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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks


This week was more chaotic and trying than most, for several reasons. The kids had been coming up with requests for our big back yard for some time, and a trampoline seemed most reasonable. I spent some time finding a decent used one, and we went to pick it up. The problem was that we had one hour before we needed to pick up Carver, and there was a detour on our way to pick up the trampoline, so it took us longer than we’d planned to get there. Then, I had to disassemble the thing, but a few of the screws were rusted into the legs, so that took more time than we’d planned. It was also unusually hot and humid that day, adding tension to the whole scenario as the kids bickered with each other while Kira tried to arrange for someone to pick up Carver for us.

In the end, we got the trampoline home, Carver made it back without incident, and then Hakan helped me assemble it while Kira was at work for the evening. 

It has been the center of the kids’ lives so far. Thankfully the weather has been more pleasant for the rest of the week (upper 70s), so the kids are keeping very busy bouncing around. We bought a pad to go on the springs, too, so that’s helped to squelch some of our safety concerns.

Carver had a blast each day going to a day camp at the Dunes State Park Nature Center. Every day he came home with stories of his adventures out on the trails, finding signs of woodpeckers and such. He brought home a craft project each day, too, and can’t wait to do it again next summer.

Avey was invited to her best friend’s birthday party on Monday back in Illinois, and so spent some time trying to come up with a good gift idea. She eventually settled on making an action figure of herself, using a wrestler that’s sort of an inside joke as the template. It turned out really well. Kira took Avey and then went to work at her old office in Illinois, and then she and Avey joined her friend’s family for dinner.

I spent the rest of the week in the driveway. Since first viewing the house, I’d had the driveway on my list of things to do. It is asphalt, but has been neglected for several years. A section near the road was quite cracked and damaged, so I first dug all of that up and put in new asphalt. That took 13 bags of the stuff, but it filled in nicely. I then dug a little irrigation trail for the rain water to flow away better, rather than pool in the driveway, and then on Wednesday, I patched up several areas and filled in other cracks. On Thursday, I was disappointed to realize that I’d purchased the wrong kind of sealer to finish off the driveway, but figured it would still be pretty close to what I’d envisioned, so I spent half of the day doing that, but then ran out with about another 250 square feet left. I drove to the hardware store to get some more, but they were all out, so I instead decided to buy some of the filler I should have used in the first place. I put that on, and it looks so much better that I’ve decided to redo the entire thing with the right stuff this week. It’s been raining too much over the weekend, but I’ll tackle that Monday or Tuesday and finally be done with it.

To deal with the rain in productive ways, I’ve been working on other indoor projects. I’ve put up some hooks in the garage to better organize the tools, and I’ve been trying to get our electrical outlets all squared away. I’ve had to replace some old ones and such, and I’ve been correcting some upside down switches. Yesterday, I was excited to finally turn the lights in our entertainment room dimmable, and replaced all of the other switches to match the rest of the house’s.

In other, sadder news, earlier in the week I went to feed the fish in the morning, and he showed no interest. I found that odd, but decided to come back and try later. I tried again in a few hours, but he still showed no interest in the food. He was moving normally, so I didn’t know what to think about it, but then that night I didn’t see him swimming anywhere, and when Avey looked for him, found him lifeless at the bottom of the tank. We had him for more than a year, so we hope that it was just age and not something that we had done wrong. The kids had a little funeral for him, and now we’re fishless for a while.

Merritt is really owning talking now. We finally got him to say everyone’s name. He still says “Hakan” hesitantly, as if it’s two words. But he also said “Merritt” a few times, so we’re really pleased with his progress. He is finding all sorts of new words to say, and they often surprise us.

We’ve got another busy week planned as we prepare for a road trip, so stay tuned for that.


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