Thur. Oct. 14, 2021 – falling behind, ever farther behind….

Hot and humid, but maybe a bit less so today than last week. Or even yesterday. I would like the rain to hold off though so I can use my pickup truck to move some things.

Did my errands yesterday. Flipped one auction item to the auctioneer for cash while doing the pickup… didn’t make what I hoped to make but did keep the auctioneer thinking favorably of me. And I’ll eventually get more stuff in his auctions. Meatspace baby. Relationships. Trust. Mutual self interest. These things need building up as much as your stacks of buckets and cans do.

Daughter had a little mishap after dinner that I’ve described in yesterday’s comments. It brings up some interesting discussion points regarding medical preps. Do you keep stuff that you don’t actually know how to use? Or do you fear ‘getting yourself into trouble’ with it? I’m firmly on the side that stacks material that is far outside your competence to use, especially with medical preps. Having a Doctor in your group, or just access to a doctor, maybe by radio or cell phone will do you no good if you don’t also have the stuff that he can direct you to use. Worst case is me using the stuff to ‘wing it’ if it all goes pear shaped. Slightly less worst case is me learning from the reference material how to do better than just winging it. Having the stuff and learning how to use it, or being advised on its use, or even trading it later to someone else is all better than not having it when it is needed.

Don’t be afraid to stack something you aren’t able to use. You might learn, someone else might use it on your behalf, or you might just exchange it for something you need more later on.

Stack ALL the things*

nick

*start with the basics, then get more advanced in every area. Don’t skip something that becomes available out of order though. You might not get a second time.

Thur. Aug. 19, 2021 – more stuff to the auction

Hot and humid, more rain later. Although cooler in the morning and late afternoon than the hottest of days, it’s still getting hot in the early afternoon, especially when the sun is out. And someone in Houston is getting rained on every day.

As I drove around town yesterday, I was in and out of rain, and it rained at the house.

I spent the morning sorting and packing auction stuff. I had a bunch that hadn’t been sorted that I found when I moved some of the other…. Packed four bins worth and got it to the auctioneer in early afternoon. Then did a round of pickups and headed home. I’d have taken more on that trip, but that’s really all that fit in the Expy. Today I will pick up the Ranger pickup. The mechanic called and it’s ready. Lots more room for ‘stuff’ in the back, if the rain holds off.

The Ranger needed a bunch of work and I don’t have the total bill yet. If it’s under $1000 I’ll be happy. I haven’t spent much on maintenance over the years so it was due. There is still other stuff it needs too, like a windshield, and the insurance body work. I need it for a week though, so that will be put off again. It’s always something. At least with the two trucks I’ve had some backup, even if the usage is different.

Getting out in the world and talking to people can get you all sorts of information. You never know what you’ll hear, or how important it will end up being. Yesterday I got a bit about the presence of a respiratory virus in kids hospitalized with covid. A bit of confirmation when I got home, and it’s a real thing, although the magnitude and impact is yet to be determined. One practical bit, it gives us a really good reason to continue with masking our kids in indoor social settings. RSV is nasty enough, and if it opens you to bad covid, I’d just as soon skip it.

So today should be packing up and delivering more auction stuff. Followed by a second round if the rain holds off, or if not, then I have a couple more pickups-one needful thing, and a carpet “pet stain” cleaning machine.

While young Zeus is much better at going outside when he needs to, he still will soil the floor when he can. Spray cleaner and paper towel looks like it does the job, but I’d like a bit more cleaning, hence the machine. Our dog sitter has one and uses it multiple times per day.

Apropos of nothing, did you know that Black powder pistols and long arms are not considered to be firearms in the state of Texas and may be freely carried either open or concealed without permit or prejudice? And that there is a muzzle loader only season for deer? Or that there are very modern muzzleloading rifles, many available with scopes? Some things to look into…

Things happen slowly, then all at once. You can adjust the scale afterwards to figure out how slowly, or how long ‘all at once’ really was, but when you’re in it, I’m sure it feels pretty dang sudden. Even if you’ve been expecting it, when the reality hits you, I’m sure there is ‘that moment’. We’ve been in the ‘slowly’ part for 20 years. ‘Bout time for the ‘suddenly’ part. I’ll note in passing that several of the bloggers I read daily are emphasizing prepper themes all of a sudden. Medical, food, location, and defense being primary among them. It ain’t just me tellin’ ya… get crackin’ on yer stackin’!

nick

Sat. July 31, 2021 – early to bed, early to rise….

Perhaps not quite as hot today? Maybe we’ll get some of the rain that threatened yesterday but never got to my house. Still in the T-storm ‘possible’ zone according to the national weather liars… we never got more than a spatter, although we did get the delta T and the wind.

I spent the day messing about indoors for the most part. I was wiped out from my day shifting tradeshow booth from storage to dumpster, and my back and hands hurt, so I took it easier. Had the kids at home so my options were limited anyway. Mostly I did maintenance stuff around the house and yard. Not much of it, but some. I also did some auction stuff, and while everyone else watched a movie (Jungle Cruise), I put a repair project back together.

It had been sitting apart in my office for a LONG time. Didn’t work when finished. There was a part that was completely rotted away that I hadn’t noticed, but it was obvious that something was missing when I got it together. Oh well, it takes up a lot less room together than apart, and I may sell it for parts.

Everywhere I clean, organize, or move stuff, I find more stuff that I’d ‘tucked away.’ It’s ebay stuff for the most part, but it never got listed. Some is stuff I wanted for myself, but never moved to its final location. And a lot of it is books. I would really like to have more bookshelves, but I’ve run out of wall…

Today I’ve got two pickups then I’m headed back to my secondary to continue plugging away at it. I need the space so I can do the auction, to start getting more space… and summer is running out. School in about 2 weeks or just a bit more. When school starts I’ve got the big rip and replace for my client to do, as well as the auctions. And all the house stuff.

I better get to it.

Stack something! You know you wanna.

nick

Fri. July 30, 2021 – whew, I’m beat up today…

Hot and humid, possible rain. We didn’t get the rain yesterday, and I was north, south, and in the middle. It was a bit cooler with the breeze when the sun went behind a cloud. Otherwise it was hot.

I got my morning stuff out of the way, then got out of the house to do my pickups. Shelves mostly. Then I headed to my secondary location. Set up some shelves so I can move the stuff that’s on top of the shipping containers, and chop up the containers. I also decided to just trash everything, not save the stuff with aluminum frames for recycle. Let someone pull them out of the dumpsters, if they get lucky.

I filled my pickup 3 times and filled two dumpsters. Cut up two of the containers and emptied them. I am starting to see a big space, that will fill instantly as I start moving stuff around. Still, progress, right? It is beating me up though. I can do two of the containers before I’m stumbling and starting to not be coordinated and graceful. Working alone with saws and moving stuff, not a good idea when you get weary.

Part of that is being 55. Part is that it’s very hot. Part is that each container needs about 30 trips out to the truck while carrying the stuff. Since I started with the shelves and dumping the stuff that was on pallets in the parking lot, I was ready to be done after one container. I pushed through and got the second done too. I’m starting to get pretty scratched up too. Just handling and moving around the stuff has been beating up my arms, shins, calves, and hands.

Wah, wah, wah…. ok enough whining. I also chatted with my neighbor there, and sold him a metalworking tool. He’s going to assemble it, then we’ll finalize the price. Even if it’s beat up or missing fasteners, he should be able to get it working. Walking around his space, I realized I’ve been selling him stuff for years. He gets the machines and tools he needs, I get to move some inventory. Win win! And that is how meatspace is supposed to work.

Puppy had a good day, despite being home alone. No accidents in the house! He used the doggy door and went out during the day. Hooray. That is definitely progress.

Today I’ve got the kids at home, so my tired body will get a bit of rest, but there is still a lot do do here. Maybe I’ll get some of it done 🙂

And then I can continue stacking all the things!

nick

Sun. July 18, 2021 – “a [monkey] pox on your house”

Sunny, clear, hot and humid. Like yesterday. Despite predictions to the contrary. At least I hope so. Yesterday was a nice break from all the rain.

I need it to be dry enough to cut the lawn. I thought it was the week the service comes, because they weren’t here last week, but I guess not. Which means I need to do it. I like how it looks afterwards, and it’s not that hard, but it is one more thing in the day.

And I didn’t get much done yesterday. I felt weird all day. Kind of light headed, maybe just a notch below ‘dizzy’. Just didn’t think driving, climbing, or running power tools was a great idea.

So I spent some time with the puppy. We had several successful housebreaking lessons. Progress is being made, when the humans are on the ball.

I also sorted through some Goodwill stuff. Found a piece of gold jewelry in the bag of costume jewelry. Not a big piece, it’s a Kmart 25 years service pin. It’s probably worth more as a nostalgia piece than melt. It shows that people do miss actual gold and silver in the thrift stores.

I did a bit of laundry and dish washing too. Lots of domestic bliss, nothing with sharp edges, or potential for falling.

I am disappointed in myself for losing most of the day. Well, except for the time with the puppy. It’s hard to take any time when if feels like the hits just keep coming. I’m feeling far behind where I’d like to be, and don’t really know how to get there. I have a pathway, but there are a lot of forks and false starts. Still, I am FAR Far and away farther down that path than most people.

Which is good, because there is MONKEYPOX in Dallas. Not that it’s the end of the world, but plagues… war… famine… just sayin’.

So get to stacking while there is stuff to stack and places to stack it. We might need it sooner rather than later.

nick

Wed. July 14, 2021 – well, that didn’t go so well

Sunny with rain, high humidity, and heat. Probably 90s, and RH between 70 and 90. Kinda like yesterday.

Spent yesterday doing stuff. Drove youngest to day camp and back. She had a better day, with more activities. Doing that today too. Took oldest to the Doc in the Box, ended up with a strep test and positive diagnosis, so she’s started on amoxicillian. Which meant I went to the pharmacy too. No need for fish meds when the grid is up. I’ll take note of the scrip for the future though. The positive test means real questions about the weekend plan for GS activities, and next week’s sleep away camp. Dr said she should be fine for camp by Sunday. She’s hoping for Friday. Hmm. Don’t want to be that guy.

Spent time doing online chat with some indian fellows at Dell to get a replacement for the returns monitor that didn’t light up. The backlight comes on, but no image. No internal menus displayed either. The Dell warranty is pretty good for a $200-300 monitor. I don’t have the replacement yet, so, fingers still crossed.

Wife is home from the funeral trip. Thanks for all the condolences. Family gathered for the ceremonies, and my wife says they’re looking pretty shell shocked as you might imagine. She also took a hard look at her own parents and was a bit surprised to see them showing some frailness. They’re in a split level raised ranch style house with some stairs that wouldn’t meet current code because they are too steep. They are going to have to move if they want to stay in a normal house. They are not planning to move. There will be some reality smacking some heads at some point, hopefully not after a serious injury. Neither of us would be excited to have them move here. There will be more discussion another day. Guys, have a realistic plan for coping with the decline in your physical abilities.

My plan for today is to get out of the house, leaving oldest alone for a couple of hours while I do needful things elsewhere. I have to do a pickup on the other side of town and while I’m out, I need to move the piles of trash at my secondary from the place I stacked it to the dumpster. Then back to get youngest home, and nursemaid the sick one.

And getting some of the stuff here out of the house or better organized would be good too. I got more stuff ready for auction,but I still have to get an auction set up. Or three.

All that while working to improve my position, and topping up the stacks.

It’s a great life if you don’t weaken. Keep stacking.
n

Tues. July 13, 2021 – more camp, more cleaning and organizing

A bit cooler, wet, humid, hot, and probably all at the same time. Yesterday was sunny but then ended with rain. I didn’t get a ton of time to work on the patio, but at least the rain held off while youngest was at camp.

Her camp is a nature walk outdoors in the woods, so better if there isn’t rain in the morning. She was very aggrieved that the other kids weren’t serious about learning and disrespected the councilors and the animals by talking loudly and not listening. They also spent a lot of the time walking off the paths. Drove my little OCD kid nuts. Then last night while we were getting her stuff ready for the morning, we had a yelling fight about bug spray. The stuff I sent her with didn’t work. I pulled out 3 other brands, but they were all “poison” and she didn’t want them. FFS, what other house has 4 different kinds of bug repellent on the shelf?? If you don’t want to use the good stuff, don’t complain about getting bit. (I don’t get bit so I don’t often use the stuff, but when I do, it’s the stuff with DEET. But that’s POISON. Which is the point, kid.) After talking to my wife, it turns out there is a 5th kind in the house. That was what the kid wanted. Jeez.

The other child had a dime sized abrasion on her ankle for the last 3 days, dirty from camp and hiding under a bandaid. Got that cleaned up and smeared with ABX cream. Had a chat about infection and sepsis and that a dime sized abrasion can kill you if not taken care of. Oh, and threw out a box of walgreens bandaids. F that noise. Bandaid brand flexible fabric bandaids stick. Generics do not. It’s not worth the “savings” to later throw them away. Buy the good stuff.

I spent the afternoon organizing and going through auction stuff. So much more to do. No word back from the auction house on the trashed 3d printer. I’ll try them again today. And then back to cleaning and organizing, and chauffeuring… maybe to the Dr’s office.

Oldest isn’t feeling well. That’s a couple of days now. No fever, but generally feels unwell. Scratchy throat, some coughing. If her throat is red, white, or some other color I guess we’ll be going to the doc in the box for some swabbing a bit later. Might as well use it while we still have it.

That should be a motto, use it while we still can. And of course, keep stacking.

nick

Sat. July 3, 2021 – no title for you!

Still forecast to be hot and humid with possibility of rain… and yesterday was hot and humid, but sunny too. There was a little overcast, but no rain.

I did some kid chauffeuring, got one quick in person estate sale in on the way home from that, cut my deadbeat neighbor’s grass because I couldn’t look at it any longer, fed kids, ate, and just lived my life.

I did sort through a bin full of medical supplies, and organize them. I still don’t have a good system for storing stuff I’m unlikely to need, but if I do, I’ll need it in a hurry. A lot of my medical stuff is really just to have a deep larder if things go very pear shaped, and as such doesn’t need to be ready to hand, but does need to be safe. As I was sorting this bin I was thinking about just HOW pear shaped things would need to get for some of it to make sense. And then I saw the article about Venezuela knocking 6 zeros off its currency, and I remembered that we got through the very unlikely pandemic without much disruption because I’d taken the chance of a pandemic seriously and prepared for it.

We have been lucky that drug supply lines weren’t more seriously disrupted, and that we didn’t see widespread shortages of critical meds in the US (there were shortages, and some suppliers had to look outside their normal vendors). I don’t want to depend on luck. So I stack stuff that I’m unlikely to need, and that I fervently hope I’ll NEVER use. There’s plenty in the stacks that I do use and that does get rotated too. And as has been pointed out here and elsewhere, wound care, and caring for the sick, will eat through supplies like Rosanne Barr at the Shakee’s pizza buffet. There are alternatives to toilet paper, there are fewer alternatives to meds and medical supplies.

Don’t forget simple soap and AB ointment. They are both cheap and both are literal lifesavers.

Hygiene and cleanliness are topics for whole books, but the short version is – a stitch in time saves nine. Don’t let infection get started, and you won’t be wishing you’d bought some fish meds… or that all the Drs didn’t die off in the first wave of the zombie plague. Ditto for keeping moist areas of the body clean and dry. Kilts were good for that at least, but I don’t see them coming into fashion here… and clean hands will prevent a whole host of ills.

With that cheery thought, I’m off to do more stuff around the house. ‘Cuz it ain’t gonna do itself…

n

(stack something)

Sun. May 30, 2021 – meatspace

After a really nice day on Saturday, I expect a bit of rain today. And some heat. And humidity.

I did one pickup, went to my storage unit and looked at a couple of things. Put some things away. Mainly did cleanup and chores around the house.

There is a bit of drama going on on our street involving one of the aging neighbors. I’ve gotten involved and that took up some time. Getting old sucks. Getting old and sick sucks worse. Getting old and sick when you are the only caregiver for a loved one who is very sick sucks the most. I have a lead on some family and will be talking with them later today or Monday.

Meatspace. Sometimes it would be a lot easier to never leave the house. That’s not a good way to live though. So, meatspace. And the problems that come from the people that live in it.

The rest of today should be spent working on the list.

And stacking.

Always stacking.

nick

Fri. May 28, 2021 – schooooool’s out for suuuuuummmmer…..

Possibility of rain here in the Bayou city, but otherwise, the same as yesterday, hot and humid, with some sun.

Did a bunch of stuff yesterday, some of it moving my goals along. I’ve found that my auctioneers are very busy and the best way to get them to talk with me and do things for me is to talk to them in person by showing up at their office. Most of them treat their phones like you’d treat a rattlesnake, something I’m seeing in more and more people. Meatspace is becoming increasingly important.

One of the lots I picked up was a bunch of medical supplies. They had hand written unit designations that made it look like an army medic took his bag with him when he went home. Of course most of it is probably out of date but that doesn’t worry me much, it’s stuff that would only be used in extremis anyway, or stuff that doesn’t age out. There are some interesting things out there, if you are lucky and paying attention. Hibid.com is nationwide and is the platform that most of the auctions I patronize are listed on, if you want to check out the ‘scene’.

I’m a big fan of the ‘secondary’ market and believe that it’s the future, at least for a while yet. Retail and the way people acquire goods and services are going through a change, along with everything else in our day to day lives. Part of that change is the rise of resellers, and person to person selling. It’s actually a bit worrying for me, as one common element of life in any third world shitehole is the proliferation of street vendors and unofficial marketplaces. I see it growing in the areas around my neighborhood, I see it around my secondary location. Not a good sign in my estimation. (Flip the script- can YOU become one of those vendors? You might have to if things degrade that much.)

You may want to get some practice in the new marketplace, just like you need practice in any endeavor. Observe, pay attention, do what the others there already are doing. Do they haggle? Do they expect some chat in addition to the transaction? Do they expect a bag or box for their purchases? Is cash king? (it may not be, there are a lot of phone based person to person payment systems, and the “unbanked” seem to be using them.) One other thing, are the buyers using coins? I’d argue that if they are, you should be too, otherwise you’ll be marked as “rich” because you aren’t counting every penny.

As an aside, I’ve noticed that in some cultures, the females will be doing the shopping, handling the money, but there is a watchful male with them. He’s really in charge, but apparently can’t be bothered to actually do the ‘little things’. I hate seeing that for cultural reasons, or rather, the destruction of OUR culture reasons. If you’re male, and you are in that sort of a marketplace, you are going to stand out if you don’t have a female to do those things for you. (and yes, I’m talking about the US, in thrift stores, the Goodwill Outlet, and swapmeets and yard sales. We are losing.)

During conflicts the ‘outsider’ is always suspect. Start paying attention and realize that you might be the outsider, even in your own home town. How do you dress, move, comport yourself? It may be to your advantage to be obviously ‘foreign’ as people won’t expect you to know the unwritten rules, as long as things are ‘normal’. But if the mood shifts, or violence is in the offing, you want to disappear, blend, fade to grey. Pay attention now. Start learning** while it’s not a matter of life or death.*

And build up those stacks, so you don’t have to venture into danger unnecessarily.

nick

(* equally true for rural or city areas that are nominally part of our culture. You show up at the Quik E Mart in rural America with a problem, and you will get a lot more help if you are “might be one of us” rather than “f’ing rich city boy”, and the same is true in NYFC. You should be able to fit in enough that you are in the ‘provisionally not a threat/outsider/unknown’ category rather than ‘you’re not from around here are you, boy?’*)

(** for practice, there are usually farmer’s markets on weekends, and there are always ethnic stores, even quite large grocery stores. Every city has a swap meet, maybe only one weekend a month, but usually every weekend. You’ll know if you venture too far off the beaten path. The interrupted conversations, the guarded looks, the people who suddenly leave are all good indicators that you are recognized as an outsider and a (possibly dangerous) unknown***. There are a different set of markers when you are recognized as an outsider and you are tagged as “prey”. In that case, you don’t want to stick around, and it would be a great time to have a reason for being there, like “Can I speak to the owner? I’m from the local agency and we’re doing outreach with local businesses… oh, he’s not here?? Thanks, I’ll check back later.”**)

(***for examples, you can watch xiaomaNYC on youtube, and pay attention when he goes into an area or a business where he sticks out, and then note the change when he gives them a REASON why he’s there “I’m learning pashtun and I am out practicing my speaking skills”.***)