The ResilientDad blog has moved!

It’s taken me some time to figure out the move but I think things are fully operational now at MakeResilient.com. This is important to me as this means a commitment to continuing the blog on a higher level for me. I am focusing on creating new content for living a resilient lifestyle amidst the changes we are facing in this new industrial revolution or the automation revolution as some have dubbed it. I’ve set up a sort of editorial calendar to keep me ahead of blog topics and what needs to be drafted or researched. Lots to learn, but if there is anything I like about this path, it is the continuous learning process.

New posts have already been added to the new site over at MakeResilient.com. If you liked the material here in ResilientDad, I’m working hard to making them better over at MakeResilient. Thank you!watson

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To do stuff 16.08.08

Today (at least 12:25am today) I made a Youtube account and Gmail to tie them together. I did a quick test upload so that I can check the feasibility of how this would work. I figured, the main issue I have with blogging right now is that it takes about an hour to write something. I don’t have that time if I am going to do my other projects.

Also, first day to carry in the office. Will be observing how this will go. I carried for the first time yesterday from church and as we drove around to check for houses for sale. It was very uncomfortable. I am trying something different today so I know if I can keep this holster.

I drafted a blog post also, documenting how I am on my path to become an armed citizen.It ended up being too long even for the 1st part. I will come back to that later and will upload it in segments. I am trying to figure out how I merge the blog with video so I can be productive an minimize time spent on putting up a post.

Currently it is the end of another busy day at my day job. After this, I need to visit a restaurant and apologize to the chef for failing him at customer service for the urban farm operation. He has been avoiding my calls and text so I am assuming he hates me. No big deal, but I would at least like to apologize personally.

I also have to drop by Walmart and refill my water rations (we keep a revolving stock of approx 18 gallons in jugs as part of my water storage).

i signed up for Audible-so that I can educate myself further while I am on my commute or early in the morning. This is basically my classroom time. I realized my phone does not let me download the app. I need to update my OS, but if I do I may lock up the phone as this is not an unlocked phone.

I am in a dilemma of needing to buy a new laptop and a new phone so I can make my business endeavors work. I’d like to not put this on a credit card if at all possible.

Getting ready to garden again

We are getting ready to garden again this fall. We are not planting anything yet, but I am getting my soil ready. We tried planting on the ground on my first year here in Texas. I learned real fast that I should not do that. The soil is all clay, and even with my excuse for a raised bed and soil amendments my plants did not thrive. I picked a spot that was too hot and had no shade. (Dang plant guide said full sun). I watched 2 or 3 seasons of my tomatoes and basil just burn.

This season, I am trying it again but will be wiser. We are planting them into plant boxes. This way I can relocate them to shade and I can better control it. I plan to include pest protection and season extensions too. By this I mean some kind of hoop structure with shade or screening.

This project is on a tight budget ($30) so I am going real cheap on the planter but will focus on irrigation and automation. For the first part, we built the planter this past weekend. I am happy to say that we did a lot (me and my 5 yo son) in under 2 hours. We were not accurate and craftsman-ish. But we gathered scrap wood from previous projects. We reused our neighbor’s old fencing. (He had put in new ones after hail damage). Cut and hammered away pretty fast to build this planter.

  

Here’s my son marking up the fence to the right size. This was also a good education for him. He learned to check things before grabbing it-so he knows to look for nails and other sharp objects on the fence. He also got to exercise math while measuring.

The next part is to cut the rest of the fences. I may cheat and cut these on weeknights. The goal is to build it so my wife can participate by painting it. We sourced some free paint from the city recycling center. Once painted, I need to put in any compost and soil I have in there. I will then cover it with a tarp or other material and just let it rest til we plant in the fall.

Also need to get some seeds planted so I can start them indoors. I plan to spend the bulk of my $30 in some irrigation eqpt. I don’t think that is even enough to buy the timer, but we’ll check for prices on that and get a better understanding of what needs to be purchased.

Slow day at the farmers market

Today is turning out to be a bad day at the farmers market. I’ve been here for about 3hrs now. So far I have made $12.

In my head I am asking myself is this just one of those days when everyone is browsing and not really here to buy? I observed other vendors, I think they get 3x more inquiries and not sure how much of those are sales.

I need to sanity check that. Hold on a sec.

Okay I guess it is just me sucking. Other folks are doing fine,particularly the refreshments. Produce and meats are kinda okay but not as busy as the drinks. It is hot here in Dallas right now. Maybe I can add some kind of drink to my store tomorrow-those would sell 🙂

I know I need to learn marketing. Kinda why I am still blogging my process thru this. But, right this moment, what can I do to sell these dang microgreens?

Okaaay the vendor beside me just closed and it is only 12:40pm. I guess it is just a bad day after all-mine just happens to be a bit worse than others.

(update, after a few more minutes another vendor closed up and left)

Anyway, I am trying to deal with this lack of interest from customers. I am trying to see if I can improve my chances by interacting differently with the browsers. Let’s see how they will react with me being more out there, more approachable demeanor and a bit more engaged.

So how about that. I just got 3 new inquiries in the last 10mins. What changed? All I did so far was stand up and make myself look more engaged. None of these folks buy microgreens regularly so if they get at least curious I can start a discussion.

-update: most of the post above was written on my notepad while I was there at the market in real time. Since that Saturday market, I closed up at about 3pm. I was there for almost the entire day, I made less than $20. Really bad day for me, I think that is my worst day (so far). By the time I got home I had a mild heat stroke and I had to hydrate all weekend, take some migraine meds and take naps. It also took me away from working on other projects-which is the biggest loss for the day.

On the other hand, somewhere in there I know I am supposed to learn something that leads to a more resilient life. Maybe it is just persisting. Maybe I just need to get kicked in the rear and pursue restaurant clients. Maybe I just need to focus and fix this side hustle of a business I am doing (the urban farm). Or maybe it leads me to understand sales better. Currently I still do not know, but I am reacting on the results of that weekend

I did get a teachable moment between me and my son. He came by with mommy around 2pm. I explained I had no sales, and we looked at dropping my prices. On that opportunity I explained to him how the market and prices work. If there is demand, the prices can be high. If there is zero demand, the prices can be set lower and daddy should go home.

He made me a sign, for $3 an ounce of my microgreens. That is 25% lower than my standard price. I opted to spend the remaining part of the day with my family.IMG_6095[1]

Article on the future economy

Here’s a quick article that shares some of my concerns:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/278148

The highlights from the article are:

  • Software is replacing accountants and analysts
  • Ecommerce is replacing traditional retail employees
  • Self-checkout kiosks are replacing food service personnel
  • Storage and retrieval systems are replacing warehouse workers
  • Robots are replacing factory and security employees
  • Online courses are replacing brick and mortar schools
  • Delivery drones are impacting the shipping industry
  • Smart cars will change the transportation industry

Almost all of these trends touch my day to day life at some level-they probably do to you as well. Maybe you are not working at a fastfood or maybe you don’t use Uber, but if not you then someone around you. Enough people around you that you do not know of will be impacted-and it may not matter that you do not know them, the sheer number of them being affected will affect you somehow.

It’s why I am worried-I cannot wrap my head around how much all of this will impact my family and everyone around me. These changes will not only change the economy and the job market, it will change our everyday lives.

Now hold on for a second. These changes are not just a cause for concern, they are also a reason to rejoice. Yes you might get laid off on your job (which would really suck) but after you deal with that issue and find another job, you cannot deny that there will be benefits to these changes. I would love to be able to type or sleep on an automated car on the way to work. Granted I want to keep our Jeep and retain the option to drive without automation, there are better things to do with your time rather than just interact with other drivers on the road.

Doing your groceries will also be more efficient, or just delivered to your door. Man this is going to hit the commercial real estate as well.

I may now have a better justification for telling my wife that my son may not go to college: he will have better options by then. He can get a highly specialized class for the industries that he is most passionate about. He will not have to deal with the fluff of tenured professors and french literature. He will probably finish formal schooling sooner as opposed to my generation that had to study til we were in our early 20s.

Also, I hope someone invents some way to automate my favorite pastime: dishwashing. I dang spend way too much time on this when I get home from work.

The changes are coming regardless if we like them or not. It will come in phases and by the time we realize it, it will be too fast. My plan is to have me and my family ready to adapt to them.

 

The Concerns of the Future

Part of why I wanted to start this blog is to clear my head of my thoughts by writing them down. This way I document it, and what gets documented can be tracked and managed so I know my progress.

There are a lot of things coming, and there is no way to forecast them all accurately. Due to limited resources (time, money, manpower) I try to focus my efforts on the following concerns for the future:

Financial – there are some real busts coming ahead with just the way the country has been running it’s finances. There are also more localized, targeted financial hits coming with technological and demographic changes.

Housing – I am currently a renter, and rent is expected to rise faster than home prices.

Security – we see it on the news all the time: active shooter scenarios, violent crime, home invasions and the stuff of nightmares. I can still recall the video captured by a webcam of a big 6′ male beating up a smaller female in the living room (repeatedly) while her 4 year old daughter whimpers with a pillow on the couch. Recently, here in Dallas, a shooter killed multiple police officers. There have also been a lot of riots in recent years. People have gotten used to it and are quite good at organizing them.

Climate – Texas is dang hot. That may change with how the sun has it’s cycles. This is based on a book by Mr. John Casey called “Dark Winter”. The gist of it is that the sun runs on cycles that can affect the planet with intense winters-and these cycles are historically documented. Also, it is possible that we will be getting more severe, localized weather events. We get thunderstorms out of nowhere pretty often, we get hit with hail quite often. This means we could see more tornadoes as well. The last one that was close to us was about 20 miles in Rowlett.

rowlett_tornado_dec_26_update

Jobs – more of our day to day jobs are being eliminated/changing. This is brought about by automation and technology, not just outsourcing. I am threatened that my current workplace is not shifting us to the new industry standard software. I do not want to be obsoleted because they do not want to step forward. I am also concerned long term that the viability of my job will shift significantly and that is why I am working on my own business.

Food – my family has been impacted by GMO food and we know we should stay far from it. My son has eczema and we know we get sick when we eat it regularly. We cannot always eat “organic” and they are not really the solution either. I started an urban farm this year, at some point I plan on growing much more of our own food.

19g300gtle2k6jpg

Healthcare – this is more of a financial issue for us. Currently we are fairly healthy and will be working on improving our health. However the cost of healthcare has been a big money suck on our lives. Thanks to Obamacare we whether we use it or not. We were lied to folks-hope you get that by now.

I hope to build up resiliency in my family so we can deal with these concerns. We will need to have multiple plans to address each of these issues and the whole lot of other issues that will spring from them. I have always been a problem solver at work and at home and now it is time to grow up and put those problem solving skills to better use: changing our lifestyles so we can be in better shape for the future. Note, this is different from earning more money so we can buy ourselves out of the mess we can see coming. This is building the solutions into our lifestyles.

 

 

Visitors

We just had another whirlwind 2 weeks at the house. We had 2 visits from different relatives from different states. For some reason we’ve had more people come visit us since we moved to Texas than when we were in NYC…even when the same people were less than 20 miles away from us at the time.

Today, folks will fly or drive to visit us and spend time in Texas. I hope it is partly because I have been telling a lot of them how our lives have been so different since we moved here.

I try to take our guests to a shooting range whenever I can. Most of them have never shot anything, usually they get pretty excited. I think I am going to make this into a tradition: if someone visits us here, they get to shoot. I have been taking them to a public shooting range in Garland-mainly because it is kind of cheap. Thinking about it now, on this last visit there it cost us $105-since it was $30 per first timer and $15 for me. That’s not really cheap for guests who come here to shoot for the 1st time. I may need to find some other venue to do this. The main reason I take them there is they can shoot skeet and I have not found any yet that is close enough to our location.

Here is their location:

Garland Public Shooting Range

It is $30 per head for your first visit. You come in and tell them it is your first time. They will have you watch a safety video in a room adjacent to the counter. It runs for about 5 mins. After the video you come back and fill out a small 5×8 sheet of paper with basic info and they give you a yellow card (your range card). Bring that next time you come to shoot and it costs $15 to shoot all you want. Bring ammo and your gear. It is almost always cheaper elsewhere than to get it at the range. We brought our clays which we got on sale at Walmart for about $5 for a box of 90. The folks are not always chatty, but stern and friendly.

I brought 3 folks and they all shot for the first time. The goal is always to make them feel safe and make it a positive experience. From there it depends on them if they have fun with it or not. At least they have tried it and have a better understanding and can make a more informed opinion about shooting. I do what I can to make them understand that there are definite rules that keep people safe-and yes it can be dangerous but when used properly these are tools that save lives everyday.

Other than time at the range, we also took our visitors to see Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. My aunt was quite captivated by it and loved being at the beach. She was quite verbal about how this was more reminiscent of her home than the beach they have on the East coast. We were only there for about 15 minutes, but with the nice warm low tide it was great

We also took them to Fort Worth to see the Stockyards. They had a blast taking photo ops with the bulls and bought cowboy hats. (I am wary of getting them just yet, but one day I will).fort-worth-stockyards

I think we’ve had enough visitors here we should have a written default itinerary for new visitors, and a running/updated list for new activities. The goal is to make visits diversed and help them see some of the great things that make Texas a great place. During the drive we usually talk about how there is no income tax, and how there’s just way more small businesses popping up everywhere because it is easier to start up something. I try to sell freedom where I can.

With all the visitors we get, it usually derails our housekeeping and budget. They come visit us planning to spend money but I don’t usually include their visits into our budget. It also screws up our schedule and errands. Still, I think it is worth spending time with them and making the most of it. I will have to figure out ways so that we are not so cash heavy on these activities though and have more flexibility on what we can do so we have options while they go watch the rodeo show that we’ve seen a bunch of times before.

 

Routine

Almost daily now I get up at 5:30 to work on my projects. Projects mean they are mine: business research, the urban farm, an ebook I am trying to finish/start or a new website. I get to work on my projects for about an hour and a half almost every weekday. Some days I slip when we get distratctions (in-laws, late night movies, etc)

I am working on several projects right now. This is contrary to the plan but it just happened. Before starting new projects it is better to finish one so that you do not lose momentum for all the projects. Right now I WAS working on a marketing plan for my urban farm. I was also doing research for an ebook and updating my preps.

  1. For sometime I have been pondering on blogging about my efforts so this blog started.
  2. Recent events have occurred and made me realize I need to be always at the ready for things, so I have been revisiting my preparedness plans
  3. We had some visitors come by and we also just got back from a vacation trip to the beach
  4. Certain events at the office made me realize I need to cut down on any business distractions there, and just focus on my job.

I have other excuses for starting on multiple projects and not completing any. But I digress. One of my goals for this post was to lay some ground rules and establish a routine that can accommodate a quick blog post and time for the other projects. I need to include blogging daily as a routine, regardless of what my main task for that morning is.

How about we do the blog while getting the coffee on. Maybe use it as a brainstorming sketchbook to formulate the plans for the day? Nah, it is better used as a repository of what was achieved yesterday…or maybe not. I can just blabber on this blog and since I just started it wont matter. I need to leverage the time I blog so I can improve on the other projects-at least in planning.

Let’s try both. A brainstorming sketchbook for the day and a log of what happened from the previous attempt. Let’s say 30mins for now, but the goal is to get this down to 15mins. (It is now 5:56am and I am close to my 30min mark.)

Go.

To Do:

soak peas for resto account for next week
iron clothesreview gear and prep for the weekend. note concerns of protests ongoing and rumors of protests for Friday
cook lunch so mom can have an easier day with the kids

 

A lay off at the office

Yesterday somebody was laid off at my workplace. I knew how this person performed as she worked directly under me in quite a few projects. She had some areas that needed improving on but this was kind of unexpected. We all knew the company was growing as we keep getting new hires almost every other week. The demand for our type of projects was strong and there is ongoing construction almost everywhere you went in the city.

We were told the firm was restructuring and as part of that our team was growing. We absorbed 2 other people from another team that was dissolved. Somehow for the numbers to work, we let go one of ours. They leaned out the teams and yes the market is great and we haven’t changed our systems/software to make us more efficient, but in that tiny situation somehow they found this as an option. My supervisors showed nervousness (also fear) to talk to us about what happened. They were more emotional about it too, most of us older folks are still fresh from the memories of 2008 and 2009

What surprised me is that his was likely, but it was not expected because of how things were in the bigger picture. I think this is a good spot to pause and list down some lessons:

  • Provide value. always.
  • Network and always be open to the opportunity of other jobs. Loyalty is uncertain in the workplace because you never know if it really is a two way street.
  • Never be complacent of threats. always be aware of the situation(s) that may come up from around you
  • Be able to adapt

All that said, I am going back now to work on my own endeavors. I need to market some more for my urban farm and I need to design some characters for an ebook. I will provide value when I am in my workplace, but outside of that all my knowledge and skill I will pour out for my own business attempts for my family’s future.

Texas CCW LTC

Today I finally went to get a CCW class-something that has been on my list for quite some time. Been on my bucket list for about 2 years now. One of the first things I did when we moved to Texas, was to drive to a pretty cool gun shop close in our neighborhood called GunGearToGo. I had been driving to and from my new workplace and saw their signs and was very glad to know they were really close by.

I talked with the folks there-really just to confirm previous research cause I still could not believe it-and they told me I can buy a firearm and all I needed was a TX state drivers license (we had just moved from NYC so this was suuuuper awesome to hear that regular people can protect themselves). I also asked about how to take classes so that I can carry concealed. They did not hold classes for it, but it still was great to awaken to this new culture where it is socially acceptable to be armed.

-Just a small disclaimer. We had moved to Texas from New York city-where it was impossible for me to acquire a CCW. It was highly difficult for me to acquire a handgun permit to keep at home. It was a completely different perspective there-one which I did not appreciate-so we were glad to be in Texas and experience first hand this new freedom. I still smile to myself regularly today, realizing the things we experience in TX that we could not back in NYC.

It took me a while to finally be able to take the CCW classes. Actually now the correct term is LTC (License To Carry) as TX allows the same license for concealed and open carry. My main hindrance has been the financial means to go thru with it. I found a way to save money for the handgun months ago. To do the class and have money for the application, I sold an DSLR camera lens I have not used in awhile. I sold it on ebay for approx $300.

I found the LTC class online from RifleGear here in Plano and it was at an amazing price of $49.99. Everywhere else I saw previously was at around $80 or so. I checked with my wife if the family had any commitments on our weekend schedule and signed up for the Saturday class.

The website noted to be there at 8am. The shooting portion was going to be at the Frisco Gun Club at 7am. I planned to get the class that morning and confirm which day to do my 7am shooting class. I had errands to do that night and so I had to cram checking my gear on the same Friday night. May need to run to Walmart for ear protection gear.

Around 5pm or so I got a call to inform me of a minor 30min. adjustment on the schedule. Scratched my head and realized that we were actually shooting at the same morning-7am before the written class(gulp) I was thinking of being nervous because I had not shot in years, the most recent one was about 2 months ago and this was really to have my aunt experience shooting in a range.

I asked myself would I even pass the shooting test? I did not have flexibility to adjust so I just jumped in with both feet. I will do my best and hope to compensate on the fly.

The next morning I freaked out when I turned of my alarm and saw it was 6:45am. I rushed around the house to grab my gear and clothes and whatever else was listed on my notification email from Riflegear. As I was frantically looking for my eyeglasses I glanced the stove top clock-it said 5:45am…it was time to pause and check myself. I had to have my wits around me today. have to be mentally present 100%. I got to cook breakfast pancakes for me and my wife, found my eyeglasses and drove off with 30mins. to get there.

I got to the Frisco Gun Club-man this place is amazing. totally out of my paygrade, but not intimidating. Our instructor was named Dave. We met outside and as soon as everyone arrived we walked into the building. (we did end up having some folks not show up). We used the VIP range (woot!) this place was decked out. It felt like you entered a mountain cabin VIP hunting club.

Dave gave us clear and concise instructions. There were no surprises and we were well aware of what to expect. I snagged/borrowed one of their available ear muffs (cause I never got to Walmart to buy ear plugs that Friday night). I decided I would be in the first group to shoot. I had seen an example of the qualification test on Youtube and it was straighforward and simple.

The first thing to do was to unbox your gun and put them on the table provided. Same with ammo. Eye and ear protection on. They will inform you when to load. They will tell you how many to load and to shoot, and when to fire. I can follow them basic commands.

I shot the entire box of ammo they had us bring (50 rounds). I had good groupings as well. Most of the shots were up close-I think about half my box of bullets were shot at close range.

 My enemy for today

Somehow, I had enough clarity to stand properly and was adjusting my thumbs to hold the gun better (based on a video I saw of Tim Ferris training with Taran Butler). When I started I was standing flat footed and was not paying attention to my body. I had not shot in a long time and I have not formed good habits on some pretty basic things. I even had enough mental bandwidth to take some photos thinking I could post these on the blog. I thought about asking for my target as a souvenire-but turns out that would not be a good idea. Our instructor informed us that they do not publish your score, as it had been at one point used by lawyers against a CHL holder. The argument was that he had a good score, he could have shot to disable instead of killing so why didn’t he? Amazing how society is.


Some of the other shooters in the venue (not in the same class as I went to) but we had about the same set of tasks

We were told we passed-and we can proceed to the classroom portion in the RifleGear store in Plano. Here I learned a lot about CHL that is just hard to condense if you are reading about it on forums and blogs. It’s just hard for me right now to find a good resource that is specific to my level and area. This made it easier. For $50 I had a great deal.

We learned that Collin County, TX where we were is actually one of  the highest concentration of CHL holders in the country. There are a whole lot of misconceptions as well as to what you can and cannot shoot for. I am smart enough to not list them here should someone use it as a reference and end up shooting someone later on. I will defer to the TX DPS and your CHL instructor for those specifics. I am new at this and will not act as a resource on that topic.

I can tell you that the venue was pretty awesome. I wanted to buy a belt and a knife while I was there-both of these I have been needing for a while. But I had to restrain myself and just remember the items I did like at the store. I tell myself that I am working on getting my family out of debt and I need to lead this effort and not give in to any impulse purchases. If money was not an issue, I would love to go back there to buy some needs. They have a safe area for kids to sit and watch kid movies. It’s like a lounge area-I have been telling my wife that shops for ladies should have these for men. Seems like this gun store is more switched on than those big companies that sell ladies bags and stuff.

The class was from 9:30 am to 3:30pm. We went about 30 mins longer but we had real good stories and case studies. You got 30 mins for lunch and 2 other 10 min breaks in the afternoon. Dave is definitely a good resource and I plan to have my wife get her LTC class from them as well. (Just have to sell another camera lens to fund her class and application). It is a good idea to bring something to drink and snack on. Bring a pen and notebook. Not a lot of note taking needed to pass the test, its more for your own notes you want to check out later. Pay attention to the logic and reasoning for the laws. Remember some key info on the signage that will dictate if you cannot carry in a building. Remember what the Ego does to your judgemend and the stages of Parent, Child and Adult…It is a very straightforward test and if you pay attention you will pass.

We all passed. We got a few items wrong and we went back to review them so we all know the right answers. The test was done real quick.

At the end of it, I shook Dave’s hand and said it was a great class. I asked him if they have any training classes coming up as I would be interested. They don’t have any yet but they have a few on the works. When I get to those, I will share here as well.

It was a very positive experience for me. I am confident my wife will be pleased as well. I am looking forward to submitting my application forms to TX DPS and being able to finally carry for myself and my family’s protection.

I love moving to Texas.

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First post, July 7 2016. I have been pondering on whether to do a blog about my ongoing process of improving my lifestyle, and along with that my family’s. It is taking me to multiple directions and I would like to have the option of looking back and sharing the journey to other like minded individuals, and more importantly to my children.

This blog will be about building a more resilient lifestyle for my family-with great consideration to the changes happening in today’s modern times. I do not know how far this will go, or where it will take me. The hope is that each day we take steps to get just a bit further ahead, just a tiny bit in some shape or form. Maybe with no hard metrics to define it. I will probably have a lot of insignificant blurbs here-which hopefully will make sense when the big picture is completed.

Here is to making this one count.