Watching Paint Dry

We had a meeting this morning to learn about our new ticketing system, but after a couple hours, I realized that I didn’t even have access to most of the things that were demoed to us. Thomas is annoyingly restrictive of permissions. By the time the conference call was over, I had synced my mental clock with the lady’s Eastern timeclock, and thought it was lunch time.

An hour later, five of us went to La Chiquita. They talked about a new one, but I wasn’t even aware they were building one. Evidently I’ve been passing it on the way to and from Summer’s, but still had no idea it existed. The service wasn’t great, but the food was alright. It felt a little like they had just sent half of their staff to the new place, so the original place was slow to do anything.

The afternoon was mostly quiet. I spent most of it to myself, changing settings on hotspots for Thomas to take to the admin retreat that’s on a farm in the middle of nowhere with no technology.

After work, I went home to switch for the Shadow and then rode up north to Sandy’s to help set up their printer. We never reset the computer she got from her brother, and I had a hunch it was having trouble just with everything that was already loaded on the computer. It took a couple hours, but we had a great conversation, and it was really nice to visit.

On the way home, I stopped by to see Summer. She was having a really hard time with getting Autumn to mow, but I think that was mostly frustration with the mower itself. They’ve always just left everything out in the open to get rained on, and their gas always goes bad. She finally dumped her fuel can out onto the lawn and went to get some fresh, and Autumn was able to finish up as I left.

At home, I just tried to finish up for the evening as quickly as possible. My Google Nest Hub in the kitchen appeared to lock up, but I didn’t have time to contact support. Between it and Google Fi not giving me the bill credit for the SIM that I activated last week, I’m not having a great time with Google.

Dust ’em.

Cartagain Weather III: Certified Pre-Owned

I had completely forgotten that we were delivering carts to Oakland today. I made it in to work, and Gary had Greg, Josh, and Jacob ready to roll. He went to the middle school to scan Chromebooks while the rest of us loaded up the trailer for two trips to Oakland. I got pretty sweaty already, just from the humidity. There was a small chance of rain, but we never saw any.

By the time we finished, everyone was ready for lunch with still an hour to go. We met up with Gary, who had discovered a bunch of the Chromebooks we need to return this summer. I sat down to verify how he was checking his devices, and discovered that I had somehow made a mistake on our original sheet, and we hadn’t been correctly identifying devices the whole time. That meant re-scanning every device in the graveyard.

We loaded some scrap into the trailer, then headed back to the shop for lunch. We picked up Thomas and went to Fat Daddy’s in London. For some reason we always end up there on Thursdays, which is an awful day for specials. I had a pulled pork sandwich, which was edible enough, and fortunately a bit larger than I expected.

When we got back to the shop, I built a new scanning sheet from scratch, then joined Josh and Greg in the graveyard to re-scan devices. We made a pretty good dent in them before we ran out of boxes. It was also about time to head to the Center for our end-of-the-year pat-on-the-back.

With new leadership, this was the shortest event I had ever seen. The whole thing took like 15 minutes, which was insane. We only recognized retirees and the teachers of the year, which was kind of lame, but I guess at least we had an excuse to leave early. Ben called me in the middle of it, and said he was passing through town. Everyone else took off, but I waited there for him, and we ended up chatting for a while until they closed the place down. Tina came around with some plastic bags for the leftover cookies, and let us take a bunch home.

I started on laundry when I got home. Eaddie had been out on her bike all day, and ended up never coming back home. She called a few times to check in, which was good. After going back and forth about it, she decided she wanted to stay the night with a friend, so eventually I had to run some clothes to her.

On the way, I stopped for a couple 50 cent corndogs from Sonic, and a large order of onion rings. After I left, I realized my bag only had three onion rings in it, so I wound up going back after I delivered Eaddie’s stuff. One of the girls ran out with a new order of onion rings for me, and said they knew what they had done, and were just waiting for me to come back. I wish they had been able to just call me to let me know.

I ended the late night just barely missing my goal of washing all of my shirts. I’ve got a performance review at work tomorrow, so I didn’t want to be up too late finishing up, so I left the last load for the weekend.

We Got to Move These Refrigerators

I made it in a couple minutes early today, and relatively quickly got called to build some tech tubs with some Chromebooks to take upstairs to the stage for the virtual kids’ testing. It took us a couple hours at least to get everything together and then for me to help with some updates upstairs, so lunch time was there before I knew it. It was Zach’s birthday, but he brought leftovers, so I ended up picking Summer up to go to Arby’s.

When I got back, I had to work on an updated deployment for Brody, which took up the rest of the afternoon. We’re having to juggle between “safety and security” and being able to test students, and at the end of the day, the job is only difficult because there are no stakes. There is no punishment for bad behavior. We’re forced to use technology to babysit instead of educate.

At one point, I took a break to Duo call Mitch for his birthday. He seemed to be doing well, and was excited to get to chat with Gary and me. I ended up calling him again later in the evening as well, just to catch up some more.

Immediately after work, I met Summer at my house to move my old refrigerator outside. Then her workmate Justin came over to help us lift it into the truck. I had to run to CrossFit to borrow it from Brody for about an hour, and we managed to get the refrigerator delivered to Summer’s house. She and Justin had to go to an after-hours meeting for work, so I went back home to clean up all of the refrigerator parts.

While I was cleaning, I called Mitch, and then managed to get Discord working well enough to talk to both him and Blake for a while. Blake just got his CCNA recently, so I was super proud of him for that. I was surprised how good the audio quality was over the phone app, and it was awesome getting to surprise both of them with the call.

As soon as Summer was done with her meeting, I met her at Lowe’s to try and lay hands on one of the two models of refrigerator that I wanted in exchange for the Whirlpool that I hate. It took forever to get any help, but eventually we did from a guy that Summer actually knew from another old coworker. We didn’t actually get an order placed, but hopefully I’ll get a call tomorrow along with an opportunity to see one of these things in person.

We headed back up to their house to put the shelving back into the refrigerator, and I had a chat to try and reach through to Autumn about her attitude. I tried giving my position some context to see if I could get her attention long enough to accept a lesson in good faith. Parents just want their kids to grow up healthy, wise, and strong.

Now look at them yo-yos. That’s the way you do it.

Whims

I’m not sure what happened, but I did not make it to work on time this morning. I felt like I was in step with my routine, but something got out of whack. It was pretty quiet though, which was fortunate because I was charged with answering the phones while everyone in the front of the office had a top secret meeting. Gary was out after being aggravated yesterday, but the meeting continued. Greg was there with me at first, but had to leave for a while, which left me to my own devices. Luckily we only ever got one phone call that I had to answer, and it was an easy one.

As lunch time approached, Zach informed me that our meetup with Dale had been postponed. This was after I had invited Allen to meet us as well, so I had to see if he wanted to wait or come out today. He chose today, so I invited Thomas, and then found Greg as he was walking back to the office from across the street. We had a good lunch though, with just a dash of awkwardness as only Allen could provide.

When I dropped the other two off after lunch, I went to Oakland for a little while to take care of something and then just to hang out for a bit before going back to my office. It was quiet all afternoon until quitting time when I went by my parents’ house to drop off a letter I printed for Dad. He had gone to pick up Mom from work, so I had to wait a bit for them to show up. Then Eaddie called and needed me to let her in after riding her bike.

I stopped by Kroger on the way home to pick up about 16 pounds of cosmic crisp apples. Dad said they were on sale for a buck a pound, and the piece I had at their house was really good. I figured they’d make a good snack at work, and the girls would probably want some as well.

Summer came by after the gym to get Eaddie, and shared the article that Splash was publishing about her in their newsletter. It was really good to see, even if it was a pre-release copy. They left pretty quickly, and I cleaned up a few leftovers before settling in for the night.

It’s the time of year when things get warmer and I get more anxiety about all the projects I want to complete before the attic becomes too hot to bear. I’ve been wanting to move the girls in so we could save money, but this house just needs so much work and I just have so much stuff. There’s simply not enough room for everyone. Another house on Zillow caught my eye, and upon further inspection I noticed my old friend, Alisha, was an agent for the realtor that listed it. I messaged her on Facebook, and we arranged to have a look at it tomorrow, completely on a whim.

As it turns out, without all these expenditures, we’re rich!

Of Milk

I woke up really early today for a Saturday. Eaddie got up to go help at a robotics tournament at Tech, and Autumn got up to go to her father’s for the weekend. When Summer left for the gym, I went home for a while to clean up. I finished up some leftover breakfast pizza, did the dishes, and got showered so I could run some of my smoked cheese over to Robert and Grant in the afternoon.

They looked to have been closed for a little while, and were busy cleaning up. We chatted just briefly, and then I went on home to wait for Summer. She had to get Eaddie back home to change, then drop her off at her friend’s house for her birthday party later in the evening.

We went to Walmart just because I hadn’t been in quite a while. I was really hoping to find something interesting, but all I got was some deodorant and bread that were being cleared out. Summer wanted to meet up with Justin and Ashlen to take a picture in front of the “coming soon” sign on their new carwash lot. Then we ran home before going to the bowling alley.

Strikers was super busy, and we had to wait for a lane to open up since they wouldn’t take a reservation. Summer thought we would need two, but between me not bowling and several others not making it, they fit in one. She got everyone pizza, and then we got some fried pickles and cheese curds. I ran into Robin and her family while we were there, and caught up with her just briefly.

Summer wanted to leave after one game, so she paid for the team to have one more after we left, and then we had to take Eaddie some stuff since she decided to stay the night with Maristella. Afterward, Summer really wanted some ice cream, so we went to Dairy Queen to redeem my birthday BOGO Blizzards.

The ice cream was super melty, so I didn’t eat much of mine. She nearly finished hers, and then I froze the rest so we could go to bed. She started watching her baking shows until she started to fall asleep. Then I finished my chores before crashing.

I simply will not tolerate this.

We-Haul

I had to get up extra early this morning so we could get to U-Haul to pick up a couple box trucks. I rode with Thomas, and Brody rode with Zach for the trip up to Bentonville. The trucks were both super shaky, but I think Thomas and I still had the better truck. Brody said theirs was constantly downshifting, and they were worried the transmission was going out.

We made it to Bentonville without incident, and were immediately met by a large crew of people that seemed all too happy to see Thomas again after such a short time. They made quick work of loading just under 60 laptop carts into the two box trucks. Ryan was there to meet us as well, with an epic red beard.

Thomas rode with some of the others, but Zach, Brody, and I rode with Ryan across town. We were going to try and eat at some chili burger place, but they evidently only had one booth available and we weren’t sure our huge crew would fit. Instead, we ended up at Gusano’s. The service was super slow, but there were a whole lot of us. Zach and I split a wrap and a pizza together so we could try both.

After a super long lunch, we headed back to the trucks and hit the road home. The ride felt smoother to me, but Thomas wasn’t sure. It’s possible I was just anxious to get home. Our crew was waiting outside for us, and unloaded both trucks pretty quickly. Dustin came through to pick up a scrap laptop for a play, and then I went downstairs to see Tammy as everyone else left. She brought me some banana bread for my birthday, but I think the rest of the crew ate the other half.

I headed home and waited for Summer to get off work. Then we went downtown to see Suzanne’s booth at the art walk. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot going on, which was probably less good for her than for me. It was quiet enough that I wasn’t too bothered. We also ran into a handful of other ladies from the schools as we made it around the block.

Once we got back to the house, Summer went home with some leftovers, and I pretty well crashed. I hadn’t felt super since the late afternoon, and it just sort of got worse as the evening carried on.

A Dandy, Mandy Birthday

We had a really long, relaxing meeting this morning with some fancier donuts than usual. It really felt like we didn’t have much of anything to do, and everyone was just happy to be at the end of the week. Jacob wanted some help troubleshooting a sound system that kept going to sleep, so I went to the junior high with him for a bit.

When I got back to the shop, I poked around a little bit until lunch time. Then a big group of us went to La Chiquita. We even got Tammy and Kelsea to go with us, which has never happened before. Thomas ended up paying for everyone, which was super generous. I had the fajitas for the first time in quite a while, which reminded me how much better they are than just about anything else on the lunch menu.

The afternoon went by pretty slowly after that. I ran home to grab a package, but otherwise didn’t have a whole lot at work that was just super pressing. I closed out what tickets I could for Gary and myself, and eventually made it to four o’clock.

I ran straight home and got to work making my smoked queso dip. I cooked some chorizo, then melted smoked Velveeta, smoked shredded blend, and some smoked pepperjack into the Rotel, garlic, and jalapeños. I forgot my onion and cilantro, which would have freshened it up quite a bit. The chorizo also ended up being a big mess because the grease bubbled up around the cheese and popped everywhere. It tasted alright though, and not too smokey.

As soon as I loaded that up into my little crock pot, I headed to Amanda’s for her birthday shindig. It was just her and Sarah, their roommate Steven, and their friend Khris there, so it was a really chill evening of just hanging out and playing a couple games. We picked up some pizza and candy from Casey’s, then played Sushi Go, followed by Cards Against Humanity.

I left shortly after midnight, when we wished Amanda a proper happy birthday. Then it was straight home and to bed after a long, waking day.

It don’t confront me none!

Helton John

We got up and around this morning, I took a shower, and we went to Sam’s for lunch. I knew immediately that I had eaten too much, even though the fish and chicken were both much smaller cuts than usual. Summer and Eaddie went on to their houses while I went back home to get ready for our trip to Little Rock.

I worked up a headache bad enough to take some medicine. Summer said she encountered some attitude with Autumn that ended in her being told to leave the house, and Summer and Eaddie coming back to my house. Eaddie just hung out there while Summer and I went to pick up Suzanne and Trent.

We made it to Conway and stopped for a carwash. Then we went straight to The Butchershop for dinner. I was still pretty full from lunch, and also could not get comfortable in the booth where we were seated, so I was just super uncomfortable the entire time.

After we ate and packed our leftovers, we headed to the arena and parked right up front in one of the main lots. Then we had to walk around the building to find the end of the line until the doors opened. We spotted Wesley and Cindy, as well as Ben from Oakland as the line folded on itself. Some girl cut in front of us in the line, which was pretty pointless on account of how fast the line eventually started moving. It really burned Summer up, but she wasn’t willing to do anything about it either. Next time we just need to bring some pigs blood or something to throw at people like that.

We were sat dead center at the opposite end of the arena to the stage, which made for a great view of the lighting and projections. I knew exactly which songs I thought I would know, and a good time was had by all. Evidently Elton John does not walk across the stage. He rides his piano wherever he wants to go. I thought it would have made a really cool trick, but it seemed like he literally only used it for transportation.

It took us forever to get moving once we got back to the car. We ended up hopping a curb and getting right out after a while. Then it was a quick drive home and quickly to bed.

My favorite was the song about “Who’s the boss?” Hold me closer, Tony Danza!

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!

WIN█

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.