Thur. April 9, 2020 – hopefully a nice day

 

Warm and damp.

Yesterday was hot and steamy. Started out reasonably enough but soon was hot. And steamy. Did I mention steamy? And hot?

Morning was still overcast and rain was forecast so I didn’t do much outside until after lunch. Then it was yard work, garden, and trees.

If the trees weren’t going to shade the garden, I’d have left them, but I need the sun on the raised beds. And with hurricane season only a short time away, I went ahead and trimmed near the utility lines, since I had the saw and ladder out.

I’m debating whether to do the tree trimming on the oak in the front yard or not. I usually trim back the branches over the house, and every couple of years I get out the rope saw and take down some dead wood high up in the tree. There are other things that are a priority but if I’m in the zone and have the tools out anyway….

I need to get back to my driveway/garage storage and organize party. I need to get whatever seeds I hope to plant this year in the ground. I usually plant seedlings from Lowes or HD, but I’m not going shopping ATM. I’ve got seeds. I’m a bit surprised at some of the stories I’m seeing of seeds being sold out, both in the stores and online. I guess maybe I’m not the only one hoping to get a garden in this year. Whatever the motivation, I’m glad that others are planting. The learning curve is steep.

Chickens are sold out too. Hmm.

Too many people are too invested in particular outcomes for me to believe 99% of the reporting on wuflu right now. I’m just going to stay the course, watch for primary sources of indirect and secondary indicators, and act as if my life depended on it.

The wuflu won’t be the end of everything, nor will the economic impacts, nor will the cultural impacts. As a nation we’ve been through worse versions of all those things. WE may not survive, and WE may not return to a world we expect, but PEOPLE will. And they will muddle through or prosper or not. I intend to make it through. What’s on the other side I can’t predict, as I think this is one of those times when everything changes. I thought that last year, and haven’t changed my mind. War, pestilence, and plague. They were overdue.

I don’t know how long it will take but think about the changes in one lifetime, from 1900 to 1965. Who would have predicted the destruction of the British Empire, the rise of America, the Cold War, and Communism? Or look at 1965 to 2020. Who would have predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, the changes wrought by PCs and the internet? The massive financialization of everything? Or the destruction of western culture?

Things change, this is just the pebble that started the boulder rolling down hill. Something would have. It was time.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

 

Sun. April 5, 2020 – time is on my mind, yes it is

Cool and wet again.

Yesterday was sub-60s in the morning and night, with slightly warmer temps during the day. Rain throughout the day. Buckets have about 2 inches in them but we got less than that by the gauge.

Spent the day cleaning and organizing indoors, mostly in my office. Didn’t get much of it done to be honest. Did get some stuff up into the attic, and checked the attic roof for structural damage. We had that huge explosion in the neighborhood a few weeks back and some of our friends are discovering that they have damage they didn’t know about. Mainly roof structure that cracked and broke. They are closer to the blast site, and iirc blast force is inverse square law, so if they saw 1/2 the force , we saw 1/4, for any given force. In any case, I didn’t see any broken sheathing, or rafters.

Wife and kids watched the first Harry Potter movie. I watched some of the beginning. Everyone looks so young. Of course they were young then and so were we.

Time is passing very strangely here. It feels like forever since we isolated, but the last week flew by. And counting the days to check if my wife could have an exposure, fewer days have gone by than I would have guessed. So micro time is flashing by but macro time is dragging. Huh.

Dinner was canned chili, with sweet onions, shredded cheese and Fritos. Not quite Frito pie, but not bad. Can was best by 2014 and was delicious. Well, as delicious as canned chili can be.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Sat. April 4, 2020 – day 983 of my captivity…

Cool and raining, if the forecast can be believed. [58F and occasional drizzle]

Yesterday was partly sunny, mostly overcast all day. Finally about 7pm some small spattering of rain came. Later, it rained a bit heavier, and some thunder and lightning happened while I was reading to the girls. That tapered off fairly quickly though.

Yesterday’s chores involved continuing to put away and organize the food I brought home from the secondary location (stored mainly in the big black tubs), and food I bought before the shutdown, and food from my older stores here in the garage. I’ve got a LOT of kirkland canned corn. More canned chicken than I thought too. Lots of beans in cans. Less flour than I thought, but then I don’t use it for much. It’s there for bread machine bread, and possibly homemade pasta, and tortillas if I run out of mix. More spam than I remembered buying. At least it’s a mix of flavors. Pure SPAM is pretty salty.

Most of it will fit on three sections of industrial metal shelving (2ft x 3ft) I added under our patio roof, just outside the back door. That is about the coolest and darkest spot, with the garage being a bit cooler at night but hotter during the day. Unless I install a window AC unit in the garage, I think the patio will do fine for a while. Some food will remain in the garage, and either some of the bulk in buckets, or the non-perishable items will go on the shelves I used to use for food. I’ve also got 2 “towers” of the shelving set up in the driveway with paper products and the newest food. I will probably move some of that around too, but I want the oldest stuff in front for now.

I covered each of the towers with new heavy black plastic sheet. I wrapped the three sides and the top with one piece, then added another piece as the ‘door’ side, and wrapped it over the top as well. Then the whole thing (the two ‘towers’ are back to back) gets covered in a new tarp, which is silver to keep some of the heat off the contents. I’m hoping that it is water tight, and relatively cool. The tower full of paper goods shadows the other tower with the food and cleaning supplies.

For the canned goods on the patio shelves, I’m using a product I initially didn’t like. It’s the Can Tracker can organizer. Some time ago I picked a section up at goodwill and just couldn’t find a place for it. I ended up putting it back in our ‘donate’ pile. Then wuflu hit and I pulled it out of the pile. I put it on the patio shelf, filled it up, and liked it. Bought another section, and liked the result, so I just bought two more sections. It was terrible for storage. It’s bulky and will be partly empty most of the time. You can fit a LOT more cans in your pantry if you stack them on flats, or in bins. What it is excellent for is USE. It puts your cans at your finger tips in an easy to use and easy to see format. Now that I’m transitioning from STORING preps, to EATING preps, it is very handy. Seems tough, and was easy to assemble. For cans you will be using, I’m giving it a tentative recommendation.

I must admit, I’ve very nervous about having it all in one place. I’m hoping it never gets to the point where ‘inspectors’ are going door to door to ‘requisition’ ‘excess’ goods and materials. I never thought the whole country would be on house arrest either though. Cuomo is going to be doing that with ventilators and medical supplies, stripping the state and countryside to keep NYFC going for an extra week. He clearly doesn’t care what that will do to the communities he leaves bare. I wonder how that’s going to play out for him long term. Still a lot of guns in NY outside of the hive and we’re still planning to have elections. For now anyway. Something to watch for- I’m sure there will be talk before action, and that will leave a small window to act if needed.

Stuff to do today, mostly more of the same. So I better get busy.

nick

( My favorite thing! Played in the yard! My favorite thing! Got to play ball! My favorite thing!)

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

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

Tues. Mar. 24, 2020 – lockdown coming for me…

Cool, damp.

Had a couple of hours of really gorgeous day yesterday. Blue sky and sunny, nice breeze, not too hot… then more overcast. Still pleasant though.

Harris County, the main one that Houston is in, will apparently go on lockdown at midnight tonight. That’s made my decision for me- head to my secondary and grab my stuff. I could probably get through any issues without it, but I’ll feel better with it. I could also probably move around if I had too, one of the reasons I’ve got the IDs and credentials was to give me an edge if I needed one. I’ve also got masks I can hand out if it comes to that.

Gonna be busy all day, so I’ll leave monitoring the deteriorating situation to you guys for a while.

I note that India went on lockdown and halted all flights in. Hong Kong halted flights too, and China is reporting new cases (blamed on ‘foreigners’ but likely from sending everyone back to work too soon). Spain has sick people on the floor in the hallways, and the UK will soon. We won’t be far behind.

There is or will soon be an antibody test and that should answer two questions, who’s had it, and is anyone getting it again? Both questions that it would be very handy to have an answer for.

A quick pinprick or swab test would be great too.

In a week, even the staunchest denier should be able to see it’s not just the old, or the sick, or men, or asians, or foreigners, or whatever lets them sleep at night. It’s everyone and everywhere and it’s getting worse before it gets better.

Avoid people. Avoid the virus. Count your blessings.

nick

Sat. Mar. 21, 2020 – sleeping in, probably, like a slacker

Cooler and wet. 56F when I went to bed. [55F at 9 am]

Very tired last night. Stayed up too late.

Dinner of pork shoulder in the crock pot with hawaiian sauce, rice and pineapple went pretty well. Wife and one kid liked it. I liked it. The other kid loved the rice. Can’t win some days. The brownie mix came out great and the 8yo was very proud of helping.

Didn’t get as much organized as I was hoping to due to rain. I did get a chance to pull the tarps to the side and dig out a couple of boxes of Mountain House to send mom. Under that bin was another complete loss. Black bin full of moldy damp cardboard and pasta. See my previous comments about the unsuitability of the black bins for long term storage in varying heat and humidity. I’m taking that bin to the end of the driveway and dumping the contents into a black trash bag. Then I’m leaving it in the rain for a while. I don’t want to mess with it at all, but I will clean it eventually. Never gonna store food in it again though.

We’ll see if I can get the gennies going today. That is next on the list to be worked while other things pull me different directions.

If the rain stops or holds off, I’ll get more done than not.

Keep stacking, or pull up the drawbridge and stay safe.

nick

Thur. Mar. 19, 2020 – Prepping for the zombie apocalypse was a lot more fun than living in it.

Warmer and damp.

Didn’t get much done yesterday. Did get some done. Spent too much time arguing with idiots online. Won’t be doing that today.

I have to get stuff squared away if there isn’t rain. We’ve been on the edge of rain for days, it will come, and that will really limit my outdoor work for a couple of days.

Daughter 1 is very concerned about the generators. I need to get that sorted.

I’ve held off on my ‘last run’ to Lowe’s/home depot but I think I’ve got a list finally. I’m getting a couple of things to increase our security posture here. I’m starting to get worried about that. And I need more soil to get the rest of our garden in.

I’m also wondering where I can get more food. I’m sure most people are wondering that. We’re in good shape for what I expected. Not for a year. Not for longer. All I can hope is that you do get immunity, that the 80% who come through can keep the economy moving. Epidemics are supposed to burn themselves out in 8-10 weeks. 3-6 months should have been enough, but it feels really short.

I’ll be honest, there are moments when I think it CAN’T be this bad. Then I see another graph and know better. Having the school district, that will put FELONS back in class to get that sweet sweet tax money, tacitly admit to being out for the long haul, hit home.

There are a number of things that can help. If you get immunity, and it is mild for most people, then it’s possible we’ve been seeing cases for months, but didn’t recognize them for what they were. Those people are going to come through wondering what the fuss was. “I never got sick.” We could have a large pool of immune people and be fine in general and as a country. We’re not seeing that until we get an antibody test though.

We could slow it down so that the sickest have a chance to recover, for whatever the long term prognosis is. In that case we’re in it for months, but I can’t see years.

One of the treatments or vaccines could be both efficacious and safe, and that will help tremendously.

IF you don’t get lasting immunity, this thing will tear through again and again. Or if it mutates in a bad or good way, things could change.

But I do know that the effects on people, our system of government, our economy, are already being felt and will reverberate for a long time, no matter the final resolution.

It is not, despite my title, the zombie apocalypse. It’s not a world killer, in its current form, if you get immunity. Rest assured though, it will bring out the human zombies eventually. There will be a very bad patch, and things will get out of control. Yes, even here. Now just imagine the favelas, or Africa, or India. Or Manila. That’s gonna suck.

I’ve got work to do today,

and so do you.

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