Choice

The Montego didn’t appreciate being started this morning, and the idle bounced around for a bit until I got a “failsafe engine mode” message. I shut it off, gave it a moment, and then started it right back up again without any trouble. I asked Summer if she’d ever encountered that before, and she said sometimes it just happens.

Death trap.

I made it home, but took the Shadow to work again on account of the weather. It was a bit on the cool side, but it didn’t take me long to work up a sweat. I had to walk to the Support Services building a couple times to pick up some old junk, and though the humidity wasn’t reported to be very high, and it wasn’t terribly hot outside, I couldn’t stop sweating.

I had to stop by Transportation for a moment after that, and then I spent the rest of the morning working on things in my office. Lunch time came quickly, and a group of us went to Slim Chickens. Greg had his daughter with him for an appointment in the afternoon, and she was shy at first, but by lunch time she was bouncing all over the place. I had a BOGO deal of questionable value, and took the leftovers back to the shop fridge.

The afternoon was quiet, but I kept pretty busy. I ended the day upstairs with a few new work orders, and then came back to the shop to close up. I had to shoo Tammy out, otherwise she would have kept working late. Autumn had called to ask me to pick up Eaddie because they had a disagreement about who had to do what. Autumn wanted to go mow the lawn at her grandparents’ house, but Eaddie had to finish an assignment for band before she left school. Autumn did a good job of making it sound like Eaddie was the asshole, but of course Eaddie ultimately had other details.

I took my time getting home, wanting to make Eaddie sweat it out a bit since she didn’t pre-arrange for me to pick her up. I stopped for gas at Casey’s, but then changed my mind and went to Shell instead. When I got home, I called Eaddie back and went to pick her up. We stopped back by my house to get some air in the damaged back tire, and then went to Lowe’s to drop off some recycling. As I was walking back to the car, I passed an old guy that had been staring at a riding lawn mower parked behind his trailer since before we pulled in. I stopped to offer a hand, and managed to push it up onto the trailer by myself. He didn’t really have proper straps to tie it down, but I did my best and left the rest to hopes and dreams.

Autumn beat us home with some stuff to bake cookies, but then went out to mow the rest of the back yard. I started grilling some burgers for the girls a little before Summer got home, and then we all ate a mix of a bunch of leftovers. I was astounded by how well the old lettuce and tomato had kept from the last time we grilled burgers, but it all turned out pretty good. I had a slight overflow issue with the deep fryer, but that cleaned up alright.

After we ate, we sat the girls down to talk about how both of them were both right and wrong, and pleaded with them to work on their communication with one another. Then everyone went to bed while I waited up to finish Autumn’s laundry. When I put Summer to bed, she said John invited her to Thanksgiving, but evidently I had done something last year that offended him enough that I wasn’t allowed.

I’m never particularly afraid to offend anyone, but I certainly never go anywhere with that intent. I know I can get into belligerent moods where I say things off the cuff, and then dig in even if things go awry. I don’t think it was really fair to Summer to put her in that predicament, but I’m glad for her that someone chose to be her friend. We both know a lot of people, but I don’t think either of us really have that many that we can call “friends.” I always think that I do, but then when it comes down to it, it’s really just whoever I’m working with most frequently at the time. I try not to feel too sorry for myself because I believe that to be common among humanity. They always joked that if Summer and I broke up, they would keep her over me. I’ll have to apologize, because I never meant to put anyone in a situation that might make them feel the way that any of us feel now. It’s just a sucky situation because of the way that I chose to be.

It always plays better in my head.

Dirty Laundry

I tried not to sleep in too late today, and got up to finish the leftover corned beef from weeks ago. It had definitely gone a bit sour, but otherwise didn’t seem to have any adverse side effects. As soon as Eaddie got around, we took her to the high school to get her flute for an assignment she needed to finish. Afterward, Summer was going to take her to New China for lunch, so I had them drop me off at home.

The first thing I did was clean up the smoker after yesterday’s meal. It took me a while, but I think I’ll get better at it over time. Then I did a couple loads of laundry while intermittently cleaning around inside the house. Every time I stepped outside, I got really sweaty, so I stayed inside for most of it. I got my old computer running and started a whole bunch of updates on it. Finally, I took a shower when I got to a stopping point.

Eaddie was going to come ride her bike after lunch, but Summer wasn’t feeling well. They both decided to go back home for the day, and Summer tried to sleep it off. Autumn eventually made it home, and she and Eaddie mowed part of the lawn. I decided to go by Freddy’s for a couple concretes to take up to them, and I just ran into one frustration after another.

I placed my order online and headed to the store. Some lady flew in from the other direction and got in front of me in the drive-through, and then took a while to order. I just knew it was going to take forever for her to get everything she ordered. When I got to the speaker, the girl told me I had to pick up my order inside, but by then I had traffic behind me, and evidently there was no way out of the drive-through, so I just had to sit and wait for the lady in front of me to get everything. When I finally got inside, the pickup process was not clear at all. There were three different places to get my order, and it was in none of them. That was actually a blessing in disguise, because they simply hadn’t even made my order yet. I placed it before I left the house, which meant they didn’t even start making it for at least 10 minutes. With custard in hand, I headed out, but was cut off by some other lady that flew out of the parking lot without looking.

When I got to their house, Summer was still agonizing in bed while Autumn was trying to help Eaddie bake cookies. Eaddie wasn’t trying very hard, which was aggravating Autumn. I couldn’t believe they didn’t start fighting, but Autumn just made herself a huge glass of chocolate milk and went to her room. I took over a bit and started combining ingredients for Eaddie, and then she formed cookies on the baking sheets. I used a fork to embellish them a bit, which Eaddie enjoyed.

I ended the evening next to Summer, trying to complete an achievement on Into the Breach. My cough got worse again as the night carried on, so I loaded up on water and meds and went to bed.

It’s not a video tape.

Earlier

I had a couple glasses of Allen’s old homemade wine last night, and it was so strong that I woke up drunk. The room spun all night, but I slept alright. I had no intention of going out that hard. I managed to get out of bed and ready for work, and even made it in a few minutes early against all odds. We had a fairly long meeting that set the tone for the day. Most of the district was out, and Zach took a sick day to be with his family. Gary and I stuck around the office, but everyone else went to do a few projects.

Nobody made it back for lunch, so Gary and I walked next door to the new Wildflower Cafe. That place was packed with a bunch of old church ladies, and I have no idea how they could possibly have read the menu on the wall. It was so small that I could barely read it even when we got to the counter. I ordered a Mediterranean Turkey Wrap, which turned out to be a fistful of lunch meat, odd olives, hummus, and something with basil. I also chose the tomato basil soup as my side, which I learned after the fact cost me an extra buck, bringing my total to over $16. Brody, Josh, and Kyle showed up after us, so we moved tables to seat everyone. The food was surprisingly slow to come out considering it was mostly cold dishes served on Chinet. They have “meal prep” dishes as well, which Brody ordered and then asked to have microwaved so he could try it there. Overall it was way too much money, way too churchy, and generally just not worth the time for me. Maintenance and custodial were grilling burgers for their people back at the shop, and I found myself wishing they had some leftovers by the time we got back.

After lunch, we made it back to the shop and hung out around the table for a while. Then Gary suggested that we should draw numbers, and Brody and I got the first two rounds to go home early. It was still cloudy and cool out, so I thought about riding my bike around, but then went straight home instead. Eaddie was cleaning at home and didn’t want to go ride the Grom. Autumn was out of town for Quiz Bowl, so Eaddie asked me to take her to the football game.

I spent some time inside, since I still didn’t feel great from the morning. Then I got around to cleaning up the garage a bit until it was time to get Eaddie. Summer got home shortly after I dropped her off, and we went to Taco Villa for a dinner to share before making it to the high school to watch the halftime show. As soon as that was done, we took the Shadow back home and then went to their house for the evening. I was tired and started to doze a bit, but then Summer went to bed and I stayed up until the girls got home from the game.

Three miles per hour isn’t going to cut it, long-term.

On a Roll

I woke up early and hacked up a bunch of crud, then went back to sleep pretty hard. I heard Summer get around, so I eventually got out of bed and had some leftover biscuits and gravy. Then I went home to work on the garage. It got really hot really early because of the humidity, so I ended up taking really frequent breaks inside, but I felt good about the progress I made. There’s still a lot to do, and a lot of stuff that needs a new home, but today proved just how poorly and inefficiently things were packed into the place.

Summer came over after her workout and helped poke around a bit, but then went home while I finished up. I took one last break and watched an episode of She Hulk, and finally took a shower. Autumn dropped Summer and Eaddie off at the park to play tennis while she went to see her grandparents for a bit. Once I was done, I picked then up to go to my parents’ house for spring rolls for dinner.

Julie was already there to help prep everything, and was sharing stories about her most recent adventure. They set up another table for us in the living room, expecting more than could fit around the dinner table. Autumn didn’t show up until the very end, but the rest of us took turns going to the dining room to make rolls that we carried to the living room to eat.

Autumn showed up to say, “hello,” and then took the others home with her. I helped clean up a little bit and then headed to the house behind them. Summer had been struggling with a headache and half of her face tingling intermittently throughout the weekend, so I finally convinced her to call the doctor in the morning. I doped up myself since my cough was getting a bit worse again, and was going to go to bed early until Eaddie came out and sat down next to me to do some last-minute science homework. I helped her with a few questions, and then it was off to sleep.

You’re welcome.

We Don’t Care About the Kids

I was already on my way in to the office before I decided to divert off to Oakland to tell Mollie happy birthday. Things have quieted down a lot since the start of school, which honestly seems kind of early. I didn’t stay long since I didn’t have any work there, but more came in later.

It was quiet in the office, but Tammy asked me to watch the phones while she and Thomas had a little training meeting. It wasn’t much later that I got a call from Cheslea, Danielle, and Elizabeth, freaking out about some Chromebooks that weren’t working for the testing they were trying to administer. I shared a brilliant plan to just borrow some from the library, and I never heard from them again.

Lunch time came up super fast, and we actually left late. I rode alone since I had to go to the high school afterward. Melissa was ahead of me at Quiznos, so I talked to her for a second before ordering. Gary, Zach, and Thomas showed up right behind me and we ate, and then I left early to make it to the high school.

Autumn invited me to come talk to her education technology class, so I came in early to talk to Matt a bit before the kids came in. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and evidently he really wasn’t either. It was a good conversation with everyone though, and I had some fun. I think I probably came off a bit more like a rant than I really wanted, but I also wasn’t surprised. I was a little surprised by how many questions there were about my job specifically though, since the class seems to be more focused around how to use technology as a teacher.

I saw Eaddie in the hall on my way out, and she had me stop to say hello to her friend. Then I went to Oakland to take care of the few things that had popped up since the morning. There, I got to chat with Danielle and Elizabeth for a bit as they were finishing up their day. Then it was back to the shop to ride out the remainder of the afternoon.

After work, I went to Walgreens to pick up some contact solution that I ordered online at a discount. Then I stopped by to chat with Grant and a prospective new employee named Kyler. I didn’t stick around too long, but Grant gave me the remnants of some other brand of rub to try. Then I went by to see Dad for just a moment before I learned that the girls were about done with school and wanted food.

I ran home to change, and then met the girls at CiCi’s for dinner. They had been bickering a bit before I got there, but had settled down by then. We ate, and then Eaddie just kept wanting to lay down on the table, so I let Autumn take them on home while I finished up. It was quiet when I got to the house, and we waited for Summer to get home late. Autumn came out first and wanted to “tell her side of the story,” but then got upset when we called her out for exactly the same thing we always have to point out to her. Then after she went to bed, Eaddie came out and vented to us about exactly the same things we’ve had to deal with for years. And with that, everyone was off to bed.

Dry and loose!

Mow, Mow, Mow to Boat

I didn’t sleep very well or for very long last night. The girls were supposed to get up early to mow so they could go to their father’s for the weekend, but we beat them out of bed. It took some prying, and neither one was super motivated. Eaddie finally went out to start mowing, but complained that she wanted to go out on the boat with her friends. Summer was kind of in and out and up in her feelings about it, but tried to get Autumn motivated to do some cleaning up herself.

Eventually I got it through to the kids that they didn’t meet our expectations, and that they had to get it done and work together if they wanted to do anything else for the weekend. Autumn eventually started mowing while Eaddie took a break to go out with her friends. Summer went to the gym and I dropped Eaddie off. On the way back, I got some more gas for the mower, then stopped by to see Grant and Robert. They didn’t have any pork pops that I wanted to try, so I got some brisket and headed back to the house.

Autumn had taken a pretty lengthy break while I was gone, but started up again shortly after I got back. Summer got back from her workout, and by that time I figured we didn’t have long before we could go to my house and do some cleaning up there. I didn’t realize she had a bunch more stuff she wanted to get done, so I ended up burning all afternoon and evening doing nothing more than playing Into the Breach.

Eventually Autumn left to get Eaddie and head to Clarksville. Summer wasted the rest of the evening in front of the TV. I ate some leftovers myself after refusing to get some takeout for her. I cleaned a whole bunch of stuff out of the refrigerator, and I’ll clean out some more for breakfast in the morning before going home.

Better just go it alone.

Nit Picky

I felt a little off for most of the day, like another anxiety attack was right around the corner. Fortunately it never happened, because I wouldn’t have had time for it anyway. I didn’t really do anything remarkable throughout the day, but I felt super busy just keeping up. I was super hungry when lunch came around, and was actually pretty excited to learn that it was already Taco Tuesday. I think I paid too much for the pico on my tacos though.

After lunch, I ended up at Oakland a couple of times because I didn’t have everything I needed the first time around. I’ll end up having to run a video cable through the ceiling if I can’t get a longer video cable later. I spent the end of my day in the queue waiting to talk to someone about an Istation issue, and then trying to negotiate an attendance report out of Cognos. I kind of enjoy working with Cognos, but it would sure make me feel a lot better if I could find some better documentation on the variables the state uses.

Eaddie and Summer had hair appointments after work, but Summer had to take care of something else and asked me to get Eaddie. I ran home to change and then got Eaddie there just as Lelan was finishing up with her last client. I think she just stayed late to take care of them, because nobody else was even in the salon. Eaddie’s trim ended up getting cut a little short, and then I had to take her to band practice while Summer got hers started. I went back up to the salon for a little bit, but then went to my parents’ house for some pork chops for dinner.

I picked Eaddie up after band, and then we headed home to do some laundry and shampooing. It wasn’t an early night to bed, but it sure felt like it.

What’s bugging you?

Smokin’ Hot Deal

I was on fire at work today. I closed out as many work orders as I could, and actually felt pretty accomplished by the end of the day. We didn’t catch a critter over the weekend, but I was glad we hadn’t caught one that ended up being stuck over the whole weekend in a tiny cage. Kyle was back after a week of COVID, and for some reason felt compelled to follow me into my office. Then Brody walked in right behind him, and they were both crowding me until I shooed them off.

I worked on a couple deployments, and even resolved a long-standing issue with some JROTC software. I really can’t imagine those kids learning 10 gigabytes of information all year, but that’s how big the software was. It was really quiet downstairs all day, so it really made it easy to get things done.

Zach came back to get me for lunch, and Gary took us to Slim Chickens. I was super disappointed in my chicken strips. One of them was smaller than my thumb, and I don’t even mean the back joint by my wrist. It was puny, and I was mad. I forgot that their gravy is awful too.

I tried going upstairs in the afternoon after school, but everybody I needed to see had disappeared for the day. I ended the day at Oakland to set up a new phone for their new resource officer. When I left for the day, almost on a whim, I texted Zach to see if he would help me get a grill home from Walmart.

I decided I really wanted the grill for its smart temperature range and oven-like convenience, and at less than half of retail it was probably the best price I was going to get on it. Summer’s grill, like her car, had rusted out and was very near the end of its life, so I figured I’d take her the dual-fuel grill I bought last year and keep the new charcoal smoker at my house. Zach met me there just in time to load it up, and boy was it heavy. I wished it had some handles or something, but we got it onto the ground as I poured sweat.

As soon as Autumn finished up at school, she brought Eaddie over and traded cars with me. Then Eaddie and I drove the driving test course a couple of times before heading up to their house. She had broken out pretty bad from the bug bites, but apparently Gavin was worse off and skipped school to get a steroid shot. I helped load her up on anything we could find to mitigate the itch, and then I headed to my parents’ house for some ribs Dad had just cooked.

After we ate, I ran by Kroger to see if they had any more of those ribs for 99 cents per pound. I picked up the limit of five, along with a half gallon of orange juice, and then tried to get over to Walgreens for my lisinopril refill. That was when I ran into Robin, who wanted to stop and chat about her big life drama. I learned a lot in a really short amount of time. I got out and rolled up to Walgreens just as my medication reminder rang at eight o’clock, which was evidently when they closed the pharmacy.

Eaddie had left her phone at my house earlier, so I ran home to get it, and then met up with the girls back at their house. Summer was busy doing more work stuff before a big couple of days away. Autumn had said she was going to the gym after dropping Eaddie off, but she really went to McDonald’s. Eaddie was still just miserably itchy, so we had her dope up on some diphenhydramine and go to bed. I tried not to stay up too late, but I just felt overstimulated most of the day. It must have been all the money I’ve been spending.

Dun dun…

Home of the Acceptable Burger

I slept in way later than I wanted to this morning. Summer went home and took Autumn to the gym while I cleaned up. When she got back, we went to Lowe’s to pick up a window screen replacement kit, and then Walmart to get some food for the girls’ lunch, as well as some burgers for dinner.

We dropped Autumn and the groceries off at their house, and then Summer and I went to her parents’ house to fix the screen. It was only one window that we did, and the screen material was an unmatching black, but that didn’t seem to bother anybody. As we were heading back to the driveway after fetching the screen from the back yard, I found the tiniest baby snake that I had ever seen. I thought it was a really thin earthworm, but then noticed how fast it was moving. For the rest of the night, I wished I had scooped it up to try and keep it for a pet, but that probably wouldn’t have worked out great. It was barely big enough to fit ants in its mouth.

I had to kneel in the driveway to fix the screen, but after pouring sweat for a while, we got it done. I got an obligatory hug, and then we headed back to the house to start grilling burgers. We just picked up some really cheap, boxed, frozen patties, and I threw them on the grill with some salt and pepper. They were small enough that I thought I’d make everyone a double, and they turned out pretty good. The frozen Rally’s fries really helped sell the meal though.

Eaddie was mostly absent all evening, but Autumn did some homework with us at the table. Summer wanted to give her phone back with some limitations, but that would have taken me all night to sort out after Autumn had repeatedly reset her accounts to access things behind our backs. I was frustrated to the point that I just didn’t want to deal with it any more, since we weren’t going to take any of those breaches of trust seriously anyway. I was ready to wash my hands of it.

Eaddie was the first one to bed. Summer and Autumn followed. I had a bit of a belly ache after those greasy burgers, but I made it to bed eventually. Waking up less than 12 hours earlier certainly didn’t help.

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

I took the Shadow to work for our second and final day of Capturing Kids’ Hearts, along with my tiny butterfly knife and the Disney “cow” shirt that Julie made for me, just to continue to throw everyone off. It seemed like a lower-energy day, but there were still some activities. Unfortunately they were even less fun for me than the ones we did yesterday.

When we finally took a break for lunch, Michael was hanging out talking to someone, so I offered to share a Subway BOGO deal with him. He drove us to pick it up, where I ran into my old coworker, Tracy. I was a little surprised she remembered me, because honestly I only barely remembered her. I knew that I knew her, but I couldn’t remember from where. Michael and I took the sandwiches back and ate in his classroom while pondering simulation theory until it was time to get back to class.

The afternoon was actually when we did most of the activities, but it still dragged on a bit. I got a little more vocal, and probably a little more difficult for our trainer, but hopefully not too annoyingly so. We finished up, took a group photo, and then I helped tear everything down before heading home.

Eaddie had a parent night at band, where she wanted to teach me how to march. I took the R1 out to that, and had a bit of fun with my kazoo. She ended up stealing it, but wouldn’t play it after we finished the teach-your-parent portion and the kids played their mini-concert preview. When we finished, I went back home for a little while before heading up to their house. Autumn wanted to spend the night with her friend, Maddie, but I had to contact Summer through Melissa while they were at Travis’s for a girls’ night.

I was hungry and stopped at Taco Bell on the way to Summer’s, and had one of the quickest, yet most interesting drive-through interactions ever. I wish I could have filled out a survey, because it really was a great experience. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a very small guy or a girl because of some ambiguous hair choices, but I’m pretty sure it was a girl. She popped out the window with a shaka, and just had a highly animated customer service voice that made the whole moment feel awesome.

Eaddie was in her room coloring all night, so I waited up for Summer to get home and then it was off to bed.

I can’t wait to implement a social contract so I can start fouling some motherfuckers.