Sat. Aug. 21, 2021 – wasted days and wasted nights……..

Hot and humid, of course. Because HOUSTON. FTW! The map for the whole country looks wet for the next couple of days. Houston will have rain. Somewhere. I got wet enough working outdoors that I could have been out in the rain. Then I did it again at my secondary location. And in between I went to lowes, and stopped at my rent house to drop off a replacement CO monitor and talk about drainage issues.

I managed to pack up another bin, went to my storage unit and packed 3 more. Dropped those off at the auction, then went to my secondary, grabbed some more stuff, and took that to the auctioneer. And you can hardly tell that all that stuff left. Jeez.

But it did leave, and there will be more leaving-both to my non-prepping hobby swap meet, and more to the auction.

I need the space and I need the time. I’ve got stuff I want to do, and having room in the garage would be nice. Getting the patio back would be nice. Getting the driveway back would be nice, even if I just fill it with tubs to grow veggies and potatoes. Because Chaka, when the rains come. Or something. The money, if there is any at the end of the day will be a bonus. Part of my prepping philosophy is ‘nothing irrevocable’. Getting rid of this stuff at whatever I can get feels a little irrevocable, in that I feel like I should have worked harder at it, and now I can’t, because it’s gone. But I really believe time is getting short and to continue as I have been won’t work.

Any time now, we could have a weekend like the one in 2008, when the financial apocalypse was upon us, and only the heroic work of the smartest guys in the room, and the coercive power of government could save the day. *cough* Whatever the real story is, we DIDN’T collapse the economy then. I’m not so sanguine about the next time.

There will be a next time, and we’ve already pulled all the rabbits out of all the hats. It happened in Cyprus, it happened in Ukraine, it happened in Venezuela, it happened in Argentina, and Zimbabwe, and countless other places as well. It’s happening right now, and we won’t see the result until it ‘comes out of nowhere’ to bite us on the @rse.

We’ll get through it. Most, some, or all of us, but it won’t be easy. Prepping provides us with options, alternatives, choices. There will be opportunities too, if you are ready to act. Resources will be required. In big stacks. So stack it up.

nick

Fri. Aug. 20, 2021 – and time keeps flying by…

Sunny and hot, humid, possible rain, and maybe all three. Didn’t get any rain here at the house yesterday but someone must have. It was actually a bit cooler, but very humid, so the breeze in the shade took some of the heat away from baking in the sun…

After spending most of the morning working on my client’s upgrade plans, I walked to my mechanic to pick up my Ranger. It’s only a few blocks, maybe a mile. I didn’t do too bad, kept up my pace and wasn’t breathing hard at the end. It was HOT in the sun, but a lot of my route was shaded.

Truck needed a bunch of stuff along with the brakes and suspension. I’ve still got the accident damage to repair, and the windshield to replace. That will have to wait though as I get some of this auction stuff out of the way. Having the funds ready to pay for the work made it all a lot easier.

Had an interesting conversation with the guys at my mechanic’s shop. They are all Persian immigrants and all hustle to make successful lives for themselves and their families. They are all around my age, a couple a few years older, so they were there and saw it happen. I’ve mentioned talking with them before. They were surprised that I knew some of the history of the area and the period of the Shaw’s overthrow and the rise of the extremists. Anyway they see a balkanization of the US as inevitable. Bosnia/Herzegovina etc writ large on this continent. The timeline is the only real question in their minds and they are hoping for 8-10 years. I agree with them about the direction we’re heading, but while it might take 10 years, it won’t be that long before it starts.

I think we’d naturally end up with something like the Nine Nations of North America, but it won’t happen ‘naturally’. As many have pointed out, it’s not red state vs blue states, it’s blue cities vs everyone else. The geography that our natural dissimilarities would support won’t be allowed to happen because of the blue hives in the middle. There won’t be any clearly different territories because each of the sections has blue in it and the fighting will be blue city vs red country.

One thing I’m pretty sure of is that it won’t happen without a ton of bloodshed. And the disruption to the country, economy, and the world will be biblical. A while back I opined that in 10 years I’d have a Republic of Texas passport. Time is ticking, and I still think so.

My goal now is to get through the disruption and out the other side. I think prepping can do that. There isn’t a Roman Empire anymore but there are still people living in Rome.

Stack it high. Learn it well. Practice what you preach. Pass it on.

nick

Thur. Aug. 19, 2021 – more stuff to the auction

Hot and humid, more rain later. Although cooler in the morning and late afternoon than the hottest of days, it’s still getting hot in the early afternoon, especially when the sun is out. And someone in Houston is getting rained on every day.

As I drove around town yesterday, I was in and out of rain, and it rained at the house.

I spent the morning sorting and packing auction stuff. I had a bunch that hadn’t been sorted that I found when I moved some of the other…. Packed four bins worth and got it to the auctioneer in early afternoon. Then did a round of pickups and headed home. I’d have taken more on that trip, but that’s really all that fit in the Expy. Today I will pick up the Ranger pickup. The mechanic called and it’s ready. Lots more room for ‘stuff’ in the back, if the rain holds off.

The Ranger needed a bunch of work and I don’t have the total bill yet. If it’s under $1000 I’ll be happy. I haven’t spent much on maintenance over the years so it was due. There is still other stuff it needs too, like a windshield, and the insurance body work. I need it for a week though, so that will be put off again. It’s always something. At least with the two trucks I’ve had some backup, even if the usage is different.

Getting out in the world and talking to people can get you all sorts of information. You never know what you’ll hear, or how important it will end up being. Yesterday I got a bit about the presence of a respiratory virus in kids hospitalized with covid. A bit of confirmation when I got home, and it’s a real thing, although the magnitude and impact is yet to be determined. One practical bit, it gives us a really good reason to continue with masking our kids in indoor social settings. RSV is nasty enough, and if it opens you to bad covid, I’d just as soon skip it.

So today should be packing up and delivering more auction stuff. Followed by a second round if the rain holds off, or if not, then I have a couple more pickups-one needful thing, and a carpet “pet stain” cleaning machine.

While young Zeus is much better at going outside when he needs to, he still will soil the floor when he can. Spray cleaner and paper towel looks like it does the job, but I’d like a bit more cleaning, hence the machine. Our dog sitter has one and uses it multiple times per day.

Apropos of nothing, did you know that Black powder pistols and long arms are not considered to be firearms in the state of Texas and may be freely carried either open or concealed without permit or prejudice? And that there is a muzzle loader only season for deer? Or that there are very modern muzzleloading rifles, many available with scopes? Some things to look into…

Things happen slowly, then all at once. You can adjust the scale afterwards to figure out how slowly, or how long ‘all at once’ really was, but when you’re in it, I’m sure it feels pretty dang sudden. Even if you’ve been expecting it, when the reality hits you, I’m sure there is ‘that moment’. We’ve been in the ‘slowly’ part for 20 years. ‘Bout time for the ‘suddenly’ part. I’ll note in passing that several of the bloggers I read daily are emphasizing prepper themes all of a sudden. Medical, food, location, and defense being primary among them. It ain’t just me tellin’ ya… get crackin’ on yer stackin’!

nick

Wed. Aug. 18, 2021 – Did something change?

Hot and humid again, although less so. Same prediction of rain in the afternoon or evening. Which is how yesterday went. We had sun and rain at the same time for part of the afternoon… so we didn’t get clobbered, but I think we’re 4 for 4 on rain in the afternoon now.

Spent the day moving stuff from one bin to another, getting ready to drop off some auction stuff today. Then I went to Costco to get TP and whatever else struck me as a good deal.

Hmm. Spent almost $800 and didn’t get much meat, and got no TP. The TP area was BARE except for one or two pallets of Scott. No paper towels either. The napkins I like were on sale so I got some of those. They were bringing out about 10 pallets of kirkland TP, but I don’t need to mess with that. If they haven’t restocked Charmin Blue, I’ll pull some from my secondary location. It’s not that I don’t have any, I just am getting low at the house.

What I did get was some of the stuff I haven’t bought in a year or more. 3 boxes of ziplok bags for example. Dishwasher pods. $40 in black bins for the auction. And lots of prepared meals. They are very convenient with the kids and with me being out of the house in the late afternoon. They’re not cheap, or a great value, but they are tasty and convenient. I also doubled up some purchases to get ‘caught up’ on some stuff I’d let run down. Butter. Cheese. Potstickers. Cereal. Our eating habits have changed and I’ve got stuff on the shelves that is just sitting there that would have turned over twice a year ago.

There were some gaps. No lamb rib chops, so I couldn’t compare today’s price with 2019. No lamb convenience meals either. Still no spiral sliced ham- I don’t think it’s coming back at this point. They marked down the pallet of Community brand coffee. They had switched flavors from what was selling well (and what I bought) to a lighter blend, and it looks like it didn’t sell at all. I hope they go back to the dark roast, and don’t drop the company completely. There was one Mountain House box on an otherwise empty pallet. People must have been buying today. The black bins were sold out on the floor, so I grabbed some from the second shelf. No flip top bins at all.

There was still rice in different sized bags and a couple of different varieties, but nothing like pre-wuflu. It was more like 70c/lb than 50c. That could be brand, or seasonal variation, or it could be inflation. Oh, and no Breathe Rite strips in the store… weird. Lots of indian food displacing the chinese and korean, lots of stuff I’ve never seen in the store before, but all in smaller quantities. All the canned veg was national brands, not kirkland.

There seemed to be a good assortment of cheap wine options, 8-12$ bottles. More selection at the low end than I remember them having pre-wuflu, and confirms what I saw last time. There were a lot of discounted items too, which almost seemed back to normal. It wasn’t crowded at 4:00-5:30pm while I was there, but they must have had a pretty busy day. Storms headed this way, and political storms brewing might do that.

It’s not just foreign actors that will be testing Bidden and the US. Our own politicians will be looking to exploit his weakness and mistakes too. That will give our enemies even more encouragement as we continue fighting amongst ourselves. Don’t look for peace, prosperity, and stability. It’s going to get a lot worse before we get back to those.

Prep as best you can for whatever threat you see coming. If you feel like you’ve got to lower your profile, don’t just drop off the air here. Let us know you’re going to be ‘spending more time with family’… so we don’t worry. Or change your nickname… although that won’t stop us from noticing your old nick isn’t coming around anymore. Thanks for the support for Ray and his wife, especially from those of you we don’t hear from that often. Glad to know you are still coming by.

There’s only so many ways I can say “get prepped” but despite all the time Bob spent saying it, and I spent saying it, some of you were still caught short last March. Don’t let that happen again. For REALZ this time, get prepped! Anyone with specific questions, ask them. It will give me something specific to write about, or it’ll let the other experts here chime in, like battery discussion does.

And let’s not forget that life does go on, even in the middle of a global pandemic, and the coming civil war, and the world wide rearrangement. Ordinary stuff needs doin’ too. I’m not the only one with kids (or grandkids) and we have an obligation to them too. They’ll be the ones that come out the other side of this, and they’ll need a good foundation to build off of. They sure aren’t getting that in school, they need to get it from us. Building the next generation is the biggest prep of all.

And of course, keep stacking. Piles of stuff, a head full of knowledge and hands full of work, and a few stout friends, and you’ll have what you need to get through, and even thrive.

At least, that’s what I am hoping, and building toward.

nick

-title question referred to mood, or zeitgeist. You tell me if you are seeing it.

Tues. Aug. 17, 2021 – the decline is accelerating

Hot and humid, although the storm brought lower temps overnight. 74F when I went to bed last night. I’m thinking today will be pretty much like yesterday. We’ll have a dry morning, wet afternoon, and moist night.

Had a weird morning yesterday. Got dizzy for no apparent reason, had to lie down for a bit. Pulse ox and heartrate were fine. Weird. Gonna have to find a doctor now.

Spent a little time doing auction stuff, then called my latest auctioneer. He’s agreed to start taking stuff in on Wednesday. HOOORAAYYY. Stuff can finally start leaving here.

Spent the rest of the afternoon picking up and spending time with daughter 2. We ended up assembling a book shelf unit for her room. Mom and d1 got home early so that ended that. Next step is paint or vinyl to change the look, but that will be next time.

Made a special dinner for d1 in honor of her Girl Scout mariner certificate. It’s one of my ‘specialty of the house’ dishes. Grilled lamb rib chops. I dug deep in the freezer and got a package from 2016 and one from 2019. From $10/lb to $14/lb in only 3 years. I didn’t look yet at a current one to see how much more it’s come up. Both packages were in the original heavy Costco vac seal and both were delicious (although the older one was slightly more ‘lamb’ smelling before rinsing). Nothing wrong with leaving stuff in the freezer if it’s vac sealed and consistently frozen. I keep the chest freezer at -2F.

I also tested one packet of a case of commercially packaged coffee I got at auction. 72 “4 cup” packs of Seattles Best decaf in commercial food service packs (think hotel room coffee setup.) It was $5 for the case, and it is past its ‘best by’ but smelled and tasted just fine. I don’t drink a lot of decaf but I’ll put it on the shelf (or in the freezer if there is room). If it actually ages out, I’m only out $5.

The burn on my forearm is dark red, smooth, and sore but itchy. I broke out the silvadene cream and have been putting that on it, and covering it with a big bandaid. What’s the point of having the stuff if you don’t use it when needed? I will be adding to the stocks to replace the open tube with unopened. Re-stocking is important-

Because I’m watching the humiliation of the US on the world wide stage. Every ally has to be re-thinking their assessment of our strength. Every enemy is going to be doing the same. Afghanistan is an invader breaker, and has been forever. And now it broke us. Oh, we’re not shuffling out into the snow, but the complete miscalculation, the refusal to understand that aliens are alien, the absolutely shameful way we abandoned YET ANOTHER set of local players, is a serious blow to our power and strength worldwide. It will surely give potential allies pause, and our enemies encouragement.

Those are not good things for me and you. I expect even more disruption to our economy and to our financial system. Confidence and optimism will be battered. When that happens, markets get roiled and prices fall. I’m as out as I can be, and my feelings on the casino for suckers should be pretty clear by now, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but if you’re in the markets, why? How much higher do you expect it to go? When it drops it will drop in a big hurry. I’m not giving financial advice but I’m going to be VERY conservative at this point. Tangibles you have control over. Just saying.

Other people are starting to notice the slide. There will be a point where it’ll be too late for a lot of things, at least for a while. Prepping will help you get through that time.

When I’m feeling pessimistic, I’m really pessimistic. Seeds. Antibiotics. Lots of reference books. Water treatment and power generation. Stealth. Really low key living. And when I’m worst casing, alternate ID. 30 million illegals are getting it somewhere. The mayor of Kabul probably wishes she had some. Just saying.

Keep stacking. I think we’re already in it. When everyone else figures that out, it will get ugly quick.

nick

Mon. Aug. 16, 2021 – first day of school, FTW!

Sunny and warm, possibly rainy, certain to end up at “hot”. It was hot and humid yesterday until the storm rolled through. Then it dropped to 75F and stayed there for a few hours.

I didn’t get a whole lot done on my free day. Turned out to not be so free when wife and kids got home early. Daughter 1 got her sailing stuff done very quickly and was released to come home. Now she is a ‘certified’ mariner and can do more sailing stuff with GS. Hooray.

The other issue was my back was bothering me. It finally moved and got a lot better some time after my wife got home. Until then picking up anything at all kinda pinched… it finally moved for me and she could here it from 6 feet away. She was a little skeptical until that happened. 🙂 Nothing like hearing the snap crackle pop so loud and clear to confirm that there was an issue.

I got some listing stuff done, and that was about it.

This morning I’ll be walking D1 to the bus pickup spot, and later in the day I’ll be picking up D2 and we’ll have our first afternoon of scheduled together time. I can’t wait. I expect that she’ll be vibrating from school and we might not get anything done, but it will still be a good thing.

Time flies, and if you blink you miss it. Take some time. Stack, but without relationships, what’s the point?

The tighter you build the relationships now, the stronger they’ll be later. And I think we’ll need that strength.

nick

Sun. Aug. 15, 2021 – half way through the month, yikes

Hot, humid, rainy and cloudy. Or not, as the case may be. Seems nuts but that is Houston. The whole area is in the thunderstorm area, there’s a big storm in the Gulf, and we have no idea what the weather is going to be like. ‘Cuz it was all those things somewhere in Houston yesterday.

Did my errands, spent more time in line than in the last year. Everywhere I went they were understaffed in the check out lines. Probably a sign of the times unless the checks stop coming.

Wife and D1 are at GS camp completing D1’s sailing badge. D2 accompanied them to avoid being drafted into my plans, which are sort and bin for my next auction. Depending on weather, more or less of that can take place, and I can get to my secondary location to do some work there too.

So that is the plan, make way and make money so I can stack some other stuff instead.

Why don’t you join me in stacking all the things?

n

Sat. Aug. 14, 2021 – non-prepping hobby today

Well, maybe it won’t be quite so hot, but it’s sure to be humid and wet, with some sun mixed in. Yesterday was a bit cooler here in the Bayou City, and I’m sure someone got rain. We got the threat of rain and some thunder, with a power blink, but never really got any significant precipitation. Tropical storm headed this way so the weather will be variable for the next couple of days. Of course, other than ‘hot’ our weather is variable anyway.

Did some small things yesterday. Sold a cable on ebay and shipped that. Had to go by the Post Office to drop it on the counter. Then later at night I got another offer on the same cables. Ebay’s algorithm for promoting listings is a cypher. No sales for a year, then two in one day. Strange.

Went by the Goodwill outlet, and picked up some vintage GI Joe. Nice large pieces (a jeep and trailer), some small clothes and accessories, and one actual Joe in poor shape. One of the accessories will pay for everything else. There were some great books, 50c each, for the apocalypse library and I couldn’t resist a church lady recipe book from Louisiana. One gallon of vintage doll house furniture will make D2 happy, and if not, it’ll go in the auction. Not a lot of people in the store. Felt really quiet.

Went to Home Depot to get some rat killer stuff. Not many people there either. Might have just been the time of day. Picked up some bug killer stuff too. Better to have it in the cabinet, than not be able to get it when I need it. One other thing I needed was a lightbulb for my yard light. When you run them 24/7 even LED lights fail in a few years. The new one is 300w equivalent and has a dusk to dawn sensor. It looks really bright in the dark. I think I’m going to go with a less bright one actually. The light looks really ugly and I like the house to be a bit more ‘artistically’ lit. It’s there for security, but it has to not draw attention to itself. Right now it screams “I’m a crazy bright white security light!”.

I would prefer to be well lit, well covered with cams, physically secure, but have people not see any of it and just think, that’s a pretty house. Grey man. Ideally my whole life will be set up like that.

Today I’m headed to my non-prepping hobby meeting. Time to spend some time with people and shared interests. It can’t all be about stacking ammo and freeze dried food.

But there’s nothing wrong with stacking either of those, and lots more too.

Stack it high.

nick

Fri. Aug. 13, 2021 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month

Hot and humid, some rain somewhere in town. Yesterday I managed to miss all the rain. Wherever I was it was sunny and hot, but I could see the T storm cells in the distance. Two of them parked over neighborhoods near mine for a while. LOTS of rain came down in a short time.

I spent my morning taking the puppy to the vet for the last of his vaccinations. He was very sore afterwards, and he really doesn’t like the rectal thermometer 🙂

Then I did some pickups, and spent some time talking with one of the auctioneers about taking a bunch of my stuff. He’s game. I told him about a box truck worth, and he seemed ok with that. We talk again on Monday. That would be awesome to get a huge whackload of stuff out of here at one go.

I’m really getting concerned about unloading as much as I can as quickly as I can. The pace of our slide toward violence and civil disorder/war seems to be accelerating. There are blue check mark people (ie real people) on twitter calling for the un-vaxxed to be lined up in front of ditches and machine gunned. They are saying that society should be making the unvaxxed lives miserable until they lose heart and give in. I note that they are saying these things expecting pats on the head and agreement. On the other side, parents are chasing school board members to their cars yelling at them that ‘we know where you live and we’ll find you.’ IN PERSON and on video.

Petty and violent crime are up all over the country, and respect for the law is at lows we haven’t seen in decades. That might be partly because we are no longer ruled by law, and people are waking up to that. Criminals will always see it first and act first to take advantage of it. Ordinary people, who are growing madder by the day, will start soon. Every crime or slight will carry the death penalty WROL. (or without EFFECTIVE rule of law anyway.)

Extremists are getting more extreme. Rhetoric is heating up. Interpersonal violence and official violence are increasing. Add in an invasion of literally ‘the great unwashed’ to the tune of over 1 million, all of them legally criminals, many undoubtedly actual “criminal” criminals. The world political and economic situation continues to deteriorate. When was the last time you saw an article about Greece and its financial issues? When did the EU banks have their last stress test? Anyone think those situations have been made better by the last year and a half of lockdowns and trade disruptions? Is Paris burning cars this summer? How is Venezuela doing? Cuba? How about the failed narco-state to our south?

Then look to our own issues of governance. Even the edges of the mainstream are starting to question Biddn’s mental state. His wastrel son’s laptop is the gift that keeps on giving and someone is doing mental scale balancing of Biddn’s perceived power vs. the money to be made off the scandal. No one wants to be Epsteined, but recognizing the lion is toothless makes people bolder.

Our economic situation hasn’t improved. In every other instance in history, writing a bunch of checks you can’t cover except by running the printing presses has led to inflation. History HASN’T ended. We are seeing inflation. We expect inflation. Why is it so hard to BELIEVE in the bad things inflation brings? Your fixed income becomes ZERO. Your life savings becomes ZERO. Your wages quickly drop to near zero. And in the middle of this, TPTB have decided to fire at least 30% and possibly as much as 50% of their staff with vaccine mandates. Isn’t everyone complaining about a labor shortage? How does reducing the pool of available labor help that? People have lost their minds, and are not making rational decisions. That is a VERY BAD SIGN.

I know. I’m doom and gloom. It comes with the territory. But. Show me the alternative. Make the case that things are getting better.

And if you can’t, you need to start acting. Nothing irrevocable. But there is a lot you can do before it gets to that point. People are moving. Sarah Hoyt (who we sometimes link) has. Our own Jenny saw the possible very local bad things coming and acted. RBT did several years ago. Several other bloggers I read have moved too. Lynn has his gennie installed. Others of you have taken steps too. A fair number of you have casually moved in the last couple of years…

It probably deserves more thought and a lot more words written, but I think we are past the point where a ham radio license and some Baofeng radios will help. Alternative comms ARE going to be needed, but I don’t know what it will look like yet. Alternative food, water, power, sanitation, and healthcare are going to be higher on the list. Alternative income. Alternative security arrangements. Alternatives to going to work every day. Those are the things to prioritize now.

The more stuff you have stacked, the more skills, knowledge, and trustworthy friends you have, the more ALTERNATIVES you will have.

Keep stacking what you need.

Keep your head on a swivel and your options open.

nick

Thur. Aug. 12, 2021 – time is funny, how it stretches and shrinks

Hot and humid, rain in places. Maybe lots of rain. It poured down on the south side of town yesterday, but didn’t even sprinkle at my house. Kids just got hot and sunny all day. I got a car wash. Houston. Go figure.

Did my errands yesterday, which had me driving down to Dickinson and back. Lots of different microclimates in that loop.

Went looking for dead rats in my attic. Surprisingly I didn’t find any. I was sure the bad smell must be coming from the attic. Wasn’t. That means the rat is probably on my patio under or behind something. I reset traps and re-baited the poison box while I was up there. Freaking hot, even in the late evening. 105F in the sun in the afternoon.

Went grocery shopping at our local “small” HEB store. Still has gaps on the shelves and limited selections. Most of what I wanted was at least there in some form. Eggs were still weird but there were close to the normal varieties. No whipped cream in cans though. Couldn’t get the apple soda I wanted, it just wasn’t there. The Dr Pepper flavor I usually buy in the tiny cans I had to buy in big cans but at least they had it. Fancy bottled water had about 8 feet of empty shelf. They did have a pallet of Charmin blue, but it was pricey. Gas is ~$2.80/gallon, 87 octane. Neither expensive, nor cheap.

My kids complain that I buy too many groceries. Please God let that be true.

It’s funny how time is so elastic, at least our perception of it. Today is the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. So much has happened since then that it seems like it was a lifetime ago on the one hand. On the other, it still feels like yesterday some days, and some days I forget he’s gone and catch myself thinking, “I’ll pick this up for dad, he’d get a kick out of it…” He’s not really gone as long as we still remember him.

Nor are all the other’s who’ve passed. Light a candle, raise a glass, and remember absent friends.

n

(and don’t let the stacking get in the way of living your life.)