Category: culture

Tues. Apr. 23, 2024 – time to make the donuts..

Cool again, and probably clear. The national forecast has some stuff south of us, and we’re on the edge of it, which usually means we don’t get the bad stuff. Lots of stuff blows up from the Gulf though, so we might get some rain after all. Say it with me, “We’ll see…”

I spent yesterday mostly cleaning, sorting, and piling stuff for the auction, stuff from my office, and just stuff. I also cut my hair and shaved. Picked up the kid around 3 and got to the chiropractor and Costco for my paper towels. I am making progress cleaning out my office and bedroom. I’ve piled stuff everywhere and it’s time to move it. Long past time really. As part of that I sorted and put away receipts from auctions, and in the process found some I needed for other stuff. Also refreshed my mind regarding what I paid for a few things, especially things I though I’d sell. Time to do that.

The rat traps haven’t caught anything. My wife says she heard movement in the attic, but I guess I’ve raised a local colony that won’t touch peanut butter. Everyone says they can’t resist the peanut butter, but these rats do. You have to kill them quickly before they warn their compatriots. That is hard earned wisdom folks. Or something anyway.

I was going to do pickups today but it makes more sense to delay until tomorrow. That way I can combine the longest trip with a bunch of shorter ones, and get the most efficient route. The longest trip wasn’t available for pickup today.

I’ll continue with my house clean/organize/get ready to sell stuff plan. It’s not often that I get three days of consistent effort on one task when I’m at home. Even now, I’m tempted to mow the back yard, or switch to garage or driveway cleanup… but pushing through inside makes the most sense. I will need to do one dropoff and I’ll likely do one pickup too. Kids will need rides earlier rather than later, so I need to be home to do that, which limits my excursion time too.

It’s Spring, so Spring cleaning is appropriate. It’ll make more room for stacking!

nick

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Mon. Apr. 22, 2024 – justanothermanicMonday…

Cool and damp again, but hopefully clear. It did clear up late in the day yesterday, and the sun felt really nice. Another day like that would be welcome before summer really kicks off. We’ll see…….

Spent most of the day indoors, doing sorting and cleaning. I’ve been moving stuff to and from the attic, poking at my office, and generally hoping to stack stuff for the auction. I’ve made some progress but it’s slow. That might be because I kept checking auctions all day too. I won something for the BOL that I’d tried for a couple of times so that was nice, but most of my auctions passed without me winning anything.

I did assemble a telescope I picked up at the goodwill outlet. It’s a 70’s Jason 323 “Comet Chaser” and is mostly complete and in pretty good shape. It’s incredibly well built with heavy duty materials, and lots of metal. It’s missing all but one eyepiece, but is usable as is. I’m debating whether to sell it for $50, clean the optics and use it as is, or use it as a spotting scope on one of the big scopes… I’m leaning toward list and sell as the easiest option. It’s a neat little scope.

Since I was in the attic, I installed a few new rat traps that I modified slightly. One of the rat trapping channels I watch on youtube features the guy’s own mods to the traditional snap trap. I didn’t 3d print a little cover like he does, but I did cut an arch from cardboard and staple that to the trap. It goes above the trigger mechanism, forcing the rats to approach from the end, and not lick the bait off the trigger from the side. I will see if they still avoid peanut butter, or if that acquired knowledge has vanished in several generations since they learned it. Nothing was in the live traps. I did find more ‘signs’ of where they travel and that they DO travel across the attic, but no further clues to how they’re getting in. FWIW I haven’t heard any skittering since I closed up the path I know about.

Today will probably be a continuation of the progress I’m making on cleaning and getting stuff organized and out of here. That’s the plan in any case. I might have a drop off and maybe one pickup, but I think most of the day is clear. I do have to hit Costco for paper towel… I forgot to grab a bale while I was at my secondary, and Costco is closer. No way was I going there on a Sunday.

I’ll point out that the world continues to slide toward war, and economic upheaval. Violence is definitely on the rise, domestically and internationally. Keep your awareness level elevated when out and about. Carry the means to defend yourself. Study and pay attention to what is ‘normal’ for your area, and what isn’t. Perhaps more importantly, get out of cities, start your victory garden, integrate with the local community by making yourself useful to them*, and stack- for your needs and the needs of those you love.

nick

* you don’t want to be a carpetbagger or johnny come lately when SHTF. You don’t want to be in competition with them either, so figure out something to do that complements local businesses instead of competing with them. Start on the web of favors done and received, of mutual obligation, of test and counter test that establishes you as someone they WANT around. Like growing a garden, it takes time, and time might be short. Start.

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Sun. Apr. 21, 2024 – a day of rest? Naw, can’t happen.

Cool to start, maybe warming later. The sprinkles we finally got lowed temps by about 20 degrees, so this morning will be a bit chilly. I’m sure it will all go back to normal.

Did my pickups, dodging in and out of storm cells. Nice in between the cells, anything from misty to coming down in buckets inside a cell. You could almost watch a cell move by watching the freeway slow down in the traffic app. Almost.

Hit the goodwill bins store on the last leg of the big trip. As long as I was out that way, I might as well take advantage… it wasn’t my favorite store, as there is more junk and the employees don’t care about the shoppers or the stuff, but I found a couple of good things for me and to resell.

Got home, ordered chinese food and watched a movie with eldest br… child. Did some auction stuff after then went to bed.

A pretty good day. Wife had a short power outage, and a bunch of girls running around like crazy people. I definitely had the easier day.

Today I’ll be doing more cleanup, sorting, and domestic bliss. If it’s raining, that will all be indoors. If not, maybe it is time for the play structure to come down… (not my choice but there have been enough hints that it might be on the list…)

Not that there is any shortage of tasks on the list or any shortage of more important things to do, but sometimes, a big visible change is called for.

Stack. Stack. and Stack. but be sure to LIVE in between.
nick

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Sat. Apr. 20, 2024 – 4-20 happy stoner day, or something…

Another day of warm and moist, and probably even wet… forecast here calls for moderate rain and gentle breezes. Wife and D2 will be at the BOL and she says they are predicting heavy rain and stormy weather…

They are going up with a couple of D2’s friends for a girl’s weekend. I’m home with D1. I’ve got work to do, she has a Girl Scout thing…

Spent yesterday cleaning and sorting, and doing pickups. Also doing some rat proofing. I found several bait boxes outside that were empty so I’ll refill those. The attic ones were untouched. I think I found the route in, at least on one side of the house. The siding has a corner trim that is hollow inside. One of the places I heard scrabbling has a corner molding, and there are chew marks and a hole at the top, which leads into the soffit. There was some black belly dirt on the vinyl soffit material showing that something was moving between the vinyl and the plywood, a one inch space. I covered the hole with hardware cloth (stiff wire mesh), rolled and shaped hardware cloth plugs for each end of the trim piece, used the mesh to completely fill the 1″ space the width of the soffit, and then sprayfoamed the mesh to hold it in place and fill the voids. They can chew through the foam, but the sharp mesh roll inside should discourage them.

I found a “mousehole” behind the washing machine, where something has been coming out of the wall to eat the dog’s food at night. Plugged that with 3 inches of rolled up mesh, and foam. I also found some holes in the wall that were around plumbing under the sink in the kitchen, that looked like they were enlarged and smoothed by teeth. Meshed that all up too. No foam there, because of the need to access the plumbing in the wall later. The Hav-a-heart live traps in the attic are untouched. I’ll set some modified snap traps today. With the access to the dog food cut off, they should be interested in baited traps.

In other news, my grapevine has set fruit, lots of it. This year I’m going to try some bird netting around it to try to save some for us. The lime tree in a pot is setting fruit too. The peach tree finally gave up. It is completely dead and broke off at ground level. Never got a single fruit from that tree. The apple tree isn’t vigorous and is late getting leaves and blooms. I might move it to the BOL. All but one or two of my blueberry bushes have died too. I’ll move any survivors to the BOL to join the newly planted bushes. They never were very vigorous or productive here. Collards are still growing, this is the third season for the same plants, I think. Could be the fourth.

In the last couple of days I also broke down and froze about 30 pounds of meat. Freezers are full. It’s a good feeling.

Today I’ll be doing more stuff around the house. I have to redo the repair to the tub. The cleaning crew scrubbed and chipped the epoxy away. Either they work far to hard or I didn’t get as good a bond as I thought. Still sucks to have to redo work.

It would also be nice to get the 3D printers all set up in their new spot in the “toy” room. That’s the room we use as a library and catch all. Wife suggested a narrow table against a wall to put the machines on and I am willing to oblige. I don’t want to set up the laser engraver until I have an enclosure however. I won one this week but it was missing when I did my pickup so they’ll either find it or I’ll bid on one in some other auction. It’s the second time I was bidding on one. I know I could make one but I don’t need another project. Just getting the printers running will be project enough, then getting kid 2 set up with a toolchain so she can make stuff will take even more time. Besides the obvious benefit of having the machines running, it will get stuff out of piles, corners, and stacks, and into one organized place. First I need to clear a space for the table, then I need to assemble the table… Fractal are the projects at Casa De Nick…

It will be a chance to learn some new things. That’s always good. And the kid has an interest, which is also good.

Try some new things. I can guarantee that actually doing it will be different than thinking about doing it.

And stack of course.

nick

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Fri. Apr. 19, 2024 – and another week rolls by, the world gets crazier…

Warm, moist, dark. Some chance of rain later in the day. So say the liars. Dunno what we’ll get but I’ll be sure to be inconvenienced by it… I spent most of yesterday doing indoor stuff anyway, but it was nice in the afternoon.

Did a bunch of sorting, cleaning, and work avoidance techniques to keep from crawling around in the attic. That is going to change today, as D1 saw something skitter across the kitchen floor last night. Small and fast. Attic I can live with. In the house? No. HeII no. More traps, more poison, more wire mesh covering holes. Whatever it takes.

So that is the mission for today. And doing a pickup or two. And sorting and putting away, with a stop at my secondary to get Bounty paper towels while dropping some stuff off. Costco was completely out of Bounty paper towels yesterday. I’ve got some in deep storage and I’m going by there anyway…

Later there is some kid stuff to do at her school. Then the wife and D2 head to the BOL with friends for a girls’ weekend while I stay home and catch up on the list.

I have to pull my head out and get some stuff done. I’m falling behind and it isn’t good.

Oh, the freezers are full, and the pantry is in good shape, but other stuff needs attention too. So stack, but don’t forget the other stuff…

nick

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Thur. Apr. 18, 2024 – getting stuff done, slowly, and in fits and starts…

Warm, damp, and dark. Should start the day in the mid 70s, and with overcast or clouds. The ‘damp’ part is just Houston. That’s how yesterday played out too, always on the verge of rain, but never delivering.

I did my big loop of auction houses, and got all the stuff I wanted to pick up picked up… did my drop off at my local auctioneer too. Even stopped at HEB to see if they had meat on sale. The did, so I bought some steak, and some pork ribs. My receipt said my savings were about $50 with spending of $200. I’m still buying stuff that isn’t just basics (like snacks for the kids’ lunches, soda, treats) but it’s starting to add up. I know there are others who feel the pinch more than I do. If I wasn’t able to save on all the stuff I buy at deep discounts, I’d be cutting way back on those relatively expensive items. My wife has expressed her shock and dismay several times lately when I came home with the grocery bills…

30 to 50% increases aren’t just happening to other people.

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Today should be more domestic bliss. I’m going to make a more indepth attempt to find the invaders in the attic. I want to shut down their access, but can’t find it. I don’t see evidence in the attic itself, so I’ll look more closely at the soffits or ‘eves’ which are below the floor level in the attic. They are like wide open highways around the house, and I suspect that is the main path for rodents. They do cross the open attic, as I can hear them occasionally. I wonder if they are tunneling through the insulation, so their path isn’t obvious. If it’s rats, they’ve learned not to eat the poison bait, or the bait has somehow become ineffective. They used to love the stuff, eating through the packaging in the garage to get to it. Now it has been sitting in the boxes for months.

If they are using the soffits, they can enter through the garage. I’m not sure how I’ll stop them physically as the garage has several large openings and the garage attic is completely open to the framing and soffits. I’ve been counting on the poison for the last couple of years and it was working. Something changed, as I can hear the movement, even if I can’t figure out where they are.

My wife has been more patient than anyone could expect as I’ve tried to get rid of the problem, but that is wearing thin.

Guess I have a new issue at the top of my list…

Plans. I make them. Then I break them.

One thing is constant though, accumulating resources– stacking. At least we can all do that.

nick

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Wed. Apr. 17, 2024 – ah, “hump” day. Never was much interested in that.

Not so cool in the am, warming later. Should be clear. It was nice yesterday although it did get into the mid 80s. Breeze was nice too.

Although I didn’t get out much in the nice weather, I did get a bunch of small things done or underway in the house. About half way through the day, I found out my Wednesday obligation got moved to Tuesday… which makes my day very short. That meant trouble doing my pickups. BUT when I looked at them, I found I could delay all of them to today. So today I’ve got a bunch of stuff to pick up in a bunch of places. I will be making a BIG loop as I hit all the auctioneers. It also adds two pickups to the loop that I would have had to go back for today. Saves a trip and gas…

Gas is averaging around $3.30/ gallon last week and this week. You can find it cheaper, but that’s what I see most often. I’m also noticing more “small” fills at the pump, seeing round dollar amounts as people add just enough gas to get by… $10 and even $20 doesn’t buy much mobility any more.

Between the war drums in the middle East, and our own strife here at home, I am surprised gas isn’t more expensive. I know it’s an election year and TPTB want to keep gas low, but the tool for them to do that, selling the SPR to drive down prices, isn’t an option anymore. Pressuring OPEC is another tactic but the war parties need OPEC more than OPEC needs them at the moment. Sh!te is about to get real for a lot of people who have been just ‘getting by’ and using credit cards to make up the difference. There is about to be a serious contraction in discretionary spending. I don’t think the summer driving season it going to be very big this year.

I wouldn’t want to be in the Hospitality or Travel sectors either. I could be wrong. The people with covid campers might see it as a cheap getaway. And some people might figure that blowing the last of their remaining credit before throwing in the towel is the way to go out with a bang. People are funny, and trying to predict the future is hard. Spending more money to get what you need leaves less for what you want. The prudent already know this. Fix it up, wear it out, or do without. The profligate are going to learn at some point.

Still time to stack some reserves though. Put a little by for later, while you can.

nick

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Tues. Apr. 16, 2026 – more messing around to do

Cool and cloudy to start, then warming later. And some wind- “fresh” in the words of openweathermap.org. It was blowing all over last night.

Yesterday I did my doctor appointment. I like him, he’s just a bit younger than me, but the current nonsense over any meds used to treat pain is nuts. I take a simple med for chronic back pain. It’s not abuse-able, has a long and well understood history, is cheap, and is an NSAID with minimal side effects. I’ve been on it every day for about 15 years. It works for me. So why change? Why the intrusive nonsense about renewal? The office wanted a contract like I was a barely under control junkie mandating monitoring, blood tests, when and how I could refill, all sorts of nonsense for a drug that ISN’T controlled, ISN’T abuse-able, and technically ISN’T a painkiller. I pushed back with increasing firmness until he admitted all the above, and agreed I didn’t need the stupid contract.

I’m going back to the way I got it for years. F this S, I will not have my ability to control my pain and ability to work and do stuff at the mercy of a just in time delivery system, especially considering that it’s essentially Motrin, and in any sane place would be over the counter. I thought this guy was more reasonable. Guess not.

After that, I did some shopping and one pickup. Did a bunch of cleaning and moving stuff around while waiting for my chauffeur duty to be called upon. Did some more after. Tripped and fell over the child gate we use to keep the dog out of the bedrooms. Smashed myself and the gate up. Bought another in the auction last night. They always have child gates for some reason. So it was a mixed bag yesterday. I did get some stuff done, but was frustrated and stomping around, both metaphorically and in reality.

Today I’ve got several pickups to do. That should keep me busy until I have to get the kid from school. STAAR testing this week so no afterschool activities. That means a short day for me too.

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Traps in the attic haven’t caught anything. I’ll have to try some different bait. The poison boxes are untouched too, but I still hear scurrying at times. SOMETHING is up there. Possums usually go for the traps, rats usually eat the poison. I guess it could be squirrels…

Stack some poison, traps, insecticide, and the like. You may not be able to get them when you need them. Stack the other things you need to be comfortable too.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 15, 2024 – Uncle Sam says, “Pay up sucker!”

Should start cool and warm later, maybe even into the 80s. It was nice at the BOL in the afternoon, following the somewhat grey and windy morning. Sun even came out around 4pm.

I got some stuff done while I was there. Because of issues with the drive belt coming off the PTO, when I went out to mow yesterday I decided to go ahead and replace the belt before mowing, despite the lowering sky. Because my life is fractal, you can probably guess at the sequence of events…

I had three new 42″ belts, because they were a dollar in an auction, but I had mis-remembered as what I needed was a 46″ mower deck belt. Gah. So I figured that instead of a new belt, I’d take a look at it and see if I could figure out what changed and why the belt is coming off… And I did. Wear. LOTS of wear. Holes that were wallowed out, bolts that weren’t tight, guides in the wrong place. So I took apart, cleaned, greased, and replaced what parts I could. Last year my buddy gave me his old mower, because the deck was shot, but it turned out to have lots of stuff I could use to rebuild mine. Some washers for spacing, some grease instead of rust, some parts that weren’t half worn through, and some time, about 3 hours, and I had the deck back together and in better shape than it’s been in in years. Seems to run better too.

Mowed the rest of the yard, trimmed it too. Then went to check on the garden. Peas are doing well, much better than the variety we planted first. Peppers and tomatoes are doing well. Potatoes are growing like weeds. Something is eating the leaves off the turnips. I thinned out my radishes. Planted the cukes and zukes I brought up there. Went back to my place and planted the blueberry bushes on top of a sand pile. That’ll have to do for now. Decided I didn’t know were to put the mint, or the other herbs, so I brought them home again. I’ll either pot them or put them in dirt here. We’ve been getting over an inch of rain each week up there so irrigation isn’t an issue yet. It will likely be an issue eventually, so I am still moving forward with my plan to make a water wagon to bring lake water to the garden. Plans. I’ve got ’em.

The next thing on the list was more poking at the irrigation pump. I decided that a)the suction pipe wasn’t tight enough in the pump inlet, b) the intake was down in the silt, and c)there was air trapped in the suction pipe preventing the pump from priming. I lifted the intake, cut and rotated the pipe to make it tighter then glued it back together, and adjusted the level of the pipe to “burp” any air trapped in a high section… and that worked. We’ll see if it keeps running this week.

Unloading the truck, putting stuff away, and then prepping to leave took the rest of the day, and part of the night. This was a quick trip and I’m actually surprised that I got as much done as I did.

Today I’ve got catching up to do at home. Auction stuff, domestic bliss, stacking… hopefully I’ll have a somewhat productive day. Oh, doctor’s appointment right in the middle of the morning too.

But it beats working for a living.

Stack stuff. Just ‘cuz.

nick

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Sun. Apr. 14, 2024 – still here? Good.

Cool and clear. Dunno what the forecast says, but I’m hoping for a nice day. Yesterday certainly was, if a bit windy. Spring is cooler this year, and it’s nice so far…

Spent Saturday morning at my non-prepping hobby meeting, and enjoyed sharing with fellow enthusiasts. A chance encounter at a yard sale has led to half a dozen years of enjoyment with other humans. Get out and meet some people!

Spent longer than I expected loading the truck, and headed up. Got most of the yard mowed before losing the light. I’ll finish up today, then I’ll probably work on the sprinkler pump. I will also probably take some time to weed and thin the garden. Haven’t heard from my buddy yet, so I’m a little concerned that he might be ill… but I’ll find out later today.

Played a few games of eight ball with D1 last night. I’m rusty, but still better than a 14 yo who has only a few dozen games under her belt… Go me!

It was nice having some time with just her around.

The world is going nuts, as it does, and I hope you all take your joy where you can find it.

Stack up some good times. They’ll help later.

And stack all the other stuff too. That’ll help anytime.

nick

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