Site icon Melanie Novak

The State of the Pandemic Bunker

Stockpile of cleaning supplies

Last January I wrote a post admitting that I’d gone a little—okay a lot—overboard when it came to buying extra supplies during the pandemic.  Throughout 2020, I handled those terrifying days not by doom scrolling but by buying toilet paper, hand soap, cat litter, and Scrubbing Bubbles.

So many Scrubbing Bubbles.

By January 2021, I’d amassed an—depending on your point of view—impressive or embarrassing stockpile of goods.  I stored this treasure trove of hand sanitizer and cleaning products in the narrow, dark corridor beneath the stairs in my unfinished basement laundry room.

Everything was going well—we’ve had twists and turns in the pandemic, but the slope of the recovery is ever upward.  After last January’s post, I stopped buying new supplies.  The bunker held everything I needed, out of sight but always accessible.

Then a snake breached my bunker, and all hell broke loose.

I recently told this story here, so to prevent nightmares (mine) I won’t repeat it.  Suffice it to say that I’m not storing anything under the stairs until a minimum of ten years have passed without a snake sighting.

Before the snake invasion…

Which means all my bunker supplies are now spread throughout my living quarters. 

Reader, they’re in the way.

So it seems appropriate that I measure how much I’ve used in the past year, to gauge how long it will take me to use these items up.

Let’s start with the Scrubbing Bubbles.  Last year, I had eight cans of Scrubbing Bubbles.  Currently, I have five, though I must caveat that one can is new (I would’ve sworn I hadn’t bought any new ones, but photographs don’t lie).  Worse, I gave three cans away to friends who couldn’t find them in stores. 

Some quick math…nine cans purchased, three given away, five remaining…which means I used one can in the past year.

Uh oh.

At this rate, I’ve got Scrubbing Bubbles coverage through 2027.

Similarly, I bought a six-pack of Comet from Sam’s Club, and I’ve used one can in the past year.

I can’t even put myself through the math of how long my hand soap and Dove Beauty bars will last…let’s just stipulate that I’ll have them used up before I start getting senior citizen discounts.

Probably.

I realized early on that I would never use all the hand wipes I’d bought before they dried up, so I donated them to the local animal shelter.  Ditto the thirty pound bag of cat food I bought for my ten pound cat.  I may still be eating the stale crackers and chips I bought in 2020, but Blinker would never put up with that kind of nonsense.

The hand sanitizer also went to the shelter. 

But on the plus side, I used up all the cat litter, toilet paper, and paper towels. 

And since I’m unburdening my soul, I have to tell you about the yeast.

I bought two pounds of yeast.  Two pounds! 

And you know how much I used?

Not one grain.  (Is it a grain of yeast?)

That’s right, the package remains unopened.  My baking phase, you could say, was over before it began.

But I have learned my lesson.  Earlier this fall, I was at Walgreens, staring down a wall of rapid covid test kits.  I knew in my bones they would become scare around Thanksgiving and Christmas, with everyone wanting to test before they traveled or gathered with family and friends.

Surely I should buy at least ten boxes.  Maybe twenty?

Then I thought of the yeast, put a mere four boxes in my cart, and ran for the door before I could change my mind.

I was right about the scarcity of tests, and I used several of the them myself and gave the rest away to friends who were desperately searching for them around the holidays.  All four boxes were gone by New Year’s Day.

It’s all I can do not to replenish my stock now that they’re back in stores.  I’ve got four boxes, but two of those came free from the U.S. government.

And I will not buy more boxes until I use up the ones I have.

No matter what.

Most likely.

Unless they become scarce.

Actually, I’d better make that picture of the yeast the wallpaper on my phone.

Just as a reminder.

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