• Elijah Ricks


Just when you think things are about to calm down, a week like this one happens...

We had a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I grilled burgers for our late lunch, which is always a treat, except of course for Merritt. He can't abide anything that is not part of the routine, so he firmly refused to so much as gaze at the fruit of my labors. Hannah missed the fresh burgers due to a nap, but then came over for a bit before heading out to go birding. We went to bed a little early.

Monday morning I did breakfast so that Kira could sleep in a bit, and then I sat down to get my work done. Kira didn't have any clients scheduled, but one of her previous ones asked if she could meet, so she threw it together. I had some errands to run, so I decided to go do all of that. I picked up a mouse trap of our own so that Hannah could have hers back, and I picked up a few presents for Merritt's upcoming birthday. I got home to feed Merritt lunch, while Kira got ready for the client, and then I baked Carver a cake (for fun), read books with Merritt, and got him interested in our marble tower for a while (mostly just to keep him off of the screen).

Hakan arrived home on the bus, and he played with us for a while, too.

Kira finished up with her client and picked up Carver from Robotics Club. He came home very excited, because they are almost done with the robot.

Kira took Hakan to go and get his glasses adjusted after he had stepped on them over the weekend, but the office was closed, so they went and picked up Avey from school after she had stayed for a gaming club, playing mostly UNO with some other students. They made a quick grocery run before coming home for the dinner and bedtime routine.

I set our mousetrap in the furnace closet, and we watched some TV, hoping that we had already caught all of the mice. Hannah heard something click, and then asked if I had set the trap. We checked, and sure enough, there was Mouse #4 staring up at us from inside the trap. It was a very small one, so I wonder if it was a family. We caught two larger ones and two little ones total. In any case, we let #4 chill out in the trap while we watched our show, and then I drove it out to the woods before we went to bed. We crossed our fingers that we'd caught them all, and so far that's the last one we've caught...

During the night, Carver woke us up with a complaint of stomach pain. I was very out-of-it, but Kira got up and dealt with him. He... erm... resolved the issue, and then went back to bed, feeling fine.

The weather matched our moods - it was cold and gray, and there was snow falling, though nothing accumulated. Merritt had his first session of virtual pre-school. He had a good time with that while I did my work and taught my class. I then came downstairs to feed Merritt lunch and read books. Once Hakan was home, I took him to get his glasses adjusted. They were able to fix them, thankfully.

That evening, I had a debate panel for which I had volunteered. I was not excited for it. It was supposed to be a thing that undergraduates would attend to get a better idea about the different majors and their uses. The premise was that humanity had destroyed itself, and there was a boat of some survivors headed to start a new community, and there was only one seat left on the boat. We needed to argue why our field was what humanity most needed. The "debate" was generally amicable and pleasant, so it wasn't as bad as I thought, and I felt like I did pretty well.

Kira got the kids fed while I was in the meeting, and then she left to help someone get packed up. The missionaries in the branch had been teaching her for a while, and she was being evicted, so Kira volunteered to help. She was gone for a couple of hours before coming home.

Wednesday the snow flurries continued. There was a little bit of accumulation on the ground, but it melted pretty quickly. The snow would come in waves throughout the day, but nothing stuck. I was nervous about the flowers we had just transplanted in the backyard, but they seem like they are doing ok. I'm keeping an eye on one or two of them that have me worried, though.

I was up a little early because I had to interview someone applying to work at the university. I fed the kids and then did that interview before eating my own breakfast and finishing getting ready for the day. Hannah wondered if I would join her to finally buy a television for her apartment, so I picked her up and we went to the store. Even though the website said they have some in stock, they did not. We asked a worker about it, who said that the website is about 72 hours behind. So what's the point of the website having inventory? Anyway, I picked up some things we needed, and Hannah decided that she would figure something out online. While I was grocery shopping, Kira sent me a picture of our laundry room:

The ceiling had collapsed randomly, spilling insulation all over the room, into our laundry, our coats and boots, and even into the washing machine. Of course it did - why wouldn't it?

When I got home, I sent photos to our insurance to start a claim. I have no idea what caused it - there's no sign of water damage, and there wasn't anyone up there. It wasn't particularly windy that day. If I had to guess, I'd say that the garage roof is not well enough supported, and so it was putting undue tension on the drywall in the ceiling, causing the collapse. Anyway, I then cut the grass (as it was my only chance to do it for a couple of days), and then Kira and I cleaned up the floor as best we could.

Avey had a youth activity that night, and rode with her friend in the branch, whose grandparents took her out to eat on the way. They finished up late, and so Hannah (who was at the activity) just went home, but she sent some peanut butter blossom cookies with Avey to help us think of Jesse (our brother) the next day. It was the 8-year anniversary of his death.

I was back in the city on Thursday, but my mind was very much on the ceiling problem. I was very busy with all of my classes, but Kira finally just called the insurance to find out what's up. They assigned someone to the case, and told us we could get a contractor to come out. I contacted one that night.

Avey had a rough night that night, and so she skipped the bus to get a little more sleep. Kira drove her, and then I saw that Hakan had left his stuffed Kirby that he was supposed to take to school as a reward for good behavior. Once Kira got home, I drove it over there for him. I got to my job, and got some phone calls about the ceiling, although still no one has come by yet...

After finishing that up as best I could, I fed Merritt lunch and then we went outside to play catch, he had me push him in the swing, and then we went for a bike ride and walk with Apollo. We saw two deer out in a forested part of the neighborhood, which I thought was cool, but Merritt was only mildly impressed. Apollo looked like he wanted to chase them around, but he kept close to us.

That night, Kira and I had reserved a hotel room to get a night away in celebration of our 16th year of marriage. Avey had agreed to be in charge of the household overnight, and so we fed the kids a fast food meal and then went on our way. We picked up food at a restaurant, using a gift card my brother had sent us. The food was great, but there were no tables available, so we took it to a park and ate it in a chilly wind.

We made it to the hotel and got a look around. It was pretty nice, and had a nice view of some forest. We saw three deer exploring.

It was a pretty good time, although it's difficult to sleep on a foreign bed, so we both came home pretty tired. Still, it was pleasant to get away from the noise and hustle of our house. As an added bonus, the hotel room's ceiling was fully intact.

We ate the little breakfast the hotel provided, and then came home to find the boys doing their typical morning activities - playing video games and watching shows. We got their breakfast going and Avey eventually came downstairs to give us the details. She stayed up watching a movie after they had gone to bed, and then talked with a friend on the phone for a while.

After breakfast was done, we got the boys to help us adults move all of our stuff out of the laundry room. We figure that, even if the ceiling doesn't collapse even more, we'll eventually need to have the entire ceiling replaced, so we'd might as well get all of our crap out of the way. That didn't take too long.

It was very rainy most of the day, which messed up my plans to do more landscaping projects. I instead busied myself with sorting through our enormous pile of children's books. We have acquired far more books than we need or use, and so they've started spilling onto the floor. We went through them each and judged them on nostalgia and how often the kids do or are likely to read them. We filled a laundry basket and a half with books to give away, so then Hakan, Avey, and I went out for some shopping and dropped the books off to a donation bin.

We still have more books than we have room for, so I have some plans in the works to eventually put up some nice shelves on the walls in our piano room, and maybe we can move some of the kids books to the kids' rooms. I'll just add that to my list of 3.2 billion other projects I'd like to do right now.

The sun finally peeked through the clouds late in the afternoon, so Kira took Apollo on a walk, and then we did the dinner and bedtime stuff. Hannah joined us for some TV, and we all got some much-needed sleep.

Apollo's Jealous of Kira's Shoulder Massage

My plans for landscaping were foiled again this morning as I awoke to a bitter cold wind, but tomorrow is supposed to be much nicer, so maybe I can get through all of my day job quickly. Kira has a new client signed up, so we'll see how that goes. Merritt is excited for his birthday this week - we can't believe he'll be 5! Let's hope that one of his birthday wishes is to have our ceiling repaired...

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