On the Importance of Taxidermy

“I plan on recruiting a commune,” my husband said reassuringly.

Oddly, I didn’t feel reassured.

Blogging has provided an unanticipated opportunity to get to know the inner workings of my husband’s mind.  Now, I’ll be honest; Greg’s mind terrifies me.  So much so that I don’t often go there.

I prefer to stay in the vicinity of Greg’s heart.  It’s warm and welcoming, and it doesn’t scare me.  I know exactly where his heart is; Greg’s priorities are solidly with me, our kids, our family, and our community.  He’s a man of faith and conviction.  He has unshakeable beliefs and morals (which are often irritating, since I wander around wondering, doubting, changing my convictions and generally blathering, but that’s neither here nor there.)  Greg’s heart is a safe place.

I also enjoy Greg’s hands.  Quite a bit.  They’re big and muscular, dry and rough in all the right places, and they do the most amazing…

Alright.  I’ll stop.  I’m just stalling anyway.  Because I’m headed into scary territory.  Greg’s mind.

Let’s dive into the terror together.

After you.

No, no; really.  You go first.  I’m right behind you.  I swear.

FINE.  I’ll go first.  But you should know that you’re a chicken.

First of all, Greg is so much smarter than I am, academically speaking, that if you compare the two of us to water, he is the ocean and I’m a tiny drop of water in the desert that quickly evaporates when exposed to heat.  I’m not maligning myself by telling you that this is so.  It is simply fact.  Then again, I’ve saved Greg’s life thousands of times while crossing the street because looking both ways with all of that academic prowess is apparently very, very hard.  So there’s a give and take here, folks.

Second of all, Greg’s manly hunter / protector sense has apparently meshed inextricably with all of his science fiction and apocalyptic urban fantasy reading.  I didn’t know about this until I blogged about Aunt Lillian’s dandelion pancakes.  There, I wrote:

I’m a mother, and, therefore, a protective freakazoid who thinks up apocalyptic scenarios in my spare time.  I often wonder what I’ll do when modern society collapses, and I’m forced to burn my dog’s dried poo for warmth (should’ve bought a bigger dog) and contemplate how much meat is on his bones (aaannnd again with the bigger dog… poor end-days planning on my part, I tell you.)

It’s not just me who’s a freakazoid, though.  Greg invents improbable scenarios, too.  For example, feel free to ask him all about exactly what he’ll do when terrorists take over his office building.  FYI, his office is in a two-story strip mall above a grocery store.  So it’s super, duper, extra likely that a terrorist will take over his office someday.  That’s why Greg has an executable plan that includes hiding in the ceiling and some form of jumping into a dumpster.

I mock now, but when the apocalypse happens, I’m going to have to apologize to Greg so he’ll share all the survival knowledge he gained from reading Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island.  That apology is going to suck for me.

Well, here’s the thing.  That little bit about the apocalypse and survival opened up a whole new part of Greg’s mind that I got to explore while alternately shivering in horror and giggling like a loon.

Greg has a half-hour commute to and from work every day.  He uses it to plan for the protection and survival of our family in case of a total and complete breakdown of society.

Greg let me know that he’s mentally writing his “alternative universe apocalyptic autobiography,” which is a relief.  Because, when this whole apocalypse thing is over, we’ll have a sure source of reliable funds in his best seller.

Now, you probably think that the apocalypse just involves general anarchy, disease, war, and a lack of every modern comfort, including, oh, food, clothes, shelter and water.  That’s where your apocalyptic planning falls short, my friend.  Because Greg’s got us covered for all of those scenarios, and he has back-up plans in case our physical universe is altered.

Did you ever think about what you’d do when physics no longer adhere to scientific laws?  Well, did you?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  You have got to think, people.  Physics anarchy could happen to you. Among other heinous things I can’t remember about physics, engines won’t start.  Which means your big plans for driving all those abandoned cars across the country to find pockets of surviving humans are right out.  You’re gonna need horses.  Lots and lots of horses.  And you’re gonna have to feed those horses.  And you’re going to have to feed all the people you collect.  Because you’re gonna be collecting people.  That’s inevitable.  People collection… and the right kind of people collection… is essential.

Greg has thought of all of these things.  I haven’t gone as far or deep as I should to find out how we’re going to execute all of his plans, so I’m going to have a lot of catch-up to do after the apocalypse starts.  But at least I know what to do first.

While Greg is on his way home from work (FYI, the apocalypse will start while Greg is at work for sure — this is kind of the lynch-pin in all of his planning), he’ll have a lot of stops to make.  Among the stops: 1) the big, huge, giant knives manufacturer for dozens of machetes, and 2) kidnapping the taxidermist (I’ll explain later, but you’re going to be embarrassed you didn’t figure it out for yourself).  Of course, in the event of the Physics Collapse, he won’t be in his car, so he’ll have to hijack a horse or four along the way, and, well, those things could take time.

My assignment, obviously (really, it’s obvious; I know ’cause Greg said so), is to head to the all-purpose store in our area.  The one that sells everything from food to hunting knives.  I’ve been instructed to bring our Burley… the attachment that goes on the back of my bike for hauling children.  It looks like this:

Of course, first I’ll have to find our tire pump.  And then probably the tire repair kit.  Which I bet we don’t own.  But right after I make sure the tires work, I’ll be set.

I’ll head to the store to buy bows and arrows, hunting knives, and all the wheat products we can carry.  I don’t know what we’re going to do with my mother, who’s on a gluten-free diet, but I was specifically told “wheat products,” so that’s what I’m buying.  I’ll have only about an hour to do this before the general populace figures out that money is worthless, so it’s going to be a time-sensitive operation.  Maybe I should look for that tire pump now.

As a side note, I’ll tell you I was very excited to see that bows and arrows are on the list.  One time, about 18 years ago when I was a camp counselor, I learned how to shoot a bow and arrow so I could teach the campers.  I even regularly hit the 4-foot-diameter stationary target from about 20 feet away.  So I’m completely qualified to shoot rabbits and quail running through the brush.  It’s a transferable skill that will take almost no training.  That’s going to work out well.

My next stop with the Burley (after dropping everything off at home to free up burley space), will be the library.  I’m instructed to snap up all the books the Burley can carry on basic farming, how to make soap, tallow, etc.  “Pretty sure we need a pig for tallow,” I said.  “And we have NO IDEA what to do with pigs or how to milk them for tallow.”

Greg had already thought of that.  “I plan on recruiting a commune,” my husband said reassuringly.  Oddly, I didn’t feel reassured.

Nevertheless, such is my faith in my husband, that I figured I’d get a leg up on the apocalyptic commune recruitment.  Remember how important people-collection is?  Yes.  Me, too.

Commune openings include:

  • Pig farmers – I actually know some of these… Sarah and Bubba, you in?  It’s B.Y.O.Pigs, but we’ll all help raise ’em and husband ’em (is that weird?); but, well, if Bubba can still do the slaughtering, that would be awesome.
  • Fence builders – ’cause no commune is complete without a huge fence.  Priority will be given to people with large stores of barbed wire.
  • Chickens
  • Aunt Lillian
  • Taxidermist – No, not because we’re stuffing pigs.  Because of his hide-tanning skills.  That’s crucial.  Doy!  Fortunately, Greg’s got a handle on this one.  “There’s a shop on my way home from work that says ‘taxidermy and tanning.'”  Still up for debate is how to convince the taxidermist that a) there’s an apocalypse happening, and b) he should go with Greg on his horse.

We’ll be taking applications until the apocalypse begins.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
32 comments
  1. […] have everything I could want in life: 5 rad kids I want to keep almost all the time, a husband with emergency zombie apocalypse preparedness plans, a nose made out of my ear, and almost 2,000 likes on a Facebook picture of my ass. I mean, […]

  2. […] Greg is sneaky. And Greg is savvy. And Greg is SMART, darn him, and he keeps thinking with his giant, genius brain, and so, on Day 4 of my Surgery Vigil, Greg offered a solution. A way to make my life easier. He […]

  3. Ok I almost peed because I was laughing so hard while reading this (not surprising because I have three boys and I almost pee when I cough so laughing is dangerous). There were even a couple of snorts thrown in too – attractive. Loving your blog and glad I clicked through to this part. I am so sharing this with my Husband. He really better up his game if we’re to be prepared like you and Greg are. Seriously. We don’t even OWN a tire pump.
    I also read through your entire “About Me” long version so I’ll get you my mailing address for the Thanksgiving Dinner invite. 😉
    Looking forward to following along and hopefully meeting you at Blissdom later this week. Which I already said on Twitter and maybe FB too since I am now stalking your blog. lol
    Claire

  4. […] with new pics) and/or Easy-Peasy FAST Cinnamon Rolls – Greg says he loves me by planning for the Zombie Apocolypse. I say I love him with baked goods that include the word easy. Hey. We all have different love […]

  5. Has Greg heard of Jack Spirko? He has a podcast all about survivalism, in fact it’s called The Survival Podcast!
    You should check it out, http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com

  6. This post made my day! Awesome! He sounds like he would get along with my husband …

  7. […] know I can get a little eye-rolly when I have to admit that you’re smarter than me, but I want you to know I’m always glad you’re here to teach our family important, […]

  8. […] with the looming Zombie Apocalypse, from someone whose husband has REALLY thought it through: http://putdowntheurinalcake.com/2011/06/on-the-importance-of-taxidermy/ Share this:TwitterPinterestFacebookEmailPrintTumblrDiggStumbleUponLinkedInRedditLike this:LikeOne […]

  9. Found you via Meghan’s FB post today. Oh my, I think I laughed enough here to count as at least 100 crunches! Do you mind if I put a track-back of this on my Zombie Apocalypse blog post?

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Donna, and for laughing at the crazy with us. 😉 And of course you can track back.

  10. […] maybe I’m just defensive because my husband is smarter than me. It’s hard to say for […]

  11. […] with your brains-covered hands. This is an opportunity, folks, to run a family drill in case of the zombie apocalypse. You do NOT want to screw this […]

  12. […] Greg is smarter than me.  I know it all the time.  But sometimes I get special reminders.  Like last night when Greg […]

  13. […] might remember Sarah and Bubba from the rather blatant overtures I made to bring them into our zombie apocalypse planning with the ultimate goal of trapping them in our futuristic commune.  I mean, who better than pig […]

  14. […] what does this have to do with Beth’s blog? Well, you might remember the post from Greg about preparing for the apocalypse. Bubba and I chimed back about our willingness to be a […]

  15. I didn’t hear anything about SALT. If you want food in these dark days you will need a far bit of salt to preserve it otherwise those pigs and animals that you killed with your mad bow n arrow skills will start to rot in only a few days.
    Just looking out.

    Bubba

  16. Dearest Beth,

    Good news! Bubba and I are basically building The Collective as a commune idea- see page here: http://wp.me/P1el48-2P wherein I state the conditions of said commune. So really, we can be neighboring communes, where we must have a code word and handshake to distinguish ourselves from the zombies.

    Bubba and I will make such applications of our commune to benefit yours:
    1) pig farming- really we started pig farming to prepare for the apocalypse- we just didn’t want to tell anyone the true motivation because we were afraid people might thing we were weird. Clearly this is no longer an issue.
    2) horse rearing- I have ridden and trained (legitimately) since I was 9. Tell Greg when that bike of his gets a flat tire to come see me.
    3) chickens- currently taking up residence in three varieties at my house, and we have ducks too. We fowled up.
    4) Fence Building- by default we can build fences, see testimony from animal list above.

    For references on these skills and more, please inquire.

  17. […] telling you all about our plans to use our Burley in the upcoming apocalypse, I thought it might be prudent to break it out of the garage, pump up the tires and go for a test […]

  18. […] telling you all about our plans to use our Burley in the upcoming apocalypse, I thought it might be prudent to break it out of the garage, pump up the tires and go for a test […]

  19. And of course, no case needs to be made for Leigh. Cuteness is its own survival skill. And you’ll need strong healthy girls for the next generation.

    Does Greg have a plan for a zombie apocalypse?

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t think *I* have the skills to be allowed in the commune. EXCEPT for if there’s a zombie apocalypse that involves werewolves and vampires. Then I’ll be perfect.

  20. I think, perhaps from Greg’s perspective, my skills might not qualify me for inclusion in the survival commune–limited handy survival skills other than vegetable gardening. However I also have a bike with a working Burley and I know where the tire pump is. Im also close to the bike store, have a good collection of camping gear ( and hunting knives), knowledge of food preservation, and im a good camp cook.

    I also have enough knowledge of history to know that tallow is rendered animal fat, that it can also be used to make candles, and that to make soap we’d have to save our fire ashes to filter water through them to make lye.

    By the way, Greg, did you know that refilled clear plastic water bottles plastic placed on a piece of metal in the sun for 8 hours can almost completely purify the rankest water?

    I dont need to make to make much of a case for Melissa with her abilties to 1) make clothing, 2) mobilize people & 3) relieve the stress of the apocalypse with her gift at entertaining

  21. You totally forgot an essential person in your plan… me! Not only would I be with the kids while you and Greg are doing all the pig farming, fence building, and wheat product gathering but I have an extremely useful community. Almost everyone I know around here own horses and guns and know how to use both. Also we are the spot for the largest horse drawn equipment and threshing show in the US so we’ll have plenty of horse drawn plows and anything else Greg can dream up. Why don’t you guys just head this way, we also have lots of wheat fields and cherry trees. Aren’t you glad you know me?

    1. New plan:
      1. Find horses.
      2. Head east.
      3. Move in with you. Good thing you have a bigger house now. My kids all want to live with you anyway, so that’ll work out well.

  22. Don’t forget all of BJ’s experience as a pig farmer.

    1. Oh yeah! And she can actually shoot those suckers with a bow and arrow, I’ll bet!

  23. “Have Machete, Will Travel” (Its on my business card.)

    I’m in for machete wielding, marksmanship (trained by an agency of the US government), knife sharpening and the establishment of a defensive perimeter. I’ll skin out the rabbits you shoot (or shoot ’em myself when you miss). And don’t forget that your Mom actually *HAS* an emergency preparedness kit – including canned food, candles and a manual can opener (nothing electrical will work after all laws of physics are repealed).

    You’ll be glad we’re in your commune.

    1. Actually, I think all we need is Mom’s pantry. She usually has enough food stocked to get the Western seaboard through Armageddon.

      I mean, your survival skills are great, and maybe we’ll let you practice them on weekends, but, come on. I never saw such a tiny woman hoard so much food. It’s astonishing.

      😀

  24. Boy, I’m certainly glad I don’t have to think of all these details myself – so glad I have you and Greg to do it for me. Count me in! I’ll be the one bringing all the dried seaweed and squid we can stomach for the next twenty years. Not so tasty, but it will get us through the downtimes!

    1. You’re in, Holly! I’ll use my dandelions as garnishes for your seaweed so you’ll feel at home. 😉

  25. Greg read this, and, unsurprisingly, I didn’t get all the details right.

    This just in:
    1) “I won’t try to get home on a horse – I don’t know enough about them to be sure I could handle it. Someone will take a credit card to sell me a nice mountain bike and trailer. And good boots from Columbia.” So, my take-away from that is that credit cards will work at the beginning of the apocalypse… essential information, really, for my store run. I thought you’d want to know, too. And I didn’t even put anything in there about the importance of boots! Clearly, I’m going to have to do more than one post on planning for the apocalypse. I should probably have Greg guest-post.

    2) “We will also need to recruit someone with metal working skills. We’ll need to stockpile welding gases from the local shops. And we’ll need at least one working horse-drawn plow, but I think I have a line on one.”

    So you see we have a lot more work to do.

    🙂
    Beth

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