Housekeeping · Pre Planning Your Scene

BATTERY MONTH

It has been said that amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics. I have attempted to put things aside for rainy days, and, with Mr. Biden at the helm, and Mr. Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation, well, my achy knees tell me that rainy days are a’coming.

This being November, it is Battery! Month! Semi annually, I inspect my batteries, and assess their charge. I inspect for signs of leakage, I test the strength (using a voltage meter: Radio Shack used to sell them for $10-$20, once upon a time), and contemplate whether I have enough of each size. Unlike ammunition, “MOAR!” is not always the correct answer, for, ammunition keeps nearly forever if kept cool, dry and in the dark. Batteries have a self discharge phenomenon, and both rechargeable as well as alkaline (and carbon-zinc), or “primary”, batteries, will lose their charge over time. (“Primary batteries” are single use, and their charge derives from the chemicals with which they are made. “secondary”, or rechargeable, batteries can be brought backup to charge, after discharge, although after a sufficient number of charge/discharge cycles, they gradually lose their ability to accept and hold a charge.) Therefore, in an ideal bunker, I would have just enough that I would have fully charged batteries in service, and enough fully charged replacements to cycle back and forth, so that no battery would die a lonely, unused, death, way back in the back of my battery shelf.

I am still striving for that level of efficiency.

When I checked this month, to my disappointment, I found that most of my rechargeable batteries had discharged. Once I see if they will accept and hold a charge, I will know if they are in need of replacement, or simply every 3 month assessment.

I have some primary cells, for items that are frequently used. I have an LED penlight fueled by AAA batteries, and another identical penlight, except that this LED emits in near UV. That is handy for illuminating rashes, sometimes revealing luminescence typical of certain strains of dermatophytes. You might recognize the rashes caused, such as “ringworm”, or dandruff, or athlete’s foot, among others. Not all the dermatophytes glow under UV, but when it does, it is an “AHA!” moment.

My SureFire and ITP flashlights ride in holsters on my belt. They are bright, “Light-up-the-yard” lights. There are two, because should one fail, it is likely that the other will function. There are two, because should one fail, it is likely that the other will function. I have spare batteries in my “Bag Of Tricks” (h/t to Felix The Cat)

Our vehicles each have a “torch”, to differentiate the hand held lights, from the headlamp, the light-up-the-interior-of-the-vehicle lanterns, or the LED warning flashers. One is powered by CR-123 batteries, two are powered by C primary cells (the torch, and one handheld flashlight)

The LED flashers are powered by AAA batteries, and are intended to allow oncoming traffic to see that there is something (Me!) in the roadway, in the event of a breakdown, collision, or other night time deviation from normal. It turns out, when you buy “budget” rechargeable batteries, they have fewer charge/discharge cycles in their make up, than quality cells. Guess which will replace the unsatisfactory batteries? Yep: buy once, cry once. Or cheap out, and cry. In the dark.

Each month has it’s own focus, such that I do not spend every single day off in any one month in my subterranean lair, checking off stores against a checklist. If all goes smoothly, I might get my inventory done in an afternoon. As a starting point for those who might be interested, I have included a representative sample of my battery-and-lights checklist.

BATTERIES

EDC: UV Penlight AA x 2

Penlight AA x 2

Surefire CR-123 x 2

ITP CR 123 x 2

Proton Light

Keyring LR 41 x 4

Badge LR 41 x 4

Bedside

Surefire G-2 CR 123 x 2

Ultrafire 18650 x 1

Camper: Lantern Box

Coleman Quad Lantern #1 D x8

Coleman Quad Lantern #2 D x 8

Siege Light #1 D x 3

Siege Light #2 D x 3

Siege Light AA AA x 3

CAR LIGHTS

TDW Car

Torch C x 2

Headlamp AA x 2

LED Beacons AAA x 3 each (6 beacons)

My Vehicle

Torch C x 2

Headlamp AA x 2

LED Beacons AAA x 3 each (12 beacons)

Small Handheld light CR 123 x 2

Large Handheld Light C x 4

Medic Bag Surefire CR 123 x 2

Field Phones

Set #1 (2 phones x 2 D cells each) D x 4

Set #2 (2 phones x 2 D cells each) D x 4

Night Vision

AA x 4

Red Flashlight Toolbox

Mini Mag Lights x 2 (2 AA ea) AA x 4

Ray o Vac x 1 (2 AA) AA x 2

Mini Mag 3 cell AA x 3

Sure Fire Hurricane Light (weak CR 123, holds 12)

CUMULATIVE TOTALS, FOR EACH TYPE OF BATTERY

AA x 24 in service at any one time

AAA x 64

CR 123 x 8

18650 x 1

LR 41 x 8

C x 8

D x 30

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TASK STACKING

Eaton Rapids Joe, proprietor of the eponymous blog, must have been an engineer in a previous life. (and, I must have been dyslexic in my previous life, as the previous 5 words, pre-auto correct, read “enbgineer in a previous lidfe.”. Sheesh! I scare me!)

In any event, I seem to recall he once explained the concept of “tolerance stacking”. As I recall, however imperfectly, the concept might translate into, say, a rifle trigger pack, wherein one would take Part One, at it’s maximal permissible dimension(s), and add it to Part Two, similarly pushing the boundaries of out-of-spec-large, and add that assembly to Part Three, (ditto), until, finally, you had, say, a trigger pack, each part in spec, yet the assembly would not function, or else would not fit into the firearm at all.

Not so very long ago, I was reminded of that when TDW-Mark II assigned me (or, maybe, I was voluntold….) the task of cleaning the piles from the dining room table. I confronted the concept of “task stacking”.

To be honest, I had several probably 12-18 inch tall piles (more about that, in a moment…) of papers, magazines (the literary kind), boxes, and assorted whatnot, that (a) I had NOT addressed appropriately, (b) in any sort of timely manner, and (c) that TDW had, at long last, grown weary of seeing.

Along the way, may I observe that I share my home with several cats? And that cats are Agents Of Entropy? My appraisal is that cats are genetically incapable of viewing an organized stack, of whatever sort of stuff, and of whatever degree of righteous organization, without feeling the overwhelming need to Tear! It! Down!.

Of course, having several days off in a row, I was, well, “willing” probably overstates my enthusiasm for this task. Still, it will do. So, I was “willing” to address this problem, but I needed to have a space to take the stack-du-jour, in order to unstack it, triage each component, and then address same.

That meant establishing subsidiary stacks, one of trash (simple: stack same in the…wait for it!…trash can!), one of things to be shredded, and one of other, kind of valuable, things. That last stack would then be the subject of a re-triage, and once suitably thinned, put away.

This process was to be repeated, until the dining room table had my computer, and one (SMALL) stack of whatever needed to be addressed in the next couple of days. And, nothing else of my bullshit.

Well, in order to accomplish THAT task, I had to clear the table in the kitchen, that had, itself, become home to (yes, he admitted, embarrassingly) several stacks of things awaiting disposition to the garage, the trash, or other longer term, somewhat organized, rest.

The trash component, here, was simpler, due to being closer to the trash can, after all. The put-this-crap-away-somewhere-not-the-kitchen-table task, elicited it’s own task-stack, as my imaginings of organized stowage in the basement, required that there be horizontal surfaces, in that basement, that were unoccupied.

Do you, as well, see a pattern here?

So, I thinned the herd of bullshit in the basement, and changed the trash can. I imposed some modest organization in that basement, and then found homes, however transiently, for the keep-this-crap-just-not-on-the-kitchen-table items.

I shredded much of the shred-able stuff, and changed the trash can. Again.

I eventually had emptied the kitchen table, which I then re-filled with dining room table stuff.

Rinse and repeat.

So, it turns out that I am not the only pile challenged soul. I get several days off in a row, that follows a stretch of many 12 and 10 and 8 hour shifts. When I am in the midst of my duty week, well, my ambitions do not particularly exceed “get up and get around”, “get to work”, and do the above in accordance with my employer’s expectations (that is, on time). So, being a geezer, after a 12 hour shift, I get home, graze a bit, and turn in.

I had requested TDW to thin the herd of home chores, so that I might kill of the remainder on my first day off, then to laze away the rest of my stretch of off days.

Hard fail. She injured her foot (neither of us has any clue how. It hurts, that limits her mobility, and that mobility is kind of mission critical to things like putting away the dishes, moving the laundry along, and so forth. In addition to nurse-maiding an ailing dog and ailing cat)(can’t say we don’t know how to have good times!)

Being the loving husband that I am, I offered to heat and deliver some supper to her.

Task stack. Be nice if I washed my hands.

Which would be helped by access to the sink.

Which would be facilitated by loading the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, thereby emptying the sink.

Which would be easier, from a no-two-objects-may-occupy-the-same-space perspective, it the dishwasher were to be emptied, and the clean dishes put away.

Which, aesthetically, ought to be performed by clean hands.

Which required soap and water, currently unavailable due to the mosh pit of our sink.

Which inspired my present blog post.

After the dish part of the foregoing had been accomplished.

Finishing the dining room table is Tomorrow’s Task.

Housekeeping · Pre Planning Your Scene

Staging your CAT Tourniquet

I found this, here: https://elmtreeforge.blogspot.com/2021/07/some-good-information-on-setting-up-cat.html Known as “Irons In The Fire blog.

As is likely no surprise, I consider myself a sort of “Surprise, BAD!” guy. Since I might not always have my medic bag right in my hand, well, enter the concept of “everyday carry”.

I have a CAT tourniquet on my belt, well, pretty much all the time that I am wearing pants. Similarly, I have a SWATT tourniquet in my off hand pants cargo pocket, again, pretty much all the time that I am wearing pants.

To date, I have never required a tourniquet, either in a scramble, nor RFN. Still, as Bat Masterton is reputed to have said, “When you need a gun, you really, really need a gun!”, which, given today’s discussion, might be paraphrased as, “When you need a tourniquet, you likely will really, really need a tourniquet. And damned quickly, at that!”

Having stumbled over this video, I felt compelled to pull out my own front line tourniquets, and have a look see.

It develops that my McFee Tourniquet Stowage Plan-Mark I, was one of the featured fails in this video.

Oops!

I guess that makes July, “Medic Bag And First Aid Kit Review, Repack and Revise Month”!