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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Pain in the Back

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

We somehow managed to get no photos of anything we did this week. That's probably because it was so very busy.

After last Sunday's post, I got in the mood to do a few projects, so I installed a smoke alarm in the last bedroom (when we moved in there were only two smoke detectors in the whole house - now there are 3 CO detectors and 8 smoke detectors). I also decided that I should clean up our empty room a bit, and move in a desk and bookshelf so that I could use it as an office. That was probably a mistake, because after helping Hannah move the day before, my back was already hanging by a thread, so moving the desk and bookshelf all by myself was playing with fire...

Kira had been asked to join in on a missionary meeting for the afternoon, so she was off to do that, and said that it was a positive experience. I was so anxious to make use of my new island outlet that I decided to make pancakes for dinner, plugging the griddle into my outlet. Hannah came over to join us and assure us that her new place is not haunted, and give us the news about whether the trains are too loud, and so on. It's been a week now, and she's slowly getting things the way she'd like, but she is doing probably better than I would sleeping there alone. She stayed into the evening and we got a game of dominoes going until we were all too tired to play any more.

Monday was Labor Day, so that the kids had the day off. I did some work in the morning, and tried to join in the chaos/fun whenever it came up. I was very tired all day, and my back was really upset with me for all the moving of heavy objects the two days before. It ached a lot.

Avey and Kira got their hair trimmed by our neighbor who does it professionally. Nothing dramatically different, but just maintenance stuff, Kira arranged for a live virtual tour of the Sacred Grove, so she gathered the kids around to join in. A missionary who was there at the site walked around with a camera and did the tour that way. Kira enjoyed it, but felt like she hadn't really set the right tone before it started, so felt kind of rushed to get all set up for it. Kira had scheduled two clients for that afternoon/evening, but by the afternoon, both appointments had fallen through, so she just stayed home.

I took Apollo to a play date and then stopped for some groceries to get out of the house for a minute, and then that night we enjoyed the cooler weather with a fire in the fire pit. We invited Hannah over again and Kira got to chatting with the neighbor who cuts hair, so then invited her over for a few minutes while the neighbor kids played with our boys.

Tuesday morning was not fun as I awoke with a lot of back pain. It seemed even worse than Monday. I opted to sleep in just a little and take the latest train into the city that I could, with Kira driving me. I hobbled around campus like Quasimodo, and tried to still keep a lively and positive attitude during my courses. I ran into a couple of technology problems with my first class, so that didn't help things, but I got them figured out before too long, and did my evening class quickly enough to catch the train that would get me home at a reasonable hour.

Kira worked all day with the kids on their remote learning stuff. It's a full-time job, it seems, as Hakan still needs help with reading all of the instructions to complete his assignments, and Carver often has so much trouble staying focused and motivated that she needs to constantly keep him on track. Avey has been good about keeping on her assignments, even though we'd all just rather keep school at school and home at home.

Wednesday was good to be home, because my back was still very bad. I had a 10:00 phone meeting scheduled for 2 hours, and I needed to be there for only about 10 minutes of the whole thing, but those 10 minutes were spread throughout the whole thing. Next time, I'll just send an email with my input and save my time. After the meeting, I recorded a lecture lying on the floor doing a back stretch that often helps, and then went to a dentist appointment. I was home in time to get Apollo to a play date, and then Hannah joined us for bedtime and watched some TV with Avey and me. I spent the entire time stretching my back, so sick of being in pain. Kira, after a hard day of helping with remote learning again, just showered and unwound with some time to herself. She got another two inquiries from potential clients, and both are scheduled to come tomorrow, for a total of 5 appointments!

Thursday was finally better as far as my back goes. It didn't feel good by any stretch of the imagination, but I could finally walk around at a normal speed without feeling like a vice was crushing my lower spine. It would have been a better day, but Merritt, in his infinite wisdom, thought he should wake Kira and me up early. I had to catch the very early train, and Kira was kind enough to drive me again. I got Hakan's lunch made and then left for the city.

With the kids back at school, I hoped Kira would get a chance at a nap, but it sounds like things were a little hectic, still. Merritt was in one of his moods, and apparently broke a brand new plastic sword that Hakan had just bought with his own money. Kira handled it very well, helping Merritt to earn enough money to then go and buy a replacement so that Hakan would find it when he got home from school.

Kira picked me up from the train and drove me by a wild scene where there were probably a dozen police cars and fire trucks. The smoke was everywhere, and still billowing up from what looked like a house. I found it in the news that night that there was an explosion in the house earlier, and that no one had died, but a child and woman had been trapped inside for a few minutes until the fire fighters got them out. They were taken to a hospital, but doing well, and the cause of the explosion is still being investigated.

Kira and I then picked up Apollo from a play date and went home to do the dinner and bedtime routine. Hannah came by to pick up some items that arrived for her in the mail, and stayed to watch some TV with us.

Friday, Merritt got Kira up twice very early in the morning, making it an especially difficult day for her. We got the kids to school, and then Kira went in for a followup visit with her doctor who'd removed her mole. She then visited a woman in her branch who is in the hospital. Merritt and I stayed home together while I got some work done and he mostly played video games, both of us wishing I didn't have to work. Once the older kids were home, I cut the grass, finally green from all of the rain we've had lately. I had been paid that morning, so we decided to go get a picnic dinner from a restaurant and go to a park. We invited Hannah to meet us there, and dropped Apollo off at his best friend's house for a play date. When we pulled in at the park, we saw two of Avey's good friends there, so that was nice for them to hang out - she doesn't get to see them at school because of the varying schedule.

When we finished at the park, I went back to Hannah's apartment to help her reassemble a light fixture. She has this weird ceiling fan in her bedroom that has a very small fan, and very dim lights. She hates it, and I can see why - it doesn't seem to do what a ceiling fan and light are supposed to do. She took it apart to see if removing the shade would improve the amount of light it let out, but it didn't really. We had already tried the brightest bulbs they make for it, and it just wasn't doing the trick. She asked her landlord about letting her trade with one of the other fixtures in the building, but he didn't like that idea. In any case, after some convincing, he got her a replacement fixture the next day...

Saturday was nothing but rain all day. In the morning, I got the kids' breakfasts going and then took off to make the monthly Costco run with Hannah. In the afternoon, we went to put in her new ceiling fan. The wiring in the old house was a little tricky, but after some troubleshooting, we got it all set, and it is much better for the room. I had to go to the local hardware store only once to get a mounting bracket, so I'd say that's a success. I then came back home to relieve Kira so she could get some stuff done for her calling and such. I took some time to finish repairing that long crack in the wall along the stairs. Some time ago I put in a support in the crawl space to keep it from reappearing (it seems to have a little bit of give as we walk on the floor). That seems to have done the trick, so I put on some wall texture and painted over it. It looks much better now, so that's nice to have off of my list.

The kids, stuck inside all Saturday from the rain, were having a rough time, and so we had to work hard to keep them from fighting. We had a couple of dance parties, and Merritt played in the rain with an umbrella, but it was not a fun few hours before bedtime. Kira, needing a break, went on a walk in the rain with Avey and Apollo, and Avey baked up some of the gluten-free cookie batter they had at Costco, to give Carver a treat. He likes it, but not as much as my homemade ones (probably because it's also dairy- and egg-free - ew!). So once they're gone, I'll just need to keep a supply handy.

This morning, Kira picked up a few people on the way to church, but that seems to have been okay. The sun is finally out now, but the air is in the upper 60s, so we should have a much better day with the kids playing outside. I've got plans for some spaetzle and schnitzel for dinner, so Hannah will join us later, and we'll see if we can keep our wits about us.

Kira has all those clients scheduled for tomorrow, and it's all during a meeting that I have, so we're going to have an interesting trial then. Otherwise, this promises to be another very busy week. We'll tell you how it went on the other side...

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