What’s the Deal with Negotiations?

Eaddie left for band camp and said the dogs were out again. I was ready to walk out, and Muad’dib came running back, but Stilgar was nowhere to be found. I had to leave, but Summer eventually found him. Everyone made it back, but I don’t think it took them long to get out again.

McDonald’s has had their bagel deal the past few days, so I had another one for the drive in. I had plenty of time to make some coffee and settle in, but then I saw an email from Harry that he was finally ready to meet with me after I had been trying to pin him down for basically the entire year. I had to update a few numbers before I could see him, but then Kim walked in with the boys and talked to me for a little bit before she had to go turn in some paperwork.

The meeting went more or less how I predicted. He appreciated my Seinfeld references in my agenda, and I held strong with my side of the negotiations. He wanted a signed contract, and I wasn’t willing to sign the contract they offered. He fidgeted as I made my “presentation,” and then we had more of a discussion once I was done. By the end of it all, he thought to suggest a $50,000 salary plus a $10,000 merit-based bonus to get me to sign for one more year. That sounded alright, but I also asked for the autonomy to work from home at my own discretion. He seemed agreeable. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what I’m offered, because he seemed anxious to get something in writing before the first of July.

I missed lunch because my meeting carried on so long. Harry has trouble getting to the brass tacks, and talks in circles quite a bit. Luckily the lunch lady had some pizza and broccoli bagged up, which I assumed she was taking home. Summer was having a rough day, so I talked on the phone with her for a while. Then I wrapped up the day tinkering with the Ubiquiti equipment that Todd had returned. I don’t know how long that rat had that stuff, but they had dirt from his chicken houses all over them. I wasn’t pleased.

I eventually made it back to town and fed the fish before getting home to eat some leftovers and then patch holes in the fence. I screwed some wood into a couple places the dogs had been getting out, and I think we have a fair chance of keeping them inside now. They’re resilient, but hopefully not diggers. If this holds, we’ll have a better chance of starting some real training. Then all we’ll lack is time. While I was out there, I picked up some branches that a couple country bumpkins had cut out of the neighbor’s tree, and Stilgar helped me carry them to the brush pile. At first he was tugging back, but then he actually helped drag them the same direction, and then even went to get one of his own, but only made it about halfway to the pile before giving up.

The tree trimmers stopped to ask if we wanted any limbs removed that were leaning over our house. At $40, I knew they weren’t insured, but they seemed to have been doing an alright job so far. As I watched them work, Nick came home and I formally met the neighbor. Evidently he worked at Two Rivers for a few years before I got there, but had since moved to Lamar. We chatted for quite a while, and then exchanged numbers before going in to find refuge from the mosquitos.

I wrapped up, and Eaddie came to chat with me for a while when she got home. With any luck, we’ll still have two dogs in the back yard in the morning.

Doggy Jail.


I slept fairly hard last night, and woke up to the girls talking about the escaped dogs again. I took the Onewheel, but found Stilgar two houses down, coming out of a storm drain. He came over, and then walked off into the neighbor’s yard and laid down in their inflatable kiddie pool. I didn’t notice at first, but Muad’dib was inside their fence playing with two of their big dogs. After I took Stilgar home, he got out on his own and followed me home as well. They just wanted to get out and play and explore.

I got back in and made a couple bagels for Eaddie and myself, and then I hooked up an old printer and started messing with it. It would confidently print blank pages all day long, so I figure the print heads were just completely clogged. We had to get Eaddie to band camp though, so we drove separately and printed a form at Superfast before meeting with Eaddie at Tech to check her in.

Summer wanted La Huerta for lunch, so we ate and then headed back home so she could do some work. I was absolutely exhausted and kept dozing off on the couch while I waited for her. Then she made a comment about soaking in the tub, which upset me because I had told her we would go to see Dad for Father’s Day when she was done. She said she was waiting on me, but I was the one doing absolutely nothing while waiting on her. I was tired, but it still felt like another day wasted because she couldn’t get her priorities right.

We eventually made it to my parents’ house, and Mom was prepping bánh xèo. Dad was outside finishing some mowing and then took a swim. Summer knew I wanted to swim as well, but hadn’t considered the fact that she lost her swimsuit and has refused to find another one. We ended up just waiting for Mom to finish making dinner, but then Summer had to go to work for an after-hours team meeting just before we started eating.

Dad eventually took me home after dinner, and Stilgar was in the front yard. He ran up to us, but I didn’t see Muad’dib right away. Dad went home and I got on the Onewheel with a leash to try and find him. I should have put Stilgar away first, but I thought he’d stick with me for a short ride. I didn’t figure Muad’dib had gotten far, and then I saw him across the street fussing at that neighbor’s dogs. He came to me and I got the collar and leash on him, but then he freaked out and started choking himself out as he jumped and yelped. He held a grudge against me the rest of the evening. I ended up taking the collar off of him thinking he’d behave better and just follow me home, but after choking himself, he didn’t want anything to do with me. The neighbor ended up coming out with a handful of treats to help me lure him home, and it was still a struggle.

I rode back to my parents’ house just before dark to borrow a staple gun so I could try and seal our gate for good. It was dark when I got home, but Summer pulled in right after me and was able to come out to help. Eaddie came home from band camp since she wasn’t staying on campus, and played with the dogs for a while. Summer was obviously the first to bed, and I eventually made it just before midnight.

The dogs have more friends than we do.

Tank of Least Resistance

I had a massive headache all morning, but Summer saw a post on the Ring app that our dogs were out wandering the neighborhood, so I had to ride around to try and find them. I took several laps around the neighborhood and never caught a glimpse. My feet started hurting really badly, so I came back home and walked to the back yard just to make sure they hadn’t come home. They weren’t back there, but they were in front of the garage when I came back around the house. They must have seen me somewhere and followed me back.

I fried some eggs for French bread sandwiches, and then Summer really wanted to mow. I tried to find how water was getting from the cold to the hot lines, and with Summer’s help, we eventually tracked it down to the master shower mixer. I tried to take a cold shower since we didn’t have a water heater, and it was much colder than I remembered from the other night. I tried a couple times, but just barely managed to get myself wet. Of course Summer had to outdo me and take one herself.

My parents had eggrolls and noodles, so we went over there for a late lunch. When we got back home, I decided that it would probably be best to just stick with a water tank for now. I’ve always wanted to switch to tankless, but the lack of a regulator, need for a larger fuel line for either gas or electric, need for a more substantial vent if we went with gas, and the likelihood of the work being pushed back a week for the actual work to be done convinced me that I just needed to get something done today.

I poked around in the vent to see if I could get it reattached. Dad came over when we couldn’t find where the vent actually left the house, and we found it in the secondary attic. Summer and I went to Lowe’s to try and pick up a replacement water heater, but Dad had to meet us there because there wasn’t a soul in the store that knew a thing about plumbing. We eventually just settled for a couple parts, and headed home.

The girls were able to help me lift the tank high enough that I could wrap straps around it and lift it the rest of the way. It was a super tight fit, but having a 50 gallon tank instead of a 40 gallon tank should let us keep the set temperature a bit lower, or at least keep us from running out so quickly in the winter. Dad came back over to help hook everything up after I got it in place, and I was finally able to take a hot shower before bed.

Sometimes we trade dreams for convenience.

Seven Trains Later

Both of the dogs were gone this morning, and I found the front gate open. I assumed the neighbor accidentally didn’t close it all the way, so I took the Onewheel around the block and found them not far away, running through the streets. As soon as they saw me, they came running and I just rode home with them right behind. I thought it was a pretty good response, but Muad’dib eventually disappeared again in the afternoon.

I spent the morning cleaning up the creeping vines on the fence, so the gate was much more accessible. Then I trimmed the rose bushes so they weren’t sticking out over the walkway. Our backyard neighbor Josh handed me a bag of homegrown blueberries from their garden and we traded phone numbers. I continued to sweat profusely as the sun got higher, so I came inside for a shower. After the shower, I heard a water leak alarm and found the water heater standing in a pan full of water.

The rest of the afternoon was a bit of a jumble. Dad came over to take a look at the tank with me, and we started draining it. I warmed up some leftover roast beef for lunch when Summer got home, and then Dad came back over so we could pull the old tank out. We really wanted to go tankless, but the earliest anyone could come even look at it was Monday. We figured we could deal with cold showers for a few days, but needed to replace the washer in the shutoff valve, so we went to Leonard’s for that. Then Dad had to leave for his old friend Dave’s art show.

Ronda and Steven were cooking at their new food truck, so we wanted to go support their soft-open. We took that food back home to eat, and then tried to catch Dad at the art show. He was already gone, but we wandered around the gallery with wide eyes. I told Summer he was good, but I don’t think she believed me when I told her how good.

After that, we went shopping for a couple things at the house, and we also looked for some better dog collars and leashes. Walmart didn’t have what we were looking for, so we went to T.J.Maxx and found a leash and a squeaky toy. Perhaps we should have waited, because Ross actually had a better selection. Five Below had nothing. It was all garbage.

We ran home and I met up with Dad again to try and pick up a super cheap tank heater that was on clearance at Lowe’s, but they couldn’t find it on the floor. We grabbed a plug for the hot water line instead, and sealed that off so we could at least turn on water to the house without it coming out uncontrollably from the wrong pipes. I tried to track down the faulty mixer that was letting cold water back up through the hot lines, but gave up about halfway through the house.

I was exhausted and sticky by the end of the day, but at least cold showers are on the table again, and I can wash my hands after petting the dogs. Hopefully they’ll stick around for a walk in the morning.

When it rains, it leaks some more.

Roped Up

I actually managed to leave a bit early today, and grabbed a bagel on the way to work. My first order of business was to review camera footage to find who took my network equipment. Failing that, I just texted Todd and he fessed up to it. I don’t know that I believe he just “borrowed” it out of a need, more than “took it” to see if I would notice. At least I should be getting it back now, and I went ahead and placed a couple cameras in the core closet.

I spent much of the rest of the day building maps in VI MonitorPlus, so hopefully finding the right camera will be a bit easier now. Otherwise it was super quiet all day long. Becky said they were leaving a little early, so I didn’t wait behind.

Eaddie said she was going to Clarksville and Summer said she would be home a little late, so I fed the fish and then headed home to play with the dogs. Only Stilgar was around, and I considered that Muad’dib might have just run off for good. I put a leash on Stilgar and took her out for a walk on a rope to the end of the street. She did pretty well on the way out, but got stubborn on the way back and didn’t want to move. Maybe it’s the name. Stilgar fit when it was a scruffy-looking boy, but I don’t know if it’ll still be a good name for a mother, if that’s really what’s happening.

Once we got back home, I took the Onewheel around the block to look for Muad’dib, and ran into the neighbors as they walked their own dog down the street. She said he had been chilling out on their porch, so she returned him. I think he got out a couple more times in the evening, so I’ll need to fix that since the girls haven’t been able to do it themselves in a week’s time.

Summer eventually made it home, but wasn’t fit to go out anywhere. I had a coupon for some cheese dip from Stoby’s, so I went out to eat by myself. It was quiet there too. When I finished, I headed home and pet on Stilgar some more, but Muad’dib didn’t come around. He was probably in the neighbor’s yard again. Maybe Summer will have a new home for him soon.



I was about 30 minutes early for work today. Then I saw Stilgar walking down the street about a block away from the house. Muad’dib was right around the corner, so I tried to wrangle him first. I got him into the trunk of the Murano, but he was in the front seat the moment I got back into the car. Of course he ran out as soon as I stopped for Stilgar, so I decided to run back home to get the Pathfinder for ease of transport. As luck would have it, they were wandering back toward the house, so they saw me as soon as I approached the end of our street, and then ran after me as I backed the car all the way back into our driveway.

I got them through the gate, but then Muad’dib was sitting there staring at me in the garage when I walked back out from washing my hands, so I walked him through the house and out the back door. I knew he’d be right back out, but I had to get to work. I stopped for gas and had trouble at the pump, but I eventually made it to work about 15 minutes late.

It was a quiet, lonely day, and in the afternoon I discovered that two pieces of equipment were missing. One was the Ubiquiti USG-Pro-4 from either my office, or possibly from when I left it in the server room. I looked everywhere for it, sure that I had left it somewhere. Then I realized the cloud key, or whatever it was, which had been mounted in the core rack was also missing. I looked back at some pictures and saw that it wasn’t there when Ben came down last week, and my security camera only goes back a couple weeks past that. Hopefully I can find who took it.

I headed home late, fed the fish, and eventually made it home where Summer had dinner ready. Dried chicken. It really was awful, and I don’t know why she cooks it that way every single time. I couldn’t even finish my bowl.

The girls never found Chani all day, so I feared the worse. They said they looked under the deck, but they didn’t look hard enough. I actually got on my hands and knees, and found her dead under the lowest part of the porch. She was covered in flies, and must have died the night before, or at least early in the day. I had no idea what could cause her to take such a sudden turn, because just two days ago she was happy and playful. Then yesterday they said she was feeling a little bad, and by the end of the night she would barely move. I could just barely reach her, so I asked Summer to go borrow a shovel from Dad while I got gloves to fetch her. Of course she hadn’t even gotten shoes on before I was ready to move Chani, so I had to go get the shovel myself or otherwise move her twice.

When I got back and ready to dig, Summer wanted to be outside playing with Stilgar while I was trying to dig a hole, which just made me even more mad. Muad’dib kept going to the neighbor’s yard, and Stilgar ran out when she came to return him. Then I had to chase them down as they ran after people walking up and down the street.

I finally got the hole dug, and carrying Chani across the yard wasn’t as unnerving as I had feared. I’ve always been a bit squeamish about dead things, but she was a good dog and deserved to be handled sweetly. I placed her the best I could, then covered her up. I milled about afterward, kicking dirt off my shoes and doing other chores like taking the trash to the curb. I took another look at Stilgar’s belly, and I’m pretty sure what I thought was a peepee was really just an outie of a belly button. I guess we have more on the way.

Eventually I came inside and sat under a cold shower for a while. The dogs were out of food, so Eaddie went to the store to get some more. She came back with a 46-pound bag, so I guess we’re in it for a little while.

Holes are hard to dig, no matter the size of the dog.


The dogs were still here this morning, but Chani wasn’t feeling well and was hiding under the rose bush when I left for work. Eaddie came out throughout the day to try and pamper her, but I think whatever has her feeling bad will just have to run its course. Stilgar was pretty lethargic when I first picked them up, so I’m assuming they all just got sick at some point. We made sure to pour out any stagnant water, so we’ll see what happens.

It was another quiet day at work, and I mapped out all of my switches. I’m still trying to plan new VLANs, so it may be a little while before I’m ready to assign static IPs. I guess I could at least assign the ones that connect my core to DHCP, but I just don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Dad wanted help cutting down the Bradford pear tree at the old house, so I went straight home after fighting through the bunch of idiots on the bridge. One crash involving airbags, plus like six cars blocking the intersection was just too much stupidity for one day.

I checked on the dogs, and Muad’dib was returned to our back yard by the neighbor just after I came back inside to wash up. I thought I’d take one of them with us to cut down the tree, but after getting both of the boys into the truck, they mauled me in the driver’s seat and I just had to put them back in the yard. I picked up Dad and we made relatively short work of the tree. Evidently we got a new gas meter as a result of all the utility work in the area. Mom was home when we got back, and they decided that Dad would come to Arby’s with me for their 5 for $5 deal. We got our food and then I dropped Dad back off at home before I finally caught up with the girls.

They were back from their hair appointments, and Summer and I ate while Eaddie brought Chani inside to see if some cool quiet would help. She wouldn’t take any food, and would only stick her chin in some water before eventually going back outside. After Eaddie ate, the neighbor came over again with Muad’dib and I talked to her for a bit. None of us were sure who was responsible for the fence, but I’m not sure either of us care enough to do more than patch it for now.

I spent some time with the dogs, vented at Summer, watered some plants, and eventually went to bed.

Maybe baby pineapple?

The Three Houndini

The dogs left again sometime between being fast asleep on the porch at three in the morning, and when I got up for work at five. Eaddie went out to look for them while I was in the shower, but didn’t have any luck. I made it to work a little bit early, but not nearly as early as I wanted. The morning went by pretty quickly, though I kept wanting to fall asleep. I hardly saw anyone all day, which was both good and bad.

Summer had dinner going, so I fed the fish and made it home. Neither she nor Eaddie ever saw the dogs, but I looked down and back up, and they were all three sitting on the porch. I had to assume they were in the neighbor’s yard.

Eli was with us all evening for sloppy joes, and then drove Eaddie to meet us at the dog wash again. Stilgar had stuff all over him, and I couldn’t tell what. On top of crusty stuff, he was full of stickers from the yard that wouldn’t come out. At least he smelled a bit better when we were done. The neighbor brought Muad’dib and Chani out of her back yard again when we got back, and Chani seemed a little more sluggish than before. She’s been pretty quiet, but it seemed worse. I’m sure they’ve been passing something around, or possibly getting sick from stagnant water.

I rode the Onewheel to my parents’ house to try and sew up some pants, but Dad didn’t have any grey thread and I just headed back home for the night. I wound down quickly so I could actually get to bed by ten.



I woke up early to try and beat the pups before they got out, but I was still too late. I wandered around outside a bit and then saw them right outside the gate. The neighbor said they had been in their front yard all morning, so I shuffled them back inside. They were out of food, so I got dressed and went to the Neighborhood Market for some more. I picked up some breakfast sausage as well, and made myself some eggs and a bagel to go with it. Summer wasn’t ready to eat when she finally woke up, so I just took a shower and got ready to meet my parents for their trip to Fort Smith.

The first order of business was to drop off some mint at the Midland Market Oriental food store. Then we dropped Mom off for a nail appointment and then I went with Dad to the magic club meeting. They had a show-and-tell with their assorted magic wands and canes, and the disappearing cane stole the show. I ended up holding Larry’s phone so Patrick could see things in a video call. Mom finished up, and we were eventually the first ones to leave so we could get her.

Our next stop was Red Lobster where I could finally get the crab and lobster I had dreamed of all week long. The restaurant was pretty empty for being dinner time, but the food was great. It really makes me sad that they’re doing so poorly, because I’ve always loved eating there.

Afterward we went to a couple Oriental food stores, but Truong Son was closed and we ended up back at Midland for what we needed. It was a super short trip though, and then we headed home.

Eaddie and Eli were out front with the dogs, who all had bright, new collars of blue, red, and pink. I was pretty frustrated, because Summer and I had just talked about how we needed to have a family conversation about the dogs when I got back, and here they were making purchases without me. On top of that, I found that Muad’dib and Stilgar both had choke collars, which was absolutely not what I wanted for them. Chani’s was too big, and I later found her with her with the collar strapped between her jaw and the back of her teeth so she couldn’t close her mouth.

I made Eaddie clean her room and then tried cleaning up some random things myself. I finished up some of Allen’s wine as the girls wrapped up their evenings, and eventually got to bed.

Half thoughts and half naughts.

Dreg Lobster

I woke up really early a few times this morning and saw the dogs were still outside, but the girls were fast asleep. I had hoped they would eventually wake up and take the dogs to the Liberty dog wash like they promised after not taking them last night, but it just never happened. The last time I woke up and was ready to stay awake, the girls still hadn’t budged and the dogs were gone. I made a quick circle around the block, and even ran back by the garage sale, but didn’t see them. I came back home because it started sprinkling and just fumed over half-finished tasks.

Summer wanted to come home from work on Friday and work in the yard, but the fence wasn’t repaired. The girls wanted to bathe the dogs outside and left the hose and a bunch of flea and tick shampoo sitting out on the ground in the sun. More soap and some rubber gloves were up on the deck, but the gloves had been torn up, along with the foam handle on the hose sprayer. If I hadn’t made Eaddie take care of it before she went to bed, she would have still had suitcases in her floor from her band trip. I was sick of it.

I sat on the porch until Summer finally came out, and I lit her up for it all. She took the Pathfinder around the block and ended up finding the dogs just as I took the Onewheel back out again between raindrops. She got them home but wanted to take them straight to the wash with Eaddie, so I loaded up and drove separately to meet them. She really wanted to get a leash so we could obey the rules of the wash, so I stopped by my parents’ house and got an old choke collar and some rope from Dad.

The wash would only start with a $10 payment for 10 minutes, but you could add five more minutes for $4. Since we only got one dog out of the car at a time, we just started three different sessions. Muad’dib was the first to go, and the most upset by the whole process. He also hated the leash, but would behave fine without it, so we eventually got him finished and back into the car. When we took Chani, someone had peed on the tarp, so we threw a towel in to soak it up before it got onto the upholstery. By the time we finally got Stilgar, someone had pooped as well, and it wasn’t at all solid.

We had occupied the only working bath out of the two in the room for just over thirty minutes while it rained outside. Another guy came in and talked to us while we worked, and then wanted to show off his giant dog as we left. Once we got the dogs back inside the fence, we cleaned up the car and the tarp, and made sure they had plenty of food. Nobody was permanently emotionally scarred by the bathing, and I pulled a few more ticks before we went inside to clean up ourselves.

We left for Little Rock about three hours later than I wanted, so we’d be late for lunch. Eaddie was feeling sick from lack of food, so we stopped at the Morrilton Drive Inn, which had new owners and was now called Nooner’s Diner. We had some fried pickles and mushrooms, which didn’t seem like a good idea for an upset stomach, but it got us on the road again. It wasn’t anywhere near a typical meal time by the time we got to Red Lobster, so I wasn’t completely confident we would actually get to go back for a second meal, but I still ordered something other than what I really wanted. I figured the crab pasta would be filling enough to get us through some shopping. I hated it. At least the girls liked their food.

I expressed some pretty strong feelings when Eaddie said Autumn had texted her asking to trade vehicles so she could have the Pathfinder, so Summer held a grudge against me for most of the rest of the day. I just can’t abide terrible people, and that whole family is rotten in spite of any good deeds in the past. There’s no one-time-saves-all in my Book.

After we ate, the girls wanted to stop at Ross, but then didn’t want to actually shop for anything, so we left and went to Shoe Carnival. They didn’t have a whole lot that interested me, and what they did have was too expensive. I finally found a pair on clearance that I thought would suit my needs, and after coupons I only paid $10.

Next up was Old Navy, where Eaddie actually got excited to try on some clothes. I was feeling so parched that I couldn’t wait to find a fountain, so I bought a $3.50 Dasani, but I would have let myself die of thirst if I had known the price before I cracked the top.

I took us to Kohl’s after that, and it seemed like about half the store was a clearance section for the ladies, so Eaddie looked everywhere and tried on a bunch of things again. At least they had a bottle filler, and I drank several more full bottles while I waited.

Finally, I took us to Baskin-Robbins for some ice cream. I was pretty disappointed in the portions for the price, but it was tasty. I couldn’t convince the girls to go to Red Lobster again, so we headed home where the puppies were all still waiting for us. Eaddie and I played with them for a bit, and all of their fur felt way better after their bath in the morning. Hopefully the ticks fall away and everyone will be happy. The girls went to bed pretty quickly, but of course I still had chores.

Maybe we just need a morning walk.