Năm Mới

Summer had to go to Morrilton this morning, so I had her take me home first. I spent some time picking up around the house a bit before getting a shower. Then I met her and the girls at CiCi’s for lunch. Autumn was going shopping afterward, so Summer took Eaddie home while I went to visit my parents for the lunar new year.

After hanging out for a bit, I went back home and stopped to see Bác Vân for a bit. She hasn’t been able to talk to Bác Trần on her iPad for some reason, but he was at the temple and unable to troubleshoot with us. She gave me some sweet rice, and then I headed back up to Summer’s for the evening.

Eaddie and Summer were watching a crime show, so I gave them some sweet rice and sat with them for a while. Then the girls went to their rooms early. I laid with Summer for a while until Autumn finally got home from shopping. Then I dawdled on the computer a bit before doping up and heading to bed really early.

The rabbit, you say?

Region 9

I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep for a couple of hours. I sat up on the couch for a little while, which helped a bit. When I finally got back to sleep, I slept through Summer going in to work and then the girls going to All-Region clinic. I finally got around just before Summer got home, and then we started prepping for dinner. I made coleslaw, and she made potato salad. The slaw was way easier. Finally, we got the ribs into the oven and I headed home.

Summer eventually picked me up, and we went to the arts center where my dad and her parents were already waiting. Eaddie had made first band, first chair, and Autumn beat the only other bass clarinet that tried out, but didn’t make all-region at all. Both bands were pretty good, but Eaddie was bored with the whole event on account of easy music. A couple of the songs were repeats from band camp.

After the concert, we headed home for dinner. Autumn brought her boyfriend over, who said he had never eaten ribs before. He didn’t even try any of the sides we made, so it was a bit weird. Eaddie spent the rest of the evening in her room while Summer and I hung out in the living room for a bit before retiring to the bedroom and making Autumn and Adam come out of her bedroom. Once his father picked him up, everyone was off to sleep.

A good sniff.

But Now We’re Stressed Out

I had some wild dreams last night, ranging from Josh coming back, to literally falling over dead out of my office chair. We had our morning meeting with an assortment of some other cake donuts this time, and then we were told of our temporary assignments for covering the junior high until our new hire starts. It was still ambiguous at the time about whether it was public knowledge that Ryan was coming back, but at least some of us know he’ll be back the first Monday in February.

I was sent to the junior high for the whole day, and would be alternating with Greg on Fridays until Ryan returns and we’re all restructured. I never made it to Dwight yesterday though, so I wanted to stop by on the way across town to wrap up a couple things. They were also bothering Greg about their intercoms, but that turned out to be a weird, easy fix.

The junior high was pretty chill, but was primarily student device repairs. It seemed to be very, very dysfunctional, and there was clearly no accountability with the students. I troubleshot what was in the library, but never spent any time in the office. Ronda was there by herself, aside from all the random foot traffic, so it was nice to catch up with her again.

Zach and Greg went to lunch a little early, and I met them at IHOP for a surprisingly quick lunch. It wasn’t cheap, but it was also a ton of food. It was there that I learned that at least Greg knew Ryan was coming back, but I don’t know if they’ve discussed a restructure with him yet. I presume not, and Gary’s out all next week.

I finished up the day at the junior high, taking a break to avoid a tornado drill. Instead of sticking around for that, I ran to Sonic for a couple drinks, and then finished the day closing out some classroom tickets. At the end of the day, I went back to the shop to clean up. As everyone else filtered out, I dropped by Thomas’s office to talk about my own headspace.

We had a good talk, and I got him to tell me that he’d like for me to stay, which was more than I could get from anyone else. In fact, everyone else told me that he’d never say it, so I felt pretty good about it. I hated getting so sappy about it, but I had clearly been stressing all night over it. Clarksville would be a great raise, but I just wasn’t sure it was worth the cost.

I went home for quite a while until Summer got home late. Then we tried and failed to get discount gas before going to Brangus for dinner. We ate and paid too much, and then went back for gas before making our way home. The girls had All-Region Clinic until late, but they got home a little while after we did. Then it was off to bed.

When our momma sang us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

I did not expect today to go the way that it did.

Shortly after I got to work, I had Zach pick me up from Clear View Auto Glass and Tint, where I dropped my Model 3 off to get the windows tinted. I took the opportunity to try out valet mode, which seemed straightforward enough. It was neat getting notifications when my car was unlocked while I was at work.

After that, I was stuck in the office without a vehicle, so I spent most of the day helping others. I finally fixed something for Jeff, for real this time. Unfortunately I didn’t have the same luck with Adobe for Jacob. That was when things got weird.

Brody called, acting all cloak-and-dagger, and wanted to know if I was serious about wanting to go to Clarksville. I’d been interested, at the very least, but I had never put much serious thought into it. Evidently Ryan is coming back to fill Josh’s slot, and I hadn’t even considered how that would shift the teams around.

I went to lunch with the Big Three, and Gary asked if I had talked to Brody lately. I figured the gig was up, but everyone was acting like nothing was going on, so I just played it off. After lunch was a different story. Gary came into my office, shut the door, and asked me again. Then he shared that Ryan would be coming back, obviously onto the Engineering team, and that Thomas required that only two people could remain on that team. I couldn’t really tell what any of their thoughts were on how the dynamic of that team might improve or worsen, based on what Gary would tell me. He just indicated that there were very differing opinions.

About that time, I got a call that my car was done, so Zach took me back to get it. We chatted a bit on the way, and when we got back I quickly did some math, and wasn’t immediately thrust into comfort with the idea of leaving. Things have been rocky with the latest regime, but I hadn’t taken any serious measures to leave. A raise would be nice, but to be at the cost of drive time and vehicle wear made it less appealing. It also wasn’t particularly clear why I would have to report an answer back, other than to make them feel better about who they would send back to the Operations team.

Gary and I chatted a bit more after work, and then I went home briefly before having to pick up Eaddie from robotics. Ben called shortly after I arrived at home, and we talked for quite a while as I retrieved Eaddie. That conversation kind of served to reassure me that the ball was in my court, but I’ve never been good at taking advantages I’d been given.

I took Eaddie on home and helped her with homework while texting Brody to get a better idea of the environment. The hours would be shorter in spite of what the contracts read. I’d like to hear what Ryan has to say about the place, but an equal part of me would simply enjoy working with him again. I feel like I could learn a lot more just by being around him. In contrast, I would be at the top of the ladder with Brody, without peers. I’d have more control, but also no structure or guidance, or even anyone useful to bounce ideas off of. I would be diving in, head-first, hoping to swim.

More math is required, but I think I have a magic number. Even then, there are still too many other variables I need to understand. Time doesn’t seem to be on my side.

If I go, there will be trouble, and if I stay it could be double!

Sick Errands

I woke up this morning after a pretty rough night and decided not to go to work. I submitted my form for leave and then crawled right back into bed, but didn’t fall back asleep until after the kids left for school. Eventually Summer got up to work from home and I fell back to sleep for a little while. When I got up, she made us eggs for breakfast, which as I understand it, is a sign of wealth in today’s grocery-economic climate.

I actually did a little bit of work from home myself when Jeff messaged me for some help, but I didn’t get very far. Eventually Summer went to the gym and then to meet Autumn for a doctor appointment about an achy-breaky back. I went home and cleaned up a bit, and eventually met Summer at Fast Glass to see if they could help with a wet spot inside the Murano when it rains.

The guy at Fast Glass was super chill and brought the car in to test for leaks while Summer took the Montego on to Superfast to help out. Unfortunately the consensus was that the leak was likely due to a clogged sunroof drain, and we couldn’t find where the actual drain was. He suggested talking to the dealership, but that sounded awful. He did at least offer to talk to the boss and see if they could pull the windshield if checking for a clog didn’t find anything.

I stopped to get a shopping list from Summer, and then went to the DMV to try and resolve my title problem. There were a few people in line ahead of me, but it wasn’t an unbearable wait. I was actually helped by the same lady that sent my last paperwork in, and she actually called the main office to confirm their issue with my original paperwork before faxing it in.

From there, I went to Walmart and leisurely browsed clearance before getting food. The request for slaw ingredients was vague, so I quickly Googled some recipes and got what I thought might taste pretty good, including a small jar of EIGHT DOLLAR mayonnaise. This slaw had better be slappin.

The girls were already home by the time I got there, but then Autumn came out and asked if they could go to dinner with their father instead of having ribs at home. I figured since Summer was going to end up working late anyway, it wouldn’t bother her to save the ribs for later. Maybe I’ll get to smoke them this weekend.

I laid around the rest of the evening until Summer got home from work. Then the girls made it back home, and Summer took Eaddie to the shop to get Autumn’s prescription, and then to the store. I cleaned up a bit, and eventually we all made it to bed.

“Oh no, I’ve been a terrible nincompoop.”

I Love Cows

I kept testing myself for fever this morning as an excuse to call in, but it just wouldn’t happen. I made it in and started working on the EAST domain controller again, and miraculously, I remembered the password I had set. Evidently I just kept trying a slightly different variation yesterday in my brain fog, and couldn’t get in.

After a while, Zach needed to go to Dwight, so I took him over there while I took care of a couple work orders. That would turn out to be one of many trips I made over there throughout the day. We went to lunch a bit early when we got back to the shop, and then we had interviews in the afternoon, so I left my office.

I went back to Dwight multiple times to complete everything that came up. Once, I stopped by Ridgewood to kill a couple minutes and see the guys prepping their meats. Then I just kind of lingered anywhere I landed for any length of time. My last stop was Transportation, where I waited until the last interview was done.

After work, I went home for a bit and then picked Eaddie up from robotics. She said she was hungry, but then decided she wanted to go straight home. Summer was at Superfast, so I thought I’d drop Eaddie off at home and then get dinner with Summer. By the time I made it back into town, Summer seemed like she just wanted to go home, so I traded vehicles and picked up some more Taco John’s on the way up.

Summer made a frozen meal that they ate, and then Eaddie and I sat on the couch watching music videos while she did homework. Then I bounced between music and comedy for a bit until she went to her room. Autumn was out super late with the basketball team, because evidently she’s a “manager” for them now. I nursed my cough a bit, and made it to bed early.

Just less excited.


I was several minutes late to work this morning because the D&R railroad was blocking both major roads I could take. I possibly could have driven around it, but I didn’t expect it to last as long as it did. Shortly after I got to the shop, we all headed to Crawford to deploy new docking stations. Since we actually had to wait for someone to get the docks, I stopped by McDonald’s for a coffee with the hopes that it would help me feel a little better.

Deploying the docks took all morning, and we made it back to the shop for lunch at La Chiquita. After lunch, I wanted to make it over to the high school to try and get the new virtual domain controller joined to the EAST domain. Unfortunately, it had been so long since I spun that VM up that I couldn’t remember the admin password I set. I spent the rest of the day trying to get in, but my mental state just got foggier in a pretty steep decline until we were let out an hour early.

I stopped by the tint shop on my way out, to try and schedule an install before Summer’s next big VIP night. The price I was quoted this time was less than half what I was given before, so I scheduled it for Thursday and continued home to get some paperwork for the DMV. Unfortunately they were closed for the holiday, so I stopped by Superfast to see Summer for a bit before going back home to rest.

I just felt worse and worse all night until I made it up to Summer’s for the evening. I made some ramen that helped me feel a little better for a bit, but then my head cold just got worse again until I made some Theraflu and went to bed.

Who nose?

Wasted Time and Money

The girls wanted to go dress shopping this morning, so I was left to fend for myself. I felt mildly better, but my low-grade fever stuck around all day. I wanted to get out of the house to do anything at all, but I could never get anyone to go with me. The girls left for Clarksville after they got back from shopping, so it was just Summer and me sitting around the house all day.

I chatted with Brandie for a while about buying a house, and she eventually called to try and better explain the virtues of having a realtor on our side. It just sounded like another money sink to me. The seller of the house we’re interested in appeared to cheap out on her realtor, and it’s all the more tempting to try and communicate directly with her after doing a little Facebook stalking.

Summer at least accomplished putting things in the girls’ scrap books, but my entire day was slowly and frustratingly burned. I paid bills and just got more and more frustrated by the idea of buying a home. If I didn’t have such a reliance on electricity to sleep, I feel like I’d be way further along on a boat life.

We ended the short and worthless day early with some Monopoly on Stadia, followed by a couple episodes of Modern Family.


Zillow Down, You Move Too Fast

The girls left early this morning for all-region band tryouts in Conway. I got a slow start after that, until Summer finally got around. We had some leftovers for brunch, and I tinkered around on Zillow for a bit.

Someone had told me to go ahead and try to get pre-approved, so I started filling out a form online. I took a break in the middle of the form to try and find my retirement balance for the school, and I got a call from someone at Zillow that immediately put me on hold for a loan officer. I was about ready to give up when someone else picked up and asked if I would prefer a callback. I suggested an email, and we ended the call. Then I got a text, email, and immediately another call from a loan officer that I talked to for a bit.

The call went well enough, but I wasn’t ready for another hard credit inquiry. Byron, the loan officer, basically said I wouldn’t have any problem getting a loan for the home we were looking at, and that when we factor in Summer’s income, we would basically be rich rich. I thanked him for the information, and that was the end of the impromptu surprise home buying adventure.

I went home so I could make it to my parents’ house for the warmest part of the day, to help Dad repair the privacy fence that blew over in the storm a couple nights ago. I hadn’t felt stellar since the day before, but I was surprisingly worthless when it came time to try and dig up a fencepost. Dad had a long iron bar that he used to chip and pry away the concrete, but we didn’t get to that until we had a bunch of vines cleared out of the way. I didn’t have the upper body strength to do much, and then started to get really dizzy really quickly after just a little bit of work. I haven’t felt that out of shape before, and I don’t know if it’s age, weight, COVID, or just a lack of stamina from being so sedentary.

We finally got the post out of the ground, and that was it for the day. Dad wanted to wait to set new posts, but I was a little worried the holes would get filled in some rain. We packed up and went inside, where I showed them the house Summer and I had been looking at on Zillow. It was a big house, for sure, but the price per square foot was low, and it came with enough land and a view that I could see settling down there.

On the way out, Dad took the Model 3 out for a spin with the yoke. I suggested they should get a Tesla, since the price dropped to accommodate the tax break. Then I headed home to shower before making it back to Summer’s for the evening.

Sumer made an awesome dinner, and both of the girls made it in all-region. Eaddie made first band, first chair for high school, and there was never a doubt in my mind. Autumn complained that she did poorly, but then got upset when we tried to encourage her to practice more to get better. I’ve never seen anyone get so immediately offended at the mere concept of working for something.

As the night progressed, I felt worse and worse until I checked my temperature at about 100.5ºF. I had an obvious head cold and a scratchy throat, so it was off to bed early for everyone.

Settle down.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Carbs

Today was Josh’s last day, so we had a bit of a long meeting to socialize before everyone split off. Once that happened, Kyle asked me for help on a one-person job. I had my own things to tend to, so he okayed delaying that until Monday when the kids are out. I actually did a fair job of keeping busy for the rest of the morning, even finishing up some things at Dwight before making it back for lunch.

Just as I got back to the shop, Tammy was walking out to pick up Pasta Grill for lunch. I rode along with her, and then the whole crew got together to eat. Travis missed out on account of some unexplained intercom issues at Oakland, but made it back for some leftovers after everyone else had split off.

The remainder of the workday just creeped by. I went across the street for some ice and talked to Kayla for a little bit, but otherwise it seemed like several of us were just riding out the clock. I ended up taking the leftovers home, but there was hardly enough for a couple people left.

I went home and tended to the shrimp for a bit, and eventually made it up to Summer’s for the evening. Eaddie wanted to watch TV, so after she finished baking brownies and Summer ate some food, we watched one episode of Umbrella Academy. Then everyone was off to bed, because the girls had all-region in the morning. Summer hadn’t felt well all afternoon, so she went straight to bed. I still had heartburn and indigestion from lunch, so I struggled to settle down for the evening. I burned so much time tending to frosty survivors on my phone.

Of course I overpaid.