In early March, I knew things were getting bad in the US when, in the midst of a vacation overseas, someone mentioned that our flights back might be cancelled (this is in early March). I mean, China is a long way away right? Wrong. Just 14 hours away, these days.
Then, once I got home, I went shopping because we had been out of town for a while. My local IGA. Out of toilet paper, out of paper towels, out of disinfectant spray, wipes, and every other damn form of disinfectant. No goddamn Windex even. I check Amazon, nothing. Target, nothing, CVS, nothing, Walgreens, nothing. The world has simply run out of that stuff. There is no bottled water anywhere. Now this baffles me. Do people think that their taps are going to run dry? Freakin’ idjits.
I note, however, that the store has plenty of Vodka, Scotch, Bourbon, Rum. Now I know that the customers are idjits. Buy water and leave the booze? Plenty of Jägermeister (O.K., this proves not everyone is an idjit). Jägermeister lacks the alcohol content to be a disinfectant, even though it has exactly the right taste.
I check out our existing supplies. Using the genius toilet paper usage internet app, we determine we have 126 days of the stuff in the basement. Plenty of paper towels. 5 containers of Clorox wipes. Liquid soap and anti-bac soap in every bathroom. A few bottles of Windex and Clorox cleaning spray (that kills 99.5% of germs!). In the freezer, I also have 4 quarts of beef stock, two quarts of fish stock, and 1 unidentified quart of something that might be veggie stock or chicken stock. I have 10 pounds of ground bison (which no one in the family will eat but me) and 4 or 5 bison strip steaks. I have a couple pounds of frozen shrimp and two packages of lollipop lambchops left over from a gift from my father (that makes these lambchops a few years old).
I have enough Keurig coffee pods to fuel the neighborhood and more on the way via auto-shipment. The pantry has a few pounds of pasta, canned tomatoes, soup, refried beans, and garbanzo beans. There are a few cans of tuna, chopped clams, and anchovy paste (really, I got no idea why) and anchovies in oil. There are more packages of tuna. I am good on blue cheese olives. Good on mustard and soy sauce and veal demi-glace. I have plenty of scotch and a few bottles of vodka and one of just about everything else. We have enough wine. Low on beer, but we don’t really drink a lot of beer. Note please that all of this is simply serendipity. I inherited my father’s taste for quantity shopping. I am not a survivalist. This is normal, unbelievably.
So, we go into isolation in rather good shape. My mouth will be fed, and my butt wiped, and my hands washed. And hopefully in that order. All good. We will survive.
The N95 masks I ordered in early February arrive in late March. The three liters of hand sanitizer I ordered in mid-February (from Estonia, I think) have yet to arrive. I found an industrial supply place online and ordered 4 gallons of a hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant. We will see when or if that arrives. When someone in your house has a compromised immune system, it pays to pay attention.
Kroger delivery is overwhelmed, but delivers as promised, with only a few out-of-stocks and only a few hours late. That is as close to a miracle as seen lately. The out-of-stocks continue to baffle me. Guess what, in the midst of a pandemic, everyone decides what they want to do most is bake bread…no bread flour, no yeast. I do not have a clue why.
But the true sign that this is bad shit and is likely to continue to be really bad shit for quite some time is this: The local IGA, the two local Krogers and two local Giant Eagles and amazon.com are all out of Spam Lite. Not only did I inherit my father’s approach to shopping, I also inherited his love of Spam. Now that I am dieting, Spam Lite. And, no, we are not Hawaiian. Its cheap, easy, and tasty (to me, my spouse won’t be in the same room with it). And the world has run out it.
Now you know we are really in the soup. Prepare yourselves.