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Monday, July 20, 2009

A personal SHTF and some observations.

It's been awhile since I''ve posted but the long drawn out crap below would help you understand it. Read it to understand the post, you won't understand the last sentence unless you read the rest.

About a year ago the wife lost her reasonably well paying government job of 10 years. After a month or so of looking for anything reasonable she settled into a CNA postion at just over minimum wage. It made things a little tight but she wanted to head into the nursing field and this was a start.

Last month she got rear ended at a stop light. About $1000 in damage to the car but a new bumper and two lightbulbs later and the car is fixed. Not so much for the wife; neck/back pain, no strength in her primary hand and a loss in range of motion. After 4 weeks of drugs, therapy, inability to do things for the kids and me learning how to apply a bra (I spent weeks learning how to remove them, it was awkward learning how to hook them back up, and much less interesting), she got hit again. Yup, at a stop light again and nailed from behind. The damage on the bumper is minimal so we're hoping to just get the cash for the bumper because they aren't interested in paying for the door handle broken as she was removed from the car. Initially the physical damage was worse; it tweaked the already sore mucles, it effected the one arm she had left and it tramatized her, twice in such a short time would mess with anybody.

Adding insult to injury (a perfect example!) she was laid off because they couldn't be sure when she would be able to return to work and they needed to fill the schedule, like it was costing them anything. The office still claims she's on medical leave, the supervisor says otherwise and unemployment doesn't care to pay out unless the office says she's unemployed.

So about 8 weeks later we're still short an income and it's starting to hurt. You know what it's like when your normally decent pay check is gone the day it's given to you and you have 2 weeks until the next one? I've always been able to add in food and materials for my hedge fund (not counting gas as it's difficult to store), cash has always been harder. If you put it in the bank you have some risks, if you store it at home you have other issues.

The cash we did have slipped away during her schooling and then the lower pay rate and then the final straw was being stuck with a single income. It's amazing how fast a few months salary can disappear while you think you're headed back uphill and just maintaining a standard of living. If I had lost my salary during this time it would have been gone almost immediately disaterous, tho if I was unemployed I would have time to work on some of my projects that require more time and specific knowledge to use effectively. I just can expect the wife to do these things, it's too bad she doesn't have her own set of fallback skills to concentrate on. I just didn't count on that.

So I've learned:
- You can't count on insurance, you can't count on the government, you can't count on your job no matter how loyal you've been.

- You can count on your family, your friends and your church (we got an extra gift, this Sunday after working the breakfast after services this week).

-It really doesn't matter how much money or food you have held back if you don't manage it the second you have to dip into it. THAT is your clue that the SHTF for you! You can't use the easy stuff, cash or steaks first assuming the the world will turn around and make your standards continue. It may be a false hope even if you can justify to yourself that's why I have XYZ, until I can get back on my feet. The 12 ribeyes need to become 48 meals instead of the normal 12, 2 awesome t-bones might become 2 stroganoffs and an awesome beef with vegetable soup, but I've fed 4 people 3 times instead of 2 people twice, for just a little investment in potatoes and vegetables.

We're good; the animals get fed, the kids go to bed full, most of the bills still get paid as our rating crashes, but screw them. We still give where we can, I still get to volunteer time for the PD and SAR, the wife is getting better and looking for a new job everyday.

Can you imagine what this would be like if I didn't prep?



Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Rick. I'm glad you've prepped. It really helps in situations like that.

Kentucky Preppers Network

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Wow. I hope your wife will continue recovering in body AND mind!

Anonymous said...

Just now seeing this post (12/09), but did you file an auto claim? Wife should see a good injury doc (I have my opinions but I'll keep them to myself on that topic), but on top of that, there might be a provision for lost wages in the PIP part of her auto insurance -- did you go this route yet? It's not too late...(and by the way, there's a ton of research that proves that minimal bumper damage doesn't necessarily correlate to minimal body -- human body -- damage, so if the insurance company wants to argue with you about paying for her injuries, don't let them).

Anonymous said...

You made a very important point that could stand some reinforcing: When something happens and you have to "survive" on your savings and food storage it would be easy to think it will be over soon and not be too careful. My advice is if you lose your job cancle everything you can (cable, cell phone, landscape service, internet, etc.). Think long term in your planning. A lot of serious situations look just like minor inconveniences in the early stages.

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