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.

Bull Sleet

I got up this morning and cautiously tried to de-ice the car, fully willing to take the day off. It actually wasn’t that bad though, so I made it home and into the office. Gary, Zach, and Greg were there, but that was it for a while. Eventually Thomas and Tammy showed up. I spent most of the morning taking a practice Net+ test with Greg.

By the time lunch rolled around, the precipitation was starting and the folks at the main office were all abuzz. They ended up sending everyone home without docking a day, which makes for an interesting level of unfairness when dealing with others who chose to take a day of leave. In the past we’ve recovered those days because time given by the district should be given to everyone, but not so with the new chief.

I made it home easily, but by then the sleet started to come down pretty hard. I headed straight up to Summer’s for the evening while she and Autumn braved going to Walmart for dinner supplies. I only barely made it up the hill in her car, and Eaddie, Summer, and I watched some Breaking Bad while Autumn cooked some Hamburger Helper for lunch.

Eventually we played a game of Catan, which went as slowly as it usually does. We had a little bit of drama after Summer skipped my turn, but she felt better after she ultimately won. I just kind of milled back and forth for most of the early evening. Eaddie helped Summer with dinner, and we all sat down for meatball subs. Then we played a game of Pictionary, which was actually really fun. Autumn kept complaining about it and saying she wanted to quit, but then she’d play a round and be laughing as much as any of us.

Eaddie and I wrapped up the night with some more Breaking Bad until we finally got word that I wouldn’t have to report to work due to the weather. The district seemed to be having a pretty rough time on Facebook, and whoever was in charge of the district’s account apparently “liked” a comment that was blasting the superintendent. Perhaps surprisingly, I’m sympathetic to this particular event, but I still feel how I feel.

Light her up!

Escape Trap Room House

We slept in fairly late today before I got around to some leftovers. I made some tea that turned out to be super weak, but at least I’ll burn through it faster if I actually drink it. I was pretty cold all morning, so I think I’m just more of a seasonal tea drinker. Hot coffee is fine in the summer, but hot tea seems less appealing then.

The girls went to Denny’s with their father, but came back home not feeling so great. Autumn came home fussing that he had gotten rid of a dog he had. After a little while, she left for Adam’s while Summer started on some potatoes and deviled eggs for our late Christmas lunch.

I thought it was a pretty good Christmas day, but I’m sure Dad was probably still tired from three days of travel after a vacation with Julie. She had work to do, and couldn’t make it to lunch on time. Autumn actually did a good job with time and beat us there. Bác Vân and Doug came along after we got there, and eventually Julie showed up after everyone else had already eaten.

Julie brought a package of Oreo houses for the kids to build, but Summer and Eaddie were really the only two that could be talked into participating. Eventually Julie and Dad built a couple. Eaddie and I ate most of hers. I think I would have rather just eaten some regular Oreos.

After we all finished eating, Summer broke out The Scandal, a Puzzle Post escape room game in an envelope. The puzzles were pretty straightforward, and I think just about everyone contributed something. Eaddie’s solutions were probably some of the most impressive, but it took everyone. Overall we didn’t really have to damage anything, so we could easily pass the game along to someone else to play, but it wouldn’t be repeatable for any of us.

We eventually headed home, and the girls pretty much went straight to bed. They were all tired from the belly aches they got from Denny’s, or from staying up too late the night before. Autumn came out of her room at one point and wanted consolation for the anxiety she was feeling over growing up. I genuinely tried to listen and help, but who knows if it’ll make a lasting, useful impression on her.

Last holiday we all played Phaaaeeeese 10!


Autumn slept in this morning and didn’t shower like she promised, before going to get Eaddie and heading to Clarksville. This shocked nobody, and I was a little upset there wasn’t more screaming involved. It was a nice day without the kids though. I made ham sandwiches for breakfast, and Summer worked on the jigsaw puzzle for most of the day.

Eventually we got out of the house in the rain, and went to Walmart to look for turkeys on sale. They still had whole turkey breasts for a buck a pound, so we picked up five for me to practice smoking. They had enormous Butterball turkeys for 75 cents per pound, but I didn’t really want a turkey that large. We wandered through the rest of the store before making our way out, where I managed to wade through some pretty deep water in the parking lot.

We made another stop at Sally Beauty so Summer could pick up some tools for nail art, and then I got a McRib on the way back to the house. Once there, Summer took off to go to the gym and then I killed more time working on the jigsaw puzzle.

Eventually I made it home to start some laundry and shower. It took me a while to get everything sorted before the Eagles concert, but hopefully I got everything. I finally made my way back up to Summer around midnight, and it was off to bed.

Lot about birds, lately.

Da Boiz

I woke up a bit early today after staying up to late last night. Eaddie was up before I was, and made herself breakfast and started cleaning house. Both of the girls were having their boyfriends over, so they had to get everything cleaned up before then. I tried to clean up some leftovers for breakfast, and then went home to shower before meeting Summer at Walmart.

Summer went to the gym, and then had most of the stuff picked up for chili by the time I found her. Then we made a quick run through the rest of the store before heading up to the house. Gavin showed up in the early afternoon with a flower in a vase. Eaddie had fallen asleep again because her head cold was draining her, but she got up and I eventually took them to the Valley Park Center to wander around.

Adam didn’t show up until after I left to pick up Eaddie and Gavin again. Then they played some Mario Kart and watched TV until it was time for me to take then to Pasta Grill. When I got back, Summer had chili ready for the four of us. Adam was well mannered enough, though he didn’t eat much. Autumn warned us that he was a picky eater, but he let slip that his father took him to CiCi’s before he came over.

After we ate, the four of us played a game of Monopoly. Adam seemed to enjoy it, but was mostly quiet and didn’t seem to fully understand all of the mechanics. We taught him about making monopolies, and coached him through buying houses. I tried to get the game going pretty quickly, so it was a good time until I had to go pick up Eaddie and Gavin again from the train depot.

When we got back to the house, the two couples split up to watch two different TVs. I laid down in bed until Summer came in to find me, and then made me periodically wander through the house to mind the children. Gavin had to be home by 10:30, so Eaddie and I took him home in time for that. We saw lots of deer and a raccoon, but fortunately nothing jumped out in front of us. I had to make Eaddie ride up front with me on the way back, but then she was super talkative for the whole drive home.

We stopped by my house to get the Montego and my neti pot since her head cold had just gotten worse all evening. Right as we turned onto Main Street, we could hear and feel that the car had a flat tire. I pulled over in front of GameStop, and the rear left tire was completely flat. Summer had to come pick us up for the evening, and we’ll have to go back tomorrow to try and air it back up.

Adam was gone again by the time we got home. Autumn was in her room. Eaddie showered and went to bed. I chatted with Summer for a bit, and then it was off to bed for us as well.

Just be a well-rounded, good-intentioned human.

Clever Boy

I thought it was going to be another quiet, uneventful day at the office, but shortly after I dug into some work, Gary called and asked for help with a couple guys from Raptor that were there to test and troubleshoot our alerting system. Evidently among all of the brightest minds there, not one of them thought to “think different” and bring along an Android device.

I headed to the high school and had to sit while they discussed some things before we actually got started. Then we wandered to a couple places, both inside and out, in order to test different scenarios, logging in and out of the app repeatedly until we had enough data points. I don’t think we unearthed anything groundbreaking, but hopefully they were able to take back some good feedback.

We worked into lunch, but then the guys offered to buy lunch. Terry gave them the option of CJ’s or Old South, and we went for the southern comfort food. I should have gotten the chicken fried steak breakfast platter that Albert ordered, because it looked awesome. My fried catfish wasn’t bad, but I was definitely jealous.

When we got back to the high school, Gary sent me off to meet up with Greg in Chrissy’s office. He was having trouble with the Macs over there, but unfortunately I wasn’t much help. We also checked on Daniel’s, which he ended up taking back to the shop. I spent the rest of the afternoon, quietly in my office. I did managed to get a couple things done, and then headed up to get Eaddie for tennis practice after work.

While I waited for Eaddie to finish, I set up an Echo Show, which didn’t really impress me much. I haven’t really liked the Blink Mini camera that came with it either. I don’t think I’ll return them, but I just don’t care for the quality.

Autumn and Summer made dinner back home, which made everyone quite happy. Then I suggested a game of Phase 10 before everyone was ready for bed. I did my best not to stay up too early on account of how behind I’ve been on sleep. Weekends happen too fast and too far apart. I don’t know why I can’t just live on a boat forever.

Or in a robot car…

Gone Finishing

Today was our last day of “summer hours,” and I was so excited to “sleep in” for half an hour to make it in to work by eight. Gary brought Shipley’s donuts instead of our usual, and they tasted very different from our usual. They were good, but I think I like the traditional ones better. I don’t know what they’re doing to their dough, but it just has a different taste and texture, and they’re glazed hot, which seems to melt most of the glaze off.

We sent Kyle to the junior high to finish up the imaging. Tammy was out, so I stayed in the shop to watch the phone that never rang. Gary took Zach and Greg to move some equipment around in a rack first thing, and then I think they spent the rest of the morning at the shop. Greg came back and chatted with me a little bit while I looked at CompTIA Net+ practice tests.

Greg insisted that we were supposed to go home at 11:30, so the other two followed him out. Kyle and I both independently worked until the dictated noon time, but he just left straight from the junior high. Gary ended up coming back with some lunch because he wasn’t sure anyone cleaned up the coffee pot. I had already taken care of it, so I just sat in the breakroom with him while he ate.

I went straight up to Summer’s to pick up Eaddie so we could watch the last episode of Stranger Things. I didn’t realize Autumn would be home, so I relented and invited her along too. Evidently Eaddie told her it was just going to be the two of us, so Autumn pitched a fit before I got there, and then refused to come with us. On the drive home, Eaddie mentioned that Rick really had contacted her for her Social Security number, and said that it was so he could put her in his will. That seemed very sketchy to me, especially as she described him as doing well with his new girlfriend. She seemed to acknowledge that it was weird for him to be so vague about what he was doing, so hopefully nothing comes of that. It’ll still have to be a parent talk soon though.

The season finale was pretty awesome, but I kind of felt like it was longer than it needed to be. Some of the scenes dragged on, and I thought they could have built the story about the main ‘tagonists a bit better. It just felt a little shallow, when otherwise it’s been an excellent show. As soon as we finished, Eaddie rushed me to take her home and wouldn’t even finish the credits because she said Summer told her to clean her room.

We made it back up to their house and Autumn was still lumped in front of the TV watching mindless YouTube videos. Summer eventually made it home, but then took Autumn to the gym while I made her a fresh salad, and fried some cod fillets to make sandwiches for Eaddie and myself. I felt a little bad not having anything explicitly for Autumn, but she didn’t set out any new food, and I cleaned up all of the leftovers in the fridge. She just didn’t want what little was left.

After we ate, Autumn was in a pretty good mood and wanted to play Monopoly, so Summer and I joined her. It was a comparatively fast game, and I went out early to help Autumn secure the win. Then everyone was off to bed.

You sank my battleship!

Who Are You Calling?

I woke up pretty early this morning for how late I went to sleep. We just laid around though, until it was time to get ready for the movie. We’ve had plans to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife for about a week, and I invited my parents along as well. As soon as I was cleaned up, I picked up the girls and met my parents at UEC.

The movie was pretty great, though I could see why others felt like it spent too much time pandering to fans of the originals and not enough time on a new storyline. It’s been a while since I’ve seen either of those, so I couldn’t say how it compared in laughs per minute. We were all quite happy with the movie though, and I’m anxious to see if they do anything more with it in the future.

After the movie, we headed back home to meet up with Noah for dinner. Summer made chili and I grilled hot dogs, and we all had a mix of chili dogs or Frito chili pies. Then we played a long round of UNO FLIP until Noah went home. Finally, Eaddie and I wrapped up the night with two more episodes of House.

Four feet above her covers!

Taco Fury

I woke up to breakfast after sleeping in today. Autumn went in for an “interview” at Tropical Smoothie, and was basically hired on the spot by a friend of her father’s. Summer went to the gym while I went home to clean up for a partially planned day.

We never made it out of town to do anything with the bathroom tile, but I did finally go to the DMV to get the Shadow title transferred. Not only that, but after five years, I got the boat re-registered with its new hull identification number. I lucked out and didn’t have to wait in line at all, and the girl that helped me was super happy to be there.

As soon as I finished, I picked up Summer and we went to Walmart for some materials for taco night at John and Melissa’s. We prepped as much as we could at home first, then carried everything over at 6.

Travis was already there, so I started cooking the taco meat while everyone chatted. I thought the food turned out awesome, but crunchy tacos are pretty addicting for me. I think John and I simultaneously had the idea to use Melissa’s bean dip as a layer between a flour tortilla and the crunchy taco shell. Then all the fixings went inside for a loaded, crunchy treat.

After we finished eating, John got out a card game called Ramen Fury that initially started out pretty confusing, but turned out to be pretty simple after going through the motions of one throw-out game. I think we all enjoyed it well enough to play again.

We didn’t stick around too long after Travis left, and packed up some of the food to take home. Autumn stayed with her grandparents, so Eaddie and I watched some House after Summer went to bed.

No one’s yelled “son of a bitch” yet!

Never Trust the Banker

Summer felt well enough to go to work today, and left me to fetch the girls from their friends’ house. Autumn ended up getting a ride from another Explorers friend to their meeting at Old Post, so I just had to get Eaddie. We stopped by Hardee’s for a little lunch to take to Summer. Then we went to my house so she could ride her bike.

Summer got busy and forgot to get Autumn, so I headed across town. Just as I got there, Autumn called to tell me she passed me in someone else’s truck. I mentally scolded her as I turned around and headed back home. Then I pushed some leaves around in the yard and did a bit of rearranging in the garage while Eaddie spent the entire afternoon at her grandparents’ house. I finally had to call her back home so we could go eat dinner.

We arrived back at the house just before Summer, so it worked out well. Autumn had cleaned the house as she was supposed to. Summer and I ate some leftovers while Eaddie went out to try and mow the lawn. She couldn’t get the mower started though, furthering my hatred for simple combustion engines.

Autumn wanted to play some Monopoly, so Summer and I finished the evening with that. They decided to gang up on me to prevent any possibility of winning, even after overcoming the already incredibly bad odds, so I took matters into my own hands just to see if Summer would notice. Stacks of money later, my allergies got the best of me and I decided it was time for bed.

One for you, and one for me. Two for you, and one, two for me. Three for you, and one, two, three for me. Nyah.