*Dealing with the non survivalist wife*
I have been at this for a while and have been comfortable in most of my preparations. There is one area that I had been really unhappy with over the years and I thought that I had to deal with. This item is in my opinion probably the biggest key to my family and my long term survival. What could it be that I have overlooked that it could be so important? Simple I had not over looked it I just did not know how to deal with it so after a few failed attempts I gave up. Ok so what is it quite simple it was getting my wife onboard with the preparations. This is a hard one for many and I have seen many give up and many arguments over it over the years.
In the beginning before Y2K I tried to get the wife involved and to a small extent she did. She was not as willing to go to some of levels that I though we needed but she did agree that we needed to maintain some level of preparedness. Then Y2K came and went and nothing happened. Well this sent me backwards. Between some of the ribbing from family and friends and the nightly news I stopped making any progress. I many times tried to convince her that it was prudent to get more prepared but she thought I was overreacting. A couple days or even two weeks was fine but any more than that was unnecessary. Well I set myself even farther back by resorting to my stubborn old jarhead mentality of "this is the way it is going to be". Well any of you out there with a significant other knows the type of response that this was met with. Needless to say I lost. Needless to say for a long time I was on my own with the preparations for my family.
After a while the fact that I felt I was on my own and some other things lead me to being in a serious state of depression. Some people that know me know I am full of energy to the point that I do not sit still. If there is a project that needs to be done I am volunteering and for the most part I keep a cheerful demeanor (hey everybody has a bad day once in a while). That all started to change. I fond myself being more and more short tempered, feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders with no one to turn to for help. It actually got to the point that I did not want to get out of bed to go to work, and if I did I did just enough to get buy. It all came to a head for me one week and luckily for me the outcome was good. I took a long hard look at my situations and tried to figure out what I needed do to make it better. Then I formulated my plan on how to accomplish these tasks.
While I will admit that some of the tactics I used were a little underhanded at time they were all done for the benefit of the family. The main priority was getting the wife on board with preps. This took a lot of thought and planning. I first looked back on what had not worked in the past and came up with some new ideas to try in the future. What I decided would be my best plan would be to try and work it into our normal lives at a slow but steady rate. I waited for her to bring up something that I could use to my advantage. Then one day it came. She started complaining about how ridiculous the prices of a lot of our groceries had gotten and how month by month she got less and less with the allotted grocery money. After listening to her I asked her for an example. She brought up the fact that milk was selling for about $3.25 a gallon and that we went through 2 gallons a day. I did some quick computing and figured out that was $2.372.50 a year just in milk. The look of amazement on her face said it all. We discussed ways to cut that cost down a bit for a little while when I suggested that maybe we should use some of the stored milk powder to offset the cost. With that suggestion I got the blank stare of what the heck are you talking about? I brought up the fact that I knew how important that milk was to herself and the kids so I had been stocking up on some of the powdered milk so that they could have it if a problem ever came up and we could not get fresh milk for a while. She sad but that would be too expensive. So we figured it out. The cost per gallon of the powdered milk came out to $2.20. Some more quick computing and I worked it out to $1606.00 a year. A little more calculating and I figured it was a difference of $766.50 a year. We both agreed that that was quite a difference. Now it was her turn for a suggestion it was to use half fresh and half powdered milk for a month and see how it worked out. We did it and it worked out great. This was only a first step but a very important one.
Over the next couple of months we came up with a few more things that we could use out of our survival foods (for lack of a better word) to help offset the rising costs of groceries and other things. I gave her full run to use anything that I had stored with the understanding that she had to keep notes of what we used, what we liked and didnít like and if we liked it I could replace it with the sane thing if we didnít like it we would try to find an alternative. Again she agreed and this time said she though that was a good idea. This went on for a couple months and as the time past I was using events in the news to try and get her to think more and more about things that could happen, but unlike before I was subtle and if she didnít see it the way I did we would discuss our reason for our feelings on the matter.
Then luck dealt me a hand full of aces one day. It was hot somewhere around 103 degrees outside and the humidity was high. We were down at my familyís house down the street for a party when the power went out. Hmm no big deal it goes out often and usually comes back on in an hour or two. I noticed one thing odd both sides of the street were out. This is odd because they are on different feeds and it is rare that they both go out at the same time. Well when it started getting dark and the power still wasnít back on the party winded down and the guests went home. We helped clean up some by flashlight and then headed home. It was only three blocks but we noticed that everybody was outside and it was considerably warmer and more uncomfortable once you go away from the water. After we got to the house and went inside we knew why everybody was outside. It was HOT in the house. We listened to the radio for a bit trying to see what happened but there was no news of it. We went for a ride to see if we could see what was going on and came across a utility crew working on a transformer. I was thinking that this is good once they get it fixed weíll have power. I talked to them and found out that some idiot had hit a telephone pole and the wires from the two main feeds crossed and blew a lot of transformers in the area. They were not sure how long it would be before power was back on. I told the wife what they said and we headed home.
It was real hot in the house. It was over 85 degrees according to the thermometer. We listened to the radio some more and put the kids to bed. It took them quite some time to get to sleep in the hot humid weather and I could tell her patients were wearing pretty thin. We talked for a bit more and decided to go to sleep early. It was only about 10:00 pm. By 12:00 am we were both still awake due to the heat in the house when she asked "wonít the generator in the shed run the air-conditioner?" I said "it would". She asked if I could please start it so we could run the air-conditioning for at least a little while to lower the temps a bit. Knowing this was a short term situation I said sure got up and dressed headed out into the kitchen and opened the breaker box. I found her standing behind me. She asked "what I was doing?" I told her I had to flip the transfer switch so that the generator would power the house. She looked confused so I explained to her that I had wired the generator to power the house from the shed to keep the noise down, but I had to transfer the panel over to it. She said "oh I didnít know that" and even though I didnít say it I could tell that she knew that I was thinking I told you so. After the generator was running for about an hour cooling the house we went to sleep.
When we woke up the next morning the utility power was still off. We ate breakfast and watched the news for a little then I told her I had to go shut off the generator for a while. She looked confused and asked"did we need to get more fuel" I said "no it ran off natural gas so we could run it but it was not cheap to run." She came outside and asked some questions on its operation and I used the opportunity for a little class. On the way back into the house we got to talking with one of our neighbors and he said he got through to the utility company and they said it would be tomorrow before they thought the power would be back on. Then he asked if it would be possible if he could run an extension cord to the generator to run his chest freezer the next time we ran it in the hopes of saving the food. I told him no problem and if he had a window a/c unit he could run a cord for that too. When we got back in my wife brought up what had happened, and how people were pretty quick to start asking to use our stuff. We had along conversation that day going over a lot of the things that would be needed to maintain our way of living if something like this was to go on for more than a few days.
In the end my wife is making steady progress and her thinking on things has changed quite a bit in a short period of time. Now that I look back opportunities like the power outage had presented themselves many times, but I had handled them wrong. Those four little words that can get you in so much trouble with your spouse, I told you so. Slowly but surly we are working on building our preparations up to the levels where I want them to be which I will admit are a lot further than she is looking at this time, but with every event that we hear about on the news or experience in our own lives I come a little closer to being where I want to be.
I guess if there is a moral to this story it is this. Sit back and evaluate your situation and think about the consequences and rewards from any action taken before taking them. Do not fall into the "I told you so" trap, and most importantly be patient and use what you have to your advantage.
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