According to the Mayan Calendar, the earth has 148 days left before everything comes to a crashing halt. The Monitor‘s Madeleine Smither checked in with one McAllen family who is not letting a moment go to waste. Raul and Marissa Sepúlveda (not their real first names) belong to a growing subculture of so-called “‘preppers,’— people who are stocking up for the collapse of civilization, or the end of the world as we know it.”

The Sepúlvedas are by all appearances an average family. They have a house filled with the warmth and bustle of three kids and the family dog. Their home is tasteful and modern, looking for all the world like a normal, suburban abode — but not every home has a secret room. … The room is stacked high with 50-pound bags of rice, tubs filled with canned foods and medical supplies, a portable gas stove, gas tanks, gallons upon gallons of water and games to break up the presumable monotony of a post-apocalyptic McAllen. Marissa leads a tour of the room as she discusses how the preparations began.

“Do you remember the first hailstorm — the really bad one? Well our house flooded, and I think Raul was enjoying it a little too much,” Marissa says with a smile. “He put on his (utility) vest, walking around like we were in a movie. ‘Get the guns!’ Like it’s the zombie apocalypse!” …

With cannibal attacks and extreme weather dominating the headlines, the Sepúlvedas are not alone in trying to prepare for the end of days. In fact, “preppers” have garnered notoriety from shows like National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers,” where viewers watch families go to incredible lengths to build veritable fortresses in preparation for the end of the world. 

The Sepúlvedas aren’t the only Texas family creating a real life version of Take Shelter. In May, KHOU 11 News’s Brad Woodard interviewed Shane Connor, a “prepper” from Gonzales who has made a brisk trade in “underground doomsday bunkers” available at different price points ranging from $3,500 to more than $100,000.And there is another couple out of Floresville, Texas who have erected a bunker out of nine steel shipping containers and were featured on the National Geographic show Doomsday Preppers.

In addition to the food and water, Raul has collected what Smithers dubs a “formidable gun collection” consisting of “two handguns, two sawed-off shotguns (for close encounters) and 5,000 rounds of ammunition.”

Other than the end of the world predicted by the Mayan calendar, there’s also zombie apocalypse and the magnetic pole reversal to worry about “It’s 2012! Now anything can happen,” Marissa says. “That’s what we’re preparing for — anything!”

But ultimately, the Sepúlvedas seem to say, their preparations are just the Boy Scout motto taken to the extreme.

“We’re not prepping just because it’s 2012 — we are preparing for very human stupidity and desperation,” Raul says seriously. “Whenever there’s a hurricane or things like that, within an hour, the stores are cleared out. If you were in trouble, if your kids were hungry and you knew the people across the street had food, you would try to get some for your family. It’s human nature. People go a little crazy during scary events — it’s just smart to be prepared.”

Are you now feeling woefully unprepared for the imminent apocalypse? Well, has helpfully provided a handy countdown clock (down to the second!) that will help keep you on your toes (or in your backyard, digging a hole to put your bunker in). Looking for someone to calm your nerves? NASA (using your tax dollars, natch) has put together a helpful list of frequently asked questions about the end of the world.