• Elijah Ricks

Same Crap, Different Year

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

This week was full of more drama with home non-repairs, but we at least broke it up with some winter fun, too.

Sunday was our warmest day this week, so I chose to use the time to detail the interior of Hannah's car that she had left with us while in Colorado. I just vacuumed the floors, soaked the mats in soapy water, and wiped down the surfaces, so it wasn't a full detail like I used to do back at the car dealership, but it was still something. Otherwise, it was a relatively low-key day with Apollo's play date. I took a quick nap just to keep my sanity, and I scheduled a plumber to finally come and check out our intermittent stench of sewage that we can't seem to figure out.

At bedtime, Merritt was out of his mind. He was so tired, but got in his head that he still needed to read a book before he could go to sleep. We had already made it clear that his other activities were all he could do, but he dug in his heels, ready to die on that metaphorical hill. In any case, we eventually got him to sleep.

I was very groggy on Monday, not feeling motivated. I did finally get it together enough to finish our family Christmas letter (late), and got that sent out. I never did get a good family photo so just grabbed some random ones to throw in. At least it reflects the general tone of 2020.

In the afternoon, in between Kira's clients, I took Avey to get her ear piercings checked. There was nothing wrong - we are just supposed to have them looked at after a month or so. We had an appointment at 3, but were waiting outside for a good long while. Anyway, we got all checked out and then went on a Walmart run, doing a few returns and then picking up some groceries and items we needed. We were home in time for Kira to leave for her evening client, and I got the boys fed and in bed.

Merritt's nightly rage fest for Monday was in regards to a show. He was very worked up about getting the right blankets on the couch while he bundled up to watch a show, so I let him finish the episode before coming to eat his dinner, but even after I warned him that he would need to eat after the episode, he lost his ever-loving mind when I invited him to the table. I offered for him to continue watching the show on his tablet at the table, but he reacted as if I had told him I was going to amputate his legs and feed them to Apollo. Carver was very helpful, stepping in to try to encourage Merritt. He is often the only one in the house who has any sway for Merritt, so it was a nice try, though ultimately ineffective. Finally, after 15 minutes or so of "Our-name-is-Legion-for-we-are-many"-style anarchy, I got the idea to offer him some chips at the table. That calmed him down almost immediately, as his very favorite thing to do is to mow down Doritos while watching some incoherent kids show on his tablet. He was fine after that, and fell asleep immediately just before Kira got home.

That night, Avey and I got Kira started on Cobra Kai, the TV show, because season 3 was out Friday of that week. She still isn't all the way caught up, so we're trying to be patient before binging on the new episodes.

Tuesday was a play date for the boys. Carver and Hakan get along well playing with Carver's best friend and classmate who lives about 2 minutes from us. His younger brother gets along very well with Merritt, so we had the younger kid come here, and our older boys go to their house for a couple of hours. Merritt and Rhys played pirate, and insisted that I be involved in the game as a monster.

We got a solid snowstorm that night, but it was a bit slushy as the temperature was right around freezing. Avey still was able to put together a pretty solid snowman who's still haunting the yard today.

I was up early because the plumber was supposed to come and find out what was going on with our sewage smell. It was the same moron who came by a month ago to not fix the leak in our ceiling. He did what I feared - looked around a little and told me he didn't know what to do. I asked, "So what do I do about the smell now?" He just shrugged. I asked if I should call another plumber and he said that would be a good option. I was furious. What kind of idiot claims to be a plumber but can't fix plumbing problems? I called the home warranty company that sent him, made a fuss, and they told me that they needed to get his report before they could do anything, so they had me wait. In any case, I told them never to send that guy back here or I would find another home warranty company.

In more positive news, while I was fuming over the incompetent plumber who walked away with my money for the second time in a row, we went on an outing to try out roller skating. We went to a place with a small rink, and gave it a shot.

Merritt, of course, had no interest, and just sat down and cried the moment we got the skates on him. So he just sat and played games on my phone while the rest of us skated. The other kids stuck with it really well, and made some good progress. I was glad to have fallen only twice, as it's been probably 14 years or so since I put on skates. Kira also had a fun time, remembering all of her skating days when she was a teenager.

We took a break to play at the arcade, but what a mess that was! The air hockey table is what Avey and Carver wanted to do, but at first it wouldn't turn on, and then it just stopped blowing air after 3 points, then wouldn't turn on again. We finally gave up.

We skated some more, and Merritt actually had fun just running around the rink in his shoes, so at least that.

Avey tried out a Christmas present that night, making cake balls with a special pan and from a recipe book. We were puzzled to find that no recipe in the book specified the temperature at which to bake the items, and then I later pieced together that it assumes you are using a special oven just for cake balls. Anyway, she tried 350, and they came out well, although she wanted to try a few things differently later. Hakan has really enjoyed the treat, calling them "the best ball-shaped treat ever."

Apollo and I drove to pick up Hannah from the airport late that night. Traffic was light, at least, and we got there with perfect timing. Apollo was really funny, too: he saw Hannah from far off, and seemed to immediately recognize her - wagging his tail and howling with excitement. We got her home close to 11, and then I came home to bed.

Thursday, I got on the phone again with the home warranty place, who said they were still waiting on the stupid plumber to give his diagnosis, so they asked me to call again. We had the same play date arrangement for the boys as earlier in the week, but Kira took over the role of "monster." In the afternoon, I went to pick up Wendy's take-out for while the kids watched a new movie, Soul. I opted to finish my own movie I'd been watching. After that, we got a fire going in the fire pit as part of our New Year's Eve celebration. It was a little slow because everything was wet, but I got a good fire going after some care and attention. The boys had more fun gathering wood for it than actually getting warm.

We also did some sparklers in the backyard, and then a few little fireworks in the driveway, but we were all cold, so came inside for some hot cocoa before too long.

Kira had a video meeting with her side of the family, so the kids all got on and chatted a bit.

We eventually got the kids to bed, and then stayed up a little past midnight getting Kira more caught up on Cobra Kai.

Friday morning, we all regretted staying up so late the night before. There was more icy rain that day, so not really anything we could enjoy. We spent most of the day taking down Christmas decorations inside. I haven't had good enough weather to take down our outside lights, but I've unplugged them at least so that they don't come on at night. I got Merritt outside in the afternoon and we played a very wet and cold game of soccer, but he had a lot of fun. I enjoyed checking out the coat of ice that was on everything. It looked snowy, but every branch of every tree had an icy wet shell on it that made for a neat effect.

Hannah was over for some TV that night while Kira talked to her friend on the phone.

Saturday morning we had more snowfall, so we started making plans to go sledding. The temperature was supposed to get up to the high 30s, so I wanted to go quickly before it all turned to slush, but I thought I'd try the home warranty place again. After a very frustrating phone call, we got a second plumber set up to come out sometime this week. I called him to let him know the details of our issues, and he asked if it was that other plumber who had been out here before. "We clean up that guy's messes all the time," he said. I was so glad to hear that I wasn't the only one who thinks that guy is a bozo! Anyway, he already sounds like he's much better at his job, so let's keep our fingers crossed for this week...

We went out sledding, and had a good time. I mostly stuck with Apollo, who went sniffing around the whole area. He found an old deer corpse buried in some snow, so that was fun. He met another, larger dog in the area. That dog was in a playful mood, but Apollo wasn't really. Anyway, that dog went over to this pond that had a thin sheet of ice over the top. He thought he would venture out on top of it, and then broke through it, with his hind legs sunk into the water. He seemed a little puzzled, but otherwise fine. His owner started freaking out and came over in a panic. Anyway, they got him out and he seemed totally unfazed by the experience. Apollo just watched the whole thing with curiosity.

The kids had a good time sledding for a while, although it was getting pretty slushy and muddy. They played in the snow for a while, too, and then we all came home for hot cocoa.

In the afternoon, I fed the boys lunch while Kira unloaded the car and dealt with wet snow gear. I then went on a quick trip to a hardware store with Hannah. When we got back, I finished bathing the kids as Kira dealt with some Relief Society stuff, and I used some of the stuff I bought at the hardware store - I used a strap to better support the branch that holds the kids' swing on our backyard tree, and I put some pads on the bottom of our little couch the boys love to slide all over the room.

Kira went to the store to get a few things we needed for Sunday, and then also ran an errand for a Relief Society sister. I fed the boys dinner, and then we got them to bed before settling in to watch the first installment of The Hobbit. Avey made more cake balls, testing out her adjustments, and they worked out really well.

Today we awoke to more snow, but it's raining now, so we just can't seem to get the weather to decide one way or the other.

No big plans for this upcoming week, aside from the kids starting school tomorrow. They will be back to in-person school for 4 days out of the week. That should work out better for us all. I need to get my brain back into gear to start preparing for my semester, which starts in another 2 weeks.

Keep your fingers crossed that this new plumber will have some idea about how water works!

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