Fri. Sept. 20, 2019 – so I learned some things…

77F and wet.  Probably.

Boy did we get some rain yesterday.  And I got stuck at the kids’ school, where I was able to help out, and everything worked out ok, but…

Turns out there are some holes in my vehicular preps, and in aspects of my current habits and lifestyle.  NB-I don’t typically carry a BOB or GHB or any other specific bag in my truck.  I’ve got a couple of totes in the back with extra stuff, and my EDC.  I thought that was pretty good, and it is.

I usually have some additional supplements like energy bars tucked away, but I ate them.  Day before yesterday and I didn’t replace them.  I usually refill my gas tank whenever there is a storm coming, and whenever it gets low.  I didn’t notice the level on Wednesday, and it beeped at me on the way to school- 50 miles to empty.  No problem, I’ll fill up on the way home.  Except what if I get stuck in the water on the way and need to wait out the flooding?  Not enough gas to do that.  My friend took 3 hours to get home with his kids.   I certainly didn’t have 3 hours worth of gas, to go less than 5 miles.

I have shirts, sweatshirts, pullover windbreakers, and long pants in the truck.  I’ve got hat and mittens when it’s cold.  I’ve got yellow plastic rain gear, ponchos, and even a set of FroggToggs.  No socks.  No dry shoes.  That’s a big oversight.

I don’t carry my ‘daddy bag’ anymore, so I don’t have a change of clothes for the kids.  It’s been a long time since one had an ‘accident’.

A couple of days ago, I had a case of Mountain House in the truck.  Yesterday I had only two expired MREs (the date doesn’t bother me) and USCG approved lifeboat survival bars.  Plenty of water, soda, and cans of flavored water… and I’d even added instant iced tea to put in the plain water.  I did so and drank that during the afternoon.  Had we been stranded at school overnight (and we have school friends in walking distance, so that was EXTREMELY unlikely) the kids and I would have eaten MREs in the truck while everyone else dined on microwave popcorn.  I did share a big Costco bag of candy that I was taking to my gunstore buddy.  Daughter used it to earn points with her friends.

The biggest problem is that there are only two real driveable ways into the school’s neighborhood, and BOTH are subject to flooding.  If we were desperate, I would have taken the chance on the deeper intersection.   I could see vehicles making it through and had a good idea of depth, but I also couldn’t get good info about the next step in my route.  I retreated to safety and comfort, deciding that the unknown and risk was not worth it to sit at home for the afternoon.

The situation might have been different if I was trying to GET to school and pick them up in an emergency.  This was not an emergency.  No one should have wrecked a car in an attempt to pick up the kids from a fully functional school, in the middle of the day.

It’s amazing the speed and reckless regard with which some people entered the high water.  They didn’t even wait to see how the guy in front of them made out.  Some pulled out around me, while I was watching the other guy go, and sped on ahead.  No way could they have seen the other guys success or failure before entering.  Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This being Houston, one of the items in my tote is a professional personal flotation device, designed for people who work on the water.  It will auto inflate, but most of the time stays out of your way.  It’s the first item in the tote.  If there ever came a day when I felt compelled to enter high water, I can at least gear up first.  I have a short rescue rope on top too.

My Expy is currently full of cr@p to the point I couldn’t have taken 2 extra kids with me, only one.  I’ve got a lot of auction stuff piled in the back and on the back seat.  That stuff needs to get out of my truck.

I need to add some Mountain House, durable snacks, and kid clothes to the tote.  I need to move a pair of sturdy shoes and a good pair of socks to the tote.   I may even set up a 3 gallon bucket as a toilet for the truck, and leave it in there.   (the 5 gallon with the seat only goes with us when I think or know we’ll want it.  Like 4 hours in a parking lot, watching fireworks,  It’s too big to live in my truck 24/7.)

The kids have grown, and I haven’t changed my truck pack much.

Meanwhile, my wife was stuck at her work.  I reminded her that there were at least a couple of powerbars in the ‘resource kit’ in her minivan.  She decided to stay at work, where they had food, light, AC, and work to do, rather than move through flooded streets.  Maybe I’ll be able to stash a bit more in her vehicle, ‘for the children’ now.  (FWIW, the thing we’ve used most often from her kit is fire starter and matches.)  She waited for clear streets and drove home without incident.

We’re supposed to get more rain.  I hope not, but I guess we’ll see.  This was a good opportunity to find holes in my preps without any resulting drama…and I’m going to use the gift to get better.

nick

Thur. Sept. 19, 2019 – more volunteering today

Wet.  Definitely wet.  Got an extra 1.25 inches of rain between my post yesterday morning and midnight yesterday.   Ground is getting squishy.

More  storms shaping up in the Atlantic too.

Don’t drive into flood waters.

—-

I am interested to see what we’ll be doing with the fifth graders this year.  We have at least 3 dissections planned.  We’re doing some other stuff too, like drones and rockets, but I don’t have any details yet.  Should be fun.  One thing I can say for sure, if you aren’t in a school this year or last, you really don’t know what is going on in schools today.  It’s not what you remember.  Volunteer and see for yourself.

In fact, as part of Meatspace Baby! get out and volunteer in your community.  You can be totally selfish in who you volunteer for too.  I’m not working in soup kitchens…  it will get you out of the house, and into your community.  LOCAL is where the problems will be, and where any solutions reside.  The dad I met yesterday is completely aligned with me politically on the issues we talked about.  He’s a CHL holder.  He might be a LMI and a good guy to know…  and I probably wouldn’t have learned that just bumping in to him at a PTA meeting.  Get out there.  Do something.   (Ham radio is good too.)

With that, I’m posting this and getting ready for school 🙂

 

nick

 

 

 

Wed. Sept. 18, 2019 – busy day

Raining, most likely. Cooler though. [75F and another 0.56 inches after midnight]

Today is my first volunteer day of the year at the kids’ school. I’ll be leading the 4th grade “Hands On Science” enrichment classes. Then tomorrow, I’ll be volunteering as a helper to the 5th grade program. Neither of my kids is in 4th this year, so I’m practicing for next year 😉 and the year after that with 5th…

I edited the power point and added some slides explaining “science” and “scientists” and what they do. Toned down the Metric system cheerleading a bit too. After all, the number of countries that put a man on the moon and brought him home again, that use the metric system is still ZERO. The chinese found a puddle of goo and the indians discovered it’s harder than it looks, and neither was manned anyway…

Yeah I get it, we use metric in science. Mostly. 80-something percent of our kids use the metric system in their home countries and at home, so that makes it easier, I guess. Like soccer, demographics is destiny.

My ham radio lunch follows immediately after my volunteering, and is on the other side of town, so I hope it’s not to flooded.

Rained steadily til at least midnight, with the gauge showing 1.59 inches before I went to bed. One power blink, and the sound a transformer makes when it shorts, sort of a whooommmmff noise, and I was off to bed.

Hope the financial world holds it together a bit longer…

n

 

added- the flood control district sensors show more than 5 inches in the south east of town, Friendswood [some parts of Friendswood are showing 7,5 and 7.9 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours] and Clearlake areas.  They are at the outflow end of our bayou system.  Currently the map is showing very little rain in the Northwest, the start of our bayou system.  The channel map is showing the waterways in SW are coming up and are in “warning” status.  At least they aren’t looking at the whole bayou system draining into them tonight, but only have to deal with mostly local rainfall. [Two of the monitored bayous are out of their banks this morning]

 

https://www.harriscountyfws.org/

 

Tues. Sept. 17, 2019 – the hour’s getting late

74F and 99%RH??  [77F and 50%RH]  Hopefully a bit cooler anyway. Yesterday was cool-ish but very humid, especially after the rain. I had to pause and catch my breath a couple of times.

I’ve got two auction pickups today, as well as a plan to drop off a pallet or more for my auction. A haircut would be nice too.

Most of my plans don’t involve rain, so I hope the NOAA forecast is wrong for my area.

The worldwide March to War ™ {brought to you by Snacky Smores} seems to be continuing apace. If they can’t stir up stuff in one part of the world, they try in another. More disruption, more famine, more disease, more destruction, more, more, more. Been a while since we had a big one, and it sure seems to be coming.

I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing- living. The futility of trying to ‘time’ the markets or disasters means I don’t do anything irrevocable as part of my preps, and try not to do anything irrevocable in my life. There are risks involved with that, but so far, I think they are less than the risks from, say, cashing out and moving off grid in the woods. Someone always gets caught holding the bag, I hope it’s not me. (and I make plans to keep it from being me.)

Anyway, time to make the breakfast, and lunches, and feed the dog and fish, and all the other life affirming things that start my day.

Keep stacking.

n

Mon. Sept. 16, 2019 – drone wars

No idea what the weather is like, probably  74F and 99%RH if trends continue [77F and 90%RH at 6am- not as cool as hoped].  With all the weather in the atlantic and stuff brewing in the Gulf, we could get anything.

So the Iranians used drones to attack the Saudis.  Huh.  Leaving aside for a minute WHY they would do that, did ANYONE here who pays attention see any hostile and aggressive moves coming?  Or is it that it’s Iran through the Yemenis, who the Saudis have been using as punching bags and a way to blood their troops for the last year or so?

I certainly wasn’t thinking in terms of an attack directly on the Saudis.  Where de flock did this come from?

The biggest take away from this for me, is that once someone proves you can do something (4 minute mile, school shooting, weaponized drones) then others jump in and do it again.

I can’t help thinking about the literal tons of fentanyl the chinese have been shipping into North America as their version of the Opium wars.  Let’s just assume for a minute that no DRUG dealer or cartel needs multiple hundreds of pounds of a substance that has an effective dose the size of a couple of grains of salt.  There aren’t enough junkies on the planet for the amount of that stuff the cops are interdicting, let alone what must be getting through.  So why handle it?  It’s like a nuclear bomb in that quantity.  It’s dangerous to handle.   Where’s it going to end up?

Welcome to the drone wars.  Stay away from crowds.

n

Sun. Sept. 15, 2019 – sleeping in … you should too

Cooler and humid, probably. [well, it’s 94F at 11am, so slightly cooler, and 60%RH, still feels hot and humid.]

I’m sleeping in today.  You should too.  It’s a great luxury of wealth and civilization to be a productive member of society and still be able to sleep in.  Farmers don’t get to sleep in.  Soldiers don’t.  If my kids, bladder, and back let me, I’m still in bed.

Lots of stuff to do today.  Don’t know what I’ll get to.  Some other things that were off the radar have inserted themselves into the queue…

Can’t sleep too late, stuff to do.

 

n

Sat. Sept. 14, 2019 – where did the week go?

Cool and wet.  Yesterday started out cooler, stayed cooler longer, but by late afternoon was PLENTY HOT.   It did cool off pretty quickly once the sun started down.

I’ve got my monthly get together for my non-prepping hobby this morning, so I’ll be radio silence for a while.  Then I will be trying to cram as many of my week’s goals into a couple of hours as possible 🙂

I don’t know where the week went.  I had plans.  I had good intentions.  Shopping and auction pickups ate a bunch of daylight, that’s certain, but there still should have been more time to work the list…

Now that the gloves have come off, and Burrito Beto (white on the outside, full of brown stuff inside) declared his position on gun confiscation and the Bill of Rights, I wonder if sales will pick up?  If they don’t, it’ll be a pretty good indicator of how the public sees his chances of winning…  and that the other Dems didn’t come out with ‘clarification’ statements, means that they’re fully on board too, they just don’t want to say it out loud yet. Fully socialist, and gun grabby- does no one see the path they are following and where it leads? [Solzhenitsyn quote left as an exercise for the reader.]

Anyone here still think we’re not headed into a major schism in our country and in the world?  If not, how would we avoid one?  Because just continuing as we are will lead there and no one is suggesting alternate paths, or putting on the brakes.

Which is why I prep (and hurricanes.  Can’t forget about the hurricanes.  Especially with one headed toward us again.)

What have you done to improve your skills? Stockpile? sources? community?   I hope it’s something, even if little tiny steps….

 

 

n

Fri. Sept. 13, 2019 – Friday the 13th comes on a Friday this week

74F and 98%RH. It did get hot yesterday but not for as long, or as hot. Fall has definitely started.

I got to bed early but drinking a couple of quarts before bed meant getting up several times during the night. I don’t feel a bit rested. In fact, I feel worse than normal.

This week blew by. I didn’t get half my list done. There’s always something else to do… Today I’ve got auction pickups and an estate sale with lots of items relating to my non-prepping hobby. I could skip it, I guess, but I’m going anyway. Maybe the seller won’t have their normally sky high pricing and I’ll get some bargains. Or I’ll just waste a couple of hours driving and looking. The sale is near Lynn’s current residence…

As far as prepping goes, this week sucked. Very little other than food shopping got done. I sold a few small items on ebay, and bought a bunch of inventory. I’ve got to get that turned over and listed. It’s never gonna sell if it’s not listed.

The debate was last night and I care not one bit. It’s such a clown show I can’t believe anyone takes it seriously, and I’m a bit horrified that someone might. As they try to out Stalin each other, at least the masks are coming off. No one can say they don’t want your guns anymore… The extremism and radicalization are very disturbing. I don’t think this is going to end well.

No matter what happens, preps are a good idea. Broken record, I know, but I would hate to see friends suffer if it could be avoided.

WRT health issues, if you have anything nagging you, or anything doesn’t feel right, or if it’s been a while since you had a physical with bloodwork, take advantage of the fact that civilization is still up. Go- see the doctor. Better to know than wonder. You can always make a choice to continue on the way you were, but if there is an issue, you’ll have more choices early than late. Grid is up, use it.

nick

Thur. Sept. 12, 2019 – nothing happened and that’s great

Cooler, and wet [73F and 99%RH]. Sporadic rain throughout Houston yesterday, but I never saw more than sprinkles. Everywhere I went was either just starting or just finished. Huge thunder and lightning a couple of blocks away, but sunny blue sky overhead is very disconcerting.

We got through another anniversary without a new attack, and for that I’m grateful.

My mood should improve now.

As predicted, Dorian is out of the news and so is the tragedy in the Bahamas [not entirely, yet.]   The Epstein story still has legs, but the french procurer has vanished into thin air. Foul play? Or a run for the hills? There was never any mention of concerned family…

I’m going in for some tests this am. Barium is involved and I’m told that ‘could make me want to throw up’. I guess that’s better than an enema? Shouldn’t be anything serious, just some unexplained things that need some ‘splaining. If none is forthcoming, then more tests. Thank [deity of your choice] the grid is still up, money still works, and doctors are still going in to the office. Getting old isn’t for the weak.

I don’t need any prayers yet, but others here do, if you are inclined that way.

More when I get back,

n

Wed. September 11th, 2019 – Never forget. Never forgive.

Eighteen years ago I was 8 miles from Ground Zero, and 2000 miles from home. I still tear up when I think about that day and the following days. When I think about sitting in a hotel room, with the tv on, but most channels nothing but static. CNN on a local PBS station that was too poor to have antenna space on the World Trade Center, and pretty much nothing else. Wondering if there were more attacks coming. Buying a flag for our truck as we left to start the drive home. Barely made it out of the store without crying. Seeing trucks loaded with generators and temp power, fire engines and rescue, headed inbound while we were headed out…

I still tear up. I still find it very difficult to talk about it out loud.

My good friend from Cali, who used to think I was a kook for having preps, who moved to The City, later confided in me that she can’t sleep unless she checks her go bag next to the door. Her husband got off the train to mail a letter, and then got back on just before the towers fell. Not his day to die I guess- missed him by that much.

You can relive it moment by moment, in excruciating detail and slow motion by reading through the text message paging from the day. Someone hoovered up all the messages, and wikileaks published them. 911.wikileaks.org

Machines go offline, people become more desperate to hear from loved ones, official responses start to organize, and confusion reigns. Around 10:30 the second tower fell, and there are lots of texts about a car bomb outside the State Dept offices in DC. I have no recollection of that news at all. My communication with friends and family is in that archive as well. I carried a Skytel Nationwide pager and email device, and it was the only thing that stayed up all day. I can’t read more than a few minutes of historical time at any one sitting, so I haven’t found my messages yet. You can see agencies and companies stand up their emergency plans as it happened.

“2001-09-11 10:30:59 Skytel [005081201] A ALPHA
gahlberg@usss.treas.gov|RESPOND INSTRUCTIONS|ALL NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE PERSONNEL RESPOND TO STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL AT THE CORNER OF CHAMBERS AND WEST STREET ASAP.” — that’s the US Secret Service

“2001-09-11 10:30:59 Metrocall [1545812] B ALPHA
Frm: Luster, Diana Sub: Crisis Room Txt: Joe/Tony, Per Mitch, go to the Crisis Room. Diana Luster Company Security 30/JF00/W9 (310) 332-7922 FAX: (310) 414-9747 Email:Lustedi@mail.northgrum.com” — that’s NorthrupGrummanAerospace

“2001-09-11 10:30:50 Skytel [005060012] D ALPHA
Mike Please call Inman ASAP 404-697-9918. Have you already notified K-9 Team? IB[10:30]”

“2001-09-11 10:30:46 Skytel [003262470] B ALPHA
To FB&RS Recovery Management Team. Please meet in the Cape Conference room on the 10th floor at 245 Summer St. By 10:30AM. Boston buildings are being evacuated and we need to have a coordinated message and plan that includes tomorrow. JM”

“2001-09-11 10:31:06 Arch [0949787] C ALPHA
All SWAT team members are to report to the airport. ”

“2001-09-11 10:31:08 Arch [0867607] B ALPHA
cteasley|The entire World Trade Center is gone. Both towers have collapsed!”

“2001-09-11 10:31:16 Skytel [005344008] C ALPHA
UD REPORTS ANONYMOUS CALL TO JOC REPORTING ANGEL IS TARGET”

“2001-09-11 10:31:34 Arch [0987882] C ALPHA
“Kelley Scott” <|per yr brother Cal get out north|I love you so much, please come home to me safe”

“2001-09-11 10:31:35 Skytel [002820520] C ALPHA
YOUR WIFE IS SAFE, SHE IS IN THE LORD & TAYLOR BLDG IN MANHATTEN, NOT SURE WHAT IS HAPPENING NEXT, BUT SHE IS SAFE. 941”

“2001-09-11 10:31:39 Metrocall [1401159] B ALPHA
/:DDC/: INFO: ALL SCHEDULED WORK FOR 9/11 HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE UNITED STATES. MJFS ….. CALL COMMUNICATIONS WITH YOUR STAFFING LCFR-ECC ALL STAFF WE ARE ON STANDBY DISASTER ALERT”

It hurts to read.

I’m still filled with anger when I think about it.

Never forget. Never forgive.

nick