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After the End

After the End

Postby fastback65 » Tue May 13, 2014 11:34 am

After the End
by
Fastback65

Chapter 1


The thin red rubber pad slammed into Frank's shoulder as the 150 grain projectile spun its way out of the twenty six inch long barrel. Freeing its self from the restriction of the barrel, the lead rocket reached a velocity of over three thousand fee per second. After a flight that could be measured in milliseconds, it contacted the shoulder of the deer. Crushing bone and searing flesh as it spun its way through the animal. The heart exploded from the energy delivered by the copper coated lead slug. The animal had already started to crumple, when the projectile, still traveling at a supersonic speed, exited the other shoulder. The life force of the deer left with the bullet and the animal now lay fully on the ground. Only a quiver and a gasp of breath left before the eyes took on the vacant stare that all dead things share. Frank worked the bolt on the pre '64 Winchester model 70 and with another of the deadly thirty aught six cartridges loaded, he slowly approached the deer. A whistle let Frank's son know that he had been successful and to join him for the work of dressing the animal.

It had been almost eight years since the end of the world as Frank knew it had happened. His son was only four years old at the time. He and Janet were like most couples, they figured they had their whole lives ahead of them and with Tommy at four years old, and Sara on the way, they thought, like most did, that it was a wonderful time to be alive.

The day broke like most others in the South, the thickness of the air clinging like an unseen force as soon as you stepped out of the air conditioning. Sweat that refused to evaporate into the saturated air promised to make the day miserable. “Going to be a scorcher,” said Frank.

“Just like yesterday and tomorrow.” replied Janet, his wife of six years. “You complain about the heat everyday.”

“Maybe, just maybe, we will get a thunderstorm this afternoon. I just wish it would get cooler and stay that way,” Frank complained.

“Be careful what you wish for, Frank,” warned Janet, “Things could always be worse.”

Frank walked out to the barn and climbed on the Ford 600 tractor and after checking that the finish mower was securely attached, he cranked the ancient machine and after a short idle, he slowly drove out of the barn and into the pasture. It wasn't a true pasture, there were no animals, only a small pond, but he kept the grass in the five acre enclosure neatly cut and it gave the dogs a nice play yard. Frank was not a farmer, but he liked the idea of owning enough land, he could keep his neighbors at a reasonable distance. Setting the tractors engine speed to a comfortable level, he engaged the PTO lever and slowly released the clutch. The three bladed mower began to hum as the blades reached their operating speed and the tractor started forward at a brisk walking pace. Grass exited from the discharge chute in a steady stream as Frank eased himself into a comfortable position and enjoyed the ride.

Back in the house, Janet, got Tommy up and fixed him some breakfast. Janet was determined that Tommy would eat a good breakfast every morning. It was a struggle sometime keeping up with an active four year old, especially know that she was starting to show a little, but she had a strong will, and she had been told all her life, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

“Where's Dad,” asked Tommy?

“He is cutting the pasture, he wanted to do it early, before it got too hot,” Janet answered, knowing it was only the first of a stream of questions to follow.

“Why don't we get a cow to eat the grass, Grandpa has cow,” asked Tommy?

“Cows are something else we would have to take care of. What would a cow eat in the Winter, when the grass doesn't grow,” Janet asked, trying to get ahead of Tommy in the question game? “Finish your breakfast and I will help you get dressed, we are going to the grocery store, I am out of everything and we need to get our weekly groceries.”

“Grandma, just goes in the basement and get groceries. She has a whole room full of jars with food in them,” said Tommy.

“Well,” said Janet, “We buy real food from the grocery store, and it is better for you.”

“Grandma says store is bad for you,” Tommy said as he scooted form the table and went to his room to get dressed for the day.”

Janet laughed at the thought of Franks's Mom and Dad. They had a basement full of food, and a huge concrete cistern that caught rain water. They even had a separate room in the basement fixed up like a dormitory just in case there were storms. She thought to herself, that must have come about from growing up during the Cold War. Everyone thought there would be a nuclear war. How silly.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Tue May 13, 2014 12:20 pm

Chapter 2


Frank, drove the small tractor into the barnyard, and after checking the fluids, he left it ready for next week, when he would cut the grass yet again. He walked into the house, having noticed that Janet's SUV was gone, he found the expected note on the kitchen table, Gone to the store, back soon. Love you, Janet. He folded the note and put it in his pocket. Later, he would add it to the other noes in the shoe box. He wasn't sure why, but he always kept the little notes she left. He opened the refrigerator and poured the last glass of milk from the plastic jug. It is a good ting she went to the store, we are out of everything. I wish I could convince her to buy more at a time, but she says everything is so expensive, she feels guilty spending that much. Finishing his milk and a piece of dry whole wheat toast, Fred put on a dry shirt and headed for his home office. He supposed he was lucky, he had a job with a Fortune 400 company that let him work from home. He did have a once monthly face to face meeting with the other team members, and managers, but there was talk that the face to face would soon give way to conference calls. Frank was a System Administrator, working mostly with the Sun Microsystems machines. Ultra Enterprise 15K. It was a good good and he made a really good salary, especially when you factored in the fact that gasoline was approaching four bucks a gallon and he didn't have to drive to work. The Corporation paid his phone and Internet bill and he didn't have to eat lunch out everyday. Frank worked steadily, until about eleven thirty, when he heard Janet's SUV pulling into the driveway. He declared it lunch time and went downstairs to help bring the groceries in. While restocking the refrigerator, Janet said, “Frank, you need to set that son of yours straight. He seems to think all the food in the grocery store is bad. Your parents have him convinced that the store food is poison.”

“Honey, you know how they are, but I was thinking this morning, it would be good to maybe buy a month's worth at a time instead of a week's worth.”

“Frank, not this again, I told you how high everything is, and every time I go back it is even higher. Potatoes are ninety cents a pound, last week they were seventy five cents.”

Frank decided to try a different tact. “If you had bought twice as many potatoes last week, you would have saved on what you spent this week. If thinks are going up as fast as you say, it only makes sense to buy more while the prices are down.”

“Hmmmm, you may be onto something. Nest week, you are going to the store with me. We will do some price checking and we will see if your idea has any merit.” Janet conceded.

“Why wait,” said Frank, “Let's go to Costco and look into some of the bulk items. Most of the cost of food is in the packaging. It would make sense that the larger the package, the proportional cost of the product would be smaller. Things like toilet paper and detergent, they don't go bad, so why not buy a large supply before the price goes up. I'll tell you what. I am going to tell the team leader, I have to be away from the computer for the rest of the day. Fix me a sandwich while I take a quick shower and we will go this afternoon.”

Janet was stunned at the sizes available of the things she used everyday. “Who in the world needs a 4 pound jar of Peanut butter,” she questioned Frank.

“Well, said Frank, let's compare the per ounce price to what you usually buy. You did bring the old grocery receipts didn't you?”

“Wow, I don't believe this, it is almost half per ounce of the small sizes.”

“And how many of the small ones do we use in say a month,” asked Frank, gently encouraging her to do the math for herself.

“I think I see your point,” Janet sheepishly admitted, It is almost like getting fifty percent of or buying one and getting on free, but how long will it last?”

“Look at the good by date, it will tell you how long it will store and we would easily use it in a month after opening it,” said Frank. “Now I we can fifty percent on just peanut butter, imagine what the savings will be if we buy fifty pounds of rice or one hundred pounds of dried beans, or salt or sugar or many other things that have an almost unlimited shelf life.”

“But what about perishables, like milk, cheese, eggs, and things like that?'

“A lot of those things are available in dehydrated or freeze dried forms. Surely you have heard of powdered milk, or powdered eggs,” said Frank.

“I have heard of them, but I never liked the taste of them. There is no way you can convince me they will taste as good as fresh,” Janet challenged.

“Maybe if we just used them as cooking ingredients and not to consume directly, you might not be able to tell the difference,” Frank offered. “Let's pick up some things we know we can use that won't spoil and let me order some samples of Long Term Storage food and we will try it and see if we like the taste.”

Janet seemed to warm up to the idea as she started on the paper products, she selected one of the extra large super jumbo packages of the very same brand of toilet paper that she usually bought in a four roll pack. Then she did the same with paper towels. Frank didn't say a word, but he duplicated her efforts. Everything she added something to the flat cart, he would add the same thing. She added a fifty pound bag of rice and the same of pinto beans. Frank did likewise. She added a twenty five pound sack of sugar and one of whole wheat flour, and Frank followed suit. When they got to the regular groceries, she added a two pack of peanut butter and Frank added two more. She soon got the idea and started doubling what she would normally get. Soon the cart was filled to capacity and she told Frank they had better go, she wasn't sure there was enough room in the house to store it all.

On the way home, Janet was quiet, pensive, and Frank was starting to think she would regret buying so much. “Frank, are you sure we are doing the right thing. What if the economy gets better and the prices stabilize?”

“Have you ever seen a trend when prices stopped going up.” asked Frank. It may slow for a while, but inevitably prices go up. It is just the way of things.”

I guess you're right,” admitted Janet, “I know I would feel better if we had some extra food on hand if something were to happen. I remember when hurricane Katrina came through, we had money, but no stores were open because there was no electricity for a while. It's a good thing your parents helped us out.”

“They have some peculiar ideas about things, but you have to admit, they were prepared for the electrical outage and they always have plenty to eat,” said Fred. “Maybe we need to look into preserving food the way Mom does, her canned food does just fine without the refrigerator and it tastes as good as any you can buy.”

When they got home, Frank stored all the paper products and non food items in the storage room and helped Janet find room in her pantry for most of the other things. “I am going to check on my servers for work, and then maybe we can look into some getting some samples of the LTS foods,” said Frank.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Wed May 14, 2014 9:47 am

Chapter 3


“Frank, I have to say, I was shocked at how much money we spent at the Costco, but, I have to admit, you are right. Based on what we spent, versus what we would have spent over the next four months, not even adjusting for price increases, we saved about 27%. I know the paper products won't go bad, but if everything else we got lasts long enough for us to use it, we came out good.”

“I know,” said Frank, “crazy right, now I know the LTS food probably won't save us as much money, but the peace of mind knowing we have food stored with a twenty five year shelf life, is worth something.”

“But what if we don't like it, what do we do then,” asked Janet?

“Janet, I read that during World War Two, people in some European countries were eating grass to stay alive. No matter how bad the LTS food taste, it has to be better than grass. Let's order a few of the sample packs, find out what we like and stock up, worse case is one day we eat it,” Frank said.

“OK, but I know you tend to go overboard, so let's do it together,” offered Janet.

They began to peruse the huge array of food products, discussing the merits of dehydrated versus freeze dried. They finally placed an order that included single meal packs as well as number ten cans and even some six gallon buckets. They ordered mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and gamma seals, for the rice and beans they already bought. “You are going to have to get busy building some shelves, Frank, there is no way all that will fit into our pantry,” said Janet with a slight commanding tone.

“Way ahead of you darling, I already ordered some lumber and supplies from Home Depot. It should be here day after tomorrow. I should have it ready by the time our order comes in.”

The next morning, after a conference call with his team members at work, Frank called his Dad. He and his family were close and he liked to stay in touch if not everyday, then at least every other day. “Dad, how are you and Mom doing, Frank asked his Dad?

“We're good,” his Dad answered, “Just getting older everyday. How are you and Janet and my grandson, Tommy.”

“We're all good Dad, I was thinking about maybe me and Tommy coming out to visit this afternoon, I have some questions for you, if you and Mom aren't going to be busy,” said Frank.

“Son, you know you're always welcome here. Bring that boy though, your Mother will skin you alive if you come out here without him.” said Frank's Dad.

“Look for us about five o'clock then Dad. If I can talk her into it, I will bring Janet too. See you this afternoon.”

Frank hung up his phone and started a text document with all the questions he had for his folks. He looked it over twice and sent it to the printer. He walked over to the printer and folded the paper and put it in his shirt pocket. Oh well, he thought, in for a penny, in for a pound. “Janet, Tommy and I are going over to Mom and Dad's this afternoon, and I would like very much if you would join us. I want to talk to them about storing food and preserving food and I hope you will be on board with this.”

“You're not turning into one of those survivalists, are you,” Janet asked with a slight smile on her face.

“Well, I want to be ready for whatever might come our way, I want what is best for our family, and I want to be able to provide food and shelter. Yeah, I guess I am a survivalist, because I sure as hell want all of us to survive as long as possible as comfortably as possible,” said Frank with a good deal of finality in his voice.

“Then, I guess I am too,” said Janet, “I married you for better or worse, and as hard as I have tried, I cannot find anything wrong with having extra food around the house.”


That afternoon, they drove over to, Frank's parent's house. Grandma and Grandpa, were sitting outside on the front porch. “Why does it always seem cooler here than it does at our house, Dad,” asked Frank?

“Might be because you planted a lot of pretty trees to dress up your yard, but you didn't plant the right kind. Yours are straight and tall, but mine are wide and provide a lot of shade. My grass doesn't grow as nice and thick as yours, but my house is cooler and I don't have as much lawn to mow,” laughed Frank's Dad.

The discussion moved into the house and Frank let his parents in on what they were planning. “Boy, we have prayed a lot, that you would see the light. I thought sure after the last hurricane, you would see how important it is to be prepared. You are a young man with a wife a son and another child on the way, and not enough food in your house to last a week. We have been awfully worried about the three of you,” Frank's Dad held nothing back.

“All of that is in the past, Dad,” said Janet, “I am fully on board with Frank and we are here to ask for your help. We are babes in the woods. We have no idea where to start.”

“Start with what is most important,” said Frank's Dad. “Water, is the single most important thing you can have. Clean drinkable water, then food, and then shelter. Start there and then flesh it out. First aid supplies, a way to prepare your food, sanitation. It's not that hard, make a list, I know that boy of mine is good with the computer, put it to work. Make a plan and stick to it.”

“Dad,” asked Frank, “How did you and Mom get so much food stored. I know I make a lot more money than you do, and I was shocked at the cost.”

“Well son, we didn't do it all at once. We buy extras of things that are on sale, things that we will either use before the expiration date or things that are shelf stable. Your Mom has no use for them, but you two need to stocking up on diapers, and not those plastic coated paper things, but real cotton diapers. You know if you get about a dozen dozen, you will have plenty. You wash them out, disinfect them and use them again. They don't sit in a landfill for a thousand years and if the stores are closed, you still have diapers. And diapers are just one thing, think of all the throw away things you use and look for a substitute that can be reused.”

“Dad, there is so much, it is overwhelming, will you teach us how to preserve food?”

“Your Mother will, and I will show you how to turn that so called pasture into a garden that will feed you and give you plenty to can as well,” said Frank's Dad.

Frank, Janet, and Tommy stayed for supper, at Mom's insistence, and then they excused themselves and headed home. “We sure have a lot to think about,” said Frank.

“No,” said Janet, the time for thinking is past, we have a lot of work to do.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Thu May 15, 2014 7:37 am

Chapter 4


Frank was busily hammering away in the storage room. He had found some plans for a can rotator and had modified it so it would work for the larger number ten cans, as well as a section for smaller cans. He built and then reinforced shelves for the six gallon buckets. Frank was determined to make it as attractive to Janet as he could, while still having all the functionality they needed. After he satisfied his self with the construction and he had rounded all the sharp edges with his router, he called Janet out for an inspection.

“It looks good to me, Frank. If you don't mind, I will give it a coat of paint while you start on the beans and rice. Don't forget to label and date everything with a permanent marker, oh and don't forget the oxygen absorbers,” said Janet.

Frank took the fifty pound bag of rice out of the freezer and let it come up to room temperature. He read on the Internet that it would kill any insect eggs. He got one of the mylar bags and placed it into the six gallon buckets and after placing a few Bay Leaves in the bottom he filled the bag almost halfway with rice. A few more bay leaves and an oxygen absorber were added and then he finished filling the bag. Frank placed an oxygen absorber on top and forced as much air out as he could. Taking a metal straight edge, he folded the mylar bag over the metal edge and sealed with Janet's iron. “This should seal it. Those bag sealers are just too expensive for the amount we have to do,” Frank rationalized.

It went the same way for the Pinto Beans and Frank thought it might come out cheaper to just buy them pre packaged, he would later do the math. Janet let him know the shelves were painted and she was fixing a lunch for the three of them. Over a sandwich and a cold glass of milk, she asked Frank, “What about water?” “Your Dad says that is the number one priority, and we haven't addressed it.”

“I have some plans,” said Frank, “We are going to use the current gutter system and plumb it to an underground cistern that we can operate with a solar pump. We won't have the pressure we have know, but we will have running water. I plan to tie the output of the solar pump to the input for the house, and all we will have to do is close one valve and open another. That will cut off the county water, and switch us over to our water. I ordered two five thousand gallon plastic tanks. One will be for our water and the other will be a septic system. Getting rid of waste is an important part of us staying healthy. Dad is going to bring his tractor over with the backhoe and we will install it ourselves. That way, no but us will know we have it.”

Are we going to get a generator,” asked Janet? “You know it would be nice to have electricity.”

“I think, in our situation, we need a three tiered approach. Since the rear of our houses faces South, we are going to cover it in solar panels, that will not be visible from the road. Secondly, I want to build a generator room disguised as a potting shack by the garden, and finally an ornamental windmill, that really will be a functional wind generator. With the three tiered redundant system, we can always keep the batteries charged,” explained Frank.

“I guess the big question is, can we afford it,” asked Janet.

“I am going to cash in all my stock options. The company stock hasn't done anything in a while, and frankly, I don't see it getting any better in the future. There are already talks of layoffs,” said Frank.

“Do you think we should be doing this now if there is a chance of you losing your job,” asked Janet with a little panic in her voice.

“We are preparing for an uncertain future,” Frank assured her, “If we don't stock up now, how will we be able to in the future, besides, I've been tasked with putting together a list of employees that will go in the first round should it become necessary.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Fri May 16, 2014 2:38 am

Chapter 5


Frank's Dad pulled into the driveway and continued on into the pasture where he stopped his truck and trailer. He started unloading the tractor from the trailer and then he walked up to the house where Janet and Frank were waiting. “I've ordered all the piping I think we will need. The tanks will be delivered Monday, and we should be ready to set them,” said Frank's Dad. “I am going to start preparing the leech field and then we will figure out the best place for the water tank and the septic tank. We can leave everything hooked up to the city service until we want to switch over. I think it may be a good idea to fill both tanks with water as soon as we can to keep them from floating up if we get a heavy rain.”

John, Frank's Dad, walked back to the tractor and started digging shallow trenches for the leech field pipe, while Frank and Janet started removing the sod where they wanted the water tank. They hoped when finished it would be mostly undetectable. While waiting on John to finish in the pasture, Frank started attaching a two inch pipe into the bottom of the gutter system. He brought the pipe down to just under ground level and ran a two inch pipe from the front to the back. He was careful to make sure he had a sufficient slope to allow the water from the gutter in the front to make it to the junction where he teed in the gutter from the back. Then he ran pipe leading to the place where the tank would be. Everything would be underground and out of sight when he finished. After John finished in the pasture, he drove the tractor to the spot Janet and Frank had prepared. He started digging and soon had a hole that exceeded the measurements of the tank by about a foot all around and in depth. “I am going to leave the tractor here,” said John, “I'll be back in the morning to set the tank in the hole.”

“I feel like we got a good start today,” said Janet, “By this time tomorrow, both tanks should be plumbed in and ready to go.”

“I have some screens to put over the gutters to keep trash out,” added Frank, “the solar pump will be here this week and Dad and I can get it placed in the tank before we cover everything. We are going to also break up part of the pasture for a garden. Dad says we need to break it up and fertilize it so it will be ready come Spring.”

“Looks like me and Tommy will be busy working in the garden next year,” said Janet, “I hope all this is worth it.”

“By this Spring, you will be too big to be working in the garden,” said Frank, “It will be Tommy and me, I suppose. You need to go on line and start ordering baby supplies. Remember to get extras of everything, and try and find things that we can reuse rather than throw away. I remember seeing a crib that you can later expand into a bed. That would be a good start.”

“It seems like we are rushing, Frank. The baby won't be here for five months. We have plenty of time.”

“Five months will be gone before you know it,” said Frank, “I just hope we are half way where we need to be five months from now.”

The next morning, the delivery truck arrived and placed the two large tanks on the ground in front of Frank's house. John hooked a chain to the lifting ears on the top of the tank and using the backhoe, lifted and moved the tank to the hole they had prepared. The tank was very light weight for its size and John had no trouble setting into the hole. They used the bucket to back fill around the tank and Frank finished running the pipe from the gutters to the the input on the tank. “As soon as we get the pump installed, we will start filling it. In the meantime, I am going to cut off the valve to the inlet so any rain will not get in,” said John.

They started on the second hole on the other side of the yard and in no time had the septic tank set. “It sure seems like a large tank for septic,” said Janet. John explained that with the size of the tank, it would be linger before it required a pump out, and with good care it take care of their sanitation needs for a long time. The hooked up the input of the tank to a valve coming from the output of the house. They now had the option of using city sewer service or by closing one valve and opening another, they would be on their own septic system. John finished back filling while Janet started the water hose running into the septic tank.

Frank backed his Ford 600 up to the side of his Dad's flat bed trailer and hooked up the disc to the small tractor. John showed him the best place for the garden and Frank began the back and forth breaking the ground for the first time. John relaxed and watched his son, pride beaming from him. “This is a good thing you and the boy are doing,” he told Janet.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Sun May 18, 2014 10:17 am

Chapter 6


“Sweetheart,” called Frank, tipping his hand slightly, “What would you think about getting rid of the detached carport and adding a two car garage with a safe room onto the house?”

“I have always hated walking to the car when it's raining. I think an attached garage would be nice and it would surely add value to the house,” Janet readily agreed.

“And what if the safe room were underneath the garage and accessible from inside the house, would that be something you could live with,” asked Frank?

“Is this something that is going to happen whether I agree or not, or do you really want to know what I think,” Janet asked?

“You know I would never undertake a major project without having you on board, I just thought a safe room for you and the kids in case of storms or something,” said Frank.

“What other reason would we need to go underground for,” asked Janet, “Tornadoes are the biggest threat.”


“I've been talking to Dad, and he let me in on a secret. His basement isn't just a basement. There is a hidden door in the sleeping area that leads to a fallout/bomb shelter. They had it built after I left home. He assure me it is large enough for all of us and it was built with us in mind, but what if we couldn't get there in time. I think we need to build one and besides peace of mind, it would give us some seriously concealed storage for our LTS foods,” Frank got it all out in a single breath, afraid if he were interrupted he wouldn't get another chance.

“How much,” asked the ever practical Janet?

“Not as much as you might think, said Frank, “Dad and I will do the excavation and form building for the walls and ceiling of the basement. Once the basement is finished, it will appear to be a concrete slab. Then we will bring in a contractor to do the actual construction of the garage. Once he is finished, Dad and I will cut a hole in the slab and connect it to the laundry room. Easy peasy.”

“I have a feeling it will easier said than done, but, if you feel we need it, let's do it. I want things as far along as we can get them before the baby gets here. I will not be much help for a while after,” said Janet.

“I have asked for some family leave starting a week before your due date. Dad and I will do all we can to have the heavy construction done before the baby is due, but rest assured, I will be here with you,” said Frank.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Mon May 19, 2014 5:55 am

Chapter 7


Frank's Dad was there bright and early. They quickly laid out the area where the garage was going to be. They had decided to build a large storage/laundry area onto the house, and the garage would be connected to the storage area. Frank's Dad started the digging for the foundation while Frank started clearing everything that would be in the way. The old metal carport would become a place to keep firewood out of the weather. Tommy, loved to watch his Grandpa on the tractor, so Janet, put him in a chair next to a window and served his breakfast there. The lumber truck arrived with materials to build forms with and Frank directed the driver where to stack the material. Everything was placed to rear of the house so it wasn't easily seen from the road. Frank took frequent measurements to make certain they were at the depth they wanted to be. Digging the hole was pretty much an all day job. The next morning, they dug the footers and laid drain pipe under the forms. They would pour the floor and headers and after an appropriate wait, depending on the weather, they would pour the walls. They plumbed in all the necessary piping for a bathroom and a small galley type kitchen. The plumbing was tied into the house plumbing but was set up so it could be made independent of the house with the closing of a few valves. The restroom was piped directly to the new septic tank and the gray water would go directly to the leech field.

“I'll be back in the morning and we can start building forms, “said Frank's Dad, “Would you mind if I brought a little help?” “I have a neighbor that is completely trustworthy and he could use a little extra money right now. He is an excellent carpenter, but there is not much construction going on right now.”

“If he is OK by you, he is OK by me,” said Frank. “How much will it cost me?”

“We will work that out, but I guarantee, whatever we pay him, it will be money well spent. He will get us ahead of schedule and keep us there,” said John.

“OK, Dad, I'll see the two of you in the morning, by the way, Dad, aren't we supposed to have a building permit?”

“Taken care of, boy. I have a old lodge brother in the permits office. We won't be hassled and the construction will not show up on your tax information.”

Frank was dragging by the time he got in the house. How in the world had he let himself get so soft. His Dad had worked circles around him. Maybe this sitting in front of a computer all day was not as good as he thought. I have got to get in better shape. No more soft life for me.

“Ready for some supper,” asked Janet?

“Hot shower first and then I will be right in there. You and Tommy can start without me if you want,” said Frank,

He stood under the shower letting the massage nozzle beat down on his neck and shoulders thinking to himself. It's funny he thought, I am spending all this energy and money on something I hope I never get to use. I'm buying food that I pray we never eat, and I am storing water that I never want to drink, yet it feels like the right thing to do. I just wish we had started when we first got married. He realized he had washed all the soreness out of his back that the water would remove, so he turned off the nozzle and climbed out of the shower. He went to his bedroom and put on a pair of old jogging pants and a Tee shirt and made his way to the kitchen. He was wearing the soreness and the tiredness like a badge of honor. He had done something good for his family.

After supper, he went straight to bed, “Good night, Darling,” he told Janet. “I am going to turn in early. Please set the clock for five o'clock.”

“Good night, sweetheart,” Janet replied, “I'll just do the dishes and get Tommy to bed and I'll be right in.”

“ZZZzzzz,” said Frank.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Tue May 20, 2014 6:17 am

Chapter 8


John and his friend Terry were there at six am. Frank was waiting for them with a hot cup of coffee for each. After introductions, Frank asked the men if they had eaten breakfast. They assured him they were ready to go, so they started moving lumber into the hole the had dug. Frank was quickly impressed with the knowledge Terry brought to the job. He started making some suggestions and changes and the forms started taking shape. They broke for lunch, and Terry suggested to Frank that he order concrete to be delivered tomorrow. We will have the forms ready this afternoon and if the trucks can get here early enough, we will have the floor finished tomorrow. “I am not a concrete finisher, but I know a couple of guys that can handle this. I will probably costs a couple of hundred bucks. They are some of the best, but there isn't much building going on. I am sure they would appreciate a day's work,” said Terry.

“Terry, we are trying to get this done with as little advertisement as possible. If you can vouch for these guys, call them and let's get this finished. There will be more concrete work coming up shortly. If you can guarantee their discretion, let's hire them,” said Frank.

“John explained what is going on,” said Terry, “we built something very similar at my place two years ago.” These men will be discrete.”

It was another long day, but the forms were ready and John's friend assured them it would be OK to do a monolithic pour. The floor and footers would be poured at one time. All they needed to do now was give everything time to set up and then they could pour the walls. Once the walls were sufficiently set, they could pour the basement ceiling.

“I'll see you guys in the morning and I will bring the concrete guys with me. Let's hope the truck is on time. By this time tomorrow, you should have a finished foundation,” said the carpenter.

“Dad, I don't know how to thank you for all the help,” Frank began. John, waved him off before he could start.

“Just knowing you are taking care of your family is thanks enough. Tell Janet, she needs to go see your mother, she has some things she wants to give her and some advice she wants to share,” said John.

Morning brought concrete and finishers. Frank was amazed at the efficiency of the workers. They quickly directed the truck into position and started vibrating the concrete into the forms. They explained how the vibrating rod eliminated any air pockets and assured a homogeneous pour. The floor was slick as glass and Frank was sure he had done the right thing by hiring professionals.

The concrete trucks were like a parade as they turned into the driveway, drawing some unwanted attention from the neighbors. Frank went out to talk to the gossip from down the street and told her that his wife wanted a new garage and what Janet wanted, Janet got. The neighbor started asking more questions than Frank wanted to answer, so he said he had to run, but he would invite him over when it was finished. Satisfied for the time being the nosy neighbor left and Frank went back to work.

“That one is going to be trouble,” Frank told his Dad. “She doesn't let anything happen on this street without sticking her nose in it.”

“I could talk to her,” offered John, “I can convince her that you are being taken on the concrete work and ordered way more than you needed and I had to come over and get it straightened out.”

“It's worth a try,” said Frank, “I told her I would give her a tour when its finished. The basement of course will be hidden.”

Frank's mother had box after box of canning jars and cases of lids and rings for Janet. “I cant take all of these,” said Janet, “You will need them for you and John.”

“We bought enough for all of us when we ordered,” said June, “The shipping wasn't that much more, and we got a price break by buying in quantity.” “Don't worry about getting them home, We will move them after your new storage room is ready. I just wanted to show them to you and let you know that we think you are doing the right thing. There is another box over there you can take today, if you have room for it.”

Janet opened the box and found a brand new All American Canner, confused at first by all the knobs on top, she asked June, “Will you show me how it works?”

“We will learn together,” said June, “I ordered one for John and me as well. My old Presto needed a new gasket, and I got to thinking there may be a time when we wouldn't be able to get gaskets, so I got us both one of these. There is also a Country Living grain mill for you and Frank. When you are ready, we will start your bread making lessons.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Wed May 21, 2014 5:27 am

Chapter 9


They gave the floor a week and the started the forms for the walls. They decided to make the walls a full eighteen inches thick to insure they would support the weight of the garage floor and the vehicles. John suggested building forms for concrete supports down the center of the floor, giving them the option to build a wall inside to divide the area and to help support the roof. A truck delivered a very large gun safe and they lowered it into the basement using the bucket on the tractor. Once everything was formed up and in place, Frank put in an order for more concrete. John's friend said the concrete guys would be there in the morning, and they would have the walls finished by mid afternoon.

Frank and his Dad went to the house and started talking about buying some guns and ammo. Frank had a hunting rifle and a shotgun, but that was it. His interest in hunting had waned when he became a work at home employee. While working in the office, there were always offers of a hunting trip from fellow employees, but now the only interaction with the other workers came via conference call. John suggested a couple of AR-15s. One for Frank and one for Janet. His reasoning was light recoil and good accuracy and the ammunition wasn't too expensive. He also suggested a couple of handguns. “Why don't you and Janet come over this weekend, and we can shoot some of my guns and see what fits you before you commit to buying,” offered John.

“That sounds like a plan,” said Frank, “I am not very familiar with handguns. Janet never wanted one in the house after Tommy came along, but now, I don't think she will object.”

“Guns are tools, son, nothing more and nothing less. They are an inanimate object, they are not capable of doing anything without human intervention. Practice safety as if you're life depended on it, because it does,” said John solemnly.

The concrete finishers got there ahead of the first concrete truck and directed the pumping truck where they needed him to be. It seemed to Frank that it was going awfully fast, but in effect, all they were doing was filling up the forms with concrete. Gravity was doing most of the work and there was no finishing to speak of. The rebar was left proud of the form to allow the slab to be tied to the walls. The columns were poured and that was it. Now they would wait for the walls to set and then the form would be taken down and the ceiling could be poured. The building materials for the garage were ordered and a delivery date set. It looked like Frank and Janet would have about four days with nothing to do.

Frank got busy planning a green house, while Janet and Frank's Mom, got busy decorating the nursery. They refinished Tommy's crib in a neutral color although June had assured Janet she was carrying a girl. She said she could tell by the baby's position. Janet thought, at least she has a fifty/fifty chance of being right. John and Frank ordered four eighty percent AR receivers. By finishing them their selves, they could avoid any interaction with the BATF. John was a hobby machinist and would have no trouble milling out the necessary cuts and drilling the required holes. Frank ordered the upper receivers and barrels and all the assorted parts needed to build a complete rifle.

John put in an order for ammunition for the both of them. They ordered fro both the rifles and shotguns and John got pistol ammo in nine millimeter and forty five acp. He was certain that Janet would want the nine millimeter and John the forty five. If they didn't, he would use it for himself.

Before they knew it, it was time for the forms to be removed form the walls. Frank and the carpenter removed the forms while Frank followed behind, backfilling as they finished a wall. The ceiling joist were put into place and then long sheets of tin were placed across the joist. The tin would hold the concrete until it hardened. To make certain, they made supports for the inside to help hold the ceiling joist in place. The next morning, the concrete crew was there and the ceiling/garage floor was poured and finished. “Well the hard part's done, would you like me to hang around and help with the garage,” asked the carpenter?”

“Absolutely,” said John, “you're help has been invaluable.

Frank paid off the concrete crew and even gave them a bonus for their excellent work. “There may be some more work in the future, if you guys are interested,” said Frank.

“Just let Terry know. He knows how to get in touch with us, and thanks for letting us work for you.”

“Terry, the garage materials are around back, if you want to look and see if we are missing anything. I ordered everything I cold think of, but I am sure I missed something,” said Frank.

Terry looked it over and said, “We have enough to get started, I will let you know as far in advance as I can if I see something we need.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Thu May 22, 2014 3:07 am

Chapter 10



The garage was finished and the entrance to the basement area was hidden behind a swing out shelf in the laundry room. Janet was shocked at the size of the basement. “It sure looks bigger than the hole you dug for it,” she exclaimed.

“I was thinking the same thing,” said Frank, “Its like a tent, seemingly bigger on the inside than the outside.”

Frank and Janet sketched out where she wanted the shelving for storage and then they discussed how they could live in the basement if they had too. They made plans for some bunks for the kids and Janet explained how she wanted her galley laid out. Frank promised to get all he could done, before the baby came.

Frank and John worked on finishing out the basement, adding trim and even paneling the walls. When they finished, it looked as if you were in an efficiency apartment and not underground. John explained to Frank, that maintaining a semblance of normalcy was very important. It would make an extended stay a lot more comfortable and less claustrophobic, if it felt like they were in their home.

One week to the day after finishing the addition, Janet called Frank from his work and said, “Call your Mom and then get my suitcase, its time to go to the hospital.”

“Frank quickly called his team manager and let him know he was off the clock and then his Mom and Dad, “Mom,, we are leaving for the hospital, Janet says it is time.”

Frank was a lot calmer than he had been when Tommy was born, he had gotten two blocks from the house before he realized he had everything but Janet loaded in the car. This time, he sat Janet in the front seat first and then loaded the luggage.

“Thanks for remembering me this time,”Janet teased.

“I was scared to death the first time,” said Frank, “This time I know what to expect. Will the doctor be there when we arrive?”

“I called his office and let them know we were on the way,” said Janet. “Unless he is playing golf, I assume he will be there.”

The labor was brief and uneventful and Sarah, joined the family by mid afternoon. Coming in at seven pounds on the nose and twenty and one half inches, she had her Mom's features and her Dad's loud mouth. Frank and his parents were ecstatic, Sarah was sleepy and Janet was tired, but, they were all together.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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