Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Ultimate Prep

We in the preparedness mindset always look for that cool new thingamabob that will save us when things go bad. We carefully consider every ounce we put in our packs, scrutinize firearm choices and food calorie to weight ratios, but rarely do we research our most valued and costly item. The one item that can ruin our lives or save it. We leave it purely to chance and whimsy. Yes, I'm talking about our spouses.

You husband or wife can be your greatest asset, or your worst liability. They can literally ruin your life, take everything you've worked for and built. Why is it we don't consider this area of our lives with the same thoughtfulness we apply to other areas? Because we've been programmed with happiness, love and genteel weakness as the ultimate relationship goals.

Let's look at things from a purely clinical point of view. Let's drop the Tinder profiles and dating BS and head straight to the balance sheet. Let's treat a spouse just like any other piece of kit. What is the most important trait to consider? I'd say health. Nobody wants to purchase a knife with a bent blade or a corroded hinge. We want a new or gently used partner that will last a lifetime!

What are some other critically important traits we look for from the clinical point of view. Reliability is a big factor, as well as making sure they fit your lifestyle. You love your Glock 17, but it doesn't fit in for carry at the beach in a swimsuit. The same goes for your spouse. If they can't handle the life you have planned and don't share the goals and life you want to lead, it's not going to go smoothly. The costs for failure are too high to leave it to chance.

Once you get past Healthy, Reliable, and Fit for yous task, things begin to get muddied. Personal preference starts to play as does your personal situation. Do you plan to have kids? Consider genetic disposition for disease and mental instability before you sign on the dotted line. What about personality? Are you better suited with a submissive spouse, or a get it done double A personality? I would think that a person that values items with multiple purpose would want a more dominant person to help make things happen.

What are we missing? Oh yes, all those things that don't matter. Looks are purely useless, as well as dangerous. An attractive partner can be a liability. The more sought after they are, the larger the pool of suitors. Congeniality, while important for a life long partnership, isn't really all that important to their function. As long as they are sane and reasonable, all the rest is window dressing.

You should also consider your choice's family upbringing and religion. Those are things that can be stumbling blocks later in life when the new car smell goes away. If you're marrying into a family with a cousin Eddie that will cause you untold years of anguish, is it really worth it? Will you want a condescending mother in law instilling strife into your life? What about a person with previous children? So many questions with so few rules.

What we should really find attractive, we are taught not to. Independent and confident men are supposed to be admired, but the same traits in a woman give men pause. Career women tend to be less whimsy so they are often overlooked as boring or mundane. I find that to be a shame due to their obvious dedication and reliability. The same is true for low maintenance people. They don't wear flashy, tight clothes or spend hours on their hair, so they are overlooked in a sea of Fabios and Supermodels.

What would I consider as sure tells that the person is incompatible with a preparedness lifestyle? Cosmetic surgery, Tattoos, big debt, no long term relationships, unemployment, useless degrees, endless selfies, health issues, drug use, smoking, nervous habits, promiscuity, alcoholism, and I'm sure I'm missing a few. Some you may not think are big issues for your personal situation, but for me, this is my list.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect, and lord knows that my marriage isn't textbook perfect either, but we've made it over the hump. We've spent 18 years together, and we split up and moved away from each other when we were dating, but got back together and have been married going on 16 years. She's neither the smartest, healthiest, not prettiest woman I've dated, but she is the most reliable, confident and dependable person I've ever been with.

I've been in serious relationships with other women that didn't fit the bill. It wasn't the end of the world and it was surely fun, but many I have no intention of marrying and in some cases told them so and they stuck around. Others didn't. It's not the end of the world if you can't find "the one" for you. It's usually the ones that are looking too hard that miss or gloss over the right person for you because you are looking for the perfect person. Don't focus on the things that really don't matter.

Attraction, that age old mystic want for another person is fleeting. In a few years, it can fade and you can be left with a useless commodity that you paid the highest price for. Be sure of what you are signing up for and don't let your heart override your head.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Survival Planning.

I'm an avid youtube watcher and took the time to watch one from Wranglerstar recently on a big snow storm that was rolling in. It reminded me that I hadn't done some of my winterization intervals for the year. I haven't rotated my fuel yet and my food is past due for a sorting and rotating. Some new food items are being added and some older stuff I like is getting rotated into the pantry. My son eats tuna salad like it's his job, but won't eat it when I rotate in the cheap brand of tuna that I normally buy for the larder. That is just another reminder that some things need to be accounted for on my next purchase run.

I took my nephew out camping the other day and taught him the basics of axe and knife use. Kid wore out my new tomahawk that I'm testing, so that's a positive. I also tried out my new underquilt for my hammock. Worked like a champ. Not enough to do away with the pad, but definitely increased my comfort level when using my 20 degree bag on a 30 degree night. Remember that those ratings are survival ratings, not comfort ratings. My youngest had to sleep in my hammock with me the last night due to it breaking under 30 degrees overnight and his system not holding up as well. Luckily my double nest bag fits us easily.

I was reading an article about an older man remembering his harrowing experience from his high school days. He went camping without the proper gear and didn't accept his limitations. He expected to live off the land so brought very little food. He also brought a woefully inadequate sleeping bag that was rated 20 degrees warmer than the low temp for the night, and just for good measure decided to sweat soak his clothes without enough time to dry them before bed. He climbed out of his snow cave and built a fire to survive the night with barely enough dexterity and energy to bring the fire back to life in order to save his.

Survival isn't an accident. Some times you get lucky, but much of that luck is based on your abilities and readiness level. You may be short the right equipment, but with the right know how, you can survive the night in sub zero conditions even after you've made serious mistakes. Reading books and manuals is a great start, but going out and living in those conditions is vital to making sure you have the proper level of knowledge to overcome adversity when it arrives.

Not every condition is ideal. We can get hurt and not have the ability to gather wood for a fire. That means your sleeping bag becomes your survival nest. You must have enough bag and clothes to be able to survive a frigid night during the winter. Also remember that not all gear is created equal. My Browning 20 degree bag isn't as warm as my son's Kelty 20 degree bag or a black MSS intermediate bag, even though they all have the same rating.

Other factors to remember are increased caloric intake required during cold weather, ease of dehydration, layering for warmth and ditching the cotton. Cotton is rotten pretty much any time you are in the field. Wool and synthetics hold their thermal capabilities fairly well, even when wet. Down doesn't withstand wetness, but lofts better when dry and stays warmer for less weight than synthetic fill.