Thur. Sept. 30, 2021 – hard at work or hardly working, how could you tell?

Maybe some rain early, then sun and heat. Like yesterday. By the end of the day it was pretty nice. I’m hoping for more of that today.

I did my pickups, did some ebay listings. Even sold a book late at night. Moved some stuff out of the house to the patio. Naturally, I get a question about when THAT is moving. Oy vey, a simple “hey, I noticed that stuff is moving out. That’s great” wouldn’t be out of line would it? Moving goalposts, I got ’em.

Today should be more of the same. Start with cleanups and listing, get the shipping ready, move some stuff. I have to get to my secondary and move some stuff there, so I will get out of the house in the afternoon.

It’s really amazing how much inertia I’ve built up in my life over the last few years. I need to get it moving in a better direction, but it is a LARGE amount of inertia.

Many people also have a lot of inertia in their lives. That and normalcy bias often keep them from prepping. It’s normal to think things will be pretty much the same, they usually are. It’s also normal that bad things happen all the time, all over the place. We tend to see the first and discount the second.

It’s normal to have systems, habits, and a routine- that’s what humans do. And while those routines [mostly/probably/hopefully] work well when the situation is normal, they can be very counter productive when the situation changes away from normal. We will often cling to habits past the point where they become counter productive. I’ve mentioned it before when I get into the habit of buying or looking out for a particular thing, until I realize suddenly that I have many more of them than I need.

Don’t let your inertia or normalcy bias keep you from prepping for whatever is coming. We are living in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. ANYTHING can and does happen. Any preps are better than no preps. You still have time.

Stack all the things!

nick

Wed. Sept. 29, 2021 – “don’t be a fool, everyone knows sheep lie!”

Hot and wet, or maybe not but probably hot and wet. Yesterday was cooler with overcast, patchy clouds and occasional blue skies. It was very humid though, and the rain was actually a relief from the mugginess.

Of course the rain interfered with my plans, but I was able to work around it somewhat. Rain is a fact of life in Houston and you either figure out how to keep going or you get nothing done. Some days I pick a, some days I pick b…

I did get my drop off done, with promise of more later in the week. I did my northerly pickup for my non-prepping hobby. I’ll do my southerly pickups today.

I’m planning to do some more ebay listing and auction gathering during the morning, pickups in the afternoon, and then home to cook dinner. Depending on the weather, I might get some more work done on the patio, in the driveway, or at my secondary location.

The world situation continues to escalate. More spending, more disruptions, more supply chain difficulties, more violence, more rhetoric, more unrest. At home, the vax mandate is starting to hit people in the pocketbook and in their sense of self. It isn’t going to end well.

You know my advice, it makes me feel better to have food, tools, meds, and stuff. If there is something I haven’t mentioned or that you think I haven’t mentioned ENOUGH, comment below, especially if you are stacking it for your use.

And keep stacking.

n

*the title is the punchline for an old joke

Tues. Sept. 28, 2021 – not as productive as I’d hoped

Hot and humid again. Not quite “still” but again. Some overcast and I’m sure there was rain somewhere but my house stayed dry. Got pretty warm by late afternoon, and it was still 80F at bedtime. Today I expect some more patchy rain, some heat and humidity, and I’ll be out driving around in it.

Didn’t get as much done yesterday as I’d hoped. It’s a short work day because of picking up youngest daughter. She had a test she had to take online when she got home too, so we didn’t even get to do any work on our project. (She didn’t finish, and needed to be online proctored to finish. She’s up one grade and virtual for math rather than traveling to the middle school for the one class. For some reason on the teacher’s side, she needed more time outside of the day.) So that sucked but I did get more ebay stuff done.

I went through about 200 45 rpm records. They were jukebox records and they are almost all stuff I’d listen to at a bar. There were a couple dozen or more in the $1-3 range, most were in the $5-8 range, and a few were more than $10 sold on ebay. I’m sending them to local auction, and I’ll let him lot them. I didn’t want to miss a diamond, and I sorted them so he knows how much effort to put into each lot.

Cleaned a couple more small appliances. Listed a few items as I was going through the stuff. The phone app does make it easy to list. I have to catch myself just ID’ing stuff and putting it aside, and instead just take the pics and list it.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups that I didn’t get to yesterday, and I’m dropping off at my local auction too. Getting stuff off the patio gets me more room for storing preps and stuff like gennies out of the direct weather. It helps me with domestic bliss, and with getting the cash I picked the stuff up for in the first place. Inventory for sales does me no good. I’m not stocking a store. I need the stuff listed and available for sale. Sounds pretty basic, but at some point I lost sight of that for a lot of the stuff. It’s a bit humbling to see stuff I put aside so long ago and didn’t do anything with it.

Time is getting short. Rhetoric on both sides is getting more threatening. Something bad will happen and there is no telling when.

Stack stuff, but make it good and useful stuff. And then stack it high.

nick

Mon. Sept. 27, 2021 – another sad anniversary

This date marks three years since Dave Hardy, aka OFD, and long time friend of the blog passed away. He was old school church folk, so if the spirit moves you, say a prayer for the repose of his soul, and the health and safety of his loved ones. If it’s spirits that move you, raise a glass to Absent Friends.

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The weather in Houston this week is supposed to be reverting to normal, with more rain and more heat on the way. I guess we’ll see. Yesterday was still gorgeous. I did get some stuff done outside, but not as much as I could have. I moved stuff, found some more to send to auction, and cleaned up. It was pretty dang hot by the time I got out there which limited me.

One thing I did get done was to apply the Home Defense Max to the perimeter of the house. We’ll be seeing live and dead bugs for a week as it does its magic. I got a couple extra gallons stacked up for later too. I need to reapply about every 6 months, when I get tired of hearing the shrieks from the others in the house.

Pest control. It’s gonna be a thing when stuff goes pear shaped.

Plan for today is more ebay stuff, grocery shopping, including Costco, and more cleaning. If the weather holds, there will be painting with my youngest to move our daddy/daughter project along. If it is raining, we’ll do something else. I really hope it doesn’t rain.

Oh, and I’ve got a couple of pickups to do. Mostly household stuff, but also one or two needful things to add to the stack, and one cheap item for resale.

We’ll see what the grocery stores look like today.

Use this time, stack the things.

nick

Sun. Sept. 26, 2021 – another sunny day

Forecast calls for another great day just like yesterday. It started at 68F and got into the high 90s, and then below 70F again at night. It was sunny and clear with the most cloudless sky I’ve seen in a long time. I’m hoping for today to be the same, if maybe a little bit cooler. Then I can really get some work done!

I did get some stuff done, although I didn’t start the day with pressure washing in mind. I started attacking a pile in the driveway so I could get to part of the house and spray for insects. Dead leaves, damp earth, and darkness do provide habitat for the local fauna… had to relocate two toads and a pair of earthworms. Once I had the stuff out of the way and saw the filth, I had to do some additional cleanup. And when it got hot, I decided to keep cleaning. As a plus, the area I started with will need to be clear when the plumber puts in the whole house instant hot water heater, if we can find anyone to do the work. At least I have a jump on that.

I’ll have to get stuff rearranged and put back today, ahead of any rain in next week’s forecast. It won’t hurt to find some more stuff for auction either.

All the stuff under tarps and plastic sheet needs new protective sheet. The sun breaks down all the plastics these days. Save the oceans I guess. I found one bucket, two translucent gallon jugs, some poly rope, and the plastic sheet were all either brittle or turning to dust. If you leave it in the sun, it will be destroyed. If you need it, you better have some put away for later.

Buckets, jugs, rope, plastic sheet and tarps, these are prepper staples. It might be a good idea, if your planning horizon is long, to have some that AREN’T plastic. The poly sheeting might be hard to substitute, but the other stuff has good material choices available. Canvas or nylon fabric might substitute. Cloth painter’s drop cloths are very sturdy. The stuff they make billboards out of is available as surplus online from billboard companies. It’s very durable and designed to resist the sun. It might be that a return to old materials like tar paper is called for. It’s certainly cheap enough to have a couple of rolls stuffed in an attic space or between ceiling joists.

If I had the room, I’d put a pallet of 3/4″ plywood, a pallet of 8ft 2x4s, and a couple hundred square feet of roofing shingles in a barn… Add a couple of boxes of appropriate fasteners too. If I lived on that sort of a property, a few rolls of chicken wire fencing would probably already be in the pile. Some stone, chicken wire, and actual pallets and you could improvise Hesco barriers. I’ve seen pics of small scale versions of the Hesco barrier used to define seating areas at a restaurant, and I’ve seen stone delivered to the jobsite packaged that way. Improvised bastions, delivered to your door! Of course, that’s something you are more likely to see in prepper fiction than real life.

One of the things you might be called upon to provide for yourself is shelter, and having the stuff to maintain your current situation is a good thing. It might also mean you can build small animal cages, window covers, or other useful things around your home.

Think about long term and worst case. Even if after considering it, you decide it’s not something you are worried about at this point, the exercise of ‘wargaming’ it will be good for you.

There are more things you can do when you have the supplies, than you can do without them. Stack up what you might need.

nick

Sat. Sept. 25, 2021 – what did you do this week to prep

Cool and sunny, cold fronts are lovely. Spectacular weather on Friday. Hopefully more of the same today.

Got a bunch of stuff done yesterday. Posted some listings on ebay. Sorted some stuff. Picked up some stuff.

I’d been thinking about the difference between prepping and using your preps. I’ve also been thinking it was time to shift back into a “prepping” mindset. Aesop asked the question, “What have you done this week?” and I realized I’d stopped doing the quintessential prepping posts.

Opsec has become more of a concern than ever, so you might not want to say, or you might think it unwise to say. Mention that if you will.

If you share or not, keep stacking.

n

Fri. Sept. 24, 2021 – feels like it should be a significant date

Should be cool and sunny today. It was gorgeous yesterday. AbFab weather. Hooray cold front.

I spent most of the day fixing things for ebay. I did 3 different coffee makers. They sell surprisingly well, and are fairly simple. One needed internal cleaning and ‘descaling’. One needed an O ring to stop a leak. One didn’t need anything but a good scrub. I got them listed this evening.

I also cleaned and listed a couple of other things too. Cut the grass in the back yard.

Set up a fitness tracker. I don’t care about how many steps I’ve taken, but there is supposed to be some insight available about sleep patterns. That I do have an interest in. Of course I need to wear the stupid thing in bed, which might be a deal breaker. I’ll give it a try for a while anyway.

D2 had a school open house which cut my afternoon short. Nice to see the teachers, and a couple of the kids recognized me. I miss my science volunteering. It was very gratifying to see the signs for “Bleeding Control Kit” next to the signs for the AEDs in the school. Every AED cabinet has the equivalent of an IFAK in it, district wide. They rolled that out just as covid hit. I’d been advocating for it for at least a year, maybe two and they did it.

D1 has another GS sailing camp this weekend so she’ll be leaving for that late in the afternoon. I’m hoping my wife will take her, but I might be roped into the drive. We’re doing as much normal stuff as we can. Feels a bit frantic, but the world is getting ready for something.

China is flexing on Taiwan. They’ve got Hong Kong under the boot, so they can move on to the next target on the list.

At home, polls are showing regret and a growing unhappiness with Slow Joe.

Australia is going full jackboot.

The Towelie-ban is doing exactly what you’d expect them to do.

Invaders keep pouring over our border, and dispersing into the country.

Money people are still playing games with the money.

And people are angry, emotional, and lashing out.

I think it would be typical for the actual kickoff to come out of left field and surprise everyone. Something is coming. You can feel it building.

Stack. And stack some more.

nick

Thur. Sept. 23, 2021 – tired, but the weather is great!

Chamber of Commerce weather yesterday, and more on the way. Please gnu, more like that. Hot in the sun but cooler than last week, with a nice breeze. It was down to 61F when I went to bed. That’s the lowest since spring.

I did my pickups yesterday. Got some test gear used by NASA. It’s pretty beat so I don’t expect much, but if it does work I’ll sell some and keep some for playing radio. The other was mostly poisons, fertilizer, and garden chemicals at a nice discount from “store bought”.

Since I was in a new area of town, I hit a smallish Goodwill Outlet, and a large Family Thrift (which is a regional chain.) I ended up with some decor for the house and Christmas presents, and some books and half a dozen Retrevis walkie talkies from the Goodwill. You never know what you will find.

Got home and did some more ebay cleaning and sorting. One of the coffee makers came down to soaking in bleach to get the coffee stain out of the pot. Even the diner trick of ice cubes and salt swirled around inside couldn’t get the last bit out. Dropped my one sale off at the post office on the way home.

It was strange and frustrating that one pickup location was one of those places that google can not get you to. Google kept directing me to go around, behind, and near my target address, but I had to call the guy to find out where they really were. When I finally used the feedback tool, the problem looked like the address pin in the map was at the back of the property, not at the front near the street. I did the “here’s where the entrance REALLY is” update feedback, but my guess it they stay un-routable for a while. Even as a human, an address like 10801 Busy St that ISN’T at the corner of 10800 Busy St, and 700 Smaller St. is confusing and hard to find.

So now I’ve got enough Raid Home Defense Max to keep the cockroaches at bay for a while, and kill the grubs that would infest my yard and gardens, and maybe even enough to ride through the coming unpleasantness. Not that the condition of my grass is crucial, unless it is in order to remain “grey man.” You don’t want to stand out, in a good or bad way. And for a couple of fiat bux, I’ve got one more person covered with Christmas gifts ahead of time.

Stack what you need, what you think you’ll need, and maybe a bit extra. If bankers are writing articles about collapse, maybe it’s time to pay attention.

nick

Wed. Sept. 22, 2021 – what, Wednesday again?

Hot and humid with rain! So much fun. Not. Well, maybe we will get it, maybe we won’t, but I’m pretty sure the cool front can’t get here too soon. I’m about over summer.

Did some of my stuff yesterday. Got some auction items cleaned up and tested. Got some stuff listed on ebay. The ebay algorithm sure seems to reward new listings. I’m making listings, and I’m selling an item every couple of days. That is still way down from the ‘old days’ but a lot better than nothing, and it looks like it might be getting better. I will continue the experiment.

I’m still buying stuff for myself at auction too. Live better for less. Saving 50% on lawn fertilizer or pest control may not be exciting, but it’s steady savings that add up. There is a lot of ordinary stuff in the auctions, estate sales, yard sales, etc. Even stuff like the contents of a kitchen drawer can save you a bunch of money. I joke about buying rolls of aluminum foil and cleaning products at estate sales but $2 for a heavy Costco roll, or a jumbo Windex bottle saves a lot over time. Some people cringe, but ask yourself if you would have any negative reaction to your host covering a dish for you to take home with that same roll of foil? Of course you wouldn’t.

Hard times are here for some people already. They are coming for most of the rest of us. Everyone can save money or stock up for later. Better to ease into it, and get practice while you have backup, than find yourself doing it out of dire need one day. A penny saved may not really be a penny earned, but it’s a penny you can use to improve your position.

ALWAYS be working to improve. And stack stuff as high and deep as makes sense to you.

nick

Tues. Sept. 21, 2021 – some observations…

Hot and humid. One last hurrah for summer? Global warmening come to kill us all? You be the judge! In any case, it was hot and humid yesterday too, hovering around 100F in the afternoon (and in the sun.) It was still 83F at midnight, but there was a nice breeze and the giant fusion fire in the sky was roasting someone else, so it was quite pleasant waiting for the puppy to do his business before bed.

I spent the day mostly doing cleaning around the house and organizing ebay items. I did ship one book, and picked up d2 for our special time. That was cut short by last minute shopping for birthday gifts. This is the opposite of prepping btw, but I was super slack getting ready for the birthday. My wife came home and we went out for dinner with the kids. Had a nice meal and came home. It was almost like we weren’t in a pandemic at all, or about to kick off WWIII or CWII…

While shopping, we actually went to the mall. I tried. I went to a freestanding jeweler, but they stopped carrying what d2 wanted, and I couldn’t find the sunglasses my wife asked for. The jeweler (Jared) was buzzing people in individually and had removed display areas. They looked like they had a lot fewer items on display and at least one fewer area. The “kid cove” where they used to have a tv and couch was being used for storing cardboard boxes.

We hit the Macy’s at one end of the mall, and there were more staff than shoppers. I did find the sunglasses though, so that was a plus.

We drove around to the other side of the mall to find a Pandora store, and look at a gift shop d2 finds amusing. The mall was pretty empty. Some stores had a few people in them. The Pandora store was limiting the number of people in at one time. We only went in there, and a kitschy gift shop. Stock at the gift shop was THIN. One or two ‘faces’ for each item. LOTS of space between displays. One item per hook and still lots of space. Prices are nuts. $16 for a novelty wine bottle stopper? I don’t think so. Two employees working.

The Pandora store had 3 or 4 saleswomen and a manager working, and everyone was occupied when we walked up. (Pandora has nice inexpensive jewelry and especially charms for their charm bracelets. It’s an easy default gift to get another charm.) The store was looking SHABBY. There were boxes stacked in one corner. It’s designed with much the same aesthetic as a an apple store, so the wear and tear was a bit shocking. Lots of smudges and hand print dirt in wear areas.

The other stores we walked past had a lot of empty space in them and they weren’t overflowing with stock. Either they let stock run down, or they aren’t getting refreshed. Macy’s was stocking displays while we were there, but even they looked a bit sparse and spread out.

The restaurant, Pappadeaux’s Seafood, was pretty busy for a Monday night. There were empty tables but people were in groups of 4 and up, some with 8-12 people. It was maybe 2/3 occupied tables. LOTS of staff working. Food was great, but there were no off menu specials at all, and they were steering diners to one side order (green beans). They didn’t bring their signature bread until my wife thought to ask. There were only 4 lobsters in the tank, but three sold while we were there. Prices seemed high to me, even by my road warrior/per diem standards. It’s a nice comfortable, kinda dress up place, but $78 for a steak entree is nuts. NOT a white tablecloth place. Portions are large, you get a lot for your money, but dang. Two apps, 3 adult dinners and one child, 2 fake beers, two margs, and tax and tip had us over $230. For comparison, Jack in the Box for us 4, combo meals with add on shakes, was $78 iirc, so maybe $200+ for a nice date night dinner out isn’t so much out of line after all.

Frankly I don’t see how people can afford to eat fast food at all, and certainly not as a staple. And unless someone else (like your company) is paying, IDK how your “ordinary Joe” can afford a nice dinner out. We had a $75 gift card and it was still expensive.

Not the way I’d have chosen to spend the day and evening, but it wasn’t my birthday.

Things don’t look good out there. There is “stuff” but not as much or as much variety. Prices seem high, and headed higher. I’d say ‘do your holiday shopping NOW, just in case.’

And stack all the things (that you can get.)

nick