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  • Elijah Ricks

Brick and Mortals

It's feeling just like that Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day. All of our days seem blended together, predictable, routine. Our county has only a handful of confirmed cases of COVID-19, but we're hearing some suspicions that many people may get the virus and not even show symptoms at all by the time they've recovered, so we don't know what to think. We're all healthy, thank goodness, but having a hard time coming up with things to do.

House with Swimming Pool

I was feeling the bug to get away from my desk on Monday, so I finished up what work I had to do, and then tried to tackle a new electrical problem in Hannah's room. After I replaced all of her very old outlets, I tested the connections and found that one of the outlets had an open neutral wire (meaning that the positive is connected, but there was not a neutral wire to complete the circuit). I could not figure out why. I had just put everything where it was supposed to be, so I figured that maybe a wire came loose somewhere, so Monday I tried to find it with no success. It was very frustrating, and I even went into the attic to try and map where the wire feeding that outlet was coming from. I found it, but it didn't make any sense, so I gave up for the day and thought I would try again later.

To still serve my need to feel like I'd done something useful, I thought I'd change the oil on the van. Because we'd just purchased it, this was my first time doing it on this vehicle, so I had a rough time. My first mistake was using an adjustable crescent wrench to remove the oil pan plug, because that sucker would not budge, so the bolt began to strip. I then tried a few other wrenches, but just seemed to be stripping it more. I was ready to toss the whole van on the side of the road and be done with it, but Hannah stepped in with some other ideas. We tried a different wrench with the correct size of socket, but by that point the bolt was simply too stripped. Hannah then discovered a tool online made for just that sort of situation, so she went to pick one up while I helped get the kids fed. When she got back, I tried it and it finally did the trick, so we were in business. I don't think I could have handled two failures for the day...


That night, I wasn't sleeping very well, but it may have been a good thing, because I think my brain solved the wiring problem in Hannah's room. I just haven't had a chance to test it out yet. It will either be a 15 minute job, or a 2-hour one.


Kira did a good job getting the kids out of the house when possible and practical. The problem is finding things to do that don't involve human contact. She took everybody to a sort of nature trail while I was deep into grading and such, and then on another day when I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and prepare my site in the back yard for a shed.

They got lost one time, but I got a lot done on the yard. I've hated with a passion the horrifying shed that is back there since we moved in, so I bought a replacement that should arrive tomorrow. I have been working on getting the foundation ready first, which was another big project of the week. Kira's new office has a few big stacks of brick outside of it, and so I thought I'd ask the owner if he's got plans for them. He offered them to me for free, and said that he had even more at his house in a neighboring town. That was a great opportunity, as it would save my project a nice chunk of the budget, so I spent a few hours going to pick them up, and the whole family helped unload them in two trips.

It was a lot of work, moving and stacking 664 bricks in all. The boys were troopers, each carrying one brick at a time, and Avey really rose to the occasion, probably happy to do something out of the ordinary.

You may notice that the door in the picture above is broken. Hakan tried to close it with as much force as he could, but it was propped open, so his efforts broke it off of the frame. I was able to get it back on with a few fresh nails after all of the bricks were stacked, thankfully.


To celebrate and thank the kids, we bought everybody Burger King that night for a nice feast.

Hannah decided that her new mattress was just not going to work out, as she could clearly see the shape of her body indented in it after just these few weeks. She returned it to the store, and ordered a different one. She's had a few nights on it now, and it seems to have been a good move so far.


Of course, the weather's been weird now, raining and cloudy. We're getting high winds now from some system moving in from the south, but that's all. We hope to have some warmer days ahead.


Kira's not met with her clients at all since the lockdowns, but she's been kept very busy with Relief Society stuff whenever she can find a few minutes to squeeze it in.


Last night, while Kira was out to pick up the Burger King, the rest of us were doing a little dance party, and the music video we were watching had images of planets and stars. Hakan turned to me and said, "Dad, did you know that the sun is like, 3 times bigger than our house?"


I chuckled and then Avey and I explained to him that it's actually much bigger than the earth, and tried to describe just how incredibly gargantuan it is. So now, he thinks it's closer to 100 times as big as our house. That's progress, at least.

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