The COVID AAR

This isn't going away anytime soon folks and it just made sense to consolidate all the COVID-19 stuff in one location.

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The COVID AAR

Post by Stercutus » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:27 pm

When I was in the military they always asked me about midpoint in my training operation to start coming up with After Action Review comments. By that time you would know where the weakness in your preparations and training were. You will have gotten bitten and caught short a few times. So in the efforts to keep it simple what were the biggest things you have learned so far? Perhaps the three things you did best, the three that didn't go well and thereby what you learned the most about yourself and your family preparations? Consider this the "in stride AAR".

I'll start:

What went right:
- Having a year's supply of food, toiletries and most other expendable items (like cleaners) on hand. Some things have doubled and tripled in price since the outbreak and some things you just can't find without paying banditry prices, or find anywhere at any price. We went from a weekly shopping bill of about $200 to about $75 by refusing to buy at the elevated prices. Without going in to the deep stores the diet hasn't changed much, just less chicken and more beef.

- Working in essential career fields. One son lost his well paying internship at the nuclear power plant due to COVID protocols but the rest of us are making more than ever. But see below under what went wrong...

- Keeping the ear to the ground and getting out the equity markets early, near the peak. There might be some tax issues but better some to the tax man than lots simply gone.

What could have gone better:
- Working essential career fields. I'm only working about 10% overtime but the wife is working about 100% overtime. I suppose for me this would be no big deal since I grew accustomed to such things in the military but it is pretty tough on her, since her job is very emotionally and physically taxing. This is taking a heavy toll on her. Having no plan to deal with this surprising turn of events has required us to deal with it on the fly.

- Lack of cross skills. This first became apparent when the stores were suddenly out of bread and the wife was not available to bake more. The plan had always been that she would bake if bread wasn't available. She was also supposed to cut hair and do other things that she simply can't do because of the whole working/ commuting 14 hours a day, everyday thing.

- Disasters on top of disasters. I always expected the economy to crash with a nationwide disaster and it hasn't let me down. I didn't give much thought to other "minor" disasters such as weather events which could be significant and other things. A good hard shove and we could be forced to move to the BOL, which is less than ideal since we are dug in here.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by darmstrong » Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:29 pm

Went right

- Intel analysis put me about 3-5 days ahead of the rest of the country in understanding what the situation was and when certain things would go into effect. Thanks to the board for all the information before pandemic hit the US, I watched as things were progressing. We made a few large food supply purchases a few days before things went crazy. We also did some home repairs while we still could go out and about easily.

- The Information Security / Good Hacker community did a whole conference online three weekends ago. It was genius to see how smart people can take major challenges and find ways to improve themselves and others. I'm working with a community group to do a similar live event online for our small town.

- I have a small office / storage closet in the basement. I used it 10 years ago while I was doing some online schooling. Cleaning it out and getting it functional again was great for working from home. I started working from home at the dining room table, but now my wife has claimed that spot as she works from home.

- Neighbors have been in good spirits. One was out shopping and picked up an extra pack of TP for us a week ago and also dropped off some cookies yesterday. We can always talk to the neighbors from across the street or 20 ft away.

Needs Improved

- Kids were reasonably prepared for online education, but I'd rather not spend 2-3x the price for another 2 webcams. We've found a way to make it work, but a little more preparedness in that area would really have made my kids lives SO much easier with school and my life.

- Definitely could have a better food storage. My wife had been using our 6 month storage over the last two years and not really restocking. We could probably do 2-3 months if we had to, but by the end my kids would be wanting to kill us for better food.

- I had a box of N95 masks, maybe 40-50 that I purchased 10 years ago. I either gave them to someone who needed them, used them or some combination of both. I have no clue why I don't have them anymore. I was supposed to have a minimum of 5, one for each family member.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by NT2C » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:24 pm

I wish I had confidence that we were anywhere near the halfway point, I feel we're still in the first part of the first quarter, but here's my AAR GBU:

The Good

The wife works in an essential industry that's pretty much disaster-proof. Unless the Federal government ceases to exist there's going to be a need for CIS Officers and they don't get their budget from Congress. Thanks to parents who were kids during the Great Depression, relatives in disaster-prone areas, a background in ham radio, and my long-standing membership in this forum/community I've always tried to be prepared for emergencies and disasters. One of the mantras of the amateur radio emergency service is that you never want to be a burden on people you're there to help, so we were required to be self-sufficient for at least a couple of weeks in the field. My preps proved to be a little shallow in some areas, inadequate in others, but overall they're working as intended. Things like already having a 30 day supply of TP on hand, a good supply of shelf-stable foodstuffs, and a packed freezer meant that the only grocery trips we made were for what can be considered luxury and ultra-luxury items such as sweet tea for me (luxury as I can always drink water), and ice cream (ultra-luxury). For the most part, we had enough supplies to last 3 months, maybe 4. (exceptions noted below)

The Bad

As I said, we did pretty good on supplies but there were some bad exceptions, notably a complete lack of sanitizer wipes, hand sanitizer (I had one tiny pocket-size bottle), and anti-bacterial hand soap. We have cleaning supplies that could be pressed into use for such things with a little innovation on my part, but my wife had been buying such things in bulk at Costco and restocking only when we ran out of something. We never really considered such things as "prep" items. We do now. (and a big shout out of thanks to my bro-buddy Robert who dropped off a large backpack crammed full of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes when he found out we had none) Since I haven't been baking bread the last couple of years I had no yeast that wasn't long expired. I know how to make a sourdough starter from scratch so I wasn't overly concerned about that, but having good yeast on hand simplifies bread machine use. We could have used some deeper stocks of pasta but I do have the means to make some fresh if needed. Our stocks of canned veggies were a little low but quickly supplemented with some online shopping. If things had gone completely sideways we're pretty good in the guns and ammo department, but even there I think we could have done better. While what I have should be more than adequate for defense, it's going to preclude a lot of regular training/practice going forward since there's no surplus in the ammo stocks for that. I think after this I'm going to go for double the ammo on hand.

The Ugly

I had a complete and total brain fart and did not include our four cats and their food and litterbox needs in our preps. Even worse than that, we buy their stuff in bulk on a monthly or quarterly schedule and we were just about out of everything. Yes, in truly dire straits they can probably be let into the yard for their sanitary needs and to hunt, we haven't been fattening up generations of birds and squirrels here solely for their entertainment value, but if things are that dire they might end up on someone's dinner plate and we don't want to risk that. We were, fortunately, able to correct that with a couple of trips to Wally World and Pet Smart, plus some Amazon buying ($65 worth of cat treats should hold them for a while) and now have enough foods for them to last the same amount of time as our own but that's likely going to get tripled in the future with their canned food and maybe increase their dry food to 6 months supply. I don't like going beyond that with dry food as it can get buggy quick after that. Kitty litter will also need better stockpiling (not the least because pails of kitty litter work as well as sandbags for stopping bullets) but seeing as all this came as we were in the process of trying to sell the house and move we had deliberately let the stock of those drop low.
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Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by tony d tiger » Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:30 pm

Well, I think it's gonna be ok.
Started a new job 16 March, and sent home halfway through the third day when one of the other guys in the 4 man shop called in sick with possible symptoms. Called back in the following Monday ("he's feeling better now, so it must be ok") and I'm starting to think this is not a good sign. Go in, pick up a laptop and I'm teleworking for the next few weeks. We go back in on limited basis soon, with PPE and sanitary guidelines so ...maybe ok.

Home preps are in sustainment mode. Weekly trips for bread, fresh vegetables and fruit. Other than that we haven't needed any replenishment. Plenty of protein in the freezer and pasta/rice in the pantry. As dog food is used, it gets replaced, with a couple weeks worth on hand (for two shepherds we've got 65# of kibble and 48 cans wet). Soaps, bleach, hand San in personal sized bottles for the missus and I; Lysol wipes x a couple tubes, nitrile gloves - even have a couple N95 masks available.

But, each weekly trip is a potential exposure - we're not fragile, but both of us are at a higher risk level than others in our age group due to various conditions. The first time I bought gas, I realized I didn't have on a glove until after I already had the pump handle in my hand. I have a beard, and have decided to go with a cravat around my mouth and nose because it wouldn't make sense to waste a mask if I'm not going to shave for a good fit.

Financially, we're thankful to be earning a decent take home pay; took it in the shorts on our 401k but have another 5 or 6 years of work available - hopefully things will turn up in the remaining time. If not *shrug* we'll be ok.

The way ahead - continue to learn and resupply as the situation improves; and it will get better. The hoarders are under control now, and logistics will regain with time. Love your family, respect your neighbors - build and sustain relationships. We got this.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by sheddi » Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:30 am

Stercutus wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:27 pm
You will have gotten bitten and caught short a few times. So in the efforts to keep it simple what were the biggest things you have learned so far? Perhaps the three things you did best, the three that didn't go well and thereby what you learned the most about yourself and your family preparations? Consider this the "in stride AAR".
Thanks for starting this thread, Stercutus, it's a good idea.

What went right:
- Keeping a weather eye out. You could see this coming a month ahead, once the reports came out of Wuhan. I had to travel to the US for a business trip in early March (out on the 3rd, home on the 13th) and made sure my food preps were in place before I left, *and* warned my family that if it all blew up while I was away I might be delayed in getting home.

- Working in engineering on long-lead-time projects for the public sector. We don't serve or interact with the public, we barely mix with other teams in our business, and (barring zombies rising or an alien invasion) our customer isn't going to pull our funding without 2-3 years notice.

- Stop-loss sell orders on my few market investments sold everything before prices fell too far.

What could have gone better:
- Limited pandemic preps. Yes we've got the basics (TP, soap and bleach) but hand sanitizer was never really on my radar, and the few N95-style masks are in my DIY stock not my preps. I should've had more of those, and / or a couple of reuseable half-face respirators for those times (like now) where a full-face one is inappropriate. An extra box of nitrile gloves wouldn't go amiss either.

- Too much prevarication on the nice-to-haves. One example; our breadmaker broke a while back and I kept putting off replacing it - and of course they sold out in the first few days of lockdown! It's not a critical item, and bread is still available if you look moderately hard for it, but it would be one less thing to worry about.

- Consequential issues. Again this isn't life-or-death but due to COVID restrictions and staff shortages our local authority have closed all the "waste recycling centres" (dumps) and have scaled back their garbage truck collections. I'm here busy at home generating garden waste and other garbage at record rates but have nowhere to get rid of it.

- Disasters on top of disasters. I know this was Stercutus's point, but it's mine too. Fortunately the weather in the UK has been unusually settled for the past 3 weeks, but a significant storm leading to wind damage or flooding would really complicate matters here.

NT2C wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:24 pm
... that's likely going to get tripled in the future with their canned food and maybe increase their dry food to 6 months supply.
A random question - would your cats eat human food, eg. canned beef stew? Or, on the flipside of that, I once knew a man (it had to be a man) who would eat canned catfood!

tony d tiger wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:30 pm
Well, I think it's gonna be ok.

The way ahead - continue to learn and resupply as the situation improves; and it will get better. The hoarders are under control now, and logistics will regain with time. Love your family, respect your neighbors - build and sustain relationships. We got this.
Yes, this.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Stercutus » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:18 am

- Consequential issues. Again this isn't life-or-death but due to COVID restrictions and staff shortages our local authority have closed all the "waste recycling centres" (dumps) and have scaled back their garbage truck collections. I'm here busy at home generating garden waste and other garbage at record rates but have nowhere to get rid of it.
It is the same here. I was unaware until the recycle bins were full at home. I sent the kids on a run and they reported everything closed up. We ended up burning a lot of cardboard, pitching perfectly good cans and bottles and I have no idea what to do with the six gallons of used motor oil.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by MPMalloy » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:24 am

Stercutus wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:18 am
...and I have no idea what to do with the six gallons of used motor oil.
Around here all service stations will accept it.

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by NT2C » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:23 am

Stercutus wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:18 am
six gallons of used motor oil.
It used to be the law that any place that sold motor oil was required to accept used oil for recycling. No idea if that's still true.
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Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by NT2C » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:31 am

sheddi wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:30 am
NT2C wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:24 pm
... that's likely going to get tripled in the future with their canned food and maybe increase their dry food to 6 months supply.
A random question - would your cats eat human food, eg. canned beef stew? Or, on the flipside of that, I once knew a man (it had to be a man) who would eat canned catfood!
One cat will only eat dry food (but would have no issues feeding herself if allowed to hunt as she's a rescue we took in from the wild), two completely disdain human food (except for one who likes a dollop of cream when I have my coffee and shares vanilla ice cream with me), and the fourth will eat whatever is on your plate. That last one is a big, fat, orange floof and his favorite human food is ranch dressing, followed by lasagna. He will eat a salad if there's ranch dressing on it. We just can't let him have too much as there's garlic in it and that can be deadly for cats.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Jake832 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:51 am

Great post. Love it! Good exercise.
Went Right:
  • Spotted this early.
I was lucky to be watching this since early January and tracking it pretty closely, so I was actually able to warn my parents, my brother in LA and a couple co-workers to get a little more prepared, as non-preppers, they actually needed a lot of help and advice, and the great part is that it helped me realize some holes in my own preps earlier than most; so I did some good prep reinforcements and review in Feb.
  • Timed market exit well.
I pulled my 401k into cash before the market flinched. Figured with COVID and a presidential election year, on top of pretty inflated markets, the worst case was I missed some unexpected gains and get back in next year.
  • Plenty of Beans, Bullets and Band-aids. Always had enough for us to survive for about 3-6 months.
  • Reviewed preps early, found lots of holes and had time to revisit most. (lucky).

Went Wrong or Not Prepared:
  • Had to do some prep reinforcement in Feb and March that should have already been done, but I was behind.
I was fortunate to be ahead of the curve though, bought a few extra masks at hardware store when they still existed, and hand sanitizer, bleach wipes, Lysol, not massive hoarding quantities, but enough for my family for a month or two. I'm still pretty dang low on bleach wipes, since I use them to wipe off groceries and mail.
  • Extra meds for kids were pretty old.
Bought new Tylenol, Cough Syrup, allergy meds to refresh the med cabinet. Checked Epi-Pens for my son's peanut allergy.
Kids are overdue for a physical and I'm sure as hell not taking them now. Haircuts too... May have to learn to do that!
  • Toiletries stock supply was pretty low, things like laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorant. TP was fine since we bulk buy it.
  • Cat food, Litter, Cat Medicine were very low.
  • Extra garden seeds were pretty old, not all germinated, 60%? ordered some new online thankfully. Reminder to refresh seeds inventory more often.
  • Slight lack of variety in food.
Overall I realized that there is a major difference from surviving off of rice and beans and having a solid supply of what my family normally eats.
I've always done an 'okay' job at this, but I took the opportunity to really diversify my food supplies and get some variety of back stock; thinking more about actual meals, fruits, veggies, snacks for kids, vitamins.

In a late game push, I realized that having a freezer full of food is great, unless we loose power, and bought extra canning jars and jerky seasoning. While I don't own a generator, I would be able to preserve a decent amount of what's in the freezer now. Also canned about 20 pounds of chicken in quart jars, which has been awesome to have and will now be normal operating procedure going forward and we'll always have it on hand. To free up space I processed about 6-8 pounds of venison from the freezer into jerky as well; which I had been neglecting to do.

In the future, I'd like to get another 300 watts of solar panels and up-size my small power system to handle my deep freezer instead of just a TV, rechargeable batteries and lights; but not an expense I'm willing to undertake right now and I'm not going to the store currently... so if I really needed it, it would be too late. But it's low on the 'odds of needing it' list.

Recap:
While this has been crazy, I never felt overwhelmed because I was already fairly prepared. This has really been a good exercise in living off our preps. We are minimizing grocery orders to limit exposure and doing drive up service, but only buying Milk, Eggs and Veggies, with a few assorted comfort items to fill in gaps. Kids homeschooling is going great, my home office is geared up and working fine, and we've started a strong garden.

My prepping tends to come and go in waves, and the silver lining is that this has forced us to revisit and review everything with a fairly scrutinizing lens and gotten my wife more on-board with helping.

Sorry, that got a little long winded! Thanks again for the post, and thanks for reading.
Stay safe and take care all!

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by tony d tiger » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:04 pm

Stercutus wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:18 am
- Consequential issues. Again this isn't life-or-death but due to COVID restrictions and staff shortages our local authority have closed all the "waste recycling centres" (dumps) and have scaled back their garbage truck collections. I'm here busy at home generating garden waste and other garbage at record rates but have nowhere to get rid of it.
It is the same here. I was unaware until the recycle bins were full at home. I sent the kids on a run and they reported everything closed up. We ended up burning a lot of cardboard, pitching perfectly good cans and bottles and I have no idea what to do with the six gallons of used motor oil.
Waste oil? Save it to mix with gas and Styrofoam... foo gas those zombies when they hit the perimeter. :awesome:

Or, check your local auto parts store. They will often accept used oil and sell it to recyclers.
Tony D Tiger

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Dabster » Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:34 pm

Some great comments. Here's mine:

What has gone well:
-I'm a news freak. I saw this coming in December. I've had the John Hopkins website open since January and started prepping friends and family.
We had time and stocked up on essentials.
-My job already has a Work From Home Component. My Manager indulged my paranoia and I started working from home full-time about two weeks before everyone else.
-Family. We are loving the lack of commitments and time together. Sort of a sick Hallmark moment.
-Food. We have had time to get creative and made some really tasty dishes.

What hasn't gone so well:
-Milk. I am a coffee addict and I cannot find a long-term alternative for milk. My kids drink some but that is inconsequential. I need it for coffee! We have had to make milk runs about every ten days. We tried freezing it but (Standby for a genuine, grade A+ First World Problem) it doesn't foam as well. If anyone has a suggestion -I'd love to hear it.
-School. With my wife and I both working full time it is hard to keep the kids focused on school. My eleven year old is pretty studious so she is okay but our nine year old is like a cat in the bath. The school isn't helping much: they give some assignments but it is in various e-mails and three different phone apps, then there is no feedback on how we're doing.
-Flour. My wife bakes a lot. We are going through flour much faster than anticipated. Very glad we bulked up in December. Also didn't imagine it disappearing from the store shelves. We are planning how to stock more.
-Exercise. Working at a desk full-time, getting enough is always a challenge. I walk the dog a mile every day, do push-ups when bored or reminded and periodic yard-work but I miss doing stuff in a gym. We may get some weights.
-Shooting. It never crossed my mind that I couldn't go shooting in the apocalypse! I am doing a lot more dry-fire practice with my Mantis but it is not the same.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by raptor2 » Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:59 pm

Dabster wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:34 pm


-Milk. I am a coffee addict and I cannot find a long-term alternative for milk. My kids drink some but that is inconsequential. I need it for coffee! We have had to make milk runs about every ten days. We tried freezing it but (Standby for a genuine, grade A+ First World Problem) it doesn't foam as well. If anyone has a suggestion -I'd love to hear it.

Evaporated canned milk. You can use it with or without dilution and stores for about 1 year.

Shelf Stable milk:
A bit pricey for every day but if just for coffee then it is fine. As a side benefit once opened and refrigerated it lasts much longer than regular milk.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085Z6KFZ2?ta ... th=1&psc=1

Also in single use containers.
https://www.amazon.com/COFFEE-MATE-Coff ... 457&sr=8-4

...or my go to for coffee... no need for sugar and the shelf life is very long.
Condensed sweetened milk
https://www.eaglebrand.com/products/swe ... 910113-804
Duco Ergo Sum


raptor2 is the new profile name for raptor.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by NT2C » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:38 pm

Dabster wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:34 pm
-Milk. I am a coffee addict and I cannot find a long-term alternative for milk. My kids drink some but that is inconsequential. I need it for coffee! We have had to make milk runs about every ten days. We tried freezing it but (Standby for a genuine, grade A+ First World Problem) it doesn't foam as well. If anyone has a suggestion -I'd love to hear it.
I'm also a coffee addict. I need my two mugs after I wake up if there's any hope of A) being functional, B) my colon being functional. I prefer half and half in my coffee and I stocked three cases of these guys to have instead of making store runs for pints or quarts of half and half as we usually do. (I also have cans of evaporated and cans of sweetened condensed milk in my preps)

It sounds like you're looking for milk for frothing, such as in a latte. For that (I have a cappuccino machine) and for drinking (my wife's version of morning coffee is a morning cup of milk) we have several cases of UHT shelf-stable milk in whole milk, 2%, and 2% lactose-free. Yes, it was pricey when we bought it (about $9.00/gal.) and even pricier now if you can get it (about $15.00/gallon) but if you're just using it for coffee and not consuming mass quantities it may fit in your budget. (BTW, 2% foams the best) Last, but not least in my preps is powdered milk. I have about 20 gallons worth (maybe more) stored that I slowly rotate out by using it in bread baking. It's our last-ditch "momma has to have her cup of milk in the morning or ain't nobody gonna be happy" milk. No idea how it may or may not foam but I'm thinking it's going to be pretty poor for that.

Oh, and we wound up still going to the store for half and half ... for one of the cats. Long story short, the oldest cat used to beg for one when I was using the Land O Lakes "Mini-Moo" creamers in my coffee, so I started giving him one on a saucer. They didn't work out and I went back to half and half and he started getting some of that. Now he refuses to drink the Carnation stuff and will only drink the local store brand half and half (not even the stuff from a local dairy co-op) so we have to get it for him.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by raptor2 » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:49 pm

All ok here so here:

Success:
The ZS thread on this as well as other news kept me ahead of the curve. Thanks you for your continued constributions.

I learned much from research for this thread in 2011.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=84225

I simply went over the orange 5 gallon buckets with "NBC" printed on them and I had everything I needed (except for Clorox wipes) - 3m 6112 Masks, gloves, a few tyvek suits (less than I thought- I found a note to myself to use foul weather gear instead of the tyvek as the reason for fewer than I remember), hand sanitizer and 3m 6200 half face masks and a bunch of P-100 filters. I checked them out to make sure they were still good (since most of the stuff had been there since 2012).

Financially I was also well ahead of the curve since I have been harvesting capital gains in Jan 2020 in anticipation of a the 2020 beauty contest and likely negative tax changes if certain beauty contestants win. I was very tuned in, reacted decisively and likely over reacted but in the process saved my self a lot more than I will pay in taxes. No harm no foul just a higher than anticipated cap gain tax bill. However that is why my years long policy of harvesting any tax losses in q4 of each year exists. (You take any equities with a loss sell them, wait the requisite wash sale period and buy them back at the market price and carry the loss forward in perpetuity until needed.)


Fails:
I was not paying attention to animal feed inventory and had to scramble to restock. I normally have a 90 day supply but was well below that level.
Cat litter was also something that I realized was not on my inventory list. I had for some reason completely left it off. (TP for cats!) Fortunately that was easier to find than the various animal feed I need.

Clorox wipes also were things that I looked at with disdain because afterall a cloth and spray on cleaner is a lot more economical and environmentally friendly. I hate our culture's preference for disposable items. What I did not consider is that when you are not in the house but rather going to a store the cloth and spray are a real PITA whereas the wipes are not only handy they are more effective. Therefore they have been obtained at expense and aggravation.

Alcohol. I had "rubbing alcohol" which I thought was adequate. It turns out I stupidly purchased and stored a case of 50% solution, not the 90% I thought I had. Fortunately the hand sanitizer I stocked was at 70% concentration. Look at the % of concentration and remember many products can be diluted a lot easier than it is to concentrate.

Acetaminophen; my FAK was out of Acetaminophen. I rarely use it preferring asprin or ibprophin. That said the preference for the acetaminophen to treat this kinda left me screwed. I finally tracked down a few bottles at a dollar store of all places. It was on the inventory list. I indicated it was present when the FAK was checked last May pre-hurricane season, nevertheless there was none. Coupled with the fact I do not use it normally meant there were no other bottles in the regular meds section.

No one to blame but me for all of these.


Surrealism:
Many of the routine pleasures and comforts remain. We have not have any power outages or utility disruptions. I continue going to work (we are essential) but we also cycle 1/3 of the staff to work at home each week. But is still strange to have a daily office meeting by Uber Conference.

I attend Catholic Church services every Sunday at my local church by live streaming on You tube. I even went to drive through confession...talk about weird ...confessing in a parking lot to a priest 6 feet away and having speak loud enough for him to hear you. Many are conducting masses through FB but they have had their share of issues doing this, both technical and from FB censors. BTW the mass is celebrated in an empty church with no more than 5 people present (one of whom being the camera operator).

Absolutely wonderful weather. Cool low humidity, clear skies and everyone at home.

In LA the virus is waning however the lock down has been extended another 30 days in NOLA but the rest of the state may be freed from captivity on May 1 or at least the stay at home order modified. The economic impact of the stay at home order has resulted in the loss of over 80,000 jobs in LA. It has simply devastated the local economy. The deaths from the virus will be nothing compared to deaths from suicide, homicide, despair and poverty that are likely to follow the continued forced closure of commerce. These are two separate disasters that are onging here.
Duco Ergo Sum


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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Dabster » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:59 pm

Gentlemen: Thank you for the helpful milk advice.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by RoneKiln » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:11 pm

Dabster wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:59 pm
Gentlemen: Thank you for the helpful milk advice.
I use coconut milk. Our local Grocery Outlet often gets batches of dented cans for 99 cents. I pick up a case every time they have it and use it in a lot of deserts and curry dishes.

My brother taught me that if I want a coffee drink to have a more frothy texture, shaking it real hard in a thermos works great. He picked it up in the army. I use this at work all the time now. Also works great for mixing in mtc oil and butter, which I regularly use during the week at work.
"Seriously the most dangerous thing you are likely to do is to put salt on a Big Mac right before you eat it and to climb into your car."
--Raptor

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by RoneKiln » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:00 pm

The good.

Not much impact to me to me in ways that matter.
I work in an essential industry and have worked my way into a position fairly resistant to layoff. I volunteered to stay in the office and keep an eye on the place when everyone transitioned to working from home.
I was stocked for fairly normal cooking habits for over a month and could easily have gone 3 months isolated and walked out healthy (though pissed).
I had materials for quite a number of house projects and have kept busy. I'm even taking a 3 day weekend this week to work in my yard.
I have plenty of ammo and very good quality locks on all my buildings.
I still have a decent supply of N95 masks for working in my woodshop and cutting stone or bricks. I've not used any of them in public yet, but I have needed them for house projects. With my history of lung problems, it would be unhealthy for me to do many of my projects without them.

Mixed

Personal finance skills are fairly new to me. I've always done very well just by being frugal and avoiding debt. I only started learning about stocks and tax advantaged accounts less than three years ago. I was in the middle of reading a book on market cycles when I started watching this pandemic closely. I was an inch from pulling my whole 401k out of stocks the week before the crash, but second guessed myself and left them. One of my best friends and I were even talking about it that week. He pulled out and I didn't.

I consider it a mixed thing cause it is so cool for me to look back and see I was right even though I only fairly recently started learning about these things. I expect this will not be the last time I see a black swan event, and I am so much more confident of being able to handle the next one better. I also did not panic and sell at the bottom. Yes, we may see another even lower bottom, but my 401k is worth a lot more right now than it would be if I had panic sold.

And good news, I moved on my years worth of contribution in my Roth Ira while stocks were near the last bottom. It's not enough to balance my 401k, but it's something.

The Bad

I'm stocked well for me, but not for supporting family that weren't as prepared. I spent a lot of time shopping for basics for them at the worst time cause many of them are in high risk demographics for this virus. I got them much better stocked and it's been long enough since then that I obviously didn't catch it shopping for them.

I was low on popcorn. This has been my number one comfort food my entire life.

I didn't have proper supplies for dealing with muscle injuries. I've long relied on a combination of my massage therapist, yoga, and the sauna. All of which I am now cut off from. I built a chinup bar a few weeks ago and overdid it, straining my shoulder on the 4th or 5th day using it. The minor muscle strain impacted some nerves which sparked spasms and I got caught in an awful cycle of muscles and nerves aggravating each other. I finally reached out to people for advice and luckily the local drug store had all the stuff I should have had from the start. Last night was my first good nights sleep in several days. I also rediscoverd Tiger Balm which I haven't used in a few decades.

I should have had more and better quality disposable gloves. I only have some old low quality ones prone to falling apart for woodstaining that I wouldn't trust to stay intact if I needed them out in public.
"Seriously the most dangerous thing you are likely to do is to put salt on a Big Mac right before you eat it and to climb into your car."
--Raptor

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by sheddi » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:01 am

Dabster wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:59 pm
Gentlemen: Thank you for the helpful milk advice.
Not that you need my recommendation, but all three milks - evaporated, condensed and UHT shelf stable ("long life" in the UK) - are in my pantry too. I find the shelf stable milk is the most like regular fesh milk and is the only one I'd choose to use in tea but all three work for me in coffee. I'd go so far as to say I prefer evaporated milk in coffee to regular milk!

Shelf stable is quite popular and around £0.80 a litre here in the UK (link), which (if I get my conversion right) is under $4/gallon. I guess it's a bit of a niche produce in the US.

Postscript: anyone with an interest in grocery prices (I can't be the only one!) should be able to use that link to browse one of the major UK supermarkets.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by NT2C » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:56 am

sheddi wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:01 am
Postscript: anyone with an interest in grocery prices (I can't be the only one!) should be able to use that link to browse one of the major UK supermarkets.
Thanks for that. I'm a bit of an odd duck when it comes to supermarkets. I love exploring them and finding interesting foods and other products when I travel somewhere new, particularly when I travel internationally. I don't know why it interests me so but my wife just rolls her eyes at how my shopping trips take hours and that I have to visit every aisle, even here at home, but she also acknowledges that I'm always finding good bargains and interesting new things to try, many of which end up on our regular shopping list.
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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by MPMalloy » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:21 am

My hero :wink:
RoneKiln wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:00 pm
I've always done very well just by being frugal and avoiding debt.

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Sun Yeti » Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:44 pm

I would describe this as a 'mid-action report', but given how long the covid lockdown's been going on, a retrospective of how it's gone so far is a great idea.

Good:
-I've been vaguely aware of what was going on since January.
-My long term preps (food storage mostly) were all ready to go.
-My foraging hobby has come in handy, as produce is less available that it used to be, and we are trying to keep trips to the grocery store to a minimum. I've been spending a lot more time on it lately and I've learned to ID and gather/cook a lot of new plants. My lifetime list of edible plants I know how to ID and use (similar to a birder's lifetime list) is now over 70 plants!
-I still have a job, and I can work from home. Right now, 'not unemployed yet' is cause for celebration.
-I've had time for a lot of long-deferred personal projects. I finished making a set of chef's knives for my brother that I'd been working on for like 5 years. I also did a long-overdue checkup of my bugout bag (seemed pertinent), replaced expired crap and improved it slightly.
-My wife and I have been getting along fine despite being cooped up together in a pretty small apartment.
-I've been working on prepping for a number of years now, and my wife has always been a little suspicious that this would lead to me believing conspiracy theories and joining a militia or something. Add this experience to the previous earthquake and week-long power outage as a demonstration of the usefulness of preparedness stuff as an insurance policy.
-A bunch of my old maker friends and colleagues are round-the-clock 3d printing and laser cutting PPE for hospitals. It really makes me proud; I wish I could help, but I don't have any of the equipment.

Bad:
-Despite reading about Covid here and having my brother talk my ear off about it on our phone chats, I didn't get my ass in gear to do anything until a couple of days before my state locked down. I figured I have like four months of long-term stored food plus what we have in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets, what more do I need? Then I was talking with my parents (who are not normally preppers). They had just finished filling up two fridges with food, and pointed out that I'd probably be much happier with fresh food than eating rice and beans for months (I had some, but just the normal amount). So, I went to the grocery store for a massive shopping trip after work (again, like three days before the lockdown started) and had to deal with crowds and some things I wanted being out of stock. I was mentally punching myself in the face the whole time for waiting that long, but all told the consequences for inaction were pretty light. I also ordered a bunch of stuff online (mostly cat supplies) and got it delivered before the lockdown started.
-It's great to get fresh greens of various kinds, but I calculated that with most plants I forage, I'm getting 'paid' about 100 calories per hour counting time to forage, clean, and cook it. So, to try to feed myself at this skill level, I would have to work at it 24/7. Good thing I'm not reliant on it for calories.
-I'm an introvert, and I don't get out much anyways. I have lots of projects I can work on. I am still getting a little crazy. I'm spending too much time reading the news. I get depressed easily, and it's pretty easy to spiral right now.
-Staring at screens all day is screwing up my eyes.

Weird:
-Trying to teach hands-on skills (engineering) to middle school students. Redesigning projects to try to use only the tools and materials the average person has in their house. Trying to help students troubleshoot their projects over Zoom.
-I suspect that, years in the future, I will still sometimes forget and start avoiding people when walking outside. It's become a near unconscious habit at this point.
-It's been a super-warm spring; a lot of familiar plants are a full month ahead of schedule vs. just a few years ago. One particularly unseasonable year is just noise in the trend, but it's a constant reminder of what's coming down the pipeline.
-Pretty much all the news, but you know about that already.
I find it uniquely frustrating that so many preppers have their heads in the sand about climate change.

But, I've come to realize there's no point in arguing with someone if there's no possible evidence you could present that would actually change their mind.

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Jake832 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:46 pm

Update,
New found 'Bad':
With less fresh produce and a little less thought going into meals, my 10 year old got super constipated.
He woke up at 2am last week in pain, and we really contemplated taking him to the ER based on his pain level.

Pretty much the worst time to have to go to the ER. Fortunately he calmed down and all worked out okay, but it was a good reminder that diet and routine play a big role in your overall health. Long story short, prunes, milk of magnesia and a couple days of cramps and he's good to go.

I know, oversharing, but the point is that we're not eating our 'normal' diet and it's easy to overlook simple things.
Added to list, stool softener, pro-biotics and fiber supplements. (also in kid friendly form).

The Good:
It's given me a new topic of conversation to ask the kids daily, did you poop? Which they are loving I'm sure...

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Re: The COVID AAR

Post by Stercutus » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:36 pm

Pretty much the worst time to have to go to the ER. Fortunately he calmed down and all worked out okay, but it was a good reminder that diet and routine play a big role in your overall health. Long story short, prunes, milk of magnesia and a couple days of cramps and he's good to go.
A non pharma solution is copious amounts of sugarless gum. This is easy to store and lasts near forever.
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