Shortages and Shortcomings

Some things are in short supply, such as masks. I was a little worried about our supply because manufacturing still hasn't kept up with demand and we've been reusing our non-reusable masks by hanging them in the sun and fresh air after we finish our shopping.

I placed an order for a reusable mask, but I'm told it would be the end of July before they could deliver. Judging by the reviews though, it might be longer than that.

Meanwhile a dear friend (out of the blue!) offered to make us masks. I swear that woman has ESP.  The offer couldn't have come at a better time. I was THIS CLOSE to having to hand-sew masks. LOL!

We haven't had many shortages in our area, but I think that phenomenon is hit or miss. Some people can't even get soap which seems surreal to me.

When supplies are spotty you need to get creative or learn to do without.

First things first. No matter what you think about stockpiling, you need to do exactly that. A stockpile is a carefully planned surplus for when supplies run lean.

Because availability is so random for many things, it's important to identify what seems to be the hardest to get in your specific area, then concentrate on other sources or bring in a substitute.

Soap: If soap is hard to find, you might have to resort to using shampoo (in a pinch). Coconut oil is antimicrobial. There's also dish washing soap. And although many people swear by hand sanitizer, I'd rather trust plain old hand washing with bar soap. BTW, bar soap is far more cost effective than soft soap.

Meat: Our meat departments have been running on the lean side. In the US we have too many animals and not enough processors. Most ranches can hold beef herds on pasture, but a pig has a limited profit margin if it's not butchered by a certain weight.

For this reason I opted to buy a few more packages of pork ribs and chops. (We used up the last of our own pig for homemade sausage.) My prediction is that pork will be harder to find than any other type of meat.

Other options is to go in on shares with a homegrown cow or hog. Raise your own if it's feasible. Or stretch your meat with stir frys, stews, or vegan recipes. Beans, eggs, and fish make good protein substitutes for meat.

Chickens: Most of you don't raise your own, or might be unwilling to butcher them, but that is our goal. Right now our chicks are a few weeks old. In three months they'll be in the freezer. Quail eggs are in the incubator as I write.

From what I'm reading, meat is available everywhere, but the more processing it requires, the harder it'll be to find.

Rubbing Alcohol: Of all the necessary products on my list, alcohol has been the toughest to source locally. Keep an eye out for it at pharmacies. They pop up there most often, but they usually run out fast. I've seen ads from Walmart and Costco that offer it online only. Again, it runs out fast, so don't wait for a better deal.

Pasta: I've had friends tell me that pasta has been hard to find. But you know what? It is the easiest thing in the world to make as long as you're not fussy about shapes. It's nothing but flour, eggs, salt and water. That's it. Here's the recipe.

Eggs: If your locality allows it, get hens. I'm getting so many eggs I sometimes hard boil the older ones and feed them back to the chickens. You don't need a rooster, and hens are ever so quiet and docile without them. You only need a few. Chickens are easy to raise and can even make nice pets if you so desire.

We're out and about now. We make a planned trip once a week for groceries or supplies. Texas is using a step process to allow businesses to reopen. It's not yet back to normal, but it's getting there. Most people keep their distance or wear masks.

The only thing I resent is that every big box store we go to requires you to enter at only one entrance. That's really a pain when I want something from the gardening department. It means I have to traverse nearly the entire store when I could be in and out within minutes if only I'd been allowed to enter from the gardening department.

Other states seem a bit too draconian with their quarantines, but maybe their numbers are worse. It seems to me if people would just act responsibly we could get everyone back to work safely.

This coronavirus was a wake up call to do better with our hygiene. This virus is a bad one, but it's not Spanish Flu or Bubonic Plague-bad. More importantly, we know how to keep it at bay if we all work at it. It's an extremely easy virus to kill on surfaces (especially skin). Coronavirus has a fatty lipid layer surrounding it. Soap dissolves the fat and water washes it away.

There's been a lot of quibbling about keeping our seniors safe so we should continue isolating. Speaking as a senior, that's my responsibility. Please don't use my age as an excuse. You do your job and I'll do mine. Wash your hands and stay home if you're sick. That's all any of us should expect from a responsible society.

The only elders we should be protecting are the extremely infirm, and most of them are in nursing homes so that's where our quarantine focus should be.

For what it's worth, we suspect we already had this coronavirus back in January. We'll be getting the antibody test as soon as I'm sure we're getting it from a reliable manufacturer. Not that that's any guarantee of safety. That's a whole other ball of wax depending on which scientist is being quoted.

I find this virus so very peculiar. Despite our advanced scientific strides there seem to be more unknowns than for previous viruses. I'm not sure why that is.

The numbers don't add up either. I keep reading that the homeless are more vulnerable to the virus, so why aren't we seeing a higher death toll in homeless shelters? Are they getting sick and recovering without intervention? Instead, higher mortality is in nursing homes where people are tended 24/7.

In my area, some nursing staff have been furloughed because the hospitals aren't busy enough without elective procedures to pay their bills.

That big hospital ship, Comfort, was sent to New York. After treating a paltry few, the governor said they no longer needed it when they realized it wasn't being utilized to capacity.

And now I'm hearing the respirators could do more harm than good for Covid patients. For some people it's even more damaging to their lungs than not using it at all.

By the way, during the Spanish flu, do you know who had a better chance at surviving? The tent hospital patients who were allowed to lay out in the sun when the weather was nice. It's the vitamin D you get from the sun. It strengthens your immunity.

Too many questions and the media makes it worse with sensationalist headlines that make it sound like people are dying left and right. We have cases here in Texas, but the mortality rate is relatively low all things considered.

I'm not saying people aren't getting sick, but the majority aren't critical either. I'm not worried about getting infected. I was happily into social distancing long before it became trendy.


Dogs, cat and husband are keeping me hopping. Not to mention all the livestock. The weeks are flying by. I can't believe it's mid May.

Despite all the doom and gloom the media keeps regurgitating, I've found a lot of good things come out of this pandemic.

  • Pollution is down worldwide, especially in heavily industrial nations.
  • I know for certain which neighbors are truly saints. 
  • More pets have been adopted from shelters. (Though I hope they're not forgotten when this is over.)
  • We're more self sufficient than I realized. Yay, Team Zannini. 6+ weeks of total isolation and we still like each other.
  • Our auto insurance sent us back a refund since we're not driving. 
  • I do not miss celebrities in the slightest.
  • Greg is hand washing dishes regularly now. (Our dishwasher broke.)
What good things have you discovered since the pandemic?


Liquid soap, yeast, and flour are scarce here (Chicago area), but with buying in bulk and ordering yeast online, we have a sufficient supply. Eugene buys meat in bulk at CostCo, so our freezer is stocked. I'm so glad we have an extra freezer in the garage.

Keep in mind that the virus has been linked to lung damage, kidney damage, nerve damage, and blood clots (heart attack/stroke), not to mention inflammation/rash in children. Most cases may be mild or asymptomatic, but I'd prefer not to play viral roulette.

One good thing about this situation is that I'm able to work from home and really enjoy it. I hope I have the option to do it at least part-time when things settle down.
Maria Zannini said…
Sandra: I have several friends and family who think they might be able to continue to work from home for at least part of the work week.

The ramifications trickle down no matter what. I have a brother in law who is confined to a wheelchair. My sister has paid more than half her take home pay to home health caregiver. Now that she can work from home that caregiver is out of a job. A relief for my sister, not so good for the caregiver.

Yeast was incredibly hard to find in the early days. And I hadn't thought about bulk buying at Costco. Good idea!

re: ... the virus has been linked to...
That can be said about the flu too. And Lyme disease has ramifications long after the patient recovers. No one seems to understand why about that either, yet here I am--living proof that it never stops haunting you.
the author said…
I think I appreciate my family and friends more now since the pandemic began. Their love and support has gotten me through all the rough days. Just knowing they care is like armor I wear every day.

No hand sanitizer here at the stores yet, but I still have a good supply and the ingredients to make more. I found a full pocket bottle of it when I was cleaning out an old purse and yelled like I'd struck gold. Funny how such little things lift my spirits now.

Toilet paper flies off the shelves as soon as it's stocked, so to buy it we have to get up at the crack of dawn and wait for the store to open (Publix here usually has TP on Thursday mornings.) But I only buy what we need, as hoarding is a real problem for rural folks. We just don't have that many stores in our immediate area.

I'm not ordering much online. Some big boxes of diapers and wipes for our grandson from Amazon, which I ship to his parents. We can't find most baby supplies at the stores, again because of hoarding.

Our washing machine started leaking, and although my guy tried to fix it it wasn't doable. By a twist of fate we had a spare in the garage -- our son gave us his washer and dryer when he moved into a new apartment that already had them.

Everyone stay safe and healthy!
Angela Brown said…
Re: Wash your hands and stay home if you're sick. That's all any of us should expect from a responsible society.

A responsible society...yeah...about that...

Anywho, although I am not directly in harm's way, working in a healthcare system and having coworkers who are in the direct line of sight to what's happening has given me some perspective. I've always had respect for clinicians, but my respect has deepened.

Because I am a homebody, self-isolation isn't a biggie and because the essential businesses are all ones I typically interact with, it may better serve for me to keep quiet and understand this has been impactful in so many ways to a lot of people.

Media is doing nothing new, just would've thought there would be some level of expected integrity to minimize misinformation but no surprises there.

Hoping we can learn and grow from this experience. Not sure how that will go but one can hope right? 😬

Getting a chance to work from home has been a plus. Learning how much my normal life is a routine that would drive others insane with its chilled mundaneness has been... enlightening.
the author said…
Angela wrote: "Learning how much my normal life is a routine that would drive others insane with its chilled mundaneness has been... enlightening."

Oh, yes, same here. Lockdown hasn't changed life for me. When I hear people complaining about having to cook, stay in the house, rely on themselves and look after the family 24/7, I'm a bit speechless.
Lisa Lynn said…
The homeless shelter in our area is on the hot spot list with a lot of infections.

I wish they would just give us the real news and that people would stop either hyping it up like we will all die, or saying that it's no big deal at all. It's somewhere in the middle and some of us are at a much greater risk. Sigh.
Maria Zannini said…
Lynn: Toilet paper is pretty plentiful down here. I've seen it available nearly everywhere I go. I'm glad too that no one is price gouging. Let me know if I have to ship you emergency toilet paper. LOL!

Re: washing machine
Ouch. Sorry about the washer. Glad you had a spare. I'll probably wait until Labor Day to see if the dishwashers go on sale. I'm having sticker shock right now.
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: I know. You look around and you see all these yahoos acting like idiots. But I think most of society is made up of good people. Whenever we go out we see people trying to do the right thing. Sometimes (usually a teenager) gets nasty or uncooperative, but most people try to be responsible. Retailers are trying hard too which impresses me.

re: media
Oh, don't get me started on the media, and that includes social media. Just give me the facts, and keep your agenda. I'll make up my own mind, thank you. I think I spend an inordinate amount of time researching their claims and it's almost always groundless. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Don't let them get you down, Angela. You're leading by example.
Maria Zannini said…
Lisa: Here's an example. A few days ago I read a headline that said Texas was drowning in new cases since they reopened businesses.

I read the article and started putting some figures to paper. Texas just opened last Friday. Since most infections take several days to manifest, and then many more days before people actually see a doctor, those numbers are for cases that developed a week or more before the businesses opened.

Another headline said that Texas had thousands of cases and a rising death count. Here's the actual figure as of this morning:

Confirmed cases: 47, 784
Deaths: 1336

Texas has 29 million+ people (as of 2019)

This means the percentage of deaths equals .004. That is 4 thousandths of a percent.

And this is why I take everything I read with a grain of salt.

Mike Keyton said…
Ref the comments about the media and your last comment about Texas/statistics, the pandemic has been well and truly weaponised. Predictable. We'll either die from the China Virus or an overdose of cynicism 😏
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: It's getting ridiculous. I'm all for taking precautions but now it smacks of agenda. I think part of the problem is that the media interviews every possible lead be they experts or not. It's grade school journalism. Even on this lonesome blog I do quite a bit of research before I publish and I don't even get paid.