Sunday, September 27, 2020


(not pushing any products - just a snap shot of one of our shelves)

Her mentioned this past week that there is now a paprika shortage. Apparently China has control over the paprika supply. See article.  My immediate response was do we have enough? I wonder if we go to the store tomorrow we can find some? Gotta have paprika in The After? 

My wife uses a half and half mixture of paprika and salt on the annual turkey. Turns it a beautiful color as it bakes in the oven. Her mother always did, now she does it. No complaints.

She also uses it in her homemade mushroom soup. Says it adds a 'nuttiness' to the flavor. I do love the soup.  

My mother always filled her turkey with homemade dressing, smeared butter by hand all over the turkey and basted often. No complaints there either.

Regardless, the absence of paprika due to shortages makes me uneasy. Shortages!!

So do we have paprika in these trying times? Apparently we do. But like ammo, how much do we need? Where is the "we are fine line and do not need to worry about paprika? How much of anything is enough? 

Toilet paper became an issue. Folks quickly realized that a roll or two was not enough in the near future. Masks? The fear put into the populace due to mask shortages portrayed an immediacy of wear a mask or die, get infected, or infect someone else etc.

A few months later everyone is selling some type of mask. Toilet paper seems to have settled down. If China quits paprika, someone else will pick it up. Supply/demand. The market place and all of that. 

What happens though when the supply chain falters or breaks down to a point, more items are no longer available. Venezuela a good example. Once thriving, now broken from top to bottom. Seemingly overnight stores emptied, services gone and people on the street waiting in long lines for basic living/life necessities. There is no bouncing back from down times like this.


Found a box of 20 - .223 for $ 1.30 each at a Texas gun store recently. The shelves were bare except for a few oddball calibers. Very few handguns in the case, but seemed like a good selection of rifles. 

$1.30 for just one. Sheds a whole new light on topping off a half dozen 30 round magazines.

Just months ago, seemed ammo was aplenty and the prices reasonable. A year ago, the shelves were full, the prices dirt cheap and I kick myself thinking it would always be like this and that I had time. I could always come by that next week to pick up a box or other gun-related gear. Hindsight!!

NO, I did not buy the box. I wanted to. 

Lesson? Ammo, toilet paper, paprika. More than we could ever want or use. Always on the shelves/affordable in the days of old. 

The After is already here. You and I have only days now to get our ducks in a row, put in stores for the family and have plans. I believe this is worldwide advice. Varying degrees, but good advice.

How much are you willing to pay for just one roll of toilet paper? How about one can of soup or one bag of rice/beans/pasta? A loaf of bread if you can find one?

Canning supplies have already quadrupled in price; are not available in stores we have shopped. Shortages. That ship has sailed if you were planning last minute canning in October. 

Always a fan of both. Maybe it is the "goopiness" of each and how easy they can marry to a main course. Be the main course. 

These are main staples and an opportunity for me to learn some of the simple nuances of cooking, seasoning and serving. They are also staples that should be in an "After Pantry". 

Foods in the After Pantry ought to be foods that are already in a family food loop. Besides, today they are affordable, available in quantity and prove to be a great filler food for any meal. They are also comfort foods that will prove of high value.

This also a good moment to mention spices.  Enhancing flavor using spices will be a great skill set in the months ahead. 

A can of mild Rotel tomatoes has proved to be very versatile this past month with The After meal making.

My mother's secret ingredient was chicken bullion. Cube or powder. I swear she sprinkled that on every vegetable, potato and meat she cooked. She said that adding chicken bullion was her secret ingredient. 

She could also add a can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup to rice as a base on which meat rested in the oven for an hour or so. Every time the meal and rice came out fluffy and full of flavor. I have tried to replicate but the rice never ever achieves that simple fluff and soaked in flavor.  

Learning how to season basic food stables can make a damn fine meal that will feed all who sit around the table. Young and old. 

This week saw some cooking of beans with rice from the After Pantry.



Her and are firm believers that if we have not contacted C19 by now, chances are we are good to go. Given we have have both traveled the world and both been exposed to most of what the globe has to offer, our immune system is proving itself. Add to this that in leaving for some of those far off places always required a myriad of shots just to get out of the country.

That said, we are mandated to have on a mask just to enter some of the big chain stores. Today though, just covering the chin suffices. 

Some employees also do the chin mask and office workers sit at their desks without masks . 

Government mandate for entry alone into to any business is extreme overwatch. Tis' for power and control of peeps.

If ever there were masks the serious wearer should not use are the masks that are worn daily, repeatedly taken on and off or constantly touched and adjusted time after time. The contamination quotient of these masks is unmeasurable. The human respiratory system is not designed for this kind of long term FALTERED filtering environment. 

I often joke that if everyone was forced to wear a gun to enter and exit public places, the comedy of error headlines would sink a news outlet. 

Painting the human species with one common brush has never worked and never will.

I am though still amazed at how many folks have so easily been converted to this behavior seemingly without giving any thought to it or do so out of simple acceptance of the rule.  And no thought of the individual self killing their own immune system. 


We have passed by this restaurant quite often the past couple months. Problem was the major street construction in front of the restaurant. We looked at negotiating the back dirt road and alleys, but did not work hard enough to find a place to park.

This past Friday, all street construction completed, we grabbed the chance for lunch. Our Central American friends have told us that "a lot of white people eat there." Calling it what it is!

The outside of the building and passing by casual observation does not scream, "Exceptional food, service and ambiance inside." But we are always drawn to eateries like this. Always. Out of the way where locals eat daily. These restaurants often outshine the main street eateries flowered with lights and signage. White people eat there, too. 

Her ordered proper nachos and my first go to meal in any Mexican restaurants is beef enchiladas covered in melted cheese/sauce with rice and beans.  

Our initial expectations were quickly surpassed. Yep, white people do indeed eat there. Add a constant flow of locals in all shapes, sizes and colors. Folks who eat here know the restaurant. A go to place where staff is happy, upbeat, quick, efficient and all makes any customer feel as though they in the comfort of home with someone else doing the cookin.

The food is served as it comes out. No waiting for everyone's order to be ready.

Entrance requirements are shoes, shirts AND pants. 

The weekly specials were listed on the wall but all in Spanish. I did not know what Friday's special was and had already married myself to having enchilada's. Friday's special was listed as "Caldo de Camaron."

As we were finishing up our lunch, the waitress brought out large bowls of soup to the table behind us. The large colorful bowls got my attention as I am a soup fan to the "Nth" degree. I asked the waitress what that was and she said "seafood soup; todays special." And in that moment, she set the hook. Next Friday will be Caldo de Camaron for lunch. No menu needed. 

  Proper nachos according to her.

This week's post brought to you by sunny-side-up floating in hot bacon grease. 


There is a famous line in the movie "The Right Stuff" where advances in the space race and setting of aviation records were qualified in that they will/may take place, except "for some unforeseen event." This is plugged in several time throughout the movie. 

The days ahead will be peppered with some "unforeseen events."

"Crap, never saw that coming!"

Days, my friends, one month left to get as many of our ducks in a row as we can!! "Git Er Done!"

Appreciate your time and visit this week.

Monday, September 21, 2020


Typical Day Break Departure Sunrise Views

Our final road trip to New Hampshire. Three days up, two and a half days loading the Dodge Truck, her Kia, then departing noon Sunday in hopes of escaping New York by dusk. We did, but a new learning experience entering Pennsylvania that evening. 

Family helped load what we could take and the rest we left for family to keep or take to the dump. Yes, we left a lot behind. But in our desire to downsize, there comes a point where letting go of some of the past has to be done. What we left was stuff. Our new home in Texas does not have room for stuff beyond what we use on a daily basis. Still though, the heart aches a little at history/memories left behind. 

The 2003 Dodge was left to our NH mechanic a week before our arrival with a to do list and freedom to fix, repair and make ready for our return trip to Texas. I have always taken care of the truck mechanically and that has paid off. But there were items in need of repair. 

Our mechanic also replaced brakes on her Kia for the trip back. It too was going to be loaded to its Plimsoll mark. Money well spent on both vehicles.

The truck was loaded to squatting on the overload springs, tire pressures up to 45 lbs, tailgate closed and locked set us heading out of the old driveway. 

Goodbyes said to family and off to Vermont and getting through New York. The pressure of getting through these two states may have all been our minds. But in Vermont the governor has sign posted that if you stay, you must quarantine for two weeks. Beautiful to drive through, always has been, but times and people are different. Steeped deep inside left government mandates and living styles. Yes, a personal opinion!! 

We could feel a pressure force overhead in New York pressing down on the folks living and working there. God forbid we would ever break down in that state. 

Gas tanks filled leaving NH border and nonstop through Vermont and through New York. We had no place to stay in Pennsylvania planned. We hung our nights stay there on a little luck and past travel experiences. 

Darkness set quickly before we found a motel that would suit us. The first one we looked at was filthy for $100 a night. 

My wife and I learned the hard way that early evening, that neither of us can see to drive at night, especially in all the lights of the big city off ramps. We were lucky enough to pull into a large mall parking lot to find a safe place to talk and plan. But bright lights now explode in our vision at night. Typical I am told as we age. WE DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL!

Thank God for cell phone technology. We found a near by chain motel and the phone navigated us on back roads to the front door. 

The Dodge proved itself, with all the mechanical/maintenance work done, that day. I knew she would get us back to our little home in Texas. I had worried about this for many weeks. 

We back tracked the same route we drove up from Texas. New Hampshire, through the beautiful back roads and hills of Vermont, bounced our way on some of the hard driven and poorly maintained roads of NY to northern Pennsylvania.  The little cabin below was our AirBnB in southern Pennsylvania. 

By far the best of all of the AirBnB's we have stayed in. Only one AirBnB, over the course of our comings and goings from NH in the past 4 months, has been really lousy. Most all very nice, but this one and the owners were the gold standard. Both in the snacks left for breakfast and in the visiting with the owner and her daughter. 

The ladder was for using the bed above in the loft not shown in this photo. Great for anyone young enough to maneuver up and down comfortably. 

We left at day break and completed our trek through West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and then into Texas. Once in Texas, were were an hour and a half from home. 

Eighteen hundred miles give or take each way. Twelve-hour days driving. The hills and constant turns through West Virginia will not be forgotten and running with the big rigs through Tennessee, Arkansas and Eastern Texas was a great test in high-speed close-proximity driving. The truckers own these roads, highways and by-ways. There is no time to do anything but drive safely, work within their driving patterns. This includes the moving to and from the on/off ramps. 

I have said this before. The truckers in this country are keeping all of us fed and in goods and services. They deserve the highest respect for all they do. 

This country is currently bending over backwards to any first responder. But the truckers of this country outshine them tenfold, 24/7. We got to run with the big rigs for awhile, but could never ever keep their pace. God Bless.

Coming off one of exits, we happened on this restaurant. We drove straight in, parked and more than ready for a good breakfast. Yep, just like in the times of  normal. Excellent food served piping hot and waitresses not afraid to be personable and socialize. Music from the 50's was upbeat. 

At so many other stops we made, the "agenda" far outshined the product and simple purpose of a stop and go eatery. From negotiating our individual food items at Denny's to the tune of a $27 breakfast for two, to a McDonalds that mandated we "leave the building" upon receiving our order. Two chubby middle-aged McDonald's executives were sitting with their computers open and taking market prices. McDonalds would better be served if they did not parade their leadership in public. Not a good optic. Not at all. Most likely way too many hamburgers and fries over the course of their careers. 

This sign was typical of promoting a current political agenda. Friendly but to the point. Many places had signs saying no mask no service. And the mask was only for entry. Once inside, the mask could come off. 

I should not complain. We were at least able to grab a bite, top off the tanks and keep doing miles. But times have changed significantly and I doubt these snap shots of change across the states of America are just the beginning.


This weeks post brought to you by end-of-the-world comfort food homemade biscuits. Soak in gravy, butter and jams at your own risk.

Our move to Texas was to escape New England winters. We waited too long and should have done all of this a year or two ago. The last 6 months would have been a challenge in normal times, but within the political unrest that has increased during this time frame, we feel that we have squeaked in under the wire of ever having been able to make the move.

Roots are set here now. They grow deeper and stronger each day. Like minded people close by and in the neighboring lands.  Folks are close, self-sufficient and welcoming. Hard days work everywhere. Politeness everywhere. Excellent top of the shelf eateries and reasonably priced grocery outlets. Fresh fruits and vegetables the norm.  

YOUMEANDTHEAFTER is officially in Texas now!! 

Stay away from crowds, live life, keep your knees bent and heads up. Learn new skill sets. 

Yep, thanks for the visit this week. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020


Piney Woods country roads. This sunrise was spectacular but finding the right moment to stop for a photo did not present itself safely. Speed limits quite often 70 MPH. School zones, 35 MPH.  

Big rains mid and late week. Thunderstorms rain for hours then in the blink of an eye, the sun breaks through and takes over. Just as I was prepping this post, rain hit. Front and back yards' roof drains working. moving heavy rain to lower yard levels. New home construction shows remains of Texas mud/sand. It may look nasty, but in the scheme of things, the new home is handling the weather as planned. 

Cannot plant anything during the triple-digit temperaturres of August. The season is changing now to some cooler temperatures and rain. Planting the front and back yards with ground cover is one of our next chores. 

Font yard. Still shows signs of damage from construction equipment moving on and off the property from the front road. In need of leveling, raking and planting.

Back yard. Green ground cover, not damaged by construction, show what the the yard will come to be. French drains working to move rain fall away from the house. 

The ground here is a good mixture of sand and dirt. The water pictured above soon soaks in, but the sticky mud will last a few days.


Has anyone ever told you that they love you a bushel and a peck?


I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I'm talkin' in my sleep
About you, about you
'Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do
A doodle oodle oh
A doodle oodle oodle oh doo
I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess
Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness............


Quiet this past week other than chores. The burning world has taken a back seat for awhile as we pick away at our lists of "have to do's" and wants. 

Thanks for the visit this week.