Staring at the Sun Again

Eaddie and I got up this morning and went out on the Shadow. We were hungry, but wanted to cruise around town quickly before going to my parents’ house for the eclipse, so we stopped at Zaxby’s to pick up some chicken. Then we ran by my old house so I could put in some contacts and feed the fish, and we continued past the nearly empty Hickey Park and high school parking lots. We wanted to go by the soccer complex, but we ran a little behind. The Confederate Mother’s Memorial/Pine Knob Mountain Bike Park was full of people, much like the back of both Walmart parking lots we passed, but Sequoyah was empty as well.

Dad was outside with several telescopes and cameras, and Mom came in and out as the moon slowly crossed the sun. Summer left work early and met us there with plenty of time to eat and peek through the telescopes. Totality was longer than the first time we saw it, but it didn’t seem quite as momentous for me. Maybe it was because there was so much else going on with so many telescopes, or maybe because I kept having to tell Summer to take her glasses off. The solar prominences didn’t seem as big, there weren’t any big jet trails revealed, and the mountain blocked our view of the 360º sunset. The crickets and bats came out though, and everyone really enjoyed the event. I preferred being in a quiet place away from all the public screaming or music playing.

We didn’t watch much of the last half of the eclipse. The girls headed home and I ate some bánh bèo that Mom made before catching up with them. We went back out to check out a pretty disappointing “eclipse market” that was just a small handful of vendors that didn’t interest any of us. Then we finally went past the soccer complex and Old Post Park before going back to the other side of town for some free Freddy’s. Much to the girls’ dismay, I took us to Price Break, and Eaddie waited in the car while Summer and I sorted through bins of Amazon returns. I had to poke fun when Summer bought way more stuff than I did by the end of it all.

Once we made it back home, the girls settled in. I had a leftover burger and then rode the Onewheel to the Neighborhood Market to take in the recycling and pick up some more oranges. I ended the night with some laundry, and it’s back to the grind in the morning.

Thank goodness we missed the rain.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I couldn’t get my neck comfortable in bed last night, so I woke up with a headache. Summer went to work and Eaddie had a test in the morning, but came home afterward and took a shower. Summer wanted to do some shopping, so I cleaned up and then got her from the wash to go to Tractor Supply. She thought she’d be leaving work earlier and that we could go grocery shopping, but we had to postpone that. After she found a couple replacement wheels for work, I took her to Lowe’s to look at the other Christmas tree that I really liked. They had one left that was still brand new, but I thought I’d try and make a deal for the display model as well, just to lower my unit cost.

One of the managers was working nearby and quickly accepted my offer of $100 for both trees, so we carried it all to the front to check out, and then he helped us to the car. I took Summer back to work and then went to the old house to feed the fish and pick up a few things to take home. Dad wanted an old PC power supply to build a tiny space heater, so I grabbed a couple of those as well. When I got to his house, we tested the pinouts and they seemed to be working fine. I was pretty sure I had smoked both of them, but I decided to hold on to them just in case one would work on an old computer.

When I finally made it back home, Eaddie had left to hang out with friends, so I took the opportunity to set up the display model tree in the corner to the right of the TV. I spent quite a while fluffing the branches, and it looked really great. I had to move the other tree further away from the TV for symmetry, but having two trees actually looked really good. I have no idea what we’ll do with those spaces when it’s not Christmas, but it made Summer happy to have such nice trees when she got home.

I started to take the Onewheel to meet Summer at the Neighborhood Market, but decided it would be too crowded for my lack of confidence on the apparatus. It was just as well, because she still beat me there even when I drove. We got some food for the week, and then headed home for the evening. I cleaned up a little more, and we settled in to watch Leave the World Behind. I enjoyed the suspense, but Summer behaved expectedly tense.

Eaddie eventually made it home and really enjoyed the new tree, so we may take the other one and put it in her room. It may be excessive, but isn’t that the true meaning of the season anyway?

How blinky are thy LEDs!

TenWheels

We had a PD day at work, but Russellville kids were back in school. They had a speaker there in the morning, so they kept coming to get me to fix audio issues. I didn’t actually fix anything myself, but I guess they felt better having me around. Eaddie called and said the Murano smelled like something was burning, but the temperature gauge looked okay. She said nothing seemed wrong otherwise, so I told her to take it easy and listen and smell for bad things on the way to school. Hopefully it was just the heater while she was defrosting.

Kim went to the doctor for a couple hours in the middle of the day, and then brought Taco Bell back for us since the cafeteria was closed. The afternoon dragged on, and I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything at all. I did order a Onewheel while they were still on sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I talked myself into getting the biggest, fastest one, which may have been a mistake. I just thought my extra weight would benefit from the extra power, and aftermarket prices seemed to hold pretty well. I couldn’t tell if that was true for the higher-end models, but the idea isn’t to sell it anyway.

After work, I went to feed the fish. Eaddie wanted 50-cent corn dogs, and Summer was home from work really early, so I stopped at Sonic on the way home. Eaddie and I ate a couple dogs, and then I went to my parents’ house by myself since they both had work or homework to do. Dad and I grazed over leftovers and I left pretty stuffed.

The girls were both wound down by the time I got back home, so I spent a little more money and eventually made it to bed.

These are expensive months.

Sandwich Day

Today was National Cheeseburger Day, but I didn’t realize it until later. I stopped at Burger King for breakfast since Kim would be out and I figured I wouldn’t eat lunch. I spent the entire day in my office, being mostly productive, but in questionably-important ways. I felt good about it, but I also felt a little bit bad about things left on the backburner.

I tried to get the electrician back out to the house to fix the bad breaker he gave me, but that didn’t happen. I also tried to coordinate a time to fix the rattle and the smudged camera on the Model 3, but never got a response from them either. Then I got a call from Griffin’s Home Improvement while I was on the way home. They wanted payment for the ceiling they literally and figuratively jacked up, so I had to run to the new house to get the check, and then run that to the opposite end of town to pay them. They weren’t at all surprised at my response, and knew it looked awful, but evidently they just don’t do drywall, and apparently nobody thought we wanted that done at the same time by the seller.

After I left there, I stopped at McDonald’s for my 50 cent double cheeseburger. I took it to AT&T and ate it while I chatted with both Kevins. When I left, I picked up a free double steakburger from Freddy’s and took it home. I wanted to charge my car for a bit, but tripped the breaker twice after I tried to slowly increase my charge rate. I should have just left it at the slower rate, because now I’ll be shy of my charge limit again tomorrow.

I eventually made it to the new house to water plants, and I was going to clean some more carpets, but ended up leaving after just a little while. I went to wash my car instead, and then headed up to Summer’s where I shared the news of the Burger Day deals.

Eaddie immediately jumped at the opportunity for some free Freddy’s, but she wanted a buddy, so I rode with her. Then I drove us to Dairy Queen and Burger King for two more stops before heading back to the house. Summer came out to eat with us, and then everyone was off to bed.

I’m sick of all this shoddy workmanship.

Just a Phase

Summer was back to work today. I got out of bed shortly after she left, and then Autumn came out saying they were going to go shop with their father. I hung around the house for quite a while longer than I really wanted, but didn’t have much ambition all day.

I got home and tried to clean up a little bit. I should have started some laundry earlier, because then it wouldn’t have been such a wasted day. Summer ended up working pretty late, so I ended up meeting her at the wash around the time she expected to leave.

We went through the Christmas clearance at Walmart, and I bought her some decorations for next year, along with quite a few snacks. When we got back up to her house, she made an old stir-fry meal she had in the fridge for way too long. Autumn had left to hang out at the pet store all afternoon, but we didn’t expect her to come home to eat anything after getting McDonald’s in the morning and then some rice and soy sauce in the middle of the day. Trash in, and trash out.

I watched a little bit of Liar Liar before Summer was ready for bed, and simultaneously continued playing Phase 10, which was my biggest accomplishment of the day. I’ll try harder tomorrow.

Run of Dumb

Breasts

Autumn slept in this morning and didn’t shower like she promised, before going to get Eaddie and heading to Clarksville. This shocked nobody, and I was a little upset there wasn’t more screaming involved. It was a nice day without the kids though. I made ham sandwiches for breakfast, and Summer worked on the jigsaw puzzle for most of the day.

Eventually we got out of the house in the rain, and went to Walmart to look for turkeys on sale. They still had whole turkey breasts for a buck a pound, so we picked up five for me to practice smoking. They had enormous Butterball turkeys for 75 cents per pound, but I didn’t really want a turkey that large. We wandered through the rest of the store before making our way out, where I managed to wade through some pretty deep water in the parking lot.

We made another stop at Sally Beauty so Summer could pick up some tools for nail art, and then I got a McRib on the way back to the house. Once there, Summer took off to go to the gym and then I killed more time working on the jigsaw puzzle.

Eventually I made it home to start some laundry and shower. It took me a while to get everything sorted before the Eagles concert, but hopefully I got everything. I finally made my way back up to Summer around midnight, and it was off to bed.

Lot about birds, lately.

Laundreaddie

Summer went back to work today. I eventually got up and toasted a very small ham sandwich for breakfast. Autumn left pretty early to go work at Tom E Tiger. Even Eaddie got up without me having to pull her out of bed. She kept wanting to know if I was leaving, and finally discussed me taking her to Maristella’s after she finished doing laundry. What she thought would only take her until about three o’clock turned into nearly six.

In that time, my greatest accomplishments were placing a curbside pickup order from Home Depot so Eaddie would have some better organization of her tiny plastic beads, and completing this year’s Cards Against Humanity Black Friday game. It was a series of captchas that I was fairly proud of solving, but I got stuck on an obvious one that kept me from getting paid to have them ship me a new storage box. I was still happy with my 43% discount though.

Summer got home just as Eaddie was finishing up, so we loaded up one of the tables and the chairs we borrowed from my parents, and I dropped Eaddie off along the way. I still hadn’t cleaned up the smoker, so I didn’t stay with my parents long. The cleanup was relatively easy, and I even prepped it for next time. Having gloves makes a big difference as well.

After a shower, I headed back up to Summer’s for the evening. She was watching Grease 2 while putting together the jigsaw puzzle, and then put on a Jo Koy special afterward. Autumn got home late, and Summer made her come sit in the living room with us rather than hide in her room. As soon as the special was over, everyone was off to bed.

Read: Laundry Dae

Not Much for Surprises

I had to go to Oakland a couple times this morning, but the work orders were easy fixes. I don’t think anyone else was super motivated around the office, but I kept fairly busy until lunch time. We went to Taco John’s as usual, and I ran into the Cochrans on their way out. We chatted for a little bit in the entryway about their retirement and my bikes. When everyone else showed up and we sat down to eat, Ben showed up. Evidently he had been around town meeting with some schools, and arranged to meet us for lunch.

I took the afternoon off and went by Superfast to check on Summer. She had a bit of work to do before her MRI, so I went home and waited for her to pick me up. As soon as she got there, we went to Saint Mary’s and filled out paperwork. We had to wait a little bit, but then she went to the back for the MRI while I waited in the lobby. The girls had dentist appointments after that, so we surprised them by showing up to pay their copays. Autumn was in a mood, and Eaddie just rolled her eyes about it. On the way out, Summer got a call about her MRI, which reportedly showed something odd about her frontal lobe. She spent the rest of the day Googling that, which would have been more upsetting if I hadn’t been present when her nurse did almost exactly the same thing.

We went to their house for a minute, but then left the girls to go back to their after-school activities. Then Summer and I headed to Conway for her work meeting. She couldn’t decide where to eat, so I tried the old trick where I told her I had the perfect place that she loved, but made her guess where we were going. She got super excited when she guessed Shark’s Fish and Chicken, but afterward changed her mind to Mexican. She really liked a place right off the highway called Los 3 Potrillos, so we went there. I’m not sure what made my parrillada so expensive, but all of the food was pretty good. The tortillas were so fresh that our server literally had to go make them for us after he brought out our food.

After we ate, we went to the shop and Summer got settled in. I waited around until I could show her how to make a Google Form for a sign-in sheet for the training she was giving. Then I went across town to Target to try and find a deal on some Google Nest mesh routers. They had one in stock that was marked at regular price, but they rang up for $80. I wished they had more than one, but I was happy with my find.

I made a quick run through the rest of the store, but nothing really jumped out at me. On the way out, I texted Ben to see what he was doing. He invited me over to his place, which was way out on the west end of town. It took me forever to get out there, and the neighborhood was a lot more tightly packed than I expected, but it was a nice place. The kids all came out to show out for company, and we eventually made it upstairs so he could show me his urinal and the bar, complete with a soda gun. He wanted to get rid of it, and offered it to me for half of what he might be able to get online. Prices seem to vary pretty wildly, but I figure I’ll probably end up with it eventually.

I left after a little while, knowing that it would take me a bit to get back to the shop. I arrived just as Summer was finishing up, so it was great timing. I was really glad I didn’t wait for her to text. We made it home without any fuss, and then everyone was off to bed.

Life’s less disappointing if you always assume the worst, but then again I am the positive one of the bunch.

Smokin’ Hot Deal

I was on fire at work today. I closed out as many work orders as I could, and actually felt pretty accomplished by the end of the day. We didn’t catch a critter over the weekend, but I was glad we hadn’t caught one that ended up being stuck over the whole weekend in a tiny cage. Kyle was back after a week of COVID, and for some reason felt compelled to follow me into my office. Then Brody walked in right behind him, and they were both crowding me until I shooed them off.

I worked on a couple deployments, and even resolved a long-standing issue with some JROTC software. I really can’t imagine those kids learning 10 gigabytes of information all year, but that’s how big the software was. It was really quiet downstairs all day, so it really made it easy to get things done.

Zach came back to get me for lunch, and Gary took us to Slim Chickens. I was super disappointed in my chicken strips. One of them was smaller than my thumb, and I don’t even mean the back joint by my wrist. It was puny, and I was mad. I forgot that their gravy is awful too.

I tried going upstairs in the afternoon after school, but everybody I needed to see had disappeared for the day. I ended the day at Oakland to set up a new phone for their new resource officer. When I left for the day, almost on a whim, I texted Zach to see if he would help me get a grill home from Walmart.

I decided I really wanted the grill for its smart temperature range and oven-like convenience, and at less than half of retail it was probably the best price I was going to get on it. Summer’s grill, like her car, had rusted out and was very near the end of its life, so I figured I’d take her the dual-fuel grill I bought last year and keep the new charcoal smoker at my house. Zach met me there just in time to load it up, and boy was it heavy. I wished it had some handles or something, but we got it onto the ground as I poured sweat.

As soon as Autumn finished up at school, she brought Eaddie over and traded cars with me. Then Eaddie and I drove the driving test course a couple of times before heading up to their house. She had broken out pretty bad from the bug bites, but apparently Gavin was worse off and skipped school to get a steroid shot. I helped load her up on anything we could find to mitigate the itch, and then I headed to my parents’ house for some ribs Dad had just cooked.

After we ate, I ran by Kroger to see if they had any more of those ribs for 99 cents per pound. I picked up the limit of five, along with a half gallon of orange juice, and then tried to get over to Walgreens for my lisinopril refill. That was when I ran into Robin, who wanted to stop and chat about her big life drama. I learned a lot in a really short amount of time. I got out and rolled up to Walgreens just as my medication reminder rang at eight o’clock, which was evidently when they closed the pharmacy.

Eaddie had left her phone at my house earlier, so I ran home to get it, and then met up with the girls back at their house. Summer was busy doing more work stuff before a big couple of days away. Autumn had said she was going to the gym after dropping Eaddie off, but she really went to McDonald’s. Eaddie was still just miserably itchy, so we had her dope up on some diphenhydramine and go to bed. I tried not to stay up too late, but I just felt overstimulated most of the day. It must have been all the money I’ve been spending.

Dun dun…

The Grill of My Dreams

I got up this morning and had some more leftovers for breakfast. I thought we might get out to teach Eaddie to ride the Grom after learning that Arkansas raised the engine size limit for 14-15 year old riders, but she didn’t want to get out of bed. Summer and I ended up going to town to do a little deal and grocery shopping for dinner.

I’d been seeing seasonal deals on grills and outdoor stuff, so I really wanted to look around for a new grill. Summer’s propane grill has seen better days, and Mom and Dad have one like my old one that’s missing the right table side of it. We ended up finding a dual-fuel propane/charcoal one with a griddle insert for $150. Then Summer ran into a couple guys she knew from Autozone that marked one down to $100 for us since it was missing the charcoal door handle. I figured I couldn’t beat that, so we took a price tag, picked up our groceries, and checked out. All that was left was to find someone with a truck to haul it home for me.

I dropped Summer off at her house and then went home to clean up. Brody said he could help me with the grill, so I waited around for him to get back with me. I didn’t realize he was out of town, but eventually he came through. When I got back to Walmart, they had closed the garden center door, so I had to find an employee to help me walk the grill through the store and out the front door. Brody got there just after we got outside, so timing was just about perfect. When we got to my house, he took the turn into my street just a bit too fast and tipped the grill over on its front side, but it didn’t look like there was any damage. We got it down and into the garage, and then I was off to Summer’s for dinner.

Summer made chicken and dumplings, and it turned out really great. I ate way too much though, and the heartburn ate away at me the rest of the night. We watched a couple episodes of Modern Family, and then she went to bed and Eaddie and I watched an episode of House to finish up the fifth season. She still can’t believe the show is still so good this many seasons in, and I keep telling her it gets better. It’s one of the few shows I think they did an excellent job of ending without fizzling out.

After that, I headed back home for the evening to rearrange in the garage a bit. I made just enough room to squeeze past the grill until I can find a cover for it to put it under the porch. I guess now I’ll have to find a way to get my old one to my parents’ house, but that shouldn’t be too bad. The new one is huge though. I can’t wait to try it.

Went looking for a hot deal on a grill, and found a grate one. Job well-done.