• Elijah Ricks

Sick of Tired

We left off last week, with Merritt still sounding very bad. Avey had a sore throat, too, but the rest of us were doing pretty well. Once the boys were in bed, I ran to the store to get some especially strong lozenges for Avey to use during the night, if she needed. I then spent way too much time inventorying all of the drill bits I have so that I could keep complete kits in three different places. I was blown away by how many 1/4 inch flathead bits I have, so if anyone needs a few, come on by. Anyway, we finally all went to bed, and hoped that the sleep would bring lots of healing.

Merritt Buries Daddy in Pillows

However, come Monday morning, Hakan was the only one in any shape to go to school. Merritt still sounded like a chain smoker, Avey's throat was still rough, and Carver's throat hurt, too. Kira and I felt just fine, so we got Hakan on his way. Kira then got herself ready for work, the boys played video games together, and Avey slept. I was feeling rather panicked to get my UTEP course up and running, as the students had gone the whole weekend with no instructor, and I wanted to get everything set up as soon as possible so that they could have a smooth transition. It occurred to me that I probably couldn't just take on work for another university, however, and so I read through the faculty manual and found out that this position was questionable. I wrote to the dean and chair to explain the situation, and they said that I could teach the course, as long as it was just for this one semester. That was good to have official, but I still waited all ding dong day without any word from UTEP on getting access to the course. So I did other things to make sure my Roosevelt courses were all set, and found a couple of problems I was glad to fix.

Kira came home from work and then took Avey and Merritt to the doctor to see if we could get the ball rolling on all of the testing they'd need. Fortunately, so far they do not need to provide a negative COVID test to return to school, necessarily. Still, we wanted to know. Avey did a rapid strep test, and it came back positive, but Merritt's came back negative. Weird. Anyway, we got Avey some antibiotics, and the doctor recommended we test the boys for COVID, but of course our usual testing site was shut down, so Kira planned to take that task on the next day. Naturally, that night I could feel a slight sore throat coming on.

Tuesday was my first day of school, and so I was up early to get ready. Because Hakan was still the only kid going to school, Kira offered to drop me off at the station. I got there to find that the trains were all delayed because a pedestrian had been struck farther down the line. No clue how long the delays would be. I decided to chance it and just get on the train. It arrived in Chicago more than an hour late, and 10 minutes after my first class had already started, so that was a nice start to the semester (#sarcasm). I gave the students a heads up and kept them updated on my status as I had news, so they seemed to understand, but I hate to be late ever, and especially on the first day. Anyway, I taught two classes in a row, and they went well for the first day, which is usually boring business stuff.

I noticed during my second class that I was getting plenty of UTEP emails suddenly, so I planned to deal with that after lunch, but of course most of it was just the enormous pile of paperwork it takes to get hired, and none of it got me access to the course. I did that stuff in between lunch and another meeting with a student. Finally, in the late afternoon about an hour before I needed to catch my train home, I got access to the course. It took me about 45 minutes to get all of the course all set up (I already had my template ready to go). My throat felt mostly normal the whole day, but my energy was pretty low.

At home, Kira was mostly messing with trying to deal with the kids' health. She took Carver in, whose strep test also came back negative. So she then spent forever trying to find a place that (a) could test for COVID, (b) was within 30 miles of us, and (c) had some openings the same day or at least soon. Very frustrating. She did eventually get all the tests scheduled for the next day. She picked me up from the station and then had to leave for a meeting at the school while I fed kids and got them ready for bed.

Wednesday, still only Hakan was well enough for school. Kira let me sleep in, as my energy was still very low. I then got up and got going on some work and then ran some errands before coming home to mow while Kira took the kids in for their COVID tests. They came home with complaints about how unpleasant it was. Kira was very tired, so she took a nap, and Avey agreed to watch for Hakan's bus while I ran to a notary to complete the UTEP paperwork. I was home before his bus, though. While waiting for it, I replaced some knobs on the kitchen island to match the rest of the kitchen, and I got Avey's bike ready for a bike riding activity that evening. She'd been on the antibiotics long enough that she wouldn't be contagious, although I still find it very odd that we all basically have the same symptoms and she's the only one with strep... Anyway, Kira woke up feeling better, and then I took Avey to the activity, and swung by the grocery store before coming home to help with bedtime stuff. Kira left to pick Avey up while I put the boys to bed. They were all very tired, so it was not a problem.

Thursday, I still felt about the same: low energy, and slightly bothered throat. Kira is the only one who has had no clear problems. She has been tired, but luckily no sore throat or anything else. Anyway, the other kids seemed well enough to head back to school, so they went, except that Merritt was just on the fence enough about it, and was so very insistent that he couldn't go, we opted to keep him home again. I was off to the city again, and made it in plenty of time this time. Classes went very well - it's so nice to be back in the classroom!

At home, Hannah came over to use our wifi during a video call, hoping it would be more reliable than her house's, and so to give her some privacy and quiet, Kira took Merritt for a picnic at a park.

All the boys were in a mood once all were home: very grumpy with each other, and rude to us. It was very nice outside, so we tried to take advantage of that, and chalk up the moods to the low energy going around.

Friday, Kira let me sleep in again before I got up to help get the kids ready for school. Merritt was finally on board to go back. He still sounded a little hoarse, but he was well enough, and he agreed to keep his mask on all day, even though it's not currently mandated. It was a pretty good day for him, so we hear.

I did a bunch of work for both UTEP and Roosevelt, and then I had a meeting that was about 90 minutes too long. I really don't get paid enough to endure those things. Anyway, I was feeling about 50% of capacity, but I really did not want to sit at the computer any longer. I ran to a used hardware place to pick up some supplies for a couple of projects I had in mind. I then got up on the roof to fix some of the aluminum fascia that had come loose and might be letting water run behind it. The wood was in great shape, though, so I just secured it back under the drip guard. I then got all set up to spray the north side of the house where the sun never shines. There's green algae or whatever on the siding, so I planned to pressure wash it off. Naturally, I got all set up and then I couldn't get the pressure washer to work. It was pumping water, but not pressurized water. I finally gave up because it started raining anyway, and planned to try to find some replacement parts for the pressure washer, and just try out one of those house cleaning sprays that don't require pressure.

After totally bombing the dumb wall project, I then adjusted the brake on Carver's bike, because it was sticking. Got that fixed in no time, and then took apart our old weed whacker that had crapped out on us. I tested a couple of things to see if it was just a bad switch or what, but it looks like it's the motor, so I tossed it (I'd picked up a used one that works at that used hardware place earlier in the week).

Kira and I waited anxiously for the results of the kids' COVID tests, but never did hear anything all day, and we still haven't. The boys made it home and played and unwound, and then Kira took all of the kids to drop off at Tae Kwon Do, and run a few other errands. I was very tired, but opted to take Apollo on a walk in the beautiful weather, and then came home to chill for a few minutes before everyone else came home. They picked up some fast food for dinner, making the evening routine easier.

Hannah didn't come over that night as she had signed up to take the high school football team to their game (on the bus). She hung out in the bus playing video games and reading, all while getting paid. She got home much later than she'd planned, though, so she may think twice about doing it again.

Saturday, I woke up during the night with the worst sore throat I've had during this whole thing, but I was able to get back to sleep. I then woke up at 6:45, but then couldn't fall back asleep, so I fed the boys and let Kira sleep. Avey and Hannah and I went to Michigan City for a bunch of shopping, finding some good treasures at Goodwill. The hardware store could not help me with my pressure washer problem, but the house spray they had worked beautifully: I'm fully converted now. Kira supervised kids. Hakan was up to his usual stuff with every neighbor in the place over. There was some drama there, so Kira had to keep a close eye out to make sure it wasn't a Lord of the Flies situation. I fed the other boys lunch once home, and Kira offered a picnic in the backyard to Hakan, asking the neighbor kids to go get their food if they wanted to join him. Once that was all done, we all got in the car and went to the park next to a dog park. Apollo got some much-needed canine time, and the boys got some good exercise. There was some sort of large family gathering there, and the older kids were having some sort of epic Nerf war, leaving foam darts scattered throughout the playground. Hakan and Carver made it their task to pick up the darts and supply them to the faction they thought had the advantage. They had fun doing it - I guess it was sort of like an Easter egg hunt or something. Anyway, we then came home so that Kira could get stuff done for her calling before dinner.

I was so very wiped out energy-wise that Kira took on the burden of cooking burgers for everyone's dinner. They were very good, too, so maybe I'll retire from the burger grilling business. We all struggled through the bedtime routine, all so very tired, and then Hannah came over and we watched some TV before an early bedtime.

Today, church started an hour later to fit a new schedule, but Kira had a meeting at the normal time anyway, so still took everyone at the usual time. I have still been very tired, but I couldn't live with myself without making steps toward completing the garage ceiling, so I spackled half of it before calling it quits. Maybe once I'm back at my normal energy levels I can finish that thing off. My throat did not hurt during the night at all, so I may be on the mend from whatever this is. I just want to know what the kids' COVID tests say, because if they have it, then I need to get tested pronto. Anyway, let's just hope Kira doesn't get any symptoms beyond the low energy...

We sure hope that this week has us all back where we're supposed to be. The weather is finally cooled down to a comfortable level, so we hope to enjoy that before winter slaps us on the side of the head. Everybody stay well!

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