Need a Little Christmas

Summer jumped out of bed early this morning and ruined the secret of Santa Claus for me. I couldn’t sleep in much and was a little hungry after having a complicated relationship with food last night, so I got up. Summer made us some scrambled eggs, and we eventually got both kids up enough to dump out their stockings. Eaddie was in an immediate mood, throwing an absolute tantrum at everything. I was very near slapping it out of her, and both girls just kept picking at one another.

We got Eaddie up and around to some chores, and eventually got everyone through the shower so we could make our way to my parents’ house. Summer made all of our contribution to lunch, and we were off.

Bác Vân and Doug beat us there. I think Julie made most of the food and was about two hours late. Eaddie took a nap in my bedroom until the food was ready, and came out in much better form. We ate, did our quickest round of presents ever, and then left so I could clean up house a bit for some friends.

I had messaged Diana happy birthday earlier in the day, and she said they were in town along with Josue and wanted to get together. They agreed on a fire at my place and we all met up for a nice quiet evening outside. It was really nice seeing them all again, and the kids enjoyed some roasted marshmallows.

Josue stuck around for a little while and chatted with me after the others left. The girls all went to sleep, and eventually we packed everything up and he headed out. By then, I was ready for bed too.

Hasn’t snowed a single flurry, but Santa dear we’re in a hurry!


I got up early this morning after having some trouble sleeping, then ran home to shower. On the way out of town, I stopped by Casey’s for a cookie, and McDonald’s for breakfast. It was a long drive to Bentonville to get Mitch, so I put on The Matrix to listen to the original before we watched Resurrections at noon.

I made it up there with enough time to get a little food, so headed back to Fayetteville and went into the Buffalo Wild Wings right outside the Malco theater. It was exactly how I remembered it in Russellville. So much so, that we had trouble getting out in time to make it to the movie. I didn’t even have time to get through concessions for popcorn.

The theater was really nice. I had been to a movie there once before, but it was a really long time ago. The Dolby theater with reclining seats reminded me a lot of the one we visited in Dallas, but through all of the trailers and bumpers, I couldn’t tell that the height channels were used at all. Even the feature film didn’t have any obvious Atmos sound, which was super disappointing. The movie itself was pretty good though. They could have cut the runtime in half if they hadn’t included all of the clips from the original, but I guess it served to point out every one of the callbacks.

After the movie, we went to Arcadia Retrocade for a little bit. Mitch had never been, and I thought we’d spend some time there and reminisce. He had been struggling with some anxiety all day though, so we ended up playing a few games for just a short bit, and then heading on back to his place.

On the way back, we stopped by Big Whiskey’s for a while. I finally got my soda, and eventually we got some dinner as we chatted away. It was really great getting to catch up some more, and I’m excited he’ll be closer in Conway soon. We stopped by Mac’s liquor store on the way back to his place, and I picked up a stout that he recommended after they didn’t have the Bentonville Brewery flavor I had a sip of at the bar. The lady at the counter was super sweet, which seemed very different from every liquor store I’ve been to before.

After I dropped him back off at his apartment, I looked for the largest Walmart I could find. I ended up at the one across from the main office, but had trouble finding the actual entrance. It was weirdly obfuscated from the road, but I made it. The store was very large, but outside of an empty clearance area that was half the size of ours, and two entire aisles worth of bicycle helmets, there wasn’t a whole lot very special about it. I had to wait in line a while to check out, and then I was on my way home.

The trip back was rough, because for some reason people wanted to park in the leftmost lane the entire way back. After I finally got on I-40, I ended up behind a truck and another slow car trying to pass one another at like 65 miles per hour. Another guy behind me got mad and passed me on the right shoulder, all to cut off the guy in front of me. By the time I got home and cleaned up a bit, I was too tired to lug anything over to Summer’s, so I just went to bed.

Always the plan.

See You Later

I was early enough this morning that I stopped by Casey’s for a free Rockstar. We had a nice, long, quiet meeting to ease into work, and lunch time showed up super fast. As everyone else left to eat, I went to Oakland to finish up some work orders. Then I was done for the day so I could go to my eye appointment.

I had enough time to go home and eat some leftovers. Then I went to see Summer at work until my appointment time. When I got to Russellville Eye Clinic, they had no record of an appointment for me, so they scheduled one with a different doctor for a week from Monday. We should be out of work early enough that I can make it, but I’m not super concerned after burning half a sick day today.

I ended up going back to the shop and sitting in the unseasonably warm and breezy air until Summer got off work. Then we went to Walmart to shop for a bit. She couldn’t find any cleats at Walmart, so we went to T.J. Maxx and Shoe Carnival before giving up. I dropped her off at her car and went home until it was time for our gathering.

Julie had a package she wanted me to pick up, so I got that and then got stuck at a train for several minutes on the way to get Summer. While I was parked there, a guy on a bicycle paced back and forth across the road until he finally gave up and climbed up between two train cars with his bicycle. He made it, but I kind of wished the train had started to move just to mess with him.

We made it to Travis’s before John and Melissa, and ate a bunch of pizza before they got there. Then we chatted for a while and started drinking a bit before breaking out Melissa’s game, Spontuneous. It was slightly more fun than I expected, but I’m not sure it was fun enough to repeat. We stuck around for a bit longer afterward, but had to leave early for Summer’s exercise event in the morning.

The girls were already in bed when we got home, so we crashed as quickly as we could.


Fire Roasted Egg Rolls

We didn’t sleep too late today, because Summer had a video call for work and Mollie texted with some computer trouble as she was trying to work from home. I got dressed and went to her house to try and help, but I kept having trouble getting the laptop to connect to her home network. I finally just took the laptop to the shop to let it talk on our network for a bit, and then took a hotspot back to her so she wouldn’t have to worry about it connecting to her network.

When I got home, I started cleaning house and washing dishes. It looked a lot better by the time I was finished, and then I took a shower while I waited for Summer to show up. She baked a delicious chocolate cake for Suzanne’s birthday. When she got there, we went to Walmart for a few last minute things, and then went to her house to pick up the cake.

Once back home, I started the fire pit and we waited for Suzanne and Trent to show up. Noah came over pretty early, and the girls showed up once they finished packing at home. It was a fun night by the fire. Bác Vân and Doug were making fresh egg rolls, so she had me take a bunch to everyone at the house. They seemed a bit undercooked, so I crisped a couple of them up over the fire and they turned out great.

Autumn went to bed predictably early, and probably questionably clean. I think at this point I just always assume she hasn’t showered when we’ve told her to. Noah and Eaddie started watching House tonight, and stayed up a bit later, but went to sleep once Suzanne and Trent left, and Summer and I went to bed.

Easy to forget that it’s a school night.


Gary had me work on building something out for HR this morning, but we were both missing pieces. Evidently there was an email I needed that never got forwarded to me. An email in to Powerschool got me on the right track after lunch.

I met Brandie at La Huerta for lunch to catch up, since we hadn’t done so in over a year. I tried to get the inside scoop on a possible job that Brody had mentioned, but she knew nothing.

The afternoon was pretty quiet, though I did get three work orders out of the blue from Oakland. Two of them were simple restarts, and the third was the teacher asking for software that was already installed. They’re really phoning it in this close to the holiday.

After work, I made Greg show me his crow call, which was startlingly accurate. If I hadn’t watch him make the sound, I would have sworn it was a real crow.

I went home to eat and get some things ready, and then headed up to Summer’s for the evening. The girls were both busy with homework, so I just started a new map in Don’t Starve until everyone went off to bed. Summer’s surgery is super early in the morning, so it’s going to be another short night of sleep.

Say pal, you don’t look so good. You better find something to eat before night comes!

Stranger Thanks

We got a much needed slow start this morning. Eaddie and I watched some more House until I went home to clean up. Summer took her to get haircuts, and then I met back up with them to go to a Thanksgiving gathering with John, Melissa, Travis, and friends.

I upset Summer by being predictably surprised by how short her hair was cut, which set her mood toward me for the rest of the night. Autumn was still at Quiz Bowl camp until later in the evening, and Eaddie didn’t want to go, so the two of us left for my house to get some chairs, then my parents’ house to get a folding table.

We arrived at John and Melissa’s at just about the perfect time to be helpful for the setup but not in the way of others already helping. Actually, Summer helped and I mostly just sat by myself until others started to show up. It was a majority of new faces, but it was a good time. We were split up at three tables that were separated just enough to make communication relatively impossible, so Summer and I just chatted with Travis and Veronica, who sat with us.

We never did get to any games, and people filtered out a fair bit earlier than I expected. Summer’s cold shoulder wasn’t helping any, so I loaded up the car by myself and we awkwardly left. Just as we got home, Summer said she had to go check on a customer that claimed to have a massive oil leak after a service today. I took her to the shop, where we picked up Justin and headed up Mill Creek.

They did what they could by flashlight, and ultimately determined that their service wasn’t at fault for whatever was leaking, though they never really did find the source. All they could see for sure was that the filter and drain plug were in place with no signs of a leak in either place.

We weren’t out for very long, and headed back home for the night. Eaddie was in Summer’s bed when we got there, so the three of us watched more House until Eaddie wanted to go to her own bed, and Summer and I talked a bit before going to sleep.

“How is it that you always assume you’re right?”
“I don’t. I just find it hard to operate on the opposite assumption.”

Rain on the Parade

I took the Shadow to work this morning in spite of the wet, since it would be clear all day. I didn’t get a whole lot done before lunch, outside of working up an email and sharing my salary comparison worksheet with Judy. Gary took Brody and me to Arby’s for lunch, and when we got back, Judy had actually started looking at my sheet, and we chatted for a while within the document, which was cool. She actually fixed a couple of the issues I found, but still didn’t make the changes I suggested for our department.

It took me a while, but I finally made it to Oakland in the afternoon about an hour before school let out. I found out that Mollie’s been out sick, so I reached out to her later in the evening to see how she was doing.

They let us off of work early to go to the Veterans Day parade. Autumn asked me to go so I could see her walk the American flag at the head of the parade, so I met Summer and Eaddie at the church downtown. We stayed for almost the entire parade, but left just before traffic got stupid.

We went back to my house for just a few minutes before Summer dropped Eaddie off to have dinner with Autumn and their father. Then I met her at Nonna Bella’s for a pizza before she had to go to the superintendent search committee meeting. Christina was evidently working there and served us, which was only a little bit odd considering I knew her from the call center days, and she knew the girls through their father.

Summer took off just before her meeting started, and I headed home for the evening. Mollie finally responded and said she had a hard limit of one visitor per day, so I may go visit her if we can plan it successfully.

All the positive vibes.

Fired Up and Smoked Out

I could tell pretty early at work today that it was going to be a chill day. We had a long, slow, mostly quiet meeting. When it finally ended, I was left to my own devices until lunch. I actually finished up what I was working on right about time to go, and I lead a group of seven of us to Stoby’s to eat.

After lunch, I got to spend some time at Oakland. I didn’t even think about it being a Friday before Halloween, so all the parties and treats in the building were a fun surprise. I got some stuff done, and then left as they started dismissing. Then Thomas let everyone go just a few minutes early, so I headed straight home to do some last minute cleaning.

Summer took Eaddie to her driving test, so after she passed that, I met them at Harbor Freight so I could buy a hatchet. Then we went to Walmart for the food we needed for the evening. John and Melissa had to go pick Travis up since he had been unresponsive the past few days. When they finally showed up, he was blitzed out of his gourd.

The rest of us had a pretty good time. It was cold and a little bit drizzly at times, but the fire was hot. It smoked quite a bit, which was disappointing, and I think I just needed to clean out the air gaps in the bottom for some better flow.

After we all had our fill of fire-roasted wieners and s’mores, we all came inside and watched 10 Cloverfield Lane. I couldn’t remember a whole lot about Cloverfield, but it didn’t really matter. It didn’t really seem at all related anyway. It was an odd movie, but I enjoyed it alright.

Just as we had gotten started, Travis wanted John to take him home. We continued watching though, and John didn’t miss much. They left when the movie was over. Autumn showed up from her ball game just as I was cleaning up outside. Then everyone went to sleep.

I don’t remember this episode of “Roseanne.”

We’re Duned

I went home to shower this morning, then picked up Zane for our trip to Little Rock. As we pulled in to get the girls, I had him duck down in the back seat to surprise her. I was a little disappointed that she didn’t scream, but her reaction was very typical Eaddie.

We had to stop in Conway first, so I could pick up an order from Kohl’s. Then we continued to Little Rock and went to Tokyo House for lunch. The kids didn’t eat a whole lot, which left me holding everyone else up while I ate. I wasn’t just going to not eat all of the things though.

Next we went to The Promenade at Chenal to kill some time until the movie. We only went into a couple of the stores, as everyone balked at the prices of everything. The new Bath & Body Works was probably the most reasonably priced store on the premises, and we didn’t even walk in. I kind of thought we’d eat there and then just lounge around, but instead we just meandered around and then went into the theater really early.

The movie was very long and slow, so I knew the others wouldn’t really be that into it. I didn’t know what to expect, but really thought we’d get farther along than we did. I felt like the movie covered about as much as I had read of the book as a child. I never did make it very far, and it ended just as it got to the exciting bits.

As we waited for Amber to get there to pick up Zane, we walked to Maggie Moo’s and had some ice cream. It gave us about the perfect amount of time to wind things down for the day. Once she got there, I got to share some of the pictures I had taken throughout the day, and then we headed home.

Eaddie and I stayed up late and watched a couple episodes of House. I stayed up to make sure Autumn made it home from her Sadie Hawkins dance, and then made it to bed.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

Tread on Me

I slept in pretty hard today, and actually woke up a little later than I wanted. Aaron was already up and ready to get the computers I had for him, but Summer wanted to know if we could get the treadmill he was supposed to deliver to me several years ago. Things actually worked out in our favor, so we went straight up to his house to load up the treadmill. Then after we delivered it to my garage, we went to the shop so he could bring an old, metal, rolling cart back to the house for me too.

Summer had gone to work out, so I did some rearranging in the garage for a bit. Then I met her at Arby’s for a late breakfast/lunch/early dinner. From there, I went back home to clean up because we had to get to Old Post Park for Angela’s end of treatment celebration.

I picked Summer up on the Shadow and we rode down to the park, stopping at Dollar General for some cookies along the way. When we got there, Allen was the first person I saw. I was a bit surprised to see him and Charlotte there, but I was glad they were. I was really disappointed in the number of people that showed up, especially from Oakland. I really thought it would be a big deal. It was still nice to visit with everyone though, and Summer was really entertained by Michael’s personality, never having spent any time around him before.

While we were there, Michael let me ride a Trek mountain bike that he had converted to an e-bike. It was really neat, because I didn’t really feel the motor doing anything and I still felt like my legs were getting a workout, but it kept my speed up enough that I could feel the breeze on such a nice day.

After winding the party down, I took Summer back to my house to trade for the Murano, and then we went to her place for the evening. Aunt Beth got back eventually, after spending the day cleaning up at their parents’ house. Summer settled in for bed pretty quickly, but the others stayed up surprisingly late. I got stuck shopping at Kohl’s for longer than I should have, but eventually made it to bed.

I feel like there’s progress, anyway.