Wed. Apr. 27, 2022 – “We loin as we go.”

Cool and damp, but maybe clear?  Maybe not clear but not raining either.  Yesterday started overcast and ended sunny, so it’s possible either way.  I’m hoping for clear so I can do the stuff I haven’t been able to do.

Truck problems persist.  Something is badly wrong, and I’m hoping it’s the alternator.  That is on top, easy to get to, and relatively cheap.  I need the pickup running for so many reasons, but mainly to move stuff around.

I did some errands, and some troubleshooting, and messed around.   More of those same things on the schedule for today.

No further progress on the BOL work.   Frustrating to be dependent on others.   Yeah I know, I’ve been reading about the issues, and they’re not just happening to other people.  They are real, not theoretical, and they suck when they happen to you.

Busy week and weekend coming up here at the Casa De Nick.   Swim team is starting up with nightly practice, Girl Scout weekends are on the calendar, and all the normal stuff is happening too, AND the work at the BOL needs to keep moving forward.  It’s a bit challenging.

 

But, hey, no one said it would be easy.  Or cheap.

 

And in the wider world, the chip shortage will continue for at least another year, according to industry sources.  Standing up new fabs takes time, and it takes some of the chips that are in short supply.   Electronic Design magazine has several articles on the issue in this month’s issue, and there is some fascinating stuff there.  Like that it takes about 6 months for a chip to move through the build process, or that 70 countries are involved in a typical chip, either through materials, or processes, or design and execution.  I’ll link the article in the comments if I can find it online.  As a note too, based on my habit of watching how thick or thin the trade mags are, we’re in trouble in the electronics design and manufacturing sector as the magazine is down to ~30 pages.  The more general Machine Design magazine is 32 pages this month.  MD used to be hundreds of pages 10 years ago but has really slimmed down since wuflu has been ravaging the world economy.   ALL my trade mags are thin, some are VERY  thin.

If you need it, or will need it, get it.  Don’t wait, as it probably won’t be available later.  If there is something you must have to live, or do business, or conduct your daily activities, make sure you have a spare, and repair and maintenance parts.  Seriously, I’m behind the curve on some things and it sucks.   We might be very close to the point where suddenly everyone is buying anything just to grab onto something they hope to use or trade or sell later.   That truly will be ‘panic buying’ and it will kick off a major slide downward on the slippery slope.   Get your ducks lined up.

And stack all the things.

nick

 

bonus points to anyone who identifies the movie quote in the day’s title…

Tues. Jan. 4, 2022 – school’s back in session… and kids are SO grumpy

Cold again, clear, sunny, but cold. 36F when I went to bed, and not expected to freeze, but that is ‘see your breath’ weather for sure. I know, some of you are laughing right now. I’VE got the clothes and accessories for it, but a lot of people don’t. Not that I care all that much about them, they can prep too. It gets cold often enough here that a wind proof shell and a couple of layers should be in everyone’s closet.

I spent most of yesterday working at my desk trying to find money in shoeboxes. Not literal cash money, but stuff to send to auction. Found a bunch too. I checked a couple of spot prices on ebay and I don’t think I’ll get as much as I first thought, unless the auction brings better than ebay prices, but you never know.

Today the plan is to head out to my client’s house and clean up some outstanding issues before the programmer comes back down Wednesday or Thursday. It won’t be a super early start for me, as I have to make a pickup on the way, and I’d like to move some stuff to storage before I head out. We’ll see about that.

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Speaking of moving stuff around, one of the things I did in the beginning of the wuflu response was to bring a bunch of long term disaster items home from storage. When it looked like movement restrictions might be put into effect, I brought home a bunch of storage bins and buckets that made up my “ebola” stacks. By that I mean the panic buy (over the course of months, so not really ‘panicky’, just hurried) of bulk and long term storage items that I stacked up in case ebola got loose over here. I suddenly wanted to be able to stay home for 45-90 days without leaving the house for anything so I massively increased the amount of bulk food I had stacked. Of course that was in 2014, so that food was between 5 and 6 years old.

Most of it had just been put into black bins, with the lids on, and literally stacked. They were stored in a ‘cool dark place’, but I didn’t stabilize them or repack them. All of the bulk food was edible. The wheat flour has an ‘old’ flavor, but it’s edible with no ill effects. It would work fine in pasta, tortillas, or sourdough bread. The rice had no noticeable changes. Nothing was heavily infested with bugs. The canned veg were all fine. Canned tomato paste, not so much. UHT milk? Ugg. You might have been ok eating it, it wasn’t bloated, but it turns to something like tapioca pretty soon after it’s expiration date. Canned meat was all fine too (kirkland chicken mostly.)

Compare and contrast with my storage at home, in my garage. I had much higher ‘breakage’ in the heat and humidity. Cans rusted, and were covered with rat urine. Boxed goods that weren’t in a bag inside the box got stale. Some of the ready to eat meals changed consistency. They didn’t swell, so they probably wouldn’t kill you, but I tossed them. Flavoring packets got hard and stuck together, and often had an ‘old’ smell or taste. In general, if it had fats or dairy in it, it didn’t fare as well, although it all outlasted the ‘best by’ date by a large margin.

We’re still eating peanut butter, katsup, Miracle Whip, and hot sauce from the ebola stacks. The ketchup is a darker color but tastes the same. Miracle Whip too, darker but tastes fine. Mustard isn’t as bright yellow. Peanut butter separated from the oil despite me flipping the jars whenever I noticed. That’s easy to fix with a butter knife and some ‘butter churning’ action when you open the jar. Nutella separates too, but into more than just oil and nuts. It will mix right back though.

Peanut oil lasts a long time past ‘best by’ if it’s in the dark. It’s my go to fat.

I did move all the ebola bulk from bins to buckets over the summer. When I put it in buckets, I used “hot hands” chemical hand and foot warmers to act as oxygen absorbers. When they worked, the buckets dented in a little bit. If I had ‘cool and dry’ here at the house, I probably would have left them in the bins and original packaging, but I put a lot of it under my covered patio, up against the house, and I figured I needed to give the buckets the best possible chance of staying good.

Now that I’ve mentally transitioned to living like this as ‘normal’, and prepping for whatever is coming next, it’s time to move a lot of the bulk back to offsite storage. I’ll move the newest stuff there and keep the old ebola stacks close by.

One last observation- with a lot of stuff, I left it in the original packaging even though it went into a bucket. I could fit more if I dumped it in, but having some additional separation makes sense if the bucket is breached or you have a bug problem, then it’s not automatically contaminating the entire bucket contents. Three bags of pasta might still be sealed, while the fourth got eaten before you noticed the problem. I’ve also made a few buckets with different stuff in them, like one bag sugar, two bags flour, some yeast packets, a carton of salt, and a bag of cornmeal. Might be a pint or two of peanut oil in there too. I didn’t worry too much about the ratios. Water and any of that in any proportion would work fine in a real disaster. People are a lot less picky when they’re hungry.

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Anyone else made the transition from “we’re living in a pandemic, I’m using my preps” to “this is what life looks like now, time to get ready for what’s next”?

Anyone really use their stacks? (besides TP and PPEs)

Think about what you’ve got stacked, and stack some more…

nick

Sun. Mar. 28, 2021 – getting close to the end of Q121…

We’re forecast to get rain and possibly thunderstorms today, but we’ll see. We had a similar forecast for yesterday and it stayed dry but overcast all day. Well, for me, and where I was. It looked like it was raining to my west, out in Katy. And I got the tiniest little bit of misty drizzle at one point… but mostly dry but humid, shirtsleeves weather.

Got my stuff dropped off at the auctioneer’s place, finally. Even made a small second trip. Didn’t get much done at my secondary location.

Got my china flu vaccination. I chose the J&J shot. One and done, traditional vaccine. The site was spacious, capacious, and well organized. The big church that was the host was also hosting a basketball tournament, so there was a lot of activity. I arrived on time with my paperwork filled out in advance. They confirmed my answers, passed me to the next gatekeeper, and then it was rinse and repeat. The girl who did my shot was very skilled. No pain. Small needle, small amount of fluid. Then passed to the next gatekeeper, and recovery room. Our Mayor stopped in to play host and glad hand the crowd for a bit. I couldn’t think of any reason to talk to him, so I left while he was still there. I noticed a wide range of masks on the patients and on the staff. Many of the staff had N95s but they had exhalation valves. Not supposed to use those. One person had a cloth mask over her exhalation valve, the one time a double mask actually does something useful.

I’m not sure if I had any reactions or if it was just the weirdness of the day and the disruption of my routine. If I did, they were mild. Felt some prickling itchiness in various parts of my body at different times. Felt ‘half a bubble off’ and fatigued. I wanted to go to be early, like right after dinner, but spent the time poking at my linux box.

Thanks to everyone who helped. I went to bed before the last thing I tried had completed, so I’ll update below. It would have been faster to reinstall than recover, if recovery is even possible. Tons of arcana were invoked. I feel the need to burn some sage after it’s all back up, just to clear the room of bad juju. If we’ve found the source of the last issue, then hopefully I’ll have a stable box for my NVR software. I’ll need it more than ever because things are getting sketchier.

On Thursday afternoon, a guy walking in my neighborhood was robbed at gunpoint of his phone by a black male in a car. I’m pretty sure that an armed robbery in my neighborhood was one of my setpoints for moving. I’m noticing an increase in street people, crazy acting strangers on the street, street vendors, and other inner city BS this last month, all closer to home than I’d like. Not good. Ironically, if the freeze did kill all my citrus trees, it will have removed one of my major mental blocks against moving out of this house. I’m not sure there is anywhere better within my wife’s ‘work radius’ though.

Holy cow I don’t want to even consider moving from this house at this point, but I do have to continually re-evaluate safety and security issues, balanced with work/life issues. Of note, if my neighborhood, statistically one of the safest in Houston, is having an increase in crime, I’d bet that pretty much everyone is. People say that your zip code won’t protect you, but it sure does impact LIKELIHOOD of something bad happening.

I’m sleeping late, blame it on the shot.

Lots of stuff in motion out there in the wide world, some of it is sure to affect you. Take what steps you can, and keep stacking.

n

Sat. Mar. 27, 2021 – the weekend is just two more days to work…

Cool but dry, clear, and sunny. I hope. Yesterday was that way and it was great.

I managed to load the truck, but not to drop off anything at the auctioneer’s. She got called away for some other thing that came up. I’ll drop off today, after I get the J&J&j shot. I’m scheduled for 11am. Not really looking forward to that, but ‘a happy wife is a happy life…’ and all that.

After my dropoff, I need to spend some time at my secondary getting stuff thrown out, and getting stuff ready to take to the other ‘industrial’ auction.

Meanwhile, the world turns.

Ebola is back in the news, with a group being watched in Oregon after travel to an area with an outbreak. The chances are slim for a problem with this group but there will be others. If it gets here, some people are gonna die. And we’ll be lining up for the shot…’cuz that stuff ain’t no joke.

Street violence seems to be way up with publicized attacks on asians and elderly. Hell, kids too, with the guy who stabbed the 12yo kid in the neck. That can be taken as an indicator that we’re on the downhill slope. Prepare yourself mentally and physically.

There are more supply chain problems and shortages coming too. My buddy in OK reports that his Home Depot is limiting purchases of drywall and drywall mud and believes both will be in short supply for a while. Lumber prices are way up, but I think that’s due to strong demand more than any disruption.

About 10% of my grocery order was out of stock between when I ordered and when it got shopped, and there was a long list of items I’d bought before that weren’t available when I shopped. Things are very much still not normal.

In a situation with intermittent availability, you need to buy it when you see it, and buy some for later. I’m fully restocked on paper goods, and will keep adding to the pile. I’ve got meat in the freezer, and bulk buckets of starch, sugar, and carbs. I’m trying to build up some meds. I’m still buying ammo if I can and the price is OK. I thought about putting some steel cased 9mm in the auction, but I’m reluctant. I don’t want to shoot it, but it beats having nothing… the real question is what I would do with the money, and does THAT make it worth doing. With Executive Orders coming, I’d recommend sucking it up and paying what you have to if you are still short in the bang department, assuming you can get what you need at any price.

In other words, stack it. And keep stacking it.

And keep your head on a swivel if you venture forth.

nick

Sat. July 18, 2020 – funny the things that sometimes pop in your head

Hot and humid.  Really.  No kidding.  Hot. 🙂

Yesterday was hot until the rain, then slightly less hot for a while, until the hot caught back  up.  It was pretty late before we got back down into the 80s.

As predicted no real work got done in the garage or driveway while I was running errands.   The kids did play in the pool for a while.  Between my wife forgetting and overfilling the pool, and then 2 inches  of rain, there has been a LOT of sloshing out.

In order to push myself to actually finish the garage/freezer/workbench reorg, I ordered a good bit of food that will end up frozen.  I also did my normal replenishing.  Not much extra canned meat or dry goods, we’re pretty good on them.  Meat and frozen fruit and veg are what needs building up.  I really hope I don’t end up screwing up another order’s worth of food.

I’m still filling other holes and gaps in long term preps.   I’m trying to improve my stores of things I can get cheaply now, but would be very dear if there was a collapse, or long term interruption to “normal” life.  To that end, and because it’s what’s in the auctions, I’ve been buying safety gear and PPEs.  This auction I got several boxes of safety glasses.  Some tinted brown for outdoor work, some clear.  I previously got a huge selection of clear with bifocal lenses.  They are great for carpentry or soldering, both activities that need safety glasses.  Safety glasses are an expendable, and you should have extra.  Same with gloves, and workboots.  Good fitting ones are essential or you won’t wear them.

Hearing protection and respiratory protection I took care of last year.  I have several boxes of foam ear plugs and I’m set for a while on N95 masks and organic vapor cartridge based respirators.   I even managed to pick up some more tyvek painter’s suits.

I’m also considering what I would need to multiply my strength, just like in the old days.  I’ve got very good block and fall setups with synthetic rope and a lot of rigging supplies from a previous career.  I picked up a dozen spools of 550 cord in various colors at Habitat a couple of years ago, and I’ve added some rope when it became available.  Chain and chain binders are incredibly expensive for some reason.  Chaining my forklift into a trailer would cost about a quarter of what I paid for the forklift if I did it with new, so I’ve been watching for ways to reduce that cost.

If I had more land, I’d be looking for gardening power tools.  Prepping the soil takes a lot of work and any way to make that easier increases your chances of getting a good result.  I wouldn’t turn down some things, but as I don’t have space or the need, I’m not looking for them.  Some of you might be in a different place.

Basic plumbing, electrical, automotive and hardware supplies on hand will save a trip to the store, and can be the difference between a disaster and a disturbance.  Of course you need to know what to do with them, but there are lots of resources available to help with that too.  This is a good time to practice as you can still get help if it all goes pear shaped.

Like RBT, I came to consider that, outside of our normal disasters – hurricanes here in Houston – the most likely scenario was an economic collapse or a long slow decline.  Civil disorder, up to a civil war was in there somewhere, with global pandemic as a longshot.  Pandemic has been a focus of the CDC for a long time (and I constantly referred people to their pandemic preparedness pages as a resource for general disaster prepping), and with ebola in 2014 being in Dallas, I moved that up my list DRAMATICALLY.   Panic buy fits pretty well.  Of course, ebola wasn’t an issue for us here, by the skin of our teeth, but the preps have served me well in what the CDC said was this inevitable pandemic.  (Why was the CDC so ill prepared when this was something they’ve been pushing for a decade?  I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.)

So here we are, living in one of the longshot scenarios, generally doing better than we thought.  Which is awesome.  Unlike some places, we’re not stacking bodies in the streets.  But we are also clearly (to me anyway) in the beginning stages of economic collapse.  Supply lines are disrupted.  Prices are fluctuating.  Markets are being distorted by outside forces and have become increasingly decoupled from fundamentals and become more and more like gambling in a casino.  Everything is slightly worse than before.

Trash isn’t getting picked up as quickly.  Dumping is more common.  Maintenance is being deferred by civic units and individuals (with the caveat that individuals with the means have had more time than usual to do ‘projects’ around the house.  The guy with no job isn’t putting up sheds, and painting the siding though, but he might be powerwashing the driveway…)  Graffiti and tags are more visible and common, and stay in place longer.  Crime increases.  Violence for no reason increases.  Civil discourse becomes more shrill.  People contract their focus and concerns to more local issues.  People’s tolerance for the other, the different, decreases.  Behaviors become more extreme.  Tempers get short.

Any of that sounding familiar?

Given where I think we’re headed, it makes sense to me to stock up on the kinds of things I’m stocking.   I wouldn’t FOCUS on them, as there is still a chance of avoiding the worst aspects of the decline.  But it won’t hurt to start putting them aside, especially at low cost and low effort.  This assumes you have the basics in place.   Water, food, shelter, defense, medical, and money.  Huge piles of tangibles will probably buy you any of the things you need, so money is the best prep, but money is in kinda short supply too at this point for most people.

Periods of great change are scary.  Lots of destruction.  But there are also always opportunities too.  Crime goes up, and the guy who can weld burglar bars gets busy.   Some people are finding ways to prosper in this moment.  I believe hard times, however you want to define that, are coming.  If you don’t, if you think good times are coming, I’d like to hear why you feel that way.   Could be I’m missing something important.

Outside of figuring out what that something is, I’m going to keep stacking.  I think you should too.  I know it’s getting repetitive, but really and truly I think you can improve your situation and I WANT you to.  It’s made a world of difference in my life.

 

nick

Wed. May 27, 2020 – whoo boy, I think I see the crash coming

Hot? Humid for sure.

Yesterday was humid enough after about an inch or more rain overnight. The rain came with some thunder and lightning too. Unfortunately I’d left a footlocker open to air out, and forgot about it. It needed a bit more time to dry after that…and the contents….

One thing I’ve learned is that most electronics can get pretty wet and still be fine, if they’re not under power when wet. Some things seem to rust in light humidity, and others are fine after sitting in a bucket for a week. Funny, but it is true. Getting soaked isn’t necessarily a death blow for electronics.

Spent the afternoon at my client’s house. Electronics DO NOT like lightning and power surges. Two more wall wart power supplies got toasted, one video extender (about 100 ft of cat 5 attached to it), and AT&T’s DSL line all smoked. The UPS did its job and shut down to protect the rack, but the DSL modem was a likely entry point to it. DSL wall wart was one of the casualties. I’ll probably have to replace that UPS at some point soon too. It could be that some of the wall warts that are dying might just be EOL. The replacement I brought, new old stock, had one dead psu right out of the box. The extenders are 7-8 years old and the chinesium psus might just be all dying of old age. Or the damnable ROHS tin whiskers might have got to them. I think I’ll crack one open and see what I can see. We have tried over the years to make it more stable. The client installed a whole house surge suppressor at the panel, I’ve got the UPSs in front of the rack, and some additional surge protection on things like the projector. I added new surge protectors to two of the outdoor TVs yesterday. They are out in the country, and there is a lot of weather out there…

Today I’ve got some errands to run, and then I’m back onsite to work with AT&T on an appointment to get the line back up. I’ve hopefully got my notes from the last time to get me through to second tier support and not get the “I am helping you very much sir” crew for an hour…

Dinner was a pork roast put in the deep freeze a year ago, with some carrots and rice. My wife did the honors while I was stuck onsite. Easter candy for dessert.

My wife has taught our kids to play backgammon, and they really don’t like losing. My little cutthroat kept her older sister on the bar for the whole game and backgammoned her. OH THE WAILING…..

This is the last week of school, and the kids were briefly looking forward to sleeping late and laying around reading and watching youtube vids of people doing stuff in Minecraft… My wife has other plans. They will continue with a modified school curriculum, at least until my wife gets tired of it. I’ll be pushing for some lazy days with nothing to do. That’s what summer break is supposed to be for.

While driving home I heard a radio ad for the local Ford dealer, with a variety of discounts and financing plans on offer. 120 days no payments and 84 months of ZERO interest? $20K off full size pickups? $9K off Expeditions, and similar discounts on most other models? $21.8k for Ranger? Holy crow, they’re gonna be cheaper than used until Hertz crushes the used market by dumping their inventory. The other manufacturers won’t be far behind, nor will the other rental companies. Don’t buy yet, but soon the deals will be hard to resist. If there is any money to buy them.

I don’t think the low car prices are a good sign for the economy, BTW, I think it’s a bit terrifying that they are offering those deals, and on 800+ vehicles, not just a few loss leaders.

We’re really just getting started. Who knows what the economy will look like in 3 months, or 6? I know I’ll feel better about it, no matter what comes, with a full pantry, and safe…

Keep stacking.

nick

Tues. May 26, 2020 – running errands today

Hot and humid, possibly some more rain.

Yesterday was hot and humid until it was cooler and humid, then finally we got some more rain. Oddly it seemed warmer with the rain.

We did get some nice sun during the day.

I still wasn’t feeling 100%, between back pain and ‘weather knee’ so I didn’t do much. Did manage some more work in the garage, and I can see progress, just less and more slowly than I’d like.

Pulled some bike parts out of thin air to keep my wife’s project moving along, and yet no connection between doing that and having all the stuff hanging around. Hmmm.

Had some fun with the archery stuff in the evening. Youth bows and practice arrows mean you can have fun in a much smaller space. And given the number of arrows in the returned merch for sale in our local amazon returns auction, I’m not the only one who thought archery would be a good way to pass the time during the isolation.

Did a quick check of the gardens and fruit trees. Picked and ate a small handful of blueberries with Kid2. Some of the small ones were really sweet and delicious.

Dinner was a prepper fail. It was supposed to be pork ribs on the grill. But, time got away from me and the ribs were in the fridge too long. Vac seal was good, but they smelled bad. I hated throwing them away, but there was no way I could justify the risk of eating them. I kept meaning to seal and freeze them, but didn’t and suddenly it was 3 weeks later. So we ate sausage and red beans and rice. Frozen kielbasa, Knorr side dish rb&r… It was good. Meat was a bit spicy, and the rb&r were not. Kids prefer less spicy.

Today I’ll be headed over to my client’s house again. We had a big storm and he’s got gear that isn’t working. I think we lost his DSL modem, and possibly the network switch, and at least one of the patio TVs. I’ll know better later.

And I’ll keep chipping away at the projects.

Keep stacking.

nick

Sun. May 24, 2020 – still no rain

Still hot, still no rain.

We did get the occasional spatter, but nothing more than a few seconds yesterday and it was HOT. 100F in the shade. Humid too, sweaty like a fat man’s thighs.

Mostly I just hid from the heat. I did have to run out to my secondary location and get some gloves that I sold on ebay. Listed for over a year, been months if not a year since the last ones sold, and suddenly I sell a pair. I must have sold the last ones I had here at the house, so off I went. While I was there I did some cleaning.

On Friday while I was there, I got some misc. electronics and stuff to bring home. One of the neighborhood families has kids who are currently interested in taking stuff apart. I’ve got stuff. When the mom sent out the appeal, my wife voluntold me to go and bring some home. So I did. I brought home an old daisy wheel IBM typewriter, a dot matrix printer, document camera, video snapshot printer, hard drive, and some other small stuff. There should be some fun stuff in there for them to discover. I started out taking stuff apart myself and I still enjoy it. It’s a gateway drug to all kinds of learning and fun.

Maybe with kids having all this unstructured time at home, they’ll be able to do some of the stuff I did as a kid. Stuff that involves getting dirty, breaking things, and taking time to explore. Or maybe they’ll just play Minecraft all day.

Elsewhere in the world, if you don’t think things are cracking apart and shifting, what are the live fire exercises in the Persian Gulf? Stuff is breaking loose all over. We’re not the only ones dealing with this wuflu, we are just actually better prepared than a lot of places. WE might be the ones taking advantage of a situation. It would be nice to have the House of Saud unable to meddle quite so much in world affairs. Unfortunately a cornered animal is a dangerous one…

Keep in mind the stories we’re NOT hearing about lately. What has the left hand been up to while the right hand’s been busy and distracted?

Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel.

Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs. Stored pasta and frozen HEB italian meatballs. Garlic toast. Birthday cake for dessert. Yum.

Stuff is just getting started, keep stacking.

nick

Sat. May 23, 2020 – stuff to do, just pile it higher….

Hot and wet.

Yesterday was another hot swampy day here in the Bayou City. Just walking around the back yard I had sweat running down my back and front.

I did look at the gardens, they’re all doing about the same. Caterpillars were back on the grapevines so I sprayed them again. Then I set up the archery target and a backstop.

Much fun was had by #1 daughter, wife, #2 daughter and even me! I felt pretty good just hitting the foam block. My wife got a bull! and the kids both showed improvement after only a short while. Kid 1 also spent some time with her art supplies in the afternoon.

Yep, we’ve basically quit with the school work. Just like when they were attending full time, the last weeks are empty of learning.

I got out of the house and ran some errands. Picked up some auction items. Drove across town twice. Moved a 2ft cube of canning jars to my secondary, and a yeti style cooler. I don’t have anything to can at the moment, nor will I have any from the garden any time soon, so I got them out of the garage. The yeti style pelican cooler holds ice for a long time, but it’s freaking heavy and doesn’t hold much for the space it takes up. I am reorganizing some of my storage cabinets and I need the space the cooler filled for camping and GS stuff. I’ve got several normal coleman or igloo coolers for ordinary picnic stuff. If I need the high tech, I can go get it. In the mean time, I’ll be putting stuff away at home where my wife sees it every day.

Dinner was another one of the Prime sirloins I got for <$7/ pound. VERY tasty. Canned corn, leftover canned beans, and leftover rice filled out the meal. Birthday cake for dessert (and breakfast.) Other than the canned veg, and occasional box side dish, I'm really not burning through stored food. I'm running low on sliced sandwich ham, because EVERYONE is eating it for lunch, not just me and one child. That is something I didn't plan for. The CDC issued some guidance for schools if classes start up again. Pretty much unworkable. No shared anything, bring lunch from home, eat in classrooms, keep kids six feet apart, no touching, sanitize the playground but don't use chemicals near the kids... just as an example, they recommend skipping every other row on the school bus, and only having one kid per seat. That triples the number of buses or the time it takes to get everyone there and back again. Couple that with reducing classes to one third (to maintain distancing) and not having either the kids or teachers rotate to different rooms, and you've got a fantasy tale. NOT gonna happen. In other news, the State of Texas reminded me to file for my unemployment/ covid payment. I guess I got approved for something, despite not submitting a 2019 tax statement. We'll see if I get any actual money. My sales have been non-existent and I haven't been paid for anything I've done in the last two weeks, so maybe I'll get something. Either way, I'm not concerned. Wife is still working and my sales will either start back up or not. Not much I can do about it. It does point out the benefit of having your financial house in order as your number one prep. Speaking of prepping, keep stacking. The trucks are rolling, the stores have (most) stuff, and money is still worth more than the paper it's printed on. Think really hard about Fall, Winter, and next year. This will still be with us, along with an ever growing list of knock on effects. Few of them are likely to be good things. nick

Fri. May 22, 2020 – yet another week gone with little to show for it

Hot, humid, maybe rainy.

No rain yesterday, but the air was damp enough for a sponge bath… and hot. 100F in the shade hot. Enough wind that I thought the storm would blow in for sure. Thank gnu for a bit of overcast.

I really didn’t get much done except birthday stuff for daughter 1. She had a good day. And that’s not a bad day for me.

I did the tiniest bit of garden weeding, and moving my protective screens around. Did I mention it was hot?

Yeah, it was ‘hide in the house’ hot.

I did get up before the alarm, with a little help from an excited 11yo. That makes three days in a row. Leaving aside my lack of work yesterday, I’m hopeful that my productivity will increase.

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll get the archery set up for daughter 1. I’m curious to see if I can hit anything!

Dinner was lamb rib chops (2019, from the freezer), and brusselsprouts saute’d with onion, bacon, and truffle oil. Dessert was birthday cake (2019,box from storage) with homemade butter cream frosting. The lamb chops are my “Heinlein” dinner. Wasn’t it him who said every man should have one really good meal they could make for company? The marinade and grilling are mine. I can do it for family, or dress it up and plate it restaurant style…

The world is definitely changing. Geopolitical shifts are happening. At home we’re in the middle (or more likely the beginning) of a major disruption. The rest of the world is too. Lots of places won’t have the money to feed themselves, let alone meddle in other countries affairs. That might include the US, by the way. I expect that we’ll be a long time getting back to “normal”, and really probably never will. We never got back to 1932 normal, did we? It’s been my contention for some time that we were headed into one of those periods where everything changes. Like pre-WWI and post-WWII. Like post-USSR vs the Cold War. Think about that and see if you agree, and if you do, how do you position yourself and your family to get through, and get set up for success? Or is it enough to survive?

I want to thrive.

nick