January 8, 2020: First Time in Court as Plaintiff

Wednesday. I got up at eight, showered, showed Paul how to put in tickets and handle the phone, and got myself all ready to go to court this morning. It’s just the local justice of the peace, but it is my first time dealing with taking someone to court in any capacity. I have been to traffic court, of course, many times and I once was arrested and had to go to court for owning fireworks, but that felt like traffic court and traffic stuff was going on at the same time. This was a “real” court with a plaintiff, defendants, evidence, etc.

I got to the court a little early, but the lawyer for the defense was already there waiting. I checked in and waiting probably twenty minutes before we got started. It was all very easy. Just three of us, me and two defendants (the towing company owner and the apartment complex’ lawyer.) It all went very smoothly. The defendants had a lot of documentation, but none of it mattered because I had a copy of the instructions given out at the time which I followed exactly. The judge looked at that and pretty much shrugged and ruled in my favour. I didn’t win a ton, but I got back my towing fee and the court costs. The towing company had to waste their owner’s whole morning, paid a lawyer for the session, lost the chance to actually tow someone, and had to probably pay around a hundred dollars to perform the tow since it tied up a tow truck for probably two hours of the truck and driver’s time, plus the fuel. All in all, I bet this was an $800 – $1,000 loss for them, at a minimum.

A good start to the day. I went straight back home and took over in the office. Very busy day as so many people are out sick. We had to put Paul on the phones to help out.

The girls are back to school today. They were going to get to it on Monday, but with it being Epiphany and their cousins being off and then the fence disaster that didn’t work. Yesterday they started school, but it was pretty light. Today was more of a full day of school.

Once in the office I was pretty busy. First supporting the normal ticket work loads, but then on several calls that took four or five hours. Super busy day overall. But our meetings went great today. So a very good day in every regard.

I wrapped up my “normal” work day at six thirty. Paul made his famous grilled salmon tonight. We had that for dinner and I managed to watch most of an episode with Paul and Dominica before I had to run back to the office to work with Jeremy.

Jeremy and I had our evening meeting only until eight tonight, mostly going over a recap of today’s many hours of meetings. Then he had to go to bed early, and Paul and I ran to MicroCenter to pick up some stuff that I needed. They close at nine, so we had to be quick.

Today is Wednesday, so normally would be our second D&D night of the week (I need to get us to reduce this to just once a week, doing it twice is burning me out), but Kat forgot about it until it was a little late and with how busy I’ve been we just decided that we needed to cancel for tonight.

This is my first trip ever (that I remember) to a MicroCenter. It’s really nice and we found the Raspberry Pi 4B kit that I needed. We also found an Electronic Playground educational kit that I’ve wanted to get for the girls for a long time. It is supposed to be for ages ten and up, but I think that Luciana is old enough for it now. It’s a small kit, but enough to get started.

I got home and showed the new electronics learning kit to the girls. Liesl was mostly indifferent, but Luciana was super excited and immediately asked if she could open it up and try it out. So I brought her into my office and set her up at the second desk and she got straight into it.

Luciana totally loves the electronics kit. She started so quickly and did it so fast. She was so excited when the first light lit up. Her first experiment being to make a simple light with a switch. Then she made a dimmable light, and at this she exclaimed “Oh, is this how the dimmer on the wall works?”

She went right from project to project, so excited. This is great, we are having some real fun together. I’m able to sit at my desk and work, while she’s learning like crazy and really enjoying it. And I’m back to answer her questions and explain what is happening really quickly. She said “This is so fun. I wish school was like this.” Well kid, this kind of is school, surprise!

January 7, 2020: Watching the Iran Situation

Tuesday. Not a ton going on today, just a lot of work to do. Loads of people are out sick in the office today, and really all this week, so we are very short on staff and that keeps me extra busy.

The girls didn’t have school again today because their cousins were off still today.

Had a long, few hour meeting this afternoon.

It is Tuesday so Paul and Dominica have pool league tonight. Just me home with the kids. It is extra quiet with Rachel gone, normally I am wondering if she will drop in and surprise me or something, but she is in Mexico (or on her way there) so I won’t see her until Saturday evening.

I worked all evening. The girls were involved in their own things and really didn’t need me for anything. They played games with their cousins much of the evening. And of course there was some VR from Liesl.

I worked until late but not super late tonight. I’ve been a bit tired and wanted to catch up a little.

Most of my evening was spent watching events unfold as Iran fired a volley of ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq. In the future this will probably not seem like much of anything, but tonight we teeter on the brink of a massive world war and all it comes down to is how the US will react. The US struck first a couple days ago and this was a carefully measured response to try to goad the US into starting a war. So a lot of careful observation tonight. The US has said that it will not respond until the morning, however. But this tied up a lot of my evening.

January 6, 2020: New Fence

Monday. I had to get up at six thirty this morning so that I could get ready and get on the road to drive to Plano for my early morning meeting with a customer there. That ended up going really smoothly. I was surprised. I could not have asked for a better start to the morning.

Of course, you get one blessing and something has to happen to even things out. No sooner were things going well at that meeting than I get alerts that our website, and several others, were down. I tried to walk people through what I could remotely, but ultimately had to jump back in the car and drive back quickly. Thankfully everything resolved itself before I had gotten back home.

After I got home Dominica and I decided to go out to breakfast. We went down to Sunny Street Cafe on the Carrollton downtown intersection. It was really good. I got migas tacos and she got the house benedict. It’s a nice place, I am glad that we checked it out.

After breakfast we drove down to Beltline to go to La Meyor, the Guatemalan bakery there that we like to go to. We discovered that it is the Feast of the Epiphany today, the twelfth day of Christmas, or King’s Day (Dia de Reyes). They had the traditional rosca de reyes Spanish bread there, hundreds of them. Everyone that was there was buying some. So we bought one too, along with some pan de elotes and treats for the girls.

When we got home Paul showed us where Mia was slightly injured or scratched up from having a run in with the neighbour’s rottweiler. They didn’t get into a fight, but they did yell at eat other a lot and Mia attempting to go right through our old fence and in doing so hurt herself a little, not that she noticed. But she did a lot of fence damage and showed that she is nearly to the point of just leaving through the holes that are there. So immediately the day’s project turned into getting the fence replaced.

I held down the fort at home while Paul and Dominica went out and got the lumber. Then when they returned I moved all of the lumber while Paul started knocking down the existing fence on that side. Then he and Dominica put up the new fence and trimmed back the tree that we have there. A major project, but one that really needed to be done anyway. So it wasn’t all that big of a deal, it just wasn’t the best of timing to have to do it all of a sudden. As they closed it up Mia was whining, she was so sad that the holes that she was using to get access to the yard next door were being closed up.

I got my letter in the mail today from the local Denton court telling me that my hearing for the towing incident is being held Wednesday at ten in the morning. I’m looking forward to that.

At three thirty I had to run out to go to Rachel’s apartment, pick her up, and take her to DFW airport so that she could catch her six fifteen Spirit flight to Ft. Lauderdale. She is getting there tonight and tomorrow morning she goes to the port so that she can get on her heavy metal cruise to go down to Cozumel, Mexico.

I got back home around five and worked for a bit longer. Kat and Taylor are coming over tonight to do Dungeons & Dragons. They couldn’t make it over early, though, so I had some time to get things caught up.

K&T were on the late side coming over. Before playing D&D Paul, Dominica, & Liesl showed them the VR system and everyone had to have a go. By the time that we were just getting ready to start our D&D game, we had some new things come up and I had to go work with Jeremy for a few hours and that ended up eating up my night. Dominica tried to run the game, but she is not familiar with what to do and was not able to get it started. So our game tonight was canceled. But Jeremy and I got a lot of work done and wrapped up around midnight.

January 5, 2020: Happy Birthday Paula

Sunday. Since Romania is eight hours ahead of us, we all talked to Paula last night to which her a happy seventeenth birthday. But today is officially her birthday.

The Oculus Rift was well in use by the time that I got up this morning. That thing is going pretty much consistently from morning until night. Paul starts using it at like four or five in the morning. Liesl is still using it at one or two at night! It only gets a few hours to rest between shifts!

Around noon Luciana got a chance to get on the VR and tried out a new game that she got for it this morning, Coco VR. It was pretty short, but it worked and she enjoyed it. She said that it was a lot better than the version for the Oculus Go that she had played in the past.

I tried Coffin Dodgers on the VR today, but it didn’t work. It’s very frustrating how much time I put into the VR just to find that games don’t work or don’t work well. I get so little time to use it that these frustrations are magnified.

We lost a few hours this afternoon because the VR stopped working. We had to reinstall it and try all kinds of things. It took easily two hours to get it working again. Very frustrating. We were really worried that we were going to have to send it back.

This evening our datacenter is Los Angeles needed to do a physical move. In theory this was supposed to only require half an hour. Haha. Of course it takes more than that. I’m not complaining, the team did a great job with it. But it took much closer to five hours before things were back up. It would have been much shorter but they accidentally cut off our networking before we could power down and that meant that they had to go to the new datacenter, get the networking equipment, and bring it back to the old site, hook everything back up and get us up and running. I was at my desk pretty much that entire time to support the datacenter move. But it went about as well as a data center move could possibly go. Our entire rack had to be put on a truck and moved. So pretty extensive.

Tonight, Rachel came over a little before midnight. She brought over lentil dip, a bit of beer (including Suprema, my current favourite) and Salva Vida from Honduras. We watched the last five episodes of The Mandalorian and finished up the first season. Then she borrowed a suitcase and went home to pack. I have to take her to the airport at four tomorrow afternoon. She is off to Miami to catch her heavy metal rock band cruise to Cozumel.

I have to be up early tomorrow. I have a seven thirty meeting in Plano. I will be getting up at six thirty to get ready for that. Then tomorrow evening is expected to be Dungeons & Dragons night. A long day for me. Tomorrow night should be my first chance to break out my Forged D&D gaming board.

January 4, 2020: Garage & Attic Day

Saturday.

Slept in a little, but at ten the Spectrum sales guys rang the doorbell and no one heard them. Then they knocked. So I jumped from bed, got dressed, and raced to the door to see what was wrong just to find out it was peddlers who had been told not to come here in the past. So not only were they rude, but were in violation of Carrollton’s peddling laws. I was not happy and told them to get lost in no uncertain terms.

I did a little work this morning. Maybe forty five minutes. Then it was time for me to be working in the garage. I did moving of boxes while Dominica took down the Christmas decorations. Once that was done, the real work began.

Before noon Paul and I were out to the garage and starting to bring down boxes and stuff from the attic. So many empty boxes, so much stuff to donate. Before long Dominica came out to go through things, too.

We spent two hours or more bringing down all kinds of stuff from the attic and then moving all kinds of stuff from the garage up to the attic. The CDs, LaserDiscs, old computers are all up there now. So much of what we brought down was Liesl baby and toddler stuff. She was the right age when we first lived here and then moved that loads and loads of her young childhood stuff went up into the attic when we moved back to New York, never to be seen again. Luciana missed out on some of it because it was up there when we weren’t here. Very little of Luciana’s stuff went up there because she was still so little when we moved to New York that she was still using it, or we knew that we would never need it again because she was done with it, or because she had been using stuff that had been Liesl’s.

We took two loads of things to Goodwill! We have a number of things set aside to take down to Houston. And the back driveway is full of boxes and stuff to have hauled away. Plus we took a decent load of stuff over to Rachel’s as we found a bit of her stuff in the attic like her box of china, a Christmas tree, her decorations, etc. Suddenly we have so much free space.

Beat Saber on the Oculus Rift S continued to be super popular all day. Mostly it was Paul and Liesl playing, but Dominica played some as well. I have not even put on the headset in a few days. It is in continuous demand and nothing is really pulling me in too much.

Between all of us working on it, we figured out how to download additional songs into Beat Saber and now suddenly there is so much content for us to play on it. No need to buy add on songs now, the mod community makes hundreds available and they work really well. Paul, Dominica, and Liesl played that a lot this evening.

Paul make pan friend tilapia for dinner tonight, with rice and broccoli. It was quite good. Both girls ate all of their fish. Ciana doesn’t really like fried fish, but she ate it without complaining. Liesl said that it was decent and ate it all. All of the adults really liked it. While we ate dinner we watched a double length Star Trek: Voyager special, the one where Seven of Nine gets retaken by the Borg. We’ve been slowly working our way through this series for well over a year, feels like almost two years. Paul has still not seen the entire series!

After dinner, Luciana played just a little Beat Saber, then she tried playing Along Together which is a cute 3D platformer that we got for the VR. I had tested it a few days ago and thought that it looked like it would be fun, but I am not into platformers and have no time to use the VR so was just making sure that it worked before the girls tried to get into it. It looks like exactly Luciana’s kind of game.

Jeremy and I got on the phone to get to work on Vetastic around nine thirty.

I am taking Rachel to the airport on Monday afternoon. She is flying to Miami where she is catching a cruise. It is one of those band concert cruises like Dominica and Katie did together back around 2014. Wow, can that really have been over half a decade ago? That seems so recent. This one is a heavy metal cruise and Rachel’s favourite band, Haggard, is going to be playing on it. She turns the big Three Oh next month, so this is her last big hurrah to her twenties. She tried to convince both Dominica and I in turn to go on the cruise with her, but these things are not cheap, and we don’t have the time. So she is going alone.

Now that the garage has so much space cleared out, I am able to finally do some cleaning in my office, too. My office has been a huge mess for quite some time now. We really need to do something. In reality what we need to do is to buy a larger house, this one is just not meeting our needs.

Later on Luciana tried playing Rime which is one of our new games that we got in our Christmas shopping bundles.

At one thirty, Rachel stopped by for maybe half an hour to just hang out on her way home from having gone out dancing at S4.