Category: decline and fall

Tues. Sept. 19, 2023 – running around like a headless chicken…

Cool to start but warming rapidly. And humid. Meanwhile, a couple of hours north, it’s below 70F at night, and the leaves are turning…

Did several smaller things on The List ™ at the BOL yesterday. Then I spent a while chatting with my buddy and his wife while evening fell. Finally got all my stuff put away and headed home.

Power had been out in our neighborhood for 2 hours. Wife and kids were grumpy. So grumpy. Can’t put off the transfer switch and gennie work any longer. That is three times now in less than 2 month that we’ve had outages lasting more than 2 hours. Not encouraging.

PC needs work too. I’ll try a new PSU first. Didn’t want to dig it out from under the desk and fall down that rabbit hole again. Not now anyway, but it won’t start up. I miss the days of actual power switches. I REALLY hope the new PSU does the trick. I’m in no mood to rebuild my main PC.

Today though, I’m doing Dr. appointments. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. Y’all said “get checked out” so I am. Thoroughly. Rubber glove and invasive cameras thoroughly. So far, nothing wrong. There are still places they haven’t yet looked though. Those places are next. Joy. At least we still have a medical system, and it still works reasonably well.

If you’ve got any mystery issues, or anything that might need attention, this is as good a time as any to get them looked at. I’ve put it off as long as I could, but that was dumb. Our world could change tomorrow. It does that periodically. Don’t get caught wishing you’d had something fixed while you had the chance.

Stack up some health care… while you can.


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Mon. Sept. 18, 2023 – kid’s will have to get themselves ready for school…

Cool to start, warm later, and maybe even hot, before it cools off again. Yesterday followed that pattern. Fall is in the air at the BOL if not yet in Houston.

I didn’t do any big projects yesterday. I did a bunch of little things though. Main effort was cleaning up the dockhouse, as I’ve stashed bins full of electrical and plumbing supplies there while I was working. I’m done in that area, so I should clean up after myself. I don’t have a good place for that stuff to live long term, so I’ll probably end up stacking it in the garage and moving it several more times.

I also did a bit of prep for a post/column replacement project. It will take more time than I had this visit, but at least I’ve got some of it ready. They hold up a porch roof on the dock house, and they need to be replaced. Everything is there now, and ready to go.

Did some fishing. At one point I could see 4 or 5 big fish hunting in a pack. They were doing lazy circles in the cove, occasionally snatching a smaller bait fish. I tried 3 different baits, but didn’t get any hits. I watched them and tried for about 45 minutes. They had to be 18-24 inches long maybe longer.

I’d really like to start catching something…

And the fall garden probably needs to go in the ground if I’m going to try this year. Maybe I’ll get some work done on it next weekend.

There’s always a list of things that need doing.

And things that need stacking.

Get busy! Stack your own stuff.


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Sun. Sept. 17, 2023 – chores, then home…

Cool. Actually cool. 70F when I went to bed. Yesterday ended up being nice up here, cooler and relatively clear. I’m hoping for a cooler day today as I try to get some actual stuff done.

Saturday I got my CT scan then headed to the BOL. I did two pickups on the way. Another 100 gallon rain water collection barrel, and a metal cabinet. The barrel will stay up here, the cabinet too. I’ll bring a couple of cabinets home with me when I leave. It should make for better pantry storage than what I’ve been doing. I’m hoping that two of them are pretty much the same size, just for appearance’s sake.

I cut the grass when I got here, then spent some time fishing and talking with my buddy. He’s on a fixed income and the rise in inflation is putting a serious crimp on him and most of the people he knows. Things are trending downhill fast.

I also noticed three new “For Sale” signs on my way, closer to the BOL. I’ll have to do some looking around, but one was some land that had been in timber. They’ve harvested the trees, and it looks like they’re selling now. The others will take a bit of research. I see it as another indicator that people are trying to raise cash.

Hard times are here. The number of people noticing seems to be what’s increasing now.

Be alert for opportunities.
Stack what you need.


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Sat. Sept. 16, 2023 – gonna get my cat scanned… oh, what do you mean it’s not that kind of…

Just a touch of cool? Then more hot, with a double helping of humid? I hope not but that’s what I’m expecting. We had a nice cool morning yesterday, and then buckets of rain in the afternoon, but only locally. I don’t think my house got wet, but where I was driving was biblical. It didn’t last long, and I don’t think it was enough, but it did get stuff wet.

I did my pickup. Chatted with the auction staff. He volunteered that he’s changing his product mix because “people are out of money and will only be spending on essentials.” That makes him my fourth auctioneer that thinks buyers are out of money. Even my wife thinks that might be true, because she tried to sell D2’s American Girl ™ stuff through the farcebook trading group, and got no takers. Even after dropping the price, no one bought it. One thinks it might be a hangover from ‘back to school’ spending, but that’s a minority view. I have a feeling they’re right, and people are tapped out.

Did my grocery shopping in the evening. Cream was limited to three items. Most other stuff seemed to be in stock. They had pork loin on sale, like Costco did, and some pork ribs. Beef chuck roast was only $3.50/pound so I got the limit for that, and the ribs. I’m ok with the pork loin I already bought. Prices are still way up for other stuff. Canned veg is almost double pre-wuflu prices and pasta hasn’t been onsale this year. Everyone is talking about how expensive food is.


I’ll be spending this morning getting a CT scan of abdomen and guts, with and without contrast. I’ve had that before and it’s pretty unpleasant. Nothing wrong with me so far, but the exams continue.

After that, I’ve got two pickups that are about a third of the way to the BOL, so I’m just going to head up there after my appointment. My buddy says it’s been raining, so the grass probably needs cutting, and there are always other things to do if it’s still raining. Who knows? Might even get a chance to practice fishing.

Stacking some crappie would be nice.

Stack something my friends, while it’s here and you have the means.


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Fri. Sept. 15, 2023 – another week gone, and closer to the end of the year

Hot. But less so. Humid. But more so. Actually got rain yesterday in measurable amounts even if I didn’t measure it. Weather station is still not connecting with the display. Still, I know there was some rain as things were wet and later the afternoon rain messed up my plans for the day.

I did take a few things to my auctioneer. Not what I wanted to do, but I told him I’d bring some more, and I did. We didn’t do any settlements, but we did talk about bringing in more stuff. I’ll keep bringing it, he’ll keep selling it.

Doctor visit was uneventful. In order to take a closer look at my arteries, we’ll get some CT imaging, so he can see if there are any indications of a problem. This getting old business is not for the weak.

Today is more auction stuff, weather permitting. I’ve got one pickup, maybe two, and if it’s cool, I can sort and stack for next week’s drop off. I’ve got to do some grocery shopping too. Domestic bliss. There’s always something that needs doing.

Oh, and I should meet the new tenant and hand over keys. That will be great if we can manage to meet. It’ll be good to get rent again, and the deposit.

I’m still getting tax stuff together for my accountant, and doing bills and other desk work, so there will be stuff to do, even if it’s pouring down.

Gotta keep moving, gotta keep stacking.

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Thur. Sept. 14, 2023 – more bins of stuff to the auction…

Hot and humid. Slightly less hot, but still. 80F to start the day is hot. An actual hot wind before the distant storm is hot. And I expect more of the same today. Maybe with the added joy of a thunderstorm. We did get a spatter of moisture from the sky late afternoon yesterday, but nothing that stuck. And we saw distant lightning with strong winds while watching the marching band last night, but it never got to us. I’d just as soon avoid rain for another day.

It avoided us yesterday and I was able to get several more bins to the auctioneer. A flip top bin full of lego weighs quite a lot, enough that it’s hard to lift chest high anyway… and I’ve still got at least one more to go. So far no really valuable lego, but you never know. Auctioneer takes a look through before listing, and sometimes sorts some of the mini-figs out for their own lot. C3PO is worth finding if you might have him. There are several versions but they are all expensive for lego.

Today I’ve got a Dr appointment in the morning, then more auction stuff in the afternoon. I’ll be doing a couple of pickups on Saturday. I won a metal cabinet and a 100 gallon rainwater storage barrel, both about an hour north of me. I was hoping to get them on the way to the BOL, but we’ll see how that shakes out. Meanwhile, I’ve got an item or two here in town, and a few more bins ready to drop off. Prices are still low, and it’s beginning to look like a real slowdown. Dang. Nothing like waiting too long… although realistically, it’s happening when it’s happening, and I wasn’t able to bring loads to my local guy before now. One seller thinks it just might be people are over-extended from back to school spending and it will recover soon. I hope she’s right.

BTW, metal cabinet will stay here for my pantry. The cans in dispenser racks, and some other stuff was out on shelves and I’ve decided it needs to be enclosed. The stuff in plastic bins and tubs on the shelves has been fine, protected from the elements and the rats, but I want to do what I’ve been doing at the BOL and put the rest in metal cabinets. It still won’t be “cool”, but it will be “dark” and protected from more stuff, including prying eyes. At my secondary location, I’ve hung bedsheets with magnets to cover the metal shelves and contents. The more obscured the preps are from casual observation, the better I’m feeling.

Keep it secret. Keep it safe. And keep stacking it!


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Wed. Sept. 13, 2023 – nope, I got nuthin’

It is a bit cooler in the morning now, several days in a row. I call that a trend, and might be the end of summer. Still getting plenty hot during the day, especially when the fusion furnace is in the sky irradiating all of us.

And hurricanes are coming one right after another, after a very slow start to the season.

Today the national forecast has us firmly in the middle of some possible rain, with the same for Thursday too. I wouldn’t mind, except that I’ve got drop offs to do, and the truck is open to the weather… so I’m hoping that it doesn’t necessarily rain on my patch of dirt. We could use it though.

I did auction stuff most of the early part of yesterday. Drove out and did a pickup. Did some bin shopping since I was in part of town I don’t get to all that often. I got some good resale items, as well as a couple of neat things for the kids, or me…

Did some domestic bliss, laundry, haircut, cleanup… there is a lot of stuff spread around the house as I pull stuff for the auctions.

Dinner was a box meal, cheese, mac, and chicken. Canned chicken was a year past ‘best by’ and was fine. Box meal kit was in date. The cheese will last longer than the date in a foil pouch, but the sour cream in the “seasoning” packet will get an ‘old’ flavor if you let it go too long. In general, prepared food with high fat content seems to age out before the other ingredients.

Vac sealed 6 pounds of hamburger. I pack 1 1/3 pounds into a square storage container to form it, then put it in a bag and vac seal. They sit on the shelf better that way, and I have just enough for dinner. All the recipes that call for 1 pound get the extra 1/3 to feed the meat eater, and they taste just fine. Still need to break down the pork loin, but since it is in the heavy vac pack, I have a bit more time. Still, better to do it right away than to delay. It’ll make roasts, chops, and a bit for pulled pork.

Today I’ve got to pull more for the auctions, and hopefully will do some settlement with my auctioneer after I drop off the next round of stuff. Frankly I could use the money. I should do some ebay listing too, but I’ve been dragging my feet on that.

One of the pickups from yesterday was a new old stock, Dell labelled Key Tronic full sized ps/2 keyboard. Heavy as a mother, clicky keys, F keys across the top… made in USA. It’s not super valuable on ebay, but there does still seem to be good demand. I couldn’t leave it behind… And that is my problem. Lack of discipline. Yup. Lack. Or sentimentality. Could be that too.

In any case, I’ve got a bunch of ebay stuff, some quite pricey, that I could list, and not have to grind on $20 items. Maybe today. If it rains.

Stack while you can. Do what you can to raise funds. Get your life in order.


(share your story and inspire me!)

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Tues. Sept. 12, 2023 – tired and busy.

Hot today but a cooler start. It went from 72F to 96+ yesterday over the course of the day and I pretty much expect the same today. The cooler start is appreciated.

Did my pickups. Spent some time at my storage at the end of the day.

Today I’ve got to do more sorting and stacking for the auction. Ideally I’d take a load to the auctioneer with me later. His crew is getting my stuff listed and online very quickly and if I can keep feeding them, they’ll keep doing it. Win for me, win for them.

While I’m at my desk I’ve been ripping my way through a stack of CDs and a few DVDs. It’s good to be making progress on that project. The CDs go very quickly.

Clearing up some of the stacks of stuff, either by selling them, or scanning them to disk, is a good thing.

Meanwhile the world turns and the sands slip through the hourglass, and our world continues to shift and realign. It will look inevitable when they write the history books, no matter that it’s fits and starts and mostly opaque changes while it’s happening. We can see the trend, and it’s not currently toward more liberty, more wealth, and more happiness.

Take the hint and stack.


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Sun. Sept. 10, 2023 – a day to rest? Or just another day to work…

It’s been a bit cooler in the morning lately, not cool as such but cooler. And it was cooler at night last night. Still crossed 100F during the day, and was high 90s in the shade. It’s been a couple of years since we had a run like this, and I’ll be glad when it’s over.

Had my non-prepping hobby meeting. Went to lunch with a couple of the guys afterwards. I don’t usually take the time to do that, and I think I should. Ate at a burger joint near my house that I’ve been driving past for over a decade without going in. It was pretty old school, and the food was good honest and relatively cheap. Clientele bordered on creepy. There were a number of what looked like street people, and some very edgy types. Not a comfortable vibe. No families having brunch on Saturday. We were a group of five and I was glad for it being clear we were all together, and we were ‘self contained’ with social bubble around us. Hard to explain, but we all knew each other, and there wasn’t really an opening for anyone to intrude on that. Not a place I’d willingly take the kids, and I wouldn’t want my wife to go there alone. At least not at 1130am Saturday.

Very valuable intel and important to help me understand the area around my house. I might stop in for lunch or breakfast again, and see if it’s different at a different time. Or I might just mark it “here there might be dragons.”

Meatspace baby, you need to get out of the house. Things are changing rapidly out there in the world, and your mental model probably needs to be updated. Drive down the road you don’t usually take, drive the opposite direction of your normal path, and really look around. I’m betting there will be stuff that surprises you.

If nothing else, it might convince you to further fort up, and stack, because now you’ve seen and smelled some of your neighbors.

Stack some situational awareness this week. And more food.


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Sat. Sept. 9, 2023 – time flies when you are having fun…

Hot and hotter. There is a rumor of rain and cooler temps but I’m not holding my breath. It was plenty hot yesterday. I was soaked to the skin and feeling very hot as I loaded up my truck and sorted out some bins of auction stuff.

I had to sit in the air conditioned truck for a while and cool down.

I did get another load to auction. Failed to pick up from two others. Those were the pickups I had missed or delayed thinking I’d have time. They both close early on Friday, which I know now

I’ll have to take time next week to get the stuff.

I ended up at Costco instead, where I got a few pleasant surprises (prices for protein, and for rice) and a bunch of the things I buy regularly were on sale. The overall ticket was still shockingly high. I haven’t bought stacks of meat in a while. I used to feel like a certain number was a big number, but yesterday I was double that, and didn’t buy paper products or purely prep items. Double, despite the discounts and the actual low prices on some items (pork roast was only $2/pound).


Today my non-prepping hobby meets. We’ll show and tell the stuff we picked up at the show, and management will do a ‘lessons learned’ AAR following the meeting. It went very well, but there are always things you can tweak. I just don’t want to get shanghied into running it next year. I’m willing to be support, but shouldn’t be in charge.

I think that is the best description of how I see myself- as an expediter, clearing the path for the other people to do the work, managing the problems so that they can keep going toward the goal. An awful lot of my various careers boiled down to that, when I wasn’t holding tools myself. In the most extreme application, people don’t even see that you are working, because they don’t see the resources already put in place, the permits already obtained, the backup shipper waiting to be called in if there is an issue… the drawings, plans, schedules, money, or relationships. It looks EASY.

There are parallels to my prepping too. We didn’t skip a beat when the lockdown came. I did my “last run” but probably could have skipped it. We had masks, disinfectant, TP, food, etc. When it was time for the kids to do school, we had stuff to make that transition. When my wife wished she had a second monitor for work, I offered her a choice from ones I had stashed. Of course there were things I missed and stuff I didn’t have, but the stuff I did have made 90% of the transition easy.

I’m starting to feel like the next transition will catch me more flat footed. I feel like I’ll be lucky to get to 50%. It’s not a question of taking it seriously but of taking it seriously ENOUGH. I feel a crisis of faith coming. Stacks are comforting, but not enough on their own. I need to figure out what else I need to get ready. And then I need to actually do it.

Ay carumba. So much angst. You’d think I was in my teens again.

Look around and ask yourself it things are getting better or worse. Ask what it would take to make it better. Do you see that thing actually happening? If you don’t see it getting better, or can’t see a clear path to better, you should be topping up your preps and making plans.

Expedite your own survival and success. And stack, always stack.


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