AuthorTopic: How I Survived the Collapse: Chapter 1  (Read 10459 times)

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How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 21
« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2017, 02:05:33 AM »

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 21, 2017

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After work on Wednesday, Kenny dropped his trailer at the Storage Unit, then headed over in the Stealth Van to Target, which also actually was in a strip mall on his parking list because there was also a 24/7 Mickey D's in a separate building on the corner for drive-thrus, but utilising the same parking lot.  It was always better to have a real toilet facility available for middle of the night emergencies, rather than using his shit bucket while in town.  That left you with the waste disposal problem and the cleanup of the bucket, so the Van didn't end up stinking like shit after a while.  He did use a liner in the bucket, usually the Oil Polymer Shopping bags that the stores provided when you bought mechandise, they fit pretty perfectly into a 5 gallon bucket.  Still, there was always some cleanup to be done and it was time consuming.  It made life much more convenient and easier if you could just go into a public bathroom and flush the toilet and send your shit to the Great Beyond of the local Sewage Treatment plant.  No muss, no fuss, and FREE toilet paper! Besides, on each of these trips he would fill up a quart size container with the city water, then pour it into his 5 gallon water container in the van to keep it topped off with potable water that didn't need purification, filtering or boiling.  There was always a slight Chlorine odor to this purified city water, but it was tolerable.

On his way to the Men's Clothing area in the gargantuan Superstore, Kenny cruised through the Camping Department to see if there was some prep he didn't already have worth buying but couldn't find anything really cool, so just settled for buying a couple of packages of Firestarters from Coughlan's.  He couldn't walk through the prep cornucopia currently on the shelves and not buy ANYTHING.  His addiction to prepping was too strong, and as far as the one time use items like firestarters, you could never stockpile enough of those!  Same with Mountain House Freeze Dried foods and quart size cannisters of propane.  If any of these items were ON SALE, he couldn't resist purchasing them, even though his 10'X20' Storage Unit was already bursting at the seams with this stuff.

After exiting the Camping Department, he mozied over to the Automotive department to see if there was some 12V Electric hardware he might be able to use after TSHTF, and saw ON SALE a modified sine wave 140W Inverter for only $12!  That was a MUST BUY, especially since it was the only one left on the shelf.  140W was plenty to run his laptop as well as a few diode lights in the van simultaneously, and most of the time he did not need more electricity than this.  Only if he was using or charging up some of his power tools did he need a bigger inverter than that.  However, he did have in his preps some larger inverters, in case he needed to power a refrigerator or power tools that a 140W inverter could not handle.  He tried to keep in his preps inverters of various load capacities to maximize the efficiency of the system, based on the load he was drawing.  It was very inefficient to use a really powerful 1000W inverter if all the power you were drawing was 100W!  The small modified sine wave inverters were CHEAP, and he could have many of them.  Pure Sine Wave Inverters were EXPENSIVE, and for the most part except for a few specialized functions really not necessary.  Working with a relativey limited amount of cash for his total prepping, Kenny was always careful to get the most bang for the buck he could.

Heading over to the Konsumer Electronics department, Kenny wanted to look for any cool new electronics that might help in his prepping, but got way laid on this when he ran into his old flame from HS, Sparrow, the Lakota who was Eagle's little sister.  He was looking at new High Speed micro-SD cards that would work with his new Sony Cybershot Mark V pocket camera, which he bought to start making Pics and Vids to send to RE on the Doomstead Diner documenting their ongoing SUN☼ Community building project.  Just as he was looking at a 128 Gig Lexar card, Sparrow tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to jump a bit.  Getting physically tapped was even more disconcerting than the phone calls he was now getting, disturbing his Wa. Turning around and seeing it was Sparrow who tapped his shoulder and not store Gestapo Security or worse the FBI relaxed his nerves.

"Hey Sparrow! Nice to see you!" Kenny said with a big smile.  Sparrow was just as pretty as ever, and wearing her own home sewn clothing as she always did.  It even featured some native beadwork that her grandmother had taught her, although it was very small and did not overwhelm the dress to make an in your face statement, just enough to pay homage to her heritage. "What are you up to these days?"

"I'm in the Nursing program at Missoula State University.  I just matriculated into the major and should graduate with a bachelor's degree in Nursing in 2 more years.  That is, if TS DOES NOT HTF before then, of course." she said with a wink.  After almost a year of dating Kenny during High School, Sparrow was fully aware of his Kollapsnik take on the future.

"Wow, that's GREAT Sparrow!" Kenny replied.  "Nursing skills are going to be very important after TSHTF. You would be a very valuable member of any community.".  Kenny was comfortable talking this way with Sparrow, since they had discussed such things many times during the time they were dating.  Sparrow never said too much, she mostly just listened, but she was a wonderful girl to talk to because she did listen. "How are you paying for school though?  Are you taking out student loans?  Going into deep dept to get a degree these days is pretty risky."

"Oh no, no debt.  I have a Full Ride Scholarship from the Terminators that covers everything beyond the scholarships I got from the Lakota Council and my National Merit Scholarship based on my PSAT test scores.  I can't tell you how greatful I am to you for all the help you gave me in preparing for that exam, I never could have done so well without your help.  Everybody thinks you got a perfect score on the SATs, is that really true?" she asked.

Kenny laughed. "People keep asking me about that stupid test.  The secret will go with me to my grave, unless the ETS database is hacked or my mom spills the beans." he replied.

Sparrow giggled. "Mr. Secretive as always.  Just be honest for a change and cough it up!" she replied, in a more assertive manner than Kenny had ever heard from her before.  It was a bit disconcerting, because Kenny did not like to be thought of as dishonest, especially by friends. Sparrow had clearly changed psychologically since High School, if not all that much physically since they dated.

"I also heard from Eagle that you might be joining up with the Terminators.  He said you met with Kareem to talk about it.  Is that true?  That would really be GREAT!", Sparrow said flashing a big smile.

"Not sure yet on that one Sparrow.  I have to talk with my people first, and then meet with the Terminators.  But I do think it could be a very beneficial partnership, so I hope it works out.", Kenny replied sincerely.

"Well, I sure hope it does.", Sparrow replied. "Well, I gotta go.  I got finals coming up here and a lot of studying to do tonight.  If you do meet up with the Terminators, I'll show up to give my support. I'm not an official Terminator because the gang is all Male, but because I am Eagle's sister I get a lot of respect.  Not that they always listen because they are a bunch of stupid macho males, but I do my best to keep them from being too big of assholes.", Sparrow remarked sarcastically.

"OK Sparrow, I hope the meeting does go through and I will be glad to have your backing in developing a partnership.  We'll just have to see how it goes."

Sparrow gave Kenny a kiss on the cheek and walked off toward the checkout counters, and Kenny got the pangs of nostalgia you always get when you run into an old flame.  But now there were two new flames in his life, and he needed to pickup the right outfit for fancy dinners, so he pushed his shopping cart on down the aisle to the Men's Wear Department.

Looking at the photos he had Googled up of people eating in fancy restaurants, he had decided to go with a Blue Blazer and Gray Dress Pants, with Black Dress Shoes. He picked up a black leather belt for the pants, looking for a sturdy one that could be useful as a prep.  There were ties in a variety of designs, and he picked a pre-knotted Tie since he wasn't entirely sure if he could still tie a good Windsor knot, which he was never very good at anyhow since he so rarely got dressed up in this kind of get up during his life.  A few Weddings, Funerals and his High School Graduation were the only times he had ever garbed himself this way, and it was always uncomfortable.  It was tough for him to imagine how the Suits on Wall Street dressed themselves this way every day.  He also picked up a Fake Gold Wristwatch and Fake Silver Tie Pin in the Jewelry department to fill out the "look", and ended up spending more than he planned coming in at $271.82 after he scanned it all in at the self-checkout register.  He chalked it up as a necessary expense though for further development of the SUN☼ Community.  Even more important though, it would help in getting laid! 🙂

With all his purchases encased in a few polymer plastic shopping bags which would eventually serve as liners for his shit bucket, Kenny headed out to the van to get a good night's sleep before tackling his work for the next day, which included 3 small suburban lawns to mow, as well as a few more tree limbs to perform surgery on Dave The Doctor's property and chop up into mulch.  A solid day's work that would net around $300, which would pay off what he had spent on fancy clothes.

Kenny rose early to get going on the day, hitting the Missoula Fitness Club for his morning workout and shower, and then back to the storage facility to hook up his trailer with his landscaping equipment.  It was a rather annoying day with light rainfall, making the grass cutting quite difficult, with his zero turn mower getting regularly clogged up.  By the end of the day he was pretty well soaked to the bone.  However, after dropping off the trailer again at the storage facility and getting a nice hot shower at the fitness club and dressing up in the new Dress for Success clothing, he felt refreshed and ready for his date with Kirsten, and got on the road to the campus of Missoula State University to pick her up around 5:30PM for their 6PM Reservation for dinner.  Since he still had ample time, he decided to bring the Stealth Van over to a Car Wash facility to get it cleaned and spruced up also, forking over an extra $20 for a wax & tire job so it would really SPARKLE!  Of course it did not sport the nice Mercedes or Tesla Model X look of a successful bizman, but at least it didn't look like the dipshit muddied up work vehicle which it was most of the time.  Besides, he wasn't going to pay for Valet Parking, so the Maitre d' would not see the vehicle anyhow.  It was mainly to impress Kirsten that he was a clean and well organized man who she could depend on.

When the slaves at the car wash got finished Waxing the sheet metal and scrubbing the tires and pasting tire shine oil polymers over them, Kenny sent a text over the SMS network to Kirsten, telling her he would be at the front door to her dorm in about 15 minutes.  She responded quickly that she would be ready and down in the lobby, and give a honk on the horn when he arrived.

Upon arrival, Kenny gave a honk on the horn, and Kirsten came out covered by an automatic folding Totes Umbrella manufactured in China, and then scooted herself into the passenger seat.

"Wow Kirsten, you look GREAT!" Kenny effused, complimenting her getup.  The tiny ex-gymnast and rock climber was fit out in a white silk blouse with billowy gauze sleeves, with a green vest that disguised her flat chest, although she had stuffed her padded bra with some toilet paper to make it look like she had at least A size tits, a common fix among flat chested gymnasts. Complimenting this was a short skirt and 3" spike heels to at least get her past the 5' mark in total height, which she hated wearing because afterward stretching her calf muscles back out was somewhat painful, but it was more elegant and also better to look somewhat taller.

"You look GREAT too Kenny!  You should suit up more often, you could be a male model!", Kirsten joked.

"Yea, maybe they will photograph me in an Armani suit with a chainsaw in one hand and an AR-15 in the other for the cover of Survivalist Magazine" Kenny joked back, lightening up the conversation.

Not to be outdone, Kirsten came back with her own quickie joke.

"Nah, you should pose NUDE with a Chainsaw in one hand and an AR-15 in the other, that would really get some attention!" she said with a giggle.

Bested on this reparte,  Kenny bowed out gracefully.

"Uhhh, no, I think I'll pass on that one." he replied.

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How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 22
« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2017, 02:11:25 AM »

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 27, 2017

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Kenny pulled the van into the parking lot of the Red Bird Restaurant & Wine Bar, finding to his delight that it had electrical outlets for block heaters in the parking spaces.  Even though his two Deep Cycle Marine Batteries were usually fully charged just from driving around to do his landscaping, if he found an available outlet with free juice he would always plug in to top off the big batts as well as charge up all his smaller electronic devices with Li-I batts.  A full charge to the whole setup gave him a week at full normal usage for everything, and with reduced usage he could go 2 weeks to a month without any recharge at all, although he did have his solar PV panels and RV Wind Generators that could keep the system charged up most of the time if he was frugal in usage.

Kenny and Kirsten held hands as they walked across the parking lot to the entrance, past numerous Mercedes, Jaguars, Hummers and even a couple of Teslas.  At least half had a sticker price in the 6 figures, while he had only paid $5000 for his 2003 model Chevy Van in pristine condition from a Florist who only used it periodically for local deliveries.  The van was definitely the low rent car in a parking lot!

Walking into the restaurant slightly before the peak hours, it was only about 1/2 full of filthy rich Pigmen and Pigwomen dressed to the nines.  The Maitre d' greeted them warmly and seated them at a prime location table since they were dressed properly and were an attractive young couple.  Kirsten was also well known at the Red Bird since it was a favorite of her mother's while the big alimony checks were still coming in from her pigman dad, the Petroleum Engineer prior to his arrest.  Kirsten and her brother Kirk ate there about once a month with her on a weekend, when they weren't down in Houston for the bi monthly court ordered visits with dad.

Once seated, the Wine Steward came over and didn't even bother asking them for IDs, although as was typical for young college age who had not yet passed the magical 21 age for buying alcohol, they both carried fake IDs.  However, the wine steward had seen Kirsten in with her mother for many years, and he knew even when she was younger her mother would pour her some wine to go with dinner.

Kenny opened the Wine List, but never having frequented establishments like the Red Bird and not being a wine drinker, he was quite clueless, so he decided to let Kirsten make the choice.

"Kirsten, do you have a favorite?" he asked, holding his breath and saying a quick prayer that she wouldn't order the Loyola Howell Mountain 07 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, priced out at a whopping $448 for a half bottle carafe.

"mmm, I think the L'Ecole Number #41 '11 Merlot from the Columbia Valley is pretty good.  Is that OK with you Kenny?" Kirsten asked.

Looking down the Wine list and finding it listed for the bargain price of $52 for a carafe, Kenny breathed a sigh of relief.  At least he wouldn't have to do 2 days worth of lawns just to pay for the wine!  "Sure, that sounds great Kirsten."

"OK Francois," Kirsten said addressing the wine steward, "we'll have the L'Ecole Number 41."

"Very good choice, Miss Kirsten.  I will bring it while you are looking over the dinner menu." he replied in  a fake french accent.  His real name was Frank and he came from Boise, ID, but he had put on the accent when he first applied for the job 10 years earlier and never dropped using it at work.

"Damn, this place is sure ritzy, Kirsten.  It's no Red Lobster, that's for sure!"

"Yea, this is how the "other half" eats, or actually the other 1%.  I'm not going to be eating in these places much more though,since my dad had his bank accounts frozen.", Kirsten replied, admitting to Kenny that her status as a little rich girl had changed.

"No kidding?" Kenny asked.  "What happened?"

"After the big Hurricane down in Houston his company went bankrupt.  Then during the Chapter 11 filing the government regulators found a lot of anomalies on the books, and he got charged with several securities frauds and violations of environmental regulations.  They locked him up for 20 years and all his assets were confiscated.", Kirsten replied.

"Wow!  I'm sorry to hear that Kirsten!  That must have been rough."

Kirsten shrugged her shoulders. "No not really.  My dad was an asshole.  The roughest part is for my mom, she's not getting the alimony anymore so shes going to have to sell our house here and move into a smaller place.  Fortunately the house is in her name, and so is the stock portfolio she got in the divorce settlement.  So she should be OK, just not living the high life anymore."

Kenny nodded.  "Yea, we went through kind of the same thing when my dad died, my mom also had to sell our house.  Of course it wasn't quite at the same level though.  But the money she gave me was enough to get my landscaping business going, and she's doing OK now in Spokane working for my Uncle the Dentist."

Francois came back to the table with the wine, smoothly pouring it into the fine crystal wine glasses.  "Shall I send your Waiter over to take your order for dinner?"

Kirsten laughed.  "Oh no, Francois!  We haven't even looked at the menu yet.  Give us about 5 minutes, OK?

"Certainly, no problem Miss Kirsten." he replied, walking back off to the Wine bar.

"Well, we better look in the menu and see what to order." Kirsten said opening up the booklet. "If you want to keep it cheaper, we can just order some appetizers off the Wine Bar menu." Kirsten offered in consideration of Kenny's wallet.

Kenny looked at the prices on the main dinner menu and they weren't too bad with entrees in the $30-40 range.  About double what he might pay at a Red Lobster, but at least from reading the menu and smelling the odors wafting in from the kitchen and other tables the food was going to be way more interesting.

"Nah, let's live it up! Like you said, we're probably not going to have too many more opportuities to eat food like this, especially after TSHTF!"

Kirsten giggled.  "Yea, who knows, tomorrow could be Doomsday!"

"So what's good?" Kenny asked.

"Oh, it's all good, just depends what kind of meat or fish you like.  The meal is served complete with the sides so all you need to decide is what kind of main dish you are in the mood for.  Do you want to order some appetizers too?" she asked.

"Definitely!" Kenny replied.  "Let's go the whole 9 yards!"

Taking a couple of minutes more each to make their decisions, they came up with 2 different appetizers and 2 main meals, so they could both share and have a taste of the other dishes.  Almost as if by magic as soon as they had made their decision, their waiter Nathan showed up at the table.  Like most professional wait staff at high end restaraunts, he kept his eye on all the tables in his section, and could quickly recognize the body language of the Diners when they were ready to order.

"Are you ready to order now, Miss Kirsten?" Nathan inquired, even though he knew the answer.  Asking the female at the table first what she would like also was standard protocol.

"Yes.  For an appetizer, I'll have the Charcuterie & Cheese Plate with the Beef Bresaola, Duck~Pear Pate, Manchego Cheese Puff, Aged Asiago, Grilled Bread and Mustardo.  For salad I will have the Mediterranean Grilled Octopus & Shrimp Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumber, Fennel, Baby Kale, fresh Herbs, Kalamata Olives, roasted Red Peppers with the Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing.  For dinner I will have the Montana Raised Grilled Lamb with the Pistachio, Mint, roasted Garlic and Honey crumble.  Also on the side the Roasted Okinawa Sweet Potatoes, Lamb Jus, grilled Vegetables." Kirsten replied, which Nathan punched in quickly to his Samsung 3.0S Tablet, which now substituted for the pad and paper he had used in earlier years.

"And you sir, what will you be for dinner?" Nathan asked, not yet knowing Kenny's name to file in his memory bank of customers, of which there were hundreds of regulars.

"My name's Kenny." Kenny replied before pitching out his order.  More friend and acquaintance making was important for building the SUN☼ Community after TSHTF.

"Pleased to meet you Mr. Kenny", Nathan replied in the formal fashion used by staff to address customers.

"I'll have the Pan Seared Scallops with the Butter seared Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, pickled Mushrooms, Butternut Squash coulis and Almond crumble for an appetizer.  For salad, I'd like the Farro Beef Salad with the Arugula, Orange, Candied Olive, Fennel, Grilled Beef, Walnut, Cucumber, Lemon, Olive Oil & Shaved Parmesan.  I'd like the Pork Three Ways with the Vanilla Bean brined Tenderloin, seared Belly and crisp roast Pork Croquette.  The Rhubarb Glacé, seared Greens, Tomato~Mustard Seed Relish on the side." Kenny replied, reading the list of food goodies off the menu.

"Oh excellent choice on the main dish Mr. Kenny." Nathan replied as he punched this order into the tablet.  We have a new pork supplier from Texas who is supplying us with organically raised Mangalitsa Pig meat, which is the sweetest and juiciest available.  I am sure you will enjoy it."

"That sounds terrific Nathan! Can't wait to have a taste!" Kenny replied, and he was genuinely salivating now at the prospect of the meal.  The only problem would be packing all that food into his stomach at one sitting.He wondered if high end restaurants made doggie bags if you couldn't finish the meal?

"So, what's the latest in the world of Collapse Kenny?", Kirsten asked to get some dinner conversation going while waiting for the appetizers to be brought out by the wait staff.

"Well, first off we have a plan for bringing more people out to our SUN☼ Community once TSHTF." Kenny responded, reaching into his wallet and handing Kirsten the Level 1 Biz Card with all the contact information on it.  "This is the top level of contact information only for very trusted friends.  Keep it safe and don't pass on this information without talking to us first." he added, handing her the card.

"So does this mean I'll actually get to see your place and Karl's next time we go out?" Kirsten asked.

"Yea, probably the weekend after this one if you're not busy. Would have been this weekend except for getting the email from my mom." Kenny replied, keeping his white lie going for his excuse for begging off from the weekend with Kirsten to spend alone time with Karen.

"Oh sure!  That would be terrific Kenny!" Kirsten replied in her typically effusive manner.  "I can't wait to see how real Kollapsniks live!  I really liked Karen too, and Karl is very cool for an old guy!  He sure was amazing with that sling demonstration.  I never saw anything like that."

"Yea, me either actually.  I've watched a lot of YouTube vids on this and practiced a fair amount, but I could never pull off a stunt like that.  Must have taken him years to develop that skill." Kenny agreed.  "Also, I may be hooking up with Kareem and his organization.  Do you remember Kareem from High School?"

Kirsten laughed.  "Remember him?  Who could forget somebody 7' tall?  And 'organization'?" she giggled.  "I think you mean 'Gang'.  Everybody in Missoula knows Kareem and his buddies run Ganja and Prostitutes.  Kind of a tough bunch of folks to hook up with, don't you think?"

Kenny nodded, with a grin.  " 'Organization is the polite word'.  'Gang' has very negative word baggage associated with it.  But yes, it's a gang, but as gangs go I know several of the people besides Kareem who are in it, Hawk is in it and I dated his sister Sparrow in High School.  I think Kim is in it too, and he was in my Computer Programming class.  Fucking genius.  So I don't think they are bad guys, just guys from the wrong side of the tracks who are trying to get by in a world of collapse."

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How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 23
« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2017, 02:04:00 AM »

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 10, 2017

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Kenny and Kirsten finished the meal off with the Molten Chocolate Cake, a warm chocolate fudge cake with coconut sorbet, chocolate sauce and toasted coconut, along with Coffee spiked up with Bailey's Irish Cream and Kalua.  As they walked back out to the van, Kenny asked the inevitable question of the night.

"So, ummm, do you want to sleep in the van tonight or go back to your dorm?"

Kirsten already had this planned out.

"Let's sleep in the van!" she said enthusiastically.  "It would be really cool to do it in a van!" she remarked with a giggle. "Let's park in the dorm parking lot though.  Then if we need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night we can go in the dorm for that.  I'm not really up for pooping in a bucket unless I have to.  I'll try to put that off until after TSHTF."

Kenny got a laugh out of the doomer reference. "Eh, you get used to it.", he remarked. "Athough, I do generally try to avoid using the bucket because of the disposal issue and use public bathrooms as much as possible.  It just makes things easier overall, like most of the conveniences of industrial culture.  I like your plan though!" he said with a smile.  "I've never done it in the van with anybody, it's a Virgin."

"Well, we'll make it a great First Time for the van then!" Kirsten remarked."Is it a Boy Van or a Girl Van?  Does it have a name?", she asked.

"Gee, I don't know." Kenny responded as they drove toward the dorm parking lot.  "I haven't given it a name."  Kenny wasn't much into symbolism and had never thought about giving his Stealth Van an anthropomorphic name or gender identity.  How could you determine if maybe your Van was Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer instead of being a conventionally Heterosexual Van?  There were no genital organs on a Van he could examine to try and nail this down.  Was his Chevy Van attracted to Fords or Toyotas or other Chevys?  Maybe it even liked Pickup Trucks or Sports Cars instead of other Vans? He didn't know.

"Well, we can figure it out together then!" Kirsten remarked enthusiatically as she removed her vest, blouse and bra, with the Toilet Paper Stuffing spilling out onto the van floor as the bra came off.

"You STUFF YOUR BRA?", Kenny remarked as he pulled the pre-tied Target purchased Necktie with the perfect Windsor Knot over his head and removed his shirt.  He knew there was something a bit different about her physical appearance than the first time they had been together, but it didn't hit him until he saw the crumpled bundles of Charmin TP dancing across the floor of the van.

Kirsten let out a huge laugh.  "Good Grief Kenny, did you think I grew B size Boobs over the last week?  When you are built like a Carpenter's Dream, you have to make some adaptations." she retorted as she yanked off the 3" Spike Heels that brought her slightly over 5' in personal altitude..

"Carpenter's Dream?", Kenny asked, never having heard this term.

"Flat as a Board and Easy to Nail", Kirsten dead panned to fill him in."None of the tops in the women's department are cut right if you're as flat chested as I am, to get anything cut right you have to shop in the kids department.  Except my lats are too big so my overall chest size is too large to fit those right either.  So when I do dress up, I stuff the bra." she said with a smile.  "You could think of it like a sort of prep storage system!  Handy place to keep toilet paper if you need it!"

Kenny nodded.  "Yea, you can probably carry as many preps in there as I stuff in my Cargo Vest!", he responded as he removed the last of his articles of clothing.

"ENOUGH TALK!" Kirsten declared, jumping his bones.  "Let's get down to bizness!"


Kenny managed to survive the night with Kirsten, although the Van shock absorbers had a serious workout. He doubted the suspension system on the Van was that stressed even when negotiating the rutted up logging road into his Doomstead location.  He determined to look into getting some Heavy Duty Bilstein Performance Shocks at Auto Zone, O'Reilly's or NAPA to take care of this problem in the future.

After showering and cleaning up in Kirsten's Dorm suite and meeting some of her roomies briefly, Kirsten and Kenny headed over to the International House of Pancakes, for a massive breakfast to replenish energy and bodily fluids expended over the course of the night while doing the Horizontal Bop.  Kenny selected a traditional Bacon, Eggs and Homefries meal, with sides of English Muffins and Buckwheat Pancakes, with the eggs fried over-EZ.  Kirsten went for a Spanish Omelete with Homefries & Sausage, with sides of wheat toast and Buttermilk pancakes.  On the way to IHOP Kenny stopped off at Safeway to buy a bottle of REAL Wood's Vermont Maple Syrup to drizzle over the pancakes instead of the cheap High Fructose Corn Syrup generic imitation Aunt Jemima maple syrup served up by IHOP.

After breakfast, Kenny dropped Kirsten off back at the dorm.  No name had been agreed on for the van, so Kenny and Kirsten promised each other they would ponder on it, and Kenny promised her that he would call as soon as he got back from Spokane, where he wasn't really going.  After a lingering kiss goodbye, Kenny drove over to the storage unit and exchanged out his landscaping gear for his preps, then hooked his trailer for the drive to his property to spend a night of peaceful recuperation prior to the early morning wake up call for his "riding lesson" with Karen.  Mr. Johnson was pretty pooped and needed a night off.

Arriving at the Doomstead, Kenny unhooked from the trailer so he would be able to easily drive over to Karl's place in the morning, and since it was still light out decided to do some log splitting with his Leveraxe, specifically designed for wood splitting by having a counterweight on the upper right side of the blade designed to pull the head to one side on impact to help ply the wood apart.  He pulled out his Husqvarna chainsaw first to section up one of the trees he had cut down with Karl in preparing the site for the Fire Ring and outdoor picnic table they had built.  He considered waiting until Karl brought over his 34 Ton Swisher electric start log splitter, but needed to get in his daily exercise and kill some time anyhow.

After working up a decent sweat, Kenny took a sponge bath over by the stream and then settled down for dinner, which was pretty light since he had gorged himself the night before at the Red Bird and then again in the morning at IHOP.  In fact, he went over to a spot to dig a latrine hole for a major deposit resultant from those meals and now well digested by his alimetary canal where he intended to try planting a Black Walnut tree, even though the climate wasn't currently suited well for such trees.  With some global warming though, it might thrive, although it would take a few years before producing good nuts to squirrel away for the winter.  The Humanure deposit would provide good fertilizer for the tree once planted.  Until then, the worms and other microbes would work on it.

For dinner he just had enough appetite for a can of Campbells Chunky Beef Barley Soup and a small portion of the Pomodore-Tortellini salad with crumbled Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives marinated in Greek dressing he had put together from the salad bar at Safeway before leaving Missoula.  Finishing off the night at his computer workstation, he surfed over to the Doomstead Diner to find out the latest breaking newz in Collapse and cleaned up his mailbox deleting the gobs of spam dropping in there each day.  Finally, he finished off the day smoking a spliff from the fine Ganja he picked up from Kareem and put himself to bed early for a good night's sleep before an active day ahead with Karen.


After an early wake-up call at 5AM from his smart phone, Kenny took a sponge bath down by the stream,, then had a quick breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana, Teriyaki Beef Jerky and French Guilloteau Soft Goat Cheese spread on a Baguette, washed down with Organic Cranberry Juice from Knudsen.  Tidying up the van and getting all his gear properly stowed for the bouncy ride down the logging road took another 15 minutes, most time consuming of which was to properly stow the Dell All-in-One Computer so that it was insulated from vibration and knocking around while going over rough terrain.

To accomplish this and thoroughly insulate his sensitive electronic equipment from road vibration and bounces, Kenny build a storage box inside one of his cabinets that hung from the roof of the van with bungee cords.  This by itself insulated the equipment from vibration, but then on top of that he had 3 shelves lined with 1" Open Cell Foam with cutouts to fit each of his sensitive electronic devices.  The Dell by itself took up one shelf, then the other shelves had his laptop, his tablet, a spare Smart Phone, modem and wireless router, his GPS units, his FRS walkie-talkies, his digital Shortwave Radio Receiver, his Night Vision Scope and Binoculars and two spare Micro Computers, one running Mac OS and the other Linux.

Setup for any of the computers was EZ upon pulling them off the shelf, everything was hooked together either with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so there was no clutter of wires to deal with.  It was just a matter of plugging in to the Van power supply which was native 12V DC, and for most of his equipment he had native DC-DC transformers picked up on the cheap from China  for $15 which could convert 12V DC to any voltage 8-80V to power them, along with several DC-AC inverters in various wattages as well to convert to 120V AC when necessary.  For most of his own equipment, this wasn't usually needed, but it was good backup.

Around 7AM, once everything was ready, Kenny fired off a text message over the SMS to Karen to see if she was up and ready to go riding.

"Hey Karen, r u up?"

Less than a minute later his Galaxy Mega tuned with the jingle he had set for Karen.

"Sure am!  When will u get here?"

"Maybe 20 minutes.  I slept at my Doomstead last night."

"OK great!  Did u eat?"

"Yup.  I'm ready 2 ride!"

"Cool!  I'll get the horses saddled up!  C U when you get here!"

Signing off on the chat, Kenny fired up his still unnamed Van and headed on down the road for another day of Kollapsnik Adventuring with Karen.

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How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 24
« Reply #48 on: May 31, 2017, 05:24:35 AM »

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 31, 2017

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Kenny drove carefully through his narrow private driveway as he always did to avoid scratching up the paint job on the van or putting any dents in it.  Keeping it in good shape and respectable looking was helpful in getting the more well to do clients for his landscaping bizness.  Similarly, once out on the logging road he travelled slowly so as not to put too much stress on the shock absorbers from all the ruts in the road, which wasn't being maintained much if at all anymore by Weyerhauser.  Only once reaching paved road did he crank up the accelerator and do the speed limit for the road of 50 mph.  Then back on another logging road to get to Karl's place at around 25 mph or so, since although it was a dirt road was still being graded every year and was fairly smooth.

He pulled into Karl's place and parked the Van next to Karen's Ford Escort in one of the empty spots in the carport, and getting out he could see Karen in the distance saddling up Mr. Ed.  Quick Draw was already saddled up and peacefully munching on some new grass, a nice change from the hay she had been eating all winter.  Huckleberry was out in the pasture apparently stalking and chasing down a field mouse or some other small creature, or maybe just imagining she was, it was hard to tell from a distance.

Kenny gave a wave to Karen and got his daypack out of the van, which carried a few basic Bugout Bag tools he always carried when away from his main supplies of preps.  Contained in it were basic survival tools, things like monoline fishing filament, hooks, a polymer survival blanket, a folding campsaw, fast hatchet, fire piston and basic mess kit for cooking, among other items.  It was the lowest down on his hierarchy of prep items to put in one bag for the Final Bugout, if it ever became necessary, which he definitely hoped it never would.  For practice, he had spent a few nights away from his doomstead with just the bag, and it wasn't too pleasant an experience.  He did manage to fish up enough trout and dig out enough grubs from rotting wood to stay nourished, and managed to stay warm enough not to freeze to death by collecting wood and getting a fire going with his fire piston, building a quick shelter which was really more of a nest of leaves and pine needles, but it was far fom comfortable.  Given time though, he was confident he could have build a better shelter.

Slinging the pack over his shoulder,  Kenny jogged over to where Karen was just finishing pulling the straps tight, and gave him a big and affectionate hug when got within range.  A hug from Karen was an entirely different experience from getting a hug from Kirsten.  Kenny felt as though he had drpped out of the world of Lilliputians and into the world of Brobdingnagians.  Besides being significantly taller than Kenny at around 6'1" with powerful biceps from years of kayaking, there were also a couple of large pillows on her chest that Kirsten did not sport.  Kenny worried for a moment she might squeeze the life out of him like an over-enthusiastic Python,  but fortunately she released her grip before he ran out of oxygen.

"Great to see you again Kenny.", she said with a big smile.  "Ready for your first riding lesson?"

"Ready as I'll ever be I suppose.", Kenny replied.

"OK, why don't you hang your knapsack on the fence and we'll get started."

Kenny had of course seen numerous westerns on TV growing up, and in addition had spent some time Googling up You Tube vids on basic riding skills and technique, so he wan't clueless.  Still, mounting a good size American Quarter Horse for the first time was a bit daunting.  Placing his foot inside the stirrup, he grapped the pommel on the Western Saddle and hoisted himself aboard, straddling the equine and enjoing the nice view from up on high.  It was a big advantage over a motorcycle to be seated up so high, although not quite as comfortable as Karl's ZEV EV motorcycles.  It also breathed in and out, the ribs expanding and contracting between his legs.  Motorcycles didn't do that.

Quick Draw was quite relaxed about having Kenny climb aboard her back having met him and smelled him on several occassions before, and he was obviously friends with Karl so she wasn't too nervous.  She could tell though he wasn't a very experienced rider and could sense his nervousness.  Karen was around and patting her though, so overall she was quite calm and just periodically dropped her head to munch on some grass while she waited to get going.

"Do you want me to walk you around the pasture, or do you want to try leading her yourself?  I'll lead with Mr. Ed for a bit, Quick Draw will follow him.  If it's going good, I'll go behind you and you lead.", Karen suggested.

"I think I can drive slow", Kenny said with a grin.

"OK, sounds good!" Karen replied, quickly mounting Mr. Ed.  She took off on a slow walk and Kenny gave Quick Draw a light nudge with his heels, and she fell in behind Mr. Ed and followed.  He didn't even really have to steer with the reins at all, Quick Draw was on auto-pilot in follow mode and he just held the reins lightly as they walked around the pasture.

After a couple of slow trips around the pasture, Karen turned and called back to Kenny.  "Feel up to leading yet?", she asked.

"Uhh, yea sure.", Kenny responded, giving Quick Draw another nudge with his heels and pulling up alongside Karen. "This is really FUN!" he effused, genuinely enjoying the ride.

Pulling out in front of Karen, Kenny took another slow trip around the pasture and then Karen yelled out to him, "Why don't you try to speed it up a bit?  Nudge Quickdraw up to a Trot." she suggested.

Kenny was about ready to do that anyhow, so he gave Quickdraw another couple of taps, and a little slap with the reins as he had seen the Cowboys do in all the Westerns he watched as a kid on TV.  Quick Draw picked up the pace nicely, and Kenny experimented with doing a little more steering by pulling on the reins, and running a Figure 8 around the pasture.

A few more trips this way, and Karen galloped up next to him.  "You're doing great Kenny! I think we can get out of the pasture and do a trail ride, and have a picnic for lunch, before we go Kayaking."

"That sounds super Karen!", Kenny responded.

They walked both horses back to the stable area and dismounted, then headed inside to collect some food goodies for the Picnic.  Karl was busy with "Kitchen Day", canning some veggies from his raised beds and making Chevre Goat cheese from a few gallons of his goat's milk collected over the last few days.

"How did the riding lesson go?", Karl inquired as he stirred some lemon juice into the goat's milk warming on his 48" Thermidor Professional Gas Range, fired by his supply of Amerigas propane stored in a 1000 gallon propane tank buried a few hundred yards away from the Earthship.

"Great Dad!", Karen effused.  "Kenny's a natural, and Quick Draw seems to like him too.  We're going to go on a trail ride and have a picnic."

"Sounds like fun!  Grab whatever looks good out of the fridge.  I made a batch of Chicken Salad yesterday after sending a couple of the hens to the Great Beyond.  There's a loaf of fresh baked French Bread to make some sandwiches too.  Go grab a bottle of Vino from the Wine Cellar to wash it down with." Karl suggested.  Not being completely clueless, he could tell Karen was on the prowl, and a nice bottle of wine was always a good lubricant for socialization.  How Kenny would deal with his problems of trying to juggle two women was his own problem.

"OK!  Kenny, you pick out the food from the fridge, I'll go down to the wine cellar and pick out a nice bottle of Pinot Noir.  Dad has some real nice vintages down there, I checked them out!  Puts the Wine Cellar at Quinn's to shame!", Karen said mischievously, winking at Karl.

Karl laughed.  "Yea, well stay away from that case of Romanee-Conti DRC 1990, that cost me a fortune at auction at Sotheby's!  It's strictly post-SHTF stuff for a last goodbye to Industrial Civilization along with the case of 50 year old Glenlivet single malt scotch!"

Karen smiled.  "Yea, OK dad, no Romanee-Conti DRC 1990." , Karen agreed, heading down the stairs into the Wine Cellar.

Kenny pulled out the chicken salad and put about half in an oil polymer produced plastic Tupperware container, then plucked a couple of Roma Tomatoes off the vine in Karl's Hothouse area of the Earthship, as well as some Romaine lettuce and a small head of Raddichio and some Green Onions.  Karen arrived back upstairs and helped make the sandwiches, and then they added some of an old batch of Goat Cheese not yet finished in the fridge and store bought items including a can of Progresso Southwest Black Bean Soup to heat up over the Jetboil butane campstove, some NY Style Half Sour Jewish Batampte Pickles Karl ordered online from Brooklyn. NY and some Brazilian Bananas shipped up from former Rainforest now transformed into a Banana and Palm Oil plantation.  A nice solid lunch for a couple of hugnry millenials!

Kenny and Karen stowed the food in two sets of hand-tooled leather saddlebags from Cheaney's Custom Saddles down in Gainesville, Texas, and Kenny bungied his Bugout Knapsack to the back of Quick Draw's saddle.  Huckleberry was ready for the adventure too, she had watched Karen saddling up the horses, which always meant a nice trip out into the woods to chase squirrels and rabbits.

"So where are we going?" Kenny asked. "Up to the Lean-To?"

"Nah, you've already been there tons of times.  I've been exploring and found some really neat places since getting back together with dad." Over the course of the last few weeks Karen had finally become comfortable and used to calling Karl, 'Dad'.  "There's a really cool spot upstream a few miles from Dad's creek.  It's a nice EZ trail to follow along the creek."

"That sounds great!" Kenny replied, looking forward to seeing some new territory around the neighborhood.  He pulled out his Magellan GPS and set it to record the trail ride and to make notes on significant landmarks along the way, in case he would have to reproduce the route later without the use of a GPS.

Karen laughed.  "Geez Kenny, don't you ever stop with this stuff?  You're worse than dad!  We can't get lost on this trail, you never even lose sight of the creek!"

Kenny made a fake petulant look at Karen and retorted half seriously.  "Well you never know.  The stream could get rerouted by an earthquake while we are eating the chicken salad sandwiches!"  Then he stuck his tongue out at her and they both got a good belly laugh out of it.

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How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 25
« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2017, 03:24:44 AM »

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 22, 2017

Discuss this story at the Collapse Narratives Table inside the Diner

I have complaints from quite a few Diners about "abandoning" the "How I Survived Collapse" novel, which I didn't really do.  It's just that there has been so much else going on in the Global World of Doom along with my own personal life that squeezing in time to write more chapters has been difficult and put on the back burner.  However, this week we have a BREAK from the non-stop Hurricane Train and Strafing Run of Mother Nature (at least until Super Typhoon Lan makes landfall in Tokyo on Monday morning), and Spain hasn't yet broken out into complete Civil War.  So this is a pretty good slow week in collapse to get up a new chapter of HISC.  In this one, Kenny & Karen go for a picnic. 🙂


It was a beautiful spring morning as Kenny and Karen began their ride on the two powerful American Quarterhorses Quickdraw and Mr. Ed, with the big Siberian Husky Huckleberry leading the way.  Damp branches squished under the hooves of the horses, and there was the fresh smell of new Pine Needles growing in the air.

The trail along the creek bed was fairly wide, with enough room for the horses to travel side by side, so Kenny and Karen had a nice chance to share their lives and experiences, and gain a deeper sense of bonding.  Occassionally at locations where the river bank became steep the horses would have to go single file with Mr. Ed and Karen leading the way as they negotiated wading through the more shallow parts of the stream bed, which occassionally was fairly rapidly moving in some narrow sections.  Overall though, it was not a major river even during this high water period and the horses had no problem negotiating the stream, moving gingerly along the edge of the creek an gaining good footing with each step.  It was pretty slow going all the way though, so it took well over an hour for them to make it to the spot Karen had picked out for the Picnic.

The conversation along the trail quickly centered around prepping and the future of Industrial Civilization.

"I have to say Kenny, you have made some choices and decisions I really could not have imagined making before I went to college.  I really had no idea about any of this stuff at the time, although mom did always say Karl was a kind of eccentric Doomer.  I didn't know he was my dad then though, and I didn't pay much attention to it.", Karen recalled.

"It was sort of accidental, my Karma I guess." Kenny mused.  "I just got hooked on surfing the internet, and then I ran into the Doomstead Diner.  Then I kept linking to more and more sites and I realized there was no way that this civilization could continue onward the way it was going.  So instead of focusing on going to college, I decided to focus on preparing for the world to come."

"Well, you certainly saved a lot of money that way!" Karen joked.  "I'll be paying my college loans out of my Tips at Quinn's until the Sun Goes Red Giant!"

Kenny laughed.  "Probably not that long.  The monetary system will crash and nobody will be paying off any of those loans at all.  No working money to do it with.  Of course, that will be a major clusterfuck all around, so you can't really look forward to this outcome that much, even if it does get you out from under the debt."

"How did you decide to do the Stealth Van living thing as an option?  You seem to have enough money from your landscaping business to afford a regular apartment?"

"It made CFS, or 'Common Fucking Sense' as RE likes to call it.  I really don't need an apartment, it's a waste of what money I do earn.  Why should I pay money to some Rentier who profits off me just because he has a title to a property?  I should pay some scumbag landlord part of my daily wages just because he "owns" a piece of land and a building on it?  It's also flexible and let's me set up shop just about anywhere, at least as long as I can get gas for it anyhow.  I considered the idea of fixing up an old sailboat and doing the Seasteading thing instead, but of course here in Montana there's not a big shoreline around. lol.  Besides, I already had my Landscaping business going, so I didn't think making a move closer to the ocean was a great choice.  You have to play the cards you are dealt, and this seemed like the best choice for me at the end of High School."

Karen nodded her head.  "Yea, I guess it does make 'CFS'.  Still, don't you find living in a Van rather cramped?"

"Not at all.  I only do 3 things inside the van.  Drive it, sleep in it and work at the computer on my desk.  I would have to drive anyway for work, when I'm asleep I am unaware of how big it is and when I am on the computer it's just me, the keyboard and the screen.  All the rest of the time I am outside doing something, or maybe in a public space like the library or the gym or the mall.  The only minor hassle is toilet and shower facilities, but there are plenty of public ones available.  For what I need for living space, I just can't see spending $1000/mo on rent.", Kenny replied.

"Doesn't it get cold in the winter?", Karen asked.

"Hell no! It's a small space, easy to heat.  A couple of kerosene lanterns burning is usually quite enough as long as temperatures are above freezing, if it gets really cold I have a 23,500 BTU Kero Heat Indoor Safe heater that will cook you even if the outside temps are 30 below.  I only had to use it a couple of times last winter, and only for short periods of time.  It has its own carbon monoxide detector and auto-shutoff, and I have a separate one besides to monitor while working at the computer.  I never have it on while I am sleeping.  If it is really cold, besides my Western Tamarak Mountain Sleeping Bag good to 30 below, I have a 12V DC electric heating pad to stuff inside the bag.  This also will cook you if you set it too high.  It doesn't burn that much juice, my two 120 Amp Hour VMax Deep Cycle Marine batteries easily can handle to load for several nights without a recharge.  I only had to use that system once last winter too."

"What about all the rules and laws against living in a vehicle around here?  Don't the police give you hassles?", Karen inquired.

Kenny laughed.  "Yea, that part can be tricky, especially in town.  Outside of town around here, not a real problem at least as long as you don't stay in a location more than a couple of nights.  In town, you definitely need to change locations every night, but that isn't hard to do.  I scope out new locations all the time, and I have a dozen really good ones, and another dozen for variety which are not so good because they lack amenities like a 24/7 bathroom.  I can always use the truckstops though, both the TA and the Flying J love getting your bizness for the night.  Of course, the showers in those places cost you $6 and the Buffets aren't that great, but they don't give you any grief for parking overnight.  That's how Truckers live.  Anyhow, I'm just about never at the same location twice in a month, and so far I stayed under the Gestapo Radar for over a year."

The two horses plodded along the trail a bit further, and then the creek opened up with a large pool of water held back by a beaver dam.

"OK!  We're here!" Karen declared.

"Wow, this is a really nice spot Karen!  I bet we could improve on the beaver dam also and set up a water wheel for doing mechanical tasks too!", Kenny said enthusiatically, his Prepper brain always at work.

Karen laughed. "I figured you would say something like that.  I thought of it myself actually.  Dam engineering was my main interest in my Civil Engineering studies.  I actually have design already for one to drop in here at this location, I have it in 3D done in Sketchup on my Lenovo 8" tablet if you would like to see it.  I pulled the terrain features off of Google Earth, so it's pretty realistic looking.  Maybe you have some suggestions for improvement?  I never considered doing mechanical power transmission, just electric.", Karen offered as they unpacked the lunch from the saddlebags on Mr. Ed and Quick Draw, along with a big red & white checked tablecloth to set the feast out onto and hopefully keep the ants at bay for the duration of the meal.

"Sure, I'd love to have a look at it!" Kenny enthused, as he got the Southwest Black Bean Progresso Soup for a starter course on the Jet Boil butane camping stove.  Karen pulled out her tablet from the saddlebag and the two Kollapsniks spread out the big 10' X16' Camo Tarp Karen had packed as a picnic blanket, along with a couple of aluminum mess kits and Hobo Knives to eat with.  Cutting up a head of Romaine Lettuce and another of Raddichio and several Roma Tomatoes, she added some crumbled Feta Cheese and Kalamatta Olives imported from Greece, then sprinkling with a Greek Salad dressing picked up off the shelves at Whole Foods for a delicious and crisp Greek Salad.  She had already prepared the sandwiches the night before, smoked chicken and bacon from Karl's smoker and hen house and Swiss Cheese imported from France, along with a thin slice of Red Onion and fresh slices of Avocado along with a light slathering of homemade Mayonaisse on the crusty loaf of French Bread, split into two halves.

As they dipped their spoons into the Black Bean Soup, Kenny looked closely at Karen's schematics for a more substantial dam on the river to support a nicro-hydro electric generating system.  It was quite robust, but they would have to haul in quite a bit of Portland Cement, Sand and Rebar, along with diverting the river to get the foundation in.  It was a MAJOR project, and if they were to do it before SHTF Day, they would need a lot of permits, and also Kenny wasn't sure Karl owned the land this far from his Doomstead.

"This is a HUGE project Karen!", Kenny exclaimed.  "Does Karl own this land on both sides of the creek?  No way we could do this unless he owns all of it, and we would still need to get permits for it I am pretty sure.  It also would draw attention to us as Doomsteaders.  Everybody in the planning office for the county would know about it, not to mention the equipment rental people and additional help we would need for building it.  You're going to need a pretty serious size work crew to construct this thing, 4 or 5 people will not be able to get it done."

"I think Dad owns the whole valley, except for the cabins he sold off nearby.  I didn't consider the problem of all the people who would find out about the Doomstead if we did it though…", Karen replied as she forked up a Kalamatta Olive, Roma tomato slice and some Feta Cheese.  "I also didn't really think about all the Heavy Equipment and additional manpower we would need for building it here.  These are problems we didn't consider in Civil Engineering school!" she said with a laugh.

"That's one of the problems with being immersed in techno-industrial civilization, you take for granted everything you need for building something will be available, the only constraint is how much money you have available.  In our circumstances, we don't have much money constraint because Karl has so much of the toilet paper, but we have other constraints we have to consider with any project we undertake.  I think we will need to redesign this one from scratch on a smaller scale, and move the location a little upstream where I think we can get a better drop on the water, although there will be less of it and not so much pressure.  That spot up there looks like it might work." Kenny said, pointing to a spot about 100 yards upstream from the bank of the creek they were picnicing on.

"That's not going to put out much power Kenny", Karen mused.

"I't doesn't need to put out all that much Karen.", Kenny replied.  I just wanna see if I can gear it up to do some simple tasks like trun a saw blade to do some rip cutting or a lathe or turn a sewing machine.or small loom for weaving.  I figure to use some scrap Marine Propellers for the turbines."

"Well, that could work…", Karen replied quickly.  "Power transmission would be pretty difficult to the shore though where you would run the machines. It's a pretty long stretch to the shore where you could set up your machines.", she said, her engineer brain beginning to hum.

Kenny pondered on that, it would be a long way to run a drive shaft to the shore.  "Well, maybe we could build out a platform to closer to where the turbines are."  Kenny suggested.

"Yea, that's possible." Karen agreed.  "However, damn good chance the platform gets washed downstream during the spring runoff and flooding, she advised.

Kenny refused to be defeated in the idea.  "We'll just have to make it temporary then, like with the funicular railway and cable car system.  Set it up when we need it, take it down when we're not using it.", Kenny said firmly.

Karen laughed. "You don't quit easily Kenny!" she exclaimed.  "This would be a lot bigger set-up/take-down job though.  That would take a LOT of wood to build that platform."

Kenny and Karen continued batting ideas back and forth as they finished the bottle of Château Rayas 1995 she had pulled from Karl's Wine Cellar, getting a nice buzz on.  Kenny pulled out a spliff from the stash he had picked up from Kareem for a little taste of weed before heading back to Karl's place on Quick Draw and Mr. Ed.

"We're not going to have time to go on a float down the Clark's Fork River now Kenny, we spent way too much time going over plans for the dam.", Karen remarked as the horses and Huckleberry negotiated a slow walk back to Karl's Doomstead.  "We could drive out to the launch site though and camp overnight, and take off early in the morning for a real nice run.  The water isn't running that fast right now, but it still should be pretty good.", she offered.

Kenny had no plans made for Sunday, and there was no fast excuse he could come up with to beg off on overnighting with Karen at a camping spot by the Clark's Fork River.  Besides, he didn't WANT to beg off!  Even though he currently had a new relationship going with Kirsten and was still having the occasional tryst with the housewives he cut lawns for, at the ripe old age of 20 years old his mind was RULED by the sausage hiding behind his zipper.  Karen was a HOT TICKET!

"Sure!  That sounds great Karen!", Kenny replied.



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