Category: decline and fall

Mon. Dec. 4, 2023 – Got some catching up to do, and still feel snotty…

Cool and damp, mid 60s to low 70s, and overcast. Yesterday was cool enough that I switched to heat in the house. It was clear most of the day though.

I spent the day cleaning the house at half speed. Not really feeling up to anything demanding, but I can clean and put away and sort. So that’s what I did. D2 made some Tollhouse cookies, and I ate them, but that was later.

Today I’m hoping to get a load dropped off at my auctioneer. I’ve got about 5 bins sitting in the foyer, and a couple more in my storage unit that are ready to go. I keep finding stuff as I move and organize. There is a LOT of inventory kicking around. I’m hoping I have time to do about 6 ebay listings too. I’ve got that many pairs of men’s dress shoes ready for sale, and getting them out of my bedroom will make everyone happy. There are a lot of other things to list too, but most need to be tested, or cleaned before listing, and that is just more than I want to do today.

This cold is slowing me down. Lots of running nose, some sneezing and the occasional cough, coupled with the achy “sick” feeling, and I’d prefer to sleep all day. Can’t. Got too much to do, but I’m not busting azz either.

Fortunately nothing is especially pressing today. Tomorrow I’ve got a site visit planned at my client’s house to replace a switch and PoE injector, and do some housekeeping with the system. I’m not pulling cable and hanging new cams, not this visit. Like my own houses, there is always something that needs doing…

Do what you can when you can. Try to keep up. And stack.


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Sun. Dec. 3, 2023 – feeling poorly. Not a lot of work will be getting done.

Cool and supposed to be clear for the next couple of days. It did get pretty overcast with some very heavy mist – almost drizzle yesterday.

Did my main errand yesterday which was mailing an ebay sale. That led to an interesting and very unusual for me encounter which I noted in comments yesterday.

I hit a couple of yard sales on the way home, but other than two 1TB Western Digital external drives, $4 each, didn’t find much. It’s the season, even if the weather was bad for it.

Watched a couple of auctions closing as I was “brain barely turning over” for most of the afternoon and evening. I have the luxury of being sick and sorta letting that take over.

I did do a little auction sorting. Very little.

Today will likely be very similar, with some more activity but only close to home. Low intensity, low thought activity, with a Kleenex box handy. I hate being sick.

Well, I had grand plans. But it’s always something. I think it’s better to recover than to push through and extend the period of low performance, if one has the time to do so. And I mostly do.

Stack something this week, even if it’s just rest and recuperation.


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Sat. Dec. 2, 2023 – hmm, should I mess around, or do work?

Cool, but forecast says no rain, so that is a plus. And cool means mid-60s or a bit more. It was actually warmer than that yesterday, but the rain made it seem colder. Cool drizzle on your head and neck just seems cooler for some reason.

I ended up taking the Expedition and doing my pickups. It wasn’t ideal for some of the items, but they fit, and didn’t mess it up. I’m glad I did because the rain started about half way across town. It also means I didn’t get to drop off anything at my auctioneer. I did stack up several bins of stuff near the door, so at least it’s ready to go when I finally get the word.

One of my stops was an auctioneer who has sold a bunch of stuff for me in the past who told me to check back with him in a couple weeks to see if he could take a couple of pallets of more “industrial” stuff. Well, he said he’s too busy still. Bankruptcy business is picking up. He’s jammed. Good for him, less good for me. Sh!tty for the businesses.

Speaking of, I saw a couple more places closed up, James Coney Island (hot dogs and fast food) and another Jack in the Box. The news is full of bank branch closings but I haven’t noticed any in our area. We have some storefronts that are vacant, and some ‘one off’ restaurants that can’t seem to get open, or stay open, but I’m not seeing widespread commercial vacancy nearby. Yet. LOTS of multifamily housing still going up though, and storage facilities.

Today I have a local pickup to do, some stuff to move around, and continued auction prep activities. If it is dry and I’m home and I have time, I might add some Christmas decoration. Between the dreary weather, and the monochrome color scheme in the neighborhood, I’m suddenly feeling like adding some color. Maybe not what I did last year, but something. We’ll see. Lots of real work to do.

First though, I’m sleeping in. Sniffly with some sneezing and I’d like to get a jump on it with some extra sleep.

Trying to keep my health up with the weather and everything that is going through the schools and workplaces at this time of year is proving to be more difficult.

Stacking stuff, as long as it’s not new purchases from stores, is getting easier. Seize the opportunity if it presents itself. Otherwise, proceed with caution. But do stack…


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Fri. Dec. 1, 2023 – countdown to Christmas starts now!

Cool and wet. It rained all day yesterday pretty much without a break. It varied between light misty drizzle and heavy drizzle. Late afternoon temps got into the high 60s and maybe the low 70s for a bit. I’m hoping today will be a bit drier.

I was feeling … odd. And since my plans were altered by the rain, and since I felt unwell, I went back to sleep for a bit. I hadn’t slept well, and I was really tired. Woke later, and had stuff to do, of course. So I got started on that.

Mostly did auction stuff, getting stuff out of the attic for the auction, and I even shipped an item I sold on ebay. I thought I’d killed all my listings, but apparently not. I’m $5 richer! I also managed to get a couple of “if I can” jobs done. I like to have some projects sitting around, ready to work on so I can do it if I have time or inclination. Yesterday I grabbed one.

I picked up an aircleaner/ionizer at goodwill for a few bucks, mainly because it was filthy. I tested it there and smelled the characteristic ozone smell, so I knew it worked. Similar models on amazon are $150-180. I took a little time and disassembled it, cleaned it thoroughly, and put it back together. It runs well, and from the smell, is working perfectly. It will deodorize a big room if needed, claiming up to 3500 square feet. In any case, it went into the attic until needed. That got it fixed, and out of the foyer where it was sitting and waiting for attention. I love little jobs like that that I can use as fill in for my day.

I also spent some time sorting and building out Elenco Snap Circuit kits. I buy them and pick up the parts at the Goodwill bins whenever I see them. At the bins the parts are essentially free, but even buying the missing parts on ebay or through the manufacturer site, they aren’t expensive, for the common parts anyway. I did order some things from their site, mainly fans and motor cogs, as the fans are always missing, and the drive cog on the motor is often broken. I put about a dozen kits together and will put them in the auction. They sell pretty well, especially around Christmas, even as used sets. I’ve got a half dozen more without boxes that are just waiting for the fans. They probably won’t go in the auction this season. I like putting the kits together. It satisfies my desire to save stuff from the crusher, helps a kid learn electronics, saves someone some money, and makes me good money for the effort and time involved. Doing a dozen at once is fairly efficient.

I wouldn’t call it a side hustle, because I only do the work twice a year, but it is something I know and know will pay off. The percentage ROI is big, even if the absolute money involved isn’t huge. Do enough of that and it adds up.

That is true of a lot of things, and a lot of preps too. Do a little bit of this, and a bit of that, look for places you can add value easily and effectively, and keep doing it. It will add up over time.

And your stacks will grow, as will your skills and knowledge.

And that is a good thing.


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Thur. Nov. 30, 2023 – The best time to plant x is 5/10/15 years ago…

Cool to cold, grey, with a chance of rain. Avoided rain yesterday, which was nice, but I don’t know if we can avoid it today. I’m still hoping so as I’ve still got things to do with the pickup truck’s open bed.

I was able to do my pickups yesterday but no drop off. I’ve now got a ton of stuff to go to the BOL, and no way to do so this weekend without a lot of “messing around.” Wife will be out of town, so I have the kids with me, so I can’t go up in the pickup. Her Honda is WAY overdue for a timing belt replacement, we both suddenly have bad feelings about driving it on a 300+ mile trip, way out in the country and far from home… the service is scheduled, and she’ll drive it as needed locally until then. Just don’t want to take the chance of blowing up the motor out in the woods. That leaves taking the Expy and a trailer. Which I will consider for the next day or two.

Today will be me moving stuff around and getting ready for the weekend, whatever that ends up bringing. I will try again to get at least a few things dropped off, and if I can’t, I’ll stack them with several other bins, ready for next week.

It’s not like I don’t have stuff to do at home this weekend if I don’t get up to the BOL. I’ve got plenty, including stuff that got pushed from previous weekends. Outdoor stuff, indoor stuff, ‘skull sweat’ stuff… maybe even fun stuff.

And there is the stuff the post title alludes to. It’s a joke, but also a truism, and SteveF reminded me of it this week. At it’s base, it’s an admonition to DO THE THING that needs doing. And to KEEP DOING THE THING that needs doing. Do it NOW and you will find in the future that you DID it 5 years ago, or 10 years ago. Planting a tree is an incredibly optimistic thing. It’s a statement that you spend some of your limited time and resources on something you may never benefit from. It’s the embodiment of your belief that there WILL BE a future.

Get out there and plant a tree. Start the training course. Take something apart and figure out how to fix it. Not all the planting is literal… Some day in the future, you will be glad you did.


(oh, and stack. Always.)

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Wed. Nov. 29, 2023 – more stuff, more stuff to do

Cool again, some chance of rain. I’m hoping not in my neighborhood, as there is stuff in the back of my truck I’d like to keep dry. We’ll see what happens. Cool seems pretty certain. It stayed cool yesterday, even in the sun, which was playing hide and seek depending on what part of town I was in.

And once again I found myself in far too much of town. Not quite as much as Monday, but more than I’d like. Over a hundred miles of driving in any case. And now the bed of my pickup is full with stuff that should go to the BOL, but since I’m not going for a while, I have to stash it somewhere. Or maybe I SHOULD go up this weekend…

Today I’ve got one pickup that I couldn’t do yesterday. I waited an hour plus, and never got the stuff. Today I’ve got an appointment, so we’ll see if it goes any better. My guess is not much. This seller doesn’t seem to care about the customers at all. And there are other sketchy things about them, but nothing you can point to with any certainty. Someone said they thought about 75% of small businesses were really money laundry operations, and the auction reseller business is pretty well suited to it, if that’s your thing. It’s funny that when I was describing my experience to another auctioneer, the first thing they said was “money laundry”…

So I’ll do a pickup, a drop off if I can, and I’ll find someplace to unload my truck for a few days.

Daughter has an appointment in the late afternoon anyway, so that’s a hard end to my day.

Hope I get the things I need to do, done.

I hope you do too. Including stacking…


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Tues. Nov. 28, 2023 – my brain, my poor little brain…

Cold, but warming. No rain today but it’s on the way. I don’t think yesterday got above 65F as the sun got hidden behind some overcast before noon, and never made it back out. Today might be the same.

I spent Monday driving all over town doing pickups. Did a big circle, mostly just outside the Beltway, which is the second ring road around Houston. 99, or the Grand Parkway is the third and isn’t complete yet, but where it is done, it is living up to author Joel Garreau’s prediction/theory/observation. In his book Edge Cities, which I recommend as a very well written look at how and why things ACTUALLY get built, he observes that modern mini-cities develop at the intersection of a ring and spoke road outside of a traditional big city. You can see it happening here in Houston, in almost real time.

Anyway, I did a big circle around Houston, only cutting through town on the east side instead of following the circle- mainly because there is water and garbage dump on that side, so the outer ring isn’t being built. It’s also massively built out with petrochemical processing plants, and they aren’t going anywhere.

I’ve got some more pickups to do today, but not in such a smooth circle. I’ll be out west in Katy, then south east in Dickinson. Then I’ll head home. It’s more of a diagonal line, that will combine several stops, but still seems like a lot of wasteful travel. I just couldn’t get my Dickinson pickup into my schedule yesterday so I will be retracing some of my steps. Also what I didn’t count on yesterday was about $30 in tolls. It’s easy to forget you are being charged with the autopay and open road tolling. I’ll try to take that into account today and save a couple of bucks if I can.

These pickups are some spare parts, some Christmas stuff, some domestic home use stuff, and a few items for the BOL.

In between yesterday’s running around I got some domestic bliss in. Laundry, picking up the kitchen, folding clothes. All the un-glamorous stuff that makes the household run.

Wife is still feeling poorly, and D1 is starting to complain she doesn’t feel well either. I’ve been overdue to change the HVAC filters and I think that might contribute. I feel it when I come home. Someone stopped the amazon subscription for the filters that would remind me to change them. Someone. Not naming any names, but IDK why they stopped, or why they won’t start them up again. There are mysteries in the everyday…. I have purchased some in the auctions in the mean time, and will be picking them up today. I’ve seen how nasty the current filters are, and I think it can’t hurt anyone’s health to get them changed ASAP. The red shirts don’t just die on away parties, they keep the dang ship running… when they’re doing the job. Dang red tunic looks terrible on me.

Filters. Wiper blades. Lubricants. Cleaners. All sorts of expendables. Do you have enough stacked?

If not, why not? Stack them up…


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Mon. Nov. 27, 2023 – the map is not the territory

Cold and maybe not damp but I bet it feels like it. The forecast says <40% RH and a temperature range from low 40s to high 50s. That is enough to make my hands and joints hurt. We never did get rain yesterday, which let me get some lights and decor up. I feel less like a slacker with some stuff up.

I only felt slack because I pushed my own workdays back a couple of times. I wouldn’t normally have stuff up any earlier. So far it’s pretty restrained and monochromatic. Seems to fit the times, but then, I might have to stick my thumb in the times’ eye and have some color exploding all over everything…

Or not. We’ll see how much time and energy I have while doing all the other things that need to be done before the end of the year.

Today I’ll be doing some pickups, and jebus willing, a drop off. It would be nice to collect some checks too. Even here at stately Flandrey Manor, the light bill and water bill need to be paid, and evil megacorps don’t give their product away. Unfortunately, even my AAA+ clients are slow payers this go round. There is a fair amount of that in the world at the moment, and I’m not the only one noticing.

So, more stuff goes on the block. There is enough of it… and I need to get some of it back up on ebay too. I’ve been putting that off, but I don’t think I can delay any more. Plus I’ve got some leftover industrial stuff that I’ve been trying to get to the appropriate auctioneer, but he’s been jammed with bankruptcy sales. It would be nice to move some of that stuff out of here. This isn’t a great season for reselling, unless you have Christmas gift items. It is normally slow until February. But it is what it is, and who knows, it might be better than expected.

And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

In the mean time, there is plenty of prepping related stuff to do. You can’t just read about it, you have to do it. You will inevitably find that there was more to it than you thought, or that you couldn’t quite make something work, or that you were missing a critical piece. You have to do it. Pick something in your preps and use it this week. Be sure it will work.

And stack. Because that’s the EASY part.


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Sun. Nov. 26, 2023 – less than a month ’til Christmas…

Cool and clear, sunny. Yesterday was pretty dang nice. Some clouds, and overcast at the Ren Faire most of the afternoon, but nice temps. It would be great if today was the same.

My summary of my day at the Texas Renaissance Faire is in comments yesterday. I enjoyed it. Not a cheap day out, but a day out in the woods, and there was certainly plenty to look at. D2 enjoyed it, which was the main point.

Today I’m hoping to get some Christmas decor and lighting set up. I’ve got a bunch of new lights and some other stuff for this year, and I don’t have a clear idea of what I have or how to use it best, so I have some experimenting to do. I’m also looking at getting a bunch of cheap artificial trees and setting them up outside as part of the display. A forest of Christmas trees, as it were. We’ll see what I end up with. Figuring it out on the fly is part of the fun for me.

I think that public participation in the rituals and traditions of our culture is vitally important, not only for my own kids, but for the continuation of our culture in general. We celebrate a secular version of Christmas, not a religious one, and yeah, I get the issues with that, but it’s what we do… and Americans basically invented most of that from the whole cloth, or stole bits and pieces shamelessly to suit ourselves. It works for us and provides a framework for the coming month. It builds family memories and traditions too. These ARE the ‘good old days’ so do your best to make sure they are “good”.

We are fighting for our very existence culturally. I’ll take every thing I can that helps.

Stack it up, go the extra mile, be the force for change.


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Sat. Nov. 25, 2023 – plans, don’t know why I bother…

Cool and hopefully clear today. D2 made plans. It got to be clear and sunny yesterday, late afternoon. I almost spent the day putting up decorations, but then had other things to do.

Like pick up my Expedition from the repair place. $1400 lighter and I still don’t have a passed inspection. What I do have is new brakes in front, a new sensor, some dirty injectors and fresh oil… and instructions to drive about 100 miles to see if any of the old codes come back. He only changed the sensor for the code that returned after clearing three…

I did get a little auction stuff done and a little clean up. Damn little, but baby steps are still steps. Or that’s what I keep telling myself.

Today D2 wants to go to the Ren Faire. I like that sort of thing, although I won’t be dressing up. D2 will be dressing up. I’m just there for the meat on a stick. It’s the last weekend for the Faire, and I have no idea what the crowd will be like. I don’t think anyone would consider attacking a Ren Faire, but ya’ never know. Arms are not allowed and edged weapons must be ‘peace bonded’. Kid will be carrying a big pointy pig sticker. It’s chinese and doesn’t have sharp edges but the thing would go right through you if applied in the right direction. Should be fun, and it gets us out of the house. Assuming it’s not pouring down rain.

So we’ll be out making memories of the good ole days. Stack them up too.


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