Is War Coming?

I’m sure you’ve all heard or read the news lately, and there’s a lot of talk going around. Are we going to be “at war” as we probably think of it? Our troops have been fighting here, there, and everywhere for years, decades even, in one skirmish or another, but it could come to our country itself?

Of course. And even if battles didn’t actually erupt on American soil, there’s always the threat of terrorist actions and a credible one of cyber-attacks. But what exactly does that mean?

A wide-scale attack could interrupt gas and oil delivery, banking, food supplies, and utilities. It could happen in weeks, as has been suggested by Homeland, sooner, later, or of course, never. Do you really want to be caught unprepared by brushing this off and ignoring the possibilities? Here’s what to do:

First, when possible, avoid places where a lot of people congregate and involve either government facilities or symbols of capitalism, such as malls, theaters, and concert venues. If you can’t avoid these places, or aren’t yet convinced it could be an issue, practice situational awareness. It’s better to cancel plans or leave if you’re nervous about something and risk looking stupid than to be blown to smithereens.

Second, make sure you’re as healthy as you can be and if you’re taking prescription meds, get them filled if you can. Insurance companies often don’t do early refills, but you might be close enough to empty that it’ll work. Drink lots of water and exercise as you’re able.

Third, stock up on any items that A) you can’t live without and B) you can’t make yourself. Include seed packets too, just in case. A lot of vegetables can be grown inside or in a small pot on the deck or patio. For instance, our grocery list this week included alcohol and cigarettes because I don’t want to face whatever happens without either of these and because I don’t know how or have the capabilities to make them.

We always have six months, minimum, worth of supplies on hand, such as food, OTC meds and first aid supplies, household needs like toilet paper and trash bags, and so forth. In spite of having a well and a pond—and a pool, in a pinch—we also keep some gallon containers of water to be used in the interim if the well or pipes should have problems, until we can fix it.

Make a list of what you use every day and start shopping. Go heavy on shelf-staple and lighter on perishables. Don’t forget snacks, and make sure the stuff you buy is what you actually like. And yes, fill up water containers or buy gallons, again, just in case.

Fourth, stop by the bank and withdraw some cash in smaller bills. It doesn’t have to be much, it’s an emergency stash and you can always put it back once the threat has passed. Why do this? Well, if the internet goes down, or the power grid, both businesses and individuals will only be accepting cash; you might have hundreds of dollars, or thousands, in the bank, but you won’t be able to use your debit or credit cards. Sock it away somewhere safe and know that it’s there if you need it.

And finally, self-defense. No, you don’t need an arsenal and you don’t even have to carry if you don’t want to, but check your home for escape routes, hiding places, and weapons. Keep your cell phone charged as well as your laptop. Make a plan for your family’s safety.

Preppers have been doing all these things for a long time and are more ready for whatever may happen. You might think this is all overkill, and maybe you’re right. Or maybe not. My motto is to be ready for anything, because then you’re set and you don’t have to worry.

If Not Now, When?

Once upon a time, I was a bashful little doormat. Yup, it’s true. I walked around with my head down all the time. I’m surprised my chin didn’t fuse to my collar bone.

When I was sixteen, my dad beat the ever-lovin’ crap out of me. Why? On the surface, it was because I cursed the IRS. Come on, doesn’t everyone?

Below the surface, however, and not to excuse his behavior, I was a sixteen-year-old girl and he was clueless as to what to do with me or how to interact with me. Lots of other reasons, too, which is why I was able to move past this whole incident. Eventually.

But this is what started my ascendance to actually having a voice. I thought long and hard about the whole thing, on and off for years too, besides the first few weeks after it happened. Six years later, I got married.

He talked about the whole white-picket-fence scenario, but he was too lazy to make the effort. He talked a good line, until he didn’t. One time, he sat me down on the couch, hard; one time, he waved a butcher knife in my face. Frequently, I’d come home from work to a houseful of passed-out guys and the remains of a steak dinner all over the kitchen—nothing for me, of course. I’d wake up the guys, kick them out, clean up the house, and go to bed.

And always, always, there was criticism and insults. No matter how hard I tried.

Now, I was no stranger to criticism and insults. I grew up with that, from my mother. She always took the other person’s side—she does it a bit less frequently now, but I call her on it when she does. She told me then that I was selfish…which means, for a long time, I tried so hard NOT to be selfish that I lost myself.

So I got married in 1986 and the knife incident occurred about nine months later. As an aside, my collective parents had been divorced, at this point, more than half a dozen times. I did not want that. Also, I was twenty-three-years-old at this point and clueless about a lot of things. Having grown up with the “selfish” mantra and the put-downs, it felt pretty normal to me.

Things weren’t horrible for the next year or so, we had a beautiful daughter, a nice home; but the stress was incredible. Shortly after our two-year anniversary, and a lot of thought but not much planning, I told him to leave. He did. I told him I wanted at least 30 days to think about things.

He gave me two weeks. That’s when he moved back in one day when I wasn’t home.

I said nothing for another month or so. And then I said it all.

Other than our slightly messy divorce, that was the end of the story. Come to think of it, we went to lunch after court that day. A few times, he came over for holidays, for our daughter. Once, while we were separated before the divorce was final, he took me out to dinner for my birthday. He wanted to get back together; I said no. He told his family we WERE getting back together. Nope.

Fast forward thirty years and I cannot fully understand women who don’t leave. Sorry, but I can’t.

If you’re in a bad situation, make a decision, make plans, and be done. Don’t make excuses. I have two friends going through this right now—okay, apparently just one now, because the other one made a decision and we are no longer friends. Forty years of friendship, all gone because after three years of issues, three years of complaining, three years of waffling, and three years of excuses, she decided to stay with someone who is lazy, controlling, narcissistic, misogynistic, and a real douchebag. Her words, even.

But this post—this is for the women who are smarter than this. In 1988, when I kicked my husband to the curb, I was young and presumably dumber than I am now. There was no Internet, no online friends, fewer resources.

In every situation, good, bad, or indifferent, you need to make a decision, then a plan, and finally carry out that plan. But everything you do should be a step towards completing that plan.

It’s especially important the older you become, because, well, you’re getting older. Do you want to waste the rest of your life feeling like this, living like this? What will you do if you change your circumstances? What will you do if make that decision and move on with your life? How bad do you really want this?

Answer these questions, and you’ll make your decision. Then you have to make it THE decision, the BEST decision. No waffling. No mixed messages. Why wait? Maybe that’s what you should be asking—and those answers will either be legit reasons or simple excuses.

Make a plan. This could be tricky, and there are so many variables I can’t possibly begin to list them all. Money. Minor children. Housing. The list goes on.

But you need a plan. You need a date—either he goes on this date or you do. If he’s going, you really do need to be upfront and tell him, don’t just assume because you picked a date that he’ll automatically leave then, especially if you don’t tell him. Seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised.

Your plan might be detailed, it might not. It might take some time to implement, or maybe it doesn’t. But don’t lose sight of that date you chose and get lost in the plans. Don’t keep readjusting your plans for one reason/excuse after another. Don’t be selfless—this is the time for a little selfishness. Other people will adapt to what you decide is right for you.

Use your experience, your brains, your education—formal or informal. You’re only getting older. How do you want to live the rest of your life? If not now, when?