Sun. July 12, 2020 – still plugging away

Hot and humid.  Sunny.  Hot.  Really hot.  HOUSTON hot.  🙂

Yesterday stayed hot all day.  It was 85f at midnight, but the garage was still in the high 90s, even with the door open and fans going.

I did get a bunch of stuff done, but it was plodding, and small victories only.

I got some of my recent bulk food purchases put up in buckets with O2 absorbers, and ready to go to my secondary storage.  I gave the freezer a couple more treatments with the disinfectant and deodorizer.   I might have to give it more.  I might try Scrubbing Bubbles tub cleaner next.  The smell is faint, but still present.

Got some more stuff loaded to get out of the house and sold.  Got tons more yet to do.


Back in the early days of the Blogosphere, someone observed that the majority of bloggers could be classified as either “linkers” or “thinkers”.   It was rare that you got both.  Ol’ Remus and his Woodpile Report were that rare combination of links you might want to think about, and thoughtful commentary.  He has apparently passed on suddenly from cancer, only recently diagnosed.  He never mentioned anything about it on his page, and frequently wrote about his plans to get through the next phase of this period we’re living in.  I don’t know anything about the man, except through his writing, but I will miss his gentle and thoughtful observation and commentary.    He joins the list of the ‘old guard’- Jerry Pournelle, RBT, Steven Den Beste,  and others.  Funny to think that blogging and this internet thing are old enough that the originals are passing from old age and infirmity.  No one gets out alive.


Today, I’m plodding along.  Small steps, but keep moving forward.  Maybe I’ll get some more work done and be closer to my goals.  I’m sure I’ll be closer to some of them.  And that is going to have to be good enough for today.

 

Keep stacking, keep making forward progress.

 

nick

Fri. July 10, 2020 – well, another week gone, same old stuff

Hot and humid.  Maybe rain.  In other words, July.

Certainly got hot yesterday here in the Bayou City.  Despite being Tree City USA, the sun was crisping up everything it touched.  I burned my forearm on the new door I had in the back of the truck.  The glass was too hot to touch.

So I manned up, got it to the shade, and let it chill in the grass for a while.  I removed the back door with the broken window pane, and determined that it would be easier to rehang the new door in the old frame than tear up the molding and old doorframe to install the new, pre-hung door as a unit.  It meant cutting new mortises for the hinges and strike plates, but it was totally worth it.  I will let the painter (my wife) make the repairs to the door jamb and strike side.  The new steel door will be marginally more secure than the old solid wood one too.  Then I had to get all the little grains of safety glass up.   The old door went on the heavy trash pile, which still hasn’t been collected.

I’ve now upgraded all three exterior doors since we moved in, and both doors at my rent house.   We changed all the interior doors here when we moved in- from flat hollow core to 6 panel hollow core.   It’s not hard, the look was dramatically improved, and you get better at it with every one.  I also learned how to re-key Kwikset locks a long time ago, and I do that myself at the rental, and I did it here when we moved in.  Heck I even did it at my secondary location using commercial locksets.  Again, a great skill to have.  I am grateful that my parents taught me so much about remodeling and maintenance and DIY.  I’ve learned a ton since then, but the idea was planted when I was a little ‘helper’.

On the other hand, watching my dad do car repair in the dark, cold, and wet convinced me I never wanted to do it myself.  I WILL do it, out of the desire to save money, or if it’s not a particularly nasty job, but I don’t enjoy it the way I like working around the house.

Dealing with the broken door window stole some time from all the rest of the stuff I needed to do this week.  Dealing with the unplugged freezer stole some more.  My fingers still stink from just picking up the spoiled packages and putting them in the trash, and I re-froze them first!   Several soapy hand washes, and the bleach wash of the freezer couldn’t get the stink off.  It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to get the stink out of the freezer itself, so thanks for the heads up whoever mentioned it yesterday.  I took the time to bleach and wash out the freezer.  It still smelled ‘off’ after doing that a couple of times, so I got out the Mold Armor spray.  It’s a disinfectant, viricide, mildewcide, and odor killer.  It also turns yellow when in contact with rotten meat juice residue.   That last fact was a super handy surprise.  A couple of applications of Mold Armor, wiped up with paper towels, and then rinsed with water got it smelling ok.  I sprayed one last time and didn’t wash it out.  I’ve got the door wide open to dry, and today I’ll point it at the sun to get some UV into it too.  I started to total the value of the contents and then stopped.  Several hundred dollars certainly.  It would have been a lot more if it was full.

I need to quit putting it off and get the garage reorg’d so I can get the freezer in place.   I hate change in my personal life and will resist it.  I’m my own worst enemy in this case.  Well, I wouldn’t be quite so reluctant if the temps were mid-70s either instead of low 100s with humidity at ‘full’.

Today or tomorrow I’ll be picking up more auction items.  Namely a dresser and desk for my daughter’s room.  Did I mention that my wife now knows that I can buy stuff at auction?  Got the desk for 2/5ths of retail and the dresser for about 1/5th of retail.  Hopefully, they are both in great condition inside their shipping boxes, or it’s something I can fix if not.  There is a certain amount of risk involved.  Getting better quality for the same price as cheap, or saving big on decent quality (and high style) is the trade off for the risk that something is missing or broken.

Dinner was late, and needed to be quick and easy so I got shrimps from the other freezer and saute’d them with garlic and butter.  Served over 90 second ‘pouch’ rice for a complete meal 🙂   It was either that or ‘breakfast for dinner…’

Keep stacking, keep learning, save some money, save a life…

 

nick

Sat. June 20, 2020 – another week gone

Slightly cooler, humid, might be some rain.

Yesterday we got rain almost everywhere I wasn’t.    I could see the cell moving across the north side of town as I drove around, but I never had any significant rain hit the truck.  It did rain here at the house according to my  wife,  so I won’t have to water the gardens.  Streets were dry by the time I got home though.

Juneteenth was a nothing burger.  I’ve lived here since ’03 and never was aware of any particular celebration even though it’s supposed to be a Houston thing.  I certainly never heard anything about it in all the years I’ve lived elsewhere.  The scanner had the cops following and keeping an eye on various groups throughout the day, but I didn’t hear about any violence.  I guess it could have gone a different way, and it did bring home the value of the scanner for at least a heads up, since I was completely unaware until I heard the first discussion about the gathering crowd.  I chose a different route for my errand and avoided any potential threats.

Today I’ve got a couple more things to pick up, and then I’m battening down the hatches again.   Too many stories of people who just HAD to go out and break the distancing rules, who are now getting sick.   I don’t feel super anyway, so I’m not risking it.  YMMV.  I am ADVOCATING that you all continue to isolate as much as possible.  I could be wrong and often am, but the downside risk is huge for this one.

Kids are at swim team practice with the wife this morning, and then (possibly) staying for some free swim.  I’m not the boss of her and I know she’ll TRY  to stay separated.  It will also let her take the tenor of the (female half of the) tribes.  Perhaps she’ll get home with renewed commitment to isolating.

It could happen.

Dinner was stewed chicken thighs, in the slow cooker with a sauce packet and veg.  I didn’t have what I usually put in, so I went with onion, turnip, beets, carrots, and apple.  It tasted great.  Just a bit of extra sweet to go with the savory of the spice packet.  Dessert was a cupcake.  Daughter baked cupcakes for our friends with covid, and another family we haven’t seen in  a while.  They dropped them off as a drive by act of kindness.

Some of you know from yesterday’s comments that Barbara is sick in the hospital, which is why she hasn’t posted this week.  Please see my post over at her site for what details we have.  I’ll be passing along whatever she or her sister Frances would like me to.  Please keep  her and those who love her in your prayers.

The one scenario/ contingency I can’t remember Bob ever discussing planning for was his absence.  Give it some consideration in your own situation and planning.

Keep planning, and stacking.

 

nick

 

Wed. June 17, 2020 – work work work, mess around, work, rest

Hot and humid again.  Go figure.

Yesterday was both, although it seemed pretty nice in the shade, when the wind blew.

I did my auction pickups.  Got a couple things for the pool.  Got a couple items for ebay.  Got a very specialized tool, that should make moving a safe much easier and less likely to crack flooring.  At some point, I’ll need that and it was super cheap.  I like to buy stuff before I have the need, so that it’s ready to go when I finally do need it.  That’s sorta the nature of prepping and it applies across my life.

I made some adjustments to settings in my garage fridge and it’s now reading 37F in the back.  If that holds up, I’ll be moving stuff to it again.  Add a quart of spoiled cream to the total losses during this exercise…

Dinner was instigated and (mostly) executed by daughter one.  Pasta with home made alfredo sauce, oven roasted seasoned potatoes, and grilled steak (my contribution.)  My wife did provide guidance but oldest mostly worked from a cookbook she got for her birthday.  Everything came out of the pantry or freezer.  It was very tasty.


Since I was out running around most of the afternoon, I didn’t get much time in front of the computer, so I’m a bit behind the news.  Still no official response in Seattle.   REALLY biased reporting of the defensive gun use in New Mexico.  Lots of people who thought the lifting of restrictions meant the threat of illness was gone, and now they’re sick.   All good reasons to practice rule number one, Avoid Crowds.

And keep stacking.

 

nick

Tues. June 16, 2020 – halfway through the month, already

Hot and humid.  Of course.

Yesterday was hot and humid too, but did get a bit cooler later in the day.   Cool enough that I started working on a string trimmer that wouldn’t start.  Standing in the garage with no breeze it was stifling, and sweat was dripping off my nose.   Outside was better.

Did half my pickups.  Got some tactical stuff, some stuff for the house and kids too.   Have more to do today.  But first, swim team practice.

For now, we’re still going.   Seeing the other kids and spending time at the pool is just too powerful a draw for my wife to say no, and I’m reluctant too.  I did wear my mask all day today and gloves when I had to go in and handle stuff.

Speaking of ‘handling’ stuff, wtf is up with all the busybodies in the news?  Mind your own business.   That these people can’t seem to suggests that the overall stress levels out there are WAY high.  And wtf is up with firing the busybody’s boyfriend?  That is going way too far.  What is going to happen when people have real grievances?

It’s just more fuel on the fire and another data point for my assertion that things will get worse.

And about ‘getting worse’… OMG the trash stinks.  I could smell it 30 ft away.  Half a cup of bleach and a bit of water after to spread the bleach around helped tremendously.  The neighbors are gonna call the cops on us if it gets worse.

Today should be another day full, where I really don’t make any progress on my lists.  Oh well, we’ll try anyway.

In the meantime, keep stacking.

 

n

Mon. June 15, 2020 – just another manic Monday

Hot and humid.  We’re on the edge of a system so we could get rain or not.

Yesterday was certainly hot.  I was very uncomfortable, even with a hat and my evap cooler vest.

I did mostly stuff around the house.  Cut the grass, cleaned the pond filter, watered the gardens.  Weeded.

Citrus is still all growing.  Cabbages are doing well.  I’ve got some cilantro coming in.  Mint is going nuts.    Grapevine is taking over the whole trellis.  Harvested more peppers and then I traded some sweet peppers for some tomatoes with one of the other swim team families.  MEATSPACE!!  We’ve got the Thunderdome, we need a Bartertown too.  Practice.  The family also raises chickens and sells eggs, and they live near us.  Probably good folks to know if things get thin.

It looks like all my potatoes have died.  I’ve got one plant left in one ‘tower’.   No idea what went wrong, just one by one the plants died.  Acorn squash and watermelon are growing, well protected by the wire mesh.  Corn stalks are getting taller.

My trash smells like death.  10 pounds of raw chicken and two gallons of milk.  100F heat.  OMG.  I dumped about a cup of bleach on the contents today and that helped.    Holy hell what a stench, and the flies are THICK.  The bleach did help quite a bit, but we’ve still got 4 days until trash pickup.  I’m really glad we’ve got trash pickup…

I’m really glad we still have civilization, and I don’t understand the people who want to tear it down.  I think they just don’t have any experience, knowledge, or imagination.   I do.

I’ll try to keep my personal world at a first world level as long as I can, no matter what else is going on.  Unfortunately, parts of this country and parts of too many cities have already fallen to third world levels.  It’s tempting to blame the third worlders that live there, but they came once it got cheap enough.  Of course they didn’t raise it up after they got there, either.

Today, I’m doing auction pickups.  I was feeling better about the world and our situation, so I started back into my old life.  Over the last week or so, it’s becoming clear that cases are rising, and the economic issues continue.  I’m switching back to hunker down/isolation mode.  I’m also going to be continuing to increase my stocks, rather than running down what I have.  I don’t see  things getting better for a long time. Trying to save money will have to take a back seat to resupplying.  I don’t feel comfortable running down stocks, and hoping to replace them more cheaply later.  I am still applying my number one rule, that prepping can’t negatively or irrevocably change our lives, ie. we’re not selling everything and moving to Idaho and buying a bunker.  I’m not going to run up the credit cards buying pallets of Mountain House.

We will continue to look for opportunities during this time.  There are always opportunities to prosper, but you need the resources available and the willingness and ability to act.  You also need to recognize the opportunity.  That’s the hard part.

So, look for opportunities to meet helpful people.  Work on your skills and knowledge so YOU can be a helpful person.  Keep your eyes and mind open to opportunities. And keep stacking.

nick

Sun. June 14, 2020 – stuff to do gets in the way of doing stuff

Hot and humid, cooler in the shade.  And I’ve really got to figure out why my weather station isn’t working.  I changed the batteries for fresh, but I guess I got one in backwards or something.

Yesterday was about as nice weather-wise as Houston gets in the summer.  Blue sky, cooling breeze and not stifling.  Still hot as blazes in the sun though.  We’re supposed to have a couple more days without rain, which will be nice.

I hope I have the issues with my garage fridge sorted, but it’s not actually getting cold as quickly as I’d hoped.  The freezer is still solid, but the fridge is only 45F.  I fit all the important stuff into the kitchen fridge but it’s packed solid now.  I need the garage fridge to be working.  I’ll check it again, and if there isn’t any change I’ll try to figure out why.

Instacart came promptly with my resupply drop.  Only a couple of things went out of stock between my starting to order and when he started picking.  Soda for the kids and cheap bacon showed in stock, but weren’t.  Turkey legs got substituted with turkey thighs.   The thighs aren’t  as much fun to eat, but the guy made a good choice.  If you’re as picky about shopping as I am, instacart isn’t a great choice, but given the times, I’m being more flexible.  There are definite limits to what’s available and I don’t know if they are service related or if the items are truly not in the store.  If they’re not in the store, then disruptions in supply chain are more widespread than they look.   There are a lot of items that Instacart doesn’t even list as available.  If I had the time and inclination, I could compare to the HEB app, or walk the store myself, and I might just so you don’t have to…

Speaking of food, we are eligible for the P-EBT summer school lunch card.  It would be about $700 bucks between the two kids.  It’s based on your school, not your particular family need.  My wife does not want to get it.  She feels that we don’t need it and shouldn’t use it.   I’m reluctant for the same reason, but am practically considering that $700 buys a lot of food.  Food that might be in short supply later in the year.  It raises a moral question for me, as I don’t believe that giving everyone the money is a good thing or a proper use of tax dollars.  On the other hand, they are giving the money out no matter what I think, and it would be nice to get some of our tax money back.  I don’t think I’ll be working too hard to convince her we should apply.

Looking at the shelves and the pantry, it hardly looks like we’ve even dented the stacks.  We’ve been able to resupply and eat most of the stuff we would normally eat anyway.  On sale meat is the exception to that.  There was only so much freezer space, and we went into this full up.  We are depleting my stores of frozen meat.  Costco and HEB both had it, but the prices were high.  The real question is, are the high prices the new normal, and in 6 months I’ll wish I bought every scrap I could at that price, or will prices come back down?  Anyone have anything more than a gut feeling?  I’ve been wrong about the direction of the price for food on just about every previous occasion.  Crude oil too, for that matter.

Outside of stocking the freezer, I’ve got so many projects that it’s starting to get fractal.  I need to seriously get some done to make way for the others.  I’m working on that today.

Dinner last night was a Costco pre-cooked meal, hawaiian chicken with pineapple specifically.  5 minute rice as a side, using up the last of my minute rice.  I was stocking minute rice as part of my ‘intermediate’ preps on the theory that it takes a lot less energy and time to prepare, and energy might be scarce in a post-disaster situation.  It was worth the small cost premium to save the coleman fuel required to cook rice for 30 minutes.  It’s still convenient, but I have so much regular rice that I really need to work on using that.  For quick rice, I have pouches for the microwave.

Take a good look at your pantry.  No one ever said, I have too much food, or too much money, or too much ammo when times get tough.  Keep stacking.

 

nick

 

 

Thur. June 11, 2020 – kids are getting a little frayed…

Less hot, but still hot.  Humid too, most likely.

Yesterday was hot again, although there was wind to provide some cooling.  It wasn’t HOT HOT HOT, but in the sun my skin was pulling tight.  Even very light work at dusk broke a sweat.

All I really did was move all the bikes out into the driveway (a major goal) and spray the grapevines for caterpillars again.   I’m still not done in the driveway, but I have made real progress.  There is a 10ft x 12 ft area on the back patio that is clear of bikes.  That’s major.

I tested my ‘new to me’ benchtop power supply and it’s working.  I need to find a way to fit it into the ‘stack o gear’  on my bench now.  It’s not small or light.  It’s 3RU tall, 18 inches deep and wide, and weighs about 40 pounds or more.  It’s a beast.  At 10% of ebay pricing, I couldn’t say no, especially since I’ve been looking for a DC power supply for a year or more.

I chipped away at my office cleanup a bit too.  I’ve got too many projects started and need to put the effort into finishing a couple.   80/20 or 90/10 rule applies, I got most of the result in the first bit of effort, and now I am having trouble finishing.  And the week is almost gone.

The world continues to careen around like a drunk in a carnival house of mirrors.  Worse, the crazy people insist that we acknowledge and celebrate their insanity.   It’s going to end in violence.  Lots of violence.

I’m afraid we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Dinner was carryout from our favorite Greek place.  My wife was doing curbside pickup at Home Depot for some pool supplies, and some other stuff, and what’s one more curbside pickup at that point?  Delicious. But even I’m breaking down.  Just in time for the second wave…

Kids are tired of not normal.  They’d like to spend time with friends, going out, doing things.  Last summer they were in camps most weeks, doing nature camp, science camp, art camp, and keep these kids out of my hair camp.  They had a short but very busy swim team season.  This year they’re playing some online game with the school friends they haven’t seen in 3 months.  They’ve been real troupers, but they’re starting to show signs of stress too.

So I get it.  EVERYONE wants out of the house and a return to normal.  It just isn’t a good idea, and ‘normal’ isn’t coming back anytime soon.  Even leaving aside the wuflu, the job loss, the rioting, the massive disruption to the economy are all upsetting factors, and you CAN’T ignore the wuflu, because the rest of the world is getting it.  That’s gonna leave a mark on a lot of countries that either sell us stuff or buy our stuff.  Some of those countries are going to experience a change in leadership.  Ours might.  In some cases that will help, in others, the crazy will be in charge and the people will suffer.  None of this is getting us back to ‘normal’.

Flexibility and acceptance and then action are going to be words that help us get through this and on to whatever becomes ‘normal’.  I’d like that to be something other than a decade of burning cities and the collapse of western civilization.

Stacks will help no matter what, so keep stacking.  And since they can’t take your knowledge and skill, keep leveling those up too.

 

nick

Sun. May 31, 2020 – burn baby burn…

Hot and humid here in Houston.

Yesterday was pretty hot and sweaty too.

But hey, now we have a pool! And I didn’t have to MacGyver anything. It was all in the box except for 8 bolts. It’s in pretty good shape considering someone set it up, and used it long enough for a dirt ring to form before returning it… They didn’t assemble the ladder, they just used it upside down and in pieces. Doesn’t look like they used the filter pump either.  The brazen theft involved in Amazon returns is breathtaking in scope and will eventually have to be addressed.    My kids were full on nutburgers when they saw the pool and climbed in while it filled.  Only 6 inches of water in it and it sounded like two dolphins in a blender.  Neighbors are going to get tired of the squeals…

Didn’t get much done on my list ‘cuz someone just dropped a day long project in my lap… just saying.

Other than taking the big truck with the push bar into the city, so I could push through a crowd if I had to, it was just like a normal day.

After dinner though, for a lot of people, Sh!t Just Got Real ™.   I spent a few hours last night watching rioting, yelling, crowds milling around, and all sorts of opportunists mouthing off.  I was in LA for the Rodney King riots, and it is not at all “fun” for normal people.  Burning buildings have a particular odor like nothing else.  Watching neighborhoods burn from your front porch and having that smoke blow in your door will CHANGE you.  Ordinary people get caught up in the violence too.  My roommate was hospitalized from injuries he got during a racially motivated attack on day one or two.  He spent three days in the hospital, and he was just one of many.  [added- he and his ex-wife got jumped outside of a QuikMart when they took a break from trying to reconcile to get some coffee.  They had no idea anything was going on in the city.]

Ol’ Remus’ advice is good- stay away from crowds, and Cooper’s advice about avoiding stupid people and stupid places is also good.  Finally, don’t stand next to someone doing something stupid.   Reginald Denny was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it changed his life.  Don’t be caught unaware, and don’t let them get you out of the vehicle.

One interesting thing I noticed in the news footage, all the big name orgs and the local news crews have ‘security teams’ with them this time.  The Ferguson coverage had many of the ‘on the ground’ reporters having to “reposition” and reconnect.  Ironic during a “mostly peaceful protest”, no?  This time they’ve all got security.

It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.  Anyone want to bet that it continues through the elections?


Dinner was beef fajitas from the last delivery, saute’d with onions, served with tortilla and various vegetable sides.  I like the packaged marinade beef in the vac sealed bag from HEB.  Kids and wife ate every scrap.  We’ve barely touched our long term storage, and even the canned inventory isn’t really being drawn down.  Damned weird apocalypse.

Clearly, we’ve got  more to get through.  Think about what a deterioration in your local security situation means for you and your family.  If most of the cops are standing ‘line abreast’ downtown, they aren’t cruising your area and they aren’t investigating crimes or taking other calls.  What’s your normal response time to a 911 call?  What might it be if you have riots in your area?  What can YOU do to improve your situation?

Keep stacking.  Everything’s better with butter and bacon.

 

nick

Sat. May 23, 2020 – stuff to do, just pile it higher….

Hot and wet.

Yesterday was another hot swampy day here in the Bayou City. Just walking around the back yard I had sweat running down my back and front.

I did look at the gardens, they’re all doing about the same. Caterpillars were back on the grapevines so I sprayed them again. Then I set up the archery target and a backstop.

Much fun was had by #1 daughter, wife, #2 daughter and even me! I felt pretty good just hitting the foam block. My wife got a bull! and the kids both showed improvement after only a short while. Kid 1 also spent some time with her art supplies in the afternoon.

Yep, we’ve basically quit with the school work. Just like when they were attending full time, the last weeks are empty of learning.

I got out of the house and ran some errands. Picked up some auction items. Drove across town twice. Moved a 2ft cube of canning jars to my secondary, and a yeti style cooler. I don’t have anything to can at the moment, nor will I have any from the garden any time soon, so I got them out of the garage. The yeti style pelican cooler holds ice for a long time, but it’s freaking heavy and doesn’t hold much for the space it takes up. I am reorganizing some of my storage cabinets and I need the space the cooler filled for camping and GS stuff. I’ve got several normal coleman or igloo coolers for ordinary picnic stuff. If I need the high tech, I can go get it. In the mean time, I’ll be putting stuff away at home where my wife sees it every day.

Dinner was another one of the Prime sirloins I got for <$7/ pound. VERY tasty. Canned corn, leftover canned beans, and leftover rice filled out the meal. Birthday cake for dessert (and breakfast.) Other than the canned veg, and occasional box side dish, I'm really not burning through stored food. I'm running low on sliced sandwich ham, because EVERYONE is eating it for lunch, not just me and one child. That is something I didn't plan for. The CDC issued some guidance for schools if classes start up again. Pretty much unworkable. No shared anything, bring lunch from home, eat in classrooms, keep kids six feet apart, no touching, sanitize the playground but don't use chemicals near the kids... just as an example, they recommend skipping every other row on the school bus, and only having one kid per seat. That triples the number of buses or the time it takes to get everyone there and back again. Couple that with reducing classes to one third (to maintain distancing) and not having either the kids or teachers rotate to different rooms, and you've got a fantasy tale. NOT gonna happen. In other news, the State of Texas reminded me to file for my unemployment/ covid payment. I guess I got approved for something, despite not submitting a 2019 tax statement. We'll see if I get any actual money. My sales have been non-existent and I haven't been paid for anything I've done in the last two weeks, so maybe I'll get something. Either way, I'm not concerned. Wife is still working and my sales will either start back up or not. Not much I can do about it. It does point out the benefit of having your financial house in order as your number one prep. Speaking of prepping, keep stacking. The trucks are rolling, the stores have (most) stuff, and money is still worth more than the paper it's printed on. Think really hard about Fall, Winter, and next year. This will still be with us, along with an ever growing list of knock on effects. Few of them are likely to be good things. nick