Ozark Lunch Jaunt

Summer and I got up and out of the house today for a ride on the Shadow. I was back and forth on a couple of places to ride for lunch, but landed on the Ozark Cafe in Jasper. I had never been, and the reviews looked to be pretty good. We gassed up and hit Highway 7 out of town just in time to make it there by lunch time.

We stopped at the Rotary Ann for a break from the bad vibrations. The restrooms were nice and cool, and we got some toilet paper to stuff in our ears that made a huge difference in our ride quality. My whole head was ringing when we stopped, but the rest of the ride went great.

We pulled into town and walked right into the restaurant without having to wait for a seat. They had a lunch buffet that we opted for after a quick glance at their newspaper-style menu. I started with a big salad, and then moved on to a couple plates of what I would call southern comfort foods. I was anxious to try everything, so of course I was absolutely overstuffed by the time we left. Summer wanted to walk around a bit, so we went a couple doors down and visited an antique shop for a bit before heading back home.

I kind of wanted to stop at a couple more overlooks that I had never visited before, but I wasn’t sure how well the food would sit. We went up the road to a Dollar General to find some real earplugs, and then made it all the way back to the Rotary Ann for a quick break before making it the rest of the way home. I was a bit nervous about needing to stop for fuel, but I didn’t hit my reserve until we were about halfway home from Dover.

We got some gas once we were back into Russellville, and then we stopped by Summer’s for her swimsuit and to take a bit of a breather. My whole body was numb from the vibrations, and I was achy from the ride posture of that bike as well as the sunburn. After some rest, we got the cats inside away from the night’s fireworks, and made our way back to my house to trade up for the car.

I went next door to get some bánh bao that Bác Vân got from Linh, and then we went to my parents’ house for a swim. Mom was asleep inside while Dad was working out back, but he took a break to swim with us for a while. The water was nice in the shade, and I never got the shivers. When we were done, I loaded up on ice water for the night, and we came back to my house.

Summer sat on the couch on her iPad while I put on the last half of my Stranger Things episode. Once I finished with that, we watched the latest episode of Middleditch and Schwartz. That had me rolling as it usually does, and then I continued with a bit of a Ricky Gervais special I had started some time ago. Summer was ready for bed before it finished though, so we did a quick scan for brown recluses and went to bed.

Not enough Shadow to prevent star damage!

Cruis’n RSD

I took the Shadow to work today, and it really worked out in my favor. We were tasked with visiting every campus to check for rooms with A/V equipment where we could host large classes of sensitivity training. Three of the guys went to the high school to continue imaging student devices. Greg and Josh went to the high school to scout that campus’s rooms, and I got to ride my bike all around town to visit all of the elementaries.

I stopped by Oakland first, though I already knew what equipment they had. Then I ran home to put in my contacts and sunglasses, since I would be spending so much time on the road. Crawford was a pretty quick in-and-out, and then I made my way up to Center Valley. It was nice to get a little bit of a ride in, and then I hunted around in the dark to investigate their setup. One of the custodians saw me come in but didn’t know who I was, so he chased me down to investigate.

While I was there, Gary asked me to meet him at Sequoyah to pull some cables out of the ceiling because they were somehow in the way of the maintenance guys. Gary didn’t realize we left the lines with the intent of using them for whatever goes in the room next, and had already cut them at the ceiling. We probably could have still kept come, but we ended up pulling them all out anyway. When we finished, Greg and Josh showed up for some reason, and we chatted outside for a while. Then when I left, Selvin was taking pictures of my bike, so I let him ride it around the parking lot. Maybe I can get him and Marcela to buy one, and then I’ll have a new riding buddy.

I stopped by Dwight to take care of it before lunch, and then left London for the afternoon. On the way back, I stopped by the new Ridgewood Brothers’ build site to take a picture of the framework. They were putting trusses up with a big crane, so I took a few pictures to share before heading back to the shop.

I suggested Freddy’s for lunch, and Gary seemed excited by that. Thomas took him, Greg, and Josh, and I rode the bike. The service was actually really fast for dining in, but we were also there early enough to beat the lunch rush. The burger I had was really good, especially with all the added veggies. After that and some cheese curds, I didn’t have room for any custard.

When we got back to work, I was sent to find Mary Beth to help with a printer issue. She wasn’t there, but Thomas was in the conference room waiting on her for a meeting. I waited for a bit, but then was called away when a truck load of 75″ Newline touch panels showed up. They were stacked two pallets high, so I had to get the forklift and shuffle them around quite a bit in order to unload everything. I felt like an expert though, and we got everything into the graveyard without incident.

By that time, I still needed to run out to London, so I left again. I decided to stop and see Grant and Robert on my way out of town, and showed them my pictures while they trimmed up some briskets. They were high-energy as usual, but I couldn’t stay long. It felt like a super long trip out to the final elementary campus, but it was a nice ride across the lake. I checked an extra room there, since the cafeteria didn’t actually have any equipment in it at all. The room with the stage might actually work pretty well.

The rest of the afternoon was super quiet. Some of the guys filtered back in and sat around for a while. Thomas eventually came back and let us go just a few minutes early, though he seemed to indicate that he meant to let us go even earlier. The long days feel absolutely ridiculous, and I don’t think anyone at Central Office is even working that late.

I rode home and changed, then went next door to talk to Bác Vân about her high electric bill. She said they added four pounds of refrigerant to their A/C unit at the start of the season, so I’m wondering if it’s low again. In eight days, she’s used almost as much electricity as she did all last month.

I finally made it up to Summer’s for the evening, and Autumn was already silent in her room. Summer was horizontal on the couch watching TV, so I snacked on some leftovers, and then she went to bed super early. I took the opportunity to do the same, a little uncomfortable that there was still enough light to see outside, but also fully aware of how tired I feel when I wake up that extra half hour early for work. At least we’re over the halfway point.

Hell if Fi knows.

The Existential Review: Year 6

I finally got back on a bike today, and rode the Shadow to work. I knew we had eSCO coming to pick up some more stuff to recycle, but I didn’t have any other real need to haul anything around. Gary split us up into three pairs, and Kyle and I were on a mission to do the work orders Gary hadn’t had time to address. It ended up not being very much, and Kyle really did all the legwork by going upstairs to install Microsoft Office on a Mac.

As soon as we finished up with that, we headed up to the graveyard to make a path to get everything onto the box truck. I convinced the guys to back up to the corner of the dock like they had done in the past, and it made things quite a bit easier. We still have a lot more carts to go, but we can almost see the end of the tunnel.

Lunchtime came around pretty quickly, and Gary decided on Wendy’s. I rode separately to get some bike time, and Zach surprised us there while he was on his week of vacation. Even a bunch of the maintenance guys walked in behind us. We had a good chat and had some time to chill before going back to work.

The afternoon was really quiet. We had to unbox the rest of our new Lenovo Chromebooks to confirm that they wouldn’t auto-update. Then I mostly just hung out in the shop until my one-on-one review time with Thomas. I thought Gary and Zach would be in on it, but it was just Thomas. He ranked me higher than I think Ben had ever ranked mee before – even higher than I had ranked myself, and had some really nice things to say, so I was quite happy. In the end it doesn’t do much for me, but it did give me some additional confidence.

He let everyone leave a few minutes early for the weekend, but I trailed out a bit late as I often do. Eaddie was still out with Maristella, so I went home to start on some more laundry until Summer got home from the gym. Eaddie rode in on her bike just a few minutes after Summer, and we went to Taco Villa for dinner. Eaddie and I both had taco salads, and both of our shells were way undercooked and chewy.

I had ridden the Grom behind them so Eaddie and I could go straight to the high school to practice riding after we ate. She was fussy about it like she always is, but I tried to press her on until she really seemed to just be unable to focus. She still wanted to go for a night ride on the R1 though, so we went home and swapped, and I took her for a big loop around town. I was pretty exhausted when we made it back to the house, so we put everything up and headed up to their house for the night. Summer was already in bed, and I didn’t waste much time finding my way there as well.

Yes, I keep repeating the same things over and over again because you are repeatedly doing none of those things.

Slow Learners

I didn’t sleep great last night, in spite of how exhausted I was from the trials of the day. I woke up a little after eight and laid around in bed until Eaddie called to see if I would pick her up later in the day to take her out on the Grom. I took my time getting around, and eventually got a shower before stopping by McDonald’s to burn up some rewards points before they expired. Somehow, I think the Spicy McChicken ends up being the best value per point.

Summer had to work a bit today, and took Autumn with her. Eaddie was watching TV when I got to the house, so I ate my sandwich with some leftover fries from Popeye’s. Then we went back to my house to get the Grom. We rode to the high school, and even after it was her idea to ride, I still had to endure lots of griping from Eaddie for being out in the “heat” with an aching butt and hands. I pressed her on, though, and we made it to second gear along with a ride around the building out of my line of sight. As kids started showing up for the play at the arts center, Eaddie and I decided to pack it up and head home. She wanted to ride her bicycle to her father’s restaurant, so I just hung out at home until she got back.

Mom and Dad were grilling pork chops and shrimp, but Eaddie was tired and full from eating with her father, and wanted to nap after she got back to my house. I went outside to pick some mint, then ran to the Neighborhood Market for some lettuce before meeting Summer and Autumn at my parents’ house for dinner. Autumn seemed on good behavior, though she surprised us by giving Dad some selective information about our visit from DHS yesterday. After the girls left, I expanded upon what really happened.

Evidently Autumn talked Summer into letting her go to church with my dad in the morning. I thought she said she was going with her own father, so I didn’t think anything of it. Upon further reflection and learning more details myself, we decided not to let her go, and had a talk about consequences when I got to their house. She spent all evening in her room, watching shows and talking on Facebook Messenger on her school laptop. Summer still hasn’t learned how important thoroughness is when following through with punishments, but I let her sleep through her headache. We’ll talk about it in the morning.

Everything means everything.

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

When the Boss is Away

It was a bit more relaxed today with Thomas out to close on his house. I spent the morning cleaning up various work orders while Zach and Gary tried to go through all the old and stale work orders that everyone had. Summer decided really early that she wanted Mulan’s for lunch, but they were closed due to some staffing issues. Zach and I met her at New China instead, and the food was great.

I spent the end of the day at Oakland again, and then took Eaddie with me to the high school so she could ride the Grom some more. She had a much worse time today, and killed the engine so much that I really thought the battery was going to give out. Fortunately it didn’t, and she made a few fussy laps around the parking lot.

Autumn came out to meet us when she finished with wrestling, and then I sent them to dinner and clean up while I did laundry at home. Summer was spending the night in Little Rock, so they decided to stay the night with me, but Autumn didn’t want to do anything but go into the bedroom by herself. Eaddie and I stayed up watching House, but I gave her some diphenhydramine for her allergies that knocked her out before we finished the second episode.

Notate and move on.

Entombed Raider

I got up and out a little bit early today for no particular reason. I didn’t really get to anything I wanted to do though, because of meetings and an overwhelming need to decipher the latest draft of the proposed salary schedule. I actually spent all day crunching numbers on a combined spreadsheet, and it was a nice bit of self-confirmation that I could do that job, and probably better than those tasked with it.

Not long into the morning, several from central office came over for some training. I’m not sure why they didn’t do it in their own conference room, for for whatever reason they did it outside of my office, so I was made to lock myself in and stay quiet in the dark.

I snuck out for lunch with Gary and Greg, and we went to Taco John’s for the first time in ages. My Boss Burrito was mostly beans and rice, but the Potato Olés were on point, and I even let the girl upsell the nacho cheese.

We had a video call with an Apple guy in the afternoon so Brody could ask some questions, but it really just turned into Gary learning things and then assigning work to Greg and me. I guess that’s the job, so I can’t complain too much.

Eaddie had walked to my house and gone out for a bike ride, so I went home after work and then met her at the high school with the Grom. The helmet communicator worked pretty great, and I coached her through some laps around the parking lot as the sun set. We rode back home and then went to their house with some ribs I needed to grill.

Summer eventually made it home from the gym, and we ate while she had a video call of her own. The girls were still doing laundry for most of the evening, so there wasn’t much for me to do besides put some more work into my spreadsheet with some updated numbers from Judy, and then research home Dolby Atmos configurations. If you can have 11.2.8 at home, I can’t think of a single reason that you shouldn’t have 11.2.8 at home.

But what number do they use for the seat shakers?

Ride About, Now

Summer made breakfast this morning, but Autumn and her visitor chose to continue stuffing their faces with junk food instead. Eaddie didn’t want to get out of bed, and I didn’t get home to clean up until the afternoon.

Autumn had wrestling practice in the evening, so eventually Summer brought Eaddie over and we went to the high school so she could practice driving. She didn’t drive around in the car for very long before she was tired of that and wanted to try riding the Grom. We never got out of first gear, but she only killed the engine a couple times. I had the benefit of knowing how to drive a manual transmission when I learned to ride, so I could understand her hesitation.

We didn’t stay for very long, and went to my parents’ house for some phở. Then we stopped by Brody’s house to try and drop off a tripod, but they weren’t home. Summer dropped me off at my house, and I tried to do a little more organizing before bed. It’ll be a short week, and I’m both excited and dreading it.

The funk soul sister.

WOOWOO

You just haven’t lived until you’ve been wooped by a big black guy riding a bicycle as you zip past on your Grom. He may have been making fun, but I chose to interpret it as encouraging excitement for how much fun I was having. The weather was much more mellow today, so aside from some time in a mask in the afternoon, it felt pretty good out.

I worked on some stuff at the shop until a group of us went to La Chiquita for lunch. The carnitas were smaller than I remembered, but I was still stuffed. It was nowhere near as much as Gary’s giant prime rib burrito.

After lunch, I went straight to Oakland for a while to close out, or at least investigate as much as I could for closing on the next trip. A large part of that time was spent in the library shuffling through damaged or failing Chromebooks. As the end of the school day approached, I was run off again, and I returned to the shop for the remainder of the day.

When I left work, I stopped by Casey’s for a free drink, then went by the shop to try and see Summer again. She had been in the pit all day, so all I could see at lunch was the top of her head when I stopped by. They were still busy, so I went on home to change.

I took the Grom back out to go see Mom for a bit. She was insistent that I pick up some potato salad that we left when we cooked out for Labor Day. Julie called while I was there, and we chatted for a little bit. Then I eventually made it back home for the evening.

Uno Uno Uno!

Overtaken by My Own Shadow

It was a quiet, brainy day at work today. I made some progress, but it was slower than I would have liked. I didn’t get distracted much, but I did get frustrated a couple times with others pulling my attention, which I’m sure is why Gary is so grumpy most of the time.

Brody wanted to go to Fat Daddy’s in London, but they were evidently closed due to staffing issues. The same went for Zaxby’s. Slim Chickens was a solid win today with the salad I got, and then we dropped off some strips for Summer, who was stuck in the pit all day.

I left near quitting time today and went by the shop to order some new tires for the Murano before going up to Summer’s to heat up her lasagna. I made it about halfway to her house before I realized I didn’t have keys to get in because I was on the Shadow, so I ran back home to change and get the keys.

As I came back outside, I hopped on the bike and started to pull away, only barely remembering to get the keys. I stood up to get off and immediately lost all balance due to the low, heavy nature of the bike. I had forgotten that I already lifted the kickstand, so the bike tumbled over on top of me and threw me to the ground. I avoided any major damage, but the handlebar controls and mirrors got a bit out of whack. The handlebars themselves were still bent from before I got the bike, so the only new “damage” was to the rear, left turn signal that now rattles from something being broken off inside it.

I finally made it up to Summer’s with bruised palms, and heated up the lasagna and baked some garlic bread. She and Autumn both made it home from work and we ate. Then Summer had to tend to some work business as we waited for the scattered showers to wane enough for me to make it back home for the evening.

I tried to pick up a little, and ended up on a trip down Memory Lane when I found a bunch of folders from my time at NEW. Then I went to bed as hastily as I could, since someone decided that working at 6am tomorrow will be fun when moving some old laptops around at the junior high. At least by then it will have reached the day’s low of 74º.

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