Category: Random Stuff

Tues. Sept. 27, 2022 – 4 years ago today…

…friend of the blog and prolific commentor OFD,   Dave Hardy, went to his reward.  Church-y language, because he believed in the power of The Church, as it was, and should be.   I hope he’s watching with a bowl of pretzels and a bottle of Moxie.   And if it turns out to be more than a spectator sport, we could all use a little help buddy… Prayers for those he left behind.    Raise a glass to Absent Friends.


 

Cooler but warming later here in Houston.

Didn’t get a lot done yesterday.  Did get some stuff sorted and put away.   Cut the grass.   Broke down and vac sealed the remaining meat from the shopping run (just the vac sealed pork tenderloin.)    Got three nice roasts out of it, and decided not to do any chops.   Cooked one roast for dinner with collard greens from the garden as a side.   Collards are on their second or possibly third year, and still produce.   Had a loaf of the shelf stable sourdough bread too, since I was already running the oven.

Felt kinda ‘off’ all day.   Too much sun on Sunday maybe.

Today I’ve got stuff to do.  Pickups, drop offs, and moving stuff around.   I need to do some more tax paperwork, and some office work too.  There is always something more to do.

Like stacking all the things, you need to do more of that.

n

 

(have I mentioned that D2 is taking up the trombone? And that beginning trombone sounds like moose in heat?  LOUDLY in heat.)

Mon. Sept. 19, 2022 – yeeha! let’s get to work!

Hot again.  It was so nice to have the cooler weather.  But we get a little more of summer’s heat before Fall, I guess.   And no shortage of humidity.

It was pretty hot even at the lake.   Thermometer said 102F in the shade.   The sun was intense.

I decided to break up some more concrete, and clean up some more of the already broken chunks.   Spent a few hours moving rubble and filling holes behind my bulkhead.   Cut the grass that I had been leaving long to reveal the holes, since the foundation guy will be coming out later, and I figured he’d have a better idea of what was involved in stabilizing the bulkhead if he could see it.

Cutting the grass was interesting.   My electric string trimmer wasn’t making much progress, so I got out a manual tool.  Not really a sling blade, but made for swinging at long grass and plants to cut them off at the ground.  It worked ok, but there wasn’t any really good way to hold the handle of the thing to swing it.  And it was a lot of work.   I did about 20ft and was done.   I’ll bring up my gas powered trimmer for the rest of the tall grass.  Labor saving devices rock.   I’ll miss them when the fuel runs out and the machines don’t run anymore 😉

Did some other small electrical tasks.  Changed a light fixture in the kitchen (no box of course, no wire nuts, and the lamps were too hot and scorched the electrical tape until it was crunchy… scorched the wood of the soffit above the light too.  The new LED fixture doesn’t get hot, and I’ll install a box when we redo the kitchen.  Wire nuts are going to have to do for now.   Finished the circuit for the outlet in the master bath.   Pulled the romex with inches to spare, but needed to connect the outlets.  I have a quad above the vanity, and a duplex under the vanity.  That way someone can plug in a hairdryer underneath and store it in a drawer or the middle cabinet and the cord won’t get in the way, or need to be constantly plugged and unplugged.  And it still leaves 4 outlets above the vanity for phone chargers or curling irons, or whatever…. seems like there are never enough outlets in the bathroom.

I’m surprised the previous owner never had a house fire.   I’ve found so much overheated and scorched stuff, including circuit breakers, walls, and the chimney cap, that it’s clear he overloaded stuff and ran things way too hot.   I guess it shows how much tolerance is built into stuff.

My neighbor has started moving some of my leftover dirt to low spots in his yard.   He asked what I was going to do with the huge pile, and so I gave him half…   He had previously offered the use of his tractor, and he let me run an extension cord for the freezers when the electrical work was happening.   Besides being just good neighbors, I figure it’s time to start weaving ourselves into the community up there.   Webs of favors done and owed seem like  a good way to get started.   Because we’ve been so busy, we’ve declined some social offers.   I now think that was a bad choice, and now we need to work harder at joining in.    That’s one of the reasons I am willing to stop work and talk for however long someone wants to talk when they stop by.

Meatspace baby! and Local, Local, Local….  when every person I talk to has been in his house for 40 years, or has been coming to the lake and surrounding area that long, and has generations buried in local cemeteries, we’ll always be the ‘new family in George’s house’, but we can at least work at it.

Today I’ll be doing some more pickups, starting bright and early with the lot I forgot on Saturday.   Should have me out and about most of the day, especially if I get a chance to do some organizing in my storage unit.

Spend some time working on your network.  Stack up a few good relationships.

nick

Sun. Sept. 18, 2022 – Sunny Sunday

Hotter than I expected.   And far more humid than I’d like.  That was yesterday, and today is likely to be the same.  Yuck.  Sun was INTENSE.

 

Did my pickups on the way up.   Forgot one big item that I’ll have to go back for on Monday.  Brainfart.  Just forgot to load it.

 

Did some small things when I got up here.  Mostly unloaded the truck.   Pulled romex to the master bath.   Had just exactly enough.  It’s actually tighter than I’d really like, but it reaches.  Not going to make the connection yet, but it’s in.   I can close up the wall in the bath, and my wife can paint.

 

Sky last night was big and black.   You could actually see the milky way.  I haven’t seen the milky way in decades.  Wife decided she wants a decent beginner telescope for her birthday.  Recommendations are welcome.   Size and cost will be considerations.  She will probably not be doing any traditional astronomy, like logging objects.   She just wants to look at cool things.  I’m not even sure that’s possible without a big ‘scope.  I guess I’m about to learn some things.

 

We’ll see what I get done today.  I’ll probably continue breaking concrete and moving it and dirt around.  So much concrete.  So much dirt.

Had dinner from the freezer up here.   I need to stock some bags of frozen veg.   Then we’ll be able to just come up and make normal meals without thinking about it ahead of time.

 

Always more to stack… get busy!

nick

Tues. Aug. 30, 2022 – ‘tell me somethin’ good….’

Very damp and a bit cooler today.   Rained like crazy yesterday, depending on where you were, and when you were there.  Similar forecast for today.

Did 4 pickups, making a big loop.  Not many items at each place, so not super efficient, but even with gas and tolls it still nets out to a savings over retail, and these were mostly for the BOL.

I’ve got a couple of pickups today, maybe an auction drop off if I can get my stuff together, and getting ready to head up to the house Wednesday night.   Electricians are still supposed to be working Thursday and Friday, and then we’ll be spending the weekend up there. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

Out in the wider world, gas prices continue to slowly come down.   We dodged a bullet with diesel prices as they follow gas down.   One of the guys I chatted with at my show told me that Texas cattle auctions were running round the clock to sell off herds.   They don’t have the water to keep them.  He sold his just before the drought got going.  The current glut is driving beef prices down.   That won’t last.   Fill the freezer is my advice.   I’m doing it myself.  Of course you might look at the situation and make other choices.   Take  that look though, decide, and ACT.

Stack it up.

nick

Sun. Aug. 28, 2022 – Meatspace baby. Get out and do something with people…

In the heat and humidity if necessary, but get out in the world around you.   In Houston, of course, we got both kinds of weather, hot AND humid…  Some parts of town got downpours yesterday including where I was.  I didn’t notice from the hotel ballroom, but some of the other attendees mentioned it.   Biblical was a word used…  Couldn’t tell a few hours later when I left for home.   At home the only evidence was that the koi pond was full to the brim.    It was 77F in the morning, and barely 80F when I went to bed.  Fall is definitely here.

Time to start thinking about the fall garden.   The summer one hasn’t really done much, although I have a couple of squash plants still alive, they’ve only just set flowers.   The collards are ok, but nothing else really grew.  Oh well, I’ve said it before, I stack cans because my thumbs are not green.

Had another fun, but long day on the show floor.   Chatted with lots of people.   I’m not selling the big pieces I wanted to sell, and the smalls aren’t gonna send the kids to college, but I’m grossing a couple of bucks, and might make a little money.   It’s more about being with fellow enthusiasts though.   The selling is just a framework for the get together.   It’s more than a little bit like the joke about the two antique dealers stranded on a desert island— one is having a “going out of business” sale, and the other is buying inventory…..  but it’s a great way to see people from all over.

And it’s a nice break from normal routine.

So I’m back there today, really hoping to move a couple of items, with a couple of bins of new smalls, because even though it’s the last day, I just got them un-buried from the stack, and I’d like to set an example of continuing to sell to the last minute.

Even in my hobbies I’ve stacked it up!

Better though to stack up some necessities.   And vital to have some links to humans and a community.

nick

 

Fri. Aug. 26, 2022 – loading in, busy all day

Hot and humid, again.   Hopefully no rain though.  I’ve got a bunch of people that will be unloading at the hotel ballroom, and rain will bork that right up.

Speaking of which, I spent most of yesterday getting stuff together and loaded.  I still haven’t found some things I’m looking for.  No idea where they may be.

Today I’ll be heading out shortly after getting the kids out the door.   I’ve got a few things left to load, and a couple of coolers of ice water and gatoraid to get together.  Then it’s off to work.

It’ll be hot until we get the loading door closed.   But many hands should make light work.

Meatspace.   Get you some.

nick

 

(and stack something, like friends)

Thur. Aug. 25, 2025 – looking for stuff, loading it up, getting ready

And using the pickup truck so naturally there is possible rain in the forecast… along with heat and humidity.   Although I have to say, much less heat than last week.   We also got local light and heavy rain.  At my storage unit I got soaked.  At my barber, we didn’t get any rain at all, and they are less than a mile apart.  Weird Houston weather.

Drove around and did pickups, then stopped at my barber for a cut before my show.  It’s been a while, and I got used to cutting my own hair.   I’ve been going to the same guy for about 18 years so we usually have a good chat.  Over that time, his price for  a clipper cut went from $12 to $15 to $20.  As the neighborhood has gentrified, his rent has increased dramatically too.

Everyone I talked with yesterday had high prices and increased violent crime on their mind.   One lady wants Trump to win re-election and do something about it, with the comment “our current president sure isn’t.”  As a side note, almost all of the people I talked to were Hispanic, none were reactionary old white men.

Something else that I’ve been noticing and has been bugging me…   the current world is DRAB, and becoming drabber.   I think it’s a reflection of the zeitgeist.  One whole parking lot, no brightly colored cars.  Only black, silver, white, grey, the occasional older dark red, or champagne color.   Driving on the expressway, ONE colored car, a blue Extera that was an obvious repaint.   The pickup line for elementary school, not one bright color.    The natural colored brick houses in my neighborhood are being painted white, grey, and black when they are flipped.    There is a whole development across from my daughter’s old school that is black and dark green.   Other new housing all over town is almost universally white, grey, black, or a combination.   Once you see it, you see it everywhere.     If the colors people are buying reflect the mood, we’re in a world of hurt.

Don’t get caught short.  Stack it high.

nick

Wed. Aug. 24, 2022 – moar stuff needs doin’

Hot hot hot, and humid, like a hot sweaty thing…  Houston in summer.

Went to do some of my pickups.   Hit the goodwill  outlet on the way home.  Bins were mostly full of clothes, which don’t usually interest me.  One vintage  made in USA work boot, but no pair.  Some vintage electronics but nothing worth enough to grab.   I did grab a FoodSaver unit as backup to the ones I use all the time.   I’ll test it and if it’s working, just clean it.  If not, it’ll go in the parts bin.  Most of the FoodSavers have very similar parts with cosmetic changes.  It’s a  recent, higher end unit.

I grabbed a nice sturdy folding keyboard stand for D2, like new, with tags.  I’m working on setting up a music workstation for her.  She’s been writing lyrics with a friend from school, and wants to play around with making music and recording.  I’ve got almost all the pieces of a decent workstation, just need to find the time to get it all together.

Not much lego, only a couple of hot wheels, and a handful of Pokemon cards….  really a very slow day at the bins.

Dinner was an experiment.   I have leftover chicken breast from a whole Costco chicken, and none of us really like the white meat, so while I was grocery shopping I picked up a “skillet meal” pouch of sauce.   I’ve had good luck with the other HEB sauces, so I thought I’d give cilantro and lime chicken over rice a go.   Meh.  Glad I only bought one pouch.  If we’d liked it, I’d  use it with the Costco canned chicken too.   I’m always looking for ways to use the canned chicken, it’s my primary long term protein.   I was careful to add enough rice to the pot this time and it came out as expected.   I can learn…

My trip to the grocery store earlier in the day had only one surprise, chicken gizzards are $2.68 a pound.   Freaking breasts don’t cost that much, legs are $1.o9 and thighs are $1.39.  Chicken was limit 2.  Why would the dang offal be more than the breast?  No hearts either, but plenty of feet.   (Oddly, they are usually labeled chicken “paws” on the package.)   There were bare spots throughout the store.  Everyone was complaining about high prices.   A bag of chips was $5, that I used to buy for $2.50 on sale.  A pleasant surprise was prime top sirloin steaks for only $5.99/pound.   I bought the limit.   Temporary decrease in beef prices due to culling herds, or just my local store shedding excess inventory as usual?   Don’t know, wish I could have bought more.

Good hamburger, 93/7 % was over $5, while cheap 70/30 was about $3.49.  False economy though, you pour the 30% fat in the trash, even though you’ve paid for it.  And for a dollar a pound more, I’d rather eat steak.   Granted that hamburger is more versatile…   The bacon I buy was unchanged, that’s going on months now without a price fluctuation.  Weird that.  Bought some.

There were a lot of unfamiliar brands filling out the shelves.  The cookie aisle was very noticeable.   Given that we’re in Texas, a lot of  the brands were mexican with spanish names, and might just be catering to the buyers.   HEB has their own spanish label house brand, and that is gaining prominence on the shelves too.  I think that it’s more about supply issues than stocking for a demographic though.   If it continues, I’ll notice.

Today I’ve got another pickup, and I need to start pulling stuff together for my show/swapmeet.   I have bins full of stuff, scattered across 3 or 4 locations.   And load in is Friday morning.   I better get busy.

Stack all the things!  Learn all the things!   Know all the beings!

nick

Sun. Aug. 21, 2022 – finishing up, then home

But first, hot and humid.   Less hot than previously, still plenty humid.

Did a ton of hard work yesterday, taking advantage of the lower temp and overcast sky.  Most of the detail is in last night’s comments.

Today I need to locate the underground utilities and mark them.  I need to locate the trench for the new gas line too.  The elec-chickens are going to trench it for me at time and materials while they are here with the machine.   I also got 70ft of pex ready for them to put in the trench with the service drop.  It’s cheaper than just about any other choice and all I need is a conduit to pull coax or net cable through if that ever becomes available.   I learned on the job that it was a lot cheaper to put a couple of cat 5s in the trench or conduit to future proof an install.   The pex is just a buried path from the pole to the house, just in case….

I also helped the neighbor move a stone countertop into is place.  They are working on it same as us.   He let me run an extension cord from his garage to mine so I can have some backup for the freezers and fridges when the electricians are doing the switchover.  This will save my wife from having to deal with the gennie, unless there is some other issue.  BTW, and inch and a half thick slab of countertop is HEAVY.

Between that, the sledgehammer work, and all the other lifting and carrying, not to mention shoveling, that I did, I might have to take some Tylenol today.  I try to avoid it, so I don’t over do it when I’m already hurting, but pain killers and anesthetic are the wonders of the modern world.  It would be silly to not use them if needed.

After all, grid is still up and civilization hasn’t cratered yet…

But if it does, you’ll be glad you have big stacks!

 

nick

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