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  • Elijah Ricks

Happy Mother's Day

Updated: May 11

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there who have cared for children, comforted someone in a time of need, or done any of the thousands of the other things that make mothers so wonderful.


We're very fortunate here to have Kira, who works so hard to keep the kids on time with their schoolwork, takes them on outings in a time when options for outings are severely limited, and who tolerates our messes, noise, and the general chaos.


As a sign of our love for her, the boys cleaned up the house while she slept in and I made her favorite breakfast and fed the kids. She has plans to drop off some flowers to other ladies in her church branch today, once again bringing joy to others, which she does so well.


In typical COVID-19 pandemic fashion, we mostly wallowed at home this week. Kira and I managed to escape on a brief errand to the hardware store one afternoon while Avey agreed to babysit. I just needed a few things, and Kira was anxious to get out a bit, so we went together. Hannah had sewn us all face masks last week, which are now basically required at several stores around, so we sported those. That was rather pleasant to get away together, so perhaps we'll do that more often, even if it means wearing face masks everywhere.

As a partial Mother's Day gift, Kira wanted to try out Disney's new streaming service, so we signed up and then she finally got to watch The Rise of Skywalker with us all one evening. We've enjoyed the other selections also. Last night, we watched one of my favorite Disney classics, Blackbeard's Ghost, having a great laugh. When the world locks down, one nice escape is through movies and television, I suppose.


In that vein, here's a funny story about screen time. Merritt was bored and wanted to sit and watch shows on his tablet. Kira said to him, "No tablet." He replied, frustrated, "But Mom... I'm so busy today!"


The weather was very sunny and cool most of the week, so that the boys enjoyed some walks and lots of trampoline time. I was rather annoyed at the cool temperatures, because many of the projects I have in mind need the temperature to be at least 50 degrees, so when it drops to the high 30s each night, it really limits what I can do. I finally got a good day on Saturday so that I dug the hole for a flag pole and then poured the concrete for the post. Now I need to wait about 7 days before it's all solid enough, I figure, as our winds can get pretty rough at times. I've wanted a flag pole for a while now, mostly because we are the only house in a row of 5 that does not have one, and I worry that people driving by think we're commies.


On that note, the flag pole I bought has the setup for two flags, so I've been doing a lot of thinking about what second flag I might want to fly under the Stars and Stripes. I've been reading up on various flags, and one night I started looking into Chesterton's history to see if it has any important flags. I didn't find any, but I did learn that Chesterton is where comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan is from. We had heard that he has a nephew or something attending the high school, but didn't realize he was actually from here, so that was a neat fact to learn.

Kira learned about a young man who was to graduate from basic training soon, but of course would not get to have any family come to celebrate, so the family were asking if people could send him nice notes. Kira got the kids involved, who came up with some fun ones:

It was finals this week, so I was stuck grading papers and statistics homework. That's all done now, thankfully, so this coming week will be wrapping up loose ends for the semester. I also was on the committee for a dissertation proposal, so we met over video chat to handle that, and I've got another similar one of those this coming week.


Hannah has had a bit of a rough week because her neck has been sore all week. She's not sure what it is, but we all wonder if it has something to do with all of the shed demolishing. She's treated it with heat, and I worked on it one night while we were all watching t.v. She said it seems to be slowly getting better, at least.


Hannah has been taking advantage of the lockdown, and a new set of binoculars, to do some birding. She was into it before all of the pandemic stuff, but the nice weather and lack of other options has offered new opportunities. She's keeping track of how many species she sees this year, and having fun doing it.


We got some new neighbors this week, and Apollo is having none of it. The couple apparently both bring their own children to this marriage, and so there have been lots of people over, carrying things, cleaning up the yard, skateboarding, and all sorts of things at the house. All of this activity and change of routine is really stressing Apollo out. He's certain that every sound he hears is the new neighbors trying to get inside and murder us all. We just need to give it time and continue to demonstrate that they are not a threat, and this is the new normal. We're excited for the social distancing to let up so that we can have their younger kids over to play on the trampoline, or our kids can go play on their slide and play set. They have an older teenager, but also younger kids, with one even younger than Merritt.


I feel like I was so busy with school stuff that I didn't get to as many projects as I would have liked, although I did get to put shelves up in my new shed. I used the ones from the old shed, as they had notches cut at just about the right spacing for the studs to fit, though I still had to trim them down. The first one was the most difficult, but then I used it as a pattern for the other 5 and it came along pretty nicely. I got all up but the last one by Thursday, but then my stupid drill ran out of juice, so I had to wait until Friday to finish it up.


On Saturday, I mowed the lawn, trimmed along the fence and other edges where the mower can't reach, did my flag post, and repaired some of the bricks around the shed. Some of the ones around the edge came loose from the paver locking sand, so I sealed them to the others with something more aggressive. I also used some gas bombs to try and get rid of the voles that are tunneling in my yard. I used some poison pellets on several tunnels in the front yard, which seems to have really made a difference, but I've found some tunnels in the backyard now, so I'm going to probably have to keep at this. I'm also trying to be sly, because I overheard our neighbor earlier telling her husband that she doesn't want him using lethal methods on their voles, and I don't want to upset her (but I do want the voles gone). I also dismantled a bicycle that was behind the old shed when we moved in. I've scavenged some parts, but the rest is pretty useless, and I was sick of it just taking up space in the garage, so now it's in recycling.


I took all the nails from the old shed, along with a big sheet of steel that was under it, the aluminum along the roof, and our old computer, to the metal recycling place near our house, and came back with $12 for getting rid of it all. Man, those guys are suckers.


I had hoped to start cutting up the scraps from the old shed this week, but I ran out of time and energy yesterday, and today is rainy. Maybe later this week...


Kira has a new client tomorrow, so that's exciting to still get some business even with the restrictions. I suppose we may all appreciate having therapists if this lockdown keeps up much longer...

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