Category: why we prepare

Wed. May 15, 2024 – another day to work.

Weather is supposed to be partly cloudy, but still warm and no rain. I need that so the lake can continue to drain, and the dockhouse can dry out.

Despite my late start and casual approach yesterday, I did make good progress. I was able to clear some of debris left behind as the water receded, and I got the walls opened up in the dockhouse. I removed the lower third of the wall, which was cheap paneling, and found sopping wet insulation behind it. The trim all got put outside to dry out too. Old boy made the baseboards from pressure treated 1×6, so that is good. And some of the door trim was cedar. The outside sheathing is cedar board and batten, so that will dry out fine.

Today will be treating all the wet wood with bleach and a mold/mildew killer, and continued cleanup. I’ll take the time to mow too, as we are supposed to get rain Thursday and/or Friday. The weekend should be nice. As long as we don’t get inches of rain, the lake should be ok.

I have to decide how to refinish the walls when they dry, but I’ve got some time to decide as I want the walls open for a while. I’m thinking vertical tongue and groove wood as the nice option, and plain luaun plywood as the cheaper, less sturdy option. It will look like wainscott because I’ll put the chair rail trim back in place. I’ll probably replace the insulation too. If it floods again, it’ll be ‘rinse and repeat’ but we could go another 30 years before seeing anything like this again. That’s how long it’s been since the last time. It might be smarter to leave out the insulation if I think flooding could re-occur.

So far, I’ve pulled everything I need out of the stacks.

Stacking is good. Having what you need close at hand saves so much time and stress. Knowing what needs to be done helps too.

Stack the knowledge and skill along with the stuff you need to do the job- whatever that job might be.

nick

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Thur. Jan. 26, 2023 – another day, another dollar

Cold, and damp.   37F when I went to bed, and probably starting the day from there too.   It did clear up yesterday although it stayed chilly.  And once the sun went down, it got pretty dang cold.

I did get a couple of pickups done.   Went by my secondary and moved some stuff around to make room for some other stuff.   Just a quick stop, as I couldn’t shut off my truck and be sure I could get it started again.    Rust never sleeps, and neither do other forms of corrosion.   A vise grip pliers from my mini car toolkit saved the day later on.  Details in yesterday’s comments.

Mini toolkit- 6″ vise grip, phillips screwdriver.  Flat screwdriver, medium sized.  6 in one screwdriver.  Slip joint pliers.  Diagonal cutters or wire stripper- minimalist.  6″ adjustable wrench.   Roll them up in a shop towel to keep them quiet, or put them in an old snack mix can…   That little kit helps me all the time, although it mostly helps me disassemble stuff for transport and not to repair my truck.  The ‘snack mix can’ is a heavy duty steel can for japanese bar mix that I happen to have saved a dozen of.   You could use soup cans, especially if you could find a set that slightly nest… and wrap a couple of feet of duct tape around the can.  If you don’t carry a knife (and why not?) add a thin stanley knife or a wallpaper knife with break off blade tips.  The idea is it all fits in a can to keep it neat.

Admittedly, if I’d looked under the hood sometime in the last few months, I might have seen and headed off the whole problem.   Stitch in time, and all that.  But I didn’t.  I do have replacement terminal clamps in the stacks, which should save a trip to the store.  Might try putting the treated felt washer on it this time.

It’s always something.  In this case, having an understanding of the systems involved, having done the previous repair, and having a tool with me that could be pressed into service,  all helped turn a potential issue into a non-issue.  I wasn’t prepared for this exact problem but I was prepared for some sort of problem.

And that is the best you can hope for, that your preps help solve the problem.

Knowledge, and stuff, stack them up.

n

 

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Mon. Jan. 9, 2023 – ah the smell of a fresh new week….

That will almost certainly be cool and wet, although warm and wet could happen.  That’s the joy of living near the Gulf…  It was pretty chilly yesterday morning at the BOL, but it did warm up and it was a beautiful sunny day.   Got chilly again when  the sun went down though.   National forecast has us in clear weather for a couple of days anyway.

I did get some smaller things done.   Got two sets of shelves up in the garage, and some stuff moved to them.  Took down a rickety old shelf ‘thing’ that was left behind for us.   It worked for a while, but if not wedged into the corner and held in place by a metal cabinet, it wouldn’t have stood for 10 minutes.

Took a few minutes and broke some more concrete.  I feel that in my arms today.

Took an hour and worked on my  truck.   On the way up I noticed that only a little bit of water was spraying out of the window washer.   Topped up the tank, but it was mostly full.  Since I  had the compressor at the BOL, I thought I’d try blowing air back through the nozzles to clear out any blockage.   Didn’t work, but did reveal the issue.   There is some sort of check valve in the line, and it was broken.  Cracked at first, then  40 psig air blew it apart.   Had to take a couple of panels off to get to the part, and replaced it with a 1/4″ barb fitting from my drip irrigation parts box.  How’s THAT for a prep!  Well, a lucky improv anyway.   Cheap brittle plastic part.  (edit- it may have frozen, I haven’t driven the truck much.)   I’ll look it up today and see if I can get a replacement.  If not, I’ll just run with the barb.

This was the first time I’ve really towed anything with the new expy and it did fine.   Better than I did after moving all that rock by hand.

Today will be moving stuff around, going through auction stuff, returning the trailer, and sorting some stuff out.   If it’s dry, I’ll start taking down outside Christmas decorations.   Maybe I’ll do some stretching exercises.   I really need to get back in the habit.

And of course, I’ll be stacking things.  Why don’t you join me?

nick

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Fri. Dec. 23, 2022 – we’ll soon know if we can stave off 3rd world status for a while

Cold.  Don’t know how cold when I am writing this but I know it will be cold.  Also, relatively damp.  ‘cuz Houston…   it was 20F when I went to sleep and that is pretty dang cold in Houston.  Don’t know what it got down to at the BOL, I’ll probably find out later today.  No precip in Houston.

I guess I’ll also find out if the outdoor water heater survived.   Kinda forgot about that, since this was our first weather event since we installed it.   It is outside the building envelope and not very well protected from cold.   Nothing I was willing to do at 1 am. when I thought about it.

I had a pretty normal day yesterday, probably should have done more cold prepping.   Instead I got my antenna tower (it’s in good shape, a couple of minor things will need fixing, and the missing stuff will need to be ordered, but otherwise- never installed.)  Wife got mom from the airport.  I went grocery shopping, we did some half-hearted preps, and spent the night decorating the tree and wrapping presents.   I’ll deal with aftermath later.

Worst case, if the heater is trashed, I’ll bring the propane one from the BOL home, and temp it into the plumbing while we find a replacement.   TOTALLY don’t want to do that, but missed the boat on weatherizing it.  It was working at 1am.

If the grid holds together, it’ll prove we can still do maintenance and planning.  If not, we’re skiing down the slope.  I’m hoping for “holds together.”

But I also know/believe we are on the slope, headed downhill, and accelerating.  Any gains will be local and short lived.

So stack the things you will need for a while.  Be flexible, and resourceful.  Plan to survive.

nick

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Sun. Dec. 18, 2022 – think about it seriously, you know it makes sense

Cold and damp here at the BOL.  Should still be clear, but I gotta wonder if the lake is big enough to get ‘lake effect’ snow.   It was 36F when I went to bed.   That is pretty cold for Texas.

Yesterday turned into a gorgeous day as I got out of town.  Don’t know if it was the shift in location, or a shift in the weather, but the sun came out and it was comfortable in shirtsleeves.

I loaded up the truck and headed out.

Did my pickup, way out in the country outside of Conroe.

Guy had a thing for circuses.  There was an honest-to-Crom circus carousel set up in his man cave building.   They’ve been having estate sales since spring, every week or two, to clear out and it looks like they just started.  Figures, collectibles, circus stuff- the place was overflowing.   Garden scale railroad… never built that I could see, and it’s been selling cheap because it was all circus themed.   Man cave was only about 70% complete.  Guy had time to collect all the stuff, but ran out of time before he could get it set up to show it off.

There is a lesson in there somewhere.

Prepping is a bit like that.  Only you hope that you never get to ‘show it off’,  especially the really serious preps.   No one wants their home security upgrades tested, or their resolve and shot placement if someone breaks in.   No one wants to be eating freeze dried food for a year while their “doomsday garden seed package” grows.

What we do want, is the satisfaction of turning potential big problems into small problems.   We like saving the day by pulling a prep off the shelf and using it.  Making a quick dinner when you’re tired and hungry from stored food, grabbing up a once in a lifetime bargain because you have the funds saved, even just saving the third trip to the big box store while working around the house, because you picked up 2 of something last time you were there, instead of just one- those everyday moments when prepping or planning or foresight pay off are satisfying in and of themselves.

You don’t need the zombie apocalypse to show the value of your preps, and you hope you never get there.  I hope old boy didn’t hate that his room wasn’t done when he rode his carousel. I hope he  felt joy when he saw the posters on the wall, or the trains on the shelf, or the joy on his grandkids’ faces when they rode.

Take joy and satisfaction in the process.  The journey is as important as the destination.

Stack the things.

nick

 

 

*post title is from an 80s pop song, recruiting someone to join the singer’s [ criminal ] enterprise.

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Mon. Feb. 7, 2022 – another week begins.

Cold, but not COLD.  I think it got into the mid 50s yesterday and I expect more of the same today.  It was low 40s when I went to bed.

I spent most of the day Sunday dealing with HVAC issues at my rent house.  Then I did a bit of thrifting on my way home.  Got a framed map of Skyrim for D1.  She wanted me to frame my map from the game disk box, but I said no, so finding one already framed was a bit of niceness in the day.  I picked up a couple of things that will sell really well, for nice margins the next time I can get stuff into an auction.

No word from my storage unit on any video evidence.   I’ll ping her again today and maybe I can start cleaning up and find out if any of the high value stuff got left behind.   My suspicion is only the more esoteric, harder to sell stuff got left behind.

The problems with the heat at my rent house point out the benefit of having backups.  When your heat goes out, you may not be able to get a service guy to see you for a while, and he may not be able to get parts for a while… so having some alternative heating (or cooling) methods makes good sense.  The grid doesn’t have to be down for you personally to need backups.   That goes for drinking water too.

Today is a disjointed mess.  I should be hanging some TVs for my client but IDK if the painters got done, given the shutdown for freezing Friday.  It’s also my short workday because of time with my daughter in the afternoon, and I would like to be there when the HVAC guy is at my rental.  I will probably prioritize daughter, and just let him do his thing.   Tenants are both work-from-home, so  they’ll be there to let him in.

I should get my burgled storage unit back in shape and get more stuff out of the house too.  And during the week, we’ve got a plumber coming to install a tankless hot water heater (which I have to prep for by clearing the work area, and putting up a mounting board).  AND I have to get my client’s house back together, AND get stuff pulled for my non-prepping hobby’s quarterly mini-swapmeet.  AND school has early dismissal Thursday and Friday for some reason, AND all  the other normal things as the social and economic structure of our world shifts around us….

 

So, busy week ahead.

Start building on your backups for your critical systems and supplies.  Stack them high and deep.

n

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Sun. Jan. 2, 2022 – 01-02-2022 – Had to type all of that over, twice…

Cooler, wonder how cool we’ll get? It was cool and windy when I went to bed with temps dropping pretty rapidly. Openweathermap.org says we’ll bottom out at 37F around 9:30 am. I intend to be asleep when that happens. Shouldn’t be too far from there when I get up.

Spent the first day of the new year mostly piddling about. Wife and kids continued with their organizing project… for a while anyway. Then some streaming shows were watched. I poked at computers, then took down some of the outdoor decor. Wife and kids took down the tree. It’s all earlier than I would normally want to take stuff down, but the tree was crispy, and the room really needed to be cleaned up. I wanted to get some of the outdoor stuff down in case we got rain. Much easier to put it away dry…

Then my wife noticed the water dripping from the ceiling of the bathroom. Oops. Whole ceiling was wet. The drip tray under the A/C cooling coils in the attic had some recent damage to the drain pipe, and it was leaking. So now I’ve got a ceiling to repair, after it dries out. Joy. It’s always something. The drain pipe was fine until getting down the Christmas stuff this year. Water doesn’t run uphill. Write that on your hand if you might be messing with drains. The worst part is that it was entirely avoidable and now it will take money and time that I didn’t have in the budget or the plan and don’t want to spend either.

But that’s why we prep, so that small things like that don’t become big things. I’ll have to get some drywall and mud (because my stocks got damaged by time and rain), and find the time. The money isn’t an issue as we do have it put aside for just something like this. We could probably pay someone so MY time wouldn’t be spent, but we’d have to FIND someone. Easier and faster just to do it. The necessary skills were acquired long ago. At least there isn’t any rush.

It’s always something when you own a house.

Stack the stuff, you’ll need it eventually.

n

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Sat. Sept. 11, 2021 – Never forget. Never forgive.

20 years. I was in the Meadowlands, about 8 miles from Ground Zero. Some parts of it are clear as day in my memory, and some have faded. I still find it difficult to talk about the day. OFD said it was PTSD. If that means a strange mix of sadness and anger, a tendency to well up and choke up whenever I think about it too hard, or try to talk about it, then it must be true for me and about a couple hundred million other folks.

Never forget. Never forgive.

nick

https://911.wikileaks.org/files/messages_2001_09_11-10_35_2001_09_11-10_39.html

https://www.911memorial.org/visit/memorial/names-911-memorial

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Wed. Sept. 1, 2021 – more water under the bridge

Hot and humid. I’m hoping for a bit cooler in the morning so I can get the grass cut. I waited too long yesterday and it did get over 100F in the sun. It was still 84F at midnight.

Spent yesterday mostly indoors. Despite having a lot to do, I ended up doing electrical work at the house. We had some outlets in the kitchen stop working. I was too busy to look into it until yesterday, although my wife ruled out breakers, and normal things, and we figured it was probably a GFCI outlet upstream of the others. Once I pulled the cover plate off, and could see into the receptacle I figured that I’d found the problem. You are not supposed to be able to see INTO the receptacle. I had spare GFCIs in the stacks, so I set about changing it.

Shortcuts are only short for the person making it originally, and probably not even then. Freaking 10 minute job took over 2 hours because the remodeler cut every corner. Loose wire nuts, wire too short (even after it had been extended) wrong hardware used, missing box extenders, it was all there. The working position was very awkward too. I got it done, redid what I could. Figured I’d also replace a tired outlet at the end of the chain while I had the power off. More cr@p work hidden behind cover plates. Money spent, 0. Time spent, 2 hours. Smoke released, 0. Swear jars filled, 3.* I had the knowledge, the parts, and the supplies stacked so I got it done.

Also modified the wire gate we’re using to keep the doggy in the kitchen. That went surprisingly well.

Cleaned up a few things.

Found a dead rat, possibly THE dead rat, in the garage. I’ll get that cleaned up today. Poison,not trap.

Cooked dinner (discounted steak from last year, frozen mixed veg from last year, canned red beans and rice.)

Played a game for family game night.

Lots of prep items involved in my day.

Hooray for stacks of things and the knowledge to use them. Keep stacking both.

nick

*not really. I was alone so the swears went unheard and if a guy swears in the kitchen but there isn’t anyone there to hear it, did he really swear?

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Fri. July 30, 2021 – whew, I’m beat up today…

Hot and humid, possible rain. We didn’t get the rain yesterday, and I was north, south, and in the middle. It was a bit cooler with the breeze when the sun went behind a cloud. Otherwise it was hot.

I got my morning stuff out of the way, then got out of the house to do my pickups. Shelves mostly. Then I headed to my secondary location. Set up some shelves so I can move the stuff that’s on top of the shipping containers, and chop up the containers. I also decided to just trash everything, not save the stuff with aluminum frames for recycle. Let someone pull them out of the dumpsters, if they get lucky.

I filled my pickup 3 times and filled two dumpsters. Cut up two of the containers and emptied them. I am starting to see a big space, that will fill instantly as I start moving stuff around. Still, progress, right? It is beating me up though. I can do two of the containers before I’m stumbling and starting to not be coordinated and graceful. Working alone with saws and moving stuff, not a good idea when you get weary.

Part of that is being 55. Part is that it’s very hot. Part is that each container needs about 30 trips out to the truck while carrying the stuff. Since I started with the shelves and dumping the stuff that was on pallets in the parking lot, I was ready to be done after one container. I pushed through and got the second done too. I’m starting to get pretty scratched up too. Just handling and moving around the stuff has been beating up my arms, shins, calves, and hands.

Wah, wah, wah…. ok enough whining. I also chatted with my neighbor there, and sold him a metalworking tool. He’s going to assemble it, then we’ll finalize the price. Even if it’s beat up or missing fasteners, he should be able to get it working. Walking around his space, I realized I’ve been selling him stuff for years. He gets the machines and tools he needs, I get to move some inventory. Win win! And that is how meatspace is supposed to work.

Puppy had a good day, despite being home alone. No accidents in the house! He used the doggy door and went out during the day. Hooray. That is definitely progress.

Today I’ve got the kids at home, so my tired body will get a bit of rest, but there is still a lot do do here. Maybe I’ll get some of it done 🙂

And then I can continue stacking all the things!

nick

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