this time; supposedly until all next of kin can be notified.

Here in Tampa they picked up five NRS-positives but there is no word what they did with them. All of them were members of the same gang from Clairmel so there are APBs for all members of that gang, who are of course now hiding from authorities. Members of this gang were arrested last month for the beating death of a homeless man. Tampa’s original outbreak was in the homeless population. I wonder if that’s just a coincidence. It would seem, just like in San Francisco that transient populations of any type would be the most vulnerable because they lack the ability to completely secure their surroundings for any length of time.

They have opened Raymond James Stadium as a homeless “shelter.” Part of me is suspicious about this move. If nothing else it has the makings of another “Superdome” incidence or the same type of problem that Houston had with the Katrina evacuees. A stadium is a poor shelter for long term purposes. Maybe it’ll hold up just long enough for the authorities to do whatever it is they are doing with their “sampling” routine. If I had to guess, the authorities may be underestimating the homeless population and many may refuse their questionable hospitality.

Whatever is going on, it looks like we better prepare for worse to come.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:53 pm 
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Day Fifteen

While we’ve had some tribulations the last two weeks, we’ve handled the things that were actually within our control fairly well. Granted I’ve come close to panic a couple of times but I never actually crossed the line. I feel like I did when I passed a particularly grueling exam in college. I studied hard and even though the questions were more difficult than I had anticipated, my preparation still went a long way.

I’ve watched the kids trying to … well … not be too much like kids. On the one hand it has helped get us through some difficult spots, on the other hand I’m not sure that it is very good for their overall health and psyche. They are turning too far inward and not reaching out to each other or us enough. Seeing all of this crap going on around the world was already bad enough, but now to have it in their own state and even city. Combine that with what happened to their dad and I’m awful worried that they may forget how to actually be kids after a while.

Time for me to put on my Mom Helmet and do some family reconstruction. I need to pull them out of their rooms and pull them out of themselves. After talking to Scott he agrees we need to give them some one-on-one but I’ve also decided to do some creative stuff with the menu and add some fun to the day when possible. Heck, no one is going to provide that for us, we need to do it for ourselves.

This week we are going to have a different geographic theme each day. Kind of like an international food faire. I’ve thrown in a couple of games and crafts in there as well. I’m willing to try anything to get the kids to focus on something other than what they are seeing and hearing on the news even if it does make me look corny or "mom-ish." The older two gave me a little bit of eye rolling at first but at least acted like good sports and participated. It gives me hope that I haven’t let this go on too long. Today’s theme was Mexico.

Breakfast: For starters – Mmmmm – homemade tortillas are so easy to make once you remember to cover the tortilla press with some plastic wrap to keep the dough from sticking every time you make one. I couldn’t hold onto the remainder of the fresh eggs forever. They are nearly a month old now and who knows how much longer there will be before our area begins to be affected by utility interruptions. If they have to be used, I decided to use the last of them in a true celebration by making Huevos Rancheros. I also used the Horchata I started last night. After breakfast I also started another round of Amish Bread starter.

Lunch: I made more tortillas for lunch (and a few extra for dinner) and used them for Chicken Quesadillas. This was so simple it would’ve been silly if the having and cooking of food wasn’t becoming such serious business. First layer was a tortilla, then canned refried beans was slathered on top of it. Some canned chicken that I had shredded went on top of the refried beans. Then some canned nacho cheese went on top of the chicken. The final layer was another tortilla, then the whole thing was heated through using my iron skillet, sliced into wedges and there you have it. Yummy!

When I say food is getting to be a serious business I’m not kidding. We finally had a couple of neighbors drop by trying to drum up support for a group that is advocating that food and supplies get confiscated from “hoarders” and redistributed more appropriately. I think they were also trying to trick me into sharing how much food we have in our house. I didn’t fall for it and turned all of their questions back around to them. I also tried to get them to define “hoarder” and “appropriate redistribution.” Seems like this group doesn’t have any absolutes and that they will adjust their parameters as needed. Definitely not the type we want to get hooked into. They may start out with the best of intentions but its very doubtful that is where it will end.

When they finally tired of being polite and came right out and asked how much food we had I used subterfuge and acted embarrassed and excused myself after saying I needed to go inside and “scrape something together” for the kids for supper. The inference being that Scott and I were foregoing food so our kids could eat what little their was. They left disappointed and certainly no wiser.

I coulda thumped Scott for not helping me out if he hadn’t already been so bruised. When I asked him why on Earth he hadn’t sent the idiots packing he said that one, it would have just made them more determined and two, he was having too much fun watching me talk them in circles. Honestly that man has the oddest sense of humor sometimes.

Dinner: I took the leftover tortillas from lunch and made two things with them. The first was homemade chips to go with a jar of store-bought salsa. The second was dessert – fruit fajitas. I paired these two items with canned tamales and Chorizo Pumpkin Soup. The dinner was a little on the thrown together side but it was a good use of prep items and suited our personal tastes. And since I had made Horchata for breakfast, I decided to make Atole for a warm, before-bed beverage. It worked as well as warm milk to help put everyone in a relaxed mood.

While we ate dinner Scott and I explained to the kids why it is becoming even more important that we keep our preps under wraps. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the efforts to “redistribute” material resources from the prepared to the unprepared. I think I’m beginning to see Rose slowly start to gain a more healthy suspicion of people, even if they are acting with the best of intentions. Now she is beginning to see that not all ideals are well meanting for everyone. People could literally enter our home without our permission and take our food and supplies on the slim excuse that other people who didn’t prepare needed them.

On the off chance that such a group does manage to make it passed our security some how, we’ve decided to try and hide our preps around the house. Scott is going to reinforce the beds and box springs and they will hold a lot of canned goods. We are also going to build a chase in my closet beside the air handler. It will be at the top and at an awkward angle and will look like insulated duct work. The last big place we have is we are going to open up the wall behind our bookcases. It is an interior wall with no insulation or plumbing so we’ll have quite a bit of space between the studs. We may also build a false wall in the pantry to hide all of our home canned goods but we don’t have the supplies for that yet.

I wonder if all of this means that we need to start thinking about more security for my garden? I would be highly hacked off to get up one morning to find we’ve been raided by garden pirates. That thought though is going to have to wait. Scott and I made a date for a little privacy and seeing how the kids are now in bed and asleep we’ll slip off to Scott’s office for a little one-on-one time of our own.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:10 pm 
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Geez... spending time with your family. What a GREAT excuse. :D I'm just glad you posted. Keep at it. I really enjoy the story. Oh, by the way, a woman my wife works with brought us 2 amish friendship bread starters today! 7 days...

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Well, Kathy, this story is just junk. Junk I tell you. I've been trying to sneak in reading it all day long between other things at work, and it's junk.

Junk.

When's the Next Installment? :mrgreen:

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Keep it coming, please! :D

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Dangit Kathy in FL, I see you're in this forum... post a new one!

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Day Sixteen

How ironic that I had chosen today’s menu theme to be Middle Eastern. That area of the world has been in the news quite a bit today.

Fear, superstition, and extreme fundamentalism has caused NRS infected individuals to be labeled demons in several countries. I never thought though about how it would be viewed in the Middle East, but at first glance it is the same. Apparently even in Islam there is a method for exorcism. There is an additional problem though associated with extreme fundamentalism. There are these religious laws called sharia and because there are different “schools” of sharia there is some conflict concerning how an NRS infected body is to be treated and how the families of an infected person can be treated. There is a lot of conflicting information coming out and I don’t have enough knowledge to interpret it. All I know is that things are getting truly messed up over there. You’ve got one group saying that NRS can be exorcised out of a person and we all know by now how dangerous this type of thinking can be and the messes it can lead to. Then we have the groups that say that its OK to use infecteds as a bio-weapon and how their descendants will be rewarded for the sacrifice. Another group reads the sharia as an excuse to go in and exterminate entire families based on the infection of one member; it has to do with shame or heresy or cleanliness or something like that. Then you have the group, though admittedly small, that consider an NRS infected person as a “jinn” which heads off into the totally bizarre direction of mythology, family law, and a bunch of other stuff that I just don’t get. Like I said, it’s a mess.

And of course, now countries – particularly China and Russia – are offering their “help” to secure the oil fields and refineries in that part of the world. The US is already giving aid to some countries in the area via the UN. Tell me that isn’t a wreck in the making. It wasn’t too unexpected when Russia lost Venezuela to NRS-related infrastructure failure but still, a little less potential for disaster would be appreciated.

All of this is hitting the US economy pretty hard as well. The economic slowdown of the last couple of years has helped lower demand for oil thereby keeping prices somewhat under control but when Venezuelan oil exports began to slow, prices started spiking again. Now fuel is being rationed. Electric bills are pretty high and Scott and I have compensated the best we can by keeping the lights off and by turning the thermostat up, but the last couple of months have been extremely humid. If it was just hot that’d be OK … it’s the humidity that is a killer. We keep it at 80 to 82 during the day and the AC still kicks on. At bedtime we drop it down to 78 so we can at least get some sleep without souring the sheets every night.

This morning was another warm one. I’m really thankful I didn’t pull a doofus and unplug the frig just because there wasn’t food to put it in. Having cold water is a blessing when I come in from working on the garden. It was also really good because the food we had today was really different from what we are used to eating and some of us needed more to drink that we normally do. Scott and I have been to a few of the Middle Eastern restaurants around town so the cuisine isn’t totally unfamiliar to us, but it was to the kids.

Breakfast: After squishing the bread starter (day 2) I got down to business. “Fooll Mudammes” or Egyptian Fava Bean Breakfast is a popular Middle Eastern breakfast dish served around here. It is certainly different from your traditional North American breakfast dishes but that’s part of the beauty to this whole exercise – experimentation and getting out of the rut of repetition. Normally the dish would be eaten with pita bread, but I just used up the last few of the tortillas from yesterday. For a breakfast drink I made Apple Sharbat. While the sharbat would normally be made from a fresh apple, I substituted unsweetened applesauce since all the ingredients got whirled together in a blender anyway. The meal wasn't bad, but Johnnie balked a little bit at eating it until I told him it was this or nothing. I could tell he was considering choosing “nothing” but I think hunger won out due to his missing most of dinner last night. Note to self: hunger is not necessarily a bad thing under some conditions.

After breakfast, I taught the girls how to make pita bread. It’s pretty simple but can take some patience. Personally I like pita bread, but any flatbread would have worked for the remainder of the day's meals.

After that was done I went outside to check on my plants and water them as necessary. My shriek brought Scott running. 'Course I got chewed out for scaring him but I was furious at the time and still am. Squirrels gnawed through a place in the lanai screen and they had made a mess with my planting stuff. I swear I am so tired of those tree rats. Scott is going out tomorrow and I’ve asked him to see it he can come up with some animal traps. I’ve had it. I’ll poison the stupid things if I have to. First they get through our soffit and into our insulation in the spring and now they are chewing through our screens. I’m just not putting up with it anymore. If we had an outside dog or cat we probably wouldn’t have near this problem but we just didn't have the heart to get another animal after our old cat died last year at 19 years young. I had her longer than the kids and I thought it would be too hard to replace her. And now with feed and upkeep of an animal getting so expensive it just isn’t a good time. James offered to try and pick some squirrels off with his pellet gun but I don’t want to do that until Scott can pick him up some more pellets. We put off getting them thinking they would make a good birthday present and now I don’t know how easy they will be to find. Hindsight is 20/20. We'd probably also have to deal with a couple of tree-hugger neighbors we have for "killing innocent and defenseless animals." Blech! I like animals as much as anyone else, and Sarah cries over Bambi and shows like Animal Cops, but I still consider human beings at the top of the food chain and get irritated at people who can't see that.

By the time I cleaned up the mess, salvaged a tray of tomato seedlings, and patched the hole in the screen it was time to fix lunch. I didn’t get to half the stuff I wanted to this morning and that is really irritating. Time is something I can't afford to waste anymore.

Lunch: Middle Eastern Macaroni and Garbanzos. I haven’t found too many recipes that are easier and it used all shelf stable ingredients and seasonings as well. For the onion, I just rehydrated some chopped onion and then sautéed that. Pita bread on the side. It filled everyone’s belly and gave me time to get back outside and finish what I had tried to start this morning before the storm clouds started rolling through.

I got the sunflowers in the ground and got a box of arugula and mesclun greens going as well. It’s still a little warm for the greens but I figure I can filter the sun using the pool cage screen and hopefully that’ll keep things from wilting or frying. I’m definitely going to have problems with that metal fence. The heat radiating off of it at mid-day was pretty intense. I accidentally touched it with the back of my arm and yowzer! My arm still has a red patch on the skin. I’ve got a little bit of that stuff you wrap the root balls of trees with but not enough to cover the entire fence. I wonder if it will radiate the cold in the winter as much as it radiates the heat right now. I’ve also got several rolls of landscape sheeting – that stuff you put down before you put mulch down – but I had wanted to save it for my plant beds. Add another thing to put on my “to research” list.

My guava and fig trees in the big pots are almost ready to pick. Not many, but Scott will get the guava in his lunch box and I’ll preserve the figs by drying them. The jujube tree is also approaching harvest time. I’m still worried about having to find a way to protect our edible landscaping. I can move the trees that are in pots a little bit, but where to put them and how often to move them is going to be the question.

My daylilies are still blooming and I’m glad I planted those in both the front and back yard. Not that I really want to experiment right now, but you can actually eat daylily pods. I took that foraging class a few years ago and its amazing what you can eat. The thing is we are so used to the hybridized varieties of foods that eating a more “natural” food is foreign to our pallet because they are often more bland, less sweat, or more bitter than we are used to. I really hope it doesn’t come down to eating things like cattails and daylilies but it’ll be nice to know its there if we need it. I sure don’t want to have to fight the neighbors over stuff like edible weeds and seed pods. That would have to be a worst case scenario if ever there was one.

Dinner: Moroccan Chili with 10,000 Grains of Sand was a recipe that I gleaned from a show by TV cook Rachel Ray what seems like a million years ago. The “grains of sand” are couscous. Couscous requires a willingness to try out a different texture and Bekah has problems with that, she can’t eat Jell-O without gagging either. I got lucky and she’s the only kid I have with texture issues. Having picky eaters would suck in a PAW situation. One of the good things about couscous is that it requires very little cooking time and is great to use if you are conserving cooking fuel or cooking time and in this heat, the less time I have to stand over a stove the better. The original chili recipe called for fresh ground lamb, but I substituted canned ground beef that I had put up several months ago. Hurray for home canning! I substituted the correct proportion of dried herbs that the fresh the recipe called for. We used Pita bread to scoop up the chili and couscous. It was fun having everyone sitting around a big pan and scooping out their dinner a bite at a time. No double dipping though. Not even with family. Ick. For dessert I made Middle Eastern Carrot Cake which is kind of like a cross between gingerbread and a more traditional carrot cake. I used powdered eggs and the cooked carrots came out of a can although baby food carrots could also be used in a pinch I suppose. Either way it turned out delicious.

Clean up was actually pretty easy which left us more time to catch up with the news. There’s a double edged sword for you. Like I mentioned, the Middle East isn’t doing so well at the moment. It’s got some of the military higher ups a little jumpy I think. Certainly has the NRSC wearing long faces for the cameras. Wonder if they are doing a happy dance when the cameras are off and the doors are closed. I know some probably think it is payback time since several of the governments over in that area refused to cooperate with containment efforts by the West and the UN when the NRS pandemic first began.

The Middle East isn’t the only place having problems by any stretch. They are still talking about what is going on down in the Caribbean island nations. And Mexico is in shambles. About the only country between the US and Brazil that is stable is Costa Rica. I don’t know what the effect from that has been on boarder crossings, legal or illegal. Apparently the NRSC has suggested to the Feds that there needs to be more US military on the ground along all of our borders. That doesn’t bode well for Florida. We have the longest coastline of the US, second only to Alaska that has over 5000 coastal miles.

Speaking of Alaska, so far they are NRS free in the interior of the state and only in Anchorage have they had one outbreak of NRS that they were able to contain on the ship that it came in on. If only all of the other states had been so lucky. Poor old San Francisco looks like it is getting even closer to being the next total city quarantine zone. Alcatraz Island isn’t even full yet and they say they can’t find any more kids. My head doesn’t even want to go there. What’s freaky is that Miami might not be far behind SF. Strangely enough the gangs are actually helping down there … or maybe its not gang related so much as vigilante action. Either way the media reports make it sound like a war zone with regular gun fire and “hunting parties” roaming at will to protect their neighborhoods. Talk about surreal. Little Havana is looking more like its name sake every day.

For our relaxing bed time drink tonight I fixed milk with saffron. The saffron threads gave the milk a distinctive flavor and a golden color that the kids really liked. I had the saffron from some that I had bought for making yellow rice, but they are too expensive to get silly with.

And since I brought up of expenses, Scott is heading out tomorrow to try and bring in some money to pay bills with and to change out some of the cash we found. I'm not feeling exactly comfortable with this but he found a kid to help with the runs. OK, not a kid but a young man that we've rented to for a couple of years. I guess he is all of 22 or 23 now, not much older. He works a semester and then goes to school a semester. He’s done some work with Scott before and seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders. Won’t have anything to do with drugs or druggies, pays his own way, and in general keeps his place up and stays out of other people’s business. Scott told me David’s dad died when he was 10 and his mom fell apart which left him to raise himself. Got into a little trouble early on but managed to straighten up quickly enough that he didn’t completely ruin his life. I’ve met him and I know he didn’t get along with Carlo. That’s a point in his favor.

My main beef is that David doesn’t have his own car; he bikes everywhere. This means that Scott is going to have to pick him up and drop him off every work day. That’s extra gas and extra time that it will take Scott to get home to us. I guess we’ll just have to see how things work out.

I’m hoping that while he is out Scott can find the time to find some stuff on our “need” list and maybe even a couple on our “want list.” We’ve got food covered but I never imagined needing so much of some of the stuff I keep coming up with ideas for. That false wall in the pantry and finding some way to cover the metal fence are just two of the projects I would like to get to as soon as possible. And now that I'm thinking about it I wish we had a couple more solar battery chargers and the batteries as well. I'd love to be able to do a little early birthday and Christmas shopping as well. Who knows what things are going to be like in a couple of weeks, much less a couple of months from now.

Oh well, the warm milk is doing its job and I’m beat. I’d like to say tomorrow will be a better day, but I’m not sure I really hold out much hope for that. Isn't that a nice, cheery thought to take to bed?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:35 pm 
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IAmWillIAm wrote:
Dangit Kathy in FL, I see you're in this forum... post a new one!


I was going as fast as I could. :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:31 pm 
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Great Job Kathy, keep it up! Please?

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ZMace wrote:
Great Job Kathy, keep it up! Please?


She will keep it up until the end! Check out her Pandemic story, A Will To Survive... she linked it in her sig. It's a great read.

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Doc66 ... thanks for the encouragement, as always.

And thank you to everyone else. Next entry to follow.

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Day Seventeen

I don’t know where to start. So much has happened today; some good, some bad, some horrific.

The day started off ordinarily enough. We got up. Scott did a little paperwork in preparation of going out while I got the kids up, squished the bread starter (day 3), and started breakfast.

Breakfast: I had chosen China as our geographic theme of the day and the only Chinese breakfast recipe I could find was for “Twisted Devils.” Traditional Chinese breakfasts are quite different from what the Western World views as breakfast. The dishes are usually savory rather than sweet and are often eaten quickly rather than enjoyed with a morning paper and coffee. The twists are like crullers in that the sweetness doesn’t come from the dough but from whatever the cruller is dipped in or whatever is sprinkled on top of it. It’s deep fried dough that is easy to mix up quickly but they don’t come out pretty and uniform without a great deal of practice. Mine looked pretty disgusting to be honest and I had a mess of splattered oil to clean up afterwards.

Scott said I earned a “A” for effort but asked that I not make them again. It was pretty embarrassing but hey, you live you learn. That was pretty much the last chuckle I had for a while. My stomach was already in a knot about Scott going out. He’s bruises are still pretty spectacular to look at; real sunrise on a stormy day kind of colors. At least he was moving around a lot easier and it only took Tylenol to knock down the twinges.

Scott hadn’t been gone five minutes when there was a loud knocking on the front door. I looked outside to see who it was and it was the neighbors from yesterday plus a man and woman I didn’t recognize. What troubled me – besides the fact we were being watched since it was too coincidental that they waited for Scott to leave before showing up – was that the man and woman had made the effort to dress up in uniform-ish looking suits. First thing that popped into my head was “uh oh.”

When I tried to fob them off with the “little woman not allowing strangers in the house without her husband home” routine they said that was OK to call him to come home, that they would wait. I was tempted to ignore them and let them roast in the day’s heat until they figured out I wasn’t biting whatever they were selling but I knew I needed more info about what was going on. I bundled the kids back into my bedroom and told them they had to be very, very quiet. I told James and Rose that they were not to let anyone but their dad or I into the house under any circumstances. No matter what and handed James one of the rifles. It got real quiet after I did that. I grabbed my little voice activated recorder and clipped it into my shirt pocket and attached my earplugs to it to make it look like an mp3 player. I think Rose thought I was over reacting at first but she didn’t say anything or try to stop me. I positioned James at the front door and Rose at the back. As soon as I had left by the back door I had them roll down the security doors as quickly as possible and not to stop no matter what they heard.

As soon as I was out the back door and the roll-downs started coming down I could hear all four of my “visitors” start to make a huge fuss. So much for the professional act they were putting on. If I had any doubts they vanished as soon as I turned the corner and saw them trying to prevent the doors from coming down.

I startled the heck out of them when I shouted for them to get their hands off of my personal property and demanded to know why I shouldn’t call the cops right then and there. They quickly “apologized” and tried to regain control of the situation but I already had their number. They may have tried to pull this crap with other people who rolled for them, but they hadn’t run up against any real resistance. I was about to give them a little training on who NOT to try and push around. I can’t stand bullies and I intended to rattle their cage a bit if I could.

After giving the two neighborhood guys a contemptuous look I focused all of my attention on the goon and goonette. Their feeble attempt to look “official” in their dark suits, white shirts, and red ties was even more irritating in person. The chick even wore a masculine red tie and that really spiked my irritation. Women are already powerful; there is no reason to go around pretending like we have to dress like a man to show it. My respect for goonette fell a couple of more notches.

Wondering just how much respect I was going to lose, I asked them for some identification. They gave me a couple of business cards and some blah-blah-blah letter in legalease on some of the worst looking letterhead I’ve ever seen. I could have made up better looking letterhead with an MSWord template and my laser printer. Theirs was probably done on an inkjet ‘cause it was in color and looked like it would run if it got wet. The business cards had those stupid fold-and-tear edges you get on cheap stationary. Dumb and dumber. They were a little shocked when I folded the letter and shoved it and the business cards in my back pocket. When I asked them for a copy of their business license and their federal tax ID number they started struggling to breathe. Honestly, I began to wonder what kind of amateurs I was dealing with?

That’s when the goon started gobbling at me to the effect that I obviously had no idea who they were and that they had approached me in the spirit of cooperation but since I didn’t seem inclined to “cooperate” they would have to report me to their superiors. OK, I’ll admit that I went from irritated to PO’d at that point. Giving the goon the smile that usually has most people who know me taking two giant steps backwards to avoid the blast zone, I proceeded to “explain” to him that I was trying to check the veracity of his claims, that thus far I had not seen any legal documentary proof that they were who they said they were, that I would immediately be reporting this incident with their names (along with the names of my darling neighbors who brought them to my property) to the State of Florida’s board of professional regulations, the local police, the Keel National Guard Outpost, and anyone else who sprang to mind. I would also be reporting them to the NRSC hotline just in case they happened to be falsifying claims of affiliation with the Feds. That last one turned the goon’s face pale, but I had made an error in judgment in ignoring the two neighborhood men.

One of ‘em grabbed me by my upper arm and started with this idiotically menacing voice of, “You are making a mistake …” right before I turned around and kneed him in the groin. Goonette musta been saving it up because she came at me with nails bared and got an elbow somewhere between her nose and mouth for her troubles. I don’t like to fight, certainly not physically. And I avoid confrontations probably way more than I should by making excuses to myself that its better to avoid trouble. But after everything that had been happening recently, including Scott getting injured, I was just in a foul mood and was ready to let my inner country girl come out and play a while. No one threatens my family and I had just plain had all I was taking.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending how you look at it, just like with most bullies they quickly lost their group cohesiveness when they found out they might actually have to pay some consequences for poking at the wrong person. I told goon and goonette that I would definitely be remembering them and that they’d best not come around this street any more at all. Goon helped the bloody goonette who still had her hands clapped to her face back to their car. I suggested that she should go see a doctor for that and that I'm sure they would be happy to take her samples at the same time. Of course they would have to make an explanation of what had happened but that I just knew that they could prove their official capacity to the local NRSC representative. They just ignored me but I hope they felt the digs I was trying to get in. They weren't big digs, but they were all I could come up with at the time.

The two neighbor guys tried to bluff their way out by way of saying that this had gotten out of hand and that I had over reacted to their overtures of friendliness. I told them once upon a time I might have believed that but given that I knew that at least one of them had been in on the trouble that code enforcement had tried to give us on some of the work we had done to our home I now take everything they say with a grain of salt. Not only that, I suggested that they had better look to their own families' business before they started messing in other people’s. If they didn’t get their kids under control they were going to have to start visiting them in a quarantine facility as I know for a fact that one of them had a juvie criminal record and that all of them had participated in some of the nastier pranks that been going on in the neighborhood over the last couple of years.

I certainly didn’t make things better when I told them that I had recorded the incident that just took place and that I would be turning a copy of it over to several local authorities; and that if anything started happening at our place like theft or vandalism or anything else we would know exactly who to send them to. If these guys weren’t enemies before, they certainly felt like enemies now.

It only took a matter of minutes for this all to go down. It certainly didn't happen like I had expected. Certainly not the physical confrontation. That I hadn't really expected. I'm more mouth than fists.

In hindsight I know I could have handled it different. I could have waited for Scott to come home. I could have ignored them. I could have handled it in any number of different ways. But I didn’t. After what has happened tonight I’m glad I didn’t … but sad at the same time. I hate feeling that I’ve somehow let myself down and sunk below a certain expectation of how I should act. And to have the kids witness it made it worse.

After I got back in, calmed the kids down – especially James who borders on hating the son of one of the neighborhood guys and who I probably shouldn't have handed a gun – and got myself calmed down I only had the energy to think about what I was going to say to Scott and what, if anything, I could do to make things better. I knew Scott was going to roast my tail feathers for putting myself in such a potentially bad situation. And he did, nice and crispy too. But I also now needed to think about revenge. Not me, they aren't worth it and I wasn't really hurt, just shook up. But what could they do to us? First thing I thought about was my garden. I had James help me to move all of my outdoor containers into the pool cage. That wouldn’t be any protection so I’ve been thinking of how we can bring the plants in at night and take them out during the day.

I began adding to my “to do” list while making lunch.

Lunch: I made Basic Fried Rice to which I added canned bean sprouts and a can of mixed Chinese vegetables. Nothing fancy but not bad. I wasn’t particularly hungry but the kids all ate with gusto. Seems that seeing their mom willing to kick some backside and come out the winner somehow made them feel safer. I want them to feel safe but I’m sure there is supposed to be a lesson on the consequences of un-necessary violence in there someplace. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it without sticking my foot in my mouth. Scott yelling at me tonight might have made them think twice, but with James and even Rose coming to my defense several times I’m not totally sure.

After lunch I had Sarah start on a Coconut pudding for tonight’s dessert that was made from canned evaporated milk, coconut extract, and powdered egg whites.

I was still on tenterhooks about what Scott was going to say. I decided to turn on the news to calm my nerves. I’m glad I did, but it did everything but calm my nerves. Los Angeles blew up. I mean it literally blew up. As in bang, bang, kablam, kablooey. No one is sure what happened but between the fires and who knows what all, some serious explosions rocked the entire LA basin from one side to the other. Some people said it was an earthquake, some are saying that with the fires out of control they reached main power stations that caused a backfeed felt across the city and thus had a domino effect of some type. That sounded like spin to me. There were a few whispers that it may have been government intervention to try and take care of an escalating out of control NRS-infected population. All I know is that the military isn’t letting anyone in or out of the area and that they’ve widened the quarantine zone around the city.

Alcatraz Island has become … I don’t even know how to write this. Apparently either an infected worker or child slipped through the checkpoints. All the children … They are saying that it was a blood bath. I’m not thinking about that any more. James is the one who heard it first on his laptop. He has some kind of news agrigator scrolling on his screen at all times these days. I sent the younger three to play at the other end of the house so I could turn the TV on and try and catch what happened. Rose saw the pictures and had to run to the bathroom to puke. I heard James telling her later that “that’s not going to happen to us, Mom and Dad won’t let it, I won’t let it, but you have to pitch in and help … “ I know they send young men off to war, but I never thought about my son that way. I always thought he was too young. But I guess maybe he isn’t. But that still doesn’t change the fact that I’m determined to give them as much of a childhood as I can. And I'm just not thinking any more about that right now.

They added San Francisco and Oakland to the full quarantine zones as well. There has been a huge migration of people trying to head out of the state of California in general but they are running into roadblocks all along the state border. Unless you have relatives in another state that have signed an affidavit that they are willing to take you in and be legally responsible for you forget it. College students are caught on both sides trying to get home to their parents. Air traffic into and out of California is now confined to military only. All other aircraft will be considered dangerous and they will either force them to set down inside the California borders or they will be shot down inside the California borders. The New England quarantine zone also now has this rule.

I expected to see Miami on the list of quarantine zones but apparently not yet. I guess that is a blessing. It also means that maybe vigilante groups are going to be the way to go. James said, “don’t call them vigilantes mom, call them militia men.” I told him until they could prove themselves to not be self-serving thugs I’d call them whatever came to mind. But I did it with a wink so I didn’t hurt his feelings. I don’t want him to start thinking that being a vigilante is anything to be proud of. My little example this morning didn’t help and I’ll probably be paying the price for that little show for some time to come.

Dinner: I was totally out of it mentally when it came time to start dinner and all I could think to make was Chinese Jambalaya. While not truly traditional Chinese cuisine, it certainly mimiced some of the spicier rice dishes in Chinese cooking. I used canned Asian vegetables to replace the fresh ones called for in the original recipe and for the tomatoes I used well-drained canned petite diced tomatoes. This got mixed in with a commercially packaged box of Jambalaya mix, cooked per directions, and “bam” it was finished. And just in time for Scott to get home.

Oh yeah. Did I ever get nailed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Scott this mad. Not only that but both James and I jumped on him and he still managed to drag us down to the neighbor’s house intent on beating the living crap out of the guy for touching me. What we found though was totally unexpected. The guy was in tears. I mean big tears, heaving cries, and a snotty nose ... the whole nine yards. Seems I’d been a little prophetic when I said that his kid was going to find himself locked up if he didn’t change his ways fast. The guy kept shouting until I could finally get him to understand that I hadn’t actually called anyone, that I had just said that to make them leave us alone. Or, at least I hadn’t actually gotten around to calling anyone yet because I wanted to talk it over with Scott first, but I kept that bit to myself. Of course by that time we had a neighborhood full of witnesses. I didn’t know whether to be scared or mortified.

About that time a woman I vaguely recognized from living around the corner stepped out of the crowd and said that a couple of them had called the cops because they saw four “guys” try and attack me. The cops never showed up because the fight broke up and we all walked away, but they did make a report by phone. I didn’t know if that made me feel any better or not. People watching what was happening but not willing to take a stand; but I guess they had called the cops so that was something. I said that couldn’t have resulted in the kid being picked up because he had nothing to do with it. The guy asked me if I was willing to make a statement to that effect. I don’t like the kid, but I didn’t want him to be falsely imprisoned. My son could be next. What a mess. Scott was still blistering, told the guy that if he ever came near us again there would be hell to pay … and when Scott said hell they guy must have been impressed because he stumbled backwards after getting a good look at Scott’s face.

Dinner was very tense but gradually Scott calmed down. I had to promise not to do something like that ever again and yada, yada, yada expose myself to unnecessary danger and blah, blah, blah because he would be very angry and hurt etc., etc., etc. I know I shouldn’t be so flippant about this. If I want Scott to take my feelings seriously I have to take his feelings seriously. But I … argh! … He loves me sooo much, easily as much as I love him. I just can’t stand being wrapped in cotton while he takes all the chances. So, OK, maybe this isn’t a “chance” that I should have taken and I’m beating myself up a little bit over it already. But having Scott upset about it makes it worse. The house already feels like a gilded cage, I don’t need any more imagery in that direction.

I was digging around for a way to broach the subject of garden security when Scott himself brought up. We’re going to clear out his office and start bringing in all my containers every night. It will be a tight squeeze and a load of work twice a day but Scott says some of the tenants have already complained about having stuff stolen. It looks like this will have been something coming with or without the ruckus this morning. That only makes me feel slightly less stupid.

He also brought home a bunch of stuff that we need to unload from the van first thing in the morning. Some of it was from my list and some of it was just stuff he picked up because he could. Guess Sugar Daddy's cash is coming in handy. We had another tenant skip on us but the neighbors had family from Miami show up unexpectedly that are eager to rent the place. The place was empty, if not clean, and the new renters said they would take care of the cleaning for a discount on their security deposit. One less problem.

When I asked him how David worked out today he said that while he doesn’t have as much experience as Carlo did, and doesn’t know how to do as much, he gets what he can do done faster and without a bad attitude. He’ll keep employing him as long as things continue to work as well as they did today. What worried me though was that Scott said David looked like he wasn’t eating regular. Scott split his lunch with him. That isn’t going to cut it. I guess I’ll need to pack more tomorrow, I’m not having Scott go hungry and I know he won't like the kid go hungry no matter if it means sacrificing his own lunch. When I stocked up on food I hadn't expected to have to feed another full-grown male.

I really didn’t want to talk about what had been on the news but for once Scott was in a mood to talk. My mind keeps shying away from thinking about Alcatraz. I just … I’m not going there even in this journal. There are some things that are just too dark.

I made some Chinese Milk Tea to settle my nerves and everyone wanted a bit. Scott’s was more tea than milk and Johnnie’s was all milk with just a splash of tea. Everyone else had theirs somewhere in between. The kids piled around the sofa and read or did something else while Scott and I talked. After Scott was talked out we got down to some snuggling and making up. The kids gave us the “ewwww” look and said they were going to bed.

Scott just finished the last of his account entries and his notes so I’ll stop here so we can double check the locks one more time. I hope tomorrow is a little less “adventuresome.” I’m still a bit jittery.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:07 pm 
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Way to go Mom!!! What's that old saying, "don't poke the bear"? I really dig this story Kathy. Keep up the great work. I'm over to read your pandemic story now. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:24 pm 
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Very good addition... I like the fight... like most real fights, a couple of hits to the right places and its over, very well done.

I mean, this is crap. Junk I tell you.

:D

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:31 pm 
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Kudos to you.
I'm enjoying this story more and more every day.
Thank you for all the hard work.

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Arrows used for shooting zombies are like condoms used for banging prostitutes in sub-Saharan Africa: single use only, for everybody's safety. Don't retrieve and re-use that shit, it's just nasty.


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