Month: January 2023

Tues. Jan. 31, 2023 – where does the time go?

Cold. Wet.  Cold.   37F at midnight, so probably at least that this morning.  Yuck.   And rain throughout the day if we’re unlucky.

There was a soldier whose blog I read way back in the day, when the powers that be had no idea about blogging or the web.   He used to try to keep up OPSEC and would say that he “went somewhere and did some things…” and that’s pretty much  what I did yesterday.   Sounds a lot more interesting if you put it that way, than saying “I took the kids to the orthodontist, then school, then did some online stuff before I took a bunch of stuff to my auctioneer.  Oh, and I sold a thing to a guy from Craigslist.”  But that’s what I did all day.

Went to Goodwill too.   Picked up a really nice Sony amplifier (wooden sides tipped me off, usually Sony isn’t very collectible) that could be worth as much as $600.   Picked up ONE Bowers & Wilkins shelf speaker, that has seen better days, but should still be worth $200-300 and maybe much more.   The pair is over $1500 in good condition.  I looked through the whole place twice hoping to find the match.   Crazy stuff shows up at the outlet.  Clearly it’s time for me to start listing stuff again.

Gotta fund the BOL somehow.

Dinner last night was frozen tilapia filets, broiled with ginger, garlic, lime and butter.   Garnished with thin lime slices, pickled sushi ginger slices, and super thin sliced red onion.  Drizzled with melted butter.   Pasta for a side dish.   Nothing on the table except the onion and lime was less than a year old. Kids and wife loved it.  Who knew?

Pasta was from a bucket I’d sealed and put up some time ago.   Opening the bucket broke the rim though.  It’s been outside in the shade, but still seems to have gotten brittle as if it was in the sun.  I couldn’t pry up the lid by hand, so I used a bucket tool.   The lid was trashed in the process.    I think I’m gonna have to recommend having more lids than buckets if you think you will be re-using buckets.   And you can never have enough buckets.

So stack the things you need to stack the other things!




Read the comments: 90 Comments

Mon. Jan 30, 2023 – time flies

Cool and damp, getting warmer later, maybe.     National forecast has us in a rain and T storm possible zone.    I’ve got stuff to do that can’t happen in the rain, so I hope it holds off or is very regional.

Started the day yesterday at the BOL.   Rained on and off all day.  Temps came up into the 60s, but were dropping like a stone by dark.  There was a brief rainless period in the afternoon that let me get stuff inside and dried off.  Also threw a lure in the water a few times.   The lake is back to normal levels, but was murky as chocolate milk from the run off.  Fish gotta eat regardless, so I tried something bright and noisy.  No luck though.

Saw a couple of waterfowl I didn’t recognize.  I’m going to have to look them up.   Kinda goose like, kinda not.   The local fauna changes with the season, and it’s interesting watching it and learning about it.

It was a productive weekend.   Wife got a lot of stuff painted and organized/cleaned.   I got the washer plumbed in and tested.  Also got the gas line for a dryer plumbed in and tested.  The dryer that came with the house is electric, older, but doing fine.   I just figured that if I have the wall open anyway, I should put the gas line in and future proof it.  I was already wearing my PPE for attic work.  I also completed the insulation of the pex in the attic.   It’s easier to slide the foam on than to slit it and then tape the slit closed.   Since I was cutting the last big section in half to add the drops for the laundry machine, I took the opportunity to slide on the foam in both directions.

I still need to run pex for all the hall bath, the master shower, and one remaining hose bib.   And in spring I’ll need to connect the other hose bibs too.   That will be next visit, or the ones after that.  No shortage of things to do.  Nice to be crossing stuff off the list.

Hung two doors and put knobs on them…  and discovered that  I got the size wrong on the other doors.   I’ll be looking for more 32″ doors.  I’m still looking for entry doors anyway.  Between the house, shed, garage, and dock house, I need 4 entry doors in various styles.  I don’t want to pay retail for that many.  Thankfully, not an urgent project.

It’s time to start doing some network/media server/pc work up there too.   I’ve got walls open and I’m in the attic, I might as well at least pull the cat cable.   I’d like to get cameras and a nvr running up there, and an internal network even if we don’t have internet access.   It’ll be in between other projects, but cams are starting to push on my brain.  That’s usually a sign that I need to get something done.

Anyway, unless something changes, critical infrastructure FIRST, then other stuff.

And in the mean time, still working on my house, and still stacking…


Read the comments: 74 Comments

Sun. Jan. 29, 2023 – rainy days, stuff happening anyway

Cool and wet, possibly COLD and wet later.   Wasn’t bad yesterday, but it was wet and gloomy.   I think we’ll get more of that today.   We got actual rain last night, not just misty drizzle like we had during the day.

I slept in, then did plumbing.   Had to McGyver a piece.   No one had the reducer I needed, but they had one with threads.   Threads I could remove with power and hand tools….     It just took longer than it should, and entailed a trip into town.   Stock at the hardware store and at Tractor Supply was wide but very shallow.   And there were big holes where they hadn’t gotten any new stock in a while.

Walmart looked pretty well stocked, but only with the stuff they have, which does not include plumbing fittings.     They had a lot of stuff on Clearance too.   I worked slow but got the drain installed.   Got the supply ready to connect today.   Turn off the water, cut the pex, insert and crimp new T fittings, turn it back on.   I love making changes to pex, it is so easy.

Still need to drop the gas line into the wall, and change out the romex to grounded 2 wire for the outlet in the wall.  Then button it all up and pack for home.

That’s the plan, but we all know about plans…

Watched “The Producers” with wife and D2 since it was raining and we couldn’t have a fire.   It was the Mathew Brodderick, Nathan Lane version and it was really good.  I love the original movie with Gene Wilder, but the new book and music (written by Mel Brooks) did a great job of freshening up the story while keeping the best parts.   The movie did a fantastic job of melding the stage action with the “film” segments to tell the story but still capture the feel of a Broadway show.   D2 is turning into a theatre geek too and laughed out loud throughout.

Stack up the good times.


Read the comments: 59 Comments

Sat. Jan. 28, 2023 – and I’m at the BOL, and it’s chilly

Chilly and damp.   Was 46F when I got here yesterday, and just slightly warmer when I went to bed.  Should be the same until the sun warms the earth…

I got all the pickups done that I couldn’t reschedule or move into next week.   Nice hunting tool.   Kayak is a bit more worn than it looked in the pix, but not so bad I’m unhappy.  Other stuff is what I expected.

Hit the lowes for plumbing parts before heading up.   Spent some time last night walking through the project and discovered I need a couple more parts.   Natch.    Will have to head into  town and get them.

Got caught up with my fishing neighbor.

Played a game of Rumikub with D2 and the wife.   Read a bit.  Nice day.

Oh, and I smashed what was left of my terminal clamp into a solid bar, jammed that into a new clamp and installed the new, fat, terminal clamp in the Ranger.   Worked great.   Stacks came through.

Today I’ll be working on plumbing, and may move an electrical outlet or two.   May take a break and do something else on the list, like moving broken concrete.  Dunno, might rain according to the wife…   Flexible, that’s me.

Brought up a couple of things to add to the stacks here.   Add to yours whenever you can.   There are no indications that things are getting better.



Read the comments: 31 Comments

Fri. Jan. 27, 2023 – busy day, lot’s to do…

Cold and clear, but damp.  Was cold Thursday morning, and cool most of the day.  I did take my jacket off in the afternoon.  It was 38F when I went to bed.   It’ll probably be around that to start today.

Got very little done on my list yesterday.   Did have a lovely  lunch with a reader.  Long chat took up most of my afternoon, and that was an excellent way to spend the day.   It does mean I have a few more things to do today though.

Like a whole bunch of pickups scattered all over the place.   I’m going to delay one to Monday for sure, ask about delaying another that is way down south, and hopefully just get one in the neighborhood, and two that are on the west side.  I’ve got a list of stuff I need to get at lowes too, which I probably should have gotten yesterday.

Plan is to head up to the BOL later today, catching a pickup in Conroe on the way.   That’s gonna take actually leaving the house, and running around all day.  Wife and kids will follow after school/work.

Then the work begins!   I still have plumbing to do to get the laundry machine drain and supply connected, and as long as the wall is open, I need to get the gas line in too for the dryer.  Even if I don’t connect it to the manifold yet, getting it into the wall is important.   Wife and kids will be painting.  And if I run out of plumbing, I can hang doors, or change out light fixtures, or any of the other things on the list…

The day starts with getting the wife and kids out the door.  So that’s first.  Then I’ll start my running around.

I’m stacking things.   Mostly at the BOL, but I am stacking… you should too.


Read the comments: 45 Comments

Thur. Jan. 26, 2023 – another day, another dollar

Cold, and damp.   37F when I went to bed, and probably starting the day from there too.   It did clear up yesterday although it stayed chilly.  And once the sun went down, it got pretty dang cold.

I did get a couple of pickups done.   Went by my secondary and moved some stuff around to make room for some other stuff.   Just a quick stop, as I couldn’t shut off my truck and be sure I could get it started again.    Rust never sleeps, and neither do other forms of corrosion.   A vise grip pliers from my mini car toolkit saved the day later on.  Details in yesterday’s comments.

Mini toolkit- 6″ vise grip, phillips screwdriver.  Flat screwdriver, medium sized.  6 in one screwdriver.  Slip joint pliers.  Diagonal cutters or wire stripper- minimalist.  6″ adjustable wrench.   Roll them up in a shop towel to keep them quiet, or put them in an old snack mix can…   That little kit helps me all the time, although it mostly helps me disassemble stuff for transport and not to repair my truck.  The ‘snack mix can’ is a heavy duty steel can for japanese bar mix that I happen to have saved a dozen of.   You could use soup cans, especially if you could find a set that slightly nest… and wrap a couple of feet of duct tape around the can.  If you don’t carry a knife (and why not?) add a thin stanley knife or a wallpaper knife with break off blade tips.  The idea is it all fits in a can to keep it neat.

Admittedly, if I’d looked under the hood sometime in the last few months, I might have seen and headed off the whole problem.   Stitch in time, and all that.  But I didn’t.  I do have replacement terminal clamps in the stacks, which should save a trip to the store.  Might try putting the treated felt washer on it this time.

It’s always something.  In this case, having an understanding of the systems involved, having done the previous repair, and having a tool with me that could be pressed into service,  all helped turn a potential issue into a non-issue.  I wasn’t prepared for this exact problem but I was prepared for some sort of problem.

And that is the best you can hope for, that your preps help solve the problem.

Knowledge, and stuff, stack them up.



Read the comments: 69 Comments

Wed. Jan. 25, 2023 – and the wind cried, Mary…

Warmish, damp.   Maybe clear after the rain yesterday.  Who knows?   The shadow knows.  Weather liars certainly don’t.

Yesterday’s predicted high wind and storm missed me here in Northwest Houston.   Southeast Houston didn’t get so lucky.  I got about 1.5″ of rain in a couple of hours, with misty drizzle the rest of the time.  Some thunder and lightning.   They got high winds and tornadoes.

Looking at the pictures, you can clearly see why you should have preps stored offsite.   It was years ago, looking at pictures of the aftermath of several tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma, that I got serious about putting some resources elsewhere.   I haven’t kept up with clothes as the kids have grown, nor feminine products, but we’ve got food, heat, cooling, light, power, etc. and some place to stay if needed.   Adding the BOL has really helped my peace of mind that we now have somewhere to go, and stuff waiting for us there.

If you don’t have a BOL, and most people don’t, talk seriously with friends or relations.   Put a plan in place ahead of time.   In California they used to suggest NOT keeping your earthquake kit in the house.   Instead they suggested bins in a light shed, or out behind the house.   The idea being the kit wouldn’t be buried under collapsed house when you needed it most.  Think hard about doing something similar, no matter where you are.

Another option would be a small storage unit.  Ideally it would be out of town, not too far away, but on your most likely evac route.   Should have 24hr access even without power.  A few bins of canned food, some water, some clothes, some hygiene products, a couple of toys for the kids, an encrypted thumb drive with critical paperwork stored on it- doesn’t take up that much room, but could go a long way toward keeping you alive, comfortable, and sane if something should happen to your home.  Doesn’t have to be like a prepper novel… just enough to keep body and soul together for a few days while you figure out the next step.

Prepping is fractal in nature.   That is, for every task, there are dozens of prerequisite tasks, and follow up tasks, the deeper you go, the more tasks reveal themselves.   Like a mandelbrot set though, they keep repeating their basic nature.   Get some stuff.   Learn some thing.    Learn about more stuff to get, more stuff to learn.  Rinse and repeat.  It’s a journey, not a destination.  You can put as much or as little into it as you are comfortable doing, but do SOMETHING.

Stacking is easy.  And useful.


–as usual, if anyone is in the affected areas and needs something we can help with, let us know.

Read the comments: 60 Comments

Tues. Jan. 24, 2023 – same old, but more…

Cold again, and clear, but windy.   It was pretty chilly yesterday whenever the sun wasn’t hitting me.  And it got very unpleasant around 7pm.   It’s not quite as bone chilling at midnight, but cold enough to promise cold for today.

I did a small repair to my Ranger.  Swapped some parts from the parts truck to the driver.  The plasticized “rubber” over the cruise control buttons fails and crumbles.   I’ve replaced them with NOS once, and now with the ones that have been sitting in the donor vehicle for the last few years.   They are already failing, but I soaked them with silicone spray.   It seems to help, for a while.

Did some ‘domestic bliss’ (cleaning up around the house, laundry, shopping, etc.)

Got the CO2 pistol out and did some target shooting in the yard.   It’ll put holes in stuff, and dent sheet metal.   I remember meaning to do a lot more work with the airguns, but then we bought a BOL…   was nice to do some trigger pull work.

Collards made it through the freeze and cold spell, nothing else did though.   Time to start planning for gardens, here and at the BOL.

Bid on some pavers for the BOL.  Didn’t win them.  They would have made a good short term solution for hardscape around the house after I remove all the broken concrete.   They went for more than I was willing to pay.  Something else will come up.

Today is a trash run, and auction pickups.  If I can, I’ll drop some stuff off at my auctioneer.  That will clear some space at the house and in the storage unit.  That would be a Good Thing ™.

I’ll be stacking some stuff, and organizing, and generally getting ready.   All y’all should be doing the same.


Read the comments: 81 Comments

Mon. Jan. 23, 2023 – 01232023 – or 7051 in decimal or really nothing at all…

Cold.  Not as damp as normal.   39F when I went to bed.   That’s pretty chilly by our standards.   I expect it to be  clear and cold all day.

As it was yesterday, when I looked out the windows.  That was about the extent of my activity.  Once D1 got home, we all pretty much sat in the living room and watched ‘Alone’.  Second season, just as compelling as the first.   About half the participants were involved in survival training, bushcraft, or primitive living skills, and they all went home early, with one exception.   Classroom skills, and hobby activities do not translate into survival in the bush, alone, for weeks or months.   Mental toughness, flexibility, stubbornness, and spiritual and mental depth seem to be far more important than specific skills.

There are lessons there for anyone, but especially for anyone who thinks that if SHTF they’ll live off the land, or bug out to a national forest and bushcraft a new life.  Nope, chances are really good that those people will be cannibal, criminal, or dead within two weeks.

Other than the time sink, I recommend streaming the Alone series.  You will learn something.

Today it’s back to reality, back to life.  Lots to do, especially after spending a couple days on vacation.

So I better get busy this morning.

Keep stacking, and keep the faith.   Food makes all the difference in the world.


Read the comments: 48 Comments

Sun. Jan. 22, 2023 – 01222023 – meaningless fun with numbers!

Cold and damp again.   Never really got any warmer yesterday, and stayed overcast.   Got a bit cooler when night fell, and was 50F when I went to bed.  Clear would be nice even if it was chilly today.

Spent the day with the wife and kids watching tv.   Had fun.

Didn’t do anything else.   Had fun.

I’ll probably pay for it later, but had fun.

We’ll see what happens today, but I’m betting on NOT a full day and night of TV viewing, at least not for me.  Too much stuff to do.  Still, had fun.

Sometimes that what needs stacking.


Read the comments: 53 Comments
// ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- // end of file archive.php // -------------------------------------------------------------------------------