Ready for Takeoff

I got up early today so we could go hiking on Petit Jean with Tom, Angela, Brandan, and Nikolle. They brought Cutie along as well, and she really enjoyed running around outside. I thought Eaddie was going as well, but she stayed home and slept instead. Summer and I met the others at the Cedar Falls Overlook. That was barely a walk at all, and then we went to the lodge for a restroom break before going to the Bear Cave Trail. That was more climbing than walking, but I think they had fun. Our last stop was the gravesite, and I let Tom drive the Model 3. We weren’t there long before we had to get back to town because Uncle Rick’s family made it into the airport.

I raced home with Summer and had Eaddie load the Model Y for us so we could do a quick swap and go. We loaded up some food and went to get some ice, and met everyone at the airport. Julie rented a big room there where everyone could sit and eat, but everyone eventually spread out across the whole building and outside, particularly while Kevin was giving airplane rides.

I finally got to go flying with him, and it was exactly what I had imagined. I’ve always wanted to fly, but never put any effort into it. The regulations and formalities just sort of made it less fun, which was sort of the same way I felt about ham radio. We flew along the river toward Petit Jean, which was way faster than driving earlier that morning. We scared some birds, skated on some water, and got eye-level with a buddy of his that had flown to a sandbar for a night of camping. I got to fly while we climbed for a while, and then he took over for a couple maneuvers before we landed.

I was the last one in the air, so I got to see the beautiful sunset. The girls had left earlier because Summer was feeling sick and Eaddie wanted to go to the movies with some friends, so they didn’t get to see any of it. I also got brave enough to try out Kevin’s Onewheel, and did way better than I expected. I tripped up trying to get off a couple times, but didn’t fall until I had already ridden around with a little bit of speed. When I did finally fall, I think it was because I was trying to start out on a slightly sloped surface.

Dad finished up the night at the airport with a short magic show, and then everyone helped us load up to go home. Julie and Kevin locked up at the airport, and my parents and I waited for everyone else to make it back to their house to pack some food for their trip home. Then once they left, Dad took me home.

Summer was in bed, and Eaddie and Eli were at the house watching TV, so I showed them a clip from my flight before going to the office to research Onewheels and EUCs. It was tempting to order one at Black Friday prices, but I don’t guess I’d really have much occasion to ride one. It really was fun, though.

The Need for Speed!


Summer got up this morning and started prepping her food for hosting Thanksgiving. The fireplace kit I ordered came in a day late, but just in time for us to put it together and get wood loaded onto it. Kevin called just as I was finishing up, and I met him at the old house to load up the old sofa to bring to the new house. Since he had room in the truck, I also had him dump the old mattress I still had in the garage.

We unloaded the sofa really quickly, and Eaddie vacuumed so we could get it placed in the sunroom. I got a fire going, and people eventually started showing up. All of the out-of-towners came in first, so we had to rush everyone else. Mom and Dad brought Doug, and then Julie and Kevin showed up with most of the hot food.

It was a really great time, and we clearly had way more usable room to spread out than if we had been at my parents’ house. We did have one chaotic moment with a flooded bathroom, so I spent some time mopping up in there, but it was still a great first time to host a big family event.

Once everyone had enough socialization for the day, the girls and I cleaned up the kitchen and dining areas and settled in for the night. They did a really great job getting everything clean in a really short amount of time. I felt like I hit a brick wall, but still dawdled a bit before making it to bed.

That was a lot of potatoes.

Three South, Five and a Half North

I thought I would be stressing over the last minute moves today, but I decided to take a different approach. We had enough cleaned up and ready to go, and I decided against trying to wall mount my nice TV in a rush. My stud finder was going nuts anyway, so I’m not sure if there’s something else already in the wall anyway. I’ll have to investigate further.

I ran to my old house to pick up an assortment of things. While I was there, I cleared a path for the sofa in case we would have time to fetch it. I brought a rake home so Eaddie could clean up the front yard while I blew off the deck with the leaf blower. Summer spent all day prepping food and cleaning up around the kitchen. I tried fixing the craft ice maker in the refrigerator, but it appeared to be an issue with the gears in the motor. Before we knew it, the sun went down and family started coming in.

My parents had turkey soup and egg rolls, so the girls walked while I caught up to them in the car. Summer got to cook egg rolls, so she and Eaddie spent most of their time out back. John, Thea, and her mother were the first to arrive. Mom got upset after we tried to corral everyone to the dinner table and gave up, but Eaddie and I were hungry and there weren’t enough seats for everyone anyway.

The girls tired early, before the others arrived, so I took them home. When I got back, everyone else had finally arrived. I could tell they were exhausted from the drive, but they humored us and came over for a little bit of food and company.

Julie gave me some dry goods to take home, and I stayed until everyone else was ready to head out. Then I went home and calibrated my speakers for their new home. I hate that my subwoofer went out so suddenly and unexpectedly, but maybe it’s a sign.

Why, no!

This Guy Fawkes

Summer had a race in Conway this morning, and Eaddie had to get to the high school to take a bus to Conway for her orchestra concert. I got up pretty early myself and took a bath before Summer got back home. Then we packed up for a night at Alice’s.

We left Eaddie with the Model Y and took the Murano to Conway, which was awful after living on Autopilot for the past year. My arms were constantly tired, and all of my muscle memories were wrong. Our first stop was the liquor store in Morrilton, and then the China Town buffet in Conway for lunch. We finished up there just in time to make it across town to the Conway High School for Eaddie’s concert.

Both bands were pretty good, but I think my absolute favorite song was Eaddie’s last one. The concert was pretty short with only three songs from each of two bands, and then we headed straight to Alice’s place, only making a brief stop at a Dollar General for some energy drinks.

It was a small party this year. Alice and Josh were there, and Josh had one other friend come by. I took Summer, Alice, and the kids to the guest house to check things out, and then to see her in-laws next door briefly before going back to the house. They had some snacks there, but the girls mostly just chatted in the kitchen while the guys went down to start the fire. By the time we made it down the hill, it had mostly died down.

It was a great night of chatting by the fire though, and then we got to retire to a guest house instead of making the drive home after midnight. The guest house was a really cool, two-level house with everything we could have needed. Summer crashed pretty quickly while watching an episode of Fear Factor, which appeared to be on repeat. I wrapped up pretty quickly myself so I wouldn’t sleep too late.

That’s enough 90s television.

Spooky, Scary Mortgages

It was really frosty this morning, and it made for a quiet ride to work. Kim was out again, and this time she said she was actually sick. Denice asked about printing to our office printer, and that led me to discover that our domain controllers weren’t replicating correctly. I spent the entire rest of the day troubleshooting that.

I got a call from the Rockline recruiter that I responded to last night, and he indicated that they may need to move forward with a decision before I’m available for an in-person interview, but wanted me to keep in touch at the end of the conference just to see where we both were in that moment. I really don’t want to double my commute time, but I wouldn’t mind doubling my salary. My current position may sound better on paper though, and may be a better position to hold while I look for the right opportunity.

Summer was on her way back, so I waited for her to get some Cici’s. I got my desk disassembled and then met her at the wash where she had to contact a customer. Then she was too tired to go out, so I picked up Taco John’s on the way to the house while she waited on trick-or-treaters. Eaddie got home a bit after that, and then everyone was off to bed.

It’s “trick or treat,” not “oh, hi there!”

All in Time

I woke up hungry this morning, so I made more ham, egg, and cheese biscuits for everyone while they were in bed. When the girls got around, we sat down to watch Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Then I went home to clean up so we could go see The Dial of Destiny at UEC in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the girls got out and picked up stuff to make fish tacos for dinner. Summer was still prepping stuff when I got back to their house, so we ended up going to a showtime an hour later than we planned.

I thought the movie was pretty good, or at least better than the last one. I still felt sleepy through parts of it though, which made me believe I’m just not as interested in those types of movies. I kept wanting to fall asleep through every single one of them, and being in a theater was no exception.

We made it back to the house and I grilled some tilapia for the tacos. Then we went downtown to watch the fireworks. People were parked all over the place on the north side of the tracks, so we parked at Laws’ and just walked to the corner to sit by the Burris Memorial Plaza. The girls went first while I played on my Steam Deck. Eaddie’s friend Eli met them there. When I finally came out to join them, Marcia and her family were sat right next to them and called out to me as I walked by. We briefly caught up before I sat down next to Summer, and we watched the show. The girls enjoyed it, but without music and with relatively low mortar fire, I was super underwhelmed. It felt like a big residential show more than something a city would put on.

The girls went to bed pretty quickly after we got back to the house. I finished up as fast as I could, since I’d have to go back to work for the first time in over a week. Three days until the weekend, and I already feel like I need the break.

Shut Down

Omelette du Fromage

I woke up naturally pretty early today, and made Summer an omelet out of a bunch of leftovers. Hers was the ugliest, and then mine happened to turn out the prettiest. Eaddie didn’t wake up until much later, but when I made hers, it came out looking somewhere in the middle.

Summer didn’t want to do anything, so I eventually left to shower and get ready for my first day at a new job. I spent some time trying to fix my still-leaking kitchen water lines. I couldn’t really tell where the water was coming from, but I think I mostly fixed it. Then I took a shower and got my backpack loaded before heading up to get the girls for a late lunch or early dinner with my parents.

Autumn stayed home, and the remaining three of us went to my parents’ house for fried shrimp and sweet potato. Dad was working up quite a sweat outside, as I had done earlier from the heat and humidity. We mostly finished eating before my parents made it back inside, and then visited for a little bit before heading back home.

Summer and I watched Jerry & Marge Go Large until Noah came over later in the evening and spent some time with us. Then I played some random YouTube videos on the TV until Summer went to bed. Eaddie hung out with Noah for a while after everyone else went to bed, and I tried to get to sleep really early.

I hate being the new guy again.

Grilled for Mothers

I woke up a couple minutes before my alarm and got out of bed so we could go downtown for the girls’ 5K. Summer got the others up, and we went down behind the city mall where people were gathering at the starting line. As soon as the girls were ready to queue up, I started walking back toward the car to get away from the loud music. It was a relatively small crowd, so I just didn’t want to stand around waiting all alone.

Ian spotted me as he walked up, and stopped to talk at me for the duration of the race. We watched everyone take off down El Paso, and he stood next to me as I leaned against a light pole. He didn’t really have anything useful to say, and just mirrored complaints I had been hearing for weeks.

Summer finished in good time. Eaddie was farther behind than I expected. Autumn took nearly an hour. Summer wanted to wait for the awards ceremony, which was good because Eaddie won third place in her division, and then Summer won second in hers. We dropped Autumn off at home after that, and then went to Stoby’s for some breakfast. I was quite happy with the “Blast” with the biscuit, hash browns, and all of the proteins with a side of gravy. It even came out to less than the eggs Benedict that Summer and Eaddie had.

After we ate, we went to Walmart to get everything I needed for twice-baked potatoes. Then we headed back to the house so I could cook them before dinner with my parents. Autumn left to take Adam to the Clarksville aquatic center, so we were free to enjoy ourselves. I baked some bacon and then got the potatoes into the oven before taking a shower. Then I gutted the potatoes and mashed everything together with some butter, sour cream, bacon, green onions, and cheese.

Once the potatoes were done, we loaded up and headed towards my parents’ house, with a brief stop at my house to change shirts. My parents had all kinds of stuff to grill, but none of it was ready yet. The charcoal was nearly ready though, so I raced to get things prepped and started cooking.

Julie and Kevin came over and we had steak, potatoes, squash and zucchini, corn, fried shrimp, and a couple plates full of smoked sausages that nobody touched. It was a lot of food, and it exhausted me for the day. We hung out for a little while after dinner and continued to watch some Vietnamese girl harvest bamboo shoots on YouTube. Autumn brought Adam over to deliver graduation tickets, and evidently asked if she could have a pool party for her birthday. I could have told her the pool wouldn’t be ready by then, but I guess she felt like she’d have better luck bypassing everyone else.

We ended up leaving before them, as Dad showed Adam his camera collection. We made it home and everyone went straight to their rooms. I fought sleep long enough to finish my own chores, and then it was off to bed.

Next time, I’ll use the stand mixer.

Witchy Woman

I slept way better last night, no thanks to the constant snoring that Autumn did all night long. It aggravated all of us to the point that even Eaddie woke up and yelled at her to flip over, which helped for a bit. I wanted to sleep in a bit since we didn’t plan for breakfast, but that didn’t happen. I got up and showered while the girls packed everything up, and then they loaded into the car like we were leaving, but I went to check on Mom to see if they had plans.

We ended up going to the clubhouse to play some more games until Dad finished at the convention. Then we went downtown to try and find a seat at the Local Flavor Cafe. There was very clearly a group of people outside waiting, so we went to La Familia for some Tex-Mex instead.

The food was great as always, but the already-bitchy Autumn just got worse when I called her out for ordering three bean burritos for $20 when most of the rest of us shared fajita platters for a buck less. We made it back for the matinée show, and then we headed straight home after that.

Summer hadn’t been feeling the best over the past day or two, and it just got worse as we drove home without a word, listening to a new playlist maker I tested out on YouTube Music. Once we got there, the girls unloaded and Autumn started some laundry while Eaddie played the flute for literally hours. Summer put on the first Iron Man, and then went to bed. I laid with her for a little while, but still had to finish my evening routine before going to sleep myself.

Who’s got time for that?

State of Dinner

I had a horrible time trying to sleep again last night, but surprisingly it didn’t hurt me too bad during the day. We had breakfast and got out of the hotel, then made it down the road to The Butterfly Palace. It was a relatively short wait, but the greenhouse was a bit smaller than I expected for the size of the building. There also weren’t quite as many butterflies as I had envisioned, but it was still a good time. They had little vials of “a scoop” of orange Gatorade mixed with two quarts of water with a little fake flower on top, and we carried those around just hoping for butterflies to land on us. I had the bright idea to stick mine behind my ear, and I think I was the first one to actually attract a butterfly.

It was a really neat experience, and we watched a little short 3D film about monarchs before we made it downstairs for a tiny reptile room and a really cool mirror maze. I started really feeling the effects of my lack of sleep while the girls were looking around the gift shop, so I waited in the car until they came out. Then we started heading toward Eureka Springs, stopping in West Branson for gas, and then Reeds Spring for some lunch at Parmesan’s Pizzeria. Their tiny dining room was packed, so we waited for a table, and the pizza was worth the wait.

We finally made it to Eureka in the rain, and got checked into the hotel after a bit of a wait. They gave us a room right next to my parents, which was convenient. I bounced back and forth between our room and theirs to talk to Mom, and then Summer and I went down to the convention center to find Dad. We weren’t hungry during the dinner break, so the girls and I found a recreation area by the pool that had ping pong, mini golf, air hockey, a couple of pool tables, and some other stuff that was mostly out of order. It was actually a lot of fun, and was probably the best thing we could do to keep out of the rain.

Eventually we had to make our way back for the evening show, and Eaddie got picked as a volunteer again. The girls seemed to enjoy it enough that we thought they might actually be willing to stay another night, but then Autumn started to get cranky again as the evening progressed.

After the show, we all went downtown for a really late dinner at The Spring on Main. We actually parked right by the entrance, but I didn’t realize it was upstairs, and we walked up a couple blocks before I realized we were in the wrong place. We made our way back down, and then up the stairs into a small, mostly empty restaurant and bar. The menu gave me a little bit of sticker shock after glancing at the prices online, but I think it was worth it. Everyone was really happy with their upscale food. It all tasted really fresh and delicious, and the service would have been excellent even if we hadn’t showed up 30 minutes before closing.

Once we ate, we headed back to the room and we had to practically wrestle Autumn into the shower after over 48 hours. Summer put on Indiana Jones, and I wrapped up as quickly as I could, hoping to sleep through Autumn’s relentless snoring.

Suffer silently.