This Time, at Band Camp

I slept in a bit today before getting up to take Eaddie to band camp. We all loaded up to take her to Paine Hall and found her dorm room. We didn’t stick around very long, because she was excited to get started. On the way back to the house, we stopped by the Murano to get an old Quiz Bowl buzzer set out of the trunk. I was curious to see if it would work. Summer briefly daydreamed about having a trivia team builder for work. Aside from some broken cable clips, which appeared to just be RJ45 connectors, everything seemed to work fine.

Autumn had been a bit argumentative all morning, but then tried to convince Summer and me to play Monopoly with her. We just kind of stared blankly at her for a moment, since she couldn’t seem to process why we might not be interested in playing board games with someone who says she hates us. She acted like we were only going to ignore her for the week because Eaddie’s gone, but Eaddie has been over her shit for just as long as us.

Summer eventually went to the gym while I tinkered around. I ended up taking a shower, and then the two of us went to New China for lunch when she got back. Autumn spent all day banished to her room, and that’s how she’ll stay as far as I’m concerned. She verbally expressed that she doesn’t want to verbally express anything to us, so I see no need to dance around each other pretending like everything is fine.

Autumn was out of her room making some food when we got back, and it didn’t take long for her to have an attitude with Summer, so she went back to her room for the rest of the evening while Summer and I laid around being super lazy for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We both struggled to stay awake. At one point, I put on School for Scoundrels, and then we watched some standup on Netflix before bed.

Ants everywhere but in my pants.

Cooling Issue

We got up and made Autumn mow the back yard today, and then Summer scrambled some eggs with some sliced up sausages from last night. Everyone else got a pretty slow start to the morning. The girls didn’t want to go to the Clarksville Aquatic Center like Summer had been planning all week, but she did convince them to go to a craft fair at the fairgrounds. I went home to clean up first, but was already unsure about joining them if it was held out in the heat. I ended up bathing for a bit, and then sitting it out.

When they finished at the fair, I met them at Walmart so Eaddie could get some things for band camp. My parents were on that side of town as well, having dropped off Mom’s car to have a couple tires replaced after ripping off a part of one of the sidewalls. I picked up some Stranger Things themed goodies on clearance, as well as some banana Soylents and a weighted blanket for Gary.

The girls were hungry when we finished, and my parents had mentioned food before we all met up at Walmart, so we all met back up at Zaxby’s. Summer and I shared a Zalad and a Wings & Things meal, which was a good mix. I ended up having to take off before everyone else, and went home for a bit before going to Wesley’s house to help with a WiFi issue.

Mister Wesley was outside working on an addition to the house, which I thought was just incredible. I didn’t realize how much he had built onto the property, but it was all really well done. The wireless issue was just due to some equipment removal after they dropped cable, and I had to give them their new wireless SSID and password. The rest of the time we just chatted about what he had built around the house, work, and anything else that came up.

On the way back up to Summer’s, I took the turn at Whatta-Burger at my usual speed, and the Murano sputtered. The engine service light came on, and the temperature was on the under-intimidating “H” so I kept driving, hoping to make it to the house. I got right up to G-Ray’s, and it sputtered enough that I decided to pull over rather than risk dying at the end of the driveway. Summer left the gym and went to my house to pick up a jug of water, but it didn’t suck it into the radiator from the overflow like we expected. She had me start the car and rev it a bit, but we never had any luck.

She dropped me off at her house, and then took Autumn with her to the gym while we waited for the car to cool in the shade. Afterward, we went back and added water directly to the radiator, but it appeared to pour right back out from wherever it was leaking. We went back home, and I messaged my old coworker, Marlena, to see if her husband might want a tow job on the side. That was about the time I realized that it was actually his father’s family business, so I felt incredibly stupid. It took her a while to respond, but she said he wasn’t on call this weekend. Dad and I decided to try and ghetto-tow it in the middle of the night.

The girls eventually dug out the Stranger Things brownies that we bought, and started to bake them. Eaddie had fun cutting out all of the accessories for that, as well as the drink mix. Autumn had apparently come back from the gym with some attitude about me, so I pried at that for a bit until she clammed up and we sent her to her room forever. Eaddie just wants to survive the year and be done with her too, but I’m hoping they can keep the pressure on her.

Dad came over after everyone had wandered off either to bed or to prepare for bed. On the first trip, we discovered my battery had died, and I guessed I must have left the power on. We came back to the house for some sockets to remove the battery and prevent an even deeper drain overnight, but those didn’t work. Fortunately(?), the positive cable was barely snug and I was able to wiggle the cable up and off of the post before giving up for the evening. After this evening and the rest of everything that’s come at me recently, I’m basically expecting the engine to be toast.

No execution. That’s the problem here. I need more executions.

Half Bad

I got to sleep in a half hour later today, since it was our first half-day Friday. I absolutely felt more tired and worthless all day because of it. Zach was back, but just sent everyone to go hide in their own buildings. I think only Brody actually had anything to do, by the way of imaging with Jacob. Zach had to do badges all day, and it wasn’t very long before I had to run outside to help the eSCO guys. He brought someone new with him today, and neither of them were particularly helpful when picking things up. Thomas came out to help, and then a few of the other guys eventually showed up as well.

The rest of the morning went by pretty slowly, and I ended the day by breaking network imaging. I almost wish I had just stayed to fix it, but Thomas came back to kick everyone out and left me in the dark. I went home for a little bit before heading up to get Eaddie for her flute lesson. She and Autumn were watching TV and being lazy. I dressed up some leftovers for lunch before we left.

It was hot outside, but I didn’t have anything else to do, so I just waited in the car for Eaddie to finish. Then we stopped by The UPS Store to ship an Amazon return before going back to their house. Summer eventually made it home, and after watching some TV, wanted me to grill some frozen jalapeño cheddar sausages for their dinner.

Autumn had asked me to play Monopoly earlier, and set up the game board while I grilled. I threw a wrench in that by asking her to tell me something she appreciated about me. Her mood immediately changed, and she got angry and bitter before putting the game away. I’m not content to ignore her issues like everyone else, so I’m relegated to irritating her into a constant state of annoyance as punishment.

I ended up having to take Summer to the bedroom to talk about it, but it wasn’t long before she fell asleep. Autumn brought her mattress into the living room and went to sleep in front of the TV, because she’s still not being punished. I guess we’ve just accepted this as our life, so we’re stuck like this for another year.

Snorey McBorey

The Parent Trap

Today was our first day of our three week “summer hours” nonsense, and it turned out worse than it had any right to be. I actually went to bed super early, so I didn’t have much trouble getting out of bed. It was cool outside for the drive in, but I knew it was going to heat up to an uncomfortable high on the bike. I kind of assumed I would be left alone again, but instead I was sent with a group to the high school. We had to possibly relocate some network lines to move the student computers in the library, and then remove the old journalism computers from the lab. Beyond that, we had to start inventory at that building, and there’s no mistaking how I felt about that.

Kyle and I rode with Brody, and I convinced them to work on inventory while I did all the network and computer pulling by myself. We ran into Al on his last day there, and I chatted with him for a minute before we started. From that point, the morning actually went really well by myself. Lunch time was an about-face.

Brody and Kyle were slow coming up to the office, and Kyle didn’t want La Chiquita, so I took the opportunity to skip as well while Brody caught up with the others. Instead, I ate an apple and chatted with Tammy at the shop until people started showing back up. Gary was the only one to ever come back, and it took me a while to find anyone else. I had to go back to the high school anyway, so I could unload the old computers from the cart I borrowed.

I finally found Brody, Jacob, and Kyle trying to pull a bunch of network lines to the old journalism room, and I caught them just as they discovered that three of their eight boxes of cable were not long enough for the run. The excuse was that they checked the length of available cable in the boxes, but not the actual length of the physical run. Frustration mounted as we finished that run, and then tried to wrangle up more boxes of cable to make another run. In the end, we decided to wait for a new delivery of cable, and I sent everyone to work on inventory for the rest of the day.

I went back to the shop and just announced very loudly outside the offices of the holy trinity that I needed a safe space where the republicans couldn’t get to me. Thomas jokingly called out to me, and I took his leave to cry exasperatedly at him about my experience with the crew. Zach came around the corner and joined in on the conversation, and we set forth a plan to grow from the experience. I spent the rest of the day hooking up a new-to-me desktop in place of my frustrating laptop.

Summer said Autumn was cooking dinner, so I went home to change before heading up. I was already emotional from the day, on top of being ignored as a parental figure yesterday, so I fell apart once I got there. I took Summer aside to talk to her, and found no comfort. I finally came out to the dinner table and started the uncomfortable conversation about whether I improved any of their lives. I knew what Autumn’s answer would be, but as usual she fell silent when confronted. Eaddie wasn’t any comfort either, but at least backed me up when I called them out for bad vibes. It took a couple of hours of talking, but we finally dug deep enough to find the root of some of the issues, and hopefully the growing and learning will continue with some action.

Obvious Protip: Don’t vent to the children.

Sitting

I was surprised that I woke up at 7:30 this morning after going to sleep around three. I walked around a bit, but then went back to bed for a couple more hours before getting up and taking a shower. When I finished, I got Eaddie up and we ended up watching the last episode of Stranger Things from the beginning. Summer left work early, so we headed up to their house after our episode was done, and cleaned up some leftovers for lunch or an early dinner.

Hannah wanted someone to dog and housesit for a night, so Summer took both girls across town to do that. When she got back, she spent the entire night in front of one of the TVs. I burned an old frozen peach pie in the microwave, and then made another mostly edible one in the toaster oven. Then we wound down for an early bedtime.

Running up that hill with no problems.

Dentology

I knew I had to take the girls to the orthodontist this afternoon, but I nearly spaced and took the bike to work this morning. I caught myself on the way out and took the Murano instead, but it wouldn’t have been a bad day for a ride. We had a short meeting, and then I was mostly left alone to do my own thing. Gary had me update SCCM, which was a relatively easy, but long process that took me all morning to complete.

The guys went to Taco John’s and invited me along, but I was on the fence anyway, and then traffic didn’t allow me into the right lane to make the turn, so I headed on up to Summer’s instead. The girls were up but sedentary. I warmed up some leftover Mexican chicken casserole for lunch, and then we left for Dr. K’s.

When we got there, the doors were locked for lunch time, so we waited under the shade of a nearby bushy tree. It seemed a little silly to see so many people waiting outside the door in the heat, but I guess they’ve gotta eat too. Autumn filled out some paperwork while Eaddie went back. Then she wanted me to go back with her for the consult. Autumn really wants braces, but Invisalign is about 400 bucks cheaper. Evidently they don’t have insurance to cover anything, so I don’t know why Summer’s trying so hard to spend money on the kid that’s giving us so much trouble.

After the girls finished, we went to my house so I could change out of my work jeans into some shorts, then headed back up to their house until Eaddie’s flute lesson. They watched Stranger Things for a little while, and I baked the Surfer Boy branded pizza we got for them. Then Autumn took a nap while Eaddie painted. When it was time to leave again, Autumn pitched an absolute fit about being woken up, and was super bitchy for about two hours.

We dropped Eaddie off for her lesson and then went to my parents’ house for half an hour. Eaddie finished up after about 45 minutes, and I took them straight to karate. They had both started to get moody, so I decided to go in to watch them for the hour. They begrudgingly worked out together, and flailed their limbs around loosely the entire time. On the way home, Autumn wanted to get some sour cream for barbecue nachos, but then went straight to the Takis and Dr. Pepper. I didn’t have the energy to fight her there, so I got the corn chips we really needed, and we continued home.

It was a little late, but I wanted to eat a little bit for dinner. Then I had to threaten to take her snacks before Autumn made herself the tiniest plate of smoked pork and shredded cheese I had ever seen. She didn’t even open the sour cream she begged for. After she ate, I made her clean the kitchen while Eaddie cleaned her room. Then I killed time until Summer got home super late. She went straight to bed, and I played Puzzle Quest on my phone all night.

…but I’m a creep…

Just for Kicks

I got up and made some fancy bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits from leftovers this morning. Then I went home to clean up and pack a bunch of camp chairs for Summer’s company picnic in Little Rock. We left early so we could spend a little extra time there. I got us last-minute tickets to see Jurassic World: Dominion at the IMAX, but the kids weren’t super excited for it. They argued that they hadn’t seen any of the others, but we actually saw the last one at an IMAX in Illinois.

We stopped in Conway first for some lunch because they were hungry. We tried going to Raising Cain’s, but that place was absolutely packed without an open seat in the house. From there, we drove across the street to Chipotle. Eaddie seemed most confused by their ordering process for some reason, but we made it through. Summer and I just split a burrito.

The last stretch of the drive was uneventful, and we made it to the theater and through the concessions line just in time to catch the trailers. They were super busy, and I didn’t realize it was opening weekend. I was pretty annoyed by all the chatter and noise around us, but the speakers were cranked up so high that you couldn’t hear much else. I was a bit disappointed in the movie myself, but I think all of them after the first one were kind of campy. The girls enjoyed it though, and it clearly wasn’t an issue that they hadn’t seen all of the prior films.

After the movie, we had just enough time to make it across to North Little Rock for the Splash company picnic at the Lakewood Properties park. It was nice and windy there, and the tree cover made the heat and humidity bearable. We found a box turtle, and Autumn immediately pulled it out of its hiding spot and carried it around the park while Summer and Eaddie played cornhole. I brought a biplane kite and put it together, but nobody else was really interested in that.

The girls got food, but I was still stuffed from lunch. I didn’t even eat any popcorn during the movie. Afterward, Eaddie said she wanted to fly the kite, but then didn’t follow me out into the opening. She and Summer took off in the opposite direction, leaving me standing there alone on the hill. My aggravations grew when I found them alone at some swings, way away from everyone else. I was happy to make an appearance with Summer, but it was hot and they kept leaving me alone. I felt like we were only there because she had to make an appearance as a part of the management team, but then she wasn’t even mingling.

Fortunately, they started a big kickball game going, which drew everyone together. I was surprised that Eaddie didn’t play, but Autumn did. I was proud of her for jumping in though. I sat at the top of the bleachers because I was sweating enough just sitting there. After a while, Eaddie came up and wanted to get a snowcone, so we walked back up the hill for that. I was sat weird on the bleachers, and also super dehydrated from the heat, so my legs cramped up immediately.

I didn’t even make it back down the hill by the time the game was over, so the girls came back up and played a little basketball before we headed home. On the way out, we took pans of smoked pork, potato salad, and coleslaw for later. The drive home was quiet and felt a little tense, as Summer had been quiet all day. We made it home, I played Tetris to get everything into the refrigerator, and the usual suspects made it to bed. I got there eventually.

It’s always work if you’re a leader.

Incident ID-10T

We had a brief meeting this morning, in which Thomas told us that the entire district was going to be implementing weird new management strategies, and that our department was going to start by putting Greg in charge for the day. I immediately asked who was fired first, and what we had to do to go home early. Unfortunately neither of those things happened.

The task I was given was actually completed yesterday, so I went with Jacob to look at the junior high scoreboard instead. The main problem was a breaker that was shut off, but then we needed the lift to get up to one of the scoreboards, so we had to come back in the afternoon. They had stripped most of the floors, so we wandered around the building to find our way into the office, where I helped Janie with some stuff before we headed back to the shop.

Thomas also asked us to clean up some Chromebooks to donate to the Russ Bus, so we did that until lunch time. Then we made Brody make good on his promise to buy us CiCi’s for lunch after winning at Cornhole. Only Greg, Thomas, and I were in for that, and it cost more than he expected, but it was still a good time. When we got back to the shop, I went with Jacob back to the junior high to get up on the lift. We were able to restore power to the other scoreboard, but then both controllers quit working.

We spent the last part of the day working on inventory at Oakland. I got super frustrated with Incident IQ and its insistence on clicking absolutely everywhere. It is not shortcut friendly at all, and is basically made for dummies to touch things, and I absolutely hate it. I’ve not been this frustrated with software in a very long time.

Gary called me near the end of the day and asked me to be his DD to Domino’s so we could get some pizzas for Kelsea. I wasn’t made aware until late, but apparently her father-in-law passed away earlier in the week, and he wanted to make sure the family was eating. I picked him up after work, we went to see Neal at Domino’s, and then made it out to Pottsville to deliver the food.

Nobody was home at first, so we waited out in the yard for her to show up. Then we chatted for a while before making it back to town. I dropped Gary off and went home to change before noticing that Mom had texted about dinner. They were frying sweet potato and shrimp fritters, so the girls met me over there for dinner.

The back yard was deafeningly loud with tree frogs, and I even spotted several of them huddled together near the roof on the side of the house. I helped fry the last of the stuff before finishing up and heading home for the evening. There’s been a toad stuck in the garage somewhere, and I put some water and a light out for him, but I fear he’ll perish soon because Summer didn’t shoo him out when she saw him a couple days ago. Hopefully I’ll find him tomorrow.

You are the true Lord of the Dance, no matter what those idiots at work say.

Idiot Wrangler

I made myself an iced coffee this morning, and then I was sent with Kyle and Brody to strip out the computer lab at Sequoyah. It was a short run to the closet, so pulling the cable out was a relative piece of cake. They were both working with earbuds in, so I went along with it and listened to Weird Al all morning. By the time we finished up, it had sprinkled a bit on the stuff in the truck bed, but it was likely all going to scrap anyway.

We finished unloading the truck in time for lunch, so Kyle drove me over to central office to see what the guys there wanted to eat. Someone suggested Stoby’s, and then we all volunteered Kyle to drive us. Somehow we made it to and from the restaurant without incident. I went light with tuna on a toasted croissant, and then took my chips for later.

We spent the afternoon finishing up termination at central office. It felt at times that we were underprepared, but Zach was happy to make trips back for parts we needed. It certainly could have been done more efficiently, but it wasn’t too embarrassing with all of the admins out at their retreat. As we finished up, I learned that one of the girls over there was married to Jackson, our old family friend from years ago.

I was the last one out of the admin building, and as I was walking into the shop, Kyle was walking back from the truck pen with a shit-eating grin, and said he may or may not have wrecked the truck trying to back it into the pen. I never made it over to look at the damage, but evidently it ran the length of the truck and left a pretty good dent. That frustrated basically everyone there with any goddamn sense. Zach let us go home early, but I think all but two of us actually stayed until Thomas showed back up from the retreat, and then they went to inspect the truck and damaged fence post.

I left and went to my parents’ house to clean up some leftovers for dinner. Mom wasn’t home from work yet, so Dad and I chatted until she showed up. Then we ate and I sat around for a bit before heading home. Summer hit the gym before going home, so I took her some Taco Bell, and we called it an early night.

“At least nobody died,” is not as comforting to hear as you may think.

Basic White Mexican

Gary had Jacob and me go upstairs to swap out some lab computers this morning. We knocked that out pretty quickly, but then Gary had to leave the two of us to install the Pearson VUE software The instructions were both Dale-level documentation, and printed. I could have probably deciphered them well enough, except that some of the instructions were out of order, or completely wrong. It took us the entire day to get everything running.

We had to give up at lunch time, and Gary and I met Zach, Greg, and his wife at the new La Chiqita, or as the menu said, “L C I L A C H I Q U I T A” in all capital, equally-spaced letters. The restaurant itself was a small, open dining area with relatively tightly-placed tables. The décor could be perfectly described as “basic white bitch,” down to the grassy wall and cursive name in the entryway. Just when it feels like we’ve reached peak Mexican restaurant saturation, another one pops up with the exact same menu. It was novel 20 years ago. Now I’m just annoyed that no other ethnicity appears to even be trying.

I finished up the lab in the afternoon, and then tried to trace down a dead line with Gary at the end of the day. Things got pretty quiet around the office, and I appeared to be the last one out the door right at quitting time. I went home until Mom called me over to finish up some rice soup.

We ate and chatted for a little bit, and then I went back home to meet Summer after she got in from work. She ate my leftover lunch in the floor, then got ready for bed. Eaddie called, citing boredom, but seemed to have a lot going on in the background. As I suspected, Autumn has been terrible, and has continued to steal technology to circumvent her punishment. The lack of action against her is beyond frustrating, and I’m ready to lash out.

Beat it, just beat it.