Day 4 of Travel

I got up this morning and immediately started getting ready for my fourth day of travel. I stopped by the election commission headquarters on the way home and voted in the school board election. Then I continued home to get ready for my interview in Maumelle. I made it down the interstate fast enough that I got off early and drove through town to save a little bit of range. Of course the navigation was faulty, so I had to make a block, but I got there with plenty of time.

I only had to wait a couple minutes for them to come interview me. I talked to Tim and Ryan to first determine whether I could talk to humans, and then whether I could talk to computers. After Tim left, I felt much less confident in my answers, simply because Ryan was really looking for specific examples of projects I had completed. The work I’ve done for the past several years has been so sporadic that I really didn’t have any good solo examples. After we finished talking, he left me with a paper test and a pen, and I had to write out answers to the best of my ability. Once I finished that, I had to place it on the receptionist’s desk and basically walked out waving to the guys that were in their offices with headsets on.

Mitch was at Blake’s apartment, so I went there next to change and then take Mitch to a late lunch. As we did that, he told me that I was invited to dinner with Blake, but I didn’t realize it was at his girlfriend’s house and that she was cooking. We had lunch at The Fold, which had some killer fancy tacos which were a bit pricy, but the guacamole and cheese dip plate seemed really reasonable in comparison. Both the food and service were excellent.

We struggled to come up with a solid plan after that, so we went to Franklin’s Charging Station after that to get a little bit of free juice while we waited to go to dinner. I showed Mitch my Steam Deck while we sat in the air conditioning. After a while, I decided we would head on over to Justina’s house since I wasn’t sure how traffic would be. We actually arrived before either of them, but then she pulled in right behind us. Her two boys and their dog were all over the place while she started cooking dinner. Blake eventually showed up and we took turns playing Mario Party with one of the boys.

After dinner, we played a tiny game of Uno, and then another game called Forbidden Island. It was a cooperative game with tiles that were spaced out randomly. It was a little scattered at times, but eventually I had a fair grasp of how to strategize. We just barely won, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

As the kids went to bed, we parted ways. I took Mitch to another friend’s ritzy apartment complex with agate code and literal fire on the road sign. The amenities sounded pretty intense as well. We said our goodbyes, and I made the lone trip home in the dark. Just past Conway, I could barely make out a black tire in the middle of the black road. It appeared to be a whole tire, so I called 911 after failing to reach the state police using the short code on the road signs. They connected me to the state police, and I let the officer there know what I had seen so they could try and get it out of the road before someone got hurt.

I made it home safely, swapped cars, and then headed up to Summer’s for bedtime. Everyone was long asleep, so I finished up quickly and went to bed.

I just want my job back.

I am Groot

The girls didn’t seem to feel great this morning, but we had to get to Little Rock for our movie. I went home to shower and then came back to pick them up. Neither of them were very hungry yet, so we decided to stop in and see Gary first. Eaddie waited in the car while Summer and I went into the rehab clinic, only to learn that we’d have to make our way over to the main hospital where he had been since surgery the day before.

We chatted for a while through his pain. It was probably the worst I’d seen him yet, but even then he was still in pretty good spirits. I had hoped he might stick around the hospital a while longer, but he seemed to really want to go home the next day.

From there, we went straight to the Promenade to try and find some food before our movie. Unfortunately we only had about an hour to kill, and both Big Orange and Local Lime had long wait times. I was surprised, because it was already well into the afternoon. We ended up going to Maggie Moo’s for some ice cream instead, but that made the girls feel even worse without any real food in their bellies. We ended up going to McDonald’s to split a snack combo I found in the app.

We made it to our movie with plenty of time, and I was surprised again at how empty the theater was for opening weekend. I just can’t believe 3D is so unpopular. It makes all the difference in the world to me. On the other hand, maybe the 2D showings are just as sparse. I wouldn’t know, because I always go the premium route whenever possible.

I kind of expected the movie to have some back story for some of the characters, but I absolutely didn’t expect any of what we saw. It started off on an emotional tone, and then immediately jumped right into heavy action. There were several parts where I got a little bored, or at least physically uncomfortable or restless due to my seat. Then the heavy emotional scenes hit, and it made the whole movie a lot better for me. It definitely felt different than anything we’d seen before though.

After the movie, I convinced the girls to stop for some food. we tried a place called Ocean’s At Arthurs, but Summer didn’t want to get out of the car after she saw that they had valet parking. I would have given it a try anyway, but it really might have been upscale enough that we’d look pretty rough going in. We ended up at a hole in the wall called Lazy Pete’s Fish and Shrimp instead, and the food was awesome. It didn’t look like much at all, but it really was great.

We made it back home and I let Summer take the Murano to her house while Eaddie decided whether she still wanted to go to the hot air balloon show. She ultimately decided against it, so I took Summer’s car to the wash and then we headed home for the night. The girls both went to bed, so I laid down with Summer for a bit. That was when I got a sudden surprise call from Mitch, who said he was coming to Little Rock via a “MEGABUS.” We only talked briefly since he was going to be on the bus for the next six or so hours, and I got to bed.

I am Groot!


I had quite a bit more energy this morning, but still felt pretty squeamish inside. I was hungry for sure, so I cleaned up some leftover sloppy joes and then soaked in the bath for quite a while. When I was finally ready to get back into some clothes, I headed home for a much-needed shower to scrub down the rest of myself.

After my shower, I felt worse again for a little while, so I had to cool off and rest for a bit. Then I got dressed and went back to River Valley Tinting and Glass to talk to the guys about the two scratches on the trim. They insisted that they wouldn’t have had any tools anywhere near the trim, but there has been absolutely nothing else anywhere on or around the car that could have produced two identical scratches in the corner above the window. After denying any damage, the guy pointed out a bubble that he wanted to fix on the passenger side, and then I pointed out a spot with some dust on the driver side, so they scheduled me to do a complete strip and re-tint on Wednesday.

From there, I went to Leonard’s to pick up some nylon washers to protect Summer’s new license plate. It’s only temporary, but hopefully her custom plate won’t take much longer. As I was walking in, I ran into Tom and chatted with him briefly about the troubles I had with the head dog. He wished me well, and I picked up the washers I needed so I could mount the new plate in the parking lot.

When I headed back home, the light at 4th and Knoxville was broken and would never change from red for the eastbound traffic, so everyone had to take turns running the light while the westbound got a protected turn. Then I waited at home for Summer to finish at the gym so I could meet her at Walmart for dinner materials.

As I was walking toward the store, I ran into Dylan and got a big hug from him. I tried to get the Cliff’s Notes for the past decade, but even that was abridged. His son is apparently playing Smash Brothers competitively for money, and he’s working at Rockline. Summer parked right by us, so I introduced them and we carried on our way.

We ran into Bác Vân and Doug separately while we were wandering the store. They caught up to us at checkout and I helped them use the self-checkout, and then we headed up to Summer’s so she could start cooking. I helped clean fruits and veggies, and Summer cooked pork chops and mashed potatoes with Brussels sprouts.

The girls made it back home after dropping Eaddie’s bike back at my house, and we had a good dinner. Eaddie and Summer were talking about composing music, so I shared a video of Ben Folds composing a song live. Then everyone quickly disappeared to their bedrooms while I cried over the three-hour Linkin Park and Friends live stream from six years ago.

May your love never end, and if you need a friend, there’s a seat here alongside me.

Sassy Blue

I set an alarm for this morning, and we got up early for our trip to Kansas City. The girls went to school and I took a shower so we could head to the bank for a cashier’s check. Centennial Bank couldn’t connect through Plaid, so we had to do it the old fashioned way. The lady that helped us got excited when we told her it was for a car, so she came out to see mine as we left.

Summer drove us all the way to Joplin while I worked on my hearing rebuttal, and we stopped at the Undercliff Bar and Grill just in time for lunch. I had seen online that they had a Tesla charger, so I asked our server for permission to charge. She wasn’t sure it was for guests, but she was quick to call the owner to verify and I got us charging. She was super friendly, it was a really neat restaurant, and the food was great.

Summer insisted that she could continue driving to our next stop in Nevada for a supercharge. We wandered through the Casey’s for a while until we had plenty to get into Kansas City. Then I drove us the rest of the way. We arrived really early, but I talked to a couple people that were able to get my car charged, and then started our delivery process early. It took a while, but we finally got to inspect the vehicle. Unfortunately we found a couple paint defects, and the touchup paint they applied looked pretty awful, but they notated the account so we could take it to a local body shop.

We parked my car at the back of the lot and got Summer’s floor mats installed. Then she drove us to Ikea to wander through the store. We shared a plate of Swedish Meatballs and picked up a package of cookies on the way out. Then I drove us to a Red Robin near our hotel. It was in a beautiful shopping area that was built up to look like an old downtown square. It would have been neat to spend an evening out there, but we were both exhausted and ready for bed.

I got us to the hotel, and the girl at the front desk was slammed with check-ins. They were booked solid, and it seemed like there were people out everywhere. It’s a shame we won’t have much time to explore tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to at least seeing our movie.

I’ve acclimated, and it’s loud again!

Better Than Rock

Summer took Autumn to the gym this morning while I cleaned up some corned beef with Eaddie. Once they made it back, I headed home to clean up so Summer and I could go to the movies. Eaddie wanted to ride her bike, so Summer brought her over to do that while we were out. Bác Vân also had some kind of nut bread and a couple bánh bao for me.

When we got to the movies, we learned that Shazam! Fury of the Gods was showing in one of the tiny auditoriums for that showing, so we had to kill an hour before coming back at four. We ended up going back to get the Tesla, and then washed it before going for a drive around town. We made it up north, and then around to the marina before finally ending back up at UEC.

We were the only two people in Auditorium 5, which was awesome, but also kind of depressing for how much we really enjoyed the movie. I have no idea why it got such a bad rap, because we thought it was really solid story, and a great family flick.

Eaddie just barely beat us home after riding all around town, and we took her to BFD for dinner and ice cream. They were super busy, and the service and food were both actually really good this time. It always seems like lunch is really hit-or-miss, but dinner was great. We all got our fill.

Once we got back to the house, the girls headed home. Autumn had gone to Adam’s for dinner, but then got herself into trouble again for generally being awful and changing up her story to fit whatever she wanted to do. When I tried to head up to their house, the Pathfinder wouldn’t start. I tried poking around under the hood, but couldn’t tell much. It just acted like it was completely out of gas, but it appeared to have half a tank and drove fine earlier in the day.

I poked around a bit at my house for a while, and eventually just took the Model 3 up to the girls, who all appeared to have been in bed for a while before I got there. I was a bit restless again, but tried to go to bed before midnight.

What an absolute lack of previews.

Apply Yourself

I dropped the girls off at school again this morning, and then went straight home to work in the yard again. I was by myself this time, which was fine. It was a little cooler, since I started earlier in the morning. Unfortunately I still had trouble getting a good fire going, but I burned up a bunch more leaves and trampled some of the crispier plant stalks that were left standing. I may be able to mow some of it down tomorrow.

Once the fires burned out, I came inside to take a shower. Then I went by Taco John’s and took a late lunch to Summer at the wash. Autumn had been texting us both to try and come up with an alternative to getting back into a car with me, but when the time came, she got over it. I dropped her off at the wash, and then went to Walgreens to drop off the floormats that I needed to return.

Eaddie had a band buddies meet after school, so she got a ride there and then to Dairy Queen, where the FBLA kids were hosting a fund raiser. Desha spotted me, and then Dustin came around and got to hear my exciting story. Otherwise, the Diary Queen experience was pretty awful. The poor teen that was running the place was stressing over a downed computer system. Then the food was all cold and overcooked.

When we finally finished there, I went home to swap cars. Mom and Dad popped in for a moment since they were next door, but then I headed up to Summer’s for the evening. I finished filling out an application for what would essentially be my dad’s old job. Brody texted to basically tell me he was keeping a seat warm for me at Clarksville. If I have to go through the pains of learning a new job, I at least want a raise out of it.

I probably don’t have 43 more years in me though.

Work Wives

I got a bit of a slow start this morning, but made it home to shower before lunch with Brandie. She suggested the newly re-re-opened Old Bank, so I met her there. Just as we got seated, Mollie got my attention from the booth right next to us. They had some pretty good looking nachos that at least filled the plate, unlike the bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed dates that we had.

Brandie got the Reuben, so I felt obliged to get something different and went with the off-menu wagyu burger. The food service was disappointingly slow, but at least our drinks stayed topped off. Overall the food was good, but quite overpriced. I didn’t really feel like anything we ordered was anywhere near worth the price.

After we ate, I took her for a ride up and around town, and we chatted for a while longer before she left. Then I went by Superfast to find Summer in the pit. She didn’t have time to talk, so I ended up leaving to get another quote on some tint for my car.

I went by Clear View this time, and there was nobody in the office for a couple minutes. Eventually a younger guy came out from the back, surprised to see me, and chatted with me for a bit about some options. Evidently he didn’t really have the pricing, so I’ll have to give them a call next week to really find out. He did at least say they’d be likely to offer a cash deal. The operation itself appeared to be less put-together, or at least had a less professional atmosphere, but that didn’t matter a great deal to me for what I needed.

Robert texted that he was getting an oil change, so I tried to catch him at Superfast. They were too fast, though, and he was already gone. Summer was just leaving work, so I saw her out and went to my parents’ house alone for some phở.

After I ate, I headed home to swap vehicles, and then beat Summer home since she stopped at the gym. Eaddie wanted to watch The Umbrella Academy, so we started on a couple episodes of that before bed. Autumn arrived home late after spending all day with her boyfriend, and then immediately gave us attitude when we called her out for being weird about the plans she was making for New Year’s Eve. We just laughed it off though, and continued watching our show until bed.

It’s called allowance, you ignorant skank.

Like a Teen With a Learner’s Permit

I thought I was onto something with Metro by T-Mobile this morning. Eaddie and I left the house a little early so we could get to Clarksville, which showed to have the only retail store within 75 miles. When we got there, it was an old Radio Shack, run by a singular, super old guy. It was neat to see a store like that again after losing our Radio Shack nearly 20 years ago. Having Eaddie along prevented me from browsing around more, but it looked like a neat place that made me nostalgic for the times that Dad and I used to go for parts.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of the iPhones we wanted, so we made our way out of town, where I dropped Eaddie off at Gavin’s. Then I headed back toward home and decided to stop at my parents’ house for some food. They still had lots of ham left over from Christmas, so I ate that in front of them. Mom got eyebrows tattooed on, but they were incongruent and misplaced. I don’t know why she bothered, but I disliked them very much.

I continued home to do some laundry until Summer finished up at work. Then she came to get me, and we went back to my parents’ house for some spaghetti. It wasn’t ready as early as I expected, so by the time we finished, it was about time for me to head back to Clarksville to get Eaddie.

Summer dropped me off and went on home for the night, and I ran by the car wash to get some of the grime off of my car from the ice a few days ago. The trip on Enhanced Auto Pilot was absolutely infuriating. There were cars and trucks on the road, but hardly any traffic to be concerned about, and plenty of room for navigating between the lanes. Still, I ran into places where my car wanted to continuously change lanes, back and forth, back to back. There was no one to pass, or anything to avoid. It just kept changing lanes, and nearly made me miss my exit.

It was a fun drive through the curves through the hills, but I had to watch for deer. Once I secured Eaddie, we ran home to change and then headed home for the night. Autumn stayed the night at Hannah’s to dog-sit, though she spent the entire afternoon at the pet store. Otherwise it was a relatively early night to bed.

Who is also, possibly, very drunk.

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???