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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:17 pm 
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Well, I have to say, I noticed that you left a comment on Cole; More on a Story.

Hmm... Uh... Hmm...

Seriously, you need to focus.

Those other stories (for now, of course) aren't important. What is important is that you drive yourself to satisfy our need for a quality story.

I mean, it is nice that you and you're family are trying to survive, but much more important that you document it fully, and quickly, so we can learn from it.

---------

All kidding aside, thank you for all your efforts! This really is a cool tale, and I am enjoying it immensely.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:42 pm 
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ZMace wrote:
They are definately being read, and will continue to be, so long as you continue to write. You cant escape moar zombies, no one can...


Moooaaaar!!! MOOAAAAR!!! MOOOOOAAAARRR!!!!!

And I'm really lovin the story, it sounds friggin fantastic. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:51 pm 
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Still Awesome and the suspense is killing me.(Suspense for the next chapter as well as something bad happening)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:40 pm 
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Ah, Kathy, you rock.

Thanks for the Cole comment too!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:25 pm 
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Day Twenty-One

It was a quiet night but somehow that hasn’t been comforting. Too many things have been happening too quickly. The quiet feels too much like the calm before the storm. I realized this morning that its been a full three weeks since we started sequestering. I continue to believe we are doing the right thing but it isn’t an easy thing. I still feel hemmed in, like my world has shrunk to the borders of our yard; but, at least the feeling is distant and not beating at me all day long any more. It’s a strange sensation. But lately my whole life seems to be a series of strange sensations.

Scott was up and out as quickly as I could get breakfast out of the oven.

Breakfast: We may be stuck at home but our menu has taken us all over the world this week. Last stop is in the South Pacific with a Polynesian theme. This morning we had Pineapple Muffins, big ones, with a glass of milk. I had to scavenge the macadamia nuts for the recipe from a bag of trail mix, which was kind of silly if I think about it, but otherwise everything was fairly normal. I did send one with Scott for David and I packed some crackers, cheese, Vienna sausages, and canned fruit cocktail for their lunch. I’ll try and have leftovers for their lunches from now on when possible. I also did the bread starter thing (day 7).

After breakfast the kids helped me take the plants out and while they did their schoolwork, I did some cleaning and maintenance on my plant beds. James brought his laptop outside so he could “keep an eye on me.” I wanted to pinch him he sounds so much like Scott but the honest truth is that there were a few places in the yard that I felt like I was being watched. I think someone in the two-story house that sets off form our rear was spying on me again. I know they had to be the ones that blocked my access to the canal. I don’t know all of the people living in the house these days. There is an older lady named Mabel that owns the place but just recently one of her daughters moved home bringing an adult male and several teenagers with her. I’m assuming that’s her husband and kids but we’ve never been introduced. I’ve seen Mabel out and about less and less and she doesn’t wave and say hello like before. Sad as she was a nice lady if a little nosey. I can’t say I’m thrilled with her family; one of the teenage boys in particular gives me the creeps. The kid is an exhibitionist and I have to be careful of the girls when I know he is around; he’s a little too ‘clothing optional’ for my taste. Icky kid in my book.

Lunch: More beans for lunch. We better get used to that because beans and legumes were among the cheaper prep foods and I took advantage of every sale I could. They’ll also provide a significant portion of our protein. I fixed Calypso Pineapple Bean Pot and served it over rice. It was really simple. The leftovers will be lunch for Scott and David tomorrow.

After lunch I called Mom and Dad for an update. Most everyone up that way is doing OK. My sister in law is still a little depressed and didn’t even want to talk on the phone. Mom says she is keeping busy arranging and decorating the trailer they are living in. They did have to lay down the law to my nephews. They roamed a little too far afield yesterday and got lost. A neighbor spotted them and everything turned out all right, but they are city boys and need to learn the rules before they get their complete freedom back. Personally I’ll believe that when I see it. My sister in law isn’t big on discipline. Hopefully with my brother home more they’ll straighten up and at least pretend to follow the rules for a while. Daddy said he has a couple of gallons of sorghum and cane syrup for us. I'm not sure how we are going to get it but it sure would be nice to have. I have several large bags of Splenda that I'd like to send to Daddy, again though I'm not sure how to get it to him. So far, so good with Daddy's diabetes and blood pressure. I convinced Mom and Dad to get a 90 day supply of their meds and their doctor just got them another 30 day supply from samples. If things get crazy though I worry that they won't be able to get what they need. One more reason I'm relieved to have Brother living next to them.

I had planned to work in the front yard until Scott came home but James came unglued at the very idea. I just decided to fight that battle another day as I was sick of yard work anyway. Instead I took some of my bulk ingredients and made up some convenience mixes so that I wouldn’t have to start from scratch at every single meal. I made soup mixes, flavored oatmeals and pancakes mixes, muffin and bread mixes, cocoa & other drink mixes, and even a few cookie mixes. Most of the mixes I put in empty canning jars but a few, like the nearly empty soups, I put into ziploc bags and then sealed them air tight with my Seal-a-Meal.

By the time I finished doing that and some much needed laundry I just barely had time to get dinner started before Scott came home.

Dinner: I used a canned ham topped with Polynesian Sauce for the main dish. The combination of canned peaches and pineapple in the sauce was really interesting. I also fixed Polynesian Carrots for a side dish. A fresh salad wasn’t happening at the moment but more and more I am waiting for the Mesclun greens to be ready. Those greens only take 35 to 45 days to mature and will be a really welcome addition at the dinner table; I miss fresh fruits and veggies. For dessert I fixed Polynesian Bars and the kids chowed them down. Rose suggested saving one for David. Hmmm. Seems like the interest/infatuation may still be lingering.

During dinner Scott told me about all of the craziness at the rental units. Most of it was run of the mill and relatively normal but David had rocks thrown through a couple of his windows overnight giving him a pretty good scare. Scott took some scrap lumber and screwed it into the window frames. Luckily that unit only has three windows – living room, bedroom, and bathroom. The door is metal in a metal frame so we shouldn't have to worry too much about door damage. We got so tired of having to rebuild door frames and replace kicked in door panels that most of our units now have metal doors. The cops haven't liked it a couple of times when they were raiding but they ain't paying the repair bills.

David's neighbors claimed they hadn’t seen or heard anything of course but another landlord with property in the area warned Scott that he thought he had seen Carlo yesterday down by the Quick Stop. He couldn’t be sure but if it wasn’t him it was somebody who looked a whole lot like him hanging out with the same old crew of no-accounts that have caused problems in the area for years.

Hearing Carlo could still be around both relieved and distressed me at the same time. I’m relieved that Scott won’t have to face possible criminal charges. Despite the blood in the van, it appears that Carlo's wound couldn't have been that serious if he is already up and around. I’m scared though that Carlo could be out for revenge. It isn’t inconceivable that he was the one that threw the rocks or instigated throwing the rocks into David’s apartment. It sounds like something he would do. Mean and petty.

The nightly news bulletins didn’t help settle my nerves either. Tampa International Airport was briefly shut down when a flight in-bound from Memphis (Tennessee, not Egypt) had a mid-air heart attack victim go zombie on them. Thankfully the airlines learned their lessons from all of the early European incidences. Every flight now has an onboard security team that has federally-granted immunity to forcefully subdue any passenger behaving disruptively. They’ve also been mandated to sanitize any in-flight deaths using this tool that looks like a cattle prod with a compressed air bullet thingy on the end of it. Its apparently safer than using a gun while the plane is pressurized. It doesn’t make much of a mess either so the next of kin can still have an open casket memorial service should they so desire.

Speaking of funerals and burials, I guess its worth a mention that funerary staff have been deputized to legally sanitize all corpses or apparent corpses. They use this tool that’s like a sonic egg scrambler. It drills through the cadaver’s skull and then basically liquefies the brain using sonic waves; so much for zombies crawling out of graves.

Besides, the onset for NRS appears to be almost instantaneous for most cases. There have been a few delayed cases reported, but they are usually the result of an obvious bite or scratch and the disease spreads to the whole body within hours. The problem remains that transmission, though 100% deadly, doesn’t have a 100% attack rate; and no one is sure who or why they are susceptible to infection.

NRS is still popping up all around the world, sometimes in clusters and sometimes in isolated cases. No country is immune. And without the ability to really study the disease because of its quick rate of deterioration, no one is really sure how to come up with a vaccine yet.

Here in the USA we are taking collateral damage from all of the NRS-related complications. The worst outside of the quarantined cities thus far is the fire in Chicago that started yesterday. A relatively minor fire that started along the waterfront has spread for miles. A power outage in the city caused alarms to fire stations to be delayed. Even when the firemen arrived and started to battle the blaze, low water pressure has pretty much precluded the use of hoses. They’ve created several fire breaks by knocking down buildings in the fire’s path but that hasn’t been completely positive. Heavy winds are also making things hard to manage. There is no telling how far the fire will spread at this point but people are running in all directions trying to evacuate from it's path.

Civil unrest is again on the rise. The rioting around the CDC in Atlanta has reached epic proportions. I’m worried about rioting starting up again here in Tampa. I hate Scott being out when folks are unhinged. People are really nuts and the mainstream media isn’t helping. Reporters are wringing all of the emotional distress and financial turmoil out of any given story as they can. And people play right into their hands. If some of those media folks aren’t careful the crowds will turn on them and tear them apart.

Lots of scary international unrest as well. In particular Beijing and Hong Kong have been in the news for their government’s use of extreme force to retake those cities from rioters’ control.

There were also pictures of the starving children of Sydney, Australia plastered on every network, cable and local. We haven’t had any of that here in the USA, at least not on such a large scale; however, if the convoys don’t start moving a little faster a lot of unprepared people are going to hit the streets looking for food for themselves and their children. Look at what happened in NYC.

My brother is thinking about applying for a convoy job. The Feed Depot where he just started working is trying to get something set up to haul raw grain to some of the larger cities for distribution, either as animal feed or for commodity distribution. Even if it only brings pennies for the bushel it is still better than what the farmers will get letting stuff rot in the silos. Brother did promise that he will bring us a couple of more barrels if he can pick up a delivery job out this way. I'll have to grind the grain myself but I have both an electric and manual grinder to do this with. I just hope the gears are up to grinding corn.

I didn’t feel like cocoa for our bedtime drink so I fixed everyone licuados. A banana licuado is more of a Mexican beverage than a Polynesian one but it was the easiest for me to make. You mix milk and a fruit – in this case mashed bananas from my baby food supplies – with a little vanilla and honey to taste. You can also add ice and blend to make it slushy, but we just had ours at room temperature.

Today was the last day of the international food faire. Some of the dishes were a little bit more work than I had anticipated. Some dishes went over very well and some only had a lukewarm reception, namely those Twisted Devils, but at least the menu wasn’t boring and no one suffered from food fatigue. All-in-all it was an experiment that worked. It didn’t adversely impact the food storage supplies and was a morale booster. I’ll be back to the normal grind for at least the next week or so. I’ll be really happy when my garden starts coming in. I’m already getting tired of nothing but canned and dried foods.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:07 pm 
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Day Twenty-Two

We were woken at 3:30 am by a tenant calling because she was scared. Apparently there was some fighting in the street in that area. She wanted Scott to come right then and add another lock to her doors and demanded that he board up her windows for her. Besides the fact that the curfew prevented us from doing anything for her at that time of night, there was no way I was going to have my husband flitting around at her beck and call. I felt badly for her but she was beyond reason and her expectations are all out of whack. But even after we tried to explain to her three times the reality of what was going on, she kept calling back over and over hysterical. We finally stopped answering the phone but that didn’t stop her. She put her phone on automatic re-dial and I’ve been dealing with it off and on all day long. The thing is, this is the same chick that thinks Carlo is the best thing since sliced bread and who cussed Scott after she had heard through the grapevine that Scott had shot him.

There wasn’t any sleeping after the phone calls woke Johnnie at 4:15 or so. Scott was royally PO'd at that point and just hit the shower. I hit the kitchen to try and throw some food at the problem and make him feel better. Granny used to tell me that there wasn't anything wrong with a man that a cast iron skillet couldn't fix, she wasn't far from the truth. Actually what she said was, "Honey, there ain't a thang wrong with a man that a cast iron skillet cain't fix ... a cast iron skillet and good aim that is." I've never had to use the "good aim" part but the skillet has gotten me out of more than a few fixes over the years.

Breakfast: Fruit-filled Muffins are a old tried-and-true and really easy breakfast that I fix quite often. The ingredients are very basic and you can vary the flavor as infinitely as the flavors of jams or preserves varieties in the cupboard. I made them in these little gem pans that I have so it seems like I had made more muffins than I actually did. Made them easier to divide up too. I also made Scott and James a small omelet out of some powdered eggs and some real bacon bits. Man cannot live by muffins alone, at least working men can't.

I packed lunch for Scott and David and did some extra laundry, including all the bedding and towels, while I waited for Scott to get ready and leave. He had a list as long as my arm of work orders he needed to get to. Personally I’m thinking that it is going to soon get to the point where he isn’t going to be able to do business as usual. Even though the kids around town are supposed to be back in school, we’ve had a lot of repairs related to kids. Broken refrigerator bars, broken towel bars, broken fans and light covers, broken fencing; heck, Scott and David even had to replace some shingles yesterday because kids had climbed up on a roof and were playing around up there. We are lucky we inventory stuff for minor repairs, but with rationing getting tighter I’m not sure how long our supplies will last at the rate we are using them.

The dryer couldn’t keep up with the amount of washing I was doing so I started hanging out the sheets and spreads on my clothes line at first light. I just feel pressure to try and get ahead of some of my cleaning chores. I just have the heebies and have had them all day today for some reason. I did see my neighbor out near the canal. It looked like he might have been jigging for frogs but I couldn’t tell from the angle I was at. I hope Mabel is OK.

Scott caved and said he would use some of the supplies he is picking up today to close in the other side of the pantry for me so James and I haven’t done any more work to finish it off in there. I know that is more work for Scott (and maybe David too if he helps) but I just don’t feel like I have any choice. I can’t find any more good hiding places around the house. I wish we had a basement but being in Florida that is definitely out. So is using the attic for anything as it gets too hot up there not to mention possible infestation by bugs or rodents.

I guess the bottom line is that I just have this feeling of impending doom for some reason. Nothing in particular but I feel like the dumb blonde in the scary movie that goes waltzing up to the decrepit mansion. You scream at her to not go knocking on that door, but she is oblivious. Makes you want to dope slap the actress. But I’m not oblivious and all of my instincts are telling me that “something wicked this way comes.” Gack. I sound like an old hen … “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” I don’t know what it is but it is creeping me the heck out. Luckily Scott is pretty patient and understanding. I’m driving him nuts, but at least he knows I’m not doing it on purpose.

I have to be careful though ‘cause I think I’m infecting James and to some extent Rose as well. I’ve watched them watching me and I’ve caught them scanning some of the other houses in the neighborhood like they are trying to figure out why I’m feeling like I feel. James has even made this map of the neighborhood and is making notes of the cars that are supposed to be at each house and what he knows of the people each household. I don’t know, maybe we are simply feeding off of each other. After all we have been cooped up together for over three weeks now. Maybe we are suffering the proverbial bought of cabin fever.

For most of the morning I cleaned and reorganized but towards lunchtime I told James I really did need to do some work in the front yard. This time he didn’t give me any grief. Apparently he had talked to Scott and was told that if I worked in the front yard to go ahead and mow it. The rain and heat has the grass growing like crazy and we weren’t the only home with a yard that needed to be mowed. Yesterday I heard the tractor and bush hog in the orange grove and no one said anything. We were able to get the front yard mowed with no confrontations but it was an eerie feeling. I know there were other people in their homes around us, although most of the people on our block still appear to have their day jobs, but it was still awful quiet. The lawnmower seemed too loud.

Lunch: The girls fixed Open-faced hot roast beef sandwiches for everyone. There is no way that this meal would ever make it into a book on losing weight. First Rose made a plate full of cat-head biscuits – so named in the Deep South because they are unusually large sized biscuits. While she did that Sarah and Bekah made a batch of mashed potatoes from instant potato flakes using powdered milk and powdered margarine. Then they opened and heated up a couple cans of sliced beef in gravy. The biscuits were split and opened on each person’s plate and a good-sized portion of mashed potatoes was heaped on each of the biscuit halves. Lastly, the hot beef and gravy was spooned over the mashed potatoes. It looked like a heaping pile of mess on the plate, but it is a frequent comfort food around our house and only takes minimal work to prepare. Being up so early, by the time noon rolled around we were all just about starving.

After lunch I gathered up all of the clippings and stuff from the front yard and tossed them into the compost bins I have going. Another project I’d liked to have completed sooner is building one or two more compost piles. With lumber and fencing being so dear now though, unless Scott runs across any wooden pallets at Home Depot I’m not sure what we would use. Scott managed to bring me a couple of pallets of dirt and mulch but they won’t last forever and we may not have any extra money for that sort of thing in the future. The compost will help revitalize the garden beds and containers of dirt. Assuming I can find anything to actually compost. I used to get extra greenery from the canal edge but that’s out … for now. I’ll do what I have to if I get desperate, but I’m not there yet.

For the rest of the afternoon I did some “school” with Johnnie. I love him like the dickens but boy howdy does it take all of my energy and concentration to keep him from outwitting me. He’s a boundary-tester and requires a lot of consistency to keep him from bending the rules as often as possible. Another wish I wish for is a swing set. I know it would take up space we don’t have but it would give him a way to work off his energy. Being inside a closed up house all day long isn’t healthy for any of us, particularly an active preschooler. As it is I’ve caught him doing back flips off of his bunk bed more than once this passed week. We just can’t afford a doctor at this point – financially or for all sorts of other reasons.

Dinner: I made Black Beans and Yellow rice. I stockpiled cases of pre-seasoned black beans and packages of Vigo yellow rice when I could. Scott grew up here in Tampa and all of his grandparents were immigrants. Hispanic cuisine is something that I had to learn to cook very quickly. To keep things from being so expensive and time consuming I finally smartened up and canned up my own ethnic foods like Picodillo, Ropa Vieja, and Garbanzo Bean Soup. I also canned pork loin with sour orange marinade and learned to make a lot of other traditional dishes using prep foods. Maybe not like his Momma fixed it, but I haven’t heard any complaints in over 20 years so I’m not gonna sweat the small stuff. For dessert I made Impossibly Easy Cherry Pie, another Bisquick recipe. I set all the leftovers aside for Scott to take for his and David’s lunch tomorrow.

Everyone was in the mood for chocolate so I made a pot of Fruity Hot Cocoa (Cherry-flavored). The cherry flavor came from unsweetened drink mix and didn’t clash with the pie everyone had for dessert. We sat around only half way listening to the news as we were all pretty well exhausted. Scott told me about his day and I told him about mine. We worked on our list of things we need and the list of things we wanted as well as some of our project ideas but we didn’t last long.

The news was full of the same old stuff. Nothing new on any front except that they think they may have some of the Chicago fire contained. Lights have been seen at night in NYC so there are obviously people still there trying to survive in some way. There is still no new information on what caused the explosions in Los Angeles. San Francisco and Oakland continue to be hot spots but Dallas/Ft. Worth may get to come off of the quarantine list if they continue wracking up the number of “sanitized” zombies. I think everyone has just about given up on calling them NRS victims now.

I couldn’t even stand to listen to any international news and practically had to carry Scott to bed, no easy feet considering I’m 5’ 2” on a good day. He leaned on me so heavily that I know he was unaware of how much his fatigue was showing. I’m worried for him. He doesn’t talk much about what he sees beyond the daily grind of the apartment management but I know he is worried and trying to hide it from me … but sometimes his eyes give him away.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:28 pm 
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HAHA! Good stuff. I like the way you are sneaking in the little things, like keeping track of whose car is home and who is in the house in the neighborhood. Nice touches.

Looking forward to more, as always.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:35 pm 
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outstanding as always Kathy, you can really pick up on the families aprehension and fatigue. It's very emotional (as I imagine a situation like this would be), and shows a struggle for normalcy, very nice.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:35 pm 
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Kathy.....Kathy......all I have to say is.....MOAR

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:15 am 
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Shoe Daddy wrote:
Kathy.....Kathy......all I have to say is.....MOAR



I must agree with the man.

Moar zombies! MARCH!!


MooooaaaaAAAARRR!!!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:39 am 
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Day Twenty-Three

Good thing that Scott and I invested in that solar charger for our laptop batteries or I wouldn’t be typing this; I’d be stuck writing everything down by hand. We woke this morning to find that the power had gone off at some point during the night. Luckily our cell phones are still working – sort of as there are a lot of black out areas in town – so we were able to keep touch off and on during the day. This day went from bad to worse in short order.

To keep from going into a panic I tried to act like the power outage wasn’t anything unexpected. I put the kids to getting dressed and doing their early chores like putting the plants outside. I added filling up five gallon buckets from the pool to put into the bathroom for the toilets and filling up the camping shower bags from the rain barrel so that those that needed showers could have them. This gave Scott time to get the solar radio out and turn it on to see if we could pick up any local news. While he fiddled with that I got breakfast going.

Breakfast: It was Day 9 for the bread starter and I let Johnnie squish up the mix while I pulled out the Coleman oven and mixed up some biscuits. Biscuits with sausage gravy were about all I could come up with on such short notice but the smell alone made everyone feel better. I only ran the oven long enough to cook the biscuits and heat water; I need to save all the propane I can. While the biscuits were baking I duct taped the refrigerator and freezer shut so no one accidentally forgets and keeps opening it to see if the ice has melted yet. The sausage gravy came from a can, but hey, it wasn’t bad at all even if Momma woulda had a fit had she seen me do it. Cans of slightly watered down juice were the morning’s beverage. Some might think that watering down juice is a bad idea, but full strength juice can play havoc with a digestive track unused to it. Better to be safe than sorry, especially if we are going to have to lug water for the toilets for any length of time.

Thank goodness I have been going through all of our equipment and had it ready and easy to find. News broadcasters on the radio were giving preliminary reports issued by the power company that a major piece of equipment at the local plant had malfunctioned. Repair parts were available, but due to shortages in plant staff, the repairs will take longer than normal. All citizens within the station’s broadcast area were warned they would need to endure a power outage lasting approximately a week. Future news reports would keep everyone apprised of the progress. Frankly I just hope that equipment failure is all that it is. I can too easily imagine what caused the staff shortage.

I wasn’t thrilled with Scott leaving to go to work but didn’t have much choice as he and David had been in the middle of replacing a main waste line when they had to close up shop to meet curfew. As he headed off to pick up David and his supplies at Home Depot I got in motion to see what all I could do to make our lives easier for however long the power remains out.

The kids had already hung out our black shower bags. Hanging in the August sun all day will give us plenty of hot water for washing and such. I also started a gallon of solar tea. When I went out to set the jug on our back stoop I heard a lot of yelling – loud and angry – coming from a few different houses. There was also some crying. Looks like bad just got worse for some of our neighbors.

It was already warm and muggy despite the early hour. I knew it would get worse before it got better. We have portable fans that are solar powered but I didn’t want to waste them since we would need them for tonight if the power didn’t come back on. I just had the kids keep a wet washrag handy so that they could use evaporation to keep themselves cool. I also had those little battery operated fan/spritz bottles. The kids learned real fast not to waste the batteries (rechargeable) or they wouldn’t have any “fan.”

I was making some notes on some preliminary ideas for meals over the next couple of days when Scott called me the first time. David got jumped after Scott dropped him off yesterday and took a pretty good beating. Nothing that warrants a trip to the emergency room but he’s gonna be sore and multicolored for a couple of days. His apartment is trashed. David is mobile so they packed up his stuff and stuck it in Scott’s van – there wasn’t all that much apparently that didn’t get trashed – and went ahead and tried to get some work done. At that time no one was sure where David was going to spend the night.

Johnnie and Sarah both were starting to get irritable from the heat so I had the older three help me to set up a little wading pool on the lanai and fill it with water from the pool. I told them no splashing or there would be consequences and surprisingly they both obeyed me with only one or two minor exceptions. Guess they were too hot to risk being banished back into the house.

Lunch: The noon hour crept up on me quicker than I had expected. I fixed Zesty Bean Salad over instant rice. You can eat the salad by itself as a side dish but it is also good with rice to make it a main dish. I dished out everything onto paper plates and pulled a package of Melba toast out to use for a bread. The toast also helped to rake up even the last grain of rice. I had about a gallon of bleach water to use for washing the silverware and cups. I set it outside in the direct sun to keep it warm so that it could also be used to clean the silverware at dinner.

After lunch, I took a moment to have a private adjustment reaction. In layman’s terms that means I went out to the she and cried a few tears where the kids couldn't see me. Afterwards I took stock of our situation and while it is difficult, its far from being catastrophic. There isn’t anything left to spoil in the refrigerator or freezer but I will keep them sealed to try and save the ice for as long as possible. Adding up all of our potable water sources yields several weeks worth of drinking and cooking water so long as we don’t get sloppy. The pool water will work for the toilets for a good long while and even for showers. We’ve been getting a regular afternoon shower every day for a while and I watched James set up the water catchment barrels to our downspouts from the roof gutters. I also figured that I could re-use liquids from canned goods. Veggie water I’d use for regular cooking and fruit syrups or juices I would save for drinking or baking.

Most importantly though I set up the water filter system that I made using filters I bought on the internet and a couple of food grade buckets. It’s a drip system similar to the big expensive Berkey system that I could never afford. It sure would have been nice to have gotten one of those big stainless steel versions, but hey, what we built may not be pretty but it works just as well and meets our needs.

I am so glad that I was able to get all of our laundry done, including the bedding and all of the towels. It might be a while until I get another big load of laundry done automatically. I have a set up planned for having to do my laundry by hand but that’s not going to be any fun at all. I have a metal horse trough that I can set up over a fire and I’ll boil the clothes clean. I even have a couple of big wooden paddles my dad made to dip the stuff in and out of the hot water. I’ll avoid going “old school” as long as I can though. I’ll just rinse out socks and underwear for as long as I can stand it. We’ll hang out everything else to air it out and reuse it as long as it isn’t gross. Good thing I stocked lots (and lots and lots) of deodorant.

Food isn’t going to be a problem for a while yet either. How to cook that food is an issue. Our propane supplies will last a good while yet but only if we are careful. I also have charcoal and a wood pile (that just this afternoon got moved to a more secure location near the house) and several other solid fuel options. Nothing extravagant, but with careful rationing, we are set for a while anyway.

The only free energy source available to us is solar power. We’ve got two solar panels and several deep cell batteries. I also have a simple solar oven we bought off the internet and some solar lanterns. The other thing we have are plans we printed off of http://solarcooking.org/plans/ and the materials for some of these contraptions; materials like a reflective car sunshade, panes of glass, two tires not on rims, dark cooking pans. Even if things get so bad that we go through all of our propane I can probably do some cooking using solar power, just not on cloudy days. I hope what we have is enough to get us through. I know hope isn’t a plan, but it makes me feel better.

Speaking of hopes and plans, Scott called me several times through out the day to keep me up to date about what was going on. We both agreed that we couldn’t allow David to go homeless, especially since it looks like he was attacked just because he is working for Scott. David said that he recognized two of the three guys who attacked him as being friends of Carlo’s. That cinched it for me. I told Scott to bring David to our house even if he if was kicking and screaming. I’d gotten my anger pretty much under control and put it away but the attack on David just brought it all back out. I’m just plain spitting mad. I sat down and explained things to the kids and every one of them wanted Scott to bring him home to us. Seems David made a place for himself without any of us realizing it, including David. Scott says David is very embarrassed but kind of without any other option at this point.

When Scott finally pulled in I couldn’t believe my eyes. David has a badly split lip, a loose tooth, and two black eyes and that’s just from the neck up. His nose is swollen too but not bad so I don’t think his nose is actually broken. But apparently David is street tough and got in quite a few licks of his own. The knuckles on both of his hands are abraded and swollen. He says he fought dirtier fighters growing up on the mean streets of West Tampa and keeps a knife in his boot top in case he starts to feel like he is going down. The guys were mostly drunk so they weren’t overly coordinated; if they had been, David said he would have been in worse trouble. But they ran when David pulled the knife. I’m just glad, drunk or not, that those guys didn’t have guns. That would have put a totally different face on things.

Dinner: Dinner wasn’t anything special and David needed something soft to eat. Ramen noodles topped with canned beef stew I doctored with some raisins and capers was what I put on the picnic table outside. It was too dark to eat inside unless we opened the shutters and that was too much like work after a long day. Especially after moving the plants yet again.

While we sat discussing the new living arrangements – David was still hesitant about accepting our invitation for more than a night or two – we had the news going in the background. Mostly it was about the power outage and what people could do to help themselves because there were no plans for the local, state, or federal government to step in at this point. The phrase “you’re on your own” has never been more true.

I hope we can get David to agree to stay. It would give us another adult we could count on and at the rate things are deteriorating that isn’t a bad thing. Yes, I’ll need to rework some of food my storage plans but that’s doable. At this stage adding one more mouth to feed isn’t going to break the bank. I’m going to give him some time to heal before I start really trying to persuade him though. I want him to stay because he feels that it is a good arrangement, not because he feels beholden or trapped. That wouldn’t be a good place to start any kind of relationship.

The other thing we discussed over dinner was how to use our resources as wisely as possible. Overall, every meal must be more fuel-efficient. Starting tomorrow the Coleman stove will be used for breakfast. For lunch I’ll use a small stick or charcoal fire for heating soups and/or fry breads. If an outdoor fire isn’t an option because of the weather or some other reason, I’ll use Sterno, Eco-Fuel, or solid fuel tabs on the lanai. And when possible I’ll use solar cooking for dinner.

My goal will still be to provide 2000 kcal/day. Before the power went out I used bread as a filler at meal times. With limited options now that the power is off I’ll need to use ingredients that are more fuel-economical to fix; rice and pastas will be my first choice for a while. Both of these work well in a solar cooker as well.

We were pretty well talked out by the time all of that was discussed and I could tell that David was hurting even if he wasn’t complaining. He finally let me doctor him up and he even slept on the bunk in Johnnie’s bedroom after the girls cleaned it up. Johnnie didn’t know quite what to make of the guy sleeping in his room, but let it pass without creating a fuss after we moved his box of toys near his “new” bed. Scott and I are going to have to escape to the shed to have any alone time but what the heck, we’ll just play newlyweds and take our pleasures where we can.

In addition to three extra strength Tylenol (which is all he would take), I fixed David a mug of Warm Maple Milk. In fact I fixed it for everyone as we all definitely need a little bit of a sleep aid tonight. The sweet warm milk is relaxing.

Scott wants to stay home tomorrow. He knows David needs recovery and healing time and this way he and James can get started on the other false wall in the pantry. No telling what is going to go down in town with the power off. Gas will certainly be hard to get until there is electricity at the gas stations although by law gas stations are supposed to have generators here in Florida because of the hurricanes. But “supposed to” and reality aren’t always the same thing
Here’s hoping tomorrow’s calamities don’t overwhelm us.

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Last edited by Kathy in FL on Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:52 pm 
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Still Rockin' and for some reason I can't seem to get enough.

I have an insatiable urge for MOAR.

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And... we're grooving.

Very good stuff. Again, the little things are what makes it for me.

Thanks.

Oh, I tried to click on the web site mentioned in the story, but I got a 404 error.

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good stuff! I also get a 404 error btw

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Fixed it. The correct link is http://solarcooking.org/plans/

I actually have made a couple of these with my kids. They work fairly decent. But like any solar product a cloudy day or high humidity can really extend your cooking time.

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So we're screwed in Ohio and FL!

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doc66 wrote:
So we're screwed in Ohio and FL!


Not too bad, it just takes longer to cook things. Solar cooking isn't quite as dicey as trying to store solar energy with solar panels. The solar "panels" in the case of the cookers are reflective rather than voltaic or however the heck it is spelled. They are kind of like the reflector ovens you can use with fireplaces or campfires. The heat/light source is just the sun rather than a fire. Putting your roasting pan into a turkey roasting bag ... they look like those big plastic bags ... ramps up the heat even better. I've never boiled water in a solar cooker but you can certainly pasteurize water. That link I included shows how to make a water pasteurizer with a 2 liter plastic bottle and a old soda can that has been painted black. I've done it with scouts. The water temp will get any where between 160 and 210 degrees F. I've never made it to 212 F which is the boiling point. Came close a couple of times, but that's it.

We have a lot of solar hot water systems here in Central and South Florida, used to have one myself at another house and it really helped with the bills, but not panels so much. Even though we have a lot of "sun" it is filtered through the clouds and humidity. That drops the efficiency quota down for solar energy. Right now that makes it not worth the investment in my book and its something a lot of the alternative energy folks don't think about. If you'll notice, all those houses that run beautifully off of wind and solar are out west in places like AZ. :lol:

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Day Twenty-Four

Sure enough the utilities are still down. Sleeping without the AC last night was miserable even with those little fans going. They gave out just as soon as I got good and asleep so of course I woke back up. The kids were restless all last night as well. I’m a very light sleeper and every time the kids rustled their bedding my eyes would pop open. My eyelids felt like sandpaper all day.

And our bedroom … my gracious … it smelled like a locker room for a couple of hours until I thought to have everyone take their sheets outside and air them out. At least I don’t have to worry about everyone’s mattresses getting sour. I use those plastic mattress protectors. And Febreeze fabric freshener is my new bestest friend. I can’t imagine what things are going to smell like in this house if we can’t air it out soon. The closer to lunch it got the worse the heat became. In the rooms where we were working we wound up having to open the windows; but, we left the shutters closed. I’ve gotten too secure having the shutters closed and locked. I do miss daylight coming into the rooms, but I like my safety better. If I want daylight I can step onto the lanai or into the backyard.

Since Scott had already planned on staying home today I had planned to go at a slower pace than usual. Or at least that is what I had hoped. Didn’t actually turn out that way, but it was a nice thought just the same. No electricity = more work, not less.

Everyone was happy to use the shower bags this morning, even though there was little in the way of privacy. We are going to have to build an outdoor shower facility and James plans on doing that tomorrow. I left Scott discussing today’s itinerary with James and David. While the girls took their turns taking shows, washing up, and doing morning chores I finished adding the final ingredients to the Amish Bread starter (Day 10).

Breakfast: For breakfast I made Amish Muffins (this used one cup of the starter leaving me three cups to use at some later point). I made the muffins in the Coleman Oven. It was already too hot to cook indoors so I set it up on the propane grill on the lanai. The oven isn’t very big so it can be a challenge to get enough of anything baked in one shot, but it can be done with a little ingenuity. I used paper liners in the muffin tins and was very careful as I filled them so that clean up was minimal. And since everyone ate outside I didn’t bother with plates, whether paper or otherwise. The few crumbs we made were simply swept outside.

Trash is going to be a problem sooner rather than later. I guess I forgot to mention it, but the garbage didn’t run last week. I’ve got a whole garbage bin set aside just for cans and it is filling fast. Last week I was able to wash them off and toss them and not have to worry too much about animals getting into them. But this week I’ll have to be more careful with our water storage. I also have a whole bag of paper trash to deal with. I have started separating paper trash into two piles – paper with food particles and paper without food particles. The paper with food particles I’ll need to bury or burn. The paper without food particles I will shred and toss in the compost pile. Its not a perfect solution but it’s the best we can come up with for now.

After breakfast, I pulled out the solar oven and threw a quick casserole together and put it into my black speckle ware roaster pan with the lid. I placed the roaster inside a cooking bag (similar to those used for cooking turkeys, etc.) and sealed it. The bag with the roaster pan inside was placed into the solar panel cooker. The panel cooker was then adjusted and watched though out the day to make sure it continued to face the sun directly and didn’t get covered in shade. I also set up a homemade water pasteurizer to heating up water for dishes.

Scott’s first task of the day was to show David and James how to set up our solar panels. First they mounted them on a tilted, rolling frame we had built from an old bed frame. The panels were then wired to a controller. The controller can then be wired to the deep cell batteries. Once the batteries are charged you can either directly feed into a DC system or you can hook them to an inverter so that you can use AC system gizmos.

We’ve never successfully run our well pump this way but we are able to run small items like a battery charger, smaller wattage lamps, and a few other useful gadgets. Scott is anxious to keep his cordless tools charged. The four deep cell batteries we now have will give us some storage capacity; we just need to be reasonable with our expectations.

No sooner had I finished setting the solar cooker going than I had to refill the solar shower bags, put a laptop battery into its charging system, take care of watering my plants by hand (what a pain), and do some general cleaning and prepping. I constantly had to avoid the guys who seemed to be all over the place. They were trying to measure lumber, running wires, and trying to figure out how to secure the solar panels to keep people from throwing rocks at them and breaking them. David suggested reworking a section of the enclosed walkway. If they can figure out a way to convert one section into a kind of garage door then the panels could be wheeled in and out of there each night. Some conduit could be run underground that would house the wires which would mean the controller, inventer, and batteries could be housed securely out of the elements all of the time. At that point it didn't surprise me to learn that David has been attempting to earn his degree in engineering.

Lunch: I was very tired and sweaty by the time I needed to prepare lunch. I knew it was hot but all I was up to making was some kind of soup. I made Creamy Tomato Bacon Soup with cheese crackers. I also pulled out a can of spray cheese for those that wanted it. Scott likes cheese with his tomato soup. I heated the soup in a pot placed over a small stick fire that I built in a depression in the ground. After I got the fire going, I set a grate was over it. The soup pot was set on the grate. The hole was small so it funneled all of the heat from the small fire up to the soup pot. The hole was almost too small and there nearly wasn’t enough oxygen to keep the fire going. Lesson learned which led me to think of another project for the kids to do. I’d like to build a cooking pit and line it with some old Georgia bricks that we have. I’ve started to carry a memo pad around in my pocket just so I can write everything down as it comes to me. Otherwise I get irritated when I know I thought of something good but can’t remember what the heck it was I thought of. It didn’t take long for the soup to heat through and after it was removed; my camp coffeepot filled with water was placed on the grate to catch the last bit of heat.

The fire actually gave off enough heat to make the water quite hot, though it never really boiled. Some of the very hot water was poured into a dish pan so that the soup mugs from lunch could be washed. The rest was poured into coffee carafe so it could maintain its heat. It came in real handy tonight.

After lunch we were all so hot that we just lay around on the pool deck with our feet in the water. I guess we must have done this for an hour just trying to cool off. We didn’t even move when a rain shower moved through soaking us to the skin. Johnnie and Bekah actually sat in the wading pool on the lanai up to their waist. After we finally got up and started moving we all dried quickly as we were all wearing lightweight clothing to beat the heat.

There are some palmettos on the far side of the orange grove and Scott let James go with David to cut some for me. I wasn’t thrilled with James getting out from under my eye but the boy is nearly 16 and I have to let him grow up or I’ll alienate him. And I guess going with David made him feel some better. What James didn’t know was that Scott had palmed off one of the pistols to David before they jumped the fence. That little maneuver made me feel better.

The reason for the boys going to get me the palmettos was that I was going to make fans. Out of all the stuff that I’ve bought over the years it is simply beyond me how I could have skipped buying hand fans. I mean, how silly could I have been?! Once the boys brought them back I skinned the saws off of the sticks and trimmed the fronds until a nice, stiff “fan” was all that remained. I made enough for everyone to have their own and a couple of extra besides. Johnnie made a game of going around to each of us and fanning us a couple of times and then expecting us to fan him for twice as long.

It continues to stay light until nearly 8:30 pm these days but I didn’t want to have to waste the lanterns unless we had to. I fixed us an early – for us anyway – dinner and we again ate outside on the lanai. This kept the mosquitoes off of us and out of the house.

Dinner: The Quick Casserole Supper came out of the solar cooker without too much trouble. I was a little worried about dinner so I had pulled out a jar of peanut butter and some pretzels just in case the casserole flopped. It didn’t, thank goodness. The casserole consisted of canned chili (minus beans), canned pinto beans, canned tamales, and shredded Mexican processed cheese. Not the greatest, but certainly beat a cold supper hands down.

The bowls from dinner were cleaned using the water that had been heating most of the day in the water pasteurizer. It was warm enough to wash dishes with, but to be on the safe side I added a capful of bleach to the rinse water. Since everyone scraped the last bit they could out of their bowls, nothing required a hard scrub except the roasting pan and only where the cheese had gotten sticky.

While James took his turn on dish duty, I helped Scott and David bring in all the equipment that they had out during the day as well as move the plant containers back inside. I’m going to have to be careful because I think some of my plants might be getting confused because they aren’t getting as much daylight as they normally would this time of year. That probably means that they need to go out earlier and come in later. Hopefully I can make the change without too much trouble.

Finally we could all just sit and relax. Yeah, it was still hot … still is hot as I sit here writing this entry … but not as bad as it was around lunch time. The news from around town was disturbing. They are finally releasing a few more of the details from the UCH fire and zombie escape. Scott surmised correctly. They were able to follow the zombie’s path because apparently there had been at least two other attacks. They think that they sanitized all of the attack victims that were infected but they have issued public warnings because two household members from one of the homes are still unaccounted for. Now that just gives me the creeps, not to mention I would have liked to have known this before David and James took off into the bushes in the orange grove. I’m appreciating our metal fence and steel shutters more and more.

I used the hot water I had put into the carafe to make Orange Hot Chocolate. The hot water in the thermos carafe remained plenty warm and I’ll continue keeping water warm this way from now on.

The rest of the evening’s news was no better. There was a sad murder/suicide story where a man, obsessed with worry that his family was going to turn into zombies, killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself. The problem was he was too inept and didn’t destroy the brain. All five of them were reanimated by NRS and killed the man’s parents when they dropped by to bring a bag of groceries. The zombies then terrorized the neighborhood for nearly an hour until they could be sanitized by a NRSC Deputy. As self-fulfilling prophecies go, that was a doozy. I just pray there aren’t any copycat killings like this.

Local charities have now distributed over 90% of their stock with no expectations of resupply any time soon. Food warehouses and major distribution points have hired professional mercenaries to guard their locations. Even local grocery stores now have armed security details.

No riots have broken out in our area but hostilities are close to the surface. Looting has been officially marked as a Federal offense, a matter of Homeland Security, and is punishable by instant execution if the looter is caught in the act by any deputized authority (from Federal troops to local law enforcement to deputized private citizens). I understand the why of this but it is still a frightening development that could easily be abused.

The only announcement concerning the power outage is that repairs are proceeding. Wow. Nice to know. A few more details would have been welcome.

The rioters in Atlanta broke through the military barricade around the CDC. The breach was quickly sealed, but not without some serious bloodshed.

The media is reporting a quiet exit from DC by most members of Congress and their staffs. Some are returning to their home states and some, along with their families, have simply disappeared from the radar all together. The President, in conjunction with Homeland Security and the NRSC, now operates from an undisclosed location. This cannot be a healthy development either.

The New England Quarantine Zone was expanded again. There is also now a Northwest Quarantine Zone covering much of Oregon and parts of Washington State and overlapping some of the Greater California Quarantine Zone.

An extreme tactical response by members of the Texas National Guard has tipped the balance in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area showing that swift and decisive action can reduce NRS infections enough that whole cities can be retaken. The model is being studied for implementation in the quarantine zones.

They are trying the strong tractical response in Miami as well. Unfortunately the large number of Caribbeans in the area who practice a religion that both fears and respects black magic is making it difficult to completely retake some portions of the city. Some of the black magic priests of this religion are using the zombies, or threat of zombiehood, to accumulate political power and spiritual control. I understand people have a right to practice their personal belief system, but that is steering off too much into craziness for me. Especially as several times a so-called “controlled” zombies break free and basically infect every one at a given religious ceremony. This has meant that sometimes entire blocks of neighborhoods have to be quarantined and sanitized within hours. Not easy as quarantines require a special judicial writ. Sad, and all because of a few megalomaniacs.

International news was just as lousy but I don’t feel like citing it chapter and verse. Suffice it to say that people no long say Paris “is.” They now say Paris “was.”

I’m losing my light so I’ll save my battery and end things here, attempting to close on a more positive note. For all the bad news, personally we are doing OK. David’s wounds are healing and Scott’s are no longer visible at all. The kids are healthy and at least appear to be adjusting to the new norm that they find themselves living. And David hasn't said word one about leaving. We have plenty of food, water, and a modest amount of power. We’ve still got nearly two full drums of fuel as well as another 25 gallons in gas cans. Our house is secure. There is money in the bank. And, we haven’t had a fight with a neighbor for a few days. The way things are headed, that makes us rich as Midas.

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I am beginning to dread a confrontation with the unprepared neighbors. Hungry people don't stay hungry for long.

MOAR Please.

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It might, and I'm just saying might, mind you, be best to do a preemptive strike on the neighbors.

It's the only way to be sure....

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Hmm, verry interesting. :wink:

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Day Twenty-Five

Day three of the power outage. This sucks. It wouldn’t be so bad if this had happened in October or November but in August it is like a freaking sauna. Even the pool water feels like warm soup. No matter where you go you can’t escape. Its all too easy to lose your temper in this heat and humidity.

Everyone scrambled to be first in the shower this morning. Chores were done in record time so they could get in line. Even the plants went out faster than ever before. I could have used a shower first thing this morning myself but I needed to get breakfast going first.

I knew even before the radio was turned on that things must have deteriorated overnight. Three humvees per hour was as often as they had patrolled during the last round of rioting in this area; this morning I counted four. There had been another NRS zombie incident near Ybor City. This one was pretty bad from the sound of things. It had sparked some additional violence between several families which then sparked some racial incidences as people started taking sides in the original argument. It didn’t take long before a full blown riot developed. The violence is now spreading through out the county as people give vent to their pent up fear and anger.

Scott had been on the fence about going out, waiting to see how David felt. But, with things the way they are everyone unanimously voted for them to stay home. It’s not like they don’t have work they can do around here and several things that happened today made me even more glad to have them close.

Breakfast: I made Bacon and cheese breakfast bread by mixing together Garlic and Cheese Bisquick mix and some real bacon bits. It’s a family favorite. Because the pan was sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, clean up is easy with some sudsy water and a dip in rinse water that has been doctored with bleach. We continued to eat outside as it is marginally cooler and adds to the easy clean up aspect that I am trying to maintain.

After breakfast, I set dinner to cook in the solar oven since it worked so well yesterday. I was anxious to see if it worked as well with pasta. I set some water to heat in the water pasteurizer as well.

While I was cleaning up I had a “being watched” feeling right before Bekah asked why the boy was on that roof looking at us. It was a bit of a non sequitur and I had to look where she was pointing before I understood what she was asking. Sure enough on the roof of the two-story house to the rear of us, there was a teenage boy laying down watching what I was doing. When he noticed I had seen him all he did was shoot me a bird and raise a pair of binoculars to his eyes. I sent Bekah in to tell Scott to come here and bring David and James with him. Scott must have been concerned because all three of the guys were carrying a rifle. When they stepped outside the boy got the point and shrugged then started nonchalantly watching another house. Yeah, that freaked me a bit. It also hacked me off. You can’t even feel safe in your own yard these days because someone is always in your business.

That boy stayed on that roof for another hour or so before being replaced by a teenage girl. I noticed that during the hottest part of the day no one was on the roof but towards the end of the day a man climbed on to the roof and was the one that stayed up there the longest.

I debated what I could do to get us more privacy and for now all I’ve been able to come up with was to hang sheets across one end of the lanai to at least block the view of our meals.

No sooner had I finished hanging the sheets and the rest of my morning chores that it became time to fix lunch.

I had James dig me a cooking trench. While he did that I made a large stack of tortillas with a piece of waxed paper between them to keep the dough from sticking together. I also have the girls made up a large batch of doughnut batter using nearly all the remaining bread starter.

Lunch: I made Fiesta Soup with tortilla chips. I set a skillet on the fire grate to heat. I then threw all of the soup ingredients together into a soup pot and set it on the grate to heat through. After the skillet was hot enough and I fried the tortillas until they were crisp, rather than pliable, but not burned.

While everyone ate their soup and chips, I placed a Dutch oven into the coals of the fire. Into the Dutch oven I poured cooking oil. After I finished my lunch the oil had gotten hot and I made drop doughnuts while the others took their turns doing the dishes.

After the doughnuts come out of the hot grease, they are drained and rolled in sugar and then put into paper bags. These, except for three the guys snitched, were tonight’s dessert. There wasn’t a whole lot of oil left over, but I still saved for tomorrow’s use.

After going nonstop since first light, I stopped and had myself the cup of tea I promised myself yesterday. It was nice to be off my feet for a few minutes.

James managed to cobble together a pretty decent shower area inside the pool cage using his younger sisters’ hula-hoops, some scrap PVC, and a couple of plastic shower curtains. Nothing fancy, but at least we have some privacy now. I know we could hang the shower bags inside, but its too dark and stuff for that right now. I feel better that the girls can clean up without having to deal with the friendly neighborhood voyeur.

The guys have also managed to finish the second false wall. I’ll be more than a little relieved to be able to tuck the rest of the food away that is sitting around the house.

After I brought everyone’s sheets in from airing out and remade the beds it was time to get dinner on the table. The guys put away the solar panels and generally cleaned up their work areas and checked to make sure all the locks were still fastened. I had the girls set the table while I got the food.

Dinner: Last meal of the day was Fettuccine of the Sea. The solar oven worked well but it doesn’t do pasta as well as it does rice. The pasta was a little chewy but no one complained. We were too hungry after dealing with all of the extra work caused by the power being off and all of our minor construction projects. The doughnuts were a huge success and it took a great deal of will power to save half of them for tomorrow’s dessert.

After dinner we hit on a great new dishwashing technique. The black shower bags that we keep filled with water get really hot during the day; almost too hot for a comfortable shower. Scott hung one above the kitchen sink and we now have “hot water on demand” again. Those on dish duty were suitably grateful.

The radio is going and every one is enjoying a cup of French Vanilla Hot Cocoa before making an early night of it. I know just passed dark is a little early………………..

OMG!!!!! We heard a sharp crack and some breaking glass coming from right outside. Scott and David slowly rolled up the rear door to check to see what it was and someone shot at us!! The bullet came through one of the sheets I had up on the lanai and shattered the glass top of my patio table. There’s only one place the shot could have come from. Scott and David have decided to slip out the carport and try and see if they plan anything else. I’ve got to go keep watch.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:28 am 
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mastering skills like that is akin to pissing your pants in a black suit. it gives you a nice warm feeling, but no one really notices....


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