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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Je Ne Sais Choir

You could also title this week "buttloads of water," but that has less of a ring to it...

For example, it was quite rainy last Sunday, but it died down enough that I thought I could get the two youngest kids out of the house for a while. I took them to a park for a little picnic lunch. They didn't get to leave anywhere all day because it was General Conference, and so it seemed they had a little cabin fever. That was more of a problem than you might expect, because Merritt was very bothered by the flying insects that often find themselves in the outdoors. He lost his mind for a while, and then ultimately decided to finish his lunch in the car. It was just as well, because it started drizzling on us, too. Hakan cared not, and continued to ride around on Merritt's bike, and have a grand time on the playground. We headed for home quite wet, but it was good timing, because as soon as we got home there was a big downpour. The boys got right in the bath together, and they remained really good buddies the rest of the day - an occurrence so rare that it resembles a solar eclipse in its beauty and spectacle.

It rained the rest of the afternoon, but Hannah came to join us for dinner. She headed back home to get ready for the coming onslaught of her week, and Kira, Avey, and I watched old family videos before calling it a night.

Monday was the same weather-wise. It was rainy and gray all day. The kids were off to school and I worked, and Kira prepared for work. She had a new client scheduled, but they postponed. I was glad to get notified that that student who thought he deserved an A for enrolling in the course dropped it after making a big mess protesting my expectations that he actually attend and read the assignments.

Carver was on a massive field trip for the first two days of school. His class was at the dunes, and they stayed until 5. That meant that only the two youngest boys got off the bus that day. I greeted them for a few minutes before I needed to join my meeting that I am supposed to run. It went alright - I'm mostly just trying to not screw things up too bad, so I'd say things are going ok so far.

I got the call that the mechanic had finished his work on the truck, and that removing the second shackle was much easier. Of course, they found a broken hose that needed replacing while they were in there, so I had them go ahead on that. Kira dropped me off to get it while she went to get Carver from the school. I am so glad to have it finished! Now to move onto things that I can fix on it. Carver was not happy when he came home. He was very tired after a long day of walking in his rain boots that are not very comfortable. It was so muddy and wet that we weren't sure what else to send him in. Anyway, he unwound for a while on the Switch.

Hakan has been obsessing over earrings ever since last week when he tried on clip-ons from a set Avey got for her birthday. That boy is very into bling. He started doing some chores to earn the cash he'd need for his own. He vacuumed the stairs, but when I checked, there was still a lot of dog hair all over, so I showed him some tricks. He still didn't quite get it, so I gave him the lower end of what I said he could earn doing the stairs. Of course, a few days later I used the vacuum and found that the hose was clogged up pretty badly, which explains why he couldn't get the dog hair. I told him about it, and he's going to try it again now.

Tuesday it was so nice to drive the truck to the station! I had good classes, but I was so tired afterward. I didn't get to rest at all either, because I had two student meetings in the afternoon. Carver had a much better day on the big field trip after he got to wear his normal shoes. Still, he did a lot of walking, so he was wiped out.

Avey thought she'd shoot some arrows in the backyard that afternoon, but one went off in a weird direction and got lost in the forest area behind our yard. She looked for it for a good long while, and then Kira went out to help her look, and then after a while I went out, too. Kira finally spotted it. Later in the week, I put up some more barriers to prevent them getting lost again...

Kira got a call that night that ended in a new client. She had a few other calls in the week, too, and after all of that, she has 3 new clients scheduled for tomorrow!

Wednesday morning, I had to go get my blood drawn as a follow-up to a physical. I've never had a problem giving blood in my life, but this time the lady could not find my vein. She jabbed me and then dug around and never got a drop. She finally just went to my right arm and found it with no problem. Ugh.

Merritt had a field trip on Wednesday, and we were all excited because we had learned that Hannah would drive the bus for his class. We thought it would be fun to surprise him with it, but then Hannah said that he got on the bus, she said hello, and he didn't react at all. What a weirdo! He was much better on the way back to the school, so we wonder if maybe he was just overwhelmed by the unfamiliar situation, and just couldn't pay her the proper attention.

After I'd finished up my work for the morning, I dashed into the garage to see if I could replace my tailgate handle. The old one would get stuck open so that it took 3 to 6 tries to close the tailgate. My new one had arrived the day before, so I gave it a whirl and got it replaced in about 20 minutes. The new one works perfectly!

I then got back to work for a faculty meeting over the computer while Kira went to visit the bedridden sister in the branch. After my meeting, I washed the insides of the truck windows as they were rather foggy. I then cut the grass once the boys were home.

Avey took Apollo on a walk around the neighborhood where a gaggle of young boys was playing in a yard. They all admired Apollo for several minutes, although he didn't seem to notice.

That night was Avey's first choir concert of the academic year. I dropped her off and then went home to pick up the rest of the family. It went really well - I was worried they would sound muffled because they were all wearing masks, but it was great! The conductor also did a good job of keeping the entire thing to a reasonable 40 minutes, even with 3 separate groups.

The boys were well-behaved, and we easily reunited with Avey afterward, so we came home for a little treat and (normal-sized) bed.

I don't remember much of Thursday. I went to the city again, of course, but it was a nice afternoon with nothing scheduled, so I got to just work on whatever was most pressing. I have a couple of students working on submitting research to conferences, so I've been managing those, and hoping to get some acceptances. I'd especially like to attend the one in Denver next year, so that I can visit my mom for a day or so...

Friday was another very rainy day. Hannah thought she'd get some exercise and run some errands at the same time, so she tried riding a bike to our house, but she got caught right in the first heavy downpour, so got to my house drenched. I gave her a ride back in the truck, ran some errands of my own, and then came home to start making a game plan to replace the bumper. I was quite worried that the bolts were too rusted on to remove easily, but I soaked them really well in lubricant and found out the correct socket size to remove them. I finally tried to loosen them the next day, and it worked great! Now I just need to get the new bumper!

Hakan pored over magnetic earrings on the internet that afternoon. I suggested that we could make some with some old earring magnets we have lying around, but he rejected that idea. Long story short, Kira took him that night while on some other errands to spend his money on a pair of magnetic earrings.

I'm happy to let him try new things, but I worry how they are going to go over if he wears them to school.

He's also got a temporary tattoo from the fire department on his arm, so this guy's really working on his whole "vibe."

Saturday we adults slept in. I finally got up and fed Merritt, but the other boys had no interest in food. I got going on my projects for the day. The first was going into the crawl space. I was quite concerned that the sump pump was not working correctly, because after the whole air conditioner condensation thing from a few months ago, I worried about whether it was ok to drain excess water into the sump pump. I was right to be nervous, because I found a lot of water in the crawl space and a lot of water standing in the sump pump. It took me a little time to figure out that the sensor is not working, so it won't ever tell the sump pump to do its thing. I was able to bypass it to get most of the water out, at least, and replacing the part is covered by our home warranty, so I made an appointment for a plumber to get that done early this coming week.

After that mess, I started fiddling with the truck. I wanted to make sure I could get the spare tire down, and so I did that, but then found that it needed a lot of air, so I filled it. I put it back on today. The boys were invited by the neighbors to join them for a movie, so the older two went with them. Merritt opted to stay home, but then asked me to take him to the park, so we did that. There were still a lot of puddles on the basketball court there, so while Merritt was playing, he slipped and fell on his bottom, getting totally soaked. A few minutes later, he wanted to play "Daddy's the monster," which is where I try and fail to catch him. In the course of the game, I threatened to "kick his booty," to which he replied, "But then your shoe would get wet!" Well played, son. Well played.

When we got home, we found that the older boys were home and playing with the neighbors in our house. I took over supervising so that Kira could get some stuff done for her calling. Once she was done, I took Avey and Hakan to a discount store so that Avey could blow some of her birthday money, and Hakan could browse about what to obsess over next. I assumed he would spend most of his time in the jewelry section, but he looked at all of the toys. He now knows what to work towards next (until he sees another shiny object).

The rest of the day was chasing kids around until they passed out, and then we relaxed a bit in front of the TV.

Today we are going to try a neighborhood barbecue that Kira has been trying to organize. I'm not sure just how much work it's going to be, but at least the weather is cooperating so far.

This week ought to be full of more fun. We'll see if the plumber can prevent our house from sinking into the ground...

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