The Little Dutch Boy

Food storage and emergency preparedness have held a back-of-the-mind interest for me since our advent into the salary-earning adult world. Granted, there wasn't much we could do during our years of yo-yo-ing back and forth across the country. Space, use, transportation - all were insurmountable issues. I was content to admit my interest, then admit my defeat.

After 9/11 my interest, and paranoia, were heightened. But I wasn't sure what I could do, or even where I should start. Thing 1 was just 2 years old and we were in process of moving from California to Pennsylvania. Living in transition, an old house requiring time and money, and a new pregnancy kept my attention focused elsewhere.

And then we were in process of moving again - this time to south Texas. Months of pregnancy-complicated bronchitis, selling our PA house, building a new TX house, living out of suitcases at Nana's and in a Texas motel, working in Mexico . . . we had too many complications to worry about anything other than where our pillows was currently located.

My desire to prepare was reignited after the June 2002 announcement that al-Qaida had attempted to construct and detonate a dirty bomb in the US. Not only did I lack a permanent home, I also lacked any sort of disaster preparation - no evacuation kit, no temporary shelter, no food supply - I didn't even have the recommended duct tape, needed to seal windows and doors in case of attack. My panic started to get the best of me and the helplessness I felt was almost palpable.

You know that saying - If ye are prepared ye shall not fear? Elder L. Tom Perry spoke of it in 1995, then President Gordon B. Hinckley again in 2005. I felt the only way I could rest easier was to act, to prepare.

That was the first time I assembled my 72 hr evacuation kit. Nate will tell you it was a little more than over-the-top. But I didn't care - the hatchet, pocket fishing kit, space blankets, (and much more) helped me sleep better at night. I did start to wonder how we'd carry it all, if ever we needed to snatch and run. Uh . . . one problem at a time.

After we settled into our new home I shifted my focus to food storage. I participated in a ward Relief Society activity where we sealed rice, flour, dry milk, and pasta in mylar pouches. That was a good start, but I still didn't know where to go from there. How much food did I need? What should I store? How long would it last? An answer to one question just led to more questions, and not nearly enough answers.

When Nate went back to school food storage had to go on the back-burner. All the space issues came back into focus. Our tiny apartment barely had room for our bodies, let alone extra rice and wheat. But that's OK - everything has a time and a season, right?

So now is that time and season. Food storage and emergency preparedness are a priority - was the gardening post any indication? If not, just wait until I rotate my 72 hr kit - the pictures will be very enlightening.

Anyway . . . on to the story that prompted this whole post.

Since we moved to California I've been purchasing commodities in bulk for long-term storage in mylar-lined superpails. Maybe it's a subconscious admission of length of expected residency in this state. Regardless, available space in my coat closet is becoming scarce.

A few weeks ago I bought 50 lb bags of wheat, corn, rice, and beans (unsurprisingly, the beans are for Nate.) I stacked the bags on the floor in the kitchen to await repackaging. I thought my biggest concern was rodents - that's why I didn't store them in the garage. Yet again I underestimated Thing 2.

One morning Jack came running upstairs, crying. He said the wheat spilled all over the kitchen floor. I figured what's done was done and getting worked up about it before I surveyed the damage was counterproductive. Instead, Jack hung out with me while I finished getting ready (or maybe it was I still needed to pull my butt out of bed.) Regardless of the exact scenario, Thing 2 was upstairs with me, Sketch was still asleep, and Thing 3 was downstairs all by herself.

And then the lamentation began to waft upstairs. A small, 3 year old voice wailing indistinguishable complaints. Oh, what could be the matter?

Jack's response was nonchalant enough - Ellie was holding the wheat with her hand so it didn't spill anymore. Who knew the little Dutch boy (girl) lived in my house?

Such a helpful little girl, and so very biddable to her brother's requests.

I made Jack take Ellie's place for the photo documentation. While his emotions may have been authentic, the expressions were completely staged.

How did this minor catastrophe occur in the first place? Jack was "exercising his muscles" by lifting the kitchen chairs over his head. His youthful exuberance resulted in the chair flying out of his hands and onto the bag of wheat. The result was a small puncture wound in the paper bag. At least that's the way he tells the story.

I guess I should be grateful a bag of wheat was the only casualty.

A side note: Since Thing 2 perpetrated this accident it was his responsibility to clean it up. While I may have asked for a broom and dustpan, Jack had his own idea for an implement to assist his efforts. His request?

A spoon.

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