Report from the OP, October 25, 2022

Looking out from the back of our house. Autumn is falling all over the place. The woodcarport is holding 6 cords, split and stacked tight. Mostly red oak, with some hickory and ash for flavor. All dry and ready to burn. As someone said on another blog, if you want to know how concerned I am, look at my woodpile.

We’re going in reverse, from close-in to the big, wide world.

For the now obligatory grandkid sub-report, things are going well. Gastric distress issues seem to be solved, at least for now. Mom has finally accepted that what she eats has a direct impact on her milk, and thus on her kids. Enough late nights with gassy children have a way of making the point nearly inescapable. A change in formula has also helped. Mom feels that she is finally getting a handle on the whole Mom thing. My view is that she’s done quite well for a first-timer, all things considered.

She’s had a lot of help. Mrs. Freeholder has spent several days with her, and we’ve both gone over and spent a number of afternoons and evenings. Her Mom-In-Law spends one of her days off (she’s a nurse and still working) with her, and of course, Son-In-Law is there to help in the evenings and on weekends. Senior Brother-In-Law stops in frequently. With some help from Son, I’ve mowed grass and cleaned up storm debris. Mrs. Freeholder and Mom-In-Law have helped with laundry. We all change, feed, burp and cuddle babies on demand.

I recall when Daughter was a newborn. Mrs. Freeholder and I lived in another part of the state at that time. The few friends we had were all intent on remaining childless and acted as if kids were a disease they could catch. Her mother was recently deceased. For reasons best not gone into here, my parents didn’t make the drive to visit their first grandchild. Friends back home were all up to their eyeballs with their own kids-it was summer, and ball season. BT,DT. The only visit we got before we moved back home was from my “adoptive” parents, who came down and kept Daughter long enough for us to eat out-Taco Bell, lol.

I have to smile at this entire thing. The kid, even dealing with twins, doesn’t realize how easy she has it. Sometimes I think I’ve made my kids’ lives too easy. Growing up poor teaches you how to be creative with your life.

Such as with recent developments at the Freehold. Our house was built in 1979 and has all the oddities that are associated with homes from that era. In short, compromises were made. We fixed the most egregious ones, such as the electrical system, early on. Other, such as windows, were “doctored up” and put off. The windows are deciding that they’ve been put off long enough. Last winter, two of the sealed units failed. They’re getting condensation between the panes, and you can feel the difference in temperature between them and the non-failed units. Additionally, they’re starting to leak air again and have other problems, such as not holding in place when open. The screens are shot. Plus it’s time for caulking, scraping and painting. All told, this is several weeks’ worth of effort, since I’d have to stand on a ladder for 95% of it, and my feet aren’t going to have that for long on any given day. Plus bad weather. And I hate painting.

Time to have the windows replaced, probably. We’re talking to Pella and two local franchises of national service providers. I really wanted Andersen windows, but OMG the price. The others will be expensive, but I don’t believe they’ll be in that rarified neighborhood. This is one of those expenses that, as a homeowner, know you’ll have but never actually plan for. Let that be a lesson to you.

Gas prices have dropped, running around $3.40/gallon for regular. Diesel is hanging in there at $5/gallon. Seemingly in proof that the demand for gas is inelastic, I see no real changes in the amount of traffic on the roads. The makeup of the traffic seems to be about the same as normal. More dead vehicles on the side of the roads, though.

We’re seeing a change in habits in grocery stores. While availability is good with only limited bare spots, buying habits are changing. House brands are decimated anywhere you go. Even with sales on the name-brand stuff, it moves slowly. People will buy several cans of the house green beans, but only a can of Del Monte. Hard to blame them when the name brand is twice+ the price.

What I’m not seeing is people obviously stocking up. I do see a lot of half-full carts. In the stores, people seem to be more…somber. You don’t see a lot of “Hey there!” and hand waving. People are also vibing distrust and suspicion. People of “lesser means” are looking at people with full carts with a certain amount of anger. None of this bodes well. Bear in mind that I’m painting this with a broad brush (and did I mention that I hate painting), but I think it’s time to up your situational awareness game. Take a friend shopping and watch each other’s back. Do I need to mention going discretely armed? Take spare magazines or speed loaders.

Concealed carry insurance isn’t a bad idea. There are several good ones out there. I’m a member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, but there are other good ones. I’ve heard some good stuff about US LawShield. I’m considering joining them as well. In some ways, they’re a compliment to my existing service.

Speaking of insurance, it’s going up too. Every insurance policy we have, except Mrs. Freeholder’s life insurance, has gone up dramatically. Be sure that your coverage amounts will actually replace the insured items. I’m going to have to talk to my homeowner’s agent. I think we’re low. Yay, another increase!

Globally, while there have been some de-escalatory events, on the whole, I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop. It still looks like the jumping-off point will be in Eastern Europe, but the Chinese may be coming up on the outside. The coronation of Emperor Xi, coupled with yesterday’s spy busts aimed at Chinese agents, are bound to be accelerators of that situation.

Now is the time for topping off. If you haven’t even started, you can try, but unless you have nearly limitless deep pockets, it won’t happen for you. Sorry.

That’s it for now. I need to get some yard stuff done, and I have a ham radio club meeting tonight. Out here.

5 thoughts on “Report from the OP, October 25, 2022

  1. I feel like we’re in a lull, a complacent time. Grocery and WalMart are stocked, prices have not escalated any higher since last spring; gas has crept up a little. Heating oil just jumped up over a buck in the last 2 wks, to $5.49 a gallon. That’s got people worried. Our previous fill up in 2021 was under $3 a gallon.
    I’m waiting for the storm to hit, maybe this winter, maybe in the spring. But the wood is stacked, the garden produced well, we’re stocked as can be.
    We also have to hire someone for maintenance work, not as young as we used to be.

  2. I agree with your observations…things are getting a bit weird here in Ohio. Noticed the same things in regards to the stores….be wary. I had USCCA for the past 10 years and recently added US Law Shield for the same reasons. More is better in this case.
    I continue to stock up across all categories just trying not to be obvious about it…..
    Situational Awareness is the key……I am afraid this year will be a muted holiday year, which is sad.

  3. Good on the grandkid’s situation improving.

    Despite observing everything Freeholder has mentioned, my live-in landlord is adamant that I am not allowed to “bring more food into the house- it’s too heavy”. Sigh.

    Any reasonable suggestions on how to handle the situation when his cupboard is bare but my unlockable one is almost full?

  4. SNH–I concur with your timing. I expect the fun and games to kick off about November 9.

    Frosty–Barring circumstances beyond our control, we’re currently planning for a big Christmas–for the twins. The rest of us will probably be drawing names.

    Jack–Thanks for the compliment. I’m hoping I don’t have to do this myself, but if I do I’ll consider the scaffolding.

    Robert–Short of the landlord having his “Saul on the road to Damascus” moment, the only thing I can think of is a new abode. Given what I hear about rental availability and prices, that might not be a workable idea. What about a storage unit nearby? You aren’t supposed to keep food in them (understandable, vermin infestation is a thing), but if you bring it in boxes or totes, and put it in 55-gallon drums with lids or metal trash cans, that should keep that problem in check.

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