Not My Favorite Uncle

I got up this morning and headed home to finish up my taxes before cleaning up for a late Easter lunch. With the way my short-term trades were calculated, I got to pay for the gains I made without taking into account my unrealized losses that nullified them. I thought I might do some additional research to make sure it was all correct, but in the end I trusted the system.

Dad had lunch ready just a few minutes earlier than he expected, which was a departure from running late. Bác Vân and Doug were already there, and Summer and Eaddie arrived just seconds before I did. Autumn had to work, and Julie is still ignoring us all. Lunch was good, but we didn’t stick around for very long. Eaddie still had homework, and I still actually had to submit and pay my taxes.

As soon as Autumn got home from work, I helped her file her own taxes. She didn’t earn enough for it to be required, but by filing she’ll get a refund of what her employer held out of her checks. For some reason the social security and such weren’t refunded, which made me question whether she should have paid in the year before when the school district paid her as a contractor. I don’t get why we can’t just receive a statement telling us what we owe every year instead of propping up a ridiculous industry. That, or a high sales tax seem like great ways to fix this.

Summer had a headache and climbed into bed well before sunset, and the girls were off in their own rooms to avoid any human contact. I left, but ended up stopping at Walmart for a bit before making it home. My lava lamp went out at work, and the retro dorm theme just isn’t the same without it.

As I pulled into my driveway, Michael called to chat some more about crypto taxes. I’m into it in theory, but I worry he’s reading too much into the tea leaves. I didn’t accomplish anything else like I had hoped, but with any luck I’ll sleep through the night before work in the morning.

It’s buoy bells.

Witchcraft!

We all woke up early to leave for Eureka Springs this morning. I had to stop by Superfast first though, to check my coolant level again. We took a jug of some extra along just in case it got bad later, but I really shouldn’t have, because at the end of the day we found it had leaked all over the trunk.

It was a long and pretty drive, though the trees were all still dead from winter. Eaddie did great in the car, and we didn’t even have to drug her. We got to the Inn of the Ozarks a little before the last lecture let out for lunch, so we picked up Dad, then Mom and went to the top of the hill for lunch at Myrtie Mae’s.

After lunch, we watched the matinée for Dad’s performance. Then the girls had to cut out partway through the closeup show in order to make their zipline appointment. My parents and I got back up to their room just as the girls finished up, so once they walked back across the street, we headed to The Rockin’ Pig Saloon for dinner.

They had a bunch of menu items with Wagyu beef, including an $85 ribeye that made even our server’s eyes go wide. Mom got a non-Wagyu ribeye for less than half that, and the rest of the table got a pretty good mix of things. Somehow Autumn ended up with a pepperoni pizza, and even it was pretty good. I still think the brisket at Ridgewood is more tender though.

We got back to the Inn just in time for the raffle drawings, and then we watched the evening show. It was a good time getting to see everyone again after putting the event off for COVID. As they closed up shop, we left my parents to go find our hotel across town.

The Statue Road Inn was a cute little motel, at least in the dark. There was some confusion with the check-in process, because I was sure that I paid in full online, but I received an email saying I had to make a partial payment at the inn, and the lady at the front desk didn’t have any record of payment at all. She was super friendly though, and unable to find any credit card history, I felt comfortable making the partial payment. After researching some more online, I’m not convinced that I don’t owe the rest of it, but we’ll sort that out later.

The room was kind of cute, but it looked like they had some renovations going on at the other end of the building. This was the second time I’ve had a physical, metal key for a room I’ve stayed in as an adult. Aside from the miserable water pressure that Summer reported, everything seemed to be on the up and up. I guess we won’t know for sure until morning.

Short trip.

The Time Honored Tradition of Explaining Things to Your Denny’s Server

I thought we might go see The Batman today, but things quickly started changing. Autumn had to go shop for uniform clothes for her new job at Denny’s. Summer just wanted to go to the gym, but was otherwise flexible. I spent most of the morning shopping for refrigerators online. We started to warm up some food for everyone, and then Autumn got a call from her father asking to meet up, so they abandoned the pizza we made.

Eaddie wanted to watch a movie, but later ended up going to see The Batman with her boyfriend instead. I made it home and continued shopping for a fridge, but was suddenly hit with a bit of nausea for some reason. I laid down in bed for a bit until that passed, then took a shower.

After her movie, Summer went to get Eaddie and I met them at Denny’s for dinner. Autumn was there shadowing our server, and it quickly became apparent that it won’t take long for her to become the best employee there. As long as she can keep from picking up any bad habits, she should be able to get some experience and take those newfound skills somewhere better. I’m a little afraid she’ll just let herself become comfortable there, though.

After we ate, I went home and did some laundry. At some point I heard a mystery song on YouTube that had been rattling around in my brain since I worked at the call center. Nearly a decade later, I was able to use Google audio search and Shazam to find enough other relevant YouTube videos that lead me to a Reddit thread where someone else was also searching for the song’s origin. All this time, it was just royalty-free music. With that finally out of my brain, I eventually made it to bed.

Eureka! Fifth Avenue Stroll!

Wanna Fight?

I got in a couple minutes late this morning after a split night of sleep. I wasn’t as sore as I thought I might be, but I still felt pretty gross in general until I had my shower. Thomas was out again, and Zach was transient all morning until he took off for the afternoon. That left me with a grumpy Gary to sort through everyone’s messes.

Several of us went to Taco John’s for Taco Tuesday, and I had a light lunch that left me surprisingly satisfied, if not a little peckish. The afternoon was pretty quiet, but I had Justin come down to chat about our meeting tomorrow. It’s time to put thoughts into action and stand up for what I believe. At least I won’t be completely alone, and maybe I can get a couple raises out of the deal.

After work, I ran home to change before going to my parents’ house to wish them a happy new year. Then I stopped by the bank so I could be prepared to put my money where my mouth is, picked up my “free” taco, and headed up to Summer’s for the evening.

Noah came over, and all of the kids went to some kind of wrestling event. I showed Summer a bit of what I was working on until the kids made it back home. Then Eaddie and Noah stayed up being super loud until Noah went home. I kept feeling like my blood pressure was up, even after being pretty good over the last couple of days without medication, but I didn’t have my cuff to check. I guess that’s one more thing to check during my morning prep.

Opinions are like armpits, and yours are wrong.

Need a Little Christmas

Summer jumped out of bed early this morning and ruined the secret of Santa Claus for me. I couldn’t sleep in much and was a little hungry after having a complicated relationship with food last night, so I got up. Summer made us some scrambled eggs, and we eventually got both kids up enough to dump out their stockings. Eaddie was in an immediate mood, throwing an absolute tantrum at everything. I was very near slapping it out of her, and both girls just kept picking at one another.

We got Eaddie up and around to some chores, and eventually got everyone through the shower so we could make our way to my parents’ house. Summer made all of our contribution to lunch, and we were off.

Bác Vân and Doug beat us there. I think Julie made most of the food and was about two hours late. Eaddie took a nap in my bedroom until the food was ready, and came out in much better form. We ate, did our quickest round of presents ever, and then left so I could clean up house a bit for some friends.

I had messaged Diana happy birthday earlier in the day, and she said they were in town along with Josue and wanted to get together. They agreed on a fire at my place and we all met up for a nice quiet evening outside. It was really nice seeing them all again, and the kids enjoyed some roasted marshmallows.

Josue stuck around for a little while and chatted with me after the others left. The girls all went to sleep, and eventually we packed everything up and he headed out. By then, I was ready for bed too.

Hasn’t snowed a single flurry, but Santa dear we’re in a hurry!

Hot Coffee Mod

I slept in pretty late today, and felt great for it. I remember waking up in an anxiety attack briefly, but it didn’t last long or keep me from falling right back to sleep. I ate a leftover smoked sausage for lunch, and eventually got cleaned up to go to Summer’s for the evening.

Amanda asked me to stop by and bring a package in for her, so I did that, then grabbed a free 2-liter from Casey’s, and finally made it up to Summer’s where she and all three kids were playing Mario Party. It was pretty loud while everyone was screaming at one another, and it made me a little woozy.

Presents didn’t take long to open, because it was a pretty lowkey Christmas. Summer went overboard and got me an Ember mug, which I looked at on a whim after seeing them on sale at Costco. I made some loose leaf tea in the Manatea infuser she also got me, and the cup really made all the differnce. After hours, even the very last little sip was as hot as the first.

We tried having the kids put together the gingerbread houses, but I don’t think they cared much about it. Eaddie had some fun with it, but Autumn didn’t participate at all, and Noah mostly just made a mess. After they got the walls up, they finished their game. Noah left, and the girls went to their rooms. Summer went to bed pretty early, which left me up late, sippin’ hot tea.

Tropical Christmas

Indistinguishable From Child Labor

I stopped by Casey’s this morning for a honey bun, and spent the morning listening to the Kmart holiday reel-to-reel from 1973. It was otherwise pretty quiet again, especially since we’ve had several people out sporadically.

We went to Sam’s for lunch, and the gumbo seemed much more liquidy than usual. It tasted alright, but I think it’s been better. When we finished, I spent the better part of the afternoon at Oakland taking care of a few things. I got to spend quite a while with kindergarten, which are some of my favorite teachers. It’s like everyone else loves their kids for the most part, but in kindergarten, they’re just over it and they’re not afraid who knows it.

When I got back to the shop, I took a break to do some tinkering and soldering on a ground loop isolator that I wanted to use somewhere. Kyle had to hold the board for me while I worked the soldering iron, which meant that it took two grown men to do what one small Chinese kid can do. That pretty well got us to the end of the day, so I headed home and waited for Summer to get there.

We ended up going to Brangus for our anniversary dinner, and I wish it had been better. The onion blossom was small and overcooked, and my steak was overcooked and kind of sandy. At least Summer enjoyed hers. She watched some TV while I did a load of laundry when we got back, and then it was a relatively early bedtime.

For your convenience, smoking is permitted in the snackbar area only.

Room Full of Losers

Autumn was up before me this morning, and kept banging around and yelling at the cats, so I couldn’t sleep in. Summer got up and made a couple eggs for a light breakfast, and then I continued my game of Don’t Starve until I eventually died from a spider bite.

All three of the girls went to the gym today. I stayed and ate a little more food before going home to clean up. Summer and I had to go to their company Christmas party in Little Rock, so the girls went to spend some time with their grandparents.

I picked Summer up and we headed out of town. We got to the Westwind School of Performing Arts, which appeared to be, at least in the dark, nestled right into the back of a relatively low-class neighborhood. The building was pretty nice, with more room than the place we went to a couple of years ago.

There were enough people there, trying to eat in some form of orderly fashion, that those that went first were done eating well before the last groups got up to get their food. They also decided to draw tickets for a single grand prize, but by eliminating people periodically throughout the night. Not only did it take longer, but also served as a method for management to call everyone a loser. I suppose the desired result was to give the last five standing the opportunity to split the $500 worth of gift cards, but they opted for all-or-nothing instead.

I made it through Christmas trivia and into the second round of Splash-specific trivia, but lost there on account of not being aware of anything relating to the company. We left as soon as they wrapped things up and made it home to a house of sleeping children, so we didn’t waste any time ourselves.

At least there was “food?”

Tropical Christmas Cookies

I got around this morning and went to Walmart and to get gas on my way to Summer’s. She baked lemon cookies for the kids to decorate when Noah got out of work. Eaddie was still in bed, so I was more or less left to my own devices for most of the day. When Autumn left the TV, I played some more Don’t Starve, which has been fun playing a little more casually on the couch.

Summer made a big pot of chicken alfredo, and we ate when Noah arrived. Then they decorated the tree while Summer made colored icing. It didn’t seem like anyone was really in the mood to do any of that stuff this early, especially with highs in the mid 70s this past week. Our weekends are pretty booked up until Christmas though, so we made do.

When Noah left, Eaddie went to finish up homework while Autumn did chores. I played my game some more, but ultimately died. C’est la vie. I needed to warm back up to the mechanics anyway.

You don’t keep it this warm in here even during the summer!

Ye Olde Parade

I took the R1 to work today, and it was pretty frosty on the way in, but it was very close to perfect in the afternoon. I got distracted helping others in the morning until lunch time. Brody has been wanting to go to Nonna Bella’s for a while, so five of us went there and discovered that they have pretty good lunch specials. When we finished there, I went by Oakland and plugged a bunch of things back into a surge protector. It’s the silly things that really keep me going.

On the subject of silly things, I got TWO compliments on my mass emails today after sending out the meeting minutes in medieval English. It wasn’t a long email, which made it that much better that people cared enough to notice and write back.

We left work early so we could get out of the way of the parade. I went by Casey’s to try and score a free water, but they were out. From there, I went home to get dinner ready for the girls. Summer brought them over before they had to be back to school, and we had leftover burgers and hot dogs. Then she took Eaddie to the junior high while I took Autumn to the high school.

We met back up at Big Poppa’s since there was still room to park for the parade. I brought a couple camp chairs, and we sat at the edge of the road to talk until they officially closed the side street. Then we moved our chairs up into the street to watch the parade.

The parade itself was really spread out, and we were just on the tail end of where the bands stopped playing. We didn’t even hear them play further down the road, so we didn’t get to see either of the girls do anything cool. We ended up leaving early, and I went home to wait for Autumn to finish at the high school.

When we finally got up to Summer’s, she was already in bed. I stayed up late to help Eaddie with her math homework. I could really relate to how frustrated she was getting, but at least it was geometry, which is a subject I could really visualize.

On your guard, knave!