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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Doing It For the Money

After I posted last week, we got an invitation from the neighbor to swim in their pool. She was home alone, and was bored and lonely, and it was also very hot, so we decided to go for it. The water was the perfect temperature, but the event was not without its problems...

Merritt has been a pill all week. Sunday at the pool was no different, although at least he was on the manic side of his madness. One of his games at the pool was to throw these diving toys at me. The toys are rather heavy, and quite hard, and so his plan was doomed to end in injury...for me. One of his throws hit me on the shoulder, which stung a bit, but not badly. I thought I'd be ready for his next one, so I put my hands out in front of me and kept my eye on it. He threw it right past my hands and it clocked me right on the bridge of my nose. It hurt a lot, and I worried that my nose would start bleeding. After a moment, it did, but from a gash on the outside rather than the inside. For days after that, I had a big scab on my nose, and it was bruised.

That may also explain why I had some headaches this week, as those are very unusual for me. However, both Carver and Hakan complained of headaches also, causing us to worry a bit that perhaps the virus had finally made its way to us (headaches are a possible symptom). Kira left for work, and so I gave the boys medicine for their pain, and Carver seemed to be barely holding on by dinner time, so I suggested he go to bed. He disappeared for a few minutes and then I found him asleep in his bed, fully clothed. The headaches seemed gone the rest of the week, so whatever it was seems to have gone now.

The kids have been a little more focused on chores for earning money this week, as Carver has wanted to get a Nintendo Switch for some time, made even more poignant after playing on some at his cousins' houses on our trip. Kira and I made a plan to have the kids earn half of the money for one, and set up several chore options for them to complete. Avey has been working really well toward it, but Carver just doesn't seem motivated for some reason. Hakan has been working really hard also, but Hannah bought a new phone this week, making her old one available, so Hakan changed focus for several days to earn money toward the phone (which he'll use just as a small tablet). He made enough to get it on Friday, and already has every game ever created on it (or so it seems), as well as a scary shark wallpaper.

Hannah had a stressful week at work, as her coworker was on vacation, leaving her several extra duties. She found her groove after a couple of days, and survived the week, so she's relieved to be done with all of that for now.

Anyway, Tuesday, Kira had lots of phone calls to make, so I did some work in the morning and then got everybody in the car for the park and some ice cream. It was ridiculously hot and humid, so we did not last very long at the park, but the ice cream was nice.

We broke up Wednesday with a play date for the older two boys. They have friends from school who happen to be siblings, so Kira took the boys to a park to meet up with them, and then they all came back to play in our back yard. I worked in the morning and then ran some errands with Hannah in the afternoon.

Thursday, Hannah and I were up early to take her car in for repairs. Although she had scheduled the appointment with the place, they called us about an hour later to say that it would be a week for the part to arrive, so we could come pick up the car. They seem to have forgotten that she had brought it in before for this issue. In any case, I was near a Walmart, so I decided to make use of the opportunity and pick up a bunch of groceries and other necessities. I made it home just a few minutes before a phone meeting where we learned more about what it will look like teaching this semester. It is useful information, but it seems that everything I learn changes something about my plan, so I wish we could have learned this earlier. I'll make do, of course.

Hannah, now that she had her car back, stayed behind and bought her new phone, but it was a nightmare getting permission and verification from the account holder, who needed to send in proof that she was who she said she was. She's all set now, at least. In the afternoon, she went to check out an apartment that is available in the same house where Kira meets her clients. In fact, the room is Kira's old office since she moved downstairs. She's weighing the pros and cons.

Kira had a meeting that afternoon, so I got the kids off the screens with cool weather (totally under my control) and a fire in the fire pit. Merritt had a good time on the swing I built, too, and the trampoline is always a winner.

Friday, Kira took everyone on a bike ride in the morning while I worked, and then when she was needed to help a friend process through some heavy emotions, I broke up fights and got Hakan (the troublemaker) focused on earning the rest of his money for Hannah's old phone. He vacuumed the stairs, and then I had him do it again as he'd missed some spots, showing him more technique to get it. He did a really good job for his first try, and earned his phone!

After lunch, Kira had a phone appointment with a friend, so I took the rest of the house out for several activities. First, we stopped by Hannah's office to pick something up, and she also went to check on a raccoon she had found earlier in the dumpster. She wasn't sure if it had gotten stuck in there, so she left a stick for it in the hopes that it could climb out. When we checked this time, it was gone, so that was her good deed for the day.

We then went to a pet store, taking Apollo along. Avey has been seriously considering a pet snake or frog to fill the void left by Gregor's passing. They didn't have many options at the store, but we were just browsing anyway. We got a nice printout of how to care for a snake, and now we're letting the idea simmer.

After the pet store, we went to the dog park that was nearby. There were hardly any friends for Apollo, but this one dog really took a shine to Avey, hopping up in her lap several times, and making Apollo green with jealousy.

When we got home, we were thrilled to find that our digital piano had arrived! I had ordered it last month, but then was told it was actually on back-order and wouldn't ship until August 12, but then they changed it again and shipped it. I assembled it with Hakan's help in about 30 minutes, and we've all been enjoying it ever since.

I've been practicing a simple patriotic tune I've liked since my mission, "O Home Beloved," and I ordered the sheet music for the Goldberg Variations by Bach, which should arrive tomorrow. Merritt mostly just requests that we play "Jingle Bells," although he enjoys toying around with the different beats that it plays. Carver has composed his first tune, playing the same 8 notes in ascension, and then descending, along with one of the pre-programmed drum beats. On an unrelated note, I've ordered headphones that will plug into the piano.

Surprisingly, Kira has hardly had a moment to sit down with it, but she's had more lessons than most of us. Maybe today she'll find the time...

We're very excited to have it, and I'm pleased that it's got three pedals, and the weighted keys feel like a real piano. It's got enough functions to keep the kids interested for a long time, I hope, and I like that we'll be able to move it with ease.

Merritt was still being a pill Friday night, fighting sleep hard. Avey stepped in to encourage him to go to bed, and he went right along with it, relieving us all.

Saturday was busy with a full afternoon. I spent about an hour in the morning messing with my chandelier again, trying a new tactic to fill in the tiny gap between it and the ceiling. It turned out to be way more trouble than it should have, but I got it done, so I feel great to have that finally done, and I hope I never have to mess with it again. The two older kids had eye appointments in the afternoon, so Kira took them and they both need new prescriptions, so we ordered their glasses to have ready before school starts.

I spent the afternoon outside with Merritt, while Hakan played on his phone. The weather was again very nice, so I mowed the backyard and then pulled weeds where they were getting unruly. Merritt blew bubbles and played on the swing and trampoline.

When Kira and the other kids got home, we had to get ready for the missionaries coming over. They wanted to get video footage of the family doing church things for some montage they're putting together. Kira made them some dinner also, and so they left just a little before bedtime.

This upcoming week is going to be a desperate attempt to get some more summer fun in before school starts back up, combined with panic about what we haven't yet accomplished. I'll catch you up next Sunday.

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