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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

On the Couch

This week was full of cool weather, hard work, late nights, and some fun upgrades.

We left off last Sunday before Merritt, Avey, Apollo, and I went on a bike ride/walk. Merritt loves to ride his bike, but Apollo stops so often to sniff stuff that it doesn't really work to try to keep them together. This time, I walked with Apollo while Avey rode her bike alongside Merritt. We had two completely different experiences, as I lost sight of them within about 5 minutes while Apollo dawdled along, sampling grass and following the scents of whatever creature had been along in the last week.

Later in the day, the neighbors had a birthday gathering for the 8-year-old girl, so Kira chatted and the kids played over there for a while. Hannah came over in the late afternoon to help me make a meal - Jägerschnitzel with Spätzle. I found the kit for the Schnitzel at Costco, so thought I'd splurge a little, and I had just received the Spätzle maker in a package, so I figured it was probably the universe sending me a sign. Hannah made the Spätzle (it's a sort of egg noodle), while I focused on the Schnitzel. I was very pleased with the result, so I may have to indulge more often.

We ended the evening with another fire in the backyard as we enjoyed the cool weather. I'd love to make that a weekly tradition, but it is soon going to be too cold, I fear. I was excited to see a bat flying in the twilight - I saw a lot last year, but this was my first of the season this time around.

Monday kicked off with a ton of work. I had a lot to do in the morning for my job, and Kira had those 5 clients scheduled for the afternoon/evening. Kira had a very busy time helping the kids with their school stuff, and I had a couple of meetings that took up a lot of my time. The plan was for me to listen with one ear for the kids after Kira left for work, while also listening in on a phone meeting at the university. By the time we got around to that, two of Kira's 5 clients had canceled their appointments, so that she was able to still keep the kids from burning the house down and I could attend fully to my meeting. I then traded her and she left for work, staying late into the night. Hannah came over for some evening television. We are into the series Cobra Kai, a spinoff from the classic Karate Kid.

In a weird but welcome change of pace, I tried letting the boys put themselves to bed, with Carver reading Merritt a story, trusting them to then lay down afterward, and it actually worked. The magic quickly faded the rest of the week, but it's a nice glimpse into the future, I hope.

Kira brightened my day when she sent a couple of Carver's assignments to me:

...and my personal favorite:

Tuesday, we slept in just a bit and I took the later train into the city. I had my classroom observation for the semester, where a tenured professor comes to one of my courses and gives feedback on how I'm doing. I think class went really well, so here's hoping her letter says the same. I spent the afternoon doing as much grading as I could squeeze in, and then I taught my remote evening course. The conversation was going really well, but I really wanted to not have to stay on campus until 9:00 p.m., so I tried to wrap up class quickly, and then ran as fast as I could to the train station to catch the 7:13 p.m. Of course, I can normally make it in 4 minutes walking at a brisk pace, but they've made it so that I have to cross over to the other building before exiting, and then I exit out the wrong side, so even going as fast as I could it took about 4 minutes. I got into the tunnel under the street and saw my train about 200 feet in front of me pull away. I was so sad, and resolved to try this Tuesday's class from home so that this doesn't happen again. The problem is that it's during the worst time to be at home - dinner and bedtime - so I don't know how easy it will be to fully focus on the class and not have a whole lot of noise coming through...

Kira's day was again full of lots of remote learning tasks, but we were glad to get a phone call from the school announcing that they will be moving into the phase of reentry where they return all students to school for 4 days a week. That happens in October, and should be better for everyone. Kira got the kids out for a while with another Wendy's picnic, and got them in bed ok while I kept doing some grading in my very quiet office in the city. I got home around 10:45 p.m., and so we got to bed especially late.

I had a dental appointment Wednesday morning. I was so tired from the late night that I thought I might fall asleep during the drilling, but it was ok. They tried to replace an old filling, but found that they would need to do a crown for the tooth, as just too much had to be removed. Now I get to wait a month for the insurance to approve it...

I came home to start working, then I mowed the grass that is finally growing again just in time for it to get cooler. In the afternoon, the kids went over to the neighbors' house, where they met their new pet ducklings. They apparently got them for the 8-year-old's birthday. That's been a bit of a challenge for us, because Apollo has a natural instinct to murder anything smaller than him that moves. We need to keep a close eye on him whenever we're outside, because we don't know if their ducks are safe or if their gate is open. In any case, they sure are cute.

After getting the kids to bed, Kira was up late talking with her mom on the phone, and so Avey, Hannah, and I watched TV. Hannah brought over some homemade brownies, so we enjoyed those very much before calling it a night.

I had terrible sleep that night, for some reason, so I awoke feeling very bad. My back has been sore still, but not so bad that I can't move. I decided to ride my bike to the station again, and made it fine. The day was really rough for me, though with my tired brain. I felt like I was able to focus really well for each of my 3 classes, but then I was toast. I even left all of the assignments in the classroom that the students had turned in, so I had to go back when I realized it about 10 minutes after class.

One nice note is that I found a bike trail that runs parallel to the very busy road I ride along to get to and from the station. That will make for a much safer ride, at least.

The next day was school pictures for Avey, so she took some time in the afternoon to re-color her hair a darker blue than usual. We'll see how the photos turn out!

Friday, I got the kids ready for school and took Avey, giving Kira a little break of the routine. I then did a bunch of work and Kira ran some errands with Merritt and Apollo, including taking the latter to a play date, visiting a woman in the branch who's been recovering from some health problems, and even getting some groceries. I did lunch with Merritt when she got back, and then cleaned up some of the house while she worked on her Relief Society calling. That night, we stayed up way too late watching a lame movie (Gemini Man) with Hannah over to help us get through it.

Apollo's Flex

The weather had gotten very cool, so we turned on the heat for the first time in months, but I was still far too cold all night, so figured it was time to add another blanket to our bed and bust out my winter pajamas.

Saturday was busy. as Kira took Hakan to watch a shooting competition to support a kid from the ward. Apparently it was really cool to watch, and he did very well. Hakan got some good 1:1 time with his mommy, and I got the other two boys all bathed and cleaned our bathrooms. Kira went to look at a used furniture store for some items we've wanted, and then came to get me to go look also while Avey babysat. They had some pretty decent couches, and so we bought one and brought it home. Getting it into the house was a big project, especially because my back is at about 60% right now (and probably worse after moving it).

It's got two reclining seats, and doesn't sink in the middle or have jagged metal pieces sticking out randomly, so that's a nice feature compared to our old one. We then moved the old one out to the yard to be disposed of:

It's been a new source of fun for the boys. They run out and pounce on it in the front yard. I hope they don't get too used to it. It was a good couch for a while - Kira and I bought it the first year we were married, and it was very used when we got it, so it's had a good run.

That was most of our Saturday, and then Hannah came over for some TV while Kira was on the phone with a friend that night.

Today, we have been invited over to dinner with friends (Hannah's boss/landlord, and Kira's lessor). I'll then take the kids back home while Kira and Hannah stay around for some singing.

This week, after a change of plans, Kira's mother will be flying out to see us Wednesday, staying for about a week, and then going back. So we've got some preparation to do before she gets here, and then I'm sure we'll pack the week with some fun stuff amid all of the craziness.

You should all follow her lead and come visit us, too.

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