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  • Elijah Ricks

Broken Toes and Rescued Rats

We sure made this a hectic week.


Saturday there was a special event at the Stake Center for students who will enter seminary next school year. Siblings were invited, and they had large inflatable bounce houses, or so we'd been told. We weren't sure how much to advertise it to the boys, as we weren't sure it would work to all get there, but Kira took Jesse and Avey there. Unfortunately, they went late enough that they had taken everything down after the rain started, and so they missed it. Instead, they goofed around in the gymnasium while Kira did some work on her phone. I messed with the other kids at home. It was cool and cloudy all day, and so nobody was very interested in going outside. Not much out of the ordinary for the evening.


Sunday I made chili dogs for lunch after church, and then after that the boys wanted to go to our local splash pad. Hannah met us there to walk Apollo around. They had a good time until another kid collided with Carver, knocking him down and causing him to scrape his elbow. We got him cleaned up with the first aid kit in the van and got them all home.


That afternoon, the dishwasher gave us a scare when it wouldn't start again. That thing can't seem to go longer than a few months without another part crapping out. I fiddled with it just a little and got it to run again, but it has done the same thing a few more times. I think it's just that a spring inside the switch box is not sitting right, so I'll keep an eye on it and I can probably figure something out.


We had a little family night lesson, and then made the mistake of going into the backyard to play a tag game. As Avey was running, she slipped her foot under the metal fence between our yard and the neighbor's, and hurt her second toe really badly. It turned purple not too long later, and she could wiggle it, but it was very painful to put her weight on. We decided to keep an eye on it, but had serious doubts about her doing much of the gym stuff she needed to for the first week of summer school.


Monday was rainy after about 10:00 a.m. I was up to feed the boys and Kira got ready for work and left. I had a virtual meeting with a student, and did more work until lunchtime. Avey's toe was still pretty bad, but not clearly broken.


Kira finished with her first client and then came home to take Carver to get his blood drawn for more follow-up stuff about his Celiac. He did very well with the needle. I took Carver and Merritt to the library where they picked out some books and shows, and then played chess together.

It finally dried out a bit in the late afternoon, so everyone played outside before dinner and bed. It rained all night.


Tuesday was Avey's first day of summer school, so I got up early to take her. She was pretty limited with her hurt toe, but the teachers were accommodating. They told her she would need a doctor's note of what she could and could not do, and so we made an appointment for her that afternoon.


After I dropped her off at school, I went to walk on the treadmill at the YMCA and then came home to get the boys fed with Kira. Merritt and Jesse then had what they call "buddy time," which is where they play together for a while. Mostly they spy on the grownups in the house, and we pretend not to notice them, and then just barely miss seeing them as they dash out of sight. They've been doing that a lot this week, so that's been very nice to have them get along.


I cut the grass, and Kira took the boys to their first swimming lesson of the season. Merritt was nervous, but Jesse was very excited, so I hope that helped Merritt. Merritt did just fine. We did lunch and then I picked up Avey from school, took her home, and then Jesse, Avey, and I picked up Hannah to go to a neighboring town for Avey's doctor appointment. Hannah tried with no luck to return an item to a store while we met with the doctor. The doctor ordered x-rays, but the x-ray staff had gone to a different location that day, so we opted to come back because we had some other errands to run. She wrote Avey a note that said she needed to be excused from school that week, but had no physical limitations. She obviously had not read the note before printing it off and signing it, so that was stupid. Fortunately, she didn't even need to show it to her teachers - they just took her word for it. I asked the nurse before we left if Avey could try some crutches or something to help her walk, and so she got those and has been practicing with them. She got pretty good at it over the next couple of days.


After the doctor, we went to a hardware store to get some hardware cloth so that I could rat-proof our old dog kennel in preparation for the rats that Jesse decided he wanted. I had seen an ad in the paper that the stuff was half off, but when we got to the store the signs all said they were regular price. I asked a worker and she didn't know anything about it, so we decided to wait and get the ad and come back the next day when Avey got her x-ray. So far, the trip had been a total waste. However, the whole reason that Jesse came along was so that we could stop by a pet store on the way and he could check out the rats. We had planned to just look and get a sense of their prices and ask our questions, but of course once we got in there, it was too hard (for all of us) to pass up the chance to bring them home. Jesse was very good about it - he said that he wanted to pick out which ones he would get when we were ready for them, but I learned from the worker that they were all feeder rats (for snakes), and would probably all be different rats by the end of the week. I told Jesse, and we all decided he could rescue two.


We came home with Zane and Eric and put them in the old hamster cage we have temporarily until I could get the kennel converted.

The rest of the day was getting them all settled and playing with them.

Apollo was beside himself. That's what happens when you have a dog whose ancestors were bred for the explicit purpose of hunting rodents. To protect the rats and try to get him used to them being in the house, I put the hamster cage inside of the kennel.

He hasn't really calmed down about it much as long as the rats are awake. He is at DEFCON 1 when those little guys are up.


Wednesday was Kira's turn to get Avey to school. Jesse was so very excited to take care of his rats, but was rather overwhelming Kira with questions to which she did not know the answers. I helped when I got up. We hauled the whole family back for the x-ray visit, but the boys came along with me to the hardware store while Kira and Avey went to the doctor. They played hide-and-seek in the lawn furniture display area, but at least we got our hardware cloth for half price. Avey's x-ray showed a small fracture, and so we made yet another appointment to go and get her an orthopedic boot for the next day.


We went for some new sandals for the boys and some groceries on the way home, and showered the boys. Jesse and I spent the rest of the evening working on converting the kennel so that the rats could move in. Once he went to bed, Avey helped, but we still didn't quite finish until the next morning.


I took Avey to school on Thursday and then went again to the YMCA. I then fed the boys while Kira got ready for her own doctor visit (routine stuff). Jesse was quite proud that he had already fed himself most of his breakfast, and so he's done that every morning since. I finished the new rat cage and got the little guys all moved in. Kira took Avey to the doctor for the boot, and I took the boys to a park. Avey is able to walk around without the crutches, but still looks forward to healing up and walking without the boot.


Jesse was pretty bummed that the rats slept for most of the day and then woke up around his bedtime, so he didn't get to play with them much. That's the cost of nocturnal pets, I suppose.


Friday was no school, and so we all got to sleep in. It was a pretty typical day of work and play. I took Apollo on a walk while Avey hung out with friends downtown. I don't remember too much else, except that I built ramps and platforms for the rats, and so their cage is pretty nice now. Jesse is doing a good job of cleaning out their cage and making sure they have plenty of water and food. Avey is thinking she'd like to get a pair of her own soon, so we'll see.


Today's also been a busy day of lawncare and kids playing with neighbors. Avey and Kira went downtown for some window shopping. Who knows what the rest of the afternoon will bring?


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