But You, You Were My Favorite

Today was a full day. The roads were clear and I made it to work really early. I spent nearly all morning reading documentation on an Aruba switch. I felt good about it, but didn’t learn what I was needing to know. I finally asked Gary, and he explained it perfectly, and I knew exactly what I was missing in my new life.

The school got everyone Taco Villa for lunch, so everyone gathered in the cafeteria to eat, and then Harry gave a short speech to end the year. I stuck around for a while just to make sure everyone else was gone, and then left very near to last. I had to get charged back up so Eaddie and I could make it to Rogers.

Once I was back up to 90%, I stopped by Superfast to see Summer, and then I picked Eaddie up. We hit the road and ran into really heavy traffic all the way to Alma. We knew we wanted to stop somewhere for dinner, but didn’t know what we wanted. Eaddie finally found a place called La Sirenita in Springdale that caught her eye, so we found that little hole in the wall where we were greeted in Spanish. It was at that point I knew the food would be good. The gorditas weren’t anything like I was expecting because they weren’t really crispy enough, but it was good food and friendly service.

From there, we made it to the Walmart AMP just in time for the gates to open. We parked in an EV charger spot, but the ChargePoint charger didn’t seem to work. It looked dusty and non-functioning to begin with, but the charger wouldn’t even come out of the socket. We stayed parked there and walked down to the line of people, got through the gates, and then found a short, fast, hidden merch line.

Once we had a couple shirts, we found a place on the lawn and I waited for Brandon and Diana to show up. Brandon said they had tickets to the show, but I didn’t ask them early enough to plan dinner. Eaddie and I moved around a bit, and she sat on the other side of some people for a while, but eventually joined us when Brandon and Diana found me. They got a couple seats, but I still didn’t really think they were worth the extra $10.

Coheed and Cambria were an awesome opening act, and I enjoyed them every bit as much as Incubus. Both of the frontmen were incredibly talented with how well they belted their lyrics all night. The crowd definitely got more excited for the headlining group though. Brandon and Diana left early, so Eaddie and I took over their lawn chairs until after they played the last song. Then we made it back to the car and fought stupid traffic for the first time there. For some reason they wouldn’t let us go left out of the parking garage, so we had to fight our way around a street with a median, and then through a roundabout that had no traffic control.

We stopped in Lowell for a quick charge and a drink, and then we headed home as quickly as we could. I got the car down to 8%, which was half the estimated charge the navigation said I would have when we started, but it was fine. We dropped it off at my house around 1:30 to charge back up, and then headed up to Summer’s where everyone was fast asleep.

The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it.

Day 4 of Travel

I got up this morning and immediately started getting ready for my fourth day of travel. I stopped by the election commission headquarters on the way home and voted in the school board election. Then I continued home to get ready for my interview in Maumelle. I made it down the interstate fast enough that I got off early and drove through town to save a little bit of range. Of course the navigation was faulty, so I had to make a block, but I got there with plenty of time.

I only had to wait a couple minutes for them to come interview me. I talked to Tim and Ryan to first determine whether I could talk to humans, and then whether I could talk to computers. After Tim left, I felt much less confident in my answers, simply because Ryan was really looking for specific examples of projects I had completed. The work I’ve done for the past several years has been so sporadic that I really didn’t have any good solo examples. After we finished talking, he left me with a paper test and a pen, and I had to write out answers to the best of my ability. Once I finished that, I had to place it on the receptionist’s desk and basically walked out waving to the guys that were in their offices with headsets on.

Mitch was at Blake’s apartment, so I went there next to change and then take Mitch to a late lunch. As we did that, he told me that I was invited to dinner with Blake, but I didn’t realize it was at his girlfriend’s house and that she was cooking. We had lunch at The Fold, which had some killer fancy tacos which were a bit pricy, but the guacamole and cheese dip plate seemed really reasonable in comparison. Both the food and service were excellent.

We struggled to come up with a solid plan after that, so we went to Franklin’s Charging Station after that to get a little bit of free juice while we waited to go to dinner. I showed Mitch my Steam Deck while we sat in the air conditioning. After a while, I decided we would head on over to Justina’s house since I wasn’t sure how traffic would be. We actually arrived before either of them, but then she pulled in right behind us. Her two boys and their dog were all over the place while she started cooking dinner. Blake eventually showed up and we took turns playing Mario Party with one of the boys.

After dinner, we played a tiny game of Uno, and then another game called Forbidden Island. It was a cooperative game with tiles that were spaced out randomly. It was a little scattered at times, but eventually I had a fair grasp of how to strategize. We just barely won, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

As the kids went to bed, we parted ways. I took Mitch to another friend’s ritzy apartment complex with agate code and literal fire on the road sign. The amenities sounded pretty intense as well. We said our goodbyes, and I made the lone trip home in the dark. Just past Conway, I could barely make out a black tire in the middle of the black road. It appeared to be a whole tire, so I called 911 after failing to reach the state police using the short code on the road signs. They connected me to the state police, and I let the officer there know what I had seen so they could try and get it out of the road before someone got hurt.

I made it home safely, swapped cars, and then headed up to Summer’s for bedtime. Everyone was long asleep, so I finished up quickly and went to bed.

I just want my job back.


I had to force some productivity this morning, and finally got loan applications done for Arvest and Centennial. Not having work yet has me worried that we won’t get approved, but it won’t be the end of the world. After that was done, Summer went to the gym and I did an online personality test for a prospective employer. It would be a long commute, but at least it would get some money flowing. At this point, it may not suit me to be so picky.

With all of that out of the way, I made it home to shower so I could head back to Little Rock for Blake’s surprise birthday party. As soon as I turned onto the onramp, I realized traffic was at a standstill. Luckily I had only barely turned, so I had enough room to back up and turn around. I took Highway 64 to Atkins, and from there traffic had gotten up to around 60 or 70. When I got into Little Rock, I got a little bit lost trying to take the Cantrell exit and wound up going through some really cute neighborhoods. Once I got back onto the main strip, I saw some pretty wicked tornado damage.

I arrived at Damgoode Pies fairly early and wasn’t sure I’d know anyone there, so I waited in the car for a while before going in. To my surprise, we had most of the building occupied for the party. There were a ton of people there, and I didn’t know a single one. Luckily Mitch showed up with an old bartending buddy of his, and he and his girlfriend joined me at my crowded table. Robert and Karen showed up shortly after that and sat at another table in the middle of the dining room. Then Mitch hid in the restroom until Blake and his girlfriend showed up.

It was an awesome surprise, and Blake spent most of the evening just floating from table to table. It definitely blew his mind. My “Underdog Stuffie” was pretty delicious, with a crispy double crust and thick bite of cheese inside. Robert spotted it and wanted to trade a slice for their Supreme, which was also pretty good. I mostly sat in awkward silence while everyone else socialized, and as people started to filter out, I convinced Mitch to go to the hospital with me to see Gary.

It rained a bit, but it wasn’t too bad. The drive to the hospital was surprisingly short, and it was a good surprise for Gary as well. Mitch had some other socializing that he wanted to do, so we didn’t stay super long before I had to take him back to Daniel’s place. Then I headed straight home in the black of the night.

It was a long and boring drive, but I made it home without incident. I dropped my car off to charge, and then it was off to Summer’s where everyone was fast asleep. I tried not to stay up too late, and made it to bed shortly after Midnight.

Prettygoode Pies

I am Groot

The girls didn’t seem to feel great this morning, but we had to get to Little Rock for our movie. I went home to shower and then came back to pick them up. Neither of them were very hungry yet, so we decided to stop in and see Gary first. Eaddie waited in the car while Summer and I went into the rehab clinic, only to learn that we’d have to make our way over to the main hospital where he had been since surgery the day before.

We chatted for a while through his pain. It was probably the worst I’d seen him yet, but even then he was still in pretty good spirits. I had hoped he might stick around the hospital a while longer, but he seemed to really want to go home the next day.

From there, we went straight to the Promenade to try and find some food before our movie. Unfortunately we only had about an hour to kill, and both Big Orange and Local Lime had long wait times. I was surprised, because it was already well into the afternoon. We ended up going to Maggie Moo’s for some ice cream instead, but that made the girls feel even worse without any real food in their bellies. We ended up going to McDonald’s to split a snack combo I found in the app.

We made it to our movie with plenty of time, and I was surprised again at how empty the theater was for opening weekend. I just can’t believe 3D is so unpopular. It makes all the difference in the world to me. On the other hand, maybe the 2D showings are just as sparse. I wouldn’t know, because I always go the premium route whenever possible.

I kind of expected the movie to have some back story for some of the characters, but I absolutely didn’t expect any of what we saw. It started off on an emotional tone, and then immediately jumped right into heavy action. There were several parts where I got a little bored, or at least physically uncomfortable or restless due to my seat. Then the heavy emotional scenes hit, and it made the whole movie a lot better for me. It definitely felt different than anything we’d seen before though.

After the movie, I convinced the girls to stop for some food. we tried a place called Ocean’s At Arthurs, but Summer didn’t want to get out of the car after she saw that they had valet parking. I would have given it a try anyway, but it really might have been upscale enough that we’d look pretty rough going in. We ended up at a hole in the wall called Lazy Pete’s Fish and Shrimp instead, and the food was awesome. It didn’t look like much at all, but it really was great.

We made it back home and I let Summer take the Murano to her house while Eaddie decided whether she still wanted to go to the hot air balloon show. She ultimately decided against it, so I took Summer’s car to the wash and then we headed home for the night. The girls both went to bed, so I laid down with Summer for a bit. That was when I got a sudden surprise call from Mitch, who said he was coming to Little Rock via a “MEGABUS.” We only talked briefly since he was going to be on the bus for the next six or so hours, and I got to bed.

I am Groot!


I woke up early this morning to shower and get back to pick up Summer for a trip to Little Rock. She would be meeting with the CFO to discuss some issues, and I wanted to tag along so I could see Gary before his surgery, and then catch lunch with Ben.

Joe texted me early and asked me to call, so I let him know when we hit the interstate and he called to chat while we were on the road. I gave him the scoop on my situation, and he again urged me to vote. Once we got into Little Rock, I dropped Summer off and then had to find some breakfast. The Wendy’s I tried appeared to be closed, at least for dining in, so I made the block and went to Waffle House. The food there was great, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay full price.

After I ate and hung out for a little while, I headed to the hospital, not really expecting to see Gary for a while. He said he wouldn’t be free until about four, so I just took my chances and figured I would kill time until lunch with Ben. To my surprise, Dale walked in and sat down to talk with me for at least half an hour. It was such a great surprise to catch up with him, and then Gary rolled back in all on his own in a wheelchair. We all chatted for a while, but eventually I had to leave to feed Ben.

I made it across town and then made him decide what to eat. He decided on something new, with Rock City Tacos on the Tesla navigation. When we got there, Google actually showed it to be Rock City Kitchen, who had no tacos, only served fish on Fridays, and were also out of wings. We just got burgers, which were super disappointing, especially after multiple excellent experiences at Cotham’s. We had a good chat, and I discovered that one of the companies that contacted me actually does the IT support for his office.

Summer texted for a ride just as we finished eating, so I dropped Ben back off and then ran back across town. Summer still hadn’t eaten all day, so she wanted to stop at Wendy’s. They were actually open this time, but only barely. It was run by a bunch of kids that were more interested in hanging out in the back, cursing loudly enough to hear them from the register. Then as Summer was eating, a big guy that sat down a couple tables away from us asked for us to call him a cab, as he sat pouring liquor into his soda cup.

We headed straight home after that, and hung out until we had to go to the junior high for Eaddie’s National History Day meeting. The more I heard, the less interested I was in going to DC. It was going to be expensive, and neither the school nor the state were going to help get the kids there in any meaningful way. The best option that was floated was renting a charter bus for like $20,000 for the week, and share that with some other schools. Summer and I decided we weren’t going to go, but we’d send Eaddie by whatever means necessary.

After that, we headed up to Summer’s and hung out until we had to go to the high school for the band’s appreciation concert. The concert band was absolute trash. They had trouble finding the right notes, and once they did, they played them at the wrong time. Eaddie told us afterward that they actually cut their portion of the concert short because they weren’t prepared enough to play all of the songs they wanted. The symphonic band did much better, as usual, and carried on for much longer.

The girls ended up going to Walmart with their father afterward, so Summer and I headed home for the night. She went to bed, and I helped Eaddie fill out a History Day form for her trip once they got home. Then I was off to bed after a long day.

I’m Mr. Popular lately, but not in any useful kind of way.

Tales From Many Moons Ago

The girls left in a fit this morning, so I was up for the day. I ate a hard boiled egg of questionable integrity, then headed home to get ready for Bill’s funeral. I had to drop Summer’s car off to have it re-tinted, so I picked Dad up and had him drive my car so we could take it to Fort Smith.

Traffic wasn’t great, but we made it plenty early. At first we thought we might be meeting for the burial at a building, but then through the powers of deduction, followed some other cars into the Fort Smith National Cemetery. It was a surprisingly small crowd, but he was old. Dad had made a joke earlier in the day about me standing in the distance in all black, with an umbrella in hand, just to be mysterious. Catty-corner from us, behind those actually performing the service, stood a man in a dark coat and glasses, already filling the role.

The service itself was relatively short. The unfolding and re-folding of the flag took the absolute longest. Having lived nearly the perfect length of time, there was no dramatic sobbing. Just tradition.

Afterward we met at a church for a much longer service of hymns and preaching, intermixed with just a few stories, and concluded with a pipe organist’s rendition of what I thought was supposed to be Steve Miller Band, but sounded instead like a memorable song from a circus, ball game, or merry-go-round. Finally, we were dismissed from the formal service and could visit with friends and the family for a while.

When we left, we thought we’d just head straight home in spite of my hunger, but traffic was backed up on the interstate badly enough that my car tried routing us off the interstate and immediately back on just to skip ahead in traffic. I didn’t want to look like an asshole, so we stopped and had Big Macs instead. Then we continued to Ozark for a quick charge before I let Dad drive us the rest of the way home.

I had Dad drive by a house that I wanted to look at, and I was excited enough that I talked Summer into looking at it. I wasn’t sure anyone else was as impressed, but I liked the price per square foot and the availability of parking. I eventually made it back home, but had to get Autumn to pick me up so we wouldn’t have all of the cars at Summer’s. Her car smelled like stale McDonald’s, and I just wanted to throw up.

Summer had left work early because her face went numb again, and her blood pressure spiked. She talked them out of thinking it was an emergency, but her seemingly forgetful or unempathetic physician just put her on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication after Summer reminded her that she had just gotten the results of her psych evaluation. When we got to the house, she had already been in bed for a while, so I laid down with her and scheduled the house tour with Alisha. Then she fell asleep pretty quickly after that. It took me a while longer, because I am distracted easily.

Hey Google, what’s this song? Da-da-da-da, da, da-da-da-da!


I had quite a bit more energy this morning, but still felt pretty squeamish inside. I was hungry for sure, so I cleaned up some leftover sloppy joes and then soaked in the bath for quite a while. When I was finally ready to get back into some clothes, I headed home for a much-needed shower to scrub down the rest of myself.

After my shower, I felt worse again for a little while, so I had to cool off and rest for a bit. Then I got dressed and went back to River Valley Tinting and Glass to talk to the guys about the two scratches on the trim. They insisted that they wouldn’t have had any tools anywhere near the trim, but there has been absolutely nothing else anywhere on or around the car that could have produced two identical scratches in the corner above the window. After denying any damage, the guy pointed out a bubble that he wanted to fix on the passenger side, and then I pointed out a spot with some dust on the driver side, so they scheduled me to do a complete strip and re-tint on Wednesday.

From there, I went to Leonard’s to pick up some nylon washers to protect Summer’s new license plate. It’s only temporary, but hopefully her custom plate won’t take much longer. As I was walking in, I ran into Tom and chatted with him briefly about the troubles I had with the head dog. He wished me well, and I picked up the washers I needed so I could mount the new plate in the parking lot.

When I headed back home, the light at 4th and Knoxville was broken and would never change from red for the eastbound traffic, so everyone had to take turns running the light while the westbound got a protected turn. Then I waited at home for Summer to finish at the gym so I could meet her at Walmart for dinner materials.

As I was walking toward the store, I ran into Dylan and got a big hug from him. I tried to get the Cliff’s Notes for the past decade, but even that was abridged. His son is apparently playing Smash Brothers competitively for money, and he’s working at Rockline. Summer parked right by us, so I introduced them and we carried on our way.

We ran into Bác Vân and Doug separately while we were wandering the store. They caught up to us at checkout and I helped them use the self-checkout, and then we headed up to Summer’s so she could start cooking. I helped clean fruits and veggies, and Summer cooked pork chops and mashed potatoes with Brussels sprouts.

The girls made it back home after dropping Eaddie’s bike back at my house, and we had a good dinner. Eaddie and Summer were talking about composing music, so I shared a video of Ben Folds composing a song live. Then everyone quickly disappeared to their bedrooms while I cried over the three-hour Linkin Park and Friends live stream from six years ago.

May your love never end, and if you need a friend, there’s a seat here alongside me.

Fluid Loss

I woke up super early on Saturday so I could get home to shower before taking Eaddie and a couple of her classmates to Conway for National History Day. We barely got everything loaded up into the car because it was so wide, but we managed. I dropped the girls off at the UCA College of Business building and then left to find some breakfast. I ended up at McDonald’s for a cheap breakfast sandwich and coffee, and then started toward Little Rock to see Gary. He had three hours of physical therapy though, which meant I had to kill about half of my morning before I could actually see him.

I ended up going to Walmart, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot before Gary finally texted that he was all done. For all the walking around and shopping I had done, I really only picked up a couple packages of nuts for him as a snack, and then a really nice feeling pen flashlight as a cheeky gift. I also found a cover for the Masterbuilt Gravity 800 that was on clearance, so I picked it up figuring that I might just flip it on eBay since I already have a cover for mine.

I made my way across town to the rehab clinic where they moved Gary, and visited with him for a couple hours. He thought he was ready to pass out pretty early, but by the time I got there he said he was feeling alright. It’ll be another couple weeks before he can go into surgery to reconstruct his knee, but they already worked on his elbow. Eventually I was ready for a late lunch, and headed back toward Conway to eat before I had to get the girls.

I decided on Long John Silvers since I could actually get it fresh and eat there. The entire hour I was in the restaurant, I only saw a couple other people show up. The employees always outnumbered me, and none of them looked super excited to be there. The food was super good though, and tasted really fresh. Some guy rolled in on a knee scooter with a bum, or possibly missing leg, and sat at a table next to be in a fully open restaurant. He kept trying to sell me a couple deep well sockets that he said were his only possessions.

Eaddie finally texted me that they were done just as I was leaving the restaurant, which was a relief since she had somehow turned on airplane mode a few hours earlier, and I wasn’t able to see her location. I got the girls home, and by that time had started to feel a little sick to the stomach, but I had no clue what I was about to experience.

I took a bath after not feeling so great, but then once I tried to go to bed, I had trouble sleeping and had to get up about every hour to go to the bathroom again. During one of my earlier visits, I felt an inkling that throwing up might help me feel better, and I probably lost about a gallon of fluids that way. Overnight, I had lost about six pounds.

Summer let me lay around in bed all day, and went to Walmart to get a bunch of Pedialyte and Gatorade. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I felt well enough to make some rice and egg. I finished watching Nope and then fell asleep again for a while. Summer had spent the day resting on the couch, and Eaddie had left for most of the day to watch a band concert and then help her grandmother with some gardening. Joshua texted to prompt me to schedule an interview, so I booked that for Thursday to make sure I’ll be completely over whatever killed my weekend. Summer was in bed by the time Eaddie made it back home, and then everyone was off to sleep again.

Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!

Restless Exhaustion

Autumn woke me up with a start this morning and asked me to take Eaddie to school because they slept in and were running late. I would have declined if I had known she just wanted to leave five minutes earlier so she could still make the McDonald’s drive-through before going to school. We ended up arriving right after her, and I was angry. I was sleeping so heavily when she got me up, and I didn’t feel like I could go back to sleep once I got home.

I laid around for a bit until I started to feel really hungry, and I got out to pick up a McGriddle myself. I noticed Kevin’s truck outside AT&T on the way, so I drove around and ate my breakfast in the parking lot and then went in to find him. He was busy for a bit, so I talked with the other Kevin for a bit, which gave me a chance to catch up a bit with both of them. Hope eventually found her way out and saw me too. When I told Kevin I was looking for work, he turned me on to a friend of his that was looking for someone, but the job wouldn’t pay quite as much as what I was making. He figured some income was better than no income though.

After a little while they were still dead, so Kevin wanted to drive the Model 3 again. We drove out toward Pottsville, and then up Old Cove Road to return the back way. By the time we got back, they were pretty busy and I decided to head on home.

I fired off another message, this time to Mark’s winning counsel. Hopefully I hear back from literally anyone, but it seems like nobody’s hurting for work enough to talk to me so far. I feel confident enough in my own case, but would still prefer someone with a little more skin in the game.

When lunch time rolled around, I went back out and picked up a burger and some cheese sticks from Sonic for two bucks. I was annoyed when I made it home and realized there was no marinara, but I made it work. The burger was too saucy anyway, so I guess that made up for it.

It had been cool all morning, so I decided I really wanted Summer to come over and sit quietly by a fire with me for a while. The stress of not working or having any real schedule was still getting to me, and I just wanted some quiet time to relax with her. I started a fire and then took a shower, but then I had to get Eaddie from school since Autumn was running around getting her nails done for prom.

Summer had arrived home from work just as we got home, so I got her charging and then we went right out to the fire. Eaddie left on her bicycle and we never saw her again. Summer brought some smoked sausages to cook, and even Bác Vân decided she’d eat one. Autumn came over to eat before eventually leaving to pick up Eaddie and take her home. Summer and I wound down by the fire, and got everything put away after it got dark. We saw a couple little toads hopping around, but the bugs started to come out as well. Once we got inside, it was pretty quick to sleep for her. I was still exhausted as well, so I didn’t dawdle.

Just apply more.

Two Broke Dudes

I woke up before Summer this morning and couldn’t really get back to sleep, so I just laid in bed until everyone left, and then got around to some leftovers for breakfast. Then I made sure I had all the information I needed and headed home to try and find some alternative firms that might be interested in what I have to say. I stopped by Superfast on the way home just to see Summer, and return her wallet that I found in the Murano. Then I dug right into telling my story in another, slightly different way. I only got one person on the phone, and then just decided to submit online forms for the rest of them. I still felt it was pretty disheartening not to get an answer right away, but it felt better than getting hounded for money.

Gary eventually got back in touch with me, and said that I could come by the Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock to see him. He seemed to be in relatively good spirits, but I still didn’t even know what actually happened. I made plans to go see him, but Summer reminded me that the band had a fundraiser at Freddy’s after school.

I met the girls for dinner, but Summer wasn’t in the mood to socialize after having her character attacked by a customer at work. I hung out adjacent to the girls while she went home for the evening, until I finally made the call to leave for Little Rock. I talked to Melinda about possibly going with me if she finished preparing for her grandfather’s funeral, so I dawdled a bit on the way out of town. I went home to clean up, then went to the car wash to get the big chunks off of my windshield. Then I went by Summer’s to get my Steam Deck on the way out. Melinda decided not to go at the last second, but then called me to get an update on all of my drama while I was driving.

We talked from about Pottsville all the way to the hospital, which helped pass the time. I kind of hoped she might have a little more helpful insight, but I think we were already on the same page. I let her go, and continued to drive around the parking lot, just guessing where I needed to enter the building. Fortunately I guessed correctly, and found my way up to see Gary.

He was on the phone when I walked into his room, which actually made me feel a bit better. He was fully alert, but with metal rods holding his leg together. He broke his left elbow, and his right knee, tibia, and fibula. Overall I was impressed with his apparent outlook. He was trying to take it easy on the pain meds, even as the nurse offered more. I tried to help him get readjusted a little bit, but I don’t think there was much we could do. Hopefully the swelling around the knee will let up soon so he can get somewhere a little more comfortable.

I didn’t stay too long. We caught up a bit, and then I wanted to let him try and get some sleep between his hourly checkups. Zach chatted at me briefly on my drive home, so maybe he can go back down with me later in the week. I stopped for another car wash just as I got home, and then headed up to Summer’s for the evening. Everyone was asleep, so I finished up and went to bed myself.

That’s not even a real bone.