Posted on: May 24, 2010

by Deborah in the UP

The first time I heard about Y2K was in the Fall of 1998. I had read the news of this possible computer quirk in the Country Side magazine. Of course, we all know now it was a non-event, but it certainly seemed to pose definite problems back then. I’ve no doubt that all the hype and focus on this issue was what prevented it from being a catastrophe, and that’s as it should be. It was a fixable problem, as long as one realized and acknowledged it as a real problem.

Out in the woods, we were already off grid, so the world losing power wasn’t going to directly affect us. Most of the time even the small local power losses went unnoticed by us, unless there was an announcement on the radio. But even though there would be no direct issues, there were still those indirect issues that worried me: the loss of grocery stores and service stations, … no food, no gas, and hungry hoards looking for anything they could take. Pete was convinced there wasn’t a thing to worry about, but I wasn’t so sure. So I doubled my food storage that fall, just to be on the safe side. I’ve always been one to err on the side of caution, so this seemed to be a prudent thing to do, and I didn’t want to go out into the melee if there was one!

What extra did I do? Instead of 100# of flour for the winter, I got a second metal trash can and bought 200#. I did have wheat berries already, to add nutrients back into the white flour, so that wasn’t a concern. If it was made with flour, I could make it: breads, flat breads, tortillas, cookies, pasta, bagels, muffins. We would not want. I took a lot of teasing from Pete’s mom for the 111 cans of tuna fish on the shelf, even though I really like tuna. (yes, that’s one hundred eleven, easy number to remember.) I learned how and canned butter, and bacon, and hot dogs. I bought extra turkeys, cooked and canned those. I stock piled over the counter meds, like aspirin and cold remedies. I added extra soaps and shampoo’s to the already crowded shelves. And I added extra ammo….. for MY guns.

When Pete got angry with me for the extra preps, I tried to explain to him that in the event something did happen, and his parents had to stay with us while the grid was fixed, I wanted to be sure we had enough food… and if nothing happened, then I was all set for the next Fall re-stocking. Didn’t work. He had his views, I had mine, and they were getting further and further apart.

Thru out 1999, the only info I got on the growing y2k situation, was from Country Side, or from the reams of paper that my brother sent, that he had printed off the internet. No internet in the woods, meant very scant current information. Of course, what my brother sent was the very worst possible scenarios, and I had nothing else to give me a balanced view.

As we got closer to 1/1/2000, friends in our small town, decided to have a New Years Eve party. They were leery of admitting concern over what would happen at the stroke of midnight, yet leery of being away from home and all the possible horror stories suddenly unfolding, so the best solution was to have a house party and watch … wait and see if the lights went out or stayed on. The candles were ready and lit, flashlights nearby.

Pete was still mad at me for presenting him with my brothers favorite saying: “I’m prepared to be wrong. Are you?”

To this day, I feel I was right and justified in being prepared for the possibilities we were faced with. But to this day, I also know that I’m often alone in those feelings, and am more cautious in how, and to whom, I share those concerns and what I‘m doing about them. Had Y2K come to pass instead of being a non-event, there would have been some very bad times, but it was a fixable situation, and it would have been fixed… eventually. There are many situations on the horizon now, that aren’t so fixable.

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