Thur. May 26, 2022 – stuff to do around the house

Humid, maybe clear, maybe rain.   We got some rain yesterday, but then it cleared up into a beautiful day, and stayed reasonably cool.   So much for either weather prediction.

I did my errands, picked up a bunch of stuff for the BOL, and a little bit of stuff for the house.  Didn’t win a whole lot of stuff in the auctions yesterday, so I don’t have much to get today.   I do have to get all the stuff I’m bringing north with me so I can knock out the projects over the weekend.   And I need to get a couple of things finished here before I leave.

So that is the plan for today.  Work.


The elementary school had a nice ceremony for the 5th graders who will be in middle school next year.  100 kids and families in the gym, only about 4 masks in the whole place, and they were on kids.   Our kids have been back at school full time for a year.  The teachers aren’t dropping dead.   The students aren’t dropping dead.  We had a small surge in cases, but not bad outcomes, but we’re at lows again.  You can have the economy open.  You can have gatherings.   You don’t need to be masked everywhere.

There are people still wearing masks.  I still wear a surgical mask at the Goodwill outlet store, and I wear gloves too.   I’ll KEEP doing it, because people are gross there.   Way nastier than any other random group outside of a halfway house.  I see people in other stores wearing masks, mostly properly, and a large percentage in N95s.    No one looks askance.   At this point, in Houston, it’s do what you want.  I am concerned by the larger trend of ‘servers’ or service people in masks while everyone else goes without.   It’s a new caste system, and it’s un-American.


That said, I’m replenishing stocks of PPEs used up during the last two years.   There will be more bad stuff unleashed in the next few years.   Better to have the stuff and not need it…etc.

Stack some more things.   Lots more.





Wed. May 25, 2022 – too tired to think straight..

Hot and humid, good chance of rain, possibly heavy and prolonged rain.   Whereas yesterday it rained for a while and then the sun came out and it was nice for the rest of the day and night.  And it stayed cool.

I took the Expy for my pickups because I didn’t want stuff getting wet, but I could have taken the ranger.  I’ll take the Ranger today, even in the rain.   Too much stuff to pickup, including 5 sheets of plywood.  Yep, buying 3/4 ply sheathing for half off of retail.   I’ll use it here or at the lake.   I’d have bought all 10 sheets,  but my bids didn’t hold up on the others.   The rest of the pickup is stuff for the house or the BOL.

Of course yesterday ended with the school shooting in west Texas.  Take a minute and pray for the parents who didn’t get their kid home from school yesterday, and for the other families affected.   More will be likely to come out of the investigation, and we’ll learn something from it.   The cost was damn high though.

Learn the lessons for yourself and your family too.  Don’t take it for granted.

Stack something.


Tues. May 24, 2022 – pickups, shelves, more pickups, and repairs

Hot and humid.   Maybe not TERRIBLY hot, but pretty hot.   Yesterday stayed cooler than the previous few days, but it was still instant soaked shirt in the sun.

Spent a bit of time on the gennie, but couldn’t keep the rust out of the tank.  Had the idea I could use Evaporust to kill it once and for all, but couldn’t find any in the garage.   Problem sorted when I picked up D2 from school.  We went to harbor freight.   I got Evaporust, one of the fuel transfer pumps (they’ll be on sale next month, 2$ off, so I’ll stock up then) and a cheap set of woodcarving tools.   D2 wants to learn to carve and whittle.

When we got home, I put the Evaporust in the tank, and got out some wood, the cut proof glove, and the self healing mat and we got started.

As expected the cheap tools were almost entirely unsuited to actually carving wood.   All the bevel angles are wrong for carving.   It’s as if they were all set up as lathe tools.  More disappointing was the Barlow knife I got out for her to use for the whittling.  I bought it new for $3 in the auction, and it turns out it is made in Pakistan.  Real cr@p.   Don’t know if they are counterfeit or if Barlow sold out.   Almost impossible to get an edge on the blade.  My dad got hundreds of Barlow pocket knives as ‘gimme’ trinkets from a sales guy way back in the day.  I lost almost all of them.   I was an idiot.  New ones are NOTHING like the old ones, except in appearance. If you squint.

Anyway… we ended up carving soap bars.   MUCH easier to work with, much safer for starting out.  We did a bas relief daisy, and a nose.    She had fun, got way more confident with the tools, and it was about the right length of time for a project.

I’ll know if my Evaporust experiment worked later today.  Other people online have had success.

Rust never sleeps.   Gear needs maintenance.

I’ll be doing pickups today.  I’ve got a big loop planned, and then pulling stuff from storage and building some Metro rack shelves.   I will use them as I move stuff around and sort it for sale, and eventually put some or all at the BOL or in my garage.  The work at my storage unit is contingent on a lack of rain though.   We’re still in the “could get thunderstorms” area of the weather map today and tomorrow, even though it got sunny and nice eventually yesterday.  Weather liars. Pttt.

Fix some of your broken stuff.   Check to be sure your stuff isn’t actually broken.   And stack some of the stuff you need to get it running again next time.  Because there will be a next time.


Mon. May 23, 2022 – what the everlovin’ what?

Hot and humid again, like most summer days in Houston. Yesterday started cool after the rain, but warmed up later.

The title is in reference to every tool I use to make these posts changing completely last night. Ugly and confusing doesn’t begin to describe what I’m looking at. BLANK PAGE doesn’t really guide one through the process. wordpress apparently just decided to kill the option of the old way of interacting with their software. I freaking hate arrogant developers. YOUR WAY IS NOT MY WAY AND IT IS NOT BETTER.

I got a late start yesterday, because of SLEEP. But then I did go out and pick up some preps. I had some misadventure narrowly averted with my fridge/freezer. I’m not the type of person to throw up my hands and accept that my fridge full of food is about to be warmer without trying some things myself. That isn’t nature, btw, it’s learned. Troubleshooting, and the willingness to try stuff are vital skills when things are going pear shaped. There will be a LOT of pear shaped things coming at us in the next few years, because there have been a lot of pear shaped things coming at us for the LAST two years. If you aren’t in the habit of fixing your own stuff, or at least narrowing down the range of problems, you should definitely start working on that. There are good books about fixing household stuff, and there is a massive amount of info on youtube about almost any repair you could make. If it’s already broken, you might as well try, and you will learn things.

Did a quick shopping trip to the local “small” HEB, but I won’t do my usual rundown on empty shelves. There were plenty, but it was late on a Sunday. The only one I’m sure was an actual shortage was Mexican sparkling water, which had a “limit two” sign on it specifically saying they were short stocked.

Chicken legs and thighs were up 10%, hamburger was up, and selection and quality of beef cuts were still down from “normal”. There were not a lot of sale items either.

Get it while you can.

And stack it up.


Sun. May 22, 2022 – 05225022 – meh, not a cool number

Hot hot hot too fricken hot… maybe some rain later.

And humid.   Soaked to the skin, and brains boiled working in the back yard yesterday.   I did find some shade under a market umbrella, and that saved me.  Did I mention it was hot?

After working on my gennie for a few hours, since I was soaked through anyway, I cut the grass.  It was overcast and a bit cooler anyway.   I still love that Toro battery mower.

We spent the evening celebrating D1 becoming a teen.   That will probably be the last time we’re happy about that, LOL.  Didn’t get time to play any games yesterday so we are supposed to play some today.  AFTER the clothes shopping.

I”m going to finish the gennies, if I can.   And go through the stored gas to see if any of the stuff in the cabinet also got ruined.  I did discover a point source failure, potentially.   I use a hand pump to move gas around.   It’s a cheap Harbor Freight thing, but it works really well and it lets you quickly transfer gas from a heavy can to your gennie, or suck all the old bad gas out.   I’m going to get 4 more, put two at the BOL and leave the others here.   I will dedicate one to water, and  have the other for gas.   It’s so much easier than holding 5 gallons in the air while attempting to control a pour into a small gas tank.  Recommended.


So USE some preps this week.  Find out if you have what you need to make it work, or not.  And stack it up.



Sat. May 21, 2022 – home this weekend, plenty to do here

Hot and humid, again.  We’re in that season- summer.  Gonna be kinda monotonous unless there’s a hurry-cane or something… 83F when I went to bed.

Made it home yesterday in time for dinner.   Did a lot of driving for my pickups, and getting something for my non-prepping hobby added a couple of hours and lots of miles as it was an hour south of Houston.  The rest of the stuff was preps or for the BOL.

Got stuff going on today here at home.   D1 had a birthday this week, so we’re doing her thing today.  She mainly wants attention, so we’re going to try mightily to give her some… she wants family game night all day.  I hope I can keep my sanity.

If I can’t, I’ll take it out on shrubberies…   or other stuff in the back yard.   I’ve got quite a long list of stuff to do at home, so I can always take a break from Exploding Kittens ™ and do something.

I’ll be trying to take it a bit easy, as all of yesterday’s loading and unloading, along with 6 hours in the driver’s seat has my back hurting again.  Sucks to get old.  Sucks to be decrepit.   Never thought I’d live this long, or I would have taken better care of myself.   I tell myself that, but I know I wouldn’t have.  NO ONE believes they’ll be old and worn out when they’re young.

Look at your stacks.  Stack more where the stacks are thin.



Fri. May 20, 2022 – at the BOL, doing stuff

Fantastic day here in the north, sunny and clear.   Hot and humid later, but probably not as hot and humid as Houston.  I’ll find out when I get home.

Met with the electrician yesterday.  Our next step is to talk to the provider, a co-op, and determine how much capacity we can get, schedule, etc.

He’s proposed a couple changes that would let us do the work for the service and the septic, while taking longer to do the work on the grounding and outbuildings.  All the old will come out, and new will go in.  Except for wiring inside the house, that will stay but have grounds added, I think.  He’s pretty sure we’ll find the buried electrical when we start trenching for the septic 😛

Oh yeah, when I fired up the mower a huge doe ran across the yard.  She looked pretty panicked.   Did I mention she was huge?   Mmmmm, tasty deer…

Watered the garden.  No sign of raiders yet, but no shoots either.

I’ve got a couple of things to do here today before I can leave.  I need to remove the paneling around the current breaker panels so the electrician can see what he’s working with to land in the new panel, and I’d like to plant one more row of salad veg, with some squash, pumpkin, and watermelon.  That may not get done, if it’s hot or if I run out of time.


Gas was $4 at costco and there were weekend long lines at 1pm on Thursday.   I saw it as high as $4.39 at the HEB next to the freeway.  My 260 mile round trip costs double what it did a year ago.

Refilling all my hurricane gas storage will HURT this year.

Stash some stuff, stack some more stuff.



Wed. May 18, 2022 – end of the school year is coming up…

Hot and sunny in Houston again.  Plenty of humidity too.   I didn’t see what the official high was yesterday, but I did notice my thermometer reading 95F in the sun.  That’s plenty hot.

I didn’t do much yesterday.   My back was killing me.  Did one pickup for the BOL on my way to my client’s house.  Fixed his issue, a control box stuck in an ‘off’ condition until pulling the power, waiting, and re-powering.  That was a weird one.

Spoke with his  wife, their kitchen remodel is pushing off a month or possibly two, due to not being able to get their appliances.  Those were ordered last year, for May delivery… and now they are saying August maybe but really probably October.  Even the very high end of the market is having supply issues now.

Came home and had a lie down.  Didn’t mean to fall asleep, just wanted to get pressure off my spine, but hey, I’ll take sleep when it comes.

Did an email exchange with my septic installer.  He’s starting to buy stuff for the system. Still can’t get the drip hose but feels confident about the other components.    I reiterated that we’ll pay for the stuff, and he should just buy it.

I’m bidding on some used construction materials for use here in the attic, and small projects at the BOL.   I’m thinking of raiding my neighbor’s open top dumpster for used 2x4s from their remodel.   Freaking 2x4x8 lumber is $7 at lowes.   I’ll be building with pallets and tarps soon if prices don’t come down.

Stack it while you can.  You’ll need it.



Tues. May 17, 2022 – home again, home again…

Hot and humid in Houston.   Probably nicer at the BOL.  I’ll deal, as long as it isn’t raining.

Did a long day at the lake yesterday.   Met with the A/C guy, got the compressor motor capacitor swapped out and the refrigerant level checked.    Worked on the garden.  Got a sprinkler set up, but not on a timer yet.  Did more cleanup and filled the pickup for the dumpster run.  Swapped out a couple more light fixtures.  Put some privacy film on the garage door windows.

That one was on the list from the first day.   It makes the door look better from the outside (there isn’t a row of black windows in the white door) and it makes it much harder to see into the garage and decide if there is anything you want to steal.

I also put up a new mailbox, and weed whacked…  even put a couple of plants in pots out front.

All little things but all important for curb appeal (lets the neighbors know we’re committing to the neighborhood) and to make the house look occupied.   They haven’t had issues with breakins or theft, but I don’t want to be the nuisance house either.   I do need about 4 entry doors though, between the garage, outbuildings, and dockhouse.  Even a soyboy could kick through the garage man door.

Today is for catching up on things around the house here.

There is plenty on that list.  Boy howdy.

If you can’t stack, organize, or maintain.

But if you can, stack it high.


Sat. May 14, 2022 – and we’re off…. no not really

Hot and humid, although it didn’t seem as hot yesterday as the day before.

Picked up a pickup load of stuff for the house, took it to storage, swapped it out for the thing I’m hoping to flip today.  For today is my non-prepping hobby quarterly swapmeet/ sale day.    Really only a half day, and most deals will happen in the first 10 minutes anyway.

My hope is to flip the big thing, and then after the meeting, load the  truck for the lakehouse and head out.  My wife was planning to  take the kids up last night and get started painting another room, or putting floor down, I’m not entirely clear which.  However, they ended up staying late at a birthday party so they’ll be heading up sometime this morning.   I’ll already be gone to my meeting.

Work at the BOL will be whatever I can do, but emphasis will still be on getting the garden stood up.

I don’t have to set the fence yet, I decided I can do a tunnel of hardware cloth over at least a couple of rows of low plants to start.   I have this fear that the heavy equipment for the foundation work will need to go through the garden to get to the down slope area.  That would suck.  It’s not going to stop me from trying to get something to grow, but time is slipping away.

At home I’ve got blueberries ripening on the bushes.   The seedlings I planted haven’t died yet.   The grape vines are trying to make a comeback, and the herbs are doing well.  It won’t feed the family, but it’s something.  There were almost no fruit trees at the Lowes and Home Depot yesterday.  I was hoping for an apple tree, but there was one persimmon, a couple of meyer lemons, and some peach trees.  Very limited.

Shortages are getting attention from a wider array of folks.   Predictably they are clamoring for .gov to “dooooo sooommmeeethhhiing “.   I don’t really know what they expect Slow Joe to do, pull some baby powder out of his diaper?  If they do try something, I expect it to make the situation worse.

You are on your own.  Plan accordingly.

And stack some stuff.