Prepper Fatigue

40
Sat, May 5, 2018 - 1:30pm

Building the dream (part 1)

Back in the tumultuous days of 2011, I was certain that the world economy would crash at any moment. Some would say my wife and I had already bugged out, living an hour from any large metropolitan area (that is actually our old home pictured here... brings back many good memories now). We lived in a modest house on a 5 acre wooded property on the edge of a 40K town. But I was troubled.

About that time, The whole family watched a movie (mainstream propaganda) that portrayed the bug out of a prepper family during a false alarm of power outages. They bugged out to their dream property with its underground bunker. The story was clearly intended to dissuade people from prepping. But it asked a fair question: “Am I willing to shoot neighbors who come to get my food?” I am still pondering that one, but I think I know the answer. And in this town, those neighbors would be coming.

I knew that once the crash arrived we’d likely be stuck there, 6 states away from our family & old friends, on the edge of a meth infested mid-west economic armpit, filled with poverty, drugs and crime. Homes could be bought for 1K, and sometimes free if you knew the right people. Though we had been prepping and fortifying our acreage, I was feeling increasingly dubious of its adequacy as a long-term haven: too few friends, no kin, and crime that had become too personal.

Our kids were the first to feel “Prepper Fatigue.” They were really into the prepping and stacking early on, probably because they thought it was fun and exciting. When a big storm knocked power out at our home for seven days, they had a blast cooking meals on a Coleman stove and lighting candles … for a while. The lack of showers and other luxuries began to affect our minds. My wife was next to get weary of the prepping, the waiting, the continued market manipulation, watching with helplessness the political slide toward socialism.

We reached a decision after a friend was murdered. I found him in his basement, shot in the back of the head--execution style. He was killed for his coin collection by a heroin addict who had done some clean-up work at his house. After a night of interrogation as suspects in the murder, my wife and I felt a deepening recognition that “We weren’t from ‘round those parts.” We wanted out. It was the last straw. Leaving to go back West (home) seemed advisable.

We received a job offer out west and moved in 2013. We found and purchased a townhome close to the University campus where I worked. Real estate was still relatively cheap, so we started looking for a real bug out property (hadn’t quite completed the rethinking yet). We found something suitable and purchased it. But being a working guy, we had to rent it out to pay for itself, wondering if we’d be able to get the renters out when the fateful day came. We still have it, but have determined that it is not an ideal property for self-sustenance.

Five years have passed. And with those years has come blend of relief and confusion--relief that the economy still functions, that we can still buy Cheetos at the grocery store and silver, but confusion about why it was all still possible. Where was the collapse? Had we been wrong this whole time? Were the bankers and politicians actually going to succeed in holding this world economy together? Who’s the fool now?

A recent series of articles by “High Desert” posted at ZH, confirmed that our growing reservations about bugging out were justified. The emotional toll that would be too high for us to pay. After reading the three part series (1, 2 & 3), and admitting that the world economy still functions, I felt relieved that we had not sold all and pioneered on 20 acres in the wilderness as I had hoped.

Several weeks ago, we received a glimpse into our future as my wife’s mom’s primary caregivers when she became ill. In her weakened state she fell down and laid on the floor for several hours, unable to get up until her sister stopped by to check on her. We learned she had fallen three times that day. My wife stayed with her for a week nursing her back to health. We are staring at an unpleasant reality. We talked at length and recognized the need for a change in outlook. As answers became clearer, we have altered our plans toward something that retained a semblance of normal life—a lifestyle that prospered in our current economy, but could make a smooth transition to a crappy one.

Thus, we purchased land in a small town 45 miles from my employer, next door to wifey’s mom, and plan to relocate before her health permanently declines. We will stay prepped (food, etc) but will focus on gardening and off grid living. (Just to clarify, It was not my dream to live next door to my, um, mother-in-law.)

We will be ready for a depression, prepping & gardening in plain sight, but living a relatively normal life as long as we can. And if, as we have all feared, the economy totally collapses, this neighborhood appears to have a critical mass of people who will pull together for survival, people good at gardening and animal husbandry. We actually know most of our neighbors already and the rest wave regularly. It is not the perfect property on which to build, but it has advantages due to location--additional nearby relatives, many commercial farms, and a retirement economy that provides business opportunities for my wife. The land is fertile with irrigation rights secured. Well water is shallow and the warm southwest weather provides two growing seasons.

Over the next four months, I’d like to chronicle this adventure, publishing a series of articles here that describe the pitfalls and joys of building the “dream property.” Perhaps you might glean some useful data (mostly learning from my mistakes) to steer your own lives one direction or another. I, hopefully, might receive some advice that will lessen the cost and ease the process.

We have done a lot of work already: designing a home, testing soil density, certifying an existing septic system, survey completed, and working on formal blueprints. My recent hand injury has slowed down the plan, but has also directed us toward working with contractors since I will be unable to perform trades that require a healthy body. There is much to be done to satisfy the city & county building departments. While it would be easy to hire a contractor and simply write a check, that check would certainly bounce. Serving as our own general contractor saves a ton of fiat and provides the ability to stretch out the process, enabling us to pay as we go.

I have drawn blueprints with the aid of some good software. But here my skills fall short as I need to hire an architect/engineer to make certifications to please the authorities.

So here we go. I’ll endeavor to continue the soap opera each week as the process unfolds.

About the Author

  40 Comments

May 5, 2018 - 2:28pm

Thanks, Doc

Always appreciate your efforts in support of TFMR!

bikerdoc
May 5, 2018 - 3:10pm

Hi Doc,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I had to give up a nice place like you did after finding many undesirable characters in that area. A bug out place is an insurance that we shouldn't plan to use unless it is a critical matter. Hope the best, but prepare for the worst. Wish you and family all of the best outcome.

SS121
May 5, 2018 - 4:07pm

my .02 re: your questions. . .

Five years have passed. And with those years has come blend of relief and confusion-- relief that the economy still functioning and we can still buy Cheetos at the grocery store and $17 silver, but confusion about why it was all still possible. Where was the collapse?

my .02: Who said there was going to be an economic collapse?? The fear mongering media. Don't let the media control you/your narrative.

Had we been wrong this whole time?

Yes, the media and all it's "experts" that fail to grasp the simple fundamental realities of the situation will always lead you astray, and then you will be afflicted. (if you continue to listen to them)

Were the bankers and politicians actually going to succeed in holding this world economy together?

They gotcha again. They taught you that bankers and politicians are what makes the world go 'round.

Who’s the fool now?

Those who return to their folly, like dogs returning to their vomit.

Again, this just my .02 in answer to your questions, but i say turn off the tube, quit reading ZH and listening to those who profit by promoting confusion and go out and enjoy your day! then repeat.

next time the good idea fairy whispers to prep, ask "for what?" and then look around for a crisis. If you don't see one, go back to enjoying your day!

end .02

May 5, 2018 - 4:26pm

ss121

Thanks. We all need to keep a solid perspective. Indeed, I have cut back my ZH reading, just skimming headlines these days. Good to hear from you. By the way, I hate eating vomit!

CC Horses
May 5, 2018 - 5:34pm

Dr J

Looking forward to learning more from your experiences as you so generously share them with everyone here at TFMR.

Thank you for all your efforts. I hope your injury heals quickly.

CCH

TF Metals fan
May 5, 2018 - 5:37pm

Thanks Doc

For putting up this series. Enjoy your new place and your mother-in-law. She will want to keep her daughter happy so you will be fine.

Ned Braden
May 5, 2018 - 5:57pm

ss121

Superb commentary, ss121, although none of us realized the extent of the criminal behaviors and bending of rules that evolved to help contain the 2008 GFC. However the math is the math and QE to infinity won't work; the ultimate question is how long till event horizon.

pennywise
May 5, 2018 - 6:00pm

Looking forward to your chronicles

I enjoyed reading your story, I guess because your thought process, fed by the news and chatter of the time, parallels our own somewhat. We went so far as to start looking for bug out places but when silver crashed we backed off the plan and decided to do all we could where we currently live. Like you, we have family members that need us (I just spent the last two years helping my mother who passed from ovarian cancer in March) and so we decided to do the best we could with what we had. It’s not ideal, especially for aging in place, but it’s semi-rural, and we realized we had a lot of resources close by that were pretty great including, most importantly, a network of friends that are like family. We converted our yard into several raised beds and grow vegetables, made connections so we can purchase grass fed and organic beef, pork and chicken in bulk, and ramped up our food storage by adding a freezer, purchasing a freeze dryer and canning. For the last few years all of this and following the PMs and world economic affairs has absorbed our thoughts and our time. I’m glad for the new knowledge and skills but in some ways feel we’ve been too consumed by it all. I am more prone to prepper fatigue than my husband and I am looking for ways to stay engaged but positive. The anticipation of reading about your experience and maybe participating in the discussion sparks some enthusiasm. Thank you!

AKA AuAgforever AIJNed Braden
May 5, 2018 - 6:27pm

"how long till event horizon" ??

Answer: As long as it takes for the laws of thermodynamics to take over....and then, maybe things end not with a bang but with with a whimper.

Summer 2013 was the key for me. I had started investing in the PMs in 2000. In 2011 I believed there would be a ..temporary" top. In 2013 I also believed that the PM bull would assert itself. After all, there are always corrections and after 1.5 to 2 years there was ample time for things to get started again. When TPTB slammed the metals hard in 2013 I realized that "they" were going to "stop" the next bull run and strangle the metals....and so they have been kept just above the mining cost for 5 years now. I came to the conclusion that I would keep my physical, sell my PM stocks and invest in other asset classes that I could make a profit in. The choices were: Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate, Commodities, Precious metals

( which I would accumulate the physical but shun the derivatives ), and the newcomer, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether...all trading at about $ 250 / $4.00 and $6.00 respectively.

Since I don't know when the laws of thermodynamics will reassert themselves and I really don't know stocks, bonds and real estate ( except my own house and neighborhood ) I opted for the Crypto sector while the metals sleep.

Now I don't have to watch the metals constantly and I can sleep well and most importantly, I can proceed to live my life.

All we can do is speculate on various scenarios, assign a % chance of occurrence of each and proceed to live accordingly. What I learned most the last 5 years is not to listen to others when I can determine the best scenario for myself. After all, who cares the most about me, than me.......

cyclemadman
May 5, 2018 - 6:29pm

Government Intrusion

The fact that you have to please county and city officials to build your own house on your own property is part of what has gone wrong with this country.

Are those officials taking on the liability of the quality and safety of the construction of the home? No way, just try and get the government to take responsibility for anything. They sure don't hesitate to force you to add products and systems to your home with dubious benefits that add tangible costs.

Key Economic Events Week of 2/17

2/18 8:30 ET Empire St Manu Idx
2/19 8:30 ET Producer Price Idx
2/19 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Perms
2/19 2:00 ET January FOMC minutes
2/20 8:30 ET Philly Fed
2/21 Fed Goons all day at Chicago Conf.
2/21 9:45 ET Markit flash Feb PMIs

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Key Economic Events Week of 2/17

2/18 8:30 ET Empire St Manu Idx
2/19 8:30 ET Producer Price Idx
2/19 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Perms
2/19 2:00 ET January FOMC minutes
2/20 8:30 ET Philly Fed
2/21 Fed Goons all day at Chicago Conf.
2/21 9:45 ET Markit flash Feb PMIs

Key Economic Events Week of 2/10

2/11 10:00 ET Job Openings
2/11 10:00 ET CGP Hump-Hawk House
2/12 10:00 ET CGP Hump-Hawk Senate
2/13 8:30 ET CPI
2/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
2/14 9:15 ET Cap Ute & Ind Prod
2/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories

Key Economic Events Week of 2/3

2/4 10:00 ET Factory Orders
2/5 8:15 ET ADP Employment
2/5 9:45 ET Markit Service PMI
2/5 10:00 ET ISM Service PMI
2/6 8:30 ET Productivity & Unit Labor Costs
2/7 8:30 ET BLSBS
2/7 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories

Key Economic Events Week of 1/27

1/28 8:30 ET Durable Goods
1/28 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
1/29 10:00 ET Pending Home Sales
1/29 2:00 pm ET FOMC Fedlines
1/29 2:30 pm ET Powell presser
1/30 8:30 ET Q4 GDP first guess
1/31 8:30 ET Pers Inc and Spending
1/31 9:45 ET Chicago PMI
2/2 10:00 pm ET Chiefs win SB LIV

Key Economic Events Week of 1/13

1/14 8:30 ET CPI
1/14 9:00 ET Goon Williams
1/15 8:30 ET PPI and Empire Fed
1/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales and Philly Fed
1/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts
1/17 9:15 Et Cap Ute and Ind Prod

Key Economic Events Week of 1/6

1/7 8:30 ET US trade deficit
1/7 10:00 ET ISM Services PMI
1/7 10:00 ET Factory Orders
1/8 8:15 ET ADP employment
1/9 8:00 ET Goon Chlamydia speech
1/9 1:20 ET Goon Evans 2:00 ET Goon Bullard
1/10 8:30 ET BLSBS
1/10 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories

Key Economic Events Week of 12/16

12/16 8:30 ET Empire State Manu Idx
12/16 9:45 ET Markit flash PMIs Dec
12/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
12/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
12/19 8:30 ET Philly Fed
12/20 8:30 ET Final guess Q3 GDP
12/20 10:00 ET Pers Inc and Spending
12/20 10:00 ET Core Inflation

Key Economic Events Week of 12/9

12/10 8:30 ET Productivity and Unit Labor Costs
12/11 8:30 ET CPI
12/11 2:00 pm ET FOMC fedlines
12/11 2:30 pm ET CGP presser
12/12 8:30 ET PPI
12/13 8:30 ET Retail Sales
12/13 10:00 ET Business Inventories
12/13 11:00 ET Goon Williams speech

Key Economic Events Week of 12/2

12/2 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
12/2 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
12/2 10:00 ET Construction Spending
12/4 9:45 ET Markit Services PMI
12/4 10:00 ET ISM Services PMI
12/5 8:30 ET Trade Deficit
12/5 10:00 ET Factory Orders
12/6 8:30 ET BLSBS
12/6 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories

Key Economic Events Week of 11/25

11/25 8:30 ET Chicago Fed Nat'l Idx
11/25 7:00 pm ET CGP speech
11/26 8:30 ET Advance Trade
11/26 9:00 ET Case-Shiller home prices
11/26 10:00 ET New home sales
11/26 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
11/27 8:30 ET Q3 GDP 2nd guess
11/27 8:30 ET Durable Goods
11/27 9:45 ET Chicago PMI
11/27 10:00 ET Pers Inc & Cons Spndg
11/27 10:00 ET Core inflation
11/27 2:00 pm ET Beige Book

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