Report from the OP, May 7, 2022

I don’t know what concerns me more-what I see or how people are reacting to it.

The is representative of nearly all the shelves in one local grocery store.

I took that picture on Wednesday. It’s just one grocery store of three I visited, trying to fill a normal grocery list. I failed. I got most of what I wanted, but not all. I’m just grateful that I’m not trying to add to the stockpile. I feel that I should be, but we’re trying to figure out the answer to the question of “Add what?’ The freezer is full to bursting, and realistically, there isn’t room for another freezer. We still have limited space left where we could store items in buckets. The room to store things like flats of canned goods is very constrained, but we might get in a bit more. We have plenty of everything we eat and some items that, despite Mrs. Freeholder’s protestations, I’m betting she will eat if she gets hungry enough. I’ve added a couple of cases of MREs recently, just because you need some self-contained stuff that you can grab and run with. But realistically, other than buying more of the same, a lot of which is subject to those protestations, I’m at a loss of what to stock up on. How deep should the pantry go? “Deeper” isn’t an answer, despite all the YouTube prepper channels that are selling their breathless hyperbole of impending doom and destruction. If you have no plan in your buying, how do you know you’e buying the right stuff?

At least I have shelves that are full and stacks of buckets. I know, intellectually, I probably have as much as I can realistically use, given the totality of our situation. If we somehow manage to go into full-blown famine, a situation I don’t see happening, we’re good for about 2 months past the exhaustion of most of our meds. The folks I saw shopping I don’t believe are as far ahead of the game. They picked up something, looked at it, then looked at the shelf tag and then put it back on the shelf. Some of them would shake their heads. From their carts, they gave the appearance of someone on a budget who was finding it easy to stick to it-because they couldn’t afford anything. I feel for them. From what I saw in terms of price increases since I last grocery shopped, we’re all going to be there soon enough.

The only aisles that were well stocked were the fizzy drinks and chips. Either they had just been restocked or, I suspect, are getting passed over to allow folks to buy actual food. I could hear my late father-in-law, who was a route salesman for Frito-Lay, saying that no matter how bad it got, people would find a buck for their snacks. Of course, that was in the 70s when a dollar was still worth something. Now it’s worth 3¢. People are doing without snacks.

Fox Business and others are reporting on a dire shortage of baby formula. Contrast media, used for CT scans and MRIs, is short. There’s a shortage of flowers just in time for Mother’s Day. Water is shorter than ever in the US West. Labor is short everywhere.

Gas has continued to rise since my last report. This morning I saw $4.13/gallon for regular. This afternoon I saw my first station that had ran out of diesel. This is Not Good. I am reconsidering yet again just how much travel we may do this year.

Spicy times aren’t coming, they’re here. We’d better start reacting accordingly.

I’ve spent several mornings participating in the political process. It’s early voting season in NC, and I’ve been at the polls, handing out literature for a friend who is running for state senate. Voting has been slow, with less than 100 voters at our location on any given day so far. All of us working for candidates find the turnout disappointing. For an election that has been touted as such a big deal, it doesn’t seem many people are interested in it. Some say it’s slow because people are waiting for Election Day itself, because they’re afraid that their vote will be “lost” if they vote early. I hate to tell them, if it can be lost early, it can be lost on Election Day as well. As someone who has went through poll-worker training, I can tell you that even though Dominion has nothing to do with our county’s system, the thing is shot through with opportunities for cheating. The good thing is that one person couldn’t do it. It would take several, working in concert. Obviously, that doesn’t make me sleep any better.

A lack of voters leaves us with plenty of time to talk. We’re all working for evil (R) candidates, so we’re mostly on the same wavelength. We’ve thrashed the last election to death. Everyone knows it was a tide of fraud, both in state and federal elections. Some are sure, with some thin proof, that even some of our local elections were rigged. If it’s true, I can’t say I’m shocked. None of us has totally lost faith in the system, but we are far past beginning to wonder if it can be saved. We all think that this early voting business has gotten out of hand. In NC it’s three weeks long and costs a fortune. I will note that our county has made it rather inconvenient for the group that screams “VOTER SUPRESSION ELEVENTY!” at every turn to use it by setting all the polling places in less than convenient locations. Good. We have reached a consensus that early voting should be two to four days long and should be held only at the Board of Elections offices. While I could support this, I’d prefer no early voting at all. I came up voting on Election Day, and it worked. You got to stand in line and talk to your neighbors. Of course, the total population was half what it is now, so maybe something like early voting or Elections Days is inevitable, until we can move voting to the blockchain (or not).

We have some folks in their 20s who are working the pollingplaces, and that’s good to see. They’re so unjaded and are totally lacking Mr. Spock’s Eyebrow. It’s precious. 🙂 I wonder if I was ever that young and naive. But it truly is good to see them out there, talking to the voters and pitching their candidates. I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one of the ones I’ve met running for office in a few years.

Mrs. Freeholder and I are talking to some tradesmen about various home improvement items that she would prefer to have completed before the grandkids arrive. Our bank accounts are twitching in fear. I suspect that we’ll find we can’t afford some of them, or that the necessary materials will simply be unavailable.

Stay frosty, dear readers. Out here.

4 thoughts on “Report from the OP, May 7, 2022

  1. $4.59 a gallon for regular gas at the WaWa here down the street from Ephrata, PA in Lancaster County. My sister says it was about 30c a week and half ago. Sheesh. What is going on?! In this country; in this world???

  2. Gas prices here are steady, I guess, about $4.30 depending where you are. Diesel is $6 and up, heating oil is about the same. Both of those will cause problems for many people.
    I still don’t see price increases at the grocery yet. Some items went up a bit a couple months ago, but have stayed there. Meats went up a lot, but there are still sales on burger, pork, and chicken. Notably this week, there was not much chicken in the fresh case. Not much flour on the shelf either, and less sugar than normal. Canned vegetables were stocked, and pasta. The pasta used to be .89 / lb, now is 1.25. Quite a bit of cat food on the shelf too.

  3. I’ve read that prices for vegetables and fruit are going up, but I don’t buy much of those, we grow our own. Dairy has stayed about the same, although butter is up .50 to $1, and eggs have doubled I think. Hot dogs, kielbasa, sausage, deli meats have all gone up quite a bit. I expect to see huge increases in a month or two because of the cost of transport.

  4. Went by the WaWa on edge of Ephrata, PA yesterday, May 17th. Their price for regular gas is now $4.85 and their price for diesel is $6.45 now. Un- #$@&ing believable!?! My niece, Jamie, who has a 6 month old daughter, Jaclyn May (officially known as “JackJack” by her brother & sister), is desperate for baby powder formula now. Is reaching out to her Mom and her Mom to me for help in finding the particular brand & type she’s been feeding Jackie. Oh well. Life goes on in these United States of America and the World at large.

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