Highking Trails

Summer picked up fast food breakfast this morning, and then everyone got up to go to Magazine Mountain. We stopped at a couple overlooks and then the visitor’s center, then made a couple loops around the top of the mountain before parking at the lodge to hike up to the top. Eaddie would never admit it, but she was sweet and walked with me while Summer and Autumn walked way ahead.

After the hike, we stopped at my house and cleaned up the back yard after last night’s fire. Then Eaddie rode her bike to my parents’ house while we drove Autumn home to get her car. We all met back at my parents’ house for some leftovers. I rolled around in Mom’s wheelchair for a bit. Eventually Autumn left for her father’s for the week, and the girls and I went home so Eaddie could clean her room and do some laundry.

Summer had to return to work for the week and went to bed, so I stayed up and played some Don’t Starve while Eaddie completed her chores.

Finally made it to winter…


I got up early this morning after having some trouble sleeping, then ran home to shower. On the way out of town, I stopped by Casey’s for a cookie, and McDonald’s for breakfast. It was a long drive to Bentonville to get Mitch, so I put on The Matrix to listen to the original before we watched Resurrections at noon.

I made it up there with enough time to get a little food, so headed back to Fayetteville and went into the Buffalo Wild Wings right outside the Malco theater. It was exactly how I remembered it in Russellville. So much so, that we had trouble getting out in time to make it to the movie. I didn’t even have time to get through concessions for popcorn.

The theater was really nice. I had been to a movie there once before, but it was a really long time ago. The Dolby theater with reclining seats reminded me a lot of the one we visited in Dallas, but through all of the trailers and bumpers, I couldn’t tell that the height channels were used at all. Even the feature film didn’t have any obvious Atmos sound, which was super disappointing. The movie itself was pretty good though. They could have cut the runtime in half if they hadn’t included all of the clips from the original, but I guess it served to point out every one of the callbacks.

After the movie, we went to Arcadia Retrocade for a little bit. Mitch had never been, and I thought we’d spend some time there and reminisce. He had been struggling with some anxiety all day though, so we ended up playing a few games for just a short bit, and then heading on back to his place.

On the way back, we stopped by Big Whiskey’s for a while. I finally got my soda, and eventually we got some dinner as we chatted away. It was really great getting to catch up some more, and I’m excited he’ll be closer in Conway soon. We stopped by Mac’s liquor store on the way back to his place, and I picked up a stout that he recommended after they didn’t have the Bentonville Brewery flavor I had a sip of at the bar. The lady at the counter was super sweet, which seemed very different from every liquor store I’ve been to before.

After I dropped him back off at his apartment, I looked for the largest Walmart I could find. I ended up at the one across from the main office, but had trouble finding the actual entrance. It was weirdly obfuscated from the road, but I made it. The store was very large, but outside of an empty clearance area that was half the size of ours, and two entire aisles worth of bicycle helmets, there wasn’t a whole lot very special about it. I had to wait in line a while to check out, and then I was on my way home.

The trip back was rough, because for some reason people wanted to park in the leftmost lane the entire way back. After I finally got on I-40, I ended up behind a truck and another slow car trying to pass one another at like 65 miles per hour. Another guy behind me got mad and passed me on the right shoulder, all to cut off the guy in front of me. By the time I got home and cleaned up a bit, I was too tired to lug anything over to Summer’s, so I just went to bed.

Always the plan.


We slept in a little this morning without losing much time, thanks to daylight saving time coming to an end. We went downstairs and loaded up on breakfast, and then cleaned up and packed for the return home. We still had a full day planned though, so it was a slow drive across the city to find an Ikea.

I’ve wanted to go to an Ikea for ages, and we never had a chance to stop the last time I saw one in person in St. Louis. There were two to pick from in the Dallas area, so we went to the one up north. Summer thought I was kidding about meatballs, and the look on her face when she saw the sign at the entrance was worth the drive all by itself.

Having never been, we were really impressed with the showrooms as we wandered through the maze. Some of them looked really incredible, and I could really see us building something entirely out of what they had available. As we finished our way through the upstairs showrooms, we entered into the restaurant where even there, you could get a push cart for your trays full of food. Summer got the regular Swedish meatballs, and I tried the salmon meatballs so we could share. Everything was pretty good, and it was a neat break from shopping.

After all of that, we really had to rush through the downstairs area in order to make our movie on time. I wish we could have spent a bit more time there, because there were actually a couple things we wanted to buy, but we ended up grabbing a couple bottles of fruit juice with mulling spices that totally wasn’t real wine, and running out the door.

The drive back to the AMC wasn’t too bad, but parking was a chore. We finally found a parking garage and briskly walked to the theater just in time to get settled in before the show. The theater was incredible, with countless Dolby speakers on practically every surface. As the previews came on, they barely scratched the surface of the experience. The seat shakers felt natural, and brought an additional layer of depth that I loved. I just wished the movie had lent itself more to that kind of theater.

I enjoyed Eternals, though I understood that it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster style action film in the traditional way. I couldn’t see it being rated poorly though. There were some things that probably could have been done better, but overall it had a nice pace for how long it was. It wasn’t like Dune that felt super slow the entire time, and then ended just as things got good.

Once out of the movie, we made the drive home. The GPS took us on our alternate route this time, heading north through Oklahoma. It was a slightly shorter drive by distance, but also shorter in time with the lack of traffic leaving the city. We stopped once for gas and food at a Moe’s inside of a Pilot, where we got surprisingly good service worthy of a tip.

Eaddie was still awake when we got home, but took a shower and went to bed as Summer crashed. I still had my own routine to go through, but then it was off to sleep as well.

Literally hundreds of speakers.

Muddy Buddies

We went downstairs for breakfast first thing this morning, then came back up to the room to get ready for Summer’s Tough Mudder race. Traffic was relatively fine, but it was still a long drive across a boring, asphalt city. Once there, it was just a sea of cars parked in a hilly field. It took a bit of time to get through the processing, but she made it in time for the last wave in her hour start time. Once she got started, I went back to the car and waited for about three hours.

I brought all kinds of things to keep myself busy, but I just ended up playing on my phone the entire time. I could see a couple of obstacles from where I was parked, and I could hear a bunch of sheep across a pond. The weather was perfect for just hanging out there, so it wasn’t too bad. As the two and a half hour mark approached, I made my way back up to the event and waited at the finish line.

Summer had made a friend along the way, and they helped coach each other along to the end. She had to run pretty immediately though, so I waited for Summer to clean up and then we made our way back to the hotel. Traffic was pretty awful on the way back, and I added some time to the drive making a wrong turn. Constant construction made it worse. I fully decided that I would be okay if Thanos successfully snapped away half of all life in the universe. There are just too many people.

I waited for Summer to clean up, and we had just enough time for her to relax a bit before making our way across the city again for a late dinner at Medieval Times. Summer absolutely loved it. I enjoyed it for a while, but eventually I got tired of watching sadly drooly horses prance around in circles. I thought the knights would play off of the heckling a bit more, but the crowd was pretty loud and it made it difficult to communicate even with our serf.

Our knight was the first one down during every round, which made it all the more disappointing. The food was pretty good though, and Summer really enjoyed the whole experience. As the show came to a close, we took the short-but-long way back to the hotel and went straight to bed.

Rough knight?

Over and In and Down and Out

I slept in a little bit today before getting ready for our trip. Summer had to work, but thought she might get off earlier than expected. That ended up falling through, so we left around two and headed toward Little Rock. We stopped at the Splash in Benton for a quick car wash, and then we headed practically straight through to our destination.

We stopped in Rockwall, since it was the first In-N-Out Burger we encountered. I’ve wanted to try it for ages, and we finally had a chance to stop in. Summer got a double-double, and I had to go with the triple-triple. Overall I guess it really was comparatively cheap. The biggest surprise was the poster advertising the pay for new hires. I also wasn’t quite sure how masks would be down here, but only like two people we encountered there were wearing them, and neither were employees.

The last bit of the trip was hectic, even for a night drive. We made it through traffic in the dark in unexplored territory, and nobody died. The hotel was relatively easy to find, and the studio room was pretty cute. Summer pretty much crashed as soon as she hit the bed, so I didn’t dawdle before wrapping it up for the day.

Hopefully COVID doesn’t mess with you guys…

We’re Duned

I went home to shower this morning, then picked up Zane for our trip to Little Rock. As we pulled in to get the girls, I had him duck down in the back seat to surprise her. I was a little disappointed that she didn’t scream, but her reaction was very typical Eaddie.

We had to stop in Conway first, so I could pick up an order from Kohl’s. Then we continued to Little Rock and went to Tokyo House for lunch. The kids didn’t eat a whole lot, which left me holding everyone else up while I ate. I wasn’t just going to not eat all of the things though.

Next we went to The Promenade at Chenal to kill some time until the movie. We only went into a couple of the stores, as everyone balked at the prices of everything. The new Bath & Body Works was probably the most reasonably priced store on the premises, and we didn’t even walk in. I kind of thought we’d eat there and then just lounge around, but instead we just meandered around and then went into the theater really early.

The movie was very long and slow, so I knew the others wouldn’t really be that into it. I didn’t know what to expect, but really thought we’d get farther along than we did. I felt like the movie covered about as much as I had read of the book as a child. I never did make it very far, and it ended just as it got to the exciting bits.

As we waited for Amber to get there to pick up Zane, we walked to Maggie Moo’s and had some ice cream. It gave us about the perfect amount of time to wind things down for the day. Once she got there, I got to share some of the pictures I had taken throughout the day, and then we headed home.

Eaddie and I stayed up late and watched a couple episodes of House. I stayed up to make sure Autumn made it home from her Sadie Hawkins dance, and then made it to bed.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

Buckets N Boards N Guitars N Ukuleles N Turtles

We lazed around a bit this morning before Summer went to the gym and then home to make mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Eaddie and I watched some House until it was time for her to take off on her bicycle to meet us at my parents’ house. I ran by the shop because I thought Summer was going to be stuck there helping remove a drain plug, but she finished up just as I got there.

We dropped her car off at my house and then continued to my parents’ house for a late lunch. Eaddie showed up a few minutes later with her friend Aaron, but then went back out to ride bikes. Julie came to eat too, but just sat in the living room. It was like a mini Thanksgiving dinner, but with slightly less food and yelling. Eventually the kids showed back up and ate a little too, before taking off again.

Summer and I went for a little swim before we had to leave so she could change before the concert. She bought tickets for us all to see Buckets N Boards at the arts center. Autumn beat us there right after work, and my parents showed up just in time to find seats before the show. At first I was worried it was going to be more Buckets N Bored, but then they started roasting children. It was entertaining but long, with an intermission.

The girls wanted to go home after the show, so Summer let them go while we went back to my house for the night. She played games in bed while I messed around on the computer, and then it was a relatively early night to sleep.

There’s 1,440 hours in my day!

How Much Water Does it Take to Clean New Orleans?

Today was a slow day at work, especially having finished most of the imaging. I worked in my office for a while and fixed the SLC image. Then I ran to the junior high with Greg to help Brody, who had been working on a faulty touch panel for the past hour or more. We determined it likely had a bad board that also prevented the power button from working, then went to Sequoyah to check out the library sound system.

I went home after work and just kind of burned up some time in the afternoon. I started to go back out, but was blocked off by some roadwork on 16th Street, so I just went right back home. I had texted Ben earlier in the day, and he invited us to Kings Live Music in Conway to see Ashley’s son Presley play. Summer really deserved some country, so we left town a bit after six.

We stopped at a place called Sharks Fish and Chicken for dinner just inside of Conway. I let the hostess pick a sandwich for me, and got a pretty good Philly steak. I think the surprise star of the show was the side order of fries, but it was all pretty good though. Afterward we headed to Kings and ran into Kevin and Ashley. Ben came along shortly afterward and we took in a country music show, as presented by Mario Mario of the Mario Brothers.

I don’t care for country, but I can handle just a guy with a guitar. I understood the lyric about a “holler,” and even heard a song I kind of liked, about hurricanes washing away New Orleans. We had drinks and a good time was had by all. Presley did a great job, and Summer was just as happy as a clam to hear the songs of her people.

We made it home late, and the girls were winding down after a day of cleaning house. Summer went straight to bed, and I wasn’t long behind.

I’m just glad we didn’t have a pickup roll call.


I got up around 7 this morning to finish packing everything up to be out by our 10 o’clock checkout. We cleaned up most of the leftover food, including a couple sandwiches for our flight back. Julie called bell services, but we ended up having to send down one or two people at a time after people kept riding the elevator up just to go back down. We said our goodbyes in front of the elevator, and then Summer and I ran into our bellhop on the way down.

We checked our bags in, and then wandered the strip for the few hours we had before our flight. Between a pushy saleswoman with a fire-sale strategy and someone else selling hairy oysters, Summer settled on slicing up food for pearls. We let ourselves get talked into two pieces of jewelry and a third pearl just to take home.

Our last meal on the island was a Japanese place on the resort, which was pretty decent for counter service. Once we had eaten and wrapped up the last of our souvenir shopping, we went to the lobby to wait for Susan. She picked us up a bit earlier than the 5 o’clock we had initially planned, but we felt better with the extra buffer time at the airport. As we got out, she handed us a big bag of goodies as a thank-you gift for our egregious tipping. I gave her a big hug and then figured out a way to re-pack everything to fit into our bags.

The flight back on the 767 was absolutely awesome with the added space and the built-in display in the back of the headrests. We just barely missed the sunset while we were sitting on the tarmac. I watched a couple of movies while we were over the ocean until I caught the sunrise at 37,000 feet. I dozed off a bit a few times, but it didn’t seem too bad. Even Summer stayed up for most of the first flight.

Our second flight was delayed in Houston for about an hour because they had to replace a part. I don’t know if they were being truthful about it being a part for the lavatory, but the flight back was fine. We made up a bunch of time and were only a little late touching down. By then we were pretty hungry and drove across town to Chuy’s for lunch/breakfast/midnight meal.

Loaded up on caffeine, we made it home and dropped Susan’s gift bag for my parents and then picked up Eaddie at her grandparents’ house. As soon as we got to my house, Eaddie took off on her bicycle and Summer passed out in bed. I unpacked and then stayed up watching House with Eaddie on account of how much she missed me, clocking out after roughly 38 waking hours.


Rubbah Flippahs

I tried to get out early again to get some pictures on Summer’s run, but got there after she had finished. We walked around the harbor a bit and took some pictures of crabs and fish along the dock, and then came back up to get ready for the day. Dad made breakfast this time since Julie didn’t wake up until much later. Mom stayed up all night, wired on coffee ice cream.

Dad and Summer picked up snorkeling gear, and eventually we got everyone downstairs for Susan to take us to the Makai Research Pier. She stopped in a few scenic places along the way and showed us around, and even took some pictures for us. Dad took a spill at one of them and scraped up his knees pretty badly, but Susan came to the rescue again and patched him right up.

The research center itself was closed to the public, but there was a pretty good beach with lots of live coral for snorkeling. Julie was upset that there were clouds out for part of the day, and didn’t feel like the snorkeling was as good, but I felt like it was quite a bit better than Hanauma Bay and the skeleton of its reef. I don’t remember seeing tons of great fish there – mostly giant parrot fish, which I guess was interesting too, but this time I felt more like we were in a real ecosystem. We also didn’t have to camp out tickets at 7 in the morning, and there were WAY fewer people there.

Dad, Summer, and I spent the most time out in the water, and we kept getting spread out. Dad and Julie saw a sea turtle at one point, but I never did. I spotted a seahorse and showed Summer, and we think Dad saw the same one just a little earlier based on where we saw it. It was super hard not to just touch the little guy. He was bright yellow, and had hitched himself to some seaweed relatively near the shore.

Mom never even got in the water, and stood in the shade to play on her phone the whole time. Julie tanned for a while, then made us sandwiches for lunch. When we were finally ready to leave, Susan had to send her boyfriend, Kevin, over to get us since she was on the opposite end of the island. He was pretty cool too, though.

On the way back, we stopped and picked up a bunch of fresh donuts from a Leonard’s Bakery truck. Both Susan and Kevin kept telling us about it, and we figured we wouldn’t have a better chance to pull off the road to get some. Kevin insisted that we eat in the car, but I was the only one that did. I kind of regretted it because they were pretty messy, but they were also way better fresh than when we got back to the room.

After cleaning up and resting a bit, Dad, Summer, and I went to return the snorkeling gear. Just as we got there, Susan said she could take us out to eat, so we hustled back and met Mom and Julie out front. We went to Nico’s Pier 38 after Susan’s suggestion earlier in the week, and after a bit of a wait, we got a table. The food was pretty great, but my mojito hit me super hard and I felt like I had a midget sitting on my shoulders the rest of the night.

Kevin was the one to take us back to the room after dinner, and from there it was straight to bed for us.

See horse?