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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Home Himprovement

Updated: May 18, 2020

This was another crazy busy week full of all sorts of work.

Now that the kids are getting better at the routine of doing their eLearning tasks each week, the teachers seem like they are easing up on the assignments, and there are just a few more days of the school year left. Things are beginning to seem tolerable with the help of inertia, sunshine and warm weather, and looking forward to things starting to get more normal.

Hakan is pumped for his upcoming birthday. Every day he tells us how many more days until his birthday, and he gets the number right about half of the time. He really has a hard time wrapping his head around units of time, as he will pretty much use "week," "month," and "year" interchangeably. Now that we're down to single digits in days, he's starting to get it.

We started the week off very busy as I had a phone meeting for a dissertation proposal. It's been nice to not have to go into campus, but that has its problems, too, and now I stay up too late, and then have a hard time getting going until about 8 a.m. That made for an interesting situation for another Friday meeting:

I then worked to get some of the last few assignments graded, dealt with students who "forgot" when the final exam was (even though it's been scheduled by the university since before the semester began, it's listed on my syllabus twice, and I sent out an email a week in advance when I posted the study guide), and finally posted grades. Kira had two clients on Monday, so spent most of the day at her office, as one of them opted to come in person.

While Kira was gone, our dishwasher repairman came by to replace the entire control panel. The poor dishwasher has now had three parts replaced since we moved in, including the switch I fixed, a water pump that we had replaced, and now the entire control panel. At least it's running, but we hope it will last.

Luxury Foot Warmer

Wednesday was an early Costco run for Hannah and me, where I also picked up a new kitchen faucet. As if hearing rumors from the other faucets in the house of the changes going on, our kitchen faucet has slowly been getting worse and worse. It began with the need to replace a simple O-ring to stop a leak, but then just a few days after that, a new leak sprung up in a different place. I tried to replace the O-ring for that one, but could not find the right size. By then, however, there were new leaks popping out at the hose of the faucet, making it clear that no number of O-rings would save the thing, as it clearly wanted to leave our kitchen. I got the new one in on Thursday, and it's been nice to have all the features of the old one, plus some new ones, and no leaks.

One of the nights this week, we older kids were wrapping up our movie or whatever, and somebody headed upstairs to find this at the top:

Hakan, for some still unclear reason had come out of his room and plopped down in the hallway at the top of the stairs without saying a word to us.

The sunshine this week put me in a mood to get some projects done. I decided to finally put in the flag pole after pouring the concrete last week. I got that put up and feel pretty good about it, although maybe next time I'll get a thicker pole, as it sways a little more than I'd like in the heavy wind.

I used the opportunity to also get a shot of our house with our crab apple tree in bloom after the lawn was still nicely cut.

We're finally getting this place into shape.

We had a heavy rainstorm Thursday night into Friday morning, but then the afternoon was sunny and beautiful, so I cut the grass and then the two younger boys wanted to run through the hose, even though it wasn't quite that warm. Still, they had a great time, and I dealt with the mess while Kira was off on a drive.

I also started my weekend project on Friday. I had a whole lot of lumber from tearing down the old shed, and I was surprised by how much of it was in good shape. It felt a shame to throw it away, and I didn't want to haul it anywhere. I know a place to which we could donate it, but they aren't accepting donations because of the social distancing going on, so I figured I should build something with it. I'd wanted a work bench since we had one at our house in Illinois, but this house doesn't have one. I keep trying to find things to use, but usually just end up putting all of my tools on our freezer in the garage while I'm working on a project, because it's about the right height. So anyway, I looked at a few pictures online for some ideas and then made a plan and got cutting my pieces. Kira wanted an outing, so she went to get the right size screws for me, and I had the frame put together in just a couple of hours. I put the table surface on on Saturday, and then added the other bells and whistles today. I still want to organize my tools around it, but it's everything I ever hoped for:

I was so happy that it all turned out level, and I don't know why I didn't buy a square (that's actually a triangle) years ago, as that made all the difference. I'm very happy that it used up almost all of the boards from the old shed that were still in good shape, and that the whole thing just cost the screws and the shop light I installed this morning, for a grand total of about $23.

In all of my work in the garage, I became increasingly frustrated with how the kids' bikes are always in my way, so on a trip to the hardware store, I bought some bike wall hangers, and put three of the bikes up on the wall, out of the way. I like it so much, I think I'm going to do Avey's, too, once I get another hook.

I spent part of Saturday also cutting up and breaking some of the old shed materials that have just been sitting behind our backyard. I figure I can slowly throw away the particle board as I break it into pieces. The wood that is too short or too rotted to use, I am cutting and piling up so that we can have it for when I build a fire pit sometime in the next several weeks.

Oh, while I was at the hardware store on Saturday, the rest of the family settled in to watch a movie, but then texted me that the internet was out. It turned out that it was that same problem outlet that the movie Cats had cursed, so I bought a new outlet while I was at the store, and replaced it that night. I also decided to map out the house's electrical panel using a color-coded floor plan, because it's clear that several of the labels on the current panel do not match reality. I'm about halfway done with that, but it will be nice to have documented.

I'm going to have to get back to my real job on Monday, as I have a lot of work to do over the summer. I've got to get my tenure application together, and I'm preparing a new course for the Fall semester.

The kids will keep up with their eLearning, Kira will keep managing all of the stuff going on with her calling, and Hannah will keep trying to sight bird species to add to her list.

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