Running Around Conway

Summer had a Freezin’ for a Reason 10k in Conway this morning, so I got up about 45 minutes earlier than I do during the work week and picked her and Eaddie up. It was super foggy for a good portion of the drive, but it cleared up as the sun came out. We made it with plenty of time to spare for registration, and then the race started late as well. Eaddie and I sat in the car for most of it, and I accidentally burned through a bunch of data on my phone. We caught Summer at the finish line and watched the first part of the awards before taking off to find some lunch.

Don Pepe’s across the street wasn’t open yet, so we ran by the nearby Neighborhood market to kill some time while Summer got changed. By the time they were ready to go eat, they decided they wanted sushi instead, so we went to China Town. I like a lot of the things they have that aren’t available at any of the restaurants in town, but a part of me is starting to get a little bored of it. When we finished eating, we headed across town to do some shopping.

We spent the most time in Kohl’s, where I had to pick up an online order from the beginning of the week. I picked up some super cheap clothes as well. Then it was Target, Sam’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and finally Petco. Target and Sam’s were both ridiculously busy for some reason. BBB wasn’t bad, but also didn’t have any remarkable deals at all. The overall winner of the day was Petco, where I had a $10 off $30 coupon, and I picked up some fish food that rang up for a penny.

Eaddie had gotten sick of shopping after about three minutes, and she passed out in the back seat long before we started for home. When we did finally get home, we spent the rest of the evening watching a bunch of Glee.

Do you know what goes down in Lima Heights Adjacent? Bad things!

Conquer the Buffet

I had to set my work alarm this morning to get Summer to Little Rock for her Conquer the Gauntlet race. Her group started at 10, but she had to get registered first and wanted to be there around 9. It was a pretty quick and uneventful drive, and we stopped at a gas station so I could get snacks on the way. She would be racing with Dylan, and I assumed Hannah and I would be doing something else, but when we pulled in she made me pay the $10 for spectator parking.

She got registered and we met the others. They brought their dog Jovi to hang out as well, who was a big hit with everyone around.

Once Summer and Dylan got started, the three of us waited around and tried to decipher the map and find the best places to catch them at the obstacles. The first stop was a little bit of a wait right near the start, where they had to cross a pool of water using inclined monkey bars. Then we found another spot where we thought we could catch two obstacles, but we ended up only getting to really see one. We had to wait for over an hour for them to get there, and we seriously thought we had missed them somehow. They finally came trudging along just as we were contemplating heading back to the finish line.

When they finally did finish, Dylan and Hannah left for other things while Summer and I hunted down some food. My snacks were awful and I hadn’t felt well all morning, so I wasn’t up to being very adventurous. Summer decided on Tokyo House for their buffet, and we made our way across greater Little Rock.

Everything was great there, and somehow I managed to overstuff myself far more than I’ve done in a long time. I was absolutely miserable the rest of the day and into the evening. We came straight home without any other shopping stops as I had intended, and Summer got cleaned up from her race. Eventually I had to take Noah to work, and then I went home to nap a while until Summer was ready for me to take her to her 20 year class reunion at Old Bank.

After dropping her off, I headed home and napped on and off a while longer until she was ready to come home. I think her reunion was probably both harder and better for her than mine was, but all in all I think we’ve both decided reunions are for the birds.

May be time to finally pay for some of that web hosting now…

Splashing in the Rain

We woke up unnaturally early today so we could get to Conway for Summer’s 5k before 7:30. Autumn and I dropped her off in a place with way too little parking, and nearly got stuck in the mud after a couple jerks in trucks parked in the middle of the exit. It rained most of the day, so rather than sit around in the car listening to that, we went across town to Walmart to pick up some food to share for breakfast. Once Summer was done, we continued on to Benton to meet Jeff and get a tour of the Splash Car Wash & Express Lube.

The facility was super new and super clean, and really showed how much work they put into maintaining a positive and clean atmosphere for both customers and employees. It would have been neat to see the car wash in action, but that will have to wait for another time I suppose. It was great getting the full tour of the place though. I didn’t care for the acrylic tip boxes they had out, but that may be me projecting my feelings about American tip culture than anything else. Maybe enough people have tried to tip the “behind the scenes” employees that the boxes became a necessity. I tend to always feel that tips in the US are just a company’s way of subsidizing their employees’ pay so they don’t have to pay them a fair hourly wage, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

After the tour, Jeff treated us to lunch at Olive Garden back in Little Rock. Then we went across town to Walmart and Sam’s where I spent too much money and too much time. By the time we got out of there, we were all pretty tired. We made it back to Conway and decided to stop at Dick’s to check out the bicycle sale. Summer and Autumn both liked the ride height of the GT Laguna Pro, so we picked one up there and decided to try and order the other two colors online since we didn’t have the bike rack anyway.

We circled back to Pizza Ranch for dinner, which I learned was another strangely Christian pizza buffet. I guess that’s a thing? The bar was small and the food was pretty good, but I don’t think it was worth anywhere near the $12 price tag per head. It was a relatively enjoyable visit though, and a decent cap to our day.

Once we got back home, I dropped Summer off at my house, unloaded the bike, and Autumn and I went to pick up Eaddie from their grandparents’ house. When we got back, I had Eaddie try to ride the bike, and she passed that test with flying colors, and in a fraction of the time it took the others to get both feet off the ground. Summer was already in bed, so the girls started some TV while I tried ordering bikes. The website inventory seemed inaccurate, so I got right to calling stores. Little Rock was the only one of the three I tried that had the gunmetal color in the medium size frame, so I talked them into honoring the sale price the day after expiration. Then I called back to Conway and talked to Taylor again, and he agreed to do the same for the light blue. I guess tomorrow we’ll drive across the state again, only this time with a bike rack in tow.

Oh hey! Look, it’s a pikachWHAT THE HELL?!?

Planted Fitness

Summer had her RussVegas Half Marathon this morning. I had delusions of getting the girls out early enough to eat breakfast and cheer her on, but we weren’t up in time for West Main Donuts, and Hardee’s evidently closed due to a fire. We ended up getting some Burger King to go and made it downtown, parked, and walked toward the finish line just in time to meet Summer at the last turn toward the finish. She didn’t see us and I didn’t have my camera up to take a picture, but she looked to be in significantly better shape than pretty much any other run I’ve seen her participate in.

We walked toward Old Bank and sat at a table just outside for a while to eat our breakfast. I ran inside for a moment to say hello to Ryan and told him we were going to come in for a Quiz Bowl watch party for the high school team on AETN. Nobody around him had heard anything about it, but eventually we meandered in and ultimately filled up a room with maybe 50 people. The girls picked mostly a bunch of snack food to eat, and I had some “street tacos” that were good, but not what I would consider deserving of the “street” title. I’m only just remembering that I forgot my leftover cheese dip on the table when we left.

Summer took Autumn back home, and Eaddie and I went to my house so I could clean up a bit. Evidently the litter box took off on its own and left wet litter, so I had to spend most of my time cleaning up after that. She watched TV until I was ready to go, and we went back to their house so I could swap Eaddie for Autumn. I had to take her to her grandparents’ house to mow the lawn, and then I went to my parents’ house and helped Dad plant the baby raspberry bushes. I really hope they make it, but I also secretly wish they were blackberries.

It started to rain a bit, and Autumn finished with her mowing. I went to get her, then Noah, and we went to Lowe’s to scope out the promotion they were running. You could basically get free money to use in store today only by texting a word to their promotion number. I had everyone and then some try for me, but I never found anyone with more than $5. Autumn and Noah were pretty restless and agitated that I kept them there as long as I did, so we grabbed some snacks for (mostly) free and went back to their house.

Some of us were getting hungry, so I made a game plan and loaded everyone up. We went to my house so I could measure the toilet seat. Then I tried unnecessarily to switch Noah’s phone service to a different device so I could get his coupon code. I didn’t realize he was able to get the response but unable to view the web page, so in the end I just had him forward the text to me. Then we went back with all five codes and picked up a new toilet seat and four bags of Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Container Mix, which I’m hoping is their new name for Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Mix. I wanted to use it to plant my aquariums and also not murder my fish. Time will tell.

We finally made it out of the store just a little bit before closing time, and went to my parents’ house for dinner. Autumn ate boring ham and steamed rice, and the rest of us had bún bò Huế. After dinner, I tried to troubleshoot my parents’ first generation Chromecast. It would show video during the boot process, but then go to a black screen after the “G” logo. The online support just had me submit a feedback report, so we’ll see what happens.

With the whole troupe exhausted, we headed back to their house for the evening. I couldn’t resist a huge glass of water before bed, but I think tomorrow will have to be mostly dry to make it through Endgame.

Peaches come from a can! They were put there by a man in a factory downtown.

Sweet Home Alabama

We got up early this morning for breakfast in the lobby, and then Summer was off to The Great Inflatable Race. I went back up to the room to shower and get things packed up before she got back. Her race ran a little behind, but she still made it back in time to get showered and primped before our late checkout time. I even tucked my shirt in and wore a tie for a few minutes.

Our first stop was at Shoe Carnival in the shopping center by the hotel. She wanted some new shoes for her dress, and I walked around holding some shoes for a while that I ultimately returned before checking out. Then she wanted to go to the McCain Mall right up the block. We made a loop through the whole place, really only stopping at Dillard’s, GameStop, Victoria’s Secret, and finally Spencer’s where I picked up some Rap Snacks for Dale. We were out just long enough to work up a bit of an appetite, so we made our way back over to Red Lobster.

There was only a really short wait for our Lobsterfest to start. Summer got a lighthouse glass without having to steal it, and I begrudgingly ate a sirloin because it was smothered in lobstery things. The lobster pizza appetizer was good, and Summer had a margarita that was unexpectedly the size of her head. I helped her on it just a bit as we took turns getting brain freezes. Then it was off to the Verizon Arena.

We paid for pretty decent parking, though in hindsight I think the block further for half the price may have been a better deal, and ultimately gotten us out of traffic faster. We got to the arena just in time to walk right on in and find our seats, which were also right by the entrance. Summer had a really great time while I fought with my Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs. I think my ear canals turn up sharply, which causes the earplugs to seal shut. At least I got to learn that now before going to a concert that interests me personally. I kept them in to save my hearing, but the audio was clearly muffled unless I used my fingers to tweak them slightly in my ear canals.

Nice screensaver!I only recognized one song all night, which was by the opening Charlie Daniels Band. The Devil Went Down to Georgia was a staple for my Diamond Rio MP3 player in high school. Summer only knew it and maybe one more of their songs. The real treat for her was when Alabama came onto the stage. She got excited at several of their songs, none of which I could recall ever hearing in my lifetime. I was surprised to hear them go on and on about how many awards they had won and how many chart topping singles they had, partly because I’m only used to hearing rappers do that, and partly because I had never even heard of them. I spent the rest of the evening more in a state of discomfort than anything else. It was hot and cramped, and the band kept doing what I can only describe as a pop quiz after nearly every song, where they had the band start playing the song they just finished and tried to coax the crowd into singing the chorus a couple more times. Of course a country concert wouldn’t be complete without a pickup truck brand roll call, which was just a huge circle jerk of more things that I hate. Even the encore was lazy and uncoerced, as the band had barely left the stage long enough to take another shot of that Tennessee whiskey before coming back out. It just felt like they were pandering to the meme of assumed encores.

Fortunately we got out more quickly than we had come in, until we got into the traffic. It started to sprinkle as we walked to the car, but it wasn’t too bad. There was a questionable guy outside selling shirts at a significant discount from their inside asking price, so we grabbed one of those on our way out. I should have planned the escape route more before taking off, but I was so concerned about beating traffic that I ended up looping through a few more blocks of it than necessary. There was quite a bit of traffic on the interstate as well, almost all the way to Conway. The rain cleared up enough that it didn’t feel so dangerous to be cruising down the highway though, and we made it home just after midnight. Summer crashed pretty much right away, still high on her birthday vibes. I’d say today was a success.

I done told you once, you REDACTED

The Runs

We slept in a while this morning until we had to leave for Summer’s 10K in Little Rock. We stopped by McDonald’s for some chicken tenders on the way out of town, which were actually really good, and then made our way to Conway for our first stop. I had a Shoe Carnival reward burning a hole in my pocket, so Summer scored a couple pairs of boots in a BOGO free sale. I wanted to go to Old Chicago for lunch while we were in town, but we ran short on time and Summer wasn’t hungry enough to eat. We made a quick stop at Dick’s to check for potential kayaks on sale before departing on the last leg of our trip.

Thirsty and still a bit hungry myself, we stopped by another McDonald’s on the way out of Conway for some drinks. The kid brought one of our drinks out, but said they didn’t have the equipment to make the slush I ordered even though there was a giant window cling for it on the front of the store. He offered to make me another of what we did get, but I ended up having to go inside because he forgot to bring the replacement drink out to me after it was made. I guess nobody cared enough to find out why there was another drink sitting on the counter at the end of the makeline.

We finally arrived at the Creep ‘N Crawl 10K/5K shortly after Hannah and Dylan, and spent most of our time waiting in line with the girls for the bathroom. There were some interesting costumes there, but Old Greg was one of my favorites. Some of the costumes definitely didn’t seem run-friendly, but by golly they did it. My number one favorite had to go to a couple of girls that were dressed as a cop and robber, and ran the race handcuffed to one another.

Summer and Dylan took off first in the 10K, and then Hannah took off 15 minutes later. Dylan ended up getting second place in his age group, so he got a tiny trophy. Hannah and Summer both came in squarely in the middle of their categories, but Hannah arrived first since she was only doing the 5K. While we were waiting, I bumped into Officer Beyette, and he offered to take my picture with Hannah and Mr. Peanut, but I declined and said I wasn’t actually with them. I assumed he didn’t remember me from the time I trolled him at Oakland, but it was funny to me all the same.

I started to worry a bit about Summer because she was a fair bit behind her goal time. I expected her right along with Dylan, but the clock just kept on ticking. She ended up getting sick in the middle of the race, but she puckered up and pushed through to the end. I made the trek back to the car to come back and pick everyone up, and we headed to Dave and Buster’s for some evening fun.

They didn’t have Angry Orchard on tap, which was the girls’ choice drink, so we didn’t get to experience the 100 oz tower. The food was pretty decent, the drinks were overpriced, and the games were fun while they lasted. We all decided to hold on to what tickets we earned and, tired from the day’s activities, called it a night and drove on home.

Mission: Disastrously Successful

Arm Day Recovery

Last night and some of this morning, my arms were super sore from the ride to Fayetteville. I haven’t had a passenger along for a ride like that in so many years, and it really changes the entire experience. I had such a blast, but I was dead. Sleeping late helped a bunch. I eventually got around and cleaned my fish tank and took a shower. Shortly thereafter, Summer and Noah showed up to go to their 5k in Clarksville.

I hadn’t eaten much of anything all day, so we stopped at McDonald’s in Clarksville before I dropped them off to race. Then we drove to a couple different places because we weren’t entirely sure where the event was held. Eventually we found it at Cline Park, and it looked to be a pretty small turnout. Summer ran up to the registration pavilion while everyone was lined up ready to race. The girl on the microphone didn’t seem to have any idea how to describe the route to the runners, and eventually just told everyone to follow the person in front of them. Just as the runners took off, Summer ran back to the car and dumped their bags off with me and then took off with Noah. Curious, I looked up how many calories they would burn in the race. I estimated around 600 for both of them combined. Meanwhile, I was sat in the car with my Big Mac and caramel frappé clocking in at roughly 1,210 calories.

After I finished eating and the first couple runners finished, I started to wander around a bit. It only took them about 20 minutes, and I figured Summer wouldn’t be too far behind, so I posted up in the back of my car. A minute or two before she came along, I happened to look at their bags and pulled her race number off and then handed it to her as she ran by. She finished and then came back to the car to wait for Noah. After a few minutes she decided to walk backwards down the track with his number to find him and then finish the race together.

He was upset because one of the signs had fallen over and he ended up running what he estimated to be an additional mile before being pointed back the right direction. I guess he wasn’t the only one, but nobody seemed to be up in arms about it at the finish line. He was pretty upset though, so I took it upon myself to make him a Genuine, Legitimate Award for the Longest Distance Run on a McDonald’s napkin. Summer took it up to the officials, and they actually signed the napkin and announced him as a winner along with Summer’s second place trophy in her division.

Just before everyone had finished, I recognized Ashley walking across the finish line. I wasn’t positive it was her since it was so dark, so I texted her asking if it was her, and then she walked up to me and said she was wondering the same thing. She said she’s working at DHS in Clarksville now, but I haven’t seen her since Apex, so it was nice to catch up.

Once the race was over, we went to La Taquiza Chilanga for some street tacos al pastor, which was delicious as usual. Noah kept insisting he didn’t want to eat and sucked down a Mexican Coca-Cola instead, but eventually he ate three of them. Then Summer got a cinnamon thing, and I had an absolutely terrible excuse for a mangonada. I guess I’ll stick with the tacos next time.

From there we headed home. I dropped Noah off at his house, and then Summer and I headed back to my place where she showered while I dug around in my aquarium supplies box. I couldn’t find the tiny heater I possibly imagined owning, but at least the box and random power cords got properly organized. Summer got out of the shower and then passed out on the couch, so I sent her to bed while I read up on the Bird scooters I’ve seen pop up in town practically overnight. I briefly fantasized about becoming a charger, but I’m not convinced it’s worth driving around to find them and then getting up two hours earlier just to put them back out in the wild.

100% Genuine For Real!