Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to Get an A+ on your Preppers Report Card

Jeep Preppers! 500 points!! Courtesy of Nat Geo
 The Boy Scouts of America, arguably one of the largest organizations for boys in the world has as their very motto: "BE PREPARED." If you're not a mormon, odds are you know one and how incredibly tedious we are about being prepared and storing food. Then there's the Amish, Mennonites, farmers, hunters...such a large part of the population understands the concept of being prepared.

But being prepared is still being overlooked. So many people live day to day and are blissfully unaware of what is going on around them...let alone what COULD possibly happen in their future. "How is this possible?", I wonder to myself. Some people just don't "get it." But for the rest of us that do, this post if for you.

Being a part of a rapidly growing prepper/survivalist movement like we have today, it is very easy to find information on how to get prepared and where to start. When I first began blogging and watching YouTube videos from other preppers, I learned volumes about gardening, weaponry, home/self defense, canning, hunting, homesteading, and the list goes on and on.

I spent most of my time on the Grand-daddy of all survival sites: SurvivalBlog. James W. Rawles has really blazed a trail in establishing a HUGE database filled with thousands of articles submitted by readers. From there, I branched out and joined dozens of bloggers like Patrice Lewis at Rural-Revolution and YouTube channels like LDSPrepper, which catered to the world of being prepared.

Patrice at
Whether you've been prepping for years or just getting started, one thing that you should ask yourself is "Where am I at today in my preparations?" Hence, the reason for this post (FINALLY, you gasp?) I know, I blabber...but I digress.  I found a terrific video by a YouTube channel that I subscribe to called The Doomsday Prepper Report Card.  Little did I know, SouthernPrepper1 is the "evaluator" for the preppers that go on the National Geographic show called Doomsday Preppers. It is his job to evaluate how well the participants do on their prepping and give them a report card at the end of the show.

The value in this video, whether you like the Nat Geo show Doomsday Preppers or not, is that it gives you categories and subcategories on what exactly you should be preparing. I've written it out in list format AND linked to his video at the bottom of this post. I recommend you watch it. If you're like me, you learn (and are entertained more) by visual stimulation.

This is NOT all inclusive but it IS a great tool to begin evaluated your preps. The video goes into MUCH more detail. You really should watch it.

Five Major Categories of being Prepared by SouthernPrepper1:

1- Food (20 points)
a) 10 points -  Stored Food - 2200 calories per person in your group/family per day for a FULL year.
b) 5 points - Resupply Plan: using garden or greenhouse, orchard, livestock, or fish.
c) 5 points - Preserving the Food: canning, salting, freezing, dehydrating, smoking, or root cellar.

2 - Water (15 points)
a) 5 points - Water Storage: one gallon per person per day in your group/family for 90 days.
b) 5 points - Water Resupply: swimming pool, lake, river, well, spring, pond, rainwater collector, etc.
c) 5 points - Water Purification: boiling, pasteurizing, bleach/pool shock, and ceramic/sand filters.

3 - Shelter (23 points)
a) 5 points - Your Location: city or suburbs, which state, potential disaster nearby?
b) 5 points - Secondary Shelter: bunker/safe room, basement, root cellar, etc.
c) 4 points - Power Generation/Fuel Stored: solar, hydro, wind, gasification, steam, or generator.
d) 3 points - Heating and Cooling: wood stove (renewable=good), propane, etc. Shade for cooling.
e) 3 points - Cooking: wood stove, rocket stove, propane, campfire, etc.
f) 3 points - Bug Out Location: secondary location, secure, stocked

4 - Security (20 points)
a) 5 points - Training/Experience: military, law enforcement, personal protection training
b) 5 points - Firearms: quality/quantity, ammunition, accessories, improvised
c) 5 points - Security Enhancement: night vision, thermal, alarm system, body armor, NBC protection fortification
d) 5 points - Networking / Survival Group: a lone wolf won't last long...unless you're Chuck Norris, of course.

5 - X-Factor (21 points)
a) 5 points - Medical: supplies, training, doctor/nurse/dentist/vet
b) 4 points - Communication: HAM, CB, FMRS/GMRS, field phones, training
c) 4 points - Bug Out Vehicles: 4 wheel drive, large cargo carry, regular vehicle
d) 4 points - Barter Items: stored everyday consumables, gold/silver, renewable source (firewood, etc)
e) 4 points - Special Talent/Skill: what can you do for trade/barter?

Here is a little video of our own bug out location and how we incorporate the environment into our OPSEC (Operational Security).


Finally, a THANKS! to Natalia at Prep Utility Vehicle for prodding me to write today. This post is for her Saturday Blog Hop. Stop by and join her in her little slice of Canadian heaven.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bug Question : What is this critter?

I came home from work a few mornings ago and found my metal garage door COVERED in these things.  They were no other place on the house.  I'm guessing they were enjoying radiant heat? 
Just wanted to make sure these little guys weren't anything to worry about (either for the kids or garden).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Radiology Employee (ME!) Seeking Better Job

Taking a chance and posting my scary mug.
I got the email around noon today. The job I interviewed for last week chose, well, not me.  I felt I had a really good shot at this one. It was for the Radiology Director position in a small town. A perfect size hospital with 25 beds. Although small in size, they have PET/CT, Mammography, a Dexa scanner, 160 slice CT scanner, and of course x-ray, fluoroscopy, MRI and ultrasound machines. All the bells and whistles.

I had three perfect references that I've known personally and professionally for almost ten years: a physician, a police officer, and an ICU nurse.  I've been trained in Xray, CT Scanning, MRI Scanning, Dexa Scanning, Ultrasound (including General, OB/GYN, and Vascular studies), and PACS (Picture Archival Communication System) Administration. I can put in PICC lines and start IVs among many other skills. I don't know Mammography because men typically aren't allowed in the field. PET/CT is fairly new and I have't worked at many hospitals that even have it. I'm the TOTAL package, right?

I completed my Bachelor's degree in Science back in 2001. I've gone back to school twice, each time for two year programs, to learn more Radiology specific skills. Now I'm working on my Master's of Science in Radiologic Sciences. My friends joke that a lot of people go to school as long as I have...they're just called Doctor when they graduate. Har har. My track record should scream "I set goals and I achieve them!"

My role model and me standing next to
my CT Scanner at work.
Yet the job I want most, the one where I could lead an entire staff of Radiology employees to victory, is the one I just can't seem to land: Radiology Director.  This was my fourth attempt at a Radiology Director position and I'll keep applying. Bambino was willing to strike out to achieve his  goal...and so am I.

"In 1923, Babe Ruth broke the record for most home runs in a season. That same year, he also broke the record for highest batting average. There is a third record he broke that year that most people don't know about: In 1923, Babe Ruth struck out more times than any other player in Major League Baseball." -Simon Sinek from

I seem to be caught in the age old catch-22: they want someone with experience but how do you get experience if they won't promote you to the job? I refuse to lie on my resume (in an attempt to church-up my experience) and my loyalty, perhaps unfortunately, has kept me in the same hospital system for eight years with no promotion in status. Sure, I've gone up the ranks from X-ray Tech to CT Tech to Ultrasound Tech but no merit raises. I've been at the same rate of pay since 2007.

I see people hopping from hospital to hospital in order to bump their salaries a little each time. I think that's tacky. I'd rather stay loyal and work with a great team. I'm happy to be one of the few guys in the hospital at night which therefore requires I do most of the code chest compressions.  It also allows me to be one of the few responders to security situations in our Emergency Room (fun!). Being 6'3" and 270 lbs means I don't need help moving patients on and off gurneys, which frees up staff to do other duties...but perhaps I should reevaluate my loyalty?

But there no doubt in my mind why I do what I do.

My perfect hospital (you're out there somewhere!):
  • rural, small...the farther out the better. It is in this setting that I would be most useful with my multiple modality training. Where I work now, I cover the jobs of three people. Imagine what I could do in the hinterboonies!
  • snowy climate. I've been in Arizona for 20+ years and I miss the snow. I would love to see leaves change colors and enjoy a change in scenery. I've had enough cacti to last a lifetime.
  • trees. Big, huge trees. My perfect hospital is near lots of big, green trees and mountains. My home would be a nice homestead not too far away.  Perhaps within horse-riding distance ;-)
  • community involvement. My perfect hospital has annual events in town like car shows, fun runs, local radio show, carnival/parade events, etc.

So if any of you work in the field or know someone looking to hire, feel free to pass my name along. I'm ready for a change. I have a lot to offer and would be happy to chat on the phone, Skype, or whatever it takes.

aka The Orange Jeep Dad

For you business folks out there, come visit me on LinkedIn and see my CV: and let's LINK UP!

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to get AMMO when there is NONE at the store.

Image courtesy of
DrudgeReport: "'Homeland Security' Buys 1.6 Billion Bullets... "

Crap, I better get busy before they're all gone...

My modest weapons cache is steadily growing and a recent inventory of ammunition indicated I was woefully ill-prepared.  I began stopping by the usual places on the way home from work, hitting a couple of stores every other day. What soon became painfully obvious was that there was a huge ammo crunch in my area...or so I thought.

Realizing what a waste of gas is was to drive around looking for ammo, I began calling local stores. My local Walmart Superstore informed me that they were out of ALL ammo and didn't expect to be restocked until March 2013. The employee then proceeded to inform me that ALL Walmarts in a 150 mile radius were out of ammo. "Yeah, right," I thought. (It wasn't just MY area, it is NATIONWIDE)

So I began calling Walmart stores located a good 100 miles away from me. Son of a...! Sure enough, several large box stores hundreds of miles away were bare. I finally called a good 300 miles out to what I considered the hinterboonies and was told they had two boxes of .40 cal left and that was it.

Courtesy of my friend at Planning and Foresight
Having a world of information at my fingertips (read: YouTube), I quickly began studying up on reloading. There are several well made videos on how to reload different calibers and many include cost breakdown analysis. Concluding that this may be a future hobby for me, I shelved the idea as a possible Plan C.

Then I stumbled across Plan B. While target practicing at a local indoor range, I noticed a lack of ammo on the purchasing shelf. When I commented on this to the helpful staff, they shared what was soon to be my saving grace. "We have plenty of ammo to sell, but it HAS to be used on our shooting range only." And the bonus, some of it was cheaper "reload" ammo and didn't cost as much as professional grade.

Since I brought three weapons with Wifey and my neighbor brought her new xD 9mm, we had ample reason to repeated visit the ammo counter and request yet another box of this and another box of that. Once I would get down to half or less of my ammo remaining, we'd take turns requesting another box and put the partial in our BOB (bug out bag). Not that staff would notice, the place was so busy we had to wait 45 minutes to get a shooting lane. My instincts also tell me that the staff isn't too worried about letting some ammo go home with friendlies either.

Two plus hours on the range and we ended up taking home 300+ rounds of .22, 200+ rounds of .40, and 200+ rounds of .38 special. Our goal wasn't to be greedy and rape the ammo counter. In fact, we came in with 250 rounds of 9mm and left with none. I let my neighbor and Wifey burn up our 9mm in the new xD since we sold her Taurus a while back.

Wifey looking MIGHTY FINE!
The range made good  money on us, we took home some decently priced ammo to add to our cache and got a good two hours of target practice checked off in the meantime. I REALLY wished I could have taken home the piles of brass. The idea of using that for reloading had my head spinning.

A good poll with insightful comments is listed at Planning and Foresight.  Paul J. Watson communicates the breakdown of ammo purchases during the  recent frenzied buying by our friendly government. He calculates over 1.6 billion bullets have been purchased or are being purchased right now.

Don't wait friends. Uncle Sam is stocking up and so should you. Be it lucky hit-and-miss purchases at box stores, reloading, or range ammo...go get it...and FAST!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Linda Achley didn't know she was 40 weeks.

Image courtesty of
Being both a parent and employed in the medical field, I was intrigued by the headline: "Unaware of pregnancy, Michigan woman delivers 10-pound baby" on Google's news homepage. 

Not many things surprise me these days but I HAD to find a picture of what a person looks like that goes 40 weeks without knowing there is a TEN POUND BABY IN THEIR BODY.

So, with a little searching, I found some images of LInda Achley of Michigan.

Image courtesy of

From "
A Michigan woman reportedly traveled to Allegiance Health Friday, telling doctors she suspected she was suffering from a hernia. Instead, she gave birth to a ten-pound baby girl."


Linda's husband Mike. Photo courtesy of J. Scott Park/

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


PLEASE honor me with the job promotion...
Paychecks sprinkled in throughout the hospital all week last week. Some got them as early as Tuesday. The majority of our staff received them on Friday, one full week from the actual payday. Now we're told that we "should" get our next check this coming Friday. Time will tell.

We lost 40% of our ICU nursing staff due to the no-money-for-payroll debacle. A "code purple" was issued which signified a crisis and requires that all ambulances divert to other facilities until we are cleared. Our crisis was the fact that we didn't have enough staff to run the hospital. Some employees flat out quit.  Others called in sick while they tried to figure out how they were going to pay their mortgage due on the first of the month with no paycheck.

When staffing agencies were called, there was no help given. Seems we owed them money also. Things have quieted back down somewhat now. I suppose it is the calm before the (possible) storm.  A co-worker told me today that he has put out eight or nine resumes in the past week. He's not messing around. With two babies and a wife at home, he's actively searching for a more steady employer...even if it means a pay cut.

I had an interview today for what would be considered a promotion. It might be exactly what we've been hoping for: small town, small hospital, tight community.  In my alternate universe, I get the job and it comes with an increase in pay. No more night shift and a very occasional weekend (instead of every weekend on-call). I would find a nice homestead with a fair amount of land. We'd build up to having cattle, ckickens, dogs and pigs. Bills would be slashed by home schooling and small town costs of living.

But until I find out how the interview was perceived, I'm sitting idly by in this universe.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't Underestimate the Importance of Community

Came home this morning from my last shift of the week to find an entryway full of bags fiiled with food.  Our neighbors brought them over after hearing about our delayed paycheck.

We became involved with our local church almost five years ago.  This is just one example of how important it is to belong to a community.

God bless everyone and their kind thoughts and words.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SHTF is here. My employer had NO money for payroll.

Whaddya mean "There's no money for payroll?!?"

Let the SHTF Begin!

First, it was a text from my Director: "Direct deposits will not be happening this week. You will be issued a paper check on Friday at 3 o'clock instead." I've grown accustomed to my direct deposit hitting my account around 3am every other Friday. I've been with this particular hospital system for right around 4.5 years. Only one time prior did they experience a "glitch" and we have simply issued a paper check on payday instead of our direct deposits.

Then, on Friday, we were told: "Checks won't be ready until 4pm."  Then 5pm. Then Saturday. Then on Saturday, we were told it would be Monday. Having worked the night shift Sunday night, I was dead asleep when I received a text Monday afternoon saying: "Emergency meeting at 3pm today."

Oh crap. Wifey and I had discussed what would happen over the weekend if it turned out that I never got this paycheck. In the forefront of lots of co-workers' minds was the fact that another local, rural hospital had recently closed overnight with NO notification to its employees.  To keep you up to speed, the meeting was to tell us that we MIGHT get paid on FRIDAY now. But management PROMISED it was coming. Time will tell.

So, after lengthy discussion, Wifey and I have switched into survival mode. We recounted all the prepping and training we've done over the last three years with the helpful guidance of,,, and several other prepping and homesteading websites.

Starting Monday morning, our eldest two daughters (remember, we have six girls) rode their bicycles to school for the first time ever. Luckily, all six girls had just received them for Christmas from Santa. The end result, they LOVED it.

Then we planned out how we would start introducing our food preps into our daily meals. Powdered milk is high on my list because we chug through more than one gallon per day. I recommended making a full gallon and presenting it to the little ones without mentioning that it wasn't regular milk. I settled for Wifey's suggestion to mix it half-and-half with regular milk for the first batch to ease them into it. Milk being the staple that it is at our house, we have no room for a picky eater to decide they didn't like the new version.

I spent the evening printing out meals-in-a-jar recipes and we will start tomorrow on making a dozen or two of these. We decided it was time to start trying our preps and discovering what we like and don't like thus helping us learn what NOT to buy any more of in the future. We won't use oxygen absorbers because we will begin using them for at least one meal per day.

The huge cauliflower in our garden right now will help
reduce grocery bills.
As luck would have it, our family Suburban was in the shop for a new starter when this debacle derailed us.  There it sits, ready to be driven home, if only we could pay the $667 in repair costs. This has forced us to reroute and rethink our driving habits. I can walk or ride a bike to work if necessary (assuming I keep the same job.) The only driving chore left is to drive the elementary school kids to school (a keen 24 miles one-way, yes, ouch is right.)

Which brings us full circle to homeschooling again. We discuss it EVERY year. Now, with the thought of only having one vehicle or perhaps losing our only income, homeschooling is on our radar again.  We need to discuss this MUCH more because as I have blogged before, the last thing Wifey and I want to do is screw up our children's education by trying to educate them when we're not sure we are adequate teachers.

So here we are, Tuesday at 5am. We'll be making NO runs to the grocery store this week. We're treating it just like a true SHTF scenario. We'll make our own milk, eat our food storage or food from our garden (you should see our cauliflower!) The kids will ride bikes to school and then the school bus. My last shift is tonight (Tuesday night) and starting Wednesday, we'll be cleaning and reorganizing the house to see what can be used immediately, stored for later use or donated to make space.

In a way, I almost feel like this is our wake up call for being wasteful. There are always lights on in our house. Food gets thrown away from every meal. Clothes are left on the floor for days as if they aren't important. It is time to tighten it up at our house. Everything and everyone will have a purpose and this will be a tremendous learning lesson for our children.

Bring it on Mr. Fan. Throw that S**t at us. We're ready!


So, what would be first on YOUR list if you weren't given your next paycheck?