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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

3 x 13

I turned 39 this week, which of course meant that lots of things had to go wrong. Perhaps it is no coincidence that 39 is a multiple of the unlucky number 13...

I arranged for some garage door people to come and check out ours, as it squeaks loudly whenever it opens or closes, and the previous owners were not the type to take care of things, so I thought I'd get it looked at. They pretty much just greased it up, but said that everything else looked to be working just fine. However, as they were about to leave, he looked at the life of the spring (that helps to lift the door). He found that it was nearing the end of its life. He said it might last a day or it might go another year, so I figured we'd get its full life out of it, and just deal with it when the spring finally broke.

Well, we didn't have to wait long. They were here Wednesday, and then on Friday night, Hannah was about to head home around 10:30 or whatever, and the door wouldn't open. The error code said that there was an excessive amount of force on the opener, so I took a closer look, and found the spring had broken. Of course it had broken. It took the garage door guys about a week to get to the first appointment, and so now it will probably take another week to get to replace the spring, and now I have to pay for them to come out again. So why wouldn't it break?

I'm trying to take solace in the fact that at least we got the full use out of the spring, instead of paying for one before we knew it was necessary.

In any case, we lifted open the door manually so that Hannah could leave, and then the next morning we started parking our van in the driveway. We all keep forgetting, though, and still head to the garage to try and get in the car.

Another unnecessary hurdle came on my birthday. The plan was to get the kids fast food (because they typically do not enjoy trying new things), and then to get us adults some take-out from a BBQ place we pass sometimes, but have never tried. I pulled up the menu to decide what to get, and they listed "surprise daily sides." I called to see what they had for the day, and the phone was disconnected. Great. I tried looking for other numbers on different websites, and it was the same number. I called again with the same result. I looked on Yelp, and it said that the restaurant had closed. Plans were shot. I told Hannah, and then she did her Sherlock Holmes thing by using this new thing called "Facebook," to find that the place had just reopened recently, and they listed a different number. I called it, and sure enough, they were open for business. The food was good, so at least it was worth the runaround.

Anyway, even with the craziness, I had a good birthday. I slept in, but not too much, and then I got breakfast for the boys started while Kira ran to get doughnuts. We then all worked on getting ready for the rest of the day by bathing everybody. We got going too late so that we had to pick up our BBQ and then go get the kids their food, sending us on a detour. We eventually made it to the park where the plan was to enjoy a picnic in the bizarrely warm weather for November. The wind was not helping, but it was still a nice day, and the kids had some fun before getting bored and wanting to go home.

Merritt Draws Faces on Eggs with Kira

Once home, Kira and the kids hurried to get presents wrapped, and then we did those. I am officially now one of "those dads," because all of my presents were for new house projects. I got some new curtain rods to replace those hideous ones in the boys' room, Hannah got me a used pressure washer from one of my favorite haunts nearby, and Kira got me a new under-the-cabinet radio (with Bluetooth!), a new mailbox to replace ours that's rusty, a smart light switch (that connects to our wireless network), and her mom got me a second battery for my drill (I can't tell you how many times my first battery dies with just a few more minutes left in my project). I also got lots of great cards and money from my parents and grandparents. It made for a good day.

I got going right away, removing the old kitchen radio and installing the new one (using my new drill battery). I decided to install the old one onto my workbench in the garage, so I did that next. Today I installed the smart light switch and programmed it so that it will turn on automatically at sunset and turn off around the time we go to bed. That will be nice so that it's on while we're on trips, or if it's dark before we get home. I then tried out the power washer on some lawn chairs that we inherited. It took some time, though, as I found out that the connecter for the water hose would not stay connected to the washer once the water turned on. Suffice it to say that after lots of troubleshooting, I came up with an improvised solution that worked. I knew the chairs were dirty, but it's amazing what all the pressure washer removed!

Anyway, now back to the rest of the week... Last Sunday we finished off the day with a bike ride and dog walk with Hannah, Merritt, Avey, and me. After family night, Kira took the boys to deliver a card and some flowers to Carver's best friend's adoptive dad, who had just lost his own father. Kira was feeling especially empathetic after losing her own father, and so it was important for her to go a little beyond just a text message of condolence.

Monday was the usual chaos of me squeezing in some work while trading off watching Merritt with Kira when she went to work. She again had some morning work things to do, then some more in the afternoon.

Tuesday was election day, or so it seemed. The kids were home from school, doing e-learning, and I had no classes to teach. Still, Kira let me go into the city anyway so that I could get some quiet to focus on things I needed to do. I was tired, but I focused very well, and knocked out the last of my tenure application, which is due in a week. That is a huge relief, and frees me up to now focus on the rest of the semester.

At home, Kira took the kids to the dollar store as an outing, and then in line, a man in front of them in line asked if he could pay for all of their things. That was really nice, but then of course they each had an extra dollar they wanted to spend immediately. They then went to the park for just a few minutes and then came to pick me up from the train. I checked in on the election as we watched tv that night.

Wednesday was a pretty typical day. I had a faculty meeting over the computer, and then I cut the back yard lawn, but when I couldn't see the line I cut in the front lawn, I opted to not do that one.

Thursday was a very long day for me. I taught my three courses in a row, and then right after my third one, I decided it would be a good time to record a review session because the election holiday stole our time from us. I then had a few minutes to answer some emails before dashing out to get some lunch and then get to the train. Kira took the kids to the park after school while Apollo was at a play date, and then they came to pick me up before the evening routine.

Friday, Avey was up extra early to take care of the neighbor dogs while the neighbors are away, and then she took the bus to school so that she could finish an exam before school started. Kira took Merritt on some errands, and I worked later than usual to get a lecture put together (the psychology of torture and executions - I have a weird job). Kira started cooking a meal that she planned to share with another family who just had a baby. I monitored it and baked cookies while she was on the errands, and then she went to pick up Hakan's friend who is our other neighbor (not the one with dogs). Her mom can't be home in time to get her from her after-school thing until her shift changes, so she's paying Avey to babysit. That went pretty well, especially as she and Hakan pretty much just played together. Avey painted her nails for her, and then of course the two youngest boys wanted theirs painted also.

Then we had our Saturday, which I already covered...

Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it all.

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