Category: ebay

Fri. May 13, 2022 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month

Hot and humid, probably clear.   Mid 90s likely, both in temperature and humidity… summer is here in Houston.

Spent the afternoon doing a round of pickups.   I realize it sounds like I’m doing nothing but buying stuff at auction.  Well… that isn’t wrong, as such.   What might be missing is that I buy almost nothing from stores or online anymore unless it is something very specific that I need quickly.  For example, one of the stops yesterday was for cleaning supplies- two gallons of dish washing soap, 4 spray bottles of bleach/soap, and a couple of other things.   Was it cheap enough to drive across town?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Some flexibility was involved as the dishsoap was Joy lemon scent, when we prefer the blue stuff, but at only a buck or two a bottle, I’ll smell the lemon…

A stop at goodwill yielded a box of silver colored indoor door knobs because the universe still loves me.  I wanted to change out the gold colored ones at the BOL, as most are very worn after 40 years, and they weren’t high quality to start with.    I wish they were levers, but beggars blah blah…  Flexibility.  Anyway, not a priority, but doorknobs are something you touch every day and if they don’t work right, it’s frustrating.

A chat with another seller and he’ll send me advance pics of some of the stuff I’m looking for for the BOL before it hits the auction.   People, networking, meatspace.  Relationships are important.   I’ve been saying it, and I’ll repeat and I’ll repeat and I’ll repeat that you need practice in the secondary economy, just like anything else.  It could just be confirmation bias but I’m convinced that you or someone in your group of acquaintances will have to play the role of ‘scrounger’ or supply clerk, or whatever you want to call it, but someone will have to know where to get stuff, who to try getting it from, and what is worth trading.

A lot of preppers talk about stacking stuff ‘for barter’ but they’ve never dickered over a price, or shopped anywhere but a big box store.  I don’t stack ‘for barter’ but I do have stuff that I think I’ll need later, and if I need it, probably other people will too.  And since no one can go it alone, or stack every thing they might need, it might be that I end up trading or bartering or just plain selling some of that stuff.  A HUGE amount of commerce is happening in the person to person space already.  That is only going to increase.   Get some practice.   Hit some yardsales this weekend, and check out a thrift store…  driving around your area will help you survey the current conditions near you too.   Lots of benefits to getting out and looking around.

 

The best part of shopping in the secondary economy is saving money.   Second best is getting something you couldn’t get otherwise.   Leverage it to build your stacks…

nick

 

Fri. Apr. 29, 2022 – Lots of catching up today

Clear and pleasant again, with some clouds.   It sure was nice yesterday, with only an intermittent threat of rain from some cloudiness, and a bit of humidity later in the day.

Finished up my shade tree mechanic LARPing.  Got the Ranger running, and picked up a replacement wiper for the rear window of my Expedition.    I c’nae believe how hard it was to find the correct wiper, or why Ford went with a completely different attachment means for that one wiper.  AdvanceAutoParts, and Autozone had me running around, but O’Reilly had the parts I needed.  I’ll check with them first next time.  I bought a second wiper as a spare and it was the last one they had.  More reinforcement for the idea that if you think you might need it, you better stack it.

I also shipped my ebay sale and couple of other things I’ve been putting off for no good reason.

D1 had a play at school last night and tonight, so we went to see that.   Every kid was miked, ever mic was too loud.  I know I’ve got hearing issues, but I couldn’t get but one word in 10.   Daughter is following in the wife and my footsteps with her work backstage.  Mixed feelings about that.  It was a great learning experience, and it put us both where we are now, but times change, and I’m not sure I’d want to be working in the industry now.

I suppose that is true for most parents.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups, and some driving to do.  Then I’ll have more sorting and stacking at my storage unit.   Wife and D1 are headed to GS camp for the weekend after the curtain comes down on the show tonight.   D2 and I are home alone.   Might just load up the truck and head to the lake after swim practice Saturday.  There’s plenty to do up there, if I get bored with all the stuff that needs doing here…

WRT site issues here, please keep reporting them, but bear with us as Rick tries to sort it out.

And for pete’s sake, stack some food.  Don’t forget fats.  Peanut oil stores well, and can be used in place of butter in most cooking.  Lard in sealed plastic buckets should last a long time too.   With the decrease in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine, people will have to buy other oils, which will put pressure on them as well.   Get some, even if you don’t use much now.  It’s relatively cheap, stores for a long time, and is an important prep.  Salt and vinegar too, in mass quantities, mainly for food preservation, and a few jars of ‘pickling spice’ wouldn’t be a bad idea.

FWIW I like multiple smaller containers, rather than one big one.   It lasts longer if you don’t have a giant container open, you can more easily share a smaller container, and if one is spoiled the rest will still be ok.  To me, multiples are better, even if the unit cost is higher.  The most expensive prep is one you have to throw out without using.    Had a rat (might have been the possum) gnaw a bottle of peanut oil this week, made a mess on the shelf.   That was just one liter damaged, not the whole supply.  I could have used what was left in the bottle for frying I suppose if desperate, or as lamp oil, but I just tossed it and replaced it.   That might not always be an option.  So….

Stack something.

nick

Wed. Apr. 13, 2022 – ya put your right foot in, ya put your right foot out…

Warm and wet again.   It did rain on the plain in Spain yesterday, for values of ‘rain’ and ‘spain’ that are closer to ‘houston’ and ‘misty drizzle’.   Rounding error.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.   Today should be more of  the same, overcast, humid, rain in places.

Did my ‘south’ pickups.  Stuff for the BOL and gub accessories mostly.  “Why, no sir, I don’t have a single complete gub in the house….”   I might have a “few” parts in a box somewhere…

I’ve got my ‘north’ pickups to do today and tomorrow.   Looking at the map, I may not combine them with my trip to the BOL to meet the engineer.   One is WAY off the path.  It might make more sense to do the out of the way pickup today and just leave it all on the truck for the trip up tomorrow.  So many choices.

Americans are certainly used to an overabundance of choices.   We even have a branch of science* to study why having too many choices is bad in retail, and in life.   I’ve argued for a while that one of the main underlying and crucial differences between Americans and Europeans (well, really everyone else) is that we come from a culture of abundance and they come from a culture of scarcity.  It really does impact how you relate to almost everything.

With that in mind, the coming shortages and economic collapse are going to be very hard for Americans to accept and ‘deal with’.   I think there will be a lot of people whose brains just sort of vapor lock on the idea that there AREN’T any choices.  They are going to sputter, and deny, and b!tch, and fail to adapt to the new reality.

Don’t be one of them.  Get your head around the idea that things are not normal, won’t be normal, and it will be a long time before a new normal establishes itself.  This will free you to act accordingly.

Stacking up stuff so you personally still have choices might be a really good idea too.

nick

*well, not ‘science’ exactly, but SOCIAL science…

(and Friday the Thirteenth falls on a Wednesday this month)

Tues. Apr. 12, 2022- lots of driving today

Warmish, but maybe clearer than yesterday.  Maybe not.  One forecast has rain over us for the next two days at least. As usual, we’ll see.

Spent the day doing indoor stuff.  Had some banking in the morning, and early pickup for D2 in the afternoon, so that pretty much precluded getting out and doing anything that would take more than a single hour.  The early rain meant I wasn’t going to work outside either.

Today I’ve got to do most of this week’s pickups.   Since I’m going up to the BOL on Thursday, I’ll get the stuff that is up that way then, but I have to get the rest before that.  And I’ve got to sort and box a few bins worth of stuff to drop off at one auctioneer today, so there is that as well.   It never rains but it pours.

Add the shopping, and prep for the Easter weekend (not going to the BOL, D2 wants another holiday here at home, and no septic system…)  and it’s going to be a busy couple of days.

And there must be some shopping.  I’ve let my stocking levels of some staples drop because we’re eating less of them, and because we got busy and were out of town last week.   The result is fewer eggs in the house than at any time during the last two years.  Milk is similarly low, and there are a couple of other things, like supplements, that I let run down.  Of course I need EXTRA eggs now for Easter too.

Speaking of Easter, I better get a lamb roast out of the freezer.

No guests for Easter this year though.

Life goes on, even with the threat of WWIII, during a worldwide pandemic, with runaway inflation and the prospect of famine on the horizon.

Preps smooth out the ups and downs, and provide a great deal of comfort.  When they run low, I get extra nervous though, so there is balance in the world 🙂

Go out and stock up.   There may come a day when “Prepping, it’s what’s for dinner” saves the day.

Stack it up.

n

 

Wed. Mar. 30, 2022 – whistling past the graveyard…

Cool but damp morning, turning into rain later.  Or something like that.   We never did get the rain yesterday although we had a lot of gusty wind, and broken clouds.

Took almost 200 pounds of scrap steel fencing from the BOL to the scrap yard.   Got 16USD for it.  That’s 4 gallons of gas.  Had to be removed and disposed of anyway, so why not recover some value from it?

Did a pickup and hit the Habitat for Humanity reStore on the north side of town.   They had a couple of doors I can use, some cabinets that might work (although it’s a bit early to be looking at cabinets), and some other stuff the would end up at the BOL.   I also grabbed  a vintage turntable, a Garrard Lab 80, to part out.  I should be able to use the proceeds to buy some other stuff for the house.  It is case-less and lid-less so it makes more sense to part it than fix it.  Plus, I don’t need any projects.   Running, it would be a $500 turntable.  The parts will easily make back the $10 cost and put me squarely in profit.   You never know what you’ll find.

Didn’t get to costco or the grocery store, that has slipped to this morning.

This afternoon, I’ve got some more pickups, mostly stuff for the BOL, some stuff for here, and a couple of general preps.

WRT the water dripping from my ceiling, my wife is talking with yet another HVAC contractor about doing the update.  And she called an electrician about getting the hot water heater permanently set up.   So much stuff to do.  All of it takes time, money, and attention.

If you’ve got a list of things to do, or fix, or upgrade, you should probably start that process.   The wait times for parts or product are getting very long, even for commodity items.

And if you haven’t started stacking, you should.   Anything you already use is a good starting point.  Build from there.

nick

 

and if I failed to mention it, or you missed it, Barbara is home and doing well, getting ready for the next step on the road to recovery.

n

 

Mon. Mar. 28, 2022 – let’s start another week, ‘cuz we got nothing else to do…

Cool but clear, sunny and warmer later.   I hope, because yesterday up north was like that and I want more.   Spring is here, and it’s too short.

Slept in to 8am yesterday, after going to bed early.   Unfortunately, I’m awake at the 5 hour mark out of habit, and had only fitful dozing after that.   Still, dozing in bed is not bad…

Got up and did some cleaning and more cleaning, and a bit of auction stuff online.   Met three new neighbors while out in the yard and garden.   I didn’t want to start any big projects or do anything that could go wrong.  And anyway, an early boss once told me “if you have nothing else to do, clean.”  Working in a kitchen, that was good advice.   I had a later boss, while working as a carpenter in a shop, tell me he never wanted to see me cleaning.  ( I was the highest paid guy in the shop.) He wanted me doing tool maintenance or shop improvements, ie ‘extras’ outside my normal work.  Either bit of advice is good advice depending on the situation.  Yesterday I cleaned.

Another drive home and some catching up online, and I was good to go for the coming week.

I have to do some focusing on basics this week.  NEED to get to the store and fill a couple more buckets.   I have also been running down my stocks of OTC supplements that I take daily, because there haven’t been any great sales.   I really need to build those supplies back up and pretty quickly.  I wasn’t paying attention.   I don’t have  a formal inventory system.  And I didn’t look closely for too long a period.

I’ve been neglecting my ebay stuff too.  Sold two items over the weekend, and they need to ship.  A whole bunch of new items need to list too.   And of course, I’ve got to get the next set of bins to my local auctioneers.   Getting the BOL together is more sexy fun than listing, or sorting, but it won’t pay the bills.

Normal life stuff happening right now includes- car repairs, dr visits, jury duty summons, and all the normal ‘domestic bliss’ stuff that piles up.

Add the ever increasing likelihood of expanding the conflict with Russia, rumbles of food and diesel shortages here at home, and all the falling skies, and it’s all we can do do keep running in place.  Can’t stop for  a minute without falling behind.

 

Keep improving your position.  Keep stacking.  Don’t lose sight of the goal.

 

n

 

(and shout out to Harold Combs, who DID unplug, at least so far, and for a while…)

Tues. Mar. 22, 2022 – 0322022 – think about infrastructure…

Rainy and wet, with an unknown number of bad things happening overnight.   Unknown because I was asleep, and if I don’t directly experience it, it must not have happened, right?  Oh, yeah, that’s not how my team thinks.

Spent the day doing auction stuff, while waiting for septic service guys and foundation repair guys to call back.   The good news is I have an appointment to meet the septic guy on site – Thursday.   I can even sleep in my own bed, and drive up there for the meeting.   And if the toilets flush and the shower drains flow, I might stay up there and work.  If I can get the foundation guy there during that time, I’ll feel like king of the world.

Today is pickups and a lot of driving around.   Lots of stuff for the new house, some ham/radio stuff to use and to resell, and various bits and pieces.    I have an item that I sold 16 days ago, shipped USPS Priority Mail, and it still hasn’t been delivered.    It showed as “unknown” until today when it popped back up in the system in St. Louis.   Hopefully it will be delivered in a day or two.    The buyer has been very patient.    He didn’t even let me know it wasn’t there yet until a couple of days ago.   I was going to ship replacements today, but since it popped up, he said to hold off on that.   Mail is getting weirder, and not just for me.

 

Breakdowns in previously reliable services are just one of the signs of a slow collapse.   If it’s really happening, you’ll be responsible for more and more of what USED to be provided by others, or you’ll have to be content with whatever you get, whenever you get it.  Think about the systems and what you can do to replace them or smooth the ups and downs.   I’ll look at this in a bit more detail later but my mind is foggy today.

Stack stuff you will need for infrastructure or services, even if you don’t put it into use today.  Stack it high.

n

Fri. Mar. 4, 2022 – If it weren’t for disinformation, there’d be no information at all

Cool but not cold, still damp, and maybe sunny later.  It was finally sunny after noon yesterday and I actually got a little sunburnt standing around outside while doing my errands.   Now I’m itchy and sore.

I decided to consolidate some of my storage units to one closer to the house.  Besides being burgled, and not having any video or suspects, the company recently posted a slew of ‘no guns’ signs.   They are legally posted, legal wording, and I’m ignoring them completely.  They weren’t in the contract, so since I’m unable to end the contract before my monthly anniversary date, I consider them to be invalid.  No way I’m going to be unarmed on the property when they can’t even keep thieves from robbing my unit.

I’ll be sorting for ebay and local auctions while I move the stuff to the new unit.  And of course, it needs to happen immediately so I don’t end up paying for an extra month on the old unit.   As a side note, there are a lot more storage units available now than there were a year or two years ago.  Don’t know why.

Took another couple of bins to one auctioneer, and he says he wants more stuff next week.   He’s expanded his business and now he needs to keep feeding it, so he wants my stuff.  I got the check and report from the last auction and I made money.  Most of the stuff that sold well came from the Goodwill outlet store  (the ‘bins’).   If I could double the gross, and do it twice a month, it would be a really nice part time income again, just with the one auctioneer.

Sold one item this week on ebay, that has been listed for 3 years.  It’s the first sale of the item that I can recall, and I’ve got 79 more listed.  Made 12$.  Ebay has not been paying off for smaller items like I’d hoped, but my daily listing stopped, and that kills you in the search results.  I’ll take the blame for now.

Today I really need to end up at my client’s after I do a pickup or two.

Then home to do weekend stuff.

We still don’t have an actual “closing date” for the BOL, but there is a plan to do the paperwork, transfer, and handover separately, instead of doing it all on one day, in person.  Should work ok.   We just need to actually DO it.

Once I can start the process of moving and fixing at the BOL, I’ll feel better, although the work will be harder.  I do better when I have more external deadlines.

The world seems to be imposing some deadlines on all of us.  We don’t get to see the timeline, but the feeling is very strong that there IS one.   I think things will be getting very ugly, and it has already started to accelerate.   I’m reminded of the thought experiment about the pond and the water lilies that double in number every few days.   The question is, how much of the pond is covered the day before the last doubling?  And the answer is “half”.    The pond goes from half covered to fully covered in one final doubling.   It takes a while to get to ‘half’ but only one additional period to get to ‘full’.   “It happened overnight!”  “It came out of no where!”   We’re in the early stages, but the end will seem sudden nonetheless.

So stack food, fuel, and friends, plus whatever else you are still short of.  I’m increasingly sure we’re gonna need ’em.

nick

Wed. Mar. 2, 2022 – … so don’t feel sad, two out of three ain’t bad.

Cold again, maybe.  Or maybe just cool.   The pattern has been starting cold and getting warmer, but it was only 48F when I went to bed, not <40F so we may be starting from “cool”.  We’re supposed to be sunny and clear for a few days in any case.

I did some pickups yesterday, and spent a few hours sorting through my storage unit that got burgled.  I took about 6 bins to my local guy, with the promise I can bring him more on Thursday.  I could take him more than that… and I didn’t even get through all the stuff in that unit.

Traffic was horrible in the afternoon.   Several of our major expressways were jammed for miles by a whole bunch of concurrent wrecks.   I was glad it was unrelated incidents and not one big one.  Shows where my mind is at that I considered something bigger than a simple traffic accident.   In my defense, by the time the tollway is backed up for miles, you rarely see 2 fire trucks and an ambulance responding.  They’ve usually gotten there long before, so if you see them in transit, it’s the second wave for something big.

Still no word on the BOL.

Today’s plan is working at my customer’s place.  I’d like to wrap that up and invoice.

Because money is good.

It lets you stack up goods.  Which everyone should be doing.   So do it.

nick

Mon. Feb. 28, 2022 – early to bed and early to rise…

Cool, if not cold, with clear skies, maybe.    Yesterday started cold but turned into a very nice day.  I’m hoping for the same today.

Spent yesterday with other enthusiasts, learning more about our hobby.  About a baker’s dozen of us, no masks, decent sized room.   Felt very normal.  We do still have a couple of members limiting their contacts and avoiding crowds, but we’ve been meeting for around a year now without incident.  Mandates may be reinstated in Cali Lite (Austin) but they won’t fly down here.   People are making a personal choice every day and in every different situation, which is as it should be.

Didn’t get anything else substantial done this weekend.  Feeling a bit guilty about that, but such is life.

Will do some stuff today, hopefully some of it will be advancing my goals.  Short day though as it’s my afternoon with D2.   Given that we are once again under nuclear threat, something I thought was going to be limited to fanatics with improvised devices and limited reach, spending time on building “the good old days” is more important to me than ever.  Bloody hell, I was hoping we were past this sort of thing.  On the other hand, I did say this was one of the times of big change.  Can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs, amiright?

I’ve got empty buckets that need to be filled.  I better get busy on that.  And this is probably as good a time as any to rotate a few gas cans.

Keep stacking my friends.

n

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