I’ve been back three days now, it isn’t an easy adjustment. There are so many people in and around the house that it is kind of hard to deal with. I was pretty much alone for over a month, now I am around a whole lot of folks…young and old. Overwhelming is the best way to describe it.
I’ve been talking a lot to Lisa about what happened after E0 (Event Zero). Yeah, they are calling it E-Zero or E0 for a shorter version. Jim and I had a couple shorter conversations about his view of what was happening. I think I should start writing it down.
Early May 25, in the morning hours, there were a couple of huge explosions to the south. Later they found out that the explosions came from Ft. Bliss 45 miles away in El Paso, Texas. Then a bright light in the sky a little while later. I am assuming that was the EMP explosion because they said all the power went out. Everyone assumed it was some major electrical utility problem, nobody thought EMP at the time. Well, until people started trying to drive to work and no one’s cars would start.
When Lisa realized that her car wouldn’t start she went next door to the Hansen’s to see if they knew what was going on. Jim and his wife talked to her for an hour explaining what they thought was happening. Lisa was in shock but then she became terrified that what I had been talking about for years might actually be happening. Then she remembered all the talks we had about what we should do. She headed back home.
She went to our notebook, our prepper notebook. It is a red 3-ring zippered binder that had all kinds of information in it. Most importantly were the “to-do lists” in case of different emergencies. I had put the lists together over the course of a couple of years. There was the generic list of things to do for any emergency, disaster, or even grid-down events. Then there were a number of sub-lists for specific events. She went right to work. She did things such as:
- Opened the gun safe and got her AR-15 and Sig-P226 out.
- She went to the ammo locker in my shop and got out a 30-cal ammo can of 5.56 M855 ammo and another can of 9mm ammo (Hornady 147gr XTP).
- She went to the other storage locker and got out five 30-round Magpul Pmags for the AR and three 18-round Mec-gar magazines for the Sig.
- She loaded all the magazines, placed a mag in each weapon, then chambered a round. Then topped of the mag.
- In the garage and she dug out her primary tactical box. From that box she got out her 5.11 tactical vest, her Blackhawk drop-leg holster, her Wilderness Instructor belt, and put it all together.
- She placed the AR in the kitchen, the Sig went in the holster.
- Then she got out her IFAK and BOK medical kits.
She kept working down the list’s tasks one by one. She told me she was pretty much in shock but the list tasks kept her moving and doing something. She said she would have probably just sat around doing nothing, in shock, and completely lost had it not been for the lists. She said it was almost as if she couldn’t even think. I know it is called Normalcy Bias…blocking out anything that is out of line with your normal reality.
She said it was noon before she knew it and she was hungry. She ate an MRE on her own for the first time in her life. She liked the nacho cheese spread on the wheat crackers the most. OK, that told me she had to be in shock!
About mid-afternoon Jim and his wife came over to our house and talked to Lisa about some really serious stuff. Jim had a radio that worked and was hearing crazy stuff from Ham radio operators. He wanted to assure Lisa that they were there for her should she need anything. They offered for her to come to her house, she declined. She then handed Jim the letter.
Lisa and I had talked about Jim and his family. We know they are really good people that we can trust. And I mean really trust. Not just neighbors that wave to each other morning and night but the Hansens are seriously nice people. Yeah, they weirded us out with them being Mormons but we saw them as just being good Christian believers. Nothing wrong with that since they weren’t too pushy about it.
Jim and I had a number of really good talks about prepping. They were preppers too and a couple of serious talks later I knew that if anything ever happened to me that I could count on Jim. I wrote the letter based on that. Lisa was nervous about me writing the letter and even more nervous about giving it to him.
She told me that when Jim finished the short letter he handed it to his wife to read. They both had tears in their eyes when they were done reading. Then Lisa started to cry and they all hugged. Jim told me Lisa chuckled while they hugged. Lisa blurted out the question, “Does this make me wife #2?” They all laughed at the reference to Mormons having more than one wife, polygamy. Lisa never really thought that, she knew that Mormons don’t believe in or practice polygamy but wanted to lighten up the moment. They all admitted to me later that it seemed as if they had just experienced my funeral.
They agreed that Lisa would stay at our house because of all the valuable prep gear, equipment, food, etc. But, the Hansens would keep a close eye on her and come to her aid immediately if need be. Hansens even offered their oldest son to come over and stay with Lisa to “help her out.” Yeah, more like guard her and the house.
Late in the afternoon Matt showed up. His wife wasn’t with him, she was home with their adult children and the grandchildren. Lisa said Matt was really worried about what had happened and what might happen next. They invited Lisa to come stay at their house. She declined and explained what had transpired with the Hansens. Matt was grateful for that but he was a little skeptical of the Hansens, he didn’t know them like we knew them. Lisa handed him a letter.
Matt read the letter and was shaking his head by the time he was done. He said he had a hard time believing what I had written in the letter but understood the concern. He thought that this was just a utility company problem and would be fixed within a couple of days. He also assured Lisa that I was fine and probably headed home as they spoke. Matt knew about my job with the government and felt confident that I would probably be home that night or the next day. He knows I have a special clearance ID that allows me to move around during emergencies, even during martial law.
Matt left the house assuring Lisa all was fine and that everything would be OK. His invitation was good for her to come to their house if she wanted. He also said he would come check in on her every day. It was a 1.5mile walk but that was certainly doable each day.
Then the day got even creepier. Lisa started telling me that after it got dark Ray from next door came pounding on the door. We have a strong exterior security door that allows us to open the regular door to talk with someone. Ray was standing there in the dark when Lisa opened the door. She said she could smell the alcohol on his breath and he was obviously drunk…as usual. He kept trying to tell her to let him in so they could talk. She wouldn’t even consider that and told him so. He kept trying to look past her as if he was trying to see what she was up to or what was in the house. Finally she just said good-bye and shut the door.
One thing she was grateful for was Sparky. He is our golden retriever, mixed heavily with mutt, dog. He is about 65 pounds and mostly a sissy. But, Lisa said the whole time that Ray was at the door he was growling. At one point he really started to bark at him. Ray told him to shut-up which just made him growl all the more. Good dog!
That night she heard some gunfire in the distance but nothing much more than just that. But, that was only the beginning. I will write more tomorrow, for now I have a couple things to get done.
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