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  • Elijah Ricks

Desk the Halls

Updated: May 24

Sunday was the perfect temperature, so in the afternoon, we went to a park that Merritt requested, although Avey opted to stay home alone. We took along the mini-drone, the water rocket, a boomerang, and several balls to toss around.

Hannah mostly kept up with Apollo, and Merritt wore us out by needing to be pushed on the swing over and over. It's basically his most favorite thing to do in the world. We were so thrilled later in the week when Merritt got on the tree swing in our backyard, and suddenly figured out how to pump his legs to swing himself! He's very proud of himself, certain that this is a skill universal to 5-year-olds.


He's matured a lot since his birthday. He's gotten much better at using the potty in the mornings without prompting. Kira used to set a timer on her phone to make him go throughout the day, but she hasn't used it in about a month.


Funny story - I was with him in the backyard earlier in the week, and that's when I learn the most about him. He gets talking about whatever is on his mind, and he tried to figure out what a "teenager" is. I explained that it means someone who is 13 like Avey, until they are 17. He then told me that Kira is a teenager because she is the same size as Avey. That's some pretty solid logic.

We came back home so that Kira could set up for a church broadcast for the kids. Hannah went home to nap. We let the boys stay up long past their bedtime because it was simply too cruel to pull them back inside with the perfect weather, and they were all playing so well together.


Hakan has been less and less interested in going to bed. We let Carver stay up a little longer, and so Hakan thinks that he should get to stay up, too. Merritt generally has a hard time falling asleep when he's alone in the room, but he has gotten much better. However, Hakan seems to just get cranky as he stays up, so I suggested that he could stay up as long as he wants while reading to himself in bed. He could sure use the practice with reading, as he seems to mostly struggle with his confidence rather than aptitude. We got him started on the Junie B. Jones series that Avey loved when she was mastering reading. They are pretty simple books, but very entertaining, and so he's had a good time with that. He'll sometimes stay up an hour reading in his bed, and the extra light doesn't bother Merritt at all (he'd probably prefer to sleep with the lights at full blast). I think it's really boosted his confidence, as he's been so proud to report to us when he finishes a book - he's on the third one now.

Avey's Completed Art Project about Negative Space

Monday morning, Kira had her clients. I worked to get my summer course ready to go. When Kira got home, she took Merritt to another park that we had visited last week. He was fixated on the fact that I couldn't push him on the swing because I was walking Apollo, and so he had to resolve that before he could move on with his life. I took Apollo on a walk around the neighborhood while they were gone. Kira picked up Carver from robotics club on her way home. I then took the car for a few errands, including picking up some mulch for Kira to spread around her office. She left for her evening clients, and I managed kids. Hakan came in a few minutes before dinner and asked if he could go to a friend's house in the neighborhood. I didn't know where the house was, and I didn't know the kid's parents' numbers, and it was almost time for dinner, so I said no. I got everyone's food ready, and then couldn't find Hakan anywhere. I texted a mom whose son plays with that other kid, and she gave me the kid's mom's number, who told me that Hakan was over there. I asked her to send him home, and then I explained how I didn't know where he was or how to find him, and he lost the privilege of playing with friends for the whole next day.


At the end of Tuesday, we talked about it again, and I asked him what he learned. He insisted that he learned nothing, so we had to coach him about what he might have learned from the whole ordeal. That kid is as stubborn as they come.


Kira left Tuesday morning to help out a woman in her branch who had a doctor's appointment, but who is a bit slow, so she has trouble understanding everything the doctor tells her. She asked Kira to come along and be a second brain. After that, she made a trip for some groceries before coming home.


The ceiling guys came on Tuesday, finally! They started to explain to me how I would probably still see the seams. I put together that they thought they were just patching up the holes, and then I pointed out that the entire ceiling is loose. They took a closer look, and agreed that the whole thing needed to be replaced in that room. They got going on it, and were there until 9:00 p.m. working on it. They got the drywall up, but they had to come back a couple more times to cover up the screws and fill the corner gaps and such. Now we are still waiting on the painters to do their thing so that we can finally move all of our garbage back into there. At least we can still do our laundry...


The bathtub guy came on Tuesday also, and he patched up that crack that was beginning to form again. He seemed pretty confident that this will do the trick, but my nightmares tell me that there is a very tiny black hole just under the house that's going to slowly destroy everything I try to fix.


Kira took the kids to that same park we visited on Sunday after the kids needed to get out, and Hakan was not allowed to play with any friends for the day. Avey and I went to the hardware store after dropping them off, so that we could get some supplies to fix up a desk I had bought her earlier in the day. She's been trying to update her room and furniture to move past her younger years, and so she was ready to part ways with her childhood desk.

Avey's Old Desk

I found this one at a local place, and it looked like it had some good potential:

Avey's New Desk (Before)

She and I worked on it for the next couple of days, and Hakan even helped with some of the sanding. I had to take another trip to the hardware store to find some parts to get the drawers working properly, but we got it all finished:

Avey's New Desk (After)

We also got her a more comfortable chair, so maybe she'll feel extra motivated to work on stuff now.


Wednesday was the remote learning day again. Avey finished her stuff especially early, but Hakan put up another big fight, procrastinating as long as he could. He did finally get it done when we told him his neighborhood friends would want to play, but we'd have to turn them away because he hadn't done his work.


Avey had a chiropractor appointment, so Kira took her to that. In the evening, she went to the youth activity - a Nerf gun war. It sounded like it was fun. When she was home, we watched some TV by ourselves. Hannah stayed home and Kira was on the phone with a friend from Colorado.


Thursday began a heat wave into the 80s. It caught us all a little off guard. It seems that Apollo has had a rough time with it, as his appetite has been low and he's been more lethargic. We wondered if he was sick, but he seems to be acting more himself now. Anyway, Kira let me miss the breakfast routine, and then I did some work, had a phone meeting, and mowed the grass before taking over Merritt so that Kira could get some stuff done. I suggested to Merritt that we fill up the little kiddie pool, and so he played in it while I worked on Avey's desk in the garage and waited for the boys' bus. He would come and stop me every few minutes needing something. He wanted me to get his fishing pole so that he could pretend to fish in the pool. I was certain that he would hook his own eye somehow, so instead I fashioned a pole from some spare parts I had in the garage. He had a great time with that, and then once Hakan was home, they put together a game where they fished out their shark toys using the hook.

Merritt had such a good time that he had me put everything the same way the next day, though he got bored after about 10 minutes because Hakan wasn't home yet.


Kira got Avey from her after-school club, and then she went to watch a tennis match at a high school about 20 minutes away. I did the dinner routine.


We both had a rough night, maybe because of the heat. I let Kira sleep through breakfast, and Avey was so tired that she asked if she could stay home that day. She's doing so well in her classes that we figured it would be fine. I did my schoolwork, focusing pretty well despite feeling so tired. Kira and Merritt did his last preschool class for this year, getting green finger paint all over his hands.

Kira then had a meeting for Relief Society, so Merritt told me all about preschool, and we talked about what school will be like in the fall. He didn't cry about it, so I think he's coming around to the idea better now that he's feeling more mature.

After Kira's meeting, I went to the hardware store for the drawer part for Avey's desk and got supplies for a few other projects I had in mind. I then went home so that Kira could go visit the bedridden sister in the branch, although it didn't go well. Kira ended up helping out the sister's roommate instead, as the sister she was there to see was asleep the whole time. While she was gone, I finished up Avey's desk, and put in a wall vent on my shed to help with air flow. I installed a ridge vent when I built the shed, but I've wanted to add in the wall vent ever since then so that there is better circulation. The kids played with our neighbors in the kiddie pool, and kept the hose on for a long time. They had a good time, at least. They wanted to do the same thing the next day, but I policed the use of the hose.

I fed the kids breakfast on Saturday while Kira tried to regain her strength. Avey and I had big plans for the morning. We went to Hannah's to help her get her AC unit in the window, not sure how she had survived without it over the last few days. We then went to find Avey's new chair, and then got some supplies to paint her old desk and turn it over to Carver. We inherited that desk from my mom a long time ago, and I think my older brother used it when we were kids. So it's turned into quite the family heirloom with Carver getting it now. We painted it white and put on some new red knobs to go with his room's color scheme.

I took over the afternoon so that Kira could get some of her projects done. The kids played most of the day. Carver was obsessed with a new game, Fortnite, and Merritt and Hakan played with the neighbor kids in the backyard with the kiddie pool.


Merritt went into the upstairs bathroom for something, and then came out and told me that there was a bug in there, so he couldn't do what he needed to do. I went in and found a wasp on the shower curtain. I picked it up with a tissue, thinking I could let it out a window, but it stung me through the tissue in my thumb. That was my first bug sting ever, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it hurt pretty bad for about 10 minutes and then hurt only if I pressed it. It's fine now, thankfully.


Kira and I went out to dinner for a brief date that night. Avey watched the boys and helped them with their dinner. We then came home and Hannah joined us for a movie.


I spent some time this morning getting Carver's new desk where it goes, and then I installed a lock on an old chest I have where I keep some swords I've accumulated. Hakan is a little too interested in them, so we need to keep them locked now. I also installed a small cabinet in the playset that I figure the kids can pretend is a fridge or whatever.

Hakan's birthday is this week, so we are all looking forward to getting that behind us so that he'll stop talking about it, although I worry he will start planning his 8th birthday immediately. With any luck, we'll get our stupid mudroom ceiling painted this week so that we can move back into it. School is fast coming to a close, also, and things are likely to keep getting warmer, so I've got to finish these outdoor projects...

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