Category: personal

Mon. July 15, 2024 – a new week and a new start

Hot and humid still, and again. No rain yesterday for me, but maybe for others in Houston Metro.

I did my thang yesterday morning, poking at laptops and drinking my coffee. Then some clean up, some generator messing about, and off to get fuel. Got some. Checked on my secondary location (my stuff is fine.) Came home and power is restored… so I have a bunch of cleanup and putting away to do. And then maintenance on stuff. But I have power again, so that is good.

Today I’m dropping D1 at a day camp, and maybe doing some other stuff. Wife and D2 will be home. Then I’ve got more cleaning to do, and some organizing. There is a never ending list…

And it’s all easier with power.

So stack what you need to provide some of your own. I’m taking a good hard look at mine.


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Thur. July 11, 2024 – the recovery continues… also Kwikimart Day…

Still hot. Still humid. Still summer in Houston. Still really just the beginning of hurricane season.

I hid from the heat most of the day. Read. Minded the generators. Had “Walking tacos” which are like “Frito Pie” except taco meat and fillings in a bag of Doritos(tm), not chili and toppings in a bag of Fritos(tm). Spent a few minutes cleaning my office. It’s hot and dark in there so I gave that up pretty quickly.

And today might be pretty similar. I’m toying with the idea of doing some work on the vehicles. I have new headlights for the Ranger. Fog lights for the Expedition, and new license plates for both. I should install some radio gear too, to go with the plates. But it is so hot I’m afraid to do much with no cool house to go back to. I’m really feeling the heat, almost like after my heat injury. Don’t want to get back to that mess.

I’ll find something to do, I don’t have the time to just lie about reading, not really, no matter how uncomfortable it is to work or how worn out I am by the labor.

I will try to do some stack sorting at the least, and I need to get out and refill gas bottles and gasoline cans. We could be at this a while.

Wife and kids are contemplating heading to the BOL, where there is power, a/c, and internet for work. I’ll stay here and mind the house. Kids have been really good so far, but are getting a bit stir crazy. D1 wants to go out with her friends, but D2 is ok with books and internet so far. Neither wants to clean house or do chores.

Heck, I don’t either.

Stack something, you will use it eventually, and be glad you had it…


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Mon. July 8, 2024 – will we blow away? will we float away? only time will tell

Because it’s gonna be hot and humid unless it’s actually storming. And then I won’t care because I’ll be inside anyway. Supposed to be a hurry-cane headed this way. I’m not feeling the urgency for some reason.

I really do hope it’s a ball of nothing but some heavy rain. We’ll muddle through in any case.

Yesterday was mostly getting stuff buttoned up at the BOL and heading home. Didn’t do a lot of storm prep here because it was raining when I got here. Since then it cleared and hadn’t rained any more when I wrote this at 1am.

Since I’m completely unprepared, I hope it’s nothing. In case it’s not, I guess we’ll fall back on the preps from the last 15 years…

Y’all be safe out there, as it’s sure to suck for someone.

Mean while, think about the hazards local to you and stack accordingly.


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Sun. July 7, 2024 – still plugging away at it

Hot and humid. Didn’t rain yesterday, might today, might not. Even if the macro forecast is correct the micro (local) weather can still be different. Rain, at least a short quick shower, would be welcome.

I didn’t do much yesterday. Got a nap. Read. Ate. Played a game with the family. Played pool with D2. Hid inside.

Today I have stuff to put away, cleanup to do, and “going home” stuff to sort out. If we go home today. Could be we stay another day if the weather in Houston is bad, and it’s nice here. Well, relatively nice.

Flexibility is good. Procrastination is bad. I will probably poke at the irrigation system some more, maybe even plumbing in one of the backup pumps. They are smaller, and might not really get the job done in the long run, but might be a stopgap. Getting the irrigation running has been a thorn in my side for a year. I’d really like to put it behind me.

So I can move on to the next issue.

I’m stacking projects like they were assets instead of liabilities. Dang.

Stack something GOOD.


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Sat. July 6, 2024 – another hot day, more little jobs…

Hot again. We might have gotten some rain overnight, it was in the forecast and there was some lightning in the surrounding areas… but it will probably still be hot.

Spent the day chatting with sibling and spouse. They are athletic and spent the morning jogging, and out on the kayaks. But it was HOT and humid so we spent the afternoon in the shade, just sitting.

I did do some more investigation into my sprinkler pump. It’s not holding prime. I may have to open it up and see if the impeller is worn out. The grass went from “could use some rain” to “dry and crunchy” in the last couple of days so I would really like to run the sprinklers.

The garden is still producing but if we don’t water it, or get some rain, it will be done soon.

Today will be about spending some time with guests before they head to the airport. Then I’ll do some work. Probably. But it will be small jobs.

It was great to have the community gather for the fireworks. Lots of people in the park, lots floating in boats to watch the show. Lot of flags and even some bunting on the houses I can see. Nice to come together.

Work on stacking some friends and neighbors. You’ll need them the most when things get tough.


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Wed. July 3, 2024 – plumbing. Yuck. and then family, yea!

Hot and humid, with it staying in low to mid 80s at night. With some storm action possibly coming for the weekend, I’m looking forward to a couple more days of nice (but hot) weather.

I started in Houston Tuesday after driving home at midnight. Plan was to take the kid to the dentist, get my fangs cleaned, do a pickup and head back to the BOL with my hand snake, and sewer cleaning machine. Then I’d pull the toilet and unclog the pipes, and all would be good for the rest of the family to arrive today.

Most of that happened. My hand snake was too short, and my powered snake was NFG. Houston weather took its toll on the motor. So I have a plumber coming some time this morning. Sucks that I had the tools and the knowledge, but didn’t take good enough care of the tool. I used it more than once so it paid for itself almost double, but today’s bill would have been avoidable too.

Stacks are no good if they rot.

And if you are responsible for your own infrastructure, you better be ready to step up. I thought I was ready, if reluctant. Nope.


I am really liking the small shortwave radio I’ve been using lately.

It’s compact, really pulls in the signals, handles SSB very well so the ham bands are easy to listen to, and it’s pretty ergonomic- I can run it by touch in the dark with its large display giving a lot of info. Fine tuning in SSB, and easily select-able bandwidth filters are icing on the cake. It could use a better way to stand it at an angle, and the leather case doesn’t play as well with the antenna as I’d like but those are quibbles. I’ve recommended not getting a small SW radio in the past, but I like this one a LOT.

Today, after the plumbing is sorted, I’ll be getting ready for guests and knocking small things off the list.

Then maybe I can relax a bit with family…

And stack some good times. These are the good ol days.


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Tues. July 2, 2024 – in Houston

Hot in Houston. Hot at the BOL. Humid. Really humid. More of the same with the added bonus of a possible hurricane coming later in the week. Joy.

Started the day at the BOL. Did a bunch of work, but very slowly. Then just before I was ready to leave, the shower and toilet in the master bath stopped draining. Spent a couple of hours trying to deal with that, and ended up heading home at midnight.

I’ll take the kid to the dentist, grab my auction pickup, load up my drain snake and drain machine, and head back up. I’ll have part of a day to get it sorted. I’d really rather just call someone, but since I’m home to get the fangs polished, I guess I can at least take a swing at it. It’s why I own the machine…

So this post will be very short. I’m up late, gotta get up early, and then have a lot of driving to do followed by pulling a toilet and snaking a sewer line….

I’ve got the tools in the stacks, and the knowledge, I’d just rather not do it but sometimes you don’t get a choice.

Stack some specialist tools. Might come in handy.


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Sun. Jun. 30, 2024 – did I mention it was hot? and I still have stuff to do?

It was crazy hot yesterday and today should be the same. I’m not looking forward to that. If I wasn’t working I could take a dip in the lake when I got too hot. I have to settle for laying on the cool concrete floor while a fan blows conditioned air on me…

My next door neighbor is up this weekend and I’ve been trying to get together with him on the dock for drinks and a tiny fire. He goes to bed early and rises early, and I’m the opposite, so we haven’t been able to meet up. I stopped by his other lot on my way home from the hardware store. He had a 40×60 foot metal building built to use as a shop and storage area but he’s doing some of the interior build out himself.

I saw he was working and stopped to chat. He was really hot. Still sweating but minor shaking in his hands so I got him in the shade and talked to him for about 20 minutes until he’d cooled off a bit. He was focused on some underground plumbing issue in the sun and didn’t notice. This heat is dangerous in the sun, since the humidity and lack of wind makes it very difficult to stay cool.

I used to live in Arizona, and did plenty of outdoor work, rock climbed, rode my bike and motorcycle everywhere, and learned to be careful and hydrate… but the 3% humidity meant you’d stay cool if you kept drinking and sweating. When the monsoon season hit and the humidity went up, it was miserable. Houston is a swamp. RH was 84% today and the real temp had to be over 100F in the shade. In the sun it was so much worse.

Consequently my work went very slowly yesterday. I had a fan blowing on me in the garage, but it was still dangerously hot. I did make progress. I’ve got about half the insulation done, and I hung three sheets of plywood. Took a break when my buddy finally stopped by, and went over and helped him fix his flagpole so we could change out his ratty flags for the 4th. Chatted for a while with him and his wife. It was good to stop working for a bit.

Pot roast was very nice for dinner. I do love slow cooker meals.

Today I should put in the rest of the insulation and hang another sheet of ply. That will let me put one side of the garage back together. Depending on how that goes, I might stay up here for one more night. I am thinking about leaving Monday, and checking out the boats my wife wants me to look at on my way home. Whenever I leave, I have to do a thorough cleaning so when we get back on Wednesday the house is ready for guests. I’ll have to budget some time for that. Spiders and red dirt dust are a constant issue.

And dishes, I’ll need to do dishes…

Stack some time with friends, and some time by yourself for reflection and recharging your mental and physical strength. You will need both.


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Fri. Jun. 28, 2024 – hard at work, or hardly working?

Hot and humid. Really. I know you are surprised, but that’s the truth… and it was hot yesterday too. At least there was a nice breeze for most of the day. I still had to take several cool down breaks.

I did get the truck mostly unloaded and put away. I hung a light in the garage and moved some stuff. It was really stifling though so I was limited to how much I got done. Didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. I did cut the grass in my lot and the HOA/park lots. Read several chapters of the next Kate Daniels book, which series I’m really enjoying.

Today I’ll continue in the garage, and maybe the shed. It’ll depend on the heat. I won’t be working on the dock if it’s sunny, but I might be able to do some more electrical in the dockhouse. The A/C is still working in there, trying to continue the drying out process. I’m grabbing some small tasks as I can as a break from the bigger jobs.

I’ve got a new ceiling fan for D2’s room that I can put up, and some other jobs that are mostly inside in A/C. Some bookshelves installed will let me bring some of my library up here. That will help me clean up at home too. 2X the win!

Time to start putting some of the stacks to use. Solar is next on the agenda… but I’ve got some reading to do first.

I’ll continue working to improve my situation, and stacking. You should too.


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Wed. Jun. 26, 2024 – barreling right thru June and into July…

Hot and humid once more with no chance of rain according to the national forecast. I continue to hope not, but we will need some sooner or later. It was well over 105F in my driveway when the sun was not behind a cloud. In the late afternoon, it was still 95F when the sun hid for a few minutes. You really didn’t want to be in the sun without a hat.

I did my pickups but the main one took hours. In their defense, they had to pull 66 items. The automated “appointment” app wouldn’t give me a time on Mon, or Tues, so they didn’t have a ticket pulled and ready for me. I did stop in on Monday and let them know I had to pickup on Tuesday, and the girl thought they’d be able to pull it, but they didn’t. Waiting sux, but I read on my phone and tried not to faint from the heat. I could have sat in the A/C in the truck, but I was trying to appear sympathetic by sharing their pain. Maybe didn’t help, but probably didn’t hurt. A personal relationship with the staff where you do business is a good thing.

After I got home I had a stack of stuff to do to get ready to leave, and it took a while. I still have stuff I should do. Which is what I’ll do today before heading out. I’ve got two or three things I can do that will make a big visual impact, so they are worth doing. And I’ve still got to finish loading the truck. I’ll be busy until I leave.

W wants me to look at a couple of things in a marina on my way through Conroe. I will if I get up there on time. More stuff to do in my day though. Hear me whine…

Thought for the day is working on your relationship with the people that you interact with “out in the world”. Does the clerk know you? Will they help you resolve an issue or cut you some slack? Are you cordial? Friendly but not creepy? Do they recognize you when you show up? Do they seem glad to see you when you do business with them? Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and local means something. It’ll mean a lot more as things get worse.

Being a good customer who accepts mistakes with good grace, or helps make their day a little easier in some way could be the difference between getting something you need, and not. Besides, it makes the world a little brighter and we can sure use that at the moment. Be someone people are glad to see.

It WILL help you stack.


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