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Old 07-08-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
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Needs VS Wants

I was talking with my very practical wife, who God bless her, still has not come over from the dark side and in to the light of the prepper’s realm, and the discussion segued in to one of needs versus wants in a time of extreme crisis. While she has fully accepted most of my preps, and that with a smile, she still regards me as slightly eccentric and just a little bit paranoid. We often discuss our government at great length to include the constitutional issues facing us and the massive expansion of government in to our lives. The other day I spoke to my daughter, who is finishing up a month long stay in Europe, and she related a story to me that formed the basis of a very important conversation with my skeptical wife. We were talking about her day, which included a trip to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower when she said that upon returning to the youth hostel that evening, the whole place smelled of “body funk like a skunk”. I laughed it off at the time as she went off on a tangent about how Europeans don’t shower every day, and that her “home stay” sponsors thought her a bit strange for insisting upon a shower each day, explaining that they only showered twice a week or so, and that the custom was a sponge bath most of the time.

My wife, revolted by the idea of not showering every day said something like, “That’s disgusting, how can someone live like that”? I thought for a minute, because I didn’t want to say something stupid and screw up what I sensed was an opportunity to preach about preps a little bit and push for installing the well I have been plotting to install for ten years now. I decided a socratic discussion would force her to say what I wanted to hear her say for so long, so I answered her with a question. “What would you rather have in a grid down situation, good water pressure from our well or air conditioning”? Not ready for this, I could see the gears begin to turn as she ruminated on this for a minute. I turned back to the idiot box and waited for an answer.

Now, I should explain that we have been married for 24 years now and that in that time we have mastered the art of outwitting each other, and have a lot of fun with conversation. Since most couples literally run out of things to say to one another, we decided long ago that no conversation needed to be rushed and that questions could remain questions for as long as was needed to arrive at a correct conclusion. Conversation between us can be casual and quick but it can also be contemplative and take days to finish, with long pauses between bits. This would be one such conversation.

Several hours later, she came in the room and said, “Water pressure of course”. AHA! Sensing a trap, I asked, “Why”? She walked away again and started folding laundry, clearly thinking about a response. I believe she simply thought about my first question and stated what she thought I would want her to say, so now she was really thinking about my one word [vaguely] socratic response. I was having fun now.

Several hours later she came in to the living room and sat down. I could see she was thinking about her response now. After a fashion, she turns to me and says, “Because flushing the toilet, bathing and sanitary conditions far outweigh the luxury of air conditioning. In addition, our propane will only last just so long, and the A/C makes the generator work much harder, consuming more fuel and shortening the amount of time we will be able to keep our food cold and the freezer frozen, so water is far more important”. Good, now we were getting somewhere. A few minutes later I asked her a trick question, “So, how does our water get to us”? Answering immediately she said, “It’s a gravity system, so it comes from the water tower”. “How does it get to the tower in the first place”? “Big pumps………….DAMN”! I had her now. “So, when the lights go out, and there is no power to push that water up the tower, and no jockey pumps to boost pressure, how long will it take until the tower is empty”? No answer. She went back to ruminating for a while, actually……stewing, because I think she knew I had her.

My wife has been against a well for a long time, but purely for financial reasons, since we are on septic tank, and our monthly bill is less than thirty bucks, a quick cost/benefit analysis shows it will take ten years to pay back when you add up the drilling, sleeve and screen, aeration box, pressure bottle, solar panels and batteries. I have raised the idea many times in the past and have been shot down each and every time. Although I haven’t really fought that hard for it before, I really do want to be as independent as is possible because I can feel the end game now and worry about the quick degradation of our infrastructure in financial collapse. I hoped she would cave in but still had my doubts.

It’s always amusing when we’re around folks who don’t know us well, and we get the “Did I miss something” look from folks as we pop out with occasional bits of conversation that are completely removed from the discussion at hand. Our friends are used to it but we have fun with folks because we usually have several on-going discussions, and when talking in a group, can be prompted by the subject and suddenly reply to a three day old question. Sometimes we really do look quite completely insane. I love it.
Well, the next afternoon, my wife came out in the front yard where I was picking up some dead limbs and sticks and said, “Go ahead and dig the damn well, you win”. That was it, no further discussion, no bitching about the price, no questions about the system, just do it.

And to think, just like a Shawshank prison break, it only took ten years! It seems that patience, after all, truly is a virtue.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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My wife isn't as far along as yours apparently is, but she also is tolerating my eccentricities.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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Well played, sir. Well played.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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neat but still a trick (-;

the choice is premised upon a grid failure and if you were agreed on this, the well should have been drilled when this was agreed.

And as the grid failure is now accepted,, a larger generator or ways to cool the house need to be planned ......... he he

how will you keep the septic tank discharge from the proposed well water ?
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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The geology in my part of Florida, very, very near the coast, is largely sand, around two hundred feet deep, which sits on an oolitic limestone formation [primordial reefs and dunes]. Our drain field performs quite well. We have to pump the tank out every four years or so, but did it just last fall, so we're in good shape there.

As for the genset, I need it to create power for about a month while I install my 19 [used to be 20 but I broke one] solar panels. I have a Trace inverter already and a bunch of surrettes that are drained and waiting. As long as I can cool from about 11 in the morning til about 5 in the evening, I'll remain pretty comfortable. My house is nearly perfectly situated so that it never gets direct sun, which helps with my cooling efficiency, and with a deep enough well, I could install cooling system that takes already cool [55 - 60 degree] water from the well, chills it by about 10 - 15 degrees more and run it through fan coils. The guy across the street has one and it works just fine. The onlky problem he has is mineral build-up. Once a year, he drains the system down and runs a product called CLR through it to flush it out. His system costs about a fifth of what I pay to use my straight refrigerant system.

Using solar panels to power the pump, I can cool the house very nearly for free. If we go grid down for any period of time, it becomes entirely about the Anconas and our survival and comfort. The weather in Florida means that when the grid does go down, the population will be radically reduced through sheer attrition, as people realize that life is miserable as hell here without artificial cooling and environmental systems.

When TSHTF, I am well positioned to outwait the fuckers, as they bail out simply because it is so damned miserable.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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house always in shade is good for cooling but where are you thinking of siting the solar panels ?

Are you saying you have the panels etc and plan to install when TSHTF ?
I half suspect you already have a schedule of works and detailed resource programme in place ........... bring it on eh !

Will you line the borehole for a few feet, so the shallow dirty water is excluded from the deep water source ?
Is it going to be a night time job or can you now go legit, as you have the primary approval in place (-;
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:10 PM   #7
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Great story. Marriage and compromise!
I wish the Anconas well!!
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:16 PM   #8
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Great information Ancona Soon you will have one more thing ( along with all the other things you already have done ) that works, so your family can survive what may come in the future . . .

Here is a story similar to yours . . . My wife and I live in a house built in 1888, with very thick walls ( we rarely have to ever turn on the air conditioning ) AND in our utility room there is a hand pump that has been there for many decades. Of course it doesn't pump water at the moment, but there is water 11 feet below the surface and the well goes 11 feet further down, 22 feet total. At the beginning of this summer I think the water was only 8 or 9 feet below the surface. It has been very dry and hot in our " neck of the woods" this summer. This was a well before the utility room was built around the hand pump, no telling how many decades ago. Even though it is not a very deep well ( we are very near a spring 1/2 a block down the road ), this week I am going to have the hand pump replaced with another hand pump ( I don't want to rely on electricity ), new pipe inserted down the hole, and get things fixed so water can be pumped out of it once again. I will test the pump as long as it takes to see how long it takes to pump all or most of the water out of the hole ( hopefully a long time or never . . . ), and see how long it takes the water to replace what I pump out . . .

Here is why I feel I must try to get this well working again.

We live in a small town that would not give me permission to dig a new well outside. So I'm going to try to get our inside water pump working again. I feel I HAVE to give this a shot . . . About 1 1/2 years ago, we had very, very strong winds and rain in our area and our town lost power. We were lucky that we were out of power for only about 1 1/2 days, but some people were out of power for a week or so. While we were out of power for 1 1/2 days ( I used our generator to keep our refrigerator and freezer running ), our town was on the verge of being unable to supply water to everyone because it is a gravity system. No electricity to refill the water tower. THAT is why I hope things will work out ok. But because it is a shallow well, I have no idea if things will turn out ok. If our town is EVER unable to get water to everyone again, I hope to have water to use for two main things. Fill my toilet, and to have something to drink. I am very happy with my Berkey water purifier/filter

AND . . . my wife is a little skeptical about why I want to do this, but she is agreeable to do it.

Ancona, I like your idea about setting up solar panels to run the important things . . . I need to check into that soon, also.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:48 AM   #9
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Ancona,

Thanks to this thread, I brought up the idea of the basic need of water to my wife. She is normally the "everything will be fine" type, but taking a page from your play book, I used the socratic method.

I asked her what would we do if the power went out and/or the water stopped flowing out of the faucet? What if we experience the storms and heat waves hitting most of the U.S. right now? How would give water to her precious dogs?

To make a long story short, I got my wife on board with at least storing water in the house!

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Old 07-09-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
When TSHTF, I am well positioned to outwait the fuckers, as they bail out simply because it is so damned miserable.
Heavily armed and fireproof I would hope.
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cronus View Post:
This was a well before the utility room was built around the hand pump, no telling how many decades ago. Even though it is not a very deep well ( we are very near a spring 1/2 a block down the road ), this week I am going to have the hand pump replaced with another hand pump ( I don't want to rely on electricity ), new pipe inserted down the hole, and get things fixed so water can be pumped out of it once again. I will test the pump as long as it takes to see how long it takes to pump all or most of the water out of the hole ( hopefully a long time or never . . . ), and see how long it takes the water to replace what I pump out . . .
Cronus, welcome to the buggery and good to learn you have an old well.

The fact it exists and has been built around rather than built over, suggests it was once an important resource
A good way to develop any old or new water source is to pump it steadily and regularly as this teases the fines out of the capillaries and up the pump circuit, with the incoming water pressure working in your favour.

Maybe not so good to empty using a handpump but perhaps hire a submersible and work it hard until youve got as much silt out as is practical, then reduce to gentle but regular pumping.

This also gets you some fresher water, as when it moves / flows, it seems to improve in quality ( as a stream cleans up from a sewage outfall ).

The ultimate test is to taste some and if its ok give it some UV then drink it.
Reckon you could have something good there and without the flouride etc that the water utility provides.
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:55 PM   #12
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Thanks for the ideas you mentioned in your post Rblong2us ( especially the part where you said there might have been a good reason why the utility room was built around the well ). I am anxious to see what happens, especially trying what you mentioned:

"Maybe not so good to empty using a hand pump but perhaps hire a submersible and work it hard until you've got as much silt out as is practical, then reduce to gentle but regular pumping."

It probably will have sediments in it at first . . . then, hopefully, the water will eventually be pretty clear. Our small town does indeed use flouride, and lately, because of the dry weather, they have been using chlorine in the water also. But I only drink Berkey water
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:

When TSHTF, I am well positioned to outwait the fuckers, as they bail out simply because it is so damned miserable.

Just remember, when you walk out of your house to spray yourself down with some water to look sweat drenched and disgusted and complain how miserable it is living there without cooling.

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Old 07-10-2012, 11:13 AM   #14
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This would have to be one of my all time favorite thread titles, and ancona spins a good tale indeed.

So much of the error of the world is due to confusing these two, one could almost call it the main mistake people make (all is vanity). You don't actually need much.

I did a few-year experiment in what you NEED. It boils down to shelter (esp when its cold), water (to drink), about 1 standard can of soup a day, and... that's about it - you can wear the same clothes for years. You don't need a bath a month, but it's nice - not a need. After a few years of that one, it's all looked pretty good from my perspective - no where to go but up!

While building out my homestead starting from that point, numerous neighbors would drop by and (not so) politely ask "How can you live like that?". Answer - easy, and free of debt. "Oh, I don't really owe anything, it's all net-zero - my pension will pay off my loans etc.". Not quite, as it turns out. Many of them are now experiencing pain and difficulty, just like banks who claimed "net zero" exposure, and some of them were simply telling untruths - perhaps to themselves as well as to me - you can't tell me the truth if you don't know it (or refuse to accept it). But it is what it is.

Some of them are gone, so I don't get to say "I told you so", and some are still around but now struggling, many for the first time in their adult lives. Having not gone through what I did, they are largely clueless how to shift for themselves when times get rough, and kind of angry that they'd even have to consider doing that vs the system just takes care of it all if they show up to punch a clock, or have set up some "safe" retirement fund. What if the owner of the clock doesn't want your card punched anymore? What if that safe retirement isn't, or inflation makes it useless?

The recent power failure here in the mideast was pretty brutal on these people too. A guy who helps around here just got power back yesterday - no water, no cooking, no home entertainment, no refrigeration for well over a week. Being who he is (tough redneck type) he didn't complain, but boy did everyone else. And they all felt more or less entitled to use my power (got some room in your freezer, pal? Hey, let's watch TV! Can you email so and so?) during their outage, interestingly, almost as if I was maintaining all this for them. Resulted in some fun parties, and no mention of "how can you live like that" - so that part was a little bit gratifying.

But here it comes again. Having become single recently, I've been virtual dating a nice chick who happens to be in ALA right now, running a failing salon business. When I describe my living conditions, I get the "how can you live like that" response, though gently. Because, while not willing to admit it in so many words, she is about to utterly lose that "pushbutton" lifestyle, as all her money got sunk into a business that turned out to be good money after bad, and she now has few options - no money, and in fact fairly serious debt, no job when the doors close...not yet a citizen (Chinese), welfare ain't going to put her up in a nice apartment with plenty of luxuries...

Yet my living conditions are really not bad at all. Yeah, I have to go flip a switch to get hot water, only when I have spare energy to heat it. I have to sometimes turn a valve to let the collected rainwater into my cistern (only when it's free of pollen), and about twice a year, get drinking water into the system for that. I have to fix things when they break or do without. There is no debt, and a pretty steady income, if small. I sometimes have to go out to buy munchies and beer. A real hard life indeed! But not "good enough" for some prissies - I actually do have to lift a finger sometimes, and I get dirty sometimes, heck, even bust knuckles now and then when a wrench slips. The rest of my time is my own, and jealously guarded to do what I want with it. No cel phone - a disaster to some, freedom from interruptions for me.
No cable TV - I don't like wasting time. A real non starter for many. I don't miss it one bit. Rather than passively listen to some doped-up hollywood fantasy all the time, I instead get to talk with intelligent people in a two (or more) way conversation that has real content.

How can THEY live like that? The answer, as they are finding out now for themselves, is that they really can't - in the end, you can't consume more than you produce, and they are finding out that just sitting around unemployed still involves considerable consumption...for things they "need". Yeah, right.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:44 AM   #15
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Ancona and DCFusor, you guys are right on target.

I've been in the "pay off debt and don't acquire any more" mode for a few years now. And, I'm doing pretty well at killing debt. Cutting services, etc. It's amazing how much you really don't miss all of the crap that everyone NEEDS...

My wife likes the nice, convenient things... but she's getting better.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:55 AM   #16
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old Japanese saying: "one tatami when you stand, two tatamis when you sleep, fistfull of rice for a meal."

That is what you NEED, to survive. Not necessarily, what you consider comfortable, or that you have to be content with. But that's what you need. All above is what we LIKE... Which is fine, it is good to be able to do things we like in our lives. But the proper perspective is really liberating.

I personally believe, that every person should go through some real hardship in his/her life at young age, to get this proper perspective, to appreciate the gifts we are blessed with, and to experience the liberating feeling, once you find that understanding.

I really like what I read here in this topic
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:05 PM   #17
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The original quote:
At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that "news" is not something that happens to other people. He might learn how his ancestors lived and that he himself is no different – in the crunch his life depends on his agility, alertness, and personal resourcefulness.
–Robert Heinlein
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
The original quote:
At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that "news" is not something that happens to other people. He might learn how his ancestors lived and that he himself is no different – in the crunch his life depends on his agility, alertness, and personal resourcefulness.
–Robert Heinlein
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...are you suggesting that my personal quote is not original, sir?
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:33 PM   #19
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Of course not, Heinlein's from the 40's or so is the one most know the best, is all.
I meant this one:
Quote :
I personally believe, that every person should go through some real hardship in his/her life at young age, to get this proper perspective, to appreciate the gifts we are blessed with, and to experience the liberating feeling, once you find that understanding.
Which seems to say just about the identical thing.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:37 PM   #20
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yeah, I understand, just pulling your leg! I did not know that gentleman Heinlein, (though I've seen this quote around here couple of times), and secondly, I hold the ones that I arrived at myself, dear to my heart!
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