Category: decline and fall

Wed. July 10, 2024 – supposed to have a whole bunch of folks back on the grid today…

Dunno if I’ll be one of them…

Hot and humid continues. Sunny with patchy clouds. REALLY unpleasant if you have to be out in the sun. Hats and longsleeves on to the linemen and others working to restore power. Those fire retardant clothes aren’t lightweight or particularly breathable, or wicking.

Centerpoint said they hoped to have the majority of customers back online today. We could hear and see transformers blowing up yesterday and during the storm, so they have a few more repairs to make than just splicing wires that trees broke. BTW, it’s distinctive when a transformer goes “Ffoomm”. Once you hear it, you’ll always recognize it.

Still running the gennies. Still hotter than is comfortable. Today I may do some poking around with solar, if the sun isn’t too hot. Or maybe some garage or driveway work. I’m reluctant, because if I get too hot, I don’t have a 73F house to fall back to.

Yesterday was cleaning up my rent house and refueling, which I mostly put in comments. Meeting my renter was nice. She’s outgoing, engaging, and grew up in the same general area I did, so it was nice to chat with a homegirl… And she got power back around 10am Tuesday. We used a realtor friend to do the legal parts of finding a tenant this last time, and although I’ve been to the house several times to do work, I never crossed paths with her before yesterday. (can’t be accused of discriminating if you never meet the applicants)

Anyway, cleanup continues, we might get power back today, and there are lessons to learn.

Stack some real world experience to help you identify problems before they are life or death…


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Tues. July 9, 2024 – will we get power restored before I have to head up???

Hot and humid. Likely to be sunny and no rain. Unlike yesterday! The hurricane Beryl winds and rain hit us in the early morning and were gone by late morning. That left us cool and wet, which helped immensely with cleanup.

Details of my day are in yesterday’s comments, very late in the day. AT&T had and is having a lot of cellular network issues. They sent a text that all of Houston would get “unlimited” data and texts, but the network was failing with DNS errors and a variety of issues all day. My wife’s verizon phone mostly worked like a champ but eventually their network got flaky too.

I don’t know if the AT&T fiber stayed up, but it was there when I finally got around to standing my network back up. Still not booting the computers though. The cams have SD cards so will record about 3 days internally, and I don’t want the linux and windows boxen booting and crashing all day… nor do I want them running off the dirty power from the generac. It’s HARD on boards and PSUs.

Today is “make sure W can keep the gennies running” while I head to the BOL to get power restored up there. Also more cleanup in both places. Something with automatic failover is going to be critical if infrastructure continues to be fragile. Considering the aging condition, terror attacks, weather events, etc, it seems pretty likely that infrastructure will continue to degrade. Driving to the BOL and splitting the party whenever we have a long outage is getting a bit old.

Never split the party. It’s a good rule.

Time to get more serious about some of the “just in case” stuff I’ve been stacking.

Stacks give you choices. Choices are good.


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Mon. July 8, 2024 – will we blow away? will we float away? only time will tell

Because it’s gonna be hot and humid unless it’s actually storming. And then I won’t care because I’ll be inside anyway. Supposed to be a hurry-cane headed this way. I’m not feeling the urgency for some reason.

I really do hope it’s a ball of nothing but some heavy rain. We’ll muddle through in any case.

Yesterday was mostly getting stuff buttoned up at the BOL and heading home. Didn’t do a lot of storm prep here because it was raining when I got here. Since then it cleared and hadn’t rained any more when I wrote this at 1am.

Since I’m completely unprepared, I hope it’s nothing. In case it’s not, I guess we’ll fall back on the preps from the last 15 years…

Y’all be safe out there, as it’s sure to suck for someone.

Mean while, think about the hazards local to you and stack accordingly.


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Sun. July 7, 2024 – still plugging away at it

Hot and humid. Didn’t rain yesterday, might today, might not. Even if the macro forecast is correct the micro (local) weather can still be different. Rain, at least a short quick shower, would be welcome.

I didn’t do much yesterday. Got a nap. Read. Ate. Played a game with the family. Played pool with D2. Hid inside.

Today I have stuff to put away, cleanup to do, and “going home” stuff to sort out. If we go home today. Could be we stay another day if the weather in Houston is bad, and it’s nice here. Well, relatively nice.

Flexibility is good. Procrastination is bad. I will probably poke at the irrigation system some more, maybe even plumbing in one of the backup pumps. They are smaller, and might not really get the job done in the long run, but might be a stopgap. Getting the irrigation running has been a thorn in my side for a year. I’d really like to put it behind me.

So I can move on to the next issue.

I’m stacking projects like they were assets instead of liabilities. Dang.

Stack something GOOD.


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Sat. July 6, 2024 – another hot day, more little jobs…

Hot again. We might have gotten some rain overnight, it was in the forecast and there was some lightning in the surrounding areas… but it will probably still be hot.

Spent the day chatting with sibling and spouse. They are athletic and spent the morning jogging, and out on the kayaks. But it was HOT and humid so we spent the afternoon in the shade, just sitting.

I did do some more investigation into my sprinkler pump. It’s not holding prime. I may have to open it up and see if the impeller is worn out. The grass went from “could use some rain” to “dry and crunchy” in the last couple of days so I would really like to run the sprinklers.

The garden is still producing but if we don’t water it, or get some rain, it will be done soon.

Today will be about spending some time with guests before they head to the airport. Then I’ll do some work. Probably. But it will be small jobs.

It was great to have the community gather for the fireworks. Lots of people in the park, lots floating in boats to watch the show. Lot of flags and even some bunting on the houses I can see. Nice to come together.

Work on stacking some friends and neighbors. You’ll need them the most when things get tough.


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Fri. July 5, 2024 – fireworks tonight, yea!

Hot and very humid. Sunny and broiling. This week has been the same, temps around 100F and RH around 85%. Really unpleasant except when the wind blows and you are in the shade. And it will probably continue until we get the edges of Beryl.

I spent the day not working. Oh I did a bit of moving stuff around, but the decorations and flags were already up, and it was crazy hot.

Today I will probably do some small things, but it’s nice to just sit and chat with people.

Stacking some good times, and building community. Worth doing.

Get out and do some of your own.


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Thur. July 4, 2024 – Independence Day

And it’s going to be a hot one. Yesterday was hot and humid with fluffy clouds for an occasional break in the brain boiling sun. Maybe today will have some clouds too.

Whatever the weather, we’ll be taking some time to acknowledge what we’ve had, and what we’ve lost. Tomorrow we’ll have a community celebration that will involve lots of fire and explosions. Hooray!


I did get a bunch of small things done, and then our guests arrived. I got the A/C in the garage plumbed in, and closed the holes in the ceiling. Two units are running, but it isn’t cold, it’s cooler, but not as much as I hoped.

I did test the irrigation pump, and despite being under water for two or three days, it ran. I need to prime it and finish the intake pipe change I started to make, and test it to see if it is still moving water, but at least it spun up, and didn’t sound any different from before the flood.

I took some time to decorate my dock with red white and blue bunting. I’m flying an extra flag today too. We are across from our neighborhood fireworks show, so a lot of people will see my decorations. Love my country, hate…

Hung a string of lights back up over the deck. They are pretty and festive, and useful as the deck has steps.

Did some small and general “yard work” things including killing a bunch of wasps and soaking their nests with poison. One stung me, so I ended them. The roll-on version of “Fire Out” topical analgesic doesn’t last as long as the product with little glass ampules that you break and wipe on your sting. Helps, works great while it works, but doesn’t last. I’ve mentioned the other product before, when talking about my septic guy and fire ants. (Can’t find a package at the moment to look at the name.)

I’m getting really annoyed with the people who are suddenly saying “oh my, look at bidden, he’s a confused old man!” We’ve been saying that for a long time, but NOW you decide to notice? Either oblivious or mendacious, neither is good when considering the President’s fitness for office. In other words, you should have noticed before now, or you are a lying sack of sh!te.

Next week I’ll take up shouting at clouds and shaking my fist at the sky.

Meanwhile, I’ll stack. In an uncertain world, where everyone seems to have gone mad, or is getting mad, it makes me feel better to know my family can eat well.

It’ll make you feel better too!


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Wed. July 3, 2024 – plumbing. Yuck. and then family, yea!

Hot and humid, with it staying in low to mid 80s at night. With some storm action possibly coming for the weekend, I’m looking forward to a couple more days of nice (but hot) weather.

I started in Houston Tuesday after driving home at midnight. Plan was to take the kid to the dentist, get my fangs cleaned, do a pickup and head back to the BOL with my hand snake, and sewer cleaning machine. Then I’d pull the toilet and unclog the pipes, and all would be good for the rest of the family to arrive today.

Most of that happened. My hand snake was too short, and my powered snake was NFG. Houston weather took its toll on the motor. So I have a plumber coming some time this morning. Sucks that I had the tools and the knowledge, but didn’t take good enough care of the tool. I used it more than once so it paid for itself almost double, but today’s bill would have been avoidable too.

Stacks are no good if they rot.

And if you are responsible for your own infrastructure, you better be ready to step up. I thought I was ready, if reluctant. Nope.


I am really liking the small shortwave radio I’ve been using lately.

It’s compact, really pulls in the signals, handles SSB very well so the ham bands are easy to listen to, and it’s pretty ergonomic- I can run it by touch in the dark with its large display giving a lot of info. Fine tuning in SSB, and easily select-able bandwidth filters are icing on the cake. It could use a better way to stand it at an angle, and the leather case doesn’t play as well with the antenna as I’d like but those are quibbles. I’ve recommended not getting a small SW radio in the past, but I like this one a LOT.

Today, after the plumbing is sorted, I’ll be getting ready for guests and knocking small things off the list.

Then maybe I can relax a bit with family…

And stack some good times. These are the good ol days.


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Tues. July 2, 2024 – in Houston

Hot in Houston. Hot at the BOL. Humid. Really humid. More of the same with the added bonus of a possible hurricane coming later in the week. Joy.

Started the day at the BOL. Did a bunch of work, but very slowly. Then just before I was ready to leave, the shower and toilet in the master bath stopped draining. Spent a couple of hours trying to deal with that, and ended up heading home at midnight.

I’ll take the kid to the dentist, grab my auction pickup, load up my drain snake and drain machine, and head back up. I’ll have part of a day to get it sorted. I’d really rather just call someone, but since I’m home to get the fangs polished, I guess I can at least take a swing at it. It’s why I own the machine…

So this post will be very short. I’m up late, gotta get up early, and then have a lot of driving to do followed by pulling a toilet and snaking a sewer line….

I’ve got the tools in the stacks, and the knowledge, I’d just rather not do it but sometimes you don’t get a choice.

Stack some specialist tools. Might come in handy.


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Mon. July 1, 2024 – still working… still hot

And I do mean HOT. RH in the mid 80s too, which makes it all miserable. Still gotta keep working though, just need a fan and to stay out of the sun.

I got a bunch of stuff done yesterday. The wall of the garage that I had open to do all the utility work is now closed up. I did an another circuit and a quad box to that wall for the A/C unit.

I built a tall cabinet for the wine/beverage fridge and the “garage” oven. Made mistakes 3 times working on the opening for the oven, so I took that as a sign it was too late and my brain was fried, and called it a day. Long day, but I feel good about getting stuff done.

Today I’ll finish and get the garage back together. I will probably run out of time and leave the shed a mess. Didn’t get to un-stacking the collapsing retaining wall. Probably for the better given the high temps. Still need to clean and blow out the house. Didn’t do any tree work other than moving some previously cut limbs to the burn pile.

I’ll run the mower one more time before I leave, and get the part of the park I missed earlier in the week. I want it to be nice for the holiday crowd. It’s my contribution to our little community.

In my garage cleanup I found two jars of mint jelly. I thought I had brought some up, but I never moved it from the pile of stuff dumped out of the wife’s car to the proper stack. Would never have looked for it in a tool bag, but there it was… If you can’t find it, you don’t have it.

Lots to do today, we’ll see how much I get done. Need to head home tonight to take the kids for their fang cleaning on Tuesday. And I’m sure I’ve got other stuff waiting for my attention too.

Stacks are a good thing. Make sure you go through them occasionally though to refresh your memory of what you have and where it is. And then stack some more.


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