Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Weird Day and Getting Weirder

I went into the store I'd been assigned for AEP (the Annual Enrollment Period for health insurance), and was having a perfectly lovely day.

Well, except for the tortoise-like Internet. Somehow, the stores want us to use computers to access information and presentations, not to mention lists of doctors and medications, but, don't have a wireless access point. Which make us dependent on using our own hotspot to do it all. In just 2 days, I spent 0.4 GB doing just the minimum connections.

I'm going to have to upgrade my wireless data plan to about 50 GB/month to keep access for the duration of the AEP. Not cheap,

But the real problem came at the end of the day - customers came in saying that there was a water main break at the filtration plant. Most of the county is without water (including me - I came home to turn on a faucet, and got bupkis).

The store manager immediately put out all of the water (both gallon size and individual bottle-packs) out near the door. Within an hour, all the water was gone.

I'd already called home to warn my husband. I'm still waiting for him to return. If I know him, he's looking for a good price (good luck on that!). The lines at Walmart and all groceries are lengthy; some stores have their driveways blocked with cars.

I did the wife-thing (kind of anticipating that hubby would balk at paying full price for water), and grabbed two gallons before the supply ran out. They are sitting in my trunk, and I'm anticipating that they will be needed. If they are, I'll TRY not to be smug and superior.

We'll likely be boiling water for a while. Fortunately, we also have a decent water filtration system (but, I'm still going to boil that drinking water until told not to).

I came home to more media screaming "Trump is abandoning our allies!", "He is REFUSING to cooperate with our lynching!" (OK, they didn't EXACTLY say that last part, but that's what it means), and "OMZ, the west coast will be without power!" due to the wildfires.

I'm personally on the lookout for beings of decaying flesh staggering through my yard.

Yeah, the Zombie Apocalypse wouldn't surprise me today.


Anonymous said...

If I may....

Water, Part I

If you are dependent upon a public water system the time to prepare for an outage is now, not when it happens. If it hasn't failed - in whatever way it can fail - yet, it will. You do not know when. In no particular order:

5 gallon jugs are the most economical and most useful, available from Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, some grocery stores, and delivered directly from whichever bottled water company serves those outlets. Walmart will be the cheapest and the biggest pain in the ass to deal with; the 50 cents to one dollar you save there won't be worth it. Exchanges - return an empty, get a full one - is easiest at Lowe's and HD. It's 55 cents more than WM; spend the 55 cents, you'll appreciate it. Direct delivery will be the most convenient, but it'll be on their schedule. They'll pick up the empties from your porch, leave the full ones there as well. Buy or exchange enough at one time they'll waive the delivery charge.

Home Depot sells wire rack shelving, as does Amazon and commercial restaurant supply houses. It all comes from China but the restaurant supply stuff will be sturdier, available in different shelf lengths and widths and stanchion (corner post) heights. Also more expensive. Home Depot seems the cheapest ($89 locally to me), the Amazon stuff is flimsy. Do not bother with adding wheels, you won't be rolling it around. If what you buy comes with wheels, throw them out, they'll be inadequate and when they break you'll be in much more trouble because the shelving will fall over. You do not want that to happen. Ever.

The HD stuff is 48W X 18" D X 72" tall. It works OK. Assemble the bottom 5 shelves on 10 3/4" - 11" open spacing between shelves (top edge to bottom edge). Each shelf will hold 4 (four) 5-gallon jugs horizontally (on their sides), 5 shelves = 20 jugs - 100 gallons. The 5th shelf will be at 51 inches, which is chest height for a 6 ft person; the jugs weigh 44.2 lbs full. Use the space above the 5th shelf for whatever light stuff you want. If you have the space (and money) for it, 2 full racks - 200 gallons - is not excessive, especially for families with multiple people. We take water for granted but it's absolutely necessary.

A 48"W rack with 20 jugs will weigh 884 lbs plus the weight of the rack. If you figure 1,000 lbs total you'll be safe. The rack will need to be on a very sturdy floor; standard wood floor joists will not be adequate unless a custom supporting structure is added (think: multiple 4X4 posts on a concrete floor or footing supporting at least 2 4X6 cross beams as a minimum). So put the rack on a concrete floor. Tip: A 24" length of 2X6 under each pair of end feet will help spread the load, but not enough to put the rack on a standard wood joist floor (the corner posts are 1: in diameter so wthoutt the 2X6s you'll have 950 lbs concentrated on 4 metal posts 1" in diameter; that's a prescription for pushing the posts into whatever non-concrete flooring they're sitting on. It will dig into hardwood and crack ceramic tile).

Anonymous said...

Water, Part II

Several mechanisms for using the jugs are avalable: free standing water coolers, with and without refrigeration; ceramic and stainless jug-holders with spigots that sit on counters or wood stands; a wire rack gizmo from Amazon that holds a jug at 45 degrees, used with a simple "pinch-to-open" valve this is the cheapest and simplest arrangement. Tip: Buy 2 valves, keep the spare where you can find it. Mine has lasted 6 years so far, but I still have a spare handy. Just in case. FYI, with the pinch valve you can lay the jug flat on the counter and it'll work fine until it's down to half full. Tip: Even though it'll work lying flat, buy some sort of holder for it; wrestling with a half-full jug to get the last 2 gallons out is PITA.

Date the cap of each jug you bring home (or get delivered). Use oldest first. FIFO (First In, First Out). Don't put the jugs in direct sunlight and the water will be fine for 3 years. Use the jug water for things like making coffee, iced tea, filling your exercise water bottle, etc. so they get consumed over time and replaced when empty. Don't let the empties pile up with "I'll take them to exchange next week/month/etc." Empty jugs don't have water in them and are useless for having water available when public water fails. Exchanging jugs in pairs is easy. Exchanging jugs a dozen at a time is a PITA. Select the jugs that have the built-in handles, they're easiest to manage. Women and girly-men will be unable to do this, but men can pick them up by the handles in pairs. Yes, it's 90 pounds, but 2 at a time maintains balance, and as long as you're not trying to go up stairs or through narrow passages it'll be easier than carrying only 1 by the handle. Lift with your legs, not your back.

Amazon sells replacement "press-on" plastic caps fior 5 gallon jugs. I have not tried them so I do not know if they leak or not. So far, none of the water-company-installed press-on caps on my jugs have leaked and I've been using them for 6 years.

Start stocking disposable stuff: paper plates, plastic knives/spoons/forks, foam cups, etc. (Check with restaurant supply houses - a 1K box of each of knife/fork/spoon will probably total under $50, and you can sell a set of 100 each to friends/neighbors to defray your costs. FYI, a 1 qt ziploc freezer bag will hold 20 sets of knives/forks/spoons). You so not want to use your drinking water for washing plates and cups. And figure out a different water source for toilet flushing. Anyone near you have a swimming pool? Work a deal - buy pool shock (calcium hypoclorite) for them once a year (locally, a case of 12 one-lb packages is $55) in exchange for getting toilet-flushing water out of their pool should it be necessary. Tip: 5-gallon buckets and large kids' wagon work well, but a 500 lb capacity rubber-tired garden wagon 48" X 24" works even better and can carry 8 buckets, if you can pull it).