Feeling Weird

I hardly slept last night after getting up at least every hour, and once with a charley horse in my left leg. I was surprised that I wasn’t dragging out of bed when I finally got up for work. Zach was going to have me image some computers, but we were mistaken in thinking they had already arrived. Evidently all of the boxes that were in the hallway were just monitors and stands. Instead, I went with Greg to re-wire all of central office for their remodel. Jacob joined us for just a little while, and then Zach showed up near the end, just as we were finishing up a dozen lines pulled across the length of the building before lunch.

I worked up a little headache from the heat in that building and working in the insulation, so I decided to take a half sick day to go home and clean up a bit. Eventually I made it up to Summer’s, and we headed to Conway first to eat. We shared a sandwich at Firehouse, then went to Splash so she could check on a vehicle that managed to leave without enough oil. Once she had cleared that there was no major damage, we continued on our journey.

We made one more stop at Best Buy to look at appliances before heading to Little Rock. Without any real plan, we went to McCain Mall and wandered around the sad skeleton of the 80s. Then we wound up at Red Lobster for dinner before our show. We were in and out of there pretty fast, so we decided to stop by the nearby Splash for another carwash before driving across town to The Robinson Center.

Traffic was a bit nuts, and it took us a while to get into the parking garage. The light never gave us a green arrow to turn, and the guy at the head of the line wasn’t making any effort to jump the light, so I ended up circling the block to come back the other direction. It still took us a while, but we eventually made it and happened to park right next to Daniel and a bunch of his crew. We made our way inside and up to the top level where we could find our box seats. It was a little awkward staring down at that angle, but having actual movable chairs was far superior to being seated in the narrow theater seats with that crowd. We could see the average girth made for some super awkward seating below.

The show was absolutely incredible, and we even liked Emo Philips in the opening act. I was worried that his wandering falsetto would be annoying, but the jokes were great. Once the band took to the stage, we learned that Jim West, the guitarist, was having to play from backstage due to a positive COVID test. It was cool that he was still well enough to participate, and the show didn’t really suffer for it.

I was surprised how many songs I actually did know, but there were a few that were totally unfamiliar. I was surprised they had so much lighting, since I assumed it would mostly be acoustic or really low-key stuff. It played like a rock concert, but the band did several different genre twists on a bunch of the songs. At the end, they wandered around obviously on stage and then came back for an encore that was a mashup of a whole bunch of songs, and it was awesome.

Being a relatively smaller crowd, we were able to get our merch after the show, and then pull out of the parking garage in a relatively reasonable amount of time. We made it home before midnight, and it was off to bed as quickly as we could get there.

Boy, what a joker. What a funny, funny guy!

Somewhere in Between Guilt and Guillotine

We woke up to some enlightenment, and had to make quick decisions for the day. I ate a couple donuts, and Summer made a couple egg and cheese biscuits from the leftovers. Eventually she left with Autumn for the gym, but ended up at her parents’ house first, to let them in on what the meddling teenager had conspired.

Eaddie and I made it to my house so I could shower, and then met Summer at the arts center for The Addams Family. It was neat to see the orchestra pit in use, though we couldn’t actually see any of the band. The play seemed to be done really well, though it was hard for me to hear most of the dialog. I didn’t realize there was an intermission, and thought they ended the play in a very odd way.

Afterward, the girls weren’t up for dinner, so I went to my parents’ house on my own. I thought about going back to the girls for the night, but ended up staying home to better prepare for another day that will almost inevitably go sideways.

Idiot.

Just Forkin’ Around!

I took the R1 to work this morning and immediately realized that I was low on gas. I had plenty to get around for the day, though. Gary asked me to take care of an issue upstairs, which I was able to resolve remotely. Then after a while, he wanted some help throwing out a few pallets worth of Chromebook boxes. We hired a group of guys from Louisiana to wire our certified pre-owned carts, and they were just churning through, loading them all up with the new devices.

Gary and I walked over to the warehouse to get someone to help us with a forklift so we didn’t have to load several truck beds full. Justin came out, and I immediately started asking if he would let me drive it. I’m not sure he thought I was serious at first, but eventually he agreed to let me drive it to the dock once he got it out into the road.

I had the absolute time of my life.

It took me four trips for four pallets, while Gary basically spent the entire time just throwing armfuls of boxes into the recycle dumpster. I got pretty fast once I was confident with the controls, and made quick work of it all. My only regret was that I forgot to beep the horn, but I’m betting I’ll get to do the same tomorrow with the last of the pallets.

On the way to put the forklift back in the warehouse, I accidentally got it stuck on the curb, but managed to wiggle it off after Gary threatened to use our work truck to bump me off. That got us a few minutes into lunch, so I just drank a Soylent while Zach and Gary ate their food in the kitchen.

The afternoon was relatively quiet, except for another conference call outside my door. I kept pretty busy checking in on Brody’s tickets since he was out at an auction all day. A bit before school let out, Autumn texted and said she had to get her paycheck, and wanted to know if I would get Eaddie home. Me, being an alpha parent, told her that there was no rush to get her paycheck, and that it was her responsibility to get Eaddie home and to karate.

About an hour and a half later, I got a call from Eaddie that Autumn was being a “b-word” about picking her up. Just as I was about to hang up and call her, Autumn rang beeped in and I level-set her expectations. She seemed to be receptive, and at least calmed herself down while I was talking to her. Eaddie beeped back in, and I told her to take the ride home, and that we would all talk about it when we got home.

I got gas after work, then waited at home for Summer to get back into town. Then I met her at Lowe’s to look at the LG refrigerator we were considering. They had my returned fridge marked down again to $850, which was an incredible deal that made me consider re-purchasing it. If they had told me they would just give me that much of a refund to keep it, I would have gladly done so, and been perfectly satisfied with my backlit food and slow water dispenser.

Summer was tired of my indecisiveness, so we left and went to Walmart so she could pick up ingredients for banana pudding. Then she went home while I checked out clearance before meeting her at the house. We ate leftover pasta until Autumn got home from hanging out at Denny’s, and then we had a chat to try and set some more family expectations. Eaddie has been making an effort to communicate better, but Autumn is continuing her rebellious tendencies.

No matter what we say or do now, she’s going to pursue some kind of relationship with this older kid she works with. She’s also encouraged that someone told her she could be a salaried manager in a few years if she keeps up the good work, but she conveniently forgets that she still works at a goddamn Denny’s. I’ll take Unsuccess Stories for 1000, Alex. I’ve been exactly there.

I eventually made it home to find my charger had errored out on the Grom battery, but it started successfully and strongly. I got a little air in the tires, and it’ll be three for three on getting all of the bikes out this spring. Maintenance needs to happen early this year though, on account of how far behind I’ve gotten.

Slummers gonna slum.

It’s a Gas Gas Gas

I took today off so Summer and I could go to Hot Springs for an oil marketers expo. I picked up breakfast on the way out of town, then headed straight to the convention center. Summer was originally expecting something pretty big over the course of a couple days, but as we discovered the schedule and eventually showed up, we found it to be a pretty said affair. It was pretty obviously geared toward convenience store owners with lots of food and drink vendors. Summer was really happy to find someone that had Clearly Canadian drinks available, and we got some Chester’s Chicken for a free lunch, but that was it. We could have been finished in about 15 minutes.

When we decided to leave, we had to kill quite a bit of time until we could check into the hotel. We decided to go across town to a small theater behind the mall to watch The Lost City. I expected it to be a really horrible theater, and the lobby didn’t seem like much, but the theater room itself wasn’t bad. They had nice recliners with tables, and a pretty big ultrawide screen. The problem was the resolution. They just had the movie stretched across the ultrawide format, which made everything really fat on the screen. The projector was also pretty dim, so the picture came out really dark and washed out. The movie was good though, and we had a good time.

After the movie, we checked into the hotel and got settled in. Then we walked down a block and went to The Porterhouse for dinner. We decided to get “The Porterhouse for Two,” which ended up being the equivalent of two porterhouse steaks, two lambchops, and a stuffed portabella mushroom. Between that, some fried zucchini and calamari for an appetizer, and a tiramisu for dessert, we were pretty stuffed. We walked back to the hotel and settled in for the night really early to watch The Office in bed.

Hi, I’m date Mike. Nice to meet me. How do you like your eggs in the morning? ;)

Brassers

I continued to churn out flash drives today, as though that was my sole purpose in life. Predictably, Jacob was immediately concerned that they would quickly be lost due to their diminutive size. I continued on until lunch, when Gary, Greg, Thomas, and I went to Taco John’s since Taco Tuesday can be both cheap and healthy. I was neither, as I took the rare opportunity to order an actual combo meal instead of squeaking by with three tacos.

After lunch, I spent some time at Oakland and took care of a few things before ending back up at the shop to finish the day. Things got really quiet at the end of the day, and I think I was the last one out. I went home until Eaddie needed me to pick her up from the robotics camp at the high school.

We went to McDonald’s for another Mario Kart Happy Meal, and met Summer back at my house. Earlier in the day, I had gotten a call from Lowe’s that our refrigerator would be pushed back yet another week. Summer wanted to look at our options, but after spending some time shopping, it looked like most everything of interest would be about the same timeframe.

Summer surprised me first thing in the morning, saying she purchased tickets for us to see a group called Dallas Brass at the Center for the Arts. I looked them up and was okay with the idea, but once the show actually started, I thoroughly enjoyed the event. It was a nice, quiet concert compared to the full school bands that we’re used to hearing. They went on for a very entertaining two hours, and even played some pieces with the Tech and high school bands.

After the show, Summer dropped me off back at home and I rushed to sleep. I was up all night again last night, but hopefully tonight I’ll sleep straight through since I drugged up.

Still not cool.

Something in the Water

I was up at least every hour last night, much like I have been for the past week or so, and it’s been the absolute pits. On top of feeling like I was wide awake and couldn’t fall back asleep every time I laid back down, we ran into some trouble with the water in our motel. There was a bunch of air in the lines, which I tried to purge by running the bath and sink. The loud glurging sound of course woke the girls, and the water started turning brown with lots of sediment. The tub wouldn’t drain either, and basically started filling up as though I had the plug in it.

We all got up and decided to just check out. My parents still had a good shower across town that I wanted to use, so Autumn and I grabbed a few things from the continental breakfast in the office and made our way out. The lady was super friendly and apologetic about the whole thing, and evidently she discovered a problem with the air pump that feeds their water supply. It might have been fine to go back and shower, but by that time we had already packed up and were ready to go.

The Christ of the Ozarks was just at the end of the road, so we drove through there quickly and got a few pictures at Eaddie’s request. Then as we drove through downtown, the girls decided they wanted to go on and find a coffee shop or something that was open while I went to shower.

Mom was still in bed, but started getting around once I got there. I had a nice shower, then caught up with the girls. I chanced it by parking in front of a broken meter, and walked to a few shops with them. I thought we might spend more time there, but they were over it pretty quickly. Autumn got to see her “working bunnies” and bought a shirt. Summer and I went up some stairs above the park in the middle of it all. We thought we might get lunch with my parents, but Summer, Autumn, and I were the only ones that were very hungry.

Instead, we just decided to stop by McDonald’s on the way out of town. They were super busy and clearly understaffed, so we ended up waiting quite a while for our food. The app also let me order a McRib, which they did not have, so I got a refund for that. The food was otherwise good, and I even got a Mario Kart Happy Meal for Eaddie before we headed out.

The drive back was different for some reason. I just trusted Google to get me home, not particularly caring how. We came through Lamar, then hit the interstate, making fairly good time. Autumn had plenty of time to get ready for her evening shift at Denny’s. Eaddie cleaned up a bit and then fell asleep super early. Summer and I just laid on the couch all evening until we decided to make some ramen and then go to bed. I went home to unpack and clean up, but made a quick night of it.

Collecting ALL the vacations…

Witchcraft!

We all woke up early to leave for Eureka Springs this morning. I had to stop by Superfast first though, to check my coolant level again. We took a jug of some extra along just in case it got bad later, but I really shouldn’t have, because at the end of the day we found it had leaked all over the trunk.

It was a long and pretty drive, though the trees were all still dead from winter. Eaddie did great in the car, and we didn’t even have to drug her. We got to the Inn of the Ozarks a little before the last lecture let out for lunch, so we picked up Dad, then Mom and went to the top of the hill for lunch at Myrtie Mae’s.

After lunch, we watched the matinée for Dad’s performance. Then the girls had to cut out partway through the closeup show in order to make their zipline appointment. My parents and I got back up to their room just as the girls finished up, so once they walked back across the street, we headed to The Rockin’ Pig Saloon for dinner.

They had a bunch of menu items with Wagyu beef, including an $85 ribeye that made even our server’s eyes go wide. Mom got a non-Wagyu ribeye for less than half that, and the rest of the table got a pretty good mix of things. Somehow Autumn ended up with a pepperoni pizza, and even it was pretty good. I still think the brisket at Ridgewood is more tender though.

We got back to the Inn just in time for the raffle drawings, and then we watched the evening show. It was a good time getting to see everyone again after putting the event off for COVID. As they closed up shop, we left my parents to go find our hotel across town.

The Statue Road Inn was a cute little motel, at least in the dark. There was some confusion with the check-in process, because I was sure that I paid in full online, but I received an email saying I had to make a partial payment at the inn, and the lady at the front desk didn’t have any record of payment at all. She was super friendly though, and unable to find any credit card history, I felt comfortable making the partial payment. After researching some more online, I’m not convinced that I don’t owe the rest of it, but we’ll sort that out later.

The room was kind of cute, but it looked like they had some renovations going on at the other end of the building. This was the second time I’ve had a physical, metal key for a room I’ve stayed in as an adult. Aside from the miserable water pressure that Summer reported, everything seemed to be on the up and up. I guess we won’t know for sure until morning.

Short trip.

You Make the Rocking World Go Round

I got out early for breakfast this morning and brought it back to the room while I waited for the girls to get around. Once they were up, we went down and I had a second round with some delicious fruit, yogurt, and granola. That was only the beginning though.

Once everyone was cleaned up and ready to go, we went to the mall to do a little shopping. I was not at all prepared for how sad that would be. The girls seemed really happy with shopping for shirts at every store that was left though, so it was a fair enough time. I think about half of the spaces were vacant, and there was hardly anyone there. It is spring break though, so maybe traffic was lighter for that reason. We’re the only ones lame enough to spend our spring break at the mall.

After that bit of shopping, the girls wanted to go eat. We went to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, and Summer got herself a big plate of crab legs and a free slice of cheesecake for her birthday. Autumn was somehow unimpressed with her chicken strips, but at least they were relatively cheap. We enjoyed our server and talking with the geese in the lake beside us.

We came back to the hotel to clean up after lunch since it was so close, and then we headed downtown to walk the strip. We didn’t really have any big goals, but I heard Kringles and Kones and Fat Bottomed Girl’s Cupcake Shoppe called out. We never made it to Kringles, but went into a few shops and looked at shirts and crystals, then finished up with a box of cupcakes before heading back to the car.

It was a nice afternoon, but things got chilly quickly back at the hotel. We went downstairs without Eaddie for the happy hour social. We thought we’d play a board game, but ended up playing cornhole in the cold wind outside until the end of the social. Then we came back upstairs and watched the end of Captain America: Civil War. The girls took showers, and were quickly off to bed after a long day.

I ate three much.

Middling America

We got up early this morning to hit the road toward Hot Springs. I haven’t actually gotten gas since the prices have started going up, so I felt my soul leave my body as I filled my nearly-empty tank. We got the girls, and headed straight down Highway 7 in the rain. The roads were clear, but it was evident they have been doing a lot of work on the scenic highway since the last time we came down. We crossed at least two new bridges, and bumped along several grooves left by new drainage pipes installed across the road. Then as we neared the end of the journey, they had torn down a gas station and installed a giant roundabout in its place.

Once we got into town, we headed straight to the Mid-America Science Museum. They were pretty packed, and the place was crawling with little children. I had hoped there would be more for young teens, but I think both Autumn and Eaddie had really outgrown most of what they had. It was hard to not feel like we paid that much money just to play with wooden blocks.

The Tesla show was pretty neat, though short. They had a planetarium as well, but they were just showing a movie about our cosmic timeline that mostly bored us all. The guy that sat next to me spent the entire show explaining every single thing to his small child, which I begrudgingly endured. We thought we’d get some food at whatever deli they had, but that was shut down and we had to resort to cold sandwiches out of a refrigerator in the gift shop.

We had enough time for an early dinner before check-in time at the hotel, so I routed us to a Mexican restaurant that was apparently shuttered. Our second choice was an Italian place that just happened to be in the same parking lot, so at least that was easy. I didn’t even order an entrée myself, and just ate half of Autumn’s medium pepperoni pizza instead. We still had more than enough to bring a slice and some bread back for a midnight snack.

I took Summer and Eaddie for a tour around the hotel once we got settled, and then we came down for the evening social once it started. The girls didn’t want to stay down though, so they took some food and drinks back to the room while Summer and I relaxed downstairs. We thought we might all swim, but everyone was so tired they just wanted to hang out in the room for the rest of the night. Summer was, of course, in bed before sundown. Autumn took the sleeper sofa. Eaddie found comfort in the floor under the computer desk because she’s weird.

Spring break has officially started.

Helton John

We got up and around this morning, I took a shower, and we went to Sam’s for lunch. I knew immediately that I had eaten too much, even though the fish and chicken were both much smaller cuts than usual. Summer and Eaddie went on to their houses while I went back home to get ready for our trip to Little Rock.

I worked up a headache bad enough to take some medicine. Summer said she encountered some attitude with Autumn that ended in her being told to leave the house, and Summer and Eaddie coming back to my house. Eaddie just hung out there while Summer and I went to pick up Suzanne and Trent.

We made it to Conway and stopped for a carwash. Then we went straight to The Butchershop for dinner. I was still pretty full from lunch, and also could not get comfortable in the booth where we were seated, so I was just super uncomfortable the entire time.

After we ate and packed our leftovers, we headed to the arena and parked right up front in one of the main lots. Then we had to walk around the building to find the end of the line until the doors opened. We spotted Wesley and Cindy, as well as Ben from Oakland as the line folded on itself. Some girl cut in front of us in the line, which was pretty pointless on account of how fast the line eventually started moving. It really burned Summer up, but she wasn’t willing to do anything about it either. Next time we just need to bring some pigs blood or something to throw at people like that.

We were sat dead center at the opposite end of the arena to the stage, which made for a great view of the lighting and projections. I knew exactly which songs I thought I would know, and a good time was had by all. Evidently Elton John does not walk across the stage. He rides his piano wherever he wants to go. I thought it would have made a really cool trick, but it seemed like he literally only used it for transportation.

It took us forever to get moving once we got back to the car. We ended up hopping a curb and getting right out after a while. Then it was a quick drive home and quickly to bed.

My favorite was the song about “Who’s the boss?” Hold me closer, Tony Danza!