Less Than Marvelous

Ben texted that he was too late to meet for breakfast, and I noticed a couple of cars parked outside the Old Mill Bread Bakery & Cafe, so I swung in there to eat instead. The guy was just opening up, and had to leave to take his son to school, so he just left me with another customer in the store. Then Ben called after he realized the sessions didn’t start until 8:30, and met up with me just in time for the guy to make it back. I had a breakfast burrito and a scone with some coffee, but in hindsight I probably should have gotten something on BREAD instead of a premade spinach wrap. The food was good either way, and then we headed to the conference.

I went to a session about budgeting and finance, which I thought would be helpful to start the conversation with my business office and admin team. Hopefully I can come up with a decent proposal, and then use Technology money for a better salary. After that session, I went to Ben’s talk about Burp Suite, which was interesting. I was in a room with a very small number of very smart folk, but I wasn’t sure I had an immediate use for it.

The final session was the closing ceremony. Charlie was in Ben’s session, and he let me have his room key to get into the garage and charge. Then Ben and I sat through the closing remarks and went to the lobby for our bagged lunches. They didn’t have very many left, so we were lucky to get anything to eat at all. I figured he might stick around for a little bit to chat, but he actually ended up sticking around the entire time I was waiting for my movie. We chatted about all kinds of stuff, and then he helped me fix my eSchool student photos, which was awesome.

That left me just enough time to get across town to the IMAX to watch The Marvels. I had a reward for a free hot dog, purchased an ICEE, and sat down in my usual seat. There were only a few people there for the IMAX 3D showing on opening weekend, which I thought would be a good thing just for myself, but for some reason the bunch of old folks just kept talking through the entire movie. It would have been way more distracting if I had been more invested in the movie. I just couldn’t take it seriously at all. It was fine, but it was far from great. The dialog and plot just made it feel like another forced girl team-up movie.

After the show, I finally headed home. I stopped at the old house to check on things and air up my tires. Then I washed my car and headed to the house. Everyone was awake, but nobody heard me come in. Eaddie had left the Murano unlocked, so I made her go out and lock it up. Then I realized she left the back door unlocked, as well as the front door after she went out to lock the car. I don’t know how to correct these habits other than to make her life really annoying by making her go back outside repeatedly in the cold. Summer only got out of bed to use the bathroom while I unpacked and got things put away. I got my acrylic chair mat in, so I cleaned it and set it up under my desk. For one day, it seems like it will hold up alright, but only time will tell.

No appointing here.

Three Chairs for Seating!

We started out this morning being fairly productive. I had some coffee and a frustratingly cool shower, and then we went to my house to pick up some things. We got a couple computer chairs loaded up, along with some other random stuff. Summer wanted Mexican afterward, so she took us to Morelos for lunch. We saw Beth and Mark there and chatted with her for just a brief moment, and then we made our way to the house.

Eaddie was gone to a robotics tournament all day, and Summer wanted to take a nap when we got back, so I picked up around the house for a little bit and watered my plants. I wanted to get back out for some more stuff, but I just couldn’t get Summer motivated. Then once Eaddie got home, we snacked a little bit and then settled in for the night.

Summer and I watched Old Dads on Netflix, which I didn’t really like as much as I thought I might. Summer fell asleep in front of her baking shows after that, and I dawdled on the computer for too long before bed.

Unpack to pack.

Like Cici’s, but Good

We got up a little bit early this morning and I took a shower so we could take a trip to Greenbrier and Conway. We stopped in Conway for Summer’s backpack first, and then she had to do inventory at the Greenbrier lube. Eaddie and I helped count things so we could finish faster. Then I entered most of it into the computer until I started having trouble deciphering Summer’s notations. Once we finished that, we headed back to Conway and went to Larry’s Pizza, which was incredible. I thought it was reasonably priced, and they had a great variety. The “pizza parade” where they walked fresh pies around the restaurant was really neat, but if you missed that, I think whatever was left would go to the bar.

After eating too much of some really great pizza, we went to Target. Eaddie tried on some swim suits, but we didn’t end up buying anything. I ran into Danielle and her parents, and she fussed about the school district and having her department gutted. I had to kind of giggle inside a little bit because I think most people thought they were overstaffed and overpaid anyway.

Next we hit up TJ Maxx and Kohl’s, but still didn’t buy anything. Summer’s car was struggling to run the air conditioner, so I had to send another service message to get an update. I hate that there’s no way to guarantee a mobile service appointment, and they’re slow to switch it from a local appointment. It’s also never clear if we have to drop the car off for multiple days, or if we can wait in the lobby, since it’s such a long drive.

By the time we finished shopping, it was time to run across town for our movie. We originally wanted to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, but the fact that it was no longer in XD upset me. We decided to watch Blue Beetle instead, which didn’t really impress us much until the final act. It was alright, but it just wasn’t great. At least the graphics weren’t as bad as The Flash.

We made it back home and Noah came over to visit for a while. The new house had been delisted on Zillow, and for some reason some old pictures from the previous owner started showing up, so we got to see it with some different furniture in it. The kids left to go eat, Summer went to bed, and I wrapped up reasonably quickly.

You should know by now.

What Hindu

I woke up early this morning to get home for a shower before our day in Little Rock. On my way to the shower, I heard rainwater dripping into the bedroom where the roof still hadn’t been repaired, so I had to stick a bucket under it to prevent any further damage. It didn’t really seem to be storming, but while in the middle of my shower, I heard three or four loud pops outside as transformers blew one-by-one. My lights flickered for the first couple, then went out for a couple seconds for another, and finally went out for good after the last bang.

I finished my shower without power, and then struggled to find a way out of my home. I haven’t been able to find a door key in ages, so I ended up manually opening the garage to leave, hoping things would be back on quickly enough to lock things up again.

My parents picked us up at Summer’s, and we headed to meet Julie and Kevin at Costco. I worked on my Google Slides presentation for the whole drive, and felt like I had some pretty good topics to cover with the teachers for tomorrow.

I was pretty hungry, so Julie got us all hot dogs or pizza at the deli, which was super cheap and pretty tasty. I was surprised at how much of the store we covered, and we picked out a couple things to bring home. After that, we went straight to the IMAX for Oppenheimer.

I think most of us liked the movie alright, but Eaddie and I probably enjoyed it the most. Mom and Dad ended up going toward the back of the theater because Mom couldn’t see the screen well enough from the seats I picked. I think Kevin thought it would be more about the Manhattan Project than just Oppenheimer’s life, but I had a pretty good idea of what to expect and felt good about what we watched. It definitely felt more like a biopic than anything else, and didn’t drown the audience in the science.

After the movie, the girls had to thaw out a bit. We walked partway down the Promenade before turning around to find something to eat. Nobody seemed really excited for food except for me, because I knew that was the plan and was going to eat regardless of how I felt. It almost devolved into a full-blown argument choosing where to go, because nobody wanted to just call the shot. I finally picked Star of India after we discovered that Julie’s pick of Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co. was closed.

We tried to order full-sized orders of everything in the Chef’s Special, thinking that it would be way more food than what we actually got. In the end, I think it was pretty close in portion size, so I was left wondering if we had inadvertently ripped ourselves off. I just couldn’t quite remember how much we got the last couple of times I got the special. In any case, the food was good and everyone got to try something new that the girls and I have really enjoyed.

I poked around my slideshow a bit more on the drive home, and then had my parents drop us off at my house so I could take my car to Summer’s for the evening. My water bucket hadn’t overflowed, and it was a quick and quiet evening until bedtime.

Impromptu Best Presentation Ever

Caring for Plants

I was a little scattered and a little off track today. I wanted to make a slide presentation for the teachers on Monday, but I never got around to it. Eaddie wanted to go to the park, so I had her take me to my house while Summer went to the gym. Dad came by to meet Kevin and take Bác Vân’s old mattress to the dump. Mom stopped by at the same time, and then Doug came out to see everyone. I loaded up the bike rack and a couple bikes for Eaddie, which got me super sweaty due to the humidity. It threatened rain, but it never came down.

I eventually had a shower, and then Summer picked me up for lunch. We found Eaddie at Kroger so I could return the bike lock key to her, and then we went to New China. We ran into Sharon there, and she stepped over from their table to talk for a moment. The sentiment about the district seems as shaky as ever.

Summer didn’t feel great after we ate, but we still made time to go by a junk store in the old mall parking lot. I guess they buy pallets of returns and fill a bunch of bins with it, and then sell things for a set price that drops every day of the week until everything finally goes for a buck. It was mostly pilfered junk, but we picked up some Andes mints, a bag of coffee, and the most surprising find of all, a sync module for my Blink camera.

We laid on the couch when we got back to the house, and I played a game on my phone while Summer watched TV. Eventually Eaddie was ready to come home but had to do something with the bikes first, so I met her at my house to put all of that away. Then we came back to the house for the night. I watched Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 with Summer, and then it was off to bed way later than I intended.

Just a little watering routine. Nothing to cry about.

Switching Cart Wheels

I had a Soylent today for the first time in a while, and it served to keep me going. I spent the morning tinkering with the switch, and learned that link aggregation set at the core was preventing our downstream switch from talking. Once I had that fixed, I was able to get the fieldhouse working again, and spent some more time factory resetting the old fieldhouse switch. Once I had that done, I felt like I really showed some ability to some of those guys. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like they’ll be doing anything to keep me around, and I hate that because I really love the job.

Kim came in and needed some help with a printer at the elementary. Then I drove us to Plainview to dig out some nasty carts. We found just enough for what we needed, so hopefully they’re workable. A few had broken wheels or doors, but we won’t really know until next week. It’s seeming more and more like we just won’t start school prepared.

I ended up leaving a little bit early so I could meet the girls at UEC to see Barbie. I stopped at Taco John’s for a little bit to eat first, since I was pretty hungry. Then I made it to the movie just in time to find a seat at the back of the floor section. I got us some “free” popcorn, and we really enjoyed the movie. I wished they had made the movie a little bit less inappropriate, but it really was a steady stream of laughs. It wasn’t until the very end that things got a little drawn out and weird.

After the movie, we went to my parents’ house so the girls could see what plants needed watering. Mom invited a little coworker over for dinner, and Julie was already there making rolls to take back to Kevin. I had a few myself, and then we headed home.

Eaddie did a great job driving across town in the dark, first with Summer to get her car from my house, and then with me to get back home. It was a bit sticky and hot in the house, but we settled in quickly. Summer went to bed while Eaddie stayed up to chat with me for quite awhile. I showed her the intro to 2001: A Space Odyssey that Barbie parodied. Then we went outside to listen to the super loud mockingbird in the yard for a bit before coming back inside where I showed her the original King’s Quest game. For some reason I couldn’t find a version online that had the bird sound effect in the background, but I thought it would be funny to teach the mockingbird a new tune. That may be a project for later.

Cause actually, my job is just “beach.”

All in Time

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

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

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

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

Shut Down


I slept reasonably well last night, but didn’t let myself sleep in too late. Summer went to work and I got up to make a couple ham, egg, and cheese biscuits for Eaddie and myself. I became more and more aggravated as I continued to dig through the refrigerator, unearthing things forgotten and uneaten. I eventually left to shower so I could take Eaddie out to practice driving.

I stopped for a car wash on the way back to get Eaddie, and it seemed like I either got a new chip in the windshield, or the filler popped out of an old chip that had been previously repaired. It was super noticeable because the cracks caught the sunlight, which made me think it was a new crack. I haven’t had very good luck with windshields over the past couple years.

I took Eaddie to the high school so she could drive around. I figured the best way to practice was to have her drive from lot to lot, park, and then walk all the way around the car to see how she did. Doing this repeatedly in different parking spaces would help her learn some spatial awareness, and timing how many times she could park in the hour got her a little more focused on driving instead of parking and talking.

When we finished, I tried to get her to drive us to the DMV so we could upgrade her learner’s license. She got to the Hickey parking lot and then froze, refusing to get into traffic on the main road. That aggravated me because I had just purchased insurance for her, but by then we were in a bit of a rush to complete a task before the DMV closed. We switched positions and I got us there. I figured we should be proactive and get her a “Real ID” which required additional documentation. We raced to Superfast to get Summer, then to the house to get her Social Security card, birth certificate, and a couple utility bills for proof of residency. Then we made it back to the DMV, but we had switched vehicles and I had to run back to Superfast to get Eaddie’s current license.

When I got back to the DMV, Eaddie said they didn’t need any of that documentation because they just got a regular license instead. It didn’t cost any more, and we already had the documentation in hand, so I couldn’t understand why they agreed to get a regular license. The entire race across town was for absolutely nothing, and I felt again like I was the only one doing the thinking for everyone involved. We dropped Summer off back at work, and then Eaddie and I continued on to get some gas before ending up back at their house.

Eaddie was hangry, so she ate a few bites of some leftovers before deciding she didn’t like cold noodles. I finished them, but we ended up not getting back out to practice more driving. We tried dipping more cake pops, but she ended up having to use some new white chocolate, since the milk chocolate froze up on us. When Summer got home, I grilled the last of a couple frozen burgers for them. They ate, and then we watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I wanted to watch Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but they refused and went to bed. It was late by the time I got everything else cleaned up and wound down anyway, so I just did my best to make it to bed before midnight.

He chose… poorly.

Too Soupy

I couldn’t get anyone out of bed this morning, so I went to my parents’ house by myself to bid everyone goodbye. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mom was busy making too much food for lunch. Bác Trân was slicing pork for two different kinds of soup. Bác Loan and Mom weren’t even going to eat, but Dad joined us for a couple tiny bowls of rice and soup. They didn’t have very long before they had to leave for their flight back to Houston, so it was a bit of a mad dash to get everyone out the door. I stayed behind to put all of the food away.

Afterward, I went home to shower and then pretty immediately headed back up to Summer’s house. The girls had been up for a little while cleaning the house. Eaddie had been wanting to watch the Indiana Jones movies before we watch the new one. We watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and then took a break to try and dip some cake pops into chocolate. That went pretty poorly, so she gave up and we watched The Temple of Doom. I had trouble staying awake through both movies, and I don’t think I’d ever actually seen either one from start to finish.

After the second movie, we went to my parents’ house for dinner. We didn’t stick around for very long afterward, and went by my house to pick up Summer’s new phone case since she broke her last one. Then it was back to their house for the evening. Everyone was pretty tired, so it was off to bed pretty early. I laid down for a little while, then got up to finish my nightly routine before going to sleep.

It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.

Let’s Get Nuts

I woke Eaddie up on my way out this morning, and she got right up and got ready to go. I was so happy that she spent the whole day with me, and we had a pretty good time. She’s been such an incredible support for me the past few days. I went home and took a shower, and came back to get her for a movie. I brought some Taco John’s and an order of cheese curds from Freddy’s, and we ate before we left. We made it to UEC a little later than I wanted because I got caught up responding to a work email, but fortunately The Flash was showing in two different auditoriums, and the showing on the larger screen didn’t start until half an hour later, which gave us plenty of time to find a seat. We just shared a kid’s snack box since we had just eaten lunch.

I thought the movie was pretty decent. It definitely wasn’t as epic as some of the trailers made it look, but it was a reasonably good movie for the DC Universe. The CG really was pretty awful, like a direct-to-DVD movie, but the story was decent. It didn’t tie meaningfully into the other DC movies much, other than for some cameos, but it was a fun watch nonetheless.

Afterward, we stopped by Superfast to check on Summer, who was just leaving for the gym. Justin topped off my washer fluid, and then I took Eaddie home for a little bit to relax before we left again to go to Walmart for an air filter for their air conditioner. Then we stopped by Walgreens to pick up an online order I placed last night for some sodas, and finally made it to my parents’ house.

Uncle Mai had arrived with “Connie” and Daniel, so we got to meet them for the first time since I was a baby. Uncle Mai tried showing us a card trick that didn’t quite work out, and then I showed him my magic “car” trick. Summer met us there and I warmed up leftovers for both of the girls and then myself while everyone visited. Julie and Kevin came over briefly, but then left to go fly over the house to wave at everyone. Uncle Mai was excited by the pair of Teslas in the driveway, so I had Summer pick him up and take his picture with us.

Uncle Giao, Erica, and Nova showed up late, after everyone had left to visit Bác Vân’s house. I left to find clothes for the funeral, and then made it up to Summer’s for the evening where both of the girls were already in bed. Eaddie even had the lights out, which was unusual. I trimmed the washable air filter I purchased, and swapped it for the super gross one in the air handler. Then I chatted with Johnny for a little bit since he had called me while we were at the movies, before finally making it to bed.

They’re a reminder of your history.