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  • Elijah Ricks

Night Terrors

Updated: Nov 21

To finish off our very windy, cold, and wet Sunday from last week, we took a very long time to get the boys fed for lunch, and then had a brief family night before I left to join the brass choir for the first time. I got there just a few minutes early, but the vocal choir was still practicing, so I waited in the hall so as not to interrupt. They continued to practice past the time the brass were supposed to meet, and then kept going, until the director said out loud that he wondered where I was. I said from the hallway that I was there, and so they dismissed. Anyway, I worried a little that I would be way out of my league after not playing for about 14 years, and that they would laugh at my old rickety patched horn, but mine was actually the nicest one there! We just played some Christmas songs out of the hymn book to see how we sounded together and get used to playing again. We all sounded really great together, and it was a lot of fun, so I'm really looking forward to rehearsal tomorrow.


Kira managed the crazies back home, and we fed them dinner when I got back. Hannah was over, and Merritt wowed her with his counting abilities. He mastered counting to 100, and then he figured out how to get there by tens and fives. He's now working on getting there by twos, but it's tricky. We were all wiped out so went to bed early.

Monday morning was standard stuff, and then I got grading right away while Kira took a quick nap before heading to work. I went for some groceries at our new Aldi, and that really took me back to my days in Germany when that was one of our main grocery sources.


The boys came home on their bus and then we worked on homework. I got Jesse to the Boys and Girls Club once Avey was home. The rest of the evening was laundry and dinner. There was a light snow most of the day, but only a little of it stuck: an omen of what's to come. Avey tried to get Apollo out on a walk, but the furry little princess wasn't feeling it.


Tuesday was more of the same with me in the city. Kira worked on tackling the huge stack of boxes and totes in our bedroom that has been piling up. She got the totes of boy clothes organized at least. She also dealt with crises coming up in her calling. Hannah had a bus trip that night, so the rest of us each did our own thing before bedtime.


Wednesday, once the kids were off, I did more grading, trying to keep ahead of it. Kira went to visit the boys' school and catch them for lunchtime. They were glad for the surprise, and Kira was glad to put some classmates' faces to names she'd heard. She was also proud to find that Jesse's artwork was displayed so nicely, and Carver had a piece that was one of only two in a display case:

Left is Carver's in the display case, center and right are Jesse's,


I finished my grading and then ate, changed out some lug nuts on the truck, and then went for gas. When changing the old crappy lug nuts out, I realized that the new ones were a different size, and so the tire iron would not fit around them. I got them on there, but then in the afternoon I went to my favorite used tools and hardware place to find an old tire iron that was the right size for the new lug nuts. Kira dealt with more calling stuff, but made it home to take a few breaths before the boys made it home. Avey stayed for library club.

I baked a cake that afternoon in honor of Jesse's (my younger brother) birthday that would be the next day. He would have been 38 this year. Of course, in a house where nothing ever works the way it is supposed to (or so it seems, lately), the oven preheated and then cooled down, never warming back up no matter what we did. Luckily, we have a double oven, and one side works just fine, so we won't starve to death, but I arranged for a repair guy to come on Friday, hoping we could get it fixed before Thanksgiving...

Merritt's Art and Counting Accomplishments

We fed and bathed the piglets, then did homework later than we should have.

Thursday we saw a little sunshine, which was rare this week. It was my last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, so I was in a pretty good mood. Classes went really well, and then I graded all afternoon. I got a call from the mechanic that afternoon who was waiting for parts to come in so they could fix the stupid check-engine light. They said the parts were in, but they were the wrong parts. Great - now I get to wait another stupid week or more...


I took some time to remember Jesse (my brother) before my train came. His absence has hit me a little harder this year for some reason. Maybe it's because Hakan wanted to start going by Jesse, or maybe it's transferring over from frustration over all of these car and house problems that just can't seem to be fixed, but his absence really stung this year.


I was blown away to come home and find that Kira had put away the mountain of boxes that had taken over our room. We'd brought them back from her mom's house over the summer, and they'd never found a proper home, so it's nice to get them out of the way finally.


Kira let me sleep in Friday morning, which I very much appreciated. I worked and had meetings, and Kira napped after that. I cut the grass for the last time this season, and then I started burning the leaves all over our backyard. I then had another stupid meeting, so I listened in while the oven guy worked. He found that it needs a new igniter, but it's going to take some hunting to find the part (apparently the guy who made our oven built just the one in our kitchen and then promptly died, or something like that). He told me there is no way it will be fixed by Thanksgiving. Well, at least there's one less thing I need to be thankful for...

The day was especially devastating as I got a call from my Great Uncle (i.e., "Grunkle") whom we'd invited to Thanksgiving dinner. He had to cancel after both he and his wife were found positive with COVID-19. Fortunately they are both doing ok so far, but we'd feel terrible making them drive out here, and they wanted to spare us from the illness. We all sobbed and sobbed for hours after that news, but perhaps we can get together another time.


We buried our feeling down deep so that we could make it through the rest of a chaotic evening. Kira had to cancel a sleepover a long time ago, and so she decided to try it this weekend. She invited Carver's best friend and his little brother (who is Merritt's friend). She then invited another of their friends, too. We had 6 boys here in all, and it was every bit as loud and volatile as you can imagine. They had a blast, but all of the movement and noise put Apollo on edge, so he was a chore. We thought we'd try to put them all in the same room, maybe containing the insanity, but it was more like turning on a pressure cooker.

Suffice it to say that Merritt ended up sleeping in our room, and the rest of the boys got about 4.5 hours of sleep. They were up way too early, and Kira tried to contain the eruption. They were all running on pure adrenaline and sugar, and had another few hours of youthful bliss before their parents came to pick them up. Carver crashed on the couch for about an hour, Jesse tried a nap, and the other boys all slept at their houses. Merritt slept the most out of any of them, so he was ok.

We have all been so tired that we may not try that ever again. We've spent most of the day trying to recover.


I finished burning the leaves, although I may have to have another round of it in another week. We've done lots of laundry to wash bed sheets, and we bathed boys.


We also tried out a gift from the kids' aunt today - a live virtual tour of a public park in Buenos Aires, with some fun animals. It was a neat experience to get livestream video and a personal guide as if we were there in person. Just to add to our jealousy, it was very hot down there while we shiver up here.


Kira and Avey worked up the strength to head out shopping this evening, so I'm going to feed the boys and try to get them to bed extra early. Hopefully I can join them soon enough...


We're looking forward to a good break this week, although we'll be thinking of you all! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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