Category: lakehouse

Fri. May 26th, 2023 – headed to the BOL… to spend the long weekend, not because the rad sensor alarmed…

Clear and damp, with a little coolness, rapidly heating up.   It was only 72F when I put the kids on the bus yesterday, but it got warmer throughout the day.   I’m glad I didn’t have to get in the attic at my client’s house, but using the ladder in the yard was a bit sweaty.   I think today will be even warmer, but maybe some of the humidity will blow out.

There are a lot of mosquitos this year, and they are even biting me.   They normally don’t, and if they do, it doesn’t leave a mark.  Wonder what it’s gonna be like at the lake?

Which is where I’m headed later.   Have to get loaded up and make a pickup on my way out of town.   The auction had the wrong times listed, and I thought I would be able to make it.   I guess it’s good I didn’t drive up last night…  although I would have liked to start the day at the BOL, not driving.

Did get some stuff done yesterday.  Got the NVR to display image from the existing cams.  Well, mostly.   I may even be able to re-use a couple  to extend coverage with the new system.  Can’t order the cams until next week because B&H closed for a long holiday.  Memorial Day weekend must coincide with a Jewish holiday this year.   Maybe every year, but I never noticed…

In any case, I’ll be back out at the site to swap out cams in a week or two.  In the mean time, at least the NVR is recording.

I’ll be taking a load of stuff up with me.  Mostly not food, but I’ll add a couple of buckets if I can.   I saw a pair of rats on the patio yesterday.  They’ve eaten all the stuff they can get into, except the stuff that exploded, so they aren’t wrecking more, but I’ll refill the poison baits anyway.   Cleaning up that whole area has been pushing down the list for a week or more, but that was when I though it was a possum in the mess.   Possums I can live with, rats, no.   So it’s back to the saga of the rats for me.  Good thing I bought those buckets of bait blocks.

Stack some rodent and pest control.  They’ll be increasing as city services decrease, and you’ll be on your own.   Remember when there was nothing in the stores?  That will happen again.

Stack all the things!


Fri. May 5, 2023 – Stinko de Feo

Cool.  Damp.   Maybe raining.  Then humid and hot later.   It was overcast all day Thursday, but the rain held off.  Until later, and at my client’s house.

I did my auction stuff in the morning, and waited to see if my piece of gear would arrive.   Finally gave up and headed to my client’s house.   I grabbed my shovel, pick, and underground wire locator and was on my way.    It was hot, still, and humid.   At least the sun wasn’t beating down.

I spent a couple of fruitless hours.   Well, I did determine that the buried coax was unusable.   I found about a 50 foot long air gap…    When a second garage was added, the conduit and cable run was cut.  I traced it from both directions and it ended at the foundation for the garage.   The phone line was in the same conduit, which rules out that as any kind of option too.

So we’re back to using a wireless link.   Should be fine, but I’ll get with the gate contractor today and see what was really driving the request for a hard line to the network.

My timing was pretty good.   Just after I filled my last exploratory hole, and put my tools away, and went inside to look at other network stuff, the skies opened up and the rain came down.   40 minutes later the sun came back out and the temperature was 10-15F lower.   Really cleared the air.

Cleaned up a few notes, had a nice chat with my client and his wife, and headed home.   Found out it didn’t rain here… that’s Houston.   And the wind was blowing hard and steady off the gulf, pushing the weather I saw earlier even farther away.  It made for a nice cool evening.

Today will be working around the house.   Wife and D2 will be doing a Girl Scout thing this weekend, so I’m debating taking D1 to the BOL.  I’ve got lots to do here, but I’ve got lots to do there too.   I’ve got a couple of auction pickups to do in town, nothing far away or on the way to the BOL.   I think I’ll play it by ear.  I have avoided cleaning up my canned goods….

Out in the world the dominoes continue to fall.  More banks are at risk or are collapsing.   Russians are advocating a decapitation strike against Ukraine… Crime and violence are escalating here at home, and the illegal invader crisis is about to explode.

Stay frosty my friends.   And stack it high.


(and a month or two of expenses in cash at home might not be a bad idea, just in case some Monday we wake up to a bank holiday.)


Mon. May 1, 2023 – no color hare, no color hair, no color hare….

Should be nice in Houston today.   Clear, moderately warm…   it was actually hot at the BOL yesterday.  Started mild and cool, ended up 85F in the shade.   In the sun, my pale kids got sunburned, and even I got some additional color on my arms and neck.  It was sweaty in the sun.   If not for the breeze, it would have been unpleasant.   As it was, it was gorgeous.

Wrapped up birthday week for the kid.   Returned all the extra children.   A good time was had by all, but there were definitely fraying edges after the second night of staying up late.   I didn’t do any real work at all, except the lawn care.   It was nice.

Today I’ve got estate stuff to process, and a couple of pickups to do.   I’ve got to get some of the pure aloe gel from the health food store for the kids.   It’s been on my list for a couple of weeks, and I kept putting it off.   Today they’ll use the last of what I have in stock.   I have a backup of course, but it’s a watery product that isn’t as comfortable or effective as the gel.   The main difficulty is storage.   The pure stuff needs to be refrigerated, and I don’t have the room for extras.  Plus, we are VERY slow to use up a bottle, literal years.  Nothing I’ve ever used since I first found the pure aloe when I was rock climbing regularly in Arizona has worked as well to heal a sunburn.

So I’ve got stuff to do today, and I’ll be doing a client site visit tomorrow, and all the normal stuff, as I drop back into my normal life.   I guess that short vacation will have to do for a while…

All those buckets of food aren’t gonna stack themselves, get to it.


Sun. Apr. 30, 2023 – do or do not. there is no try.

Cool, but warming later.   That’s the plan according to the liars.   I must say, they were spot on yesterday.   Morning was dreary, but I avoided any rain.   Got nicer later.   Ended chilly and damp.

Drove to the estate sale, and filled 4 bins.  Some for me, some for resale, some for the household.   There seemed to be about as much still there when we all left as when we arrived, but I know that a lot actually did leave.   There was just so much.

Got back to the BOL to find the girls all having fun.   The HOA work day was over, and I avoided any work.   Did attend the meeting.  UN-surprisingly it was mostly the same people I’ve already met that comprise the active membership.  Any volunteer org is mostly run by a few people that are willing to do the work.  Those people are the one’s most active in the community too.  Shouldn’t be a surprise that I ended up volunteering to help solve a problem or two.


Haven’t done any work on the house yet, and don’t know if I’ll get any done today.   I’ve got stuff I can do that isn’t too disruptive and I should do something.   Maybe I can get some gardening in.   Gardening would be productive.    Fishing too.   Yeah, some fishing would be good.   Practice of a vital skill.

I’ll stack up some practice time…   yeah, that’s the ticket.


Sat. Apr. 29, 2023 – yet tantalizingly delicious

Cooler and wet today at the BOL, with a chance of some light rain in the morning.   Yesterday was beautiful in Houston until the front came through.   I was half way to the BOL when that happened and it was a pretty active storm.   I won’t mind if a little rain falls, but I would like a nice day for the kids.

Did my pickups yesterday.    Got a small solar system, barely bigger than a gate charger, but not a bad size for a standalone camera or WAP.   We’ll see if it works, but it’s all new in box.   Got some paint too.   Stopped at a yard sale and bought some sockets and wrenches.   Price was right and I can always use more quality tools.

Then loaded up and headed out.   It was pleasant after the storm had passed.    D2 has three friends and D1 has another up here for birthday shenanigans so I hope the weather is nice.

I’ve got another chance at the estate sale I had access to through my non-prepping hobby, so that is where I’ll be this morning.   Yup, headed back toward Houston to do an estate…  there was so much good stuff there it is worth it.

It coincidentally keeps me from participating in the HOA ‘clean up day’.   Since I mow the lot several times a year, I think I’ve established that I participate.   Still, it is probably a good day to meet neighbors.    I’ll see them when I get back and at the annual HOA meeting tonight.  Meatspace baby.

I guess that counts as stacking some things.

Stack what you can.   Beware the banks.


Fri. Apr. 28, 2023 – stubbornly elusive…

Cool and damp.   Still some chance of rain though.   Yesterday’s rain didn’t last long, but it dripped most of  the morning.    It was fairly dry by evening.   It got a lot cooler too as the day progressed.  So I’m hoping for cool and clear, not too wet.

I did what I needed to do yesterday, after the rain stopped.   Hit up Costco for gas (saved $6 on a tank)  and food (spent a bunch, didn’t even stock up.)  Store looked ok.   I didn’t walk the aisles, but things were on sale, and most of the usual items seemed to be there.   I was there to buy a couple of bottles of wine, and the lamb for dinner.   Lamb was not on sale.

Got home, cooked, ate, celebrated.   Fell asleep.

Today I’ve got two pickups, in the same area but far south.  The items were very cheap, but we’ll see if they were cheap enough.   Then I’ve got to get loaded up, and head to the BOL.   Wife will be carting the kids and their friends.   It would be good if I could front run them a little bit and have the lights on when they arrive.

It would also be nice if it was dry and warm all weekend.   The weather liars have mixed ideas about that.  I can hope.

This week was about stacking up good times.   Back to the grind next week.   But for now, party on Wayne!  Party on Garth!


(but do keep stacking good stuff too)

Tues. Apr. 25, 2023 – time flies when you’re having fun

Cool and clear, damp, and maybe a chance of rain… so mostly just Houston.  It was another great day at the BOL following the rain.   A bit on the humid side, rapidly warming in the sun, but nice.

Met with the tree cutting guy.  Got a bid for the needed work.   Need to find time in the coming weeks to execute… not cheap, but seems reasonable for a crew of 7 and the work done.

Got a couple more small tasks knocked off the list.  Things like “change 2 of the outlet covers on the dock, to keep from electrocuting someone…”   Not high priority, but needed doing.   Poisoned some more fire ants.   Planted most of the blueberry and dewberry bushes.

When I used the hose to water in the bushes, I decided that I will have to add mechanical fasteners to the hose bibs, foam isn’t enough by itself.  I really don’t understand how they are meant to be fastened, the holes that look like screw holes are too small for any real hardware.  I’ll have to do some googling.  Details.   They’ll kill you.

Today I’ve got pickups, groceries, one drop off, and getting some dinner cooked.   I’ll be frying up the fillets my fishing buddy gave me.   Should make some other fried food to go with them.   Hope they’re delicious…

Got the annual bill from XM radio.  We have three subs, one for each vehicle.   The bill was over $1000.   Yeah it’s less than a dollar a day for each vehicle, and we both listen to XM by preference, but times are tight and getting tighter.   Wife called to cancel or downgrade plans… and they offered 70% off for a year, if she switched packages.   Ok.  There was still a big savings and we still don’t have to listen to commercial radio.  Win win, for now.

I mention it because of the belt tightening aspect.   We’ve got some big expenditures coming, so we are looking to save what we can where we can.  I work pretty hard at it in fact.  We’ve been coasting on things like subscription services though.   I bet a lot of people have, and I bet a lot of them will be cutting back soon if they haven’t already.

Jerry Pournelle always said storytellers would do ok in bad times, so “entertainment” will continue to get money.   I’d bet that (smart people) will be looking at the value they’re getting and reduce spending.   I get pretty good value out of a used book, it costs far less than $1/hour of use.   Some people get good value from a streaming service, watching more than enough shows to get under $1/hour.  Full price video games give outstanding value per hour, if you start with a used copy the cost is even lower.

Used DVDs are double that $1/hour, and movies and dinner out are WAY more.   Concert tickets, travel, and “experiences” are about to become the province of the well off.    Shopping as entertainment (“retail therapy”) is going to run up the credit card debt, or run up the return rate, but is likely to be cut back dramatically.   Doordash and similar services are convenient, but at some point even the innumerate will see that $15 on top of a fast food order isn’t doable.

Personal services, and “pampering” are almost sure to be cut back.  Fewer haircuts, massages, spa days.  Longer between nails and then less expensive procedures when you do get out…  except a certain parasite class that already overdoes these things on the tax payer’s dime.   When the tax revenues drop, even social programs should be cut.  Don’t know if they will, because of the rioting that would ensue, but I’d expect cuts in all the programs, even if they are just passive cuts, by not keeping up with inflation.

The result of all those spending cuts is job losses, which lead to more cuts, which lead to more jobs lost.  And then suddenly you are in a Depression with high unemployment.  Add the social unrest and the political upsets coming, and the malaise and hopelessness of unemployment, to the sudden appearance of obvious foreigners (as the lily pads covering the pond double seemingly overnight) and you’ve got a dangerous toxic mess.

I can’t be sure what’s coming, but for this summer, I’ll quote Ralph Wiggum from The Simpson’s – “It tastes like burning…”

Stack it up.



Mon. Apr. 24, 2023 – still at the BOL

Cool and damp this am.   It did clear out nicely last night, but got chilly too.   53F when I went to bed.   Today should be clear, but forecast is actually partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain.   I’m hoping for clear.

Did the recap of yesterday in late comments.   Did a bunch of stuff despite the rain.   Caught 2 fish!  Saw some birds I’d never seen before.   Bright orange Baltimore Oriels, and some pink finches, either Purple, Cassin’s, or House varieties.   I couldn’t see the crests to be certain.  Pink!   Saw the usual blue jays, cardinals, and the other drabber birds that are always around too.

Peaches are still on the tree growing.    They are visibly bigger than last week.  I hope whatever ate them last year misses them this time.  It would be nice to actually get a few.

Today should be cleanup, a few minor tasks, maybe some planting.   I’ll try to get together with the tree guy today too, and if it’s dry, I’ll mow the lawn again before I leave.

We’ll be up with guests next weekend, so I have to leave the place “move in ready.”   Easier to do without a dog and two kids hanging around.

The best prep I did this week was learning more about fishing and in particular, fishing this lake.    Stacking up knowledge and skills.  Worth every minute.


Sun. Apr. 23, 2023 -04232023 – eh, kinda interesting…

Cool-ish and damp to start the day.   Some chance of rain.   We got a few drops last night around 11pm  but nothing major.  62F and dropping slowly when I went to bed.

I got some stuff done yesterday, most notably I tilled the garden patch.   Weed whacked it first, added some fish parts, then tilled.  Tiller started right up after sitting in the garden for a year.   It’s how the old man stored it, and it works.   It does have a big bucket covering the motor and it’s in the shade.

I also almost caught a fish.   One hit the lure, but I lost it trying to bring it in.   That’s the closest I’ve come.   I spent a bit of time messing around with poles and bait, with no further success.  My fisherman neighbor gave me a couple of pounds of fish fillet in sympathy for my failure.    HE catches fish…but he’s been fishing this lake for over 50 years.    I’m learning everything I can.

Like gardening, fishing has a surprising learning curve.   Start climbing the curve if you are thinking to supplement your protein with fish.   Get your garden in too.

Didn’t meet with the tree guy.   I guess he ended up being too busy.    Got my new chainsaw out and it fired right up.   Didn’t move the chain though.  Spent some time troubleshooting that.  It was a “open box” store return and was very cheap.   Someone screwed up the chain so it couldn’t slide in the bar.  No idea how you could do the damage they did.   A new chain should solve the problem, but that will have to wait until the next trip up.   I’ll have to remember the bar oil too.   I had a random spare chain up here but it was too long.   I’ll buy two this time.  Two is one and one is none.

Plan for today depends on the weather.   I will work on something though, rain or shine.

And I’ll be stacking.   Always stacking.


Sat. Apr. 22, 2023 – stuff to do, places to go

Possibly some more rain… and cool and damp to start.  There were patches of blue sky at dusk so I’m hoping for some clearing today.   It rained a bit yesterday, but was mostly just threatening, after raining overnight.   Actually storming overnight would be a more accurate description, with power loss for some time too.

Did a couple of pickups.  No drop offs this week.  Had a chat with a couple of my auctioneers.  New guy is actually from the next biggest town to my BOL, the nearest town with a Lowes.   He took the job down here to “get out of the sticks.”  I bought the BOL to get out of the city.   Every successful transaction has two parties who each think they’re doing the right thing…   life is like that  too.

The other guy I chatted with we were talking about the future of the reseller industry.   I think we’re at peak mom and pop, like house flipping when all the people with no experience or applicable skills got involved.   I think there will be consolidation on the seller side, with more bigger players.   There will probably still be a place for the mom and pops but it will likely be more focused.   I could be wrong.   The demand for low cost stuff should rise as the economy worsens, but balancing that, the really big guys, the sources, will likely be feeling the pinch and may want to limit the returns, and maybe even recapture some of that revenue- more than they currently do by wholesaling the items to resellers.

It’s a bit like thrifting.   Thrifting as sourcing depends on people being willing to give away valuable stuff.   That doesn’t happen in poor countries.   If amazon or other big retailers limit returns, or if they want too much for all the middlemen involved in reselling to make money, supply may dry up.  Then  I’ll have to find something else to do, I guess.   Several new players have entered the game, and several that I’ve been watching or buying from have exited lately.  Change is the only constant.

Headed to the BOL today.   Wife has a GS thing up that way, and will join us later.   Kids and I will go up first.   I hope to meet with a tree service guy and get the pruning and removal underway.  I’ll ask him if there are cost savings if I cut it up myself.   And I’ll see what he wants to do with the smaller stuff or the rotten stuff.   If the difference isn’t dramatic, I’ll have him do it.  I’ve got enough to do just stacking it.

Last week I got some seed potatoes in the ground at the BOL.  We’ll see if they got dug up and eaten.  I hope not, and I’ll put some wire mesh in place this visit.   Some other gardening activity may take place, depending on weather and motivation.   More storage cleanup and organization will definitely take place.   Gotta shift out of the ‘construction’ mode and into the ‘we’re using the place’ mode.  All while continuing with improvements, repairs, remodel, and stacking…

Kinda like everyone everywhere, just more so.   Stack it up.




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