Monday, 17 October 2016

06:54 – We repackaged 100 pounds of sugar and 50 pounds of rice yesterday, using a mix of one-gallon Costco water bottles, 3-liter bottles, and 1.75-liter orange juice bottles. Sugar and rice go much, much faster than flour. Barbara had no objection to repackaging sugar and rice, but said she’d really, really rather not do the remaining 50-pound bag of flour.

And speaking of repackaged LTS bulk staples, email over the weekend from another correspondent who wants to remain anonymous. I’ll call him Jeff. He and Laura are in their mid- to late-40’s and have two sons of high school age. They live in the exurbs of a mid-size city. Jeff runs the family engineering business, which he took over when his father retired a few years ago. Laura is a stay-at-home mom. She homeschools their sons and runs a profitable eBay business on the side.

They’ve been preppers since 1999, when they became very concerned about Y2K. They’d bought a house shortly after they married, and in early 1999 they started stocking up food and other supplies. Jeff built a false wall in one of their below-grade basement rooms. He framed it out with 2X4’s, they filled it up with food and other supplies, and then he screwed plywood sheets to the studs. They ended up with a concealed storage room that’s 12 feet wide by about 2 feet deep. To camouflage it further, they installed steel shelving units in front of the plywood wall. Then they pretty much forgot about it for the next 15 years or so.

A few weeks ago, they noticed the basement floor on that wall was damp. The following day, there was actually standing water in puddles along that wall. So that weekend they pulled everything off the steel shelves, disassembled the shelving, and took down the plywood panels. Behind the panels were piles of supplies that hadn’t seen the light of day in 17 years. There didn’t appear to be much damage to the supplies other than soaked cardboard boxes. They moved all the stuff that had been behind that wall to another room and then called a contractor to fix the leak.

The food they had stored behind that wall was a mix of cases of LDS #10 cans, cases of supermarket canned goods, and long-term staples they’d repackaged themselves in soft drink bottles. All of it at least 17 years old, and everything other than the LDS #10 cans at least 15 years past its best-by date.

Their first thought was just to throw it all out and start again from scratch, but Jeff decided to check things out before doing that. The LDS cans were in pretty good shape, with some light rust on some of them and a few labels peeling off. The commercial canned goods were in about the same shape. The soft drink bottles looked pretty much the same as they had the day they’d filled them. The only thing that looked like it had aged was the oil in plastic jugs, which had darkened and become a bit cloudy.

As is usual for women, Laura was much more concerned about the age of the stuff than Jeff was, but she finally agreed to test some of it. First up was a 3-liter bottle of white flour. Jeff says it may have darkened a bit, and it was caked in the bottle, but it passed the sniff test. As Jeff said, it smelled like flour. So they sifted it to break up the caking and used it to bake a loaf of bread. It rose normally and the finished loaf tasted just as home-made bread always tastes. No one clutched their throats or keeled over.

They next sampled some of the commercial canned goods. The soup smelled normal when they opened it, as did a can of baked beans. Laura cooked both of them very thoroughly, and they tasted normal. Again, no one keeled over. They opened a can of shortening, which looked and smelled normal. They used it along with some of the antique flour to bake biscuits, which turned out normal. The only fail was their stored oil. When they opened a bottle, it smelled a bit off. Jeff says that he’d have been willing to use it in an emergency if they had no other source of oil, but Laura was greatly relieved when Jeff decided to pitch it without testing it first. As Jeff says, oil is cheap.

They decided to hold onto everything but the oil, as a last-ditch source of food in an emergency. They’re not going to rebuild the hidden room, so they’ll just stack it against the repaired wall. The steel shelving had been mostly filled with more recently purchased food, and that along with stuff they’re still adding will serve as their deep pantry, with the really old stuff as their deepest pantry.


11:06 – Barbara points out that she didn’t say she didn’t want to repackage the remaining 50-pound bag of flour. What she said was she’d really, really rather not transfer it to PET bottles because they’re such a PITA to fill. She wants to transfer it to one-gallon LDS 7-mil foil/Mylar laminate bags. That’s fine with me. For flour, they’re immensely easier and faster to fill, and they’re what we’ll use for flour we purchase in the future.

Barbara is spending the afternoon volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore. Tomorrow, we’ll finish labeling bottles, adding an oxygen absorber to each, and transferring them down to our deep pantry shelves in the basement.

87 thoughts on “Monday, 17 October 2016”

  1. Did Jeff mention what caused the leak? Just curious.

    I’m amazed the soft drink lasted that long. I stored some and forgot it for about five years. When I re-discovered it it had seperated out and seemed off. Same with some UHT milk. I ditched it all.

  2. I was at a couple of dollar stores yesterday, and I did not see any soft drinks in three liter bottles. One store had some off brand soft drinks in 2.5 liter bottles, but they had the same opening as a two liter bottle.

  3. My soft drinks in cans will all fail within a year. The cans just leak. They have gotten so thin (manf that way), and the acid eats thru.

    UHT milk, especially in single serving size boxes isn’t any good much past its expiration date. It gets little “pearls” in it, kind of like tapioca. The taste changes too. It might not kill you, but it’s not appealing.

    How were “Jeff’s” guns and ammo with all that moisture? He did have a couple things “put by” just in case, no?

    I’d be tempted to put the old food in front of the new food, but understand the convenience. Certainly if things go to sh!t, stack the old in front as decoy….

    nick

  4. @Miles_Teg

    He didn’t have soft drinks stored. He’d repackaged bulk food in empty soft drink bottles.

    UHT-pasteurized milk isn’t intended for LTS. Canned milk (evaporated or condensed) OTOH stores pretty well. I’ve used evaporated milk that was five years or more past its best-by date and it seemed fine. It separates into an aqueous layer and a fat layer, but that occurs long before its best-by date. I always just shake the can thoroughly before opening it and then whisk it to recombine it. If you’re using it for baking or cooking, you don’t even have to do that.

  5. @Dave

    At least one of the big dollar stores lists 3-liter bottles on its website at a buck each. They’ll even ship them in cases of six, although I shudder to think of what the shipping would cost.

  6. “How were “Jeff’s” guns and ammo with all that moisture? He did have a couple things “put by” just in case, no?”

    He made no mention of firearms, and I didn’t ask.

    There are a lot of preppers who don’t own firearms but have lots of food, just as there are preppers who own lots of firearms but don’t have much stored food. I think the former group are foolish, but it’s their call. I also think the latter group are foolish. I suspect most of them are expecting severe civil unrest and intend to defend themselves, but they probably expect food supplies to continue uninterrupted. But I have encountered a few who are explicit about it: “If we have guns, we can just take what we need from people who don’t.”

  7. Ah, I misread what you wrote about the soft drink bottles…

    I don’t mean to LTS UHT milk, they just got forgotten. I cycle through it after I’ve had it six months or so. I don’t buy evap milk but do buy cond milk. It’s gone by the use by date.

  8. “…I did not see any soft drinks in three liter bottles. One store had some off brand soft drinks in 2.5 liter bottles, but they had the same opening as a two liter bottle.”

    Ditto up here, and ditto for all three local supermarkets. I’ll look around some more but I’m keeping the flour, rice, etc. staples in their original packaging for now for the 3-6 months storage. Once I get into the long-term storage I hope to have long since found the wide-mouth bottles or have acquired the LDS or other foil/laminate bags.

    “But I have encountered a few who are explicit about it: “If we have guns, we can just take what we need from people who don’t.””

    I find that attitude reprehensible and morally bankrupt. If they have the money for guns and ammo and maybe training, then they can buy their own fucking food, too. If I ever see, and of course I hope not to, somebody taking food from somebody else at gunpoint I’m gonna blow their shit away immediately. There are lots of peeps out here, primarily the elderly and women, who don’t or can’t buy or keep guns, let alone train to defend themselves with them.

    On the nukular war scenarios: practically speaking, we can barely handle prepping for our main threat up here, let alone build a cellar fallout shelter and then load THAT up with supplies, too. The only conceivable targets currently might be the fighter-interceptor squadron and airport 30 miles south of here, and Fort Drum out in western NY if they go ahead with converting it to a missile-defense base for the east coast. I can’t worry and fret about a nuke exchange; got enough on my plate with getting ready for winta.

  9. just a quickie about getting spousal buy in.

    Make sure your preps benefit your spouse in her ordinary life.

    If you have kids, have some cake mix, frosting mix, and cupcake cups.

    Have a couple of pouches of cookie mix.

    Then when the inevitable pop up birthday party or bake sale comes up and she’s stressed and not ready, bust out the mix….

    I’m sure there are other ways, you know your situation better than I do, and if not, start paying attention.

    n

    added- if you don’t have kids, make sure you’ve got something quick and easy to cook that is ‘adult’ for the night when you are both too tired. (Costco has a couple of really good main dishes that just need heating. They are sold in the fridge but freeze well. Lamb shanks in wine sauce, Oso buco, etc.)

  10. Reading I just realized that my grandfather was a prepper, awesome, storing canned milk flour and so on. in the sixties and here

    well, he survided Spanish Civil war, Franco concentration camp, and was born in a little village in Spain, maybe is genetic

  11. A small IT security FYI for us:

    I get the Homeland Insecurity Cyber Awareness email alerts each week and the trend is that by far the most high-vulnerability stuff is always related to Adobe products and Google Android, surpassing even Microsoft. A word to the wise.

    Sunny w/blue skies and orange leaves again today; the wind has stopped and it’s warmer; we haven’t had any frost yet. We finally have a forecast for showers most of the coming week but it doesn’t sound like the heavy driving and steady rain we need for about a month to bring the lake and rivers and streams back up. Better than nuttin’ I guess.

  12. @RBT, how do you feel about having ammonia in your air conditioning system as the refrigerant ? Or propane ?

    “Global treaty signed to ban HFC refrigerants”
    http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/global-treaty-signed-ban-hfc-refrigerants.html

    “The Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were the cause of a giant hole in the ozone layer, which has been shrinking ever since. Unfortunately, the replacement chemicals, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) had their own major problem: they are a seriously bad greenhouse gas, far worse than Carbon Dioxide. (Christine explains here) Also in the period between the Montreal Protocol and today, the use of air conditioning has exploded in the developing world as the middle class grows, and in the developed world as it gets hotter.”

    “But this past weekend an agreement was reached to reduce and eventually replace HFCs by over 170 countries, including 100 developing countries like China and India where air conditioning use is growing fastest. This time, President Barack Obama called it “an ambitious and far reaching solution” to a “rapidly growing threat to the health of our planet”.”

    Sigh. Do you want to be poisoned or blown up ?

    But we were born free.

  13. A/C for me, but not for thee. Libturdian Utopia fantasy. Next up, fart tax, breathing tax, and then, banning of human life.

  14. You can build an aboveground shelter, for both tornadoes (to sell it to the wife) and for radiation. All you really need for either is a whole lot of mass between you and the outside. For radiation, you want at least ten half-value layers, which cuts radiation by a factor of 1,000. One HVL of concrete is 2.2 inches (100 lb/ft3); one HVL of packed earth is 3.3 inches (100 lb/ft3).

    If it were me (and I hope it soon will be), I’d pour a 6″ floor with good footers and have a double filled and rebar’d concrete block wall installed with about three feet between the two block walls. Have that space filled with sand. For the roof, put on a foot thickness of heavily reinforced concrete with two or three feet of dirt on top of it.

    See Cresson Kearney’s book or BOSDEC for details about ventilation, escape tunnels, etc.

  15. I just can’t fathom the desirability of hiding down (or up) in a cement bunker for days or weeks after a nukular attack and then coming back out and contemplating the utter desolation and tens of millions of corpses. With survivors back in Hobbes’s state of nature, where the hand of every man is raised against every other man.

  16. Well, full nuclear war wouldn’t be as bad as a long-term grid-down emergency.

    The latter would kill 90% or more of the population. The former, maybe 30% to 70% depending on the details. Nuclear war wouldn’t be an On the Beach Situation. More like Earth Abides.

  17. Hah, 94 F and climbing with 55%RH for a ‘feels like’ of 103F.

    Apropos of nothing, one of the reasons I’m looking at HVAC work here at the casa de Nick, is our 15 yo refrigerant has been banned, and so it is very expensive and getting more expensive every year (compared to other refrigerants). FWIW, there is a thriving black market in banned refrigerants, even though it’s a federal crime, and they DO enforce it. Occasionally, tanks and cans turn up at estate sales, yard sales, etc. NEVER would I even consider *cough* buying and selling something like that, but there is apparently good money in it…

    Kinda like vintage banned toys, Lawn Jarts for example. Funny how the “Boxes Only” are bringing $100…. I wonder if I should sell my pristine NOS example…

    Naw, I loved playing Jarts when I was a kid and there will be a time to play again.

    nick

  18. Heh. When I was a little kid, I had grenades that were spring-loaded with a striker that accepted a standard paper cap. When you tossed it, it hit nose-first, which set off the cap and tripped the spring mechanism to fragment the body of the grenade, with those pieces flying everywhere.

  19. Hey, I had one of those grenades, too. I also had the “Tommy Gun” cap gun. We used to play Army all the time.

  20. You can build an aboveground shelter, for both tornadoes (to sell it to the wife) and for radiation. All you really need for either is a whole lot of mass between you and the outside. For radiation, you want at least ten half-value layers, which cuts radiation by a factor of 1,000. One HVL of concrete is 2.2 inches (100 lb/ft3); one HVL of packed earth is 3.3 inches (100 lb/ft3).

    If it were me (and I hope it soon will be), I’d pour a 6″ floor with good footers and have a double filled and rebar’d concrete block wall installed with about three feet between the two block walls. Have that space filled with sand. For the roof, put on a foot thickness of heavily reinforced concrete with two or three feet of dirt on top of it.

    Expensive !

    And I have seen this in a house south of here that was built in a 100 ft x 60 ft barndominium. It was 3,000 ft2 of single story house and a 3,000 ft2 workshop. With two 10 ft wide x 14 ft tall doors. And a 20 ft diameter Big Ass fan.
    http://www.bigassfans.com/products/powerfoil-x30/

  21. “Well, full nuclear war wouldn’t be as bad as a long-term grid-down emergency.”

    How comforting.

    I guess both happening would REALLY suck.

    “We used to play Army all the time.”

    Das ist verboten.

    Just made our dump run and ran into one of the guys who works p.t. down there; he’s a ‘Nam vet who worked for Uncle in the Corps of Engineers around the Central Highlands back then, an officer. Got out and into the Reserve and did 20-something or maybe 30 years and made Lt. Col. Gotta be in his 70s now and what a lively ol’ bugger; running for state rep from the district just south of here and he just got appointed to the board of the big med outfit in the “city.” I give him chit and call him “Senator” or “Governor” and told him I’ll be writing a book about him. Forgot to ask him wussup with the other guy, the AR builder, who has been out now for a long time with serious haht trouble.

    And life goes on here; had the MIL call this AM and now I gotta put $ in HER account, having just done so for Princess.

    What’s the average sentence now for bank and armored cah robbing???

  22. And life goes on here; had the MIL call this AM and now I gotta put $ in HER account, having just done so for Princess.

    I thought that you were joking about MIL giving Princess funds and then demanding repayment. You are much nicer than me.

  23. RBT,

    What are those medical books you recommended. The kind that walked you through field medicine, surgeries, and whatnot? I think some were written for use at sea.

    Also, not that you don’t have enough to do, but could you create a web page with just a simple list of the specific items you mentioned for quick reference. Doesn’t have to have descriptions, or be be detailed and cross-referenced. Just a list book titles, authors, product names, etc.. Just a thought.

    Thanks!

  24. “I thought that you were joking about MIL giving Princess funds and then demanding repayment. You are much nicer than me.”

    Oh, it’s no joke, compadre. We put our foot down about being ATM machines for Princess and then MIL gives her cash ($200) a week or so ago and the other day I had to put $500 in her account, allegedly for tuition and harp rental. Then today I get the call from MIL that she’s broke and could I put $ in HER account, too. So there goes my SS when I get it this week, while we wait for Mrs. OFD to get paid again. It’s funny some days and not others. Today it’s funny. Fuck it.

    Am I nicer than you? I seriously, seriously doubt it. But lately I’m just a big sap, and don’t much care anymore. I have three hots and a cot, books to read galore, projects galore to do, radios to listen to, and just on the run down to the dump/recycling center today I had to praise God for the absolutely awesome peak foliage; it would bring Isaac Newton or Einstein to their knees. The colors are so brilliant as to make you weep for joy.

    Yes, I know there’s a scientific explanation for the colors but fuck that today, too.

  25. The Sex Wars continue:

    “Modern men must thus stand athwart history and yell SHUT UP! at women. Women are supposed to be miraculous because they can give birth? Female hamsters can do that, but it wasn’t hamsters that invented the internal combustion engine.”

    A short treatise on “toxic masculinity.”

    And once S really HTF, all this bullshit will disappear into thin air immediately and peeps will be on their knees BEGGING for toxic masculinity.

  26. Women are supposed to be miraculous because they can give birth?

    I had some feminist acquaintances I occasionally was forced to be around. They liked to refer to pregnancy as “creating life.” They could go on and on about how misogyny is really just men’s jealousy of women’s power to create life, yada yada yada…

    I piped up one afternoon when I was feeling contentious and said, “Women don’t create life. The egg cell and the sperm cell were already alive. They just combine and multiply. You don’t create life. You gestate it for 9 months. Get over yourselves.”

    I left after that. I’m sure they sat around hating on me for awhile before shifting the conversation to their inner goddess.

  27. “I left after that. I’m sure they sat around hating on me for awhile before shifting the conversation to their inner goddess.”

    Were they at least decent-looking and not the usual lard-buckets and anorexic librarians on crack?

    (I’m pretty sure I hit about half a dozen micro-aggressions right there in one sentence…)

    (My mentors and inspirations are Mr. DadCooks and Mr. SteveF, so blame them.)

    (Also that guy out in Lost Wages who likes to play Army)

  28. Barbara is a librarian. I’ve attended numerous library conferences and parties and in my estimation young women librarians are as wild as any group of young women I’ve encountered.

  29. But I have encountered a few who are explicit about it: “If we have guns, we can just take what we need from people who don’t.”

    I’ve encountered a couple (literally two) of them, too. They’re on my better dead list. I didn’t bother to inform them of my disgust at their plans; no sense giving them a warning that I’ll be hunting them.

    Oh, and I don’t much care if they were joking or just talking tough. I’ll treat them as Bush43 very correctly treated Hussein. (Saddam Hussein, that is, not Barack Hussein.) If you go around talking big and giving every appearance that you’re building up to attack your neighbors, you really really shouldn’t be surprised when you get whacked.

    All you really need for either is a whole lot of mass between you and the outside.

    Wallyhogs, such as a couple of Dave’s neighbors, provide plenty of ass, but they’re smelly and noisy and probably not worth the shielding they provide.

  30. “…young women librarians are as wild as any group of young women I’ve encountered.”

    No doubt. I was referring to an old, possibly out of date stereotype. Combine that with femrad ideology and constant anger and bitterness. I don’t think Mrs. RBT is like that, obviously. Maybe I’ll substitute the femrad English department prof, who, amazingly, can also be a male, all too often.

    And speaking of English departments and libraries; during my grad skool time at Rutgers, I met three fairly young English PhDs, who’d had to go back and get their MLS degrees so they could get jobs at the university library, as there were none in their field back then (they were all evil white males). (circa 1992-93). I wouldn’t have minded that very much, but I just couldn’t take the daily walking-on-eggshells atmosphere anymore.

    “They’re on my better dead list.”

    Ditto.

    “If you go around talking big and giving every appearance that you’re building up to attack your neighbors, you really really shouldn’t be surprised when you get whacked.”

    Ditto. And in the Old West times, it wasn’t so much the pseudo-romantic gunslingers at high noon on the main street; most disputes got settled by sniping, bushwhacking, and bushwhacking them what aim to bushwhack you. i.e., shotgun blasts from the rear. Shooting fummamuckers while they were asleep in bed or had their backs turned while gambling at the local shit-hole saloon.

    Guys who run around aiming to take stuff from the defenseless during SHTF, or any other time for that matter, will get short shrift from me. And they’ll be strung up as a warning to any other malefactors with similar intentions.

  31. A five-foot thickness of them would work, as long as you compressed them.

  32. “…but they’re smelly and noisy and probably not worth the shielding they provide.”

    They also smoke ciggies, which is a dead give-away when you’re trying to maintain OPSEC.

    “Capitalism in action in Lost Wages.”

    Yup, and it don’t matter either way; get yer guns and ammo NOW. At a minimum, a decent handgun for CCW or OCW that you can train on and get good with. Next up, a shotgun of a size and caliber that you and your family can handle for home defense. After that, focus on the basic human needs stuff. Worry about ARs and AKs and night scopes and all that jazz later if you have the dough for it.

  33. I am proud of my Neanderthal heritage.

    Thus I present this:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/10/todays-genital-warts-came-from-trysts-between-neanderthals-and-early-humans

    Even back then the Neanderthal’s could not control their urges.

    This lends further credence to the hypothesis that the Pleistocene was packed with hominin hanky-panky. The new research also underscores a basic lesson that we’ve all been taught in the 21st century: always practice safer sex, even if you’re getting down with a Denisovan.

  34. 1. Even the “researchers” and “reporter” admit that at least one strain of herpes was present in early humans, without neanderthal or denisovan contribution.
    2. No evidence is provided that herpes came from neanderthals without the neanderthals having first gotten it from humans.
    3. Regardless, the “researchers” and “reporter” are allegedly human. I say allegedly because the reporter’s picture at the bottom of the page does not strongly support the allegation that “she” is human.
    4. The “human” reporter is blaming herpes on neantherthals, a species which no longer exists, quite possibly because they were wiped out by herpes after contact with early humans.
    5. How conveeeeenient.

  35. Went to town today to deal with a couple of banks. Nothing major. Just get money from the CU and take it to my bank. We have a fencing project coming up…

    The CU was nice looking. LOTS of cameras and motion detectors. The sole teller was behind a window of almost 2 inch thick plastic. I asked if this was not a good neighborhood… she said it’s pretty nice. I tapped the window and said this looks real east Austin or south Dallas to me.

    Then down the road 3 or 4 blocks to Taco Cabana. They had a sign (shoulda taken a pic) that, more or less, said “if you are Open Carrying cover it up because some folks are nervous about guns, Concealed is fine”. Not a bad idea.

    Then up 1431 a couple of miles to a Frost branch. Yeah, plenty of camera domes. No “bullet proof” windows. Totally different feel to the place.

    Costco for a few things and then north on the 183A toll road.

    Hotter than it should be. 93F in mid-October… Now I have to figure what is wrong with the van. Stupid Ford and all of the climate control stuff is by wire. The driver and front passenger have separate temp controls. Air from the driver side vents are at least 15F warmer. The shop manual is full of ohm this and that six different ways. Me? I’m going to pull the motor that controls the driver side temp and diagnose that. And work the flap by hand a few times. If it’s not an iffy connection, it’s the motor. Or the knob on the dash that sets the temp.

  36. Us Neanderthalen seem to have much fun today tinkering around with chit and short road trips.

    I’m going through my go-bags again to make sure all the chit is in the right bag and wondering how come one of the med bags only has four or five things in it and a bunch of empty pockets. While one of the radio bags is packed as full as it can get. Do I have a get-home bag? is another question. Thought I did. Boy, being senile ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    Did manage to get some of Mrs. OFD’s stuff out of my cah and also re-arrange chit in the storage space in the rear. And discovered a couple of more yard and porch projects I need to add to the five-page To-Do-List. Like re-seed part of the back yard lawn again, paint the new porch railing and then assemble it, and figure out how to do the base pad for a new generator if and when we can buy one.

    And now to folding laundry…

    …it just doesn’t get any better than this…living the dream…

  37. …it just doesn’t get any better than this…living the dream…

    Yep, that’s what I tell myself five or six or seven days a week, after I’ve worked a ten-hour day and picked up groceries on the way home and my wife bitches at me for not picking up something she never said she wanted and then she tells me she needs more money because the bills have come due from the vacation she and her mother went on but I didn’t.

    But my daughter still adores me and listens to me better than to anyone else in the world, so I guess I won’t say to hell with it and move out this week.

  38. “But my daughter still adores me and listens to me better than to anyone else in the world, so I guess I won’t say to hell with it and move out this week.”

    Yes, the one or two small blessings make the rest of it worthwhile, maybe. Today I got to see mind-blowing foliage, watch Beth Hart do “It’s All Right Now” in a video with just acoustic guitar:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuZkfya213k

    I’ll let prurient interest type guys check her out doing “Whole Lotta Love.”

    And got a call from wife; I’ll be hooking up with her next Thursday evening in CT and we’ll hang out Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and drive back up here, all is good.

    And my cats adore the shit outta me.

  39. At least one of the big dollar stores lists 3-liter bottles on its website at a buck each. They’ll even ship them in cases of six, although I shudder to think of what the shipping would cost.

    With soda taxes on the ballot in places like Boulder, CO this fall, I think it is safe to say that the 3-liter bottle is an endangered species. Heck, I’d be surprised if 2-liter bottles are generally available in a few years. The Puckered Sphincters are on the march.

    When we lived in WA State, I used to hear comments about my soda “problem” all the time. I always had to suppress the urge to respond, “You voted to legalize weed and let Costco write the liquor laws for easier access to hard booze, but *I’m* the one with the problem … Say, isn’t that a Jack Daniels endcap over at the start of the kitty litter aisle? Deregulation is *great*.”

  40. Yes, the one or two small blessings make the rest of it worthwhile, maybe.

    Tolerable. I wouldn’t go so far as “worthwhile”.

  41. I’m going to pull the motor that controls the driver side temp

    Had an issue with the A/C on my ’99 F-150. Would not get cool enough. A/C system was working properly. The problem was the mixing door. The door was no longer operating fully and required replacement. The actuator was OK. Not an easy job that I left to a professional as it required removing a large chunk of the dash.

    Taco Cabana

    Being back in SA myself for a funeral I have made several visits to the place. In my opinion the product is not as good as it was 30 years ago before the brothers had a squabble and split the stores. The flour tortillas are still made on site and are very good but the rest is so-so.

    Did make at stop in New Braunfels at the New Braunfels Smokehouse for lunch and pick up a couple pounds of beef jerky, some of the best I have found. Back in the late 70’s I started getting their jerky and have not stopped, always picking up some when I am in the area. When they started it was nothing more than a road side stand on the access road. Jerky hung on the walls on wood pegs, big slabs of the stuff. Now more commercial in bags but still the same product.

    Passed through Austin on the way south to SA. That traffic sucks big time. Lower and upper deck wall to wall and bumper to bumper. This was not during rush hour which must really be miserable.

    See my link above, Mr. Ray.

    Yeh, whatever. Needed to add my 1.792 cents just to feel important. I am like a third tit on Hillary on this trip. Pretty much worthless.

    wife bitches at me

    Not that surprises some of us with the same experiences. This trip has been nothing but that with the spousal wanting to do all kinds of things for her mother that cost me a lot of time, aggravation and money. Then get bitched at because what she wants to do is not possible with current equipment I have. Spent four hours getting three pictures scanned because they wanted one enlarged and two reduced. Hotel’s business center all-in-one would not scan onto their computers. Finally took my surface into the center and hooked their all-in-one to my surface and installed the drivers.

    Then send the images to Walgreens (recommended for printing). But no, the place we sent the images failed to get them because of a power failure. Thus send them again requiring another round trip.

    Printing the funeral program and it had to be a certain way, with an image of course. Wife types it badly and I have to fix it and do the layout all while listening to her complain. Naturally the program required duplexing which the hotel printer will not do. Thus find another source that can print duplex, another trip through this miserable traffic.

  42. I feel for you Mr Ray, and it’s been hot on top of it all.

    I’ll be in SA tomorrow if things go to plan. I’ve got some surplus auction items to pick up at the state surplus store. If you get some free time on the south side of town, it’s worth stopping in. Sometimes they have bins full of pistol magazines. Always a dozen bins full of knives and multitools. $20 for a gerber/sog/leatherman/big swiss army is a deal. $3 for small knives, and $8 for large, also a deal, esp when you can find a good one in the bin. They try to skim out the REALLY exotics and put them in the case as well as decent blades, but they miss a bunch. I’ve got a dozen assisted open kershaws and gerbers for $8 each, bought the wife a Benchmade Griptillion for $45, and the little swiss army knives are $2…. it’s on Bolm road, the intarwebs should point you to it.

    nick

  43. Geeze, Ray, sympathies or condolences or whatever the right word is here. As Dave said, think of the small blessings. Flour tortillas and beef jerky, I guess.

    (Also: Dammit, now I’m all hungry again.)

  44. @chad, regarding medical books, the sea one is the Captains Medicine chest.

    Several other sites have put together medical resource lists lately, including that one.

    Aesop has some chops in the medical field.

    http://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2016/10/medical-links-youtube-medicine-basic.html

    http://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2016/10/medical-text-linkapalooza-fm-21-11.html

    And visit the Hogwarts School of grid down medicine in his sidebar- although it looks like it’s stalled out, there is a bunch of good stuff there.

    See also:
    https://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/grid-down-hospital-part-iv-medical-books-for-your-hospital-library/

    That outa hold ya…..

    nick

  45. Flour tortillas and the jerky pretty much sums up the blessings there, Mr. Ray. Damn.

    And I stupidly got a hankering for an Italian cold cut sub and stupidly got one at the Price Chopper and it sucked. I oughta know by now to make my own.

    I’ll make myself a frittata tomorrow AM for breakfast, though; leftover baked spud, black beans, salsa, cheese, onion and garlic. Mix up some heavy cream or buttermilk with four or five eggs and dump in a cast-iron skillet and put it in the oven at around 400 and let it rip. When the top is golden-brown, yank it out and dive in. Grits on the side.

    Then hit the post office around the corner and see if wife’s check came in, and let her know via texting on the iPhones one way or the other. If it did, I hit the bank and make a deposit and throw $ into MIL’s account. If not, wife will call Mordor and bitch at them. Then I’ll be back here to see what else I can do with re-seeding grass, painting the stair railing and installing it in another day or two, and finish putting treads on the back stairs. This is all stuff that would normally take about an hour or 90 minutes but will take me all afternoon.

    And yeah, I shoulda said “tolerable” rather than “worthwhile” for some days. It also takes an effort to find any blessings a lot of the time; real ones seem to pop out at you, like with me today.

    I’ve also had a couple of strange experiences lately, probably nothing at all, but still. Like time sort of going into slow-motion and silence and I’m willing or praying for something (minor) to happen and it does, when by all signs it should not. Strange enough to bring me up short each time, but like I say, probably nada. Or coincidence.

    Hope we get some really ass-kicking showers this week; maybe I better pray for that.

  46. @Mr Ray, I’m an idiot. I’m gonna be in Austin, and the state surplus store is in Austin.

    SA the following week, if the price is right, but tomorrow, AUSTIN.

    {bangs head on desk}

    nick

  47. Watched MNF game that was a Cardinals blowout of the hopeless Jets and then about five minutes of Charlie Rose on PBS. Five minutes was all I could stand; he had two commie reporters from the WaPo and NYT (same paper for all intents and purposes, with the Boston Globe) chattering in serious tones about the situations in Syria and Iraq, lying their asses off, of course, for the regime. Then Charlie the commie had PlasticFace Pelosi on and almost the first words out of her lying gob were that Killary was up by 12 over Trump and at 50 to his 38.

    And a quick glance at Drudge and my emails and the burgeoning, overwhelming and continuing evidence that the whole “election” is totally rigged, a total bag job. More and more people know this is going on now; the question is, will they be mad enough to do something about it next month?

  48. If you get some free time on the south side of town

    MIL lives just a tad south of Lackland close enough to hear the dogs barking that are trained at Lackland to be police dogs. I am staying over by Ingram mall.

    it’s on Bolm road, the intarwebs should point you to it

    Google maps don’t indicate a Bolm Road in San Antonio but instead indicate Austin. Google search shows a surplus store as being at 410 and I10 on Ackerman road but it is not a state road.

    Mr Ray, I’m an idiot. I’m gonna be in Austin, and the state surplus store is in Austin

    Ah, that explains it. I have no intention of going to Austin. As for being an idiot if that minor mistake qualifies then I would be somewhere down to drooling vegetable (or democratic voter).

    Today is visiting some acquaintances from way back. Back to MIL to see if I can get the motor on her husband’s boat started. Small outboard that probably needs a new priming bulb and the battery charged. There is a rope pull that I really don’t want to use on an 18HP outboard.

    Tomorrow may make a day trip to Corpus Christi. Thursday Funeral at 10:00 at Fort Sam Houston. Should be over by 10:30. Then relax the rest of the day. Depart Friday with a stop to visit Mr. Lynn perhaps, another stop in Houston to drop off some stuff at nieces home, then spend the night with FIL’s ex-wife. Saturday Houston to Atlanta to spend the night with friends. Sunday finally get home. If all goes as planned.

  49. This is a good site for information regarding what states you can carry in.

    http://www.handgunlaw.us/

    A Virginia non-resident permit would only add three states for me. The only states I have been to in the past ten years that don’t honor my permit are Maryland and Illinois.

    Update: Maryland and Illinois are not among those three states that would be added by the non-Resident Virginia permit.

  50. [snip] my better dead list. [snip]

    Known colloquially in the South as “Some people just need killing!”

  51. Many people add the non-resident Utah permit, as that will get a couple of extra states for most carriers.

    I’ve avoided Illinois for the past couple of years, despite having family there. It’s just not worth it.

    n

  52. “If all goes as planned.”

    Haha, good one!

    Seriously, I hope the rest of your trip through the great Lone Star State turns out much bettah and you get to have some fun somewhere along the line and/or do what YOU wanna do.

    I was working on the non-resident permits for Virginia and Utah and have the sites bookmarked but it’s another little project here that fell by the wayside due to other priorities; i.e., what are the chances I’ll be traveling to ANY of the thirty or so states that would now be OK for me to CCW or OCW in? I never go anywhere, almost as reclusive as RBT. This trip later this week to MA and CT is a big deal for me. The flight down to NJ last year was yuuuuuuuuuggggge, and I mos def did not dig the experience at the Newark airport coming back. And wife wants me to go with her to other neat places she’s been around the country and to Ireland. Ha.

  53. “I never go anywhere, almost as reclusive as RBT.”

    Hah. I’m out in the yard every day, and I went into downtown Sparta just a couple of weeks ago.

  54. “I’m out in the yard every day, and I went into downtown Sparta just a couple of weeks ago.”

    I’m almost there, Bob; I go into Saint Albans (“city”) a couple of times a week and down to Burlap (pop. 50k) once a week, usually, but it’s in and out, no dillydallying or lollygagging. An occasional trip to Moh-ree-all (again, in and out as fast as I can make it) or someplace like Boston really squicks me out.

  55. Admittedly, I do rarely go down to Winston for a Costco run or other errands, but we try to get in and out as quickly as possible. And I’ve seriously thought about re-joining Sam’s Club so that we can go to one of them in a smaller town than Winston. Bluefield, VA and Bristol, VA are both about the same distance as Winston. Or I may just start making runs to a Walmart Superstore up in Galax or over in West Jefferson. Both of those are half the distance to Winston, although the curvy back roads make it about the same time to drive.

  56. Our Costco is in Colchester, about 20+ miles south of here just north of Winooski and Burlap. It’s in a high-traffic area just off the interstate and I haven’t been in a while because walking around inside gets nearly impossible after 20 minutes thanks to my back pain. I’ve also missed Sunday mass a bunch of times, mainly all summer, because I can’t do the long standing and the up-and-down stuff very well. Or at all, actually. And couldn’t do much around the house and yard, either. Pathetic.

    I’m hoping that the shot I get on 11/1 will do the trick, although it won’t fix the underlying issues, which may require surgery at some point. And I’ll have to restrain myself from trying to catch up on all the chit I couldn’t get to since the spring.

    The high winds continue here, gusts of 50 MPH.

  57. @OFD said: “… because walking around inside gets nearly impossible after 20 minutes thanks to my back pain.”

    I have had to swallow my pride and am now using the electric scooters at Costco and the grocery stores. My knees, ankles, and back have decided to team up against me and now I am too the point that I can’t “soldier on” through the pain. So now I am “hell on wheels”.

  58. “So now I am “hell on wheels””

    Yikes. I’m still manfully struggling to manage a 20-minute hike each time I go through the supermarket aisles and then stand in line at the cash register while suddenly there is a problem, either with the cashier, register or person/s in front of me, behind whom I’d thought to strategically locate myself because they were males and appeared to have their wits about them. I find myself leaning against the register behind me or whatever is solid enough to bear my weight and shifting from foot to foot. I also strategically park as close as I can to the stores w/o using the “handicap” spaces and you learn after a while to do that and to look carefully at any little dips and cracks in the surface or any other little obstacles.

    You bring up a good point, Mr. DadCooks; those of us who are still upright and apparently OK to hump through aisles need to keep a sharp lookout for pissed off peeps who are riding them scooters a la “hell on wheels” style. They may be pissed off about having to ride them, whereas before when I saw that behavior I wanted to tip the buggers over, as they were endangering me and my feet and shins and knees.

    My ankles are OK so fah but I’ve had some funny minor stuff with my knees, as in several weeks ago when one just seemed to decide to go off the job and I went flying off the back porch stairs. No damage, no hurt, and even my flying Kindle landed OK.

    And here we are, remembering chit that happened when we were toddlers and teenagers as though it was yesterday and never thinking we’d be old someday and whining about our various medical ailments and physical infirmities. How the fuck did THAT happen???

  59. Need to treat those electric scooters as heavy powerful vehicles that can easily take off toes or rip an achilles tendon. Add in the often [no offense] incompetent operator and it means you are pretty much playing in traffic in any store aisle.

  60. When I’ve seen the “hell on wheels” scooter operators in stores, it ain’t the men you gotta worry about that much; some of the womyn will zoom right at ya or come wicked close to feet and knees as they fly by. Hey, ya know what they say about womyn drivers…and with both wives I’ve had my foot on an imaginary brake when they’re driving. The main issue seems to be that they don’t ANTICIPATE any possible chit ahead. Current wife will also get all bent outta shape when someone does something stupid or aggressive and I’m the one telling her to chill.

  61. Since becoming a member of the “scooter club” I have been making a conscientious not to be one of the “hell on wheels” types we all detest, even though I said I am one 😉

    You get a different perspective at scooter level and learn real quick that most people who can still walk do not pay the least bit of attention to scooter people and some are downright aggressive and I swear will intentionally cross your path.

    Common courtesy has gone the way of the Dodo Bird. People don’t appreciate us old school chauvinists.

  62. I am just as polite as can be and sweet as pie to people on scooters or slamming their grocery carts at high speed around corners. Until they hit me. And then I will clothesline them to the floor and kick their rib cages in. When others around attempt to pull me off, I’ll beat on them, too. That’s just how I roll.

    Not really. Though I could be lying. I am generally watchful and try to stay outta the way but can’t say the same for others. As Mr. DadCooks, says, common courtesy and civility have gone the way of the Dodo and the pterodactyl. Speaking of which, man, those great blue herons that sometimes swoop down just over our heads here certainly look and sound like them.

  63. I used to have a fantasy about clothes-lining some big stupid kid riding a bicycle in Walmart…

  64. I used to have a fantasy about clothes-lining some big stupid kid riding a bicycle in Walmart…

    Hey, the last time I rode a bicycle around in Walmart, there was no one around. I swear !

  65. “funny minor stuff with my knees, as in several weeks ago when one just seemed to decide to go off the job and I went flying off the back porch stairs”

    Ok Dave, I’ve been trying to not play intarwebs M.D. but the same thing happened to me, with all the same back issues. Reading you thinking about surgery escalates the issue to the point where I GOTTA chime in.

    I was walking down a ramp leaving a server room, and my leg just collapsed under me. I grabbed the handrail and stayed upright, but it sure upset my client. I had some funny optical things happening around then too. Ocular migraine?
    http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/ocular-migraine-basics Anyway, no pain but weird optical effects.

    This is what works for me.

    Meloxicam to reduce swelling in the lower back. Quick and dramatic reduction in pain. The gentle traction I described by hanging knees over the arm of the couch when it flares up. Chiropractic- you’ve never mentioned this. It works. If you think a particular Dr is a quack, he may be, but there are genuine ones and it can really help.

    What aggravates it- sitting too much at my computer or in the car. Certain old pairs of SHOES. If your shoes have rubber soles, or molded to your feet insoles and are more than a year or two old, GET SOME NEW ONES. Seriously. Bad shoes will aggravate knee and back pain. [a podiatrist may be needed to do some molded orthotics to correct structural issues but I’d try everything else first. I tried orthotics and found them to be uncomfortable and they weren’t needed after my knee surgeries.] Hip, knee, ankle, and back issues all get ‘frozen’ in your shoes. The shoes wear, and then the wear contributes to the problem. They also lose elasticity.

    Some other things that can help. Stomach crunches. NOT sit-ups. Just lie on the floor and do some slow crunches with your back on the floor. Even just tensing and releasing your stomach while focusing on holding it in or flat will help you get started (if like me you waited so long you can’t do crunches.) A strong stomach will help support and align hips and back.

    Try everything up to acupuncture and massage before surgery. Hell, try all the ‘woo woo’ stuff too. Something might work for you. Consider that there are no guarantees that the surgery will decrease your pain or improve function, and it’s not reversible. I have too many friends who (in desperation) started down the surgical path, and they regret it.

    Try the simple stuff first. Better or different chair. New shoes. Stretching, chiro, strength building. Cost is low, commitment is low, and results might be all you need.

    Chronic pain is debilitating. It affects every aspect of your life. It sours your outlook and your relationships. Sometimes you can only recognize how bad it was after it’s gone.

    Good luck with this.

    nick

    ADDED- NO walking around barefoot, ever. Get a pair of slip ones, flip flops, shower shoes, whatever you want to call them, with padded and supportive soles and wear them around the house instead of going barefoot. They will support your feet and cushion your joints, and keep pressure off any nerve points in your feet.

  66. Thanks, Mr. Nick; I’ve copied/pasted your suggestions to a LeafPad file and printed it out accordingly; I don’t wanna do the surgery, either, and will work my way through the stuff. I am, however, still going ahead with that shot down at the VA; last time I got one some years ago, it worked right away and I had no problems for years. I realize that’s just a temporary thing, but will mos def hold off on any surgery.

    “ADDED- NO walking around barefoot, ever.”

    That’s pretty funny; I’m the only one here who does NOT go around barefoot all the time. Wife and daughter hardly ever wear shoes; I understand it’s an Irish/Scottish thing. lol.

  67. Good points @nick.

    At my regular doctor appointment earlier this week he is setting me up with a Physical/Occupational Therapist. I mentioned that I was losing some range of motion in my legs and he agreed that that is not good. I have been using Meloxicam for many years. Without it my joints seem to totally seize. I am trying Tramadol, again, to try and replace my Hydrocodone. I am at the max dose of Hydrocodone that the gooberment will allow so I am at the end of my rope.

  68. Whatever happened to Mr Chuck? He went barefoot everywhere. My podiatrist would give me the strap for doing that.

  69. Try some P90X3 routines for mobility, strength and range of motion. It works for me. But, since I have no joint or back pain at 61, am I abnormal?

  70. You are MR ABBEY NORMAL.

    The funny thing about meloxicam is in Canadia it’s mainly used in vet medicine. My co-workers were a bit shocked that a human was taking it.

    And when my little dog got his knee reconstructed, he got meloxicam. It was about 1000x more expensive as a vet med in the tiny dosage, than for me. I was afraid I’d drop a decimal place, so I bought the damn stuff instead of grinding up one of mine.

    n

  71. @nick said: “You are MR ABBEY NORMAL.”

    My 16-year old ginger cat is on Meloxicam (Metacam 1.5mg/ml oral suspension, 32ml bottle), every 3-days (0.1cc). BTW, her name is Abbey. She has real bad arthritis and gets a real benefit from the Meloxicam. My Vet charges reasonable amounts for all Rx and uses all well known brand names. She doesn’t consider prescriptions a profit center in her practice, as too many Vets do.

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