Wed. Oct. 20, 2021 – so much to do

Another cool and not rainy day. I was going to write “dry” but it’s humid enough that the word ‘dry’ just doesn’t fit. Although with the cooler temps, the humidity is less of an issue. And it still got scalp-scorchingly hot in the mid afternoon when the sun came out.

I actually did a lot of stuff yesterday, but because it was bracketed by chauffeuring daughter 1 around, it felt like an unproductive day. Orthodontist, vet, client, pickup, drop off, school, home, cooking something new, relax, crash, wake…

After all the worrisome behaviour, by bed time puppy Zeus was back to his normal activity level. Still not as eager to eat as usual though, and will be getting extra observation.

Solved my client’s immediate maintenance issue, but further confirmed that we’re not ready for his ‘rip and replace’ upgrade. That is going to have to move up my priority list.

And I need to kick out some more work on my industrial ‘pallet’ auction. I can’t wait too long or I’ll be in the dip between Thanksgiving and February when sales dry up for everything not Christmas related. I missed my window and it sucks because now I’m trying to fit it along side everything else.

Time management skills, I’m lacking them this month.

But what else can you do but keep on plugging away? That’s the secret ingredient for success in most things- keep showing up, keep doing the work.

It’s true for disaster preparedness too. Steady consistent progress, or equally valid, periodic repeated surges of activity, either one will advance you toward your goals.

So keep stacking. Friends, skills, stuff. You’ll need all three and more when the revolution comes.

nick

Tues. Oct. 19, 2021 – gaps in shelves, gaps in preps

Cool, dry, sunny and nice. Like Monday was. This is the great Fall weather we look forward to. I hope we get a bunch more of it.

Spent the day yesterday messing around. My productivity is poor. I did get one sold item packed and shipped. Got a few items listed. Picked up D2 for our afternoon together, and hoped to get just a couple things at the store on the way home, and then work on our shelf painting project.

The store turned into a full grocery run. I went to the “big” HEB in the area. I haven’t been there in a while, and I figured they’d have more choices and stock, and they have some items our “little” store doesn’t carry that I needed. I was wrong.

They did have more choices for some stuff. They carry a large selection of non-alcohol beers and it got even larger. The whole display is 6ft x 6ft, but they cram a lot of choice, if not a lot of actual bottles, into that area. I stocked up on beer that I haven’t had in months. I was also able to get the diet ginger beer I love, and they had 4 six packs on the shelf (in the ‘mixer’ section). It’s imported and always low stock. So that was good and accomplished about 80% of what I went in for.

The other stuff was either targets of opportunity, or “while I’m here I might as well grab another gallon of milk” stuff, except for soda for the kids (and me, diet Dr Pepper is a vice.) Thinking that the big store would have more stock, I was very surprised by the limited choice in the soda aisle. Soup was the same. Few varieties of Campbells, a few varieties of HEB brand, and that was it. The little store had more choices, more brands, and more stock for soda and soup.

There were empty shelves all over the store. Most aisles had at least one section with a couple of empty shelves, about 6ft at a time. I had the noisy and inquisitive child with me so I didn’t deep dive into it, but it was more than normal daily restocking issues. That store is some sort of test bed for corporate. They are always messing with the layout and moving things around. There are always groups of corporate weinies standing in clumps in the aisle armwaving and ‘directing’ something. I was still surprised that they rearranged most of the store, outside of the edges and freezers. The location of 70% of the SKUs must have changed. It was therefore hard to compare with previous trips whether aisles were wider, or number of ‘faces’ for each type of item had changed.

I guess the moral of the story is, we are still seeing shortages of food. There was a store full of food to eat, but there were missing items, and missing categories of items. I can see that expanding very easily. My freezers are full. My wife thinks we have too much food. She doesn’t think the US will ever be generally short of food, SOME kind of food will be available, but she does expect that you might not be able to get exactly what you want when you want it. When I pressed her for WHY she thinks that, she didn’t have a good reason, except essentially, “Murika Yea!” I’ve got LOTS of reasons and arguments to support my point of view on the subject. She just can’t imagine America short of food. My feeling is, it’s happened before, it can happen again. It’s happened elsewhere, it can happen here. I hope I’m wrong. Honestly, I do.

But I’m still gonna stack…

nick

Mon. Sept. 6, 2021 – Labor Day, or Punch a commie in the salami day

Hot and humid. Still. And all day yesterday as well. So I hid inside and did office stuff.

I spent some time getting stuff moved around, pulling the old UPSs out, and putting the new UPS in place. Then had to move the computers and NAS drive to the UPS. Since I had the NVR off, I figured I’d upgrade the fans and clean it. Well, I got some dust blown out. See yesterday’s comments for the rest of the details if you want to know why you should buy from Dell’s small business division and not Costco.

Started copying stuff to the NAS until a poorly behaved uninstall routine shut down ALL instances of file mangler, including the copy window. It was taking ridiculously long anyway. I’ll try connecting the NAS directly as a USB drive for the copy next time. The newest firmware for the box is from 2008. I’m not recommending Buffalo as there is not long term support (and the company is probably gone anyway, right?) There isn’t any reason for a box o drives to go out of support.

Did some cleaning and organizing.

Put the dog and D1 to bed but the dog just wouldn’t settle. Lots of yipping. Then I heard it too. Noise from the attic. Yup. Caught a rat on a gel trap. No idea where he got stuck, because the trap wasn’t anywhere near where they were set. Have I mentioned I don’t really like the live traps? I got my gloves, and a bag, and the rat plus the trap took a trip to 2×4 land and then into the trash. Dog settled right down and everyone went to sleep. Vermin. Only gonna increase as the troubles affect services. Stack some traps and poisons now.

In fact assume that you’ll be providing at least a portion of every service you receive now. Think about any way to leverage that to your advantage too. There are surely services that people will want. Maybe old school laptops with linux and no tracking built in? Maybe Faraday cage lined purses? Hardwired networking instead of wifi? Cameras? There will be something. There are always opportunities.

Stay centered and ready to move in any direction, mentally and physically. Provide for yourself so you can help others (if that’s your thing, but if not, you miss out on some opportunities you only get if you are out there in it.)

Stack it high.

nick

Thur. Aug. 19, 2021 – more stuff to the auction

Hot and humid, more rain later. Although cooler in the morning and late afternoon than the hottest of days, it’s still getting hot in the early afternoon, especially when the sun is out. And someone in Houston is getting rained on every day.

As I drove around town yesterday, I was in and out of rain, and it rained at the house.

I spent the morning sorting and packing auction stuff. I had a bunch that hadn’t been sorted that I found when I moved some of the other…. Packed four bins worth and got it to the auctioneer in early afternoon. Then did a round of pickups and headed home. I’d have taken more on that trip, but that’s really all that fit in the Expy. Today I will pick up the Ranger pickup. The mechanic called and it’s ready. Lots more room for ‘stuff’ in the back, if the rain holds off.

The Ranger needed a bunch of work and I don’t have the total bill yet. If it’s under $1000 I’ll be happy. I haven’t spent much on maintenance over the years so it was due. There is still other stuff it needs too, like a windshield, and the insurance body work. I need it for a week though, so that will be put off again. It’s always something. At least with the two trucks I’ve had some backup, even if the usage is different.

Getting out in the world and talking to people can get you all sorts of information. You never know what you’ll hear, or how important it will end up being. Yesterday I got a bit about the presence of a respiratory virus in kids hospitalized with covid. A bit of confirmation when I got home, and it’s a real thing, although the magnitude and impact is yet to be determined. One practical bit, it gives us a really good reason to continue with masking our kids in indoor social settings. RSV is nasty enough, and if it opens you to bad covid, I’d just as soon skip it.

So today should be packing up and delivering more auction stuff. Followed by a second round if the rain holds off, or if not, then I have a couple more pickups-one needful thing, and a carpet “pet stain” cleaning machine.

While young Zeus is much better at going outside when he needs to, he still will soil the floor when he can. Spray cleaner and paper towel looks like it does the job, but I’d like a bit more cleaning, hence the machine. Our dog sitter has one and uses it multiple times per day.

Apropos of nothing, did you know that Black powder pistols and long arms are not considered to be firearms in the state of Texas and may be freely carried either open or concealed without permit or prejudice? And that there is a muzzle loader only season for deer? Or that there are very modern muzzleloading rifles, many available with scopes? Some things to look into…

Things happen slowly, then all at once. You can adjust the scale afterwards to figure out how slowly, or how long ‘all at once’ really was, but when you’re in it, I’m sure it feels pretty dang sudden. Even if you’ve been expecting it, when the reality hits you, I’m sure there is ‘that moment’. We’ve been in the ‘slowly’ part for 20 years. ‘Bout time for the ‘suddenly’ part. I’ll note in passing that several of the bloggers I read daily are emphasizing prepper themes all of a sudden. Medical, food, location, and defense being primary among them. It ain’t just me tellin’ ya… get crackin’ on yer stackin’!

nick

Sun. July 25, 2021 – hooray, pack is back together…

Hot and humid again. No rain in the forecast for today, although the edge of the zone isn’t that far away. Yesterday was over 100F in the sun and the humidity was high enough stuff didn’t dry outside. So of course I needed to be working in the heat. It was a little bit cooler at my secondary location, mainly because the sun was mostly hidden, and there was a bit of a breeze.

I just kept hammering away (or sawing and carrying) pulling a trade show exhibit out of its shipping containers and piling the pieces up for trash or recycle. Carry, cut, carry, cut, plod…. The end goal is worth the drudgery. The drudgery should have been done years ago, btw. Real Life ™ got in the way though. Danged Real Life ™, always making demands…

Before I could go do that work, I needed to be home to greet the kids on their return from camp. Lots of fun was had, some things were learned. Oldest didn’t quite make her ‘Mariner’ certificate. They try to fit a longer course into the week and it didn’t quite make it. Still, she now officially knows more about sailing small boats than I do.

I had two vehicle issues. My Ranger battery appears to have died. I’ll look at replacing that today or tomorrow. The heat here kills batteries and it’s been hot. I’m pretty sure I looked at the battery not too very long ago and decide it was near EOL. Poor timing, but not a tragedy as I have the other truck to backup the Ranger.

Took the backup truck to work, and on the way home the Expedition got a flat tire. There is some more detail in yesterday’s comments, but the 10,000 foot look is one of potential fail. I was all set to swap in the spare, which I had a high degree of confidence in, because I actually look at it fairly often, and thump it once in a while, and I’d done that when I bought the truck. It was fine, and I knew how to get it out from under the truck. I’d also checked that the jack and tools were there when I bought, and I added a couple of things to that compartment when I moved into the truck. I recognized that I’d run over something and was able to get to a safe and flat area- all set to be all self sufficient…

And then the lug wrench didn’t fit the lug nuts. Seriously? Upgraded ‘fancy’ wheels. They must use bigger nuts than stock and no one ever realized. Or whatever they did to compensate didn’t get transferred to me when the sale went through.

Here’s the prep part. I considered using the can of Slime Fix a Flat to just repair the tire and get home. Then I thought about the mess when actually fixing it and decide the situation didn’t call for it. I could have used my plug kit and 12v compressor to effect a repair, but it would have to be redone for ‘realz’ by my tire guy, and really, grid up. Only 6 miles from home. So I called AAA for help. I figured the tire tech would have the right sized lug wrench and it would only take a few minutes to change the tire. I was right, and was back on my way after about 45 minutes total.

Having a roadside service company is a prep. All the stuff in bins in the back of the truck is prepping. Prepping is really about having options. Prepping CREATES options. Absolute worst case I could have abandoned the vehicle and walked home. I’ve got a dozen different routes I’m familiar with between that point and home. I’ve got two cases of mountain house and water in the truck. I was wearing sturdy shoes, and armed sufficiently for most encounters. I had a wide continuum of choices because of my preps.

In the end, I didn’t use the stacks, I used the credit card… and my connections to society, because we’re still grid up, and it was the least disruptive choice as well as the second fastest. It also points out the importance of practicing and USING your preps. The spare tire is the prep for a flat, and as a system it failed when I needed it because I hadn’t tested it. New vehicle, should have been tested.

While I didn’t use the stacks this time, they were there if I had needed them. Stack some for yourselves…

n

Sat. July 24, 2021 – the pack will be reunited…

Hot and humid, but maybe no rain. Forecast says we’re dry today. We were dry yesterday although it did get stinking hot. 103F in the sun is hot.

Spent the morning keeping the puppy calm while the cleaners were here, and doing some auction stuff.

Spent the afternoon cutting stuff up and pulling it out of the stacks at my secondary location. I got another 3ft x 5ft x 4ft tall cubic volume opened up. Only about 10 like that left to go. I am using the sawzall to good effect though.

Today I’m headed back over to work on more of that. First thing though, my wife will be collecting the girls from camp. I think I better be home to greet them after being gone for 8 days. The whole pack will be together for the first time in over a week. Doggy will lose his little mind to have his girl back home.

Even with clearing out space, I think I’m still going to explore having my first pallet load auction at their warehouse. If I clear enough space for 6 pallets, and then fill it with pallets, that will stop me working further for a month while the auction process runs its course. If I get those pallets OUT of the way, then I can continue setting up the next six for the auctions after that. Then I should have enough space to get more stuff set up. I’ll lose time and money by doing it that way, but it will move the process along, and I’m already months behind.

While that is going on, hopefully I’ll have a bunch of stuff in another local auction too. Maybe several, although I’ve given up on my ‘industrial’ guy. The stuff I sent him last time made up the last few lots of the auction, wasn’t well described, and brought no money. It was very disappointing.

Other than adding some meat to the freezers and some other food to the shelves, it was a slow week for prepping. I did have one ebay sale this week, after a couple of months of no sales at all, and on an item I’ve been selling occasionally for a couple of years. I’ve got a few left, and it was a surprisingly good score for me. It’s only $10 profit on each sale, but I’ve sold a pallet load of them over the years.

All the usual admonitions and observations are in place, you know what you need to do….

nick

Fri. July 23, 2021 – week flew by…

Hot and humid, chance of rain. We only got a few spatters in the late afternoon yesterday, but it was certainly hot and humid.

I left the house late in the day to do my errands, but came back shortly. Puppy was a bit lethargic after his shots and I didn’t want to leave him alone too long. When I got home, he was out of the crate and bopping around so that was a relief.

Since I was home, and heavy trash/ green waste pickup is today, I took down some of the trees and branches along the back fence. In the 13 years we’ve been here, the small ornamental trees have gotten pretty big, and I’ve been thinning them out over time. I took one out, and one double trunk on another, plus a double trunk on a third. That opened up room for the remaining trees to grow more symmetrically and to impinge on the power and phone lines less.

Then I had to drag all that stuff out to the street. I was pretty well soaked in sweat, but since I had the electric chainsaw out, I cut down the orange and grapefruit trees too. They were not coming back, even as zombies. I’ll have to pull the stumps later.

Got that cleaned up, cleaned myself up and the my wife and I actually went out to dinner. We ended up on the patio of a neighborhood “brewhouse” place, the kind of place with 40 beers on tap and a limited menu of ‘bar food’. It’s modern versions of bar food, but basically tacos, burgers, and fries, with a couple of salads and apps. Had a nice burger and a mediocre beer. Non-alcohol beer so, yeah, mediocre. Several menu items were ‘out of stock’. There were people out and eating, but it wasn’t crowded by any stretch. Seemed completely normal, and not one mask.

That’s quite a contrast to the Goodwill Outlet, where the cashier asked me if I thought they’d close the city down again for the new covid. Houston raised the ‘covid threat level’ back to orange. I wasn’t aware they’d lowered it, the electronic billboards on the toll road still had ‘red’ messages playing. FWIW, I don’t think they CAN close the city down again. The commie Emergency Manager Judge can stomp her feet and ‘demand’ whatever, people aren’t going to do it.

That doesn’t mean that WE shouldn’t do some prudent planning and prepping though. Anything can happen and the more TPTB feel their grip slipping, the more they’ll double down and squeeze harder. The monkey wrench gang might come out to play, or ham fisted .gov might start messing with stuff. Or outside factors might take their turn, who knows? I know I’ll feel better with stacks of stuff.

So keep stacking, we’re only getting started….
nick

Thur. July 22, 2021 – vet appointment, then work

Sunny and hot, humid, followed by overcast and rain. Yesterday certainly did that, with the rain more of a deluge. We got over 2 inches in about half an hour. That caused a lot of localized flooding, but it quickly drained away. The national map has us in the T storm area for the next few days, so I’m going with a repeat of yesterday. Although, probably not as much rain.

Spent most of yesterday doing domestic bliss chores. Ran 3 loads of laundry, including some floor mats and towels. With the puppy learning where to do his business, I’ve got some extra soiled items…

He’s doing better, but still needs a lot of eyes-on supervision, which was lacking yesterday. So, more floor mats for the laundry.

Neighbor’s roofers finished just in time for the rain to stress test their work. I might or might not hear from him if there were issues. He’ll probably want evidence if there were, so I’ve got some more backup to do. Not that tough or time consuming, and I’m gonna watch something like that anyway. I try to take any opportunity to learn what I can from other people’s mistakes.

After all the rain, I did get one of my tasks done- I got to Costco. Dropped two visits worth of cash but got a bunch of meat. And very uncharacteristically, I got it all portioned out and vac sealed, and tucked away in cold sleep. I’m very glad to have the extra small chest freezer. If I had room I’d add another.

Today I’ve got a vet appointment for the little pooper. More shots I think. He’s grown quite a bit but he’s still a cutie. After the vet, I’m going to try to head over to my secondary and do some more clean out. It’s gotta happen, and the kids are away… which just leaves the dog to manage. Frankly the kids are easier…

I’m glad I was able to replace some food items I’d used up. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding more.

Stack all the things.

nick

Tues. July 20, 2021 – “Next time, there’ll be no next time, you go to jail right now.”

Hot and humid, rain later, part sun. Heavy rain somewhere in Houston. Like yesterday.

Started out sunny and hot, later got rainy and cooled off a bit. Rained in patches all over town. I managed to find it in several places.

Did a pickup, and went by my secondary, but didn’t get anything done. Spent over an hour in traffic beyond what it should have been and that ate the free time. I was able to go by the place I buy propane and refill 5 bottles. It’s been a while. $10/ BBQ tank. I feel better with the stockpile refreshed. I’m reminded that I want to buy a propane conversion for my Honda 3000i. Forgot about that.

Took surface streets home from my secondary and was frankly shocked by the increase in homeless encampments… Every overpass had a few tents or improvised squats under it. Most corners had at least one beggar, and many had 2 or 3. More women too. It’s only been a couple of weeks since my last trip through the area and the change is dramatic. My route took me through areas that are predominantly lower income and subsidized housing, mostly for blacks. I can see the demographics shifting to hispanic though. Like so many places, all the illegals are displacing the blacks.

There is some good news in my neighborhood too. There is a bunch of new residential and commercial building going on. It’s right in areas that I predicted it would be in, but I once again didn’t buy property in the right place or time and I missed out.

Spent some time looking at my neighbor’s roofing contractor and how he works. It’s pretty low quality work, and there are a whole bunch of sketchy things going on. I definitely don’t want to be the one this guy or his crew blames if the owner ends up dissatisfied, but I also don’t want a bunch of cr@ppy work done right next door. It’s gonna depend on what the owner does now, and how he does it. For all I know, the crew is family and he’s on board with the cr@p work. Might need more cams.

I did get some of the sketchy behaviour on camera, and while reviewing that I saw that my lawn guys finally got here. I had just cut the grass hours before though. They did edge and blow and it does look better than before they were here. I guess I’ll be paying them, even though I did the bulk of the work. If I was here I might have waved them off, but I wasn’t and they did do work. Frustrating.

I felt better during the day than I had the day before, so whatever it was seems to be passing. I think I’d still like to see an ENT specialist to make sure nothing is wrong with my ears or sinuses. Either can lead to dizziness.

Puppy had a good day with no serious accidents and only one puddle on the tile floor after dinner. He’s been really good about getting to the door and getting our attention, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m glad for the progress we’ve made.

The post title is from a funny little song by Louis Prima and Sam Butera, but the application is maddening. TPTB, when they’re not bragging about what cowards they are, are making examples of the Jan 6 protesters- to discourage the others. I think they are going to get some unintended consequences, at about 1200 fps if they keep this nonsense up. When you kill rule of law, and dance on it’s corpse, you shouldn’t be surprised when people act as if there is no law. They are creating the monster they most fear, and SHOULD fear. Equal treatment under the law is dead.

Things are NOT calming down. Take that under advisement.

And keep stacking.

nick

Mon. July 19, 2021 – do it for a good purpose, not just for the sake of doing it

Hot and humid. Rainy later. Just like yesterday. Yes, that is what yesterday was like. Sunny and hot, but then rain later. A downpour actually, in the late afternoon. There was about one inch of water in the buckets.

I had another day of low productivity. I felt better, but still had some lightheadedness so I wasn’t eager to work on hard stuff, plus it was hot as Hades outside. I did some cleanup before my wife got home, and I spent a couple of hours doing photos, measurements, and weight of stuff for ebay.

I also took the opportunity to concentrate on the puppy and help him succeed with his housebreaking… and had some good success. He is yipping when he wants to go out and pee. He gives a deeper bark when he wants out to poop. And I have started to figure out his timing. We didn’t have any accidents in the house today. First day! I caught him squatting after breakfast and shouted “no” and “outside” while throwing the door open, and out he went. Hooray! It helps that he’s very motivated by treats.

So that’s that. Little progress on some fronts, but good progress on another.

Today I’ll either continue with projects here at home, or get out and do some more work at my secondary. Maybe both. It will depend on how I feel. I don’t like being hostage to my body, I’m not used to letting it dictate to me, but I’m finding it more and more often of late. It’s trite, but I’m not in the shape I used to be in. I really need to spend the time and effort to try and get some of that back.

I think I also need to work a bit on getting rid of ‘monkey brain.’ I think that’s what one of my teachers called it. It’s when you jump from thing to thing, easily distracted. It keeps you from doing what you really need and want to do. Doing things because you can rather than should.

Gotta work on myself as well as the stacks.

Stackin’ won’t hurt though…

n