Month: June 2024

Sun. Jun. 30, 2024 – did I mention it was hot? and I still have stuff to do?

It was crazy hot yesterday and today should be the same. I’m not looking forward to that. If I wasn’t working I could take a dip in the lake when I got too hot. I have to settle for laying on the cool concrete floor while a fan blows conditioned air on me…

My next door neighbor is up this weekend and I’ve been trying to get together with him on the dock for drinks and a tiny fire. He goes to bed early and rises early, and I’m the opposite, so we haven’t been able to meet up. I stopped by his other lot on my way home from the hardware store. He had a 40×60 foot metal building built to use as a shop and storage area but he’s doing some of the interior build out himself.

I saw he was working and stopped to chat. He was really hot. Still sweating but minor shaking in his hands so I got him in the shade and talked to him for about 20 minutes until he’d cooled off a bit. He was focused on some underground plumbing issue in the sun and didn’t notice. This heat is dangerous in the sun, since the humidity and lack of wind makes it very difficult to stay cool.

I used to live in Arizona, and did plenty of outdoor work, rock climbed, rode my bike and motorcycle everywhere, and learned to be careful and hydrate… but the 3% humidity meant you’d stay cool if you kept drinking and sweating. When the monsoon season hit and the humidity went up, it was miserable. Houston is a swamp. RH was 84% today and the real temp had to be over 100F in the shade. In the sun it was so much worse.

Consequently my work went very slowly yesterday. I had a fan blowing on me in the garage, but it was still dangerously hot. I did make progress. I’ve got about half the insulation done, and I hung three sheets of plywood. Took a break when my buddy finally stopped by, and went over and helped him fix his flagpole so we could change out his ratty flags for the 4th. Chatted for a while with him and his wife. It was good to stop working for a bit.

Pot roast was very nice for dinner. I do love slow cooker meals.

Today I should put in the rest of the insulation and hang another sheet of ply. That will let me put one side of the garage back together. Depending on how that goes, I might stay up here for one more night. I am thinking about leaving Monday, and checking out the boats my wife wants me to look at on my way home. Whenever I leave, I have to do a thorough cleaning so when we get back on Wednesday the house is ready for guests. I’ll have to budget some time for that. Spiders and red dirt dust are a constant issue.

And dishes, I’ll need to do dishes…

Stack some time with friends, and some time by yourself for reflection and recharging your mental and physical strength. You will need both.


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Sat. Jun. 29, 2024 – puppets on a string

Hot! With an extra helping of HUMID!! It was still 81F when I went to bed, and that was the coolest it had been all day. It really saps my energy and pace of work. Today promises to be like yesterday, with MOAR!!

More heat, more work, more cowbell…

I did get a bunch of stuff done. I ran some new electric, and some new gas lines in the garage. I’m getting set up to have A/C in the summer and heat in the winter. This house really isn’t that big, for all that it has 4 bedrooms, and the garage is slated to become a party room. It will still have a bunch of stuff stored in it, but it also has the pool table, and I need to find somewhere to set up the dart board.

Of course some of that stored stuff will have to be obscured or hidden, like a safe and fire proof file cabinet… and I don’t really want all the buckets of bulk food readily visible either. The regular food is already in metal cabinets and the freezers are black, which makes a surprising difference- they don’t poke you in the eye and scream “freezers”.

Plenty of work to do today including a trip to town to buy pink insulation. And something to use as exhaust piping for the A/C units. And maybe a plumbing part or two.


While I was cooling down yesterday I had an interesting thought. Interesting to me anyway. I’m getting close to 60 years old, and I’m still finding ways that I’ve been programmed, conditioned, TRAINED, that are entirely unconscious behaviors and beliefs. The one that struck me was about not eating after bedtime. The night before I was hungry so I got out of bed and had a snack. I did it a week or so ago too. I’m a grown man, kids of my own, always had food in the house, and it never occurred to me that if I was hungry in the night, I could just go eat.

It didn’t take much, some crackers and cheese, but eating in the middle of the night (even though I was awake reading) was not something I’d ever done before this month. I’d been conditioned that you ate at meals, or had a snack during the day, and you didn’t get out of bed to eat something. Once you were in bed, it was the end of the day and the time to eat was past. (You’ve already brushed your teeth! never mind that you can brush them again.)

I know there are other things, I can hear my dad’s voice in some of the stuff I say to my kids and my wife. I can feel his expression on my own face sometimes. I’m sure that some of the things, most of them probably, are fine and won’t bite me in the @ss if the world turns upside down, but I can’t help but wonder if there are others, and when I’ll notice them.

It’s a minor thing, but I felt like I woke up somehow. I had something similar with taking showers. I recently realized I can take a shower as many times a day as needed. Somehow, I had the idea that I really shouldn’t take more than one shower a day… unless I was really dirty. Even then, I probably wouldn’t take one the following morning. Showers somehow were ‘a big deal’. They aren’t. Take one, if you need another in half an hour because you cut your hair and feel prickly, take another… or if you cleaned up before dinner, but smelled like smoke later, you can take another…

Weird huh? We’re creatures of habit and conditioning. Take a minute to consider if the things you are doing by rote and habit are GOOD things, and if they meet your needs NOW. Maybe you’ll find something that needs changing.

And stack, because how else are you going to prep?


added- maybe I should start a tag for (not so) deep thoughts…

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Fri. Jun. 28, 2024 – hard at work, or hardly working?

Hot and humid. Really. I know you are surprised, but that’s the truth… and it was hot yesterday too. At least there was a nice breeze for most of the day. I still had to take several cool down breaks.

I did get the truck mostly unloaded and put away. I hung a light in the garage and moved some stuff. It was really stifling though so I was limited to how much I got done. Didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. I did cut the grass in my lot and the HOA/park lots. Read several chapters of the next Kate Daniels book, which series I’m really enjoying.

Today I’ll continue in the garage, and maybe the shed. It’ll depend on the heat. I won’t be working on the dock if it’s sunny, but I might be able to do some more electrical in the dockhouse. The A/C is still working in there, trying to continue the drying out process. I’m grabbing some small tasks as I can as a break from the bigger jobs.

I’ve got a new ceiling fan for D2’s room that I can put up, and some other jobs that are mostly inside in A/C. Some bookshelves installed will let me bring some of my library up here. That will help me clean up at home too. 2X the win!

Time to start putting some of the stacks to use. Solar is next on the agenda… but I’ve got some reading to do first.

I’ll continue working to improve my situation, and stacking. You should too.


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Thur. Jun. 27, 2024 – whew, finally here…

Hot and humid, but maybe less so at the BOL than in Houston. I’m hoping anyway, as I’ve got plenty of outdoor work to do. It was overcast yesterday, then partly cloudy, then it rained buckets, and then it was clear and beautiful for sunset. “What kind of weather did you have yesterday?” — ” all of it.”

It was very hot as well as humid, as one should expect in Houston as we slump toward July… which just meant everything took a little bit longer and was just that much more miserable. I spent about half the day indoors, and half out. In between putting away auction items, and loading the truck for the week, I cleared out several piles of stuff that had accumulated in parts of the house.

There is still a lot more to do, and my office looks like a hoarder house (sans rotten food, and urine in jars), but I did make progress and it should thrill my wife. I’ve done a lot of domestic bliss so far this week and some deferred maintenance too.

Now I get to do more here at the BOL. It’s a great life if you don’t falter, right?

BTW, I went to HEB mostly for cream, but checked the meat cooler and LO! Prime sirloin on sale for $4.99/pound with no limit, and the cap roast (picanha roast) for $5.99/pound. I bought most of it. That was one of the reasons I was late leaving for the BOL, I had to vac seal and freeze all that meat. I don’t want to fill the chest freezer up and then have no where to put the meat when I eventually switch back to an upright fridge/freezer, but dang, I’m not letting prime sirloin at the same price as hamburger go by.

Keep you eyes open for bargains, they are still out there. And it really helps you stack.

Which you should totally be doing anyway…
Today will be spent poking at various lists, but I think mainly working in the shed and garage. We’re having guests for the 4th, and having the garage as extra “play” space will be nice.

I’ll be doing some work in the dockhouse and possibly on the dock itself too. I’ve got fewer days up here than I first envisioned, but getting some of that stuff done at home was well worth it.

Not that I’m done at home, but a good burst of effort goes a long way. Now to do the same up here…


ps. Stack!

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Wed. Jun. 26, 2024 – barreling right thru June and into July…

Hot and humid once more with no chance of rain according to the national forecast. I continue to hope not, but we will need some sooner or later. It was well over 105F in my driveway when the sun was not behind a cloud. In the late afternoon, it was still 95F when the sun hid for a few minutes. You really didn’t want to be in the sun without a hat.

I did my pickups but the main one took hours. In their defense, they had to pull 66 items. The automated “appointment” app wouldn’t give me a time on Mon, or Tues, so they didn’t have a ticket pulled and ready for me. I did stop in on Monday and let them know I had to pickup on Tuesday, and the girl thought they’d be able to pull it, but they didn’t. Waiting sux, but I read on my phone and tried not to faint from the heat. I could have sat in the A/C in the truck, but I was trying to appear sympathetic by sharing their pain. Maybe didn’t help, but probably didn’t hurt. A personal relationship with the staff where you do business is a good thing.

After I got home I had a stack of stuff to do to get ready to leave, and it took a while. I still have stuff I should do. Which is what I’ll do today before heading out. I’ve got two or three things I can do that will make a big visual impact, so they are worth doing. And I’ve still got to finish loading the truck. I’ll be busy until I leave.

W wants me to look at a couple of things in a marina on my way through Conroe. I will if I get up there on time. More stuff to do in my day though. Hear me whine…

Thought for the day is working on your relationship with the people that you interact with “out in the world”. Does the clerk know you? Will they help you resolve an issue or cut you some slack? Are you cordial? Friendly but not creepy? Do they recognize you when you show up? Do they seem glad to see you when you do business with them? Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and local means something. It’ll mean a lot more as things get worse.

Being a good customer who accepts mistakes with good grace, or helps make their day a little easier in some way could be the difference between getting something you need, and not. Besides, it makes the world a little brighter and we can sure use that at the moment. Be someone people are glad to see.

It WILL help you stack.


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Tues. Jun. 25, 2024 – “Like private parts of the gods are we, they play with us for their sport.”

Hot again. Humid again. Just standing and talking in the sun will soak your shirt. It’s that hot. Definitely in the 90s. There were some scattered dark clouds, but no rain where I was. And I was all over the place.

I had pickups in NW, NE, SE, and then drove home through SW Houston. I was in Kingwood, and Dickenson. Probably did about 150 miles? I’d have to look at the log. Lots of driving in a really big loop. Good stuff though for good prices.

I got home and started putting the garage back together. I’m going to have to rethink my plan though as some of what I want to do won’t fit. I’m thinking I might take one of the cabinets, and possibly the drawers, to the BOL for the workshop there.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups I didn’t get to yesterday, including the honda genny. I’ll bring that stuff home, sort it, reload the truck and head to the BOL, maybe. Maybe it will all go to sh!t and I won’t be ready to head out until Wednesday.

Dog is at the boarder, and it’s very quiet in the house…

But it does let me do things like not worry about leaving the door open every time I go through it. Or tripping on a black dog with my hands full. There are tradeoffs to everything.

Restacking the stuff has been helpful. Found some stuff I was looking for, and some I’d forgotten about. It’s a bit like “shopping your closet” when you feel the need for new clothes. Look for the stuff you already bought.

Reassess, and rebalance, and stack.


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Mon. Jun. 24, 2024 – Monday Monday, so good to me…

Hot and humid, really hot and sunny. But there is still work to do, so I’ll do it like I did yesterday, when it was hot and humid… It was 98F in the shade and may have crossed 100F when I wasn’t looking.

It was too hot to be out in the sun without a hat. So I kept to the shade and took breaks. Also didn’t really exert myself or move quickly. I did make progress later in the day when the sun finally moved behind the trees and left my work area mostly in part shade. Even running the Portacool wasn’t enough to make it tolerable. Once the sun was blocked, the breeze felt cool. It is a bit deceptive though, as I still ended up dripping sweat.

I decided to keep parts of the fridge and put them on ebay. It’s striking how heavy duty the damned thing is. The wire shelves are about twice as thick as most, and the whole thing is heavier than you would expect. Even the doors were heavy. I really never liked it though, and always had to be tweaking the temp settings as the weather changed. I’ll pull the fan unit, and the light switch today. I need the light switch at the BOL for the garage fridge there. The freezer shelf looks like it might fit too.

I’m going to do pickups this morning and afternoon, then work on the garage later in the day when it’s cooler. I got some solar panels, some lawn mower stuff, a portable A/C unit, and a bunch of other household stuff. Kids are at GS camp, wife is on a business trip… cue the wild women…

Or I could work on my stacks. Yeah, better do that. Everything is spread out everywhere at the moment and it isn’t pretty. I need to get it sorted and put up. Only then can there be more stacking, with a side helping of USING some of the stacked stuff, particularly the solar stuff.

Stack something of your own.


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Sun. Jun. 23, 2024 – well, still not done, still hot out…

Hot. Very hot. Yes, and sunny too. My brains are baking in my skull when the sun hits it. Not much breeze either, and a lot of humidity. Summer in Houston, oh joy. And that was just yesterday. Today should be more of the same, but without the rain in the night.

I did get some stuff done. I picked up the chest freezer. Cleaned it, got it plugged in, and even moved some stuff into it. Of course it’s sitting in the driveway, not in the garage. I got about half the stuff out of the way. I’ll get the other half today. Did I mention it was hot and sunny? That slowed me down dramatically. I need to finish clearing a path to get the old fridge out, and the freezer in.

After that, I’ll move some drawers and shelves out of the way and move some metal cabinets in. They will be my new pantry. I’m tired of rats cr@pping on my canned goods. The drawers hold mostly supplies that I don’t need easy access to, so I should have moved them a long time ago. The shelves were my second tier of food storage after the kitchen pantry… some will remain, but the rest of the stuff will go into cabinets. It will stay a lot cleaner that way. Dunno what I’ll do with the drawers. They are still in good condition, and the stuff in them still needs to be stored, but I don’t have any place in mind yet.

Or my cunning plan could go to heck in a wicker basket. My wife might want me to go with her when she takes the kids to GS camp. There is a guy that has a boat for sale… and I am not involving myself in that transaction. She really wants a boat. I’ve already got enough stuff on my plate. I was willing to find one through my sources, but the universe wasn’t cooperating. We bid on one this week that looked great but it had a reserve higher than anyone was interested in bidding. Ditto for the three person SeaDoo. So she hit the internet and found one that looks nice and is in the right range of features, size, age, and cost. It’s got crazy low hours and was kept inside. Classic story of boat ownership- buy it, pay to store it for years, use it very rarely. I’d like to think that we’d put a couple of hours a month on a boat at least…not a couple per year.

This falls under the part of the rules where the BOL has to function as part of our lives, even if the big bad never happens. I’d like a boat too, I just don’t want to spend the money. It should be a good thing for the kids, and give them more to do while we’re up there.

In the mean time… I’ll keep plugging away at this pile of stuff here, there and everywhere. Change is progress, right? Sometimes you have to re-stack your stuff to remember what you have.

And then stack some more.


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Sat. Jun. 22, 2024 – Hmmm, stuff to do, and more stuff to do…

Hot, sooner or later it’ll be hot. Damp to wet… depending on whether it rains again or not. And I’ll be in it. Like yesterday.

I did my pickups while waiting for the grey truck of joy to deliver my fridge part. Across town it was raining. I could see the cell, and people coming out of it with their headlights on… but I didn’t drive through it. I also went to an “in person” estate sale. Some vintage vinyl and a broken turntable called to me. Picked up 5 albums by Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Picked up a boxed set of Artie Shaw, and a box set of “Masters of Swing”… they were Readers Digest editions, on heavy vinyl and pristine… maybe never played. The Prima got some play, but I don’t have them on vinyl or CD and he’s one of my favorites.

Funny what some record collections look like. This one was 7 or 8 milk crates filled mostly with jazz, and pop vocal from the late 50s, and 60s, with some church and Christmas mixed in. Then there was Bootsie Collins and His Rubber Band just sitting there… I’d have grabbed it but the disk wasn’t in the jacket after all. What the heck was Bootsie doing in with the Feranti and Teisher, Lawrence Welk, Liberace, Babs, and Big band? Or the extensive collection of Evie? There were a few other discs I’d have grabbed at $1 each, but they wanted $4 each platter, including the boxed sets. I didn’t get the turntable as it needed work. I could have doubled my money on ebay just selling it for parts or repair, but I don’t need another project, and I haven’t done any listing in a while. And $450 was too much cash to tie up.

Hit the Costco for TP and paper towel. Bought a few more things besides. Charmin on sale was $26. It used to be $18 before SloJoe took control of the checkbook. The only things that don’t seem to be crazy high are Canadian Maple syrup, and Australian lamb. They are the same or slightly less than they used to be, unless my memory is completely messed up.

Today will be one auction pickup, and a visit to my auctioneer to get back my chest freezer. Then comes the horror show of moving all the crep in the driveway and the garage to get the old fridge out. I might as well do the changeover to my food storage shelves and cabinets at the same time. I need to move them anyway… Oy, what a hot sweaty job that is going to be.

It’s the fractal thing again, before I can do one thing, I have to do the other 10,000 things.

Not gonna lie, would rather do just about anything else. But that’s what being an adult is, doing what needs doing even if you don’t want to.

Stack some stuff. Fix some stuff. Rearrange some stuff. Maybe even get rid of some stuff. Find a place for your stuff…



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Fri. Jun. 21, 2024 – one more week gone, no TEOTWAWKI, hooray.

Hot and humid. ‘cuz Houston. Yesterday didn’t start that hot, but it was dripping humidity. Of course in the garage it was a sauna. Today should be similar. I’m hoping that there isn’t any actual rain though.

Spent most of yesterday moving stuff in the garage to get to the freezers and the back of the ailing one. Moved most of the stuff to other places. Moved the freezer contents to the fridge and the other freezers. Ordered the part I hope will fix the problem. Just getting the freezer out and a new one in would be a major task, so replacing a part would be preferable. I’m really glad we came home from the BOL when we did. I should have been more aggressive diagnosing the problem too, I was fooled because I wanted to be fooled.

If the part doesn’t do the trick for the freezer, I’ll stop by the auctioneer I use to sell stuff, and pick up the chest freezer I’d dropped off for him to sell. That will add one more stop to the trips…

Otherwise, today will be doing some repairs, doing some sorting, and then doing a couple of pickups. I got a bunch of stuff from an auctioneer I always watch but who usually starts his items too high, so I don’t buy much from him. This time he not only had stuff I wanted, it was reasonably priced. I might have been the only one bidding in the whole auction, I was the only one bidding on my items. And I got some stuff from my normal super cheap but full of shenanigans auctioneer.

I would like to get some of the stuff together for a trip to the BOL next week. Wife and kids are all out of town, so I am thinking of heading up for a concentrated burst of work. I might even rent earthmoving equipment. Still thinking about that though. I’ve got plenty to do and the dirt will sit there just fine for a while longer if needed.

It would be nice to get to a range for an hour sometime this month. I’m feeling like it’s been too long. Not a good feeling.

There are only so many hours in the week though, and I’ve been using mine to go backwards lately. Kinda depressing really. It’s bound to happen, just isn’t fun. At least I didn’t come home to a dead freezer full of rotten meat.

The stacks did take a small hit. I’ll have to work a bit harder now. Keep stacking and keep the faith.


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