Month: December 2019

Tues. Dec. 31, 2019 – good bye 2019

Cold and wet.

Yesterday was not warm, but wasn’t too cold either. I suck as a weather forecaster, just like the pros!

I did get my tire fixed, but that was about all. I just didn’t feel right all day. Not the time to be doing anything heavy.

I’m not going to do a big ‘year in review’ post, but I encourage you all to take stock mentally (or actually) of your current condition, vs a year ago. Take a good look around and see if things have changed, and in what direction. Re-read a few of the blog posts and comments from a year ago, then two years, then 3. Look at a whole week in case the day you choose was a slow day for some reason.

Because prepping is a focus for me, and was for RBT, take a look at your level of preparedness. Consider skills, knowledge, physicality, financial state, and stored value….

Take a few moments to consider which paths you need to walk this coming year, and which you feel ok with.

None of us are sure of the future. We make predictions, but no one gets them right in detail or in totality both. Most of us have decided to act as if we can know something about the future though, and take steps to work within what we expect.

The changing of the year is a great time for both reflection and prediction. Don’t beat yourself up too badly for failures during the year- after all, you got through them. Don’t get too committed to your predictions for the future- after all, how good were they last year? Most of us will try to do a little better than simply muddling through, and most of us will succeed.

I’ve got a feeling that we’ll look back on this year as one of ‘the good old days’.


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Mon. Dec. 30, 2019 – 2020 foresight is drawing near…

Warm and damp, probably.

After yesterday’s tire troubles, I’m hoping to finish with the whole thing today. It has caused me to consider a couple of prep things though. I’ve got one mounted spare for my Expy, and another bare tire. I’ve also got a bare tire for my wife’s minivan. Both should be mounted spares.

I’ve also learned that my vehicle repair preps are a bit underwhelming. I need to keep my eyes open for a compressor that can fill tires, and a floor jack that won’t buckle. I’ve got ordinary maintenance items and tools but thought I had the tires covered. Not so much as it turns out.

Some days I feel like I’m falling farther and farther behind. And what sucks is I KNOW I am in several areas I think are important. It’s gonna be tricky to catch up, and there might have to be some triage involved.

Fortunately, the new year is right around the corner, and that is a traditional time to regroup, rethink, and resolve to make changes. I know you can make them any time, but it helps to have some social weight attached.

There are a couple of other anniversaries coming up too. More on those as appropriate later.

Now, once more into the breach….


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Sun. Dec. 29, 2019 – time is getting short for 2019

Warm and wet.

Got home last night. Long day. Kids opened one present each. We’ll open the rest of the presents we left at home this morning. I remember most years growing up having multiple “Christmas days” with various family members (or branches of the family) who couldn’t all be in the same place at the same time. It does prolong the season….

House was a bit stuffy, but otherwise fine. It’s a mess from the rush to get on the road. We’ll fix that later.

Hopefully the drizzle from last night won’t stick around all day.

And I hope I am still sleeping in!


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Sat. Dec. 28, 2019 – it pays to have preps

Cold, damp.

Last night I discovered that my daughter had locked us out of my siblings house. Unfortunately, it was 9pm when I found out that she had locked the door from the garage to the house, which was supposed to be our entry path. Much texting ensued to see if there was a hidden key. Nope. Mom had a key, but it turned out to be one lock change out of date.

It did fit the keyway though. Return to mom’s. Some quick work with a hacksaw blade and the file on my Gerber multitool, and i had a good looking bump key. I was only carrying the Gerber, because I can’t carry in IL, so I had a belt pouch free. Thought I’d have to wait for Ace hardware to open.

Back over to the house, and quick success with the deadbolt. No joy on the knob, something is wrong with it, which is why my sibling doesn’t normally lock it. I didn’t have any oil, and didn’t want to stay any longer,so I put it off to today, in daylight.

So, where was the prep? I had my go bag in the car. ID, lappy, change of clothes, one day’s meds, chargers, money, etc. That bag goes where I go. I could get on a plane with just that if I had to, or if I couldn’t get back to my suitcase. I had my multi tool. That gave me timely options. The main thing though was knowledge. I had made a bump key and practiced with it at home.

We’re headed over there shortly and I’ll update, but I don’t expect any issues in the daylight.


PS, wife was not prepared to get on a plane if needed. Hopefully, I will have a better chance of getting that next time.

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Fri. Dec. 27, 2019 – maybe museums

Colder but still wet.

Got to the south suburbs of Chicago yesterday. Had a nice lunch, then did minor stuff for mom.

Today will be more of the same, either early or late, One of the museums in between, not sure yet which one.

Posting from phone due to Wi-Fi issues, so short and sweet…

Be good to yourselves and the one’s you love.


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Thur. Dec. 26, 2019 – Boxing Day

Cool and wet, no snow left on most yards, just green grass.

Had a wonderful Christmas Day with the kids and family. Missed my dad, I got the sort of presents he used to get. I’m trying not to dwell on it. But I do miss him, especially at times like this.

Checking out of Chez Sibling today to head back toward Chicago. We’ll have a day to maybe do something in the city museum before flying home. Also some minor things in my mom’s new place before she heads back toward warmer climes. I can count the remaining vacation days in my dwindling supply of Breathe Right strips…

Plenty to do before we leave, gotta get sheets stripped, bathrooms cleaned, and the ever widening debris field from the kids contained.

Pancakes and eggs for breakfast, yum.


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Wed. Dec. 25, 2019 – Merry Christmas!

Another cool and damp day. Story of my life lately.

Also, not a white Christmas.

Opened a bunch of presents last night. Kids were nutso. Very nice dinner, and lots of other desserts. Even some cookies, provided by a neighbor and good friend.

Everything was in place for the jolly fat man to make his visit.

Today the kids will be losing their minds, we’ll all eat too much, and hopefully a good time will be had by all.

Take this day to celebrate what you believe. These are the good old days.

May the peace and joy of the season be with you all,


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Tues. Dec. 24, 2019 – Christmas Eve

Cool and wet.

Yesterday got sunny and all the way to 47F here on the shores of Lake Michigan. Well, near them anyway.

Did get a couple of nice locally made tchotcki for the second child to give as presents. Might have to take the first child out today to get her last minute shopping done. It was a nice couple of hours with my little one, culminating in coffee and a smoothie for her. This town is soaking in small town charm.

Last day to get any Christmas stuff in order, second day of Hanukkah, and day after Festivus.

I’d be powering up the AA guns and the AS battery later tonight, if I didn’t have two little ones. I’ll have to settle for putting out the less tasty cocoa and some slightly stale cookies for the fat man. Some blog traditions I just can’t keep up 🙂

It’s clear from looking at the history of Christmas in the US that we have been making it up as we go. Make some new traditions of your own if you want to, and honor some from the past.

Take the opportunity to mark the day in whatever way matters to you. If this is a very tough time of the year for you, please find someone to share your burden- even if it’s just a bunch of grumpy old men online.

All of you reading this have my very best wishes,


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Mon. Dec. 23, 2019 – snow melted, kids are poking at each other

Another cold and wet day.

Yesterday was low 40s and most of the snow melted. The backyard is in shadow and still has well worn but adequate snow cover. No sledding though.

It’s a bit weird being here this early. Feels like Christmas should be today. I’m getting some recreational reading done, and the occasional little project around the house.

Food is awesome, but we’re almost out of cookies. Something might have to be done about that.

Meanwhile the world continues to prove that half the people are below average, and most of them have lost their minds.

Slow internet here, so I’m limiting my exposure. Just as well.

I’ll be checking in throughout the day,


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Sun. Dec. 22, 2019 – only 2 shopping days left…

Cold and wet here, lots of snow melt.

Good day yesterday. All the traditional snow activities for little kids were introduced and practiced. LOTS of homemade cookies were eaten. Wine was consumed (by others) and presents were stacked under the tree. Three huge dogs got their freshly bathed bellies skritched.

A good day.

I hope your holiday preps are happening smoothly, and your lives are where you want them to be.

I need to get the kids out to buy for each other and mom, and we might go see the Star Wars movie. Dunno. Maybe it will snow a bit more. That would be cool.

I also have to add to and rotate out some stocks in my cache here. I was disappointed to see that the Walmart here doesn’t carry the canned Keystone meat anymore. I’ll have to add some other canned foods I guess. The rice bucket is marked 9/17, so that needs replacing. Most of the rest is canned, but any box or pouch meals might need replacement too. It’s winter now, so maybe I’ll be able to find some hand or foot warmers to use as O2 absorbers.

Anyway, stuff to do!


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