I knew I had to take the girls to the orthodontist this afternoon, but I nearly spaced and took the bike to work this morning. I caught myself on the way out and took the Murano instead, but it wouldn’t have been a bad day for a ride. We had a short meeting, and then I was mostly left alone to do my own thing. Gary had me update SCCM, which was a relatively easy, but long process that took me all morning to complete.

The guys went to Taco John’s and invited me along, but I was on the fence anyway, and then traffic didn’t allow me into the right lane to make the turn, so I headed on up to Summer’s instead. The girls were up but sedentary. I warmed up some leftover Mexican chicken casserole for lunch, and then we left for Dr. K’s.

When we got there, the doors were locked for lunch time, so we waited under the shade of a nearby bushy tree. It seemed a little silly to see so many people waiting outside the door in the heat, but I guess they’ve gotta eat too. Autumn filled out some paperwork while Eaddie went back. Then she wanted me to go back with her for the consult. Autumn really wants braces, but Invisalign is about 400 bucks cheaper. Evidently they don’t have insurance to cover anything, so I don’t know why Summer’s trying so hard to spend money on the kid that’s giving us so much trouble.

After the girls finished, we went to my house so I could change out of my work jeans into some shorts, then headed back up to their house until Eaddie’s flute lesson. They watched Stranger Things for a little while, and I baked the Surfer Boy branded pizza we got for them. Then Autumn took a nap while Eaddie painted. When it was time to leave again, Autumn pitched an absolute fit about being woken up, and was super bitchy for about two hours.

We dropped Eaddie off for her lesson and then went to my parents’ house for half an hour. Eaddie finished up after about 45 minutes, and I took them straight to karate. They had both started to get moody, so I decided to go in to watch them for the hour. They begrudgingly worked out together, and flailed their limbs around loosely the entire time. On the way home, Autumn wanted to get some sour cream for barbecue nachos, but then went straight to the Takis and Dr. Pepper. I didn’t have the energy to fight her there, so I got the corn chips we really needed, and we continued home.

It was a little late, but I wanted to eat a little bit for dinner. Then I had to threaten to take her snacks before Autumn made herself the tiniest plate of smoked pork and shredded cheese I had ever seen. She didn’t even open the sour cream she begged for. After she ate, I made her clean the kitchen while Eaddie cleaned her room. Then I killed time until Summer got home super late. She went straight to bed, and I played Puzzle Quest on my phone all night.

…but I’m a creep…

Idiot Wrangler

I made myself an iced coffee this morning, and then I was sent with Kyle and Brody to strip out the computer lab at Sequoyah. It was a short run to the closet, so pulling the cable out was a relative piece of cake. They were both working with earbuds in, so I went along with it and listened to Weird Al all morning. By the time we finished up, it had sprinkled a bit on the stuff in the truck bed, but it was likely all going to scrap anyway.

We finished unloading the truck in time for lunch, so Kyle drove me over to central office to see what the guys there wanted to eat. Someone suggested Stoby’s, and then we all volunteered Kyle to drive us. Somehow we made it to and from the restaurant without incident. I went light with tuna on a toasted croissant, and then took my chips for later.

We spent the afternoon finishing up termination at central office. It felt at times that we were underprepared, but Zach was happy to make trips back for parts we needed. It certainly could have been done more efficiently, but it wasn’t too embarrassing with all of the admins out at their retreat. As we finished up, I learned that one of the girls over there was married to Jackson, our old family friend from years ago.

I was the last one out of the admin building, and as I was walking into the shop, Kyle was walking back from the truck pen with a shit-eating grin, and said he may or may not have wrecked the truck trying to back it into the pen. I never made it over to look at the damage, but evidently it ran the length of the truck and left a pretty good dent. That frustrated basically everyone there with any goddamn sense. Zach let us go home early, but I think all but two of us actually stayed until Thomas showed back up from the retreat, and then they went to inspect the truck and damaged fence post.

I left and went to my parents’ house to clean up some leftovers for dinner. Mom wasn’t home from work yet, so Dad and I chatted until she showed up. Then we ate and I sat around for a bit before heading home. Summer hit the gym before going home, so I took her some Taco Bell, and we called it an early night.

“At least nobody died,” is not as comforting to hear as you may think.


The shop was quiet when I got to work today. Zach had other things to do, so I spent the morning running around with Greg. I had him take me to The UPS Store to pick up our boxes, and then we went to the middle school to give them to Josh. Jacob was there helping him sort devices, and we walked out with several boxes of good devices to ship. From there, we went back to the shop to load up some more, and took them all to The UPS Store.

When we finished with that running around, we continued to check devices in the graveyard for any that we could ship back. Jacob came out to help for a bit until lunch, when the three of us and Thomas went to Slim Chickens. My wrap took a while to come out because the fries were fresh, and they were delicious because of it.

When we got back, Greg and I went to Oakland to check on an intercom issue, and then went to look at the new jumbotron at the high school. They angled it poorly, so it’s basically impossible to see from the visitors side. I’d love to see who at Ace Signs is connected to someone in the district, because we’ve literally never been happy with anything they’ve ever done for us.

I was a little scattered for the remainder of the afternoon. Thomas came back for a minute just to hide, and I spent some time working on a few different things for others. I ended the day mostly in spreadsheets.

Summer called to let me know that she had let Autumn go into the high school by herself to drop something off, and of course Autumn had to show off the minor bruising she had after last night’s showdown. DHS called while they were all at the gym, so Summer took her right over to close out the case again. Another day; nothing learned.

I got roped into picking up Eaddie and Zane from the arcade and brought them up to Summer’s for dinner. I hadn’t really eaten much, but still felt full. I wanted to make Autumn skip a meal, but that didn’t happen. We just sat there, and I ate after everyone was done.

Eaddie had a meeting at the junior high about a band trip to Hawaii. It felt like I was in a timeshare meeting, and very little useful information was provided until we got the final handout at the end of the meeting. At $3k per person in a room of four, I’m not sure how bad of a deal it is. They’re certainly not making up for it in meals, and most of the excursions were an extra fee on top of that. As we left, Autumn was acting like she would be with us for some goddamn reason.

We dropped Zane off at home, and then I took the girls home. As I started to leave, Summer wanted to talk, so I stood there a while with her before heading home. There, I fought with a Fi rep about a promotion I’m not receiving for a SIM card that I purchased with real money. It seems like disappointment is all I know in nearly every aspect right now.

This is not the grail you’re looking for.

Cartagain Weather II: The Heat is On

It was hot and humid today. Everything made me sweat. I mostly missed out on our morning meeting, since I was having to investigate untruths from Autumn as she realized she was permanently locked out of her Facebook and personal email accounts, and trying to use school as an excuse to get back into them. We arranged to have her laptop returned, and for a moment thought she had skipped school and taken off in the middle of the day. We were able to track her down to a different room though, and all was fine.

eSCO came by pretty early and picked up a little over 20 old laptop carts, and we helped to haul them out the hard way, because they didn’t feel comfortable backing up to the dock. Then I had to scan a bunch of laptops that were brought back to the shop by another group. All the while, Dad was babysitting my house until someone from Rood finally showed up to look at my air conditioner.

I left for lunch early so I could relieve my dad, and my air unit was fixed with a replacement contactor, which is evidently the name of a legitimate part. Richard, the tech, said I would need a new thermostat though, because my Nest was showing an error every time we hooked it back up, in spite of no detectable wiring issue. On the way back to the shop, I just picked up a surprisingly good Big Dill pickle burger and a Red Bull slush from Sonic.

The afternoon was relatively quiet, but I went back and forth helping here and there with different things. I never got sucked into any real projects, which was a nice break from everything else I had been juggling mentally. At the end of the day, Tammy appeared to be having a hard time up front, so I just awkwardly left to run home and change.

Nick was coming to talk to Autumn and take Eaddie with him for the weekend, so I wanted to be there. I beat them all to the house, and had just enough time to finish up some nacho cheese cups that were leftover in the fridge from various visits to Taco John’s. When the girls got home, Eaddie wanted help with an English project because she had to turn in her library book before she finished the project. Then we coaxed Autumn into mowing. Nick showed up with some leftover barbecue for Summer and me, and then sat down with Autumn so we could all talk.

The conversation went about how it always does, but Nick ended it by actually shaking my hand and doing the half back-pat bro-hug thing. It felt really good to feel like I had some validation from him after all this time. With Eaddie gone, Autumn mowed while Summer and I ate. By the time she came back in, we were all exhausted enough to pass out super early.

Fun isn’t something one considers when blocking the internet, but this does put a smile on my face.

Red Hands

I finally got a bike out this morning, and rode the Shadow to work. It was an incredibly slow day, and I had to creatively fill my time. Tammy and Kelsea went to the high school to help with laptop pickup, which was an odd choice. I had to make fun of Tammy, because the boss really did send her to the library, which has been one of her greatest fears.

I convinced Zach to take Gary and me to Sam’s for lunch, and I spent and ate way too much. I was disappointed that they weren’t as generous as usual with the servings, especially since I didn’t get out the door under $30. Zach and Gary both mentioned that it was expensive, but I guess I had just forgotten how expensive it really was.

The afternoon was more of the same. I did have to run across town to pick up Summer’s new Invisalign trays from the orthodontist, since she wouldn’t make it back to town in time. At the end of the day, I had to run home to get the Murano so I could take Eaddie home before her band awards. That was about the time that things really went downhill.

We’ve been watching Autumn’s computer usage since our encounter with DHS, and she continued to make really bad choices all afternoon, the day after we had another heart-to-heart with her. Eaddie and I thought we’d try to catch her at Denny’s with some friends while she was supposed to be practicing for color guard after school. We never encountered her, but while we were there, I triggered an email alert that let her know that something wasn’t quite right. Summer met us when she got into town from work and ate a couple pancake puppies until it was time to get Eaddie to the band awards, and then met me at my house to see how badly I had compromised our operation.

Autumn had locked her account down, but I was able to recover it. We made the decision to take ownership of her accounts and lock her out of them, and then also disabled the internet on her school laptop outside of school hours. With the cat irreversibly out of the bag, we went to the Center to watch the tail end of the awards ceremony, and collected the girls to go home. Autumn continued to try and play it off, but we had already made up our minds.

When we got to the house, Eaddie and I went to the other room so Summer could properly search Autumn for her vape. Then we had another long conversation that basically just summed up how disappointed we were in her choices. She didn’t have a whole lot to say as usual, and exhibited the same kind of behavior we see every time, except now we have no way to monitor her response to her friends. The next step will have to be reaching out to them with her, so she can correct her course. This whole thing is eye-rollingly dull at this point, and we just want it to be over. I’m thinking boot camp in a few weeks.

We’re expecting a bit of a headwind for most of our flight, so sit back, try to relax, and we’ll get you to your final destination as quickly as we can.

The Longest Con

We had a short meeting today, and then I took Thomas to U-Haul to pick up a box truck. Greg and Jacob took a load of carts to swap out for London, and then we had to clean out the kitchen area. At some point, Zach brought the forklift around and I got to load up a bunch of pallets of trash, and then a couple pallets of Chromebooks into the truck bed. I was just happy not to be doing any of the unloading by hand.

As old carts came back, we had to scan for Chromebooks that went back on lease this summer. We found about five more all day, which was five times what we had found so far. Brody said one of the schoolboard members was frying chicken for the high school teacher appreciation lunch, which sounded really good, but I ended up driving a carload of people to CJ’s instead.

Immediately after lunch I felt a little sketchy from the grease, but I made it. We had to scan a bunch of Chromebooks from Center Valley, but most of my time was spent on deployments. I ended up leaving about half an hour late just because I felt like I was making a little progress on Roblox.

I picked Eaddie up at Zane’s, then took her home so she could get ready before a school dance. Then we picked Zane up and I dropped them off at the junior high. They ended up not wanting to stick around because they didn’t have any other friends there, so after cleaning up a bit at home, I picked them up and took them back up to Summer’s to hang out.

Summer grilled some steaks when she and Autumn got home from the gym, so she and I ate while the kids hung out. Autumn didn’t come out much at first, but eventually made a more permanent appearance for the evening. A little later in the evening she came into the bedroom to chat, and for the first time, apologized directly to me for last week. It was pretty obviously all a manipulation though, once she basically started begging to go back to work at Denny’s. It’s looking like it’s going to be a Shit Kid Summer. I think Summer is finally down to hold her nose to the grindstone, so we’ll see how well we can whip her into shape in the short amount of time that we have.

Afterward, the five of us played a game of Uno. It didn’t last forever since we only played through to one winner. Then eventually I had to take Zane home. I took Eaddie along with me, and we stopped at my house afterward so I could get some clothes for the morning. We decided to finish up Moon Knight before heading back up to their house, which was pretty interesting, if not a little on-the-nose after this past week. I’ve had just about enough of Looney Tunes.

…and the forklift you rode in on!

Momma Called the Doctor and the Doctor Said

I took a sick day today, primarily so I could help Summer maintain some semblance of sanity, but also to help shuttle Autumn to a doctor appointment. She came to my house after dropping the girls off at school, and then we waited until time to check her out. It rained heavily all morning, which was fitting for the huffy mood Autumn was in when she came out of class. I dropped them off at Millard-Henry and then just waited in the car, because of course COVID restrictions for one visitor are still in effect.

Aaron messaged me after a while and said I could swing by his office, but I was only there for about five minutes before Summer texted that they were finished. I picked them up at the front door, and Autumn seemed in much better spirits. She wanted to know how there was so much water in the sky for it to rain as heavily as it was, and whether or not we thought she might have dissociative identity disorder. Up until recently we just assumed she was a two-faced sunovabitch, but hopefully a referral for a proper psych evaluation can answer that for us.

After dropping Autumn off, Summer and I were pretty hungry and ended up at Hardee’s for an early lunch. The girl at the counter was so sweet that it practically made my teeth hurt. She hooked us up with a drink cup to share when she realized we didn’t order one with our food. After we ate, we went back to my house for a bit, and Summer was able to nap for a bit while I stayed up for some super sleuthing.

We got to have a sit-down meeting in the afternoon to discuss some options and alternatives for technology, which made us feel mildly better, but Summer and I were still so completely distraught from dealing with this all week. We were both just absolutely burned up with anger, disappointment, and disgust, and bounced between different ideas and timelines for action. We absolutely cannot maintain what we’re doing now, so something is going to have to give very soon.

When school let out, Summer went to the high school to check in on Quiz Bowl, which angered Autumn a bit. I picked up Eaddie and Zane at Oakland, and then dropped him off a couple blocks away at the daycare. Eaddie wanted some Dairy Queen since FBLA was having a fundraiser there. I got her a Blizzard that ended up being poorly-blizzed, and a couple malts for Summer and me.

Back at their house, Summer wanted to have a chat with Autumn. Eaddie was in and out, but mostly just bored that it was happening again, as though it was the Depp vs. Herd defamation lawsuit. Autumn danced around mostly not answering questions, tried to throw some other kid under the bus, and finally admitted some guilt for filing a false report on me. At this point, we still don’t know what reality she’s living in. It certainly feels like it’s just sociopathic tendencies with a constant need for attention. After two hours of that, and then having her walk around the house like nothing was wrong, I was just shaking with anger.

Autumn spent the rest of the night in her room, but Eaddie stuck around and chatted with me some. Summer made it into bed and to sleep. Hopefully I can get some of that action too, because I’m completely exhausted.

“Your hormones are fine; you’re crazy in the head!”

Parenting 301: Intermediate-Advanced Teenage Childhood Development

I rode the Shadow to work this morning since it was still nice out, and I figured it would be good for a ride out to Center Valley. I ended up being commandeered in the afternoon and never made it out that far, though. The morning was actually pretty quiet in the shop because the big three were out walking the new maintenance building on North South Oswego. I don’t know why so many people keep getting that address wrong, but at this point it’s just pure comedy.

I spent the morning doing some laptop repairs for Center Valley, which I’m pretty sure were more repairs than I’ve done all year for Oakland. A group of us went to Arby’s for lunch, and I rode with Thomas and the rest of the gang because I had somehow gotten a curved piece of metal in my back tire. When we got back to the shop after lunch, I managed to pull it out and confirm that it was less deep than the remaining tread on the tire, so all was well.

Zach had a big group of us out in the graveyard enrolling Chromebooks for the rest of the day. I, of course, was an efficiency monster and dominated with four complete carts by the end of the day. Summer left Conway and wanted me to call her, but didn’t answer her phone. Then Eaddie needed a ride home from her father’s restaurant.

I ran home to get a helmet for Eaddie, but as soon as I got there, Summer rang in with some disturbing news. Eaddie and I got on the bike and met her back at my house for a chat. We ended up calling Kevin for a bit of advice, and then we wound up at Chili’s for dinner.

I didn’t even order anything for myself, and instead split a full rack of ribs with Summer. Somehow I still ended up eating the most, long after they had finished. I went home stuffed, and ended up on a Discord call with Mitch for quite a while. He offered what advice and comfort he could, and we shared some laughs about the past. Things have changed a lot since January 9th, 2002, but we’re keeping it real.


The Sickness

Today was even quieter in the office because we had three people out on COVID leave. I did a good thing and found a script to bulk clean up some DHCP settings. Then it was mostly helping Brody over the phone for the rest of the day.

He wanted to go to lunch, so Brody, Gary, and I went down to Dardanelle for BFD. For some reason I ordered a big plate of nachos, which were good, but just too much to eat. I polished my plate though, and then didn’t really do much the rest of the day.

Zach came in for the superintendent meeting, but wore a mask until he could go get tested after the meeting. That ended up being positive – the test, and not the meeting. We can’t quite figure out the logic behind Dardanelle finding many qualified doctoral candidates for their superintendent, but we only found two candidates, who incidentally seem less qualified than Jeff.

When I left work, I stopped by Oakland to get Eaddie, who promptly told me that plans had changed and she would be waiting for Autumn to take her to a basketball game. I went on home and wasted most of the evening by myself. I tried to motivate myself to pick up the bedroom so I could move some furniture, but I just didn’t have much luck in the cold.

There’s just no home for it all. It’s homeless.

Ring Bell for Service

I got up a few minutes early this morning so I could swing by McDonald’s for Mariah’s daily deal. At this point, I’m not even surprised at what I’ll do for random free swag. Unfortunately, the McChicken Biscuit and cinnamon roll were both pretty terrible. The Egg McMuffins and McGriddles are about the only halfway decent breakfast foods there. I stopped by Casey’s for a free water on the way home as well.

Work was quiet again, on account of the impending break. It feels like everything has slowed down, and I’ve been having trouble staying motivated. I just dawdled on a Chromebook issue for most of the morning, and then a group of us went to Taco Bell for lunch.

The drive-through line was out to the road, but there was only one person inside the restaurant. There didn’t appear to be anyone to take orders, so the guys lined up at the kiosks to order. I placed my order in the app on my phone, but it wasn’t until everyone else had received their food that I realized my order went to the wrong restaurant. I tried to cancel it and re-order, but when I tapped to cancel, it said my order was being made. I never even saw anything about checking in, so I don’t know how that happened, but I had to drive across town to get my food. Fortunately we took two vehicles, so Greg took everyone else back to the shop.

When I got to the other Taco Bell, someone else had taken my food off the counter, so I had to ask them to remake it. Then I sat alone and ate my food, basically hating everything for it. It really took me back in time. When I finished, I went back to the shop for a bit before ending the day at Oakland.

I didn’t stay home for long though, since the girls were actually home early. I went to Lowe’s to pick up a graham cracker house that I ordered a few days ago and kept forgetting. Then I went up to Summer’s and ate a little bit of leftovers. Everyone else went off to bed pretty early, so I watched the Amazon Video special on William Shatner going to space with Blue Origin. Then I killed time until bed.

Will security please report to Section 3? Security to Section 3, please?