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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Absent Avey

This week was scarred by Avey's attendance at girls' camp, but we somehow made it through without her...

Father's Day was great after Kira prepared a delicious meal of chuck roast with corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and broccoli. The kids were a big help in setting the table and putting together a big sign that said "Happy Father's Day." It was as good as any Thanksgiving meal we've had, for sure. They got to bed especially late that night after playing a few rounds of "Grunt, Piggy, Grunt!" That's where you blindfold someone and give them a pillow and then some pokey object, spin them around and then they have to find someone sitting in a circle around them (feeling with the pillow) and then poke the pillow against them and say "Grunt, piggy! Grunt!" The person they poked then grunts like a pig, and the blindfolded person's task is to identify who it is just by the sound of the grunt. Merritt's really enjoyed that game lately.

I loved seeing the little gifts from the boys who answered questions about me. Apparently, Merritt thinks my favorite food is "orange," and that my name is "dad." He completed the phrase "the best thing about my dad is..." with the words "getting dressed." Hakan said "My dad is really good at lifting heavy things," and Carver said that his favorite thing about me is that I "bake delicious stuff." Avey gave me a wonderful watercolor of the front of my favorite place to go...the hardware store.

I've mounted it in a place of honor - right next to my workbench in the garage.

Around midnight that night, Avey woke Kira and me up with Apollo at her side. She had a severe storm warning on her phone and wanted to see if we thought we should do something. It was very windy and stormy outside, and we watched carefully. There was a tornado warning in the area, so we thought about maybe going down into the crawl space. The strong wind lasted maybe 20 to 30 minutes before calming down, and then we went to bed, although it was enough to zap our energy for the next day. Somehow, the boys didn't wake up at all through the storm, and our electricity stayed on for once.

Kira had a client Monday morning, so she took Hakan to basketball and then went to work. I did breakfast and then assessed the outside of the house for any wind damage, but things looked fine. I then tried to do a little bit of my day job in between occupying the kids. When Kira got home, and after lunch, she took the kids to the park next to the dog park. We were curious to see if Apollo would play better at the park with other dogs - maybe he was acting weird with his doggy friend because they'd had a falling out or whatever dogs do. He reportedly acted a little better, though still not quite himself. Kira was surprised by all of the fallen trees after the big storm. Hakan, ever the ladies' man, opted to not go to the park and instead stayed home to play with a neighbor girl.

Once Kira got home, she helped Avey pack up for girls' camp the next day, and then she left for work. I was pretty wiped out still after the late night, but I got through dinner and bedtime. Hannah arrived just in time to read Merritt a story before bed, but then the youngest two boys came downstairs three times needing things (mostly their mother).

Tuesday morning, Avey got a ride early to camp, so Kira and I saw her off. It was a normal morning otherwise. I cut the grass and did some work. In the afternoon, Kira took the boys to play with some old friends who had moved away but were back in town for a while. She also dropped off Apollo for another try at a play date with his dog friend. He did much better, acting more like his usual self, so maybe this medicine is doing something. While I had the house to myself, I showered and baked cookies. Hannah came over for some TV, although it was a little weird without Avey there.

We found out later that Avey made some good friends at camp, and got to swim in an outdoor pool there during free time, so she was basically in heaven. She said the food was very good, and even liked the salads. I'm a little surprised she came home at all after that setup. She made lots of crafts and did several activities, including writing and performing a skit, and also doing archery. It was tough not hearing from her (they had to leave their phones at home), but we've enjoyed hearing all about it since she came home.

Wednesday morning after breakfast, I took Hakan to pick up his new pair of glasses on the way to basketball. He sure looks good, and we hope that this pair will bend less easily. He wore them during his last basketball practice. I stayed to watch a few minutes and saw him get hit in the head with a basketball twice. He was alright, but it's no wonder his glasses get so bent up...

I came home to do some work, and then I gave Apollo an overdue bath with Merritt's "help." Kira left to pick Hakan up, and then she dropped him home before leaving for an important lunch with the sister of the bedridden woman in the branch. She was nervous about how it would go, but it went just fine. At home, the kids had lunch and then played with the neighbors. Once Kira was back from her lunch, I changed the oil on the van to be ready for our road trip coming up. I also tried to find the source of the clicking sound that seems to be from the tires, but I never could recreate it. Still, I haven't noticed it since I messed with it, so maybe I accidentally fixed it somehow (fingers crossed).

Kira spent most of the afternoon trying to set up swimming lessons for the boys, but it was tougher than you would think. Not many places are offering lessons this summer, and finding a place that will not conflict with our road trip to Colorado is an ordeal. While she was doing that, I gave the boys haircuts, showered them, and then fed them before we did bedtime. Hannah came over for a little bit that night while Kira was on the phone with her mom. One of Kira's sisters has lived in Hawaii for most of her married life, but she and her big family have officially moved to Utah as of this week! Kira is very excited to have her closer, and is strongly considering taking a trip out there later this summer to have a mini-reunion. Kira's mom is also officially moving to Utah in the next few months, so Kira will soon be the only one in her family who doesn't live there. We'll have to make sure to fly her out there more often...

Thursday, Kira was up to go to the chiropractor with some new concerns with aches in her hips. She fed the boys and let me sleep in. She also took Hakan with her because he was curious and the chiropractor is really good with kids. I eventually rolled out of bed and got to work.

Kira then took Hakan to the dentist for his followup about his messed up tooth. The tooth is now a darker color, and hasn't straightened out at all. The dentist said it is definitely dead now, but referred us to a pediatric dentist to see what can be done now. I left a message and we haven't heard anything back yet...

I took the kids to a park where they played in the rain, and Kira napped and did some phone meetings about her calling.

When we got home, the two younger boys wanted to play more in the rain, so they got in their swimsuits and went out and got nice and drenched.

Once they were in bed, Kira was on the phone with a friend while Hannah and I watched some TV and I made some cookie dough. I wanted to have Avey's favorite cookies ready for her homecoming.

Friday was very rainy. I got up to get breakfast going, and when Kira got up she discovered a big mess in the boys' room. Somebody had spilled fish food, among some other problems, so she started to deal with that, and then I joined her in the cleanup a little later. Hakan went outside to bounce on our trampoline in the rain, but he kept trying to play with our neighbors with no success. He spent probably half of the day waiting for a chance to go and ring their bell again, but they just weren't home. We all got pretty fed up with the rain after that, although I am very glad to get my grass watered.

I spent the whole day working on a dissertation my student is trying to get into shape. She doesn't understand any of her statistical analyses, and so that's been very challenging for me to try to get her up to speed. I kept revisiting it all day with her over email. Kira was busy with tasks for much of the day, so I baked up the dough for Avey's cookies. Carver decided to try a nap in the afternoon, so while he did that, I took the younger two and Apollo to a park after the rain let up. We still got drizzled on, and the boys came home pretty wet, but there were some other kids there, and so they had a good time. At home, I got dinner going and then Kira shoved me out the door so that I would get to do something that wasn't work- or kid-related. I ended up doing some browsing at the dollar store for various little items we could use, then I came home to say goodnight to the boys. While I was gone, Hakan had again "trashed" our room in a passive-aggressive manner.

Hannah came over and we all watched a movie.

Saturday was hectic from the start, as Kira had packed the day with errands to run and places to be. On top of her busy schedule, the rain barely let up all day. I cut the grass in between some of the downpour, and Avey got home as I was doing that. She was very tired, but seems to have enjoyed the experience overall. She did not get much chance to settle in because she had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon. She squeezed in a walk with Apollo when the rain let up just a bit, and then got rained on while out. Hannah came to see some of Merritt's tricks on the play set that he's had in store, and then Hannah gave Avey a ride to the party. Kira took the car just then to attend a wedding, and then she ran several errands while she was out.

Randomly in the afternoon, our power went out suddenly. It wasn't even very windy or stormy at that moment, so it was strange. I reported the outage, and the trucks got there pretty quickly, but then a tornado watch started for the area, so I worried that the workers would have to seek shelter instead of fixing the power. Fortunately, they got us back up and running after only about an hour or so of being without electricity.

That's when the storm really let loose. It poured hard for several minutes, although the kids did not seem all that interested after a week full of rainfall.

I got the boys bathed throughout the afternoon. Hannah picked up Avey from the birthday party, and brought home pizza for our dinner after she got a steep discount for working for the school system. Kira eventually made it home, too, and then we spent forever trying to get the boys to bed before finally taking a breather in front of the TV.

Hannah is giving a talk in church right now, so she'll be glad to have that behind her. Otherwise, we're hoping to enjoy a day with no rain. The rest of this week will be preparation for our road trip to Colorado, and my cousin and her family will stay with us one night on their way to New York. We'll see you on the other side of all that!

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