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.)