Monday, October 14, 2013
The Gathering of the Clan (and associated dogs and ponies).
I strongly suspect that this had been pre-coordinated with my wife, because bedrooms had been readied above and beyond those I did early in the week. Clean linens on the beds, towels and such laid out on the beds, and the rooms dusted and aired. I did not know this until the convoy arrived. My belief is that my daughter and my wife set all this up on the sly, thinking I would grouse about having so many young people here. My daughter often adheres to the policy of doing what she wants to do and then, presented with a fiat accompli, I have to be nice about it.
The weekend was really pretty pleasant. All of the young-lings , mid to late twenties, were polite young adults with nice personalities. I gather that they , like my kids, all had jobs but the jobs didn't pay enough for a very luxurious life style. This was about the only kind of vacation they could afford. We took them to the stables to go horseback riding, and to a state park where they could walk around the lake or up on the trails. The weather was perfect for that kind of thing. My wife and I stayed in the apartment, as the visitors tended to stay up late and I go to bed at nine.
Two of these young people had never seen a night sky unspoiled by city lights before in their entire lives. My daughter told me that on the way here, they were constantly pulling over once they got off the freeway and into the Tennessee mountains, just to look at the stars. Hard to believe, but I assume it's true.
The young man who has been in so much trouble with the law over pot turned out to be well mannered, and very polite. He has a good head on his shoulders, makes intelligent conversation, and did all he could to be helpful. He was very grateful for everything anyone did for him. I enjoyed his company and told him he could come back when his father and my daughter come down again. He has a job at a pizza place now, and perhaps his story will turn out alright after all.
From a survivalist planning point of view, I noticed these things. The rate of consumption of supplies, of every kind, for twelve people is astronomical as opposed to two. My hot water heater usually comes on twice a week. I think it was on at least 10 times over the weekend. The guests like long, luxurious hot showers. We have a huge , original eagle claw cast iron tub up on the top level in the bathroom there, and it was a popular item with the ladies. However, filling it up takes a huge amount of hot water. So the propane tank is down quite a bit. Not a problem, except I need to raise the number of gallons that constitutes "call the gas company and have the truck come out" level.
I ran eight loads of laundry. Usually I run about one small load a week. Again, my dryer is propane powered, so I need to keep more as a minimum level. If something happens and my son and daughter have to get back down here, I have a strong feeling that they will not be alone. That might be something I need to explore with her, who might be coming back in an emergency, and who would be going to their own parents homes.
In terms of food, it is absolutely amazing how much these young people eat. Even the girls were big eaters. Of course, the food was very good and I gathered that many of these folks live on the meals they can get at work for a small fee (one of their benefits), and then Ramon Noodles and cheaper foods at home. If it's not near the end of the week of payday. In that event , I think some of them don't eat at home at all.
We consumed piles of hamburgers, country ham, eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits, bread and all the standard fare . I went into our pantry located off the kitchen just a bit ago and was very surprised to see that about half the food in it was gone. We did not eat all of this. When it was time to pack up, my wife took the girls to the different store rooms and loaded them up with canned corn, peas, spam, Hormel's Chili, and big plastic jars of snack foods. We gave my daughter and my son a big sack of Bear Creek dehydrated meals to distribute. We buy these things by the case when they are on sale, and keep a lot of it. My wife gave each couple a country ham in a linen bag. I doubt that most of them had ever eaten country ham before they came here, but they learned how to prepare it by watching my wife and daughter. A country ham will go a long, long way because you can't eat a lot of it at one sitting ,and it will keep a long time. We depleted the canned goods to a small extent and will have to replace the hams, but we felt good about being able to help the twenty somethings with some decent food and some variety.
All in all, it was a unique experience for me. For one thing, we never have guests. I didn't actually mind it, because when I got tired I could go to the apartment, and these people were considerate, appreciative and were good guests. They were all hard workers up in the city, and doing the best they could. I was young once but thanks to the Marines, not poor at this age. It's very hard to be in your twenties now.
I was exhausted when they all pulled out, and have slept most of the day, but we are getting everything back to normal now. I'm sure when I have rested and had time to think it over, I'll derive more good planning data from this three day sojourn. For now I'm satisfied just to have successfully hosted that number of individuals.