Elec Man

I took Eaddie to school this morning and made it home to have a bowl of cereal before the electrician showed up. John and two of his henchmen showed up and got right to work, running some conduit up the side of the house and into the attic. I was a little worried about how it might all turn out, but overall I was quite pleased. I did have to climb into the attic once to pass along some tape, but outside of that, we didn’t spot any termite damage, and the Wall Connector powered right up. Dad showed up near the end to check things out, and once the guys were done, he wanted to take me to the airport to see the plane that he and Julie just bought.

I let him drive the Model 3, and we made it about halfway there before he realized he had forgotten the trash bag he needed to clean out the plane. We finally made it to the airport though, and drove past a really fancy jet to get to the hanger.

We stopped in to talk to the guy in the hanger next door, and he came around to chat with us some more while we cleaned just a little bit of trash out of the plane. I got Julie to come out, but she wasn’t in any condition to socialize. As she ran us off, she introduced us to her new boyfriend, Kevin, who would be joining us for Mom’s birthday dinner.

I got back home and put the garage back together, possibly better than it was before. By then I was pretty hungry, so I ran to Taco John’s for a snack and went by Superfast to visit with Summer. She was busy though, and put me to work filling her washer fluid drums. After that I went home and showered so we could go to Pasta Grill for dinner.

Summer had to work right up to dinner time, so I met her at Superfast and she drove us to the restaurant. Julie and Kevin were already there, and of course Mom and Dad were several minutes late. It was a fair time visiting, and most of the food was okay. I ordered the Grill Pasta, which was incredibly heavy. I was disappointed in the portion size, and then it was so saucy that it felt like eating forks of butter. I ended up taking well over half of it home.

When the girls got home from hanging out with their friends, Autumn came into the bedroom to tell us all of Eaddie’s drama, which had me rolling my eyes. Summer called Eaddie into the room so she could tell us herself, and we talked for a little bit. Then after Eaddie cooled off in her room for a while and I watched some TV with Summer, Eaddie came out to the kitchen table and chatted with me for quite a while longer. She felt good about how she responded to her classmates, and laughed at how accurately I described her friendships.

Now if only I could be as successful.

Witchy Woman

I slept way better last night, no thanks to the constant snoring that Autumn did all night long. It aggravated all of us to the point that even Eaddie woke up and yelled at her to flip over, which helped for a bit. I wanted to sleep in a bit since we didn’t plan for breakfast, but that didn’t happen. I got up and showered while the girls packed everything up, and then they loaded into the car like we were leaving, but I went to check on Mom to see if they had plans.

We ended up going to the clubhouse to play some more games until Dad finished at the convention. Then we went downtown to try and find a seat at the Local Flavor Cafe. There was very clearly a group of people outside waiting, so we went to La Familia for some Tex-Mex instead.

The food was great as always, but the already-bitchy Autumn just got worse when I called her out for ordering three bean burritos for $20 when most of the rest of us shared fajita platters for a buck less. We made it back for the matinée show, and then we headed straight home after that.

Summer hadn’t been feeling the best over the past day or two, and it just got worse as we drove home without a word, listening to a new playlist maker I tested out on YouTube Music. Once we got there, the girls unloaded and Autumn started some laundry while Eaddie played the flute for literally hours. Summer put on the first Iron Man, and then went to bed. I laid with her for a little while, but still had to finish my evening routine before going to sleep myself.

Who’s got time for that?

State of Dinner

I had a horrible time trying to sleep again last night, but surprisingly it didn’t hurt me too bad during the day. We had breakfast and got out of the hotel, then made it down the road to The Butterfly Palace. It was a relatively short wait, but the greenhouse was a bit smaller than I expected for the size of the building. There also weren’t quite as many butterflies as I had envisioned, but it was still a good time. They had little vials of “a scoop” of orange Gatorade mixed with two quarts of water with a little fake flower on top, and we carried those around just hoping for butterflies to land on us. I had the bright idea to stick mine behind my ear, and I think I was the first one to actually attract a butterfly.

It was a really neat experience, and we watched a little short 3D film about monarchs before we made it downstairs for a tiny reptile room and a really cool mirror maze. I started really feeling the effects of my lack of sleep while the girls were looking around the gift shop, so I waited in the car until they came out. Then we started heading toward Eureka Springs, stopping in West Branson for gas, and then Reeds Spring for some lunch at Parmesan’s Pizzeria. Their tiny dining room was packed, so we waited for a table, and the pizza was worth the wait.

We finally made it to Eureka in the rain, and got checked into the hotel after a bit of a wait. They gave us a room right next to my parents, which was convenient. I bounced back and forth between our room and theirs to talk to Mom, and then Summer and I went down to the convention center to find Dad. We weren’t hungry during the dinner break, so the girls and I found a recreation area by the pool that had ping pong, mini golf, air hockey, a couple of pool tables, and some other stuff that was mostly out of order. It was actually a lot of fun, and was probably the best thing we could do to keep out of the rain.

Eventually we had to make our way back for the evening show, and Eaddie got picked as a volunteer again. The girls seemed to enjoy it enough that we thought they might actually be willing to stay another night, but then Autumn started to get cranky again as the evening progressed.

After the show, we all went downtown for a really late dinner at The Spring on Main. We actually parked right by the entrance, but I didn’t realize it was upstairs, and we walked up a couple blocks before I realized we were in the wrong place. We made our way back down, and then up the stairs into a small, mostly empty restaurant and bar. The menu gave me a little bit of sticker shock after glancing at the prices online, but I think it was worth it. Everyone was really happy with their upscale food. It all tasted really fresh and delicious, and the service would have been excellent even if we hadn’t showed up 30 minutes before closing.

Once we ate, we headed back to the room and we had to practically wrestle Autumn into the shower after over 48 hours. Summer put on Indiana Jones, and I wrapped up as quickly as I could, hoping to sleep through Autumn’s relentless snoring.

Suffer silently.

Mark My Words

Summer took Eaddie to school today, so I laid around for a little longer this morning. Eventually I got up and had some tacos for brunch before prepping a corned beef in the slow cooker for dinner. Then I went home to try and gather my thoughts for a bit before getting some last-minute help. I felt like I had everything pretty well organized, but I should have reached out for help sooner.

The afternoon was there soon, and the girls headed home with Autumn’s boyfriend in tow. Eaddie went to her room for most of the time, which meant I had to keep an eye on Autumn and Adam so I could call them out later.

Finally I was able to meet up with Mark at their new building, and I gained what perhaps what shouldn’t have been such a surprising level of insight. He definitely looked at things from a different angle, but I wasn’t too far off with some of the things I had considered. I found myself wishing I had involved him sooner, though I still felt like when the time comes, I’ll screw something up. My best-case-scenario is just a moving target, and it stresses me out.

When we finished talking, I headed up to Summer’s where she had just gotten home to an empty house. All the kids went to the movies, and ended up watching Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Summer and I ate our traditional corned beef, and then I got to work assembling my documentation into its final form. The girls eventually made it home and I talked to Eaddie a little bit. Autum talked to Summer while she settled into bed, and eventually everyone went to sleep.

Hey, I’m the victim here!

Blues and Browns

Summer was at the high school for Quiz Bowl all day long, so I spent the entire day by myself. I cleaned up some taco stuff in the fridge, and eventually Eaddie came home long enough to shower, but then she wanted me to take her to the high school to meet up with some robotics kids. She ended up running around with them the entire day, so I just went to my house and wallowed around.

Mom wanted to go out to eat tonight for my birthday, but Summer didn’t finish until after six. I met her at the gas station to fill up, and then we met my parents at Brown’s. I didn’t eat as much as I might’ve in the past, but by the time we got back home, I still felt miserable.

Summer went to bed, and Eaddie eventually showed up and talked about her day. Then we finished an episode of Breaking Bad before we went to bed as well.

Sure, just wine about it.

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!


I couldn’t quite sleep in this morning, and got around to some leftovers. Autumn actually wanted to go to the gym with Summer, so they left and I went home to get some errands started. While I was there, Clint messaged me looking for some old video games to collect. I wasn’t prepared for that, but I offered to meet him at my office so we could catch up a bit.

As soon as I got to the office, I realized I forgot my keys. Clint hopped in and we ran back to my house to get them, and then we went to my office so I could finally submit my disciplinary rebuttal. I hate it, but I tend to agree that I should probably seriously look for new work.

When that was done, we went by Ben’s old house and I rang the doorbell to see if they had a package he had accidentally had delivered there. The wife of the guy that answered the door said she dropped it back off at the post office this morning, but they were closed, so I wasn’t sure if she just dropped it into a box or something.

I dropped Clint off back at his car, and then went home to grab a couple presents before heading back up to Summer’s. She had icing colored and ready for me to help load into bags, and then the kids came out to decorate cookies.

We probably only did about half of the cookies she baked before we got tired of it. I think it was partly because of their age, but also partly because everyone was just feeling super lethargic all day. We got everyone back to the table to play a partial game of Phase 10, and then everyone went to bed when Noah left for the evening.

The computer’s a lot faster at this than you.

Parkour Parking

Kayla called me to the Transportation office pretty early this morning, but this time they had questions about the CPPC minutes. I stayed and chatted with them for quite a while before making it back to the office. Then I ended up at Support Services for a quick ticket before lunch.

Brody said he was required to do volunteer work, but that there was no paperwork to fill out, or requirements about what he had to do, so he asked if he could come to the school to hang out. He wanted to go to Ridgewood for lunch, but after a quick stop there it was immediately obvious that we wouldn’t make it through the line in an hour. Instead, the guys wanted to drive out to London for Fat Daddy’s, which didn’t at all appeal to me, but I took Thomas anyway. My hot dog was fine, but ten dollars just felt stupid.

The afternoon was slow, but I finished up one old ticket with some help from Gary and Thomas. Then I went to Dwight to pick up a Chromebook that had some keys ripped off of it. Replacing the keyboard was really more like moving all of the components out of one chassis into another.

We had our department Christmas party at Nonna Bella’s in the evening, so I went home to change. Then Summer picked me up and we went to the restaurant. We arrived right in the middle of the whole group, and settled right in. Our server seemed a little slow, or at least, seemed not to be fully engaging her thought muscles. Thomas had to prompt her to get some food started so we wouldn’t be there all night just waiting for everyone. Travis was the last to show up, but I was glad he showed up. It was a good dinner, my pizza was delicious, and I had the giggles for most of it. I always enjoy holiday parties with the crew.

Getting out was a chore, because parking was so narrow. Travis ended up taking his giant truck offroading over the parking bumper just so the rest of us could get out. When Summer dropped me back off at home, I finally watched The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which I thought was great. It was much more sentimental than I expected, but it was a great end to the evening.

That sounds like sentiment, son!


I took a half day this afternoon so I could go to Summer’s company Christmas party in Little Rock. I didn’t get into a whole lot in the morning, but nearly finished my CPPC minutes. It turns out something I had brought up during our meeting that kind of spun everyone into a frenzy might have been a non-issue, but that’s what I get for letting Zach see the proposed changes first.

I had pretty much already made up my mind to go to Ridgewood Brothers for their grand opening lunch, just to show my support. What really solidified it for me was hearing the Eagles sing about brisket though. Gary didn’t want to brave the crowd, and he was right. They had the exact same bottleneck, even with a crowd of other, mostly available employees. Robert was running his ass off while all the girls were mostly just standing around with RBF. Hopefully they can optimize and churn out food faster after some time in the new building.

I couldn’t get Summer to come by to eat with me, even though I ordered double food just in case. Luckily I ran into Keith and his work crew and convinced him to come sit with me so I wouldn’t be alone. The silliest part of the visit after an hour in line was that well over half the seats were completely empty. More space was taken up by people standing in line than anything else.

After I ate, I went home for a bit, and then left again to wash my car. I had it charged up to nearly 100% when Summer came by to get me. We stuck the Murano in the garage, and headed to the Chenal Country Club for the evening.

The drive was uneventful, and I was thankful not to have to mind much while the car did all the hard bits. I’m still not happy with the way it navigates through lane changes, but all I can do is just not use it, I suppose. I’m just afraid it makes me look like an idiot, or a jerk the way it flashes random turn signals to merge at exactly the wrong times.

We arrived at the country club a little over half an hour early, and had to wait for everyone to show up. It would have been better if there were other folks from the main office there for Summer to mingle with, but it really was just a ghost town until right after six. The food was middling heavy hors d’oeuvres, and offered my second take on grits for the day. I think the Brothers beat them, but nobody would have expected otherwise.

The whole event was much shorter than last time, which was probably the best part. The games were less bad, though the prizes were still very limited and mostly sucked for a company that appears to be doing so well. I guess it’s true that you don’t get rich by giving it away. I was glad that Justin and Chelsey made it out, so I had an awkward partner throughout the event. Overall it was a fair time, and I was happy to support Summer with her crew. Justin and Summer actually went up to compete in a game together, where they had to use spoons in their mouths to move cotton balls from one bowl to another. Evidently Summer accidentally bumped Justin enough that he took a big chip out of one of his front teeth.

I let Tres drive home as well, and just relaxed for the drive. I let it be stupid and change lanes for no reason, and only interrupted a couple of times when other cars were too close to be doing stupid merges. We dropped my car off to charge, and then I met Summer at her house just in time for bed.

Give me another slice of that barbecued brisket!

Magic Hippies

It was a bit of a struggle to get up today, but I had to get home to shower before meeting my parents to go to the magic club’s annual potluck and Christmas show. We knew Autumn didn’t want to go, but Eaddie changed her mind after originally saying she would go with us. Summer picked me up, and then my parents drove. Phone games kept me occupied for the trip, but then we arrived at a mostly abandoned looking facility.

Larry invited a bunch of his church crew, which was a rather odd looking group of folks. Most of them arrived before anybody I recognized, and then the potluck appeared a bit sparse for that many people. The Walmart chicken was pretty awful, but at least there was plenty of it. At least I don’t think anyone went hungry.

The show was very typical, and then the cleanup went relatively quickly. We didn’t stick around, and loaded up to leave pretty quickly. We stopped very briefly at the Midland market so Mom could look for some stuff, but it was probably the shortest visit I’ve ever seen her make. I picked up a bag of rambutans and some lychee gummies, and then we headed home.

For feeling so tired, we actually got home pretty early. Summer dropped me off at home so I could bring the car back up to her house. Eaddie had Summer quiz her for a test, and Autumn had some laundry going that she left in the machine after I called at her to take them out. Otherwise it was a really quiet, early night to bed.

Fraking gnats, everywhere.