Tues. Mar. 31, 2020 – some stuff got done, but progress is slow

Cooler and possibility of rain.

Yesterday was overcast and partly sunny late, but didn’t rain. So humid that the concrete was wet though.

I did some work on the pile in the driveway, and cleaned out a couple of my “window box” planters on the fence. If they dry out today, I’ll get some new dirt in them and some veg planted later.

I did get the second potato tower planted, and my onion starters in the ground. I had to remove some chives and some grass that had invaded the bed.

I had a small tree with two trunks die on one half, so I got out the saw and trimmed that back. Looks like woodpeckers made holes, then ants got in. They started attacking the remaining trunk too, so I shaved away the loose bark and sprayed the wound with nursery sealer. Hopefully that will save what’s left. It’s a nice ornamental tree in front of the house and I don’t want to lose it.

While I had the saw out, I did some pruning and cut up some medium sized branches that were waiting for me to get to them. There are a bunch of crepe myrtles and japanese cherry trees in the back yard that constantly need cutting back. They are under the utility lines and grow fast. I try to do all that sort of thing at the same time, so even if it wasn’t top of my list, I needed to do the dead tree in the front, which means spending a bit of time in back too. It’s always something.

In other news.

If you haven’t looked at the numbers for the wuflu in a couple of days, please take a look. This thing is growing and spreading. We MAY be slowing the growth, but that only extends the time it will take to get to saturation, it doesn’t prevent it. NYFC went from one case to 100 to 67K with 1300 deaths so far. That’s like 1 in 100 diagnosed, and more deaths to come. People are not being smart about this. They lined up to see the hospital ship FFS. They are loading bodies into freezer trucks. In NYC. In the USA.

Aesop has had cases in his ER and more are coming. Several people here have mentioned one or two degree of separation cases. Meanwhile, TPTB are working their way through the CDC’s Pandemic Checklist. They haven’t gotten to the part where they bring staff families inside the perimeter and fort up, but they are headed down the list toward that. https://www.ttgnet.com/journal/2018/02/16/fri-feb-16-2018-pandemic-flu-preparedness/ Read that to see where this could be heading.

While I don’t think this is a panic engineered to allow the Deep State and tyranny to take over the US, it’s undeniable that certain people are using it to advance their long standing agendas, and the Constitution be damned. I encourage you all to push back against that without pushing any other agenda. Just point out the places where they are overstepping. And just in case, look to your arms. Figure out where you stand and what, if anything, you are not willing to tolerate.

No matter how this plays out politically, it’s already changing your local security situation. Jails are being emptied, and cops have stopped trying to control crime. They want to live through this as much as anyone, and I can understand that, even as I curse it. You may be much more responsible for your own safety and security than you are used to being. Get your mindset ready. Get your tools ready.

Whether a nothing burger or a society killer, this thing is here and the world around us has changed. I don’t know if we can get back to where we were, or even farther towards where we wish we were, but I know that right now, right here, it’s different. Get your head in the game and get used to the new rules.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Mon. Mar. 30, 2020 – another week, always more to do

Cooler and damp. Rain in the forecast. We’ll see.

I don’t think we got more than a tenth of an inch in the last two days, despite the forecast. I’ve been watering potted plants and the raised beds. I’ve got work to do on the sprinkler system before I can turn it on. Subsequently the grass in front doesn’t look great. The grass in back was so high and dense my mower was almost stalled by it, and I had to cut half widths.

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll be doing more in the driveway. If it does rain, maybe some inside work. Kids will be doing school makework, wife is still working from home.

I’m not used to having people in the house during the week. Everyone is making adjustments. It’s really hard to believe we’re in the middle of a slow motion disaster. Commander Zero is feeling the same weirdness over at his place. Lights are on, weather is nice, and that’s strange. Looking at news coming out of NYC and looking at New Orleans, as well as overseas, I’m still convinced this is the real deal. I can understand that people who haven’t been immersed in this and seen the run up might find it all hard to believe. Even if you don’t pay attention for a few days, the exponential growth can fool you.

It’s coming. It’s real. It will be devastating for the hospital system.

While there are promising leads, getting it bad still means risking death.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Sun. Mar. 29, 2020 – almost done with March

Cooler and wet.

Never really got rain yesterday but it stayed wet all afternoon and evening. Kids and wife ‘camped’ in a tent in the back yard. I hurt too much to do that if I don’t sleep in my bed.

I got some work done in the garden despite the heavy mist. Cleaned up an area next to a raised bed, transplanted 3 tomato plants, planted one trash bag potato tower.

My cabbage is currently thriving, but my broccoli has ‘bolted’. I cut it back and am hoping for a second growth.

Meyer Lemon tree has flowers already. We just picked the lemons a week or so ago.

Blueberry bushes flowered and look to be setting berries. I worked on the bamboo to support the bird netting. The bushes aren’t exactly thriving, but it’s neat to have some berries in season. The bird net means I’ll get them and not the thieving wildlife.

Old pepper plants continue to fruit. New peppers need transplanting. Maybe today.

No sign of sprouting for my radishes or turnips yet, nor the mixed herbs.

I need to get my onion sets in the ground and get some other veg in too. Maybe today.

If the weather clears I’ll be working in the driveway moving stuff around too.

Breakfast today is hillbilly donuts. Tube biscuits, cut with a shot glass to donuts and holes, fried up in peanut oil in my cast iron. Then shake in a bag of powdered sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate powder. Or do all three. Special treat for the family. Makes a mess with the oil, but I filter and save the oil just for donuts. It lasts a long time.

Dinner last night was spiral slice ham, baked potatoes, cabbage saute’d with onion, and mango cobbler for dessert. All but the cabbage and cobbler mix was from Costco.

I better get to it.

Stay in, stay safe. Get your garden started!

nick

Thur. Mar. 26, 2020 – home now, and for a while

Warm, trending to hot, and still somewhat damp.

Yesterday got pretty hot. High 80s, maybe low 90s, certainly in the sun. I was sweating almost instantly.

Made my last run to my secondary storage. Grabbed almost everything, except the weird medical and medical PPEs. I’ll donate those if they need them and will accept them. No one should have a complaint if I’m driving to get med supplies.

Now I have to get the piles sorted, and shelve the stuff. I’ve got a lot of paper goods to find a home for.

I opened a 5 pound bag of sugar with expire date of 2016. Tiny black spots. Not a lot, and only dead bugs but some, tiny little bugs. I got a second bag from the same tub, and it was 1/2 fine. One half had little black spots. Sugar doesn’t go bad, but it might have bugs…

I’ll spot check the rice and flour as needed. This was my DEEP backup from the ebola ’14 scare, and I expected that I’d have failures. So far I’ve found fewer than I expected. Cool, dark, consistent temps, and fairly dry storage conditions certainly help.

Once I’ve got everything put away, I need to continue with the generator projects and rotating the stored water. I should have all I need for the parts I’m doing. I’ve also got a couple of cams to get up. Then all the other projects that don’t involve trips to Home Depot need to be done.

Lots of cleaning and sorting, and I guess I’ll try listing stuff on ebay too. As long as people have money and hope, they’ll probably keep buying. I expect that window is short and will close soon.

Security issues are my next concern.

I hope all of you are where you need to be, or will get there soon. It’s time to pull up the drawbridge.

Stop going out and playing in it. Stay home, stay safe.

nick

Mon. Mar. 23, 2020 – School days, school days, dear old …..

Cooler and still wet.

Got up to the 80s yesterday but stayed mostly overcast all day.

I did get some stuff done, but slept in and lost the whole morning.

Today my plan is to leave the house. I’ve got to go to my secondary and pick stuff up. We might get locked down at any point and I’ve got stuff there I’d rather have here. Can’t get to it, then I don’t own it. Also worried about protecting it over there. It’s only about 10 miles, but it’s into town. Not the direction I want to go if things get bad. I might leave water jugs and Mountain House there as backup, because there isn’t more than a couple of weeks of MH, and staying there means we’re near the end anyway.

I’d also like to make one last run through the Home Depot and Lowes stores. I would like more garden. Call me paranoid, but I want to actually eat out of the garden this year. That means more soil, lots more. Also some stuff for the gennie, and a couple of things for security upgrades around the house.

If I’m risking it, I might try for some fresh milk and cream and veg while I’m at it. Not high on the list, but if possible maybe at a CVS or somewhere without crowds. Not sure if anywhere will be crowd free, if we’re gonna be locked down. No way I was going out on Sunday though.

If I’m out, it might be the last time for a while. I’m curious, but not enough to actually shop or just go looking, if I don’t have to. And I really don’t have to, truth be told. It will help the family though.

Speaking of family, kids are supposed to be getting back to school today. Well, learning anyway. ISD sent out what we were hoping would be a lesson plan, but it’s just a bunch of websites. F me, that’s what I hated about their NORMAL plan. Can’t pin them down on what to teach in what order. FFS, why would that be different this year from last? Or the last 10 years? Do they really not have anything? We can’t even ‘teach to the test’ because the test is a big mystery. Or the email could just be poorly designed and what I want is there somewhere that I’ll find with a better read through. I’m not betting on that though.

I’ll be carrying a new tool while out and about. I picked up a cheap stun gun disguised as a flashlight. I wanted a non-lethal alternative. I haven’t tried it on myself, but it makes impressive noise and arcs. Hopefully, like my pistol, I’ll never need it. Nice to have choices though.

Wish I could be sure I was making smart choices today….

Start settling in for the long term. Get your security posture straight. Get set for the new normal.

nick

Wed. Mar. 18, 2020 – plugging away

Warmer and damp. We’re on the edge of a system according to the big picture FEMA guys, so we’ll either get rain or we won’t.

Didn’t get rain yesterday. Nice day. Got hot in the afternoon and sunny.

I did get some of the area under the patio roof cleaned up. I’ll finish that today and move shelves and food there. Then I’ll tackle more of the garage and driveway.

I sold 10 boxes of stuff yesterday, and one TV remote. Busy day, without making much money. Wife worked from home. Kids bugged us both.

I had a pickup order in with the USPS to get 6 boxes when my regular mail arrived. Carrier did not get out of the truck. On his way out of the cul de sac I stopped him and asked if he or someone else would be picking up my boxes. He was supposed to and he “forgot”. I chatted with him, and he sees any knock on from CV as an opportunity. He’s convinced the chinese built and released the bug. I asked him about masks and gloves (he was wearing gloves) and he repeated what the counter clerks said, he has to buy his own gloves. I got him a box and reminded him I sometimes call for pickup. Today I expect he will do the pickup without ‘forgetting’. That’s just another step on the decline, bribing people to do what they are supposed to do anyway. Hey, maybe I’ll give him a box of masks too.

It’s very weird sitting here all day with everyone home and most of my urgency past. Feels like a very rare weekend with no commitments. Yet, I know I need to be doing things while we can. The invisible menace is invisible. All of my instincts are screaming at me to keep getting ready for “it”. But with this threat, every contact is potentially devastating. People in the neighborhood are walking with their babies and other moms. People are breaking isolation all around me. It feels weird and wrong to just sit here isolated. I should be out shopping. I should be out working. I should be doing SOMETHING… but if I do, the clock restarts every time.

So we wait for an antibody test, and that will take the uncertainty away.

Until then, Market-ticker.org has a bunch of math and insists that we’re doing it wrong. I only skimmed but found a couple of places where he’s either wrong or ignoring uncertainty. We should know definitively in a week or so, and the consequences for not acting were huge.

Keep to yourselves! Stay away from crowds (and everyone else). Keep stacking while you can, if you can.

nick

Tues. Mar. 17, 2020 – I’m trying to take my own advice

Wet, and a bit cooler.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. DON’T kiss a stranger.

Got light misty drizzle a couple of times in the afternoon, and then again in the evening, but hadn’t gotten any real rain before I went to bed.

Traffic was light in the afternoon, but still slowed down in the usual places. Commuter traffic patterns were VERY light though.

The world continues to sicken, with south and central America, and africa all growing cases. Despite that, I keep finding reasons why I HAVE to go out. I’m taking precautions. I’m wearing gloves, avoiding touching stuff and people, even wearing shoe covers in high traffic areas. I hope it’s enough.

I’m also whacked out on Tamiflu, and Flagyl and Cipro for my other issue, the one that drove the Dr visit in the first place. I am seeing improvement there so that’s a plus. High power antibiotics will make me a bit goofy and a bit lightheaded. I’m drinking Airborne (yes some people believe it’s worthless, I disagree) and taking my normal everyday stuff too, allergy and anti-inflammatory drugs.

I don’t trust myself to evaluate how I’m actually feeling with all that on board, but I do feel pretty good. No coughing. The kids are both feeling better too. Tree pollen and leaf mold are contributing to my lack of perfect wellness on top of all the rest though as I clean and move stuff in the driveway.

I’ve decided where to put the shelves for all the piled up food- under the roof on the back patio. It’s coolest, dark-ish, and close to the door. Way better than under a tarp in the driveway in the sun. That’s in addition to the food and supplies in the garage. As a testament to my wife coming around, she nodded along while I described what I wanted to do. That’s a huge improvement from a week ago. SteveF, I feel for you. It’s been a great burden removed from me when my wife committed to this course of action.

Throughout all of this, part of me can’t help but acknowledge that civil liberties are being ignored, draconian and tyrannical measures are being put into place, and all without any reference to supporting law and authority. I am nervous about it all, but I believe the math. The math says the only way to save lives it to do this, and even harder and faster than currently. We are unlikely to be the same as people or nation when we get through to the other side. In the words of Yoda, “Save you what can…”

nick

Mon. Mar. 16, 2020 – plague continues to grow, avoid people

Warm and wet.

Yesterday turned into a fine day in the late afternoon. OC and grey for most of the day, the breeze finally cleared the air for a little while.

I got a whole pallet of scrap loaded and delivered to my secondary location, where I stacked it on a pallet behind the dumpster and wrote “Free” on it. If it’s still there when this burns out, I’ll take it to the scrapyard myself. At the moment, my time is worth way more than scrap value to break it down, and more than being close to the guys at the yard for only a few bucks in ‘breakage’ if I don’t separate it. This is another case of “should have done it long ago, before China tanked.”

Getting rid of that pallet opened up a nice spot for a metal shelf unit to hold food and supplies. Going to the secondary also let me pick up two black tubs of food. I’m concerned about bringing everything home, but I’m also concerned about theft while it’s there, and not being able to access it if things continue to get restricted. Right now, I’m leaning toward bringing most of it home.

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Trump and the others trying to manage this crisis are handicapped by their privilege. Yes, I’m using the SJW word, and in mostly the same way they do. US leaders are trying to calm the public down, which is a knee jerk reaction. People get excited, you try to calm them down. In this case, I think it’s entirely appropriate to buy enough food and supplies to stay the flock indoors and avoid people for a couple of months. Others disagree. Trump and TPTB have privilege that they don’t see– they won’t be going out next week to shop. They won’t be taking their lives and the lives of their loved ones into their hands and exposing themselves to a hundred potential infecteds, or touching the same surfaces 100s of dirty sick people have also touched.

I don’t care if the stores have food in a week. Or two weeks. Or if they’ll stay open somehow. I won’t be going there, and neither will Trump, Fauci, or any of the other stiffs on TV.

I won’t be going because I don’t want to get sick. I UNDERSTAND WHAT QUARANTINE MEANS. Clearly they don’t. It certainly doesn’t mean, after a week home with your sick kids, and a day after YOU start coughing, head to the Kroger for some lunchmeat and ramen. The folks at Kroger don’t want your virus shedding butt in there either.

I won’t be going out into ‘the community’ because that’s where ‘community transmission’ happens. FFS people lockdown means LOCKED DOWN. No way the queues will maintain enough separation between people. No way they’ll be wiping down surfaces and waiting 10 minutes for the virus to die before the next person touches it. YES, 10 minutes of wet time. For almost all the disinfectants.

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My wife and others have said the same things, this feels weird, wrong somehow. I figure it’s because we are experienced and prepared. We’ve had PRACTICE and we have routines even — but for hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, etc NOT pandemic. We’re trained to head out for one last thing before the storm gets here. We’re used to working through a list and getting a few more things done before the storm. We’re used to checking on neighbors, making sure they have what they need and are getting ready. We’re used to cracking a bottle and grilling the freezer meat when the power is out, or sharing a meal with neighbors while the aftershocks shake. We know that there is backup out there and eventually help will arrive. We pride ourselves on not needing help, but providing it.

All that experience is WRONG for this disaster. You need to stop going to the store. Stop touching all the things. No get togethers. No casual contact. No more ‘one last thing’ if it involves people. My neighbor was out in the yard so I asked him what their plans were. He said “I’m going to hockey practice.” No, I meant for the next few weeks. “OH, I’ve been to the store 3 times, we’re good to stay home.” Then he jumped in the truck and went to join a group of people potential infecteds and play hockey. He’ll need a store to be open next week, and he’ll be walking right into what will feel like an overnight increase in infection.

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Take precautions and finish up! Recognize that this IS different than all the other disasters, and don’t get caught out because of your own habits and expectations.

If you aren’t done yet, keep stacking, but do it by remote control. Don’t go out and play in it.

nick

Sun. Mar. 15, 2020 – 3 months, not 3 weeks

Warm and wet.

Light rain started last night, after a damp and overcast day. Some moments of clear sky and nice breeze, but generally threatening all day.

My AC is working again. It took several pounds of R22 to bring the system pressure back up. I’m hoping it holds for the season.

If you haven’t been reading comments, I encourage you to do so as that’s where the good stuff is. I think of the day’s post as a topic sentence for the day, but it often ends up something completely different. It’s always interesting and civil.

Also, please check out Aesop at https://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/ He’s on the front line of this in CA. I’m active in the comments over there too (if you’re interested).

After consideration, and some thought, PLEASE STOP GOING TO STORES. The curiosity factor will get you killed or sickened. All over the web I’m seeing people check in and admit they didn’t really need anything but were just curious. I admit I did it too, last week. But now, the freaking stores are full of people from the community. That’s where “community transmission” comes from! Read the Italian ICU report I linked late last night. The ONLY thing that will help when the ICU inundation starts is slowing the rate of contagion. The only thing that slows the spread is isolation.

Don’t even think about ‘get it now, while there are still beds’. Between the time to show symptoms and the normal time until it gets bad, you won’t beat the rush. Everyone with it NOW will beat you there.

I commented last night why you need at least 3 months of supplies, please take a moment and consider my timeline. If it doesn’t make sense, let me know. No need to tell me it’s overreaction, but do please keep sharing your honest thoughts. We all need to avoid any mania (beyond what some of you already believe we’re infected with, and if we are, we need to slow the spiral. If you change your mind, I’m not going to judge, I’m going to celebrate.) Getting your stock up to the three month level is about the only reason I can think of to risk going into a store at this point.

I’m also sure we are about to get some internal domestic travel restrictions. It’s already been mentioned in at least two official places. The Governor of Florida is calling for it. They will ground most of the planes at some point, the math insists on it. I expect one or both of my siblings to be stuck in FL but at least my mom will have company. No resources, but company. I don’t want to consider what that means for my family long term. No matter what YOUR belief about the validity and necessity of the measures is, this now has a life of its own, and shutting down air travel is the next step. They will likely wait until they have something they can point to for such a drastic seeming decision, so watch for that. It may be a ‘magic number’ of infected, dead, or occupied ICU beds, or it might be something external to the USA. There won’t be much if any warning, we’ve already BEEN warned. One, maybe two weeks minimum would be my guess, but it’s coming.

This sort of disaster is about the worst kind. It’s everywhere. There won’t be help coming in from outside the region, like most natural disasters. What help might be available because it won’t happen everywhere at the same time, will be held in reserve for what the outsiders know is coming to them. You are on your own. No one is coming to save you. The ONLY thing that will help is if you get immunity after having the virus. If that happens, the people with mild cases will be able to keep everything going and we’ll only lose those with acute symptoms. If you don’t get lasting immunity, or worse, get it bad the second time, better start praying for effective drugs. And soon.

With that in mind, start praying for an antibody blood test, so we can confirm who’s had it and is possibly immune. There are an increasing number of people sharing stories of having been sick in the last month, but not having the flu. Heck, I have been coughing for the last month. I don’t think I got the flu, as I never had any real fever, but I felt pretty bad for a while. It’s important to remember that there might already be, and certainly will be, a large pool of people recovered from the mild symptoms. As long as they have immunity we’ll get through this. Until we can identify them though, we need to keep everyone isolated. (and there was an article about the virus being present in lungs for 30 something days after recovery, that would be bad news if true.)

So, if you aren’t stocked up, get there. Stop going out. Time to pull it all in and hope for the best.

nick

Fri. Mar. 13, 2020 – Friday the Thirteenth falls on a Friday this month….

Warm and damp.

Yesterday was too. Sunny and hot even. None of the threatened rain showed. Which is good. I can water the garden. I’d prefer a bit less rain so I can work outside. I’ve got a ton of stuff to reorganize and put away.

I think we’re in for the duration. Gasoline, potting soil, and some lumber are about all that is left on my list. Hitting up my secondary for more stuff might happen, but I’ll try mightily to avoid any interaction with people. I don’t think they’ll impose local lockdown or curfew for another week at least.

Speaking of which… This is not a vacation. The whole purpose of these economy destroying measures is to stop or slow the spread of the virus. It won’t do that if people keep getting together. This is the time to bunker up. Shelter in place. Hunker down. However you say it, pick a spot and go to ground.

Those soon to be 20000 cases in Italy are just ordinary folks. Community transmission is just plain folks, going about their business and then getting sick. Some desperately sick. You are ordinary folks. STOP GOING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS. Stop exposing yourself to other people. (He says, but see below.)

It will be very hard. I’ve already listed the things I’d still like to pick up, and didn’t mention the AC coil froze over again. Wife is not excited to have that keep happening while we’re locked down for weeks. So she wants to rip and replace it NOW. FFS. I’m trying to keep that from happening. SHOULD have addressed it immediately after the last problem. SHOULD HAVE. Didn’t. I would like to get the big gennie turned on and connected. STILL haven’t done that. I think maybe one more day or two max with any outside contact, and anything after that is foolhardy. It’s already later than I’d like.

Speaking of too late, I’m pretty sure both of my local auctions will be a bust. Too bad, but timing is everything. We didn’t get the week I was hoping for.

FWIW, kids are feeling better, and we’ve all started the Tamiflu. Daughter doesn’t like the taste and doesn’t want to continue. Too bad. We really don’t want to be sick or weakened now.

I hope you have all completed your preparations. We’re all about to be tested. I’m hoping we all pass… (the test, not “on”).

nick