Category: lakehouse

Fri. Jun. 7, 2024 – having another go at the truck stuff…

Cool to start but warming to “yep it’s Houston hot”. Probably. It certainly has been the pattern for the last few day, storm front not withstanding. IDK about any fronts today, so I’m going with “pretty much like yesterday.”

And yesterday it did get hot. Started the day with D2 getting contact lenses. She’s going through the whole “touching my eyes is hard” stage. I remember it even if it was 40 something years ago… and the tech looks the same but must be quite different. She’s getting one day disposables with astigmatism correction. Which is a lot of tech in something that small and clear. Civilization is awesome and I’m sure going to miss it. Damn dirty apes.

Then I did a couple of pickups. One thing for the house, a new gas can, and a tactical belt… not much in the way of stuff but I haven’t really been bidding much due to being out of town and in disaster recovery mode.

Today I’m going to try to get all my truck stuff sorted out. I might do an auction pickup too, if it works out. Then I’ll head to the BOL to join the rest of the pack. Wife says last night was beautiful, relatively cool, and clear with a nice sky. I’m hoping for a nice weekend.

We’ll go back up for Independence Day, but that is a crazy busy weekend. This should be nice and relaxing.

Other than the work.

but there is always work, so that’s kinda baseline.

There should be some stacks to look at and organize too. Maybe a portable A/C unit to bring up. I should have grabbed one from my secondary location yesterday when I was disposing of the construction debris… but maybe it will be easier to get one out of the attic here. Yeah, probably a lot easier and hopefully I won’t regret it during the busiest hurricane season EVAH!

You can’t have too much stuff stacked. As long as it is the RIGHT stuff. Do your best to stack useful things.

nick

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Thur. Jun. 6, 2024 – D Day.

Cool to start but warming rapidly to “hot”. Because Texas and summer. And if I’m wrong? Well that’s ok too. It stayed cool all day yesterday, but then it rained buckets too. Low 70s cool, which was very nice.

So I mostly stayed in. I did swap vehicles at the repair shop. Eventually the Expy got smogged and inspected and passed. That’s one out of the way. The Ranger still needs some driving around before smog, so I’ll be driving it today. And probably this weekend to the BOL.

The rest of my day was taken up with driving the kids to their various things. Didn’t get my own stuff done because it broke up my afternoon. Some days are like that. It’s the “stay at home dad” thing, and it means I don’t get to do whatever I want all day. Compromises, I’ll make ’em.

The stacks did pay off with a new turn signal bulb. It saved me a trip to the store yesterday anyway. I’ll try to remember to stop and get new ones when I’m out and about, so I have one when this one fails, or it’s opposite number fails. Doesn’t sound like much, but in a day full of other stuff it saved the trip and about an hour. I’ll put it in the ‘win’ column.

Today will be a couple of pickups, and getting ready to head to the BOL. My non-prepping hobby meeting got moved to next weekend, so we might just head up early and make a long weekend of it. I’m sure there are things for me to do…

And I’m sure there are things for you to do too. I’ve learned the hard way this month that I shouldn’t have procrastinated about the vehicle inspections, renewals, generator maintenance, and auto repairs…

It’s easy to stack, harder to do the stuff needed to stay ready. Pick something you’ve been putting off and do it.

n

(added, and on this anniversary of one of the biggest things humans have ever tried to do, think about history repeating… the horns of war are blowing. Do what you can to be ready.)

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Sun. Jun. 2, 2024 – in the summertime, the livin’s easy…

Hot and humid. Possibility of rain. Possibility of scorching sun. It was nice yesterday at the BOL, with a cool breeze in the shade, and brain boiling heat in the sun… while Houston got some cooling rain.

I did get a bunch of work done at the BOL. Cleaned up almost all the remaining downed branches, cut up logs, and other debris. Now I have 3 burn piles as tall as me… Cleaned up the demo debris from the dockhouse. Reset the A/C in the dockhouse after the power failure. I’m running it 24/7 to help dry out the wood. Mowed the grass. Put most of the patio furniture back after moving it out of the way for the tree guy. Put away all the solar stuff I’d brought to Houston, and did some general cleaning up and putting away.

It was enough to fill the day.

Today I’m home in Houston and will be doing storm recovery stuff. I need to make repairs to our driveway gate, back fence, and some other things. I’ve got to get stuff back where it belongs, and sort some stuff out. I should do something about the rat situation, and my general pile of stuff that needs attention…

After resting and getting a slow start… if it’s hot.

Stacks. I got ’em. You should too.
n

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Sat. Jun. 1, 2024 – Saturday, in the dark, I think it was a month to July….

Cool to start but surely getting hot later. Unless it’s pouring down rain. Which is apparently a possibility. ‘cuz that’s what we need today. More rain.

The ground is getting saturated, and the trees are falling over whenever the wind blows.

I started yesterday with the best of intentions, got thwarted by my own procrastination, and ended up just doing auction stuff anyway after wasting the whole morning. Then I did some grocery shopping and loaded the truck for the BOL.

Now I’m up here, and my day will be dependent on the weather. I’ll either clean up debris, and load the truck for a dump run, or I’ll hang out indoors while it rains. I’m tempted to stick around if it’s storming, in case the power goes out again. Locals say the number of outages and the length of the outages are unprecedented. I say it’s probably the new normal for one reason or another. Some sort of automatic failover to a backup power supply is nearly at the top of the list now…

Infrastructure is awesome when it is intact. Lots of ways to break it, and only so many ways to fix it. Plan for losses.

Stack what you need to be 80% or more of what you are now. You’ll be better off than almost anyone else, and the 80/20 rule of thumb says you will be maximizing your result vs effort and resources.

Or choose a different path, but I think our choices now will be the major factor in how we live 1,2,5,and 10 years from now.

Stack.

nick

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Wed. May 29, 2024 – back at the BOL?? Maybe.

Cool, but warming. No idea if it’s gonna be nice for a while. Yesterday was certainly a kick in the teeth.

Started the day at the BOL when the tree guy arrived early. He said there was a storm on the way… He got done and gone in 2 hours, and I left another hour later, with black skies behind me. The storm was moving very quickly and chased me all the way to Houston. When I stopped running south, it caught me.

HUGE downpour, 3-5 inches of water in my buckets. An incredibly long hail storm with mostly golf ball sized hail. Before I could drive to shelter, one smashed my windshield. And the way things were spanging off the sheet metal, I thought the truck would LOOK like a golf ball. The damage to the windshield is in the lower corner, so it’s drivable, and the sheet metal held up better than I thought. Still, crazy storm.

Of course, it hit the BOL shortly after I left. Power went out around 1130am so it’s going to be almost 24 hours by the time I get up there to start the generator… This assumes that power isn’t restored overnight, since I’m planning and writing this Tuesday night. I’ll know in the morning if I actually have to head up.

Getting some sort of automatic power backup option for the BOL is rapidly becoming not optional.

This weather is nuts, but it is nothing like what will happen if people start targeting infrastructure.

Think about that if you are patting yourself on the back for not being in Texas…

And I don’t want to be the boy who cried wolf, but things seem to be getting out of hand in the political realm, and the geopolitical realm. Of course, in the end the wolf DID come… it won’t take much to break the grid.

A breakdown in previously reliable systems is one of the things that happens when a society starts to collapse. And there are plenty of people willing to help it along.

Think about your alternatives seriously. Make some plans and buy what you need.

Then stack it up.

nick

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Tues. May 28, 2024 – Tree work and more!

Another hot, humid day, with heat alerts and high misery index. Yesterday was crazy obnoxious between the heat, humidity, and the blazing sun. No wind just added the fuel to the fire. Just standing in the shade talking soaked my shirt with sweat. And we’ll probably get more today.

Gah.

I did manage to get a few things done, by going very slowly, waiting for small breezes, and sweating profusely.

I got the Wen inverter generator running. Turns out it needed oil, some shipping brackets removed, and then it started. Just needed to do the proper commissioning. Apparently it doesn’t ship with a bottle of oil, making it useless to you when it arrives. I’m sure whatever they save is far outweighed by the outraged buyers and returns…

I fixed a chainsaw. Fuel poured out immediately upon filling… so something must have been disconnected. I finally had the time and inclination to pull the cover and figure it out. One fuel line came undone. Took 10 minutes to fix. Thank you amazon returns. $25 and a bit of time and I’ve got another like new chainsaw as backup.

I loaded the truck for my trip home. I was already soaked, and didn’t want to get sweaty today. It didn’t leave any room for trash or flood debris. I’ll get that next time. I guess.

Finally I took down the cell booster antenna and cleared the path for the tree guy to work today. He’s fitting me in between jobs, and I wanted to be here at least when he gets started. I’ve got a pickup in Houston in the afternoon, so I will have to leave at some point, no matter what the guy is doing. He’s said he doesn’t need me here, so it’ll be ok.

Sometimes I feel like Dory in Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Wish I could outsource some of this stuff.

You do what you have to do though…

Stack it up, you’ll probably need it sooner rather than later.

nick

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Sun. May 26, 2024 – another day to work… and there is work that needs doing

Warm and humid rapidly becoming hot and crazy humid. Like yesterday did.

I tried to stay out of the sun, and not really exert myself. Those leg cramps kinda scared me. So I mostly worked on the mower. Details are in comments yesterday, but the summary is, there is always something more. And spending time on the mower, when I used to have a working mower, is time spent going backwards.

That is one of the risks of keeping older stuff running. The time it takes can be trivial or it can eat days. And you probably won’t know until it happens. On the other hand, new stuff breaks too, and the starting cost is higher.

While searching for the parts I know I bought, I did do a bit of sorting and organizing. That’s always good.

I’m hoping to finish messing with the mower, and actually cut some grass today. Then I’ll probably do some more demo in the dock house, and maybe give it one more spray with the ‘kills everything’ treatment (VitalOxide, if you were wondering, and not from any specific knowledge, but from getting it cheap in the auctions last year.) In Houston Texas you know you’ll need cleaner and disinfectant eventually. This stuff is supposed to be better than plain bleach, and has an odor reducing property too. Seems to be working so far.

I’ve got some other gas powered equipment that needs work too, so maybe I’ll get to that.

Or maybe I’ll do something else. The lists are long.

Having part on hand helps. Having the supplies you need on hand helps. Having the knowledge to apply them helps a lot. Stack all three.

nick

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Sat. May 25, 2024 – Still working at the BOL

Hot. Humid. HOT! It was high 90s yesterday and the humidity matched. Brain was boiling in my head. Had to get my cool vest out and wear it in the afternoon. Today will probably be similar.

I spent the morning fixing a second generator. New carb went on and it started on the third pull. Love that gennie, and glad it’s back in service. Power was restored around noon, so I didn’t need to use it, but I’ll take it back to Houston for the next blackout.

A quick note about extension cords while I’m thinking about them. If you are going to run a small gennie just for cold stuff and chargers, you will need extension cords. (assuming you don’t backfeed the house, or install a transfer switch). I like the ones with a molded on three-fer outlet on the end. I run 25ft and 50ft. I pick the length to put an end where I need it, and then extend to the next appliance. I always plug the “through” line into the middle outlet, and use the left or right for local power. This makes a nice branching power distro and is easy to troubleshoot. You don’t need super heavy cords if your gennie only puts out 20 amps anyway.

For the rest of the day I alternated picking up downed limbs, cutting the grass, and doing general cleanup. I’ve got two big burn piles, and I’m not done yet. I took the time to cool down several times. Even got my ice pack cool vest out of the freezer and wore it. It’s more effective than the evaporative cooling vest when it’s this humid. It made a big difference in my comfort.

I had to refuel the chainsaw twice so I guess I was busy.

Today will be more of the same, and if I’m not too crippled up I should be able to finish the cleanup. I’m pretty stiff and sore from the work. Physical fitness is a prep. I’ve never been one for working out, but I did do chinese martial arts and stretching for years. Unfortunately I stopped, and haven’t been able to get back in the habit. I’m finding that I can’t just “keep on” without extra effort though. Something has to change, and I think stretching and movement is a good place to start. I’ll add it to my list…

Stack. Especially infrastructure. You WILL need it.

nick

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Fri. May 24, 2024 – doing recovery at the BOL

Cool last night, and I’m hoping that continues. But it was sweatier than Satan’s butt crack in Houston. I was soaked to the skin loading the truck.

So yesterday was a bit of a kick in deeznutz… after doing my morning stuff, and just before I was ready to leave the house, I started getting texts about the power being out at the BOL, and there being a bunch of trees down, etc. That changed my plan for the day, and the weekend as it turned out.

Seems the bad weather that passed north of Houston Wed night did a number on the area around the BOL. In particular it dropped some big trees on power lines, and shook chunks of tree out of the sky all over the place. Including the roof of my house, the patio, and other places to be discovered in the light of day today.

Hearing how long the power had been out, I loaded up my truck with all the stuff I’d brought home to deal with the disaster in Houston- fuel, generators, tree cutting stuff… and I headed up. Had to do a stop on the east side of town to pickup stuff that couldn’t be delayed and EVERYONE was driving light idiots. Huge backups and delays throughout the Houston area. Took longer to get to my pickup, took longer to get to the BOL.

I only had about twenty minutes of daylight to get a gennie set up and survey the damage. One quick walk around and I was busy with propane and pull cords. Got ‘er adjusted and running, ran cords to the stuff that is supposed to be cold, and a few convenience items. Fans and starlink being the most critical. Cell booster antenna got knocked by a tree and will be one of the first things I try to put right today.

Then I’ll start looking at where I can cut and remove limbs and debris. Some stuff will need a pro, like the tree that is leaning on the chimney. I’d love to pull it back to vertical, but IDK if that works. Losing it will suck both for structural reasons -it stabilizes the hill, and for practical reasons = it shades the house in the afternoon, saving power on A/C.

Much of what fell was supposed to have been removed some time ago, but we delayed. That should be a lesson- if it needs doin’, do it.

That goes for fixing the generators too. I should have jumped on that. As for solar, it moved up the list, and involved some discussion with the boss. She’s on board with putting some up and getting started on the path.

It’s been a hellova few weeks, but it would have been a lot worse without stuff from the stacks. It’s not over, I think stuff like this is just getting started. Even if you are just getting started, stack something!

nick

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