Survival Tips: Using the Foreclosure Crisis to Your Advantage

A foreclosed house with a red foreclosure stamp running along the top of the picture.

I live in Florida and have hurricane shutters for all of my windows and the back slider. Besides hundred-mile-an-hour winds and the debris that often accompanies them, I think they’ll do a good job of keeping out the zombies when the time comes. There are a few problems, though. They’re the panel type that lock together and are bolted down, which are pretty time consuming to install. If the undead are running around, or shambling around, depending on which type of zombies we end up with, I don’t want to be outside putting the things together. Also, I don’t have a garage. They’re out in my shed, so I have to waste more time pulling them out and walking them to the house.

You may be wondering why I don’t just have some other type of shutter installed. Simple answer to that one- I can’t afford to. It has cost me a nice chunk of change over the years to put in the ones that I have. I can’t just start over from scratch. My day job as a delivery truck driver doesn’t provide me with a ton of expendable income, and I think I’ve spent more money than I’ve made on my fledgling career as an author. New shutters are just out of the question. My dogs gotta eat, ya know.

I thought a simple solution to this problem would be to put them up and just leave them up. This was okay for a little while, but eventually it became clear that the idea wasn’t going to work in the long run. To begin with, I started getting some really weird looks from the neighbors when the shutters were still up months after hurricane season had ended. Well, I guess I should say I was getting even weirder looks than I normally get. I live in a nice little neighborhood and mostly get along well with the neighbors. I don’t want to alienate them in case I need to borrow a cup of shotgun shells when the time comes.

Another problem with leaving the shutters up all the time was that it got very dark inside my house, which made me kind of depressed. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky type of guy and hate to be in a poor state of mind like that. I could have left lights on all the time, but then my electric bill would have skyrocketed. I think I’ve already covered my lack of expendable income and my dogs’ need for sustenance. After a while I started drinking really heavily. Well, I guess I should say even more heavily than I normally drink. It wasn’t good stuff, either, but cheap, gut-rot wine, because, you know, the money thing. After nearly getting fired for coming in hung over and stinking like blackberry Cisco a few times, I decided the shutters had to come down.

At this point, I’m wondering if I’m ever going to get this worked out. It occurred to me that I needed to start thinking outside the box, the box being my house. Who says that I need to hole up in my own place when the shit hits the fan? Florida was one of the hardest hit states when the real estate bubble burst. There are a bunch of empty houses in my neighborhood. I have two houses on my street that were foreclosed on almost two years ago and have been vacant ever since. The one on the corner is a lot nicer, but aesthetics won’t matter when the time comes that I need to use it, so I chose the home that is two houses away from mine. With just a few easy steps, I transformed it from a useless residential home into a kick-ass zombie shelter.forclosed

1. Find the closest vacant home that will suit your needs. For me this was simple. It’s just me and the dogs. We don’t require a lot of space. I’ve been dating a girl for a couple of months, but we’re not at the ‘you can stay in my shelter during the apocalypse’ stage of our relationship yet. If we get to that point, I may need to make a few simple adjustments. Do you have a big family? Your options may be a little more limited, unless you’re willing to ditch the kids. Depending on their ages, they’re usually more of a hindrance in an apocalyptic setting anyway.

2. Obviously, you need to change the locks. Remember, this is a zombie shelter. It needs to be well stocked with guns, ammo, food, and water. The last thing you need is some dick from the bank showing up and grabbing up all of your stuff.

3. As I said in step two, this is a zombie shelter. It needs to be well stocked with guns, ammo, food, and water. So stock it well with guns, ammo, food, and water. Don’t forget to include some sort of activities to help keep everyone from going stir-crazy. Statistics show that after the initial wave of death in a zombie apocalypse, you’re eighty-five percent more likely to be killed by another survivor than by a zombie or in a zombie-related accident.*

4. Fortify your zombie shelter. I almost made a crucial mistake on this one. I was trying to figure out how I could get my hurricane shutters up on the vacant house without pulling the frames off of my home. I had decided that Tapcon screws would be the way to go when it occurred to me that I might need the shutters on my own house before the zombie apocalypse starts. No point in being prepared for the undead and then being killed in a hurricane before they get here. I took some measurements and bought enough plywood and Tapcons to cover every entrance.

4a. Leave an entrance uncovered. You’re going to need to get inside. I would suggest the front door, but that’s up to you. Leave some plywood in the house to reinforce the door once you’re inside.

4b. The materials needed for this step can be quite expensive. A good way to help with some of that cost is to take any large, metal items that run on electricity down to your local scrap yard. You won’t have electricity so they won’t do you any good anyway. I scrapped a fridge, washer, dryer, and an outside a/c unit. I also dismantled a metal shed on the property and scrapped that as well. It was a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, but it’s a good way to stay in zombie-fighting shape and the whole pile yielded enough cash to just about cover the entire cost of the plywood and Tapcons without me having to dip into my hooker and blow money, so I still enjoyed the rest of the weekend.

*I made that up.

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Written by Ian

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