That Stinks

I was exhausted this morning, but I managed to send Autumn off to school on her bike, get Eaddie to the junior high on time, and still make it in to work with a couple minutes to spare. It was pretty quiet downstairs, so I went to Oakland early and took care of some new work orders I had gotten over the break. The best one was a surge protector that was just turned off. It’s got to be learned helplessness.

When I got back, Greg, Zach, Thomas, and I went to La Chiquita for lunch. Things never really picked up in the afternoon, and I spent a bunch of time working on a laptop that kept running through a recovery and wouldn’t boot to the network properly. About the time I got it done, Greg was going to help me look at what I thought was an intercom issue at Oakland.

On the way out the door, Thomas came back and wanted to talk, then took me into my own office and shut the door. I didn’t really know what to expect, but then he just asked me not to use my oil diffuser any more because someone had complained about it. I knew Greg gave me crap about it, but I didn’t figure he really cared. He seemed to be playing the whole thing up, so I don’t know if Thomas or I read into that wrong. He didn’t seem to think it was anything he said, but I can’t think of a single other person that ever comes back to my area that would have said anything. It certainly isn’t going through the cinderblock wall.

With that awkward conversation out of the way, I met Greg at Oakland and we went to the back of the building only to discover it wasn’t an intercom issue at all. It was an issue with the in-ceiling sound system. I wiggled the knobs until it sounded better, and then we were off. He stuck around to help me run an HDMI cable in another room, and that got us to quitting time.

I picked Eaddie up a couple blocks away from my house, then went outside to clean up the fire pit and grill. Autumn made it back home on her bike, and then they waited for their brother, Zach, to come get them. That was news to me, but I was mostly concerned that one of them had taken advantage of him to take them out to eat. In any case, I let them go and then went to my parents’ house to pick at leftovers before picking them up from their house where Zach dropped them back off.

When we got back to my house, I had to kick Autumn out of bed to take a shower. Then I helped Eaddie with some homework before watching an episode of House. Time seemed to move faster and faster as the evening went on. I thought I might make it to bed early, but no such luck.

What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Booked and Ticketed

I was pretty tired this morning after not getting much sleep last night. I drank up some coffee and did what I could in my office until lunch time rolled around. Zach, Gary, and I met Brody at Brangus for one of the better meals I’ve had there. Then it was a quiet afternoon all around.

I spent some time at Oakland and closed out some tickets, and brought a couple iPads back to the shop. Everything was relatively easy today though. I worked a bit late on a custom icon for the middle school, and then went home to see what I could get into before Summer came over.

The girls were at a game until late, so I warmed up some leftovers for Summer to eat as I tried to pick up in the bedroom a bit. Then after she left for home, I spent the rest of the night plotting out our Dallas trip. I got tickets for Medieval Times on Gary’s suggestion, and tickets to Eternals in Dolby Cinema on a cinema tech on Reddit’s suggestion. I even found a hotel for just shy of a C-note that looks pretty nice.

Now we just have to get there.

Let Your Hearts Grow a Little Fonderer

I woke up in an anxiety attack this morning, which was a new experience for me. Summer was there, so I just clutched onto her and rode it out. I vaguely remember an unpleasant dream, but I don’t really thing that set it off. We got up after a little while and she took the girls home while I worked on the house. I sort of had a direction I wanted to go, but I didn’t really execute it very well. Hopefully it’s at least staged for next time so I can jump right in.

I think I want to run some new speaker wire soon, and I might as well unbox the other two tower speakers I have left, if only to get the oversized shipping boxes out of the way. I keep getting caught up in the fantasy of moving into a larger house, but I need to remember our goal of just saving money. We could be making even faster progress if we’d focus on those efforts when it comes to shopping and food, but we’re just too comfortable.

Summer and Eaddie came back after a while to ride their bikes to the tennis courts. I kept doing what I was doing on into the late evening, though I slowed down kind of early. My 20-year high school reunion was this weekend, and I’ve been saying I didn’t want to go ever since the five-year. I don’t think I was feeling regret, but maybe a little sadness because I didn’t feel regret?

School wasn’t a particularly fun experience for me. I cycled through a couple close friends from first grade through 12th, but overall didn’t have a whole lot of love for anyone I grew up around. I’m sure there were some people there that I wouldn’t have minded seeing, but overall I felt indifference toward most everyone I saw in the pictures. I don’t know if that makes me a worse human, or just a cranky old man filled with bitter grudges. I’m not sure I care about that either. As far as I’m concerned, the simulation isn’t rendered much beyond my character viewpoint anyway. I hope everyone is doing well for the most part, but I don’t think anybody that I really would have wanted to see was making an appearance.

When I wrapped up at home, I headed up to Summer’s for the evening. Autumn was still at a band event, so the three of us that remained watched The Voice until Summer went to bed. Then Eaddie and I watched two episodes of House before she went to bed. Autumn made it home and reported that her band and color guard both placed first. Then it was off to bed.

I’m happy to stay in touch if anyone wants. I just don’t think anyone wants.

Alumna Foil

I rolled into work a little late again today. I guess it’s that time of year that I need to set my alarm about five minutes earlier. We had a brief meeting to go over some things for the newbies, and then Thomas showed us his requirements for the three new tech levels, assuming they will be written into policy this year.

The morning went by relatively quickly as I struggled to make things work the way I wanted. When lunch time came around, multiple people reached out to me about lunch, but then it seemed like we were splitting into two groups because the Service Plus guys were going to have a little reunion. For whatever reason, everyone kept waiting for the holy trinity to leave, which ended up making Gary yell at us for standing around. It’s been nothing but mixed signals, and I’m over it.

We ended up driving in four groups to Brangus, but Greg and Josh didn’t make it in time to eat with their old coworkers. We didn’t even sit in the same room because I was the one that requested the table and nobody would tell me how many people we actually had coming. We ended up removing a table, and then bringing it back when Josh and his wife and baby showed up. By the time it was all said and done, there were nine of us there to eat.

Lunch ran long because we left about half an hour late. When we got back, Zach kind of got on to me about not skipping out on the group lunch to go help Jacob hang a touch panel at the junior high. It wouldn’t have mattered, except that Central Office called to tell us to go home at three. I ended up just loading up a truck and bringing it to Jacob by myself in spite of the fact that it wasn’t a huge rush to begin with.

I made it back to the shop just before three, and tried to finish up some weekly paperwork before going home. That’s about the time the lights went out and Thomas, for the first time that I’ve ever seen since he started in July, came through the shop and shut everything down. Normally office lights, shop lights, TVs, and everything are all left on as everyone goes home and I’m the one that goes through the effort to save a buck.

With him hollering at me to leave since there was nobody left to turn paperwork into, I went home and waited for the girls to show up. I picked up a few things to make some room, and then Summer and Eaddie eventually showed up after the homecoming parade. Summer wasn’t there long though, and got called in to work to look at something. Eaddie was hungry and wanted me to take her out for some pasta, but I made her wait for Summer to get back.

When Summer finally got back, we tried going to Venezia’s and had to bypass a stopped train. Failing that, we went across town to Pasta Grill. They had a mob of people waiting outside, so we took the overpass back to Venezia’s to see if they were any better. The parking lot was full and Summer decided she needed to get to the football game, so Eaddie hopped in my car. We thought we’d try waiting for Summer to be done at Autumn’s game, but got stuck at the train again going back to my house for about 35 minutes.

Summer made it to the game to watch Autumn present the flag for JROTC, and after committing to wait for the train to leave, Eaddie and I made it back to the house. When Summer got back, we tried going to Pasta Grill again. I found a parking space that was labeled as a tow zone for non banking customers, but the bank was closed and I thought I’d take a chance. As we walked across the street though, we saw there was still a mob of people waiting to get in. I didn’t want to deal with any of that homecoming nonsense, and the girls were too hungry to wait any longer anyway, so we left.

At the end of the day, CiCi’s had it. It was my speed of people, with no dresses or six-inch spike heels, or really anybody I didn’t want to see. The food was good, and we even got a whole custom spinach alfredo with mushrooms pizza delivered to the table after nobody else in the restaurant would claim it. The biggest problem we had was carrying out everything we had eaten.

They closed up a couple hours earlier than their posted hours, which I thought was super weird for a Friday night. We headed back home and split right up. Eaddie went to her room to watch a movie. Summer went to bed. I stayed up, but for no real reason since Eaddie didn’t want to watch TV with me until her movie was over. Autumn eventually made it home from the game, and everyone went to sleep.

From everything to nothing.

Going for Broke

Thomas and Gary were both out today, and Zach texted me before work to say he was getting donuts and would be late, which meant the shop was extra quiet when I got there. We all gathered for a really relaxed meeting and mostly talked off-topic for a while until a couple groups left to work on some stuff together. I was left in the shop all alone for a while, since Tammy and Kelsea both had a meeting to attend early in the day.

Everyone came back around for lunch, and we went for something completely different – Cracker Barrel. I actually thought I’d eat a pretty light meal just because I never remember getting filled with their portions, but then our waitress brought out cornbread and biscuits and gravy for us all to share. I ended up getting the Friday Fish Fry, which was a pretty good sized plate, too.

After lunch, I had to call Arvest to try and figure out why my mileage check was returned and I was charged an $8 chargeback on my account. The kid I talked to left me on hold for a really long time and then came back completely unable to help. Then I had a quick conference call with Nanoleaf to review something new before running to Oakland to finish up a couple more work orders.

On the way back to the shop, I decided to stop at the physical bank so I could talk to someone face-to-face. He found, as I sort of suspected, that the mobile check deposit had truncated a part of the check numbers, so the system couldn’t complete the transfer. Upon calling someone, they advised him not to negotiate the check because I would need a new one from the school. I argued that, since the first one was only a picture that technically had different numbers on it, then the original check I had given to him was technically a different check and should still be valid. He basically winked and slid the check back to me, and I went on to fight that another day.

When I made it back to the shop after school, I chatted with Tammy a bit until it was time to fill out time sheets and go home. I tried on some more clothes I got in and put together a new hamper, building up an intense headache along the way. That continued to radiate through my entire skull and neck all evening even as I made my way up to Summer’s. I laid in bed with her for a bit, and then got cleaned up for bed so I could crash.

Pain, pain, go away!

You’ve Gotta Fight for Your Right

I’ve been so worked up for most of this month over my employment contract, and it finally worked itself up into a head today. Maybe I was just feeling a dark cloud over my own head today, or maybe something really was up, but I’ve just felt really off for the past couple days. I spent the first couple quiet hours in my office before going to Oakland to try and fix some things. Then I made it back to the shop around lunch time and chatted with Kyle outside for a bit.

I ended up not doing anything, and just finished up the last quarter of my Soylent instead. I started working on an email to Judy to see if she could chat with me about my contract, and she actually had some free time to schedule with me. I went across the street and expressed my feelings, concerns, and did my best to make sure she understood I wasn’t trying to rock the boat, but that I felt like I had earned the contract I signed. She did a good job of playing it pretty neutral, but asked some good questions and took enough notes to make me feel like she really did want to help me personally if she could.

After my meeting, I went back to the shop for the rest of the day. Kyle and Greg came into my office for some help, which pretty well burned up any usable time I had left. I wrapped up what I could as everyone filtered out, and then stopped by to chat with Thomas on my own way out. He appreciated that I wanted to keep him in the loop, and I could tell we really agreed on a lot of the things we’ve seen, so hopefully this all works out well in the end.

I went straight to SuperFast to catch up with Summer, and then had to leave to return the canopy that I couldn’t get back to the Ridgewood Brothers yesterday. Then I went to my parents’ house for some surprisingly tough corned beef for dinner. After we ate, Dad and I tried taking his old oven out to swap it with the new one. We had gotten most everything in place to slide in before I had to pick Eaddie up from karate.

Once I had Eaddie, we stopped by her grandparents’ house so she could pick up some things she didn’t take into karate. Then we went back to my parents’ house to finish installing the new oven. Unfortunately once we had it placed, we realized how much space was left around the outside of it. We really needed to buy a size or two up from what Julie got, so we pulled everything back out and stuck the old one back in as quickly as we could.

I had to get Eaddie home so she could do homework, but first I wanted to get my laptop from work, then go home to change. Summer helped her with the homework while I tried yelling at Autumn to keep her from falling asleep. Evidently the hospital wants her a bit sleep deprived so she’ll be super relaxed or even doze off during her EEG tomorrow. I stayed up later than I wanted, but just kept feeling like I was forgetting something all night long.

I don’t know why they can’t write better descriptions for jean sizing. Maybe I’ll just start wearing jeggings instead.


Summer left this morning, giving me the day to take care of my own things at home. The afternoon just raced by, but I got some stuff moved around in one of the bedrooms. If I can get enough stuff cleared out, we can bring one of Eaddie’s twin beds down here so the girls can each stay in a bed of their own and not have to share. I found a few things I’d been wanting to track down, as well as a bunch of old gaming console accessories.

I went to my parents’ house for just a few minutes and had some dinner with Dad, then came back home to continue what little work I had done for the day. I sought out some advice about my employment contract, but didn’t get much out of it. I don’t guess I really expected much – at least not directly.

The evening flew by just as quickly as the rest of the day, and I did my best to get into bed early for what is surely to be another trying week at work.

The hunt is on.

Sandy Lines

Four of us immediately went to the junior high today to try and clean up the work orders that had been piling up due to the lack of a tech there. It was overall pretty quiet, and mostly a cluster of us all bumbling over each other, but we put a dent in them. Lunch time came around really quickly, and seven of us all met up at Mulan’s for lunch. Summer wanted to get lunch, but I was at the mercy of whoever would drive me, and she didn’t want anything that heavy.

We finished up at the junior high in the afternoon, and then came back to the shop to work on Central Office tickets that had piled up on Gary in the time he’s been pulled away to other things. It wouldn’t be this bad if we hadn’t restructured the department in the middle of already being super shorthanded. We just don’t have the people.

Shortly after I got settled into my office, I received an email from Rebecca stating very matter-of-factly that they had a new contract for me to sign, and that I would need to pay the district $558 due to a mistake that they had made. I knew how I wanted to reply, but Gary thought talking to Thomas first would be a good idea. I knew this was coming, but it didn’t get real until that moment, and I got pretty upset. He gave me what advice he could, and asked me not to take any action until he had a chance to go to Central Office on my behalf.

I spent the rest of the day writing a sort of memo of conversation to attach to the email I was forwarding to him, and thanking him for what he’s done in his short time here. I think I’ve been leading up to this for a long time. I just never could have imagined the district would initiate this conversation, especially in such a way that may possibly be more in my favor than not. All I know is that I’ve really enjoyed how my job has changed within the past six months, and that the work I’ve done in that time has been more valuable than ever.

I went home for the evening, and Summer brought Eaddie over once they cleaned up at home. Summer and I watched several episodes of Modern Family before she went to sleep. Then Eaddie came out and watched the last 20 minutes or so of a movie trailer compilation with me. I dawdled a bit more on YouTube before coming to bed, mostly feeling dread for what the future holds.

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

Overtaken by My Own Shadow

It was a quiet, brainy day at work today. I made some progress, but it was slower than I would have liked. I didn’t get distracted much, but I did get frustrated a couple times with others pulling my attention, which I’m sure is why Gary is so grumpy most of the time.

Brody wanted to go to Fat Daddy’s in London, but they were evidently closed due to staffing issues. The same went for Zaxby’s. Slim Chickens was a solid win today with the salad I got, and then we dropped off some strips for Summer, who was stuck in the pit all day.

I left near quitting time today and went by the shop to order some new tires for the Murano before going up to Summer’s to heat up her lasagna. I made it about halfway to her house before I realized I didn’t have keys to get in because I was on the Shadow, so I ran back home to change and get the keys.

As I came back outside, I hopped on the bike and started to pull away, only barely remembering to get the keys. I stood up to get off and immediately lost all balance due to the low, heavy nature of the bike. I had forgotten that I already lifted the kickstand, so the bike tumbled over on top of me and threw me to the ground. I avoided any major damage, but the handlebar controls and mirrors got a bit out of whack. The handlebars themselves were still bent from before I got the bike, so the only new “damage” was to the rear, left turn signal that now rattles from something being broken off inside it.

I finally made it up to Summer’s with bruised palms, and heated up the lasagna and baked some garlic bread. She and Autumn both made it home from work and we ate. Then Summer had to tend to some work business as we waited for the scattered showers to wane enough for me to make it back home for the evening.

I tried to pick up a little, and ended up on a trip down Memory Lane when I found a bunch of folders from my time at NEW. Then I went to bed as hastily as I could, since someone decided that working at 6am tomorrow will be fun when moving some old laptops around at the junior high. At least by then it will have reached the day’s low of 74º.

More like PowerHell.


I let Summer sleep in until about noon today before we got around to my parents’ house. Dad had already started two grills for the heaps of food we’d be grilling. There were steaks, burgers, chicken wings, shrimp, corn on the cob, zucchini and squash that all made it across the coals. Bác Vân and Doug pulled up just as we left to pick up a couple fill-in items from the Neighborhood Market.

I kept Julie up to date with a play-by-play as we were cooking, since she was just a couple neighborhoods away. Then she showed up as everyone was finally eating. We were all set up to eat outside, but by the time we finished grilling in the sun, we were all too hot to enjoy the reasonable weather.

We stayed and listened to Julie’s mad karaoke skills for a while. Then as we started to leave I had a small anxiety attack that threw me into a severe headache for several hours. When we got back to my house, Summer went home and I dozed for just a little bit in bed. I eventually made it up to her house for the evening, but never fully kicked the headache, so it was an early night to bed for us.