An update: 4:16:20

So I have been laying low on here for a while, not writing or posting anything in a while. There are a few reasons for this. First, I am lucky enough to still be working, and my wife and I are basically homeschooling the kids now due to schools being closed. I have been working on my bug-out jeep/ back-up car. I know, a Jeep is a Jeep, not a car and not a truck. Trust me, my wife used to get annoyed when she would call my jeep a car, and I would jump on her about it.

Anyway, the world has changed so much this year. Interestingly, I told my wife in January that by April 1st the U.S. would be a lot different. Ironically, April 1st was the day our state put a shelter at home order in. Canadian prepper was also doing a poll on outlooks for the Dow market. I estimated at 18K. That is where it dropped to, well, a little into the 17K throughout that day, and it bumped back up. It was a very interesting to see, along with the awkward shopping rushes and the current hard to get items.

Locally, it is interesting. The norms are hard to find, like toilet paper, paper towels, cold and flu medicine, alcohol, eggs and cleaning supplies. A local store is price gouging like there is no tomorrow. They are selling a dozen eggs for the same price walmart is selling their 36 egg packs. ~$3.50. Meats are weird as well, where the only beef available is expensive steaks. Ground meat is impossible to find. Luckily I canned a good bit of ground beef and sausage a few months prior.

So, as far as social behavior in the time of “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” (I hate the millennial terms for stay away from people so people don’t get sick,) people in my area seem to think not going to work and having parties and other gatherings are perfectly fine. In my household, we take things seriously. I am the only one who leaves, be it for work or a shopping trip, it is me who goes. One avenue into the house, but also one to blame if we get sick. I will never live that down. I wear masks in public places and at work via policy and common sense.

While cleaning supplies are hard to find, especially things like the convenience of lysol spray and wipes, sometimes there are bulk cleaners available. I bought some Mr. Clean cleaner, then a couple weeks later a bottle of lysol liquid. I put this in a spray bottle and viola, spray cleaner. This is nice, but bleach can be diluted as well for cleaner, although I get nervous using it on anything porous. The other important this is having soap on hand. I got lucky here, as we make out own foaming hand soap, and have bars in reserve. Bars are great for hand washing or showering if we run out of shower gel.

We have not been hurting, and have not had to dig to much into our preps throughout this time. I have used a little bit of canned sausage and hot sausage to see how canned meat taste over time. They tasted just fine, but consistency was different. You know what, though? It tasted a lot better than what I can currently buy…Another “prep”we have gotten done this week was planting 50 lbs or potatoes. I used my whole existing garden bed for just potatoes. We are breaking new ground for more garden space this year.

We are also putting up a fence because I want to use my land, and unfortunately so do my neighbors. 4-wheelers and dirt bikes and side by sides driving through my garden will not be healthy for them, risk of lead poisoning. But I must abide by what is right, so after the ~$830 for the survey, and posting flags that are ignored, I called my township office and asked for the zoning laws for fences off the property line. I got the best news I could have. With a valid survey, there is no distance requirement. I can be right on the property line. The privacy fence I wanted to put up would run around $1,000, which was too much, so my wife and I discussed it, and decided on a hybrid fence, half privacy by the houses, and welded wire to the end of our yard. It seems like everyday the neighbors further cement out conviction to put up a fence. Probably does not help that there are so many people stopping by everyday there that they will be the people who bring it into my little town.

Anyway, now that my little rant is over, a friend of mine also gave me some segways that do not work. I am attempting a battery rebuild. Replacement batteries run around $2,000 (This is for a pair for 1 segway.) Tearing apart and replacing the cells with new ones cost me ~$68 for 18650’s. Well, that and the cost of a spot welder. Probably more efficient than my last battery build using solder. I will rebuild one pair of batteries, and test the segways. They are all off road models, but the one is much fancier than the others, and that is the one I will keep. The other 2, if running on the rebuilt batteries show they work, will get rebuilt batteries and will be sold to buy myself a freeze dryer. Depending on selling price will depend on the size of the freeze dryer I purchase.

Also, the bug-out jeep is having a nice build up. It is already lifted, which is very beneficial. I put an LED lightbar on it, used an awesome invention, a 6 gang switch and relay box. This makes wiring so simple compared to how I used to do it, with rockers and a lot of wires going into the cab. The one I am using in MICTuning. I cannot afford the fancy SPODs, but we are making things work. Obviously a winch and winch bumper. Light brackets for the pillars, where my CB antenna will be attached. I am running a 102″ whip, and found a bracket for the antenna to rest in during normal commutes. I have the Cobra 29 Sound Tracker in the interior. I had to redo the headliner, and my wife chose the perfect material for that. I also had to redo the whole front clip due to cracks and it was not fully connected. I still have a bit to go with the Jeep, but it is a lot different than when I got it.

The last thing I want to mention is a personal opinion based on how people are acting right now. Politicians are pushing agendas and people are acting stoopid(spelling error for my famous line “you put the second “O” in stoopid.”) People want to do whatever they want, public be damned. The only way the American population will do what is needed is by martial law. Probably will not happen, but we will also not do what really needs done. We are currently still on the uptrend, and yet the president is talking about starting to open the country back up. The country wouldn’t be in the place it is in if people used common sense on a regular basis. Listen, when I was younger and went to bars, virtually nobody washes their hands. I have always washed my hands adamantly every time I use the restroom. Walmart, I feel like myself and the employees are the only ones washing our hands. Sneezing and coughing into your elbow. This is something we have taught our children. So many kids just sneeze without any attempt to cover their mouths. Heck even adults I see all the time.

In a time when people are to be cautious, people are acting like clowns. People intentionally coughing on people and produce, costing stores many thousands of dollars. People gathering when not only has it been ordered not to, but when common sense should make it well known that it is a bad idea. The last thing I am going to say is what the governor is doing while a lot of people are out of work and struggling. He is giving the inmates free tv’s, free cable, free postage on 4 additional envelopes per month, and free emails, along with promising the inmates the world, and leaving staff to answer for why they aren’t getting what they were promised. We all think of first responders as doctors and nurses, police and firemen. We do not think, in general, of the mail people, the people stocking the shelves, the prison guards and others. The aforementioned postage may not sound like a lot, 4 extra postage paid envelopes a month, until you realize that 48,000 inmates in the state, and postage 55 cents an envelope, adds up to $105,600 per month, or over $1.2 million a year. This is the cheapest thing on this list. The addition of many more recreation periods, more time out of the cell, and more and more. The problem is, yeah, it looks great on paper, until you are the front line dealing with it. Not having time to do everything, then realizing you have more to get done. Collecting laundry, passing out trays, doing razors, handing out trays, while running phones non-stop all shift, running the kiosk for their tablets and email, running recreation, showers. Then you get told it is your job to hand out free playing cards to every inmate. 2 decks each. I am not suggesting a total lockdown, but stop giving them everything they want when the taxpayers are sitting at home barely getting by, and the people who couldn’t follow the rules and broke the law are living it up right now.

I just wish people knew where there taxpayer dollars were going right now. How about another delightful thought. Cable is $17 a month, it is now free for 48,000 inmates. That comes out to $816,000 per month, and for a year, that is almost $9.8 million. That being said, that is not the total cost of the free cable, as the prison is charged a certain amount, and anything over goes into an inmate fund for things for the inmates. But the principal is still the same. Money is tight right now, and are you getting free cable to ease the burden? Not a chance. The stimulus package was supposed to help restart the economy. Realistically, after it flops(in my opinion, it will,) we will be worse off as a whole, with the Dow dropping as yet another indicator of the direction of our economy. Right now, the correction looks like it is in place for hope that the stimulus package will work. Right now, people are struggling to pay off bills, and try to figure out what to do next. Just like the plans to start to re-open the country, these are mere pipe dreams at best.

As soon as a re-opening occurs, cases will sky rocket. Why? Because some of us are following the orders given, and when no body is when we still have numbers climbing everyday, you are asking for trouble. Just like when people use this stimulus checks on bills, and not to buy new T.V.’s and fancy stuff like that, the only result can be more fears in the market. Wait until a true GDP report comes out, and the amount of business closures really gets looked at, because there are many closed for good, not just during this time. How many workers who were displaced and put on unemployment will not return right away. Why? Because they will see a stark increase in cases when employment start opening, and companies need workers. When people start traveling again, and start spreading and catching more and more. The basic fact is that this is a long ways from over, and no amount of expectations of anything less than that will be realized.

My final thought here is remember your humanity. There are those less fortunate, and those less able to get what they need. This is a little anecdote for you to remember your humanity. There is a senior citizen down the road. He is apparently kind, sitting in his chair in front of his house when the weather is nice. He waves as you drive by. I do not know his name nor his story. I know him as the guy who waves when we drive by. One day I am heading into town, and notice him sitting outside. I stop, don my mask, and approach him, maintaining distance, I let him know I am heading into town, and ask if he needs anything, you know, like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, anything. His response is that he is good on those, and the only thing he needs that he could not find was denture cleaning tablets. I ask him if there was a specific brand he uses. He could not think of it at the time, so I told him I will grab some and stop by on my way back. I find 2 different brands, one is a 3 month supply, the other is a 4 month supply. I buy both. Cost was like $10, nothing major, as I am lucky enough to still be working. I return back and knock on his door. He smiled, as I don’t think he was really expecting a return back, I hand him the bag, and he looks, gratefully thanks me, then asks how much he owes me, to which I respond “Don’t worry about it, a few bucks is worth my humanity.” He accepts the act of kindness, and I feel much better knowing the man now has 7 months of something he uses everyday. I just want to say keep your humanity. It will go farther for everyone involved.

Stay safe, stay vigilant, and keep calm.

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