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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Slipping Into Summer

Updated: May 25, 2020

This week marked the last of the kids' school year, so they were very motivated to get through their final assignments to declare an end to the year.

They otherwise found ways to stay staring at screens, but we got them to break it up from time to time by enjoying the nice weather outside. Most days were nice and sunny and cool.

That feeling when summer is so close...

I was officially on break this week, though I spent at least a couple of hours each day working toward things I have to do for my day job. I'm supervising a couple of student research projects, and so that's going to take up some of my time. This coming week, I managed to book 4 phone appointments because I don't know how to not volunteer for things, apparently. The department is hiring for a couple of positions, and all of the candidates are doing their visits over video chat, and I'll be one of the people interviewing them all. It's fairly painless, but of course I am not getting paid for my time over the summer, so it's a little annoying.

Kira was tied up for a few days this week with her Relief Society calling. With things beginning to open back up in Indiana, and the Branch President moving out of the state, she's had several things going on. One evening, she was on the phone with a member of the branch who'd had some deaths in the family due to the pandemic, so it's fortunate that she is also a licensed counselor and has a good sense of how to handle bereavement.

I spent what time I could on several more projects this week. I have a long list of things to do, but I often go for the high-impact projects, so that's how I started the week off. I finally put in the fire pit I've been thinking about for several months. I started with digging out the spot for the pit itself:

I then got the foundation for the pit put together out of a pile of very old bricks we have. They are ugly, so I figured they'd be nicely out of sight. I then carefully laid each of the nicer bricks on top, putting high-heat mortar in between each one in a design I'd crafted.

The next day, I dug out the surrounding area to lay down some more brick to give it a better look and give us some more distance from the heat when sitting in our lawn chairs.

I think it turned out really well. I'm particularly happy with the pea gravel I put around the pit to cover up the old ugly brick.

We let the mortar cure for two days, and then we tested it out on Thursday afternoon.

The kids were really excited to roast marshmallows and make s'mores.

We got a nice fire roaring, and I ran some errands, including getting chocolate bars for the s'mores. The fire was still going when I got back, so the kids got their s'mores, though Carver said his version wasn't all that great (even though he wolfed it down).

Our new neighbor saw the fun we were having and asked to come over. She's 6 years old, and came over to play with the boys on the trampoline earlier in the week. Because it's very hard to catch COVID-19 outdoors, and there's even speculation that children don't really carry it, we had her over. We've heard from her dad that she already has a crush on Hakan, and from what we can see of his posturing and strutting when she's around, it's mutual. He started the afternoon off showing her how awesome he is at jumping rope.

The weather turned very warm on Saturday, so the outside was a little uncomfortable, but the boys made the most of it with our makeshift slip'n'slide, and then did it again today.

While they played, I did more outdoor projects, including touching up the paint on the fence and shed, weeding around the air conditioner, and putting down more caulk around the edge of the shed to keep water out. I also finished putting up some shelves in the garage, also made entirely out of materials from the old shed (except for the screws):

I also patched up a big crack in the concrete that had been hiding behind the ugly metal shelves since we moved in.

That outlet I replaced that was causing our internet to go out occasionally has still been giving us trouble, so we had to do more troubleshooting. After I had charted out our electrical panel last week, when Avey mentioned that an outlet by the television was weird - it would work only when the plug was partially in - I knew it was on the same circuit as the other one. So when the internet went out again, I discovered that every other outlet after that one Avey mentioned was also not working. I replaced that one and found a loose wire, which explains everything. We seem to be in business now, but give it a few more days...

In the late afternoon, very dark and foreboding clouds rolled in and a heavy thunderstorm hit, drenching the whole neighborhood and blasting us with wind. The wind died down after a little while and the sun even came back out for a bit before it was bedtime.

I spent part of today in the garage, trying to repair the floor. Fixing the crack in the concrete got me in the mood to fill in the other cracks in the floor that are not nearly as big, but have not been addressed since the house was built, probably. I then used the bag of resurfacer I had bought a couple of months ago, but couldn't use because the weather was too cool.

This first round was a test one, and I think I've got some better ideas for when I do the rest (hopefully later this week).

Hannah has been filling her time going birding, and has had some good success there, adding new birds for the year's list, and even some that she's never seen before. She's also set up shop in our front room for making masks. She's made one for everyone in the family (except Apollo), and then found a new design that fits more comfortably, so made most of us that kind, too. We don't know what we'd do without her!

Avey is finishing up some art projects that she started over the last few weeks, and she's been baking things again. She made some cookie dough late one night this week when the rest of us had gone to bed, and then she baked it another night.

Hakan's birthday is this week, and he is thrilled. He's pretty sad that most parks and indoor play areas are still closed, but he's been very interested in fishing, too, so we may be able to work that in.

We'll let you know how it all goes next week!

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