I have forgotten what I came in here to write about. Oh! I remember! I chose two of our calendars for 2017: the one for my kitchen, which will be Smithsonian Seed Catalogues, and the one for next to my computer, which will be Cats in Color. I’d been hoping they’d go down in price after Christmas but they did not, and then I started getting anxious about wanting to have the kitchen one all set up before January 1st, and also I was worried they’d go out of stock, so even though I didn’t know which one would be for which room, I went ahead and ordered both. I made my final kitchen vs. office decision based on square size: the Smithsonian one has bigger squares with more writing room, which I need for the kitchen calendar; the one next to my computer only rarely needs anything written on it. I also impulse-bought this page-a-day calendar called It’s Different Every Day: A Non-Boring Calendar for 2017.
But! A further complication is that Elizabeth still has the option to choose the Cats in Color calendar for HER room, in which case I would order something else for next to my computer. …This story is less interesting now that I see it typed out. ONWARD ANYWAY.
I have seen a lot of talk about how awful 2016 was and how people can’t wait for it to be over, but I have been increasingly anxious as the final days run out. I’m returning to some of my inclinations to shop ahead and stock up. There are a few large purchases we’ve made recently, such as a new dryer to replace the one that had to run each load twice to dry it, which make me feel happy to have reset the timer on when we will next need to replace those items. I’m not likely to get rid of clothes right now, despite the usual New Year’s urge to clean things out. In general I’m making purchases now rather than delaying them, and keeping duplicate items rather than donating them.
My friend Miss Grace was asking on Twitter about solid life-skills for hard times. Like, her husband is a chef who can take a pig from alive to bacon, and her brother is a doctor, so both of them would have useful skills even if things suddenly got a lot more primitive. Blogging would not be so useful. Nor would Target end-cap clearance shopping. Those are my main skills. Can I build a shelter? No. Can I hunt? No. Can I garden? No. Can I even start a fire without matches? No. Am I quick-thinking in an emergency? No. I do know what to loot from a pharmacy, is that a skill?
Awhile back, after I’d quit my eldercare job, Paul suggested I might want to take the 6-week nursing assistant course ANYWAY. My first answer was of course I didn’t want to, what would be the point of that NOW? But then I was thinking more about it, and one of the main things I wanted from that job was EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE, so in that context it makes sense to take the class: I’d still like to learn the correct way to do the things I struggled with (boy, I still resent my employer for not training me but putting me in those situations anyway), and now that I’ve tried them WITHOUT the education, I think the education would be much easier to understand/incorporate/apply. I’d anticipate a lot of “Oh, so THAT’S how I was supposed to do it!!” light bulb moments.
Also, that course would add to my Basic Life Skills—not a lot, but some. I’d learn the body mechanics of supporting/helping another person without hurting myself, and I’d learn to be a good assistant to a nurse. I may not be good at quick thinking, but if someone else is thinking quickly I’m good at taking orders from them. If a clinic were set up and needed help, I could be useful doing the bathing/changing/moving, to free the nurses to use their higher training on other things.
Well. The whole life-skills thing is interesting to think about. Long ago I used to make jam, and I believe I remember enough of the basics to do that again. I said above that I don’t know how to garden, but I did work in a plant nursery for a year so I know some basics about planting things and propagating from cuttings/seeds (but in an artificially sterile/controlled environment). I can take care of children from newborns on up. I’ve made some of my natural anxieties work for me by channeling them into the acquisition of useful books (survival manuals, edible plants, basic first-aid) and supplies (camp stove, matches, water purifiers). I can do basic haircuts. I can…sew a button back on.
Paul can work with metal and wood (and has a lathe and a bunch of other tools/equipment), and can weld, and is learning to be a ham radio operator, and has attempted a garden several years in a row and is learning from that (and one year we got a MIGHTY crop of butternut squash). He’s a computer guy, so if there are computers to be managed/fixed/networked/firewalled/secured, he can do that.
What basic life skills do you have? Were you a Scout? Do you have medical knowledge/experience? Can you manage livestock: milk cows, care for chickens, etc.? Are you good at gardening? Do you know how to preserve food by drying or canning? Can you sew and/or knit and/or patch and repair and alter? Are you good at finding ways to stretch supplies or make things work in creative ways? Are you good at building and/or repairing? Can you fix/maintain machines? Can you use weapons? Can you hunt/trap animals, and process the meat? Can you build/maintain a fire, and/or cook over one? Can you speak other languages? Can you teach? Can you think of other things that seem like useful life skills?