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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks


It's been another week that feels like a month, thanks to a pandemic, rain, and tasks that just keep on coming.

How We're All Feeling

I started Monday off with my mind on finishing the shed while I did my real job in the morning. I had lots of grading to do this whole week, and it's getting to me. The university has offered some additional options for students' grades this semester, and so I'm getting a lot of inquiries from students who were in bad shape before the lockdowns asking if they could use these options, and I'm getting annoyed at how little they care about learning the material that I've worked so hard to make accessible. Oh well. I did finally get outside and put the door on the shed, and then it drove me nuts the rest of the week to look outside and see the door only half painted. The weather was foggy or rainy each day so that I couldn't finish the job.

There wasn't much else unusual in the early week. I gave the boys haircuts again this week, and Hakan opted again to keep it in a sort of Mohawk. Avey offered to dye it for him, which he finally did a few days ago.

When it dried, it faded quite a bit, so Avey's decided that next time they'll need to bleach his hair first. He is sure having fun with it, though. He's been using his old baby blanket as a headband: it is torn and faded from being loved his whole life, so it's kind of funny to see him use his comfort object as a sort of symbol of toughness.

Wednesday was the anniversary of Jesse's death 7 years ago. In his honor, Hannah bought one of his favorite beverages, IBC root beer, which we all enjoyed during a burping contest, also in his honor. We had a nice remembrance of him later that evening, enjoying photos of him working with children. We wonder what he would be doing now were he still with us.

I ordered a new computer for us last week, and it arrived early in this week. I spent some time getting that all set up: updating the operating system, installing software we use, installing a new graphics card, and so on. It is so much faster than our old machine that was 9 years old or so!

The kids have really enjoyed playing with the packing materials in which it came. Hakan turned the corner pieces into little couches for his stuffed animals, and then later turned them upside down to make little houses.

We had a repairman come to see about fixing our ice maker and range last week, and he replaced the ice maker this week, which has been great. However, our refrigerator's water filter has been leaking due to a damaged o-ring. I spent a great deal of time trying to find a replacement o-ring, but all to no avail, so now we're stuck drinking tap water like animals until a new filter arrives in the mail. The repairman got our enormous oven backed away from the wall to replace something in the back, and then discovered that it was the wrong part, so he tried to replace the part on the range burner (the electrode) that wasn't working, but couldn't get a piece loose, so the whole visit was a wash. He ordered new parts for it all, and we were very glad to have a home warranty to cover all of the costs. It should be ready late this week or next.

Even though I couldn't do the painting that I wanted until today, I have been finding other projects. I noticed during the rain last week that we have a problem with water leaking down into the soffit instead of the gutter, so that the water then comes down along the house. That's probably why we had to replace part of the window pane below the problem site, as it's had water dripping directly onto it for years. I got the chance to investigate and found a gap in the shingles that was certainly the culprit. I used some of my shed's leftover tile to devise a patch that I hoped would solve the issue, and then during all of the rain on Saturday I got to see the result. No more leaking! I doubt the patch will last more than a couple of years, but at least I know what the problem is and what to watch for during the rain during that time. Eventually I think we'll have to replace the entire roof, and not just the shingles [deep sigh].

Carver started helping me to clear out the old shed so that we could raze it. He stuck in there pretty well, mostly carrying things for me. We threw away a lot of junk and gave away some things that still had use. We then started to take it apart bit by bit. Hakan really enjoyed that part.

Hannah got in on the action today, too, and I was finally able to finish the paint on the new shed.

The mower is officially moved in, so this baby is part of the family now. I still have a couple of little touches I want to do to weatherize it, but I think the exterior is all done.

Kira and I are celebrating our 15-year anniversary today. We went on a date of sorts last night, when Avey graciously offered to put the boys to bed. We fed them dinner and then left to get takeout and go watch a movie on the laptop at Kira's office. It was nice to have some time to ourselves and to reminisce about all we've accomplished and experienced over these years. Let's see what else we'll have done for the next 15!

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