On the Subject of Pedestals

Eaddie has been wanting to go out on a hike, so she and Summer decided today was the day. I suggested Pedestal Rock, a place I hadn’t been there since I was a child, because it seemed like an easy enough hike for someone in my condition. They jumped right out of bed and were ready to go, so I took the opportunity to shower while they went to the store to get lunch materials. Then they brought the Model Y over to charge while we took mine up to Pelsor.

Nobody had eaten yet, and I didn’t want to drive for an hour and then hike for just as long before we could sit down and eat sandwiches, so I stopped at Sonic before we got to Dover. It was a pretty middling experience, made slightly worse by the fact that we then weren’t really hungry enough for lunch on the trail afterward.

We walked the Pedestal Rocks trail, which was longer than Kings Bluff. It wasn’t too incredibly hot or humid out, but the slight changes in elevation got me huffing pretty quickly. Even micro changes wear me down really quickly, so I tried to pace myself. We made it down to the rock formations fairly easily, and I took a short break while the girls wandered around at the bottom of the formations for a bit. The hike back up to the car was much worse for me, but once we leveled out I recovered fairly quickly.

The girls ate some pita chips and hummus, but didn’t get out any of the sandwich stuff. I found a large chunk of something in what was left of our cranberry slush from Sonic. It had broken up a bit in the drink, which led me to believe it was a chunk of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but nobody was brave enough to taste it.

Eaddie was pretty anxious to get back home by that time, so we left. As we got back into town and service, Summer noticed that Autumn had stopped by Adam’s house on the way home from Clarksville, where she had been overnight. It was clear they had spent the night together at her father’s house. Autumn’s lies about their plans pretty well sealed her fate.

We swapped vehicles at my house and then went inside to chat for a bit before deciding to go to Summer’s parents’ house to talk to them first. We felt we owed them the courtesy, but that turned toxic absolutely instantly. We had barely pulled up when Autumn called Summer wanting to know if we were there to talk them out of paying for her band camp trip. It was a short conversation before Autumn hung up on her mother, and then Summer had to talk JoAnn into coming out to talk to the three of us.

Everyone seemed to be concerned about band camp, because that’s what Autumn called them about. Gerald stomped out, white as a ghost, a few moments later and banged his fist in anger. Summer told him we were kicking Autumn out, and he said, “Good! You don’t deserve her!” I think we all felt a brief feeling of relief until he pulled the rug out from beneath us and said she could come live with him. Then he tried bringing up Summer’s past when she moved out of their house, as though that made any kind of point at all. He cast Summer away and told her not to come back. She and Eaddie went back to the car while I stood there in shock.

I tried to calmly explain the situation, but it was clear he wasn’t going to listen. He was locked into blind support of Autumn’s parasitic lifestyle, and she’ll only suffer for it. I told him that I knew they loved the girls, and for some reason his only response was that he didn’t love Eaddie. That just seemed like a cruel and pointless thing to say, and I had absolutely no response loaded for that. We headed to the house to confront Autumn, but of course they had already told her she was being kicked out, so she was packing by the time we got there.

Autumn tried ignoring us at first, but finally came out long enough for Summer to talk to her. After over a year of hearing her say she hates it with us, she said she wasn’t ready to move out, and then turned to me to ask if I was “okay with this.” I don’t know what kind of answer she expected from me after she tried to send me to jail with false accusations. Summer did a great job of laying out the expectations and where Autumn failed to meet them. We gave her twice the amount of time we told her, and then sent her off with her car title and birth certificate. We’ve wasted enough time afraid for our own safety with her around. She can mooch off of someone else from now on.

I think Summer and Eaddie handled it relatively well, but it was hard. I didn’t really expect to tear up myself, but I did while giving my parting words. They took a moment to breathe, and then Summer took me home to get the Murano. While we were there, she called Nick to explain the situation. He played dumb enough that I didn’t even think to be angry at him, since he was the one that allowed Autumn to stay the night with her 15 year old boyfriend. What an absolute putz.

Summer spent a while on the phone in her car when we got back to the house. Eaddie had taken a shower, and we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. When Summer finally came in, I suggested pizza and both of their eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning and they had just found all of the surprise presents under the tree. I ordered some Little Caesars, and spent the next 20 minutes waiting for it.

When I got back to the house, we watched Modern Family while we ate. Then the girls went to bed. New challenges await us tomorrow, but at least for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

If it were up to me, we would have given her car to her in cube-form.

Old Tomato

Things were tense with Summer every time I saw her today. She and I both slept in a bit. She tried to wake Autumn up before she left for work, and of course I could hear mild yelling from the bedroom. Once she left, I had a bagel and then quietly went home myself for the day. I wanted to read up on some Ubiquiti networking documentation, but I could never get myself into it. The best I could do was complete a load of laundry.

I thought Mom was working, but she texted around lunch time and it looked like she was at home. I thought I’d visit her, but I didn’t get out until after my laundry was done. I had to go by Walgreens first for my medication, but that was a failed trip and a phone call to my benefits line, because apparently my insurance paperwork hasn’t made it in yet. I decided not to pay full price and just ride out some higher blood pressure for a few weeks to see what happens.

From there, I stopped to wash my car before heading to see Mom. By the time I got there, I saw the garage was empty and it looked like she was at work. Confused, I headed back home. Summer was home by then, but the girls had been out shopping all day. By the time I got to her house, she said they had left again for the art walk downtown. Things were still tense, and I likened the situation to beating a dog for peeing on the carpet the day before. I told her I was sick of nothing being done. There’s been no accountability. Autumn simply doesn’t understand the difference between not being a shitty person and working to earn something. I’m not going to keep my mouth shut any longer.

I ate some leftovers, and Summer went straight to bed. I just sat there wishing I was at home all night long. What a waste.

First fireflies of the year.

Murder Campus

I rolled in to work a few minutes late today, but that seems to be the atmosphere there. I think as long as work gets done, nobody really seems to care too much about anything else. I didn’t get too deep into much before Kim got there, and then we ended up at the bottom of the hill to finish up our inventory and hunting for Chromebooks. That project was going to take us most of the day, but I wanted to take a break and visit the Plainview campus for the first time.

We had to track down some keys for the building, and then we were on our way. As timing would have it, we had to accept a delivery from UPS anyway. Then I got a quick tour of a hallway they use for preschool, and then a walk through the back side of the building that was blocked by storage. It was padlocked shut, and everything was pretty gross inside. There were some neat things, like a giant, old safe, and an old stage with theater seating in surprisingly good condition. We looked at some carts that I might want to put back into circulation if they’re firm on keeping a cart in every single room, used or not.

By the time we finished there, I was pretty hungry and insisted on taking Kim out to lunch at the Junction CafĂ© in town. I tried the Cajun baked potato with shrimp and crawfish, and then Kim got the Cajun fries, which looked like a slightly better deal, though my potato wasn’t bad.

We finished the elementary inventory in the afternoon, which took us right to quitting time. I didn’t even bother unloading everything when we got back to the office. I raced home with very little traffic and stopped by my parents’ house to visit with Mom, but she wasn’t home from work. The landscapers were there, and evidently they cut down her favorite magnolia tree, of which I wasn’t even fully aware.

I ended up leaving well before she got home, stopped by Walgreens where the pharmacy had already closed at three, and then ran home to change before going to Summer’s. She made dinner, so I ate while she and Eaddie watched baking shows.

Summer had told Autumn the other night that she couldn’t go to band camp because she declined the offer earlier in the year. Autumn pitched a fit over it, and evidently spent the afternoon with her grandparents to get money to go. The whole ordeal burned me up, because I’m sick to death of her sidestepping Summer’s parenting, and Summer not doing anything about it. I almost left, but calmed myself down enough to talk to Summer about it. Of course she was just dead eyes through the entire conversation. I know she has it worse, but I can’t feel sorry for her if she does nothing to change the situation. Autumn is just making all of our lives worse by existing, and I wish Summer would put her foot down.

Maybe a trip to Plainview.

Care and Confidence

I was pretty tired today, but I surprisingly made it in to work a little early. It helped that there was almost no school traffic through Dardanelle. It was hard for me to get started on anything in particular, and I’m still feeling lost on some of the most important things I need to learn, but later in the afternoon it got easier to focus. Having noisy kids in and out of the room all day gets super old, and makes it hard to concentrate. On the other hand, I won’t have Kim there over the summer to help me know what I need to be doing.

I skipped lunch and worked a little bit late, and then went straight to my parents’ house for some shrimp soup. Summer left her car to charge at my house again, so I got it after I ate and took it home to her. Autumn had Adam over for her birthday, and they all had pizza for dinner and were playing Mario Party when I got there.

I was surprised to already see an invite for the second round of interviews at Green Bay Packaging this morning, since he said that process would probably take a couple months. Gary wanted to schedule me for next week, so I figure I can knock that out and then come right back home for the MASS testing at the nuclear plant. I’ve never had so many opportunities sprung on me at once.

After they finished their game, Eaddie wanted me to cut her hair. High on the recent rush of confidence-inspiring events, I took her out back and we chopped off several inches. It took me a little bit to get it to look right from all angles, but in the end we quit when it got too dark to see, and she was super happy with it. I figure now’s my chance to decline all of these offers and go straight to opening my own salon – Captain’s Cuts.

You’ll like the cut of your jib, or your money back!


I slept in a little bit today by comparison with my earlier time to rise with commute. I needed it. I heard Autumn talking to Summer in the living room, so I just stayed in bed for a while. By the time I came out, Summer started to rush me home to get ready. She wanted to get there before the doors opened, so she ran me off to go home and shower. Then she picked me up late to meet her parents as they were coming out of the elevator at the arena. It was kismet.

Wesley and Cindy showed up and sat a couple rows down from us, so I talked with them once my parents got seated. By then it wasn’t too much longer before they filed everyone in and the ceremony started. We had good seats to see Eaddie in the first chair position in the band, as well as the stage as the seniors walked up.

Ginni’s speech was incredibly robotic. It was as if she prompted ChatGPT to write her a graduation speech that included things for which people normally have feelings, but which she as an interstellar alien, had absolutely no understanding. It was dry, emotionless, and sounded unrehearsed. I don’t think I’d feel any differently if I weren’t bitter, because all of the other speeches were pretty great, and at least seemed heartfelt.

Having graduation split into two groups made this one much more bearable. Sitting for the entire class would have sucked, not just because it would have taken twice as long for everyone to walk, but because of how many people would be there. I suggest a hard limit of two guests per student.

Afterward, we all met outside and waited for Autumn to get some pictures. Summer’s parents left after saying they would have lunch with us. My parents would join us, but made it out before we did. Summer replaced the traffic cones I moved out of the way, so traffic backed up behind us. The girl that parked next to us was having an absolute fit and had who I presumed was her mother stand out in the parking lot behind her to block traffic. I didn’t see it, but evidently she was flipping people off and screaming about it, so I just made us wait until all the traffic was done before we left.

We had both of the girls and Adam with us, and we had a shrinking window of time to take everyone out to eat, so we met my parents at Burger King for Autumn’s favorite food group. I knew there was no way in hell we’d make it in and out of Brick Oven, and by the time we got out of the parking lot, nobody thought we’d even make it across town and back from Autumn’s favorite restaurant. I ordered some food ahead to try and speed things along and maybe save a buck, but I think I really ended up just wasting even more money because Eaddie wanted a Spider-Verse Whopper that came with a couple chicken sandwiches and chicken fries that nobody really wanted. Summer ordered her own meal, my parents ordered their own meals, and Autumn got the one meal I ordered on the drive over.

From there, we rushed Adam back to the band room and Autumn left to go with him. We took Eaddie to Old Post to hang out with some friends, and Summer took me home so she could go work out, or mow, or do whatever else. I did a couple loads of laundry and then mowed my own yard, which got me much sweatier than I anticipated. The back yard is frustratingly overgrown again, and no matter how much I plead, I can’t get a hand with it. It made me seriously contemplate staying home out of frustration so that I could just tackle it on my other day off instead of wasting that with the girls too.

I did finally make it up to Summer’s for the evening, where she was nearly asleep from watching George of the Jungle, and Eaddie was up practicing her flute. Summer woke up once I got there, and was up for a while until after Autumn finally got home. I was cold and tired, yet clammy from mowing, so I didn’t stay up very long.

Your place.

Stupid Pilot

I was just a hair late for work this morning, but I don’t think anyone even noticed since I’m not really expected anywhere at any time. I had my first encounter with a vendor when I got an email from a months-long chain trying to renew our Jamf license. Fortunately I was relatively familiar, so I responded and got us on track. Purchasing will be a weird, probably easy thing to learn that I’ve just never been a part of before. It’ll be nice to be the one making a few decisions, but I’m sure I’ll have to make other less fun ones in the future.

The lunch ladies gave me a huge plate of chicken strips for lunch, and then it was a pretty quiet afternoon. I didn’t really figure out a whole lot of anything else because I spent most of the day trying to clean up old emails. Everyone has just been using a shared email account, which seems like very bad practice from where I came from.

I ended up leaving pretty late, and tried to make it a quick drive home, though I had to fight Autopilot from driving on the center line. I guess I should try to recalibrate soon. It was a beautiful day out though, and it was nice to have a couple days of big, puffy clouds in a big, blue sky.

Summer made it home a little early, or at least earlier than I did, so I didn’t waste any time getting up to her house. Eaddie and Vicky were outside trying to resize their History Day project so it would fit in the back of the Murano. I warmed up some leftover pasta to eat. I didn’t hear Autumn come out of her room even once, so it was like she was already gone. I just keep getting more and more bitter at her every day, so that was fine.

I talked to Alisha for a bit about the house and the stubborn sellers, Eaddie came out to chat for a little bit about her History Day trip, and everyone went to bed pretty early. I was tired as well, so I didn’t stay up as late as usual.

Doesn’t feel like home yet.

Fix One Thing

I was a little less scattered at work today, and finally managed to resolve one issue that nobody was really talking about. Evidently one of our domain controllers had some major updates pending, and I don’t know if that was the cause, but Google Password Sync wasn’t working for Workspace for any changes to that controller. Once I fixed that, I was able to sign into my new email account with the password I set in Active Directory.

I followed Kim through the lunch line again for a lunch break, and afterward we went down to the gym to check out the sound system while the elementary kids practiced their musical before the big show in the evening. She said she had to go to the evening show and press “play” for each of the songs they would sing, because evidently that was too much work for whatever teacher would already be there adjusting the volume.

I ended up leaving a little bit early since I stayed late yesterday and basically worked through lunch both days. They had the construction lights going at the two bridges I crossed, so traffic was quite a bit slower coming home today. I stopped by Superfast once I got into town, to check on Summer and get some pictures of the paint defects on her car to send to the service team.

Autumn was running all around town for some reason, but Eaddie found a ride home. I went home for a little bit and Ben called to check up on the new job. We talked for a little while, and he offered to come visit since I guess we’re paying members of the APSRC. Finally I headed up to Summer’s house once she was off work. I stopped for some tacos and a car wash along the way, but had to backtrack when I saw both a train and emergency vehicles parked all over the road on Elmira.

When I got to the house, Eaddie was trying to figure out their History Day trip. They couldn’t figure out how to get everyone up there, so I finally said we could still chaperone if we needed to. Having a job again made me a little more comfortable with how much money the trip would cost.

The girls all went to their rooms early, but somehow I still ended up awake pretty late. I just kept coming up with weird Monopoly-esque offers in my mind for the house we liked on Ouita. I guess that’s more thought for the commute.

Then onto the next.

Accepting Rejection

I was happy enough with the response I got this morning, along with the general excitement expressed in the offer, that I’ll start at Two Rivers on Monday. Unfortunately we ended up offending the sellers of the Ouita house with our offer enough that they outright rejected our offer, along with the verbal one they received. I talked with Alisha some more, and the seller’s agent finally talked them into negotiating some.

Summer worked from home, so I took a shower and she took us to Mulan’s for lunch. I ate way too much and then had to go home so Dad could come help me fix my leaky faucet. That project snowballed on us, and it took one trip to Leonard’s to fix the leak at the knob, but then the shutoff valves wouldn’t close enough to stop the water and we had to shut it off at the curb. Of course the box was completely full of water from all the rain. I tried blowing it out with my leaf blower, and all that muddy water ended up in my face. We took another trip to Leonard’s and got some washers for the shutoff valves, but using the impact to remove the caps may have caused them to leak somewhere else. There’s still a small drip at the shutoff valve now.

I took another shower to clean off the mud, and then I had to go get Eaddie and a friend of hers from robotics. We dropped her off a couple blocks from my house, and then I took Eaddie home until we had to go back to the high school for their band participation awards.

The house lights stayed on the whole evening, and then having the directors read out every single activity that each individual senior had done in their entire school career was just the start to how ridiculous the night would be. After they finished the seniors, they called every single junior and sophomore onto the stage to collect their participation trophies. We almost left early because Summer thought they were going to call eighth and seventh graders up as well, but they didn’t.

The girls went out with friends, so Summer and I came home and watched a couple episodes of Modern Family. The girls eventually made it home and I added some flavor and correctly-sized vegetables to the pico de gallo that Autumn basically blended yesterday. I got a little sidetracked after that, but tried not to stay up too late.

How can I be so tired and so restless?


I woke up early this morning to shower and get back to pick up Summer for a trip to Little Rock. She would be meeting with the CFO to discuss some issues, and I wanted to tag along so I could see Gary before his surgery, and then catch lunch with Ben.

Joe texted me early and asked me to call, so I let him know when we hit the interstate and he called to chat while we were on the road. I gave him the scoop on my situation, and he again urged me to vote. Once we got into Little Rock, I dropped Summer off and then had to find some breakfast. The Wendy’s I tried appeared to be closed, at least for dining in, so I made the block and went to Waffle House. The food there was great, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay full price.

After I ate and hung out for a little while, I headed to the hospital, not really expecting to see Gary for a while. He said he wouldn’t be free until about four, so I just took my chances and figured I would kill time until lunch with Ben. To my surprise, Dale walked in and sat down to talk with me for at least half an hour. It was such a great surprise to catch up with him, and then Gary rolled back in all on his own in a wheelchair. We all chatted for a while, but eventually I had to leave to feed Ben.

I made it across town and then made him decide what to eat. He decided on something new, with Rock City Tacos on the Tesla navigation. When we got there, Google actually showed it to be Rock City Kitchen, who had no tacos, only served fish on Fridays, and were also out of wings. We just got burgers, which were super disappointing, especially after multiple excellent experiences at Cotham’s. We had a good chat, and I discovered that one of the companies that contacted me actually does the IT support for his office.

Summer texted for a ride just as we finished eating, so I dropped Ben back off and then ran back across town. Summer still hadn’t eaten all day, so she wanted to stop at Wendy’s. They were actually open this time, but only barely. It was run by a bunch of kids that were more interested in hanging out in the back, cursing loudly enough to hear them from the register. Then as Summer was eating, a big guy that sat down a couple tables away from us asked for us to call him a cab, as he sat pouring liquor into his soda cup.

We headed straight home after that, and hung out until we had to go to the junior high for Eaddie’s National History Day meeting. The more I heard, the less interested I was in going to DC. It was going to be expensive, and neither the school nor the state were going to help get the kids there in any meaningful way. The best option that was floated was renting a charter bus for like $20,000 for the week, and share that with some other schools. Summer and I decided we weren’t going to go, but we’d send Eaddie by whatever means necessary.

After that, we headed up to Summer’s and hung out until we had to go to the high school for the band’s appreciation concert. The concert band was absolute trash. They had trouble finding the right notes, and once they did, they played them at the wrong time. Eaddie told us afterward that they actually cut their portion of the concert short because they weren’t prepared enough to play all of the songs they wanted. The symphonic band did much better, as usual, and carried on for much longer.

The girls ended up going to Walmart with their father afterward, so Summer and I headed home for the night. She went to bed, and I helped Eaddie fill out a History Day form for her trip once they got home. Then I was off to bed after a long day.

I’m Mr. Popular lately, but not in any useful kind of way.

Everything Goes

Summer got up and made us a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, and waffles. Autumn refused to get out of bed, and stumbled out to eat late, after everything had been put away. We were supposed to go look at the house again, so I went home to shower and get my ladder before picking up the girls. As I was getting ready, Alisha texted and wanted to reschedule, so we set up a time for Monday instead.

Eaddie wanted to go watch the high school play again, so we took her to that. We ran into Karen and Kim at the box office, and I chatted with Karen briefly before the play. I found myself completely disinterested in Anything Goes. It just wasn’t an interesting story to me, and it seemed like the singing parts could have been cast better. Eaddie and a couple of her friends sat with us for the first half, but then left to sit up front for the last half. I had hoped the intermission was the end, but at least I had less trouble staying awake after the intermission.

After the play, Karen came up and found me to get the full scoop on what happened for me. Then Jeff spotted me and came over to shake my hand and offer his condolences. That made me feel really good that he felt concerned enough to come see me, because we didn’t have occasion to talk very often at work.

When we got back to the house, Autumn was asleep in bed, so I had Summer make her get up so I could drop her off at the gym. I figured I could take Eaddie out to practice driving while we waited. That turned into an absolute screaming fit, and she threw her car keys at my feet as we argued about vehicle ownership. I gave her another five minutes to cool down while I talked Eaddie into riding along, and then we dropped her off.

Eaddie was stressing over homework, so we ended up coming back to the house anyway so she could start on that. I warmed us up some leftovers for dinner, and then we picked Autumn up after an absolute maximum of 45 minutes worth of working out. She had cooled way down by then, and it was fine when we got home. I continued to help Eaddie with her homework until everyone wandered off to bed. Autumn, who had already spent the majority of the day in bed, stayed up late doing laundry even past when I turned in.

I say, anyone have hot pants for a game of shuffle board?