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  • Elijah Ricks

Soft Lockdown

We kicked off this week with some more symptoms. I awoke to get the kids' breakfasts going, and Kira slept in after waking with a sore throat Monday morning. She let her clients decide what they wanted to do for their appointments that afternoon/evening. She did a phone appointment, and one client still wanted to meet in person. She scheduled a test for COVID-19 after her appointments, and then we had to wait for the results for two days, but it came back negative.

After the spring on the garage door broke last week, I had left a message with the place that had just been there. They called me back on Monday to tell me that it would be at least 3 weeks until they could get there, as they were down a crew. I instead called a place based closer to us, and they said they would be there that day between 3 and 7. The guy then called around 1 and said he could come by then if it worked, so he came and had us all squared away in about 20 minutes. That was nice to get done.


I was in charge of the boys once they got home, while Kira did her phone appointment. They played really well outside in the warm weather. Merritt was desperate for a playmate, and Hakan was looking for easy ways to earn money, so I offered him some money if he would play with Merritt. He did, and then after he did his duty for 30 minutes, I told him he could be done if he wanted, but he wanted to keep playing. That was nice, because those two have been butting heads pretty badly lately.

Hakan wanted to earn money, because after we talked about Christmas coming up, he got thinking of gift ideas for his brothers. He had something in mind for them both, and then finally had enough by Saturday. He bought them their gifts, and couldn't wait to share them, so they got them both then. He can be really thoughtful when he tries.


With Kira's sore throat, she figured she should probably keep the kids home from school on Tuesday until her test came back, just in case they had the virus. She called Avey's school to check the policy, and they told her we had to pick up Avey immediately, even though she was going to get on the bus in about 15 minutes to come home. Apollo and I went to pick her up, all feeling sort of silly about the whole thing.


That evening, Hakan and Merritt came with me to pick up the neighbor girl (8), whom we are sometimes watching now until her mom's work schedule eases up. Avey took her home after some play time with our boys, and then I got the boys to bed while Kira got her COVID test.

Tuesday the boys woke me up with their noise, so I got up and fed Merritt breakfast after getting myself ready. It was forecast to rain when I was coming home, so Kira drove me to the station. Her throat felt better, but she felt "off" the whole day. We both have been especially tired this week - maybe something to do with the time change and her sickness. She tried a nap later in the day, but without much success. She mostly dealt with keeping the kids on task with their e-learning assignments.


My classes were pretty normal, but with our unusual heat wave, my office was scorching. It must have been 78 degrees in there - I had to take off my sweater and put on an old t-shirt I had in my office, and then put on a fan. It was not fun. I then had a student take up over an hour of my office hours over video chat, so I lost a lot of productivity. After teaching my evening class over video conference, I dashed to the train station to find that no trains were moving, and nobody knew why. I checked the train tracker on my phone to find one train about 40 minutes delayed, but also not moving. I was pretty hungry, so I decided to chance it and go to the closest restaurant I knew of - a sushi place. I bought some food and then went back to the station with enough time to finish my meal and get set up to start grading assignments when the announcer said my train was pulling up to the track just then. I got home about 40 minutes later than usual, and never found out the reason for the delay.

Wednesday, the kids were home for their usual e-learning. One of Avey's friends came over for part of the afternoon, which was nice for her, but Carver didn't enjoy. He was playing rather rough with them outside, and Carver felt bullied. He went home after a while so that Avey could work on her school stuff.


I did a lot of grading, and then took over the kids after lunch. I took a quick trip to the store for some essentials. Hannah came over so that she and Kira could join a Branch Council meeting over the computer. I was very tired and the boys were in full out rebellion at bedtime, so that was a painful power struggle. I got them to bed, and then Merritt and Hakan came back downstairs as I was trying to respond to student emails (they had a statistics exam due the next day).


Thursday, I was off on my early train, and Kira got her negative test results just in time to get the boys out the door for the bus. Avey opted to stay home another day. Kira took the kids to the park in the afternoon, and then Avey babysat the neighbor girl again in the evening. Hannah opted to just go to bed that evening, and I wanted to get out of the house for minute, so I went to buy supplies to change the oil for Saturday. While I was out, Kira asked me to pick up a pizza for Avey, so I waited in a parking lot for it to be ready. Although she ordered a small, the place was out of that size, so they upgraded her to a medium for free! She enjoyed it for a couple more days.


On Friday, I got through all of my grading - mostly the statistics exams (horrifying, by the way). Kira had a followup appointment for her mole removal from months ago, and when she got back I took the van for our Costco run. Hannah couldn't make it at that time, so I was on my own. It was okay, though, because I took advantage of the time to also stop by a hardware store for some supplies I needed. It was hectic at Costco after that, but I got through.


In the afternoon, I saw that the new address decals for my new mailbox (birthday present) were supposed to arrive that afternoon, so I took the old one down and assembled the new post. I figured I would put the decals on inside and then attach the mailbox to the new post Saturday morning. I got the post all put together and installed in no time, but then the decals never came (now scheduled to arrive tomorrow).


Kira and I went on a date while Avey put the kids to bed. We tried out a Mexican restaurant in town, which was really good. We were both so tired still that it was easy to get distracted by what was on the t.v. at the restaurant. We then went and did a little bit of shopping for the kids' Christmas advent calendars, then came home for some t.v. with Hannah and Avey.


Saturday morning I got most of the boys fed while Kira slept in, and then I attached the mailbox to the post. I then raked up what leaves were in the front yard, changed the oil on the van, and then went in to feed the kids lunch while Kira was on some video training for her calling. In the afternoon, I installed the new curtain rods (birthday present) and curtains in the boys' room. Kira took everybody but Carver to some stores, where Hakan finally bought those presents he wanted to give to his brothers. While they were gone, I scrubbed mildew off of our bathroom ceiling and did laundry. I also did just a little bit of vacuuming in the worst places. After dinner, I bathed Merritt and then we got the kids in bed. Hannah joined us for a movie.


Today, I ironed the curtains in the boys' room so that now they look nice, and otherwise I'm trying to keep the boys from killing each other. The weather has turned cold again, so now our house doesn't seem big enough for Merritt's and Hakan's personalities.


I received word on Saturday that my university will be shutting down campus earlier than planned. Starting Monday we will shift to entirely remote, though I can still go to campus if I need to get some quiet. I very likely will.


We're very much looking forward to getting through this week so that we can enjoy Thanksgiving!

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