Tues. Sept. 22, 2020 – some people are getting flooded

Cooler, rainy.

Looked at the pictures from the Gulf Coast yesterday.  Lot’s of places I’ve been were under water from Beta’s storm surge.  Not much in the news though.  Twitter and FB for the on scene pix.  Trad media is dead.

We got a steady rain most of the day.  Kept me inside.

I did a bit of work on the possible lake house.  Some research in public records, and some time in Sketchup addressing my wife’s main concerns about the house.  Virtual remodel is a lot cheaper than actual…  The lot is great.  The house is a big weird mess.

Gave a buddy some supplies for his security cam install.  He’s got a neighbor problem.  Also gave him some stuff for his kids to play with – some “take aparts” (old mech and electronics), and some learning toys (soda can robot, potato clock, solar crawler, etc)

I’ve got stuff to do today, since I spent yesterday on other things.  Auction pickup, maybe stop by my buddy’s store, who knows?  Maybe something crazy like drive thru food.

Or not.  Cooler weather means more work in the attic and bathroom.  There’s always something to do.

And that’s all in addition to stacking it higher…



Sun. Sept. 20, 2020 – headed home later today

Cool and pleasant.  I could get used to this.

Nice day yesterday.   Looked at the house, looked at some other areas around the lake.  Swam in the warm water.  Kayaked.  Pinata and special dinner with brownies for desert.  Very nice day.

Even saw an armadillo last night.  Cheeky bugger came up to the fire pit, snuffled around, then trundled off into the night.  I think that may be the first one I’ve seen alive?  Certainly the only one in the last 15 years.

Headed home at some point this morning or early afternoon.  Then it’s catch up for the next few days.

Oh woe is me…..


I better get stacking.  I learned a couple of things that I will mention when I have a full sized keyboard.


Sat. Sept. 19, 2020 – nice place

Hot but not HOUSTON hot.  So humid puddles don’t dry.

Arrived at the rental house early evening.   Nice place.   Great layout, great condition.  Kids and wife went for a kayak paddle first thing.  I worked on dinner.

Lovely dinner was had, and a firepit with s’mores.

Today is looking around at the area, and looking at a specific house for sale.  We’re 2 1/2 hours north of Houston, and pretty well off the beaten path, so if this ends up being a retreat location, well, I can think of worse.

RBG finally kicked it.  And the left, which applauded her for hanging on to the seat, is now condemning her for the exact same thing.  Did they really think she’d last another 5 years?

I find it to be maddening that they are perfectly fine with stacking the court in their favor, and in fact see it as the natural order of things, but lose their sh!t when the right does it.   The left is completely lacking self awareness.   I also don’t think there is any way to accomplish it before the election.  Not gonna happen.  Nice distraction though while wuflu decreases.

The crazy is just getting started.  Stack it high.


Fri. Sept. 18, 2020 – week flew by

Cooler but still humid, probably.

It’s definitely feeling a bit cooler during the morning and evening.  I think we are on the downside into fall for sure.

I wasn’t super productive yesterday.  I did get some stuff done in preparation for our weekend trip/ wife’s birthday.   It’s definitely weird letting a big milestone go by without a big party, but I’m not going to be the next news article about 50 people getting sick from a get together.  Instead we’ll have a nice quiet family weekend, NOT in our house.  That is the important thing for the kids and my wife, a bit of change of venue.    I admit, I’ve been getting out way more than they have so I’m not so eager for the change.

About the only thing even remotely prep related was that I bought 12 gamma seal lids for $18 and a CB antenna in an auction.  I’ll be picking those up today before we leave home.

And of course nothing will be getting done while I’m gone…  but you gotta live life, that’s the whole point.

Lots to do before we hit the road,



(keep stacking)

Thur. Sept. 17, 2020 – getting close to my wife’s birthday….

Hot and humid.  Overcast with possibility of rain.

Yesterday was a little bit cooler but so humid that puddles in the driveway never dried out.  It was overcast which helped a lot for comfort.

I did manage to get some things done.   I got stain and preservative on my teak outdoor furniture.  It needs to be power washed and the oil renewed every year or so.  Looks great now and should last for years more.  Quality pays off in longevity, with a little bit of care.  The chairs will probably need another application, and all the bolts tightened.  Domestic bliss will undoubtedly break out.

I swapped out my weather station for a replacement.  I got one new in the box for $12 so I took a few minutes and changed it.  I haven’t seen an update on the display yet, so I’ve got more messing with it to do.

I also got some seeds in the ground.  I got snap peas, some sort of green bean, spinach, and radishes planted.  I made some more progress installing the drip system for my window boxes.  The feed line is in place now.  That was the biggest problem I had with the window boxes- I didn’t water them enough.  Having the drip system fed by the grass sprinklers will mean they get watered on a schedule.  That should help.  Ag Extension says next week to plant the turnips and beets…  If I had plants for my dark green leafies, I could plant them but I don’t have any this year.  I suppose I should have started some, or gone and bought them.  Too much else going on.

Couple of things to do today outside the house.  We’re going to a lake house for my wife’s birthday.  I need to get the presents, cake, decorations, etc today, and do an auction pickup that is entirely stuff she wanted.  The lake house is on a lake we’ve been looking at for a while.  We’ve got one family we know up there, and it’s nice.  It will give us a retreat from hurricanes and somewhere to ‘vacation’ that is close and not infected.  It wouldn’t be an ideal bug out location, but it would be one… and it turns cash into stuff which is a hedge against hyperinflation.

So I better get to it.  Hunter/gather mode engaged…





(keep stacking!)


Wed. Sept. 16, 2020 – nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,….

Hot and humid.  Storm and rain possible.

Yesterday it never did rain on me, and it got stinking hot in the afternoon sun.  So I mostly hid from sun and work.

Pickup went well.  Everything needs some little thing to be complete, but given the money saved, I’m happy enough.  Really F’d up though, the way people are stealing through returns fraud.  One of the things I picked up was a Glock G19 factory magazine.   Got it today and someone stole the guts out of it.  They split open the cardboard  of the blister pack, stole the spring, follower, and base plate and re-sealed the cardboard.  It was a bit wrinkled but looked fine, like the packaging was crumpled.  Then they returned it to wherever they bought it, and it ended up in the auction.  Looked like an unopened package to me and everyone else.  I’ve got a couple of items now, I’ll take them with me next time I go to that auctioneer and see what he’s willing to do, if anything.  Technically it’s all sold as is, where is, with buyer responsible for doing an in person inspection before bidding.  Usually though, if not as described, the house will take it back.

One of my security trade magazines noted that retail “shrink”, ie theft by insiders and shoplifting, was up dramatically.   I’m guessing that as things get tougher for more people, theft and fraud will go up dramatically in all sectors.

Speaking of trade mags, one of the things I watch as an indicator of the health of the broader economy is the thickness of trade magazines.  If it’s a reliable indicator of supplier sentiment (you don’t spend money on ads when you’re broke, so the trade mags can’t afford to print the same number of pages) then we are majorly F’d.  Machine Design is down to less than 40 pages, and is just center stapled instead of bound.  Electrical Design is the same.  EC&M is as thin as I’ve ever seen it.  Some mags for the material handling, pipeline, and plant equipment industries are thinner than that.  Even Military & Aerospace is thin, but it’s still bound, not just stapled.  The mags are all thinner than I remember them being at any other time, even in the aftermath of 2008.  The publishers also tend to send out more mags and to more marginal recipients (like me) when times are tough.  They are trying to pump up their circulation numbers and capture more of the reduced business… I started getting some mags I’d never seen before just a few months ago, and re- started getting mags I’d stopped getting when times were great.  All in all, not good indicators of the state of American businesses.

And all the more reason to stock up if you can.  Manufacturers and suppliers are going to fail.  Their warehouses and existing stock will be blown out at auction, and then there won’t be any more.  In the last month, I’ve seen two large local wholesaler/distributors come through my auctions, a ship chandler, and a general industrial distributor.  There are two Chuck E Cheez stores being liquidated this week.  One auction has the contents of several CVS stores- which is especially telling, as that stock would normally just be redistributed to other stores, they must not want it.  Heck, a month ago, a major jewelry store chain had the contents of two stores seized and sold off to pay their school district tax bill here in town.

Everywhere I look I see signs of real trouble headed our way, outside of the trouble in the news.  Certainly there are going to be bright spots.  The rush to get out of the cities is producing some local boom times in some areas.  UHaul is probably making money.   Bankruptcy auctions are picking up.  Auto parts stores and used car lots will probably do well.  Optional services like housecleaning and yard maintenance will likely do poorly.  Repair should do well in general.    A lot of cleaning, repair, and remodeling already happened though.   And the secondary economy/grey market/resale is booming as people look for bargains, and sellers are unloading excess or closing out stock.

It’s gonna be important to keep your economic head on a swivel too, so to speak…

And keep stacking.  That will likely help, no matter what.


Sat. Sept. 12, 2020 – almost half way through the month

Hopefully, low 80s?  Still gonna be humid though.  And it would be nice if the rain holds off.

Yesterday was raining off and  on all day.  I got a brief time to prune the citrus trees a bit, and harvest my cabbage.  ONE golf ball sized head.  The others were doing well, but I let them dry out and they all died.  I need the bed for fall planting so I pulled it.  It’s cute.  Like a giant brussels sprout.  Not gonna feed the kids though.

I also took a look at my IR flood for the front yard.  It’s not working.  I determined that the psu is good, and then the rain came.  I’ll poke at it some more soon.  The flood for my driveway is a cheap ebay chinese one, and it’s been slowly dying for a while.  Finally enough of the IR leds are out that I just get a black picture at night.  It lasted surprisingly long for what I paid compared to a “real” name brand flood.  Given where it is, I’ll probably replace it with another china part.

Last weekend (or was it 2 weekends ago?), I washed the chimney and discovered some of the mortar had eroded and a couple of bricks were deteriorated.  I called a chimney guy to look at it and he came by  during one of the breaks in the rain.  He’s going to fill the joints, re-do the top seal, and anchor the cap.  Then he’ll seal the brick and mortar.  Surprisingly affordable, quick, and I don’t have to get up on the roof to do any of it.   At some point, we’ll have them get started on the roof too.  There is always maintenance that needs doing on a house.

All the normal things need to be done too.

I probably ought to get to it.



Mon. Sept. 7, 2020 – Labor Day

Hot-ish and humid.  Maybe rain.

Got some rain yesterday.   Lots in the afternoon.  Buckets full.  By late last night it was down to 76F.  Shockingly low temp.  We may be over the hump of summer and on the downward slide toward “winter”.

I reported on my trip to the grocery store yesterday.  Basically, most of the stuff that wasn’t in stock before is now, but selection is down, quantities seem to be down, and there were gaps on the shelves.  Prices seem to be half again, or double what they were before this all started.   I took the opportunity to hand pick my veggies, and to load up on some other stuff.

For what it’s worth, 45 pounds of sugar fits in a 5 gallon bucket.

And I think I’m set for cake mixes for a while.

Plans for the day?  Same as every day Pinky, ….


Keep stacking,




Sun. Sept. 6, 2020 – more of the same

Hot and humid  but definitely less so than a week ago.

Hot and humid yesterday too, especially with the rain or sprinkles depending on where I was.

I did my pickup, all household stuff, and took 3 packs of paper towels to my secondary location.  While I was there, I took a pickup load of stuff to the dumpster.  If I do some every time I go there, I’ll eventually make a dent.  Taking the paper products back there frees up some shelf space at home.  That will get my auction items, until I can take them to the sale.  Off the patio, out of the house– and into the driveway.  Not ideal, but an improvement.

Today if the rain holds off I’ll cut the grass and do some more stuff in the garage.  I’ve got parts to put on the Honda gennie too.  I ordered the new petcock and fuel filter, and I could wait and do it all at once, but if I do it a bit at a time, I’m making progress, and getting stuff out of the house (and onto the gennie.)

I didn’t see a ton of news about the protests scheduled for last night.  I caught the end of something on the scanner about a guy shot 14 times by the Sheriff’s office, but no context.  There were supposed to  be protests in downtown Houston.  Didn’t notice if they happened.

Of course Portland is still a war zone.  There was a bit more fire in the pix from the 100th day of rioting.  Almost a third of this year the insurgents have been practicing terror and gearing up their cadre.  They’re building their organization, practicing tactics, and hardening their troops.  What is the right doing?

I feel the need for a grocery order.

Stack it high.



Fri. Sept. 4, 2020 – wow, the week zipped by

Slightly less hot, less humid- unless it rains.  Might be on the edge of a system and see some rain.

I spent yesterday morning on tax paperwork, and in the afternoon I worked on my gennies.

So I now have one working generator, one that runs but still needs a bit of love, and the big one that is still sitting there.

Most of the parts for my generators came in and it was not stifling hot out, so I headed out to get my hands dirty.   I started with the Honda eu3000is.  I replaced the O ring in the carb, cleaned the gas petcock, sediment bowl, and cut off the in tank fuel filter. Since I had to drain the tank for that, I wiped out the whole tank.  There was a little sediment, but the tank is designed with space below the petcock for sediment and water to collect.   Honda puts a lot of nice design touches on their high end product.   After that I tried to fire it up, without success, but when I looked in the tank, I noticed that the gas I used was cloudy with water.  Got that out, got a new can of clean gas.  Put that in.  Tried again, and it started on the first pull.  Now it runs. So I also replaced the spark plug. The fuel level indicator and battery arrived while I was working and I didn’t know, so those will go in later.

The problem now is rough running due to too much fuel. And when I use the bowl drain, there is air in the fuel coming out, so maybe there is air in the fuel line. Not sure where that could be coming in, maybe I’ve got a tiny leak around the petcock, or maybe the flow rate without the fuel filter, and with only a little fuel in the tank allows air to get sucked in with the fuel…  I can get it to run well by almost closing the petcock. Removing the air filter and box doesn’t make much difference, so I think it’s too much fuel, not too little air. I suspect someone adjusted the carb to run with the blocked fuel filter, and now it’s way too rich. Problem is, I don’t see how to adjust the mixture. Off to youtube I guess.  I’m not doing anything tricky until I have a new fuel filter installed anyway.

I shifted over to the old generac and cleaned the fuel tank out. I ordered a ‘dryer hose lint brush’ which is a round brush on a very flexible shaft to use as a scrub brush inside the tank. It’s a plastic tank but had sludge and some rust in it. The lint brush on  a cordless drill worked very well.  I’ll be using it on other tanks I’m sure.  Several rinses with old gas and it was sparkling inside. I installed the new petcock, put the tank back on and tore into the carb. I was expecting carb trouble since I didn’t drain it. And I was right. Water got in, and there was rust in the main chamber which froze the throttle plate closed. Most of a can of carb cleaner spray, some judicious scraping with a pick, some scrubbing with a pad, a couple of jets removed and cleaned, and everything went back together. It started on the second pull and ran smooth. I installed the new gas cap /fuel level indicator. It’s about 1/4 inch too long, but it works. I’ll change the oil and spark plug later. For now though, I’ve got a running gennie again. That gennie was a Y2K purchase, and first got used during Rita. It ran daily for 14 days during Ike. Still runs great with essentially no maintenance other than the obligatory carb cleanings. Heck, it sits outside most of the time. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Small engine repair, achievement unlocked.

I still need to have someone come out and get the big gennie running and connected.

Baby steps.  Making forward progress though.

I’m supposed to take a load to my industrial auctioneer today.  I have to call him first, which will give him a chance to beg off, and my wife needs to go to the office for a couple hours, right in the middle of the day, which blocks me from leaving the house for that time.  I really hope I can get a load delivered given all that.  I’ve still got a big pile of stuff waiting to go to my more ‘household and estate’ auctioneer too.  They’ve been so busy with off site auctions that they’ve had no time for my consignments.  Stuff is piling up waiting to leave, and it adds to everyone’s stress level.

I put the remote sensors in the freezer part of my new fridge/freezer, and in my “new” upright.   Stuck the receiver/display on the metal back door of the house.  It’s reading current temps (3F and 4F) and my next step is setting alarms.  I guess I’ll have to read the tiny little instructions… at least I can see the temps in all three freezer compartments and the fridge compartment without opening the doors now.

I guess I’ll be looking at the danged dishwasher next too.  There is always more to be done.

I consider it all practice for hard times.  (which are coming, btw…)  I’ve watched a lot of youtube vids of small engine repairs, electronic repairs, car repairs, even shoe repairs…  I’ve done a bunch of it too, learning the stuff they invariably leave out.  Most of it doesn’t take a bunch of tools, or a giant brain.  It does take a willingness to try and a humbleness to be open to learning how.  Try something outside your comfort zone.  The rewards go beyond saving money.

We’ve got robots and machines as force multipliers all around us.  We need to keep them running though, if they are to help.  Doing at least some of it yourself makes you more resilient, more ‘anti-fragile’, less a pawn, more independent.  And you’ll find a whole new list of stuff to keep stacking.