December 24, 2019: New Year’s Eve in Houston

Tuesday. I got into Houston around midnight last night, saw the girls, and got to sleep. Dominica was up early this morning so that she could work with Francesca on Christmas stuff, and mostly that means being out running errands, last minute gifts, and so forth.

I did pretty well this morning resisting eating lots of cookies and so forth. I had a little of the holiday treats, but kept it very small.

The wifi at the Grices’ is not working. It works once in a while, but it goes down so often and for so long (presumably because the access point reboots itself it would seem) that it can’t be used for anything. I had to go to the 4G hotspot on my T-Mobile cell phone to be able to keep working. Even when the wifi was connected it was not as fast as the 4G, which tells you just how bad it is. So I was marginally online, but not able to work usefully. Madeline had reported that the wifi was not working when she first got home from college a few weeks ago, but apparently that’s all the farther that the news went. I knew from her Instagram posts that she was frustrated that she had no Internet at home, but everyone at her house, weeks later, acted surprised that the Internet didn’t work which seemed odd since I knew about it not even having been there. Turns out that not only did they know, but they had all completely abandoned it and moved to using their cell phones and none of the computers in the house really worked any longer. But mostly their computers are used for video games that are already downloaded so they don’t really notice the regular outages any longer as they’ve stopped using the wifi some time ago. Now the real question is: why keep paying for the highest tier of Internet access from the cable company if you’ve turned it off because it doesn’t work at all?

Paul and I did a lot of working outside today. We had essentially a few hours of meetings today and that was stuff that we needed so that worked out well.

I finally saw my first Die Hard movie, ever. I saw Die Hard 3 and I have to say, it truly is a Christmas movie and like nearly all Christmas movies, it is absolutely terrible. Terrible in every way. Exactly what I expected from a Die Hard movie.

So this throws a bit of a wrench in Paul and my plans of working from the house there. But it sure makes me glad that I did not try to come down any earlier, that would have been a disaster. I will have to go pretty soon, though. My thought that I would be here working for the week is not going to work. I will need to be back before the weekend! With as busy as I have been, there is no way that I can be away from the office in this way without really fast, rock solid Internet. I had brought my extra monitor and everything, too, so that I could really work while here.

This evening is the big family Christmas dinner that we always do. The perogies are my favourite for this meal. I did pretty well with not stuffing myself tonight, too. I certainly ate a lot, but not like so much that I felt stuffed. Just a good, filling amount. There is always so much food that I like on Christmas Eve night that it is always a challenge: fried shrimp, fried calamari, fried catfish, casseroles, etc. Lots of my kinds of food. The girls ate quite a bit, too. They don’t love any of the items, but they did a really good job of eating it all. I did have a canolo.

After dinner is, of course, the visit from the pajama elf and all of the kids put on their new, annual pajamas, did pictures, and were off to Madeline’s room for their Christmas Eve slumber party.

After the kids went to bed, Dominica and I put on White Christmas, our annual tradition. The only Christmas movie that I love. Well, that and Holiday Inn.

Present preparation went much more smoothly tonight than most years. It truly is a “light year” compared to usual. We got wrapping done early. We got the placement done early. I talked everyone into a new format where we put the presents in the living room rather than in the front room so that the presents are in the middle of the room and the fringe and we sit in the midst of them and there doesn’t need to be running back and forth from another room. It made setup way faster and easier.

They were still discussing plans when I went to bed. I have no idea why more plans were needed. But I wasn’t feeding into that insanity. I just went to bed and that helped a lot with getting a good night’s sleep. Francesca was planning on staying up, nearly all night, to enumerate gifts or something. Something very analytical with the presents. The reality is, though, that come tomorrow, it will be a frenzy with a huge amount of adults being distracted and no one really having a plan and no amount of prep tonight changes the outcome.

December 23, 2019: Errands and Running to Houston for Christmas

Monday. Last full day of work before the Christmas holiday. Had to start early this morning and it was an extremely busy morning with just hours of solid work needing me before doing anything. I did get a really good lead on someone interesting in helping look at Vetastic today, though, which is great and we are really excited about that.

My whole day turned out to be crazy busy. In the afternoon I had errands to run. Mostly dealing with the courts for the situation going on with the predatory towing company. I had to run to get fuel, go to the bank, deal with legal paperwork, do all kinds of jurisdiction research: just a really, really busy day.

I ended up running to Denton County to file my court paperwork today, but when I got to the court it turns out that they were closed today. Now I have to race back after Christmas and deal with this then. I had had everything planned out to deal with this on Friday, and in Dallas and everything just fell apart. This process is insane.

After getting the errands all done, I came home and loaded the truck and waited for rush hour to quiet down. I worked while waiting and then around seven I got in the truck and drove myself down to Houston.

Before I could leave town, though, Dominica needed me to run to our local grocery store, WinCo, and spend a good half of an hour in the bulk food section stocking up on every sugar free bulk candy item that they had because they want to use it for Frank’s Christmas gifts. That took a lot of time.

The truck has not been running well for me all week. But Paul was already aware that it was having issues so I figured that all was fine. I didn’t have it stop or anything on me, but it makes some weird sounds that a week from now I’ll realize is the sound of the fuel pump dying. But I could hear the motor issue and I think I’m the only one that hears these things so I have gotten used to not saying anything because everyone always things that I’m crazy.

On my drive down, I stopped at Carl’s Jr. and tried their new Beyond BBQ burger that Dominica had told me about. It wasn’t bad, but it was nowhere near as good as their normal Beyond Famous Star with Cheese. I am glad that I tried it, but I will be sticking with my regular choice in the future.

I arrived right around midnight. I parked in the driveway, unloaded the truck, and got straight up to bed. Both Liesl and Luciana stayed up to see me before they went to bed. So I saw them, and then it was right off to sleep. Dominica and I have an air mattress in the craft room upstairs which is not too bad.

December 22, 2019: First Time Home Food Delivery with a Service

Sunday. Since today was my free day at home I ended up spending absolutely the entire day working. The whole day, all of it. I had just loads of projects that were all needing attention today with the big one being a full corporate Active Directory migration with us putting in new servers, moving to the new servers, moving from an old domain to a new one, etc. Quite a lot of changes for a Sunday afternoon migration.

I took only a few minutes to myself all day while I ate my meals to watch some YouTube. Enjoying episodes of Drew Binskey as he explores the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Got a little Karl Watson shows in, too. Maybe thirty or forty minutes total, all day. I never even got in the car once today.

For dinner tonight I was really wanting Torchey’s Tacos and I have wanted to try out a food delivery service so I attempted using Door Dash to get Torchey’s Tacos delivered. It worked out great. It only cost me four dollars to get the food delivered, and it saved me tons of time plus the cost of taking the F150 over there to get dinner. So I’m guessing that it only ended up costing me about two dollars, and saving me a lot of time. So nearly free with all things considered.

The food was great, too. Three Torchey’s Tacos. I figured out the right order this time. Their salmon and tuna always sound so good, and they aren’t bad, but those aren’t the big hits for me. It is their avocado and mushroom tacos that I really love. And I tried their limited time fried catfish taco and that was amazing. So I have figured out the right order for me finally. So good. And Door Dash was just so simple and convenient and really, so cheap, I think that I will use this more in the future.

I worked till something like two in the morning. A very long day. One of my busiest days of the week.

Tomorrow I have errands to run, a lot more work to do, I need to pack up the truck, and then tomorrow night I am driving down to Houston to spend Christmas with the family.

October 23, 2019: Almost Finished with The Silent Spy

Wednesday.

Another very, very busy day. Got up and spent the entire day working. Lots of time on the phone, lots of time at my desk.

This evening I got more time with Liesl and Luciana to work on Nancy Drew and the Silent Spy. We put in several hours on it, but did not make it all of the way to the end. But we are getting pretty close. I am pretty sure that we will complete it the next time that we get a chance to play.

October 22, 2019: More ND

Tuesday. Only ten days till we go to Nicaragua. That is coming up so quickly.

Today was another very busy day. I was on the phone pretty much all day, again. That is really exhausting. It is so hard for me to get anything done because people need me just all of the time.

I had some Big Fish Games credits to use and used them to get the girls some new video games today. Mostly hidden object games.

I was busily working, on the phone of course, well into the evening and Paul and Dominica ended up going to league night before I was even done!

I made pizza at home for Luciana tonight. Liesl and I wanted Chinese and so we ordered in from One China. That’s enough food to last us a few days, for sure. Liesl was very excited to get to order Chinese tonight. She wanted General Tso’s shrimp. I got the house tofu and some crab rangoons. As always, I stock her up on lo mein because she will happily eat that for days.

We ate dinner and played some Nancy Drew and the Silent Spy in the living room. We set up there so that Dominica and Kat could participate, too. Paul went to bed early as he is leaving to go to Wisconsin in the morning.

We got an hour or two in on the game but it was hard to keep people focused so our progress was very much slowed.