Month: August 2023

Thur. Aug. 31, 2023 – thirty days have September, April, June, and November…

Hot and humid. No rain in the forecast. Slightly cooler at night and in the morning but still brain roasting sun in the afternoon. It’s still Summer, no matter that school has started.

Took care of some business yesterday. Mostly ran around on little errands. Had to run a uniform to school for D1, then pick her up after school for an appointment. I sat in the truck for an hour listening to Fool Moon, the second Harry Dresden book. Did some returns to Lowes, got gas at Costco, picked up my auto repair parts at Home Depot. That was a weird bit of modern life, order the parts online from some sort of fulfillment portal, and have them delivered to a locker at HD for pickup. Worked though, and saved a bunch on shipping. Just had to wait a week for them to arrive.

The whole business has a lot going on- from the search engine, opening up pricing and stocking status to the search and ecommerce portal, then the warehousing and “last mile” solution, including the construction of the lockers and contracting to partner with HD. The lockers themselves have a degree of complexity that is a marvel of the age. Touch panel screen, automated locks, QR code scanner, and all the online back end to make it possible. The old system of stocking stores, or mail order, or even dealer networks and fulfillment houses seems so simple in comparison. All for a little plastic part that could have been a metal clip and never would have needed replacement.

I crammed a couple other errands and trips in there too.

Today should be similar, start at home, do some stuff, get out and do a bunch more… with hopefully a lot less interruption from das kinder. As I am wont to say, “we’ll see.”

Dinner yesterday included a rice and beans box meal from HEB that was 11 years past “best by”. It tasted ok, not great, not too bad. Some additional seasoning helped. Wife said she liked it, kids don’t normally eat that kind of thing anyway. And I could have eaten it without complaint. The critical thing was storing it indoors, in the dark, and that it was dry ingredients without fats. The directions included adding 2 tablespoons of oil. It’s pretty clear that if the pasta/rice doesn’t absorb weird flavors from the environment, the most common failure of boxed or prepared foods is the fats going old. Something to keep in mind when stocking for the long term.

One other observation, I pulled some pasta out of a bucket. I leave the stuff in the store packaging to isolate it in case of a failure or spoilage. A rat opening one package leaves the others ok to eat, a rat in a bucket of rice, not so much. I had a package of spaghetti noodles that had some kind of black bug in it, and some sort of residue on the pasta. Smelled bad too. The other pasta in the bucket was fine, as it was still sealed in 1 pound plastic packaging. The pasta had a ‘best by’ of Jan-2023 so it was barely out of range. Must have been contaminated at the factory or store and it failed long before I’d have expected.

You never know what a stored item will do until you open it. Have extra on hand.

And stack it up.


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Wed. Aug. 30, 2023 – yup, windy and wet for some

Here in Houston it’s still hot and humid. Plenty hot during the day, but now we are getting some cooler temps in the late afternoon/early evening. It almost felt nice when I went out to get some stuff from the truck around 6pm.

Spent most of the day doing auction stuff. I took a bunch of stuff to my auctioneer in the afternoon. He’s recovering from his surgery but still slow and tires quickly. Quad bypass will do that to a guy. Unlike in the past, he hasn’t shut me down after a delivery or two, so I’ll keep bringing stuff. I’ve got a lot. I’ve also got a huge pile of stuff that won’t sell well locally, but will do ok on ebay. As I’m sorting and pulling, that pile keeps getting bigger. Don’t know what I’ll do about it, most of the stuff is ‘smalls’ that have great margin, but low overall profit. Ie. cheap to get but also selling cheaply.

I stocked up on smalls when my bigger stuff stopped selling. It’s a grind to sell smalls though, so it’s not what I want to do right now. If I can’t get the kids to do it, I might have to get serious about clearing my slush pile (sometimes called a ‘death pile’ because you’d rather kill yourself than list the stuff.) That won’t make me happy but it might be the only thing that sells. Everyone is concerned that buyers have run out of money.

Time will tell if that’s the case. It’s certainly causing me to change my habits. I’m just not buying stuff that I’d like to have, unless I really need to have it. There is always something to buy in the auctions but now I’m asking “how does it move me closer to my goals” and “is it worth the time and gas to go get it”? Lots I’d have bought without question a year ago, I’m letting go by now. Part of that is that I’ve got most of what I need and want. But part is definitely the changing economic landscape.

It’s time to internalize the ideas we’ve been thinking were coming in the future, as they are here now. Prices are higher. Goods are scarcer. Trouble is brewing. Once again we need to move from prepping for something into living with that thing, while prepping for the next thing.

Oh, and mom nature will still be kicking us in the nuts every once in a while too. Gotta be ready for that.

So there is still reason to stack it up… and make hay while the sun shines. I’m afraid these are ‘the good old days.’


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Tues. Aug. 29, 2023 – some people are gonna get windy and wet…

Hot and humid. Slightly cooler to start but plenty hot later. The national forecast has Houston near the edge of the possible T-storm and rain area, and that usually means we won’t get anything, but with the storm in the Gulf, who knows…

If you are in the path of Idalia, take precautions and be sensible. Most readers here should be well prepared and only need a few last minute tweaks and refinements… right? Let us know how it goes for you, and of course, how you make out. It looks like you’ve got time if you need to do something more.

Spent yesterday morning doing computer and auction stuff. Spent the afternoon and evening going through my big storage unit. I needed to put the stuff from my show away, and pull a bunch of stuff for the local auction. It was hot in the sun and there isn’t any shade at the U Store It. It was actually cooler inside the unit compared to the sun, but not as cool as the shade with a breeze. Late in the afternoon there was a 3 foot strip of shade from the building that made all the difference. I kept at it until dark because it got cooler every minute after dusk. I figured that I was already hip deep in it, and tomorrow would just be hotter anyway….

I’ve got 4 big black bins, and several flip top bins ready for the auctioneer today. I’ll get out of the house, pick those up, and drop them off later. If I could be 100% sure we wouldn’t get any rain, I would have loaded the pickup truck last night, but even with a tarp, stuff will get wet if it rains. Seems like it always rains when I have stuff in the back of the truck.

One of the things I decided to send to the auction is a copy of the Big Berkey water filter. Robert didn’t care for them, and I never saw the point, so the one I picked up some time ago at the goodwill will find a new home. It’s almost a Berkey but there are small differences. Since it’s not something I plan to use, might as well have someone that wants it, get it. I’ve got sawyer minis and other backpack style water filtration, chemical treatment, and other filters for improving taste. It’s tough to let go of stuff like this though, the temptation is to keep it ‘just in case.’

That temptation can lead to hoarding though. It’s a constant danger when prepping. I figure that as long as I’m not saving my urine in jars, I’m ok, but there is always the question of how much is enough, and what is not worth keeping.

Take a good look at your preps. Have your needs changed? Has your situation changed? Would you be better served by getting rid of something and making room for something else? Or does it make sense to free up some cash to make more useful or more appropriate purchases? It’s easy to coast. OH how easy. But it’s necessary to stay engaged and actively work to improve.

Stack some things, but look for other things that you might not need, or might be better off getting rid of. If it improves your position, that’s a good thing.


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Mon. Aug. 28, 2023 – back to school and life…

Hot and humid. It has been a bit cooler in the mornings. Barely noticeable, but just that little bit cooler that says ‘Fall is coming.’

Spent Sunday wrapping up at my show. Awards breakfast (I got a certificate for helping out). Some very slow show floor. Door prize drawing (didn’t win anything this year). Then pack up and get out. I had several empty bins and a couple that I sorted as I packed that are only 1/2 full. I’m taking some of the leftovers to my auctioneer.

Had a good time. Turned some inventory back into cash. Got some stuff sold and out of my storage unit. Chatted with people. Spent some time talking with D2 and showing her the ropes. All in all, well worth spending a weekend on it.

Now it’s back to the normal hustle and bustle. Today I’ll return the bins to storage, and pull out a few bins I didn’t have access to, and get ready to take more stuff to auction. I found several bins that should be full of auction stuff while looking for my show stuff. It almost looks like I could make enough space to move one of the other storage units into it, and cancel one. That would be awesome. Or I could use the space to move more stuff out of the house. That has it’s own appeal too.

Whatever I do, it’ll be hot and sweaty work. Attic, back yard, driveway, garage, or storage- it’s hot. And if prices or demand or both are falling, it behooves me to get as much stuff sold as quickly as possible.

Of course there is all the normal daily stuff to do to, and whatever got pushed back by taking the weekend off…

So I’ve got some stacking to do. And more work.

It’s a great life if you don’t falter…

Stack, it’s good for the soul.

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Sun. Aug. 27, 2023 – last day of my event..

Hot and humid. Some brain boiling sunlight. More hot and humid. Getting kinda monotonous. SOOOOO glad we have A/C.

Got up early and did my load in duty, as well as bringing in my own stuff that I couldn’t get out of storage on Friday. We did have a couple of people show up later. It seems like the show was well attended, but I’ll reserve judgement until we get a final count.

I did a good business, in terms of gross sales anyway. Moved a bunch of stuff I’d been dragging to shows for a while. Made some people happy by selling them the thing they needed. Found some stuff I’d forgotten I had. I should be able to turn some of it back into money if I get it up on ebay.

D2 was a big help and charmed them all.

Today we have an early breakfast get together, some awards, and then back to the show floor for a few hours. I might still make some more sales. I’ve been very disciplined about not buying stuff…so far.

Politically, I heard a lot of anti Biden sentiment. A lot of disbelief and snorting about the coming new wuflu variant. LOTS of mentions of how expensive everything is, and some about how their items aren’t bringing what they used to. If the stuff you are buying is getting more expensive and the stuff you are selling is getting cheaper, that’s a pretty big problem. At the show, people were buying but they were only doing so if the prices were right (lower than in the past.) It’s a hobby, or part time business for most of the attendees, so very discretionary spending. Food and gas come first. Then spending on the hobby. A lot of them are like me, just selling off stuff that isn’t their core interest, or is ancillary to their main collection. Some are pros though, making a living on the show circuit. At least a few of the pros were happy to have made good sales at the show.

I do get the feeling that people are pulling in, so to speak. Their area of concern is contracting, moving their attention closer to home. A lot of them live in low cost rural areas around the region, and there was/is a lot of “I’m glad I’m not in a city, and you should think about getting out…” too. Buying a country place for the future and moving away from the city and the Gulf got hearty endorsement.

Today should be fun. Breakfast is a good time, and D2 has won door prizes more than once. My tables are paid for, I did ok for the show, and I sold much of what I wanted to, so I can relax and have a good time, being a bit more ‘social for social’s sake’ today. I’ve even learned more about my local guys, and a couple of them are more like minded than I thought.

Meatspace baby!

Local local local is going to matter a lot. Having reliable and known humans outside of local is going to be valuable. Heck, even having more cash will be valuable.

Stack up some friends. Stack some things.


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Sat. Aug. 26, 2023 – month’s almost gone…

Hot and humid, no relief in sight, and I’m unloading trucks in the sun. Oh well, it beats loading my truck in the rain… and the venue is air conditioned.

Spent the day working and selling. Didn’t get to walk around and see if there was anything for me to buy. Probably just as well. We’ve got people from all over, mostly in the region, but Chicago, Cali, NY, and other distant places too. It’s always interesting to talk with them and see what they have to say about the state of things.

I’ll be talking with some more people today. Early start, as some people will be arriving this morning, then a day of selling, and some interesting presentations. IDK if I’ll be able to watch any of the educational stuff, but I will try. I’m training D2 as a sales person and she does a great job. Gives me a few minutes to walk the floor or use the restroom.

So far I’ve more than paid for the tables and most of my time (discounted because I have fun.) If I can sell some more stuff today and tomorrow it’s all in the plus column.

I’m gonna call this weekend “meatspace baby” and taking the tenor of the clans. With a side of clearing out some inventory, and making a little money to fund my hobbies.

Then it’s back to stackin’…


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Fri. Aug. 25, 2023 – Oh, I’m busy today, buzzy bee busy…

Hopefully a bit cooler and dryer today, after yesterday’s rain, but I’m not holding my breath. Or my breadth. I’ll be doing stuff width my fellow enthusiasts… and part of that will involve unloading trucks, so I really hope for cooler and dryer.

As I mentioned, it rained on my yesterday. All day there were threatening clouds, but I didn’t believe it ’til it was smacking me in the face. I did get one pickup done of stuff I’m hoping to just flip this weekend. I also gathered in some of my hobby stuff. It was on my last stop that the rain came.

Now I’m actually behind where I should be with loading my stuff and the stuff I promised to bring.

I’ll have to scramble this morning from the minute the kids are out the door. And I won’t be checking in during the day, probably, so let’s hope today isn’t the day the hammer drops.

This weekend I’m in meatspace. We’ll see what the crowd feels like and what they’re thinking. It’s important to listen to a bit wider and more diverse group than usual. Gives a reality check. And I like to share my hobby with other enthusiasts.

Not much prepping or stacking, but maybe some simplifying and some earning.

One can always hope.

And stack. In case the hope don’t float.

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Thur. Aug. 24, 2023 – I better up my game a bit…

Hot and hot and hot. Humid too. Slightly less hot that last week, but still hot. Sun was like a blowtorch against my head and face… but once it went down it wasn’t too bad, even in the heat island of downtown.

I spent most of yesterday (after getting poked and prodded at my morning Dr appointment) going through stuff for my non-prepping hobby sale.

That’s what I’ll be doing today too, with an emphasis on getting stuff from various locations, and staging it at the house. I think I’ll be soaked with sweat fairly early on.

I am still dragging a bit from my cold. Still coughing up phlegm occasionally too. I probably should be sleeping as much as possible, but there are things that need doing… there is always something that needs doing.

It will only be more demanding and hectic if TSHTF. Get what you can do done NOW, so you don’t need to do it later.

Not like me. And stack.


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Wed. Aug. 23, 2023 – or 082323 which isn’t very interesting after all…

Hot and humid, but overcast with some small chance of rain, and maybe a bit cooler… one can hope. There were places in the Houston area that got rain yesterday, but I didn’t see any. Micro-climates, we haz dem.

I did my drop off and pick ups yesterday. Got some stuff for the BOL and for home. Then I stopped at the south side Habitat reStore to see what they had. Store was half empty. IDK if builders are being more careful when they order (and have fewer leftovers) or if there isn’t as much construction (seems REALLY unlikely) or if they are just giving less, but the result is less stuff for sale in the reStore. I did get a roll of weed barrier for $5. That was a score.

On the way home I stopped at MicroCenter to buy a voltage regulator IC for a repair, and they had a creality resin printer on sale for $99. That’s down in the “impulse buy” range for useful tools, so I grabbed it. I’ll be sharing more about that as I learn and use it or watch D2 learn to use it. It’s been my goal for a long time to be able to build or repair just about anything, and to have small versions of most machine tools, and power tools. Making replacement or repair parts is probably the actual real use for home 3d printing, other than novelty (at this point anyway.) I’ve seen several youtubers using 3d printing to make molds or models for casting parts, so even though you are printing in plastic, you can get metal parts in the end. It should be an interesting and useful tool in the workshop. And she can always use it to make minis for tabletop gaming, if she swings that way…

Today I’ve got a Dr appointment first thing. Time for a physical. Then it’s concentrating on getting stuff pulled and ready for my non-prepping hobby get together. I’m hoping for overcast, as my storage units don’t have a lick of shade and the heat will bake my brains. Mmmm, brains…

Work on yourself. Work on your stuff. Work on your stacks.


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Tues. Aug. 22, 2023 – just a bit cooler, mostly from overcast

Hot, but a little bit cooler. National map has us on the edge of a system for the next couple of days, and we seem to be getting some overcast and cloudiness. That is definitely helping with the overall temps, but it’s still hot and humid by any measure. Only 103F in the shade yesterday. It was less than 100F for longer though, and cooler overnight. We may finally be getting a break.

I did my auction pickup (for the BOL) and chatted with the auctioneer for a bit. He’s noticing several new businesses opening that have bins full of merch from the same sort of sources he has. They have different models for selling. He’s going to try some new stuff too. There is a lot of competition in the secondary/reseller space, and a lot of evolving business models. I think that like most markets, it will consolidate and regularize and that will happen fairly soon. Some deep pocket big players will enter the field and the mom-n-pops will be forced out. Year, maybe two…

D1 hurt herself at school, so picking her up killed my late afternoon plans. Nothing too serious, just bruising. We went grocery shopping instead. I scored some meat, finally. Choice sirloin cap roasts, $5.50/pound. I bought 5 or 6 for the freezer. Made one for dinner that was well received. In the store I was giving lessons on prices, grades, moving up and down market, and inflation. They had very few items on sale this month. Lays Classic potato chips are now $5/bag. They used to be $2.50 for the same “party size”. That’s 100% price increase in a year or two. Other items are up 30-50%. And there were things I would normally buy that weren’t available. The bill is getting bigger, and the shopping cart isn’t as full…

Today is another auction pickup day, but also a drop off day. I’ve got a pickup truck load for the auctioneer. It would also be nice to do settlement and get paid for a few of the previous auctions. I’ve been letting that slide for various reasons, but I don’t want to get too far behind. And some money coming in never hurts.

Some of it I’m stacking. Some of it I’m using for improvements. Some is just daily living. But all of it is cheaper through the auctions and thrift stores than it would be through retail.

Save some money, use it for stacking!


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