As some of you know, we had a Hurricane hit us in this area of Virginia. Actually, she managed to do a number on the entire East Coast. So, like a heinous Mother-in-Law, she left destruction in her wake. Anyways, it was while cleaning up the aftermath of the storm that I found out (full force, I might mention) that there is a downside to stockpiling. In fact, a very expensive downside.
The hurricane knocked our power out. . .to be expected with any big storm, right? Yeah, I thought so too. What I wasn't prepared for was how long the power was actually out for. It went out Saturday afternoon and didn't come back on again until Wednesday night. Tyler, the dog, and I got through it all okay because my ex was very gracious and allowed us all to come over to his house and stay until my power came back on. However, the massive amounts of stockpiled food in my freezer did not.
Yep, the downside to stockpiling, as I found, is the fact that you can't always foresee or prepare appropriately to catastophes like hurricanes and power outages. What was once a badge of honor and a running list of impressive savings quickly became a nauseating amount of money down the drain.
Once the power had been off for a full 48 hours, I knew that there was little-to-no hope that I was going to be able to salvage anything. So, I armed myself with some large trash bags and went to work clearing out the fridge and freezers. The fridge wasn't really all that bad. I think I only ended up throwing out some mayonnaise and a tupperware or two of leftovers that were in the fridge. Most of my condiments made it out okay. I had already taken the eggs and milk out of the fridge when we decided that we were going to head over and camp out with my ex. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the freezers. All three of them.
Overall, I was able to salvage a few different packages of meat from the bottom of my deep freezer and a few packages of (what used to be) frozen veggies (they were still cold, I figured they'd be fine if I refroze them) but most of the contents of each freezer ended up needing to be thrown away. I would have taken pictures of it, but A) I didn't have my camera with me, and B) I don't think I would have been able to get a focused picture through the tears that were pouring down my face. Loaves of bread, packages of frozen rolls, chicken stock, ice cream, frozen waffles and pancakes, 12 (yes, 12) frozen pizzas, packages of shredded cheese and cheese slices, frozen herbs, chicken breasts, steaks, pork tenderloins. . .I'm sure the list doesn't end there but it's starting to make me cry again. It was awful. Absolutely awful.
So, for anyone who ever wondered if there was a downside to getting food for pennies on the dollar, the answer is 'yes', there is a downside. Does this mean I'll stop stockpiling? No, I'll keep at my stockpile because out of the 5 years I've been stockpiling, this is the first (and I hope ONLY!) time that I've had something like this happen. I save THOUSANDS of dollars each year by shopping and stockpiling the way I do so it's not worth it to me to stop stockpiling. Plus, I would totally miss the thrill of finding the kind of deals that I find. However, I plan to be more prepared the next time that I know a storm is coming. I was completely naaive and thought that my power would for sure be back on within 48 hours. Next time, I won't wait so long. Next time my power goes out, I'm giving it 4-8 hours to come back on and then I'm going to start moving my stuff if at all possible. Or at least start putting it all into coolers and icing it down. I'm still heartbroken to know that I had several friends who never lost power during the storm and the days afterward and they had plenty of freezer space. I could have saved most of my stuff if I had known this and not been so sure that my power would come back on. But, you live and learn, right?