Ring That Bell

It was really frosty out this morning, but I made it in to work. A bunch of people were out, leaving me in charge for the day. We met up at the shop briefly, discovered that we couldn’t do the one thing Gary asked me to do, and then sent everyone off to do their own things.

Kyle stuck around the shop all day, and basically had me reading manuals on how to set up Kerberos for his Macs. I took a lunch break and ran through McDonald’s for some fries and Taco Bell for my taco subscription, then went back to the shop to eat it by myself. Right after lunchtime was over, the main office told us to shut down at one, unless we took a lunch, in which case we had to stay until two. I wrapped up what I could, and then we all left early.

As I got home, I decided to climb up the extension ladder and hang my big wind chime. I was a little concerned about the screws pulling out of the tree, but I put it up anyway. The bell is super heavy, but I liked the deep sound of it. I’ll still have to come up with a way to hang the smaller ones right outside the door, but I’m glad to have the big one up now.

Summer had called while I was at work to let me know that Autumn and her father tested positive for COVID. Eaddie tested negative, and Summer insisted that they come home. We talked it out, and decided to let them stay home for the night, and then have Eaddie go to school in the morning. We’re hoping that they stayed separated well enough that Eaddie isn’t carrying it, and as long as she tests negative for it again tomorrow, we’ll let her come over after school to let Autumn quarantine by herself the rest of the week. I’m not thrilled about any of it, but it seemed like the best way to minimize any new exposures since Eaddie basically has to go to school.

I put some time in on the treadmill, and eventually Summer came over after packing and going to the gym. I had her pick up some Little Caesar’s since she needed dinner. Then I had to run some stuff up to Eaddie, since she was stuck at home. We watched an episode of Modern Family when I got back home, and then it was off to bed.

Wow, a test she could pass.

Taco Subscription

I made myself stay up when I first woke up this morning, because I knew if I went back to sleep I wouldn’t wake up for several more hours. We struggled to get out of bed though, and finally got up when Summer went to work on her laptop. I eventually took a shower, and then we left to meet back up at her house after I picked up some Taco Bell for lunch.

I decided to try the $10 30-day taco subscription, since the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme was on the list of options. I figure I can eat $10 worth of those in a month without any trouble. I didn’t get a taco with the purchase of the pass though, so I’ll have to go through again another time to redeem my first one.

We ate, and then Summer went to the gym after she got her laundry started. I thought I’d play a game or something, but ended up piddling on my phone while intermittently letting the cat in and out of the house repeatedly. She just didn’t want to stay in one place, and I kept obliging her every whim.

When Summer finally got back, we met at Harbor Freight to shop for some deals. I finally got a longer level and a multi-tipped mallet, and she picked up a bunch of stuff for work. I warmed up some leftovers for dinner, and then we laid on the couch for the rest of the evening until bedtime.

Minimum effort!

Fire and Ice and Smoke and Mirrors

We got up this morning and tried not to dawdle too long, because we wanted to smoke some ribs for as long as possible. It was snowing, but we didn’t expect it to snow for as long as it did. I don’t think it ever really stopped all day.

Our first stop was Walmart to pick up what we needed. I got a huge bag of mixed fruit wood pellets, which will last years if I only ever use them in the little A-Maze-N tube smoker I got. Then we had to go to Summer’s to get the ribs and some other things, and finally we headed back to my house to set up the grill with a new tank of propane.

The smoker pellets took better than I expected, even after I dumped them off of the grill while wrestling the propane tank onto its holder. We used some of Summer’s Larry the Cable Guy wild game rub she had stockpiled years ago, which proved to be a mistake. I used way too much, but we wouldn’t know that until we ate them.

The ribs smoked for about three or four hours before I covered them with some old leftover barbecue sauce and wrapped them in foil. Then I let them cook another hour or two while I baked potatoes and made some bacon. Summer made broccoli salad, and then we called it a day instead of making twice-baked potatoes.

It was still snowing big, fat flakes, but the roads were clear enough to get to my parents’ house. We ate and visited for just a little bit, and then headed back home to clean up. We only ate one rack of the ribs, and they were extremely salty. The rub was overpowering, so I couldn’t even really tell that it had a smokey flavor. It may help to eat the next rack with some plain rice to cut the seasoning.

As we settled in for the night, I got Summer to stay up late and watch The Prestige. I’d been wanting to watch it again for quite a while, so I was glad to check it off the list. Summer didn’t feel great for most of the evening, so we wound down pretty quickly and went to bed.

Are you watching closely?


I slept the worst I had slept all week last night, after waking up around 1:00 and lying awake in bed thinking my alarm was about to go off. When it actually was time to get up, I crawled out of bed super sore, but somehow I didn’t have to fight sleep all day.

We met in the shop and went over new COVID guidelines, which were basically nonexistent, or at the very least ineffective. I think they just accepted that everyone is going to get it super fast, so the primary goal is to keep kids in school no matter what.

After a little while, I went to Oakland to close out some work orders. Then I made it back to the shop just in time to pick everyone up to go to Old South for lunch. We had to wait for Zach and Greg to show up from their TV install, but then lunch was good.

Central Office went home at one, so we shut everything down as well. I hung out for a little while since Tammy didn’t have a ride, but then I had to head to my parents’ house to meet Pat, their retirement fund manager.

Julie didn’t show up because she was still sick, so we just had her on the phone. Pat seemed nice enough, but was mostly just vague in his gesturing that “there was enough money as long as he kept it there.” We did gain some insight, but I don’t think anything really changed. I’m tired of talking about it, but I still want to crunch the numbers ourselves so we can have a glanceable table of what to expect.

After he left, the rest of us had some curry for dinner, and then I headed home to meet up with Summer. I cleaned up most of the mess I made hanging the new track light, and then we watched Cool Runnings until bedtime.

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme!

Back on Track

I wasn’t as early to work this morning as I had been the past couple days, but I still squeaked in under the wire. We gathered in the shop for just a bit before deciding to get started on a regular workday in spite of an absence of students. Teachers were still there, and were even encouraged to bring their own kids to school with them, so it wasn’t a complete ghost town. I stayed in my office all day anyway, so it didn’t matter much.

I spent most of the day helping others. When I wasn’t doing that, I was turning those helping moments into FAQs in Web Help Desk. It was boring, but maybe it will help in the future.

Most of us went to Nonna Bella’s for lunch. I had the chicken alfredo lunch special, which was pretty good. The price was the best part though. The food took a bit to come out, so we had plenty of time to chit chat around the table.

The afternoon went by super slowly, and then I finally left a bit late after wrapping things up. I stopped by Casey’s for a free deal, then went home where Autumn and Eaddie had just arrived to pick up a hotspot so they could go to their father’s.

I changed, then went to Lowe’s to get the part I needed to mount the track light electrical box. I got really frustrated trying to mount the thing, and didn’t have a great time due to the orientation of the screws, but I eventually got it mounted well enough. I didn’t end up drilling any holes for the toggle bolts, and just went with screw-in anchors instead. They were white, so they actually blended in pretty well in case I ever wanted to remove the track in the future.

When I finally finished setting up the new lights and Hue bulbs, I headed up to Summer’s for the evening. She was already in bed as I expected, so I laid down with her for a bit until she went to sleep. Then I wrapped up and tried going to sleep myself.

Anchors aweigh, my boy.

Shut It Down!

They decided to close the schools down for the rest of the week, so today was for getting everyone ready to work remotely. I actually didn’t have much to tend to, so I went to Oakland in the morning and replaced a camera switch. Evidently I didn’t plug the fiber modules into the correct ports, so Gary actually took care of that after lunch for me, but at least I had the rack looking much nicer with shorter patch cables.

After I left Oakland, I ran by the high school and waited for Shirley to show back up. She sent Brody a work order, and evidently left right after. I just barely caught her in the parking lot on my way out to lunch, so we went back in and got the girl that needed some dictation software installed. As I left for real, Gary texted and said they were going to Brangus. Evidently they got a late start to lunch, which worked out perfectly as I arrived just as they were being seated.

After lunch was really quiet for me. I piddled a lot, but got called to deliver some Chromebook chargers to Sequoyah as they were dismissing students for the day. As I made the delivery to the office, I got my second compliment of the day – this time for my awesome emails.

We filtered out at the end of the day and I went home to change before going to my parents’ house to finish up some spring rolls. I didn’t stick around long though, because I wanted to get started on my track lighting.

I had to call Dad for some guidance, but got the old pendant light down and finally wired up the new parts. Unfortunately I’ll need another part to rotate the screw holes around, but then I can actually hang the track. The cover won’t quite cover the entire hole left by the old light, but that can be a problem for Future Me.

Oh, buds.

Guidelines Were Made to Be Broken

I didn’t give the Murano much time to defrost this morning, then made it worse by trying to use the wipers to clear the little bit of frost I had. I made it to Oakland without incident though, and took care of something quickly there before heading in to the office.

Greg was there, in his office, unmasked, and ready to work. It upset me a lot first thing, but I relaxed a bit after they said he had a negative test. I still felt like he should have been masked, but at least I was able to keep my distance for the most part. We did all go to lunch together, but I rode in a different car and sat on opposite corners in the restaurant.

The afternoon was a little slow without much going on. Ben came through right at the end of the day to visit, and finally got to see my glorious new office. I stayed a little late trying to help brainstorm an issue they had at London, but eventually made it home.

I changed out of my work clothes and went to Lowe’s for a connector to join my two track lights while I chatted on the phone with Summer, who was on her way home from Conway. They had some clearance racks up that I perused as well, and scored some iron plant hangers that I’m hoping will work with my windchimes.

As soon as I finished shopping, I went to my parents’ house for some spaghetti. Mom was watching YouTube videos about Vietnamese street food, which lead to us watching the Top Gear Vietnam special. I was pretty tired by the time I got home from that, so I finished up and went to bed early.

Whatever you do, don’t look up.

Clever Hat

It was a little frosty this morning, but overall a little bit warmer and less uncomfortable to be outside. I got to work and really enjoyed my eternally hot cup of coffee, and fixed a printer issue for Brody, who was out with COVID. The rest of the morning was a bit of rummaging for things to do until lunch, when Gary, Zach, Thomas, and I went to CJ’s.

After lunch, I spent some time at Oakland. There, kids had been dropping like flies to quarantine. COVID numbers have just progressively gotten worse, until they changed their quarantine procedures to reduce the number of days out. That brought our numbers down low enough that we didn’t have to shut down any schools. I still think we’d benefit from going to a year-round calendar though.

After work, I went home to change and then went to my parents’ house for some phở. We talked a little more about our next vacation planning, shared our opinions on reunions and nostalgia, and pondered the nature of the Matrix.

On the way home, I called a very drowsy Summer for a bit before bed. Then I wound down pretty quickly.

You see, no one can be told what the Matrix is…


The tendons behind my knees hurt all day, which I guess was from spending some time on the treadmill the other day. I got around, ate some food, and then just kept eating more food all day. Around the time I tried to get around to doing something, Thomas called and wanted me to run to the arena to investigate a wireless issue they were having.

They were hosting a wrestling tournament, and though the stands weren’t exactly packed, there were people all over the floor. I walked around the perimeter of the arena and found that any time I got out onto the floor, I wasn’t able to connect to the internet. I told Adrian we’d be sure to get it fixed before we start hosting “real” sporting events, and then left since they had already come up with some hotspots as a workaround.

The day crawled on for the most part. I was just lazy again and couldn’t get into much of anything. I probably would have felt better if I had just played a game or watched something on TV, but I didn’t really even do that much.

Mom had spring rolls for dinner, so I went over there a little early and brought her heated mug and Dad’s camera grip strap that I got him. I think Mom was pleased with the mug after she actually tried it. It seems to heat a lot more, and faster than mine, but it feels much cheaper. I prefer the build quality of the Ember, but I think hers may actually last longer too, especially with the included lid.

Julie came over and we ate. Then she tinkled on the piano for a while and I showed Dad some FPV drone videos as inspiration for where to blow his retirement. Eventually I made it home, called Summer for a bit, and crawled into bed.

These damned captions!

Drizzly Bear

I slept in a fair amount today and felt better for it. I let myself slowly ease into the day, and I’m not sure I ever really even got it started. I did pick up a few things and poked around some others, but never got up to a whole lot. I tried cleaning my desk a bit, but just barely got it more usable.

It was cold all day long, and wet for most of it. I took a long shower and realized it’s probably time to turn the hot water up a bit if I want to do that again any time soon. I gave my fingernails a much-needed trim, but other than that, I couldn’t find much motivation for anything else.