Do you ever have a task on your to-do list that you continually put off...and put off...either because it's something you know will be difficult, or you're not quite sure how to accomplish it, or you just can't seem to get started? OF COURSE you do! For me, this chore was: assembling an Emergency Kit for our house. (And you wonder why this landed somewhere in importance below other jobs such as "grocery shopping", "corralling the dust bunnies", or even "flossing the cat"...just kidding about that last one, by the way). I felt committed to the fact that we should have one, but day-to-day life kept getting in the way (pesky family: always needing to be clothed, and fed, and nurtured...blah blah blah). Maybe I was also lulled into a false sense of security, since it seems that Natural Disasters occur all around us--hurricanes, earthquakes, H1N1 outbreaks--yet the Mid Atlantic region tends to escape relatively unscathed. But it finally hit me that it takes only one Mother Nature Tantrum to throw everything into chaos; and living in a smallish town, as we do, it's easy to imagine being isolated by a Catastrophic Event of one kind or another.
So I had been collecting brochures and lists in a file for quite some time, such as the ones published by Pepco (our local power company), Good Housekeeping magazine, and the Montgomery County Department of Public Health, to name a few. However, even though I was armed with all the information I needed to construct a kick-butt Disaster Preparedness kit, I dragged my feet...and stalled some more...and, well, you get the idea. Why, you ask? Because the idea of bringing this looong list to, say, Target, and painstakingly searching for the items, and piling them up in the cart, and checking them off, fell somewhere between "daunting" and "Fifth Circle of Hell" in my mind. (The MontCo booklet is 6 pages, for crying out loud! And the Pepco list has 21 items on it, and some of them are categories, not individual things!)
But then I had an amazing brainstorm; as is so often the answer these days...I Googled it. (Memo to Self: should be the FIRST THOUGHT when faced with any dilemma. Duh!) Of course, there is a plethora of sites where you can buy ready-made kits, for your house, for your car, for travel (backpack version), even for your pet! (I am not making this up--one specifically for cats, one for dogs. No comment...except that I did not purchase one.) I ended up choosing the Deluxe 4-person, 3-day Survival Kit. It includes "energy food bars, water boxes with straws, water purification tablets, NASA-designed emergency blankets, ponchos, tent, duct tape, can opener, plastic sheeting, solar/hand crank powered charger, lightsticks, candles, matches, first-aid supplies, whistle, dust masks, gloves, Swiss army knife, utility cord, sanitation bags, toilet chemicals, tissues"...all contained in a 5-gallon bucket...that can act as your "latrine" (trying to be delicate...and REALLY trying not to think about using a bucket...although I did pay extra for the "snap-on seat" to make it more comfortable...eww)
How fabulous is that? With a few clicks, I bought (at least a little) peace of mind, delivered to my doorstep, without having to do the drudge work of hunting down the components myself. And really, I wouldn't have thought of HALF that stuff, or known where to find the other half. (NASA blankets? Yeah, right. Do they sell those at CVS?) God willing, we'll never have to rely on our Deluxe 4-person, 3-day Survival Kit to get us through an emergency situation; but it will be here, in the basement, if we do. Until then, let's hear a rousing cheer for the previously underappreciated Miracle of Indoor Plumbing!