A solid week of this self-imposed quarantine has passed and I’m going slightly bonkers. It seemed so easy to say that sequestering our family was the right thing to do and frankly I still believe it is the right thing to do for the kids. But right now I’m wondering if it is the right thing to do for me. Who knew it would be this hard for me to be compliant in this way? I’m so used to going my own way – well, within reason of course – and doing things my way as I take the kids here and there and do my chores, yada, yada, yada. I even miss helping Scott clean the apartments for pity sake.
Its not like I don’t have enough to do around the house. Seven people in a house, even one that is the size of ours, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week makes for a lot of cleaning. A chore chart is becoming really necessary. I just can’t do everything myself. After discussing several options with Scott, we had a family conference and outlined everyone’s new responsibilities. We also had a serious discussion about why it is necessary that everyone share the labor. Some of these chores include: filling water containers, doing the dishes, helping cook the meals, making the solar tea, making the pitcher of powdered milk up every morning, and several other cleaning tasks. Laundry is also a big problem in this house. Laundry is always a problem and since I didn’t get a chance to stock up on as much laundry detergent as I wanted we need to do the best we can to make it go further.
The kids were pretty good about the whole thing, they’ve been doing chores for years anyway. But all of these new daily tasks had to be spread out and around as well. James, bless him, wanted to know if there was anything and I quote, “in the area of home security” that he could help with. Scott has given him the chore of checking all of the window and shutter locks as well as check the fence and gates a couple of times per day. He spent a couple of hours going over all of the privacy fencing and adding nails here and there. I’m not sure how much good it does, but it makes James feel better.
James also helped Scott to clean the guns with my Dad’s online instruction. The paper towels and the old table they were doing this on beside the computer was filthy by the time they were through. Ewwww. I have no idea what they did, but I wish they could have done it with a little less mess. Dad said the guns are now OK. They’ll never be show room pieces but they are serviceable. Dad was pretty emphatic that from here on out that we wipe the guns down and run one of those cleaning rods down them frequently because of Florida’s high humidity. OK, whatever you say Dad. The actual full, take it down to the basic parts types of gun cleaning depends on how often it gets used. I’ll leave that stuff up to Scott and James. When I have more time I’ll stop being so “girly-girly” and learn how to do it. I probably need to make Rose and at least Sarah learn to shoot as well. Just not right now. I’ve got enough on my plate. I’ll get to that in a bit, right now I want to do something normal like log in our daily menu.
Today was day six of the Amish Friendship Bread Starter and all I had to do was squish it around.
My family really is used to having bread around. I mean we don’t go crazy but you know, we never exactly denied ourselves either with a no-carb diet. With the store-bought light bread gone and the starter for making Amish Bread still days away, I needed to come up with some other options. Biscuits are always good and while the big oven is still working, large enough batches can be made so that there are some left over for other meals. But I’ve been thinking that traditional bread ingredients like flour are going to get hard to come by at some point. We don’t exactly grow a lot of wheat here in Florida. Cornmeal is more common in the south, but even that may be hard to come by after a while. And if they aren’t scarce, they might become expensive. I figure its better to use recipes that I can extend the flour or cornmeal out by using other items.
Breakfast: Tex-Mex Biscuits. These are traditional style biscuits that extend the flour used by adding a half cup of grits. Grits I have in plenty. Try sack upon sack of grits. I don’t know why I bought that many grits, it just sort of snuck up on me. The recipe also calls for a small amount of shredded cheese, sour cream, and milk. There is still a little shredded cheese in the frig but it won’t last forever. In fact I found a small spot of mold in the bag already. The rest of the family doesn’t know, I just kind of picked it out and they never knew the difference. “Waste not want not” as the old saying goes. The sour milk was an easy fix since it can be made from evaporated milk and a little vinegar or lemon juice which is what I did. The straight milk I made by diluting the remaining evaporated milk from the can that I opened to make the sour milk. I dumped what little bit was still in the can into the pitcher of powdered milk that I made this morning for drinking or cooking. The recipe makes 12 good-sized biscuits but that wouldn’t take everyone very far so I also opened and fried up a canned ham. As a treat I scrambled up five of the remaining fresh eggs. That wasn’t a lot of eggs to split between the all the people sitting down to breakfast, but combined with the fried ham and biscuits it was a good start to the day. I gave my share to Scott and Bekah, who looks like she has caught Scott’s cold, gave her share to James. Its amazing how things just sort of work out like that.
Lunch: After all the work at breakfast, I decided lunch was going to be lighter in the labor department. Scout Tetrazzini is an easy recipe that uses simple ingredients and ramen noodles. I’ve been making this stuff since I was a girl scout a million years ago. The recipe is easy to double in case of bigger appetites, but given everything that was on the breakfast table, and the fact that Scott was off working during lunch time, a single recipe was all I needed.
Scott came home early so he could work on the guns. It was nice to have him home well before dark. I cannot repeat often enough how unsettling it is to have him barely making it home before curfew. The closer it gets to curfew, the more I wonder if he is going to be stuck away from home.
Dinner: For dinner I made Salmon Burgers from canned salmon, Rice with garbanzo Beans, and canned green beans that I cooked ‘til they didn’t squeak any more. I hate squeaky beans, they just freeze my insides when I try to eat them. Since I’ve been trying to keep the sugary and artificially colored drinks at a minimum close to bedtime to keep from having to peel Johnnie off the ceiling, we stuck with drinking solar tea or plain water for our beverage. I thought about pulling out one of those weird bottles of juice that Brother brought by but decided to leave it for another time. No sense in having to crack any of those until we have to.
So far no one has said anything about missing fast food or soda though I know James must have been dreaming about pizza. He was talking in his sleep like he was calling Pizza Hut and asking if there were any specials for home delivery. Having the kids sleeping in our room certainly is proving interesting.
It might be that the seriousness of everything is really starting to sink in for all of us. I’m not sure. There has been plenty on the television and radio to reinforce how bad things are getting in some places. But its nice that no one is out and out complaining. We’ve all had a few caffeine headaches now and again, especially Scott who misses his high-octane energy drinks. I actually have several cases of those drinks hidden away, but its better to get weaned off of them now when there is something like sweet tea to take its place than trying to do it later when there might be a lot of things missing from the diet. The high-octane drinks might be needed later if a lot of physical labor has to start being done. Either way, they aren’t needed now so they stay out of sight and out of mind.
Tonight’s treat was a couple of bags of microwave popcorn to split between everyone. It didn’t go far, but it went far enough. We all kinda lost our appetite after watching the news.
NYC has basically exploded. There is rioting everywhere. I suppose it wasn’t unexpected but it sure did happen faster than I thought it would. At any given time there is only about three days worth of food in the city and under the circumstances they couldn’t restock fast enough. The scariest part was the government’s reaction. They blew up all of the bridges and tunnels. That, more than anything, tells us just how serious this contagion is. That’s billions of dollars in repairs … or maybe they aren’t looking at repairs. Maybe they don’t think NYC is worth salvaging. I don’t know, but it was heartbreaking. I had some internet buddies in NYC that got caught flat-footed by the closing of all of their planned exits. The government has also threatened to turn off all power to the city if the remaining residents don’t stop rioting. Yeah, like people are going to hear that kind of threat and think good thoughts.
There were some people that managed to escape before they brought down the bridges and tunnels. The outbound NYC refugees poured into places like Ft. Lee, Jersey City, Trenton, Stamford, Bridgeport, Weehawken, Teaneck, Hackensack, Maywood, and Paramus. Many, who had expected to be taken in by family and friends, found themselves forcibly turned away – sometimes at gunpoint. Finding no refuge there, they continued north, south, and west like locusts, staying only long enough to run through an area’s resources or to succumb to NRS infection or violence.
It seems a few of the refugees were infected, or at least reports are suggesting as much. Or maybe that’s just propaganda to justify the actions that were taken. I don’t know. But there is a whole mess of trouble up that way, that’s for sure. The chatter on the survival forums is pretty wild. Some of the more radical forums have fallen silence and are offline. I don’t know if this is because the forum owners have closed up shop and bugged out or if they have been taken offline by “someone else,” or if violence of some kind has silenced the participants. Either way Scott wants us to be very careful about any posting online from here on out. I thought that might be a bit paranoid at first but better safe than sorry. Besides, Scott isn’t asking much. He’s only asking me to use some commonsense and be circumspect. That’s no different than survival forum moderators have been asking of participants for as long as I’ve been online. Letting people know all of your business or too much of your personal information can prove dangerous in several different ways. Yeah, maybe Scott doesn’t have it so wrong after all.
All I do know is that its getting harder and harder to watch Scott drive off in the mornings. We are trying to keep up the appearance of normalcy for the kids, but even they know that every time Scott leaves the house he might not be coming home.