Posted by Cassie

Maria Go Home

Here we are at the 3 week mark. It has become apparent that this state of living will be a long-term thing. The apocalypse life, or apocalife if you will!


Houses claimed by Maria

Some people try to prepare for something like this.  In zombie movies. The preppers. But it really depends if you are trying to prepare for something long-term or short. In this case, it is something in between. We know that EVENTUALLY we will have power and water and all the usual things in modern life, but when? That is the question. We know it will come back, but we have to live as if it won’t. These are a few ways our life has changed to the apocalife.

Boulder in Aguada
Landslides and falling boulders abound

Gasoline- In the early days there was little to no gasoline available. We had a full tank in our cars, generator and a two-gallon can. We used less than 2 gallons in the generator and about 4 gallons in the car in the first 2 weeks. This was a smart move because the lines for gas were tremendous, if it was available at all. We walked to the nearest gas station with our can, but most days there was none to be found. We found how dependent we are on gas, which is not too much if you never drive and rarely use the generator. Gas now means movement in a car as well as electricity to our house. We need it to power the chainsaw too, to cut ourselves out of some very dangerous hanging trees and clear the property a little more. Now, gas is a lot easier to find, though it still runs out. At least when it comes, it comes to all the stations and there is not much of a wait.

Screening water
Britton screening out some of our rainwater before it goes in the cistern

Washing clothes by hand
Washing clothes by hand during a rain storm

Hanging our laundry out on the deck and bananas!

Water- The 400 gallons in the cistern is going quickly. We have set up rain water catchment with lots of buckets and trashcans. Like gasoline, we have learned the importance of water. The non-potable water we use it to wash clothes by hands in buckets or in the kitchen sink, to flush toilets (if it’s yellow it’s mellow is now a mandatory rule!), to wash floors and counters, and take showers which have been outside in order to heat the water through the hose. We drink filtered rainwater as our main potable water source. The most shocking thing to me has been how much I took for granted flushing the toilet!

FEMA food
Our neighbor dropped off some FEMA food

Food- Many of our meals have a base in canned and dried foods. Fresh meat, fruits and veggies have become luxuries as well. There is virtually no meat in the stores and very little produce. Anything perishable is not smart to have around. All of our food goes in the freezer to chill the 1-2 hours that we run our fuel-efficient generator while we also charge our lap-tops, phone and other small appliances. We really appreciate warm and home-cooked meals! Really anything other than something straight from the can is amazing!

No meat
Empty freezers in the grocery store

Econo food lineThe lines to Econo have decreased now from this

Alcohol- Early on there was ley seca, the dry law. This law prohibits the sale of alcohol. People still drank at home and even in some small bohios, but the idea behind this law is to try to keep people somewhat sober and serious in a serious time. Similarly there was a curfew early on. First until 6pm then they extended it to 9pm and now I think it may be nearly gone. Without water or electricity or even gas to run a generator there wasn’t ice. If there is no ice, a warm rum and coke is not nearly as refreshing. Nor is warm beer! So when we saw the first bags of ice being sold, there was much rejoicing!
At Bonet

Internet and Entertainment- Internet is so useful for so many things. Especially entertainment. We downloaded some shows prior to the storm, but are running low on them. It’s difficult to do much on a clogged system with everyone on it at once. We have resorted to books, card games, acoustic music, parties and get-togethers with friends as the main form of entertainment. There has also been a mass exodus of people and I think this tourist season will be the quietest in a long time. People who rely on internet for work and people who rely on tourism are both jumping ship. Like the trees in the hurricane, only the strong and protected will survive in this new environment. We call this the anti-cruise, basically we went from a gluttonous adventure to living without. We also “celebrated” our 4 years in Puerto Rico in a hurricane! We have basically wiped out the property back to not much more than when we started. Always an adventure here!

Half Mango
This mango above the cabana lost half of its leaves in the storm, but they are now coming back

It is not all bad though. I have come to appreciate quite a bit about this time. For example: Connection: though we have very unreliable internet and phone service, but have had much stronger connection face-to-face with friends and neighbors than I ever have. Yesterday I spent about 5 hours playing cards and compartiendo con mis vecinos. I have seen friends that are normally such hermits! Digital detox: Life is real. Really real. Maybe a little too much. What would have been an argument on Facebook may be an actual argument now but it is so much better than the hiding behind a screen. There is also no light pollution. The stars and lightning shows are incredible.

Ardilla Mongoose

And I love watching the wildlife and nature as they sort through their new normal. There has been a sort of forced autumn with all the leaves dropping and a quick spring with many of the trees re-leafing and re-flowering. Bees and hummingbirds are scavaging, the mongoose have been fun to watch, and the iguanas are very territorial. Rain water: It tastes sooo good and feels so good to shower in the rain! Cleansing and clearing: the hurricane has a cleansing effect of both people and nature. Hopefully we will come back stronger than ever!

Ginger flowerEven in apocalyptic conditions, the sun still shines and the flowers still bloom

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8 thoughts on “Apocalife

  1. Kama Rady

    Well done getting rainwater harvesting going – as traveling disaster manger here’s a few more things to make life a bit more comfy:
    + Water – if you can see twitter follow this link
    + Food
    - Stocks
    If you get any fresh vege cut the top off root veges and raise it in ur garden – nice to have a crop going in case u get some setbacks down the track
    - Chilling – look up ‘Zeer Pot’ on the internet
    - Cooking w/out power
    - Good use for all that warm beer – Australian Camp Damper Bread
    + Home
    - Keeping cool w/out aircon
    + Cell – a way to charge up ur cell if power ou or not using ur car 12 socket

    + Neighbors
    Good to get an info centre going for ur hood

    Maintain an even strength….

  2. Annie

    Folks “back home” would love to see you both again if you get tired of all the hassle. Unfortunately the U.S. government is in disarray, and it may be a while before normalcy returns. So, holidays coming up, come home!

  3. Barbara Schutt

    So glad to see more posts, Cassie! Yes, it can be such an eye opener to unplug and get back to the way things were done before we had our modern conveniences but the enforced conditions you are under must be very straining. I love your positive outlook. Stay well, you are all still in our thoughts and prayers!

  4. Scott Jenkins

    Wow…. this breaks my heart to see.
    My girlfriends family lives there in Bayamón and we had a trip planned in November but had to change our plans. Totally inspiring the positive attitude and overcoming thoughts you express in your post.
    Love and prayers for Puerto Rico and everyone struggling right now.

  5. Mom

    Cassie and Britton, I am very concerned about you. Will you consider coming back to the ‘mainland’? Even if it for a little while? Sure want to give you a hug! It must be so hard to live without water, electricity and so much destruction! Please call when you can…..we are all very worried!! Love you so much, Mom, Anthony, Justin and Grandma.


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