Sun. July 25, 2021 – hooray, pack is back together…

Hot and humid again. No rain in the forecast for today, although the edge of the zone isn’t that far away. Yesterday was over 100F in the sun and the humidity was high enough stuff didn’t dry outside. So of course I needed to be working in the heat. It was a little bit cooler at my secondary location, mainly because the sun was mostly hidden, and there was a bit of a breeze.

I just kept hammering away (or sawing and carrying) pulling a trade show exhibit out of its shipping containers and piling the pieces up for trash or recycle. Carry, cut, carry, cut, plod…. The end goal is worth the drudgery. The drudgery should have been done years ago, btw. Real Life ™ got in the way though. Danged Real Life ™, always making demands…

Before I could go do that work, I needed to be home to greet the kids on their return from camp. Lots of fun was had, some things were learned. Oldest didn’t quite make her ‘Mariner’ certificate. They try to fit a longer course into the week and it didn’t quite make it. Still, she now officially knows more about sailing small boats than I do.

I had two vehicle issues. My Ranger battery appears to have died. I’ll look at replacing that today or tomorrow. The heat here kills batteries and it’s been hot. I’m pretty sure I looked at the battery not too very long ago and decide it was near EOL. Poor timing, but not a tragedy as I have the other truck to backup the Ranger.

Took the backup truck to work, and on the way home the Expedition got a flat tire. There is some more detail in yesterday’s comments, but the 10,000 foot look is one of potential fail. I was all set to swap in the spare, which I had a high degree of confidence in, because I actually look at it fairly often, and thump it once in a while, and I’d done that when I bought the truck. It was fine, and I knew how to get it out from under the truck. I’d also checked that the jack and tools were there when I bought, and I added a couple of things to that compartment when I moved into the truck. I recognized that I’d run over something and was able to get to a safe and flat area- all set to be all self sufficient…

And then the lug wrench didn’t fit the lug nuts. Seriously? Upgraded ‘fancy’ wheels. They must use bigger nuts than stock and no one ever realized. Or whatever they did to compensate didn’t get transferred to me when the sale went through.

Here’s the prep part. I considered using the can of Slime Fix a Flat to just repair the tire and get home. Then I thought about the mess when actually fixing it and decide the situation didn’t call for it. I could have used my plug kit and 12v compressor to effect a repair, but it would have to be redone for ‘realz’ by my tire guy, and really, grid up. Only 6 miles from home. So I called AAA for help. I figured the tire tech would have the right sized lug wrench and it would only take a few minutes to change the tire. I was right, and was back on my way after about 45 minutes total.

Having a roadside service company is a prep. All the stuff in bins in the back of the truck is prepping. Prepping is really about having options. Prepping CREATES options. Absolute worst case I could have abandoned the vehicle and walked home. I’ve got a dozen different routes I’m familiar with between that point and home. I’ve got two cases of mountain house and water in the truck. I was wearing sturdy shoes, and armed sufficiently for most encounters. I had a wide continuum of choices because of my preps.

In the end, I didn’t use the stacks, I used the credit card… and my connections to society, because we’re still grid up, and it was the least disruptive choice as well as the second fastest. It also points out the importance of practicing and USING your preps. The spare tire is the prep for a flat, and as a system it failed when I needed it because I hadn’t tested it. New vehicle, should have been tested.

While I didn’t use the stacks this time, they were there if I had needed them. Stack some for yourselves…

n

Thur. Feb. 18, 2021 – losing track of the days…

Cold again, supposed to get a hard freeze tonight.   Yesterday felt colder than it was.   With the sub-freezing temps, it was very dry, but with the advent of the melting and the rain, humidity was HIGH and the damp cold felt REALLY damn cold.   (srsly, some of you are laughing but it hurt it was so cold.)  35F at 930pm down from 38F and higher during the day.

As I figured I would, I got the chance to help out a couple of neighbors.  (We are a neighborhood.   I live on a cul de sac, and about half of us are ‘chat in the street, talk about the kids’ friendly, especially after the storms and hurricanes, etc.  The other half we just never see except to wave as they drive by.  And that is a bit of an issue but not one to solve in a day.)

I helped the family across the street get their 1950s era gennie running.   It ran in the summer but wouldn’t start now.   There were a couple of minor things, the metal piece you touch to the spark plug to shut it off was too close to the plug and was grounding it out and there was water in the fuel and carb.   Drained a half cup through the carb and float bowl, reset the idle speed, and it fired on the 5th or 6th pull.   Ran pretty well too.   Put my meter on it, 57hz and 115v – so, well within range to be expected.   Small engine repair is a real world usable skill and being able to get and keep your gear running could save your life.   Youtube probably has someone fixing exactly your problem, but to learn small engine trouble shooting and repair in general, and be entertained by a guy who loves what he does, spend some time watching Mustie1.

Did a welfare check on the elderly couple down the block and found out  they didn’t have heat, or a way to cook food because of the power outage, so I brought them a gallon of already hot water, a single burner coleman stove, and a Mr Heater Little Buddy .  Unfortunately it looks like that single burner Coleman is out of production.   That is a real shame because it stores easily and uses the same bottle as the Mr Heaters and Coleman lanterns.    My wife loves it for Girl Scout camping.   I’ve picked up a couple at yard sales or estate sales and there are two on ebay for crazy money.   If you were going to standardize on 1 pound propane bottles, I’d recommend a small stove that uses the bottle, one of the Mr Heater Buddys, and maybe a lantern (and only because you won’t be caught with dead batteries).

The lantern is iffy, because the Streamlight lantern is so good, I can’t really recommend anything else as a serious area light.   Anything you’re going to be moving around with you and setting in different places will always be safer if it’s not fire.   I have a dozen of the cheap little battery powered LED lanterns from Costco, the kids use them at camp and around the house as toys.   They actually work pretty well, and like cheap flashlights, buy a bunch and scatter them everywhere for convenience.  But for disasters, when you need light, I love my Streamlight Siege.  Mine normally lives on the floor beside my bed within easy reach.  My wife loves her smaller Siege too.

Later in the day I got a call from my buddy about borrowing a space heater.    I loaned him the one from the garage.   It would have been pretty hard to say no to a friend with kids just to heat the garage (not that I would have.)  It does bring up a point.   Having multiples of items isn’t just a good idea for redundancy, what with two being one and one being none.  Unless zombies are eating people on your front lawn, you are probably going to want to help people in your circle/tribe/etc if you can.  Unless it’s truly TEOTWAWKI, people WILL remember your help or lack thereof, and it would be an extraordinary individual that wouldn’t look for payback later.   Just sayin’.  Help where you can.  Build your community.   Later you can help them build their own resilience.

Plan for today is more of the same, with some additional experimentation if possible.   We’ll see if I get to it.  And I just realized I was going to do a “why the 5 gallon bucket is the preppers multitool” post, but got completely sidetracked by my life…   Jeez, it’s like I’m on instagraam jumping around shouting “look at me!!!” in a bikini.   Now try to get that image out of your head.  You are stocked up on eye bleach right?   😉

Keep stacking.   And ask yourself the question I never asked about storms in winter, “What if the disaster comes when I’m NOT expecting it to?”

nick