Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's Your Back-Up Plan?


                      The Systems we use everyday are fragile and in some cases antiquated. We have been with out phone service for almost two weeks now due to a wind storm that wreaked havoc in our area.  We live in the wild wild west. We live off the grid and telephone service is one of the biggest issues we have had since we moved here.
                       The 115 mph winds broke telephone poles in half and damaged cell towers in our area. I sent out emails to inform friends and family that email was the only way to contact us at home. This is my back up plan. We can dial 911 on our phones for emergencies.
                      This is the fourth cell phone service we have tried since moving here. We had great service on the first two, but we roamed all the time and they kicked us off. We paid $150 plus a month for service that was spotty at best. We tolerated that for a while. We decided to get a radio phone, special to this area, for a home phone. That was all well and good except everyone we called was long distance. We were now paying $200 a month plus long distance (.14 cents a minute). Add internet and satellite and that's well over $300 a month to be connected.
                       Did I mention  that we live off the grid in the wild wild west? We choose to live this way. What happened? We moved out here to not be so connected. What in the world have we done to our way of life?
                       Phone service is not the only service that can be brought down by a storm. Electricity can be taken down simply by a branch falling on a line. What is your back up plan? We don't have to worry about the power going out because of someone else not trimming the trees, however, even with a solar system power can be lost due to broken equipment or the lack of sun. We can generate power and charge our batteries with our generator.
                       Let's talk about water. We haul our water, but we still use a pump to get it out of the cistern and into the house. The pump uses electricity. We use a truck to haul the water to put in the cistern. Do you see a pattern? All these things can break down. We have back up plans. We have to. Our life style requires that we do and our extreme winter weather also can play a big role in how we go about our lives. You may just turn on the water and it flows from the tap, but it still uses electricity to get it to your home, to purify it and someone is in charge of making all that happen.
                       Two winters ago it was cold. Not just cold, but frigid. Our septic froze three times. We had it thawed by a plumber twice. He taught us how to do it ourselves.  Our water only had to freeze once and it stayed frozen for six weeks til the spring thaw occurred. We hired the plumber again to thaw it out, but it was impossible. Did you know that melted snow does wonders for your hair? I know that now. Our back up plan was melting snow, hauling small amounts of water that we had to store inside due to the freezing temps outside.
                        I use these trials as learning experiences. I take a bad situation and figure out how to make it work for us. It's a challenge to say the least, but an adventure too. We still haven't been snowed in yet, but we are ready if it happens. I look forward to the learning challenge and the time to spend with my husband just being still in this fast paced world.
                        In cities, a lot more can go wrong. Cities, small and large, depend on people. They are also subject to things like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes. If those people leave to protect themselves and their families who will push the water button? Who will fix the transformers? You could be on your own for a while until the danger passes. You still may have to wait your turn for help if none of your neighbors can help themselves either because they didn't do the simplest thing. Help yourself by putting back a little water, a little food and don't forget your pets.
                        Our government, after Katrina, realized they were in over their heads and couldn't help all those in need. It was a terrible tragedy. Now, they recommend two weeks worth of emergency food and water per person to help them deal with emergencies. They are in fact telling us that they can't deal with a mass emergency such as Katrina. They are telling us that we need to take some responsibility for ourselves and our families.
                         It's standard in our neck of the woods to have extra on hand. It's natural to buy an extra can of this or that for winter. It's in my nature to buy when stuff is on sale, so I always have an extra jar of this and that. It's pure economics for me. Gardener's who preserve the harvest are also in good shape. Saving money for the future is another way we protect ourselves from hard times.
                         What about those who do not have the means to provide for themselves much less extras? They are with us all the time. Whether it's in an emergency or not........


1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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