I spent so much time preparing for the big stuff that I overlooked many of the little things. The Zen term for this, I believe, is SNAFU. While I was prepared to weather a total collapse of civilization, be it due to economic upheaval, revolution, human or extraterrestrial invasion, or plague, I completely neglected to factor in the lesser evils. As much as I hate to admit it, it was Shelly’s constant nagging about getting cigarettes that alerted me to the problem.
With the prospect of future bartering in mind, I’d stored several cartons of cigarettes with my supply of emergency freeze dried food, which I kept in a large closet connected to the laundry room. The problem with this location is that keeping up with laundry has not been a priority of mine of late. Had it been, I might have heard or smelled the problem sooner.
It basically came down to this. Shelly badgered me to help her procure cigarettes until she finally wore me down. Desperate for peace and quiet, I told her about the hidden stash of smokes. She kissed me and cursed me for holding out on her. She then rushed off with a spring in her step, and I dared hope for a respite for the rest of the day. That lasted up until I heard her scream.
I immediately envisioned a zombie breach at the back of the house. Against my better survival instincts, I grabbed an iron skillet and made straight for the screams. Shelly stood in the laundry room, shrieking and tugging at her hair while staring into the open closet. I cocked the skillet, ready to let it fly, and yelled for Shelly to run. Ignoring my command, she remained where she was and screeched, “They ate my %#&@ cigarettes.”
I then spotted the damage, and the skillet slipped from my grasp and clanged to the floor. On every shelf, package after package of food had been gnawed open and the contents scattered. At first sight, I believed the destruction total. The closet smelled of rank urine. Feces droppings identified the culprits. Rats.
Among the casualties were Shelly’s cigarettes, which, it turned out, were the cause of her distress. I’ll leave it at that, seeing as how she’ll undoubtedly read this post.
I’ve spent the better part of the day salvaging what I can and estimate we’ve lost more than half the food. I’m certain I could salvage much of it, if not for another of my oversights. I’ve run out of zip-lock baggies with which to reseal the partially damaged packages.
Seems like Shelly’s going to get her wish. Tomorrow we’re going scavenging. Shelly for cigs; me for rat traps, baggies, and as much hard liquor as I can carry.