I had a pretty rough start this morning in spite of sleeping reasonably well. Luckily, Gary let me stop by to pick up some tech tubs they were going to throw away, so I had an excuse to roll in late. Surprisingly, Greg was the first one I saw as he was headed to the support services building. I got a big hug from him, and then Gary showed up to let me into the graveyard. Zach didn’t respond to my text right away, so he showed up as we were carrying things to the car. Then Thomas and Tammy showed up to work, and Ryan made a brief appearance but didn’t say much.

After I got everything loaded up, I actually ran into Greg again on his way back to the office and we talked for a little while. He said pretty much everyone has been on pins and needles, but figured the regime should start to change as the school board rotates out later this year. I gave him a ride around the block back to the office, and then headed on to work.

Once I got everything unloaded, I treated myself to a leftover biscuit and some coffee, and then got to learning more about subnets. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever not understood while also completely understanding it. That was my whole day, just getting sidetracked from RADIUS setup, to VLANs versus subnets, to understanding IP addressing.

I headed home a little early with a rumble in my belly, and fed the fish before getting home. Summer and Noah were home, but Eaddie was at a hair appointment. I cleaned up the kitchen a bit, and was aggravated further by Noah’s helping himself to Summer’s beer. I finally got them both to sit down in the kitchen to express my desire to be helpful but not abused. I asked him not to help himself to the beer, and within five minutes he helped himself to a soda. Message not received. I was further upset when Summer walked out and started playing with the dogs mid-sentence. They were causing a racket, but that wasn’t for her to resolve with play.

I took the dogs for a walk to my parents’ house, and was drenched with sweat. It was pretty miserable, and the dogs didn’t behave well for most of the walk, but I kept them on shorter leashes on the way home and they did a little better. It seems training needs to happen all around.

I spent some time feeding them when we got home, and Noah came out with what was presumably a peace-keeping request for help building a budget. In reality, his finances are so simple that he could have produced one in the time it took me to feed the dogs, but somehow it’s now my responsibility to write the numbers down for him. I settled in with a glass of Crown and got ready for bed.

Behave accordingly.

Dirty Volunteer Work

Burger King has been knocking it out of the park with their biscuits lately. The sausage has been pretty good, and even the hashbrowns haven’t been awful. I’ve always kind of liked their coffee. I got to work just as the boys club started walking in, and then I spent several hours trying to figure out an issue with our food service application that really should have been resolved with a proper rollup.

At some point I finally made some progress with setting up a RADIUS server, but then I discovered that the board meeting was tonight. In anticipation for a reasonable salary, I decided to stay for that, and it was an incredible waste of time. Nobody said a word to me until I asked Jill if I needed to work next week. She just shrugged and said I didn’t have a contract, so she couldn’t pay me. Next week, Harry will be at a retreat with the board, so there’s just me, being angry and unpaid until who-knows-when.

Being Julie’s birthday, the family decided to take her to Brick Oven. The girls went with them, and I showed up late and ate some of their leftovers before we left. Eaddie wanted to go to the store to get dog food, so Summer took the Model Y home while I went to Walmart with her. We stopped by the old house to feed the fish, and then shopped for a bit before heading home.

It was super dark when we got home, so I took the dogs out for a walk on foot. I let them roam at the end of the leash, and they were pulling pretty hard the whole time. I’m upset that I don’t have any one-on-one time to do any real training, but I just feel like I don’t have time for anything. Summer was asleep by the time we got back in, so I fumed for a bit and went to bed late.

What a pissant.

Twisting the Night Away

After being ill for so long, and exhausted from overexerting myself all day, I still could not sleep last night. I tossed and turned in a damp sweat, with cold burning in my nose from sinus trouble. My mind reeled in restlessness, and even when I would occasionally doze off, I would wake up in some delirious state, half dreaming, half in some anxious panic.

I got up with my alarm, pushed back and got up a little later and still got to the door on time. Both of the Murano keys were gone. I screamed. Summer yelled back to take her car, so I threw the things she had in the seat into the floor of the garage and left. I picked up a burrito from Sonic and made it to work a little bit early.

The admins saw me. First day off-contract. Will I get a paycheck? They’re normally deposited around this time of the month. I haven’t gotten anything yet. Labor laws dictate that I must be paid for the time that I’m there, and nobody has run me off yet. It feels like I’m playing a rich or stupid man’s game of Chicken.

I made it through the day with a bowl of ramen and a cough drop. I finished up the last few minutes at the elementary and then headed home a little early. Who can stop me now?

I fed the fish and slowly made it home. Eaddie and her friend Autumn were at the house for the night. I changed clothes and settled in for a little bit. Mom was making Phở, which wasn’t the eggplant soup I anticipated, but welcome nonetheless. The girls would be making dinner, so I’d go by myself since Summer was working a little late. Then Noah called to “warn me” that a “strange hairy dude” was going to come by and drop several boxes of his things off at our front door, and that he would be along afterward on his bicycle.

I roped up the dogs and we hit the road on the Onewheel. We made good time to my parents’ house with the runs. Both kinds. I tied them up in the back yard so we could eat, but then I had to get them home in the hot humidity. They made it with plenty of energy after they had some time to rest, so I hoped they’d be too tired to mess with anything overnight.

All three kids were in the kitchen making “food” and “noise.” I dried up the sweat and sought refuge. Eventually sleep.

I’m with stupid.

Bye Week

I could feel something in the back of my throat Wednesday evening, and by Thursday I had a 103º fever that Tylenol would only coax down to about 101º. I ran the full gamut of chills, heat flashes, body aches, and eventually sinus and chest crud. Dad brought me a COVID at-home test that was advertised as having a propensity for false-negatives, so it wasn’t COVID. Maybe.

I remember getting out on Friday with Summer to take Kevin his birthday present to the airport, but we didn’t stick around for pulled pork. I stopped by the old house to check on the fish, and in hindsight I should have left the automatic feeder on. We made it back home, and the next thing I remember doing is getting out late to pick up some burgers from Sonic. The pickle fries were awful.

The fever never let up, but between waves of medication I felt well enough to watch The Secret of NIMH on Saturday, and then out of nowhere, the fever was gone on Sunday morning. Recovery was nearly as rough, with more crud in my chest than anything else. I felt gross and sweaty all day, but I had a shower and brushed my teeth.

Summer had mowed in the morning, so she left it to Eaddie when it came time to walk the dogs. She didn’t mind, but said she couldn’t walk both alone, so I went with her. It was immediately obvious that they hadn’t been properly walked in my two week absence, as the line was taught nearly the entire time. We made it about halfway to my parents’ house, which was already a longer route than Eaddie wanted to take, when she had to stop to scoop some poop, so she insisted that it was my job to walk the dogs alone the rest of the way. She might have reconsidered if I had pressed, but I had more fight in me for the dogs than for her.

We gave them a drink at my parents’ house, and then headed back home. It was a hot struggle, and I was completely drenched in sweat, so I took a cold shower and finished up my laundry. The dogs were fussy outside, and tore into the bags of potting mix on the porch. I went back out to discipline and clean that up, and left the hole they had dug under the north fence for another day.

If you do nothing, bite your tongue when I do.

All Parks and No Play

We got up extra early this morning for the Animal Kingdom. We didn’t quite get out as early as I wanted, but my sleep deficit has only grown while we’ve been on vacation, and I just didn’t care as much on the last day. We headed straight for Flight of Passage, where everyone else seemed to be headed. In reality, we probably could have circled the entire park and ridden or watched everything else while everyone else was waiting for that one ride, but instead we just followed the leader and watched the rest of the wait times in the park go up.

I got us a little breakfast snack that the girls didn’t really ask for, and we ate in line for the Na’vi River Journey, which was the last of the Pandora area. We spent the rest of the morning and a large part of the afternoon in Africa, wandering in circles. I got incredibly hot, tired, and irritable after seeing pictures of the ruin that Noah has left around our home, and I just wanted to scream at Summer.

We ate lunch a little early at Tusker House and got to see Mickey, Donald, Daisey, and Goofy multiple times throughout our buffet. It made me appreciate them that much more, because at Cinderella’s castle, we just got to see her sign autographs from afar. I did ask Mickey to blink twice if he was being held against his will, which got a silent chuckle and zero blinks. I still think something’s up.

We finally moved on after giving up on the Lion King show, and watched the Feathered Friends show instead. One of the crows brushed my face when it flew by us in the audience. Then we made it to Asia where we got stuck in line for the Kali River Rapids while they waited for the distant lightning to go away. Everest was so fun that it was basically the last thing we did. We weren’t able to do anything else because of how much time we sank into walking around the gorillas. We thought we’d at least get to Dinosaur, but the girls opted not to wait for the entire last hour at the park in line for that. Luckily we were able to get back on Everest back-to-back eight more times because they were just speed running people through it. We walked back on every single time. We tried to get ten, but they had a security guard posted at the start of the line after we got off our ninth ride. I made the comment to him that we only needed one more ride to make ten, and without a smirk, giggle, or friendly tone, he said to try again tomorrow.

The bus back to the resort was packed, but a short ride. The girls spent some time in the gift shop there while I went back to the room to make some green tea and change for a swim. They ended up closing the pool for more storms, so I went out on the balcony down the hall and watched the zebras, giraffes, and whatever else was outside.

Get me outta here.


I slept in super late today to catch up, and woke up feeling much better. I was still the first out of bed though, which I just don’t understand. We got everyone up and headed to Disney Springs to shop for souvenirs. I told the girls we should find something to eat for brunch so we could have a nice dinner, but we just started walking through stores instead. They were the only two to walk up to a giant physical map of the place, and still asked me for directions. We pushed through as it got hotter and hotter in the early afternoon, and just went straight to T-Rex for a late lunch. Our server seemed good, but our food took forever to come out, and my pot roast pot pie had a film of dried gravy on top. Everything tasted alright, but this whole trip, I’ve been thinking the food has only tasted as good as it does because we’re all so hungry by the time we eat.

We circled the property, then doubled back so Eaddie could find a keychain that we ultimately could have just bought in our resort gift shop. Then it was a sleepy bus ride back to the room. Summer went down to lay out by the pool, and after taking a break for a while, I got Eaddie to go down and swim with me. She didn’t last long before heading back up to the room though, and then Summer and I followed shortly after that. Then the two of us went to the front of the resort to visit our gift shop before settling in for the night.

Storms comin’.

Open to Close

I squeezed in about three and a half hours of mild sleep before getting up and ready to rope-drop the Magic Kingdom. Summer was able to get virtual queued for Tiana’s Bayou before we left the resort, but Eaddie didn’t have access to her email associated with her Disney account, so she couldn’t even try. We got onto the bus around 7:30, and they started letting people into the park way earlier than their open times. It was already a struggle with heat and not having a plan of attack for rides. I fought to wait in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first, but the line was already super long and we were there for about an hour. While we were in line, I called and got Eaddie’s account fixed. We were also called for Tiana’s while we were still in line, and we just barely made it by our assigned time.

Otherwise we had a reasonably good day for rides just because we were there for so long. We made our reservation at the Liberty Tavern and stuffed ourselves. By that time I had a massive headache on top of being full. We carried on, and I ended up just cancelling our Crystal Palace reservation.

We waited for fireworks for way too long and should have kept riding rides instead. We had some drama about where to view, and then I thought Kevin was going to beat up some kid that kept bumping into us for the two hours we were standing waiting for the show to start. They had a DJ on the stage playing awful music at an ear-damaging volume the entire time, so that was awful. The girls loved the show, but I was disappointed in the projection, which was basically just a flag over and over again.

We not only closed the park down, but went to the end of the extra magic hours for staying at a Disney resort. Summer had lost her Magic Band somewhere along the way, but we were fortunate enough to find it at the lost and found on the way out. The only ride we really missed was Buzz Lightyear’s shooter thing, but what are you gonna do when the kid wants to ride Small World?

We got back to the resort around two in the morning after accidentally getting off at the wrong bus stop. Luckily they were unloading a wheelchair and we had time to run back. We were all beyond exhausted, and we’ll have about four hours to sleep before we have to get up for EPCOT and do it all over again.

It’s pretty sad that the most magical part of the experience was the lost-and-found.

More Expenses Paid Trip

The silence stirred me this morning. I was hopeful after spending so much time and effort fixing up the fence, but I knew there should have been more noise outside, at least from the neighbors’ dogs. I got a call from a group of people with Muad’Dib, and then Summer got a call from the vet because someone else had Stilgar. I took the Onewheel because I thought Muad’Dib was only a block away, but he wasn’t much farther. I talked to the folks that had him, and then rode with him to get Stilgar. That woman came out in a mumu and had locked him up behind her privacy fence. Behind that fence was a chain-link fence. She wasn’t necessarily unpleasant, but she wasn’t pleasant about it.

The dogs ran home with me at a pretty good clip, so they were fine with coming in for the day. Then I started packing and getting ready for our Disney trip while Dad came over with some more concrete blocks.

I was high stress for the entirety of the day. I only missed one thing when packing, because I couldn’t find my USB power bank. I remembered taking it out from my daily carry, but I couldn’t remember where I put it after that. The girls took Stilgar to the vet for boarding, and Noah would be staying at the house. Dad and Suzanne both said they could check in periodically. Summer drove us to Conway to eat at Raising Cane’s, which was just more spicy mayo. Then we got to Expressway Parking and took a shuttle to the airport. The TSA line was long, but manageable, and we made it to our gate in plenty of time.

Julie and Kevin showed up, and then Summer saw Jeff and his wife get off of our plane and talked to them. I was still trying to plot and plan and understand the Disney Monster, but it was only more stress. It’s just become too much. Maybe it will be fun in the moment, but the people and the money and the stress just makes me want to do anything else.

The flights were uneventful and long. The changeover at St. Louis was easy enough, but then finding a ride to the resorts was stupid. Julie managed that for us, and we shared a ride with two stops, but the Disney and Lyft apps were both frustrating to navigate. Too much.

We got to our room and I found a dried up contact lens on my nightstand. The girls made it to bed quickly. At least in this time zone I’ll be awake before I get a call about the dogs.


On Leash

I rode the Onewheel around the block this morning and found the dogs playing in someone’s garden on the corner of Ridgewood. They ran after me full-speed when they saw me, and heard me blowing the dog whistle I got from Dad. They ran all the way home, and though they hesitated to go back into the gate, they laid down on the porch like they might just rest a while. Unfortunately they were gone again by the time I left for work, and I didn’t see them as I drove away.

Shortly after I got to work, I got a notification from the same girl that posted about them on Nextdoor, and she said they were seen on Tanglewood. I sent the girls after them, and I guess they had some help from at least one neighbor who straight-up carried Muad’Dib over to Summer. Stilgar had to be fetched from the end of the road, and for some reason Summer thought it would be best to load him into the Model Y instead of just have him follow her home in the rain.

I did a bunch of Disney planning and took care of some things I’d been needing to do. Keith found me an old pallet that I could take home to mend the fence, and I eventually left that ghost town. I fed the fish and then went home to clean up. Julie called to settle a bet with Kevin, and my blog came to her rescue. I told Kevin I would have erased his name for half the price of losing the bet. Maybe now Julie understands the value I get from journaling everything.

Eaddie was out with friends, so I asked Summer if she wanted to go try the pork steaks at Ridgewood Brothers. As we were leaving, we noticed she had another crack spreading up her windshield from a pretty big impact spot in the bottom-right, so we added that to her air conditioning service appointment. Grant was at the restaurant running a full crew for a mostly empty dining room. The pork steak was good, but I don’t think ours were glazed properly when they were served. If they were, then we still needed more because they were pretty dry. Of course they were huge, thick cuts of lean meat that had been smoked and then finished on a grill. They weren’t overly tough or difficult to eat, but they would have been great with a cup of glaze for dipping.

When we got back home, we decided to take the dogs out for a walk to my parents’ house. It went pretty well until we got there and I let Stilgar off of his leash. Summer just dropped Muad’Dib’s, and he took off after a cat under the porch. I got angry and she tried to just leave me there alone, which made me even angrier. I got her to come back and help, and she saw Muad’Dib gnawing on something under the porch. We were worried it was the cat, but we were pretty sure it was just the leash. When they finally came back out, I hosed a bunch of mud off of the leash and gave them some water before we headed back home.

She went to the bedroom after that, and I took care of some things before eventually getting to bed myself. I’m constantly sleep deprived, angry, frustrated, depressed, and just about any other negative emotion there is. I’m hoping a vacation will help, but I’m already stressed about traveling, and worried about what the dogs will get into while we’re gone. Summer informing me that she’s paying Noah to come house-sit while we’re gone only made me feel worse about the situation, and angry that she didn’t consult me first. Telling me that she was going to “set some ground rules” was not the consolation she thought it might be.

I’ll have them longer.

Nobody Asked You Patrice!

I caught the dogs in the act of digging under the fence this morning, and in spite of being in trouble, they were super excited to see me. I gave them some pets and treats with the hopes that they would stick around, and tried to cover up their start of a new hole, but they got out again while I was in the shower. As I was walking out the door, a new neighbor stopped to let us know. Summer woke up and got the front door just as I was discovering they weren’t in the back yard. Luckily we were able to get them back inside without too much trouble, but they were pretty high-energy.

There was no time for breakfast, and traffic was stupid. I got to work a little over 10 minutes late, but again, the place was mostly a ghost town. I submitted my vacation request form, though technically my contract will be over by then, and they don’t have to hire me again. I’m playing this one by ear. I ended up in Blake’s office and chatted with him for a while, and then a guy came in with three big bags of sweet corn for the school. I eventually got some for the office, and then took some home at the end of the day.

Other than that, my big human interaction was when Troy stopped by and actually sat down and chatted with me a little bit. I thought that was kind of neat, but I’m sure he mostly just needed a break from the heat. I eventually headed home and fed the fish.

I got to the house just as Summer was finishing up dinner. She thought it would be a good idea to cut up the leftover dried chicken and form patties with egg and bread crumbs. They were even dryer than the chicken was by itself, and it made no sense at all. I rolled the grill out and cooked some corn while I played with the dogs for a while. It sprinkled with a little thunder in the distance, and the dogs stuck around on the porch. It was really nice that we didn’t have to hunt for them at all today.

I wish they were trained well enough to take to work.