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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

A Quiet Place

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

This week marked a major milestone with all four kids starting school as I continued to tinker with the house.

Kira had a morning client on Monday, but I had some exposed wires in the garage. After putting up new drywall the day before, I decided it was time for some new, attractive outlets, so I ran to the hardware store right when it opened Monday morning so that I could be home to feed the kids. I got the outlets installed later in the morning, very pleased. While Kira was at work, I did some semester preparation from my laptop at the kitchen table, keeping one eye on the kiddos. Merritt was interested in another shower, so I took the opportunity to also fix his haircut just a bit. While I was in the haircutting zone, Avey asked me to trim hers around her ears a bit, so I did that.

In the afternoon, I was anxious to continue repairs to my garage wall, so I started the mudding, and ran out after misjudging how much I would need. The kids played video games with each other while I did that, and then Hakan went to join the neighbor kids in their pool. Carver was in a very bad place all day after waking up at 3 a.m. He broke up the day with some bike rides, and then joined Hakan at the neighbors'. Avey's project for the day was dyeing some jeans that were too light. We happened to have some darker dye, so she used what was left of that, and they turned out very nice.

Kira was booked up all day. In between clients, she went to a funeral for a woman in the branch, and then she came home to pick up Avey, who had joined the pool party, for the open house at her school. While they were gone, the AC guy came by again to reassess our drip. I told him where I thought the problem was, and so he looked there and found that the drip tray for the coils was crooked, so that it wasn't flowing down the drain, but over the edge. That explained it. He leveled it out and left, and we both felt much more confident about the issue.

Hannah hadn't slept well the night before, so she stayed home. Kira and Avey came home from the open house and reported. I wanted to get out of the house, so I left for the hardware store to get more mud for the walls.

Following Carver's example, I woke up at 3 a.m., and then when my brain just would not stop thinking about all there was to do, I gave up and got up at 4:30. I started doing more semester preparation, getting quite a bit done. Wasn't Carver surprised to find me at the kitchen table when he came down at 5:10!

I fed the boys, but could really feel the exhaustion then. Kira let me nap once she was up, and then she took the boys to a movie to finish off the summer. And what a day for the last day of summer break - it was about 99% humidity all day, and near 90 degrees, so our weather apps told us that it felt like 104. It was miserable just stepping into the garage. Our glasses would fog up as soon as we'd go outside. I did the second layer of mud on my wall, and then Avey and I suffered through it a bit when we painted a corner cabinet thing we have in the piano room. It's nice, but the color does not match the rest of the room at all, so I finally decided on a paint and we worked on that until we ran out. I then cut the grass and showered, hoping to stay inside for the rest of my life after that.

Kira and the boys came home from the movie with Carver's friend (who had gone with) and Wendy's for lunch. We all ate, and then the boys played. I ran out to the store to get two more cans of spray paint, and then I used those all up on the corner cabinet, still not finishing the job. Because I was already drenched in sweat again, I just stayed in the garage and made another shelf for the corner cabinet with the scrap wood I had.

We then left Avey home and took the boys to their school to meet their teachers. Merritt was really excited about the mini-trampoline in his classroom, and it was fun for the older two to see their old teachers and run into classmates, too. We didn't know Carver's teacher, but several other teachers told us she is very good. We met her briefly and got the kids familiar with their classrooms. Carver then took Merritt to show him how to find the buses after school, but then he kept going, and we lost track of them. He didn't come back, so I went looking for them and finally found them on their way toward us, but it was a little unnerving. We came home for a late dinner and bedtime frenzy, because the next day was the first day of school!

We were up early with an alarm so that we could be sure to get everybody ready. Merritt seems mostly excited to go, and Carver was a big help sticking with him.

I took Avey in the car because her bus comes at the ungodly hour of 6:30 or whatever, and we aren't about to make her get up in time to catch that. While I was out, I picked up even more spray paint to finish the corner cabinet, and got some groceries in the same trip. I came home to the very quiet house. It is a strange feeling to have all of them at school for the first time ever. Kira took some much deserved quiet time for herself, and I filled the silence with projects. I finished painting the corner cabinet and then had a scheduled phone meeting with a student. Kira debated for a while about whether she should go to lunch at the boys' school, and then decided that she would go, but try to stay out of sight and see how Merritt was. If he was sad and crying, she could say hello and give him a hug, but if he was doing fine, she'd just stay hidden. She got there at the end of lunch, and said that he was doing fine - he was eating his lunch and didn't seem to be sad at all, so she just stayed hidden behind a door.

In the afternoon, I finished the mudding so that I could sand the wall the next day in preparation for paint.

The boys' bus came and dropped them off at home, and they all had great reports from the day. Merritt loved the bus, and did just fine in class. He even made a friend, although he couldn't remember her name. Carver said that his teacher was really great, and Hakan was happy to have been seated next to a kid he knows really well and sometimes plays with in the neighborhood.

We did our usual dinner and bed routine, although we were delayed after chatting with our neighbor. She made a huge deal about Merritt's first day of school, and so that was a nice reinforcement of his growing up.

Hannah stayed home again that night, and Avey and Kira wanted to watch different shows, and so I just went to the hardware store again to get the paint I would need for the wall, and I got a couple of tools for another project I had in mind.

Thursday morning brought the school rush again, but then I worked and Kira had a phone appointment with a sister in the branch. I then made our monthly run to Costco, spending a bundle. Kira napped while I was gone, and then I came home to unload the food. I read through a final draft of a dissertation, so glad to never have to see that one again. The kids made it home by then, with more good reports from school. Kira went to pick up Avey from school - after the horrible heat Wednesday, Avey thought she might die if she had to ride on the bus in that kind of weather. It was not quite as awful as Wednesday, but it was still bad, so Kira picked her up and then swung by the eye doctor to pick up Avey's contact lenses that had finally come. It finally cooled down considerably in the late afternoon, and so Hakan had a good time playing with neighbors. Hannah came over that night for a little TV, while Kira was on the phone with her mother.

Friday, I had some projects on my list, so after the kids were off to school, I got going right away. My first project was to replace a roof vent for the kids' bathroom. It's always way too steamy in there after their showers, and I finally figured out what was up a couple of weeks ago. The fan has a 6" opening, but it's connected to a 4" roof vent, and so it's far too powerful for the opening. The air bottlenecks and then some of it is forced back into the bathroom. In fact, the dampers weren't even opening before I made a change. Anyway, it was a problem still, and so I ordered a special 6" roof vent online. It arrived, so I went up on the roof to replace it, rather nervous as I'd never done it before. It went well, though, and now the fan is moving lots more air.

I then went down into the crawlspace to retrieve the dehumidifier. I wanted it in the garage to keep humidity levels acceptable for the paint to properly adhere to the wall. I also checked that water drip. Although it is much improved, there is still a little drip. I just can't even go there right now, so I'll have to mess with it another time. My makeshift draining system is still working, so I'll leave it for now.

Anyway, I then got going on the sanding and painting of my garage wall. I fit in two coats, and found that it would still need a third because of the gray painted areas under the white. In any case, I am so pleased with it, and it's probably one of the nicest walls in our house now, especially considering how it started out:


I'm so pleased with it that I've named it Wallter, and it's now a member of the family.

Anyway, while I was goofing around with house projects, Kira practiced the piano and did some of the many tasks she has with her calling. She also arranged for the two older boys to meet with the martial arts instructor this coming week to talk about starting classes. We aren't sure if Merritt's exactly up for it, so we'll bring him along and see if he likes what it's all about.

The boys' bus came, and then Kira left to visit the bedridden sister in the ward. Merritt and I went on a walk, and Hakan played with his school chum. It was Friday the 13th, so Hannah brought over a couple of movies that were sort of scary, and we watched one of them that night.

Kira was not feeling well Saturday, and had a rough night with a tummy ache. In any case, she napped a little into the morning. I finished the third coat of paint on my wall, and then took the two younger boys to a park. Kira awoke and wanted to make plans for taking them to the neighbors' pool. While she got them ready for that, I ran a couple of errands and then spent my afternoon preparing the second garage wall for paint. It needed a lot of work, and so that took a long time. It may be ready for sanding already, but I'll need to give it another look. I went to pick up some fast food for our dinner as the kids were finished at the pool, and then we all enjoyed the weather outside (it's cooled down considerably since midweek).

I started rearranging garage stuff today now that I have made a new plan for how to organize. I'll undoubtedly get to more painting this week, and try to also keep up some motivation for semester preparation.

Avey turned in her audition for a production company in town today, so we'll all keep our fingers crossed that she'll get a part that she really loves...

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