Wednesday, 30 August 2017

09:11 – It was 60.7F (16C) when I took Colin out at 0630, partly cloudy. Barbara is off to the gym this morning, after which we’ll be doing more work on science kits. She’s spending the day down in Winston tomorrow, so I want to get the highest priority stuff done today.

Just to give you an idea of how seasonal our business is, August revenues through today total 33% of our revenues for the entire year to date, and next month’s revenues should be similar to this month’s. Things’ll slow down after that until about Thanksgiving, when we’ll have another heavy sales period that runs through mid-January.


Kim stopped by the house Monday afternoon to ask if we’d mind stopping over at Blue Ridge Electric Co-op and signing a permission document to allow them to come onto our property to do some work on the electric feed to their new house. They’re running the power feed underground and need to tie it to a distribution box that’s just over the property line into our field. We told them we’d be happy to do so, and Barbara stopped by Blue Ridge yesterday morning to sign the permission slip. It turned out she didn’t need to. As I thought, there’s a utility easement, and they don’t need our permission to access their distribution box.

Yesterday afternoon, I saw that a bunch of people were up at the house working on it, so I walked up to let Kim’s husband Ricky know that everything was clear for work to proceed. Grace was up there watching what was going on. I ended up standing there talking to her for the better part of an hour.

She’s originally from the Wilmington, NC area down on the coast, and went to college at UNC Wilmington. Her main concern about living up here is the winter weather. Living on the coast, she hasn’t seen much snow, and has no experience driving in ice and snow. I told her that, as a Northern boy, my advice was to avoid doing so as much as possible and if she had to drive to wait until the plows had run. Oh, and to keep a good stock of emergency food, bottled water, and so on in case we do get snowed in.

She seems like a sensible young woman, so I’m sure she’ll be fine. She really likes living up here in a rural/small-town environment with the laid-back mountain lifestyle. As she said, everyone is so friendly and so normal. And that the cost of living was so low here. I told her that that had been Barbara’s and my reaction as well when we moved up here in 2015.

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77 Responses to Wednesday, 30 August 2017

  1. Greg Norton says:

    Her main concern about living up here is the winter weather. Living on the coast, she hasn’t seen much snow, and has no experience driving in ice and snow.

    Moving from FL to WA State, I didn’t have any problems adjusting to driving in ice and the occasional deep snow. I had a front wheel drive car, decent all-weather tires, and I took my time, especially approaching intersections. I never got into chains or studded tires, but we lived at a low elevation..

    We never saw a snow plow in our part of WA State. In theory, they existed, and the city would parade the plows out for the news cameras from time to time. However, I never saw one operating, even during the rare “lake effect” snows off the Columbia which would dump a foot or more in Vantucky.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    We had a mild winter last year. I think the biggest snow we had was 18 inches, no big ice storms, and the roads were dry for probably 95% of the season. My guess is that this winter will be more severe. We might get one or two “heavy” snows, i.e., 24 inches or more at a time, and ice storms are always possible at 3,000 feet elevation.

  3. DadCooks says:

    Snow in WA State is night and day. West of the Cascades (well Seattle area specifically) there is very little and when they get a dusting they call it a blizzard and shut down for a week. Here, East of the Cascades we live in real-ville and know what snow really is.

    My experience with newbies and out-of-staters is the opposite of how @Greg describes (@Greg may have adjusted, but he is the exception and not the rule). They stick out like sore thumbs with their irrational driving. Unfortunately there have been so many snow-inexperienced people move into WA State in the last 20-years that us ol’-timers keep off the roads and let them fill up the ditches. Once the ditches are full (usually in a few hours) and the snowplows have covered them up, then it is safe for us common-sense people to go out.

    Last Winter was our heaviest in many years. Had to use the big-ass-snowblower twice. 20-years ago was different story, we would not have melts between storms so 36 to 48-inches on the ground was normal. Global Warming gave a respite, but I think that is over.

    I profile drivers. The bigger the SUV, truck, and/or tires the more likely the driver is an idiot and needs to be given a wide berth. Used to be only a man problem, but women have become worse.

  4. Spook says:

    That’s a big every day (or at least every winter) benefit of prepping.
    Can’t get out of the house, much less the driveway? Oh, well… Guess I’ll just eat what’s here (out of a few thousand choices)…

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, when I was talking to Grace about being snowed in, I mentioned that we didn’t worry about it because we had enough supplies that we could be snowed in for literally a year without running out of anything.

  6. Harold says:

    The bigger the SUV, truck, and/or tires the more likely the driver is an idiot …

    So true. A few years ago I watched a 4×4 Jeep with huge tires try to drive across the highway median to avoid stalled traffic after a heavy snowfall. The snow looked flat all across the median to the far lanes. The jeep started across and suddenly disappeared from sight. The snow had hidden a deep watercourse between the lanes that the 4×4 driver discovered the hard way.

  7. OFD says:

    I reiterated to my wife last night, based on the Texas mess, that we need to be ready here for up to several weeks of no power in the middle of a bitterly cold and snowy winter with blizzards and ice storms and not being able to go anywhere or get oil deliveries. Mentioned stuff that was covered here WRT neighbors not being prepared and having diddly in their larders and fridges when they had plenty of warning, one way or another.

    We agreed that with such weather conditions, the likelihood of local goblins and gremlins trying to bust in here dwindles to insignificance. The dirtbags don’t go out in those conditions, either. Certainly not gonna hump through six-foot drifts to steal my books on medieval epics. In any case, even in warmer conditions, there are easier picking for them in this AO. Nevertheless, we’re sorta more-or-less ready for such events; need to get wife up to speed, and I’ve been saying that for the past several years and it hasn’t happened yet. So as soon as I know she has a particular Saturday or Sunday free when it’s offered, I’ll just sign her up for the basic pistol and rifle class for women just up the road at the range. Then I can get her up-to-date on stuff here.

  8. Greg Norton says:

    I profile drivers. The bigger the SUV, truck, and/or tires the more likely the driver is an idiot and needs to be given a wide berth.

    I drove a Toyota Solara (Camry 2-door) around Vantucky in occasional ice and snow without a problem. A little common sense goes a long way in learning to adjust.

    Subaru Foresters are a wild card. You never know the IQ level of the driver because it seems like the vehicle is the state car of OR.

  9. Harold says:

    Here in N. MS we have little to no snow/ice events and when they do show up they are gone in a couple of days. Our home sits high enough with huge watershead that flooding isn’t an issue. But we are in the New Madrid earthquake high-danger zone. I bought earthquake insurance and Tornados / Earthquakes are my primary concern with natural disasers. Since we live 5 miles from the southern slums of Memphis (now including Graceland) zombie invasion is my primary non-natural disaster.

  10. nick flandrey says:

    Sunny and warm here today. Should be able to start the Recovery phase.

    Dam continues to threaten, but not us so much. Army corps has a lying weasel as a spokesman. He’s using every technique in the book to slice the truth so thin you can see thru it. Additionally, they seem to be the type to never ACTUALLY LOOK and to discount anyone outside their office. They admitted today that they increased releases to “maintain the basic functionality of the structure.” Or parsed into english, if they didn’t get the levels down and increase release rates, the dams were going to FAIL in some way.

    They are flooding homes downstream that had not flooded yet, while very carefully talking about levels at a specific measuring point, and insisting there won’t be new flooding. This despite people on facebook and ON THE FREAKING NEWS standing in front of their previously dry homes. They announced the releases without warning at 10pm. so no one got any time to prepare. The local flood manager admits that there “may be previously flooded and drained homes that will re-flood.”

    Take away, local authorities are more likely to tell the truth and speak plainly. THE FEDS LIE and will kill you if they need to.

    more later.

    n

  11. Clayton W. says:

    WRT drivers in the snow: When I was at the sub base in Kitsap County Washington we would expect all the 4-wheel drive trucks to end up in the ditch the first snowstorm. Idiots never realized that all 4 driving makes no difference when you are going sidewise. MOST cars were OK with snow and ice.

    We did have seasonal stop signs. April to September the stop was on the roads up and down the hill. October to March along the hill had to stop. More of a realization that cars going down the hill were not able to stop on ice.

  12. DadCooks says:

    WRT Subarus:
    My Son and I recently bought brand new Foresters (he a 2017 certified pre-owned and I a 2018 just off the boat, it pays to buy in pairs 😉 ).

    I am well aware of the State Car of Oregon (Seattle for that matter too) and other LGBT, SJW, other idiot people who seem to be fans of Foresters and Outbacks (there are certain colors that are indicators, Jasmine Green in particular). But, the big point was that the wife had to feel comfortable driving it. The Forester was the only vehicle she felt comfortable in. It’s a bit smaller than I like, but since I may not be able to drive too many more years her approval carried the day. She could also deal with all the technology in the Forester, unlike the similar Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, and VWs.

    We had been shopping for new vehicles for about 2-years. Last Winter during the worst of our snowstorm the Subaru Dealer loaned all of his Subarus to the social service agencies, police, and fire so that they could get to people. The roads were packed with topsy-turvy vehicles so driving was like driving a slalom course for about a week. That earned him some Brownie-Points. Buying the Subarus was the easiest and most pleasant car-buying experience I have ever had. The Ford, Toyota, Honda, and VW dealers didn’t have a clue how to sell to a senior citizen.

    In case you are interested:
    http://www.subaru.com/guides/forester/my18/Shop

  13. OFD says:

    “Take away, local authorities are more likely to tell the truth and speak plainly. THE FEDS LIE and will kill you if they need to.”

    There it is. Some of us formerly or currently in “law enforcement” know that all too well.

    WRT the Subaru Foresters; yeah, the “unofficial state car of Vermont,” for years, and usually touted as such by the same sorts of people who do that in Oregon and Seattle.

    The college campus I’ll be going to this winta is up on a hill, and is itself amidst its own hilly terrain. So I’ll be getting a set of very aggressive snow tires for the RAV4 and packing stuff for in case I get stranded out there some late Monday night or Saturday (when my classes are scheduled, assuming I get through the interview Friday and that third letter of recommendation gets to them by then, too).

  14. Greg Norton says:

    Buying the Subarus was the easiest and most pleasant car-buying experience I have ever had. The Ford, Toyota, Honda, and VW dealers didn’t have a clue how to sell to a senior citizen.

    Any dealer in The Gorge has to compete with Gresham Subaru. I know individuals here who flew out to Portland, bought the vehicle, and drove it back to Texas because the available deals were that good.

  15. Miles_Teg says:

    Greg Norton wrote:

    “Subaru Foresters are a wild card. You never know the IQ level of the driver …”

    HEY! I resemble that… 🙁

  16. nick flandrey says:

    Another random datum-

    I seem to have rediscovered the recipe for Lamas Bread. Yeast in the foil packets can and does expire. I guess literally in this case. Opened the bread machine, and the loaf was 1- 1/2 inches high. VERY dense 🙂

    and they are doing high water rescue in the area that is NOW seeing flooding due to the dam releases.

    n

  17. JLP says:

    “Subaru Foresters are a wild card. You never know the IQ level of the driver “

    I bought a new Forester 2 weeks ago. As for my IQ, it depends on who you ask. When my girlfriend is mad at me:low 60s. When my mom is bragging about her scientist son: 199+. I humbly put it somewhere between those extremes.

    I bought the Forester after 19 years driving Toyota Corollas because there has been a noticeable change in traffic here in the last 5 years. It used to be that during a storm (rain or snow) the highways would slow down (depending on severity) but generally keep moving. Now, even during minor storms (especially snow), the highways seem to stop for long periods of time. Side roads are a wildcard but with a decent 4wd car you can usually keep traveling. The Corolla just wasn’t getting the job done for me last winter.

    Why the change in the highways? I don’t know. I suspect just too many idiots out there these days not really thinking things through before they hop in their cars. Or maybe just too many people in general.

  18. Greg Norton says:

    HEY! I resemble that…

    I have very good friends who drive Subarus … and I was nearly killed by a few in OR.

    I drive a car Toyota marketed to middle-aged professional women. Dunno what that says about me, but ever since I bought the vehicle, we get Chico’s and Talbots catalogs addressed to my name as junk mail.

  19. Nightraker says:

    “HEY! I resemble that…”

    Well, join the party. My 2004 is pushing 200k miles with just a bit of rust now showing on the tops of the rear wheel wells. Can’t call ’em sexy machines, but do blend in well. Yeah, that’s it.

  20. lynn says:

    And the Harvey drama never ceases ! This is worse than “General Hospital”. First, the river crest is now projected to be 56 ft. This is a drop of 3 ft from the projected peak of 59 ft from last Friday. We now have almost 4 ft of water on our levee with 6 ft of freeboard. If we did not have the levee, we would have 2 ft of water in our house right now.
    http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=HGX&gage=RMOT2

    And now a portion of our levee has collapsed. A 2.5 ft deep hole has eroded on the river side of the levee. 100 of my 15,000 neighbors went out this morning and helped to sandbag our levee. Here is a picture of the hole but it is in a closed group in Facebook so I am not sure that it can be seen.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1900806296853205/permalink/1901520016781833/

    I have also learned a fact that is very disturbing. FEMA only requires levees to prevent a 100 year flood from the protected area, about 1,500 acres. Harvey is a 1,000 year flood, whatever that means. I estimate that a 6 ft flood in our home would cost $200,000 (SWAG) to repair. New sheetrock, new wood flooring, new appliances, new insulation, new air conditioners, etc, etc, etc. This means that the wife and I will be buying flood insurance for our home which I think will be $500/year. My neighbor thinks that the cost will be $1,000/year which my wife thinks is ok (me too grudgingly) since he is apparently grandfathered to the old rate.

    Our subdivision, 4,000 homes in Greatwood, owns and operates our own levee. We have spent $30+ million on it so far since 1994 ?. We spent $8 million on it just five years ago to raise it four feet when FEMA remapped the flood plain around the river. Our actual levee cost is about $1,000/year/house.

    I am hoping that we will decide to raise our levee another four to five feet and add more pumps. I suspect that quite a few people will agree with me after our little interior flooding experience. My street is now almost dry but one of my employees who lives two blocks away still has 1.5 ft of water on her street.

  21. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “I humbly put it somewhere between those extremes.”

    198?

  22. OFD says:

    “…too many idiots out there these days not really thinking things through before they hop in their cars. Or maybe just too many people in general.”

    Bingo twice.

    Those of us old enough to remember know that the country now has at least TWICE the population it had when we were kids growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Roughly 175 million then to nearly 350 million now, and the third most populated country on Earth. With 40% or higher living along the coasts, wetlands, etc. In huge cities and metropoles.

  23. SteveF says:

    100 of my 15,000 neighbors went out this morning and helped to sandbag our levee.

    Less than a 1% participation rate for a project which benefits the group? Sounds about right. Where “right” means “Confirms my low opinion of the species.”

  24. Terry Losansky says:

    Western Washington’s issue with snow is not so much the snow as it is the ice. There can be a dusting of snow, usually slushy at first, then a rapid freeze. This makes driving on the curvy and hilly roads a challenge.

    I see a lot of inexperienced drivers get stuck on a small patch of ice, literally a couple feet from an otherwise passable, plowed street. The really inexperienced drivers somehow feel they can rev the engine and spin the tires until the ice magically vanishes. This approach works less well on a hillside road.

    I live in the Cascade foothills, near and above Snoqualmie Falls, where this phenomenon can be more frequent in the winter than in Seattle proper, 25 miles away. I work from home full time, so staying in is not a problem if the snow does get weird. Those become preparedness exercise days (i.e. a reminder with few risks), should things get sporty.

    I have lived here for most of the last 16 years. I remind newcomers three feet of snow over a couple days does happen, and large drifts from the wind are likely. More than once I have had to dig four feet of snow from my driveway to get my car to the completely clear alley twenty feet away. One notable year, a snow drift formed on the street in front of my house, a foot higher than my stoop, and six feet deep on the street, which took two days for a front-end loader to clear. Typical snow days are just a reminder of snow, with heavy ice.

    School closures are a funny thing, while the “lowland” roads will be bare and dry, the higher elevations of a school district will be dangerously icy, and school buses can’t service even on limited routes. People complain that the schools were closed. Flood closures from heavy rain have the opposite groups affected and complaining.

  25. lynn says:

    100 of my 15,000 neighbors went out this morning and helped to sandbag our levee.

    Less than a 1% participation rate for a project which benefits the group? Sounds about right. Where “right” means “Confirms my low opinion of the species.”

    The levee people did not even ask for help. They put out a notice of repair at 6 am while I was still in bed. We partied at neighbors house until 2 am last night ! We have lived next to each other for five years and never really done anything together before.

  26. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “Less than a 1% participation rate for a project which benefits the group?”

    Had I been among the larger group, I doubt that I’d have volunteered for the physical labor. I’m simply too old, too weak, and too infirm to be filling and toting sandbags, at least if there are strong, younger people available, men or women. The last thing they need in such a situation is 60-something guys collapsing with heart attacks. I’d have volunteered to help by providing food and drink to the laborers. Does that make me a wimp or a slacker?

  27. Greg Norton says:

    I estimate that a 6 ft flood in our home would cost $200,000 (SWAG) to repair. New sheetrock, new wood flooring, new appliances, new insulation, new air conditioners, etc, etc, etc

    New 4 ton Trane XR17 AC is $10,000 easy. We did a replacement two weeks ago when our 22 year-old AC died, and that number was the cost in Austin *before* the storm. Our installer currently isn’t returning our phone calls — I assume he’s already in Houston.

    (Avoid making my mistake and paying the extra $700 for the smart thermostat and relay board. Trane’s are POS tech, do strange things to your WiFi, and use a proprietary wire protocol. It’ll be out of our house as soon as the labor warranty expires.)

  28. nick flandrey says:

    “t’ll be out of our house as soon as the labor warranty expires.”

    why wait if it truly sucks?

    n

  29. SteveF says:

    The levee people did not even ask for help.

    Could be, or they put something up in a “neighborhood linkup” site you don’t know about, or you just missed it, or they did door-to-door requests while you were at the office, or…

    As may be, I wasn’t criticizing you for not hoisting sandbags, on account of your much-pissed-and-moaned-about infirmity. My grievance with people not chipping in is a more general one, where the vast majority find excuses not to help but happily reap the benefits of others’ work or money or whatever.

  30. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    In the immortal words of Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

  31. dkreck says:

    As a wizened senior I resent the younger not taking my sage advice. Been there done that – your turn.

  32. SteveF says:

    Had I been among the larger group, I doubt that I’d have volunteered for the physical labor. I’m simply too old, too weak, and too infirm to be filling and toting sandbags,

    Nor would I expect you to, as with Lynn.

    I’d have volunteered to help by providing food and drink to the laborers. Does that make me a wimp or a slacker?

    That, or provide advice when you know how to do something that the young, strong, and dumb don’t, or anything to chip in. No, not a slacker at all.

    I’ve always been one of the small fraction who stop to help at a car rollover, or pick up a beaten-down-looking hitchhiker along the highway, or mow the grass in the center of the turn-around at the end of the dead-end street. And I watch the other three homeowners do their own lawns and ignore the “commons”. (This summer I mowed it only once, and decided to wait until someone else did it before doing it again. No one has, and it’s really overgrown. And I’ve listened to complaints about how bad it looks, but still no one’s lifting a finger. Now, I’m not saying that my neighbors need to die in a fire…) And let’s not forget the threats and insults for not prioritizing Her Majesty the Self-Important over Bleeding Guy, or for handing out non-gluten-free snacks to a bunch of kids who were upset, bored, and hungry because a bus was late and their parents didn’t think to bring snacks and drinks. (Now, I’m not saying that 90% of the species is excess…)

  33. Spook says:

    Just to interject a little reality, every time somebody raises a levee, the water goes onto somebody else.

  34. OFD says:

    “People complain that the schools were closed. “

    Because that means they gotta stay home with the kidz. And they’re annoyed because:

    1.) Means a day off work and using a sick, vay-cay or personal day, which wife and I did constantly and lost them all to sick days, “in-service” days for teachers and staff, and the rare snow day that they’d actually close the schools (I used to see buses careening around corners and snowdrifts during blizzards regardless of how bad it was).

    2.) Means they gotta stay home with their kids. O the Horror!

    “We have lived next to each other for five years and never really done anything together before.”

    One word, and you know what it is, doncha, hermano.

    WRT to helping out versus slackers, etc., once again I find myself in total agreement with that really mean guy down in the Capitol District. (Albany, you know, the Vampire State).

    Now, I’m not saying that more likely 99% of the species is excess, and I couldn’t and shouldn’t say that as it would be in violation of Christian beliefs, etc. But I can still think it. Oh wait–that’s wrong, too.

  35. Greg Norton says:

    why wait if it truly sucks?

    The installation company won’t return my calls for whatever reason right now, and replacement with a standard thermostat will require a professional to do the rewiring.

    Plus, the Trane smart thermostat line is so screwed up *in my opinion* that there might be an academic paper and Black Hat talk coming out of this situation.

  36. nick flandrey says:

    In that case charge the whole expense to ‘professional development’….

    n

  37. OFD says:

    The woman who was doing my third recommendation letter evidently took off on vacation or something over and including the three-day Labor Day weekend and won’t be back until next Tuesday. I ran this little problem by my VA case manager and he is stepping up and doing one himself and firing it off to the college by 09:00 tomorrow.

    And my effed-up interview/meeting that was supposed to be yesterday at 16:00 has been re-scheduled for Friday at 10:30. That should wrap up all the damn paperwork for my admission to the MA program, finally, seeing as how I’ve already started classes and been doing homework and exercises and bought books. Scanned my AMZ receipts and sent them to the case manager and he’s getting me reimbursed in full. Next up: my montly stipend should start this next month and I am requesting a laptop, also to be paid for by the VA (via your and my taxes and my killing communists for Jesus and the American Way a million years ago, but I got the location wrong….you know what I mean….).

    Said laptop will probably come with Winblows 10 and you know that that means, too, amirite? I’m yanking the drive and slapping in a big fast SSD and installing Fedora XFCE plus the VPN and Crossover for Linux. With all the security stuff enabled. And bad chit disabled. Now to find out how spendy I can get one; I want 16GB of RAM.

    Waiting to hear back from the VA docs now on if they can get me in sooner than 9/11 for my own blasted infirmity; it’s been routed to the “triage nurse.” Probably guys in worse shape so I’m not bitching. I’ve dealt with the pain for two years now, but the decreasing mobility and functionality is extremely annoying.

    Means I can’t fill sandbags and haul chit around the next time one of our rivers overflows up here. I’ll have to tell all the strong young and beeyooteeful peeps that I been there and done that like they can’t even fucking imagine and now it’s THEIR turn.

  38. SteveF says:

    The installation company won’t return my calls for whatever reason right now

    Would it be worthwhile to write a firm letter and have a lawyer send that under his letterhead? I’ve gotten results that way a couple times.

  39. Greg Norton says:

    Said laptop will probably come with Winblows 10 and you know that that means, too, amirite? I’m yanking the drive and slapping in a big fast SSD and installing Fedora XFCE plus the VPN and Crossover for Linux. With all the security stuff enabled. And bad chit disabled. Now to find out how spendy I can get one; I want 16GB of RAM.

    Keep the original laptop drive in a safe place. You never know when you will actually want Windows 10, strange as that sounds.

    Work gave me a new Dell Latitude E5570 with 16 GB RAM on the day I started, but the machine died a week into the job. The machine has been great since returning from the month-long corporate repair ritual, however. YMMV.

  40. OFD says:

    Yes, I plan to stash the original somewhere here on the remote chance we’ll ever use it with Windows 10 on it.

    From the Department of Amazing Contradictions:

    http://takimag.com/article/a_tale_of_two_sisters_steve_sailer?utm_source=Taki%27s+Magazine+List&utm_campaign=ec2cc0a462-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f7706afea2-ec2cc0a462-379417973#axzz4rBggfzCT

  41. dkreck says:

    @Norton
    ————–
    The installation company won’t return my calls for whatever reason right now

    Would it be worthwhile to write a firm letter and have a lawyer send that under his letterhead? I’ve gotten results that way a couple times.
    ————-
    Call the manufacture. They will likely get more done than any lawyer.

  42. nick flandrey says:

    “on the remote chance we’ll ever use it with Windows 10 on it.”

    The school will probably have some sort of “portal” that is on MS sharepoint, and needs Outlook and IEwhatever to access. It’ll be something that you can’t do without.

    n

  43. nick flandrey says:

    Another random datum while I’m sitting here.

    The scanner I’m using is the digital trunk tracking Uniden Home Patrol II.

    It’s worked great and is very easy to use. The built in library has everything under the sun. In fact, you need to make some choices about what NOT to listen too.

    I deleted ALL the dispatch channels, EMS, FD, PD. They run constantly here and I’d never hear anything else. Stuff I never thought I’d want has been very informative, particularly the school bus channels.

    n

    ADDED- despite all the millions of $ spent on interop and the change to P25, and all digital, they still can’t talk to each other.

    ADDED- I’m not hearing any traffic on the pure analog channels, either no one is near me, or they haven’t felt the need to activate them.

  44. Greg Norton says:

    Call the manufacture. They will likely get more done than any lawyer.

    Trane generally defers to the dealers. It reminds me of the car manufacturer-dealer relationship in the US.

    I got through to someone with authority at the installation company today.

  45. Ray Thompson says:

    I am requesting a laptop, also to be paid for by the VA

    Probably the cheapest Chromebook that money can find. Naturally through a private contractor who will bill the government for a top of the line Surface Pro but provide the lowest possible piece of equipment they can find.

  46. DadCooks says:

    I’ve been watching rescues on Fox News Channel (FNC). Very impressive actions by civilian and military. A Blackhawk just plucked a family from their rooftop; Mom and 2 kids, then the dog (in a carrier), and finally Dad. Just one of thousands of rescues today.

    There are a lot of lesson being learned (hopefully).

    What is extremely sad and wrong are the number of nursing homes that were in no way prepared for this.

    I am surprised that the death toll is not greater, but it’s long from being over.

    Our local Red Cross is sending people and supplies to Texas, they are on their way now.

  47. nick flandrey says:

    And we appreciate every effort.

    n

  48. Greg Norton says:

    What is extremely sad and wrong are the number of nursing homes that were in no way prepared for this.

    That story repeats over and over again in natural disasters in The South. With the demise of other industries, the small town economies are dependent on the nursing homes and ACLFs to provide jobs for minimally skilled labor, but the facilities tend to be out of the way and hidden, almost forgotten when the worst happens.

  49. nick flandrey says:

    Just finished raking up the little debris, and cutting the grass. I guess this rain is good for my garden…

    n

  50. RickH says:

    While some of you are worrying about the weather, here’s another worry (as if more is needed): https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/giant-asteroid-give-earth-very-close-shave-ncna797451

    2012 TC4 will fly by Earth on Oct. 12 at a distance of about 27,000 miles (43,500 kilometers), or about one-eighth the distance to the moon. Previous observations suggested the space rock might come to within 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers), according to a statement from NASA.

    Lessee…where’s my copy of “Lucifer’s Hammer”, so I can figure out some additional preps…..

    If you want to watch for it, here’s some info: https://www.cnet.com/news/asteroid-3122-florence-passing-earth-watch-telescope-space/

  51. nick flandrey says:

    Sheriff’s deputies are trying to evac around the chemical plant that’s probably gonna explode soon, and people don’t want to leave.

    His supervisor on the radio told him to get full names, addresses, and next of kin from the hold outs, and to tell them to write their info on their forearms.

    World of shit on the east side…

    n

  52. nick flandrey says:

    Oh, and now it’s clear why the “inland strike teams” needed to evac Port Arthur last night…

    n

  53. SteveF says:

    Meanwhile in Houston…

    I’d say those bastards should be killed on identification. There’s a lot of practical problems with that, though.

  54. lynn says:

    why wait if it truly sucks?

    The installation company won’t return my calls for whatever reason right now, and replacement with a standard thermostat will require a professional to do the rewiring.

    My plumber replaced my two natural gas hot water heaters 4+ years ago with new models with digital controls. One digital controller has already fried itself at 2 years (one year out of warranty) so he came out with an analog conversion kit and rebuilt it for $450. I am wondering when the other digital computer will fry itself. They do not plug into an outlet but use thermionic conversion (heat to electricity). My plumber does not install the digital control model anymore.

  55. lynn says:

    Just to interject a little reality, every time somebody raises a levee, the water goes onto somebody else.

    Yup, levee dual at dawn ! And our pumps are still going at 20,000 gpm back into the river which is going to set a new record elevation sometime tonight.
    http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=HGX&gage=RMOT2

    Our levee is protecting 4,000 homes at an average worth of $350K = $1.4 billion.

    And the loss to FEMA if we got 4 to 5 ft of water in the homes = 4,000 * $150,000 (repair SWAG) = $600 million.

    And to throw some real cold water on things, the 99 (Grand Parkway) bridge across the Brazos river upstream of us is not doing well. If it comes down (4 lanes of concrete about a 1/4 mile long), that will provide a very nice new dam. We don’t need a new dam …

    BTW, in all this mess my swimming pool has dropped from 87 F to 74 F.

  56. lynn says:

    Just finished raking up the little debris, and cutting the grass. I guess this rain is good for my garden…

    I am surprised that your topsoil is not down stream XXXXXXXXX down street.

  57. lynn says:

    In the immortal words of Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

    After the wife and I put our pillow-top queen mattress into my Expedition, I had to sit down for a while. Both were big mistakes as we got islanded during that time. I should have told the women that we were going in 15 minutes, no matter what. Luckily, it did not turn out bad for us.

    I am going to buy some camp cots for the office. Those will be our bedding. Much better than our bare concrete floors. If anyone does not like it then they can just complain about it to the water. The next time I bug out, it will be on a 15 minute timer.

    This thing ain’t over yet. The crest is coming Friday morning. We got lucky and Harvey went south of Houston instead of north of Houston. If Harvey had gone north of Houston, oh my, all of the rivers would be higher.

    Oh and the office property is still 10 ft above the river. I love it when my calculations work out to be too conservative, I calculated that the office would be 4 or 5 ft above the river for a flood of this level when I bought the place.

  58. Ed says:

    I was astonished by the price for Grace’s house. Here in the California high desert I’ve lately seen a 800SF house built about 1940 listed for $199k. (Comes with a root cellar, which is interesting.)
    I really need to get over my inertia and pull the trigger on a move, I really don’t want to be in Cali for the 2018 and 2020 election seasons, it’s probably going to get…interesting.

  59. Ed says:

    @lynn.

    Perhaps you could back-engineer the control specs for the heaters, then use an Arduino or Raspberry Pi?

    I was considering that myself when my dryer controller seemed to go out earlier this year. A friend just starting messing with the dials and found a setting that still worked, so I’ve put that off for now.

  60. lynn says:

    “Hard Drive Stats for Q2 2017”
    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-failure-stats-q2-2017/

    “Since our last report for Q1 2017, we have added 635 additional hard drives to bring us to the 83,151 drives we’ll focus on. In Q1 we added over 10,000 new drives to the mix, so adding just 635 in Q2 seems “odd.” In fact, we added 4,921 new drives and retired 4,286 old drives as we migrated from lower density drives to higher density drives. We cover more about migrations later on, but first let’s look at the Q2 quarterly stats.”

    Wow, 30% failure rates on some of the Seagate 4 TB drives !

  61. OFD says:

    “The school will probably have some sort of “portal” that is on MS sharepoint, and needs Outlook and IEwhatever to access. It’ll be something that you can’t do without.”

    They do in fact have a portal, and I’m logged into it right now. They’re using Moodle:

    “Moodle is a free and open-source software learning management system written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License.”

    So far I don’t see any indication of Sharepoint, IE or Outlook stuff. A shitload of the students and faculty run Macs and I’m pretty sure there’s a contingent of Linux geeks there.

    I will check with my case manager next week assuming I’m officially in down there, and ask about the laptop stuff.

  62. lynn says:

    Lessons learned from Harvey so far:
    1. Just because you have a levee does not mean that you cannot be flooded from inside.
    2. Just because you have a levee does not mean that you cannot be flooded from outside.
    3. Your bug out place needs to have more than just a roof, water, and food. Beds and cooking materials are necessary also.
    4. If you are going to bug out then do it NOW. Don’t piddle about. Establish a hard time and leave then.
    5. Neighbors are important. Two of our two story neighbors invited us to shelter with them if needful since we have a one story. We also shared some water and LED lanterns which I am not planning on getting back.
    6. Still learning. There are more lessons coming from Harvey.

  63. Spook says:

    Just an old camper’s observation:
    Cots can be uncomfortable. Foam backpacker style sleeping pads work well, insulate from cold ground or floor, are cheap and lightweight (I usually use 4 or 5 when vehicle camping!)… and they provide some flotation if it comes to that.

  64. Greg Norton says:

    My plumber replaced my two natural gas hot water heaters 4+ years ago with new models with digital controls. One digital controller has already fried itself at 2 years (one year out of warranty) so he came out with an analog conversion kit and rebuilt it for $450. I am wondering when the other digital computer will fry itself.

    Our water heater sits in the attic. I can’t imagine a digital control up there lasting more than one Austin summer. Houston is worse, with Tampa-style hot and humid.

    I hope your luck holds with regard to the water. I see the new Buc-ee’s in Katy opened a little early.

    http://www.kvue.com/features/trending-today/buc-ees-opens-katy-location-to-emergency-personnel/468665267

  65. Greg Norton says:

    Lynn: Where does your son live? What is his situation?

  66. lynn says:

    Lynn: Where does your son live? What is his situation?

    In southwest Houston off 610. He is high and dry and islanded. He got 50+ inches of rain. His street is 4 ft higher than West Airport and his house is 4 ft higher than his street.

  67. lynn says:

    Our water heater sits in the attic. I can’t imagine a digital control up there lasting more than one Austin summer. Houston is worse, with Tampa-style hot and humid.

    Yes, both of our water heaters are in the attic. In fact, right next to each other and paralleled. I cannot imagine putting digital controls up there either, especially now.

  68. nick flandrey says:

    “I am surprised that your topsoil is not down stream XXXXXXXXX down street.”

    I raked up a couple shovels full and spread them back on the lawn. Neighbor across the street has about a cubic yard along his curb…

    We should get a nice fireball at some point from the Arkema plant when it goes up.

    Sheriffs taking it seriously.

    Scanner says scavengers are out picking thru some neighborhood trash piles already. Some homeowners are objecting.

    Lots more hurt to the east.

    @lynn, yes, yes, yes, and yes. PILLOWTOP? Jeez…. Ask your wife if she wants to see your daughter drown while strapped into her chair. Priorities man.

    Search for my posts on my 15, 30, 60 bug out list cards.

    My wife is amazed and astounded that your neighbor doesn’t even have a charcoal or gas grill. I guess I’m overboard with all the different ways I have to cook, but I like to eat. I like hot water for various purposes.

    Propane grill
    propane coleman stove, and lantern (many of each)
    camp fuel coleman stove and lanterns ( many)
    Dual fuel (gasoline) coleman stove and lanterns (at least one of each)
    single burner coleman stoves in camp fuel, dual fuel, and propane versions
    single burner backpack stoves in a variety of fuels including alcohol
    “penny” or “hobo” stove -see youtube
    turkey fryer propane ring and big pots (cooking and heating water)
    Sterno cans and stove support
    countertop butane stove and bottles of fuel
    concrete block rocket stove
    campfire style fire pit and rack of wood
    and finally dakota type fire hole in back yard
    and candle type stoves

    I KNOW it’s overkill, but we have our first family staying in their 2nd floor, with no food or cooking and they might get one setup tomorrow, depending on flooding. I’ve got a LOT of options to help others and feed my family.

    nick

  69. Spook says:

    Nice work on the cooking options.
    Sadly, add training for neighbors who are likely to blow up or burn down (or both) the neighborhood with most of the cooking options you might give or loan them.

  70. nick flandrey says:

    One of the considerations I voiced to my wife was that they had to be competent not to kill themselves with CO poisoning. I’ll probably volunteer the countertop butane burner. They are used indoors all the time.

    n

  71. OFD says:

    So I guess Nawlinz is next in line and might be in worse shape now than it was when Katrina hit it?

    http://conservative-headlines.org/deja-vu-in-new-orleans/

    Some harsh language.

  72. medium wave says:

    So I guess Nawlinz is next in line and might be in worse shape now than it was when Katrina hit it?

    Sorry to disappoint you, OFD, but it appears that the Crescent City will be spared the two to four inches of rain so gleefully predicted by the local forecasters during the runup to Harvey that they practically wet themselves (pun intended) in the process.

    Not that I want to see a repeat of the Katrina flooding, but I was kinda hoping the locals would have an opportunity to hold Mitch Landrieu beneath the water’s surface until the bubbles stopped coming up.

    He and Ray Nagin should be sharing a cell.

  73. OFD says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of real bad chit about Landrieu and Nagin.

    Say, isn’t Nagin that really evil dude on “The Walking Dead?”

  74. SteveF says:

    they had to be competent not to kill themselves with CO poisoning

    Think of self-poisoning with CO as filtering the gene pool.

  75. lynn says:

    I KNOW it’s overkill, but we have our first family staying in their 2nd floor, with no food or cooking and they might get one setup tomorrow, depending on flooding. I’ve got a LOT of options to help others and feed my family.

    What is a first family ?

    I have a Coleman propane camp stove in the box. I have a generic Walmart propane grill in the box also. I have a dozen of the small Coleman propane bottles. I have three of the 20 lb propane tanks. And I have a 20 lb tank to small bottle converter for the Coleman propane stove. These are my cooking options. I figure that they are good for a month. I am assuming that one of them will work out of the box. Given the ability of the Chinese to assemble cheap stuff, this might be a bad assumption.

  76. lynn says:

    they had to be competent not to kill themselves with CO poisoning

    Think of self-poisoning with CO as filtering the gene pool.

    I would feel bad for the first responder.

  77. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “What is a first family ?”

    Currently, that would be Donald Trump, his wife, and his children.

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