Category: march to war

Fri. Sept. 30, 2022 – not headed up tonight, things to do

Cool and humid, but nice.  It was beautiful yesterday.   Didn’t see a thermometer, but it was very pleasant in shirtsleeves even in the late afternoon.  Hoping for more of the same today.

Did a couple of pickups.  Got an ebay item from storage and mailed that.   Guy will pick it up in Georgia, while visiting from Germany.   Crazy world.

I’ve got a couple of pickups today.   I have the 7cuft freezer I bought to flip to my neighbors at the lake,  and a knaak box I’ll use as a secure storage for tools up there.  Knaak box was only $40 which was stealing it.   I was planning to get the auction stuff and head out of town, but my wife and kids want to stay home this weekend, and I’ve got a guy coming to my secondary to look at a big item I’ve been trying to sell.   I really need it gone, and I could use the money back in my  pocket too.  He’s available on Saturday.  I hope to sell it.   I’ll head up to the BOL on Sunday or possibly Saturday later.   I may win some stuff to pick up on the way, which will mean heading up Sat.  Flexibility is key to success, right?

Work on the foundation starts Monday, so I need to be up there and ready to go.  I’ll be there most of the coming week, home for the weekend, then back up.   “Life of a repo man’s always intense…”

Mine too, at the moment.

Stack something.

nick

Thur. Sept. 29, 2022 – Hurricane Ian…

Cool and less humid today, and yesterday for that matter.   NOW Fall is here.  It got warm in the afternoon, but morning was glorious.  I hope for the same today.

I did some auction stuff earlier in the day, then did a couple of pickups in the afternoon.   In hindsight, I shouldn’t even have bid in the one auction, but I forgot how far away it is.  And that they misrepresented the condition of a bike I bought from them (which I still haven’t fixed.)  I won’t make that mistake again.

The rest of the day got eaten by ducks.

Today should be a pickup or two, some ebay stuff, and getting ready to head to the BOL for two weeks of foundation work.

Of course for south Florida, and central Florida too, today is the beginning of cleanup following Ian.   Looks like they got hit pretty hard.   Several of my ‘daily read’ bloggers are in affected areas, and my mom is a bit north.   She should be ok, but hasn’t checked in yet.   My best wishes to all affected.   Hopefully your damage is minimal, and your preps were good.   Anyone who is a regular here, who is affected and has unmet needs, please let the group know.   And if you’ve got some AAR or lessons learned, please share those as well, as you move into the Recovery Phase.   There are always lessons to be learned.

One that I learned after Ike, here in Houston, you will need more water than you have.    That’s when I got serious about water storage.   The old standby  of one gallon per person per day is WOEFULLY inadequate for anything other than bare survival.   You will want  a LOT more than that for cleaning, hygiene, cooking, cleaning, and cleaning….  It doesn’t have to all be potable- flushing, washing, cleaning can all use clean but not treated water or minimally treated, in any case.   You will want lots of potable water for drinking, cooking, and kitchen cleanup too.

Don’t forget to stack the things that will allow you to get and treat more water.   Filters, bleach, containers, buckets, laundry tubs, pots, turkey fryers, propane, and transfer pumps, hoses, siphons,  along with tanks of some kind, will all help you replace what you use.   Hot water on demand is one of the signs of civilization.   The propane fueled instant hot water heater I’ve been using to shower at the BOL has been an incredible convenience.  It’s relatively inexpensive, leverages the propane infrastructure I’ve been building out, and has been incredibly useful.  A camping shower, or something improvised with a coil of hose and sunlight will work too.   As long as you have what you need to make it work…

So stack some stuff.   Water (and the means to collect, store, and treat it), food (and the means to collect, store, preserve, and cook it), shelter, medical, etc……   Get busy.  Sooner or later, you’ll need something from the stacks.

nick

Wed. Sept. 28, 2022 – step into my parlor, said the spider to the fly….

Cool and nice, getting hotter later.   But NOW it feels like fall is here.   Wouldn’t get 65F in summer…  it did get hot later in the day yesterday but oh my that morning was glorious.

Did stuff all day long but it doesn’t feel like I got much actual work done.  Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Today I’ve got more stuff to do, pickups, shopping for stuff for the BOL, and organizing.   There are a couple of things I need to get done before going out of town for another week, and possibly two.

Meanwhile the pace and intensity of conflict in the world is picking up.   I know it’s sky falling all the time, I’ve been reading old posts from a year ago, and more.   Hard to time the markets, and hard to predict when things will go kinetic.  But we have an aggressor, who has stated plainly and repeatedly that nuclear weapons are an option.   We have an attack on his national assets, for no reason that seems to make a bit of sense, but which will certainly cause other actions and reactions.  This same aggressor has instituted some sort of draft, which is NOT the action of someone who thinks they’ll be done fighting in a month or two.   As a nation we are weaker than we’ve been in a lifetime.  We’ve given away and expended an awful lot of ordinance that is not easily replaced, weakened our military and its leaders, and don’t have a President who can even put on his own coat, let alone lead in a global conflict.  Our populace is divided, our economy is foundering.   We are on the verge of open conflict within and without.

The elephants are dancing and this mouse is going to hide…  It could be a day or a month or a year away, but we’re on a path to serious disruption.   Not sure what form it will take, but it will be big.  Everything is building toward SOMETHING happening.   Don’t try to time it.

Stack more stuff, while you can.

nick

Mon. Sept. 19, 2022 – yeeha! let’s get to work!

Hot again.  It was so nice to have the cooler weather.  But we get a little more of summer’s heat before Fall, I guess.   And no shortage of humidity.

It was pretty hot even at the lake.   Thermometer said 102F in the shade.   The sun was intense.

I decided to break up some more concrete, and clean up some more of the already broken chunks.   Spent a few hours moving rubble and filling holes behind my bulkhead.   Cut the grass that I had been leaving long to reveal the holes, since the foundation guy will be coming out later, and I figured he’d have a better idea of what was involved in stabilizing the bulkhead if he could see it.

Cutting the grass was interesting.   My electric string trimmer wasn’t making much progress, so I got out a manual tool.  Not really a sling blade, but made for swinging at long grass and plants to cut them off at the ground.  It worked ok, but there wasn’t any really good way to hold the handle of the thing to swing it.  And it was a lot of work.   I did about 20ft and was done.   I’ll bring up my gas powered trimmer for the rest of the tall grass.  Labor saving devices rock.   I’ll miss them when the fuel runs out and the machines don’t run anymore 😉

Did some other small electrical tasks.  Changed a light fixture in the kitchen (no box of course, no wire nuts, and the lamps were too hot and scorched the electrical tape until it was crunchy… scorched the wood of the soffit above the light too.  The new LED fixture doesn’t get hot, and I’ll install a box when we redo the kitchen.  Wire nuts are going to have to do for now.   Finished the circuit for the outlet in the master bath.   Pulled the romex with inches to spare, but needed to connect the outlets.  I have a quad above the vanity, and a duplex under the vanity.  That way someone can plug in a hairdryer underneath and store it in a drawer or the middle cabinet and the cord won’t get in the way, or need to be constantly plugged and unplugged.  And it still leaves 4 outlets above the vanity for phone chargers or curling irons, or whatever…. seems like there are never enough outlets in the bathroom.

I’m surprised the previous owner never had a house fire.   I’ve found so much overheated and scorched stuff, including circuit breakers, walls, and the chimney cap, that it’s clear he overloaded stuff and ran things way too hot.   I guess it shows how much tolerance is built into stuff.

My neighbor has started moving some of my leftover dirt to low spots in his yard.   He asked what I was going to do with the huge pile, and so I gave him half…   He had previously offered the use of his tractor, and he let me run an extension cord for the freezers when the electrical work was happening.   Besides being just good neighbors, I figure it’s time to start weaving ourselves into the community up there.   Webs of favors done and owed seem like  a good way to get started.   Because we’ve been so busy, we’ve declined some social offers.   I now think that was a bad choice, and now we need to work harder at joining in.    That’s one of the reasons I am willing to stop work and talk for however long someone wants to talk when they stop by.

Meatspace baby! and Local, Local, Local….  when every person I talk to has been in his house for 40 years, or has been coming to the lake and surrounding area that long, and has generations buried in local cemeteries, we’ll always be the ‘new family in George’s house’, but we can at least work at it.

Today I’ll be doing some more pickups, starting bright and early with the lot I forgot on Saturday.   Should have me out and about most of the day, especially if I get a chance to do some organizing in my storage unit.

Spend some time working on your network.  Stack up a few good relationships.

nick

Sat. Sept. 17, 2022 – on the road again, goin’ places that I’ve already been…

Hot later, but cool now.   Then cooler.  Finally, there’ll be a lake breeze in my evening.

But that will be later.

Spent some time yesterday doing pickups.  Then did some auction stuff including mailing an ebay sale.  Not much money in it, but it was an item leaving…

Today I’ve got a big pickup from an estate sale.   Lots of stuff for the BOL.  D1 elected to stay home last night and go up with me today, so I’ve got company for the ride anyway.  If surly proto-teen counts as company.  Wife and D2 went up last night.


One of my stops was an auctioneer that I buy from but also sell with.   He is gradually becoming more and more radicalized by SloJoe and the Ho.  He was incensed by the nazty imagery and the speech calling Trump supporters domestic terrorists.   Keep it up Joe, you’re doing a great job, if you want people in the streets and rivers of blood.   That’s about all I am going to say about that, other than if this guy is that mad, some people, some large number of people, are REALLY angry.  People that have trusted the system, that haven’t been immersed in this daily for years, are feeling betrayed and REALLY REALLY angry.  It’s happening very quickly for them.  They can’t feed their families, they can’t drive the cars they want to drive, they can’t do the things they want to do.  And they are finding someone to blame.   It isn’t going to be pretty.

Take care of you and yours.  Be prepared to join in or keep your head down.   Hard choices may be sooner than we think.

Preps will always help.  There is a lot of trouble you can avoid by just not being there.

Stack it higher than you think you’ll need.

n

 

Fri. Sept. 16, 2022 – got some driving around to do…

Slightly cool, but still humid.   Probably getting warmer later, but staying under 90F.  Fall, in other words.  Yesterday got pretty warm in the late afternoon, but was otherwise beautiful.  Fall weather is great.

Did a bunch of auction stuff.   Went to my storage unit looking for an item that sold on ebay.   Found it, right where it should be, and some other stuff I’d forgotten about…

I really need to get one or both kids doing listings.   They both say they want to earn some money  but they’d both rather do something else with their time.  Well, me too.   But needs must…

Talked to several people while I was out yesterday.  Safety was on their minds.   The rapid and visible influx of foreign invaders is to  the point where you see them standing around.  Like the pond that is half covered with lily pads one day, then fully covered the next, they are suddenly everywhere.

Don’t know what can be done, other than make conditions so bad or so onerous that they self deport.  If it comes to shooting, Aesop says ‘your skin color will be your uniform’, and I think he’s right.   Goes both ways of course, as anyone the victim of ‘the knockout game’ or ‘polar bear hunting’ well knows.   I curse George Lucas because all I can hear in my head when I consider the issue is Jar Jar Binks – “Is some people gonna die?”  Yes.  Yes they will.

Spend some time thinking about your personal security.   At home, at work, at the store, and traveling between those places.  Consider making changes if you find issues.

And stack the defensive things.

nick

Sun. Aug. 4, 2022 – nothin’ but a step for a stepper…

Hot and humid later, but just humid to start the day.   We had intermittent and light rain throughout the day yesterday.   I’m thinking we might have more of the same today.

I got a bunch of stuff started, and nothing really finished.   That said, lots of progress was made.   I’m missing a couple of pex connectors, and 75ft of romex so those projects are now on hold until I get back with the parts.   I will shift to gas lines today, and maybe some other stuff.   There is always other stuff.

Kids and wife got out on the kayaks and paddle boards.   Gotta remember the whole point of doing all this work…  I floated on a tube and watched the bats cleaning up the dusk sky.

Find something that needs doin’ and do it.  Find something that needs stacking and stack it.   Take your joy where you find it.

nick

 

Sat. Sept. 3, 2022 – plugging away

Hot and humid, but less so than Houston.    It was mostly in the high 80s low 90s yesterday.   Lots of humidity, but overcast kept it comfortable most of the day.  Unless one happened to be engaged in physical labor, then it was miserable soaked to the skin sweaty hot.

Like it was for me.   Every stitch of clothing soaked completely with sweat.   Lost track of the gatoraid I drank, and used my cool vest 3 times.   The gas line is in the trench, enters the garage, runs to a manifold.   I started work on the supply side of the water plumbing too.   Discovered I need 4 specific pex fittings that I don’t have.   May head into town to see if Tractor Supply has them, if not, I’ll work the other end of the system.

Family made it here safely.    Had dinner.

Brand new gallon of costco milk was sour when opened.  Seal was bad under the intact cap.   I might go into town for milk, and just stop by the hardware or TS store on the way.  I’m not the only one with milk going off before its time lately.   One more thing failing amongst many.

I REALLY am feeling pressure to have this place ready as a real refuge.   Politics are getting more divisive and the rhetoric is escalating.   Pretty sure the current president just declared war on more than half the population.  Since he said last week that we’d need more than guns, and finally stumbled around to saying we’d need F-15s, that sounds a lot like he intends to use the Armed Forces against us.    Wonder how that will work out?   Nice for the heads up though.

You aren’t stacking enough.   Get busy.

nick

Fri. Aug. 19, 2022 – so MUCH stuff to do…

Hot and humid, but definitely less so today after all the rain and the cool front yesterday.   We got a smattering in the early afternoon, like a snow flurry, only wet.  A little later the temperature dropped 20F, the sky darkened and the wind picked up.  Picked up stuff and flung it around!   And that was when the power went out.

Took  a little over 2 hours for power to be restored.  It was pretty dark with the storm clouds.   The FLASHLIGHTS and mini lanterns got used.  The rain crashed down.   One of the nearby monitoring stations got 1″ in 15 minutes.   Of course the rain put an end to me working in the yard.   I did manage to get one gas powered string trimmer running.   It needed new fuel lines, new primer bulb, and a good carb cleaning.   I put the string trimmer attachment on it and attacked the back yard.   It’s been a long time since I ran the trimmer in back, and I had some real bushwacking to do.   Trimmer ran great for a whole tank of gas.  The engine part had a $6 sticker on it.  Fuel rebuild kit was $12, and a can of carb cleaner was $3.  I don’t  remember but I think the string trimmer attachment was probably less than $12.  I don’t count the cost of the string since that’s an expendable.  It took time of course, but still pretty cheap over all.  I’ve got a pole saw attachment for trimming limbs, and a blower  attachment for sweeping leaves, as well as extra string trimmer attachments.   If I can get another one of the power units running, I’ll leave one as a trimmer and one as polesaw.

In hindsight, I should  have been working on the gennie, either the propane conversion for the Honda inverter, or cleaning the carb for the bigger Generac.   But I couldn’t find the conversion kit- it got ‘cleaned up’ and moved.  And I got focused on getting one of the trimmers running so I could cut the grass.    I did find the kit later in the evening so it will be going on the gennie this week.   I’ve decided to ask a neighbor for an extension cord to keep the freezers running while the electrical work is happening.  I’ll send the gennie with my wife next week just in case.   Thought I’d have more time before the next hurricane to get the Generac prepped…  Prepper fail.

Today I’ve got a ton of stuff to get together and load, scattered in a couple of different places.  I think I’ll be driving around most of the day, and then driving to the BOL, with a pickup or three on the way.  Wife and kids have more Girl Scout Mariner stuff this weekend, and I have to get some stuff done at the BOL before the electricians get there.

Subsequently I’ll be away from the keyboard most of the day.  Hope they can keep the world together a few more days…

I need to stack some more, and so do you!

nick

Wed. Aug. 17, 2022 – aye, que loco

Slightly less hot today, but clearing with less chance of rain.

Kids start a full day of normal classes today.

After the late start yesterday, I got some stuff picked up.  Went by the Habitat reStore looking for stuff for the BOL.   The southside store used to have a great selection of doors, but they were pretty much all gone.  Their tile selection was meager too, and it used to be extensive.  Most of what they had appeared to be from a closed Ace Hardware.   The whole reStore system is dependent on donations, and it looked a bit sparse the last couple of visits.  Could be there is less slack in the system, could be people are being more careful so they don’t have excess to dispose of, or it could be people are buying the store out…

 

The thrift stores are looking a bit sparse too.   And I noticed a couple of closed strip joints, and in my neighborhood, a closed pawn shop.   I think things are probably worse than they look economically.    The closed auto dealerships and especially the little used car lots are another bad sign.   Even one of the big Ford dealers is still spreading cars and trucks out to fill the lot.

 

Today I’ve got fence to fix at the rent house, and a few more plumbing items to find for the BOL.   I’ve got stuff in deep storage that I need for there as well, including the pex compression tools I bought years ago, well in advance of need.  Later I need to get to the bank and have my septic permit application notarized so I can get it to my contractor this weekend.  Septic is the only thing you need a permit and inspection for at my BOL.  While that might make some things easier, remember that the  inspection is to protect you, the building owner.  It’s another set of eyes to make sure your contractor is doing the work to minimum standards.

I did notice that Lowes had 2×4 studs for just under $5, which is down from just under $8 not too long ago.   The reported record number of home buyers walking away from their contracts and the slowdown in home sales might be contributing to that.  Make of it what you will, but rising home prices make people feel good (owners and sellers) while falling prices make them nervous.   Some price lowering in general should help with inflation, but if it is really the beginning of deflation in the non-core sector, then bad times are right around the corner.   I mean, worse times.   Given the recent increase in crime and violence, and in costs,  I’d say we are already in bad times.

There is still food in the store and stuff to buy, and generally if you want to work you can.   That can change, and if it does it will change rapidly.  Preps are a cushion against rapid change, especially when it’s for the worse.

So stack it up.

nick

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