Mon. July 1, 2019 – should be home today

Had sunny and hot all through Illinois, Missouri, but into Arkansas it got dark and rumble-y. Missed all the thunderstorms but saw a pretty light show.

The farmers are still flooded. Many won’t get a crop this year. The gas station attendant said it’s worse than it looks. He has a two hour detour because one of the towns he would normally drive-through is 8 feet underwater, still. And the rain keeps coming.

More when I get home and have a screen and keyboard…


Sun. June 30, 2019 – rain rain go away….

Rain is forecast for my whole drive. I’m hoping the FEMA national forecast is as wrong as it’s been for the last several months.

I might have a second or two to look at this auto-post before scrambling to get out the door. Or not.

I’m headed home, reversing course headed south thru Illinois, then toward Memphis, but turning and stopping just short of Little Rock.

I got almost everything packed. I’ve got a couple of tubs to load up and put on the hitch mount carrier first thing in the morning. I decided to take down this pc then too.

I walked thru most of the house with my camera last night. I’ll get the upstairs rooms and outdoors before leaving. That should help me move on. If things don’t go smoothly I might make it back one more time, but I’m hoping for a smooth sale from here on out.

It felt good to get my dad’s shop cleaned up and organized. I didn’t find any treasure, and got the camera to look in the last spot tonight. I’m pretty sure we found it all. Now we just have to get the stuff sold and the house sold so mom can move on.

And I need to get me and the child home safely.

So I’m off….


Sat. June 29, 2019 – last day in Chi-town

Cooler, maybe a bit of rain overnight? Not as hot as Houston certainly.

Wrapping up in Chicagoland today. If I can fit everything in the truck, I’ll head home tomorrow morning. Lots to do today still. One thing is packing this computer. Another is packing my truck. And RE-packing until it all fits. And where the heck will I put it when I get home?

There are still things to do to pass the VA inspection. I sprayed the perimeter for bugs. This house has always had a problem with big black ants. One of my frustrations with this situation and when my dad was sick is that my siblings are too close to the problems and everyone here LOVES problems. What they don’t love is solutions. I’m the solve it guy. If dad is losing his balance on stairs, put in a handrail, don’t complain because he insists on using the stairs. If there are ants, get the freaking spray, don’t curse the ants in the trash bin. If the place smells musty rent an ozone generator and a dehumidifier. Don’t just say “the smell chases buyers away”, fix the smell. This can be applied to life in general and ESPECIALLY when there are big problems like a disaster.

“We’re out of bottled water” – then buy buckets and fill them at the tap!
“We’re out of plywood to board up windows” – then buy fencing, or metal roof panels…

I had a friend who I was staying with for a while. I was babysitting for his 6yo and I suggested we watch a video and sing along with it. The tape title was “Songs for Learning” and I figured, “Hey, songs, lets sing along…” His daughter says “NO! Those are songs for LEARNING, NOT songs for singing along”. Don’t be that 6yo.

Adapt, improvise, overcome.


Fri. June 28, 2019 – on we go

A bit of threatening weather to the north, but no rain before I finally got to bed last night. It’s very damp here, and in the shade that makes it a bit chilly for this (now) Texas boy. I love fall in the upper mid-West, but I’m not fond of summer days. Summer nights are awesome. Summer days, not so much. My daughter is cold here. She’s a Texan.

Plenty more to do here with new twists added. I may have to extend my stay. That will suck for a variety of reasons, but we don’t always get to pick our obligations.

I was planning to do stuff outside the basement today. Now I’ve got a new list. Le sigh….

So, how is your prepping progress? Nothing is getting better out there. Time is getting short.


Thur. June 27, 2019 – still plugging away

No idea as I write this if the storm blew through, or is still around.

Got quite a lot of rain quickly though, even before I went to bed.

I’m trying to figure out what my feelings are about selling this house that I grew up in. It’s the only home I’ve ever known until I went out on my own. And I just realized that after the sale, I’ll lose access to it, and when I do, I’ll lose a touchstone in my life. I know every inch of this house. The basement, the under-eaves spaces, the rooms, smells, textures. I can move through the house in the dark or blindfolded. My dad is everywhere here. You can’t look in any direction and NOT see something he made, or shaped with his hands. The cool basement and the workshop were a refuge and my own ‘bat cave’ growing up. My bedroom (long since remodeled, but still ‘mine’) where I spent literal years, the yard, sheds, everything familiar despite the changes since I lived here. And when I walk out on Saturday or Sunday, it will likely be the last time I ever do.

THAT is freaking me out.


added- spent an hour teaching my daughter to throw darts, in the same place I learned, and passing on the same lessons I learned from my dad. Caught fireflies in the same yard I did. Watched a momma robin feed her baby in a nest outside the window in my old bedroom, daughter jumping on the bed, playing with the blinds that I helped hang.

Wed. June 26, 2019 – like my men..

Got a bit warmer by late afternoon yesterday, but cool and clear to start. Same forecast for today.

I’m in a suburb of Chicago, and I was quite surprised by the difference in pricing at the grocery store. Items I buy every week in Houston were 1/3 or 1/2 again as expensive. Bacon was $14 instead of $8. Rolls, sliced ham, soda, all more expensive here. Dinner out was more than I expected too. Gas is $2.49 (or more) vs $2.15/gal. Tolls on the highway were $1.10 for a short stretch (and used to be just 40c.)

This is far from a luxury area. Mom’s house will likely sell for $140K, and is 1800 sqft on a big corner lot. The opposite of gentrification is happening here. The streets here in the neighborhood haven’t seen any maintenance in at least 20 years and maybe 30. Houses are smaller than mom’s through most of the area. One car garages are not uncommon. Some blocks, a larger 2 car garage is actually bigger than the house.

All this to say, prices are WAY out of line for the sort of area it is, and yet they are inline with where my sibs live too. I’m pretty sure they are typical prices for most of Chicagoland, if not a bit lower than nicer areas.

Why would you live here or expect to STAY here? It is NOT getting better, it’s getting worse.

My sibs seem to be either suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or cognitive dissonance. Neither is healthy in the long term.

There are millions here looking at the same fate, and many are pulling the ejection lever. I wish my family would too.


Tues. June 25, 2019 – safely in the Chicago area

A bit cool and damp by my standards…hoping for a sunny day.

Lot of driving in the past two days. Spent Monday dodging thunderstorms and missed most of them. Not much traffic on the interstates. Fewer trucks than last time, and that’s a bit worrying. The drive up Illinois from tip to (almost tip) was interesting in that most of the road was in ok to poor condition, but some counties had done a good job of repair. You can clearly see the difference in maintenance as you go, with some bridges freshly painted, and some held together with rust and hope…some fresh paving and some with lots of potholes and only oil and chip seal for repairs. Some counties didn’t even bother with chip seal…

And the rest areas in Illinois are the worst on the trip. No amenities and poor maintenance at most. Arkansas and Missouri have nice facilities with staffed visitor centers….

Lots of standing water in fields and flooded areas. The flooding and impact on crops is real. I don’t know the extent of it, but there is no point in denying that there are large areas too wet to farm.

More from the Windy City as I take breaks from the cleanup,


Mon. June 24, 2019 – free but useless

Wet and humid here in AR. Posting early and from my phone because the hotel free wifi still uses some sort of authorization, and it doesn’t work on any of the android browsers on my tablet.

More driving today. I should be in Chicago by dinner time.

After watching a few movies, we’ve started listening to the Narnia books produced be Focus on the Family. So far it has excellent production. Child is enthralled. I am too.

More updates as I cross borders…


Sun. June 23, 2019 – hitting the road

81F and 94%RH this morning. With light and occasional sprinkles yesterday, the humidity was miserable.

Later this morning I’m hitting the road for Chi-town. Well, near to it anyway. Nearer than I like.

Two days there, work on stuff for mom, two days home. Posting will probably be light. I will post as I travel as I found that to be helpful on the last trip.

I sure hope the world holds together while I’m away from home. I really don’t want to live out a ‘road movie.’

Talk amongst yourselves…


Based on weather, it looks like I’m going N59 thru Texarkana, to 30 thru Little Rock, 40 to memphis, then 55 to 57 the rest of the way home. (That avoids St louis)…Don’t know yet when or where I’ll stop for the night. T storms are sweeping across the upper part of that trip, but I should get to Memphis before they do.

Sat. June 22, 2019 – sleeping in

85F at midnight, so I expect it is hot this am. [added – 83F and 93%RH, so not horrible at 7:30am]

I’m trying to sleep in today, I want to be fully rested for my trip. Still have a lot to do to get ready though. [freaking backup noisemakers on big trucks, woke me up. Neighbors are getting a new roof today. They can’t start with the nail guns until 8 but they can get deliveries and shout at each other.]

One thing I’d like to do is get a couple of audio books transferred onto an ipod so I can get them into the truck with me. Long drives are perfect for audio books, and I’ve got Guns Germs and Steel, and ALL of the Chronicles of Narnia waiting for a listen.

I guess I’ll have my wife do it since she has the i- management stuff on her pc. I did find a free way to get stuff onto a pod, but not off, so I guess I’ll just have to do it the apple way.

Good thing I picked up 3 or 4 ipods… [or just take the CDs with]