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.

Homecoming

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.

Wiki Wild… Wiki Wild Wild Documentation

With a good start on wireless hotspots yesterday, I thought I’d start this morning finishing their setup. I got a little frustrated and a little more sidetracked as I had to refer to the hidden and overdocumented instructions. Between at least three network shares with countless folders, email, Google Shared Drives, and individually shared Google documents, sometimes finding what you really want can be an absolute nightmare. I’ve been talking about wanting to start a Wiki for a long time for its ability to interlink other articles, and today was the day to break ground.

Zach, Gary, Allen, and I went to Wendy’s for lunch, and then Gary showed me how to start up a virtual machine on our servers. It was pretty straightforward, but fun to finally dig into. Next will be setting up a web server with PHP and a SQL database. Right now I’m just saying words, but hopefully soon I’ll have a better understanding as I find my way to documentation Valhalla.

I spent the rest of the afternoon digging into more Avaya stuff, and testing how my new IVR behaves. In retrospect I could have done some more testing before, but now that I’ve been able to collect the recording and create the call map, I can dig into the nuances of how all the pieces connect together. My next big sell will probably be a complete tear-down and reconstruction of the entire district’s worth of phone extensions, and I’m giddy just thinking about it.

When I got home, I took care of some housekeeping before running to Walmart for cat food. Then it was off to Summer’s to hear about her day at headquarters in Little Rock.

Turn on by holding the power button and go through the tutorial, (push buttons for next until the dashboard shows the signal strength, battery level, and icons).

A Learnful Day

It was hot today, but I still wanted to get out on the bike. We started off building some more carts to shuffle around at the middle school. Amanda was pretty annoyed that we seemed to be doing things in a more complicated, convoluted way than she originally planned. I don’t think anyone was surprised. Zach peeled Gary and me off of the job after the first delivery since we were overstaffed for the task as usual. Gary helped me look at a couple things I had in the queue until lunch time, and then as he left to eat, I got tied up on the phone with Erica looking at some of their work orders. I decided to swing by there to see what they were doing for lunch, and Sheri ended up surprising me by buying me a nacho supreme from Taco Villa.

After I ate, I headed back to the shop and went to the server room with Gary. I got to set up three of the new servers under his direction. I only barely understood what was really going on, but it was still nice to get some hands-on and see a bit of what goes on behind the scenes. Afterward we went to the high school to take care of some work orders. I didn’t think I really needed the help necessarily, but he ended up being super handy to have around. I got to build a little more rapport with some of the faces I see more often, which was nice. I worked a little late, but felt good with what I had gotten done.

Shortly after I got home, Summer and Eaddie came over to ride bikes. I met them at Hickey Park on the Grom so Summer could practice riding around a bit more. She seemed to get a better grasp on her launches, so I had her start slaloming for the rest of the evening to get a feel for turning and curves. I wish I had started out more like this instead of the trial by fire. When we got back from that, they headed straight home to clean up, and I pretty much immediately started winding down. It was a pretty good day all around, so I figured an early night to bed would be best.

We’ll use his vehicle stipend as a unit of measurement!

Boot Nuked

I got to pull away from the low priority nonsense that’s been going around so I could deal with the more important stuff. Gary and I spent all day at the high school coming up with a process to create boot disks, breaking only for lunch at Wendy’s with Zach. It wasn’t stressful work, but we weren’t quite at the stage where we churn through hundreds of laptops yet either. At the end of the day, I finished up and then rebooted the computer as usual. Unfortunately I didn’t notice that I had forgotten to take the boot disks out of the USB ports, and the computer immediately booted back up and wiped itself.

After spending so much time making sure we copied all the files Dale saved for me, I wiped it all away in just an instant. I’ll have to pull the hard drive and try to recover some of those files, but I have a feeling that most of them aren’t that important. It’s still a good lesson in keeping important things off of the local machine though. I had been thinking about getting rid of the desktop and going to a docking station setup anyway, so this just kind of forced me along into trying that out sooner than I expected. I was so initially upset by my negligence that I decided to go ahead with rearranging the office. I stayed super late moving things around to how I wanted them, and I’m not even sure how long any of it will stay. At least it’s left in usable shape for tomorrow morning.

Summer left Eaddie with her parents and came to stay the night at my house. I hadn’t planned to eat because it had gotten so late, but then felt so hungry by the time I actually left, so she picked up some Taco Bell for us. I ate some, and then did some quick water changes in all of the tanks just to try and help out my recent negligence. That seems to be a running theme lately.

Are you leaving those here? Are those your own personal speakers??? Can you even hear me??????