Tues. Mar. 21, 2023 – another morning appointment…

Cold, still, but less so.   Should clear up for the next few days.   Never cleared completely yesterday.   Never warmed up much either.

Spent the morning taking D2 to the Orthodontist.   And today I have to take D1.   They are at different points in their treatment, and the office does one type of visit per day, so there wasn’t a way to get them both in on the same day.  I guess it’s what being the stay at home dad means, taking kids to appointments.

Spent the afternoon on auction stuff.   Got a few sprinkles of rain.  Nothing that stuck though.

Made a box meal for dinner and used the canned costco chicken.  I do that all the time.  You get shredded chicken instead of chunks, which alters the meal somewhat, but it still tastes great.   This time I used a “Tasty” Chicken Tikka Masala kit.   Subbed minute rice for the included rice as I didn’t want to wait.   It was really tasty!  Wife said she’d eat that again, so I went looking.   It’s not at HEB anymore.  Neither does the corporate website list it (or any food for that matter, only recipe books).  Searching amazon or the web for “tasty chicken tikka masala kit” is painful.   Folks, if you are going to start a company making food, don’t pick a name that is a common adjective for food.   You get the search results you’d expect for a generic keyword search.

In any case, no more of the product is available, that I can find.    One of the disadvantages of stacking and then not eating for a while is that the product might not be available to restock.

I have  a lot of ‘box meals’ that use hamburger, and a lot that I can sub in canned chicken.   Very convenient, and store well past their best by date.    There are also a lot of quick side dishes that could be fortified with canned meat or sausage to make a main meal.   Anything to save time, or effort, is a good thing in a disaster, and also in a normal busy life.

Commander Zero noted that his local store has Auguson Farms FD and dehydrated food on sale.   That led me to look at some on the ‘zon and since it was on sale, I bought some more.  FDs aren’t my primary stored food, but they do make a good long term storage solution.   Just don’t expect to get the number of servings on the can.  I treat the Auguson Farms FDs as a supplement to other food, not as complete meals.

Today I’ve got more auction stuff to sort and bin, and maybe deliver, after I get D1 back to school.  I might do some pickups today too.   I’m supposed to be meeting a friend, and I don’t know how long we’ll spend doing what he needs to do, so I might not get much done besides that.   But you know, meatspace baby!

Get out in the world this week.  Call up an old friend.   Stack up some good times as well as good stuff.


Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 – mama Flandrey’s little boy is 57

By on March 20th, 2023 in culture, decline and fall, personal

Cold.   Cold.  Cold.   BOL had a freeze warning last night.  Houston was not supposed to get that cold, but 40F is still cold.  It was 41F when I went to bed.  Other than cold, should be nice.

Finished up this trip to the BOL yesterday.   It was mainly a vacation, but I did make progress on a few things.   We had guests so I couldn’t do any heavy work or shut off the water, but there are always ‘fill in’ tasks.  Both the me and the wife relaxed more than worked this trip.   I’m rationalizing that it’s important to do that to keep from getting burned out… yeah that’s it.

Sometime in the last two weeks I completed my 57th trip around the sun.   Who would have thought I’d be here, or doing this?   Not me.   I didn’t think I’d make it past 26.   When I did, I realized I needed to change my life if there was a chance I’d live for a while longer.    31 years later and I’m still here and still plan to continue.   But every day after 26 years is a gift.   Every single day.   The good, the bad, the ordinary, or the days that I cheated death.  All free and all good.

There’s a saying that you can’t kill a man who’s born to hang.   Maybe that’s it.   Somehow I doubt it though.

In any case, I’ll take it.    And do what I can with it.

To that end, there is a list of stuff that I should/could/might get done here.   I’ll be working that list.   It’s the usual stuff, with some additional home repair and maintenance thrown in.  And stacking.  Or at least moving stacks, and maybe some organization…

Someone said 90% of success was just showing up.   Well, I’ve been showing up for 57 years now, and plan to continue.

And continue stacking  🙂


Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 – Headed back home, stuff to do there too

Cold this morning.   40F or less.   It stayed cold all day yesterday and the sun only poked through for a short time in the afternoon.  Whatever today ends up being, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll be happy.

Got some small stuff done.  Finished weed-wacking my property and the HOA lot.   Picked up trash along the shore and the community dock.  I hate litter and it doesn’t take long.   Put up another flag pole holder.   Lot of visible patriotism up here.  It’s nice to see.

Helped stand up a 50ft antenna tower and learned a few new things.

Our guests had headed home while I was out, but they had a good time.   It was nice to have people here to share with, and nice to see D2 having fun with a friend.   If it was just a bit warmer, it would have been even better.   Can’t control the weather, I’m not a Bildeburg after all… 😉

Today will be wrapping up everything, getting ready to head home.   If I can cut the grass again, I will.    Some of it was so long it basically got flattened rather than cut.   I don’t want to leave it long for next visit.   There are a couple more smaller projects I can get knocked out too if I’m motivated.

I will say that cold HURTS.   My fingers, knees, nose, ears, and lower back are always sore in the cold.   Still as Kurt Cobain said, the pain lets us know we’re alive.   This weekend I was ALIVE.

Stack up some meatspace people and skills.   Build relationships while people are still open to them.  They won’t be if things get bad, and who you know, and who knows YOU will be very important.



Sat. Mar. 18, 2023 – meatspace baby

Cool, but clear.   Damp, well that’s a given.  Cleared up yesterday and dried out a bit.  I was able to do some work in the sun in shirtsleeves, but it got chilly when the sun went down.

While it was up though, I got some work done.   Got the remainder of the grass mowed.   Got the loose deck boards screwed down on the dock.    Installed white and red rope lights around the edge of the dock.   Put them between the slats on the benches.   Standing, you see them and they mark the edge of the bench and the dock, seated, you only see the glow cast under the benches, but it’s enough to move around, and know where the edges are.   The red is specifically for any astronomy nights.

Spent some time repairing two of my patio heaters.   They wouldn’t stay lit, which suggested thermocouple issues.   Cleaning with a fine sandpaper is usually enough, and that worked on one unit.    The other turned out that the t-couple nut was loose.  Tightened that and it worked fine.   Just in time to provide some much needed heat for movie night.

Found a few minutes to sight in the finder scope on my wife’s 8″ dob.  Unfortunately last night was overcast.   Maybe tonight it will clear up.

Couldn’t do the annual service on my mower because I still haven’t brought a complete tool kit up here.   I needed a socket driver extension to get to the wheel and oil drain bolts.  Oh well, next time.

I finished my mowing anyway, and then did the HOA lot next door.  Part of the community, solid citizen, all around good guy, that’s me.

Speaking of which, I’ll be headed to a not quite a neighbor’s house on the lake this afternoon to help with an antenna tower raising.   More meatspace, more networking.  More finding my place.

Go forth and help someone.  Stack up some community.  We’re all gonna need friends, come the day.


Fri. Mar. 17, 2023 – Happy Feast of St Patrick, and TGIF

By on March 17th, 2023 in culture, decline and fall, lakehouse

No idea what today’s weather will be like, but it’s supposed to be clearing to a nice day.  Yesterday was overcast until it started misty drizzle followed by eventual downpour.

Spent the day messing around.  Got some small stuff done, or at least under way.   Not my most productive day, but small steps are still steps.

Today we have D2’s friend and her mother joining us for a couple of days.   Place looks pretty good for being a work site…

I hope we get some clearing and sun though, that will make it all easier.

The rest of you, stay away from amateur drinkers…and the roads they drive on.

And stack something.


Thur. Mar. 16, 2023 – two is one, and one is none…

Cool, possibly cold, and rain in the forecast.  Yesterday sure got nice once the sun heated up the day.   I was in shirtsleeves for most of the day.

We are supposed to get really cold, maybe freezing and possibly get rain later today.   Didn’t look like it was coming when I went to bed.  We’ll see later, I guess.

Spent the day doing stuff.   And stopping because of failures.

First challenge o the day was my wife working from here.   Cell as hotspot, VPN, applications running on back end servers in the office, and a lot of latency.   Not a good combination.   Lazy programmers, assuming everyone is on a fast connection, erroring out if something takes too long….  not a pleasant day.   The real problem was laptop battery life though.

It’s good.   So good she doesn’t think about it most of the time.   So when she got the low battery alert and went to connect the power brick… and didn’t have the AC cord, it was suddenly an issue.   I’ve got cords up here.   I’ve got cords in my other truck.  I’ve got BOXES of cords at home.    I didn’t have the one that looks like mickey mouse here though.    She ended up going into town to try to find a cord.   Walmart SAID yes, but was wrong.   Dollar Store, everywhere else, no dice.   Last chance, and why not, the pawn shop had one.   She paid $15 but didn’t have to drive a couple hours round trip to get one.   It is DIFFERENT up here in the country.

My day was similar.   I decided that knee high weeds instead of lawn wouldn’t do, so I got the mower charged up and started cutting.    I didn’t do my annual maintenance first, thinking I would bang the snot out of it one last time, then start my season with new stuff.    Well….    While I was waiting for the battery to charge, I got out my string trimmer and started clearing edges and flower beds.   Ran out of string.   Since I didn’t have a gas string trimmer here, I took the string home to use with the trimmer there….   and brought that trimmer up but didn’t bring any string.   GAHHH.

However, I have a trimmer here, new in the box, not even assembled yet.   It probably came with string… so I took the time to set that up.   Called my wife and had her get some string while she was at Walmart.   Used the new trimmer until it’s string ran out.   Started the mower up and SLOWLY began cutting grass like plants.   Tall and tough plants.   I ended up cutting only a 1/4 of the width of the deck on each pass.   More would bog the mower down.   It took a long time to make progress but I was about 85% done when the drive belt for the mower deck failed.

No more mowing for me.   A belt was not one of the maintenance items I bought for the annual.    (It will be next year.)   Wife came home with some line, and I went back to work.   It only fit the old trimmer head.   Which was fine until I dropped the trimmer and broke the gas tank…   OK, switch the head to the new trimmer motor and get back to work.  At least until I ran out of string again, because my wife bought a whole lot less than I hoped and asked for.

So switch gears again.   Put the blower attachment on the new trimmer engine and cleaned up where I could.  Until I ran  out of 40:1 premix fuel…

That’s a whole lotta gum flappin’, but it shows the value of having two (the trimmers) and the pain of only having one (the drive belt.)   And the value of a simple cord when you need it but don’t have it…

Hopefully, either my fisherman buddy or one of the stores in town will have a belt to get me back up and mowing.   I’ll probably end up going in to town in any case to get fuel and string for the trimmer.   If they have the belt, I’ll buy it and return my buddy’s (assuming his spare will fit my mower.)

None of this stuff is critical, but it could have been.   Have spares.   Have maintenance items BEFORE you need them.   Have duplicates of critical equipment.   Barring that, have good contacts and local help.    There might be someone up here that has the power cord my wife needed, but I didn’t even think to ask until afterwards.   One of the neighbors who is a full timer has a sign business, and probably has computers and a junk box of cords.  Next time, I’ll ask him if we need something similar…

Stacks.   You need them, even if you don’t think you do.



ps.   Wife was able to D/L and use a phone app for access to the database for work, without the latency of the pc connected to the hotspot connected to the nearest cell site…not ideal, but she can work with it.

Wed. Mar. 15, 2023 – groundskeeping… or gas powered slaughter, chlorophyll edition

Cool and dry, a bit windy.   Probably.   Houston was nice, with patchy overcast.   The BOL was sunny and patchy clouds with occasional local showers.   And chilly.   55F by the water last night.

Got the truck loaded, and made it to the BOL.  Met some people in the community (local ham club) where my feeling that everyone here knows everyone else was reinforced 10x…   The LEO knew which house we own as soon as someone said “Bob Johnson’s house”… and the lady sitting next to me has kin on my street.    The guy I’m going to help with his tower lives on the other side of the lake, near where we first were looking for a place.   If we were British the phrase “Are you local?”  would be heard…  and if things go badly I’m sure I’ll hear “y’all ain’t from around here  are you?”

As long as we can fit in, it will all be good.

Gonna work really hard on that.

And stack some stuff.   Lots of stuff.






Tues. Mar. 14, 2023 – 03-14-23 – Pi day! Also, a friend of mine’s birthday, but that’s just coincidental

By on March 14th, 2023 in culture, decline and fall, lakehouse

Cool and relatively dry.   It stayed pretty cool yesterday too.  Great weather for the Carnival at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.   Today should be nice too.

My AAR for the rodeo  (as it’s known here) is in the comments last night.  Nothing like the other time with the arrest and all that…. just a nice day out.

I also did some pickup and packing before we went, but I’ve got some more to do today.   Then I’m heading to the BOL for a while.   Wife may or may not follow right away, she’s got some work stuff that popped up.

I’ve got a list to get from Lowe’s before I can leave and some stuff to drop off at my auctioneer if I can fit it in this morning.   And stuff to gather and pack beyond what I’ve already gotten together.   Never enough time to do everything…

So it’ll be short shrift today.   Hope the economy holds together for a while yet.   I’ve got stuff to do and having spending money to do it would be nice.   Western civilization was nice while it lasted.

Lynn asked if a run on the grocery stores was next.   Yes.  Yes I think so.   If people are worried, they’ll run out like a storm is coming, and there will be shortages again/still.

But everyone here already has stacks right?   Top them off, start some, or whistle Dixie, but don’t let denial catch you short.

What can it hurt to have a bit extra put by?   Stack it up.


Mon. Mar. 13, 2023 – Spring Break! for us anyway

By on March 13th, 2023 in decline and fall, personal

Cooler and supposed to be clear.   I’m hoping for light overcast and  a breeze as we are supposed to go to the carnival at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo.   It was mostly overcast Sunday, with some sun in the afternoon.

I got the back yard weed whacked and then mowed.   Used the blower attachment to clear pin oak leaves out of everything.   Cleaned the fish pond of leaves, and cleaned the pump filter.  Took down the bird netting around the blueberry bushes so I could weed and blow the leaves.   Used the rototiller attachment to loosen some dirt in the front yard.   I’d like to plant a small flowering tree in the spot, but will settle for wildflowers for now.  The ashy clay soil was rock hard.

It was an ‘outdoor’ day.  Didn’t get to the gas engines on the list, but them’s the breaks.

Today I’ve got stuff to do in the morning, then rodeo in the afternoon.   Sold a freezer locally to one of my hobby guys, and one up at the BOL.  I’ve got to get the BOL one loaded up, along with two steel cabinets, and all the stuff for this trip north.

There is always a bunch of stuff headed up too.

I’ve gotta admit the bank failures have me more nervous than usual.   And I’m not surprised that the pols will cover the depositors despite them not being insured.   Because why let people suffer consequences from their informed choices?    This isn’t over.  Where there is one, there are many, and the good times are coming to an end.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Don’t put more eggs in the basket than there is legit insurance to cover- you don’t have friends in high places.   Have cash on hand for your needs- you’ll have to decide on the time period yourself, but I’d say at least a couple months worth of bills.   Think HARD about having cash money sitting in banks.   Gold, jewelry, land, food, guns, guitars, ammo- whatever you choose, it should be durable and fairly easy to convert to something else of value, or ideally, provide an income stream.   I turned my bank balance into a BOL, and am continuing to turn cash into infrastructure up there.  Yes there are downsides and risks to all those physical things.   There are risks to cash  in the bank too.  Nope, crypto and the stock markets aren’t  good places.  One is based on fantasy, the other is gambling against insiders, neither is a good bet right now.

War profiteering looks like a growth area…

Private security services will be too, as long as there is something to pay with and get paid with.

Stack up some things of value.


Sun. Mar. 12, 2023 – not going to the rodeo today

By on March 12th, 2023 in culture, decline and fall, personal

Warm to hot, clear, should be a nice day.   Yesterday was another gorgeous day.  Didn’t see the high, but sunny and warm, light breeze.

Went to my hobby meeting.   Took youngest to sell some more cookies.  Weaponized cuteness is fading as her height increases, but it is balancing with an outgoing and razor sharp personality.  Interesting to watch, if a bit terrifying.

Today I intend to sleep in a bit, eat a nice breakfast, and do some outdoor work around the house.   I also need to rearrange the stuff in the back of my pickup, and pull a freezer out of storage.   My fisherman buddy at the BOL found a buyer for one of the freezers.  I’ll have a full load this trip up, especially if I pick up another metal storage cabinet.

I’m hoping to get some yard work done, maybe some small engine repair, maybe wash the Expedition,  and whatever else seems doable.   It’s ambitious.   Going away for a week means front loading some of the week’s work though.

Somewhere in there I should buy some more pipe insulation too.

The list is endless.   But tasks do get finished, and work does progress.  And sometimes movement is progress.  Work your own lists.

Stack it up, and hope the bank failure doesn’t spread or cause some over-reaction… the world feels kinda ‘teeter-y’ at the moment.