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

Thur. July 29, 2021 – kids at rock gym, me working…

Sunny and hot, chance of rain. We’re in the middle of the thunderstorm zone today and tomorrow so we might actually get it. We didn’t get any rain yesterday despite the possibility. I even drove across town, and didn’t get wet.

Did my pickup yesterday and have a couple to do today. Then I’m off to my secondary to do a bunch more clean up. It’s gonna be a long day of hot hard work if everything goes to plan.

And I need to keep an eye on some auctions. There is a vet clinic selling everything, not too far from my house. There are a number of things I’d like to have from that auction… if the zombies ever come.

There’s another fairly close auction with a bunch of air rifles and the current prices are low. In the auctions in general, there has been a lot of late bidding lately, so low prices 8 hours out might not mean what it would have last year, but I’d like to pick up a couple of nice ones for the stacks…

And there is another auction with a bunch of stuff for my non-prepping hobby. I didn’t win any of the stuff I was bidding on this week, so I’m keeping an eye on this sale.

But I can’t sit in front of the computer all day, the kids are out of my hair, and I’ve got stuff to get done.

SO MUCH STUFF.

But it will let me break this log jam and keep making forward progress. “Everything takes longer and costs more.” If I repeated that mantra at work, I should understand that it applies to me in my home life too, right? But I’m SPECIAL and I operate as if it wasn’t true. Well it is true, and not acknowledging that can lead to frustration and disappointment and discouragement. Time to deal with it and just keep pushing through.

The end goal is to have stacks of stuff that will help me, not hinder me. Anything that hinders has to go. And if it helps, it gets priority.

I’m picking up more shelves today… and while it costs time, they should help organize, condense, and ultimately improve my situation.

Keep working to improve your situation. By stacking, or by getting rid of some stuff. Sometimes getting rid of a stack is the best thing you can do.

nick

Wed. July 28, 2021 – ti i iii ime is (not) on my si i ide…

No it ain’t.

Another hot humid sunny day with a chance of rain. Which is what I had at home yesterday, but not what all of central Houston (inside the Loop) got. They got overcast with rain. Micro climates, we haz them. And that makes it really hard to get forecasts for Houston and the surrounding area right. That and they’re just guessing anyway. Even looking out the window won’t work.

Spent the day on things, somehow it passed anyway. I did get 4 of the big black bins out of the foyer and over to my storage unit. I figure they can sit there while waiting for an auctioneer to take them instead of where my wife sees them every day. In return I brought a rolling metro rack home to stack more things on. Or to take to my other storage unit, and to stack things on it there, until the auctioneer takes them for sale.

I’m looking at getting over to both units today too. And I need to start piling stuff I want to try to sell at my non-prepping hobby regional meet and swap fest. That is specialist stuff that could go on ebay but might sell quicker in person. I’ll trade some sale price for not having to ship or list. That’s coming up in about 3-4 weeks and I need to start on it.

Pickups today too, if I can find the time. Some preps, some household, some gifts for later. Gub accessories. Needful things without a sales receipt attached.

————————————————————–

I’ve mentioned before that I think everyone should take advantage of all the training they can get, whatever it might be for. Collecting IDs and privileges can’t hurt. You are ALREADY on their lists, you might as well be in the ‘good guy’ column. CERT, any police/public interaction program, active shooter response through your church, ham radio, Red Cross, Stop the Bleed, even locksmithing can get you the ability to carry certain tools in your vehicle without it being a crime. CERT got me an official first responder ID from the County. The CPA programs got me ID with the city and the Constable’s office as a volunteer. Being a ‘known quantity’ can also open up more training opportunities, and more chances to learn about how your local guys do what they do.

CERT was very well supported in our area with high level attention from the city, county, and emergency agencies. Had the chance to meet and learn from some interesting people. You can sign up and take a whole bunch of FEMA online courses associated with that too. You will learn a lot. The police interaction programs gave me a whole lot better understanding of their procedures, challenges, resources, and mindset. After passing through those programs, I could take further classes with them, and volunteer to help them with training, both of which gave me further insights.

Last night’s class was also both interesting and informative. I have a clearer picture of the operational tempo of two of the specialist units in our police department, how they interact with other local and federal agencies and teams, where some of their funding comes from and the capabilities that funding bought (and the strings attached.) I got some public but not widely disseminated information about some of the stuff they’ve done recently, and some of the stuff they do daily. And, based on their joking and ‘aside’ comments, have a feeling about where they stand on some current issues of governance and public behaviour. All good things to know.

Meatspace baby. You need to be in it. You need to go to the neighborhood meetings. You need to know some of your local government. You need to know some of their enforcers. And yeah, being known to them, at least on some level, isn’t a bad thing either. It gives you access, and opportunities and might get you the benefit of the doubt at a time when that’s crucial. Being in the ‘provisional good guy’ column beats being in the ‘presumed bad guy’ column.

Goodwill and knowing people, you can stack them too. Get busy.

nick

Tues. July 27, 2021 – trying to get caught up, then some interesting learning…

Hot and hot. Sunny and hot. Hot. Yesterday was hot, over 100F in the shade. Today will be hot.

So I cut the grass. I’d started the back and the battery died, so I needed to finish today. Only took a few minutes in the sun, then I did the front, which is in the shade. Barely broke a sweat despite the heat.

Did a bit of weeding in the garden too. Tomatoes are showing some stress, and the fruits are very small now. No actual ripe tomatoes at the moment. One of the three cabbages is forming a head, the other 2 are just leaves. The collards are doing ok. One plus to the citrus trees dying in the freeze, I get more sun and can maybe do some more beds where the trees were. That will take a bit of thought to decide. I still have the lime and grapefruit trees in pots that I could plant.

Daughter 1 had her second shot Sunday. She wasn’t feeling 100% yesterday. By the end of the day she was kinda ache-y and a little nauseous. I’m trying not to be a d!ck about it. Wasn’t my decision. We’ll see how today goes.

I’ve got to get out of the house today and get some stuff done. I have a class through my Citizen’s Police Academy later this evening. Should be very interesting. More on that later.

In order to get out of the house, I’m going to see about dropping the kids off at the pool for the day. There is at least one friend that might be good for a day at the pool too, and then my wife can pick them all up at the end of the day. Plus, it gets them out of the house and exercising.

It will be nice to get back in school and have more time during the day. Which really bugs me one some levels, because I was looking forward to spending time with the kids. Didn’t do much of that though after all. So we’ve arranged after school care for daughter 2 four days a week and I’ll have to pick her up one day. I hope to use that time for some together time with her. If I don’t structure the time, it doesn’t happen, so I’m giving this a shot. Time is flying by.

It’s flying by for more than just family time. The changes and violence around us seems to be accelerating. Big changes usually come pretty suddenly and people say “no one saw it coming” when plenty of people did. Use your sight. Stack stuff.

nick

Mon. July 26, 2021 – another week, counting down to school start…

Hot, humid, but no rain. That’s the forecast. My weather station said 107F at the hottest part of the day yesterday, granted that it’s in the sun and probably too near the roof. Still, it was 100F in the shade next to the single pane window on the other side of the house. In any case, it was hot.

I slept very late. I was worn out from moving all the stuff I moved at my secondary, and pretty stiff and sore. Not very motivated. Knowing that I had to fix the trucks first left me even less motivated. So, after I couldn’t procrastinate any longer, I headed out. Stopped by my tire guy, but he was so busy he pushed me off to today. Went to Costco for the Ranger battery, and the lot was full. Much more full than a normal weekday, but IDK about Sunday. I avoid the place on Sunday. The tire and battery center wasn’t too bad, only two guys in front of me. The old battery made it 6 months past the warranty period. Pretty good in Houston. The new one was only $68 but after the state disposal fee and taxes, $78? I gave up the old battery so I didn’t get charged the $15 core fee.

Hit up a thrift store on my way home, got some gun stuff to resell. Then did the battery install, checked fluids, and started the truck right up. My tire guy being busy with repairs reminded me that when I was chatting with the tire technician from AAA, I asked him if he’d noticed that the city and county don’t seem to be keeping the roads as clean as they used to. He said his company is doing land office business with damaged tires and towing and he does think there is more debris on the road. Government services tend to slip when the economy is bad. Even before wuflu I was commenting that there seemed to be an increase in illegal dumping, and a decrease in road cleaning. That hasn’t gotten better. Just another data point.

There are some businesses that do better when the economy is down. Auto parts stores do better as people choose to fix their own vehicles rather than pay someone, or buy up… Repair places too as people choose repair over the upgrade. Used or second hand stores probably do well too, as people look to save money. Some things to think about. And plan for and around.

Me, I’ll keep stacking, while increasing my repair and maker skills. I better have something, since I’m not a gardener…

Stack something.

nick

Sun. July 25, 2021 – hooray, pack is back together…

Hot and humid again. No rain in the forecast for today, although the edge of the zone isn’t that far away. Yesterday was over 100F in the sun and the humidity was high enough stuff didn’t dry outside. So of course I needed to be working in the heat. It was a little bit cooler at my secondary location, mainly because the sun was mostly hidden, and there was a bit of a breeze.

I just kept hammering away (or sawing and carrying) pulling a trade show exhibit out of its shipping containers and piling the pieces up for trash or recycle. Carry, cut, carry, cut, plod…. The end goal is worth the drudgery. The drudgery should have been done years ago, btw. Real Life ™ got in the way though. Danged Real Life ™, always making demands…

Before I could go do that work, I needed to be home to greet the kids on their return from camp. Lots of fun was had, some things were learned. Oldest didn’t quite make her ‘Mariner’ certificate. They try to fit a longer course into the week and it didn’t quite make it. Still, she now officially knows more about sailing small boats than I do.

I had two vehicle issues. My Ranger battery appears to have died. I’ll look at replacing that today or tomorrow. The heat here kills batteries and it’s been hot. I’m pretty sure I looked at the battery not too very long ago and decide it was near EOL. Poor timing, but not a tragedy as I have the other truck to backup the Ranger.

Took the backup truck to work, and on the way home the Expedition got a flat tire. There is some more detail in yesterday’s comments, but the 10,000 foot look is one of potential fail. I was all set to swap in the spare, which I had a high degree of confidence in, because I actually look at it fairly often, and thump it once in a while, and I’d done that when I bought the truck. It was fine, and I knew how to get it out from under the truck. I’d also checked that the jack and tools were there when I bought, and I added a couple of things to that compartment when I moved into the truck. I recognized that I’d run over something and was able to get to a safe and flat area- all set to be all self sufficient…

And then the lug wrench didn’t fit the lug nuts. Seriously? Upgraded ‘fancy’ wheels. They must use bigger nuts than stock and no one ever realized. Or whatever they did to compensate didn’t get transferred to me when the sale went through.

Here’s the prep part. I considered using the can of Slime Fix a Flat to just repair the tire and get home. Then I thought about the mess when actually fixing it and decide the situation didn’t call for it. I could have used my plug kit and 12v compressor to effect a repair, but it would have to be redone for ‘realz’ by my tire guy, and really, grid up. Only 6 miles from home. So I called AAA for help. I figured the tire tech would have the right sized lug wrench and it would only take a few minutes to change the tire. I was right, and was back on my way after about 45 minutes total.

Having a roadside service company is a prep. All the stuff in bins in the back of the truck is prepping. Prepping is really about having options. Prepping CREATES options. Absolute worst case I could have abandoned the vehicle and walked home. I’ve got a dozen different routes I’m familiar with between that point and home. I’ve got two cases of mountain house and water in the truck. I was wearing sturdy shoes, and armed sufficiently for most encounters. I had a wide continuum of choices because of my preps.

In the end, I didn’t use the stacks, I used the credit card… and my connections to society, because we’re still grid up, and it was the least disruptive choice as well as the second fastest. It also points out the importance of practicing and USING your preps. The spare tire is the prep for a flat, and as a system it failed when I needed it because I hadn’t tested it. New vehicle, should have been tested.

While I didn’t use the stacks this time, they were there if I had needed them. Stack some for yourselves…

n

Sat. July 24, 2021 – the pack will be reunited…

Hot and humid, but maybe no rain. Forecast says we’re dry today. We were dry yesterday although it did get stinking hot. 103F in the sun is hot.

Spent the morning keeping the puppy calm while the cleaners were here, and doing some auction stuff.

Spent the afternoon cutting stuff up and pulling it out of the stacks at my secondary location. I got another 3ft x 5ft x 4ft tall cubic volume opened up. Only about 10 like that left to go. I am using the sawzall to good effect though.

Today I’m headed back over to work on more of that. First thing though, my wife will be collecting the girls from camp. I think I better be home to greet them after being gone for 8 days. The whole pack will be together for the first time in over a week. Doggy will lose his little mind to have his girl back home.

Even with clearing out space, I think I’m still going to explore having my first pallet load auction at their warehouse. If I clear enough space for 6 pallets, and then fill it with pallets, that will stop me working further for a month while the auction process runs its course. If I get those pallets OUT of the way, then I can continue setting up the next six for the auctions after that. Then I should have enough space to get more stuff set up. I’ll lose time and money by doing it that way, but it will move the process along, and I’m already months behind.

While that is going on, hopefully I’ll have a bunch of stuff in another local auction too. Maybe several, although I’ve given up on my ‘industrial’ guy. The stuff I sent him last time made up the last few lots of the auction, wasn’t well described, and brought no money. It was very disappointing.

Other than adding some meat to the freezers and some other food to the shelves, it was a slow week for prepping. I did have one ebay sale this week, after a couple of months of no sales at all, and on an item I’ve been selling occasionally for a couple of years. I’ve got a few left, and it was a surprisingly good score for me. It’s only $10 profit on each sale, but I’ve sold a pallet load of them over the years.

All the usual admonitions and observations are in place, you know what you need to do….

nick

Fri. July 23, 2021 – week flew by…

Hot and humid, chance of rain. We only got a few spatters in the late afternoon yesterday, but it was certainly hot and humid.

I left the house late in the day to do my errands, but came back shortly. Puppy was a bit lethargic after his shots and I didn’t want to leave him alone too long. When I got home, he was out of the crate and bopping around so that was a relief.

Since I was home, and heavy trash/ green waste pickup is today, I took down some of the trees and branches along the back fence. In the 13 years we’ve been here, the small ornamental trees have gotten pretty big, and I’ve been thinning them out over time. I took one out, and one double trunk on another, plus a double trunk on a third. That opened up room for the remaining trees to grow more symmetrically and to impinge on the power and phone lines less.

Then I had to drag all that stuff out to the street. I was pretty well soaked in sweat, but since I had the electric chainsaw out, I cut down the orange and grapefruit trees too. They were not coming back, even as zombies. I’ll have to pull the stumps later.

Got that cleaned up, cleaned myself up and the my wife and I actually went out to dinner. We ended up on the patio of a neighborhood “brewhouse” place, the kind of place with 40 beers on tap and a limited menu of ‘bar food’. It’s modern versions of bar food, but basically tacos, burgers, and fries, with a couple of salads and apps. Had a nice burger and a mediocre beer. Non-alcohol beer so, yeah, mediocre. Several menu items were ‘out of stock’. There were people out and eating, but it wasn’t crowded by any stretch. Seemed completely normal, and not one mask.

That’s quite a contrast to the Goodwill Outlet, where the cashier asked me if I thought they’d close the city down again for the new covid. Houston raised the ‘covid threat level’ back to orange. I wasn’t aware they’d lowered it, the electronic billboards on the toll road still had ‘red’ messages playing. FWIW, I don’t think they CAN close the city down again. The commie Emergency Manager Judge can stomp her feet and ‘demand’ whatever, people aren’t going to do it.

That doesn’t mean that WE shouldn’t do some prudent planning and prepping though. Anything can happen and the more TPTB feel their grip slipping, the more they’ll double down and squeeze harder. The monkey wrench gang might come out to play, or ham fisted .gov might start messing with stuff. Or outside factors might take their turn, who knows? I know I’ll feel better with stacks of stuff.

So keep stacking, we’re only getting started….
nick

Thur. July 22, 2021 – vet appointment, then work

Sunny and hot, humid, followed by overcast and rain. Yesterday certainly did that, with the rain more of a deluge. We got over 2 inches in about half an hour. That caused a lot of localized flooding, but it quickly drained away. The national map has us in the T storm area for the next few days, so I’m going with a repeat of yesterday. Although, probably not as much rain.

Spent most of yesterday doing domestic bliss chores. Ran 3 loads of laundry, including some floor mats and towels. With the puppy learning where to do his business, I’ve got some extra soiled items…

He’s doing better, but still needs a lot of eyes-on supervision, which was lacking yesterday. So, more floor mats for the laundry.

Neighbor’s roofers finished just in time for the rain to stress test their work. I might or might not hear from him if there were issues. He’ll probably want evidence if there were, so I’ve got some more backup to do. Not that tough or time consuming, and I’m gonna watch something like that anyway. I try to take any opportunity to learn what I can from other people’s mistakes.

After all the rain, I did get one of my tasks done- I got to Costco. Dropped two visits worth of cash but got a bunch of meat. And very uncharacteristically, I got it all portioned out and vac sealed, and tucked away in cold sleep. I’m very glad to have the extra small chest freezer. If I had room I’d add another.

Today I’ve got a vet appointment for the little pooper. More shots I think. He’s grown quite a bit but he’s still a cutie. After the vet, I’m going to try to head over to my secondary and do some more clean out. It’s gotta happen, and the kids are away… which just leaves the dog to manage. Frankly the kids are easier…

I’m glad I was able to replace some food items I’d used up. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding more.

Stack all the things.

nick

Wed. July 21, 2021 – 072121 – Wednesday already?

Possibly a little cooler, but likely to be sunny in the AM with heat and humidity to follow, with overcast and rain at some point. Pretty detailed for a guess. 🙂 Yesterday was a bit cooler, especially when the breeze blew, and mostly sunny here at the house. It was a bit more variable south of town, but I don’t think I drove through any rain at all.

Did my pickups. Chatting with one auctioneer, I asked if she’d had problems with sourcing. She said “yes, we’ve had trailers get stuck at warehouses, and no one to deliver them to us.” So there are still disruptions in the supply chain on the logistics side. That’s been going on since wuflu started. Since pretty much everything in the stores moves by truck at some point, not having enough trucks and drivers is a bad thing.

The supply chain has had time to stabilize. This is it, where we are now. I think we’ll be here for a while. Plan accordingly. Increase your stocking levels, and buy it when you see it. Be a bit more flexible with what you’re buying too. Think about alternatives, and alternative suppliers.

Speaking of which, I’ve got to hit the Costco today. If not, I’ve got to bring some TP from storage to home. I’d rather buy more. Running low on convenience meals too. And come to think of it, it’s been a while since I bought hamburger… I hope stocking levels are good at Costco.

I guess we’ll see 😉

Guys, think hard about what you couldn’t do without, wouldn’t like to do without, wouldn’t miss if it wasn’t available. Start working on those categories and building up where you are low. This is one of those things where it’s better to be too early, than too late.

And for Pete’s sake, stack it high!

nick