Last Tighten

Julie called me as I was trying to get to bed last night. We’ve been more or less on the same page about Dad’s retirement, but she keeps wanting to talk in circles about her frustrations, and it stresses me out. Maybe this year we finally made some headway with our parents though.

Summer and I got up early this morning and headed straight to the new lube in Maumelle. She had a coffee, but that was it. I wasn’t really hurting for breakfast after yesterday. We put together one of the toolboxes together, and then raced on the next two. It was pretty close considering we were sharing tools, and I felt like I held my own. Matt came through to check on things I guess, but didn’t stay long or really do anything to help.

We made it through all but the last large toolbox, and decided to get some lunch. I was already exhausted and needed a break, so we ended up driving into Little Rock to find a Chinese buffet. I was hoping we might see something different, and maybe if I had gotten some raw food to be grilled, it would have been better. It wasn’t bad, but the food was inconsistently fresh or old, dry, and cold. In any case, I still ate way too much.

After lunch, we went back to Maumelle to finish the last toolbox. The trick was to leave the nuts loose enough that the metal could wiggle and flex enough to get the rest of the bolts through the holes. When we finished, we cleaned up our trash and then headed right back home.

Summer insisted I stop for new windshield wipers, so we went to Superfast for those, then went to my house to bring in a package. We decided to stay there for the night, though she had to run home for some things. While she was gone, I unburied the treadmill so she could run a while when she got back.

I was sore and stiff all night, so I just laid on the couch with Summer after she got out of the shower. I got up a couple times to make her something to drink, but it was still an early night to bed.

Lots of rain makes for a nice, quiet new year’s eve.

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!

Hot Coffee Mod

I slept in pretty late today, and felt great for it. I remember waking up in an anxiety attack briefly, but it didn’t last long or keep me from falling right back to sleep. I ate a leftover smoked sausage for lunch, and eventually got cleaned up to go to Summer’s for the evening.

Amanda asked me to stop by and bring a package in for her, so I did that, then grabbed a free 2-liter from Casey’s, and finally made it up to Summer’s where she and all three kids were playing Mario Party. It was pretty loud while everyone was screaming at one another, and it made me a little woozy.

Presents didn’t take long to open, because it was a pretty lowkey Christmas. Summer went overboard and got me an Ember mug, which I looked at on a whim after seeing them on sale at Costco. I made some loose leaf tea in the Manatea infuser she also got me, and the cup really made all the differnce. After hours, even the very last little sip was as hot as the first.

We tried having the kids put together the gingerbread houses, but I don’t think they cared much about it. Eaddie had some fun with it, but Autumn didn’t participate at all, and Noah mostly just made a mess. After they got the walls up, they finished their game. Noah left, and the girls went to their rooms. Summer went to bed pretty early, which left me up late, sippin’ hot tea.

Tropical Christmas

Back From the Grave

When I got to work this morning, Jacob had gotten everyone stockings with candy. It was a really nice surprise, since he’s always actively avoided going to lunch with any of us. After a bit of chat about what projects we had to do over the break, everyone split up and I poked at some stuff in my office. After a little while, I went upstairs to find some Chromebooks to temporarily deploy at Oakland, just so I could remove the 95 or so devices that were too old to receive security updates.

Gary came up to help me, and we got about half of the Chromebooks I needed. Then most of us went to the junior high, where we were invited to join their staff lunch. The food was surprisingly good, and it was nice to see a bunch of the people over there that I don’t see any more.

After lunch and chatting with Kevin a while, we made it back to the shop and I went back out to finish up my Chromebook project. The afternoon took much longer, because for some reason a lot of the devices had to install two or three updates instead of just one. Fortunately Gary came out to help again after a while, and though I had to work a little later than our early quitting time, I got it all done.

I went home until it was time to pick up Summer for my work Christmas party, and then we made it to Nonna Bella’s for dinner. They just gave us an entire side of the restaurant and we, perhaps foolishly, pushed all of the tables into one big, long table. The boot we were sat in was the most awkward because of the size difference with the other tables, but we made it work. It was a really good time, and even Jacob showed up. Kyle, on the other hand, was gone all day to visit his parents and didn’t make it to dinner. Josh was out sick too, but everyone else made it.

When we got back to the house, Summer went to bed and Eaddie and I watched a couple episodes of House before bed. We’ve got about a third of the last season left, and then it’s off to the next show.

No more Spider-Spoilers!

Room Full of Losers

Autumn was up before me this morning, and kept banging around and yelling at the cats, so I couldn’t sleep in. Summer got up and made a couple eggs for a light breakfast, and then I continued my game of Don’t Starve until I eventually died from a spider bite.

All three of the girls went to the gym today. I stayed and ate a little more food before going home to clean up. Summer and I had to go to their company Christmas party in Little Rock, so the girls went to spend some time with their grandparents.

I picked Summer up and we headed out of town. We got to the Westwind School of Performing Arts, which appeared to be, at least in the dark, nestled right into the back of a relatively low-class neighborhood. The building was pretty nice, with more room than the place we went to a couple of years ago.

There were enough people there, trying to eat in some form of orderly fashion, that those that went first were done eating well before the last groups got up to get their food. They also decided to draw tickets for a single grand prize, but by eliminating people periodically throughout the night. Not only did it take longer, but also served as a method for management to call everyone a loser. I suppose the desired result was to give the last five standing the opportunity to split the $500 worth of gift cards, but they opted for all-or-nothing instead.

I made it through Christmas trivia and into the second round of Splash-specific trivia, but lost there on account of not being aware of anything relating to the company. We left as soon as they wrapped things up and made it home to a house of sleeping children, so we didn’t waste any time ourselves.

At least there was “food?”

Tropical Christmas Cookies

I got around this morning and went to Walmart and to get gas on my way to Summer’s. She baked lemon cookies for the kids to decorate when Noah got out of work. Eaddie was still in bed, so I was more or less left to my own devices for most of the day. When Autumn left the TV, I played some more Don’t Starve, which has been fun playing a little more casually on the couch.

Summer made a big pot of chicken alfredo, and we ate when Noah arrived. Then they decorated the tree while Summer made colored icing. It didn’t seem like anyone was really in the mood to do any of that stuff this early, especially with highs in the mid 70s this past week. Our weekends are pretty booked up until Christmas though, so we made do.

When Noah left, Eaddie went to finish up homework while Autumn did chores. I played my game some more, but ultimately died. C’est la vie. I needed to warm back up to the mechanics anyway.

You don’t keep it this warm in here even during the summer!

A Thankful Hurrah

Summer got up and made pancakes for breakfast this morning. Eaddie stayed in her room most of the day, and I played Firewatch on the TV over my Steam Link for a little while with relatively good results. Autumn finally made it back home, but hadn’t showered since she was last with us. I really just don’t understand how she can go that long carrying her stench so often.

I eventually headed home to start a fire out back, and prep the new grill for dinner. The fire caught pretty nicely and rolled all evening once the girls came over. Summer and I ran to Walmart to get burgers for a quick dinner, and I finally got to cook on the charcoal side of the grill.

I was actually a tiny bit disappointed, because the two halves aren’t connected at all, so there’s really no heat transmission between the charcoal and propane sides. That meant the grilling surface was actually pretty small. I struggled to get all twelve burgers on at once, not to mention the four hot dogs that Autumn didn’t want to cook over the open fire out back. I did like the grates and the general build quality though, so hopefully it lasts a while. I’ll have to get some propane to try out the other half, but that will be convenient for a quick cook.

After we ate, the girls all came outside and we roasted some marshmallows. When we finished, I helped Autumn prep her bicycle for her ride to school in the morning since she still hasn’t earned her right to the car again. Then everyone was off to bed to wrap up our first holiday break for the year.

You are here, and it’s beautiful, and escaping isn’t always something bad.


The girls went to Conway this morning for the Turkey Trot while I slept in. I just barely caught up on my sleep time when the cat turned my CPAP off, and the girls arrived back home shortly thereafter. I just showered there while Summer made some green beans, and then we went to my parents’ house and waited for Julie to arrive with the food she had cooked.

Bác Vân and Doug were there, along with Dad’s college friend Dave. Julie showed up exhausted from working nights on outage, but left without eating. The food was fine, but it wasn’t worth dragging herself out like that after not getting any sleep. We all ate, and then Mom joined us for a game of UNO FLIP!

Autumn left to go to her father’s, and then we took Eaddie home so she could clean house before her boyfriend could come over the next day. Summer developed a pretty bad headache and went right to bed. Eaddie cleaned, and then watched House with me on her breaks. I was tired, but stayed up a bit to look for deals. Otherwise it was a quiet, boring evening.

Shoppers are coming….

Pick a Number

We met at the shop again today, and this time Thomas was there while we all shared funny stories for nearly an hour. Eventually he had us all pick numbers, and the closest got to go home. Greg was the first one out, which was funny because he seemed the most eager to work. I went to Oakland and closed three work orders, which got me down to four, which are all basically non-issues. I guess it’s time to come up with some projects.

It wasn’t long after I got back to the shop that Thomas sent everyone else home. I stopped in to see Summer for a bit, then picked up an online order at Walmart before going to get Eaddie for some time on the Grom.

Eaddie did great today, and I think next time she’ll be ready for shifting gears. She rode around a couple of parking areas, and then around some of the paths in front of the school. When she was done, we went back to the shop to see Summer. Autumn pulled in just after we got there, and we went upstairs to eat some chili they made for the crew.

After a while, Autumn took Eaddie home and I went back to my own house for a while. Summer was supposed to leave around three, so I went up to their house a little after then, only to find that she was held up due to some employee drama. The girls were home feigning doing chores, and eventually Summer showed up.

The girls started in on each other with some attitude about who does what, and who likes who better. It wasn’t long before Summer confronted Autumn about skipping wrestling practice and lying about it. That argument took a little while and ended with the loss of phone and car privileges for a couple days. I don’t know that it will fix anything, but hopefully some other structural reinforcements will help.

Summer and Autumn went to the bedroom to watch a movie, and Eaddie and I watched several episodes of House until I was ready to pass out.

Drama Mama

Stranger Thanks

We got a much needed slow start this morning. Eaddie and I watched some more House until I went home to clean up. Summer took her to get haircuts, and then I met back up with them to go to a Thanksgiving gathering with John, Melissa, Travis, and friends.

I upset Summer by being predictably surprised by how short her hair was cut, which set her mood toward me for the rest of the night. Autumn was still at Quiz Bowl camp until later in the evening, and Eaddie didn’t want to go, so the two of us left for my house to get some chairs, then my parents’ house to get a folding table.

We arrived at John and Melissa’s at just about the perfect time to be helpful for the setup but not in the way of others already helping. Actually, Summer helped and I mostly just sat by myself until others started to show up. It was a majority of new faces, but it was a good time. We were split up at three tables that were separated just enough to make communication relatively impossible, so Summer and I just chatted with Travis and Veronica, who sat with us.

We never did get to any games, and people filtered out a fair bit earlier than I expected. Summer’s cold shoulder wasn’t helping any, so I loaded up the car by myself and we awkwardly left. Just as we got home, Summer said she had to go check on a customer that claimed to have a massive oil leak after a service today. I took her to the shop, where we picked up Justin and headed up Mill Creek.

They did what they could by flashlight, and ultimately determined that their service wasn’t at fault for whatever was leaking, though they never really did find the source. All they could see for sure was that the filter and drain plug were in place with no signs of a leak in either place.

We weren’t out for very long, and headed back home for the night. Eaddie was in Summer’s bed when we got there, so the three of us watched more House until Eaddie wanted to go to her own bed, and Summer and I talked a bit before going to sleep.

“How is it that you always assume you’re right?”
“I don’t. I just find it hard to operate on the opposite assumption.”