Wed. May 12, 2021 – still sore, still got stuff to do

Well, yesterday never did get stormy, and was partly sunny for most of the day. The 40mph wind was cool enough, when it blew, but the rest of the time it was a bit on the stifling side. Temps dropped 10+ degrees while I was cooking dinner and the wind was variable and gusting hard, but the rain held off. Today is probably going to be similar with a bit more chance of rain.

Yesterday I met with the new auctioneer’s rep and we’re good to proceed. I’ve got to get a space either cleared, or in a neighbor’s space to set up the pallets so we can get some listed. It’s back breaking work and I’m in no condition for it today.

Went to the chiropractor and got some stuff to move. Will try to get in today too.

Went through some stuff in my storage unit, getting ready to take some bins to the other auction.

Today I need to do a Costco order or run, and a couple of auction pickups. More supplies for the house, and not resale. I can fit it in my Expy if it’s raining, if not I’ll use the pickup just because it’s easier.

Then pickup child 2 from school mid-afternoon. Both kids are doing STAAR testing this week. That is the big Texas progress evaluation test. In reality the questions are whacked out. NO idea what they are trying to evaluate, other than reading comprehension. All the questions come down to that. Still, you can’t improve if you don’t measure, but it would be nice if they were measuring the right things.

Anyone waiting in line to buy gasoline because of this pipeline issue, is measuring their preparedness, and if they’re in line, they are coming up short. The general recommendation for storing gas is one full tank for your bug out vehicle, or one week of disaster usage for your generator, whichever is more. The amount is a bit arbitrary, but there are reasons and rationales for it. Too tired to list them atm, left as an exercise for the reader. Think ‘the amount of time it takes to get outside help into the area’ and ‘leapfrog the locusts’ on the way out of town. It’s also a good example of why people suggest always filling up at 1/2 tank instead of running dry (which is not something I routinely do, because I’ve got MORE than 1 full tank stored.)

In any case, you and they might have some stacking to do.


Tues. May 11, 2021 – away from keyboard.

Probably warm, certainly humid, possibly wet.  So says the FEMA summary.  Never got any rain yesterday so who knows how it will play out today.

I spent most of yesterday just sitting in pain.  Did something bad to my neck.  Finally got to the chiropractor and he did some things I’ve never had to have done before, so this is a new issue.   Went home and laid down.

Got up for dinner and went back to bed.

Today I’m supposed to meet with the new auction company, but as of last night they hadn’t confirmed the meeting.  I’ll try to confirm before heading over there this morning.   If I don’t hurt I’ll do some cleanup over there.  If I do hurt, I’ll probably get an adjustment and go home.

In any case, short shrift today.

Talk amongst yourselves…  and keep stacking.


Mon. May 10, 2021 – another week, plenty of stuff to do…

Warm and humid, with a chance of thunderstorms.  Joy.  Yesterday got pretty hot and humid by late afternoon and stayed hot.  It was 80F at midnight with 80%RH.

Spent the day playing games with my wife and kids.   Cooked dinner.  Lamb was delicious, potatoes got raves from the whole family, and even the chocolate dipped (store bought) strawberry dessert was just right.

Catan is an interesting game.  I think that there is a whole bunch of stuff to discover about the seemingly simple gameplay if everyone knows what they’re doing.   It’s a smaller game than Ticket to Ride, and I didn’t enjoy the first game as much (I compare them because the game mechanics are very similar, except for the trading part.)  I really like Ticket to Ride so the bar is set pretty high.  I know that Catan is a phenomenon, but I don’t understand why yet.  I’ll give it a couple more plays to see if it really appeals to us.  Board games and card games can be important preps, depending on your disaster, and they are great for other more traditional reasons too.  My family played a ton of games when we were kids, and even through college, whenever we were home together.  We still play games when we get together.

This week I have auction stuff to get together, truck repairs to get organized, all the normal household stuff to do, and surely some work getting ready for the rip and replace at my client’s house.  Add a sore back and a stiff neck, and I’m gonna have some fun.

In the category of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, address little things when they are still little.   Clean up all those niggling little details.  Stop procrastinating if the job is at all important.  Get all the ducks in a row.  You’ll feel better, and you’ll be in a better place for whatever comes.

Now I better go address some of those little things that are stacking up, so that I can get back to stacking up the stuff I think we’ll need.



Sun. May 9, 2021 – tired and sore. Still plugging away.

Forecast says we’re in a potential rain area. I hope for continued nice weather. Saturday was nice, cool with the wind blowing, a bit humid and certainly warm in the sun, when it came out. It would be nice to have that again today.

I went to my non-prepping hobby meeting and had a great time talking with people. Almost no masks, fwiw. We had a good turnout and we’re planning our annual convention and swapmeet for September or August. We would normally draw attendees from all of Texas, Louisiana and points east, and some of the other states that share a border with Texas too. Given pent up demand, we’re hoping for a big show.

A couple of the guys in this group overlap with the ham lunch group, and they are talking about meeting in person for lunch next week, for the first time in a year. I am really looking forward to that. It was very nice to get out of the house on Wednesdays for lunch. Working from home can be very isolating. And MEATSPACE is important too.

Hit the HEB for some Mother’s Day flowers and some weekly groceries last night. Even considering it was Saturday evening, there were a lot of empty spaces on the shelves. Clearly they are having trouble stocking, still. Just one more thing to factor into your assessment of the state o the state.

And in the wider world, consider the number of analysts that got the unemployment numbers wrong. Not just wrong, but so F’ing wrong you gotta wonder what they were smoking. If something like 78 of 80 of the sharpest analysts were off by 4x or 8x what does that say about any of their analysis?

Look around and make up your own mind, but I’m pretty sure that bad things are coming (and before good things.) Get ready. Stack it high.


Sat. May 8, 2021 – local local local

Supposed to be another nice day. Yesterday was perfect. Gorgeous. High in the low 90s in the sun, cool in the shade.

I WASTED that beautiful day. I should have been out reveling in one of the last nice days before a hot summer, but I was doing stuff inside instead.

I did get a meeting set up with the ‘bulk’ auctioneer for next week.

I got my truck reloaded with my work stuff, got the phone connected, and some of the Sync stuff set up. I moved some other auction stuff around too.

Not much on the list though.

Today I have my non-prepping hobby meeting, and quarterly swapmeet. I’ll be taking one or two things that I don’t think will sell, but I’m willing to try.

After that, I’ve got an auction pickup- two hand trucks and a small chest freezer. Yup, deal was too good to pass up. I’m going to try flipping it to one of my friends, or our Rec Association. The hand trucks are always useful.

Then it’s off to the Rec Association for the spring Clean Up day. There is a general call for members to help get the place in shape after most of the winter with minimal maintenance outside of the pool. Two plus acres of wooded grass needs some work in the spring, as do all the outdoor items.

All of those things are local community building things, as well as being good for me and the family. They strengthen bonds with other people and especially with our neighbors. Those are good things at any time, but especially if hard times are coming.

Spend some time stacking up friends and acquaintances as well as canned goods. You won’t be sorry you did.


Thur. May 6, 2021 – the revenge of the sixth…

Cool and nice, like yesterday. Granted it did get warmer by late afternoon, and in the abundant sun,but it started cool and was cool in the shade. Not exactly dry, but nice.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of getting stuff done. I did get my two pickups done, one by IAH one by HOU, so not exactly efficient for gas or time, but many useful household things were acquired at bargain prices. It was a ‘pick the child up from school’ afternoon, so that limited my ability to get things done.

I did start loading stuff back into the Expedition. I still have to go through my work tools and supplies and cut back where I can and organize the rest, but I could throw all the bins into the truck and go to work tomorrow if needed. I have insurance coverage on the new truck, and the sirius/xm radio should be activated. Still need to pair my phone, do any updates to the OS and apps, and mess with the Sync functions of the ‘info-tainment’ system.

I really need to get the pickup truck in to the repair place. The problem is, it’s my ‘work’ truck and I generally load a bunch of stuff into the back at least once a week if not more often. Everything I have on my list at my secondary location requires the pickup. I’m going to have to suck it up and just get the repairs done.

One big difference between my old Expy and the new one, the old one had the shifter on the steering column, and a HUGE center console. The new one has the shifter in the center, and a tiny little console, with part of the space taken up by a power point and two usb ports. I don’t think I can even get a locking container into the tiny little thing. Aside from the storage issue, there isn’t any room for a ham radio or scanner. There was tons of room in the old truck. I’m trying to find room behind the dash or behind other panels in the new Expy. I can remote mount the control head for my dual band radio and bury the main body wherever it fit, but it’s just that much more work. If I don’t do it as part of ‘moving in’ to the new truck, it probably won’t get done though. Lists, I’ve got ’em.

Speaking of radios, the scanner was chock full of encrypted traffic for the last couple of days. HPD on their ‘tactical’ channels, and on their ‘homeland security’ channels, squawking all day. I can’t understand the traffic, but I can note the increase… and Baytown has been running disaster training scenarios on the radio all week too. Good to know they’re working on rescues and multi-victim structure fires. That SCBA gear sure makes it difficult to understand the firefighters on the radio but that’s a small price to pay for the lives it saves. Someone is also running surveillance on drug dealers, with a big buy op yesterday evening. If you’re not listening in to your local action, you should be.

You all know the drill, get to stackin’.


Wed. May 5, 2021 – Culturally appropriate, or appropriate? Cinco de drunko…

Cooler and drier than yesterday, maybe. Yesterday started humid and overcast but ended breezy and clear and very nice. I’m hoping the ‘very nice’ continues today.

Spent the morning getting my truck from the dealer. Spent the early afternoon asleep. Spent the rest of the day poking at the new machine. Given that it has a computer, touch screen, and several different interface devices, and lots of settings, I’ll be reading the manual. I hate reading the manual, and if it was a rental, I’d just be cool with whatever I could figure out in 10 minutes. Since I own it, I should probably know what all that stuff does.

Ford uses a “Sync” branded system for the info and entertainment system. It does one thing I like so far, you can sync the clock to the clock on the GPS. You still have to set the hour to match your time zone, but it’s a nice feature and speaks to the integration. It has a category for apple phone integration and android. I will probably be watching some youtube vids soon. I’ve got other stuff on the agenda for today though.

Youngest child stayed home from school yesterday with coughing that improved about the same time she was sure she wouldn’t be going in. What she won’t like is getting a ‘rona test today before class. I was sympathetic, and she was coughing and miserable, but that 10% of doubt should have been more. Little faker. Or at least little exaggerator.

Today should be eaten up with errands (pickups of household stuff) and truck stuff. I’ve got to get the truck stuff done, it’s eating time I need for other things. I really want to be all back together and ready to work when my part time business partner gets the drawings done for my client’s rip and replace. That will also mean proceeding with the auctioneer that will take pallets of stuff.

It’s a whole lot easier to sit at my desk and mess around online.

Must resist… urge… must…resist…..

So time to get going. Clear the decks so I can get to stacking…


Tues. May 4, 2021 – May the Fourth be with you….

We’re right on the edge of a predicted rain and thunderstorm area, so I’m hoping we don’t get it. We usually don’t. Yesterday was HOT in the sun and very humid feeling. I stayed in most of the day, because my outdoor work involves lifting and carrying, and my back is right on the edge of something bad, again. I’m really going to have to do more stretching.

I did a bunch of moving and sorting in my office. Improving my daily workspace seems both useful and wasteful at the same time. I feel like there are more impactful things to do around the house, but then I think about how nice it will be to get my desk cleaned up.* Work avoidance mode. So much easier than working.

Today will be something different, although I do need to continue the office clean out. First things first, I’ll be picking up my new truck. I will then be able to pick up a couple of things, and move some stuff back into the truck and out of the foyer. That will make room to strip everything out of the Ranger and get it in to the repair place. I want all this messing around with vehicles to be done.

Only way through is through.

And I’ll say the same for whatever bad thing is on the way. No avoiding it now, only dealing with it. Do your best to mitigate what’s been brewing for more than 6 years. Stacking will probably help.


*5 monitors, 4 computers, 8 radios, vinyl cutter and laser printer, as well as storage and a couple of disk drive enclosures all visible at my main desk area.

Sat. May 1, 2021 – just two more days to work…

Warm and wet, with potential for thunderstorms, if the weather liars are right. Yesterday they were about half right.

My pickup in the afternoon was for household stuff, and the pickup I need to do today is also household stuff – mainly cleaners. I’ve also got to coordinate with the electrician about the transfer switch installation. All while nursemaiding youngest, and doing normal weekend stuff. All good reasons for me to want nicer weather than we are likely to get.

Non-prepping hobby club meeting is NEXT weekend, so I won’t be missing that. Having attended a couple now, I don’t want to stop. Life is slowly adjusting to the new normal.

Short shrift today, as I have sleeping to do, and then ‘stuff’, and I’m beat.

Keep stacking what you know you need,


Fri. April 30, 2021 – might have the family home this weekend after all

Warm and humid, possibility of rain, and flooding. Yesterday was part sun, part overcast, no real rain but some spatters. Today could be bad, depending on where you are.

Which is why my wife might cancel her Girl Scout camping weekend. We have one kid sick with sore throat, cough, and sniffles (but no covid), and the counties between here an camp are under flash flood warnings, with a weekend of rain in the forecast. I don’t think any one of those things would be enough, but all of them might make for a no fun, higher risk, weekend. They are supposed to be doing canoeing, and stargazing, and night hiking. Not likely during thunderstorms.

So I might be home, I might be working, I might be nursemaid. I’ll just be flexible and see.

Electrician is supposed to come by Saturday, and I’ve got some prep work to do, but not if it’s pouring down rain.

Yesterday I ran a couple of errands, and refilled some 1 pound propane bottles. That was interesting. I got much better results than the first time I tried it. We had a dozen empties after the big freeze, and my wife wanted to take a couple camping, so I got out the hose and got to work. I’ve got a hose/regulator/valve from amazon, which I’ve linked before. The chinese ones come and go, and brands are kinda ‘fluid’ so it’s hard to make a recommendation. There are lots of videos on youtube with techniques. I found that turning the BBQ bottle up side down, and holding the 1 pound bottle upside down worked the best. I could hear and feel when the propane stopped flowing. You just make the connection, turn on the valve, and after the flow stops, close the valve and remove the hose. Move on to the next bottle. Then, you need to release gas pressure from the bottles (you could use a propane torch with a valve, DON’T LIGHT IT, or just use a chopstick or other device to open the valve in the bottle. I let out a bit of gas, and then when you reconnect, more propane will flow into the bottle. I used a kitchen scale to weigh the bottles and monitor both how much I release, and how much got added. Starting with an empty bottle at 14 oz, I got about 3 oz fill each time, while letting off gas pressure reduced the weight 1/8 to 1/2 an oz. Do this a few times and the bottle will be at 1 pound 10 oz or more. That’s where I stopped, because a bit of that spattering rain started.

Now, messing about with propane is dangerous. I’m not suggesting anyone do it, and all my comments are for ‘entertainment’ and not instruction. Do whatever you do at your own risk. It’s NOT recommended to refill those 1 pound bottles. I definitely do recommend adding the brass screw caps to any bottle you’ve refilled or to any bottle that is partially used and removed from a device. Check them for leaks with soapy water (bubbles or foam mean it’s leaking.) Don’t store them inside or in enclosed spaces.

It’s also undeniable that refilling the bottles seems a whole lot less wasteful than just disposing of them, and cheaper too. Do what YOU are comfortable doing. I will refill the bottles at least one time, and more if the valve seal continues to close reliably. Keep in mind you’re venting propane gas as part of the process. Do it outside on a mildly breezy day, away from any potential ignition sources. Don’t breath the propane. Having watched the big bottle refill process many times, and seeing how much propane is released by that process, I’m not worried about what little gets released when you mount and dismount the little bottles.

I’ve got a bunch of the BBQ bottles. For a while I was buying them at estate sales whenever I saw them. They store indefinitely, as long as the valves are good. I’ve got conversion hoses and fuel filters for my Mr Heaters, the refill setup, and I think I’ll get a propane conversion kit for my Honda eu3000i gennie too, as that would give me another option for fuel. In addition to the BBQ bottles, the little bottles are very handy for stoves and lanterns and heaters (and hoses are available to adapt the BBQ bottles to Coleman stoves and lanterns if desired). Whether you refill them or just buy new, they are very handy to have around, and even handier if you can refill them. Add them to your stack!

One of the beauties of “camping” is that it lets you ‘stealth’ prep. I’ve got a bunch of camping supplies, and a family of Scouts, what’s suspicious about that? And because camping gear is all designed to sustain life away from your home, it’s great preps…( and it has deniability if needed – “oh that? We used to camp but we haven’t used it in ages…”) Like the old CB radio and the fishing gear on the shelf, it just looks like typical garage stuff at first glance. And that might become more important as time goes by.

So keep stacking, or you’ll find yourself lacking…