On the Subject of Pedestals

Eaddie has been wanting to go out on a hike, so she and Summer decided today was the day. I suggested Pedestal Rock, a place I hadn’t been there since I was a child, because it seemed like an easy enough hike for someone in my condition. They jumped right out of bed and were ready to go, so I took the opportunity to shower while they went to the store to get lunch materials. Then they brought the Model Y over to charge while we took mine up to Pelsor.

Nobody had eaten yet, and I didn’t want to drive for an hour and then hike for just as long before we could sit down and eat sandwiches, so I stopped at Sonic before we got to Dover. It was a pretty middling experience, made slightly worse by the fact that we then weren’t really hungry enough for lunch on the trail afterward.

We walked the Pedestal Rocks trail, which was longer than Kings Bluff. It wasn’t too incredibly hot or humid out, but the slight changes in elevation got me huffing pretty quickly. Even micro changes wear me down really quickly, so I tried to pace myself. We made it down to the rock formations fairly easily, and I took a short break while the girls wandered around at the bottom of the formations for a bit. The hike back up to the car was much worse for me, but once we leveled out I recovered fairly quickly.

The girls ate some pita chips and hummus, but didn’t get out any of the sandwich stuff. I found a large chunk of something in what was left of our cranberry slush from Sonic. It had broken up a bit in the drink, which led me to believe it was a chunk of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but nobody was brave enough to taste it.

Eaddie was pretty anxious to get back home by that time, so we left. As we got back into town and service, Summer noticed that Autumn had stopped by Adam’s house on the way home from Clarksville, where she had been overnight. It was clear they had spent the night together at her father’s house. Autumn’s lies about their plans pretty well sealed her fate.

We swapped vehicles at my house and then went inside to chat for a bit before deciding to go to Summer’s parents’ house to talk to them first. We felt we owed them the courtesy, but that turned toxic absolutely instantly. We had barely pulled up when Autumn called Summer wanting to know if we were there to talk them out of paying for her band camp trip. It was a short conversation before Autumn hung up on her mother, and then Summer had to talk JoAnn into coming out to talk to the three of us.

Everyone seemed to be concerned about band camp, because that’s what Autumn called them about. Gerald stomped out, white as a ghost, a few moments later and banged his fist in anger. Summer told him we were kicking Autumn out, and he said, “Good! You don’t deserve her!” I think we all felt a brief feeling of relief until he pulled the rug out from beneath us and said she could come live with him. Then he tried bringing up Summer’s past when she moved out of their house, as though that made any kind of point at all. He cast Summer away and told her not to come back. She and Eaddie went back to the car while I stood there in shock.

I tried to calmly explain the situation, but it was clear he wasn’t going to listen. He was locked into blind support of Autumn’s parasitic lifestyle, and she’ll only suffer for it. I told him that I knew they loved the girls, and for some reason his only response was that he didn’t love Eaddie. That just seemed like a cruel and pointless thing to say, and I had absolutely no response loaded for that. We headed to the house to confront Autumn, but of course they had already told her she was being kicked out, so she was packing by the time we got there.

Autumn tried ignoring us at first, but finally came out long enough for Summer to talk to her. After over a year of hearing her say she hates it with us, she said she wasn’t ready to move out, and then turned to me to ask if I was “okay with this.” I don’t know what kind of answer she expected from me after she tried to send me to jail with false accusations. Summer did a great job of laying out the expectations and where Autumn failed to meet them. We gave her twice the amount of time we told her, and then sent her off with her car title and birth certificate. We’ve wasted enough time afraid for our own safety with her around. She can mooch off of someone else from now on.

I think Summer and Eaddie handled it relatively well, but it was hard. I didn’t really expect to tear up myself, but I did while giving my parting words. They took a moment to breathe, and then Summer took me home to get the Murano. While we were there, she called Nick to explain the situation. He played dumb enough that I didn’t even think to be angry at him, since he was the one that allowed Autumn to stay the night with her 15 year old boyfriend. What an absolute putz.

Summer spent a while on the phone in her car when we got back to the house. Eaddie had taken a shower, and we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. When Summer finally came in, I suggested pizza and both of their eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning and they had just found all of the surprise presents under the tree. I ordered some Little Caesars, and spent the next 20 minutes waiting for it.

When I got back to the house, we watched Modern Family while we ate. Then the girls went to bed. New challenges await us tomorrow, but at least for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

If it were up to me, we would have given her car to her in cube-form.

Spider Across

I tried to sleep in a little bit this morning before heading home to shower. I took Summer’s car to charge it enough for our trip to Little Rock. Then before I went back to get the girls, I stopped by my parents’ house to print off a quick “YOU ARE MARRIED” card for them to take to Randall and Danielle’s wedding.

Summer and Eaddie came out as soon as I pulled up to their house, and we headed to Little Rock for lunch. Traffic was pretty stupid, but we made it to the Promenade with plenty of time to eat. Big Orange didn’t have a wait, so we didn’t even have to queue up before we got there. Then after we ate, we walked the length of the strip and stopped in a few stores. We spent the most time in Home Goods, which seemed like an expensive version of TJ Maxx. Then we ended at Maggie Moo’s to share a banana split before the movie.

We arrived at the theater pretty early, so we had to wait a bit for the IMAX to be cleaned out. The concession stand got pretty busy, so our preordered snacks were a bit late, but it worked out alright. The theater was fairly cold, but livable. I didn’t like Across the Spider-Verse nearly as much as Into the Spider-Verse, but it had some really great moments. Overall I thought it was a good movie. It just didn’t have me punching the air as much as the first one. I was surprised to see it was a two-parter, but I was excited that there would be another.

The girls wanted to head straight home after the movie, which was a bit annoying. I could have gone for some dinner out of town. Instead, I took them home and everyone went to bed pretty immediately. I was up for several more hours by myself, which felt incredibly boring and wasteful.

Bad things are gonna happen. It makes us who we are.

Old Tomato

Things were tense with Summer every time I saw her today. She and I both slept in a bit. She tried to wake Autumn up before she left for work, and of course I could hear mild yelling from the bedroom. Once she left, I had a bagel and then quietly went home myself for the day. I wanted to read up on some Ubiquiti networking documentation, but I could never get myself into it. The best I could do was complete a load of laundry.

I thought Mom was working, but she texted around lunch time and it looked like she was at home. I thought I’d visit her, but I didn’t get out until after my laundry was done. I had to go by Walgreens first for my medication, but that was a failed trip and a phone call to my benefits line, because apparently my insurance paperwork hasn’t made it in yet. I decided not to pay full price and just ride out some higher blood pressure for a few weeks to see what happens.

From there, I stopped to wash my car before heading to see Mom. By the time I got there, I saw the garage was empty and it looked like she was at work. Confused, I headed back home. Summer was home by then, but the girls had been out shopping all day. By the time I got to her house, she said they had left again for the art walk downtown. Things were still tense, and I likened the situation to beating a dog for peeing on the carpet the day before. I told her I was sick of nothing being done. There’s been no accountability. Autumn simply doesn’t understand the difference between not being a shitty person and working to earn something. I’m not going to keep my mouth shut any longer.

I ate some leftovers, and Summer went straight to bed. I just sat there wishing I was at home all night long. What a waste.

First fireflies of the year.

Murder Campus

I rolled in to work a few minutes late today, but that seems to be the atmosphere there. I think as long as work gets done, nobody really seems to care too much about anything else. I didn’t get too deep into much before Kim got there, and then we ended up at the bottom of the hill to finish up our inventory and hunting for Chromebooks. That project was going to take us most of the day, but I wanted to take a break and visit the Plainview campus for the first time.

We had to track down some keys for the building, and then we were on our way. As timing would have it, we had to accept a delivery from UPS anyway. Then I got a quick tour of a hallway they use for preschool, and then a walk through the back side of the building that was blocked by storage. It was padlocked shut, and everything was pretty gross inside. There were some neat things, like a giant, old safe, and an old stage with theater seating in surprisingly good condition. We looked at some carts that I might want to put back into circulation if they’re firm on keeping a cart in every single room, used or not.

By the time we finished there, I was pretty hungry and insisted on taking Kim out to lunch at the Junction Café in town. I tried the Cajun baked potato with shrimp and crawfish, and then Kim got the Cajun fries, which looked like a slightly better deal, though my potato wasn’t bad.

We finished the elementary inventory in the afternoon, which took us right to quitting time. I didn’t even bother unloading everything when we got back to the office. I raced home with very little traffic and stopped by my parents’ house to visit with Mom, but she wasn’t home from work. The landscapers were there, and evidently they cut down her favorite magnolia tree, of which I wasn’t even fully aware.

I ended up leaving well before she got home, stopped by Walgreens where the pharmacy had already closed at three, and then ran home to change before going to Summer’s. She made dinner, so I ate while she and Eaddie watched baking shows.

Summer had told Autumn the other night that she couldn’t go to band camp because she declined the offer earlier in the year. Autumn pitched a fit over it, and evidently spent the afternoon with her grandparents to get money to go. The whole ordeal burned me up, because I’m sick to death of her sidestepping Summer’s parenting, and Summer not doing anything about it. I almost left, but calmed myself down enough to talk to Summer about it. Of course she was just dead eyes through the entire conversation. I know she has it worse, but I can’t feel sorry for her if she does nothing to change the situation. Autumn is just making all of our lives worse by existing, and I wish Summer would put her foot down.

Maybe a trip to Plainview.

Plant B

I slept in just a little bit today, but got out for some breakfast to take to Summer since she was at Superfast today. I didn’t stay long though, and headed home to clean up for round two at Green Bay Packaging. I was actually a little behind where I wanted to be, but I made it there in time.

Gary took me to his office where we chatted kind of loosely some more about some typical personality and work methodology interview questions. Then he took me through the main paper-rolling portion of the plant. I didn’t really get to see any pulp go in, but I did see what he called the “wet” and “dry” ends of the process. It was expectedly hot and humid, but it’s not even August yet. The control rooms and the industrial plant as a whole were reminiscent of my couple of tours of the nuclear plant when Dad could still take me through the plant. It was a really neat look behind the scenes.

After the tour, we chatted for just a brief moment more before I headed home. I was hungry for lunch by then, so I picked up Summer and we went to Popeye’s. They were, as usual, out of chicken, so we waited about 20 minutes for our food. At least the chicken was hot and fresh, but then that had me in a rush to get home and change before driving out to ANO.

I had MASS testing at the Generation Support Building, and I arrived just in time to meet a couple other guys waiting at the door to be let in. It was a small group of people testing, and at least one other kid going up against me for the same job. I’m really not going into it with any confidence, but I figure I’ve got to try if I’ve made it this far.

The first test was shape assembly, and I didn’t make it nearly as far along the test as I thought I would. I didn’t have my watch, so I couldn’t pace myself. If I have to test again, I think I could do better. The mechanical concepts test was the easiest for me, but two of the questions dealt with things I just wasn’t familiar with. In particular, I was unsure about belt slippage between two spindles. Otherwise I thought I did fairly well, and there definitely weren’t any ambiguous questions like there were on the practice test. I was surprised the math portion was only seven minutes long, and I thought I’d get through more of it than I did. I hated hunting through the huge list of conversion factors to find what I needed.

Once I was done with the test, I headed back into town and stopped by to see Mom. I forgot Dad was out for a funeral, so I hung out with her for a little bit before heading home to change, and then finally making it up to Summer’s for the night.

Autumn was in Clarksville with Adam again, allegedly at the water park. Eaddie was cleaning her room and doing laundry. Summer was watching TV in the living room, so I bounced around a little bit between the couch and snacking in the kitchen. Once Autumn came home, I disappeared into the bedroom until she went away to her room. Then it was a race to get to bed for an early day at work. I’m not afraid of ten hour days, but I hate starting so early.

I’m not even sure what I want any more.

Fifty Grand and the Hunt for Chromebooks

Kim called me while I was on the way to work this morning, and said she would be coming in a little bit later. I don’t think she’s actually scheduled to work any more over the summer, but she says she swaps comp days, and I don’t know enough yet to argue. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I decided to poke around the 3CX phone system a little more.

Blake came into my office a little later and said I had about $50,000 to spend before the end of the year. I’m guessing that’s normally a good problem to have, but in this case I’m still not even sure what we have in order to make a judgement on what we need. I’ve got dozens of fires going at once, and I’m just not able to prioritize any one of them.

The lunch room was obviously closed, so I didn’t even bother trying to find anything to eat. Kim found us some leftover cake though, so that served well enough. We spent the afternoon going room-to-room looking for Chromebooks, and I made a spreadsheet to compare those that we scanned with those from Google Admin. That seemed like a good start, at least. We found about 200 by the end of the day.

Apparently we’re already starting four ten hour days, so I left a little after five and raced home as quickly as traffic would allow. Summer had swapped to charge, so I had to shuffle cars around after I changed clothes and stoked the fires in the back yard a little more. Then I picked up some Taco John’s on the way up to her house for the evening.

I brought home some leftover hot sauce from our Taco Villa lunch on Friday, and it made my tacos about a thousand times better. I only stopped eating them because I ran out. Summer sat in front of the TV the rest of the night until she went to bed. I finally got Summer’s Fitbit Aria scale paired again, after an infuriating conversation with tech support, and finally bringing out an old iPad to complete the process.

Eaddie had spent several hours helping her grandmother in the garden, and best I could tell, Autumn was out at the movies with Adam. Eaddie came home and showed me some new shirts she got, and I made it to bed before Autumn got home.

Tek Tuk Tuk!

Poor Test

I was pretty sleepy last night, and slept in a fair amount today, partially because my phone never finished charging overnight with a faulty cable, and I wanted to run a full charge cycle for testing purposes. Summer forgot it was Memorial Day and scheduled herself to work in Greenbrier. Autumn had plans to spend the day out, mostly with Adam, so Eaddie and I had the day to ourselves.

I started with a bowl of cereal while I shopped for a sunshade for my car. Mom called to offer leftovers for lunch, so I woke Eaddie up and we eventually made our way to their house to eat. Then she wanted to go play her flute with a friend, so we had to run back to the house for her instrument, and then I dropped her off and headed to my house for the day.

The first thing I did was poke around the logs some more to get them burning down some more. Then I went inside and had a bit of an anxiety/dizziness attack that gave me a little bit of a dull headache for a while. Eventually I got around to doing my practice testing for Entergy, but evidently I did the wrong collection of tests. I thought I had to do all of them, but it was just four specific categories.

As it got later, I went back to get Eaddie, and we made it home just after Summer. They watched The Office while I argued with Julie about the practice test answers. I just couldn’t see how they came to some of their conclusions, but hopefully they were just poor examples of test questions. It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t make it anyway.

I ended the night with even more frustration, trying to re-pair Summer’s Fitbit Aria to her new router. I forgot to update it when I replaced the router, and apparently Fitbit has abandoned the setup process, and it will no longer work. I wish I could just no longer work.


Log Blog

I slept hard last night after working hard all day. Summer wanted to clean house, so I went home and stoked the fires. I was surprised by how much some of the bigger logs had burned down overnight. In all, I had four separate fires going. One of them was a long trail of tree trunk that slowly smoldered like an enormous wick. At one point, I brought out a smoked sausage and made lunch over a fire. Mom and Dad stopped by briefly to see Bác Vân. I eventually made it back inside to shower.

Summer surprised me with a steak dinner when I made it back up to her house. Then we watched Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, which I found to be mostly pretty boring. I think Holtzmann was my favorite character and had the funniest bits, but the rest of the movie just seemed like fan service. I wished it hadn’t been a complete reboot.

The girls made it home from Clarksville, but I never saw either of them. The rest of the night was quiet until bedtime.

It’s 2040. Our president is a plant!


The girls got up for a 5k this morning while I slept in just a little bit, which still was less than usual because of how late we got home. When I came out, they were eating some leftovers, so I had a slice of pizza too. Summer wanted to go to the movies, so I went home to clean up first. I had a few hours to kill though, so I decided to start burning some wood out back.

The fire caught super fast this time, and I filled in quite a bit of the hole where an old stump had rotted out. I got some massive pieces of tree trunk burning, and then went inside to rest for a bit before my shower. Summer ended up getting a headache and changed her mind about the movies, so I went back out and started a second fire on top of a different tree stump. It was really low to the ground, but had stuff growing all around it, so I figured I should try and burn it out. I didn’t stay out for long though, since I had just taken a shower.

Finally I made it back up to Summer’s house, and warmed up the bean soup for dinner. The three of us ate, and when Autumn got back home, she packed up and took Eaddie to their father’s for the night. Summer and I laid around the rest of the evening, and then went to sleep early.

Sinusitis sounds like the name of a villain.

But You, You Were My Favorite

Today was a full day. The roads were clear and I made it to work really early. I spent nearly all morning reading documentation on an Aruba switch. I felt good about it, but didn’t learn what I was needing to know. I finally asked Gary, and he explained it perfectly, and I knew exactly what I was missing in my new life.

The school got everyone Taco Villa for lunch, so everyone gathered in the cafeteria to eat, and then Harry gave a short speech to end the year. I stuck around for a while just to make sure everyone else was gone, and then left very near to last. I had to get charged back up so Eaddie and I could make it to Rogers.

Once I was back up to 90%, I stopped by Superfast to see Summer, and then I picked Eaddie up. We hit the road and ran into really heavy traffic all the way to Alma. We knew we wanted to stop somewhere for dinner, but didn’t know what we wanted. Eaddie finally found a place called La Sirenita in Springdale that caught her eye, so we found that little hole in the wall where we were greeted in Spanish. It was at that point I knew the food would be good. The gorditas weren’t anything like I was expecting because they weren’t really crispy enough, but it was good food and friendly service.

From there, we made it to the Walmart AMP just in time for the gates to open. We parked in an EV charger spot, but the ChargePoint charger didn’t seem to work. It looked dusty and non-functioning to begin with, but the charger wouldn’t even come out of the socket. We stayed parked there and walked down to the line of people, got through the gates, and then found a short, fast, hidden merch line.

Once we had a couple shirts, we found a place on the lawn and I waited for Brandon and Diana to show up. Brandon said they had tickets to the show, but I didn’t ask them early enough to plan dinner. Eaddie and I moved around a bit, and she sat on the other side of some people for a while, but eventually joined us when Brandon and Diana found me. They got a couple seats, but I still didn’t really think they were worth the extra $10.

Coheed and Cambria were an awesome opening act, and I enjoyed them every bit as much as Incubus. Both of the frontmen were incredibly talented with how well they belted their lyrics all night. The crowd definitely got more excited for the headlining group though. Brandon and Diana left early, so Eaddie and I took over their lawn chairs until after they played the last song. Then we made it back to the car and fought stupid traffic for the first time there. For some reason they wouldn’t let us go left out of the parking garage, so we had to fight our way around a street with a median, and then through a roundabout that had no traffic control.

We stopped in Lowell for a quick charge and a drink, and then we headed home as quickly as we could. I got the car down to 8%, which was half the estimated charge the navigation said I would have when we started, but it was fine. We dropped it off at my house around 1:30 to charge back up, and then headed up to Summer’s where everyone was fast asleep.

The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it.