Sun. May 19, 2024 – Getting hot down here in H town…

Gonna be another warm one. It was in the 90s yesterday and in the sun, I felt every degree. Had to pause several times to cool off, and I was working at a “deliberate” pace.

Cut up and stacked my tree debris. That took from 10ish to 4ish. THen I did the same at my rent house. Took until about 730ish. Came home and tried to help the neighbor get their borrowed but very new looking gennie running.

Bad gas, varnish in the float bowl, and ultimately a float needle that wouldn’t seal. Told them to order a new carb. It’s not enough to drain the tank, you have to drain the float bowl too, and probably coat the aluminium with vaseline or something similar. Leave the fuel hose disconnected, and the petcock open. That MIGHT let any water that condenses in your tank drain away, instead of ruining your float bowl. Keeping the gennie dry and away from temperature swings will probably help too.

Today will be figuring out how to get the ‘widow maker’ branches down out of the big tree in the front yard. There are a few massive branches among the smaller stuff. Those have to come down.

We were supposed to have power back yesterday, but they were mistaken as we didn’t. That is encouraging though that it might not be 2 weeks or 2 months. I talked to the Centerpoint survey guys driving around and they said it was 20 transmission towers that were blown over. IDK how they are going to fix that in 5 days but that’s what the president of Centerpoint said… although I bet there were some qualification words used.

I’m wiped out. It’s dripping humid, and it’s really hot in the sun. Bad combo. And all my cool vests are at the BOL…

I’ll just have to be careful, I guess.

As far as prepping notes, if this cheap amazon chinese carb works, I’m ordering a spare. Totally worth it for $15. And I’m going to figure out why the propane conversion kit is so sensitive to load and adjustment. Dunno if I’ll get to solar, hope not, but if things go badly…

Stack. And stack some more.

nick

Read the comments: 62 Comments

Sat. May 18, 2024 – home, cleanup, generators, and maybe some solar

Starting cool and wet, and warming to steamy if I’m unlucky. Last night was nice and cool.

Started Friday at the BOL. Decided to head home to watch the house and manage the freezers, while wife and kids would bug out to the lake. So I set up a big dehumidifier and some fans, sprayed down all the exposed wet walls and floor in the dockhouse, and hit the road. I brought 25 gallons of gas and two propane bottles with me, a chainsaw, some parts, and my PPEs for chainsawing… Stopped half way home to top of the truck and buy some other stuff at Tractor Supply. Bought another 5 gallon gas can because they had plastic Spector jerry can style cans on sale for 20$ which is a good price.

I bought some 2 cycle oil too. Won’t be doing that at TS if I can help it. Their oil was 12$ to treat 5 gallons. Their premix was 25$ a gallon. Crazy high compared to Lowes, but might not be available at all in Houston, so I bit the bullet. Yes, I already had some, but more is good.

Got home, got the Honda 3000i running on propane. Got my trusty Generac running briefly but the carb is shot. Ordered on from amz to arrive Monday. I’ll try messing with it today and tomorrow anyway, but I’ve got the backup coming.

I’m writing this at 1130pm and the gennie has been running to power the fridges and freezers since about 7. They are cold again/still. Several people on my street have gennies running, one guy even has his landscape lights on. I’m shutting down overnight though. Can’t hear mine from the street, but I don’t want to waste the propane. I don’t have a good idea of runtime on a BBQ bottle…

Today will be cleanup, getting power sorted and organized for the long haul. I think it could be weeks before we’re up again. Ike had us running on generator for 14 days. At least we have running water, and while the gennie is running the instant hot water heater runs. I might set up one of the camp heaters but they use propane too and it might be hard to get later.

Speaking of, TS had MrHeater refillable one pound bottles, and the setup to refill them. Bottles were ~20. They had an extensive MrHeater display with lots of accessories. Watch for a closeout when the seasons finally change, or pick some up now…

I’m using my lappy and my cell as a hotspot so posting might be sparse. Share if you have any info or news as I’ll probably see it here first.

I did not expect a big storm this early and I’m not really ready. Paying the price for that…

But hey, the stacks are paying off once again.

Stack some of your own.

nick

Read the comments: 40 Comments

Fri. May 17, 2024 – well that was a big one…

Cool and clear at the BOL for the moment anyway. Should be clear all day. I’m more interested in Houston today though.

Yesterday we did have some time in the morning without rain. I was able to do some more cleanup in the dockhouse, and spray a cleaner/disinfectant/mold killer on most of the affected walls. The rain started and I went up to lunch and didn’t get back to remove some furring strips from the last wall. I didn’t want to soak that with virucide and then have to touch it, so that has been left undone for now.

While I was watching all the afternoon rain come down (about 3 inches), Houston got HAMMERED. Lots of wind damage, rain, limbs down, power outages, etc. Some really dramatic damage like high tension power lines knocked over…

SO today is in flux. Wife and kids were due to come up today anyway, and school and work have been cancelled.. but there wasn’t any power at the house and no indication of when it might be back on. There were also a lot of limbs down, and cleanup that needs to happen. I’m best suited for that, so I might swap places with my wife and kids. They come up here and do what there is to do here, I go down there and do storm cleanup.

I’ll take a gennie and most of the fuel I have here. There are plenty of places in Houston with power to pump gas and fill LP tanks, but it’s probably better to just bring what I’ve got. This storm caught us off guard. I haven’t done my seasonal hurricane preps yet, like running the gennies, rotating out fuel, and filling the extra jugs…

That’s assuming power is still out. I might head home even if power is restored, just to do the cleanup. It might even make sense for us all to be in Houston this weekend anyway, although my wife was looking forward to being up here, and we’re having family over for Memorial Day so she feels the need to clean and do more “getting ready.”

In any case, this storm reinforces the idea that disasters don’t happen on a schedule and you need a base level of preparedness all the time. All the stuff I have is in place, it’s just not as convenient or well laid out as it is at other times. And I’ve put off some maintenance that I should have addressed right away. There’s always something that needs doing, and never enough time.

But hey, we’ve got food, water, shelter, power generation, medical backup, and the tools to recover.

Because I stacked them up when times were better. You can and should do the same…

nick

Read the comments: 53 Comments

Thur. May 16, 2024 – I may be flooding again…

Forecast apparently calls for up to 5 inches today. That would probably raise the lake back up 10 inches. And that would be close to flooding me again. Yesterday was nice. Even got hot in the sun. Still very damp so not much dried out.

I did get stuff done. Got more cleanup in the dockhouse. Mowed the lawn, and made some adjustments to the mower. Still need to do something else to the deck, as it’s cutting unevenly. Might have to watch a vid or read something… heaven forefend.

Today’s list of stuff is going to be entirely dependent on the weather. I’ll do what I can to keep moving forward. And hope the forecast is wrong. I can work on my hobby website… thanks again to Rick for sharing his knowledge.

———
Meanwhile the world is getting even crazier. No matter what it’s gonna be bad, and it’s gonna suck. Having some preps and someplace to go will help it suck less. Do what you gotta do. Stack.

nick

Read the comments: 54 Comments

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

Read the comments: 68 Comments

Tues. May 14, 2024 – slightly better day ahead…

Well, today is supposed to be warm and clear with a breeze to help dry things out. That will help with the land, but it won’t make the lake go down any faster…

At the current rate, it’ll be late today before all the water is out of my dockhouse, if there aren’t any more showers, and if I guessed at the depth correctly.

I can’t even start remediation until the lake is down.

In the mean time… I saw some monster fish while I was cleaning the area around my dock, so I spent some time fishing. Standing on my dock, knee deep in water… warm comfortable water… was odd to say the least. But by the afternoon I was going nuts with not working.

So I got the mower together and running. I mated my old 46″ deck to the ‘new’ Cub Cadet with the bad 42″ deck. The manufacturer is the same so I had hope, even if the brand was different. And it fit with only minor adjustment. I had to fix my deck once I thought it would fit. Whatever I hit that took out the motor broke one of the spindles too. 3 of the 4 mounting tabs were broken off. I had replacements in the shed.

After a test cut and some adjustment, I started swapping wheels and tires around to get all good tires on the Cub mower. I didn’t know there were two axle styles so I have a set of brand new rears that I’ll have to sell. I moved the decent rears from the old mower over. Lubed everything, and that took me to nightfall. I still need to do an engine service and replace the drive belt with the new parts I bought for it, but it runs, and mows.

Not sure what I’ll do today while waiting for water to dry, but I’m sure it will be another thrilling adventure!

Prepping saved me a whole lot of trouble with the mowers. I had spares and replacement parts, and was easily able to swap stuff around and get back to running. Even counting the parts that were wrong, I still saved a bunch by buying early and at auction. And since the BOL is set up for use, I don’t have any problem being here for 10 days even though I’d only planned on one.

I’ve got pumps, dehumidifiers, mold killer, tools, and skills, so as soon as the water recedes I’m ready to go to work too.

Prepping works. Stacks help and give choices. Stack!

nick

Read the comments: 52 Comments

Mon. May 13, 2024 – my unlucky day…

Raining wet and flooded. I’m making assumptions as I’m writing this much earlier than I normally do. Yesterday alternated heavy rain, light rain, rain, and small periods of not rain. Lake came up a good 8 inches over the course of the day.

So I watched the slowmo flood yesterday, unloaded my truck, and decided I’d better stay up here and manage the aftermath. And there will be some, as the dockhouse started to get wet around 830pm. Tile floor, and plywood paneling instead of drywall should help with the eventual drying out. Dunno if that will start today, or if I’m here at the lake for this week.

I didn’t want to take a chance on a power outage keeping me from posting, with all the lightning we started to get last night, so this isn’t as timely as normal. If I don’t update in the morning, there’s probably a power issue up here, unless the Ruskies EMP’d us, in which case I’m talking to myself anyway…

Either more rain and flooding today, or I start cleanup.

Fun times. Didn’t have 100 yr flood on my card for this year. And didn’t have it for the BOL at all. I got that wrong.

So I deal with it, because that’s what I do.

Fortunately I already have a big dehumidifier here, and fans, and portable heat. And as a Houstonian, this won’t be my first flood.

Prepping. It’s not just what’s for breakfast.

Stack the stuff you need.

nick

Read the comments: 72 Comments

Sun. May 12, 2024 – it all depends on the weather. And Happy Mothers Day!

Cool and wet, maybe more rain. Bad stuff in the forecast but we’ll see if we get any here. Yesterday was mostly overcast with occasional sun, and some spotty rain.

Had my non-prepping hobby meeting in the morning, a client service call in the afternoon, and headed to the BOL in the evening. Got there after dark, so I didn’t get any mowing done. Given the rain last night, even if it’s sunny and dry today, I might not get to mow. If I’m lucky I’ll get the mower ready.

If not, there are some things I can do inside that would be nice to get off the list, or I could head home early to do some Mothers Day stuff with my wife and kids. I would like to at least make a nice dinner. First I need to unload the truck and put stuff away…

Which is my plan. Get the mower ready if possible, mow if at all possible, and if not, do some stuff and head home.

There’s always something to do. It’s the nature of the beast.

Not the number, the nature!

Stack some stuff.

Enjoy the day.

nick

Read the comments: 64 Comments

Sat. May 11, 2024 – non-prepping hobby, then BOL.

Warm and moist. Light rain is possible. Partly sunny is likely. Which is how yesterday went. The very light rain was only in small areas of town and was brief. If I hadn’t been driving through it, I probably wouldn’t have known.

Did my pickup, then headed to my client’s house to install the new gear. Unfortunately the gear wasn’t actually there, so I ended up doing a couple of maintenance things. The Bluray player was locked up, probably from the same event that fried the receiver, but it recovered with a hard power cycle. It wasn’t a very productive time, but I get paid anyway. Of course the gear was delivered about an hour after I left.

Today I have my meeting for my non-prepping hobby, and no, special clothing is not required. We are having our quarterly swap fest/sale and I’ve got some stuff to sell. After that, I’ll switch trucks and head to my client’s house. I should be able to swap in the new gear, confirm it’s working, and be on my way in about an hour. I’ll head to the BOL from there, and maybe get in before dark.

Once there, I’ve got a pickup load to un-load, and I need to either figure out how to get my mower deck installed on the backup lawn tractor, or I need to rebuild the deck that came with it and get THAT re-installed on the tractor. It’s got a hole in the deck which is not great (and was the main reason it got retired), but I can at least mow with it until I either get the other deck to fit, or weld the hole closed. It’s always something…

And I’ll be headed home earlier than normal on Sunday so as to spend at least a bit of time with my lovely bride, and mother of my lovely children on Mother’s Day. It’ll be lovely.

Stack some good times. They will help during the bad times.

nick

Read the comments: 44 Comments

Fri. May 10, 2024 – another week almost done, and still no canned sunshine..

Warm and wet, getting to be summer in Houston. It was mid 90s yesterday and so sweaty just standing still was work. Should be more of that today too, maybe a little cooler if the liars get it right.

I spent the day mostly doing small things around the house. Most weren’t high priority, but they were prerequisites to doing something else, that was a priority. So they needed to be done and gotten out of the way. And they were low effort, because I was feeling a bit pukey today. Never really got sick but didn’t feel good most of the afternoon.

I did get a bunch of small things done, and that feels good, but not the big things that are looming over me. And that feels bad. Maybe I’ll get one or two of them moving today.

I have a pickup to do, that includes stuff for the BOL so it’s on my “need to do” list. And my client decided that between the weather forecast and having 20 kids at the house for Mother’s day, he’d really like his theater working again. My business partner ordered the replacement to be delivered today, and I’ll head over to install it when it arrives. Hopefully it won’t be at 9pm. Saturday I’ve got my non-prepping hobby, then I’m headed to the BOL with a pickup load of stuff, so I really don’t want to delay by going to my client’s house. It’s in the wrong direction.

I don’t want to borrow trouble, so I’m playing today and tomorrow by ear. If things go well, that’ll be awesome. Also a bit unusual, but awesome nonetheless.

Earning money is part of prepping, and my client pays for the service he gets. Plus, I like him and his family, so I’d probably go a bit extra anyway.

I encourage everyone to look for opportunities to make a bit of extra cash. It’s almost the universal solvent when it comes to troubles.

Stack some!

nick

Read the comments: 75 Comments