Report from the OP, April 30, 2022

While the news is full of the Russo-Ukrainian War, somewhat less full of China and seasoned with lesser but still important things like inflation and talk of food shortages and famine, I’m not allowing myself to obsess on it. Yes, some fool could decide to unleash the nuclear genie, and our government seems to be doing it’s best to provoke exactly that. Or China could decide it’s time to go all-in and invade Taiwan. Or some bunch of home-grown nutballs could brew themselves up a nice big batch of ricin and sprinkle it in the food in a few dozen restaurants in some big city. You know what? There is only so much I can do about a limited number of those many things, and an extremely limited amount I can do about most. I’m not going to lie and say I’m all prepped up and invulnerable to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I’m not. But I’m about as far as I can get given the various restrictions of time, available effort, money and wifely forbearance. I do need to do some things about pregnancy and grandkids, but that’s about it. I’m not going to lay in bed at night and go over and over it all in my mind, hoping to figure out what I’ve missed. I’ve missed a metric shit-ton of stuff, I’m sure. I’m still better off than 98%+ of the US population. That will have to do. Maybe I can finally get that garden in, though….

I do pay much closer attention to what’s going on in my local area. Chances are if something is going to get me, it’s going to be something from the county commissioners does rather than the fallout from a 25 megaton thermonuclear weapon on dropped on Charlotte, NC.

Let’s look at two things we all must have and that the federal government thinks aren’t important enough to include in their trumped-up inflation numbers, fuel and food. Fuel is on the way back up. As of yesterday it’s raised 20¢ in a day, for a price of $3.89/gallon I don’t know how much diesel has went up, but it’s $5.69/gallon. That puts gas only 10¢/gallon less than what it was a few weeks ago. I would say “Hey, it was nice while it lasted,” but I’m not. I’m pissed that the illegitimate *President and whoever has their hand up his sock puppet rump have caused gas to rise $2/gallon since they stole an election and ushered themselves into power.

Food is doing little better. While the latest restock of ground beast was only 10¢/lb more expensive than the last time, that’s our bright and shining light. Dried cat food has seen the package size go from 14 to 12 to 11 pounds and now the price has raised $4/bag in a month. Bacon bits, if you can find them, are also going up on an escalator. Eggs and hot dogs used to be cheap protein-not any more. Eggs are $xx/dozen and hot dogs are $5/lb. Of course, that’s still a bargain when the cheapest “steak” is $8-10/lb. Salad makings other than bacon bits look like the price of meat a short time ago. Canned goods are up, and some canned goods, such as fruit, are almost impossible to find. All of this is due to higher fuel costs, a lack of workers and the ever popular, say it along with me, “supply chain issues”. Items that involve chicken or turkey now have an additional excuse, avian influenza.

In a totally different area, one of my paid informants tossed the following gem over the palisade today-it seems that all that hardware and supplies we’re sending to Ukraine are coming our of our military stockpiles and we can’t replace them. Supply chain issues again for the win. I don’t have a link for this, obviously, and I can’t confirm it via open-source methods. But it sounds like something our illegitimate DC denizens would do.

Housing prices, either rent or purchase, seem to have slowed, but not stopped, their climb. There are some new houses being built and one or two previously “abandoned” ones being rehabbed, either for sale or rent. There are also some new apartments/duplexes being built nearby. No one here is happy with that, for we all fear the dread Section 8 disease. Even my neighbor, the VFD fire captain, is unsure of what they’re going to be, and he usually gets that sort of information at the ground floor.

In good news, ammo is still available for all common calibers and at reasonable prices, considering. I laid in some more 9mm, both ball and hollow point. That’s probably the last of that I’ll be buying, for reasons I’ll go into later.

I’ve also purchased a new-to-me, otherwise known as refurbished, computer. The one I’m writing this on is also a refurb, a Lenovo SFF desktop (I know, but they make the best computers on the market in my opinion) with a Gen 4 i7 and 8 GB or RAM. I unfortunately fried the motherboard that came in in it and had to resort to a “working pull” from eBay. Over time, it’s developed an annoying habit of randomly locking up, and locking up so tight that it leaves no entries in any of the Windows log files. Probably why it was a working pull-the IT shop that had it simply gave up and replaced the machine. I’ve seen this before, and it’s always been hardware. So, after considerable thought and shopping, I bought another Lenovo SFF desktop. This one is a Gen 9 i7 and 16 GB or RAM. I’ll have to do a hard drive swap, but that’s the only part I’m taking with me. I know it’s a good drive (Samsung Evo) since I installed it myself. I did find a used and relatively inexpensive video card that is a vast improvement of the built-in Intel graphics, so it will be able to do some lightweight gaming if I’m of a mind. The old one will get the hard drive from the new one and be turned into a Linux testbed. Someday I have hopes of leaving Microsoft behind. I can dream, can’t I?

While I could probably do with a single computer, I’m not ready to go that ascetic just yet. Besides, two is one and one is none. We also have some unknown period, probably measured in years, of various sorts of chip shortages to live through. I’m just not willing to take the chance of having to pay who knows how much for a replacement because I’m in a hurry rather than working with some time. This new machine comes with a 1 year warranty from eBay, and during that period I will flog the crap out of it. For that matter, I’ll do that before the hard drive transplant takes place. I think it’ll be OK, and if it lasts as long as this one has, I may never need another anyway.

Yesterday Son came over and assisted me with the replacement of the rotator on my 6M/2M/70cm beam antenna. As this necessitated working right up on the edge of the roof, I decided that a higher level of safety was needed than in previous years. I put the thing up by myself with no one at home a few years ago, but the migraines have taken a toll and now with nephropathy in my feet, I’m simply not as graceful as I once was. However, I took my time (and 3 breaks to rest the feet) and got it all complete and tested in an afternoon. Now Mountain Man and I need to do some simplex testing, and I’d like to try 2M FT8, just for giggles.

Outside of wanting to know just what chemical(s) I was exposed to and how much of them that I’m experience all these physical and neurological issues in my advancing old age, this really brings to the forefront a question I’ve brought up on the blog before-prepping as we age. While some folks have as much vigor at 70 as they had at 50 (my Dad was one such, as was my Great Granddad), I’m not one of them. The spirit is willing but the flesh is becoming increasing weak. A reliance on several drugs just to keep some level of function is going to be a big limiting factor if things really go to hell in a handbasket. Via the magic of off-shore pharmacies, I’ve been able to accumulate small supplies of some of the drugs I need, but the migraine preventatives are a hopeless challenge. Even if I could get them, they’re blazingly expensive-the last preventative, which has done me a lot of good, is $864/month before my insurance pays off. Even it it was 50% less by buying off-shore, it would still be too expensive to accumulate much. And the other two are even more expensive and one requires a professional to administer.

This means I have to seriously consider, again, exactly what I’m prepping for. I don’t see much future for myself and my wife if things go all Mad Max. Oh, I’ll get a few before they get me, and I’ll torch everything before I see them get it, but it would end quickly. Depending on exactly how the economics work out, a long-term poor economy might be doable. I’ll should be able to handle anything short-term, say for no more than 3 months. This means a lot of the stuff I have, that I got back when I was 40 (or even younger), is now surplus to needs. I hope Son hurries up and gets a house of his own so he can benefit from it all. Daughter and Son-In-Law have already taken some and may be able to handle some more. The rest I’ll sell off and turn into something more useful, like preps for the grandkids.

Anyone interested in a pair of West German field telephones and a couple of kilometers of phone wire? 🙂

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