Taco Subscription

I made myself stay up when I first woke up this morning, because I knew if I went back to sleep I wouldn’t wake up for several more hours. We struggled to get out of bed though, and finally got up when Summer went to work on her laptop. I eventually took a shower, and then we left to meet back up at her house after I picked up some Taco Bell for lunch.

I decided to try the $10 30-day taco subscription, since the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme was on the list of options. I figure I can eat $10 worth of those in a month without any trouble. I didn’t get a taco with the purchase of the pass though, so I’ll have to go through again another time to redeem my first one.

We ate, and then Summer went to the gym after she got her laundry started. I thought I’d play a game or something, but ended up piddling on my phone while intermittently letting the cat in and out of the house repeatedly. She just didn’t want to stay in one place, and I kept obliging her every whim.

When Summer finally got back, we met at Harbor Freight to shop for some deals. I finally got a longer level and a multi-tipped mallet, and she picked up a bunch of stuff for work. I warmed up some leftovers for dinner, and then we laid on the couch for the rest of the evening until bedtime.

Minimum effort!

Fire and Ice and Smoke and Mirrors

We got up this morning and tried not to dawdle too long, because we wanted to smoke some ribs for as long as possible. It was snowing, but we didn’t expect it to snow for as long as it did. I don’t think it ever really stopped all day.

Our first stop was Walmart to pick up what we needed. I got a huge bag of mixed fruit wood pellets, which will last years if I only ever use them in the little A-Maze-N tube smoker I got. Then we had to go to Summer’s to get the ribs and some other things, and finally we headed back to my house to set up the grill with a new tank of propane.

The smoker pellets took better than I expected, even after I dumped them off of the grill while wrestling the propane tank onto its holder. We used some of Summer’s Larry the Cable Guy wild game rub she had stockpiled years ago, which proved to be a mistake. I used way too much, but we wouldn’t know that until we ate them.

The ribs smoked for about three or four hours before I covered them with some old leftover barbecue sauce and wrapped them in foil. Then I let them cook another hour or two while I baked potatoes and made some bacon. Summer made broccoli salad, and then we called it a day instead of making twice-baked potatoes.

It was still snowing big, fat flakes, but the roads were clear enough to get to my parents’ house. We ate and visited for just a little bit, and then headed back home to clean up. We only ate one rack of the ribs, and they were extremely salty. The rub was overpowering, so I couldn’t even really tell that it had a smokey flavor. It may help to eat the next rack with some plain rice to cut the seasoning.

As we settled in for the night, I got Summer to stay up late and watch The Prestige. I’d been wanting to watch it again for quite a while, so I was glad to check it off the list. Summer didn’t feel great for most of the evening, so we wound down pretty quickly and went to bed.

Are you watching closely?

You’ve Got to Build Bypasses!

We got up early this morning and headed to Cabot, stopping just outside of Conway at a Sonic for breakfast on the road. Summer met up with the managers of that new location to deploy tools and set up anything they could. I left them pretty early to go to Walmart across the street.

I wandered around the store just checking things out at first. Then I circled back through to pick up a few things. I found some Fruity Pebble flavored Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, a Zelda Game & Watch, and some slap bracelets. When I left there, I stopped by the Goodwill in the adjacent shopping center, but they had absolutely nothing even remotely interesting to me.

Back at the shop, it appeared to be an extremely slow day, and not at all a full day of work worthy of the drive out there. It was lunch time, so we tried to go to Chef Candace, but the doors were locked. We ended up going across the street to Deer Creek Fire & Stone. Our server said it was her first day, but appeared old enough that I didn’t really believe she had never waited a table before. Service was slow, but the food was alright. I was most disappointed that she said the pot pies, which were on the lunch specials menu, “weren’t ready yet.”

After we ate, we went back to the shop and put together a few more things. I helped hang a couple charging banks in the back room, and then helped assemble the desk for the office. When we finished, we headed toward Bryant to pick up my order from Target, but went through the car wash in Benton first.

We walked all around Target, picking up some Christmas clearance before going back to the front to pick up my order. They actually had two of the Tron: Legacy vinyls, and I got both. Then we headed to Little Rock for dinner. Traffic was heavy, but not unmanageable. We were welcomed home at the Star of India, and had an incredible meal. The food came out quickly, but otherwise the service was very slow. A couple of boys circled around the place like buzzards and made sure my water was never more than an inch below the brim. We really could have just split what I ordered, but instead we just left with a bunch of leftovers.

It was straight to bed once we made it home. The girls were still in Clarksville, and Summer was sore from her day. Evidently she’s got to work in Maumelle tomorrow.

You no touch plate!

How the Grinch Stole Chromebooks

I made it through McDonald’s and Casey’s for my freebies again this morning. Then I rolled into work a few minutes early, where we sat around the shop chatting for about an hour. Thomas started to split us into groups to see who could go home at nine, but I wanted to finish swapping Chromebooks at Oakland, so I left.

I was alone in the building most of the time, but as I made my way back to the front of the building, I saw Librado and Brittany coming through with their vacuums. I finished up pretty close to noon, stopped back by the shop to drop off the old Chromebooks, and then went to see Summer at Superfast for a couple minutes.

When I got home, I spent some time picking up and filing old paperwork. Eventually Autumn dropped Eaddie off so we could go practice riding or driving, but all she wanted to do by then was ride her bicycle. I let her take off, and then I spent the rest of the daylight putting together one of the storage cabinets I got the other day.

Eaddie got back as the sun was setting and wanted me to take her to her grandparents’ house for the night. On the way, I mentioned wanting to try The Crackhouse food truck on 4th Street. We stopped in long enough to learn they couldn’t take credit at the time, then ran home for some cash. When we got back, I ordered a variety platter, burger, and shrimp plate.

By then, it was too late for Eaddie to be of much use at her grandparents’ place, so we went home to eat with Summer. The food was really good, but super overpriced. The crab was small and difficult to extract, but the shrimp was great. Eaddie really wanted to stay the night at my house, but we ended up staying put for the night. She and Autumn spent some time together in Autumn’s room while Summer went straight to bed. I was pretty exhausted myself, so I went to bed early too.

Give me a break, give me a break!

Alright, Bud

I woke up feeling pretty sick this morning after last night. I made it through my shower and to work, but it didn’t get better for quite a while, and I never quite made it back to 100%. Thomas was at work, but Zach and Gary were out. The others got together and split up into groups to close old work orders, and I went to Oakland to swap out old Chromebooks.

Brody called and said they were going to Fat Daddy’s downtown for lunch, so I went back to the shop and picked a group of them up. After we ordered, our server told us they were slammed with a short staff, and it showed when it took an hour to get our food. That would have made more sense if the food was actually hotter or fresher. They never cease to disappoint me, this time with a tough, dry tortilla, lukewarm filling, and dry, tough brisket. All of that was $17, and of course the server stands over you while you pay on their handheld device that everyone else has touched, making tipping accurately very awkward. I was out the door for just under 22 bucks, which absolutely disgusted me.

I spent the afternoon with more of the same, not quite finishing what I had started. I should be able to finish tomorrow for our half day though. As I finished, I started a support chat with Google because my Pixel Buds have been giving me trouble with battery life. My right bud constantly dies very early, after only two hours of playback. The battery percentage always reports with some disparity, but the right one has consistently been giving me less than half of the life it should have.

After work, I went home to change and then went to my eye appointment. I nearly fell asleep in the exam room waiting for the new doctor. She was kind, but I don’t think I got great news. It’s odd, because my vision doesn’t seem worse, but she seemed to indicate sub-optimal results. I guess we’ll see in 2023, because I dropped vision insurance for next year.

I went back home and waited for my UPS package, and then went up to Summer’s for the evening. Eaddie and I watched an episode of House while Summer and Autumn watched TV in the living room. Then everyone went to bed pretty early.

Just turn down your muchness.

People That Clap at Movies

I kept waking up last night as though I was completely full of water. I couldn’t even really sleep in very late because of it. The girls were already awake, so I got up and picked at some old leftovers. Then when Summer and Autumn went to the gym, I left to clean up.

On the way home, I stopped by Ridgewood Brothers to see if they might be free to see The Matrix Resurrections with Mitch and me next week. It didn’t sound very likely, but I had to try. Gary never responded either, until I called him out on it late in the evening.

When I finished getting ready at home, I went to pick up the girls and we made our way to Conway. They really wanted to eat on our trip, so we went to Red Robin first and had some pretty good burgers. I still don’t really think they’re worth the prices they charge, but at least it’s something a little different.

After lunch, we went to Sam’s Club for a bit, then Target. That place was absolutely packed and it was pretty difficult to get around the place. The checkout line stretched back to the cosmetics, but fortunately we pushed a cart around for absolutely no reason and bought nothing. By then, we didn’t have time to dawdle on the way through traffic to the theater.

The Cinemark was packed as well, with several theaters showing the new Spider-Man: No Way Home. We got snacks, sat down, and then I got up for more popcorn just in time to make it back before the previews. The movie was pretty good, but didn’t really have many surprises after all the rumors and spoilers that have been going around. I enjoyed it, and so did the rest of the room as evidenced by the constant clapping any time a character returned. I was pretty disappointed in the 3D, mostly because of the darkness of the projector. I guess I’ll have to just prioritize the large format screens from now on.

When we got back home, Summer and Autumn went to bed pretty quickly. Eaddie and I stayed up and watched several episodes of House, so we’ve only got three more episodes to go.

Planning with adults is stupid. Families are much easier, because they can’t leave.

Tropical Christmas Cookies

I got around this morning and went to Walmart and to get gas on my way to Summer’s. She baked lemon cookies for the kids to decorate when Noah got out of work. Eaddie was still in bed, so I was more or less left to my own devices for most of the day. When Autumn left the TV, I played some more Don’t Starve, which has been fun playing a little more casually on the couch.

Summer made a big pot of chicken alfredo, and we ate when Noah arrived. Then they decorated the tree while Summer made colored icing. It didn’t seem like anyone was really in the mood to do any of that stuff this early, especially with highs in the mid 70s this past week. Our weekends are pretty booked up until Christmas though, so we made do.

When Noah left, Eaddie went to finish up homework while Autumn did chores. I played my game some more, but ultimately died. C’est la vie. I needed to warm back up to the mechanics anyway.

You don’t keep it this warm in here even during the summer!

A Thankful Hurrah

Summer got up and made pancakes for breakfast this morning. Eaddie stayed in her room most of the day, and I played Firewatch on the TV over my Steam Link for a little while with relatively good results. Autumn finally made it back home, but hadn’t showered since she was last with us. I really just don’t understand how she can go that long carrying her stench so often.

I eventually headed home to start a fire out back, and prep the new grill for dinner. The fire caught pretty nicely and rolled all evening once the girls came over. Summer and I ran to Walmart to get burgers for a quick dinner, and I finally got to cook on the charcoal side of the grill.

I was actually a tiny bit disappointed, because the two halves aren’t connected at all, so there’s really no heat transmission between the charcoal and propane sides. That meant the grilling surface was actually pretty small. I struggled to get all twelve burgers on at once, not to mention the four hot dogs that Autumn didn’t want to cook over the open fire out back. I did like the grates and the general build quality though, so hopefully it lasts a while. I’ll have to get some propane to try out the other half, but that will be convenient for a quick cook.

After we ate, the girls all came outside and we roasted some marshmallows. When we finished, I helped Autumn prep her bicycle for her ride to school in the morning since she still hasn’t earned her right to the car again. Then everyone was off to bed to wrap up our first holiday break for the year.

You are here, and it’s beautiful, and escaping isn’t always something bad.

Puzzling

The frost is becoming a regular thing in the mornings again, so I’ve been having to get out of the house a little earlier. I really wanted to have the garage cleaned out enough to park in it by now, but it just didn’t happen.

We met at the shop for no reason other than to see if anyone had any projects. With nothing planned, I was left in the office more or less to myself, and spent most of the day trying to resurrect the old LanSchool server. I felt like I just barely blinked and it was lunch time.

Brody wanted to go to Nonna Bella’s, but they were closed. Thomas ended up driving us to Morellos, which was slower than usual, but good enough. We ate, then went back to work until almost three. Thomas let everyone go home early, so I headed home and tinkered around the house.

Mom was trying to clean up the fridge, so I went to their house and had rolls with Dad. Then I went up to see the girls and watched more House until everyone was off to bed.

DEMOGORGON!

Who Are You Calling?

I woke up pretty early this morning for how late I went to sleep. We just laid around though, until it was time to get ready for the movie. We’ve had plans to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife for about a week, and I invited my parents along as well. As soon as I was cleaned up, I picked up the girls and met my parents at UEC.

The movie was pretty great, though I could see why others felt like it spent too much time pandering to fans of the originals and not enough time on a new storyline. It’s been a while since I’ve seen either of those, so I couldn’t say how it compared in laughs per minute. We were all quite happy with the movie though, and I’m anxious to see if they do anything more with it in the future.

After the movie, we headed back home to meet up with Noah for dinner. Summer made chili and I grilled hot dogs, and we all had a mix of chili dogs or Frito chili pies. Then we played a long round of UNO FLIP until Noah went home. Finally, Eaddie and I wrapped up the night with two more episodes of House.

Four feet above her covers!