While reading Kathy Harrison’s book, Just in Case; How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens, I stumbled upon a paragraph that alarmed me:
“Take stock of the skills and knowledge you may need in a crisis. A working knowledge in areas such as gardening, food preparation, first aid, sewing, home repair, and auto maintenance will never be wasted. Acquiring those skills will help you confront adversity without panic.”
Why did I frantically underline that paragraph, burst into tears, and bang my head on the table??
Because, of the skills listed here, I have 0.25 of them.
Yup. Basically, I can thread a needle, replace a flashlight battery, apply a band-aid, and follow a simple recipe. Otherwise, I’m toast. That’s how I came up with a grand total of zero-point-two-five skills out of six. Not to mention survival skills like fishing, hunting, trapping, purifying water, and building fires – important skills that aren’t even on Harrison’s list, which makes it 0.25 out of 11. (Sorry, Mom! It wasn’t for lack of trying on your part. It’s just that the only thing I remember from my 4-H experience is a story about some girl falling off of the monkey bars and biting her tongue off. That story was told at the table as we stitched our lavender laundry bags. Believe me, I, too, wish I would have remembered something about making a draw-string instead.)
No use bemoaning lost opportunities.
I’ve decided to take myself to Practical Skills School. Effective immediately. Because if there’s one skill I do have, it’s the love of learning (that’s one thing I did retain, Mom!).
So, learn I will.
I’ve drafted a year’s worth of curriculum that will help me to tackle one or two areas each month, at least mastering the basics. I happen to be married to an Eagle Scout/ Mechanic/ Plumber/ Genius, so I usually snuggle up on the couch while he attractively fixes, mixes, and mends. But I’ve decided to jump right in next to him and learn a thing or two. Ryan’s a fantastic teacher, so I know I’m in good hands. Of course, we’re fully intending on bringing the girls along with us for the fun – when it’s safe and all! So hey, get out your notebooks and join us if you’d like. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on my progress like any good Julie and Julia fan would.
January Jump: Make Preparedness Notebook; Build Fire; Create a Home-Escape Plan (hopefully not needed directly upon building fire)
February First Aid: Attend Red Cross CPR/ First Aid class; update home and car first aid kits
March Maintenance: Check and put spare tires on both cars; master automobile emergency procedures; update car emergency kits (hopefully not needed directly after fiddling around in the engine)
April Angling: Catch, fillet, and fry a fish (the same fish for all three steps); Organize home paperwork (i.e. update passports, etc.); sprout seeds
May Flowers: Plant flowers and vegetables; Get the whole family out on bikes, pump up the tires, and conquer some hills
June Jumpers: Overcome ridiculous fear of sewing machines; make one summer dress for each daughter
July Try: Go on an over-night camping trip, complete with tent, campfire, trusty husband, sharpened utility knife, and foil babies; Vivienne takes swimming lessons
August Assessment: Assess food storage and supplies; make menu plans for stored foods; can something!
September Sewing: Return to the machine. Make three decorative pillows.
October Automobiles: Return to the cars. Replace tires again; check oil; practice emergency procedures
Nutty November: Trap something furry (do not eat it); *try* to (hunt) Thanksgiving dinner (trapped-furry-thing doesn’t count)
December Delight: Evaluate all of the ways in which the girls and I have grown in womanliness, confidence, and preparation.