We all slept in this morning after I initially woke up just before five as Eaddie jokingly suggested as a departure time. We loaded up quickly, and Summer and I went in for some breakfast while Eaddie sat in the car. Then we met Dad at McDonald’s to pick up some steak, egg, and cheese bagels for Julie and Kevin. The kid at the register kept wanting to tell me too much information about his struggle finding the right picture on his employee register, or how he’d eat his Quarter Pounders with leftover gravy from the morning’s breakfast. Eaddie wanted to try one of the bagels, so we split one before we left.

Dad followed us while we kept getting stuck behind slow traffic, but eventually we passed most of it and got ahead of him. We stopped for a restroom break in Ozark, but didn’t need to charge. Eaddie had rehearsal at Tech after we got home. I unpacked and then left on the Onewheel to see Mom, and then ride the bagels over to Julie across town. She suggested I could go find Kevin at the airport, but I ended up a couple blocks over at my friend Kevin’s place.

Kevin hopped on the board and rode a little bit, but then wanted Matthi to try it out. That kid wasn’t afraid of anything, and immediately jumped on with reckless abandon. He got pretty good at it too, and then brought out a RipStik and a classic two-wheeled hoverboard to show me. Kevin and I ended up chatting for quite a while before I left and circled through the old house to feed the fish.

I didn’t quite make it back home before my battery died. I would have made it if I hadn’t circled through the Ridgewood Brothers’ parking lot, and nobody was there anyway. I had to walk most of the way up Honeysuckle, and the Onewheel got heavy fast. I got to the top of the hill and was able to ride it for a few more feet, but then had to walk it from the end of the street back to the house. It was the hardest workout I’ve had with the thing, but it was worth it.

I eventually had a shower after getting all sweaty carrying the Onewheel. Eaddie ate with Eli, so Summer and I had some leftover corned beef. She spent most of the evening like the rest of the weekend, not feeling great. I thought for sure I had seen something about not having school on Monday, but I don’t know where I hallucinated that, because there’s even a lunch menu. I’ll have to take another day off to take the Model 3 back to Tulsa, which makes me a bit sad, but I think it’ll all be worth it in the end.

I could ride you, but I’d have to charge.

This Is Just a Tribute

Summer and I got up early for breakfast, which was a lot of “fresh” berries, yogurt, bagels, and some frozen bacon, egg, and cheese bagel bite things. There was also some kind of hashbrown-looking fried meat patty that wasn’t terrible. Eaddie didn’t come down, but we brought some food back to the room for her.

Once we were all ready, I rode the Onewheel back down to the car, and the girls decided to just walk on down as well. We took the car downtown to look for a place to park, but it was busy enough that there weren’t a lot of options. We ended up circling around and going up the mountain a bit, through a part of town I don’t think I’d ever been. We found Grotto Spring, and then drove up around the post office. The girls got out a couple of times while I babysat the car, and then we ended up heading back to the convention center to pick up my dad.

We went to the Pizza Hut Classic, which was a minor blast from the past with their old tablecloths, light fixtures, and posters. It seemed unremarkable to everyone else there, and they still didn’t have a buffet. We had some pizza and then went back for the matinee magic show. The girls enjoyed that, and then we headed back downtown to walk around.

We couldn’t find parking again, so we went back to the top of the hill to charge, and bought trolly tickets to ride to the opposite end of the strip. We leisurely walked down the hill, and Eaddie picked up a couple trinkets. We made it back down to the lower station just in time to get back to the hotel and then meet Dad for dinner.

Dad always likes to go to the Bavarian Inn Czech-German restaurant, and we’d missed it for a year or two. I think the girls liked their food alright. Mine wasn’t bad, but I didn’t realize it was what I had the last time. It gave me a little bit of a stomach ache though. Afterward, we took Dad back to his room, and we went to ours to kill some time before the evening show.

The evening show was entirely a tribute show from Ring 75 to Bill. I was a little worried about some of the laypeople, but the show eventually produced some entertaining tricks with less back story for the inside jokes. The girls enjoyed it, which is my barometer for the quality of the show, since I’ve been behind the curtain for so long.

After the show, I took the girls back to the room, and I ended up going back to the “afterparty” at the suite to let Larry drive the Model 3 around the parking lot. It wasn’t an ideal area, but nowhere in Eureka is. The trip home in the morning will be a different story.

Might as well have been an Unbirthday weekend.

Body Bonk

Summer woke us up with omelet burritos for breakfast this morning. Then we got ready for our trip to Eureka Springs. We didn’t have any real time table to meet, so we left in the afternoon and fed the fish at the old house, and then aired up tires at Superfast before we left town.

We stopped in Ozark to charge, but we really didn’t need to. We made it with plenty of charge left, and the Osage Creek Lodge was right across the street from the free public charger. It was a slow charger, but I figured I could park there overnight and ride the Onewheel up the block to get back to the room.

I knew there was a dispensary on site, but I didn’t really expect the hotel lobby to smell so much like marijuana. Fortunately the rooms were all smoke-free, and they seemed to be kept up well. Once we got unloaded, we drove up the road to find Dad at the Best Western. We took him for a ride downtown, though we didn’t stop anywhere. He didn’t have long before the first evening show.

We went back to the hotel to research things to do, and I got the Onewheel out to ride around the parking lot. There were some speed bumps I wanted to try and jump, which went fairly well. My foot placement shifted a little, but it wasn’t unmanageable. Unfortunately I jumped a little too high on a smaller bump in the pavement, and I fell pretty hard in front of the girls. I got some pretty gnarly bruises on my hands and left arm, but no major breaks in the skin. The worst damage was some light scratching on the camera bar on my phone. The camera lenses themselves were fine, but I was still upset at the damage.

We eventually made it back to the conference center for the show, and then the four of us went back downtown to eat at The Spring on Main. They were open late, but only a couple other tables were there the entire time we were there. Mitch called me briefly before we got our food, but I’d have to catch up with him later. The food didn’t come out super fast, but it was super good. We paid way too much for slices of breaded avocado, but the burgers were fairly reasonable for being upscale.

After we ate, we dropped Dad back off at the hotel and then I took the girls back to our room. I drove back over to the public charger and got the car charging, and then rode the Onewheel back to the hotel for the night. The girls showered, and then we watched the end of Iron Man 2 and then the first part of Fantastic Beasts before bed.

Grip Affected

Flaxen, Waxen

I woke up feeling much better after feeling sick last night, and got up to bake the breakfast pizza I picked up on Wednesday. I took a slice to Summer while she was in bed and then did the dishes before I started getting ready for our trip.

We didn’t get started until nearly lunch time, so we ran by the old house to feed the fish and grab some water bottles before going to BFD for lunch in Dardanelle. I thought the fajita portion was large, but didn’t realize that I didn’t get the lunch price until after we’d left.

The drive to Hot Springs was quick and uneventful, and we made it just in time to check in at the Hotel Hot Springs. Eaddie was busy doing her own thing, so we didn’t see her at all. We walked the strip a bit as things were closing down. We were too late for the Gangster Museum, but Summer really wanted to go to the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and by now I was more interested in the historical stuff they had from the old casinos.

They had a free wine tasting after the tour, and then we walked back to the hotel to use our free drink coupons before dinner. It was pretty late by the time we got out, so our options were limited. We ended up going to A&W, and it was great. Evidently they were under new ownership with a strict fresh-to-order model. It was probably the best fast food burger I’ve ever had, but that may have been the root beer talking. I love A&W.

I took us to Crumbl for some cookies after that, and we got a box of a dozen cookies at over three bucks a piece. They were a little soft and rich for me, but I thought it would be a good treat because of the baking show celebrity around it. I guess it worked, because we got to watch A Knight’s Tale instead of baking shows when we got back to the room for the night.

Time for a deep dive on coffee grinders!

Exhausted, Smelly Teenagers

I didn’t sleep great last night on account of the awkwardness of sharing a hotel room with awkward teens. Eaddie didn’t help either, since she immediately crashed on the couch in the opposite room. I woke up well before my alarm and took a shower. Then when Summer got out of bed, we went downstairs for a pretty good breakfast.

I couldn’t convince a single other person to take a shower, which was kind of my main reason for stopping to get a hotel in the first place. If I hadn’t started to get super dizzy the night before, I might have tried to drive straight through. In any case, we loaded everyone up and headed toward Memphis after a quick stop at a Supercharger just outside of Nashville.

Eaddie had been talking about how she wanted to visit an Ikea, so we went there for lunch. Summer was a little cranky, and the girls mostly wandered around looking at the showrooms by themselves. This was the first Ikea I’d seen that didn’t exist on multiple floors, but it was still a maze to get back to the restaurant. Everyone except Eaddie had a big plate of meatballs. Eaddie ate old, dried out salmon. We spent way more money feeding and taking care of the other kids than I expected, but I wasn’t sure if Summer had a plan for that.

It started to storm really hard while we were eating, so we waited that out before going across town to the same Supercharger we started at on our trip toward D.C. The charge didn’t take very long, so everyone just sat in the car, and then Summer drove us to Brinkley for another charge.

By that time, I had been drinking enough that I was having to stop relatively urgently to find a restroom while we charged. This time, I found myself in the back of a grocery store. Luckily it didn’t take long for us to get enough juice to make the last leg of the trip. We got back to town and stopped at Superfast so Summer could get the Murano home. They left me with the other two, so I took them home before making it up to Summer’s.

It was a pretty quick and quiet night for everyone after that. I watered the plants and stayed up late updating my résumé and dawdling for a while. Hopefully I can sleep in tomorrow to catch up.

Pay closer attention and be more cognizant.

Air and Space Between

I got up early to meet the girls this morning, but didn’t wake Summer up in time to get us both across town. We ended up just meeting the girls at the Museum of American History. I found an exchange that would get us a little closer to the museum, hoping that we could intercept them, but we missed our first train and then exited the station in a rainstorm.

There were a few exhibits I liked, particularly about electricity and engineering, and then travel. I could have passed on most of the rest of it. I had been pretty frustrated for a large part of the morning, so I wandered off by myself with ever-aching legs and feet for a while. We eventually met back up with everyone to have lunch in the cafeteria. The girls had sack lunches for the first time, and Summer and I had some cafeteria food for $17 per pound. I was disappointed when I realized that Summer had accidentally thrown away my cup lid when she took my tray at the end of our meal, but she went back and dug through the trash to find it.

From there, we walked back to the Air and Space Museum, which was much more my speed. About half of it was under construction, but I enjoyed that visit the most. We even took in a couple planetarium shows. We ended up closing the place down, and then walked back to the Metro for the trip back to College Park.

Summer and I left the girls to find their way back to the dorm again, while we headed to the hotel. I was a little hungry, so we tried going to Ikea for some meatballs. They were all out at the mini deli downstairs, so I made Summer walk with me through the rest of the store. There was a full restaurant upstairs, but they had closed an hour early for some maintenance. We ended up picking up some Potbelly from the little shopping center next door, and took it back to the hotel to eat.

I tried to get to bed early since Summer wasn’t going to let me sleep in as I had hoped. We’ll start our journey tomorrow with a low level of sleep, so it may be very optimistic to hope that we’ll make it halfway home.

Now everyone’s tired and cranky. I just had a head start.

Monumental Walk

I woke up super early today so we could go downstairs for breakfast. Summer had to wait a bit after taking her medication, so that set us behind a little bit. We still ended up waiting in the lobby for the restaurant to open. Once it finally did, several minutes late, we learned that breakfast wasn’t actually included in our stay. It didn’t look any better than what we had the prior morning, so we opted to save our $15 per head and just find something else later.

We met the girls at the dorm and contemplated driving everyone down to the metro station in the trunk. It was simply too many people though, and as luck would have it, there was a shuttle that would take us across the campus anyway. Summer went in to get a parking pass, and then we took the shuttle to the bus station, which took us to the metro station.

The metro was pretty neat, and I think it was my first real encounter with big city public transportation. I thought Disney World did it better, but overall it wasn’t bad. The worst part was actually just the fact that we couldn’t hear the overhead speaker at all. It was pure static, if anything at all. The stops weren’t advertised inside of the train either, so you had to look at the poles outside for every stop.

We got off at the Archives station, and evidently my metro card recharge didn’t work and I had to take the emergency exit out without paying. Once we emerged from the train station, we started walking for the rest of the day. I mostly hung back with the grandmother of one of the girls that came along. Summer went ahead with the rest of the girls. They went off our path to see the Smithsonian Castle. Then we went to the Washington Monument, followed by the World War II Monument, and then finally down the length of the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Monument. I was most surprised by the tiny gift shop inside of the monument itself. It just seemed out of place, and very much like a Disney ride.

I got everyone to go down a sketchy elevator to see the downstairs area of the Monument, and then we continued walking around through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and made a huge loop around the White House. The Secret Service was out and about, and everything seemed pretty closed off, but the girls got a few pictures before we wandered toward a Potbelly sandwich shop for lunch. I thought my sandwich was okay, but it was still just a sandwich.

After we ate, we continued walking until we got to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We spent several hours there, getting lost in nearly every exhibit. Some were way better than others, and I grew tired of looking at things that still existed today, like the skeletons of non-extinct animals.

As the evening came, we had to get the girls back to the cafeteria for their dinner. Both Summer’s and my phones died while we were on the train, so we had to exit through the emergency exit again. Then we got off at the wrong bus stop and had to walk up a big hill to get to the cafeteria. Summer and I went even farther to her car, where she had gotten an $85 parking ticket because nobody told her what lots were available to us.

We made it back to our hotel, where housekeeping cleaned up a little bit, but left the empty drug bags. We had new towels and a made bed, but the power on the TV wall was still out. I tried calling the front desk, but again nothing was done. Summer was hungry enough to eat again, so we went to a West African place called Koité Grill. They ended up not having dine-in service, so we took that back to the hotel and ate. Then Summer went to bed, and I stayed up late with a bit of a belly ache.

Should have gone with the dirtier shoes.

Sent Packing

Summer had to work a long day today. I slept in a little bit, but had to get home to do some laundry for our trip. Eaddie slept a couple hours later than I wanted her to, but it sprinkled on and off, so she had to mow in the dry periods. I cleaned up a bunch of leftovers, and once she finished the yard, I headed home.

The day went by relatively quickly. I got my laundry done and took a shower, but then I had to take Eaddie to Pasta Grill to meet some band friends to celebrate Kim’s retirement. I circled around to my parents’ house from there so I could visit before our trip. I ended up having dinner there, and Dad showed me the landscaping they had done.

I left their house to pick up Eaddie, but she decided she wanted to go to the movies instead. I went home and got caught up in deciding which vehicle to take to D.C. The Murano would be really straightforward, but I kept thinking the Autopilot on the Model Y would make the drive so much less exhausting. We’d have to stop a little more frequently and for longer, but driving for three hours at a time seemed like long enough for me anyway.

Summer stopped by after she finally got home from work, and I cleared up some confusion about the hotel. I couldn’t figure out how she booked the one she did, but it was twice the distance from the University of Maryland as the one that was actually advertised on the National History Day website. I booked the correct hotel and cancelled her reservation, and then we went outside to compare vehicles.

She went on home, but then I followed because Eaddie was on the way home from the movies. We needed to make sure her project would fit in the trunk, and it did, so we loaded it up and then I headed back home to charge and pack.

I didn’t get to bed until a couple hours later than I wanted, but I felt fairly confident that I had packed everything I should need for such a long trip. In reality, I was sure that I still overpacked, but travel makes me highly anxious.

It’s easier to unpack and repack than to do the Tesla Shuffle.

Call off the APB!

For some reason I thought today might be kind of quiet, but I was pretty instantly commandeered to help Gary write up some documentation for one of our recurring tasks to renew security certificates. It was neat to be able to apply one of the very few things I learned yesterday, and I felt good about expressing what I had learned. Greg was actually at work, and had to go fix my intercom at Oakland after Thomas came back to the shop, hurriedly looking for answers.

We left for lunch just a little bit early and went to Brangus, where we were quickly surrounded by Mark and a handful of other highly political figures. Our host actually joked about it as we left, and I suggested that he seated them around us on purpose.

I went to Oakland in the afternoon for a bit, after Sheri contacted me with worry about her work orders yesterday, and then Thomas came back to the shop first thing this morning. I closed out what I could, but will have more when I return. That is the way of life.

After work, I ran home to start packing for the conference. Then I went to my parents’ house for bún bò Huế. They were in the driveway about to leave for more tomatoes, but immediately came back inside to eat when I mentioned that I was in a little bit of a rush. We ate, talked about our game plan for the weekend, and then I went back home to start a load of laundry.

I don’t really know where the time went, but It was nearly midnight before I got to Summer’s for the evening. At least all of my chores were done, and hopefully everything I needed was packed.

High anxiety.


I got up around 7 this morning to finish packing everything up to be out by our 10 o’clock checkout. We cleaned up most of the leftover food, including a couple sandwiches for our flight back. Julie called bell services, but we ended up having to send down one or two people at a time after people kept riding the elevator up just to go back down. We said our goodbyes in front of the elevator, and then Summer and I ran into our bellhop on the way down.

We checked our bags in, and then wandered the strip for the few hours we had before our flight. Between a pushy saleswoman with a fire-sale strategy and someone else selling hairy oysters, Summer settled on slicing up food for pearls. We let ourselves get talked into two pieces of jewelry and a third pearl just to take home.

Our last meal on the island was a Japanese place on the resort, which was pretty decent for counter service. Once we had eaten and wrapped up the last of our souvenir shopping, we went to the lobby to wait for Susan. She picked us up a bit earlier than the 5 o’clock we had initially planned, but we felt better with the extra buffer time at the airport. As we got out, she handed us a big bag of goodies as a thank-you gift for our egregious tipping. I gave her a big hug and then figured out a way to re-pack everything to fit into our bags.

The flight back on the 767 was absolutely awesome with the added space and the built-in display in the back of the headrests. We just barely missed the sunset while we were sitting on the tarmac. I watched a couple of movies while we were over the ocean until I caught the sunrise at 37,000 feet. I dozed off a bit a few times, but it didn’t seem too bad. Even Summer stayed up for most of the first flight.

Our second flight was delayed in Houston for about an hour because they had to replace a part. I don’t know if they were being truthful about it being a part for the lavatory, but the flight back was fine. We made up a bunch of time and were only a little late touching down. By then we were pretty hungry and drove across town to Chuy’s for lunch/breakfast/midnight meal.

Loaded up on caffeine, we made it home and dropped Susan’s gift bag for my parents and then picked up Eaddie at her grandparents’ house. As soon as we got to my house, Eaddie took off on her bicycle and Summer passed out in bed. I unpacked and then stayed up watching House with Eaddie on account of how much she missed me, clocking out after roughly 38 waking hours.