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”.***)

Wed. May 19, 2021 – well, that was wet

Had a big storm last night, and we got 1 1/2 inch of rain in very little time. Then it all blew through. No idea what today will be like. Probably won’t be 12 inches of rain…

Got a bunch of errands run, and a bunch of pick ups done yesterday. Spotty rain all over town, but nothing very dramatic during the day.

While I was out in the country, I refilled the tank on my new truck. Initially I was getting 20 mpg, but that quickly dropped. For this first 27 gallons, the computer says ~17 mpg. Miles over gallons, it would be 15mpg, but I don’t know how full it was originally. The dealer’s “full tank of gas” might not be the same as mine, all the way up the filler neck. Or the computer might only count while the vehicle is moving. I tend to leave it running with the doors locked if I’m just jumping out for a minute or three. I always wondered how sophisticated the calculation is. Anyway, given the weight and size of the truck, and the weight and size of my foot on the accelerator, 17mpg is pretty good.

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I’ve noticed that ammo is starting to show up in some of the online stores, and it’s even a tiny bit cheaper than it was last week. If you need some, this might be a good time. Just suck it up regarding the cost. NOT having it could be much more expensive.

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Same goes for all the other needful things. I’m the king of waiting until something is on sale, leveraging coupons, buying in season, and getting lucky, but I have been re-stocking and adding to the stacks without waiting for bargains. The time to slowly build your reserves for the least outlay possible is gone. I think your focus now should be on filling gaps first, then extending the stack, and for getting stuff you’ve been putting off as ‘not really needed’ or ‘too nuts to buy that’. If body armor fits that description, AR500 Armor has some on sale and in stock.

You’re on your own for meds for your fish, but there are advertisers on Rawles site, and other places online. Aesop reminds everyone that wound care takes a LOT of supplies and they may be in short supply (see Venezuela for a current example). Think case quantity on some of the stuff. I’ll second his first hand knowledge with some of my own. I’ve mentioned it before.

Bacitracin and other antibiotic cremes are crazy cheap when you consider it’s a lifesaving tech that even kings couldn’t buy 100 years ago. I don’t think a sealed tube will degrade significantly in years, but again, VERY CHEAP at the moment. It would be crazy not to have a bunch of tubes on hand. Anti-fungals too. Think about doing a bunch of hard sweaty work, and not having access to running water. Last time I was in Cancun, that was the situation for everyone outside of the city. Athlete’s foot, jock itch, “feminine itching”, etc will seriously degrade your effectiveness.

I’m not a doctor, even of Education, but I have first hand experience with silvadine cream (silver sulfadiazine) on burns and through the skin abrasions. I would get some and have it on hand, if I was planning for a future with degraded access to medical care. Ebay and the Israelis might be your friend there.

Standard OTC meds are on the shelves in giant bottles. Get some. Aspirin and acetaminophen and ibuprofen and benadryl to start. Those are the ones that will keep you in the fight. Add the comfort meds (snivel meds) like cold and flu remedies, allergy treatments, heartburn, etc. after you’ve got the lifesaving covered.

I stocked up at the beginning of this mess, reasoning that the supply chain might break. Didn’t need much more than ordinary usage, and I don’t think supplies got particularly short, but it was nice to have.

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Don’t forget cleaning and hygiene supplies either. Food borne illness can kill you. We should all be pretty well stocked at this point, but if not, stack it up.

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Get whatever your fur babies will need too, like heartworm and flea treatments. Food for them as well, there might not BE any table scraps…

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Huh, turns out I did a real post after all. There’s plenty more on the list of stuff you need or might want, but think about what sort of things you don’t have in the cabinet, because you can just pop down to the store if you needed that. Then get some.

And stack it all high.

n

Sat. May 15, 2021- tax day, again.

Gnu only knows what the weather will be like today. Hot and humid? Cooler and wet? All I know is that we’ll be getting some weather, whether we like it or not.

It stayed moderate yesterday, and mostly overcast, with periods of sun, mild wind, and even once a short misty spritz of drops on the windshield. That would be nice for today too.

Did some of my errands. Failed in my mission to pick up the inversion table. I’ll give that another try today. I’ve got some boots and a bike rack to pick up too. Then more work, including the paperwork I’ve been avoiding, and only doing in dribs and drabs.

My back and neck were OK throughout yesterday and should be today if I don’t re-aggravate them. One more visit to the bone cracker and I should be past this episode. I’m very grateful that we are grid up and the benefits of civilization are here for us. Skilled practitioners, pain relief drugs, and the infrastructure to provide them both will probably be with us for a while, lifetimes if we’re lucky. Getting by without them is possible, but not easy. Lot’s of things in this life that are just like that too. Possible, but not easy.

I’m not looking forward to any time when they are not. Plan for alternatives. Stack you what can…

nick

—–(((((((((((((PING))))))))))))))—— Dadcooks, welfare check. You doing OK?

Fri. April 2, 2021 – stuff to do, no rest for the wicked…

Cool and dry, hopefully. We’re supposed to get two nice days in a row. Yesterday was bright and sunny with cool breezes. And it got down to 51F by the time I actually went back to bed.

Spent yesterday mostly doing nothing. Drove to one pickup. Got the child from school. Went to the chiropractor and came home. Pain sucks. Chronic pain changes who you are and how you get through life. It colors everything and it’s possible to be in so much pain that you don’t even realize that you are in pain until it stops. That was the case with my lower back injury a dozen years ago. It had just crept up on me and poisoned my whole life. Fortunately I sort of accidentally got treatment, and suddenly knew what was going on. I’ve been pretty careful since then to not push it, or find myself without the means to manage the issue. Only a few months ago I found myself in that situation and vowed not to let it happen again. But it did. Ran out of my maintenance meds and suffered for it. This time I misunderstood the tele-doc and the pharmacy has not been as engaged as usual, and instead of toughing it out for a couple of days, I’m now going to be dealing with this for a week or more unless I get lucky.

What are the prepper lessons? The same old ones. Two is one and one is none. A stitch in time saves nine. Grid down will likely purely suck.

I’ve started the process to help insure that this won’t be happening again and that’s all I’ll say about that. The really frustrating part is that the meds which work very well for me aren’t abusable, aren’t even pain related, are well known and cheap, have minimal side effects, and are widely available as a vet med throughout the world. If the market was bigger, they’d be over the counter by now. There is no reason why I should have to beg anyone else for the ability to stop the pain and go about my life. And there is no reason to dole them out one month at a time. My condition is not going to improve. I won’t be needing less. I can manage my own stockpile and dosing. But I’m not allowed. The changes brought about by obama-no-care destroyed the family practice that was my primary care physician, and made my access to care more difficult, more expensive, and more time consuming.

Degradation of services that used to work well is a sign of a collapsing society. The current situation is exacerbated by the china flu and the response to it, but it was not CAUSED by it, the causes were already in place.

All of this is to say, if you have a medical condition that you are taking meds for, you MUST take steps to insure your continued access to them. Whatever the cause of any disruption, be it society wide, just a glitch in the supply chain, or your doctor is suddenly unavailable, there will be a disruption at some point. Lots of people online have discussed strategies and ways to do so for most conditions and we’ve talked about it here too. Some take more effort, some more time, and some just more money, but get started if you haven’t already. I used to have a cushion, I used it up, didn’t replace it, and now I’m paying the price.

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Today, if I can manage it, I’ve got to check on some issues with my client’s site. Stuff continues to fail piecemeal from the lightning strikes, and I continue to patch it up. We are developing a plan to rip and replace everything, but as you can imagine, that costs money, and people with means, who came to them honestly and through hard work, don’t just spend money wildly. They are often very conservative and contemplative when it comes to that.

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In any case, for the next little while, I’ll be focused on my physical issues and what to do about them, WHILE all the other things demand my attention too.

Don’t wait, start stacking stuff today.

n

Mon. Mar. 29, 2021 – sorry to my more religious readers… I blame the vaccine

Cool and damp again. Yesterday got cooler throughout the day, and was down to 48F when I finally went to bed. We had scattered rain, and occasional drizzle throughout too.

My brain was definitely fuzzy on Saturday, and still not normal on Sunday, so my apologies that I missed both Passover and Palm Sunday. While I no longer practice, the passing of the Holy Days does punctuate the year, and I know many people who visit here are sincere believers. My best wishes to you during this season.

I also missed Persian New Year (March 20 this year) and even practiced saying Happy New Year but never got to my mechanic to bust out with “Norouzetan Perouz”, and I think it’s getting a little late for that greeting now. I was looking forward to seeing his face. The iranian expat and immigrant community in Houston is surprisingly big.

I think anyone might be surprised when they take the time to REALLY look around and notice things they’ve just been passing by, or haven’t passed in a while. I like to take different routes to familiar places, just to see what is in between, off the path I normally take, or even just looks completely different going the opposite direction. It can take a bit longer, but I’m often surprised by what is just out of sight, or just half a block over… If you find yourself in a set pattern or moving habitually, take the time to go a different way. Even just riding in the car as a passenger gives me a different perspective on my surroundings. You can expand this as a metaphor for life in general too, if you’d like….

I spent yesterday in my pajamas monkey punching computers and grumping at my family. Definitely don’t feel ‘normal’ yet, but it could be that I’ve run out of my daily anti-inflammatory drug (which hurts), it’s cold and damp out (which hurts), and also tree pollen season (which often makes me feel funny). Or it could be mild reaction to the J&J&j vaccine. Who knows? I wasn’t at my best and kept thinking I’d get back in bed. Never felt bad enough to actually do it though.

Still not making great progress on my lists. Might have made a little progress on the bathroom/saferoom project as my wife mentioned she might have the final floorplan figured out. Given that my buddy at Home Depot says they are restricting drywall and mud sales, and lumber is at crazy high prices, and going up, I should probably move getting the bathroom done higher up the list.

So many things on the lists. So little progress. I need more of me. Cloning or time machine? Which should I build first?

I don’t know, but I think a me with a time machine would tell me that I needed to get busy and stack some more… and get some dang projects finished and off the lists. And buy bitcoin. F computers, working, retirement savings, or a shiny new car, just buy LOTS OF BITCOIN. And then cash it out on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX….system fail. Rebooting………………..

nick