One of Everything

Eaddie woke us up at four in the morning to be dropped off at the high school for an away robotics tournament. I got frustrated with her when she asked for food after we had already started driving the wrong direction for that, and then we tried two different gas stations that ended up being closed for the night. She ended up changing her mind about it, but then wanted me to drop her off to kill time by wandering around the campus in the dark. I at least got her in the building, and then checked up on her on camera once I got back home and into bed.

I didn’t let myself sleep too long though, because I wanted to make it to the Ridgewood Brothers for their soft open at 11. I got cleaned up, and Summer and I went across town. We were actually the second ones there, but I think the other lady might have been there the night before as well, so I was fuzzy on how the invites or events went out. Gary showed up a little while after we did, and came to join us. We were all really surprised there wasn’t just a line of people wrapped around the place.

They had a somewhat limited menu, but we definitely weren’t short on food. They could have just opened for regular price, and I would have paid it just to support them, but they were giving dine-in orders for half-off for the day. The one new thing I got to try was their new cheesy jalapeño rice grits. I thought they were fantastic, and could have started the day with a bowl of that for breakfast.

After we ate and finished socializing, Summer and I headed back to the house to get my yoke, and then went to Superfast to borrow some tools. They ended up having to buy a socket adapter that I would have had at home, but I didn’t have a breaker bar or a 10mm hex to go on the end of one. It took a little bit, but I ultimately got the wheel off with an air impact. I ended up swapping the whole front facia and using my OEM buttons, rather than separate the horn springs and whatever else was contained in the wiring harness. In the end, I thought it looked pretty good, and the experience of driving with a yoke was exactly like I expected: In no way better, but tolerable as a style choice.

We went to my parents’ house to show them, and they at least liked the look of it. We made plans to come back for dinner, and I took Summer back to the house so she could go to the gym. I poked around the house for a little bit, and tried to clean up some oil or grease stains on my hoodie from spending more than a couple minutes at the shop. Then I stopped by Walmart for bread flour, yeast, and a forgotten cucumber before heading up to get Summer for dinner.

Mom made egg rolls the other day, so Dad fried some up for salads. Eaddie was heading home on the bus the entire time, so we didn’t stick around too long after we finished eating. I dropped Summer off, and then immediately went to the high school to get her. We stopped by my house so she could get some things she had left, and I showed her my first three ice spheres from my new fridge. I was pretty happy with how they turned out, especially for the first batch.

Summer was making bread when we got back home. Eaddie chatted a bunch about her day, and then everyone was off to bed pretty early. Autumn made it home from Quiz Bowl, but didn’t bother to greet anyone before closing herself up in her room. I was absolutely heartbroken.

I feel personally attacked!

Zero Fawkes Given

Summer had to get up super early this morning to get Eaddie to the high school for an away robotics tournament. Then she had a 10k in Conway herself, but I wasn’t about to be a part of that. I didn’t really sleep in, but I refused to get up that early. I got up and went home just long enough to shower before Summer got home, and then had her pick me up. I had been a bit hungry all morning, so we stopped at Hardee’s for lunch before going to Conway to see Black Adam.

That movie was an absolute trainwreck. I hated it. It should have been straight to VHS. Aquaman was more realistic. The dialog was atrocious. The music was just background noise to distract from the awful CGI. It was just utter trash, and I’m rooting for DC. Shazam was incredible. I was super excited for this movie, but after seeing it, I’m upset that they even brought Henry Cavill back as Superman. I don’t want him connected to this in any way. I loved his first movie.

After that, we went to TJ Maxx and Target to kill some time. We loaded up on leftover Halloween candy and toilet paper. Summer wanted Starbucks on the way out, but she didn’t listen when I suggested we move the car closer, so she had to go get it while I checked out. Then we went to the end of the strip mall to try out Kawaii Boba House. Nearly 20 bucks later, she awkwardly split out the door before I could even set anything down. I felt dirty from shopping and wanted to clean up, but we just left. We ended up trading drinks on the way to the car because she liked mine better. I liked them both fine, but couldn’t see myself paying that much for a drink ever again.

We made our way north to Bee Branch, where her workmate Alice was hosting a Guy Fawkes bonfire. They lived like a mile down a dirt road, so I was super glad I asked about parking before we left. I would have been very angry to drive the Model 3 down the road that far, and wasn’t even sure we’d make it into the driveway.

Summer played a game with washers, we went inside for a tiny bit of food while we stood awkwardly in the kitchen. Then they finally lit the bonfire, and I was able to relax a bit in the dark. There were some little kids around, but no stupid teenagers. I did roll my eyes a bit at the girls that had to have tinny music playing from one of their phones, but otherwise it was a good time. I brought along a box of old firecrackers and sparklers for them to burn, and they seemed to like it. I was just happy to see it leave my garage.

Once Summer had enough, we said our goodbyes and made our way home via a shorter route without passing back through Conway. I was super stressed about wildlife, but we never encountered any at all. We got home, I unloaded everything and put away what I could, and then it was off to bed.

There was a frog on a dog on a hog on a log in the bog???

Network-

I only woke up about 15 minutes earlier than usual, since I did all my prep work the night before. I didn’t love it, but it got the job done, and got me to Little Rock a little after 7:30, which gave me just enough time to settle in before finding the classroom. Greg called to tell me he was coming in late, but that he would be there since they couldn’t get a refund for his ticket. He said he felt better, so hopefully I don’t catch whatever he had.

Mike Meyers was a bit of a celebrity in the field, and I think he probably acted more that way than anybody else let on. I was only just aware of his existence in the space, but Ben wanted to come have his book autographed. When I saw that he was giving us copies of his new book, I jumped at the chance to have it signed for myself, and got a selfie with him as well.

The class itself was rather a disappointment. I had hoped it would be an intense workshop to try and cover as much material as possible, but instead it ended up almost being more of a roundtable. It would have been a nice way to decompress and chat further about things you learned in a formal class, but in and of itself, I don’t think Greg or I learned anything at all. It was almost more of a pep talk to psyche us up for the test itself.

Greg and I had lunch at the hotel, which was quite a bit smaller than I expected, but still better than the “barely a step above cafeteria food” I had documented from previous years. Half of the bar was a salad, and the other half had mostly run out of food by the time we got there. They had some chicken, and Greg found some pork when we went back for seconds. The staff were fussing that it seemed like there were more people than they were told, and we missed out on dessert as well. Ben picked up Tacos 4 Life, but I declined his offer to pick up some for us, remembering a less than stellar experience from before.

The afternoon went by relatively quickly, but with not much more productivity. By then, the hotel had managed to bring out cookies, and did a fair job of keeping the drink fridges stocked. We got through the day, but Greg mostly scoffed and rolled his eyes at the fossil that couldn’t remember his ports or acronyms. I was a bit more forgiving and could see the struggle with fitting so much historical knowledge into an eight hour course. I tried to reel the conversations back in to the test material periodically, but I don’t know how much that helped.

I made the trip back home without incident, but confirmed how much I hate traffic between Conway and Little Rock. I just don’t know how people do it. My entire life would be so much more stressful if I had to do that every day. I miss the old days of getting a hotel room the night before a day like that. I got gas, went home to unload, and then went to my parents’ house to visit for a bit.

Julie was there to talk to Dad about their trip to Disney. They warmed up some fish sticks for sandwiches, and Mom shattered one of her prized bowls full of boiled carrots and butter, slicing her hand open a bit. I didn’t really get to talk about my delivery day plans, but suffice to say that I wasn’t thrilled with the way support responded. I went ahead and made the appointment, but apparently even that can change, so if we stay the night, I’ll have to get a room that allows for refunds in the event of a reschedule.

When I left my parents’ house, I went to the high school and got some of that fancy pellet ice from the breakroom, and then went out to the stadium to watch the marching assessment with Summer. We stuck around longer and colder than I expected, and then ran out to the cars to beat the crowd out. The girls eventually made it home after the event, and everyone was off to bed in a hurry.

0/10, especially with that weird, bland rice.

Tulsa Major

I woke up an extra hour earlier than work today, and headed up to get the girls. We left town just after seven, and stopped at Hardee’s in Clarksville for a quick breakfast before powering right through to Bixby. As time ticked by, I became more and more frustrated by people driving well under the speed limit. To escalate things further, Waze landed us in the wrong place, and we had to switch to Google Maps to arrive at the 181 Ranch.

The girls started their Conquer the Gauntlet race while I went back to the car. I only lasted inside for a couple of minutes before I sweated out, so I popped the hatch and broke out my camp chair. I was so glad I brought it, because I would have had to leave and come back otherwise. The sun was just too much for me. I played Into the Breach until they finished nearly two hours later, and then we packed everything up to head to lunch.

Summer picked a place right in the heart of Tulsa, and I probably should have vetted it first. I guess it was my fault for providing the list of places in the first place, but I found the list on a popular comment on Reddit, and didn’t really have the time or interest to look into them myself. We ended up at a place downtown called Prossimo Ristorante that wanted to know if we had a reservation. To say that we were underdressed would be an understatement. We were seated under chandeliers by the bar, surrounded by people day-drinking champagne. They weren’t even busy, which made the fact that they asked for a reservation even sillier. I could tell immediately that we were about to go on a very expensive date for four. The chef was kind enough to come out and prepare their fresh alfredo for us, but to add protein and a tip, we hit around $175. I was glad the girls enjoyed it, but I surprisingly hated the pasta. I found it to be too salty and too hard.

After we ate, we headed back out of town to find the hotel. On the way, the Murano popped a service light and I stopped at an O’Reilly’s to quickly have them check the code. It said something about an evap system leak, which Summer assured wasn’t likely to be anything serious. We made it to our hotel with additional navigation frustration, because even Google Maps wanted us to take stupid directions. I didn’t understand it at all.

We got checked into our suite, but I wouldn’t call it that myself. The room was the size of a regular hotel room with a king bed and a sleeper sofa. If I had realized it wouldn’t be a real suite with multiple rooms, I would never have paid extra, and I would have gotten a real bed for the girls to sleep on. With everything sprawled out, we barely had room for everything, and clothes and towels ended up absolutely everywhere. We relaxed for a little bit before making the girls come out to the pool with us. I figured the water would be swimmable, but it was super cold. Summer, Eaddie, and I got in, but not for long.

The girls showered when we got back to the room, and then we went out for our night on the town. I stopped at Krispy Kreme first, and was excited that their light was on. Unfortunately that was a lie. Their conveyor appeared to be broken, with some pretty gross-looking donuts sitting on the non-moving belt. We got a dozen assorted donuts out of the case, ate, and then headed on to the Cinemark.

I had never seen Jaws before, so it was cool to get to watch it in the IMAX. The theater was super busy, likely because of the $3 movie tickets for “National Cinema Day.” We waited in line forever to get some popcorn, but we had plenty of time before the previews even started. I thought the movie held up really well. I definitely enjoyed it more than Top Gun. I was sad that they ran out of posters before I could get one at the end of the movie.

On the way back to the hotel, we ran to Walmart up the road for some supplies, and then rounded everyone up for bed. It didn’t take any time at all for the girls to fall asleep. I thought I’d get to bed sooner, but it just didn’t happen. Hopefully we come up with some fun stuff to do tomorrow.

Wing it.

Good Old-Fashioned Ultraviolence

I woke up a little late this morning and got the sense that the girls were in a bit of a panic to get the cats out of the house. Evidently Summer got a formal eviction warning letter, and she counted only two days left to have them gone. Since nobody actually addressed me about it, and since I had already expressed my own frustration about the situation, I just did my best to help out with breakfast so they could finish what needed to be done.

After we ate the kielbasa and veggies with eggs, they went to Dollar General for some cat food before taking everything up to Noah’s house, and I went home to shower. I got incredibly frustrated with always being made the villain, and Suzanne said I was “cold, cold like the wind” for being so unsympathetic, but I likened it to God sending people to Hell for eternity because they worked on a Sunday. People show up in droves to worship that guy, but I’m the fucking bad guy here for reminding them that they’re not allowed to have pets.

I had a couple drinks and a shower to relax, and then Summer wanted just the two of us to go to the movies to see Bullet Train. I thought I was the only one that was really excited to see it, but I don’t think she really knew what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it reminded me a lot of Kill Bill, without being quite so vulgar, but with some classic ultraviolence. All of the characters were great, and I really liked the cinematography.

After the movie, I tried talking to Summer about my feelings on the way home and I blew up for a bit that she kept saying I wasn’t being comforting or supportive. I knew it was hard to watch her kids hurting, but she enabled them by buying all of the cat supplies instead of shutting the whole thing down early, and I needed her to understand that it was okay to take the loss. She didn’t have to try and lessen the blow, and it was okay to just have a bad day and accept that every single one of us did something wrong.

When we got back to the house, Eaddie was still very upset. I learned that they just took the cats outside Noah’s house, so Sweetums got into a fight with his dog and immediately ran up a tree. I don’t even know how big of a tree it was, or if she’ll be able to get down on her own, but even Eaddie knew that she didn’t have any time to associate Noah or his house with anything good. I’ll be astounded if she doesn’t get picked off by a predator overnight, but I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. I wasn’t present to do the thinking for all four of them, so if it’s two dead cats, it’s two dead cats.

I tried to coax Eaddie out of the house for some fish soup with my parents, but she didn’t want to leave. Autumn wanted to go to her father’s for some reason, so the lawn still didn’t get mowed over the last two weeks that we’ve been asking. I just have to assume I’ll be the bad guy again next weekend when it still hasn’t been done.

I went to eat and visited with my parents for a little while before heading home. Bác Vân called while I was on the way and asked me to come over for a bit. I helped with her iPad for a bit, then went home to do some laundry before bed.

L

The Legend of the Space Viking

I slept in pretty late today after staying up way too late last night. Summer got up and went to the gym with Autumn and returned home around the time I was getting ready for a shower. We didn’t waste any time getting out of the house and headed to Conway for lunch. Eaddie had mentioned Big Orange, so we went for Red Robin instead so we could eat earlier in the day. The restaurant was pretty quiet, but service was incredibly slow. Our server brought out our “endless” fries in tiny baskets that had barely enough fries for one person, and then one cup of the campfire sauce for all four of us to share. Then when the food finally showed up, Summer’s salad was the best looking meal on the table.

Disappointed, we made our way to Little Rock and went straight to Goodwill. The girls really wanted to shop for some clothes, which was a little surprising to me. I figured by now they would be used to buying enough stuff new that they wouldn’t have any interest in thrifting. The store was a bit warm, and all the employees seemed to hate their lives. They were super busy, and the checkout line stretched halfway across the store. I found a cow butter dish, and we got a couple arms full of clothes for the girls by the time we left.

From there, we went on to the Promenade and got Eaddie some ice cream from MaggieMoo’s. It was Summer’s idea, but by the time we got there, she wasn’t feeling up to eating any, so Eaddie was the only one that got anything. I helped her with her cone, and then we crossed the street to get to the theater.

We all just wanted to cool off more than anything. The sun was incredibly hot outside, and the air conditioning in the IMAX couldn’t keep up. John and Melissa showed up just before the show, and then we all sat down for Thor: Love and Thunder. I thought it was a great movie, and it was nice that none of the previews really gave anything away. It really did kind of jump all over the place.

After the movie, we all went to Chuy’s for dinner. The service there wasn’t a whole lot better. They also seemed understaffed, and our waitress struggled to keep chips and salsa on the table. Summer and Eaddie weren’t super hungry, so I just shared a double order of fajitas with them.

We visited for a while and then hit the road for an uneventful ride home. Eaddie went through all of her clothes from Goodwill to show us, and then everyone was off to bed.

What a classic Thor adventure!

Last of the Longs

The guys that were working on the air handlers in the shop yesterday had left my thermostat set on 65, so the air wasn’t blowing cold at all, and likely froze up outside. I didn’t want to mess anyone up by turning it off though, just in case they were testing something else. I just had Gary put in a maintenance ticket for it, but if it’s still on tomorrow, I’ll probably turn it off and let it rest over the weekend.

Gary wanted me to run to Central Office to investigate a work order, and then Greg mentioned another one about adjusting a monitor stand, so I took care of all of that before making my way to the junior high to work on imaging with Kyle.

That’s all I did the rest of the day, aside from lunch at Tarascos. The salsa there was good, but the fajitas were a huge disappointment. They looked fresh, having been all plated together with the rice, beans, and vegetables, but the beef was so tough that I couldn’t bite through it, I only got two tortillas, and none of it had any seasoning. The rice and beans had more flavor than the meat and vegetables.

The afternoon dragged on as we wasted time on our phones and finished up most of the laptops. Then I went home for a while before heading up to Summer’s. I picked up a peach milkshake from Chick-fil-A, and then filled up with gas on the way.

Summer was worn out from working sick. Autumn didn’t say much of anything to anyone as she laid on the couch watching YouTube all night. Eaddie never left her room as far as I could tell. It was pretty much straight to bed for everyone. At least this is the last long day of summer hours. I’m finally happy to see a half-day Friday.

Goddamn ants.

How to Tell if You’re in a Cult

A bunch of water had collected in the trunk of my car this morning, and sloshed around on my way to work. Fortunately it didn’t damage my headliner, or seemingly get on it at all. I couldn’t tell where it was actually coming in though, so I guess I’ll have to pour water on it with a hose.

Jacob and I continued with inventory today, which made the day go by quickly, if nothing else. He didn’t want to reset iPads, and I didn’t want to do inventory, so we just split up this time, and I slowly went room to room with earbuds in. We made it back to the shop just a bit before lunch, and Tammy started talking about everyone having to clean out their work spaces to create more separation between our work life and home life. I was absolutely triggered at the thought of having to take all of my shit home, so I was riled up the rest of the day.

Nobody had any idea what to eat, so I suggested Chick O’Fish, since it was something new. When we got there, the menu TVs weren’t quite working right. I hate that places are starting to use more animated menus that flip to a different screen while I’m reading them. The next thing I noticed was that they appeared to have the same menu as Sam’s Southern Eatery, down to Sam’s Special. That’s when one of the girls behind the counter piped up and said that they were identical, with the same owners and everything. What made even less sense was that they were also trying to have table service in that tiny building, rather than let people order from the counter. That would have made it much easier.

After lunch, Jacob and I finished at Oakland. We got done about an hour before quitting time and made it back to the shop, but then Thomas cut us loose. I went home and tried to investigate my leaky car, but got nowhere. I fought sleep for a while, and cleaned up a couple aquarium hoods before Summer told me we no longer had a buyer for the 55 gallon tank.

Eventually I headed up to their house for the evening. I stopped at McDonald’s to spend some expiring rewards points on some fries, got gas, and then made it up in time for everyone to already be in their bedrooms. I was concerned about the water in the succulent pots, so I repotted everything and then wound down for bed.

Somebody drank all of the Kool-Aid…

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.

Jamf Pros

I realized this morning as I headed out the door, that I had unintentionally thrown away my silicone travel straw from the movie last night. Of course it was also trash day, as I heard the dumpsters as they were emptied this morning. I was kicking myself in frustration for the entirety of the day.

I somehow made it into work right on time, and managed to turn out a productive morning. It took me way too long, but I finally figured out enough of the Roblox deployment that I felt confident sending it on to the junior high student devices. Gary came by later and told Greg and me that he wanted to show us how to do something in Jamf after lunch. All of that made the morning go by pretty quickly.

Gary was the only one up for lunch today, so I did my best to suggest restaurants we don’t get to frequent. He landed on Sticky Rice, and I was glad he did. I ordered the combination phở not really expecting much, but the broth and everything was delicious. It was pretty difficult to eat out of a Styrofoam takeout container, but I managed. It had a great amount of heat and flavor throughout. I just wished I had a soup spoon instead of a tiny plastic one.

Shortly after we got settled back into work, Gary came back to the shop and we started updating some certificates in Jamf. He had Greg drive while I took notes to document the process. That will make the whole process a lot smoother in the future. I felt pretty confident with my understanding of everything we did.

The rest of the afternoon was really quiet, and after work I went home for a quiet evening to myself. I cleaned up the laundry room a bit for the upcoming laundry days, and tried to clear up some space in the kitchen. There’s really no excuse for the state of things, and I’ve got to whip it back into shape. The summer heat isn’t going to make it any more pleasant.

Demons are angels too.