Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Sunday, August 21, 2016

State of Myself, Preparation and Lastly The Blog

Hey Folks, I figured it was time to touch bases. I am doing pretty decent. Some time for reflection was good. As to where life is going I have a better idea then before so that is good.

I have been sober for a minute now. Won't say that has been a magical solution to all of my problems but it certainly helps. If nothing else I am creating life problems at a much more sustainable pace. Figuring out what makes me happy now has been interesting. I like live music and ice cream a lot.

Some of my time and energy is going towards getting my body back to where I would like it to be. That mean weights and running, also eating better. Working on my skills also. Regular dry fire and after my time with the kids is done I will get back to combatives and a regular shooting regimen.

Most of my preparations and energy towards that is the stuff listed above. The rest of the energy is really going to solidifying my systems. In an incremental way I am working on setting up EDC (light and heavy) then my fighting load, get home bag, heavy bug out set up etc. This is moving pretty quickly as I am really just rounding things out, not totally reinventing them. My EDC is done and the fighting load only needs a couple things (I think a single double taco and the belt that will come from replacing the EDC one). The GHB can use a phone charger and I think that is it. Beyond that the issue is mostly organization. Small holes will likely come up when things are organized but the right stuff is generally around.

I am also working on organizing normal life stuff and getting rid of excess. I hesitate to use the word minimalism as it doesn't exactly apply. Maybe getting rid of excess stuff is a better way to put it. This applies to all sorts of stuff that is not regularly used without a valid purpose as a back up or contingency. I have considered some alternate housing options and to make that kind of thing work I would need to have a lot less stuff.

As to the blog. Consistently posting a couple times a week is the plan for now. As to focus I want to catalog my efforts to focus on realistic preparations for likely survival related events. I think we can get too focused on very unlikely events at the expense of much more likely ones which is a big mistake. I hope to get people thinking in the right direction.

The commercial side of the blog is in limbo. I am toying with setting up a much more automated model. This way I can eliminate or at least minimize administrative hassles. Also I won't feel like I owe an advertiser something as much as I did in the past. If I get busy and blog a bit less it is fine.

So anyway that is where things are. Your input is always appreciated.

From Survival Blog: Is Being Prepared Getting In The Way of Living?, by M.

What are you preparing for? Are you getting ready to survive an EMP attack? A financial meltdown? Flu pandemic? Nuclear holocaust? Regardless of what we are preparing for, sometimes it is healthy to ask ourselves how we are living in the meantime. Those of us who feel a need to prepare do it with a passion, but are we preparing in sensible ways that allow us to enjoy life each day, or are we so busy watching and waiting for the chaos of life to justify the time and money we’ve spent on our “preps” that we miss a lot of the important business of living in the moment?

I was born in the late 50’s and grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. The Cuban missile crisis happened while I was in kindergarten. To this day, I remember it vividly. We were sent home early from school wearing name tags. When my sister and I walked up to our house, my father was loading up the car so we were ready to flee at a moment’s notice. Around that same time, I remember touring a fallout shelter, which my parents were considering buying and burying in the backyard. Living where we did, they thought long and hard about that one. Lots of our neighbors did, too. A few years later, I remember standing on the porch of our suburban D.C. home with my father after Martin Luther King had been killed. Riots quickly erupted. We could hear the explosions in downtown D.C., only a few miles away, from the rioting and devastation. The experience was chilling. Then Richard Nixon resigned after Watergate. I was in college at the time and working a summer job at the Pentagon. I listened as people I worked with, who came from all different backgrounds, actively talked amongst themselves and wondered if the government was going to fall and if the guidelines provided by the Constitution were gone forever. I remember sitting in line for gas during the gas crisis of the 70’s and creeping along mile after slow mile (on odd or even days, according to your license plate number) for a turn to fill up the tank. When I married a career Army man, we spent years living overseas, mostly off-base in German and English neighborhoods. During the first Gulf war, while my husband was deployed to the Gulf, military families living off base were given very specific safety instructions. One of the things I had to do every morning was get down on my hands and knees to check under the car before I drove our children to school to see if there was anything suspicious under there. I would always keep the children inside while I turned the key in the ignition, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and the car didn’t explode. Sound to you like maybe I was overreacting? My husband was the duty officer of the day when the Red Army faction tried to blow up the NATO school in southern Germany with a car bomb in the 80’s. He only survived because of a faulty timing mechanism on the bomb. 

So what else is new, you might ask. You say that you already know we live in an unsettled world. My point in rehearsing my little history is to share the fact that, although I grew up in a home where we were always prepared and my husband and I continued to practice always being prepared, I never felt like a prepper. I applaud prepping. I respect independence and self-sufficiency. However, I see too many people today who are so busy prepping that they seem to have forgotten how to live happily in the here and now. I offer up the following guidelines as examples of my own benchmarks. They are my mental safeguards that help me to be prepared but keep me from crossing over into an unhealthy obsession with prepping. And yes, there is such a thing as an unhealthy obsession with prepping. Any virtue carried to an unhealthy extreme becomes a liability. 

Rule #1: Prepping supplies cannot spill over into the comfortable living areas of my home. I don’t care how valuable certain items might be for bartering after the SHTF, if they interfere with my ability to provide a comfortable living environment for my family, then they have no place in my home. Making memories in the here and now is important, and I don’t want my child’s predominate memory being that there was never a clear path to walk between rooms and that she was embarrassed to invite a friend over because the clutter was so bad. I believe in stocking up; I really do. I have a tower of TP out in the shed and buckets of wheat in the downstairs closet to prove it. However, my family members feel like they live in a clean, comfortable home, well, at least most of the time.

Rule #2: Every spare minute cannot be devoted to prepping. Prepping takes time and careful thought, but every hour spent prepping is an hour that you will never get back with your family for family memories. We combine the two when it makes sense. Working in our garden together as a family teaches many valuable lessons. However, if the kids are endlessly waiting around to play football with their dad and he is always too busy because it is more important to organize his bug out bag, then the wrong lesson is being taught. I have watched parents justify all of their time spent prepping by saying that they are doing it for their family. In my experience, children would rather have their parents’ time than just about any other resource. Okay, so maybe they won’t have the coolest gadgets or the greatest variety of foods in a crisis situation. But if they have good memories with their parents in the here and now, most will consider that a more-than-fair trade-off. There is also a much greater likelihood that they will function more effectively as a family unit and know how to support each other. They will also probably be happier and more adaptable.

Rule #3: Prepping decisions need to be jointly agreed on by both spouses. Otherwise, resentment simmers and eventually boils over. The biggest argument my husband and I ever had (and this is the truth) was about shipping empty Clorox bottles I had saved for water storage from Massachusetts to England during a military move. He was livid that I would even think of expecting the U.S. taxpayers to spend their hard-earned dollars on such folly. My position was that it had taken me two years to save up that many empty bottles. I made enough sacrifices as a military spouse already. It wasn’t fair that every two years I had to go back and start from zero again. In the end, we compromised. Mostly, I gave in. We shipped a few empty bottles– just enough so I could start a water storage plan as soon as our baggage arrived. The rest were thrown away. Prepping decisions always involve time or money, and both are important resources. Both parties need to be equally invested in those decisions. Even if one party is willing to do all of the gardening chores, both parties need to be in agreement on the amount of lawn to dedicate to the garden as opposed to, say, a hot tub and pool.

Rule #4: Specialization is smart. Be grateful for the skills of others. They save you boatloads of time and effort, which allows you more time to enjoy the genuine pleasures of life. None of us is good at everything. I am really good at sewing, storing and preserving food, and gardening, but I am hopeless at figuring out solar energy configurations and options. In fact, pretty much anything having to do with energy seems to slip right out of my brain, no matter how many times I try to get it to stick up there. Luckily for me, my brother helped me to set up a very efficient and functional off-grid solar system that would power our freezer, fans, wheat grinder, lights, and other small electrical appliances if the power went out. I am now looking for a smallish fridge that will work well given the capacity of the system. My brother is my best source of advice. Likewise, he was thinking there was no point in his trying to garden at his cabin, which sits above 8000 feet in the Rockies. I was able to share with him some tomato seeds I had that were developed in Russia during Soviet times for a short, cool summer growing season. He hasn’t planted them yet, but the growing seasons aren’t that different, and I think there is a good chance that they will work. Being able to share your individual areas of specializations with those you trust can save everyone valuable time, which can then be spent on simply enjoying life.

Rule #5: Keep the Sabbath Day holy. I find that if I focus on worshiping my Savior on the Sabbath, my time during the rest of the week is expanded to compensate. My financial resources also seem to stretch further. It has to do with the economy of heaven, and it really does work. My husband and I never prep on the Sabbath, and we feel that we have been blessed in our preparedness efforts as a result. Try it for yourself. If there is a particular area of being prepared that challenges you, or if you are short of funds for a particular purchase and you can’t see where the money is going to come from, or if your spouse or other family members are not as supportive of your efforts as they could be, try simply keeping the Sabbath day holy; test the Lord. He always comes through. I can say that miracles have happened in my own life by following this simple principle.

No matter how many years we are blessed with, life is short. While there is no denying that we live in a dangerous world that challenges us with a multitude of different scenarios to prepare for, we always need to be mindful of the need to live our lives each day with gratitude and joy and to set the example for other family members in this as well. Peace comes from being prepared, yes, but joy comes from living. Here’s to finding a sensible balance.

From the excellent Survival Blog managed by Hugh and owned by JWR. I think they are OK with stuff being reposted as long as it is attributed to them. 

My thoughts:
I wish I would have read and internalized this excellent article a long time ago. I would write a rule very similar to the one about not spending every minute on prepping that says not to spend every spare dollar on prepping. Balance kiddos. Figure out a reasonable amount of money to put towards preparedness. Also put money towards entertainment, travel and whatever other stuff you enjoy.

The part about relationships, heck if I know. For me this wasn't a huge marital issue. Preparedness relate conflicts were mostly about space with stuff trickling into living space. Beyond that I am 0/1 for marriages so I do not feel qualified to give advice there.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Life and Various Things EDC, Caches, ETC

Hey All, I spent about half the summer in Eastern Europe for work. Maybe I will talk more about that at some point but I am back in the US now. I also have the kiddos with me for the remainder of the summer. So I went from being busy with work to being busy with the kiddos. Thoughts have been brewing in my head lately. Also since the kids go to bed early and I have them with me there isn't a ton of stuff to do after they go to bed so you may hear from me more in coming weeks. No promises though.

Here in eastern Kansas it is hot and humid. Not quite the sauna that is Louisiana but still a hot and humid. So I am pretty much living in shorts and tank tops outside of work. This has some EDC challenges as cargo shorts have officially jumped the shark. I am toying with some new carry methods for my Ruger LCP and a new knife. The theme is maintaining basic capabilities in a way that fits within my lifestyle. In a couple more weeks I will talk about the specifics of these things some more.

Along these lines I have been thinking about the 'naked bag' that lives in my vehicle. I got the idea from Pastor Joe Fox's book The Survivalist Family. I have it in a separate bag in my vehicle so I can change, if needed, then rock out in some functional clothes. One might say this is redundant as I am obviously wearing clothes in the vehicle but I may be coming or going from the gym, being lazy on the way to the store for milk, etc. The first time I did this the clothes in it were really pretty outdoors/ paramilitary in nature.

I realized this is dumb. Odds are far, far higher I will be using the clothes in this bag for some sort of normal mundane reason than some emergency scenario. Maybe I cover my shirt in BBQ sauce at the beginning of a day in town. Maybe I forget to pack something for a trip. Maybe some nice young woman takes me home for the evening. All of these things have happened and not once have I needed to change into my crazy pants (literally) and run off into the woods with a back pack. Also I no longer live in a rural area. I live in a mix of suburbs and exurbs of a city with intermittent farms in between.

So what does this mean? My 'naked bag' looks a lot more like a generic overnight bag then some survivalist thing. I need to choose clothes I would actually wear that would work for me to actually wear and have a useful secondary function of JIC clothes. This means sturdy non cotton clothes and a good pair of shoes. I added a fleece and a rain jacket which generally lived in the back of my vehicle anyway. In addition to those items I included a pair of gym shorts to sleep in and a hygiene kit. Maybe I will post on it later.

For whatever reason the idea of caches has been in my head for awhile now. Maybe I was bored and had wandering paranoid thoughts or maybe that little voice is telling me to spread out my risk. Recently I was visiting family in a place where I could potentially end up if things go sideways. Having an EDC setup, a rifle, ammo n ancillary stuff next to an old ALICE pack full of camping/ survival stuff in their attic would be a win win as they are like minded but on a tight budget. Depending on some other things I may put together a couple more caches.

Before we get into a discussion about money where people call each other poor or yuppie survivalists I should note I do most of this type thing with stuff already on hand. The costs are sunk so its not like I am writing big fat checks today, which I could not afford.

The next post I write will probably be on some things I am working on right now.

Take care of each other

Monday, May 2, 2016

Life Updates

Not Dead, just distracted.

One of the things I am busy with is working on myself trying to get healthy. Think that some good long term personal growth is happening. Don't want to say anything now as that is a shot you can't take back. However suffice to say I am tacking a long term personal shortcoming.

Beyond that I am looking at how I want to go about making my back up rifle once the lower gets here. I am looking at the cheapest option (which I am comfortable with anyway) which is probably a barreled PSA upper with one of their premium FN made barrels vs a more mid to upper mid shelf option. The difference might be less than one would think.

Also I have been re watching Jericho on Netflix. Some interesting lessons there. Of course the primary goal was entertainment but it brings up some thought provoking stuff.

Bike rides and jiu jitsu as often as I can plus the usual boring Army PT.

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recent Prep Related Acquisition- SHTF Bicycle

I purchased a Specialized Hybrid bicycle. Could have gotten a cheaper one but they often have issues and in a weird way spending more makes me feel like I really need to use it often. Honestly I purchased it primarily for recreation. However it has signficant benefits if gas becomes prohibitively expensive or something like that. You can move faster/ further or carry more weight (loaded and pushing it or in a trailer) than otherwise.

I need to do a couple things to it at some point. A water bottle holder, a pouch to hold a few little things and a seat made for cruising not going fast. Also a basket or some panniers to put some stuff in.

Since it has gears and such this bike is more prone to long term issues than a fixie but in the mid to short term it is a lot easier to move around on. With a few spare tubes, a set of tires, some brakes, etc you could probably keep a bike going for a real long time. If I was going to buy a bike strictly for preps the fixie would be the way to go but having a spare bike just for that seems redundant for now.

I am enjoying the bike and try to ride it every day possible. It is relaxing, good for me and (excluding the initial cost) free.

Other than that not much has been going on. I have been traveling for work and my energy outside that has been spent on fitness and generally working on myself.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Meister RE: Ryan vs Liberterian Solutions to Urban Poverty

Meister wrote this in response to Ryan vs Liberterian Solutions to Urban Poverty and I felt it most appropriate to reply in the larger context. His words will be bold. My thoughts are going to be after every paragraph. My thoughts will be in italics.

Tough love is an important part of society. You succeed, or you deal with the consequences. The idea that everyone deserves their own home is just silly. Just 50 years ago we still had 3-4 generations of family living together. Of course, That was back when the family unit was an important thing in America. Today the idea of an equal partnership in marriage has squashed the family unit all together. It leads to many more issues than it helps, and our kids pay the price. (disposable relationships) I know you are dealing with that issue now, and I'm not saying you are at fault, just that society as a whole has accepted failure as an option in relationships, mainly due to the breakdown of the familial leadership structure.

I agree about tough love and that consequences are an effective motivator. Personally I am pro multi-generational home. I would note that in many poor communities this is much more common both for cultural and economic reasons. 

As to my own life. First I don't take offense at what you said. Second
while the marriage was totally broken and needed to end it is very unfortunate that it hurt the kids. That my actions/ decisions (I own my piece of the split) have had negative effects on my children is something that bears heavily on my mind. Third heck if I know what any of the answers are man. I am 0-1 on marriage and not in a hurry to try again. At the end of the day we can't look back in anger. Oasis said so.

I interested in hearing your thoughts on REALISTIC ways to fix these problems in the short (say under 5 years) to mid (call it a 20 years) range. Emphasis on realistic. Everybody adopting a specific religion, no kids born out of wedlock and no divorces tomorrow would not be realistic.

The poorest have little incentive to live a different way. I'm not saying that those unable to care for themselves should starve, I'm saying that even people with health issues are useful to society in more ways than just receiving benefits. The ticket taker at my local movie theater is a wheelchair bound person with limited hand control, but he can tear tickets and point you in the right direction like a champ. He has a genuine smile that tells me he's enjoying his job, when 95% of the welfare recipients would refuse to do such a menial task. 

This part is complicated because the multi generational poor have an entirely different set of values than the rest of us. The way they look at things like money, relationships and values are totally different, obviously they have totally skewed views/behaviors about work. 

I agree with you about working. People should not be starving or homeless in America. (I would prefer a more private model to a government one.) However those people should provide a useful service in exchange. Even if it is half 'make work' jobs people would get used to the behaviors of working (get up on time, go somewhere, dress appropriate, work hard or reasonably hard, shut up when the boss is a jerk, etc) to hopefully transition to a more meaningful job.

We must once again look to the past to see how we need to change course or perish. Communities thrived long ago because they knew they were part of something. Today's neighborhoods are full of strangers.

I do not know the answer but I think the breakdown of community when we changed to patterns of life based on the automobile was a big part of the problem. People used to live and work (mostly) in the same area at much higher ratios. There were businesses on one floor and apartments up top or in the back. In a more rural setting the business might be in the barn/ fields. Work and life were a lot more commingled. Now we work 20 minutes from home and shop 10 minutes away in another direction. That means a lot less time spent with family and around close neighbors. 

Sorry if I rambled.

As always the comments section is open.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What To Do With Some Money?

If everything goes as it should I will have some money become liquid in the next month or so, between $15,000 and 20k. I am trying to figure out what to do with it. As such I am soliciting your input.

Ideas I have considered then discarded
-Beans, bullets and band aid's. I am relatively pretty good there. Of course these are always areas we are working to improve but I have a bunch of guns, cans full of ammo, literally tons of food, etc.
-Various medium to large sized prep items. FLIR, silencers, a nice rifle scope or two, etc. Will get many of these in time in due time but I can handle them (except FLIR) on a save for a couple months then buy type plan. I try hard to be smart with the occasional times I get a big chunk of cash.
-Buying a(nother) house. With my semi nomadic nature buying a place I planned to live where I am working is a lot more space than I need, plus the costs of buying/ selling as often as we move add up. Buying where I might live later would leave me as an absentee land lord for a long time. Also that would involve debt which I really don't like.
-Cash in the bank. I have an emergency fund and a vehicle replacement fund both in the bank now. Between the two that is as much exposure to that risk as I can tolerate. Still I included this in the poll on the right because it is a good 'figuring it out' short term option.

Ideas that remain with pro's and con's
-Buy land. Pro. BUG OUT SITE!!! Tangible and not going away. Will allow me to cache a bunch of stuff I have been hauling around. Like no BS I would set up a Terminator Cache!!!  Except technically a Terminator inspired cache as we should all know CONNEX's are only designed to take weight on the top corners not on the roof or sides so literally burying one would require bracing, probably via poured cement but I digress. Will give me a place I could go and live real cheap if I need to. Con. I am in the bottom end of this being feasible price wise. Fixes me to a location. As I move every 2-3 years that it is a bit more complicated than buying land 30 minutes from home. If I don't end up nearby when I settle down this could end up being a long distance thing which is not optimal.

-Buy gold/ silver. Pro. Inflation proof and (particularly silver) at pretty good prices these days. Transportable store of wealth. Con. Doesn't solve any problems for me. Also leaves me trying to physically store more assets and a higher percentage of my net worth. My risk, relative to my overall financial situation, of a catastrophic break in is already about at tolerance level now.
-Replace the soccer mom SUV. It is still running fine now but isn't getting any younger. I hope to get another year or 18 months out of it but am not totally sure that is realistic. Since I do not borrow money for vehicles this will be a major expense. Pro. Solves a significant financial/ life problem I have coming up. Con. This is the closest thing to a nest egg I have and using it for a short term (vehicles constantly need fixing/ replacing) problem seems penny wise and pound foolish. Used right I think this money could go a long way to setting me up in a decent spot. Also I feel like having the upcoming need to replace the vehicle will help me be disciplined in saving for that while I might not be so disciplined to put money back in the bank (or whatever) to replace what came out. Worst case if the vehicle I have now dies before I have the cash to replace it outright I could borrow from my emergency fund or get a loan for some of the money and pay it off in a hurry, which ever made the most sense.

-Something else I didn't mention?

My gut says if I can make it work land is the preferred option. 

Please vote in the poll on the left and leave your comments here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Concealed or I Suppose Open Carry and Social Interactions/ Dating

I am interested in your experiences, both good and bad, as well as thoughts on being armed during social interactions, dating, etc all. I know not all of my circles are rabid gun people and suspect yours aren't either. No right or wrong answers, I am just curious.

Thanks in advance

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I have safely arrived in Kansas. Very tired of driving. Looking forward to getting settled here and exploring the area.

Monday, January 4, 2016

All Time #1 Winter Driving Tip

Today I am going to share with you the #1 tip for driving safely in winter (snow/ ice/ etc) conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

This weekend I had the displeasure of driving through Portland Oregon when it was in cold, snowy, icy conditions. Vehicles were wrecked all over the place. Most were minor one vehicle slides off the road and or bumps the barrier but there were a couple of not good looking roll overs. Interestingly about half the wrecked vehicles were really good winter rigs like Subaru wagons and Toyota 4x4 trucks. The issue was that while increased traction via AWB/4WD does help you go it does not help you turn or stop. So these folks got overconfident and wrecked. Another good example that all the hardware in the world will not fix a lack of skill.

Slow down on bad winter roads. Either leave in enough time or tell folks you will make it when you make it. If the roads are really bad and beyond your comfort zone consider if you even have to make the trip at all. Better to miss an event or even lose a days wages then wreck your vehicle or God forbid get someone hurt.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Name Change

Wifey is hereby known as Baby Moma.

Note- Before anyone gives me crap about this being demeaning or something she chose it and brought the matter up.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I'm Back

Hey Folks, I am back. Kind of had some field time for work and didn't really plan so well with putting up posts. There has been a lot going on and whatever. So at the last minute I slapped up 3 weeks of posts the best I could.

I appreciate your concern. On another note Wifeywas nice enough to drop by and keep thngs even keeled. At some point if she is still getting mentioned here she will need a new name. That is a problem for another day. 

Anyway I am back and  generally well. There is a lot up in the air but I am OK. I am looking forward to getting things settled and moving forward. Nothing is certain but there are some exciting possibilities in the future.

Normal posting will come back tomorrow or so.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rain and Gumbo

The aftermath of that hurricane in the gulf is a lot of rain here. It has been raining all day and we are currently under a flash flood alert.

Being rainy, overcast and not above 80 degrees it actually feels like fall now. Fall is soup weather.

 Paw Paw decided to make Gumbo today and that got me craving it. So I decided to make some. Since this was the first time I have attempted gumbo I did not make the roux myself. The roux is really the soul of gumbo.

Gumbo is for all intensive purposes Cajun stew served over rice. Like stew the exact ingredients are somewhat flexible. Folks tend to either go smoked sausage and chicken or seafood but those are not hard and fast. It can vary by what you have on hand or your groups taste buds.

I went smoked sausage, chicken and shrimp. Of course there were bell peppers, onion and celery. The peppers were from my garden. The soon to be ex would point out they were like $50 peppers but still kind of cool.

Got it cooking and when it was about 20 minutes from being done did up a pot of rice.

The roux was weak but overall the result was pretty good. It made about a 2 gallons. I will freeze half of it. Next time I am going to try making my own roux.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Life Update

Kids are good. Honestly they are not really old enough to get it. In that regard it is better now than if we had somehow kicked the can down the road a few (more) years. They are with (soon to be ex) MIL and surrounded by family.

I video with them a couple times a week or so.

I am doing OK, settling into a new normal I guess. The bad 'OMG my life is over' days are getting much more rare.

I am keeping up on PT and doing OK on dry fire. On the plus side I have started cracking the code on the eating side so I am seeing real results there. 10 down and 13 to go. More on this in due time.

On the big D side we are figuring it out. Trying to balance protecting both our interests while not spending 2/3rds of our money on lawyers to fight over the remaining 1/3rd is the goal anyway.

So that is what's going on here.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Prepping Through Dry Stretches

There are certainly different levels of preparedness. Some folks are happy with a case of buckshot for the family shotgun, a good water filter,  a stash of emergency food sufficient for a regional disaster (say 30-60 days) and a shoe box full of batteries for flashlights and radios. Aside from rotating canned food if you go that way (which is a good idea it has a lot of pro's and limited downsides specifically weight and occasional need to rotate them) and batteries, which with some organization can be done through normal use this guy is done.

Other folks want higher levels of preparedness, some much higher. For folks on the longer end of the spectrum of preparedness goals it is a long journey. It is years or most of a lifetime of work. A marathon not a sprint if you will. In any multi year effort there are going to inevitably be times where you loose focus or life's demands creep up. Medical issues can come up and money gets tight. Sometimes we just plain get bored or lose interest. Now it is easy to do nothing about preparedness for a week or a month but when a month turns to 2 or 3 it can be an issue.

So what can we do to minimize the down sides of these inevitable events?

-Hold what you have got! This means keeping up on needed maintenance for small engines (or going all the way and draining fluids, etc), rotating fuel and mid term type food, occasionally cleaning some guns, etc. If we can do this at least we should be able to maintain the levels of preparedness we worked so hard to get to.

-Automate whenever possible. Metals Pimp does a regular monthly plan for silver and gold. Set it up on a CC or transfer from your bank and forget it. [As soon as I get a better picture of what my post divorce money situation will be I will set one of these up.] I think there are similar plans for food storage out there.

-If the reason you are slowing down/ distracted only affects one area (space, time, money, physical stuff, etc) then focus on the other areas. If you are broke you can still do PT and dry fire. If you are short of space you can still train. If you are short on time you can still accumulate supplies. Work on what you can work on. You get the idea.

So those are my general ideas about how to manage the inevitable dry stretches. Now here are a couple thoughts on how to get out of them.

-Shift focus. Start a new preparedness related hobby. If you are a big radio guy get into shooting. If you are a big shooter get into canning. If you are a big time gardener work on pt.

-Do something useful but a touch indulgent. Splurge on a cool new radio then play with it. Build that precision rifle or get licensed and pick up that Enduro bike you have wanted. Dig deep to find the money for that class. You get the idea. [Incidentally I am going to try hard to make ECQC happen in 2016 as a present to me. Also an Appleseed.]

-Reevaluate and set new goals. Look at where you are and where you want to go. Find some goals to be excited about and get back to work.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Vehicle Discussion

Tpals brought it up and well I can not think of another thing to write so here we go. Vehicles.

The vehicle I have and am going to get in the split is a Korean soccer mom SUV. It is a fine enough vehicle for what it is. However the soccer mom SUV has a shade under 140k on the odometer. Korean vehicles aren't the junk they used to be (nor are they the amazing value they were after they fixed the issues but before people realized it) but 140k is getting close to the danger zone. It is showing its age these days.

The goal would be to sell it before it starts to have the kind of issues that cost me money or really falls off the cliff in terms of value. On one hand I could sell it ASAP but an already paid off vehicle is a darn nice thing. If I could drive the soccer mom SUV for a year to let me save up for a newer vehicle that would be great. However that could backfire and instead of being able to sell it for a few grand I end up with NADA out of it. On the other hand buying a vehicle now is a less than optimal option. I am not really at a good place for big purchases.

For the next vehicle I want more towing capacity. Like enough to move a decent sized travel trailer if I choose to go that way for housing down the road. That means a V8. 4wd is a must. Also darn it I have wanted a real no BS truck or awesome SUV for a couple decades and darn it I am getting one for my next vehicle.
If/ when I decide to buy a new vehicle I have a decision to make. Part of me wants to buy an old school, EMP resistant, vehicle like an 80's Blazer or Suburban. The up side is I could buy one comfortably with cash and they are awesome. Anything with a Chevy 350 and associated drive train is about as common as it gets in the US. The downside is those things are about 30 years old, often have some miles on them and there is a real potential to have it $500 the crap out of me.

 On the other end I could get a newish (say 07 or better) SUV or quad cab truck like an F150. The up side is everything except cost. Realistically for something with sane mileage (say under 60k) I am looking at about 20k. This means either hitting my cash reserves pretty hard or taking a loan, neither of which exactly appeal to me.

Then again if I have a long commute for the cost of a newer truck I could have a sweet old school SUV as well as potential, at some point, a little daily driver car to putter around in. Have a sweet older vehicle for that role and if I have a long drive just buy a little car. If cost was spread out by awhile I could probably wrangle paying for both in cash. Best of all that is just if I work far from home. I could realistically drive an 85 Suburban 5 miles to work and 5 back for a long time without any real issues. 

Your input is appreciated.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Heavy Unfortunate News: Separation

Wifey and I are separated and moving towards divorce. I am down here and she is at home with the kids and dogs. Of course nothing is over till its over but it sure looks unlikely the current course will change. I didn't see it coming though I should have. The unfortunate truth is that we have probably been throwing good money after bad for awhile now. I wish her the best going forward. Hopefully we can settle things as painlessly and quickly as possible.

So that is what's going on with me.

So what am I going to do moving forward. I am going to keep writing (need this little invisible community more than ever) while I try to figure things out. Heck I've started writing fiction again. No promises on when anything might come out but it is still progress.

How am I doing? Emotionally I am all over the place. Mostly moving between a sort of one foot in front of the other OK and sadness. On a positive note I am at least somewhat trending in a good direction and getting used to things. Figuring out what my new normal looks like. Working hard to forge stronger connections with friends and fill my time with positive, or at least neutral things. Have some self improvement to do also.

I am scheduled to leave here in the winter and go to a new duty station. Going to go home to see the kids as much as I can. Also I am looking hard at a new plan where I end there for good (and could be a meaningful part of their lives) a lot sooner than planned.

I don't write this to solicit advice or pity and for goodness sake I do not want to talk about my feelings. My intent is to let you know what is going on with me and get it off my chest. Please bear with me, the usual regular quality posting will continue in due course. In fact from a preparedness angle some pretty interesting things are probably going to happen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Thoughts on Self Improvement

There seems to be some discussion about whether Einstein actually said that but in any case it is a good quote. The point is if you are unhappy with the results in some part of your life then change the stuff that feeds into that specific thing.

 Some people say the first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem. I do not think this is true. The reason I do not think this is true is that baring mental retardation or some sort of mental disorder people know what their major life problems are. They may play it off to other people or whatever but they know what their major issues are.

The 300 pound former Infantry/ SOF guy Bob who used to weigh 225 but  hasn't watched his diet/ PT and subsequently is now shopping for an extra extra large gun belt knows he is fat, the people with debt up to their eyeballs paying the Visa with the MasterCard know they have money issues, Sally whose last 3 boyfriends were druggies she met around closing time at a dive bar then immediately fell into bed with and later found out they were jerks/ thieves or general dirt bags knows that her dating MO sucks.

 Other people say the first step is making a plan. Though I reject it less fully than the first idea I am still not a fan of it. The reason is that if we asked all the people mentioned above know what their issue is and have at least a general idea how to fix it. Also if you got them talking each of these people already has a pretty decent plan for how to address their problem. They might not have a plan that will get them 100% of the way but they certainly have a good enough one to get started.

The real issue these people are having is not about a perfect plan it is about ACTION! The slim positive about being way off track is that it is pretty easy to get headed back towards the right direction!

Bob the 300 pound guy could make almost any change(es) in his life and show improvement. He could switch to light beer, hit McDonalds for lunch twice a week instead of 3 times and take the dog for a slightly longer walk every day and will likely see progress. Sally could do literally anything different; heck even if she just admits to herself a one night stand with a loser was just that and cuts her loses Sally would get better results.

 The plan that never comes to fruition is a big issue in self improvement. Why is this? With very few instances self improvement is not pleasurable. By the simple nature that we are failing in an area it pretty clearly shows we dislike doing the right thing in that area; heck maybe we even like doing the wrong thing. Ice cream is good, shopping for new shiny toys is fun, etc all.

You can figure out the right way to finish self improvement but for goodness sake get started.

Friday, August 21, 2015

State of the AR-15 Union Summer 2015

The other day one of my soldiers brought up buying an AR-15. He knows I have one and so does another soldier who works with us. He asked my thoughts on buying one.

I asked what his budget was and he said about a grand though he would like to have some room in that for accessories, maybe swapping furniture, etc. I got onto the computer and did some digging.

There are so many AR's out there at really competitive prices. We saw a Bushmaster Patrol for $650. Not a brand that you can brag about (like LaRue, Noveski, DD, etc) but a good Chevy/ Ford tier  work horse gun. Rugers new DI gun comes in around $700. Heck we saw a Colt 6920 for $850. To be fair I am talking internet dealer prices so add $60-80 once you pay shipping and a local dealer to do the paperwork.

He talked about potentially building one. I said I'd help if he wants. However with the price of these new, solidly decent guns it would be hard to justify.

Mags can be readily had for $13 and under.  PMC M193 is 37 cents a round at Lucky Gunner.

Anyway there are a lot of good guns out there at awesome prices. Ammo and mags are readily affordable and affordable. Heck 10 years or so ago I paid $850 for a no name budget tier rifle and money was worth a lot more then. If I had left that money in a mayo jar today I could buy a Colt 6920LE which is a whole lot more gun.

I expect the non politically correct gun situation to get bad this winter, heck maybe this fall, as the election madness gets going full force. Inevitably prices will go up and availability will go down. This means almost inevitable panic buying followed by shortages and scalping. What I a getting at is that there is going to be a period, say several months on the short end and a year on the top end, where the market for AR's and such is going to be bad. Best front load purchases planned for the next year or so to the coming 3 months give or take.

Better get while the getting is good.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fun With Children

Recently Walker decided to name our chickens. Now he can't really tell them apart or count but that doesn't matter. One is named Nemo like from the movie, another is named cammo and one is named construction worker. Yes we have a laying hen named Construction Worker.

Also on a fun note Princess recently started wanting ice in her water for bed time. A reasonable enough request. The issue is she hates the water being cold but can't seem to connect the two things. MOre fun with her. Princess was standing in the room in front of me asking if it was a good hiding place. I do not see hide and seek success in her near future.

May write an actual post later today but then again I might not.
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