I’ve accumulated enough data points that it’s time for another SITREP.
Listening to the scanner, I’ve noted that all the law enforcement in the area, with the exception of the NC Highway Patrol, has apparently started doing all the business traditionally done via radio via data by radio. On the NC Viper System, with the scanner I use, you can see the data transmissions. You can’t decode them, but you can see they’re being made. I can still hear EMS and fire. They don’t seem to use data terminals in their vehicles. As the LEOs know, bad guys own scanners, too. Something to think about when you ponder communications during an emergency.
I don’t go to the ATM every week, but 3 of the last 4 times I’ve went I’ve gotten brand new $20 bills. That may have happened once or twice in the last decade. I don’t know if it means anything or not, but it’s unusual and these days, that makes it noteworthy in my book.
We’ve had a new restaurant open in place of once that died due to the Wuflu shutdowns. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s on my list of things to do. It appears to be of the “meat and three” variety, which is a plus in my book.
A visit to WallyWorld showed that canning supplies were just about wiped out. There was 20′ or so of shelf space, 4 shelves high, and all that was left were a few random cases of jars and some rings. In mid-May. Not a good sign. There were some other spotty shortages, especially through the grocery and health & beauty isles. First aid and OTC meds were pretty hard hit.
Friday, Mrs. Freeholder and I made a big grocery shopping trip. First stop was the local meat packing place. The last time we were there was probably November-December. Availability was good, prices were Holy Crap What Happened? We bought ground beast, some pork chops and splurged on 2 T-bone steaks. They were on the tough side when I cooked them. I guess good meat at any price is getting more difficult to find. They looked nice, though.
The first grocery store, a big semi-national chain, was less of a surprise, since I’d been there a couple of weeks ago. Some prices down, others up. Their meat cases were about 1/3 empty. Peanut butter was back but thin. Pickles are not available in the variety they have been. The bread isle is now the bread half of one side of an isle. Canned meats in good supply. Canned vegetables were in somewhat lesser supply, and expensive. Frozen foods, especially the convenience stuff, was hard hit. Soup in good supply. Canned cat food was very thin-big holes there. Lots of guys stocking, though. Possibly we just caught them at the wrong time. As always, I’ll keep an eye on it.
The second grocery store, a European chain, was better stocked. Their variety is much less than the semi-national, but the stuff they have is inexpensive and usually good quality. We got the eggs, milk, cheese and butter we were there for, and some samples of various canned vegetables to try. Prices of those were 1/3-1/4 of the semi-national chain. If the quality is good, we’ll buy a few flats to get us through the summer. They also keep “special buys” of various appliances, tools and the like, and that was nearly empty.
I wish all those trees out back were gone so I could put in a garden. If wishes were horses….
I have an ATV that I use around the house. It coughed up a hairball. Troubleshooting showed air and fire, so it had to be fuel. The gas hand gadget has been deceased for sometime, and costs too much to replace when I can just open the fuel tank and look. Seemed like plenty of gas, but I filled it up. No start. I start taking things apart to work my way through the fuel system, and it’s time to take out the dead gas hand gadget. The thing is rusted to hell and gone. I guess that during winter storage there was some condensation going on, despite being stored in semi-conditioned garage, and it rusted. I imagine rust has flaked off and clogged the fuel filter, which is at the bottom of the fuel pump, which sits in a cannister with fuel lines in and out. Seems like a stupid design, but I’m not interested in trying to re-engineer it right now. So today was a trip to a local Honda dealer for parts, of which they had the most important-the fuel filter. $45 for $2 worth of plastic and non-woven fiber, but I guess all the middle men made a profit.
This Honda dealer, one of the larger ones in the area, had maybe 10 new bikes on the floor. No used bikes. When I got home, I checked some of the other local dealers, and found a similar situation at all the ones that are close enough or big enough to be worth dealing with. The service department appeared to be doing a booming business and the “stuff” business-riding apparel and the like-was moving. How long can a dealership last on their service department? Anyone know where all the new motorcycles are?
Son tells me his manufacturing concern is now getting steel in sufficient quantity to keep things moving. He doesn’t know from where or if the price went up. He also tells me the auto dealer he purchased his high-powered deathmobile from is now wanting to buy it. He goes by their location a couple of times a week, and so he checked out the lot. He says they are very low on new vehicles and not a lot of used cars. They usually line the road with the good stuff, and he said there were big gaps on the road.
Gas-gas is now in good supply, and the price has dropped…none. You can get any octane, and diesel is available. But you’re paying the same price as it was when half the local stations were out. Supposedly it’s the Memorial Day weekend phenomena. We’ll see.