(Continued from Part 3.)
Chain Saw – I shouldn’t mention this one for fear of revealing just how far my LOMR has progressed but next to the bar-oil cap of your chainsaw write “OIL” and “GAS” next to the gas cap. Once I reach Stage 4 LOMR I’ll no doubt be running the saw with bar oil and gas in the wrong tanks instead of catching my mistake like I do now, dumping them out, going to the house for a fresh cup of coffee, and then returning to try to get it right the second or third time. If you pump the bar oil button and smell gasoline right before the bar bursts into flame, this is a sure confirmation you’re well into stage 4 LOMR and are on the fast track to stage 5 and beyond. If you smell smoke but fail to notice the bar conflagration or that the flames from your chaps are getting uncomfortably close to your unmentionables, this is a good indication that, while your olfactory senses are top-notch, the rest of your brain has atrophied to a solid stage 6. At stage 6 they do a frontal lobotomy to keep you and the rest of the citizenry safe. After the grid goes down, they do the lobotomy with a rusty serrated steak knife and sew you back up using dental floss, generally leaving an extra 24” hanging down in front of your left ear so you never again have a credible excuse for not flossing.
Plumbing – You built that solar water heater to save some bucks and put the extra dough towards getting your mortgage paid off early. It’s hard to know which way those unions turn when taking your heater offline since you have two options depending on how you attached them. So go ahead and write some arrows on the part facing you. While you’re at it label “Main Shut-Off Valve” on your main plumbing line. Simple helps like these generally increase the resale value of your home if it ever goes on the market. Be sure to point the arrows out to the real estate appraiser but not the county assessor. For you former Big City apartment dwellers who have just arrived in the American Redoubt, the arrow concept also works on garden hoses. If you make arrows on that brass thingy on the end of the hose it will help you get it onto the whatchamajig with the round handle where the water comes out of the wall. If you get your Sharpie all wet and it won’t work anymore, just remember “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.”
Pet Food Containers – You’re still at that stage of your preps where you’re trying to calculate how much food Fido and Fluffy go through so you can be sure to have enough on hand after the SHTF to keep them from bumming spare change on street corners to buy their own, in which case they’ll likely end up in someone’s post-apocalyptic pressure canner. Put a piece of masking or duct tape on top of the pet food container and remember to fold the last ½” back on itself so it’s not sticky and will leave a nifty little handle for removing the tape later. Write the date when you fill the pet food container and next time you refill it, note the date, then calculate the number of days a bag lasts and write that in your prepping notebook. Do that several times to get an average. Roving hordes don’t typically give a hoot about tape on pet food containers so no need to worry about writing this info directly on the container lid with your Sharpie.
Grain Mill Grinding Plates – Don’t even think about replacing those grinding plates without writing the date on the outside of the innermost plate. Don’t write it on the grinding side or you’ll end up with Sharpie-flavored cinnamon rolls. Although Sharpie is high in vitamin D, it’s known to have caused cancer in the mouse who was fed on a strict diet of half a Sharpie per day for three weeks. The other 99 mice in the experiment died of acute petroleum distillate poisoning within 15 minutes of consuming their first peanut-butter-laced Sharpie. Writing the date on your new wheat-grinder plates will help you get a handle on how many you’ll need to get through TEOTWAWKI without going through waffle withdrawal. With a cost of $135 per pair, you’ll want to find that fine balance between going bankrupt pre-TEOTWAWKI and having to pound out flour five years from now with a mortar and pestle. Just to be prepared, make a pound of flour with your M & P and then on the bottom of your mortar, take your Sharpie and write how long it takes, rounded off to the nearest day, to pestle and mortalize those 16 ozs. of wheat berries into flour. This will incentivize you to get those grinder plates ordered ASAP. You haven’t won Dialing for Dollars since switching to your push-button iPhone 23 years ago so you’ll need to finance those Country Living Grain Mill grinding plates by having a yard sale. Or you could wait another six months until the economy has been fully Bidenized and slid further into the abyss, then sell a case of quart mason jars, a silver dime, or a box of 50 .22 LR to get the funds.
Home Walls – When building your survival retreat, be sure to occasionally exercise your Sharpie by writing your name, date, and the current price of gold and silver on the inside of the walls before you put the insulation up. Be sure to thrown in a little pocket change, including some worn-out buffalo nickels and Indian-head pennies if the SJW Cultural Appropriation Squad hasn’t melted them all down yet, and if you’re really feeling generous, toss a silver dime or quarter into the mix. Kids exploring the remains of your cottage 150 years from now will enjoy the incredibly thrilling experience of finding a hidden treasure we all wish we could have found when we were kids digging through long-abandoned houses. Be sure to wrap the coins in a current sheet of newspaper with the date at the top to prevent the kids from getting an unnecessary beating for lying when they get home.
Sheets and Bedspreads – Since early elementary school I’ve been afflicted with an irrational condition, the exact name of which escapes me at the moment. It’s a phobia about people walking into your bedroom and judging you harshly and calling you a lazy slob for not having made your bunk that morning before you ate your Maypo and went off to school. If you’re one of us who make our beds each morning as soon as our feet hit the floor and still in our jammies, who can never get the sheets and bedspread evenly distributed in a bilateral manner, use your Sharpie to make a small stylistic dot in the very center of the sheet at the top where your nose sticks out when you’re all tucked in nice and cozy.
Ditto on the blankets and bedspread. Now when you’re making the bed you’ll know exactly where the center is. After your vision gets worse, and it will, make another discrete dot on the headboard so you can just line up all the dots and go from there. After the dots are in place, expect a minimum weight gain of five pounds from all the calories you’re no longer burning running back and forth from one side of the bed to the other adjusting and readjusting the overhang on each half. On those confounded fitted sheets where you can never tell which is the long way, use your Sharpie to write “MH” (My Head) on the underside corner to indicate that corner goes at the top on your side. If both husband and wife take turns making the bed, it’s less confusing if each partner doesn’t write “MH” on their side of the sheet.
JWR Adds: If you have needs of several sizes in your home, you will save yourself some frustration by adding a Sharpie mark all of your sheet corner tags with sizes, such as “TWIN” or “QUEEN”. Avoiding confusion reduces stress!
Cookware – Now that you’ve repented of your antediluvian avoirdupois ways and have upgraded to cooking with a metric scale, you’ll sometimes forget to zero out the scale before adding an ingredient. It comes in handy to know the weight of the mixing bowl or container so you can subtract it from the total weight in these cases. Try it out with a Sharpie to be sure it’s your cup of tea and once you see the true light, go ahead and use your aforementioned electric engraver to make it permanent so Dawn doesn’t keep removing it. It should prevent George and Betty from removing it as well.
It also comes in handy when making that batch of 30 peppermint patties. By weighing the mixing bowl full of finished filling, then subtracting the weight of the bowl, you’ll know how much the filling alone weighs. When you divide that by the 30 patties you want to make, you discover that each ball of filling will weigh 34 grams, which, when weighed out individually, will give you a very consistent patty size. Not long after that you’ll begin receiving nasty e-mails from York’s legal counsel trying to intimidate you into not taking your patties commercial. They know yours are far superior and contain no artificial ingredients. Well, not counting that stick-on nail which you thought went down the drain as you were washing your hands after mixing the filling but which actually turned up in patty #23. Your husband thought it was ingenious to come up with an idea like “crunchy style” that York never thought of, but you didn’t have the heart to correct him so with a straight face you replied, “I do have my moments Hubby-wubby!” Two days later he’s going to get a whole new definition of what it means to scratch his behind. Unless he can’t stop eating and after patty #23 he eats five more, in which case his etymological enlightenment will only take about 30 minutes.
Weighing your bread dough and dividing by 12 will give you a dozen equally-sized dinner rolls if your eyeball ain’t what it used to be. Don’t worry, you won’t be getting any negative correspondence from the Pillsbury Dough Boy. He’s too cute for that and besides, his fingers are too fat to work a keyboard.
(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 4.)