Preparing – When is Enough and When is it Not Enough?

Preparing – When is Enough and When is it Not Enough?

… and lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy

 by C.M.R.


This is not proposed as a rhetorical question. As a single mom of two, one of whom is going to college in the next year, I have to ask myself, when and what is enough. I began preparing about three years ago and have learned a lot since then. Three of my closest friends and neighbors are also prepping and we have an agreement to help each other out. We have a close proximity bug-out location, as well as a far away-in the middle of nowhere-location, that would be our ultimate goal if TEOTWAWKI were to come to pass. So far, I have between 6 months and one year of food storage, ¾ of the year ability to grow food, home security, and water/purification methods. What is looming are: alternate power sources, a solid food storage supply, and protection abilities. Should I invest in solar power, natural gas generator, gas generator, more food storage (we eat organic, so Tang and Spam are not options), more ammunition, plus what am I missing? Due to my job, and thanks to my governor, I have to live in New Jersey. It is definitely neither the cheapest nor remotest state to reside, but, thus far, it has been a blessing. In the past 40 years, I can count on one hand how many times we have been without power in my neighborhood, have not experienced crime, have a great public school system, and have enjoyed the mountains and beaches that NJ affords. So, what is next? I am truly stuck between continued prepping efforts and turning my focus elsewhere.


I wrote the first paragraph prior to Hurricane Sandy smashing into New Jersey. I still feel truly blessed to be part of a terrific community that comes together to help each other. Fortunately, I do not live by the beach or in a flood zone. My heart and prayers go out for those who have been devastated. Many lessons have been learned due to Sandy. Most importantly, if you are evacuated, get out. Yes, leave. Do not stay. A close friend was under mandatory evacuation from a shore town; she didn’t leave and her town was torn apart. Fortunately, her house only suffered minor damage, but other homes just a block away were blown across the street like a deck of cards, leaving nothing but the concrete slab. Stuff is not worth your life or anyone else’s.  You are putting other people’s husbands, wives, and children in harm’s way when they have to come rescue you.


The next lesson I learned is that people are woefully unprepared. For me, Saturday was spent preparing for the impending hurricane. Lawn furniture was brought in, cars and gas containers were topped off, water containers were filled, Ziploc bags were filled with water and placed into the freezer, the fridge was on the coldest setting, laundry and dishes were all done and canning supplies were sterilized. When I went out with a friend on Saturday evening I had asked how come his gas gauge was not on full. He said that he didn’t work far and had no need to fill it, for half a tank was plenty. Sure enough, after the storm, he had to wait for over an hour on line for gas. On top of it, he didn’t go food shopping and there was not a loaf of bread to been seen. My home was buzzing with friends who did not even own a flashlight. One friend had fallen down the stairs during the outage and twisted her ankle because she did not see the last step in the dark. No matter how many times you send website links and suggest that they maintain even modest supplies, some people will not heed the warnings.


This summer I obtained numerous estimates for the different types of generators. From natural gas, standby generators to gas generators with a transfer switch, they were all outside my current budget. However, I learned how to can this summer and was prepared to make soups, stews and other dishes that I would be able to preserve if my freezer was to defrost. I also had purchased a Mr. Heater Buddy indoor propane heater along with propane. I figured this, in addition to my gas fireplace, would keep us somewhat warm along with preventing the pipes from freezing if it got that cold. From warm clothing to zero below sleeping bags, everyone in the house would be snug. Would this be a long term solution? I doubt it. Propane runs out, the gas could go out, and then we’d be really stuck.


Fortunately, we did not suffer much damage and the power was out for less than 24 hours. One of my friends who is still without power 4 days later, asked me for a list of what she should get so that she will be more prepared next time. Here’s my initial starter list: a good first aid kit, an LED flashlight, a good lantern that will illuminate a room, battery operated radio, warm sleeping bag, water containers, shelf stable food, a full gas tank, cash, and a form of protection. Is this by any means complete? Absolutely not. However, if you don’t even own a flashlight, this is a good place to start.


Hurricane Sandy has brought devastation and destruction to many in New York and New Jersey. Prayers go out for those who are still suffering and thankfully, people are working together to help each other. Let’s learn from this tragedy, get going with your preps and continue preparing if you have already started, for we never know what tomorrow might bring.





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5 thoughts on “Preparing – When is Enough and When is it Not Enough?”

  1. Having lived through Hurricane Ike here in Houston (We live in a small town surrounded be Houston) I can really understand where you are coming from. Many here did not have power for over a month. We were fortunate and had power back in 4 days (good reason to live near a city hall/fire station/police station). We have always had supplies on hand for long term so it was easier on us than on most other people here but it also let us see the holes in our preps. We have both a short term bug in plan (used it during Ike) and a long term bug out plan (haven’t needed it yet -just lots of practice). Enjoyed the article and hopefully there will be more Preppers joining the ranks on the East Coast.

  2. I’m gonna catch hell for this and I want to state up front it is not directed at this author. The phrase “single mom” is a little self serving and for most of equates to welfare mom. Hold your anger and try to get my point. Regardless of what the intent is when someone says single mom what it really means is someone who has their hand out and expects special treatment because they are a “single mom” don’tcha know. 90% of those on welfare are “single moms”. Most welfare recipients are defrauding the system. Not necessarily criminals but taking whatever they can get and even turning down work because it would reduce their ability to get “free stuff” from the tax payers. It may be a perfectly legitimate description of your status but whenever I hear it I equate it with someone who is sucking off the government teat at the expense of the working class. I would have far more respect for those who want to use the phrase “single mom” if they also said in the same sentence “who refuses to take any welfare or screw over the father of our children”. But without that I am left with the picture: Or
    You can argue this is unfair but my response would be that it is unfair that I and others have to support 100 million welfare bums.

    • GoneWithThewind –

      You have left a lot of comments hear over the past couple years and yes, you are going to catch hell. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.. I came close to just hitting the delete button – something I rarely do because I encourage discussion.

      Your generalization is totally unfounded. Are their single moms on welfare? Absolutely. Are there people (not just single moms) that suck “off the government teat at the expense of the working class”? Yes and way too many. To generalize that women that use the term “single mom” – 90 percent of them – are welfare bums – ridiculous.

      How many of my readers are single moms? How many of my readers have MOM’s that were single mom’s? How many women out there ARE single moms and NEED public assistance because their piece of crap boyfriend/husband left them AND will not support the kids like they should. How many widows have been left to care for children and need help?

      I totally get that welfare is a broken entity – but taking it out on the many innocent single female parents out there is not only unnecessary – it is flat out wrong.

      Alright Patriots – am I wrong?


  3. In response to “GoneWithTheWind”, I actually will not “give you hell” for your beliefs. Yes, I am a single mom, as are many of my friends, but we don’t live off the govenment. We all have Master’s degrees and are doing quite well, thank you. I have no debt besides my small mortgage and live within my means (Dave Ramsey could have taken lessons from me.) I see your point though. My initial point was spending money prepping vs. $55,000 anticipated college tuition next year. New Jersey is not the cheapest place to live, and since I live within my means, solid decision making is essential. Please be careful when you judge. We are not all one in the same.

  4. Fell free to disagree but make sure you understand what I have said. I was not putting down single mom’s I’m telling you the phrase has a negative connotation and unless it is your intent to create that negative it would be better not to use it. I was pointing out that the phrase “I’m a single mom” usually proceeds an excuse or a plea for more aid. It really doesn’t matter if someone is a single mom or a single dad or a married mom or a married dad or just dating or adopted kids or whatever so you have to wonder why it prefaces a statement or a story. Like saying I have ADHD so don’t expect much from me. Or I have fibromyalgia so can you pull my shift for me. When I was a single dad it never would have occurred to me to preface my discussion with strangers that I’m a single dad so… Every “single mom” appearing before judge judy pronounces that the reason she couldn’t pay her debt was because she is a single mom. It’s an overused phrase that has become an excuse for not being able to do something.

    Anyway I am old and retired and when I grew up people stood on there own two feet so maybe that’s why I failed to realize there are somethings you can’t be honest about. Or if that doesn’t work, I am a white male and have the tendency to say what’s on my mind and forget that other people expect not to have their beliefs challenged. Or, or I’m a single dad and . . .


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