After the Apocalypse
Chapter 31: Entry #3

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

10 January 2002 (Day 12): What a day... First, though, a status report.

On the up side, we have heat in the cabins again! Our arrangement won't win any awards (except maybe the Rube Goldberg prize), but Jeff and Doug and a couple other guys found a way to rig some of the car batteries we salvaged through a power inverter to run the heating systems off of battery power. And given that the weather certainly isn't getting any warmer around here, this was a welcome development.

Of course, the problem there is that our battery supply is finite. And that brings us over to the down side. I don't believe that the proposed windmill power plant is going to be enough to run the heater even in one building-and we're in 5 right now. There's no way around it-we have to find a more reliable source of power if this is going to work in the long run. For the short term, we may need to recover some more car batteries from what's left of civilization.

No good news to report from there, either. We haven't sent any new patrols off of camp grounds lately, so we certainly can't be sure about anything, but there haven't been any signs of other life. The radio is still silent, too. On the other hand, that isolation has its good side-we also haven't detected any threat to this oddball existence we're eking out in what's left of the world. A lot of people are developing varying degrees of paranoia about what might be going on outside our view, and that's eventually going to require resolution.

Speaking of civilization, it's not only batteries we need. What we really need to get our hands on is a washing machine-the clothing requirements of this large a band are taking a lot of our energy to maintain, especially with the kids along. Unfortunately, there's no way we could operate one of those here even if we could get it from the city.

There are certain supplies that you really take for granted-until you get launched into something really insane like this and realize how important trivial things like contact lens solution are. The glasses-wearers in the crowd are certainly at an advantage, if for no other reason that our best attempts at chemistry haven't produced a decent substitute for that fluid. Not to mention other basic hygiene needs that Winter Camp wasn't ready for.

Which brings me directly into the weird side. For reasons which I cannot begin to understand, Katie White dropped a bomb on me today. She doesn't want anyone else to know this yet, but of course there's only a limited amount of time before it becomes clear that she's pregnant. About 3 months so far, so if all goes well-and "well" is a dangerous word here-we'll be trying to deliver a baby come July. If the world doesn't straighten itself out by then, that could be a really tricky situation.

On the one hand, I would like to think that we'll be out of here before that happens. On the other hand, there's no reason to believe that "out of here" is any better than "here" is.

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