Category: personal

Tues. Apr. 16, 2026 – more messing around to do

Cool and cloudy to start, then warming later. And some wind- “fresh” in the words of openweathermap.org. It was blowing all over last night.

Yesterday I did my doctor appointment. I like him, he’s just a bit younger than me, but the current nonsense over any meds used to treat pain is nuts. I take a simple med for chronic back pain. It’s not abuse-able, has a long and well understood history, is cheap, and is an NSAID with minimal side effects. I’ve been on it every day for about 15 years. It works for me. So why change? Why the intrusive nonsense about renewal? The office wanted a contract like I was a barely under control junkie mandating monitoring, blood tests, when and how I could refill, all sorts of nonsense for a drug that ISN’T controlled, ISN’T abuse-able, and technically ISN’T a painkiller. I pushed back with increasing firmness until he admitted all the above, and agreed I didn’t need the stupid contract.

I’m going back to the way I got it for years. F this S, I will not have my ability to control my pain and ability to work and do stuff at the mercy of a just in time delivery system, especially considering that it’s essentially Motrin, and in any sane place would be over the counter. I thought this guy was more reasonable. Guess not.

After that, I did some shopping and one pickup. Did a bunch of cleaning and moving stuff around while waiting for my chauffeur duty to be called upon. Did some more after. Tripped and fell over the child gate we use to keep the dog out of the bedrooms. Smashed myself and the gate up. Bought another in the auction last night. They always have child gates for some reason. So it was a mixed bag yesterday. I did get some stuff done, but was frustrated and stomping around, both metaphorically and in reality.

Today I’ve got several pickups to do. That should keep me busy until I have to get the kid from school. STAAR testing this week so no afterschool activities. That means a short day for me too.

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Traps in the attic haven’t caught anything. I’ll have to try some different bait. The poison boxes are untouched too, but I still hear scurrying at times. SOMETHING is up there. Possums usually go for the traps, rats usually eat the poison. I guess it could be squirrels…

Stack some poison, traps, insecticide, and the like. You may not be able to get them when you need them. Stack the other things you need to be comfortable too.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 15, 2024 – Uncle Sam says, “Pay up sucker!”

Should start cool and warm later, maybe even into the 80s. It was nice at the BOL in the afternoon, following the somewhat grey and windy morning. Sun even came out around 4pm.

I got some stuff done while I was there. Because of issues with the drive belt coming off the PTO, when I went out to mow yesterday I decided to go ahead and replace the belt before mowing, despite the lowering sky. Because my life is fractal, you can probably guess at the sequence of events…

I had three new 42″ belts, because they were a dollar in an auction, but I had mis-remembered as what I needed was a 46″ mower deck belt. Gah. So I figured that instead of a new belt, I’d take a look at it and see if I could figure out what changed and why the belt is coming off… And I did. Wear. LOTS of wear. Holes that were wallowed out, bolts that weren’t tight, guides in the wrong place. So I took apart, cleaned, greased, and replaced what parts I could. Last year my buddy gave me his old mower, because the deck was shot, but it turned out to have lots of stuff I could use to rebuild mine. Some washers for spacing, some grease instead of rust, some parts that weren’t half worn through, and some time, about 3 hours, and I had the deck back together and in better shape than it’s been in in years. Seems to run better too.

Mowed the rest of the yard, trimmed it too. Then went to check on the garden. Peas are doing well, much better than the variety we planted first. Peppers and tomatoes are doing well. Potatoes are growing like weeds. Something is eating the leaves off the turnips. I thinned out my radishes. Planted the cukes and zukes I brought up there. Went back to my place and planted the blueberry bushes on top of a sand pile. That’ll have to do for now. Decided I didn’t know were to put the mint, or the other herbs, so I brought them home again. I’ll either pot them or put them in dirt here. We’ve been getting over an inch of rain each week up there so irrigation isn’t an issue yet. It will likely be an issue eventually, so I am still moving forward with my plan to make a water wagon to bring lake water to the garden. Plans. I’ve got ’em.

The next thing on the list was more poking at the irrigation pump. I decided that a)the suction pipe wasn’t tight enough in the pump inlet, b) the intake was down in the silt, and c)there was air trapped in the suction pipe preventing the pump from priming. I lifted the intake, cut and rotated the pipe to make it tighter then glued it back together, and adjusted the level of the pipe to “burp” any air trapped in a high section… and that worked. We’ll see if it keeps running this week.

Unloading the truck, putting stuff away, and then prepping to leave took the rest of the day, and part of the night. This was a quick trip and I’m actually surprised that I got as much done as I did.

Today I’ve got catching up to do at home. Auction stuff, domestic bliss, stacking… hopefully I’ll have a somewhat productive day. Oh, doctor’s appointment right in the middle of the morning too.

But it beats working for a living.

Stack stuff. Just ‘cuz.

nick

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Thur. Apr. 11, 2024 – Just ‘cuz they say it, doesn’t mean it’s true…

Cooler, clear, and still damp. But should be nice later. It cleared out yesterday and turned into a nice day. Sunny, a bit gusty, and low 70s. More of that would be nice.

I spent most of yesterday at home. Did some domestic bliss, and will do more today. Put a pot roast in the slow cooker, and fixins in the bread machine and ended up with a fine dinner 6 hours later. And for not much effort. I tried to test the goodwill bread maker, but I’m obviously missing something about how it works. When I hit “start” I got a 6 hour timer. Should have been about 3 1/2 hours, so I dumped the bucket into my tried and true maker, and proceeded. I should d/l the manual and try again. I made “honey french” instead of my usual “old fashioned oatmeal” bread, and it came out great. Could have used a bit more salt, but other than that, soft airy inside, crunchy outside.

I also hit Costco for gas and groceries. Gas was $2.99, so 32c cheaper than Chevron. That makes a difference in an Expedition. Maybe not so much in a Geo Metro. Spent $400 at Costco and didn’t even overflow the cart. Two bales of Charmin, not on sale. It’s definitely not going on sale with the old frequency as I’m running out before the next sale. I have backup at the offsite location, so I am letting the home supply get low, hoping for the sale to stock up. Didn’t work this month so I sucked it up and paid the $30 per bale. Worse, it feels like there are fewer rolls now. I’ll have to check against the deep storage at some point. USED to be $18 on sale.

Between Costco and HEB, I spent about $800 this week on groceries and sundries. That would have been a HUGE week back in the Trump era.

I found the bin of medical supplies I was looking for. It didn’t have the stuff I needed in it. I’ll have to do some more organizing of medical preps at some point. I need to sort, label, and separate home and away kits. My two main home medical bags need to be refreshed too. I built them when the kids were little, and that was some time ago now…

There’s always more to do.

My auctioneer waved me off as they’ve been working on an in-home estate sale this week. I’ll just stack the bins and have more for next week I guess. I didn’t win anything in the last couple of days’ auctions either so I find myself without any pickup pressure today. I still have a couple of things to pickup, but I won’t be rushing all over the place.

Plan for the day is continue cleaning the house and putting stuff away, as well as processing auction wins, and outgoing auction stuff. Maybe plant some stuff in the garden if the soil isn’t too muddy, and I don’t run out of daylight. The water feature pond pump needs to be fixed or replaced soon too. The thing is getting stagnant. It’s part of the house and yard that I’ve been neglecting in favor of the BOL. Too much to do, not enough time or motivation.

All I can do is keep plugging away. At least I don’t have livestock making demands on my time too. Oh, I do have the kids, and they do need an hour or more of ferrying around every day, and it’s right in my most productive part of the day too. Oh well. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, I’m sure of that. Time is flying by as it is.

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Stack, organize, refresh, build, renew, network, upskill, downsize, and monetize… while you can.

nick

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Wed. Apr. 10, 2024 – My name is Bond, Municipal Bond, and I’m here to indenture your children…

Wet and dreary today, with warm thrown in… it’s almost like we have to pay for all the beautiful days we had recently… or just that there is variation in the weather. Naw, it’s a conspiracy. Stonecutters or Illuminated probably. In any case a little rain started last night and continues…

[yes, I know the ellipse isn’t used in a grammatically correct way in the paragraph above. I use it as a conversational gimmick, to suggest the ‘trailing off’ of a thought, or as a longer than normal pause in the narrative flow. I’m cool like that.]

Anyway…

Did my pickups yesterday. Chatted with one of the auctioneers who I’ve been dropping verbal hints on for a few weeks. I know he’s politically conservative, most small business owners are. Now I know he’s a doomer and a prepper too. He’s working on his BOL. I won a knock off version of the Big Berkey (sp?) filter and that was the opening he needed. He asked me if I meant to use it or flip it, and to share with him how it worked if I used it. That led to a chat about securing drinking water supplies, and other personal infrastructure. He had intended to go full off grid solar, but ended up with a diesel generator solution because in his words, “he doesn’t care about the noise because he’s way the F out in the middle of no where.” I was surprised he didn’t know about the solar company bankruptcy auction that morning, but he’s an auctioneer on the platform, not a buyer. He did think about keeping the filter for himself. This makes three of my auctioneers that are active preppers or getting started increasing their level of preparedness (that I know of.) He also mentioned that he was prepared to defend what is his from those who might want to take it.

I know that this place has a preponderance of “like minded” people especially wrt certain ideas and topics. That’s to be expected given the focus of my life and the blog. I like to think that there are others who visit, that we don’t hear from too often (but of whom I was reminded while going through some old posts and old comments yesterday) that may have differing views or rate the hazards of life differently. And that is great. Right now, I want to encourage EVERYONE who comes here, and through them, everyone they influence, to consider the cost of prepping vs. the cost of NOT prepping, if the future plays out the way I, and many many others, expect it to. Consider that it’s not just those few of us here, or a few other corners of the intarwebs that think bad things are coming, and indeed have already started arriving. Ordinary people from all walks of life and all situations are taking a look around and deciding to make changes to their lives to better prepare for what they have decided might be coming.

Think hard about what you can stack, actually and metaphorically, and then take action. It’s a bit of ‘preaching to the choir’ I know… but I’m specifically preaching to the others not already in the choir today. No matter what happens, even (especially) the normal trials and tribulations of life, stacks and preps will make it better. There are plenty of stories shared here of the minor, and even potentially major, problems overcome more easily and with more style due to having prepared for problems. Come and join us on the journey.

Stack.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 8, 2024 – ah, the sun’s going out! We’re all gonna die!!!!111!!1 “let’s go watch”

Cooler and overcast with a chance of thunderstorms. That’s from the national forecast. Local calls for clouds, north of here is calling for clouds. Where the totality is is likely to be covered with clouds. It’s a cruel universe that sets up a compete solar eclipse and then hides it from us.

Spent yesterday avoiding work. Cut the whole back yard for the first time this year. Some of the weeds were 5 ft tall. Had to use the string trimmer first, then follow up with the mower to mulch and level everything out. That took a good long time. Then I blew the debris back onto the lawn and used the mower to mulch them, and since I had the blower out, I blew all the leaves in the front yard too. The lawn guys tend to blow the leaves toward the house, where we have some plantings. There used to be bushes there, and sometimes mulch. Not so much anymore. But they don’t like picking up leaves so they blow them there, as if they were mulch.

Took a while to blow all the accumulation out onto the grass and then use the mower to mulch it. It was dark when I finished up.

All that to avoid setting traps in the attic for whatever creature is scrabbling around up there. I’m convinced it’s possums using the soffits to move around. I don’t see any obvious evidence in the attic proper, and nothing is eating the rat bait. I’ll set the traps today, if we don’t got searching for the eclipse.

Wife is convinced we should head to the BOL and onward into the path of the moon’s shadow. But she’s also convinced that it will be poor weather. So there is conflict in her soul about leaving early today to try to make a viewing location in time. We didn’t leave last night, because of the weather forecast, but if things change… I won’t have to put the traps in the attic.

[man, my writing is disjointed and choppy at 2am]

I’m up for the road trip if she decides to go. Otherwise, I’ve got plenty to do.

IF we stay home, I’ll be doing all the stuff I’ve been shirking for the last week. And dropping off auction stuff, if I can.

Oh, and shopping if I get the time, because this stuff won’t stack itself. Join me?

nick

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Fri. Apr. 5, 2024 – yup, another week gone without TEOTWAWKI, which is a good thing…

Cool and clear to start, warming later. Absolutely gorgeous run of several spring days. Couldn’t ask for better weather. I want MORE MOAR !!!1!!!111! might get it, might not.

Spent most of yesterday morning doing auction stuff, then all afternoon and evening at my client’s house. Got some of his issues fixed, identified what needs more work, and have a sorta plan for how to continue.

Got home late and gorged on pizza. So good.

Today I’ve got some office stuff to do and a bunch of pickups. Good stuff for the kids and the BOL, as well as everyday life stuff. I’d like to hit Costco and HEB too, before the weekend. Generally life maintenance and domestic bliss…

The short week means it flew by for me. I should be at the BOL this weekend but I think I better spend some time here. We’ll see how today goes, but I expect I’ll have a lot to do on Saturday and Sunday.

I’m feeling pretty much over the snotty crud. I’m still occasionally coughing, but only a couple of times a day.

I have some un-stacking to do, and some organizing so I have room for more stacking. It’s a constant battle between putting stuff away, and just piling it up for later. I’m a wee little tiny bit behind on the “putting away” part, and that has to change.

It’s always something…

Use the time we have to stack, organize, improve. These are the good old days.

nick

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Thur. Apr. 4, 2024 – 04042024 – same format in Euroland and in the Great State of Texas…

Cool and clear again, warming later. Basically perfect Spring days. This would be second in a row as yesterday was gorgeous.

Did several pickups yesterday. Jumped the gun on one but fortunately it is very close to one I had to attend anyway, so no driving or time really lost. Also did my kid thing, and did some cleaning up and putting away in the house.

Today I’m at my client’s house to troubleshoot some issues, and to install a couple of additional cams. While there, I’ll check that one of the alternative bedrooms is fully working, as they’ll be moving to that bedroom while doing some remodeling in the Master. I’m happy to have the extra work as there are lots of things I want to buy.

We used to have a saying in the business, “Done is good. Gone is better. Paid is best.” Paying work rocks.

Money is a great prep. Try to stack some!

nick

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Thur. Mar. 28, 2024 – stuff to do, stuff to do

Cool, damp, and hopefully clear. Warming later with some sun would be nice. That has been the pattern for the last week, so all I really want is some continuity, right? Actually, I’d take a little rain today and tomorrow if it left the weekend clear.

Did my errands Wednesday. Picked up the needful thing. The forms have changed yet again. I need to hit another store and get some “food” to “feed” it… Stopped by my auctioneer and chatted for about 40 minutes. I’m slowing my sales through them for a week or two while they concentrate on other estates. They make more money on an estate than on consignment, and they need the cash. I really need to get back to listing and sell some of the high value items I’ve been holding back. This lull would be a good time to finally do that.

I didn’t win anything in the ham radio estate auction, so I could go to the BOL tonight with the family. I might delay until tomorrow anyway to do some shopping. We’ll see what I get done today. I’d like to have a bunch of stuff for projects so I can maybe knock one or 6 off the list, if I get motivated. Plus, I hate to make the trip without being fully loaded up. I’ve got a bunch of stuff from the auctions this week, but I need some actual building supplies too.

Today is all about getting ready for the long weekend out of town. Groceries, Home Depot, dig through the stacks and move some stuff… The usual.

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Peter over at BayouRenaissanceMan touched on one of my preparedness points this week when he mentions not putting all your preps in the same place. I’ve been talking about that for a long time, going back to Cali’s recommendation that earthquake preps be kept in sealed bins outdoors or in a lightweight shed structure. Been a while since I talked about earthquakes, so I know I’ve been talking about it for a while. More recently I’ve been talking about using a storage unit on your way out of town, and the balance of what to keep where if you have a BOL. (Keeping stuff with trusted friends or family is another option, but one I haven’t mentioned since the last trip to sibling’s place in Michigan.)

There were some devastating hurricanes in OK that really prompted me to start an offsite “secondary” location with preps stored there. If you lose your house, you will likely lose your preps in the disaster too. It’s IMPORTANT to have some stuff elsewhere.

The BOL serves that function well, but it adds the question of balance. In a world with limited resources, what do you put where? I have lots of stacks here in Houston. Since we got the BOL, I’ve been moving stuff there too, but — what if we can’t get there? I don’t want to strip our primary residence, the place we are most likely to be when (certain flavors of) S hits the Fan… I also don’t want to bail out to the BOL and leave all my resources behind. Taking them with me might not be an option.

In an ideal world both would be equally well equipped, but that is VERY unlikely and essentially “wastes” half your preps.

So, what to do? “Waste” the preps and stock both as well as possible is my compromise solution. I’ve already acknowledged that given the poor storage conditions, I will have higher than average “breakage” or losses. So I just have to acknowledge that if both locations are well equipped, in most scenarios I’m going to “waste” one, by using the other. In reality, there is nothing that says the other location won’t be used at another time, or that someone else won’t benefit from it. If I can’t get to the BOL and the world as we know it really does “end”, I’m happy to think my neighbors up there might be able to survive a bit longer with access to my stuff. Same for the ones left here, if we get out of Dodge, and leave it behind for good.

What I am not interested in is having it confiscated to be given to the wastrels who should have been making their own plans. This is a bit tougher if you are an advocate for prepping. If you are known to have taken an extra step or two, people will remember, they will say something, or they’ll come themselves. Peter is likely F’d. I’m not well known IRL, but I’m not quiet about telling people about “hurricane preparation” either. IRL far too many people know I prep, at some level, although there are plenty who dismiss me because of the somewhat “goofy stay at home dad” persona. When you pull stuff off the stacks to help people, they hopefully learn a lesson so they don’t need help next time, but they CERTAINLY learn a lesson that you are someone with resources…

So I have stuff here, I have the secondary location, and I have the BOL. I have my online persona, my “goofy” grey man persona, and my actual IRL serious persona, and mostly they are separated…but still. There is leakage. Which could come around to bite me on my hairy white a…

I think I’ll probably have a lot of preps I never use, no matter how everything plays out, and that’s ok. I can afford it. I don’t feel like I can afford NOT to have it. I’ll keep reassessing the state of the world, and my response to it, and I’ll adjust my plan and resource allocation accordingly. There may come a time when we are at the BOL more than here. Or I may give up the secondary location, moving that stuff to the BOL, or a different place. It’s not exactly in the right direction to grab from if we were headed out of town. On the gripping hand, if we had to head in that direction, there is some stuff along the way… it’s not cached in the traditional sense, but it’s “stashed”…

Think hard about how to protect and keep what is yours in an environment that allows others to come looking for it. There are lots of strategies and techniques that can help.

Stacks and stacks, and some other stacks to distract them with, can help. Stack!

nick

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Mon. Mar. 25, 2024 – manly men doing manly things – eh, not so much.

Cool, overcast, damp, and maybe some rain. In Houston. At the BOL yesterday, it started grey but cleared in the late afternoon, and ended up with a beautiful sunset. Nice.

I spent the afternoon doing small jobs. Worked on the lawn tractor that my neighbor gave me. The mower deck is shot, but the rest is nice. Only 154 hours on it. No maintenance, ever, except oil and filter, but I’ll get it caught up. Then I’ll have one mower to mow with and one without a deck to pull the trailers and other accessories. And if my mower blows up (it’s been ridden hard and put away wet) I’ll rebuild the mower deck on this one.

It’s funny to realize that my buddy up here doesn’t fix stuff, or even take great care of it. I though I was casual about cleaning and maintaining but I’m obsessive compared to him. I’m starting to see it as a pattern up here that counterbalances some of the other stuff, like living a prepared life because that’s how you were always raised to live. I might let something go too long, but then I fix what broke. There are a lot of folks up here who would just park it in the yard and move on to the next one. Taking me some time to get a good handle on what I think I’m seeing.

Helped plant replacement peas in the garden. Potatoes are doing great, turnips, radishes, not as well, but they are growing. Pepper plants are budding. I’m debating what to do in my raised beds in Houston, and if I should do some sort of scatter garden at the BOL. Just throw some seeds out and see what happens. I’ve got a lot of old seeds and they aren’t getting younger. I’ll have to see if there is time to till.

Did more cleaning up and putting away too.

Today I’ve got some stuff to do around the house. I don’t think I can do auction pickups until tomorrow, so maybe I’ll work on my hobby website, or do some work for my client. Hmm. Domestic bliss is stacking up too.

I’ll fill the day, that’s for sure. And some of it will be productive.

Stack some stuff, ya know ya wanna…

nick

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Sun. Mar. 24, 2024 – 03242024 – odd jobs and some gardening

Cool, but hopefully clear. Certainly damp. The BOL got over an inch of rain this past week and the lake is up about 6 inches. It’s murky too. Usually it’s pretty clear.

Did some auction stuff, then loaded the truck yesterday to head up. Didn’t have a full load, so I finally included some low priority stuff like oak tree saplings. If I’m taking down trees, I need to be planting some too.

The current mount for the starlink antenna is on the corner of the housed, mounted on a short pole attached to the soffit. The app says I’ve got an unobstructed view of the sky, but as the trees leaf in, I expect that might change around one edge. I’ll monitor it. Eventually I’ll get my ham tower set up, but that is WAY down the list.

I will try to get some wire antennas up though so I can try out my FT-817 some day soon. Eventually, I’d like to get one or both kids licensed so I can have a link between Houston and here. The Houston end will be the most challenging with the high noise floor and not the best antenna situation.

So many projects.

Today I’ll be doing small jobs that won’t be an issue if they don’t get finished. In the afternoon I’m helping my buddy do garden stuff. He’s decided to disc the peas that haven’t really grown and try his ‘go to’ variety instead. He’s got a disc harrow? for his atv (quad) so he can do that part pretty easily. The weeding and thinning part for the other veg is the part he finds difficult. Getting old and worn out is tough.

The whole population of farmers is seeing the same thing on a bigger scale. Keeping kids on the farm has always been tough, and it’s not an easy life, or a way to get rich, but someone has to grow the food.

The time to plant a garden is before you are hungry. It bears repeating. And the learning curve is steep.

Stack cans to give yourself some margin.

Stack the other stuff to give yourself options.

nick

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