Month: December 2022

Sat. Dec. 31, 2022 – New Year’s Eve

Cool and damp but not raining… if my gut and the forecast can be believed.  If not, well it will be a damp dreary day.   It started to get colder last night, and temps fell until after midnight.

I did get some of my list of things done.  Never did find the ebay item, so I had to cancel the order.  I hate that.   I am going to stop all my listings and only relist the stuff I’ve seen with my own eyes in the new year.   I’ve had too many cancellations. If I make a resolution this year it will be to renew focus on selling.   I can’t just do auctions, as the ‘long tail’ and global reach of ebay make all the difference for some items.   Prices are higher too, commensurate with the increased work and hassle involved.  Much of what I have in storage will really only sell on ebay, so I need to get back to it.

Not sure what today will bring.  I intend to sleep late.  Then I’ll do some things.  Maybe I’ll cook.   We certainly need to figure out what we’re eating for dinner.   We will probably have  a bigger, more elaborate meal tomorrow, even though it’s just us here for the holiday.  It’s nice to mark the beginning of the new year with a bit of ritual.

Rituals, traditions, shared experiences, stories.   These are the ways we pass on our culture.  It’s critical that we do.

Stack up some good times.   And eat some of the things 😉


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Fri. Dec. 30, 2022 – the end is nigh! (of the year that is…)

Wet, maybe still raining.   Cool.   Although the national forecast shows clearing weather for the next couple of days, it was raining pretty hard when I went to bed.   We were good all day, until late afternoon, then it came pouring down.   Localized street flooding kind of pouring down…  Stopped for a while but started back up around 11pm.   So it seems likely we’ll still have rain in the morning today.

Did some things yesterday.  The dental appointment in the morning did blow most of the morning, but I didn’t get much done after lunch either.   Fell asleep at the desk from too many carbs at lunch.

Spent some time looking for my ebay sold item and didn’t find it.   There’s one more place to look today if the rain isn’t coming down.  I absolutely HATE not being able to find things that I know I have.  What is the point of having something you can’t put your hands on?   Le sigh.   I’ll either find it or cancel the sale.   I really need to go through all my sale items and organize more than I have.  More things on the list.

I’ve got a couple of pickups to do today, and some other stuff to take care of, if it’s not raining.  If it is, I’ll work the indoor list.   We’ve pretty much decided to stay home for the New Year’s holiday.   Along with the uncertainty of the LP gas situation, I’ve got plenty to do here.   Then next week I’ll pick up the stone veneer and geotextile and take them up to the BOL, and hopefully get the gas situation sorted out.

There is always something more that needs to be done.  And I’ve got less time and energy and desire to do it.  Just keep plugging away at it seems to work.  When I stop, then I’ve got trouble.   So keep plugging away.  And keep stacking the basics.



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Thur. Dec. 29, 2022 – in praise of standards

Cool, turning warm later.   Part sun, and humid.  Probably.  If I guessed right.   But that was what the day turned into yesterday, so I’ve got at least a 50/50 chance of being right.  Weird to go out in low 80s temps after the cold.  Houston.

Spent the day catching up on stuff, not doing plumbing.  I did cut my hair, shave, and trim my beard.   Cleaned up around the house too.

Ended up selling an ebay item,  so now I have to find it.    It’s somewhere.  Not where the other listed ebay items are, unfortunately.   While looking for it, I went through about half of one storage unit.  Found stuff to bring home, sorted some bins, and found the bigger grinder I picked up earlier in the year.   It’s a vintage Enterprise “tinned” number 22 meat chopper.   It is manual, and bolts to a table.  I’ve got a couple of smaller Universal grinders, but they clamp to a table and tend to squirm around too much.

I spent a while boiling the grinder and parts, then scraping and cleaning.   It came up pretty nice, considering it’s about 100 years old.  The plates are razor sharp still.   Unfortunately, it was missing the blade.   Fortunately, grinders were sold by size, #12, #22, #32, #8, etc. for a long time. There are brand new parts available, plates and knives.   So I bought the cheapest one on amazon, to see how it works.   I don’t use the grinder very often, and a replacement blade that looks like the original was $37 instead of $13.  Even the cheap blade should outlast me, but if it doesn’t, we’re either living like it was 1890, or I can order another.  If push came to shove, I could make one from steel plate.

A manual grinder/chopper/sausage stuffer is a good backup tool, and a useful kitchen accessory.  If you are harvesting wild game, you already know that.  If you think you might in the future, or that you might process it yourself instead of paying a shop to do it, get you a grinder…  They are widely available in estates, and online.  Make sure it’s not worn out and comes with the blade and a variety of plates.   I see smaller ones still in the box relatively often.

Why my sudden interest in getting my grinder working?  I want to make some of my family recipe sausage for the holidays.  Pork butts were on sale, and allspice was back in stock, so with a working grinder, I’m good to go.  Just need to get some sausage casings.   My local HEB used to carry them, but doesn’t have any.  There is a sausage supply house near my secondary location, and I’ll be headed by there later.  They keep in the fridge for a long time, and are pretty cheap, so I’m not worried about the cost, just the availability.

Of course, anything I do today will be after my semi-annual trip to the dentist to get my fangs cleaned.   Whole family is going this morning.    That will probably occupy us most of the morning.  Dental care is important.   People died from dental problems.  Don’t be a people.

Get out there and find some stuff to stack.   This week, try to get everything you’d need to process wild game- or at least familiarize yourself with what is involved.   Knives, saw, grinder, lift, trays, pans, cutting boards… and watch a video or two.   You might not every need the familiarity, but the tools aren’t expensive, fit in a smallish box, and might feed your family.

Stack it up.


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Wed. Dec. 28, 2022 – year is winding down…

Cold and damp in Houston, because it’s winter.   It was sunny and nice at the BOL, and sunny and cool when I got home.   It’ll probably be sunny and nice today.

Came home from the BOL a day early so I could drop my mom off at the airport.   Despite all the delays and cancellations, her afternoon flight to a small airport in Florida happened without drama.   The airport was not busy at all, either at checkin, or security.   As I was leaving a local news team was interviewing a woman in line to check in, but IDK what they could have asked her that would be newsworthy.    The CSR at the counter when we checked in had said it was crazy earlier in the day when I joked about the slow day.  In any case, it was nice that we didn’t have any drama.

I did get home to a busted sprinkler pipe.  Neighbor saw the flood, turned off the water, and called me.   Meatspace baby.   Things get bad, we’ll live or die by our relationships.  Things don’t get bad, it’s still a good thing to have people that will help you out.  Over the last couple of years I’ve brought their escape artist dog home, loaned them space heaters, helped a family member who was locked out, and tried to be a good neighbor.  Wasn’t hard, and it has been a good thing.

Today I’ve got all the normal stuff going on.  I’m putting the sprinkler repairs on the back burner.   Some yard cleanup, some indoor plumbing, and some general cleanup and putting the house back together after Christmas should all be somewhere on the list.   We’ll see what happens.

Stack up friends as well as stuff.   You’ll be better off with both…


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Tues. Dec. 27, 2022 – driving, lots in my day

Cool to cold, damp for sure.   Supposed to be sunny and clear.  We’ll seeeeeee…..

Did small stuff all day without working too hard.   Mom cleaned.  And cleaned.  And cleaned some more.   Oh well, I couldn’t stop her, and she likes doing it.  Of course it will all need to be re-done after the mess from the next project.  Looks nice at the moment though.

No change in my propane situation, so I’ll try working that later today.

Main job is getting mom to the airport.   And maybe back to the house if her flight doesn’t go.

Wife and kids will stay another day, then we all get home for dental appointments.   End of year stuff.    Because THE END IS NEAR!!!  111!!!111!!

Well, it is!

There are various and sundry things I need to do at home too, including plumbing, that an extra day alone will help.  If I get to it.  I’ll try.

Meanwhile, continue stacking all the things.


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Mon. Dec. 26, 2022 – Boxing Day. No not that kind of boxing. Put down your fighting trousers!

Cold again, and damp up here at the BOL.   Supposed to be clear for a few days.  Yesterday was, and sunny.   Warm enough for a jacket while throwing  a lure into the water…

Didn’t catch anything.

Broke a little concrete.   About 15 ft2.   ‘Bout all I could do at one time.  I’ll pick it up and maybe break some more tomorrow.    Spent some time considering what earth needs to be moved where in the front and side yards.  That’s what prompted me to get started breaking the slab of patio in the side yard.   It has to be reduced at least a foot, maybe 2ft, and re-graded, while still keeping the plumbing under the dirt.   I won my roll of soil stabilizing geotextile, so I think I’ll over dig the sand, put down the geotex, then cover with clay mix from the front yard to bring it to finished grade.      There will have to be machines involved at some point.   The geotex might help stabilize and won’t interfere with anything we’ll do in the future, so not much of a risk and minimal cost.

There is still a lot of concrete to move and a lot of dirt too.   Oddly, I’d almost swear that someone took one or more of the giant root balls I had dug up from the shrubbery that was removed to make room for the septic tank.   I was going to try burning one today, and it’s not where I left it.   We’re talking about a ball 1 ft thick, 4-5 ft around, and a couple of hundred pounds.   Who the heck would want something like that?

Very dark last night.  Little sliver of a moon set early, and the sky was black and clear.   Wife says the stars were big and bright, but the telescope was too big to move for just a little viewing.   Maybe tonight we’ll set it up.   It was uncomfortably cold last night, which played a part in the decision too.

At some point today I need to unload my antenna tower.   I can unload it one section at a time if I have to.  I’d rather not, but I’m not superman, and my neighbor isn’t up this week.  On the plus side, if I separate the sections (they are nested for shipping) I should be able to read the actual model number and serial number.   Pretty sure the company will want that before selling me the attachments and accessories I need.   I want to be sure I have the right feet, hardware, and load ratings too.

Always something to do.   My mom said I was too old for this place, that I’d be working on it the rest of my life.   She’s got a point, but after hearing about what some of you are still up to, I think I’m ok with that.  After all, I’m stacking up the future for my kids.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, a little respite at the end of the year.   Now, get back to stacking!



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Sun. Dec. 25th, 2022 – Merry Christmas everyone…

Cold and still a bit breezy today, hopefully warming later.   It got into the mid 40s yesterday, but returned to the mid 20s after midnight.

It’s Christmas Day, after another dumpster fire of a year, but we are still here.  Still living our lives, still holding on to hope that it won’t get really bad.  Not much hope, but still hope.


Wherever you are, and whatever your beliefs, I wish you the Joy of the season.   Find the joy in your life, and celebrate it.


Merry Christmas everyone.

nick flandrey

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Sat. Dec. 24th, 2022 – Christmas Eve

Still cold.   Still damp.   Still windy.   26F when I went to bed, and likely still pretty close to that at the start of today.  It did get above freezing, at least in the sun, for a bit yesterday.

We had some frozen pipes.   Namely the cold water supply to the on-demand water heater, which we moved from inside the house, to outside when we replaced our tank water heater.  All the lines were insulated at install, but for whatever reason, 8 inches of galvanized pipe coming out of the house and a valve were not insulated.   The bypass valves at the heater unit were also not insulated.  Predictably, that is what froze.   It took a while to slowly thaw, using an incandescent light bulb applied to the big valve and cold water line, and then later adding a ceramic ‘personal’ heater under the pipes and the unit, but we escaped without damage to the pipes or the heater itself.

Some lessons were learned.  I forgot about the hot water heater.   I forgot it was hanging out in the wind on the side of the house, and I didn’t even check to see if the pipes were insulated.  When my wife thought of it, I was already in my jammies ready for bed, and didn’t go out to check in the 17F wind.  I decided to go to bed and let fate take its course.  LAZY!  Of course I woke up to no hot water.   I don’t know if the additional insulation would have kept the pipe from freezing.   I don’t know if the “skirt” I’d planned to build to enclose the lower half of the unit and cover the pipes would have been enough.   The combination probably would have been, especially if I put a lamp bulb in there to raise the ambient temp.

So ‘prepper fail’ for sure.   If the job of installing the heater had been properly finished, likely no issues.  If I’d checked, no issues.  We got lucky.   Now, I did have the propane fired on-demand water heater we’ve been using for the outdoor shower at the BOL I could have plumbed in if the heater got damaged.  Or I could have used one of the two used on-demand heaters I’ve got stored in the attic at my rent house, or even the used on-demand heater I’ve got stored at the BOL, because if the heater got damaged, there would likely be a lot of people with damaged heaters and zero in stock to buy.   That happened last time.   I didn’t want to be in that position, so I bought the used one at the BOL as a spare.  NOT breaking the heater would be the best option by far.  And I didn’t take the steps I should have taken.

I also have most of my plumbing supplies and tools at the BOL.   I would be hard pressed to do more than very basic stuff here, and probably wouldn’t have the fittings.  I certainly wouldn’t be in a position to help other neighbors like last year.  Now my neighbors at the BOL- them I could help, and I let two of them know where the stuff was and how to get to it if needed.  It’s clear  that managing stores and logistics for this house and the BOL, making decisions about what and how much to stack at each location, is going to involve duplication and some compromise.  I need to get more serious about equipping the BOL with its own set of tools and supplies.  Can’t compromise the place we live most of the time, and don’t want to be moving stuff back and forth all the time.

That goes for food, water, meds, household supplies, etc.   I really need to make a place for a lot more stuff to be transferred and stored up there.  That is why I bought the shelving units from the circus estate.  Need to execute on the plan…

The biggest difference between this cold snap and the last one is that we didn’t lose power.  That makes all the difference.   Also, it’s going to be a much shorter event.  Probably.   Touch wood.

Today I’ll be in last minute present wrapping and food preparing mode.    Then we’ll open most of the gifts tonight.   Some will be tomorrow morning.   We’ll eat Christmas dinner here, then head to the BOL later Christmas day (probably.)  Or we might just stay here, and mom will see the BOL next visit.   Don’t really know.   I might end up driving up by myself to unload my tower, and check on everything.   It’s all kinda fluid at the moment.

Enjoy the days.   I hope you get some good preps from the jolly fat man.


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Fri. Dec. 23, 2022 – we’ll soon know if we can stave off 3rd world status for a while

Cold.  Don’t know how cold when I am writing this but I know it will be cold.  Also, relatively damp.  ‘cuz Houston…   it was 20F when I went to sleep and that is pretty dang cold in Houston.  Don’t know what it got down to at the BOL, I’ll probably find out later today.  No precip in Houston.

I guess I’ll also find out if the outdoor water heater survived.   Kinda forgot about that, since this was our first weather event since we installed it.   It is outside the building envelope and not very well protected from cold.   Nothing I was willing to do at 1 am. when I thought about it.

I had a pretty normal day yesterday, probably should have done more cold prepping.   Instead I got my antenna tower (it’s in good shape, a couple of minor things will need fixing, and the missing stuff will need to be ordered, but otherwise- never installed.)  Wife got mom from the airport.  I went grocery shopping, we did some half-hearted preps, and spent the night decorating the tree and wrapping presents.   I’ll deal with aftermath later.

Worst case, if the heater is trashed, I’ll bring the propane one from the BOL home, and temp it into the plumbing while we find a replacement.   TOTALLY don’t want to do that, but missed the boat on weatherizing it.  It was working at 1am.

If the grid holds together, it’ll prove we can still do maintenance and planning.  If not, we’re skiing down the slope.  I’m hoping for “holds together.”

But I also know/believe we are on the slope, headed downhill, and accelerating.  Any gains will be local and short lived.

So stack the things you will need for a while.  Be flexible, and resourceful.  Plan to survive.


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Thur. Dec. 22, 2022 – yup 12222022 – work fascinates me, I could watch it all day…

Cold.  Wet.   More cold later.   40F when I went to bed.    Wed. wasn’t too bad.  I wore a jacket and just a sweatshirt while I was working at my storage unit.

I did manage to rearrange, sort, and stack stuff.   Made room to get some stuff out of the house.   We will have room for a Christmas tree now…  which we will have to get today.  And my mom, we’ll have to get her too. And an antenna tower.   Gotta get that.

Oh, child 1 will be getting her braces off.   If they get up after staying up to all hours watching the Addams family movies again.  Missed the appointment Wednesday morning due to sleeping in.  I guess we’ll see how important it really is.

Once D1 is not a brace face anymore, and W1 has dropped her car at the repair place for some brake work, I’ll  be free to pick up my big antenna tower.   It’s a Wade DMX 52.   Free standing, no guys, good for 3 sq ft of antenna wind load.   Some how the anchors and hardware kit seem to have gone missing so I’ll have to order those, but it looks like it was never installed.   I might try to sell it at the hamfest in March, as it is really pretty dang big (52 ft tall!)  Setting it up at the BOL would give me better reach and reception for ham radio… but it’s a $4000 antenna tower, and if I could get half that, I’d make good money on it.   On the other hand, I’d never get an antenna tower like it for the money I paid.  On the gripping hand, I’ll have to order the parts kit and anchors from the factory, and dig a big hole and fill it with concrete in order to set up the tower.  That probably won’t be cheap, but it would be common expense to any tower.


Meanwhile, my wife will be taking my expedition to pick up my mom from the airport.   So I better make sure it’s clean and fueled before I head out.   Probably should get some groceries in, since it’s my normal time to do that.  Hope the panic buying hasn’t stripped the store.  Oh, and I should at least test the gennie… and the heaters.

Work.  Got plenty, thanks.

Stack stuff.   Learn stuff.   Build your network.


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