Kim was out today, and Denice wasn’t in the office for the first part of the morning, so I made myself some coffee and tried to concentrate on my Modern Driver Management in SCCM. Somehow, the server stopped responding to PXE requests, and then started working again after lunch, just as suddenly as it had quit.

The drive home was pretty fast, but that didn’t stop a jackass truck from passing me at over 70mph, and then end up parked in front of me once we got into Dardanelle. I’m sick to death of those idiots kicking road grit in my face and gaining nothing for it.

I was racing against the potential of rain, so I went straight home where the girls were just getting back with dinner. I went to my office and started working on taxes, determined to file on time. It took a trip back to the old house to find some paperwork, and then doing some math to make up for forms I didn’t have, but by the end of it all, I felt pretty confident in what I filed for both of us. Summer didn’t even add any of her interest accounts, so I was that far ahead already.

Sick of it.


We all slept in this morning after I initially woke up just before five as Eaddie jokingly suggested as a departure time. We loaded up quickly, and Summer and I went in for some breakfast while Eaddie sat in the car. Then we met Dad at McDonald’s to pick up some steak, egg, and cheese bagels for Julie and Kevin. The kid at the register kept wanting to tell me too much information about his struggle finding the right picture on his employee register, or how he’d eat his Quarter Pounders with leftover gravy from the morning’s breakfast. Eaddie wanted to try one of the bagels, so we split one before we left.

Dad followed us while we kept getting stuck behind slow traffic, but eventually we passed most of it and got ahead of him. We stopped for a restroom break in Ozark, but didn’t need to charge. Eaddie had rehearsal at Tech after we got home. I unpacked and then left on the Onewheel to see Mom, and then ride the bagels over to Julie across town. She suggested I could go find Kevin at the airport, but I ended up a couple blocks over at my friend Kevin’s place.

Kevin hopped on the board and rode a little bit, but then wanted Matthi to try it out. That kid wasn’t afraid of anything, and immediately jumped on with reckless abandon. He got pretty good at it too, and then brought out a RipStik and a classic two-wheeled hoverboard to show me. Kevin and I ended up chatting for quite a while before I left and circled through the old house to feed the fish.

I didn’t quite make it back home before my battery died. I would have made it if I hadn’t circled through the Ridgewood Brothers’ parking lot, and nobody was there anyway. I had to walk most of the way up Honeysuckle, and the Onewheel got heavy fast. I got to the top of the hill and was able to ride it for a few more feet, but then had to walk it from the end of the street back to the house. It was the hardest workout I’ve had with the thing, but it was worth it.

I eventually had a shower after getting all sweaty carrying the Onewheel. Eaddie ate with Eli, so Summer and I had some leftover corned beef. She spent most of the evening like the rest of the weekend, not feeling great. I thought for sure I had seen something about not having school on Monday, but I don’t know where I hallucinated that, because there’s even a lunch menu. I’ll have to take another day off to take the Model 3 back to Tulsa, which makes me a bit sad, but I think it’ll all be worth it in the end.

I could ride you, but I’d have to charge.


I only woke up about 15 minutes earlier than usual, since I did all my prep work the night before. I didn’t love it, but it got the job done, and got me to Little Rock a little after 7:30, which gave me just enough time to settle in before finding the classroom. Greg called to tell me he was coming in late, but that he would be there since they couldn’t get a refund for his ticket. He said he felt better, so hopefully I don’t catch whatever he had.

Mike Meyers was a bit of a celebrity in the field, and I think he probably acted more that way than anybody else let on. I was only just aware of his existence in the space, but Ben wanted to come have his book autographed. When I saw that he was giving us copies of his new book, I jumped at the chance to have it signed for myself, and got a selfie with him as well.

The class itself was rather a disappointment. I had hoped it would be an intense workshop to try and cover as much material as possible, but instead it ended up almost being more of a roundtable. It would have been a nice way to decompress and chat further about things you learned in a formal class, but in and of itself, I don’t think Greg or I learned anything at all. It was almost more of a pep talk to psyche us up for the test itself.

Greg and I had lunch at the hotel, which was quite a bit smaller than I expected, but still better than the “barely a step above cafeteria food” I had documented from previous years. Half of the bar was a salad, and the other half had mostly run out of food by the time we got there. They had some chicken, and Greg found some pork when we went back for seconds. The staff were fussing that it seemed like there were more people than they were told, and we missed out on dessert as well. Ben picked up Tacos 4 Life, but I declined his offer to pick up some for us, remembering a less than stellar experience from before.

The afternoon went by relatively quickly, but with not much more productivity. By then, the hotel had managed to bring out cookies, and did a fair job of keeping the drink fridges stocked. We got through the day, but Greg mostly scoffed and rolled his eyes at the fossil that couldn’t remember his ports or acronyms. I was a bit more forgiving and could see the struggle with fitting so much historical knowledge into an eight hour course. I tried to reel the conversations back in to the test material periodically, but I don’t know how much that helped.

I made the trip back home without incident, but confirmed how much I hate traffic between Conway and Little Rock. I just don’t know how people do it. My entire life would be so much more stressful if I had to do that every day. I miss the old days of getting a hotel room the night before a day like that. I got gas, went home to unload, and then went to my parents’ house to visit for a bit.

Julie was there to talk to Dad about their trip to Disney. They warmed up some fish sticks for sandwiches, and Mom shattered one of her prized bowls full of boiled carrots and butter, slicing her hand open a bit. I didn’t really get to talk about my delivery day plans, but suffice to say that I wasn’t thrilled with the way support responded. I went ahead and made the appointment, but apparently even that can change, so if we stay the night, I’ll have to get a room that allows for refunds in the event of a reschedule.

When I left my parents’ house, I went to the high school and got some of that fancy pellet ice from the breakroom, and then went out to the stadium to watch the marching assessment with Summer. We stuck around longer and colder than I expected, and then ran out to the cars to beat the crowd out. The girls eventually made it home after the event, and everyone was off to bed in a hurry.

0/10, especially with that weird, bland rice.

Blow Me

We didn’t sleep in super late, but laid around for a while this morning before getting around. Summer’s car was at her house, so I had to take her home before I could get into anything. Autumn wanted her to make a lasagna for dinner, but I made plans to take my parents out for an early anniversary dinner instead.

Once I was ready to leave the house, I met Summer at Walmart to pick up some groceries and check out the store remodel. They ripped out all of the wood grain flooring and left everything on polished concrete, which kind of made everything a bit louder and more warehouse-like. It was pretty clear they weren’t done yet, so hopefully there will be some good changes.

They had one long aisle of clearance stuff, where I picked up two overpriced hairdryers. Reviews weren’t much help, so I figured I would just return the one I liked the least. One of them looked like a travel dryer, and pushed about as much air as you would get from a hotel dryer. The other was cheaper, but I still wasn’t sure it was worth twice the price of a cheapo model.

When we got back to Summer’s, we unloaded groceries and she prepped a lasagna to bake for dinner later in the week, and then we met Autumn, Julie, and my parents at Western Sizzlin. Things started out pretty rough, but settled as well as they could have, I suppose. I ate too much, but at least a part of that was a plate full of kale.

The girls came home with me only for a minute to get some things, and then left me to do some laundry. It was then that I unboxed and tinkered with the hair dryers. I really expected more after all that fancy packaging, but I should have gone with my gut and just gotten a cheap fan-in-a-tube. Everything else is just bullshit marketing. Seriously? Ions to coat and protect your hair? With socks dried, presorted, resorted, and stored, it was time for bed.

Have you tried being less awful?

Split My Life into Pieces

I woke up pretty rested, having held Split Lip in my hands most of the night. He didn’t leave the way he normally would after I fell asleep, at least until hours into the night when he wanted to go outside. When I finally got up to go to work, I scooped him up and carried him off to the vet. I actually felt a little bit hopeful that he seemed to eat a bit of canned food before bed last night.

When we got to the vet, I parked next to Robyn, who was there dropping off a cat as well. They were super busy running in and out with animals, so we chatted while we waited. Just after she left, I heard the spew of diarrhea in the carrier, so I pulled it out of the car and threw some napkins in to try and cover it up the best I could. It didn’t keep Split’s tail from getting in it though. It was actually kind of normal colored and had some solid in it, which made me even more hopeful. I thought maybe he had just powered through some mouth pain so he could eat last night.

I carried on to work feeling a little better about the ordeal, so I stopped and grabbed a slice of breakfast pizza on the way. From there, things slowly started going downhill.

Sandy emailed me to say Dover couldn’t meet my salary request, so they went with another candidate. I would have liked a raise, even if it was only an opportunity to say no to a couple thousand dollars for a lateral step to their pay scale. I wasn’t heartbroken about it though, and in fact had at least a little bit of relief in sticking with what I know.

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out why imaging the student laptops was suddenly destroying my task sequence flash media. Ben called a couple times and we chatted about Impero some more. Overall, not much was really accomplished.

Dr. Pearson called about split sometime in the middle of the day, and let me know that she couldn’t find anything in his mouth that would cause the grinding sound we were hearing. Without any real answers as to why he wouldn’t eat, her best guess was that he was wasting away from some kind of cancer, and that it was best to let him go. He was already sedated for the examination, so it was a pretty easy decision with the expected fallout throughout the rest of the evening.

I stopped by to get my pet carrier, then picked up a shirt that Ben got me for toughing it out while everyone else was quarantined. The girls didn’t have karate, so I stopped to see Summer briefly before making it home. When I got there, I realized they had not cleaned the cat carrier at the vet, so I hosed it down a bit and left it out to dry.

Autumn made dinner, so I eventually made my way across town. Summer spent nearly the whole evening on a video call with the automotive guys at the ATCC. Autumn’s hamburger meat with rice reminded me of eating leftover taco meat over steamed rice as a child. Then we played a round of Mario Kart before Summer went to sleep and I headed back home.

It really feels like the end of an era. I’ve never truly been here, home, alone. I had my childhood at home. Then I moved out with Angie and we got Kitty, turned Big Kitty, turned Momma. Little Kitty quickly outgrew Big Kitty, but size didn’t matter when he became Daddy. They had five distinct little kittens while we were away in Hawaii just over 15 years ago – Split Lip, Grey, Chewie, Momma’s Clone, and a fifth that we managed to give away before having to come up with a way to describe it against the others.

Daddy and Clone disappeared after I put a bunch of them outside to keep the males from breeding and spraying everywhere. Chewie stuck around the neighborhood, but quickly came down with a dickborn disease, and I had to put him down suddenly when the vet said he had developed jaundice. For a long time, it was just Momma, Grey, and Split. Then Momma blew up like a balloon and I put her down suddenly after a completely worthless trip to the vet at Town and Country. Years later, Grey got the same thing, and Dr. Tanner easily identified and fixed the issue, giving us a little over two more years.

I had been over the whole idea of having cats, and largely pets in general, for a long time. That whole second era of my life had dragged on enough, and I felt like I was never really able to pick up the pieces and move on. Maybe I used the cats as an excuse for being an awful human, but I wanted the chance to find out for sure. I had been ready to move on for a long time, and I guess he was finally ready too.

I’m gonna miss you, buddy. We’ve sure been through some shit together.


I got a couple more hours of sleep after the super late night last night. Getting out of bed for work was pretty hard, and I ended up getting in about 20 minutes late. I forgot my badge and had to use the security app to unlock the outside door to get in.

I stopped by the shop first to give Ben an old Windows 95 programming book and helped Zach factory reset  his Pixel 3 after the home button broke from his new OS update. Then I went to the high school to take care of a few work orders. I almost didn’t make it back to the shop before lunch.

I convinced Allen to take me to Zaxby’s since I rode the bike, and shortly after we sat down, Zach, Gary, Greg, and Josh all walked in, having independently chosen Zaxby’s for lunch.

My afternoon was a little more scattered in some ways, but for the most part I was able to focus on 1:1 laptop repairs. Jesica called to check in, and then I ended up staying a little late to make up for my late arrival by swapped out a bad computer. Brandie called me to catch up on the drama after I got home, and I explained my conversations with Summer over the past couple days, as well as our slow arrival back to something positive.

The girls had a band fundraiser at Chick-fil-A, so I met them there and had a salad for dinner. Erica made it through the drive-through and made eyes, so that’ll have to be a conversation soon. I hate getting egg on my face, but frankly there are too many good and correct things happening to ignore. While I refuse to maintain a Hopgoodian relationship, I think this one really didn’t need as much work as we might have thought.

Summer took Autumn home after dinner to do some homework, and then met Eaddie, Maristella, and me back at Steak ‘n Shake for BOGO shakes to share. She took Maristella home, and I eventually got Noah from work, and we crashed a bit late, but hopefully for a better night of sleep.

That’s an easy incompatibility to account for if you just stop to rewind occasionally.

Dear Summer,

I envy that in all of your own troubles and pain and suffering, you managed to hold on to what I had lost so long ago in my own years-long wars. You seemed to earnestly believe that you could fall in love with prince charming and have everything fall into place so perfectly, and you fawned over me more than any person ever should. In that fantasy, you sometimes had trouble making things work in a practical sense, but your struggles appeared to be my strengths. For years upon years when all I wanted to do was die, focusing on practicality and making the day-to-day work was what kept me alive. Ultimately I felt like your emotional strength and devotion met with my practicality and wit, allowing us to grow stronger together, into a proper, functional family. What you felt was weakness in our differences, I perceived as strength in the breadth of our combined skillset.

It’s no secret that cynicism and sarcasm are my strongest and most prevalent defense mechanisms. I’m not so bad, after all, if everything else is awful too. I seldom speak those things as true and honest feelings, though I understand how someone could take them to heart. I doth joke too hard and too negatively, but it keeps me sane, I think. There are three truths to every situation: your truth, my truth, and the actual truth. Neither of us can ever truly know the truth apart from our own without some trust in the other, so I’m afraid I’ll never really understand the causality. Did my cynicism truly drive you away from me? Or were we never meant to last, and my darkened heart proved itself yet again in protecting me from further harm? After years of struggling with a very real addiction to Sarah and her emotional manipulation, I was left broken in so many ways. Not all of those wounds healed completely, and even if they did heal, you might not recognize them for all the calluses. I knew that I would never survive another trip through that level of darkness, and so in order to protect myself and my own family from what I understood as my own ultimate demise, I found strength where I could. I survived tonight because of how jaded my relationship with Sarah made me. And just like that, somehow I’ve credited that wretch for saving my life.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, unless you’re just left paralyzed, in which case everything pretty much just sucks. I would rather the end of our relationship be an inevitability, and credit my dark humor for saving me, than accept the thought that I drove you away with my own misgivings. I couldn’t let you into my heart quickly enough because I was terrified of exactly what happened tonight. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I wholly trusted a “completely innocent” interaction and later learned it to be the complete opposite. It’s literally my greatest fear in a relationship, and you knew this. Finding you having dinner at Umami with that guy brought me right back to ground zero, and I have to say I handled it like a goddamn champ. I didn’t want to revert back to that suspicious, jealous me that I had given up eight years ago, but there we were. Even if it was completely innocent to you, and you just needed a friend, it should absolutely NEVER have been some random guy you know through work that I’ve never even heard of. If it had been a male friend like Alex that you had known for years, I would have 1,000% understood. As it was, I knew that you had already made up your mind that I was old news, and it was obvious because that motherfucker ghosted you AS SOON AS HE SAW MY FACE. Even if you play naive again, he knew exactly what he was getting into, and for that, shame on him.

I never thought I’d be saying, “goodbye,” forever, but I think that is because I am an idiot. They told me actions speak louder than words, so I physically put myself into your home to make it our home, and my own house became a very strange place for me. Regardless of what idiocies came from my mouth, I continually tried to put myself where it really counted. It was hard and overwhelming a lot of the time, but I kept coming back because I thought it was worth the steep learning curve. Ultimately I guess you had bigger fish to fry. At least I was honest from the beginning when I asked if you were looking for Mr. Third-Time’s-a-Charm. I don’t need superficial symbols because I show my devotion with actual honesty, presence, and inclusion in family, and I expect my partner to respect me and mine well enough to verbally decline unwanted advances. It’s a pity you didn’t really want to be a part of mine, because they’re a pretty great family most of the time.

You can’t expect your boiled-over, emotional diatribes to function as productive adult conversations. I was very honest in that I knew I had a lot of growing to do. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle for me, and I thought that I had adequately expressed that to you as well. I suppose I could have done more to initiate the conversations, but who has the time when you’re busy parenting teenagers. Blame whatever you want, but at the end of the day you have to learn how to express what you’re feeling in some kind of meaningful way. You can’t outwardly express that everything is perfect and expect your partner to accept that with eager arms, then get upset over all of the combined little things. You literally went from “I would marry you tomorrow” to “dinner with schmuck” in a week’s time, and so for that reason, I’m out.

I just want someone to scratch my head for a while and tell me I’m not so irrevocably broken that I can’t maintain a real, adult relationship ever again.

I’m not kidding! Why do they always think I’m kidding???

The middle school started ACT Aspire testing this morning, and I drew the short stick. I burned the entire morning sitting in Sara’s office, and only got called out twice – both times to unlock a door in the counselors’ room because someone forgot their key. At one point, Robin brought the counselors to talk to me about trying to get their campus to a 1:1 device ratio so they could test all the kids at once. I vehemently replied that we should instead be reducing the device count, and that testing everyone at once is a very bad idea. I’m still surprised when people are shocked to hear me say as much.

Nobody wanted to join me at Ruby Tuesday for another $5 salad bar, so I went by myself and just sat at the bar. It was a quick and quiet lunch, but not inside my head. A group of employees were mingling at the other end of the bar talking mad trash about how people had been coming in all day asking for John. John’s served my tables many times in the past. He is far and away one of the best servers I’ve ever had at any restaurant. He’s always courteous, professional, prompt, and most importantly conscious of what’s happening at the table. Even today, he stopped by to say hello, commenting that I wasn’t with my usual posse. Never once has he even suggested that we should ask for him by name, and I honestly don’t feel like that has anything to do with why people do so. If any of those employees spent half as much time hustling as leaning, maybe they’d have eager repeat customers.

After lunch, Allen drove me out to London so I could show him that he didn’t properly re-enroll a Chromebox after powerwashing it. I figured I had already burned half a day, so I might as well get a trip out of it. When we got back, I spent a little time at the shop before heading to the high school. I got a very little bit done. My Adobe form was printing unpredictably.

My evening flew by as usual. I went home for a little while before going to Walmart for some things. I needed cat food, and wanted to peruse for a while without someone nagging about it. It’s funny, because I used to always want someone to go with me, but oftentimes now it’s more peaceful just to go alone at my own pace. I picked up some cold fried chicken on a whim in case anyone was hungry, and headed up to Summer’s.

We ended the evening with some more Glee. There’s just something about that show that completely sucks me in emotionally.

So blame it on my ADD, baby.

Gromroll, Please!

I slept pretty well last night after a couple Aleve to dull the aches of the day. Summer left to get the girls home and start some cleaning before lunch. Mom had leftover beef spring rolls ready for lunch when they got up. Summer and Eaddie wanted to ride their bikes, so I drove Autumn and met them there. Autumn was more or less a lame duck, but Eaddie at least pretended to watch Dad work on their telescope a bit.

After a little while, we all headed home so Summer could get some time on the Grom after several weeks without. I wouldn’t let Autumn stay at the house, so I gave her the choice of riding with me or riding her own bike. She reluctantly climbed onto the Grom with me, and we made our way to the park. Summer and Eaddie beat us there on their bikes from my parents’ house, but the parking lot was cluttered with cars for a ballgame, so we rode up to the highschool instead. Summer jumped on and did really well today, weaving through the concrete parking bumpers and other obstacles. She even left the parking lot and drove around the little streets around the campus.

They all had to get home to finish their chores before school and work tomorrow, so we all rode back to my house and they headed home. I milled around and did some cleaning myself after having a Full Throttle to wake myself up. I took care of the pets, started some laundry, and got things ready for work in the morning.

Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow.

I’ve Got a Package for You

I don’t know how, but I lost about 15 minutes this morning somewhere. At least it was nice weather, so I picked the Grom for the day. Today was the day for people to come and fetch me from my office. First it was a needy one from down the hall, and then it was maintenance from opposite ends of the campus. They came and got me while I was on the phone with Becky talking about her impromptu retirement and move to Asurion. We walked for what seemed like forever, but I did get to see the balcony at the Center in all its pitch blackness. The office makes for a nice, spooky hideaway. Once I fixed that wireless issue, it was off to the arena for more of the same, plus some printer fudging.

Lunch was there before I knew it, and I squeaked out just in time to catch Allen and Gary heading to McDonald’s. I tried the Bacon Big Mac after fighting with their WiFi and app for a while, and I was quite pleased with it. It didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks either, which was odd and satisfying.

When I got back to the high school, I dug into some software and got to brag about how smartly I created an uninstallation/upgrade package. Feelsgoodman.jpg

I rode home and unboxed a huge package from Amazon with a bunch of Tide PODS and aquarium goodies. The hang-on breeding boxes seemed really great, so I set one up for a betta in the bathroom, and then netted out three cherry shrimp to move to the Imagitarium. It seems like I lost several more of them, but it’s possible they’re just hiding really well in all the vegetation. Summer and Eaddie came over as soon as they could after their trip around town. Autumn had another appointment in Little Rock before a football game tonight, and Summer had to go by the shop to take care of some things at the end of the day.

Tech’s Family Night was happening at the train depot, and Summer wanted to go for the announcement of the winners of Paint the Town Green and Gold. The food truck selection was abysmal, but I managed an Old Post Bar-B-Q sandwich with great success. Eaddie went blue with some shaved ice. We weren’t there too long before we spotted a furry playing with any dog it could find. Then it was time for the announcements. Summer won Best New Participant with her painting and crushed cars at Superfast, and she was so excited to run up on stage.

We didn’t stick around for the pep rally since Eaddie had homework and I’m pretty sure we all hate pep rallies. It was back to my house until Autumn finished with the band. Summer started falling asleep on the couch while Eaddie spent like seventy two hours writing a single paragraph. I worked on the aquariums a bit more until they left and I got ready for bed myself.

I simply cannot express to you in words how low of a priority this is for me.