On the Subject of Pedestals

Eaddie has been wanting to go out on a hike, so she and Summer decided today was the day. I suggested Pedestal Rock, a place I hadn’t been there since I was a child, because it seemed like an easy enough hike for someone in my condition. They jumped right out of bed and were ready to go, so I took the opportunity to shower while they went to the store to get lunch materials. Then they brought the Model Y over to charge while we took mine up to Pelsor.

Nobody had eaten yet, and I didn’t want to drive for an hour and then hike for just as long before we could sit down and eat sandwiches, so I stopped at Sonic before we got to Dover. It was a pretty middling experience, made slightly worse by the fact that we then weren’t really hungry enough for lunch on the trail afterward.

We walked the Pedestal Rocks trail, which was longer than Kings Bluff. It wasn’t too incredibly hot or humid out, but the slight changes in elevation got me huffing pretty quickly. Even micro changes wear me down really quickly, so I tried to pace myself. We made it down to the rock formations fairly easily, and I took a short break while the girls wandered around at the bottom of the formations for a bit. The hike back up to the car was much worse for me, but once we leveled out I recovered fairly quickly.

The girls ate some pita chips and hummus, but didn’t get out any of the sandwich stuff. I found a large chunk of something in what was left of our cranberry slush from Sonic. It had broken up a bit in the drink, which led me to believe it was a chunk of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but nobody was brave enough to taste it.

Eaddie was pretty anxious to get back home by that time, so we left. As we got back into town and service, Summer noticed that Autumn had stopped by Adam’s house on the way home from Clarksville, where she had been overnight. It was clear they had spent the night together at her father’s house. Autumn’s lies about their plans pretty well sealed her fate.

We swapped vehicles at my house and then went inside to chat for a bit before deciding to go to Summer’s parents’ house to talk to them first. We felt we owed them the courtesy, but that turned toxic absolutely instantly. We had barely pulled up when Autumn called Summer wanting to know if we were there to talk them out of paying for her band camp trip. It was a short conversation before Autumn hung up on her mother, and then Summer had to talk JoAnn into coming out to talk to the three of us.

Everyone seemed to be concerned about band camp, because that’s what Autumn called them about. Gerald stomped out, white as a ghost, a few moments later and banged his fist in anger. Summer told him we were kicking Autumn out, and he said, “Good! You don’t deserve her!” I think we all felt a brief feeling of relief until he pulled the rug out from beneath us and said she could come live with him. Then he tried bringing up Summer’s past when she moved out of their house, as though that made any kind of point at all. He cast Summer away and told her not to come back. She and Eaddie went back to the car while I stood there in shock.

I tried to calmly explain the situation, but it was clear he wasn’t going to listen. He was locked into blind support of Autumn’s parasitic lifestyle, and she’ll only suffer for it. I told him that I knew they loved the girls, and for some reason his only response was that he didn’t love Eaddie. That just seemed like a cruel and pointless thing to say, and I had absolutely no response loaded for that. We headed to the house to confront Autumn, but of course they had already told her she was being kicked out, so she was packing by the time we got there.

Autumn tried ignoring us at first, but finally came out long enough for Summer to talk to her. After over a year of hearing her say she hates it with us, she said she wasn’t ready to move out, and then turned to me to ask if I was “okay with this.” I don’t know what kind of answer she expected from me after she tried to send me to jail with false accusations. Summer did a great job of laying out the expectations and where Autumn failed to meet them. We gave her twice the amount of time we told her, and then sent her off with her car title and birth certificate. We’ve wasted enough time afraid for our own safety with her around. She can mooch off of someone else from now on.

I think Summer and Eaddie handled it relatively well, but it was hard. I didn’t really expect to tear up myself, but I did while giving my parting words. They took a moment to breathe, and then Summer took me home to get the Murano. While we were there, she called Nick to explain the situation. He played dumb enough that I didn’t even think to be angry at him, since he was the one that allowed Autumn to stay the night with her 15 year old boyfriend. What an absolute putz.

Summer spent a while on the phone in her car when we got back to the house. Eaddie had taken a shower, and we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. When Summer finally came in, I suggested pizza and both of their eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning and they had just found all of the surprise presents under the tree. I ordered some Little Caesars, and spent the next 20 minutes waiting for it.

When I got back to the house, we watched Modern Family while we ate. Then the girls went to bed. New challenges await us tomorrow, but at least for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

If it were up to me, we would have given her car to her in cube-form.

Old Tomato

Things were tense with Summer every time I saw her today. She and I both slept in a bit. She tried to wake Autumn up before she left for work, and of course I could hear mild yelling from the bedroom. Once she left, I had a bagel and then quietly went home myself for the day. I wanted to read up on some Ubiquiti networking documentation, but I could never get myself into it. The best I could do was complete a load of laundry.

I thought Mom was working, but she texted around lunch time and it looked like she was at home. I thought I’d visit her, but I didn’t get out until after my laundry was done. I had to go by Walgreens first for my medication, but that was a failed trip and a phone call to my benefits line, because apparently my insurance paperwork hasn’t made it in yet. I decided not to pay full price and just ride out some higher blood pressure for a few weeks to see what happens.

From there, I stopped to wash my car before heading to see Mom. By the time I got there, I saw the garage was empty and it looked like she was at work. Confused, I headed back home. Summer was home by then, but the girls had been out shopping all day. By the time I got to her house, she said they had left again for the art walk downtown. Things were still tense, and I likened the situation to beating a dog for peeing on the carpet the day before. I told her I was sick of nothing being done. There’s been no accountability. Autumn simply doesn’t understand the difference between not being a shitty person and working to earn something. I’m not going to keep my mouth shut any longer.

I ate some leftovers, and Summer went straight to bed. I just sat there wishing I was at home all night long. What a waste.

First fireflies of the year.

Poor Test

I was pretty sleepy last night, and slept in a fair amount today, partially because my phone never finished charging overnight with a faulty cable, and I wanted to run a full charge cycle for testing purposes. Summer forgot it was Memorial Day and scheduled herself to work in Greenbrier. Autumn had plans to spend the day out, mostly with Adam, so Eaddie and I had the day to ourselves.

I started with a bowl of cereal while I shopped for a sunshade for my car. Mom called to offer leftovers for lunch, so I woke Eaddie up and we eventually made our way to their house to eat. Then she wanted to go play her flute with a friend, so we had to run back to the house for her instrument, and then I dropped her off and headed to my house for the day.

The first thing I did was poke around the logs some more to get them burning down some more. Then I went inside and had a bit of an anxiety/dizziness attack that gave me a little bit of a dull headache for a while. Eventually I got around to doing my practice testing for Entergy, but evidently I did the wrong collection of tests. I thought I had to do all of them, but it was just four specific categories.

As it got later, I went back to get Eaddie, and we made it home just after Summer. They watched The Office while I argued with Julie about the practice test answers. I just couldn’t see how they came to some of their conclusions, but hopefully they were just poor examples of test questions. It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t make it anyway.

I ended the night with even more frustration, trying to re-pair Summer’s Fitbit Aria to her new router. I forgot to update it when I replaced the router, and apparently Fitbit has abandoned the setup process, and it will no longer work. I wish I could just no longer work.


Opportunities Rebound

I didn’t sleep great last night, but my biggest struggle was slow traffic and feeling hungry on the drive in to work. I parked by the loading dock for the second time, assuming kids were only out there yesterday due to the staff softball game they had, but evidently that’s just what they do every day after lunch. Some of them were playing basketball nearby, and the ball hit my car and set off the alarm. What surprised me the most was that I didn’t even notice the notification because it wasn’t a special sound. It was just a regular notification that didn’t draw any special attention. One of the maintenance guys had to come in to get me when the alarm was going off. Unfortunately I didn’t even catch the event on sentry mode, beyond seeing a basketball bounce away from my car, and then be caught by a girl that looked like a deer in headlights.

The best part of the day was the “taco Tuesday” nachos, which was a big, ugly glob of meat and cheese with a heap of vegetables on top from the salad bar. I’ve actually been overall pretty happy with the lunch there. Otherwise I spent most of my day writing up thoughts on our device deployment, and trying to come up with compelling ideas for administration to limit damage and loss.

The second best part of the day was the confidence boost of getting a job offer from Compsys, and then later a request for an interview at Green Bay Packaging. The former wasn’t going to pay well enough for the commute, but the second would be worth the sudden jump. I’ve really liked the people at Two Rivers so far, but it is a lot of work for very little compensation, comparatively. It’s a bit like when I started at Russellville, making way too little for an ever-increasing workload.

I made it home through some more slow traffic, but Summer was charging in the garage, so I changed clothes and took my car for a wash. Then I came back home to do some laundry. Once it was in the dryer, I left to visit my parents, but they were out at Lelan’s shop getting Mom’s hair cut. I turned back around and waited out the laundry, and then headed up to Summer’s for the evening.

Summer was already in bed and wanted me to sit with her for a bit. Autumn started watching TV at an obnoxious volume in the living room, but fortunately left around the time I was getting ready for bed. Eaddie decided she didn’t want to go to work with me, but then came out fussing that she didn’t have a source to stream The Office. First world problems.

Don’t blow it.


I slept in a little bit today by comparison with my earlier time to rise with commute. I needed it. I heard Autumn talking to Summer in the living room, so I just stayed in bed for a while. By the time I came out, Summer started to rush me home to get ready. She wanted to get there before the doors opened, so she ran me off to go home and shower. Then she picked me up late to meet her parents as they were coming out of the elevator at the arena. It was kismet.

Wesley and Cindy showed up and sat a couple rows down from us, so I talked with them once my parents got seated. By then it wasn’t too much longer before they filed everyone in and the ceremony started. We had good seats to see Eaddie in the first chair position in the band, as well as the stage as the seniors walked up.

Ginni’s speech was incredibly robotic. It was as if she prompted ChatGPT to write her a graduation speech that included things for which people normally have feelings, but which she as an interstellar alien, had absolutely no understanding. It was dry, emotionless, and sounded unrehearsed. I don’t think I’d feel any differently if I weren’t bitter, because all of the other speeches were pretty great, and at least seemed heartfelt.

Having graduation split into two groups made this one much more bearable. Sitting for the entire class would have sucked, not just because it would have taken twice as long for everyone to walk, but because of how many people would be there. I suggest a hard limit of two guests per student.

Afterward, we all met outside and waited for Autumn to get some pictures. Summer’s parents left after saying they would have lunch with us. My parents would join us, but made it out before we did. Summer replaced the traffic cones I moved out of the way, so traffic backed up behind us. The girl that parked next to us was having an absolute fit and had who I presumed was her mother stand out in the parking lot behind her to block traffic. I didn’t see it, but evidently she was flipping people off and screaming about it, so I just made us wait until all the traffic was done before we left.

We had both of the girls and Adam with us, and we had a shrinking window of time to take everyone out to eat, so we met my parents at Burger King for Autumn’s favorite food group. I knew there was no way in hell we’d make it in and out of Brick Oven, and by the time we got out of the parking lot, nobody thought we’d even make it across town and back from Autumn’s favorite restaurant. I ordered some food ahead to try and speed things along and maybe save a buck, but I think I really ended up just wasting even more money because Eaddie wanted a Spider-Verse Whopper that came with a couple chicken sandwiches and chicken fries that nobody really wanted. Summer ordered her own meal, my parents ordered their own meals, and Autumn got the one meal I ordered on the drive over.

From there, we rushed Adam back to the band room and Autumn left to go with him. We took Eaddie to Old Post to hang out with some friends, and Summer took me home so she could go work out, or mow, or do whatever else. I did a couple loads of laundry and then mowed my own yard, which got me much sweatier than I anticipated. The back yard is frustratingly overgrown again, and no matter how much I plead, I can’t get a hand with it. It made me seriously contemplate staying home out of frustration so that I could just tackle it on my other day off instead of wasting that with the girls too.

I did finally make it up to Summer’s for the evening, where she was nearly asleep from watching George of the Jungle, and Eaddie was up practicing her flute. Summer woke up once I got there, and was up for a while until after Autumn finally got home. I was cold and tired, yet clammy from mowing, so I didn’t stay up very long.

Your place.

Fix One Thing

I was a little less scattered at work today, and finally managed to resolve one issue that nobody was really talking about. Evidently one of our domain controllers had some major updates pending, and I don’t know if that was the cause, but Google Password Sync wasn’t working for Workspace for any changes to that controller. Once I fixed that, I was able to sign into my new email account with the password I set in Active Directory.

I followed Kim through the lunch line again for a lunch break, and afterward we went down to the gym to check out the sound system while the elementary kids practiced their musical before the big show in the evening. She said she had to go to the evening show and press “play” for each of the songs they would sing, because evidently that was too much work for whatever teacher would already be there adjusting the volume.

I ended up leaving a little bit early since I stayed late yesterday and basically worked through lunch both days. They had the construction lights going at the two bridges I crossed, so traffic was quite a bit slower coming home today. I stopped by Superfast once I got into town, to check on Summer and get some pictures of the paint defects on her car to send to the service team.

Autumn was running all around town for some reason, but Eaddie found a ride home. I went home for a little bit and Ben called to check up on the new job. We talked for a little while, and he offered to come visit since I guess we’re paying members of the APSRC. Finally I headed up to Summer’s house once she was off work. I stopped for some tacos and a car wash along the way, but had to backtrack when I saw both a train and emergency vehicles parked all over the road on Elmira.

When I got to the house, Eaddie was trying to figure out their History Day trip. They couldn’t figure out how to get everyone up there, so I finally said we could still chaperone if we needed to. Having a job again made me a little more comfortable with how much money the trip would cost.

The girls all went to their rooms early, but somehow I still ended up awake pretty late. I just kept coming up with weird Monopoly-esque offers in my mind for the house we liked on Ouita. I guess that’s more thought for the commute.

Then onto the next.

All Eggs; No Basket

I woke up to a rejection email this morning, which stressed me out a bit. He did at least have some kind words for me, so maybe something will work out in the future. After that, I had a bit of a slow start. I wanted to do something productive, so I cleaned the kitchen and then started looking for more jobs. I got a response from an application I submitted yesterday, but that job would require a commute to Maumelle every day.

I eventually made it home to shower and apply for a few more jobs. Then I headed back up to Summer’s once she was on the way home. Joe called while I was driving, and asked me to support Donna in her bid for school board. Maybe I have Jason all wrong, but he’s always been nice to me as a total stranger. I appreciated Joe’s call, but I still find it odd to have people ringing my doorbell or calling my unpublished phone number.

Summer ended up going to the gym, so I got the ham and some rolls out for a snack-like dinner. It looked like the girls went out to eat right after school, so I didn’t concern myself with them. Eaddie came out of her room and we finished Breaking Bad, but then Summer came home talking loudly on speakerphone. We tried shutting her in the bedroom, but then she came back out and sat in front of the TV with us. That was even more annoying, because she hasn’t been interested in watching it with us, but she kept asking questions about what was happening. In the finale.

Everyone was off to bed by the time we finished. Eaddie tried having me fill out a form for her National History Day trip, but we decided to wait until after our meeting the very next day.

Strip the Personality

The Honest Ones

I got up fairly early this morning and headed home to mow my lawn. Summer had me drop a couple things off for her at the wash, and I traded vehicles with her so I could load up a ladder for our second home tour. It was nice and cool outside, so mowing wasn’t bad at all. I still felt some chest pain as I got going, but it got better over time. I got the front yard and most of the back done with just one battery, and I’ll need to burn some fallen branches and other scrap wood to clean up the rest. When I finished, Bác Vân called me over to get a couple slices of pizza she brought home from the casino. Then I took a shower so I could get some lunch for Summer.

She wanted “a good burger” but wasn’t willing to leave the wash, so she got a “Whopper” instead. After we ate, Brendon wanted a ride in the Model Y, so I took him around the block before eventually heading home. Eaddie was supposed to go with us to look at the house, but decided she would rather watch a band recital instead. Once Summer left work, I headed up to her house to pick her up, where she called Eaddie to convince her to come with us instead.

Summer drove us across town using the least efficient route to get Eaddie, and then finally started following the navigation system to get us to the house. Dad beat us there, and we beat Alisha, so we took our time staring at a neighbor’s dog that was running around the driveway. David was actually outside on the front porch, so we chatted with him a bit when we found him. Then Dad and I climbed up a ladder in the detached garage to try and figure out what it would take to put the garage door back together. They didn’t appear to have the parts, and the rails were removed far enough to encapsulate the door behind drywall.

The girls finished touring the rest of the house while we were messing around in the garage, but then I wanted to walk through once more to measure some spaces. Eaddie really seemed to like the place, and it smelled way better than it did the other day. They had incense burning in practically every room, and several of the windows were cracked open. As we finished up our second tour, I took David for a ride in the Model Y, which he really enjoyed. I guess all that’s left is to talk to a bank or five.

We dropped the ladder back off at my house, and then headed toward home. I convinced the girls to go to CiCi’s for dinner, but as we walked in the door, I got a call from the last lawyer I contacted. He was at least honest enough to give me the news I didn’t want to hear. By his estimation, the risk versus reward just wasn’t good enough, and he suggested if I had 10 grand to burn, I should take it to a roulette table in Tunica and bet on even. Though frustrated, stressed, and anxious, I was appreciative of an opinion that didn’t immediately turn into a sales pitch. I don’t know what’s next, but I know I’m not quite ready to give up.

After that lengthy phone call, we went inside to eat. It was overall a substandard experience, because we learned they were completely out of forks, but only after we had made big salads. They never once came out with a barbecue pizza, but at least they had some fresh spinach at one point. Most everything had been sitting for at least a little while, so it just wasn’t great.

Autumn was home when we got back, and had made herself a sandwich after doing who-knows what kind of grocery shopping. Summer went straight to bed, Eaddie disappeared into her room right away, and Autumn went to her room as soon as she finished eating. I spent the rest of the night poring over first-time home buyer tips, and trying to make sure we weren’t about to go completely broke. I’d really love a job offer right about now.

No Bull! Know WTF is happening!

Salty About It

I went to bed pretty late, but had trouble sleeping after the sun came up, so I got up and made a really nice pork chop sandwich out of some leftovers. I had some trouble with the salt shaker, so I tried to adjust it and ended up shearing the threaded rod that the adjustment piece screwed onto. I took it home to try and extract the piece, hoping there were enough threads to put the thing back together again, but didn’t have any luck.

I was a really slow starter after that. I could tell I just didn’t want to do anything. It was rainy and cold, and I just didn’t want to be bothered. I still hadn’t quite fully recovered from my stomach issues over the weekend. The best I could do was apply for a job I had seen the other day. I dreaded calling another lawyer, and put that off until after I excavated the prehistoric pile of dishes in my sink and took a shower.

Dad’s friend-of-a-friend referral was a complete dead end and it had me second-guessing my ability to get past even the simplest of secretaries. Fortunately I received a response from someone I contacted last week, who unfortunately couldn’t help me, but did at least offer several other relevant referrals after actually reading my submission. I made a call, and now we’ll play the waiting game again.

Eventually I headed up to Summer’s for the evening, stopping for tacos along the way. Evidently Taco Johns was robbed, and both of their main entry doors were smashed and taped up with cardboard boxes. When I got everything to the house, the tacos were pretty cold and awful. Summer was in a mood. Eaddie came out to eat a couple tacos with us, but I begrudgingly finished up the lion’s share.

The girls disappeared pretty quickly after that. Even I was off to bed relatively early, and hoped to get enough sleep to make a little more of the next day.



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.