• Elijah Ricks

Getting Techy

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

We had some nice upgrades as we made it through the first week of school.

Deer Tracks at the Park?

Let's begin with the plumbing situation, shall we? On Sunday, I got two calls from the new plumber. He was a talker, and sort of a rambler, but at least he was solution-focused. He seemed to be trying to solve the problem before his guys came the next day. In any case, they came on Monday and first reset a toilet upstairs. It was very loose on the floor, but the bolts had come out of their holes so that I couldn't tighten them. They said that might solve the leak problem, but I'll keep a close eye on it for a couple of months before actually patching up the ceiling. They looked at the sewage smell, which of course was barely noticeable when they were here (making us look insane). Their guess is that there is a leak in a pipe behind a wall in the downstairs bathroom where the vapors from the sewer are entering the house. Normally, the vapors are contained in a pipe and exit from a pipe in the roof. The theory makes a lot of sense to me, but the problem is what to do next. They need to cut into walls to find the bad pipe first, and then see what the problem is. They are going to come back with a methane detector, hoping to get a better sense of the precise location, and then we'll see what we can do. Luckily, we've had very light days of the scent lately.

I hung up some new swings on two trees on Monday, after getting all of the stuff I needed at the hardware store. These swings are much more like the kind that are at the park, instead of my homemade wooden boards hung with rope. The kids enjoyed mine, but Merritt lost his mind when he saw the new ones. It was very cold, but he insisted on trying out both new swings that instant. I had to adjust the lengths one more time, but they are good to go now.

Merritt Just Laid Down for Some Reason

Kira finally ordered her new cell phone that was supposed to be a Christmas present. It came earlier than she expected, too, so she worked to get that all set up and now has it mostly the way she wants. It is high time she got a new one, as her old one never had enough storage for anything, the battery needed constant charging, and the screen was so small that it was a real challenge to do anything on it. The new one should be a great upgrade.

Kira's Old Phone on Top of the New One

I also got some new equipment. I ordered a new laptop as my old one is nearing 6 years old and slowing down a bit. The webcam is also always a little out of focus, which is very frustrating for all of my courses. Because it's my main computer now that I'm not going to be on campus, I figured it was time for a newer machine. When it arrived, I was puzzled to find that they had sent the wrong color, but figured that wasn't a big deal. I started to get it set up, and then found that it wasn't a touchscreen like I had ordered either. Everything else was what I wanted, so I set the whole thing up and made a complaint to the company. They offered a refund or exchange, but I didn't want to wait another week for a different laptop. What they got wrong were only minor preferences, so I'll just deal with it.

Now that I've got a new laptop, Kira's inherited my old one, and Carver is waiting for her old one, as these are all upgrades from what we had. No one can accuse us of being wasteful, I suppose.

In other tech news, we ran into some problems with Hakan's mini-drone he got for Christmas. One of the propellers suddenly stopped rotating, so it won't fly. I contacted the company and they said they sent out a new one yesterday, so that should get us back in business.

We also got some car repairs done this week. I am always nervous about the cost for such things, but they got us a new thermostat for $149, and the problem was solved!

The kids were back to school this week, which was met with mixed reactions. They seem glad to be around more people and to get out of the house, but it's hard to give up the freedom with their time they enjoyed over vacation. Merritt was very sad on Monday when he was the only one home. He really loves having Carver around to be his friend. Avey came home with some prizes she'd won for a reading program, so that made for a pretty good first day back. The boys also said that their day was pretty good. We keep getting calls from the school about new cases of Covid at the school, and so we're wary that any day we'll get the notice that one of our kids has to quarantine after being in close contact. We're not sure we can handle much more of being cooped up.

I had hoped to get a new crown at the dentist on Tuesday, but came home disappointed. I was there for a couple of hours and all they did was give me a temporary crown, making me wonder why I went at all. I have to go back when the permanent crown comes in. I explained to Hakan how I went to the dentist, and reminded him that he has to go there this next week. He said that he doesn't like how their tools feel on his teeth, but that's all he doesn't really like about the dentist. I said I don't like having to pay for it, and he was surprised that the dentist costs money. So am I, especially when he didn't solve the problem.

The cold weather has been lame. We haven't gotten new snow, but the old snow is only very slowly melting. Kira's taken Merritt to the park a couple of times, and Apollo's had a few play dates with his doggy friend, but it's not been tons of fun. Hakan played in some very slushy snow with the neighbor kids this week, getting thoroughly soaked, but at least he had snow gear on.

I've been busy trying to get ready for the semester. I recorded a 2.5 hour lecture earlier in the week, and have been working on tedious garbage the rest of the time. It's nothing interesting - just setting all of the new dates on the syllabi and online course module.

I spent part of Saturday taking down all of the Christmas lights, hoping that the ice would all be melted off of the roof. It was, thankfully.

Taking Down Christmas Lights

Avey has had Drama Club a few nights this week, and it's going pretty well, although some kids have been absent because of quarantine requirements. I'm not sure what they're going to do for the final performance if half of the actors are not allowed to leave their homes...

We spent a lot of the week trying to get Kira caught up on Cobra Kai so that we could all watch the new season together. We were finally ready on Saturday night, but then she had to put out some fires for Relief Society and prepare to lead a discussion. We then squeezed in two episodes before bed.

I tried to fix our stupid box springs today. Our bed has been sagging in toward the middle really badly, and I could tell that some of the boards were broken, probably because our boys have been jumping on it relentlessly since they could stand up. I found four broken boards, so it's no wonder it's been so bad. I screwed some brace boards on those and have devised some better supports underneath, so maybe that will help my back, too.

One night this week, Carver and Merritt were playing on the Wii. Carver, in his frustration with a difficult part, exclaimed "Crap!" Merritt attempted to parrot his expletive, and said "Crack!"

I had some quality time with Carver this week. One night, Kira and Avey went to the store to find some pants for Avey. I put the boys to bed and then Carver came down after about an hour, scared of the dark. He'd apparently been creeped out by a scary video he watched. Go figure. He kept me company for about another hour before finally getting to sleep. He was then the only one who wanted to join me on a walk yesterday when the sun came out, although Apollo never turns me down. We had a nice chat about everything from math to astronomy to dogs' senses.

We've got more school this week and more semester prep for me.

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