Choice

The Montego didn’t appreciate being started this morning, and the idle bounced around for a bit until I got a “failsafe engine mode” message. I shut it off, gave it a moment, and then started it right back up again without any trouble. I asked Summer if she’d ever encountered that before, and she said sometimes it just happens.

Death trap.

I made it home, but took the Shadow to work again on account of the weather. It was a bit on the cool side, but it didn’t take me long to work up a sweat. I had to walk to the Support Services building a couple times to pick up some old junk, and though the humidity wasn’t reported to be very high, and it wasn’t terribly hot outside, I couldn’t stop sweating.

I had to stop by Transportation for a moment after that, and then I spent the rest of the morning working on things in my office. Lunch time came quickly, and a group of us went to Slim Chickens. Greg had his daughter with him for an appointment in the afternoon, and she was shy at first, but by lunch time she was bouncing all over the place. I had a BOGO deal of questionable value, and took the leftovers back to the shop fridge.

The afternoon was quiet, but I kept pretty busy. I ended the day upstairs with a few new work orders, and then came back to the shop to close up. I had to shoo Tammy out, otherwise she would have kept working late. Autumn had called to ask me to pick up Eaddie because they had a disagreement about who had to do what. Autumn wanted to go mow the lawn at her grandparents’ house, but Eaddie had to finish an assignment for band before she left school. Autumn did a good job of making it sound like Eaddie was the asshole, but of course Eaddie ultimately had other details.

I took my time getting home, wanting to make Eaddie sweat it out a bit since she didn’t pre-arrange for me to pick her up. I stopped for gas at Casey’s, but then changed my mind and went to Shell instead. When I got home, I called Eaddie back and went to pick her up. We stopped back by my house to get some air in the damaged back tire, and then went to Lowe’s to drop off some recycling. As I was walking back to the car, I passed an old guy that had been staring at a riding lawn mower parked behind his trailer since before we pulled in. I stopped to offer a hand, and managed to push it up onto the trailer by myself. He didn’t really have proper straps to tie it down, but I did my best and left the rest to hopes and dreams.

Autumn beat us home with some stuff to bake cookies, but then went out to mow the rest of the back yard. I started grilling some burgers for the girls a little before Summer got home, and then we all ate a mix of a bunch of leftovers. I was astounded by how well the old lettuce and tomato had kept from the last time we grilled burgers, but it all turned out pretty good. I had a slight overflow issue with the deep fryer, but that cleaned up alright.

After we ate, we sat the girls down to talk about how both of them were both right and wrong, and pleaded with them to work on their communication with one another. Then everyone went to bed while I waited up to finish Autumn’s laundry. When I put Summer to bed, she said John invited her to Thanksgiving, but evidently I had done something last year that offended him enough that I wasn’t allowed.

I’m never particularly afraid to offend anyone, but I certainly never go anywhere with that intent. I know I can get into belligerent moods where I say things off the cuff, and then dig in even if things go awry. I don’t think it was really fair to Summer to put her in that predicament, but I’m glad for her that someone chose to be her friend. We both know a lot of people, but I don’t think either of us really have that many that we can call “friends.” I always think that I do, but then when it comes down to it, it’s really just whoever I’m working with most frequently at the time. I try not to feel too sorry for myself because I believe that to be common among humanity. They always joked that if Summer and I broke up, they would keep her over me. I’ll have to apologize, because I never meant to put anyone in a situation that might make them feel the way that any of us feel now. It’s just a sucky situation because of the way that I chose to be.

It always plays better in my head.

Dirty Laundry

I tried not to sleep in too late today, and got up to finish the leftover corned beef from weeks ago. It had definitely gone a bit sour, but otherwise didn’t seem to have any adverse side effects. As soon as Eaddie got around, we took her to the high school to get her flute for an assignment she needed to finish. Afterward, Summer was going to take her to New China for lunch, so I had them drop me off at home.

The first thing I did was clean up the smoker after yesterday’s meal. It took me a while, but I think I’ll get better at it over time. Then I did a couple loads of laundry while intermittently cleaning around inside the house. Every time I stepped outside, I got really sweaty, so I stayed inside for most of it. I got my old computer running and started a whole bunch of updates on it. Finally, I took a shower when I got to a stopping point.

Eaddie was going to come ride her bike after lunch, but Summer wasn’t feeling well. They both decided to go back home for the day, and Summer tried to sleep it off. Autumn eventually made it home, and she and Eaddie mowed part of the lawn. I decided to go by Freddy’s for a couple concretes to take up to them, and I just ran into one frustration after another.

I placed my order online and headed to the store. Some lady flew in from the other direction and got in front of me in the drive-through, and then took a while to order. I just knew it was going to take forever for her to get everything she ordered. When I got to the speaker, the girl told me I had to pick up my order inside, but by then I had traffic behind me, and evidently there was no way out of the drive-through, so I just had to sit and wait for the lady in front of me to get everything. When I finally got inside, the pickup process was not clear at all. There were three different places to get my order, and it was in none of them. That was actually a blessing in disguise, because they simply hadn’t even made my order yet. I placed it before I left the house, which meant they didn’t even start making it for at least 10 minutes. With custard in hand, I headed out, but was cut off by some other lady that flew out of the parking lot without looking.

When I got to their house, Summer was still agonizing in bed while Autumn was trying to help Eaddie bake cookies. Eaddie wasn’t trying very hard, which was aggravating Autumn. I couldn’t believe they didn’t start fighting, but Autumn just made herself a huge glass of chocolate milk and went to her room. I took over a bit and started combining ingredients for Eaddie, and then she formed cookies on the baking sheets. I used a fork to embellish them a bit, which Eaddie enjoyed.

I ended the evening next to Summer, trying to complete an achievement on Into the Breach. My cough got worse again as the night carried on, so I loaded up on water and meds and went to bed.

It’s not a video tape.

Egads!

We got up a little early this morning so I could start smoking some ribs. They thawed out completely overnight, so we just had to get them to my house, prepped, and on the smoker. We stopped at Walmart first, so I could get some charcoal. I decided to try some Jealous Devil lump charcoal instead of the Kingsford briquettes that I’ve used my whole life. The smoker specifically called for lumps, and that was what a quick Google search for the “best lump charcoal” spat back at me.

It hardly took any time at all to get the grill going and up to temperature. Summer helped me get the dry rub on the ribs, and we got them onto the smoker at 225ยบ for three hours. She left for the gym while I stayed behind to watch the smoker and eventually get a shower. She came back when the first step was done, and we wrapped the ribs up in some foil with some barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar. I had watched so many tutorials while I was waiting, that I forgot I didn’t need the sauce until the third cook phase, but it didn’t really matter much.

I was really hungry at that point, so we went to Taco Bell to share a meal before going to Walmart to pick up what Summer needed for potato salad and broccoli salad. She kept getting interrupted by calls and texts from work, which frustrated me since she was originally the one hurrying me through the store. We finally got everything and headed up to her house to start cooking.

Autumn had gone to her grandparents’ house for some reason, though she didn’t actually help with any housework like she was supposed to. Eaddie wanted to go to her friend’s house to work on a school project, so I dropped her off before going back to Summer’s to make some hummingbird food. When the two-hour cook phase was over, I headed back to my house to unwrap the ribs and throw them directly on the racks again.

They were still super soft, and the bones wanted to rip right out of the meat. I was worried that they were too tender, but after an hour they firmed up a little bit. I did make a bit of a mess, and some grease got down into a crack that I can’t really clean. I’ll have to see if I can take that one part off to clean it out. When the ribs were done, I wrapped them back up in some foil and loaded them into a big styrofoam cooler, and went back up the mountain to get the girls.

Autumn arrived at my parents’ house just as we did, and we sliced up the first rack of ribs. They turned out pretty good, but I know I can do better. I think they were still just a little bit too tender, and I’d really like to try a coarse pepper base. I could really use a better place to trim them up as well. Dad made peach cobbler for dessert, and everyone got plenty to eat. Then we watched The Music Man, which I had never seen before. Eaddie had been wanting to watch it for a while, but evidently it was a regular for them growing up. Autumn had to be forced to stay and finish the movie, but slept through most of it.

Autumn went back to spend the night with her grandparents, and it was quick to bed for the rest of us when we got back to the house. I’ve got a good amount of cleaning to do tomorrow, so I won’t be able to stick around for long.

Camelot Cousin’s BBQ, Est. 2022

Earlier

I had a couple glasses of Allen’s old homemade wine last night, and it was so strong that I woke up drunk. The room spun all night, but I slept alright. I had no intention of going out that hard. I managed to get out of bed and ready for work, and even made it in a few minutes early against all odds. We had a fairly long meeting that set the tone for the day. Most of the district was out, and Zach took a sick day to be with his family. Gary and I stuck around the office, but everyone else went to do a few projects.

Nobody made it back for lunch, so Gary and I walked next door to the new Wildflower Cafe. That place was packed with a bunch of old church ladies, and I have no idea how they could possibly have read the menu on the wall. It was so small that I could barely read it even when we got to the counter. I ordered a Mediterranean Turkey Wrap, which turned out to be a fistful of lunch meat, odd olives, hummus, and something with basil. I also chose the tomato basil soup as my side, which I learned after the fact cost me an extra buck, bringing my total to over $16. Brody, Josh, and Kyle showed up after us, so we moved tables to seat everyone. The food was surprisingly slow to come out considering it was mostly cold dishes served on Chinet. They have “meal prep” dishes as well, which Brody ordered and then asked to have microwaved so he could try it there. Overall it was way too much money, way too churchy, and generally just not worth the time for me. Maintenance and custodial were grilling burgers for their people back at the shop, and I found myself wishing they had some leftovers by the time we got back.

After lunch, we made it back to the shop and hung out around the table for a while. Then Gary suggested that we should draw numbers, and Brody and I got the first two rounds to go home early. It was still cloudy and cool out, so I thought about riding my bike around, but then went straight home instead. Eaddie was cleaning at home and didn’t want to go ride the Grom. Autumn was out of town for Quiz Bowl, so Eaddie asked me to take her to the football game.

I spent some time inside, since I still didn’t feel great from the morning. Then I got around to cleaning up the garage a bit until it was time to get Eaddie. Summer got home shortly after I dropped her off, and we went to Taco Villa for a dinner to share before making it to the high school to watch the halftime show. As soon as that was done, we took the Shadow back home and then went to their house for the evening. I was tired and started to doze a bit, but then Summer went to bed and I stayed up until the girls got home from the game.

Three miles per hour isn’t going to cut it, long-term.

Right ’round

It was a Grom day, and I kept joking that Greg would have to ride on it with me to the Little Rock conference. I didn’t feel particularly accomplished, but I did stay relatively busy. There weren’t a whole lot of people around the shop today, so I got into what I could. It occurred to me that nobody really understood the rules of the CPPC, so I spent some time trying to resolve that before lunch.

The afternoon was uneventful. We went to La Huerta, where our waitress convinced me to try a “new” dish with chicken, mushrooms, and corn. It was good, but a lot of food. The tortillas were awesome and fresh, though.

The afternoon was quiet, and I spent a little time upstairs before quitting time. Then I went home and waited for Summer to get back to town from work so we could go to parent-teacher conferences. That in itself wasn’t too bad. I think the anticipation was worse than actually standing face-o-face. We weren’t at the high school for more than just a few minutes, and I spotted Sarah from across the cafeteria. I held it together well enough to get by, and after I encountered her right behind us in line for a teacher, I never saw her again for the rest of the time that we were there.

The conferences went well, but I wished we had the time to talk with all of Eaddie’s teachers. Autumn’s all had mostly the same thing to say, so hopefully she can get back on track. When we finished, Summer and I actually went to the arts center to see the army recruiter. He didn’t have much of use to say, and it was pretty obvious that Autumn was showing out for attention.

When we finished, I just went straight home and did what I could to wrap up the evening. I had a few drinks and watched a couple episodes of She-Hulk. Then it was off to bed.

That hit a lot harder than I expected.

Con Man

I sent Thomas a screenshot of the Arkansas Conference of Technology pre-conference schedule this morning with the Michael Myers Network+ boot camp circled by a big, red heart, and Greg’s and my name at the top and bottom. Apparently that got the conversation started, and after lunch, Gary had us register ourselves to go. Otherwise it was a really slow, really uneventful day. I finally closed out a single work order from the start of the year, because a Chrome extension was causing Google Docs to print an extra, blank page.

Gary, Zach, and I met Brody at Wendy’s for lunch in the middle of all that, and then Anthony and Tyler sat with us when they came in later. The afternoon was even quieter, and Zach came in to kill some time with me again. After work, I went home for a little while and waited for Summer to get home and finish up at the gym. Ben called, and we chatted at length about the conference, work, and more.

When Summer finished her workout, she picked up some Little Caesar’s and I met her at Shell to use my 30 cents per gallon discount. Unfortunately their system was down, so I didn’t even get my usual 5 cent discount. I put in five bucks to get by, and then we headed up to her house where the girls were waiting for dinner.

We all ate standing up in the kitchen, and then Eaddie brought an essay to the table and wrote it next to me while I tried to complete a challenge in Into the Breach. Hopefully her paper will do better than I did, because I failed, again. Summer made it to bed late, so I didn’t realize what time it had gotten to be. My cough came back pretty hard, so I went to bed miserably, hoping to get some sleep.

What am I even coughing up any more?

Long Days

I took the Shadow in today, and it felt much cooler than yesterday. I really need to get some service scheduled for at least two of the bikes. I spent most of the day helping Jacob with some imaging issues. I felt like I never really got to concentrate on any one thing, and just jumped around all day.

Taco Tuesday was a light meal, and I got most everyone’s receipts, so I need to start eating there on other days to redeem my points. It’s been especially lucrative lately because I’ve been earning double points for some promotion.

The afternoon seemed to drag on forever. Zach even came into my office to try and kill about an hour. It looked like the others got some walkout time, but I left pretty close to quitting time after chatting with Tammy on the way out. I rode home and cleaned up a little bit before going to my parents’ house to help finish up the shrimp noodle soup.

When I got back home, I watched an episode of She-Hulk while I did a load of laundry. Then I struggled with some phlegm and generally feeling pretty wired when it was time to go to bed.

Points, please!

Lawyer Show!

I took the R1 today, and made it to work pretty early. There wasn’t a whole lot going on that early, but I had stuff to pick at. Summer made an appointment to see a nurse about her headaches and numbness in her left side, and wanted me to go along with her. She picked me up from work a little before lunch time, and we went to the Millard-Henry Clinic. I was surprised by how quickly we got in, but unimpressed by our visit. Her nurse seemed to just be reading things off of UpToDate, which kind of sounded like WebMD behind a paywall. She asked a few questions, but it really seemed like she was taking a guided program to diagnose the issue.

In the end, we got some prescriptions called in, but then didn’t actually receive the new ones when we stopped by Rose Drug as we left. Summer decided she would just go back later, and instead we went to Stoby’s for lunch. A couple guys came in after us and seemed a bit rude in the way they spoke to our server. They were definitely not there to chit-chat, and ignored common courtesy to start immediately in on their orders. Summer and I finished up pretty quickly, and then went by her house to get her laptop. She decided she wanted to spend the day with me in my office, working from my couch.

I had to go to Oakland for a few things, but finished them up relatively quickly. Then I came back to the shop for a bit before having to wrap things up and go to the high school for our CPPC training. Summer took off and I ran upstairs to deliver some laptops, and then it was off to the new board room at the high school. I arrived early enough to avoid the traffic, and passed a bunch of administrators as they were leaving their own meeting. As I walked in, Ginni immediately called me out with a big smile and asked rhetorically if I was Autumn’s dad. I quipped back that it was only voluntary, and we went back and forth for a moment before I found a seat.

The training was short, and I think the administrators learned more than I did. The lawyer basically reiterated a bunch of the points I made last year, so at least now they’ll be less likely to break the law. It wasn’t a complete waste of time, but I still think we ultimately just need a committee of more rounded, learned individuals.

I rode back to the shop to finish out the day, but didn’t get into anything else. I made it home a little late and waited for Summer and Eaddie to come over. Then we went to my parents’ house for shrimp noodle soup. Autumn decided to go to the kid’s funeral with some of her friends, which annoyed Summer after Autumn went back and forth on how much any of that affected her. The soup was great, and then Dad made a pear cake that we thought was awesome.

The girls dropped me off back at home for the night since it was so late, and I didn’t want to have to get gas just to make it up to their house. My house was hot, which gave me a bit of a headache, so I didn’t get up to anything. Instead, I watched one more episode of She-Hulk and then went to bed.

Breaking all the walls.

On a Roll

I woke up early and hacked up a bunch of crud, then went back to sleep pretty hard. I heard Summer get around, so I eventually got out of bed and had some leftover biscuits and gravy. Then I went home to work on the garage. It got really hot really early because of the humidity, so I ended up taking really frequent breaks inside, but I felt good about the progress I made. There’s still a lot to do, and a lot of stuff that needs a new home, but today proved just how poorly and inefficiently things were packed into the place.

Summer came over after her workout and helped poke around a bit, but then went home while I finished up. I took one last break and watched an episode of She Hulk, and finally took a shower. Autumn dropped Summer and Eaddie off at the park to play tennis while she went to see her grandparents for a bit. Once I was done, I picked then up to go to my parents’ house for spring rolls for dinner.

Julie was already there to help prep everything, and was sharing stories about her most recent adventure. They set up another table for us in the living room, expecting more than could fit around the dinner table. Autumn didn’t show up until the very end, but the rest of us took turns going to the dining room to make rolls that we carried to the living room to eat.

Autumn showed up to say, “hello,” and then took the others home with her. I helped clean up a little bit and then headed to the house behind them. Summer had been struggling with a headache and half of her face tingling intermittently throughout the weekend, so I finally convinced her to call the doctor in the morning. I doped up myself since my cough was getting a bit worse again, and was going to go to bed early until Eaddie came out and sat down next to me to do some last-minute science homework. I helped her with a few questions, and then it was off to sleep.

You’re welcome.

Getting Things Done

Autumn had a Quiz Bowl tournament today. Summer and I got up and had some leftovers, and we mostly left Eaddie alone. After I ate, I went home and started up the grill to season the griddle top. I forgot to open the vents, so it didn’t start as quickly as it could have, but once it got rolling, the seasoning process went really well. I poked around the garage a bit while that cooked off, but I really need to start making big progress. I think tomorrow I’ll need to clean up the back yard so I can move some things out to the shed.

After a shower, I picked Summer up and we headed up to Justin’s baby shower. I didn’t really know anyone, but eventually some other guys from Superfast showed up so I wasn’t quite as outnumbered by the girls. They had a pretty great spread of finger foods, and it was actually enough that we didn’t eat for the rest of the day.

We left the shower and went straight to my parents’ house to help cover the pool for the year. Then we stopped by my office to get the leftover gravy for breakfast tomorrow. When we got back to the house, Eaddie was about ready to go to the fair. I watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog with Summer, and when she was ready, I dropped Eaddie off at the fairgrounds.

The rest of the evening was pretty quiet. Autumn was home when I got back, but she had plans to go to the fair and would bring Eaddie back at the end of it all. They came back a couple hours earlier than they planned, but I guess they didn’t have quite as many friends turn up as they expected.

Stop dawdling.