Adventures In Disaster Preparedness 

Power is still out, over 72 hours later. The latest restoration estimates range from Thursday night to Sunday night. FaucetCompany decided to stay closed yesterday, so I spent the morning locating and acquiring what seemed to be the last portable generator in the nearest eight counties. 

Round trip travel time was right at three hours. Cost was seven hundred fifty federal reserve notes for a 6250W unit. My last model was 8500W, but I figured I could get by with less by powering only certain circuits at a time. The second half of the day didn’t go at all as planned. 

There were no cords to be had, or even cord ends, so I had to tie the wires from the panel directly into the generator panel. Only there was no easy way to get to the guts. So I tied in at the alternator output. Everything went well after that until I actually tried to start running things. 

Something is amiss with the wiring in my house. The breaker for the hot water heater also turns off the electric range and most of the lights. All of which can also be turned off by turning off their respective breakers. As long as the water heater breaker is on. The kitchen circuit that includes the refrigerator also controls the circuit in my office at the back of the house. 

So, the only way to run anything besides the refrigerator and my office was to also power the hot water heater, which alone nearly maxed out the generator. So, I left everything else off except a couple lights and waited for the water to get hot. 

After about an hour, the lights started looking weird. I put a meter on the generator and found one leg at 165VAC and the other at 150VAC. You guessed it. The voltage regulator had fried. I throttled back the engine until I got 112/130VAC, hoping to get it to run the refrigerator and the lights in the office. 

At first, it did okay. Until I tried to turn the TV on. Voltage dropped into the nineties, and the lights went out along with the TV. Amazingly, it ran the refrigerator, though. Which is why I let it run all last night. 

I have a pair of voltage regulators on the way, but expedited shipping was unavailable for any price. In other words, power will almost certainly be restored before they arrive. 

I did get a warm-ish shower yesterday, and I hope that Duke Energy gets me back up and running before I get home tonight. Cold showers suck. 

Learn from me. Have backups in place before you need them. Test them regularly. Have backups to your backups, because Murphy lives. Think about more than just power. I’m working on a medium scale water backup. Nonperishable food that can be prepared with minimal heat or eaten cold is essential, in case all your backups fail. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Got Preps?

Hurricane Matthew just rolled through my area yesterday. Actually, the center of the storm never got closer than about 150 miles from my home. All I got was steady rain and sustained winds of just over thirty miles per hour for approximately twenty-four hours. This matched the forecast. 

Naively, I thought that the worst that would happen would be flooding in areas prone to such, and perhaps a few downed trees. I mean, we get regular thunderstorms with stronger winds and significant rain. Power might go out briefly, but nothing extended. Right? Wrong!

I lost power about this time yesterday, and there’s no estimate as to when it might be restored. Over two-thirds of the county is suffering the same fate. Duke Energy (not the only energy provider) is reporting that in the state, they have over half a million customers without power. Obviously, a the percentage is higher towards the coast, but many in the central part of the state are included in that number. 

Two years ago, my storage building was cleaned out, including my 8.5KW generator. That left me with a couple deep cell batteries and a 2KW inverter as my only real backup. All of which disappeared with Former Houseguest last year. I’ve been so busy paying off bills since that I never bothered to replace those losses, much less continue to build my preparedness inventory. 

I have food, but my only heat source is a propane grill. 

I haven’t even maintained a supply of drinking water. Fortunately, the public supply hasn’t been disrupted or contaminated. This time. Yet. 
Short of being glad that my rule of “half a tank of gas is empty” last month when pipeline issues caused gas shortages, I haven’t needed any of my preps in over five years. But like a fire extinguisher or a gun, when you need it, you really need it. 

Needless to say, this has been a wake-up call for me. Infrastructure is fragile. Two is one, and one is none. I have work to do. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


If those who are out of work and have given up on finding a job are no longer considered unemployed, are those who are unattached and have given up on finding a significant other no longer considered single? 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Topped Out

Remember that team lead position that my bosses were hounding me to apply for several months ago? Yeah, well, my dumb ass did as I was asked. And of course they gave it to me.

I’ve been in the position for about three months, and I’ve been earning the extra money since about day two. I’ve never aspired to even the lowest leadership levels, and I’m not much of a people person. Consequently, it’s been a challenge. But a challenge that I’ll conquer and eventually master.

I ran the night shift team during our annual shutdown event in July, and they did well enough that the entire team got recognition for it. Most of my time before and since has been spent training the rookies. Only one person on my shift/team has been with FaucetCompany for more than a year, and he just had his one year anniversary. While the seemingly never ending training is tough, it is easier to earn respect from those who haven’t been around long enough to have developed a god complex.

I lost one member of my team already. Not because of anything that I did, and she was a firmly mediocre worker with nonstop abusive spouse drama that kept her distracted and impossible to train properly. As guilty as I feel to admit it, I’m relieved that she is gone.

Her replacement is supposed to be a troublemaker from another shift who is on his final warning. We have a history, though, so I can handle him. Inasmuch as he can be handled, anyway.

I try to pick my battles, but I’ve already walked one issue all the way up to the plant manager . I didn’t get the resolution that I wanted, but a prompt and acceptable solution did come out of it. I’ve been a squeaky wheel at lower levels a few times, too. I worry that I will stir the pot one time too many and wind up looking for a new place of employment. Even so, I can’t look the other way when my guys get the short end of the stick. They told me that one of my responsibilities was to be a bridge between the guys who do the work, and those who manage but lack the technical knowledge of the position, and to be an advocate for my team. I take that responsibility seriously.

Most days, I have moments when I wonder what I was thinking when I agreed to take the job. But it feels good when I am able to have even a small positive impact.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Gunfights

Today when perusing my feed reader, I saw a blog post titled “From Self Defense to Murder in three seconds” on one of my regular reads. I read the post and watched the linked video. If you’re interested, here is the link to the video. I will refrain from linking the post itself.

I’m a little confused by the criticism. Bad guy follows dude into a parking area where he’s pretty well boxed in, and comes out swinging a club of some sort. Dude shoots, bad guy pulls back and turns, dude shoots again. The angle isn’t perfect, and there’s a third person blocking the bad guy at that point, so we can’t see everything that happens all that clearly, but after about a second, dude touches off a third round.

This happened in another country and dude has supposedly been charged with murder. (There’s also a report that the two had been feuding for quite some time, rather than this being a random road rage incident, as it is presented on the video. I’m not sure that changes anything, but full disclosure and all.) Blog author seems to agree that this would have been an acceptable response by the prosecuting attorney, had it happened in the US. I’m not sure I agree.

Think about it from dude’s perspective. Even if he knew that bad guy was pursuing him, and acknowledging that had he known, a better course of action would have been to not stop, certainly not park in a way that limits egress, and definitely not to attempt to exit the vehicle. All that said, once he was being attacked by a lunatic with a bat, I can’t see how deadly force wouldn’t be a legal response.

Just like Zimmerman, mistakes were made leading up to the encounter, but none that were illegal that we are aware of. And it’s too late at that point anyway. It’s kill or be killed, since the option of running was no longer available. Retreating should never be legally required anyway, even though it is often the wisest move.

We train to engage quickly once the shoot/no shoot decision has been made. Split seconds are often the difference between life and death. Adrenaline is a powerful thing. You shoot bad guy once. He pauses and kind of crumples. Do you really have time to stop and analyze whether or not he is down, or only momentarily delayed, waiting for an opening to finish you off? Maybe you missed, and his reaction is one of surprise, not one of being shot. I mean, half a second ago he was trying to turn you into hamburger using a baseball bat.

So you shoot again. Many advocate a double tap. Two rounds on target, pause, and repeat if necessary. In the blog author’s opinion, the second shot may have been okay, too. But just maybe. But supposedly the third round was an execution shot that cannot be forgiven.

To my old eyes, it seems like bad guy was out of the fight at that point, but can we be certain? Is it possible that we missed something? There was a third party between the two combatants, but that means little. And adrenaline is powerful stuff. Once in the blood stream, we can’t turn off its effects in a split second.

I understand the logic behind the author’s comments. Observing from a sterile environment, it may be questionable. Could it have been an execution? Sure. But it could also have been a response to bad guy turning and trying to push the intervening party out of the way so he could continue the fight. But the fact is, we’re Monday morning quarterbacking one of our own, one of the few who actually needed to use his gun for self defense. And we’re throwing him under the bus and driving over him.

I was somewhat guilty of the same after watching an old man shoot the bastards in the internet cafe in Florida a few years back. He actually chased the bad guys out of the building, shooting while they were retreating. I casually mentioned to someone that nobody else seemed to notice or care that it had gone from armed thugs (real threat) to assholes and elbows (no threat) while old man kept pursuing and firing. I can’t find any reports of him being charged, and he shouldn’t have. Although, I fear that had either thug expired as a result, the outcome may have been different.

Yes, we should learn from these kinds of events, and do everything we can to avoid making their mistakes. But in my opinion, given only the video evidence linked above, it was a righteous shoot. Cops (not that we should even consider wanting to emulate them) regularly unload multiple magazines into suspects, firing long after they stop twitching, and nobody blinks.

Mistakes were made, but that is part of being human. No self defense situation will ever be 100% perfect. Why the microscope and condemnation on this one?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grumpy Chicken Farmer

Look what followed me home today. 

And within a couple hours,  I had this:

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


… was made yesterday.  I went to my favorite Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. And I only ate one plate of food. I  was comfortably full, and decided that the need to get my money’s worth was less important than the inevitable discomfort that a second plate would’ve caused. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments