Fri. May 27, 2022 – headed into the long weekend…

Cooler in the morning, hot later, supposed to be clear all weekend for most of the country, as well as Houston.   Thursday started very cool and got plenty hot, 99F at one point in the sun, but cooled down again once the sun set.

I did pickups and auction stuff, but didn’t get the stuff loaded for this weekend.   I bought a jon boat for the BOL, and a scratch and dent wood stove.   Also some things for the house.  I’m excited about the jon boat.   Seemed nuts to be on a lake with no boat at all.  Now I need a motor.  At least it’s not quite a hole in the water that I try to fill with money….

The stove looks complete, with only a small bend on one corner.  Nothing to affect use, and even appearance will be minimally impacted.   The plan is to remove the massive fireplace and chimney, which are crushing the back of the house and blocking the view of the lake.   Later we’d add a woodburner off to the side.  I saw the stove in the auction, and the pictures were terrible, so I thought I’d take the chance.  It was crazy cheap.   Looks like a winner so far, and at over a 90% discount from retail.   I will sell it if I find a nicer one before we get around to installing it, but in these uncertain times,  I’ve got this stove at least, sitting in the stacks.  It’s massive overkill for the house, and larger than I’d want in the room but – – –

Take what you can get, and get it when you can.

Kids are done with school for the year, so now the summer stuff starts happening.  Starting with a weekend at the BOL.

We’re headed up at some point to do more work, and enjoy the weekend.  We will take time out to remember the real reason for the holiday.   Like usual, I’ll set up several place holder posts to open the door and turn the lights on, just in case I have comms issues, and commenting by yours truly will be light.

 

Keep working on getting your stuff in order.  The awareness that something bad is coming, and its name is famine, is starting to spread.  Some more stuff is going to become even more difficult to find, and more expensive as people start putting back a little extra.   Don’t wait for the crush.  Stack it up NOW.

 

And increase your personal vigilance.  People are getting angry.  Violence is increasing.  Anyone can get caught in it anywhere- this has always been true, but the likelihood is increasing.  Do what you can to avoid being a victim.

nick

 

Thur. May 26, 2022 – stuff to do around the house

Humid, maybe clear, maybe rain.   We got some rain yesterday, but then it cleared up into a beautiful day, and stayed reasonably cool.   So much for either weather prediction.

I did my errands, picked up a bunch of stuff for the BOL, and a little bit of stuff for the house.  Didn’t win a whole lot of stuff in the auctions yesterday, so I don’t have much to get today.   I do have to get all the stuff I’m bringing north with me so I can knock out the projects over the weekend.   And I need to get a couple of things finished here before I leave.

So that is the plan for today.  Work.

 

The elementary school had a nice ceremony for the 5th graders who will be in middle school next year.  100 kids and families in the gym, only about 4 masks in the whole place, and they were on kids.   Our kids have been back at school full time for a year.  The teachers aren’t dropping dead.   The students aren’t dropping dead.  We had a small surge in cases, but not bad outcomes, but we’re at lows again.  You can have the economy open.  You can have gatherings.   You don’t need to be masked everywhere.

There are people still wearing masks.  I still wear a surgical mask at the Goodwill outlet store, and I wear gloves too.   I’ll KEEP doing it, because people are gross there.   Way nastier than any other random group outside of a halfway house.  I see people in other stores wearing masks, mostly properly, and a large percentage in N95s.    No one looks askance.   At this point, in Houston, it’s do what you want.  I am concerned by the larger trend of ‘servers’ or service people in masks while everyone else goes without.   It’s a new caste system, and it’s un-American.

 

That said, I’m replenishing stocks of PPEs used up during the last two years.   There will be more bad stuff unleashed in the next few years.   Better to have the stuff and not need it…etc.

Stack some more things.   Lots more.

 

n

 

 

Wed. May 25, 2022 – too tired to think straight..

Hot and humid, good chance of rain, possibly heavy and prolonged rain.   Whereas yesterday it rained for a while and then the sun came out and it was nice for the rest of the day and night.  And it stayed cool.

I took the Expy for my pickups because I didn’t want stuff getting wet, but I could have taken the ranger.  I’ll take the Ranger today, even in the rain.   Too much stuff to pickup, including 5 sheets of plywood.  Yep, buying 3/4 ply sheathing for half off of retail.   I’ll use it here or at the lake.   I’d have bought all 10 sheets,  but my bids didn’t hold up on the others.   The rest of the pickup is stuff for the house or the BOL.

Of course yesterday ended with the school shooting in west Texas.  Take a minute and pray for the parents who didn’t get their kid home from school yesterday, and for the other families affected.   More will be likely to come out of the investigation, and we’ll learn something from it.   The cost was damn high though.

Learn the lessons for yourself and your family too.  Don’t take it for granted.

Stack something.

n

Tues. May 24, 2022 – pickups, shelves, more pickups, and repairs

Hot and humid.   Maybe not TERRIBLY hot, but pretty hot.   Yesterday stayed cooler than the previous few days, but it was still instant soaked shirt in the sun.

Spent a bit of time on the gennie, but couldn’t keep the rust out of the tank.  Had the idea I could use Evaporust to kill it once and for all, but couldn’t find any in the garage.   Problem sorted when I picked up D2 from school.  We went to harbor freight.   I got Evaporust, one of the fuel transfer pumps (they’ll be on sale next month, 2$ off, so I’ll stock up then) and a cheap set of woodcarving tools.   D2 wants to learn to carve and whittle.

When we got home, I put the Evaporust in the tank, and got out some wood, the cut proof glove, and the self healing mat and we got started.

As expected the cheap tools were almost entirely unsuited to actually carving wood.   All the bevel angles are wrong for carving.   It’s as if they were all set up as lathe tools.  More disappointing was the Barlow knife I got out for her to use for the whittling.  I bought it new for $3 in the auction, and it turns out it is made in Pakistan.  Real cr@p.   Don’t know if they are counterfeit or if Barlow sold out.   Almost impossible to get an edge on the blade.  My dad got hundreds of Barlow pocket knives as ‘gimme’ trinkets from a sales guy way back in the day.  I lost almost all of them.   I was an idiot.  New ones are NOTHING like the old ones, except in appearance. If you squint.

Anyway… we ended up carving soap bars.   MUCH easier to work with, much safer for starting out.  We did a bas relief daisy, and a nose.    She had fun, got way more confident with the tools, and it was about the right length of time for a project.

I’ll know if my Evaporust experiment worked later today.  Other people online have had success.

Rust never sleeps.   Gear needs maintenance.

I’ll be doing pickups today.  I’ve got a big loop planned, and then pulling stuff from storage and building some Metro rack shelves.   I will use them as I move stuff around and sort it for sale, and eventually put some or all at the BOL or in my garage.  The work at my storage unit is contingent on a lack of rain though.   We’re still in the “could get thunderstorms” area of the weather map today and tomorrow, even though it got sunny and nice eventually yesterday.  Weather liars. Pttt.

Fix some of your broken stuff.   Check to be sure your stuff isn’t actually broken.   And stack some of the stuff you need to get it running again next time.  Because there will be a next time.

nick

Mon. May 23, 2022 – what the everlovin’ what?

Hot and humid again, like most summer days in Houston. Yesterday started cool after the rain, but warmed up later.

The title is in reference to every tool I use to make these posts changing completely last night. Ugly and confusing doesn’t begin to describe what I’m looking at. BLANK PAGE doesn’t really guide one through the process. wordpress apparently just decided to kill the option of the old way of interacting with their software. I freaking hate arrogant developers. YOUR WAY IS NOT MY WAY AND IT IS NOT BETTER.


I got a late start yesterday, because of SLEEP. But then I did go out and pick up some preps. I had some misadventure narrowly averted with my fridge/freezer. I’m not the type of person to throw up my hands and accept that my fridge full of food is about to be warmer without trying some things myself. That isn’t nature, btw, it’s learned. Troubleshooting, and the willingness to try stuff are vital skills when things are going pear shaped. There will be a LOT of pear shaped things coming at us in the next few years, because there have been a lot of pear shaped things coming at us for the LAST two years. If you aren’t in the habit of fixing your own stuff, or at least narrowing down the range of problems, you should definitely start working on that. There are good books about fixing household stuff, and there is a massive amount of info on youtube about almost any repair you could make. If it’s already broken, you might as well try, and you will learn things.


Did a quick shopping trip to the local “small” HEB, but I won’t do my usual rundown on empty shelves. There were plenty, but it was late on a Sunday. The only one I’m sure was an actual shortage was Mexican sparkling water, which had a “limit two” sign on it specifically saying they were short stocked.

Chicken legs and thighs were up 10%, hamburger was up, and selection and quality of beef cuts were still down from “normal”. There were not a lot of sale items either.

Get it while you can.

And stack it up.

nick

Sun. May 22, 2022 – 05225022 – meh, not a cool number

Hot hot hot too fricken hot… maybe some rain later.

And humid.   Soaked to the skin, and brains boiled working in the back yard yesterday.   I did find some shade under a market umbrella, and that saved me.  Did I mention it was hot?

After working on my gennie for a few hours, since I was soaked through anyway, I cut the grass.  It was overcast and a bit cooler anyway.   I still love that Toro battery mower.

We spent the evening celebrating D1 becoming a teen.   That will probably be the last time we’re happy about that, LOL.  Didn’t get time to play any games yesterday so we are supposed to play some today.  AFTER the clothes shopping.

I”m going to finish the gennies, if I can.   And go through the stored gas to see if any of the stuff in the cabinet also got ruined.  I did discover a point source failure, potentially.   I use a hand pump to move gas around.   It’s a cheap Harbor Freight thing, but it works really well and it lets you quickly transfer gas from a heavy can to your gennie, or suck all the old bad gas out.   I’m going to get 4 more, put two at the BOL and leave the others here.   I will dedicate one to water, and  have the other for gas.   It’s so much easier than holding 5 gallons in the air while attempting to control a pour into a small gas tank.  Recommended.

 

So USE some preps this week.  Find out if you have what you need to make it work, or not.  And stack it up.

 

n

Sat. May 21, 2022 – home this weekend, plenty to do here

Hot and humid, again.  We’re in that season- summer.  Gonna be kinda monotonous unless there’s a hurry-cane or something… 83F when I went to bed.

Made it home yesterday in time for dinner.   Did a lot of driving for my pickups, and getting something for my non-prepping hobby added a couple of hours and lots of miles as it was an hour south of Houston.  The rest of the stuff was preps or for the BOL.

Got stuff going on today here at home.   D1 had a birthday this week, so we’re doing her thing today.  She mainly wants attention, so we’re going to try mightily to give her some… she wants family game night all day.  I hope I can keep my sanity.

If I can’t, I’ll take it out on shrubberies…   or other stuff in the back yard.   I’ve got quite a long list of stuff to do at home, so I can always take a break from Exploding Kittens ™ and do something.

I’ll be trying to take it a bit easy, as all of yesterday’s loading and unloading, along with 6 hours in the driver’s seat has my back hurting again.  Sucks to get old.  Sucks to be decrepit.   Never thought I’d live this long, or I would have taken better care of myself.   I tell myself that, but I know I wouldn’t have.  NO ONE believes they’ll be old and worn out when they’re young.

Look at your stacks.  Stack more where the stacks are thin.

 

nick

Fri. May 20, 2022 – at the BOL, doing stuff

Fantastic day here in the north, sunny and clear.   Hot and humid later, but probably not as hot and humid as Houston.  I’ll find out when I get home.

Met with the electrician yesterday.  Our next step is to talk to the provider, a co-op, and determine how much capacity we can get, schedule, etc.

He’s proposed a couple changes that would let us do the work for the service and the septic, while taking longer to do the work on the grounding and outbuildings.  All the old will come out, and new will go in.  Except for wiring inside the house, that will stay but have grounds added, I think.  He’s pretty sure we’ll find the buried electrical when we start trenching for the septic 😛

Oh yeah, when I fired up the mower a huge doe ran across the yard.  She looked pretty panicked.   Did I mention she was huge?   Mmmmm, tasty deer…

Watered the garden.  No sign of raiders yet, but no shoots either.

I’ve got a couple of things to do here today before I can leave.  I need to remove the paneling around the current breaker panels so the electrician can see what he’s working with to land in the new panel, and I’d like to plant one more row of salad veg, with some squash, pumpkin, and watermelon.  That may not get done, if it’s hot or if I run out of time.

 

Gas was $4 at costco and there were weekend long lines at 1pm on Thursday.   I saw it as high as $4.39 at the HEB next to the freeway.  My 260 mile round trip costs double what it did a year ago.

Refilling all my hurricane gas storage will HURT this year.

Stash some stuff, stack some more stuff.

 

n

Thur. May 19, 2022 – driving around today

Hot and clear, some small chance of scattered showers.   But mostly it is likely to be hot and hot, with a side of hot.   My weather station said 102F in the afternoon yesterday.  Granted that was in the sun,but jeez.

Since my back responded well to the stretching, manipulation, and inversion table, I woke feeling pretty good.  I decided I didn’t want to screw that up by unloading trash from my truck or cutting the grass.  So I spent most of the day online.

Today I have to venture out and collect all  the stuff.   Metro shelves for the garage and storage.  Another bucket of freeze dried food, and a cell booster for my client’s place.  A bunch of stuff for the BOL.  Typical week.   Keep moving as the world does its thing…

Which seems to be continuing on the path we’ve already started down.  The drums of war are beating and they won’t stop.*  Various items are in short supply, and there are more of them, and the supply is shorter, from what I’m hearing.   The money markets are in turmoil.  People are starting to buy less, move down scale, and run out of credit card.  Home sales are slowing, which is normal when rates increase, but a lot of people are going to feel a lot less rich when they are making two mortgage payments, waiting for a house to sell.

There are HUGE new developments going in all around the Houston metro area in green field developments.  They are tearing down warehouse and industrial space to build apartments and condos, and clusters of houses closer in.   Everyone in the country seems to be moving to TX or FL.   This is historically a boom or bust town, and we’re seeing it again…

But there is a frantic quality to it.   People are in a big hurry to get done before the bad thing happens.  IDK which bad thing they individually fear, but there is starting to be a sense of wrongness in the population, at least the parts I interact with.   And I talk to everyone I can.  Store clerks, construction company owners, workers, yard salers, hustlers, professionals, tradesmen, small business owners, other random people.   Change is in the air.  Not hopeful, good change either.  More like dread, and trepidation.  Everyone is nervous and unsure, but soldiering on as fast as they can.

8 buckets of rice is 2 dry cups a day for more than 2 years.   Including the buckets, it’s about $400.  Don’t wish you’d bought them, BUY THEM.   You don’t have to get it all this week, but I wouldn’t wait too long.  Everyone has room for 8 buckets.   Throw a couple big bottles of multi-vitamin in the cart too.

Bob would talk a lot about “iron rations”, food that was enough to keep you alive, but not what you’d eat by choice.   There are a lot of details in posts and comments tagged with the keywords on the right.  Go and read the posts.   But at a minimum, buy and store the rice.  It will extend whatever else is available, and it’s the single simplest thing I can think of to recommend doing.   Of course there is a lot more, and I urge anyone who hasn’t already to read the stuff at the keywords.  Then ACT.   It’s really cheap insurance.

That’s the baseline.   Build from there.  Stack it all.

nick

 

*”why are the drums going all night?”  ” when the drumming stops, the guitar solo starts…”

Wed. May 18, 2022 – end of the school year is coming up…

Hot and sunny in Houston again.  Plenty of humidity too.   I didn’t see what the official high was yesterday, but I did notice my thermometer reading 95F in the sun.  That’s plenty hot.

I didn’t do much yesterday.   My back was killing me.  Did one pickup for the BOL on my way to my client’s house.  Fixed his issue, a control box stuck in an ‘off’ condition until pulling the power, waiting, and re-powering.  That was a weird one.

Spoke with his  wife, their kitchen remodel is pushing off a month or possibly two, due to not being able to get their appliances.  Those were ordered last year, for May delivery… and now they are saying August maybe but really probably October.  Even the very high end of the market is having supply issues now.

Came home and had a lie down.  Didn’t mean to fall asleep, just wanted to get pressure off my spine, but hey, I’ll take sleep when it comes.

Did an email exchange with my septic installer.  He’s starting to buy stuff for the system. Still can’t get the drip hose but feels confident about the other components.    I reiterated that we’ll pay for the stuff, and he should just buy it.

I’m bidding on some used construction materials for use here in the attic, and small projects at the BOL.   I’m thinking of raiding my neighbor’s open top dumpster for used 2x4s from their remodel.   Freaking 2x4x8 lumber is $7 at lowes.   I’ll be building with pallets and tarps soon if prices don’t come down.

Stack it while you can.  You’ll need it.

nick