YouTubed Traditions

I went home for a shower, then picked the girls up for Bác Vân’s funeral early this morning. Most of the family was already there for the private viewing, and then the service opened to the public a couple hours later. Bác Tran, Dad, and Dan all got up to share some words, and I learned some things from Dan about my family that I don’t think any of us ever knew. It was hard, and the service seemed to carry on forever since we had gotten there so early, but we finally made it across town to the cemetery for the burial.

It was high noon on a day with a heat advisory. The family kept having to research traditions that they wanted to keep alive, while choosing which others to let slip into the past. They had incense and a bowl of rice and egg. I was just happy to see the job through. Serving as a pallbearer wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, but having some extra muscle helped.

Afterward, I took the girls to my house to change and then we headed out to Centerville to visit Steven and Chris’s farmhouse. It was a different farmhouse than we’d visited before. Apparently the other had gone to the kids as a playhouse. It was hot outside even covered on the porch. Randall had a couple deep fryers going for eggrolls, and Julie had picked up the Pasta Grill they had catered.

It wasn’t long before Lelan started calling for fish sauce, which Mom hadn’t had time to make. Danielle also wanted some mint for mojitos, so I took Mom back to Russellville. She picked some fresh mint while I found the dried stuff inside, where Doug and his son Mike were waiting for a call from their insurance company. That whole thing felt a bit odd, but I eventually got out and took Mom home to make the fish sauce.

It took us way too long to complete everything, but we made it back to the farm and had some eggrolls that had gotten soggy by then. It was mostly hot and miserable, so everyone crammed inside where Uncle Mai was loudly attempting his magic trick again. We rode it out until everyone started to file out, and then the girls and I headed home.

Summer had to work the next day, so she went to bed. I was hot and sticky from sweating so much, so I talked Eaddie into going swimming with me. We headed to my parents’ house and chatted inside for just a bit before going out back. The tree frogs came out after dark, and I played with them a bit. One started croaking while sitting on my finger, which was really cool. For some reason, Eaddie was absolutely terrified to touch them.

We swam, looked at stars, sang at frogs, and eventually made it inside to munch on a few leftovers while we visited with the family. Eaddie seemed to genuinely enjoy meeting everyone, and even wanted to go back early the next morning before people started leaving.

We eventually made it back home, where Noah pulled into the driveway just before us. Eaddie stayed up watching a scary movie with him, and I did my best to get to bed for a few hours of sleep before her 16th birthday.

This year just won’t slow down.

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.

A Dandy, Mandy Birthday

We had a really long, relaxing meeting this morning with some fancier donuts than usual. It really felt like we didn’t have much of anything to do, and everyone was just happy to be at the end of the week. Jacob wanted some help troubleshooting a sound system that kept going to sleep, so I went to the junior high with him for a bit.

When I got back to the shop, I poked around a little bit until lunch time. Then a big group of us went to La Chiquita. We even got Tammy and Kelsea to go with us, which has never happened before. Thomas ended up paying for everyone, which was super generous. I had the fajitas for the first time in quite a while, which reminded me how much better they are than just about anything else on the lunch menu.

The afternoon went by pretty slowly after that. I ran home to grab a package, but otherwise didn’t have a whole lot at work that was just super pressing. I closed out what tickets I could for Gary and myself, and eventually made it to four o’clock.

I ran straight home and got to work making my smoked queso dip. I cooked some chorizo, then melted smoked Velveeta, smoked shredded blend, and some smoked pepperjack into the Rotel, garlic, and jalapeños. I forgot my onion and cilantro, which would have freshened it up quite a bit. The chorizo also ended up being a big mess because the grease bubbled up around the cheese and popped everywhere. It tasted alright though, and not too smokey.

As soon as I loaded that up into my little crock pot, I headed to Amanda’s for her birthday shindig. It was just her and Sarah, their roommate Steven, and their friend Khris there, so it was a really chill evening of just hanging out and playing a couple games. We picked up some pizza and candy from Casey’s, then played Sushi Go, followed by Cards Against Humanity.

I left shortly after midnight, when we wished Amanda a proper happy birthday. Then it was straight home and to bed after a long, waking day.

It don’t confront me none!

Death by Chocolate

I tried sleeping in a bit today before going home to clean up. Eaddie wanted to have a few friends over as a birthday treat, so Summer picked up stuff for burgers. I started prepping once I got back, and made sixteen perfect burger patties. Half of them also had a fresh jalapeño diced into them, but I should have added more.

People eventually started showing up a bit after I started cooking, so we ate pretty quickly. Nick had ordered a serial killer themed cake that turned out pretty neat looking, but they missed some opportunities for more puns. When we finished eating, we all played a couple rounds of Drawful.

Summer and I left for a bit to drop in on some of her employees that were throwing Mario a going away party. She got to play her first game of beer pong, and pet some tiny dogs. We didn’t stay very long since we still had a house full of girls back home.

The girls looked to be in the middle of a Twilight marathon, so Summer and I went to bed pretty immediately.

I guess the wolf is out of the bag.

Pizza Pie, Piece o’ Cake

Summer took Autumn to school this morning, then had to run by work for a while later. Eaddie and I got up and watched some House. When Summer got back, they went out for lunch and I went home to clean up.

I cleaned up the aquariums a bit, but they’ll need more work tomorrow. The day went by really quickly, and I didn’t get as much accomplished as I wanted. Eventually I got back out and went to get some things from my parents’ house before making it back up to Summer’s.

Autumn’s friend was already there with her dog, and Summer took them on down to The Garage Arcade for Autumn’s birthday. Eaddie and I followed shortly thereafter, stopping to pick up some pizzas along the way.

The kids had a good time, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the arcade selection. It was still neat, but I don’t have a clue how they make rent there. We got home pretty late afterward, and everyone shuffled off to bed pretty quickly.

Now they’re FROZ-N-READY!

That’s a Surprise

I slept in super hard this morning, but got up and around for an early lunch. We cleaned up some leftovers, then tried to keep the kids motivated to clean the house in preparation for the evening. Eventually it came time for me to leave for my shower, so it was up to all the girls to get things rolling.

While I was gone, Melinda picked Summer up for their pedicures. I arrived back at the house shortly thereafter with a fresh bag of ice and the hamburgers, and we did our last little bit of prep work before the guests started to arrive. Ronda, Steven, and Maleea showed up first, but were quickly followed by Suzanne, John and Melissa, Noah, and my parents. We had a house full of relative strangers to each other, and I was busy slicing vegetables and running the grill. Had I known the nail salon was running behind, I would have slowed way down, but for all I knew, I had about half an hour to get things rolling.

Around 6:40, Melinda showed up with Summer and we did our level best to surprise her. Ronda had the great idea to have all the friends stand back, so the kids and my parents jumped out first with a couple big confetti poppers. Then as she came further into the house, everyone else jumped out and surrounded her for a second surprise. It was hugs all around, except for Eaddie, who got totally got skipped.

Summer had a blast and was so excited to see everyone. The food turned out pretty well after Steven helped me keep the grill from going up in flames. The decorations Melissa brought were just the right touch, and Suzanne’s cake was amazing. I almost couldn’t believe we pulled it off. I did forget to toast the buns with butter on the griddle, but I suppose there’s always next time for the gourmet experience.

John and Melissa had to take off pretty quickly to get their kids. Dalia was going to show up late after closing at work, but she actually arrived at a pretty decent time since the pedicures took an extra hour to complete. As everyone eventually filtered out, the kids did a quick sweep up to get the house livable again. I ran across town to deliver some cake to John, then went home to trade my contacts for glasses.

Everyone was ready for bed by the time I got back, so I tinkered around for a little while, and eventually went off to bed.

Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. You fool me, you can’t get fooled again.