Side Quests

I wanted to get up a little early today so I could spend some time time cleaning up around the house and yard. Summer ended up having to go in to work for a while, which only partially derailed my plans. Eaddie also didn’t want to get up or come with me. I ended up sticking around their house for a while, and found a whole bunch of leftovers to clean up, including the Indian food we had a few weeks ago. Dad wanted to try and uncover the pool, so I just planned to go over there a bit after noon when Mom got off work.

After we uncovered the pool, I continued home to start some laundry and get cleaned up myself. Summer brought Eaddie over after the gym and showers, and the three of us went to my parents’ house for egg roll salads. Though it threatened thunderstorms all day, we didn’t really see any rain until later in the evening.

I thought we would at least watch a movie when we got back to my house, but Eaddie just wanted to go to bed. Summer and I watched several episodes of Modern Family, and eventually went to sleep ourselves.

Zero tasks completed.

The Existential Review: Year 6

I finally got back on a bike today, and rode the Shadow to work. I knew we had eSCO coming to pick up some more stuff to recycle, but I didn’t have any other real need to haul anything around. Gary split us up into three pairs, and Kyle and I were on a mission to do the work orders Gary hadn’t had time to address. It ended up not being very much, and Kyle really did all the legwork by going upstairs to install Microsoft Office on a Mac.

As soon as we finished up with that, we headed up to the graveyard to make a path to get everything onto the box truck. I convinced the guys to back up to the corner of the dock like they had done in the past, and it made things quite a bit easier. We still have a lot more carts to go, but we can almost see the end of the tunnel.

Lunchtime came around pretty quickly, and Gary decided on Wendy’s. I rode separately to get some bike time, and Zach surprised us there while he was on his week of vacation. Even a bunch of the maintenance guys walked in behind us. We had a good chat and had some time to chill before going back to work.

The afternoon was really quiet. We had to unbox the rest of our new Lenovo Chromebooks to confirm that they wouldn’t auto-update. Then I mostly just hung out in the shop until my one-on-one review time with Thomas. I thought Gary and Zach would be in on it, but it was just Thomas. He ranked me higher than I think Ben had ever ranked mee before – even higher than I had ranked myself, and had some really nice things to say, so I was quite happy. In the end it doesn’t do much for me, but it did give me some additional confidence.

He let everyone leave a few minutes early for the weekend, but I trailed out a bit late as I often do. Eaddie was still out with Maristella, so I went home to start on some more laundry until Summer got home from the gym. Eaddie rode in on her bike just a few minutes after Summer, and we went to Taco Villa for dinner. Eaddie and I both had taco salads, and both of our shells were way undercooked and chewy.

I had ridden the Grom behind them so Eaddie and I could go straight to the high school to practice riding after we ate. She was fussy about it like she always is, but I tried to press her on until she really seemed to just be unable to focus. She still wanted to go for a night ride on the R1 though, so we went home and swapped, and I took her for a big loop around town. I was pretty exhausted when we made it back to the house, so we put everything up and headed up to their house for the night. Summer was already in bed, and I didn’t waste much time finding my way there as well.

Yes, I keep repeating the same things over and over again because you are repeatedly doing none of those things.

Silly Rabbit

We woke up in the middle of the night to some rustling in the bedroom. I assumed it was a cat, and let Summer investigate. It wasn’t until I heard her say that it was the bunny that I got out of bed. I just knew if we didn’t find it, it would die in the house from starvation, but I also wasn’t willing to stay awake tearing the room apart to find it. I told her to wake Autumn, but we went back to sleep instead.

I made it in to work a hair early, but there wasn’t much going on. Kyle came in and wanted to know what to do about the Chromebooks that wouldn’t update, and Brody called with the same question he’s already asked me, along with nearly every other staff member about. Greg was out running fiber all day for the new jumbotron, so it was mostly me with an intermittent Kyle in the shop. It aggravated me a bit the way he seemed to expect me to just figure out the problem and give him a fix, especially when I explained exactly how he could contact Google support himself.

Gary, Thomas, and I met Brody for Taco Tuesday, where he struggled to finish six softshells. He’s always complaining about what he normally orders, but just tacos are so cheap. It’s hard to pass up on a Tuesday. When we got back to the shop, I tried to go upstairs to collect some Chromebooks off the stage, but ended up on a side quest.

I’ve been asking for over two years to get a tire inflator chuck with a built-in pressure gauge for our air tank. I couldn’t get the tires inflated, so I asked Thomas directly if I could go buy one, and he had Tammy give me the credit card so I could go to Leonard’s. That’s the story of how I found the one item in the world that Leonard’s Hardware doesn’t have. They had something similar, but not the gun style with the clip-on valve stem bit. I ended up going to Harbor Freight, where they had just what I needed for a fraction of the cost and quality.

With my tires at an appropriate 30psi, the ride with the three tech tubs full of 15 Chromebooks was super smooth all the way down to the basement. It was quiet for the rest of the afternoon until Thomas came down and asked Gary and me to help with something relatively urgent tomorrow. I left work a few minutes late, expecting to meet Eaddie to ride the Grom, but she was out on her bicycle.

Once Eaddie made it back, we went to the aquatics center where Dad thought some guys would be paramotoring. Summer and Autumn met us out there as well, but after signing into Dad’s Facebook on my phone, we discovered they actually went flying on Monday, so we missed them.

Summer had let Autumn take Eaddie home since she was feeling pretty rough with her head cold. The girls found the bunny before we got home, which was a relief. Then we all ate, except for Autumn, who I have to assume is filling up on junk food at school before she gets home. Then Autumn wanted to play Phase 10 with us while Eaddie watched TV. From there, it was a relatively early night to bed for everyone.

I half expected to come home to a bowl of Trix in the floor as bait.

Bring Your Career to Work Day

The junior high started laptop pickup today, and Jacob was a bit worried about that process, so I joined him for a couple English periods worth of students. We started lining laptops around the computer lab, in spite of them still having students in there. It went well enough, with the English teachers having the students wipe down their devices and having the laptops powered on for checking their condition.

It was nearly lunch time when I got back to the shop, so I finished loading up a few things for the afternoon, and then Gary, Greg, Thomas, and I went to Brangus. It had been a while since we had this waitress, but she remembered my beef spud. It was a good lunch.

Shortly after we got back from lunch, I headed to Oakland for their career day. I had a little table set up nest to a hair stylist, where I set up a running computer with the cover opened, as well as a couple disassembled Chromebooks. Fourth and third grade was first, and they just came in and mingled, and asked questions. Then they brought all of kindergarten, first, and second grade in to rotate stations as a whole class. That was absolute chaos. Our stations were bunched too closely together, and the kids kept leaning on the table and pushing us back into the wall. Overall it was a good time though.

By the time I got back to the shop, I was too tired to get into anything really serious. I worked on a new Chromebook that wouldn’t install updates, but never made any progress. When I left work, I picked Eaddie up as she and Zane walked back from Casey’s. We went to my house to change, and then had to shop for a couple things for dinner.

We went to Walmart, assuming they would have everything we needed. They didn’t have any cabbage though, so we had to go across town to 10Box. They had a ton of cabbage there, and then it was straight to Summer’s to prep. She had started a corned beef in the slow cooker, but I had to prep and cook the cabbage, carrots, rice, and potatoes.

A couple of the potatoes had rotted out completely, and the bag was full of maggots. Eaddie helped clean up the kitchen while I prepped the cabbage, and once the sinks were clear, I soaked the potatoes, brushed off the maggots and eggs, and then peeled and cut them for boiling. I pulled the corned beef out, and poured that juice over the potatoes and carrots, along with just enough water to cover it all. Boiling that took the longest.

Summer and Autumn showed up just after that had started to cook, and once the potatoes and carrots were tender enough, I threw the cabbage on top to steam. Dinner turned out awesome, which was good because Eaddie wouldn’t quit talking about how excited she was for corned beef. Autumn of course didn’t eat any, and laid on the couch with the cat and bunny all evening. Eaddie was tired, but stayed up to finish some laundry. School is almost out, and I think we’re all excited.

Yes, that’s exactly what I just finished explaining for the third time. This must be what teaching is like!

Stormin’ Mad

I was up every hour like clockwork last night, and struggled to force myself awake early this morning so I wouldn’t ruin my night of sleep before work. It wasn’t until I got out of bed and basically chugged an energy drink that I felt human enough to walk upright. Summer went to the gym while I did some laundry, and we planned to meet at my parents’ house to uncover the pool. Then a big thunderstorm whipped through town, and it rained most of the afternoon, so I stayed home and continued doing laundry instead.

My parents popped in for just a second after the rain had settled a bit, since they were there to pick some mint. Summer asked me to drop Eaddie off at the movie theater so she could watch Dr. Strange with her friends, and that was my first look at how bad the storm was. Several branches had broken all down Main Street, and there was debris everywhere. We saw one stoplight that was tilted about 45ยบ, and another that was just blinking red. Eaddie has been making an effort to vocalize her appreciation, and it’s made every single interaction with her a thousand times better. She just comes off as much more polite.

When I got back to their house, Summer had made some stir-fry out of a leftover steak, with some fresh vegetables and a fresh pot of rice. Summer had to make Autumn eat a little bit of it, which was a huge shock to everyone because she’s always sooooooo focused on clean eating and home cooking. Otherwise, she spent the majority of the evening with a tiny baby bunny that the cats dragged in a couple days ago. Summer and I did play a short game of Mario Party with her, and things have been relatively nice at home. It’s still anybody’s guess what’s really going on inside of her head, but she’s a perfectly pleasant human in a vacuum.

Eventually I had to pick Eaddie and Zane up from the movie, dropped him off at his house, and then headed back to spend the evening with the girls. Summer made strawberry shortcakes, and we watched an episode of Middleditch and Schwartz that had everyone rolling. Summer pulled a corned beef out of the freezer for dinner the next day, but I had to clean the slow cooker again because it was filthy. Then I hid my own sponge in the house so nobody would use it to clean food off of the dishes and then leave it rotting in the sink. They’re absolutely filthy animals, every one.

What happens if the contract… is… DIGITAL?

Find x

I wanted to ride to work today, but I was running just behind enough that I didn’t have time to get a bike out. I just want a four-car garage. It can be a studio apartment if I can have enough parking.

Gary asked me to take a look at an issue in the bus shop first thing, so I chose to walk the block. It was super humid out, but could have been much worse. I’m not at all ready for summer heat. Greg ended up coming out to take a look as well, and we ultimately just left the laptop in Chris’s office for him to figure it out.

I spent the rest of the day fighting Minecraft. It took me a while to figure out licensing. Gary drove us to lunch for Taco Tuesday, and for some reason I ordered way too much food. Then the rest of the afternoon was finishing up licensing and starting to build the deployment. The only break from that was to unload a pallet of water bottles that I don’t drink.

At the end of the day, Eaddie called and wanted to know if Rick could pick her up and take her home. She couldn’t get in touch with Summer, and I was mostly just shocked and confused about who reached out. I wound up just throwing my hands in the air and letting her do whatever she wanted. I went home until Summer got to town, then met her at the Center for Eaddie’s band concert.

As I walked up to the building, Sarah was parked right in front of the building, immediately in my path. Once we got inside, we discovered the concert wouldn’t start for another half hour. Erica spotted us and came over to catch up. Then we saw Autumn and Rick in the auditorium as we found our seats. She was wandering around, loosely helping between sets.

After the show, Amber was there to get some pictures of Eaddie and Zane. Then Eaddie wanted to go out to eat with Rick. Autumn went home with Summer, since she’s grounded forever. I went home to decompress.

I’m just a guy that’s there.

Nurse Normal in the Monoverse of Happiness

I slept pretty well after lacking so much the day before, and eased into the morning before showering and taking the girls to KFC to pick up a bucket of chicken to take to my parents’ house for Mother’s Day. We didn’t stick around for very long after we ate, since we had to make it to Little Rock for the movie. Mom didn’t want to go, so it was just the three of us.

We stopped in Conway to wash the car, and let Summer chat with the crew for a bit. I got some sweet tea over some pellet ice, and then we made it to The Promenade. We walked the length of the strip, but only stopped in Lululemon so Summer could spend her gift card. The number of women bringing their children into that store was absolutely alarming, but I guess I just don’t know what it’s like to live that kind of lifestyle.

From there, we headed to the theater super early. The seats were just about perfect, though not super comfortable. They were worn, and basically stuck tilted forward. I wish we would get a proper Dolby theater nearby. I wouldn’t mind the wear if it was my neighborhood theater, but for the drive and in that neighborhood, they should really have better. The movie was great though. I wish I didn’t have to take a restroom break near the end, but my eyes were floating. It was quite a bit darker than I had imagined, but maybe the MCU has just matured into something very different from where it started.

After the movie, we went across town to the Star of India. Eaddie was down to try all of the food, so we got the Chef’s Special and an appetizer sampler. We didn’t really need to order a third item, but I felt bad sharing everything, so we got Eaddie what ended up being a huge plate of rice as well. She’s not upset to have leftovers for lunch at school.

The drive home was uneventful, though there had been pretty regular traffic all day. We let Eaddie DJ the drive, which started out with George Michael too loud, followed mostly by modern boy bands. When we got home, the girls left to pick up Autumn and head to their house, and I touched base with a few mother friends. Overall, I think today was a success.

Mr. Weird, I don’t feel so good!

Somewhere in Between Guilt and Guillotine

We woke up to some enlightenment, and had to make quick decisions for the day. I ate a couple donuts, and Summer made a couple egg and cheese biscuits from the leftovers. Eventually she left with Autumn for the gym, but ended up at her parents’ house first, to let them in on what the meddling teenager had conspired.

Eaddie and I made it to my house so I could shower, and then met Summer at the arts center for The Addams Family. It was neat to see the orchestra pit in use, though we couldn’t actually see any of the band. The play seemed to be done really well, though it was hard for me to hear most of the dialog. I didn’t realize there was an intermission, and thought they ended the play in a very odd way.

Afterward, the girls weren’t up for dinner, so I went to my parents’ house on my own. I thought about going back to the girls for the night, but ended up staying home to better prepare for another day that will almost inevitably go sideways.


Slow Learners

I didn’t sleep great last night, in spite of how exhausted I was from the trials of the day. I woke up a little after eight and laid around in bed until Eaddie called to see if I would pick her up later in the day to take her out on the Grom. I took my time getting around, and eventually got a shower before stopping by McDonald’s to burn up some rewards points before they expired. Somehow, I think the Spicy McChicken ends up being the best value per point.

Summer had to work a bit today, and took Autumn with her. Eaddie was watching TV when I got to the house, so I ate my sandwich with some leftover fries from Popeye’s. Then we went back to my house to get the Grom. We rode to the high school, and even after it was her idea to ride, I still had to endure lots of griping from Eaddie for being out in the “heat” with an aching butt and hands. I pressed her on, though, and we made it to second gear along with a ride around the building out of my line of sight. As kids started showing up for the play at the arts center, Eaddie and I decided to pack it up and head home. She wanted to ride her bicycle to her father’s restaurant, so I just hung out at home until she got back.

Mom and Dad were grilling pork chops and shrimp, but Eaddie was tired and full from eating with her father, and wanted to nap after she got back to my house. I went outside to pick some mint, then ran to the Neighborhood Market for some lettuce before meeting Summer and Autumn at my parents’ house for dinner. Autumn seemed on good behavior, though she surprised us by giving Dad some selective information about our visit from DHS yesterday. After the girls left, I expanded upon what really happened.

Evidently Autumn talked Summer into letting her go to church with my dad in the morning. I thought she said she was going with her own father, so I didn’t think anything of it. Upon further reflection and learning more details myself, we decided not to let her go, and had a talk about consequences when I got to their house. She spent all evening in her room, watching shows and talking on Facebook Messenger on her school laptop. Summer still hasn’t learned how important thoroughness is when following through with punishments, but I let her sleep through her headache. We’ll talk about it in the morning.

Everything means everything.

Return of the Whirlpool

I got a call from the Lowe’s truck drivers shortly after I woke up this morning, saying they were about 10 minutes away. That nearly got me in a dead-run to get everything cleared out and ready to go. It occurred to me that they are making a lot of assumptions every time they come out, and as a customer, I should be more upset about my experience. They walked the fridge out without having to do any door gymnastics, and even walked it past both of my grills after I moved the deck box. I guess they were less worried about damage coming out than they were going in.

Somehow, I still managed to make it to work on time, stopping at Oakland to take care of a backup battery issue, and then making a quick run through the rest of the work orders I had from the end of the week. It didn’t take terribly long, but did help the morning go by.

Gary was a little stressed with Zach, Greg, and Brody out for the day, and me out of my office first thing. I chatted with him briefly and did my best to ease his worries. We evidently had some more unexpected, sweeping changes that we weren’t informed about, which frustrated us as I had to troubleshoot an issue that we caused. There are a lot of wheels turning, and not all of them are aware of the others, though they’re all connected and affect each other. It makes for a disjointed team.

Lunch came quickly, and I just went home to some leftover Ridgewood barbecue. I ended up eating a bit too much and didn’t have time to go to Lowe’s to see about my refund, so I just went back to Oakland to finish up some stuff. The rest of the afternoon was relatively quiet, and Kyle was the only one I ever saw back in the shop.

As I left for the day, Eaddie called for a ride. I had to drop some things off at Oakland anyway. She was hungry, so we picked up some chicken strips from Dairy Queen for her, and then went back to my house to start Moon Knight. I absolutely hate the accents and how quiet the voices are, because it makes the dialog that much harder to understand. Otherwise it seems like it’s going to be a neat show, and unlike many of the others, they didn’t waste any time getting right into the action.

When we finished the episode, Eaddie rushed me to take her home. In turn, I made her wait in the car while I stopped at Lowe’s to resolve my return. The kid at customer service said it would take a day for them to process the return, but I was concerned about having made part of my purchase with gift cards. He insisted that I would “probably” get a call in the morning, but rather than risk it, I walked to the back to find someone. I never could find an employee that wasn’t busy, but I did find my refrigerator that had been marked down by $450 to be sold as-is. It was almost tempting to re-buy it at that price.

While I was back there, I saw the windowed version of the LG we were looking at. I didn’t love it either. The freezer seemed really small and narrow, and the shelves had nearly no adjustability. I think one shelf in the fridge side had a choice of two levels, but the rest only had the existing molded mount points. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t even fit a frozen pizza in the freezer anywhere unless I left an entire shelf out, which would make for one super tall shelf. I may end up spending quite a bit more money for something much nicer by the time this is all over.

Back at the front, I explained that my refrigerator was already on the floor ready to sell, so he called a manager up to process the refund and I was on my way. When we got to the house, Eaddie went to her room to practice her flute, and I went outside to dig out the lawn mower. I probably spent about an hour trying to get the thing started, and eventually did with the help of some starter fluid, but it wouldn’t stay running for long. I’m inclined to think it’s the leftover fuel, but I can’t get any of the girls to run the mower often or long enough to keep that stuff flowing through it.

Summer got home super late. I thought I might stay over, especially since she arrived with some apparent energy left. Ultimately she ate and went straight to bed, so I headed back home. I took another crack at charging the Grom battery after stopping it last night when I heard it sizzling. Hopefully the lower amperage will keep things from exploding.

People actually lived for ages without refrigeration, so maybe I can just make it to Black Friday for a better deal.